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as men in varying moods may sometimes think; but it is on the way to become one or the other. In the heart of the acorn lies the great oak in miniature; and in the heart of the young life by your fireside there lie wrapped up the elements of future character, whether glorious or base.

Perhaps we should rather say that the child is the middle term in a long process of development, which looks far backward into the past, and far forward into the future. The backward look is along the line of animal development in preparation for the spiritual. Dr. G. Stanley Hall calls attention to the fact that “ the child normally represents the history of the human race; it has, in its early stages, a great deal of the animal about it. There is a great deal in the physical and psychical nature that suggests the higher animals. We know that every child has at least one hundred and thirty-three rudimentary organs in its body (so-called) which are atrophied, and which suggest something a little like what the evolutionists tell us is true. . . . Why is it that we have the vermiform appendix, and why all these one hundred and thirty-three different organs, of absolutely no use, but many of them a positive disadvantage, in our human shape? What do they mean? They mean that we pass up the whole history of animal life, and that from the time a few months before birth, up to maturity, every child represents in his history every stage of animal life, as repeated since the world began."

But if the child recapitulates in his body the ages of animal development, looking backward, he anticipates in his soul the ages of millennial glory, looking forward; for in spiritual endowment he is the image of God, and is capable of development into a glory like God's. The late John Fiske has shown us that, if the theory of theistic evolution be true, it takes a new direction in man; the agelong process of physical development reaches its climax and stopping place in the human body with its complex mechanism, and its marvellous brain and highly organized nervous system, fit instruments for a soul; and from this point the progress of development must be sought, not along physical but spiritual lines, as the living soul unfolds and expands, and mounts up toward the attainment of the Divine ideal. This is the splendid possibility of every child.

But the social value of the child must be added to his individual potentiality as we look toward the future. Not only will he develop his own nature, but he will also be a power to help make or mar the community he lives in. He is a new spiritual force let loose in the

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world to better it or to blight it. What sort of a state, or homelife, or church, we are to have forty years from now depends on what the boys and girls of to-day become. At this very hour there are nestling in many cradles, and hushed by the lullabys of mothers who little dream of their responsibilities, the presidents, governors, senators, merchant princes, pastors and church leaders, judges and missionaries, mothers and teachers, of the last half of the twentieth century; and side by side with them are growing the thieves and rascals, the traitors and criminals, who will curse humanity with their lawless lives.

How can we reduce that peril to the lowest terms, and do most to insure safety and success to the individual child and to society? The answer is immediate : By a wise and thorough spiritual nurture.


THE AIM OF SPIRITUAL NURTURE. We need to have clearly in mind at the outset just what should be the aim of the nurture. Obviously it does not include everything that we mean by the word “education.” Dr. Nicholas Murray, in his analysis, says that civilization may be summed up in a five-fold classification: Man's science, his literature, his art, his institutional life, and his religious beliefs. The study of all these, the drill and discipline gained in mastering and applying their vital principles, the training of the body as well as the mind for its highest vigor and efficiency, are included in education. These five-fold factors of civilization are all valuable allies to spiritual nurture, and may largely drawn upon to reinforce its work; but they are distinct from it. It has a narrower field than education in general, but one of supreme importance. It has a single aim, but that aim is momentous and transcendent, - it is character. Its aim is not primarily to impart information, nor to give the refinements of general culture, although these are welcome accessories. It seems to develop noble men and noble women, trusty and true in all the relationships of life. It takes the young life in its most plastic period, and endeavors to mould it into the image of Christ, so that it shall be forever steadfast in its devotion to God and loyalty to the right.


ELEMENTS OF CHARACTER. The elements of character are four : ideals, principles, a trained will, and the spirit of the life. The ideals one cherishes of his own nature, and of the chief good in life, his conception of himself as a mortal or an immortal, of God and his relation to him, of the divine order of the Universe, to which he must conform or suffer disaster, are potent factors in shaping manhood or womanhood. The principles one adopts, or the clear recognition of the true lines of action along which he can move with certainty and safety, to attain the chief good, are of equal importance and potency. A trained will, by which the fitful impulses and vacillating choices are tamed and brought into obedience to a great dominant purpose, comes next to make the life strong and masterful. And the spirit of the life, which is the flavor of character, the unconscious expression of its innermost essence, is the fourth element.

In their concrete manifestations, these ideals become convictions, the bed-rock of character on which the superstructure of the life is to be erected. The principles become the order of action, the rules of conduct, and under the power of the trained will they embody themselves in habits, in which, by frequent repetition, the chosen course of life becomes well-nigh automatic. The spirit of the life expresses itself in the temper and manners of the man, in the kindly, helpful, chivalric, noble personality, or in the hard, grasping, selfish, hateful nature.

