Project Gutenberg's Heart and Soul, by Victor Mapes (AKA Maveric Post)

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Title: Heart and Soul

Author: Victor Mapes (AKA Maveric Post)

Release Date: October 2, 2006 [EBook #19432]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Kathryn Lybarger, Christine D. and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at






Copyright, 1921, by
The Century Co.


This book was not written with any idea of being published, but simply because I could not help it.

I got thinking about various things, in the lives of people about me, and in my own life, and, after a while, I found that my thoughts would not let me alone. They kept coming back, to trouble and haunt me, until finally I realized that the only way I could be rid of them and have a little peace, was to set them down on paper.

After that, I had the indiscretion to read parts of them to one or two who are near to me. These seemed to think that they might prove helpful to others who felt the same way and urged me to publish them.

I cannot be blamed very much for conceiving a hope that this might prove true. And, in that hope, I have followed their advice.



IIThe Up-to-Date Principle43
IIIReason and Experience59
VIScience and the Intellect167
VIIIHeart and Soul234


[Pg 3]




Many of us, to-day, are disturbed and alarmed by the point of view and the behavior of people about us—especially the younger generation. Girls of good family are seen on all sides, who smoke and gamble and drink and paint their faces and laugh with scorn at the traditions and conventions which their grand-parents regarded with almost sacred reverence. The young men are worse, if anything, and as for the married people of the new era, what they are doing to the sanctity of the home and the bonds of matrimony might seem like a weird travesty of the teachings of the past.

What is the world coming to? Are things going on indefinitely, this way,—or more so? If not, who, or what, is to stop the movement and turn it in another direction? What is the meaning of it all? What is to be done about it?[Pg 4]

Before attempting to speculate on these questions, it might be a good idea to consider for a moment the main, fundamental influences which have always been at work, to a greater or less extent, in determining the conduct of human beings.

First come the material instincts. Each individual is born with a large number of desires, appetites, feelings, impulses, tastes. There is also a natural wish to gratify these and the process of doing so brings with it a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. So that if these natural instincts were the only things to be considered, the problem of humanity in a general way would resolve itself into preserving life and getting as much pleasure out of it as possible. Why not follow the lead of our instincts, accept all opportunities as they come, and make the most of them?

Is not this point of view, however briefly and crudely expressed, the first principle of existence as it confronts each individual to-day, as it has confronted them in the past, and as it will continue to confront them always?

Is it not, in its essence, the starting point—the ever-present raw material—which must be recognized and dealt with somehow in any scheme of philosophy or morality?

The next consideration, which follows closely[Pg 5] after, is that certain wishes cannot be gratified, certain pleasures are forbidden, certain instincts must be repressed or controlled.


For various reasons. The first being force and might. Some one stronger interferes and prevents.

Every child comes in contact with this principle at an early stage. It cannot have what it wants, it cannot do as it wills—because the nurse or the mother says "no."

A little later, if it undertakes to gratify a certain wish which has been forbidden, if it gives free play to an instinct for pleasure, against orders, it is slapped and scolded. It is made to feel that it has done wrong. And when one does wrong, punishment follows—one must learn to expect that.

This same principle confronts the individual in later years,—all through life. First the nurse and mother; then the father and other members of the family; then the neighbors and people at large; the police and the laws. All these embody the same principle, they represent greater force, without the individual, which interferes with its instincts, its pleasures, its wishes, which forbids certain things—declares they are wrong—and punishes, if they are done.[Pg 6]

On top of this comes the church and religion. In a more exalted way, appealing to the imagination and the inner spirit, they nevertheless apply the same principle. Certain things are sinful and wicked, certain instincts and desires are temptations, contrived by an evil spirit. If temptations are yielded to, if evil is committed, punishment is sure to follow, if not in this world, then in another, a world beyond.

In this connection, it is not a question of any particular church, or creed, or any particular religion, but simply of the fundamental idea of all churches and all religions,—the idea that somewhere, somehow, in a spiritual world of some sort, good will be rewarded and evil punished.

Crudely and briefly stated, it is the same fundamental principle that begins with the child and nursemaid, and runs up through the highest forms of church and religious appeal. This is good, you are allowed and urged to do it, and it will bring reward; that is bad, you are commanded to resist it, and if you yield, it will bring punishment.

This, then, is what we have called the second consideration in the problem of life.

There is another consideration, of a different order, which exerts an influence on the acts of an individual; which causes it to repress certain[Pg 7] appetites and desires, on the one hand, and urges it, on the other hand, to do certain things against its instincts and inclination.

This third consideration is the influence of reason and experience.

A crude example will suffice to illustrate the principle. A certain individual eats a plate of sliced cucumbers. Their taste is delicious and the sensation most enjoyable. An acute indigestion follows, however, with great discomfort and distress. On a later occasion, another plate of fresh cucumbers is so tempting that the experiment is tried again, with the same results.

Before long, this individual will refuse to eat a cucumber, no matter how fresh and tempting it looks. There is no question of right or wrong here involved. There is no outside force or command, to restrain him. It is his own reason, based on experience, which determines him to give up a present pleasure for the sake of avoiding a future pain.

In a reverse way, a certain individual who is tired and sleepy and yearns to go to bed, will force himself to sit up and work over annoying papers, in order to be free for a game of golf, the following day. He deliberately denies his desires and accepts present discomfort for the sake of future enjoyment.[Pg 8]

This principle, if we look into it carefully and follow it through its ramifications and side lights, is an active and important factor in the conduct of nearly everybody. In its essence, it is personal, its force springs from within the individual—and in that respect, at least, it is quite different from the orders of parents, or the commandments of religion, which are issued from without and which the individual is called upon to accept and obey, irrespective of his own notions or preferences.

There is still another main consideration in this question of conduct. It is a very great factor in the lives of many people, and in some cases its force and influence are overwhelming. And it is totally different in its very essence and tendency from the other principles we have noted.

This is the influence of love and affection.

A mother will give up any pleasure, she will accept any pain for the sake of her sick child. She does not do it because any one has ordered her, or because of any commandment of any religion, or because of any reward or punishment in this world, or another. There is no selfish motive of any kind involved in her thought. Any sacrifice of self, she is ready to make without the slightest hesitation. What she does, and what she is willing to do is for her child alone—because she loves it and, for the time being, its little life seems[Pg 9] of more importance than everything else in the world put together.

