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step, year by year, this Association realizes more clearly and defines more intelligently the end in view and the ways to that end. As it advances on the path of definition, its thinking becomes more, and not less, individualistic. Not that it fails to see the results of modern social thinking, not that it is slow of heart to believe the divine. significance of the social philosophy and the social message of Jesus Christ, but that it knows that the root of the matter involves the relation of the individual to God. So long as the life of the individual is alienated from the life of God, whether by wicked works or by ignorance, so long must there remain in all our schemes for social redemption and social progress an element of ominous unreality. We must interpret God to men and bring men to God, or dream of building a house without a foundation. "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom."

The main lines of thought projected in this Convention spring from this root-the relation of the individual to God. Those who shall take part in these deliberations have come, with unparalleled generosity, every man at his own charges, asking and receiving no other compensation than the joy of service in a noble cause. They believe, and in their utterances will seek to show, that from the right relation of the individual to God, from the root of vital religion, spring moral forces which, taken up into the system of education, are competent to regulate the whole field of living. Personal righteousness, social responsibility, public service in the nation and in the world, follow, as effect from cause, the ennobling influence of an educational system transfused with the sense of God. Long ago, in the seat of Grecian culture, he who was apostle, philosopher, and statesman declared: "We are His offspring. In Him we live and move and have our being." To realize this and to make provision for it on behalf of our own children and our children's children is the first requisite and the final aim of Religious Education.





No one can attempt a general survey of the condition of moral and religious education in America without becoming acutely conscious of the inherent difficulties of the task. The age in which we live, taught by many failures, has learned to distrust swift and easy generalizations. It prefers the microscope to the telescope. It has insisted on division of labor in the intellectual as in the industrial realm, and, absorbed in the investigation of individual objects, events, or movements, is quite willing to leave to the future those great co-ordinations and syntheses for which the present day feels so keenly its incompetence.

We have also to remember that statistics and formal reports can never adequately record moral and religious conditions. The report of a superintendent of the public schools can be made fairly concrete and exact. The number of pupils enrolled, the number of periods spent in recitation per week, the number who successfully pass examinations, the amount invested in laboratories and libraries-these facts, properly tabulated for a series of years, and reduced to percentages, may give a fairly accurate idea of the growth and efficiency of the school. But a report on moral and religious development cannot thus be reduced to diagrams and tables. It deals with forces peculiarly intangible, subtle, and elusive. There is somewhat involved of which we cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. Such a report must be, on the whole, qualitative rather than quantitative. It has to do with ideals and atmosphere rather than with certificates and diplomas. It must be a series of impressions, rather than a statement of percentages, since it deals with "thoughts hardly to be packed into a narrow act." The essential facts of religious growth usually escape the census taker, and must be felt in order to be known.

I. The most cursory review of the past year makes it clear that these twelve months have been, in the field we are studying, a time of unprecedented agitation and activity. In the correspondence which I have had with leaders of religious thought and action in all parts of the country, the unanimous report is one of stir, fermentation, and incessant debate. The slumbers of years have been broken. Complacency is abolished. The disciples of the status quo no longer dominate

the entire situation. A "divine discontent" has spread throughout the land.

1. The Sunday school has been heard asking in many places the old question, "What lack I yet?" and our generation has been smitten with a general conviction of educational sin. Religious denominations have constantly discussed the true function of their academies and private schools, and have reorganized their societies for ministerial aid. Churches have been led to exalt the teaching function of the ministry, and pastors have in many regions been led to experiment with classes for pastoral instruction and training. The publishing-houses have teemed with all kinds of "helps," manuals, primers, studies, commentaries, and histories, of all grades of efficiency or deficiency. Theological seminaries have felt the quickening, and yielded, in some cases, to new ideals.

New organizations have been formed for Bible study. One of these, the American Bible League, held its second public convention in Boston in December. During the sessions of three days, about twenty addresses were delivered on Biblical subjects, and great interest was manifested both by the speakers and the public. Membership in the League is limited to persons signing a statement as to certain conclusions already reached regarding the Scriptures, and a series of textbooks is to be issued explaining and defending such conclusions. Certainly, all sincere and genuine investigation is to be welcomed. We have learned to tolerate various types of study and to rejoice in all sincere endeavor to interpret the sacred writings. It is impossible that the needs of the eighty millions in the Republic should be met by any one type of study or student. If men and women are induced by any method whatever to expose their minds day after day to the message of apostles and prophets, therein we rejoice and will rejoice. The spirit of contempt is as unpedagogical as it is un-Christian. Any attempts are better than indifference and inertia. But indifference has been steadily vanishing.

