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school-book, while the latter will be compelled to
give up his plans for getting possession of the pub-
lic funds for educating<his children in the interests
0/ his Church. We hardly know which will suffer
the greater grief. Much as we desire, for the sake
of the moralities which it inculcates, the presence
of the Bible in our public schools, we can easily see
that there can be no successful, or even rational,
fight with the Catholics in their attempt to get hold
of the public moneys for their own denominational
education, until we come to the practical conclusion
that the State has nothing to do with religious edu-

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cation. To the Catholic, to the Jew, to the atheist, —
and we have the children of aU these in our public
schools, — the compulsory reading of the Bible is a
grievance, a hardship, an oppression. It is one of
the things we cannot reason about or reason against
These people cannot be made to see that the authori-
tative moralities of the Bible are all that we are after,
and that their children will be the better for them.
To the Catholic, the Bible, even in the Catholic
version, is a book only to be presented and inter-
preted by the Priest ; to the Jew, the New Testament
contains the record of a false Christ; and to the
atheist and infidel, the whole book is but a bundle
of lies and superstitions.

One thing is certain, viz., that the claim of the
Catholics for a portion of the school money, to be
expended in schools, established and carried on in
the interests of their Church, involves the existence
of public schools. The moment a single claim of
this kind is granted, the whole public school system
— the education of all the children as a measure of
State policy— will go by the board. If the Catholic
has this privilege, the Protestant will claim it, the
Jew will claim it— even the infidel and pagan will
claim it ; and they will > iaim it with just as much
right as the Catholic The claim is utterly and for-
ever inadmissible. It is so preposterous that it can
hardly have respectful consideration. Whether it is
crowded, in some quarters, simply for the purpose
of showing Protestants that their position on the
Bible matter is untenable, we cannot tell; but,
surely, the Catholics cannot seriously suppose that
their claim for a division of public moneys can be
granted. They ought to know that, if the question
concerning it were put to the American people to-
day, it would be decided overwhelmingly against

Practically, the great question which the President
has presented to the American people concerns the
Protestant far more than it does the Catholic If
such an amendment to the Constitution as he pro-
poses should be effected in all its details, the Catho-
lic will gain all that it was ever in his power to gain
for his Church from constitutional provision or legis-
lative action, viz., the exclusion of the Bible from
the public schools. The scheme for a division of
the public funds was never practicable — ^was never
even possible. It is not likely to be possible. A
constitutional provision which would make it impos-
sible in law would not change the actual status of
the matter, so that the provision would leave the
Catholic just exactly where he stands to-day, and
where he will be likely to stand in this country
until the end of time.

And yet it is undoubtedly true that, so long as
the Bible is a reading boolc in the public schools,
not only the Catholic, but all unbelievers in the
Bible, will have a reason for complaining that the
public fimds are used to teach their children a religion
which they do not believe in. What shall we do
about it ? — we whose reverence for the Bible was
imbibed with the milk of our Christian mothers —
women who cherished the Book as the sweet, whole-
some, veritable Word of the Great God ? It will

be hard for us to say that it must go out of the
schools. Well, would we be willing to see the
Douay Bible put in its place ? No ? Why not ?
Are we willing to force our version upon the Catho-
lics when we would not submit to have their ver^on
forced upon us ? Would we care to have only so
much of the Bible in the schools as the Jew would
accept ? No ? Then what right have we to force
upon the Jew that part of our Bible which he will
not accept ?