Now, if we pause right here a moment and reflect we can hardly fail to realize that we are in the presence of something strange and wonderful. It appears to be the very contrary and contradiction of all that has gone before. The life of the individual, as it unfolds from the first principle, is a question of self-preservation, self-gratification, appetites, desires, pleasures, as full a measure of enjoyment as it is possible to obtain. This is interfered with by outside force and considerations of reason and experience; certain desires have to be controlled by the idea of good and bad, reward and punishment; certain pleasures and pains have to be balanced against each other to determine a choice. But from beginning to end, it is all concerned in considerations of advantage—what is best for self, at the time being, or in the long run—in this world or the next. Why do this, that, or the other? because you will gain most by it, in the end. At bottom, the motive is taken for granted, whether openly admitted or more or less thinly disguised—self, self-interest, selfishness.

Then we turn and look upon a mother and her child—and we find that all thought of personal advantage can be transferred to another. [Pg 10]Self-interest can be controlled and obliterated by a new and mysterious principle—the principle of love.

There are various kinds and degrees of feeling that go under the name of love and nothing in life is more interesting or more vitally important to study and understand. But in this preliminary summary it is enough to signal its existence as one of the factors in the problem of life.

It may be just as well to note, in passing, that mothers are to be found whose love for their children is not so completely unselfish. Mothers are to be found who care very little about their children. Mothers are to be found who regard children as a nuisance and a disadvantage and prefer to be without them. That will be found to be one of the curious side-lights of the problem when time comes to discuss it.

It does not alter the fact, however, that love exists, that the true mother's love of her child is the most complete and universal illustration of it.

Also in many other forms of love and affection, it is easy to recognize this same tendency toward unselfishness—a readiness to sacrifice one's personal pleasures and inclinations for the joy of another. A father may have this feeling for his son, or his brother, just as he may have it for his[Pg 11] wife, or his mother. A man, or a woman, may have it for a dear and intimate friend, and be willing to make real sacrifices in order to benefit them.

This, then, is the fourth consideration—a fourth factor in the problem of life—and to avoid misunderstanding and confusion of ideas, we will call it affection—the influence of affection.

There remains one more consideration—one further class and kind of influence—which has its bearing on conduct. This may be summed up, in a general way, as love of an ideal, or an idea. Although it is less wide-spread and less potent in most lives than affection for fellow beings, yet it is, in varying degrees, a real factor that cannot be left out.

A sense of duty exists, to greater or less extent, in nearly all people. In people of breeding and good family it may become pride of race—noblesse oblige. A certain individual may have a strong affection for his home town, the little community with which he has been identified as a boy and man. Another is devoted to a cause, a political party, a Red Cross movement; while others have a strong feeling of patriotism, they love their country, their flag, and they are ready, at any time, to give up something for the good cause.

Broadly speaking, and for lack of a better[Pg 12] name, we may call this fifth principle in the problem of life—devotion to an ideal.

As a result of these influences, the character of an individual is formed, his conduct is determined. At any given time, in the presence of any given question as to what he will, or will not do, the answer will depend on the relative force, or sway, of the conflicting considerations.

This is merely stating an application of a general law—that all effects must have their causes. Only in the conduct of an individual, the causes at work are often very subtle and complicated.

If the average individual at the present time is behaving differently from the way he used to act, it is obviously because of some change in the influences. Certain motives and considerations which used to be decisive have now ceased to dominate. Other considerations have superseded them. So much is fairly obvious, and very little reflection is needed to locate these in a general way. They lie in the second group of our summary—the control of desires from without, enforced by rewards and punishments.

In the life of the average individual, this influence has become weaker all along the line. It is probably less dominating and decisive to-day, than it has ever been before in any period of civilization, ancient or modern. And the[Pg 13] weakening of the influence begins in the earliest childhood, with the punishments of nurse and parents and extends right on to the end, through neighbors and public opinion, the police and the laws, and finally to the church and religion, with their everlasting retribution, heaven and hell.

There has been no great apparent change in the other considerations of our summary. People are still influenced by experience and reason, as heretofore. They still are moved by their affections; and there are the same class of people who will fight for their country and make sacrifices for an ideal.

It may be that the change of character which results from the weakening influences under our second heading, has an appreciable effect on the force of other influences, also. But that is a delicate and subtle subject, which will be discussed later on.

For the time being, we may stop at this point: that the startling changes which have occurred recently in moral standards and point-of-view are directly traceable to a corresponding weakening of an influence that has been one of the strongest in human lives.

The nature and extent of this process are worth considering in detail, because it is at the very root[Pg 14] of the problem and the consequences are far-reaching.

And before we begin to analyze it, let us be careful to avoid a hasty and easy conclusion. Because the changes in people's views and behavior seem startling and alarming to those of the old school—that does not necessarily mean that the new tendency is bad and wrong. Any change in fundamentals is apt to be upsetting, for the time being. The new way, in the end, may really be better than the old, and represent progress. Or it may mean deterioration and decline. It will be time enough to discuss that phase of the question, after we have made sure that we thoroughly understand what it is, that has been going on.

Let us take one thing at a time and start with the simplest and most obvious.

A human life begins, with possibilities of development in all sorts of different directions. The child is taken care of from the cradle—guided, educated. In due time, it reaches an age where it is left to decide for itself and its actions are determined by its nature and what it has been taught.

"As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." This is an old adage of the English language and the principle it expresses has been generally accepted throughout the world. "Spare the rod and spoil[Pg 15] the child"—is another old adage which has been almost as universally accepted. Still another adage, expresses a fundamental principle: "Children should be seen, not heard."

These adages are sufficient to indicate the basic theory that governed the bringing up of children for countless generations. What do they imply?

Obedience, discipline, respect—respect for parents, respect for others, respect for traditions and laws—and with it a reverence and fear of God. The aim was to turn out law-abiding, God-fearing citizens; and the method, as expressed in the adages, was unquestioned for centuries and generally adhered to.

It has always been usual and natural among various peoples at various times, to inculcate in children from an early age those qualities which are considered worthy and admirable.

Among the American Indians, a true brave was he who presented an unflinching countenance to the enemy, even in torture. Consequently, boy children were pricked and burned by their parents, until they were schooled to accept any kind of pain without a whimper.

In China, tiny feet were considered desirable in a woman—so girl children's feet were tightly bound and kept so, for long periods, with great suffering, in order to attain the worthy object.[Pg 16]

In these and similar cases in European civilization, the stern methods employed cannot be taken to mean that parents loved their children any the less—rather the contrary. Because they loved them, they did not hesitate to do what was necessary, according to their lights, to make them grow up as fine specimens as possible.

That was the old school. What, now, of the new?

It is obvious that, in recent years, there has been a vast change in the attitude of parents toward children, and perhaps an even greater change in the attitude of children toward parents.

The rod is used very sparingly, nowadays. In America, at least, it may be said to be no longer used at all. Among families of education and refinement, a child may still be spanked by the mother or father, but not very often. The significance of the proceeding is not very great, and half the time the spanking is occasioned by the irritable nervous condition of the parent rather than the act of the child.

