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ON THE APPROACHING ELECTION TO THE MASONIC CHAIRS
THE FREEMASON'S QUARTERLY REVIEW - 1834
" All preferment among Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only."-Constitutions, p. 6.
One of the most important franchises which the Masonic character offers is THE ELECTION OF MASTER FOR THE ENSUING TWELVE MONTHS. - "The qualifications necessary are, that the candidate should be true and trusty, of good repute, held in high estimation amongst the fraternity, skilled in Masonic knowledge, and moreover a lover of the Craft; he ought to be exemplary in his conduct, courteous in his manner, but, above all, steady and firm in principle."
Unless the Brother who aspires to the Chair of a Freemason's Lodge can conscientiously feel himself so qualified, he should pause ere he assumes or rather morally usurps it, and by tarrying somewhat, profit by the example of another, by whose conduct lie may improve his own unskilfulness, or amend in himself what his observations may have perceived to be defective in his Brother.
The fulfilment of the duties of a Mastership requires much personal inconvenience, and some sacrifice of time. The interests of a lodge, alike with its immediate welfare and ultimate prosperity, depend upon the skill and sagacity of the Master; while the general peace and harmony of its members take their tone from his conciliating courtesy, or suffer from his want of so vital an attribute.
The Master is called upon to attend (with the Past-Masters and Wardens of his Lodge) at the quarterly communications, and by his careful observation of the current questions to sanction or prevent what may support or injure the sacred and glorious institution he is bound to protect. It is to be remembered, that upon the ACTIVITY or SUPINENESS of the actual Masters that the order itself will be SUPPORTED or DEGRADED.
The Master is directed to attend the monthly boards of benevolence, that the wants of his deserving brethren may be generously and immediately relieved, or the application of the unworthy summarily rejected; there the cry of the widow and the orphan is heard, and there should the Master be to administer the funds which a confiding Lodge has entrusted to his vigilance; let him remember that he has bound himself to observe the ancient charges in which the foregoing obligations form some of the clauses; let him not hope to excuse his own neglect by that of others; rather let him be foremost in the ranks of emulation, and shame such who, while they assume the profession of a Master of a Lodge, withhold the practice it enjoins. Let his actions during the year be such, that when it terminates, the brethren will feel thankful for his services, and reward him by their approbation.
How different is the effect produced upon Freemasonry by those who merely falter through their official duties, who never show themselves where a personal service is demanded, and, in fact, who, if the charges have ever been read to them, disregard their importance by a coldness which is alike insulting to decency as to common sense.
Another important duty of a Master is the selection of his Wardens - the members of a Lodge may exercise their franchise in the election of a Master with a view to please a friend or to self-gratification, but the Master in his selection of officers ought always to have in view the interests of the Lodge. He should avoid appointing to the office of Wardens any brethren who may not be enabled to qualify for the superior dignity of Master, in order that when the period of election for that office shall approach, the Wardens, by attending carefully to their duties in Lodge and at the public meetings of the Craft, may become so experienced, that the brethren will not feel themselves placed in the difficulty of either wounding the feelings of an otherwise respectable individual by passing him over, or by electing him to an office he is incompetent to sustain - either of these possible cases the Master may prevent by timely discretion.
Finally, let him as well as the brethren of the Lodge diligently read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the constitutions of the fraternity, remembering that
"ALL PREFERMENT AMONG MASONS IS GROUNDED UPON REAL WORTH AND PERSONAL MERIT ONLY"
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