Martin Grove Brumbaugh.

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which, instead of constant instruction, which often falls



192 WHAT AN ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY IS FOR.

upon dull and deaf ears, we niig-ht incite and stimulate
each other to bring out. each for the other's good, the
best and highest ! But this whole thought rests back upon
a new apprehension of the meaning of human life.

The American impulse, so strong all over our great
land, is to get out of the class in which we have been
placed by the fortune of birth, and to get into some
higher class, that of those better favored than we are.
This eager desire to get on in life, which is so charac-
teristic and so fatal in our civilization, rests upon a false
perspective, upon an unethical interpretation of human
relationships ; for every human life, because it is a human
life, whatever its degree of education and its position in
the w^orld, whatever its capacity and power, has its con-
tribution to make to every other human life. The one thing
which the social settlement work has most clearly re-
vealed is the fact that those who go to work among the
unfavored classes get far more than they give. Men in
the midst of suffering and distress, surrounded by unfa-
vorable conditions, who have learned what it is to endure
hardness, to resist temptation, to stand upright with the
dreadful fact of to-morrow's needs pressing heavily
upon them in to-day's activity, because they have come
thus into contact with an essential experience of human
life, are able to speak words which the most favored needs
to hear. So the Ethical Society, if true to its foundation
principle of gathering together people, regardless of edu-
cation and station, into one fraternity, is in a position to
help on the enrichment and enlargement of human char-
acter through moral fraternity, as no other organization
can possibly do.

The ethical association, then, is in behalf of co-operative
character-building, close human personal relationship be-
tween member and member, not simply for the pleasant



WHAT AN ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY IS FOR. 1 93

enjoyment of a social hour, but for ethical ends, that
each may seek to bring out in the other the best that is
latent there. An ethical association, however, is not true
to its name or purpose when it does not provide inspira-
tion and opportunity for those who would do personal
work and render help to the lives of those with whom
they come in contact. I am depressed by the enormous
spectacle of wasted human lives. No one can study the
social conditions of our time without being depressed with
the spectacle. There are thousands of our young men,
and men who are no longer young, going down in ethical
and spiritual decay. We are depressed when we read of
80,000 men falling on the battlefields of Manchuria, and
we ought to be depressed ; the heart of humanity ought to
break beneath the strain of sympathy for our brothers
who are going down to death. But we overlook the fact
that in every one of our great cities an equal number of
men are going down to death without the shedding of
blood upon a battlefield. Professor Jordan, some years
ago, told in the Forum his experiences while coming
across the continent on a slow train which stopped at
nearly every station. There were groups of young men
all along the road, idling and loitering, drifting into ways
of vice and sin, with no thought of life's duties, going
down into intellectual and spiritual decay. Walk out
upon the streets of Philadelphia any evening, and you
will see throngs of young people going to the devil, as
they say in New York, because they have nowhere else to
go to. Look into every section of the community and
you will find uninspired, unillumined lives of men and
women.

I cannot see how an Ethical Society with its aims can
fail to become an animating power in the regenerating
work of humanity. And if it is true to its ideals, the



194 WHAT AN ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY IS FOR.

Ethical Society must mean inspiration to every one of
its members to go out into the highways and byways, to
take by the hand the wayward and erring^, to help those
who are falling by the wayside because of the lack of a
haven, and bring them to a place where a helpful human
interest may illuminate them and awaken them to a sense
of their uselessness both to themself and to the com-
munity, The Ethical Society ought to be an important
regenerative force in every community, seeking to bring
in the erring; not a fellowship for the mere sake of fel-
lowship, not seeking to build up its organization if you
please, merely by bringing people into membership, but
to bring them under influences which will illuminate them
and make them better men and women. If true to its
mission, then, the Ethical Society is for the work of so-
cial redemption, for the inspiration of every member to
loyal human service, not simply in giving of alms, but in
bestowing that higher alms which consists in being a true
friend.