A child may sometimes be slapped by a nurse, usually when the nurse is cross and ill-humored. But in nearly all cases, if a nurse dared to whip a child, or cause it real pain, the child would only have to tell its parents and the nurse would be discharged.[Pg 17]

And such trifling chastisements as do occur to-day, are confined to a very early age of the child. A boy or girl of twelve or fifteen has no fear of a beating from father, or mother, or governess, or school-teacher. School-masters are no longer allowed to whip their pupils, or even to cuff them.

The old adage is no longer in force—it has been thrown into the discard. "Spare the rod—" yes, the rod is spared, but it remains to be seen whether on that account the child is necessarily spoiled.

"Children should be seen, not heard"—that idea, is also in the discard. Boys and girls have as much right to their say as anybody else. At the family table, in the home circle, the tendency is rather for their ideas and their affairs to usurp the conversation. Their impressions are fresher and more animated, and they are more abreast of the latest up-to-date topics. An attitude of respect and reverence for the opinions and notions of their parents, or grand-parents, would hardly be expected of them. So many of the things to be talked about—motors, wireless, airplanes, new wrinkles and changed conditions—are better understood by them than the old people. It is easy for them to get the feeling that the old people's ideas are rather moth-eaten and of not much account. It is for the rising generation to tell and[Pg 18] explain what's doing now and for the setting generation to listen and make the most of it.

Of course, this is not meant to imply that children have ceased to have any respect for their parents. In any particular case, it is a question of degree, depending upon the quality of the children, the quality of the parents, the various conditions and influences of the family life. It is the general tendency we are looking for—the underlying principle—which makes itself felt to a greater or less extent, according to circumstances.

It is unquestionably true that the average child to-day is less often and less severely punished than the child of the past. If it disobeys, it has less fear of the consequences, so the importance of obedience becomes a dwindling factor in its mental attitude and its behavior.

It learns to take orders with a grain of salt and as often as may be, it disregards them, because they are not what it likes. That is the beginning of a tendency—the first bending of a twig.

As the twig goes on growing with this slant, and the horizon of the boy and girl opens out beyond the family circle to a larger world, existing conditions are such as to encourage a continuation of the same tendency. The selfish instincts and desires of the individual are opposed by the same[Pg 19] kind of influences and restraints that have been in force since the beginning of civilization, but less effectively. And let us bear clearly in mind that, for the time being, we are confining our attention to the forces which act on the individual from without. That is the thread we are following—the second consideration in our summary.

The influences and restraints which act on the boy or girl, as they go forth from the home circle, are of various forms and kinds, but they may be grouped in a few simple classes.

First: The school with its teachers and teachings.

Second: The influence of example and imitation—what others of their age and kind are doing.

Third: The influence of public opinion, of tradition and customs—what everybody seems to think is all right and approves, on the one hand, and what is considered wrong and unworthy, on the other.

Fourth: Laws and regulations of constituted authorities.

Fifth: Sunday school and church—the religious influence with its standards of wickedness and goodness.

If we consider these in order, we are not impressed by any striking change in the school influence. In many respects, no doubt, schools are[Pg 20] better planned and more intelligently managed than they ever were before. More attention is paid to ventilation, hygiene, recreation, on the one hand; and on the other the methods employed in imparting book knowledge are probably more enlightened.

As regards the question we are discussing—obedience, discipline, respect for authority—on the whole, there has probably been no great change. In the class-room and throughout the school régime, strict obedience is still maintained as an essential requisite, just as it has always been. The punishments and penalties for disobedience are perhaps a little less severe and drastic, but without any real difference in effect.

The only question worth raising in this connection is how far school-teachers and school-rules are taken to heart by the average boy or girl—how far they are made to apply to their notions and motives, when school is left behind. School-books, school-teachers and school-discipline are so apt to be bunched together and relegated to a special corner of the mind.

Our second group—the influence of example and imitation—has probably always been a more important factor in shaping conduct and character. What the older boys, just above you, do[Pg 21] and believe, makes a lot of difference to you, if you are a boy.

It is no question here of old-fashioned precepts or theories, handed down by parents, grandmothers or school-teachers, to be taken with a grain of salt. It is something living and vital, which concerns you directly. You look up to the older boys: you want to be like them; and approved of by them. What they think and do may be at variance with the ideas of nurse, mother and school-master, but if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for you. It is a practical standard which you can't help being judged by. If you fail to live up to it, or refuse to accept it and try to act differently, there is a sure penalty. You will be sneered at, disliked, looked down upon, or laughed at.

If you are a girl, the same principle applies. There is nothing new about the principle. It is as old as the hills and universal.

Is the effect of it to-day on the forming character any different from what it has been, in the past? Undoubtedly. A moment's reflection will show why and how this must be so.

Whatever the nature and influence of the family bringing-up may have been, in any particular case, the general tendency toward lack of discipline and disregard for authority can hardly fail to be[Pg 22] reflected in the prevailing standards of the boys and girls to be found at any school. They have no connection with school regulations or school penalties. It is the fundamental question of instincts, desires, and notions—the attitude toward themselves and toward life outside the school-room which they are going to take with them where-ever they go.

The tendency begun at home finds reinforcement and further development in the boy or girl by example and contact with others, who are headed the same way.

Next comes the third group: The influence of public opinion—of tradition and customs.

There is no mistaking the fact that in the present generation there have been many striking changes in the prevailing customs, as they apply to the behavior and conduct of individuals. The growing boys and girls see these changes taking place on every hand.

When mother and father were young, Sunday was a day set aside for church-going and dull and decorous behavior. Games and fun of all kinds were laid away, everybody put on their best clothes and sat around and talked, or took quiet walks with an overhanging air of seemly propriety. To-day there are tennis and golf and baseball games and dinner-parties and gambling[Pg 23] at the bridge-table, in which mother and father participate along with the rest.

It used to be considered improper for a girl of good family to go out at night to any kind of party without being accompanied by a chaperon. Nowadays, the girl who is obliged to take a chaperon with her wherever she goes, is liable to be laughed at by her up-to-date friends.

It was not so long ago that in any respectable community, a woman who painted her face, smoked cigarettes, drank cocktails and gambled with the men, would have been considered a shocking spectacle of depravity that no self-respecting wife, or mother, could accept or tolerate.

Nowadays, the growing boy and girl have only to open their eyes to see women doing such things everywhere—as likely as not their aunts and cousins, or their own mothers.

Examples of this nature could be given in great variety, but enough has been suggested to show the trend. In another connection it will be interesting to discuss these manifestations in greater detail and reflect on their cause and meaning.

