The Model Master

The Model Master

By Most W. Bro William Mercer Wilson 
Originally Published In The Craftsman 1866

Editor's Note

Most Worshipful Brother William Mercer Wilson was the first Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. He was 42 years of age when he
took the gavel as Grand Master and over his life served the Grand Lodge three
times. Most W. Brother Wilson was Grand Master from 1855 - 1859, 1866 - 1867,
and from 1872 - 1874. The following is an article published by our Most
Worshipful Brother in 1866 during his second term in office as it was published
in the Craftsman in 1866. It tells of the virtues and skills needed for a Master
to successfully govern his lodge. These words are as applicable today as they
were in 1866.

The Model Master

To become the model Master of a Lodge should be the ambition of every Brother,
and to discharge with efficiency and zeal the duties of that important office
should be his most anxious desire. These duties are not confined to the mere
repetition of a few phrases, learned by rote, but he should be enabled to
instruct the Craft, not only as to the meaning and origin of our ceremonies, but
also to explain to them the philosophy which is veiled in its allegories and
illustrated by its symbols.

He should be able, also, to convince his Brethren, that all science and art,
legitimately directed, are but lines that radiate towards the great " I AM;"
that the Sciences are the media by which we are led to contemplate the goodness,
greatness, wisdom and power, of the Great Architect of the Universe; and that
the Arts are the modes we have developed of expressing our sense and admiration
of the wondrous glories of an Almighty Father which are scattered around us.

The Master of a Lodge should also, in his life and in his conversation, be a
model for his Brethren to admire and imitate, and should himself practice, out
of the Lodge, those great moral doctrines and virtues which he inculcates within
its walls. He should be punctual and methodical in all things, and, both by his
character and conduct, command the respect, the esteem, and good will of all
men; for, as the Master is supreme in his Lodge, and distinguished by his
position in the Craft, so should he also be distinguished as the possessor of an
irreproachable character, a dignified demeanor, an expanded intellect, and a
liberal education. Happy and prosperous must those Lodges be which are governed
by such men! - their time of meeting is looked forward to by the Brethren with
the most pleasing anticipation. Prompt at the hour, every Brother is at his
station, and the work is carried on with pleasure and profit. The Worshipful
Master who presides over his Lodge with ability, firmness, and decision; (for
without force of character there can be no force of impression) whose manner is
courteous yet dignified; whose decisions are consonant with reason and Masonic
Law; and who dispenses light and information among the Craft, will ever be
regarded by his Brethren as one who is entitled to their highest respect and
their most fraternal regard.

The anxious enquirer after Truth and Light feels that he may appeal with
confidence and safety to such a ruler of a Lodge, as to one who is not only able
and willing to reward and advance him according to his ability and worth, but to
one whose duty and high privilege it is to diffuse the beams of light and to
scatter abroad the seeds of truth. The aspirant, animated by the love of truth,
uninfluenced by mercenary motives, duly appreciating the philosopher's apothegm,
that "Knowledge is Power," and prompted by higher desires, eagerly presses
forward, believing in a nobler destiny and aspiring after a brighter record; it
is the Master's duty to assist him in his research - it is his high privilege to
"pour the balm of instruction o'er the mind," to fill it with light, to stir up
its powers, and to raise it to its proper supremacy over matter. It is for him
to bestow upon the neophyte - if he finds him worthy and qualified - not only
wealth but power also; not the wealth that corrupts its owner, nor the power
which enslaves its dependent, but the ennobling wealth of wisdom and the
enduring power of knowledge.

The Financial affairs of the Lodge are managed by such a Master with prudence
and economy - he regards debts due either by or to his Lodge peculiarly as debts
of honor, and takes care to have them promptly arranged - the Brethren, loving
the man and respecting his authority, submit to his decision with cheerfulness
and alacrity, and are ready at all times to aid him in his efforts to advance
the interests of the Order. The cement with which he has bound the Brethren
together is not confined to the Lodge Room, but is carried out into the world,
and practical illustrations of friendship and brotherly love are daily
exemplified. Time will not now permit me to enlarge upon the various qualities
and virtues which adorn the model Master. I must therefore leave the subject for
the present, and conclude by remarking, that I feel proud and happy in being
enabled to say that, I believe, we have among us many Masters and Past Masters
of Lodges who are an honor to the Fraternity and the Order-many, who are not
only Masters of men but also of work, and who are indeed entitled to the proud
distinction of being regarded as the cream of the Craft.