Hermann Marcus Kottinger.

The youth's liberal guide for their moral culture and religious enlightenment online

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What does it mean to cultivate the mind ?

To cultivate the mind means to develop its faculties, namely, the
intellect, the memory, the feelings, etc. " Learning is the best
provision for old age." — Aristotle, 384 A. C.

What kind of knowlege ought we, therefore, acquire ?

Such as is either necessary or useful for our life. " The truly
learned are not those that read much, but those who read what is
useful." — Aristippus, 365 A. C.

From what error ought Ave to keep ourselves free?

From superstitions, especially from religious superstition.

Who is called superstitious ?

He who attributes to an object such forces and effects as it can-
not claim by nature's laws.

How does superstition manifest itself?

By the fear of ghosts, of death, of torments in hell, by the be-
lief in miracles, witchcraft, fortune-tellers, etc.

What are the bad effects of superstition ?

It assails human health, life, and property; it has cruelly de-
stroyed the lives of millions of men who were called infidels, her-
etics, and witches. (See Hist, of Rel.)

What means ought we to use in order to cultivate our mental

Good schools and books, libraries, periodicals, lectures, and
such societi(..= as are organized to this end.



What societies are most excellent with regard to religious
progress ?

The free religious associations and liberal leagues.

How ought we to act towards them ?

We ought to side with tliem, advance their ends, and fear no
sacrifice nor persecution for their cause.

What sciences ought we particularly to study, in order to secure
us against superstition ?

The natural sciences, namely: natural philosophy, natural history,
astronomy, geology, etc.

§ 11. 4.— With Begard to Moral Culture.

1 . Why ought we to cultivate and im})rove the mind (the
mental faculties) ?

Because morality gives man his highest worth.

What are we to do to this end ?

We must learn to know^ and govern ourselves.

What does it mean to know one's self?

It means to know what good and bad qualities, propensities and
habits one has. "Kow^n thyself." — Thales. "Before you go home,
think what you have to do ; when you come home, examine your-
self and consider whether you have done all well." — Cleobulus,
571 A. C.

What does it mean to govern one's self?

It means to subdue one's defective desires and propensities to
the law of Reason.

Why ought we to learn to know and rule ourselves?

Because without self-knowledge and self-command there is no
progress in virtue possibh

2. In what way do we grow in moral perfection ?

By having intercourse with virtuous persons, and by shunning
the company of vicious ones.

3. What studies serve this purpose ?

The study of Universal History, and the reading of the classic
authors of ancient and modern times. History teaches us virtue

and justice in examples; the classics ennoble the moral faculties
and the human mind."^

Are novels also adapted to this end ?

Among the many, only very few are ; for generally they foster a
morbid sentimentality, fill the imagination with vacant visions,
and make man dissatisfied with real life.

But how far can the plays of the stage ennoble the human heart ?

So far as they present life as it is, or ought to be, as it were, in a

4. When do we show constancy of- mind ?

When we become neither insolent in good fortune, nor despond-
ing in misfortune.

Why ought we never to despair ?

Because all accidents of our life are the phenomena of the nec-
essary connection of causes and effects,

§ 12. With Regard to Aesthetical Eefinement.

1. Why ought we to provide for our aesthetical culture?
Because by it we satisfy the sense of beauty, which is innate to

every man. This culture facilitates the acquirement of virtue^
guards often against rude excesses, and is a source of innocent

2. By what means is the aesthetic sense cultivated ?

By the fine arts, e. g., by drawing, painting, music and dancing.
What does intercourse with Nature afford, also ?
Intercourse with her affords many and pure enjoyments; her
charms are inexhaustible and ever new.

§ 13. Choice of a Vocation.

What does the expression imply, " Choose a vocation /"

It means to choose an occupation to which we will devote our
whole life.

Why ought we to select a definite vocation ?

In order that our life may be useful to ourselves and to other

What have men to do before they select a vocation ?