For the present, it is sufficient to indicate that the social customs have changed and are changing very materially. Under such conditions, it would not be natural for young people to be unduly impressed by them. Such standards are so[Pg 24] unstable and they differ so much to-day from what they were yesterday, and they differ so much in different circles and even in different families, that their force and importance are not very compelling. The authority of past customs has undergone a process of confusion and weakening, much the same as parental authority. There is less respect for it on the part of the new generation.

The same thing is true of traditions and public opinion. Traditions have been modified and lost sight of in the new movement, and public opinion on many questions is to-day so confused and indefinite as hardly to exist.

Some people still think that divorce and re-marriage is shocking. Other people thoroughly approve of divorce, and believe that when a marriage has proved unsatisfactory and objectionable, it is right and best to call it off and look for something better.

Some people think it wrong for young people to run to the picture-shows and see baby vampires and demoralizing examples of licence and misconduct; others are enthusiastic about the educational value of the movies and encourage their children to go as often as they like.

Some people disapprove violently of the way young people dance together and of the present[Pg 25] attitude of girls and boys toward one another; while others accept it as a part of the new era of emancipation and enlightenment which is all in the way of progress.

There is practically no real public opinion to-day on these, and many other similar questions. A diversity of individual opinions and notions has taken its place, which young people are more or less free to follow or ignore, as circumstances may determine.

Yet it is not so long ago that public opinion in most communities was a firmly established, vital force. It was generally recognized and carefully respected by anybody, who wished to be considered respectable. Certain acts, certain kinds of conduct, were considered immoral, or shocking, or in bad taste and those who defied public opinion were made to pay the penalty. They were given the cold shoulder, cut off the visiting-list and made to feel the stigma of disapproval.

If a girl sneaked off alone with boys in the dark, or was caught smoking cigarettes—if a married man was seen consorting with a divorcee—if a woman drank highballs and gambled and broke up a happy home—if any member of the community did any one of a number of things which were considered improper, or unworthy, or immoral, or dishonorable, public opinion was[Pg 26] sternly in evidence, unquestioned and unquestionable, to judge and to sentence.

Young people learned to take account of this consideration, just as their mothers and fathers did. They grew up with respect for it. In the new generation the thing itself has lost greatly in consistency and force, and the young people see no reason to be much concerned about it.

In the fourth group, are included the laws and regulations of constituted authorities. For the most part these find their chief representative in the policeman, with the jail and law-court, as a background behind him. About the only change in this influence lies in the mental attitude of the average individual.

A generation ago, people who got arrested were usually thieves, or drunkards, or crooks and criminals of some kind. To be a law-breaker and in the clutches of the police was something that a reputable citizen shuddered at. The police were the guardians of all good people, majestic, respected and a little awe-inspiring.

Nowadays, people of all sorts and kinds are constantly getting into trouble with the police, and getting arrested, and being hauled to court and fined before the same bar of justice as the crooks and drunkards. It is usually in connection[Pg 27] with automobile driving. They are law-breakers—they know it and are caught at it.

And since the prohibition laws have gone into effect, another crop of law-breakers has sprung up on every hand. Deliberately and defiantly they disregard the law and scoff at it.

In addition to this matter of the police, there is a growing tendency on the part of the average person to question the worthiness and integrity of officials and representatives of government, all along the line. Aldermen, commissioners, mayors of cities—even senators of the United States—are frequent objects of mistrust, of sneering disrespect. Political scandals and corrupt deals in high places are commonplace topics in any community.

So young people, looking about and absorbing ideas, under these conditions, are inclined to have a lessened respect for constituted authorities and the laws.

Above and beyond this, having a deeper significance and effects that are more intimate and constant and far-reaching, is the change which has been taking place in the influences of the fifth and last group—Sunday school and church—the force of religion.

This is such a delicate subject, so close to the hearts of so many people and having so many[Pg 28] variations and degrees in different individuals, in different families, in different communities, in different churches, that it is extremely difficult to discuss. It is largely a matter of private sentiment, of vague personal feelings for which the average person is unable to find adequate expression. No sooner is the subject broached than the individual mind takes refuge in a defensive attitude. As it does not intend to be disturbed in its own spiritual attitude and beliefs, it is ready to seize the first opportunity to raise objections.

Let me reassure such minds by saying that I am quite willing to agree with them concerning the good that is in their minister, or their church, or any other church, or religion they may be interested in. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the purpose and influence of all churches and all religions has always been in the direction of higher thoughts and more exalted motives of conduct. This is no less so to-day than it has been in the past.

The change that has occurred is in the attitude of the new generation toward the teachings of the church and the consequent weakening of its influence.

Not much reflection or observation is required to arrive at a general idea of the nature and extent of this tendency.[Pg 29]

In most Christian homes it has been the custom to teach children to say their prayers every night before going to bed. And in teaching them to pray, the idea has been instilled in their minds that the all-wise Lord is listening to them and watching over them. Mothers and Fathers have accustomed them to the belief that no act of theirs—no matter how carefully they may conceal it from the human beings about them—can ever escape the all-seeing eye of the Lord.

Children have believed this from time immemorial and the Sunday school and church have encouraged and strengthened this belief, at all stages of their growth. And along with this, as we have observed, went the idea of divine, everlasting justice and retribution—the punishment of evil and the regard of good, if not in this world, then surely in the greater world beyond. Heaven and hell have for centuries been pictured as awe-inspiring realities, established by the Bible, expounded and thundered from pulpits.

Children found, as they grew up, that the idea was accepted and shared by mothers, fathers, neighbors—everybody in the community entitled to respect or consideration. In trouble or sickness, they turned to the Lord for comfort and help and those who yielded to temptation and ignored[Pg 30] His commandments were in danger of eternal damnation.

When people believe such a doctrine, when it is a living conviction in their hearts and souls, no greater influence could be imagined for controlling their material instincts and desires. We have only to refer back to the days of the martyrs and saints to realize what the principle is capable of when it is fully applied. As compared to eternal salvation and everlasting bliss—how petty and unimportant are the temporary experiences of the body.

The great mass of normal human beings, while accepting and believing the doctrine, have never deemed it necessary, or practical, to carry it too far. But always in the past, so far as we know, the average individual has been influenced to a very considerable extent by his religious beliefs. The more deeply and intensely he believed in the teachings, the greater their influence in controlling his acts.

If we turn to the present generation, we find on all sides, evidences of a growing notion that many of the statements contained in the Bible will no longer hold water, when put to the test of scientific enlightenment. A minister of the gospel in this church, and another in that, announces from the pulpit that it is no longer possible for him to[Pg 31] accept the doctrines of hell's fire and eternal damnation. Others follow their example and preach sermons, accordingly, to justify this stand. Next the question of heaven is brought into question by a conscientious divine, who expounds the conviction that it should be accepted in an allegorical meaning, not literally—that instead of being a paradise inhabited by the souls of the elect, it should be considered rather a state of mind of living mortals who behave rightly.

