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all her public-school children with text-books at the public cost, a measure that will probably bring thousands of the children of the poor into the public schools and retain them longer under instruction. Thank God for this !
In all the efforts that have been put forth in behalf of education during the last fifty-four years in this country, the American Institute has given earnest and efficient co-operation. In many hundreds of lectures, essays and discussions, it has helped the solution of every educational problem. Its history is a line of light shining more and more. We have not reached a perfect day. Far, very far from that. We have but made a beginning. Fully half the time spent in schools is still wasted for want of better methods of instruction or more competent school management. During these very sessions we are to grapple with the question of moral instruction, how to make every pupil conscientions and kind and pure and true and brave ; with the question of teaching citizenship, how to make every young person intelligent and patriotic in regard to civil rights and duties ; with the question of the permanence of the teacher's tenure of office, how to make his position secure during good behavior and useful service, so that the whims, the intrigues, the cruel injustice, the infernal malice and the infinite stupidity of such men as sometimes get appointed on school committees, and so that the barbarism of annual elections, shall no longer endanger the faithful teacher's hold upon his place, and no longer dissuade some of the finest intellects and manliest spirits from entering this profession. We are to wrestle too, now or soon, with the question of secondary instruction for the masses, how, by a system of liberal pecuniary rewards or otherwise, the town, city, state or nation may induce the great body of children and
youth to gain at least a high school education, so that, in every emergency in public affairs, there shall be a clear controlling majority of intelligent voters able to come to a right decision on the multitudinous and momentous issues that must arise. On such and a hundred other educational problems, where shall we look for human guidance, if not to associations like this?
Let us then for the love of our children and our children’s children and all the generations yet to come, cherish such organizations, and especially this mother of them all, the American Institute of Instruction, and through it, and through every suitable instrumentality, work as best we may for the higher education of every human soul. Life is short. The night cometh.
“Death closes all; but something, ere the end,
Some deed of noble note may yet be done.”
When the first century of this Institute shall have been completed, and the chimes of the year 1930 may sound, perhaps some faint impulse given by our hand may be felt in the swinging of the bells that shall
" Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more ;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
“ Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
The civic slander and the spite;
" Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold,
Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. " Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand,
Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be.”
MORAL EDUCATION IN THE COMMON SCHOOLS.
By William T. HARRIS, CONCORD, Mass.
The separation of Church and State is an acknowledged principle in our national government, and its interpretation from generation to generation eliminates, with more and more of strictness, whatever ceremonies and obseryances of a religious character still remain attached to secular customs and usages. Inasmuch as religion, in its definition of what is to be regarded as divine, at the same time furnishes the ultimate and supreme ground of all obligation, it stands in the closest of relations to morality, which we may define as the system of duties or obligations that govern the relation of man to himself as individual and as race or social whole.
To the thinking observer nothing can be more obvious than the fact that the institutions of society are created and sustained by the moral activity of man. The moral training of the young is essential to the preservation of civilization. The so-called fabric of society is woven out of moral distinctions and observances. The net-work of habits and usages which makes social combination possible, which enables men to live together as a community, constitutes an ethical system. In that ethical system only is spiritual life possible. Without such a system even the lowest stage of society — that of the mere savage could not exist. In proportion to the completeness of
development of its ethical system, a community rises from barbarism.
It is quite clear that so deep a change in the principle of human government as the separation of Church and State involves the most important consequences to the ethical life of our people.
All thoughtful people look with solicitude on the institutions of an educational character in order to discover what means, if any there be, can remain for moral education after its ecclesiastical foundation has been removed.
It happens quite naturally that the best people in the community struggle to retain the ecclesiastical forms and ceremonies in the secular. They find themselves unable to discriminate between the provinces of morality and religion. With them education in morality means education in performing religious rites. This view certainly does not harmonize with the political conviction of our people. From year to year we see the religious rites and ceremonies set aside in the legislature, the town meeting, the public assembly, the school. If retained they become empty forms with no appreciable effect.
In this sad state of affairs it becomes important to consider all other means of cultivating the ethical sense, and especially to discover how it is that institutions may be emancipated from the direct control of the church.
Without entering into this question in its details at the present time, we may remark that the history of Christian civilization shows us a continuous spectacle of the development of institutions into independence. It is a sort of training or nurture of institutions by the Church into a degree of maturity in which they come to be able to live and thrive without the support of mere ecclesiastica) authority.