*E. g. Shakespeare's tragedies have perhaps promoted morality more efficaciously and more
generally than all the sermons of the clergy.

They ought to examine ihemseUe.s as to whether they possess

the faculties and vigor which are required tor the profession of their


2. What kind of knowledge and aptitude ought they to acquire ?

Such as are necessary in order to fulfill their professional duties.

What have they to do after the choice ?

After it they ought to discearge faithfully antl cheerfully the
duties of their vocation.

Why should we not look down with scorn on the vocations of
other persons?

Because every work honors its })erformer ; different ranks are
necessary for the welfare of mankind, and therefore men must
divide the different tasks among them. Besides, the faculties and
propensities of men are very different; therefore every one is nOj_
fit for every profession.

II, Duties Toivards Ottr Fellow
Creaticres {^Duties of Benevolence),

I 14. First Principles.

1. Do unto other men as, according to reason, you wish that
they should do unto you.

2. Love your fellow-creatures, as well as yourself

3. Use other men as independent beings, not as mere means.

4. Be humane to every one.

5. Promote also the welfare ot others.

6. Act in conformity with the sympathetic impulse.

>^ 15. General Duties.

I. How ought we to behave towards other men ?

We should love and respect them, it good, like ourselves; for
all men have the same nature, the same faculties, and the same
destination ; they all are members of the same family. All are as
jinks in the chain


nurse them m tlieir diseases, and support them in their old age and

5. Children ought to be true and sincere to their parents.

Why ought they to be true and sincere?

Because the parents are their best friends, and cannot educate
them well, unless they know all about the doings of their children.

§ 17. 2.— Duties Towards Brothers, Sisters and Relations.

By what connection are brothers and sisters closely related ?

By the connection of blood and family.

How, then, should brothers and sisters mutually behave ?

1. They should love each other most dearly, — next to the

2. They ought to be to each other obliging and kind, liberal
and compassionate.

3. To deal mutually with candor and trust.

4. To bear small offences patiently, to be peaceable, and prompt
to forgive each other.

5. Not to belittle and slander each other to their parents.
What do children owe to their grand-parents and to other

relatives ?

They owe them love, respect and kindness.

§ 18. 3.— Duties Towards Companions.

How should children behave towards comrades, schoolmates and
playmates ?

1. They should be kind and accommodating to them.

2. Not scoff at them, nor frighten them for fun, much less ill-
treat them.

3. Not cause quarrels and enmity among them.

4. But strive to reconcile them to each other.

5. Not entice each other to evil doings.
Whose company must children avoid ?
The company of the wicked.

§ 19. 4.— Duties Towards Teachers.

Why do not parents themselves always teach and educate their
children ?

Either because they have not the knowledge which is necessary


for their instruction, or because ihc duties oi' their vucatiun j. re-
vent them from [jerforming it.

To whom, therefore, do they intrust the children ?

To teachers and tutors.

Whom do teachers and tutors represent ?

They represent the parents of the chddren.

To what duties, then, are children in general bound ?

They are bound to the same duties towards their teachers and
tutors as towards their parents.

How should they behave towards them in i)articular?

1. They should show them love and respect in their behavior.

2. Be obedient to them.

What does the obedience of the scholars towards their teachers
require ?

It requires that they receive their instruction with silence and
attention, perform diligently their oral and written exercises, and
avoid defiance and obstinacy towards the orders of the teachers.

Why ought their obedience to be distinguished by these quali-

Because without them they cannot have good success at school.

3. They ought also to show themselves grateful towards their

^ 20. 5 and 6.— Duties Towards Friends and Benefactors.

How ought friends to behave mutually ?