For ourselves, we must confess to a chai\ge of
convictions upon this matter. It has not been
arrived at hastOy. We have been long and openly
upon the other side. In regard to the desirableness
of the Bible in the public schools, we have no qaes-
tion now. We never did advocate its presence there,
save for the divine influence of its Christian morali-
ties. We never did suppose that the State should
teach religion. We have no union of Church and
State in this country, and we do not believe in it
an3rwhere. Only as a matter of wise policy, and on
purely moral grounds, have we ever advocated the
presence of the Bible in the schools. As the record
of a system of religion which it was the policy of
the State to force upon, or even recommend to, the
children of the nation, we have not believed in its
presence there. That the State would be better
with the Bible as an accepted standard of morality
in all the schools, we do not think admits of a ques-
tion ; but that is not the point at issue. The point
at issue is, whether the Protestant version of the
Bible, as the record of the Christian religion, shall
be forced upon die diildren of the State by the
State, when the State is lull of dissentients in great
variety. We very strongly suspect that we, who
have hitherto been the advocates of the Bible in the
schools, are weak at this point, and that we shall be
obliged to yield it If we teach our form of religion
in our public schools, the Catholic will wish to teach
his form of religion in his schools, and to do it with
the public money, the same as we do. Can we
blame him, and can we resist his claim so long as
we maintain our own ? If we are going into an
action, it is well to clear our decks.

But we are not going to have much of a struggle
on these questions if we settle them now. If we do
away with the grievance of the Catholic, we do
away with his claim ; and we mark out for Catholic
and Protestant alike the path of peace to walk in
side by side. It seems to us that the President's
recommendations are not only worthy of the univer-
sal consideration which they are receiving, but that
they are destined, sooner or later, to pass into the
Constitution of the country. The children will be
educated by the State ; the churches will look after
their religious training; and neither Christianity nor
infidelity, in any form, will be inculcated at the
expense of the State. The President has taken
broad ground, and that which seems to us to be
entirely defensible. I^et us stand by him.

The Philosophy of Reform.
It is the habit of men who regard themselves as
"radicals," in matters relating to reform, to look.

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Upon the Christian and the Christian church as
•* conservative," when, in truth, the Christian is the
only reformer in the world who can lay a sound
claim to radicalism. The diurch has lived for
eighteen hundred years, and will* live until the end
of time, because it holds the only radical system of
reform in existence, if for no other reason. The
greatness of the founder of Christianity b conspicu-
onsly shown in his passing by social institutions as
of minor and inconsiderable importance, and fasten-
ing his claims upon the individual The reform of
personal character was his one aim. With him, the
man was great and the institution small. There was
but one way with him for making a good society,
and that was by the purification of its individual
materials. There can be nothing more radical than
this; and there never was anything — there never
will be anything — to take the place of it It is most
interesting and instructive to notice how, one by
one, every system of reform that has attempted to
**cut under" Christianity has died out, leaving it a
permanent possessor of the field. The reason is
that Christianity is radical. There is no such thing
as getting below it It is at the root of all reform,
because it deals with men individually.

We suppose that it is a matter of great wonder to
some of our skeptical scientists that Christianity can
live for a day. To them it is all a fable, and they
look with either contempt or pity upon those who
give it their faith and their devoted support. If
they had only a little of the philosophy of which
they believe themselves to possess a great deal,
they would see that no system of religion can die
which holds within itself the only philosophical
basb of reform. A system of religion which carries
motives within it for the translation of bad or imper-
fect character into a form and quality as divine as
anything we can conceive, and which relies upon this
translation for the improvement of social and polit-
ical institutions, is a system which bears its creden-
tials of authority, graven upon the palms of its
hands. There can be nothing better. Nothing
can take the place of it. Until all sorts of reform-
ers are personally reformed by it, they are only
pretenders or mountebanks. They are all at work
upon the surface, dealing with matters that are not

It is most interesting and instructive, we repeat,
to observe how all the patent methods that have
been adopted outside of, or in opposition to, Chris-
tianity, for the reformation of society, have, one
after another, gone to the wall, or gone to the dogs.
A dream, and a few futile or disastrous experiments,
are all that ever comes of them. Societies, com-
munities, organizations, melt away and are lost, and
all that remains of them is their history. Yet the
men who originated them fancied that they were
radicals, while they never touched the roots either

of human nature or human society. The most
intelligent of those who abjure Christianity have
seen all this, and have been wise enough not to
undertake to put anything in its place. They con-
tent themselves with their negations, and leave the
race to flounder along as it wilL

