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Charges, Old

The Freemasons' Constitutions are old records, containing a history, very often some-what apocryphal, that is of doubtful authority, of the origin and progress of Freemasonry, and regulations for the government of the Craft. These regulations are called Charges, and are generally the same in substance, although the differ in number, in the different documents.

These charges are divided into Articles and Points; although it would be difficult to say in what the one section differs in character from the other, as each details the rules which should govern a Freemason in his conduct toward his Lord, or employer, and to his Brother workmen.

The oldest of these charges is to be found in the York Constitutions, if they are authentic, and consists of Fifteen Articles and Fifteen Points.

It was required by the Constitutions of the time of Edward III, ''that, for the future, at the making or admission of a brother, the constitutions and charges should be read."

This regulation is still preserved in form, in modern Lodges, by the reading of the charge by the Master to a candidate at the close of the ceremony of his reception into a degree (for a list of the Old Charges, see Manuscripts, Old).

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