Heaven and hell, a jealous and all-mighty Being, seated on a majestic throne, watching and judging each act of mortal man, punishing and rewarding, through all eternity—these and many other biblical teachings, which for centuries awed the imagination and possessed the souls of humble men and women, have gradually been brought into question.

Some people are inclined to lay blame for this on the churches and the ministers. But that is superficial thinking. The causes for the change were not within the churches, but outside, and the ministers of the gospel, though human beings like the rest of us, were among the very last to take cognizance of them.

The doubts and questions and misgivings evidently began, some time ago, among practical, thoughtful minds of scientific training. Certain[Pg 32] statements in the Bible, in the light of modern investigation, were found to be inaccurate. If parts of it were founded on the ignorance of men of more or less primitive instruction, it is easy to see where this line of reasoning was bound to lead. In addition to the statements of fact, many of the ideas and assumptions set forth in the Bible seemed crude, narrow, cruel—as primitive as the lives of those early peoples among whom it came into existence.

The moral code contained in it—the essence of its religious significance—was undoubtedly sound and eternally true and very possibly inspired from on high, but the details, the images, the formal conceptions were decidedly antiquated and unimpressive to the enlightened spirit of our advanced civilization.

This growing point-of-view began to express itself quite noticeably in the past generation, at least in America. Thoughtful men, when they arrived at it, were inclined to keep it to themselves. They did not care to disturb the simple, whole-souled faith of their wives and mothers and children. But when these men went to church with the family, and had to listen to the literal, orthodox expoundings of antiquated dogmas, they were apt to feel mildly bored and annoyed. They began to beg off from going to church. Then,[Pg 33] little by little, in the various church congregations, there was a disquieting falling off in the attendance of men-folk.

Then some of these men began to exchange their views quietly with others, who felt the same way. Articles were written, here and there, calling certain dogmas into question—and women were sometimes led to take part in the discussions and face the conclusions.

Women, as has been observed from time immemorial, are by nature more conservative than men, more inclined to accept existing conventions and be governed by traditions. They are also more impressionable and the outward forms of church service mean more to them. Religious stimulant can come to them through their feelings and imagination without greatly involving the intellect. The same is true of children.

So it has happened that while the men questioned, lost faith and balked at church-going, the women and children kept on dutifully, for the most part content to accept things as they had always been.

But the contagion of advanced thought was in the air, spreading among progressive men, reacting to a certain extent among women, and it was probably not until this had been going on for some time that it began to be taken into account by the[Pg 34] clergy. Sooner or later it had to be, if the church was to preserve any harmony with the thoughts of its congregation.

At the present time, things have reached a point where if you ask any of the younger women, of average intelligence and education, her sentiments concerning hell's fire and heaven's glories, and the jealous on-looking God who demands to be worshipped, the chances are she will answer with a shrug that those things are no longer preached by progressive ministers. She believes in the Bible, certainly, and considers herself a good Christian, but certain portions of the divine word, certain conceptions of the past, are no longer acceptable—they have gone into the discard.

And these women, holding such a view, have no hesitancy in expressing it in the presence of their children, if it so happens that they are old enough to be sitting by, listening to the conversation.

In the light of all this, when we come to consider the force of religion as a restraining influence in the growing lives of the new generation, the nature and extent of the changes is fairly obvious.

Let us suppose that to-day the average little children still have the beginnings of their religious training in much the same way as it has always[Pg 35] been. And a large proportion of them undoubtedly do, because that is one of the family traditions which almost any mother would be loath to change.

The children, then, are taught to say their daily prayer—they are told that God hears them and sees them—that God is all-wise and all-powerful—that He loves good people and rewards them, while people, who do wrong, anger Him and cannot escape His punishment. And this teaching is continued and developed in the Sunday school, as soon as the children are old enough to go there.

The child mind absorbs all this, accepts it with the same simple faith with which it has accepted Santa Claus.

If we consider the period of early childhood carefully, we find that these two beliefs, so to speak, go hand in hand—and there is much similarity between them. Most children are also taught about Santa Claus from the earliest days. He becomes very real and wonderfully important in the child imagination. He, too, has a mysterious way of knowing whether people are good or bad; he, too, loves the good ones and rewards them by bringing them beautiful presents—and if the bad ones are too bad, he is liable to punish them by giving them no presents at all. Instead of praying to him at night, you can write him letters[Pg 36] which he has a way of getting from the chimney, so that he, too, can understand the innermost wishes of your heart.

Sooner or later, however, the time must come when the existence of Santa Claus is called into doubt. The doubt usually begins with some remark made by an older boy or girl. But even if older boys and girls kept their mouths shut, the time would surely come when a growing mind would begin puzzling, reasoning, doubting, and by putting two and two together, would be forced to the conclusion that this pretty idea was only a make-believe, a myth, a humbug. A little further reflection might tell it that the myth must have been invented by some one, long ago, and was kept alive and carried on by people, generation after generation, on account of the value and influence it was found to have in bringing up children.

Even after a child has become too wise to believe any longer in Santa Claus, when the first reaction of feeling fooled and cheated is over, it is perfectly willing to go on pretending for the sake of little brother and sister, and when it grows up and has children of its own, it will go on pretending for them.

In the present generation, what is happening in the case of many people with regard to religious beliefs, is only one step removed. At a[Pg 37] little later period of development, no doubt, but almost as inevitably, the moment arrives when the childhood teachings and conceptions begin to be called into question.

Is there really an all-wise Lord, looking on and listening when you say your evening prayers? How many ears and eyes He must have, when so many people are doing the same thing at the same time—hundreds, thousands, millions—all talking to Him at once—in different languages and about different things!

It was the same way about Santa Claus. How could he be bringing so many presents to so many people, all over the world, and delivering them personally, on the same Christmas eve? It would have taken him years to get through with all the houses in New York City alone—without thinking of London and Paris and all the other places.

In the past, when such a question came to mind and found expression, the answer was comparatively simple and direct. Religion is a matter of faith, not argument; the ways of the Lord surpass the human understanding: the Bible and the church are the authority, what they teach and ordain is to be accepted and obeyed. To doubt, or question, or disbelieve is the beginning of sin, and the consequences may be terrible.

When the individual was trained to the habit of[Pg 38] obedience—when the attitude of the spirit within was one of respect and reverence for established authority and established traditions—that was one thing. If mothers and fathers and neighbors and wiser heads everywhere accepted this great mystery unqualifiedly, on faith, as the guiding light of their lives, was it not enough for their sons and daughters to follow their example and do likewise?

