Methodist Episcopal Church. Board of Education.

The Christian student online

. (page 27 of 41)
Online LibraryMethodist Episcopal Church. Board of EducationThe Christian student → online text (page 27 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


as right Second, one must do the highest right; that is, he must follow the
highest impulses of his nature. Third, one must do the right, at whatever
required sacrifice of lower interests. And these three things were realized in
Christ

It is well to see how marvelously this moral achievement was. Merely to
conceive and describe a life ideally perfect is a task of the most difficult sort
But to describe such a character in action is much more difficult Only the
highest genius can exhibit character satisfactorily in the complex relations of
life and action. That demands the powers of such a dramatist as Shakespeare
or such a novelist as Victor Hugo. But how much more difficult the achievement
to be such a character, and personally live out such a life. But that is what
Christ did. He illustrated in his own life the ideals of moral conduct He
holds his place unchallenged as the one and only embodiment of the moral
ideals of the race, the one matchless pattern for the conduct of mea

But Christ is also the embodiment of the heart's ideal of an object of love.

Love, warm, tender, passionate personal love for Christ became at once
the distinguishing feature of Christian experience. Christ's disciples loved him
with a love that death could not quench. The hearts of men went out to him.
Broken-hearted and grateful women washed his feet with their tears and



Digitized byVjOOQlC



The Christian Stadent 23

anointed him with predons ointment Rugged Peter cried out: "Thou knowest
that I love thee," The proud and hard heart of Saul, cold logician, haughty
scholar, relentless persecuter, was broken and melted and l>ecame a springing
fountain of affection for the Master whose love had conquered him. What is
the explanation of this? Why did men and women love Christ with so great
a love? There can be but one answer: Christ was the heart's ideal of a perfect
object of love.

But what must this ideal of love represent? Love's ideal must be the
embodiment of the most perfect hohness. Perfect love will brook no stain upon
its object And such was Christ — ^without sin, holy, harmless, undefiled. Love's
ideal must himself be one who in the highest degree is love. Love loves love.
And in Christ, who having loved his own loved them unto the end, is love's
supreme incarnation. Love's ideal must illustrate in the highest degree unselfish
self-sacrifice. Love loses its life for others, pours itself out, is self -forgetful,
self-crudfying, burden-bearing, forever ready to suffer.

Such must be Love's Ideal — stainless in holiness, excelling all others in
love, matchless in self-sacrificing. Is it necessary to ask, "Does Christ fill out
this ideal?" Must we not rather ask, "Is not Love's Ideal drawn from Christ?"
What love itself would never have been able to conceive it has found in him.
Having once looked upon Christ, Love can never set her ideal below him. We
have not come up to him, bringing our perfect ideal with us, but rather Christ
has come to us, and our hearts have leaped up to him as the embodiment of that
of which we have only faintly dreamed

And so also on the heights of life we come face to face with Christ — on the
heights of the Intellect, or on the heights of Conscience, on the heights of
Affections. Ever he rises with us and we must accept him or be false to all
highest ideals. When a great master in art arises, in painting, in music, or in
sculpture, who stands for the highest ideals of beauty and harmony, all the
lovers of art become his pupils and followers. And if in the sphere of the
moral life Christ stands as the embodiment of the highest ideals of truth and
character and conduct, there is nothing left for the one who will hold to the
Ideal but to follow him. And he who abandons the Ideal is lost

The Sbral and Refigiotia Element in Education

Nathaniel Butler, A.M., D.D.
Dean, The College of Education, The University of Chicago

An eminent psychologist from New England, lecturing last summer at the
University of Chicago, asserted that "We no longer look to education to bring
the millenium. We used to imagine that if we could only provide good schools
and get the boys and girls under the influence of education we should finally
do away with every kind of disorder, sin, and crime. In fact, however, we have
found that education has failed on this side. No matter how much we may
educate the intellect, the intellect still remains the slave of the passions. Men
will do, not what they know, but what they love to do. Reason appears to
have been given to man chiefly to enable him to discover reasons for doing
what he likes. Consequently while the training of the intellect may save us
from the grosser sins and crimes, it reveals to us meaner ones."