The past year has been marked by unusual evangelistic effort on the part of many churches, both in America and in Great Britain. Spiritual awakenings of peculiar power have been witnessed in various cities, and great multitudes have become conscious of the unseen and eternal. If we may judge from the past, such movements are sure to be followed by zeal in education. In the white heat of religious conviction were born most of the educational institutions of the Church. We cannot forget that three of the greatest evangelists of the nineteenth century - Charles G. Finney, Charles H. Spurgeon, and Dwight L.

Moody — gave their closing years largely to the founding of Christian schools which are still their enduring monuments. Out of those who have felt the breath of religious aspiration this past year, we may expect many to become educational leaders and founders. One of our great needs is to achieve in America what has long been seen in Great Britain, the union of candid, patient scholarship with genuine fervor in religious and philanthropic endeavor.

2. A second noteworthy tendency of the past year is the growing sense of the underlying unity of all agencies aiming at moral and religious development. To quote words applied by President McKinley to another subject: "The era of reciprocity has come." For men to stand apart forever in religious education simply because by inheritance or by preference they differ in liturgical forms or philosophical explanations or theological formulas, while their fundamental aims are one, is to entail upon our generation enormous educational loss as well as moral enfeeblement. We are coming every year more deeply to realize that we must be broad enough to make room for broad men, and tolerant enough to tolerate the intolerant. Differences in definition or mode of approach to common problems must not be allowed to erect insuperable barriers between men whose objects and aspirations are identical.

3. A third characteristic of the past year is the growing demand for contact with reality in religious, as in intellectual, education. In the intellectual realm the change in this direction has been the most noteworthy advance of the last quarter-century. In all elementary and secondary education, and in all college and university courses, the tendency has been steadily away from words to things, from symbol to object, from text-book to laboratory, from learning by rote to learning by doing.

It is impossible that this change in the method of education should not be felt in the religious realm. It is now believed that "the whole duty of man" cannot be learned merely from the catechism, but that "if any man will do, . . . he shall know." There is a growing distrust of the a priori and dogmatic method, and a willingness to examine candidly and patiently the ultimate facts. There is a generally increasing desire to face all facts in psychology, in literary criticism, in historical research, in natural science, with the conviction that no truth, adequately tested and fearlessly proclaimed, can ultimately damage either morality or faith. The conviction is everywhere growing that, in the words of James Russell Lowell, "the universe of God is fire-proof, and it is quite safe to strike a match." If this passion for reality has led in some instances to unconventional expressions of religious faith,

and to movements which it is difficult to understand and classify, yet on the whole we have come to see that any kind of expression and aspiration is better than the sleek apathy and stagnation which is content with outer correctness and is destitute of moral dynamic.

4. There is a general acknowledgment on the part of educators that the children and young people of our time are deficient in the sense of the imperativeness of both morality and religion. Our children are more alert, sensitive, and observant in realms of nature and art than ever before; their senses are trained at an early age; their interests are many and diversified; their powers are awakened and stimulated by novel and striking methods of teaching; the contact of the school with society is closer than ever. But the sense of duty is not so profound as formerly, and the moral law seems less majestic and commanding than to a former generation. "Our greatest weakness," writes one New England college president, "is a lack of decision and strength in the assertion of rightful authority, and a consequent lack of training in the fundamental duty of obedience. . . . The voice of command, based upon the eternal distinction between right and wrong, addressed to the conscience and the will, is seldom heard."

Many writers echo the opinion that the great defect of childhood to-day is the lack of the spirit of acknowledgment of rightful authority. The children of the submerged tenth vie with the children of the nouveaux riches in ignoring law, both human and divine. The awe which former generations of children felt in the presence of superior wisdom, age, and experience has given place to the mental attitude of the children who mocked the prophet Elisha. The general neglect of home-training, combined with the absence of ethical instruction in many schools, is having its inevitable result. The sanctions of the moral law are not defied, they simply are not felt or even perceived. Things are done if they are attractive; otherwise they are passed and forgotten. The fading in the modern world of a vivid sense of the imminence of future reward or punishment, the lessening at the same time of restraint in home and school, and the constant consultation of the pupil's tastes and choices, demanded by the extension of the elective system downwards, and the kindergarten upwards-all this is apparent in growing disrespect for law, in impatience of social control, and in an egoistic type of morality. "The sacrificial ideal of life is almost wholly out of view," writes a most thoughtful religious leader. It deserves to be considered whether the kindergarten, with all its beautiful tenderness, its care for the individual, its rightful exaltation of play, may not often retain children too long, and so prevent their en

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