Masters of Lodges

Freemasons' Monthly Magazine - 1857

" ' THERE is, unquestionably, much too great a desire
now-a-days on the part of the Fraternity to value numbers
above quality. In the history of the Order there is no instance
on record of so rapid an increase of initiations as has taken
place within the last three years. But if we examine the
numbers thus brought to light, we shall find that very few
indeed ever give Masonry more than a passing thought,
being simply content with using the Lodge meetings as a
vehicle for social intercourse. Of so many initiated, it is not at
all extravagant to say that scarcely one in ten ever takes the
slightest trouble to make himself acquainted with the nature
of the work, and that, in the event of their rising to the W.M.'s
chair, they are quite satisfied if they can manage to open
and close without much hesitation or blundering. As to the
important duties of the three degrees, they leave them to
some P.M.; who is always at his post and delighted to
possess a power which given him influence and authority,
looks at least upon the privilege of being perpetual acting
W.M. as a right, and in some instances coerces his Brethren
into a compliance with his whims because his services can
not conveniently be dispensed with. But is this as it should
be? If a man enters Masonry at all, he is bound to fulfil its
duties, which do not consist in his paying his Lodge dues

" ' We hold it as a positive duty that no man ought ever to
venture upon attaining the dignities of the W.M.'s chair,
unless he can perform the duties of initiating, passing and
raising. He ought most assuredly to be able to work the
section, which is a more difficult exercise, too much going
out of use, except in Lodges of instruction.'

" ' However Masonry may flourish as to numbers and
increase of funds, until it be made a sine qua non that no
Mason shall ever be a W.M. until he can perform its
continuous duties, the essence of the Order will never
possess its due weight and importance.' "