The lecturer went on to assert tliat within his time no form of public
iniquity had existed in eastern Massachusetts that had not at its head some
graduate of Harvard University. Being himself a graduate of Harvard, he



Digitized byVjOOQlC



24 The Christian Student

was of course at liberty to make that assertion; but probably the statement
could be generalized so as to apply to any institution of learning.

Now the assertion of this eminent scholar is true only if we assume that
education means the training of boys and girls in that discipline which enables
people merely to know and to think. But no one would accept that as an
adequate definition of the aim of education. The general demand voiced in the
public press, is that the schools must train boys and girls in all the elements
of good citizenship. No one would for a moment suppose that thinking and
knowing are the only elements of this citizenship, for men of the keenest
intellect and the widest knowledge are often found promoting schemes of
dishonesty and engaged in enterprises whidi make directly against public and
private well-being. No, when you have trained the understanding and have
done no more, you have no guarantee whatever that you have made a good
neighbor and a useful citizen. Education is well understood to mean training
for social efficiency and this involves at least four elements, (i) That the
individual be master of some vocation. (2) That he have an intelligent conc^-
tion of human life and of his part in it (3) That he be alert and alive intel-
lectually and physically. (4) That he have Uiat settled and crystallized tendency
toward sound and appropriate conduct that we call ''character." Unless you
secure the fourth result, you have no sure guarantee of any good outcome from
the rest, and this is the general judgment of all men when they are in their
sane moments and are not in a controversial spirit Everybody assents to the
general proposition that the ultimate values of education are to be expressed
not in terms of the intellect, but of character. And that the final fruit of the
educative process is intelligent and moral conduct We seek the trained intelli-
gence and the good will.

It is clear, then, that intelligent and moral conduct is a legitimate end, if not
the end of education. It is just as clear that intelligent and moral conduct is
not guaranteed by the discipline that trains merely to know and to think.
Those who are interested in education as well as students of social welfare in
general, are clear and agreed upon this point It is now proposed to make
this end more certain of attainment by Religious Education. Religious teaching
is to be given a larger place in the general educational scheme and, on the
other hand, the most approved educational methods are to be introduced into
religious instruction and training.

It is well to be clear upon this question: Precisely what is it that we may,
and what is it that we may not, expect to accomplish by means of religious
education? Evidently we are not attempting in this general effort to secure
that the pupil subscribe to some particular creed or join some denominational
body. Important as these ends are, they are more special and narrow than those
proposed by this larger educational endeavor. What then is the aim? This:
To make sharp, clear, and operative, in every individual a sense of personal
obligation to fellow-man and to God. If this end b gained and the individual
gains an intelligent conception of this two-fold obligation, and the fixed habit
of vital response to it, you have a safe citizen and a sound man. Otherwise,
not. It is probably safe to say that every sort of deviation from right may be
traced to a lack of this conception and feeling of obligation. Until lately we
have been reluctant to talk about the religious element in education lest we
should mingle conventional phrases and pious cant with our intellectual discus-
sion. But we have at last come to see that it is utterly unscientific to talk of
traming for "complete living" a being who is primarily a spiritual being and at



Digitized byVjOOQlC



The Christtan Stadent 25

the same time to ignore his spiritual nature. We understand now that religion
and morals are just as truly, and "scientifically" a part of life as are digestion
and sleep, and that we can no more ignore that fact in education than we can
ignore the facts of physiology and hygiene. Religion and morals form a part
of education because they are a part of "life."

