the antient charges

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					                         THE ANTIENT CHARGES
       The Antient Charges are the Rules and Instructions given to the Stone Masons
Centuries ago which form the basis of the Constitutions and Regulations of Free
Masonry and its Rituals substantially in force even today.

        Free Masonry as we practice now has its origin in the Stone Masonry which was a
highly placed art and science having its foundation in Geometry. We recognize seven
liberal arts and sciences such as :
        GRAMMAR : that teaches man to speak and write
        RHETORIC : that teaches man to speak fair and soft
        LOGIC           : that teaches man discern truth from falsehood
        ARITHMETIC: which teaches man to reckon and count all kinds of numbers
        GEOMETRY : which teaches man THE METE AND MEASURE OF THE
                        CALLED MASONRY
        MUSIC           : which gives man skill of singing, teaching him the art of
                        composition and of playing upon diverse instruments as the organ
                        and harp
        ASTRONOMY: which teaches the man to know the course of sun, moon and the

       Before the Great Floods, the three sons and a daughter of LAMECH acquired
knowledge in all these sciences. They recorded them on two pillars made one of marble
and the other of laterite, which survived the flood and were recovered by Hermes, a great
grand son of Noah. He taught Geometry to the masons who were to build the Tower of
Babel. Hermes gave them a brief set of advices :
       1. That they should be true to one another
       2. Love truly together
       3. Should serve the Lord truly for their pay so that their Master might have
           honour and all that belong unto him.
This was the first ever set of CHARGES given to Masons.

         Later, Abraham taught Geometry to the Egyptians. One of his students Euclyde,
afterwards offered to teach the children of the nobles of Egypt Geometry so that they will
learn how to earn and live respectably. He made them into a body of masons, fixed the
rate of their remuneration, gave them the following charges and made them swear an oath
         1.     They should be true to the King, and to the Lord they serve and to the
                Fellowship whereof they are admitted.
         2.     They should love and be true to one another and shall call each other his
                Fellow or else Brother and not his servant or knave or any other foul name
         3.     They should deserve their pay of the Lord, or the Master of the Work
         4.     They should ordain the wisest of them to be the Master of the Work, and
                neither for love nor lineage, riches nor favour, to set another that hath little
                cunning to be the Master of the Lord’s Work; whereby the Lord should be
                evil-served and they ashamed; and
5.     They should call the Governor of the Work, Master in the time that the
       work with him.
6.     They should assemble annually to consult how they might work the best to
       serve the Lord to his benefit, to their own credit and to correct within
       themselves, him that has trespassed against the CRAFT.

       These are considered as the first set of well organized charges and were
followed by all for a very long time. The Masons and other craftsmen headed by
Hiram Abif followed these charges scrupulously during the construction of the
First Temple at Jerusalem. This Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezar and
was rebuilt by Cyrus and Darius after some 500 years. This too was pulled down
and the third one was erected by Herod at Palestine, just before the birth of Jesus.

        The knowledge, art and the charges continued to be handed down from
generation to generation. These were brought to England in 43 AD by the Masons
who came to build the Monasteries and Cathedrals. In 932 AD Edwyn the brother
of King Athelstane of Kent, England, formed a guild of masons and obtained a
CHARTER from the King; and an ASSEMBLY of the Masons was held in that
year. (They were the First Charter and the first Regular Assembly)At this
Assembly Edwyn taught the methods of geometry and Masonry and gave them
the following set or 10 charges which came to be known as Athelstane Charges to
Free Masons to be Kept both by Masters and Fellows
        1.     Be True Men to God and the Holy Church
        2.     Use no heresy, willful or run into innovations, but be wise men and
               discreet in everything
        3.     Be not disloyal nor confederates in treasonable plots, but if you
               hear of any treachery against the government you ought to discover
               it, if you cannot otherwise prevent it.
        4.     Be true to one another (that is to say) to every Mason of the Craft
               of Masonry, that be Masons Allowed, You shall do them as you
               would, they should do unto you.
        5.     Keep all the counsel of your fellows truly, be it in Lodge or in
               Chamber, and all other counsel that ought to be kept by the way of
        6.     No Mason shall be a thief, or conceal any such unjust action, so far
               forth as he may wit or know.
        7.     Every Allowed Mason shall be true to the Lord or Master whom he
               serves and hall serve him faithfully to his advantage.
        8.     You shall call such Mason your Fellow or Brother; neither shall
               you use to him any scuriluus language
        9.     You shall not desire any unlawful communication with your
               Fellow’s wife, nor cast a wanton eye upon his daughter with desire
               to defile her, nor his maid servant or anywise put him to
        10.    Pay truly and honestly for your meat and drink wherever you
               board, that the Craft be not slandered thereby.