We suppose it is a matter of wonder to such men
as these that Mr. Moody and Mr. Sankey can ob-
tain such a following as they do. They undoubt-
edly attribute it to superstitfon and ignorance, but
these reformers are simply eminent radicals after
the Christian pattern, who deal with the motives
and means furnished them by the one great radical
reformer of the world — ^Jesus Christ himself. They
are at work at the basis of things. To them,
politics are nothing, denominations are nothing,
organizations are nothing, or entirely subordinate.
Individual reform is everything. After this, organ-
izations will take care of themselves. No good
society can possibly be made out of bad materials,
and when the materials are made good, the society
takes a good form naturally, as a pure salt makes
its perfect crystal without superintendence. They
are proving, day by day, what all Christian reformers
have been proving for eighteen centuries, viz., that
Christian reform, as it relates to individual life and
character, possesses the only sound philosophical
basis that can be found among reforms. Christian
reform, with all its motives and methods, is foimd
to be just as vital to-day as it ever was. It is the
same yesterday, to-day, and forever. There are a
great many dogmas of the church whose truth, or
whose importance, even if true, it would be difficult
to prove; but the great truths, that humanity is
degnuled, and can only be elevated and purified by
the elevation and purification of its individual con-
stituents, su-e evident to the simplest mind. Men
know that they are bad, and ought to be better ;
and a motive,— or a series of motives to reformation,
addressed directly to this consciousness, — is not
long in achieving results. The radicalism of Chris-
tianity holds the secret of revivals, of the stability
of the church, of the growth and improvement of
Christian communities. All things that are true are
divine. There can be no one thing that is more
divinely true than any other thing that is true.
Christianity is divine, if for no other reason than
that it holds and monopolizes the only radical and
philosophical basis of reform. The criticisms of all
those who ignore these facts are necessarily shallow
and unworthy of consideration— just as shallow and
just as worthless, as the dogmatism inside the
church which attributes the power of Christianity to
those things which are not sources of power at alL
Christianity must live and triumph as a system of
reform, because it goes to the roots of things, and,
because, by so doing, it proves itself to be divinely
and eternally true.

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There are times of stress in our lives, when
nothing seems worth while in this world save thor-
oughly unselfish kindness. These are not the
moments, perhaps, in which we have been inspired
to our most shining performances, not even to our
widest and sturdiest deeds of benevolence. It is not
in such a temper, as this that one blossoms into a
Christopher Columbus, a Michael Angelo, the
editor-in-chief of a great dally, or the president of
a continental insurance company; but certainly in
such moments we have a very unusual and clear
•view of some things not at all times apparent It
is then that we agree with Shirley, that

" Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust"

These are the moments in which our characters
and intentions are strengthened for great endeavors.
They re-enforce our moral tone, and have an uncon-
scious influence beyond the mere term of their

So, also, there are times when little in this life
seems of value except friendship. We should not
think lightly of such convictions. We are very apt
to act mistakenly and unjustly with regard to our
friendships. We^ should, of course, be brave enough
to face the necessity for the various kinds of separa-
tion, but, on the other hand, we are too easily
inclined to " be disappointed," " to find our firiends
out," as we call it, and permit undue estrangements.

Would it not be well for us to consider the fact
that we are not likely ever to "find our friends 'out "
at all. It is notorious that the fi^ends of our child-
hood surprise us, and often disappoint us when we
get into our teens, and that the friends of our teens
do not turn into the kind of men and women that
we expected. But we think we are right in looking
for greater stability of character, greater continu-
ance of adaptability on the part of the friends of our
maturer years. Perhaps we are not wrong in
expecting this, yet the changes which take place in
the people who are grown up are often as pro-
nounced as in the people who are growing up.
Friends arc frequently compared to books. Our
relations to books are constantly changing, because
of the changes that are going on in ourselves. The
relations between ourselves and our friends are sub-
ject to alteration, because, in addition, they, unlike
our books, are themselves constantly changing.
This is true, of course, of some people more than
of others, and especially is it true of persons of
active intellect— of people, ip a word, who make the
best friends.