But in the new generation, as we have seen, the twig has already been bent in a different direction. Before the time comes for the young person to be bothered with thoughts about religion, he or she has already acquired the notion that the example of mother and father does not need to be followed in many things. Some of their ideas and traditions have become antiquated and more or less ridiculous in the light of the new movement. When one begins to make enquiries about this question of the Bible, enough has been said and heard to indicate that certain of its assumptions, at least, will no longer hold water and have been discarded by the ministers, themselves. So, say many of the new generation, when you come down to it, what is there to prove that these religious beliefs may not, after all, be only a legend, something like the one about Santa Claus, evolved in the distant past, kept alive and adhered to, [Pg 39]generation after generation, for the same sort of reason?

A far greater number find it more convenient to refrain from expressing themselves. They may even go to church, occasionally, and they observe a superficial deference for the established forms of religion. But they are very little concerned in the sayings of the Bible, or the sermons of the ministers; they don't ask, or expect, any help from the Lord—nor do they live in fear of His punishment.

It is not to be inferred that any large proportion of the new generation have consciously or definitely followed out the chain of reasoning which we have indicated. Most of them don't bother their heads to think very far about such a serious subject. Their attitude, on this question, as on many others, is apt to be arrived at, in a more or less subconscious way.

If a growing nature has not been schooled to obedience; if it has learned to question and often disregard the ideas of its parents and elders and has formed the habit of laughing at old-fashioned traditions and conventions, there is nothing to be wondered at, if, when the time comes, it is prepared to take a more or less similar view of Bible and church.

That, undoubtedly, is the present tendency.[Pg 40]

Now it is more than likely that such thoughts as these seem objectionable to many good Christians, because they consider that every well-intentioned person should strive to uphold the church and to refrain from the expression of ideas that might tend to unsettle faith.

Let me assure such people that my intentions are really of the best and I am as deeply concerned as they can be about the influences which appear to be undermining the spiritual welfare of my fellow beings.

But for the present, my aim is to look facts in the face, and to endeavor, patiently and simply, to understand and explain. When we have done our best in this direction, it will be time enough to hazard opinions and offer suggestions.

Also, let us bear in mind that in this question of religion, as in the other questions we have touched upon, it is only a tendency which we have been considering—a fairly general tendency, to be sure, but still only a tendency. In some communities, in some families, in some sects, it may be hardly noticeable.

At the moment I write these lines, the newspapers are full of a new movement undertaken by leading church societies of various denominations to have laws enacted, enforcing the [Pg 41]observance of the Sabbath. They aim to bring about by this means, a return to the habits of church-going and Bible reading, as they were in the days of our forefathers. The very existence of such a movement is sufficient evidence of the tendency they seek to combat. Whether any law could be counted on to accomplish their purpose is another question, which need not concern us for the time being.

If we go back to our main thread of enquiry and draw together the results of our observations, they seem to offer a comparatively simple diagnosis of this supposedly mysterious disease which has gotten hold of our young people. We have located the seat of the trouble and indicated the nature of the developments which have, so to speak, thrown the motives of conduct out of their accustomed balance.

Obedience, discipline, respect for authority and traditions, consideration for others, fear of punishment, fear of consequences, fear of God,—these great check-weights to self-interest, self-seeking, have lost in weight and substance to such an extent that they no longer turn the scales and point the way. If our diagnosis is on the whole correct, we have finished with the first part of the problem.[Pg 42]

N.Y. Times, July 5, 1921.—Says lax parents make boy felons. Judge Talley analyzes youthful crime. Defiance begins at home.

Judge Alfred J. Talley of the Court of General Sessions told several thousand persons gathered in the Mall in Central Park for an Independence Day celebration by the Knights of Columbus yesterday afternoon that modern American children are not brought up with the proper respect for their parents, law and order, or constituted authority, and that the fault lies with their elders. Judge Talley described the situation as a "cancer on the body politic." He drew a distinction between liberty and license and said that his experience in the criminal courts of New York had brought one great American failing very strongly home to him.

"The one thing the American people lack to-day," he said, "is a proper method for bringing up their children. I see the results of this every day. The hardened criminals turn out to be youths of 19 and 20 years who first thrust themselves against law and order at 16 and 17 years, and who at 14 told their fathers that they were leaving school—and left.

"Behind this hardened criminal stands the sullen drab figure of a girl who tries to show how loyal she is to the vagabond in the hands of the law. It all began with a misguided idea of liberty. The youth is the one who told his father he had had all the education he needed and promptly became a street corner type, and the girl, she who silenced her mother when bound for a dance by tossing aside criticism of the indecent dress she wore.

"In our schools to-day the child stands defiant and the teacher is unable to use the only kind of discipline that would do any good. The parent at home fails to understand disciplinary methods, and so we have the picture of the father obeying the son instead of the son the father; and the mother obeys the daughter."

To support his contention, Judge Talley said that statistics supplied a few weeks ago by the New York State Prison Commission showed the average age of penitentiary inmates to be 19 years. "This means that they began their criminal careers at 16 and 17, an age at which no Judge sends them to State prison. What is to be done to stem this tide of youthful depravity? There is only one way—we must encourage morality in public and in private, which means that we must bring back to our American life high standards and high ideals."

[Pg 43]



In the eyes of some good folks, the behavior of the girls and boys and young married people to-day appears totally unprincipled; and the good folks throw up their hands and declare "they can't understand it." As a matter of fact, they haven't tried to understand it and most of them are very far from understanding it.

There are nearly always two sides to a question—to any question—and no matter how strongly your personal views may incline you to take one side, before passing judgment, it is no more than common fairness to give the other side a chance to explain and justify its attitude. There is certainly very little chance of convincing your opponents that they are wrong, unless you have a fairly clear notion of what it is they have in mind.

It is quite natural for a grandmother to regard as "unprincipled," the conduct of this new generation. It is obviously not controlled by the same principles that she has lived by. She is[Pg 44] impressed and disturbed by the disappearance of her principles and the shocking effects. The "impossible notions" that have apparently taken their place are beyond her comprehension, but she certainly would not dignify them by the name of principles.

But if these "impossible notions" are all that the new generation has to go by, and if they represent its spirit and attitude toward the problem of life, it makes little difference whether they be called principles or not, a principle of some sort is involved in them.

The first thing to do, therefore, is to arrive at as clear an understanding as possible as to what this principle is and what it implies.

Very little observation is needed to arrive at the conclusion that the essence of this new principle is the right of the individual nature to its fullest expression, to its most untrammelled development.

A large proportion of the new generation may not be consciously aware of this doctrine, or of their adhesion to it. But it is in the air and they absorb it; it grows up within them, as an unconscious product of other influences; it is present in those about them, and the "herd instinct" causes them to adopt it.