1. They ought to be kind and obliging.

2. Sincere and discreet, by confiding their secrets to each other,
and by keeping them faithfully.

3. To keep mutually-promised faith inviolate. "The sacrifices
we make to a friend we count not sacrifices, but pleasures ; we sor-
row for his sorrow ; we supply his wants, or, if we cannot, we share
them. We follow him into exile ; we close ourselves in his prison ;
we soothe him in sickness ; we strengthen him in death ; nay, if it
is possible, we throw down our life for his." — Epicurus in "A Few
Days in Athens," by Francis Wright, p. 126 '' Be kind to your

friends, that they may continue such ; and to your enemies, that
they may become your friends." — Cleobulus. "Friends are one
soul in two bodies." — Aristotle.

Whit do we owe Lo uur benefactors ?

We should pay them particular respect, and be grateful to them.

What must we do in order to be grateful ?

We must not only express our gratitude in words, but prove it
by our deeds, e. g., by remunerating their favor by similar services,
if there be any chance to do so. Ingratitude is the most hideous
vice. " Acknowledge thy benefits by return of other benefits, but
never revenge injuries." — Confucius, 600 A. C.

§ 21. 7.— Towards Poor, Sick, Frail, and Old People.

How ought we to behave towards such persons ?

We ought to treat them with tender care, to assist them, to sup-
port them by good advice and actual comfort. Even the rudest
warriors usually spare children, old people, and helpless women.
'* When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right
hand doeth."— Bible.

How ought children, especially, to deal with aged people?

They must not mock, but esteem them.

Why ought children to do so ?

Because they must also grow old; Deside, such men have en-
dured many afflictions during their long lives, and experience has
enriched their minds with useful knowledge.

§ 22. 8.— Towards Religious Sects.

How did Jews, Christians and Mohammedans deal with each
other in former days ?

They hated and persecuted each other cruelly.

Has religious hatred now a-days entirely ceased ?

No ; rather among the Christians themselves the different sects,
as Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Calvinists, etc , act, frequently,
hatefully towards each other.

What are our duties towards persons who do not share our relig-
ious views ?

1. We ought to love them as human beings ; especially, if they
are connected with us by the ties of blood and close relationship.

2. We ought to respect them as our fellow-creatures, particu-
larly if they are honest, righteous and good ; and such are found
in every sect.


3. We ought to be compassionate, obliging and helpful to them.
For what reason ?

Because we ought to be so towards every one.
What do we demonstrate by such a behavior ?
We demonstrate by it that our religious views are more correct
than theirs.

By what does genuine piety show its excellence?
By kindness and justice towards others.

4. We ought to be tolerant toward such persons, if we think
their creed to be erroneous.

When are we tolerant?

When we do not deride and persecute them on account of their
creed, but meekly teach them a better doctrine, also give way in
indifferent matters, and not disturb them in the exercise of their

Why ought we to be tolerant ?

Because such people think themselves to have the true belief,
since they have been trained in it, and have received it from their
parents as a dear inheritance. All trees have not the same bark.
Error is peculiar to human nature. Again, our religious tenets are
not infallible. There is room for all creeds on earth. Without
patience there would be no end of quarrels and wars. Moreover,
all religions, the Mosaic law, the Koran/ the Evangelic, etc.,
agree in the essential precepts of Morals. " We are all full of
weakness and errors ; let us mutually pardon each other our follies,
— it is the first law of nature. Of 'all religions, the Christian
ought, doubtless to inspire the most toleration, although hitherto
the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." — Vol-

5. Nevertheless, we ought to investigate truth, defend it fear-
lessly, and cling to it, if we are peisuaded by its arguments. We
ought also to repel hostile aggressions upon our religious rights,
and destroy superstitious opinions when we can.

§ 23. 9.— Duties Towards Personal Enemies.

What are we no^ obliged to grant to our enemies?

We are not obliged to love them as tenderly as our dearest

I op

friends, nor to suffer injury inflicted by them ; still less must we
sacrifice our welfare for them.

But how ought we to behave towards them ?

We ought to answer calmly their insults, to deal honestly with
them, to wish them well, and to do them good, if we can consist-
ently ; also to pardon them, when they regret their offence.