Now in the accomplishment of the end proposed, religious education has
before it two entirely distinct, though closely related, ends to accomplish. Failure
to distinguish between these two and the asstunption that in gaining the first
we ought to expect to gain also the second, is likely to cause, unless we are on
our guard, a good deal of confusion and to involve us in the danger of partial,
if not total, failure. These two ends attempted in religious education are, first,
the mastery of what may be called the materials of religious knowledge, second,
the setting up in the individual of right habits of feeling, thought, and conduct.
Or, to put the same thing in di£Ferent words, first, the securing of religious
knowledge and intelligence, and second, the development of the religious spirit
and character. Obviously the former can be gained without the latter, and it
is in the attempt to secure the latter by means that lead to the former that a
good deal of disappointment has been encountered and skepticism in respect to
the e£Fectiveness of the religious education occasioned.

Consider the first of these two immediate ends, namely, training in the
jnaterials of religious knowledge. In what does it consist? Chiefly in a
knowledge of the names and general content of the books of the Bible with
special stress upon the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Parables,
the stories of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and Daniel, the stories
of Ruth and Esther, the outline of the life of Christ, and the travels and
experience of Paul. Along with this many teachers require their pupils to learn
the Apostles' Creed and certain of the forms of the Prayer Book. Training of
this sort has formed a large and distinct portion of the education of children
in the German schools as well as in those of other nations in Europe. Probably
on this side of religious education the children of many of these countries could
put American children to shame. One should not in the least discount the value
of this sort of thing. It should, however, be borne in mind that it is by no
means always accompanied by the development of the religious character and
attitude and spirit toward life. One may know the Ten Commandments by
memory and systematically break everyone of them. Nevertheless it may be
repeated, this training has a good deal of value and very often is closely related
to the second of the aims named above. For it is clear enough that effective
character must have a basis in intelligence.

The second aim to place before us distinctly in religious education is to
establish in the individual the actual disposition and power to do righteousness
at all times in the simple, firsthand relations and in all the relations of life.
In terms more strictly pedagogical this means the setting up of such ideals and
the establishment of such habits as will enable us to rely upon the individual for
right reactions— righteous conduct

If the movement for religious education fails here, it fails in all And if the
movement for religious education relies only upon "Bible Study," lectures, and
"methods of teaching" it will obviously fail here. The intellectual apprehension
of ethics and religion never by itself made a man moral or religious. Morals
and religion are terms that denote primarily not an intellectual scheme or a
body of knowledge that can be "taught," but a mode of life. How is an
inclination to this mode of life to be fixed? Elementary psychology has the



Digitized byVjOOQlC



26 The Christian Student

answer in what it reveals as to the law of habit The statement of that law
is familiar enough: When you have done a thing you are likely to do it again.
When you have done it again, you are likely to do it yet again, and when you
have done it a few times more, it will do itself without your wilL This is
because a thing done Jeaves its trace in us in a distinct tendency to repeat it
This is undoubtedly so as a brain and nerve phenomenon, and correlatively, it
is true as a psychic phenomenon. But not only is it true that a thing done
leaves with us a tendency to do it again, but it is also true that we never do get
a tendency to do a thing until we have done it The moral and religious life
is therefore precisely on the same plane as everything else that pertains to
practice. You learn to swim by swimming, not by studying books and charts.
You learn a musical instrument by actually playing it, not by studying its
theory and hearing lectures upon it You learn the Ten Commandments, not by
committing them to memory, but by keeping them. Progress in the moral
and religious life comes only by doing things in a moral and religious way—
by living the moral and religious life. If, then, we are to gain the real end of
religious education, it must be by getting boys and girls to do righteousness.
To speak pedagogically, we must preclude abnormal (immoral) reactions by
setting up normal reactions. And we are to do this in the faith that a good
habit is just as easy to establish as a bad habit, and that a good habit is just
as hard to break as a bad habit

Now all this carries us back to the question, "What is behind the boy's
conduct?" The answer is "His ideals." These he will get partly from literature
and history. Here we shall use, beside general history and literature, the
stories, parables, biographies, and lyrics of the Bible. These organized and
taught in the light of modem educational practice should be brought home to
boys and girls in a way to delight and to form them. But most of all, we
shall always have to look, as the source of the ideals of boys and girls, to the
persons who teach them— parents, pastors, day school teachers, Sunday school
teachers. By far the most potent and effective means for setting up ideals
are the persons with whom we associate and to whom we look up with admira-
tion and confidence. The most effective agents in religious education are
strong, sweet, wholesome, intelligent, religious men and women, who, associating
with the boys and girls day by day, create for them and in them ideab that
possess "motor tendency" of irresistible energy. If my boy cannot know both, I
would rather he knew a true man or woman in the flesh than the Ten Com-
mandments in the Book.