There are also a number who have given[Pg 45] thought to the subject and are convinced of the soundness and progress of the new principle. They are prepared to defend it and proclaim it with a touch of superiority. Here and there, in magazine articles and newspapers, it is finding more or less authoritative expression and endorsement.

The following quotations, for instance, are from an article which appeared recently on the editorial page of the Hearst Newspapers. They represent some views on education by a leading exponent of advanced thought.

One great end of education that ought forever to be in mind is that the greatest enemy of attainment, as it is indeed of life itself, is Fear.

No man or woman can ever do good work, in the world, whatever be the task, until he has stricken from his hands and head and his heart the chains of Fear.

The very first lesson to teach a baby is to be unafraid.

Instead of that, fear is constantly resorted to in the family and in the school-room. We bribe, we threaten, we wheedle, we bull-doze. And by every such act, we do the child irreparable harm.

You ought to be much more thankful to God that your child defies you, than that he cringes before you.

It should always be kept in mind that what you are after with your child is not that he should learn obedience, but that he should learn how to govern himself.

The road to obedience is short, easy and nasty. All you need is a big stick. If you can be cruel and brutal enough, the little one will quickly learn to jump when you speak to him.

This is a part of the new principle, forcibly and typically expressed.[Pg 46]

Is it any wonder that grandmother, brought up under the "Spare the rod, and spoil the child" and "Children should be seen, not heard" convictions, should find herself bewildered by such notions—that she should deem them "impossible."

Another article of a somewhat different kind which appeared recently in the Atlantic Monthly, was written by an Englishman, a moralist of the modern school. His lesson is addressed to women and the main point of it, developed in a most interesting and reassuring way, is that they are too much afraid of conventional ideas, of public opinion. They should not permit their aspirations and inclinations to be stifled by such considerations, but have the courage to give freer rein to their inner longings.

He refers, in his article, to the fact that American women are said to be far more advanced in this respect than their English cousins and approves of their example.

These, of course, are only scattered specimens of the many articles which have appeared and will continue to appear in support of the new principle.

And in this connection a rather curious side-light has come to my attention repeatedly, within the past few years. Among a certain class of people, especially those who pride themselves on superior intelligence and advanced thought, there[Pg 47] has been a pronounced revival of interest and admiration for the free verse and freer morals of Walt Whitman. He has been, so to speak, re-discovered and embraced as a guide and a prophet. His creed of life, so exuberantly and defiantly expressed, was the exalted importance of his own ego. Wherever his desires led him, wherever joy for himself was to be found, there would he go, unabashed and inconsiderate.

With these indications in mind, we may proceed to consider some actual examples which will serve to illustrate.

A certain young woman is well-born and well-bred, occupying a prominent social position, decidedly intelligent—and good-looking, to boot. She has a husband of her own class and kind, who has always been devoted to her, and three lovely children, two boys and a girl.

She has apparently given considerable thought to the problem of life, and the point-of-view she arrived at finally would seem to be a typical product of modern ideas.

She believes first and foremost in the absolute right of the individual soul to recognize no master but itself—to follow out its desires and aspirations to the fullest extent. She has a feeling of scorn and contempt for conventions and conventional people. If you pay any attention to them,[Pg 48] or their narrow, sheep-like opinions, or allow them to interfere in any way with your freedom of action, you are belittling yourself and your self-respect.

You must never be afraid to obey your own impulses. They come from within you, they are a part of your nature—your self—and that is where your true duty lies. It is better that you should be true to yourself, even at the expense of others, than that you should be afraid and cowardly.

The very fact that a desire, or an impulse, makes itself felt within you is the main point. It is not really the things you do that matter so much, as your wish to do them. If you wish to do a thing, and hold back out of cowardice, or fear of the consequences, that doesn't make you any better—only weaker and worse. You can't deny that the wish was there—without lying to yourself—so what's the use?

It is finer and braver to go on with it and attain at least the satisfaction of a wish fulfilled.

"But," some one objects, "how about your obligations to others? Suppose by doing the thing you wish, you will harm them?"

This little lady's answer to such an objection is usually accompanied by a shrug and a mildly condescending expression.

"If you are going to keep bothering your head[Pg 49] about the effect of your actions on other people, might as well give up at the start and be a nice little sheep. The game isn't worth the candle.

"Besides, there's more humbug in that than any of the other bromides, weak natures prate about. Most people in this world have got to look out for themselves. You can't hope to be anything, or do anything worth while without occasionally treading on some one's toes. It has always been that way and if you're honest with yourself, you may as well recognize the fact and accept it philosophically.

"In most cases the harm that you do is much less than you imagine. That usually takes care of itself, somehow."

If people bore her, she doesn't believe in pretending that they interest her. She will not invite them to her house, or accept their invitations.

If she has agreed to go somewhere, where she expects to amuse herself and then, at the last moment, no longer feels in the mood for it, she calls it off. Or if in the meantime, something else turns up that she would prefer to do, she does not hesitate to switch to the thing she prefers.

If people don't like that, it is their affair. She[Pg 50] has no intention of cramping her freedom, denying her desires, on their account. What she does means more to her than it does to anybody else. There is no good reason for her to pretend to be any different from what she is.

Moreover, in this particular case, there can be very little doubt, among those who know her, that she practices what she preaches. This, too, is something which occurs more frequently in the new generation than it did in the past. There is no great trouble in accommodating practice to theory—or rather the theory accommodates itself very readily to the kind of conduct which persons of this kind are ready to practice.

For instance, the lady in question wanted to visit Chinatown in one of the large cities and arranged with a professional guide to be taken there at night, alone with a girl friend. Among other things, they saw a Chinaman smoking opium and this gave rise to a desire on her part to experience the sensation for herself. The guide was prevailed upon, for a consideration, to procure her an outfit and a supply of opium; and that very night in her room she took a try at an opium dream. Why not?

At another time, at a cabaret party, she was introduced to a somewhat notorious young man of the Bohemian world. He was obviously[Pg 51] dissolute, but talented and interesting. She danced with him, gave him encouragement, invited him to her home and was not afraid to be seen going about with him frequently on terms of intimacy. Among other things, he was addicted to the cocaine habit—he sniffed the powder from the back of his hand—and in due time he talked to her about it. He presented her with a bottle of the drug and after that, she always had a supply in reserve which she used when the impulse came. Why not?

If her husband had any objection to things that she did, he soon learned to keep them to himself. She could not and would not tolerate any interference with the rights of an individual soul. She must have the same freedom that she conceded to him. The kind of thing he chose to do, apart from her, was a matter for him to decide in accordance with his nature. The same rule must apply to her. The days of slavery had passed. Marriage was an arrangement between equals.

