The doctrine of obedience to constituted authority is strongly inculcated in all the Old Constitutions as necessary to the preservation of the Association. In them it is directed that ''every" Mason shall prefer his elder and put him to worship." Thus the Master Mason obeys the order of his Lodge, the Lodge obeys the mandates of the Grand Lodge, and the Grand Lodge submits to the Landmarks and the old Regulations.
The doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance in polities, however much it may be supposed to be inimical to the progress of free institutions constitutes undoubtedly the great principle of Masonic government. Such a principle would undoubtedly lead to an unbearable despotism, were it not admirably modified and controlled by the compensating principle of appeal. The first duty of every Freemason is to obey the mandate of the Master. But if that mandate should have been unlawful or Oppressive! he will find his redress in the Grand Lodge, which will review the case and render justice. This spirit of instant obedience and submission to authority constitutes the great safeguard of the institution Freemasonry more resembles a military than a political organization. The order must at once be obeyed; its character and its consequences may be matters of subsequent inquiry. The Masonic rule of obedience is like the nautical, imperative: "Obey orders, even if you break owners."
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