The creation of "ideals," the securing of the inclination and power to do
righteousness, these are the ultimate end in religious education. Men and women
who embody these ideals, who are habitually moved by this inclination are the
indispensable agents in securing these ends. We must bear this in mind in
organizing religious education. All who believe in this end may work together.
It is not a question of creed or denomination. Trinitarians and Unitarians,
Protestants and Roman Catholics, Gentiles and Jews, are equally concerned
and must alike have at heart the end in view as a preparation for high and true
citizenship. The only question that we need to ask and have answered affirma-
tively in regard to these creators of ideals is, whether they are fundamentally
and vitally right in their attitude toward their fellow-men and toward God.
Children tend to worship and imitate their teachers. A teacher must actually
go out of his way in order to shake the instinctive confidence which his pupils
feel at first for him If my boy knows that the teacher whom he loves and



Digitized byVjOOQlC



The Christian Student 27

admires honors and obeys the law of God, if he believes that that teacher,
irrespective of creed, believes that Jesus was right in everything that he said
about life, and that he is a faultless example and an infallible teacher, and that
to be pervaded by his spirit, to understand his method, to see hfe as he saw it,
and to give ourselves to life as he gave himself to it, is the highest privilege
and the noblest duty— if my boy finds all this in the teacher whom he loves and
admires, the boy will, almost inevitably, take the same attitude toward these
things.

Let us give our young people the utmost familiarity with Bible story and
psalm and parable and prophecy. Let them have trained intelligence in all that
intelligence can apprehend of the Christian religioiL And let home and day
school and Sunday school see to it that corresponding with this religious intelli-
gence there be set up through habitual conduct such an inclination and power
to do righteousness that education shall no longer be chargeable with failure
to secure intelligent and moral conduct, without which there can be no good
citizen of the republic of men, or of the kingdom of God.

[Reprinted from Religious Education— The Journal of the Religious Educa-
tion Association.]

Working Plan Adopted by the Board of Education, Freedmen's Aid

and, Sunday Schools*

Pursuant to the order of the General Conference of 1904, requiring the
consolidation of the Board of Education, Freedmen's Aid and Southern Educa-
tion Society and Sunday School Union and Tract Society, into the Board of
Education, Freedmen's Aid and Sunday Schools; and of the action of the
Commission appointed by the General Conference, requiring that such consolida-
tion become operative January i, 1907, the new Board in session assembled at
Cincinnati, February 26-28, after careful consideration of all of the important
interests involved, adopts the following working plan as a basis of future
operations.

Article I. All moneys received from collections in the churches and Sunday
schools, special gifts and other sources, upon and subsequent to January i,
1907, shall be paid into the treasury at Cincinnati or New York and be accounted
for to the Treasurer of the Board of Education, Freedmen's Aid and Sunday
Schools in the office at Cincinnati.

Article II. All moneys received prior to January i, 1907, and designated
as being for the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church
incorporated under the laws of the state of New York, or for the Freedmen's
Aid and Southern Education Society at Cincinnati, or for the Sunday School
Union and Tract Society in New York, shall each be kept in separate accounts
and shall be devoted faithfully and exclusively to the objects for which they are
specifically given.

