The physical qualifications of a candidate for initiation into Freemasonry may be considered under the three heads of Sex, Age, and Bodily Conformation.
1. Sex. It is a landmark that the candidate shall be a man. This, of course, prohibits the initiation of a woman. 2. Age. The candidate must, say the Old Regulations, be of "mature and discreet age." The Masonic instructions forbid the initiation of an "old man in his dotage, or a young man under age." The man who has lost his faculties by an accumulation of years, or not vet acquired them in their full extent by immaturity of age. is equally incapable of initiation (see Dotage and Mature Age). 3. Bodily Conformation. The Gothic Constitutions of 926, or what is said to be that document, prescribe that the candidate ';must be without blemish, and have the full and proper use of his limbs"; and the Charges of 1722 say "that he must have no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art, of serving his Master's Lord, and of being made a Brother" (see Constitutions, 1723, page 51). And although a fess jurists have been disposed to interpret this law with unauthorized laxity, the general spirit of the Institution, and of all its authorities, is to observe it rigidly (see the subject fully discussed in Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry)
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