We come to the morning lectures not merely to hear
what the lecturer may say, not to meet our friends and
those with a kindred interest, not this alone — but we
come upon the day of rest and thought that in one place
we may meet face to face the ideal, the ideal which has
been born out of the ages of human life, nurtured by the
noble example of all the saints and saviors, prophets and
martyrs who have gone before, nurtured by every cur-
rent of religious life since the world began — each nation
with "its message from on high, each the Messiah of
some central thought for the fulfilment and delight of
man." We come here that we may meet that ideal which
has been enriched by the sacrifice and earnest toil of all
peoples in all time. The ideal we hold may perhaps have
a different interpretation for every one of us. In its



WHAT AN ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY IS FOR. I95

formless glow we shall each see the face which is to
us most dear, which through education, association and
love has been impressed upon our consciousness. One
will see there the face of the man of Galilee, another the
face of Moses or Isaiah, another Buddha or Mohammed,
another Knox or Calvin or Emerson. Most of us will
probably see the face of a sainted mother, or some dear
friend who has been closer to us than a mother; but the
lineaments which we shall each discover for ourselves
will be dependent upon our point of view, and the me-
dium through which we look is secondary to the fact that
we shall look upon the ideal — the highest aspiration, the
deepest conception of human life which the ages have
developed — its meaning and its mission. The Ethical So-
ciety is an association for the preservation of the ideal, to
gather it from all the factors of human richness, and to
illuminate that ideal with a new reality and allegiance,
and to bring it to bear upon the question of individual ac-
tivity and the right attitude of men and women in all the
relations of life. It is the home of the ideal.

That which is significant in every religion is not its
dogma, but its vision; not its principles, but its inspira-
tions; not its beliefs, but its undertakings. In the pres-
ence of the ideal, inspirations, which surpass the power
of utterance in words but which lead us ever onward to
growth and fulfilment, shall more and more be infused
into the practical deeds of every day, to transform them
into the image of the ideal, and to fulfil them in terms of
vital human experience. It is for such things as these
that the Ethical Society exists. It is these things that
we individually need, that the world needs, and such
things as these can be supplied by the Ethical Society as
by no other human association.



THE MORAL INSTRUCTION MOVE-
MENT ABROAD

[Some information regarding the moral instruction
movement abroad, compiled from printed documents by
a member of the Philadelphia Ethical Society and read at
its recent (twenty-second) annual meeting.]

The Moral Instruction League in E)igla)id was found-
ed in 1897. Its object is to introduce systematic non-theo-
logical moral instruction into all schools, and to make the
fomiation of character the chief aim of school life. It
has issued many leaflets and pamphlets. It has published
a Graduated Syllabus of Moral Instruction for Elemen-
tary Schools. It has presented a petition to the Board of
Education signed by members of the Lords and Com-
mons, university professors and other representative men,
asking the Board to make provision for lessons in personal
and civic duties. It gives twice a month, in the League's
Rooms, specimen lessons of Moral Instruction by capa-
ble teachers, before audiences of educational experts and
the general public. It is collecting material as illustrative
information under the several headings of its Graduated
Syllabus. It publishes and recommends, several moral
text-books. It is influencing Educational Authorities all
over the country — moral instruction being given in more
than 3,000 public schools to about 1,000,000 children. It
is communicating with all the head teachers and all the
Training Colleges in the land. It intends to, or has al-
ready, approached the new Government to press on it the
need of introducing Moral Instruction as a regular sub-
ject into all public schools — the religious instruction given
having proved morallv ineffective — twenty-seven educa-
tional authorities, in spite of an overcrowded curriculum,
having recently found it necessary to make additional
provision for moral instruction of a systematic kind.

196



MORAL INSTRUCTION MOVEMENT ABROAD. I97

In several of the British Colonies — in Nova Scotia,
Manitoba, Jamaica, Queensland and South Australia, de-
finite instruction is given in morals and good manners.

In India an official Education Circular has been issued
(in Bengal) which states that teachers must aim at de-
veloping moral character by stories and examples of fa-
mous men, in their text-books, and by the example of the
teacher; that character is shaped by discipline, habits of
punctuality, obedience, regularity, method, and truthful-
ness, and the virtues of generosity, self-control, self-sac-
rifice, respect to superiors, tenderness to animals, and
compassion for the poor and aged.

In Germany the League for secular education and moral
instruction, possessing a membership of over 400 per-
sons, is setting up a publishing house at considerable cost,
for the purpose of encouraging and facilitating the pro-
duction of books on moral instruction.