We have just been using the word change ; but
the idea with which we started was, that people,
after all, don't change much, but develop. Our
intercourse even with people we know the most
intimately is one long series of " findings out," and
we never, in any case, come to the end of the

The point that we wish to make is, that we should
not expect to have the sentiments and actions of our
firiends and companions always equally satisfactory
to us ; and after we have once made up our mindls
that, on the whole, we like a certain person ; that
we like certain or all of his ways, opinions, tastes,
qualities — whatever it is that draws us to him, it is
rather foolish to be rejudging him too severely
every five days on a new issue. After a man is
once a member of the National Academy he should
not be subject to the annual weighing in the balance
of the Academy's Hanging Committee.

You may say that, after we have known a man
well for thirty years — and that is a long lease for a
friendship in this mutable world — it is idle to talk
about its being possible for him to surprise or disap-
point us. But did you ever hear of " the old man's
disease " — avarice ? Do you suppose that an afflic-
tion like that comes to the surface late in life, if the
seeds have not been deep in the soU all the time ?
But that is a hard and cruel question. Let us rather
speak of a more pleasing and no less surprising
development There was an old woman about
whom we once wrote, to prove by an example that
it is the disagreeable young folk who make the dis-
agreeable old men and women, and that sweet girls
and boys need not be troubled by the nightmare of
a sour and crabbed old age. The woman we wrote
about had lived out and down three husbands, and
was about as unpleasant an old gossip as you might
meet in a day's journey ; yet the traits of her age
were only the traits of her youth, stripped of what-
ever chann youth must have lent her. But presently,
after we had held up this aged person as a warning
and a consolation, what does she do but fall into her
second childhood, and develop one of the sweetest
and gentlest dispositions with which mortal ever
blessed his or her neighbor. All she asked was her
doll and her prayer-book, and all went merry as a
marriage bell. No; we never know our friends.
And, curiously enough, while we are going on with
our discoveries concerning them, they are making
the same observations u]K)n us, and are having the
same surprises and disappointments.

There is another matter about which we are apt
to be unjust in our friendships. We are so sensitive
to the charge of overestimating the value of a friend's
work through prejudice, that sometimes we let a
stranger get the better of us in the expression of
appreciation and praise. This is a small and dam-
nable selfishness. Why should we not praise the
sermon, the picture, the story, the poem of our
friend? How dki he get to be our friend in the
first place ? Did we not choose him, from among
ten thousand, because of those very qualities which
attract us anew in his art ?

It is very certain that a man's intimate friends are
often the last to suspect hb possession of unusual
abilities. This is a trite observation, but one is con-
stantly being surprised at some new proof of its

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tmth. It was not long ago that a gentleman told
us that he did not believe a certain celebrated poet
had any real genius, because he once liyed in the
same town with him, and knew that his family were
no better than they should be. He had never read
any of his books, however. It was the old story
over again. *' He a great man I Nonsoase 1 I knew
him when he was only that high ! "

What a delightful language the Scotch is for
songs of friendship and affection ! Passionate love
might choose a different tongue for its expression,
but the love of boys and girls, the home and friendly
affections, the lighter moods of love, — these are fitly
and exquisitely expressed in this language. It gives
itself easily to pathos, and has, too, a gentle playful-
ness akin to the French.

We are very glad to meet with a new edition of
the poems of William Wilson, by birth a Scotchman,
but who lived in Poughkeepsie, on the Hudson,
from 1834 till his death in i860. The first edition,
with a biographical preface by Mr. Lossing, was
published in 1869, by subscription. The present
edition * has a number of additional poems, which, as
does not always happen in such cases, really add to
the value and interest of the collection. Some of
the poems in the Scotch dialect have a great charm.
Here is the first stanza of " Bonnie Mary:"
" When the sun eaes doun, when the sun gaes doun,

111 meet thee, bonnie Mary, when the sun saes doun ;

I'll row my apron up, and I'll leave the reeky town.

