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as a substitute for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a good deal of a hazy sort of doubt abroad just now, begotten very largely by rumors of what research and criticism have done to discredit the doctrines and institutions of religion. But a great deal of the babblement one hears to-day about "progress" is really afflicting to discerning souls, science having as yet done literally nothing to unsettle a single essential article of the Christian faith or to weaken a single hope which that faith inspires. As long as the Church continues to embody and to teach that faith, even though very imperfectly, it will not cease to attract the confidence and reverence of mankind. As long as sin and misery are in the world, some other and better method of dealing with them and of healing them will be necessary than is known to the civil magistrate or to the police authorities.
To anticipate anything like a speedy collapse, therefore, of ecclesiastical organizations is, in my judgment, simply silly. Predictions of some such issue have been often let loose in the social air, but little has come of them. It is amusing to read to-day M. Comte's large concession, that his followers might occupy Christian temples as they should fall into disuse, seeing how few have changed hands” in the interval of half a century. There is a good deal in and about the churches to provoke men of progressive views to anger; but no sensible man will contend that an institution otherwise good may be discarded, simply because it is not always worthily represented; else what ground of respect would be left for any institution or instrument of civil society? Claims that the Church may be disbanded can only be reasonably preferred when it has been shown that the work it has professed to do may be done better, or that it is actually being better done, by some other instrumentality. “A NonChurch-Goer” seems to hint in one place that such is now the fact, where he tells us that "science is to-day doing more for morality than the Church”- one of his rashly impetuous utterances. Yet even he feels the need of a ministry for his “higher nature," which need science does not meet, we must infer. Where else, then, will he look for it? What school or society of men, other than the Christian Church, makes any sort of pretension of supplying the need ? None that I know. While, touching interests of a more tangible sort, it may be claimed for the Christian Church, I believe, in spite of all its defects and failures, that its disappearance would prove to be a widely-felt disaster. It inspires gentle and humane feelings into men, women, and children as no other institution or agency even pretends to have the capacity of doing; it preaches, and to a large extent practically applies, the doctrine of human brotherhood, urging persistently the duty of mutual helpfulness; it prescribes a wholesome discipline for individual and collective life; educates men in practical virtues; and begets an enthusiasm for goodness in multitudes of men and women which makes itself felt in the outlying world. The Church is even charged with intemperance in the vastness and the costliness of the enterprises she undertakes in behalf of degraded tribes of mankind abroad, and in the manifold provision she makes for the ignorant and helpless at home. Her theologies in parts may be “antiquated,”—“dry leaves, "— but her religion has been, and is, a thing of life and power.
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
MORAL INSTRUCTION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
REV. DR. NEWTON.
The supreme need of ethical education in our public schools ought surely to need no assertion. In any rational theory of education everything should lead up to character and conduct. The individual's own development finds its completion in a noble character. The interests of society are not secured in a system which turns out brains minus a conscience. Educational authorities have always recognized character as the end of education. When Socrates had been shown a beautiful youth he wanted to know whether his soul was equally beautiful. Plato said: “I mean by education that training which is given by suitable habits to the first instincts of virtue in children.” ( Laws," Book II., 653.—Jowett.) Locke declared: “It is virtue then, direct virtue, which is the head and invaluable part to be aimed at in education.” (“Thoughts on Education.”) Milton, in characteristically beautiful language, writes : “The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents, by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue.” (“Tractate on Education.”)
VOL. CXXXVII.-NO. 321.
With Pestalozzi and Froebel character was the good supremely and passionately sought. Herbert Spencer's work on education treats of it as “Intellectual, Moral, and Physical."
The lack of proper provision for ethical education in our public schools is painfully patent.* This defect our public schools share with our private schools. The task of ethical education is so delicate and fine that the wisest may well hesitate over it. Job work here is worse than no work. Prigs and pharisees are the products turned out from poor character
* General provisions for moral education are found in the legislation of some of the States, and in the schedules of studies and directions for teachers issued by many local Boards of Education. The Legislature of Massachusetts, in 1789, directed teachers “to impress on the minds of children and youth committed to their care and instruction, the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry and frugality, chastity, moderation and temperance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human society and the bases upon which a republican institution is founded.” Philadelphia enumerates “morals and manners," among the studies to be pursued in its schools. In the “ directions to teachers,” its Board of Education observes : “Remarks upon morals and manners should follow the reading of the Bible by the principal. These remarks should be made in the presence of the whole school, and as frequently as the incidents of the school may suggest." These occasional instructions are urged as a means of school discipline: “Respectfulness to superiors, obedience to parents and teachers; honesty and truthfulness thus enforced and impressed upon the mind of the pupils will be found a powerful auxiliary to the discipline of the school.”
The Board of Education of New-York (1867) places “manners and morals” among the studies of the primary schools, and directs as follows for the several grades: Sixth grade—“Instruction is to be given in manners and morals, and illustrated by means of the incidents of school and home”; fifth grade-ditto; fourth grade - "Instruction for cultivating love to parents, kindness, obedience, neatness, truthfulness, and politeness, to be illustrated by examples, incidents, and anecdotes"; third grade-ditto; second grade “ Improve opportunities in the daily exercises of the schools by conversations upon tho subjects of the reading lesson and all appropriate incidents to inculcate respectfulness, obedience to parents, honesty, and truthfulness”; first grade-" Instruction by means of school incidents and anecdotes, so conducted as to aid in the discipline of the school.” In the schedules for the grammar schools no reference is made to the subject. The Chicago Board of Education has some admirable instructions to its teachers, worthy of a place in the directions of all School Boards. See “Barnard's Journal of Education," vol. xix., p. 552.
Few of our School Boards offer any detailed directions; the work is one that cannot show for itself as does other teaching; so that practically this whole subject comes to be left very much to each individual principal and toacher.