Article III. The transfer of funds from the component societies to the new
organization requires great care and proper time, in order that all interests
shall be securely guarded. In some cases an authorization from the state is
required before such transfer can be legally made. For example: The action
of the General Conference specifically provided for the legal continuance of the
present Board of Education as constituted under the laws of the state of New
York. After availing itself of the best legal advice the Board in New York is
fully persuaded that it has not the legal right to transfer its properties to the
new corporation in Ohio until an enabling act authorizing such transfer shall
have been passed by the New York Legislature.



Digitized byVjOOQlC



28 The Christian Student

We approve this action and direct: That strict care and liberal time be
taken so that properties and funds coming into the possession of the Board of
Education, Freedmen's Aid, and Sunday Schools from the Board of Education
and Sunday School Union and Tract Society, or properties and funds remaining
in the possession of the Board of Education, Freedmen's Aid, or Sunday Schools,
and formerly belonging to the Freedmen's Aid and Southern Education Society,
be strictly guarded, so that said properties and funds shall not be diverted from
the purposes for which they were given with any debts contracted by any of
the merged societies.

Akticlb IV. In view of certain large and vital interests, this Board, acting
under the express permission of the General Conference, believes it wise to
retain for the present an office in New York for the transaction of such business
as should for the time being be done in that dty, full reports being made from
time to time as the Board in Cincinnati may direct, and all moneys being
accounted for as directed in Article I.

The Board authorizes the continuance of Ths Chkistiah Student in
accordance with its contract already made, under the impress as used aforetime.

Article V. The corresponding secretaries shall issue an appeal to the
church for the sum of Five Hundred Thousand ($500,000) Dollars. It was
evidently the purpose of the General Conference in grouping these benevolent
societies to secure a public presentation and collection in each church. We urge
it as the intent of the General Conference, that one day shall be given in the
public congregation in each church to the interests of the work now represented
by the Board of Education, Freedmen's Aid, and Sunday Schools. The proceeds
of this collection in the congregation shall be divided in the ratio of two to one
between the interests represented by the work hitherto carried on by the Freed-
men's Aid and Southern Education Society and the Sunday School Union and
Tract Society.

Children's Day shall be observed according to the Discipline, the appeal
for the collection being made in the interests of education among our young
people as heretofore, and the proceeds of Children's Day collection being
reckoned as constituting its part of the total of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars
to be raised. The Children's Day collection shall be devoted as heretofore to the
work of Student Aid among our institutions of learning as specifically provided
by the Discipline. We earnestly recommend that the Lincoln Birthday Celebra-
tion, already productive of good to our cause, «hall become an institution of the
Sunday schools and the proceeds shall be devoted entirely to that branch of
work hitherto carried on by the Freedmen's Aid and Southern Education Society.

We earnestly recommend that the Rally Day interests, already an institution
of our Sunday schools, shall be carefully fostered and the proceeds of Rally
Day shall be devoted exclusively to the work hitherto carried on by the Sunday
School Union and Tract Society, the proceeds of these two collections in the
Sunday schools to be reckoned as their part of the $500,000 to be raised.

Recognizing and rejoicing in the attitude of our Epworth League toward
these benevolent enterprises, we call earnest attention to these lines of endeavor
as affording rarely fine opportunity for useful services to the kingdom.

Article VI. If the proceeds from the general collections ai'e not sufficient
to meet the appropriations to educational institutions for loans to students, the
other funds available now in the hands of the Board in the state of New York
shall be drawn upon to augment the amount appropriated to a degree necessary
to meet the needs of these institutions for such purposes, and this shall apply



Digitized byVjOOQlC



The Christian Student 29

to our educational institutions hitherto conducted under the auspices of the
Freedmen's Aid and Southern Education Society, it being understood that
students of these institutions are eligible for loans, as heretofore.

Articxx VII. (a) In view of the excessive labor devolving upon Secretary
Mason in consequence of an existing vacancy, the Board directs that Secretary
Anderson shall have supervision of our schools in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and Fort Worth, Texas. And all reports from
the schools shall be made to the office of the Board in Cincinnati as at present,



Online LibraryMethodist Episcopal Church. Board of EducationThe Christian student → online text (page 27 of 41)