These are the elements that make character and with which spiritual nurture must concern itself. But the very use of the word “spiritual" defines and specializes the method by which the object aimed at is to be pursued. We believe that to insure a character that will be strong and stable, symmetrical and steadfast, the mind must know something of the eternal realities, and must feel itself in the mighty grasp of universal laws. It must see itself in the light of God, and understand with what authority and certainty he will hold it to obedience to the right or else enforce the penalty of disobedience. The nurture needed to secure the character we desire, then, must be religious nurture.

We believe, also, that human history presents but one illustration of ideal manhood, and that is found in Jesus of Nazareth alone. A life that is not fashioned after his pattern is defective and unsafe. The ideals, the principles, and the spirit which he embodied in his peerless character are essential to every one who aspires to the stature of perfect manhood or womanhood. And his inspiring, vitalizing, transforming power can change even the weakest or the worst into some semblance of himself. Nothing less than Christlike character must be the aim, then, and no mere general religious nurture can be depended on to secure it; it must be a very definite, positive, and persistent Christian nurture. Conventional morality and natural religion are not enough to develop the sort of men and women we wish to produce. They lack breadth and motive and power'sufficient to make a well-rounded, sturdy, and victorious life. We must have a training which will deeply implant in the young soul, as unalterable convictions, the great truths which Christ declared and illustrated in his own person, which will drill the life into habitual obedience to Christ's laws of conduct, so that it becomes spontaneous; which will fill the heart with Christ's spirit of sympathy and self-sacrifice, devotion to God and devotion to man, in loving service, so that it shall radiate blessing as naturally as the sun radiates light. This is the only way in which we can transform the boys and girls into the likeness, even in miniature, of him who lived out before the eyes of men the full glory of an ideal manhood.

CHARACTER-MAKING FORCES. We should understand at the outset, however, that the very best training cannot be depended upon with certainty to produce the result we desire. Training is a great power, and of the utmost value, but it is only one of the character-making forces. There are other potent influences, which must be reckoned with, which will either help or thwart the finest nurture. We must not forget that there are four factors in the construction of character : heredity, environment, free will, and training.

Modern studies in spiritual biology have made it very plain that heredity, or that law by which parents tend to repeat themselves in their offspring, manifests its power in the intellectual and the ethical as well as in the physical lite. The crude stuff to be worked into character is largely an inheritance. The peculiarities of the father and mother, even though they die before the child is old enough to remember them, will reappear not only in face and figure, gait and carriage, but also in the mental characteristics and moral proclivities. Our ancestors entail upon us not only their fortunes, good or bad, but bodies and souls stamped with their image. Characteristics of intellect, eccentricities of temper, the bent of genius, the twist of tendency, the force of will, are often innate qualities of a life which have come to it by descent through many generations. Hereditary tendency has often been so strong as to seem like a predestination. To be sure, the law of variation is almost as marked as the law of resemblance. Exceptions to the rule are many, but they are few, on the whole, compared with the myriad cases that follow the law. “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children," says the Scripture, and God visits the “iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation." Reverence, conscientiousness, generosity in the parent, tend to reappear in the children ; while a nature disordered by loose living, weakened in moral vigor, unprincipled and lawless, tends to reproduce its like. Out of the silence of a buried past a dead hand is stretched forth to lay hold of each young life, to lift it up or to drag it down. Out of the vanished centuries there flows a stream of ancestral influence into each new-born soul, the push of whose unseen pressure is toward a noble or an evil life.

Environment is another important factor in shaping character and in some cases seems to be decisive. Especially in childhood, when impressions are vivid and deep, do the influences that press upon the young life form its surroundings, mould and color it. plant which is full of luxuriant vigor in the sunlight will become pallid and weak when kept in a cellar ; and a child who would develop nobly among good companions, and under influences which would stimulate the better nature, may become vicious and corrupt amid evil surroundings. Climate, scenery, books, friends, schools the daily work, the condition of society, the ideals presented by the public press, the example of prosperous men, and other things, furnish influences which are absorbed unconsciously into the character, and condition its future. Given a community where order, purity, and philanthropy prevail, and a family where piety, principle, and generous sympathies are constantly exhibited, and we may expect worthy and beautiful lives in the children reared there; but given a home where selfishness, high temper, profanity, and irreligion are rampant, and a community where greed and vice and shameless disregard of honor and right are flagrantly shown in high places and low, and we may well expect that soil to breed reckless and vicious boys and unprincipled girls, with a future fraught with unspeakable peril.

But if heredity and environment are potent influences in character-making, free will is the only really decisive one. With all its discoveries and improvements, modern psychology has not invalidated the freedom of the will. Without this there would be no such thing as responsibility, no such thing as guilt or goodness; but the

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