In Austria a Moral Instruction League is in contem-
plation. The Austrian Board of Education has just is-
sued new regulations for schools which are conceived in
an ethical spirit, and show in detail the supreme import-
ance of teaching to the children the leading virtues.

In Holland, steps have also been taken toward the for-
mation of a Moral Instruction League, and to this end
several meetings have taken place at The Hague.

In Hungary, it is reported there is the possibility of
forming a Moral Instruction League. Moral instruction
in Hungary is supposed to be given in all schools, but it
forms only a part, and a very small part, of the denomina-
tional instruction given by priests and rabbis.

In the schools of Italy, Moral Instruction has been for
some time a separate regular subject.

In France, the impulse given in recent years to instruc-
tion in morals or practical ethics is most significant. The
subject there is not new ; moral instruction is found in
school programs antedating the Republic but always in
relation to religion. In 1882 the State schools were made
strictly secular, morals and civics being placed at the head
of the prescribed studies. For a while the scientific spirit
dominated. But within the past few years the primary



198 MORAL INSTRUCTION MOVEMENT ABROAD.

school of France has undergone a subtle transformation.
The scientific spirit has given way to the ethical spirit.
The teaching of practical morals has become live and ef-
fective; and is intended to complete and ennoble all the
other instruction of the school. While each of the other
branches tends to develop a special order of aptitudes
or some kind useful knowledge — this study aims to de-
velop the man himself.

In Japan, for nearly forty years past^they have been
excluding from the schools all priestly influence. The
government has introduced moral instruction into all the
schools since 1868, and attaches especial importance to
such instruction being carried out. The greatest value is
placed on ethical influence permeating all classes of the
people, as the surest guarantee for a sound further devel-
opment. An eight-volume work dealing with moral in-
struction has been since 1903 in use in all the schools of
Japan — of elementary schools alone there are over 27,000.
In the lowest grades, text-books in moral instruction are
not used. The children are interested in moral conduct
by means of object-lessons. Even in the higher classes,
object lessons in morals are used. The examples of fa-
mous men, and the occurrences of daily life. The duties
succeed one another proceeding from the family to the
school, and from the school to the duties of the citizen.
In the higher classes, the various ethical systems are set
forth. Moral instruction in Japan is not anti-religious,
but has for its sole object the strengthening of the ethical
consciousness. The policy pursued by the Japanese au-
thorities is almost identical with the aim of the Moral In-
struction League of England.



A NEW ETHICAL YEAR BOOK



A SENTIMENT IN VERSE FOR EVERY DAY JN
THE YEAR. Compiled by Walter L. Sheldon.

"The collection is designed for those who would like to

have Scriptures in verse The art of poetry, like

that of music, speaks for the sentiments natural to the hu-
man soul." — From Prefatory Note.

"For thirty years Mr. Sheldon has gleaned from the great poets
their noblest expression of the ethical life, and has embodied the result
of this long labor of love In this volume. He has used rare discrimina-
tion in selecting passages that ring strong and true with brave, cheerful,
elevating thought. There is an uplifting sentiment offered for each day
in the year. Apart from the enjoyment of the literary excellence of the
quotations, no thoughtful, aspiring person could absorb the thousand-
souled message of this assemblage of authors without gaining strength
and fortitude of spirit for the battle of life." — W. H. S. in The Public.

Half Cloth, 50 cents ; five copies to one address $2.00.



MISCELLANEOUS BOOKS

The Children's Book of Moral Lessons. By E. J. Gould.
Three series. Bound in Cloth, 75 cents each.

The Message of Man. Ethical Scriptures Compiled by
Stanton Coit. 340 pages. Cloth, 75 cents; Leather, $1.00.

Is Life Worth Living? By William James. Cloth, 35
cents.

Neighborhood Guilds: An Insti-ument of Social Reform.
By Stanton Coit. 150 pages, $1.00.

Philanthropy and Social Progress. By Jane Addams,
Robert A. Woods, J. 0. S. Huntington, TVanklin H. Gid-
dings, and Bernard Bosonquet 268 pages. $1.00.

ETHICAL ADDRESSES, 1415 Locust Street, Philadelphia, Pa.



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The ahove books may be obtained or ordered at the Li
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Online LibraryMartin Grove BrumbaughMoral training of the young - pedagogical principles and methods → online text (page 3 of 3)