Why is such a behavior our duty ?

Because it is conforming to our nature. " Forgiveness is more
beautiful than vengeance ; that is human, this is brutal." — Pittacus,
600 A. C. By meekness and kindness we reconcile our enemies to
us most surely, and ennoble ourselves.


DOCTRINE OF JUSTICE (of Duties and Eights, Resting
on Reason and Nature).

§ 24. Explanations— Division of Doctrine.

What are the objects of the doctrine of Justice ?

Its objects are the mutual rights and duties of mankind.

What corresponds to every right of ours?

A duty which others ought to perform towards us.

What do they call this duty ?

Duty of right.

How do duties of right differ from duties of benevolence?

The duties of right differ from those of benevolence in that they
may be joined with compulsion, which means that their fulfillment
may be enforced in case of necessity.

What else, then, are the duties of right called?

They are called compulsory duties, e. g., a citizen can be com-
pelled to pay his taxes, when he refuses to do so voluntarily.

What rights and obligations form the contents of the Right of
Reason ?

Those Rights and obligations, the validity of which is deduced
from the decisions of Reason.

What others are called Rights by Reason ?

Natural rights.

What do x\\t positive or conventional rights teach?

They teach the rights and corresponding duties which in some
given State are acknowledged ; as, e. g., there is a code of certain
rights for the State of Wisconsin, another for the State of New
York, of France, Italy, etc.

How are both the natural and the positive rights further divided ?

Into public and private rights. —

What rights and duties form the object of public rights?

Those rights and duties which subsist between the citizens of a

What other name is given to the public rights?

The name of State Rights

What is the object of the doctrine of private rights?

The rights and corresponding duties of individuals and small

What kind of intention should there be at the bottom of an
absolute moral action?

A/^/-^/ intention.

What can be wanting in the performance of a duty of right?

The moral intention.

What do we call an action in which the moral intention is

We call it a legal action, e. g., The payment of my debt is a
legal act when I pay it because I do not like to be sued and com-
pelled by the Court to pay; but it is a moral act if. I pay the debt
because I am persuaded by my conscience that it is my duty to
do so.

What liberty can everybody claim?

The liberty to satisfy all his natural impulses in a rational way.

Because he cannot be happy without this liberty. (§ 2.^
Is this liberty unbounded when we live in society with other

No ; for they must enjoy the same degree of liberty with us.
B\ what is our liberty in this case limited ?

By the equal liberty of others.

What restriction of liberty is only valid by natural right ?

The equal restriction of the liberty of all individuals.

/. Private Rights and Duties,

% 25. First Principles.

1. Every one has the liberty of doing everything, by which he
does not infringe upon the equal liberty of others.

2. Bound your liberty by the law of equal rights of others.
3 Give to every one his own.

4. Do right, and be afraid of none.

5. x\ct honestly and righteously.

6. What you don't like others to do unto you, that, also, do
not unto them.

7. Claim from others the same regard for your rights, which
they claim for theirs.

§ 26. Rights and Duties with Regard to Life and Health-
Homicide— Right of Self-Defence.

What right has man with regard to his life and health ?

He has the right to preserve his life and health.

What duty follows from this right ?

The duty to respect the life and health of our fellow-creatures.

What, therefore, ought we not to do ?

We should neither destroy, shorten, nor damage their lives.

What is the name of the crime by which one unlawfully destroys
another's life ?

Mui'der, man- slaughter^ lioinicide.

Why is man slaughter a crime ?

Because the slaughtered is deprived of his rights by his murderer,
and also because the murderer does not like to be killed in turn.

2. How can people otherwise injure the life of their fellow-

They injure it when they seduce him to perpetrate shameful
actions which damage his life, or when they destroy his he

Online LibraryHermann Marcus KottingerThe youth's liberal guide for their moral culture and religious enlightenment → online text (page 8 of 28)