And meet thee by the bumie when the sun gaes doun."

* Poems by Wilfiam Wilson. Edited by Benson J. Lossing;
Second editaon. Poughkeepsie : Archibakl Wilson.

And here is a little poem called " Lizzy Lass :"

" Lizzy lass, Lizzy lass.
Look but in this keeking glass.
There the faultless form you'll see
Dearest in this world to me:
Eye of azure, brow of snow,
Cneeks that mock the rose's glow,
lips whose smiles all smiles nirpass,
These are thine, dear Lizzy lass.

" Lizzy lass. ,Iinry Uua»
Deeply in this siller tasa.
Brimming with the ruby wine,
Let me pledge to thee and tlune.
Youth may vanish, eye grow dim.
Age creep over heart and Umb;
But till hie away shall pass,
1 will love thee, Lizzy Ias&"

The simplicity and spontaneity of Wilson's poems
are very refresldng.

After reading the characteristic sonnets by
Longfellow on his three friends, it is interesting to
turn to this sonnet by Tennyson on the late Rev.
W. H. Brookfield, recently published in connection
with the volume of sermons by the latter.

"Brooks — for they called you so that knew you best.

Old Brooka— who bved so well to mouth my rhymes.

How oft we two have heard St Mary's chimes!

How oft the Cantab supper, host and guest.

Would echo helpless lauf^ter to your jest !

How oft with bun we paced that walk of Kmes, —

Him, the lost light of tnose dawn-golden times.

Who loved you well I Now both are gone to rest

Yon man of humorous-melancholy^ man.

Dead of some inward agony, — is it so ?

Our kindlier, trustier Jacques past away.

I cannot laud this liH^ it looks so dark ;

SKuif ocap,— dream of a shadow, go;

God bless you ; I shall join you in a day."


Two Ways of Teaching at Home.

One of the most perplexing hours of the day to
the mother is when the children come to be '* helped
with their lessons." It is useless for her to acknowl-
edge that she has not kept pace with geography and
history, and has forgotten her grammar and arith-
metic She knows that she ought to have kept pace
with them ; that now and here the mother's duty
calls her to work, and not to matters of frills, petti-
coats, or new hats. It is just as useless, too, for her
to count the sums paid for the children's schooling,
and declare that, after all, she is their teacher. There
is no doubting that Cut In all the publk: schools,
and the majority of private ones, the children's les-
sons are simply recited in school, and must be
studied and explained to them at home. The secret
of this is, that very few teachers are in love with
teaching. It is the worst paul of all professions ;
so ill-paid, that it usutdly serves in the lower grades
as a make-shift, a stepping-stone to young men and
women with other aims in view. As long as we
pay to our teachoY lower wages than to our skilled

cooks and seamstresses, we cannot blame them if
they cram the children's heads with chaff of words,
and leave us to give them the ideas. As we have
their work to do, how are we to do it ?

These are two ways. Little Mrs. B., a veritable
descendant of Gradgrind, drills the children every
night in their next day's lessons. She keeps them
at work until they can repeat verbatim Latin and
definitions and Bible texts. She will not bate a jot,
neither irregular inflection nor river in Africa. Their
eyes ache, and their heads bob, and so do hers ; but
she holds them down to it, as she would a knife to
a grindstone. Phil, who is a dull fellow in ordinary
matters, rattles off the words as if they were marbles
dropping out of the mill ; but that sharp little Bob
is at the foot of his class. The words pass through
his head like water through a sieve ; he declares
there is no sense in them. Mrs. B. prognosticates
a miserable failure in life for Bob ; he is the black
sheep of the 6. family, and of the sdiool. Whereas
the boy is simply lacking in the lowest kind of

His cousins, the Dodd boys, do not rank Very

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much above him. Their mother holds them back ;
will not let them be "promoted," or dragged through
at high-pressure speed from class to class. " Fair
and softly ! " she says to the prindpoL " Let us lay
the foundations first.'* The principal thinks Mrs.

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 101 of 163)