In due course of time, the husband had to leave her and the children for war service. While he was away, she fell in with another talented and dissipated Bohemian—a romantic-looking musician very much in the public eye. Very quickly their infatuation for each other was a matter of[Pg 52] open comment on the part of the veriest on-looker. As he had the same idea that she had about the rights of the individual, and the same contempt for conventions and conventional people, there was no pretense of concealment, no need of observing the proprieties.

When the husband returned from overseas, she informed him, with the utmost candor of what had taken place. There was no shame and no remorse. Why should there be? A simple statement of fact—the forces of human nature in operation. She had found some one who appealed to her impulses more strongly than he. That was a truth which had to be accepted. The simplest way was to allow her to get a divorce.

But what of the children?

A very simple answer. Whether they went with their father or stayed with their mother—or were taken by the grandparents—anything was really better for children than being brought up in an atmosphere where all was pretense and whence love had flown. Of course she loved her children and always would, but if they grew up to be the right sort, they would understand her motives and admire her the more for being true to herself.

This case embodies the practical working of the new principle, carried to an extreme.[Pg 53]

Here is another example of a different order: Two pretty girls of eighteen or twenty were talking together in the seat in front of me, in a trolley car. They turned out to be telephone operators at central switchboards. They were talking over their plans, which contemplated a visit to the movies with two young men—a supper and dance afterwards. The young men were still to be heard from and as the girls were going to separate places of employment the question was how to let each other know about final arrangements. For reasons best known to themselves, it wouldn't be wise to attempt that over the 'phone—they had better meet somewhere. Whereupon one of the girls suggested a place convenient to them both, where they could slip out and meet each other—at four o'clock. She would "plug in" all the terminals on her switchboard, so that all the lines in that central would be reported "busy" when people called up, and the other girl could do the same. Then they could talk things over quietly. "Nothing to be afraid of." And so they agreed. Why not?

Here is another symptom:

A married woman of my acquaintance is decidedly old-fashioned in her respect for conventions and moral standards. She has a sweet and rather shy daughter, who has been brought up[Pg 54] closely under the mother's wing, and has never lost the habit of asking and telling her mother everything. She is seventeen.

One summer evening, recently, the daughter was called up on the 'phone by one of her girl friends and asked to make one of the party, who were arranging an impromptu dance at a private house. The girl friend and her brother would stop for her in their car and bring her home afterwards.

When the invitation was referred to mother, after a moment of hesitation and worry about the propriety of the proceeding, she gave her consent. Shortly after, the friend and her brother stopped at the house and took the daughter with them.

When she got back home, after midnight, she went to her mother's room and told her, at her bed-side, what had happened.

After they got to the house where the dance was to be and the others had all gathered there, it was decided for some reason to adjourn to another house. To get to this other house, the daughter was put into an automobile with a girl and two young men. She sat in front, beside the young man who was driving. She knew him only slightly, had danced with him a few times and thought him rather nice.

On the way, after chatting and joking, this young man stopped the car, then suddenly kissed[Pg 55] her and took her in his arms. She didn't know what to do. When she looked around, she found that the same thing was going on in the back seat between the other boy and girl.

The young man beside her wouldn't listen to her objections. They seemed to take it for granted. If you liked each other, why shouldn't you? He said he liked her.

The occurrence is fairly typical of up-to-date standards—except in one particular. Most girls refrain from mentioning it to mother.

Here is another symptom, of slightly different complexion which applies to married life and suggests the extent to which the new principle is bearing fruit, in society circles.

It was brought to my notice, last summer, that in one colony on Long Island where I happened to be, there were fourteen different houses where the wife had deserted the family and the husband was keeping house alone with the children. This was among members of the fashionable set. In each of these cases, of course, the wife had come across some man who, for the time being at least, appealed to her more than her husband and a divorce had been obtained in some convenient way, or was in the process of obtaining.

It usually happens when a discussion takes place concerning the immorality of the present[Pg 56] day, that some member of the party will advance the opinion in a more or less authoritative way that the tendency in question is confined almost entirely to the so-called upper crust of society and is consequently not entitled to the significance which is being attributed to it. The great mass of the people, in their simple homes and simple communities, are not in the least contaminated or disturbed by it. They are just as moral and clean-minded as they ever were, probably more so. Among the rich and idle upper classes, there has always been a lot of dissipation and immorality in all countries, at all times. If America is getting a little more than usual of it, at present, that is nothing to get excited about.

In the face of such sentiments, cheerily and forcibly expressed, the average gossip and fault-finder is usually willing to acquiesce with a shrug. And so the discussion ends with a feeling that an attempt has been made to exaggerate the importance of a restricted and unrepresentative class.

As a matter of fact, this kind of talk would appear to be founded on neither accurate information nor sound reasoning.

As regards the lower and middle classes—including those in small communities—especially those in small communities—it has been called to[Pg 57] my attention repeatedly by those in a position to know that the change in standards, the so-called demoralization, has been quite as extreme as among the upper crust. And this view is in accord with my own notion.

Two important agents of the new movement are the automobile and the moving picture show. The mechanic's daughter, the store-keeper's daughter, the farmer's daughter like to go to the movies. It may be at first the mother, or father, took care to find out who the daughter was going with and how. A girl friend and her brother. How are they going? In the friend's automobile. Another time the father runs the daughter over to the friend's house in the Ford car. Another time the daughter runs herself over to the friend's house in the Ford car. It is only a short way. Or again, it is the friend's brother who stops for her, on his way to get the sister. After a while, this going to the movies has become such a frequent occurrence, that it is accepted as a matter of course, without bother or comment. If perchance the daughter comes home, some night, later than usual and the mother feels uneasy, the explanation is very simple. Instead of going to the nearby theatre, the daughter and her friend went over to a neighboring town where a more interesting picture was showing. In the end the[Pg 58] daughter goes off about when she pleases and comes back in the same way.

Very often the stories she sees on the screen are largely seasoned with material that stirs the imagination and emotions in a hectic sexual way. If the girl and a young man get into a Ford car together to go home by moonlight, is it to be wondered at that the car comes to a stop on the lonely road and they forget old-fashioned proprieties?

The extent to which this sort of thing has been going on in many of the small town communities, according to the information I have received, is far too serious to be glossed over with easy optimism. In one relatively small and primitive district I happened to know of, more than one-half of the families with marriageable daughters have within the last three years had to bear the shame of illegitimate off-spring.

In the cities and larger towns, the same tendency appears to be in full swing among the shop-girls, stenographers, and daughters in the humbler walks of life.[Pg 59]



In any case, from the examples and indications which we have cited and countless others of a similar kind which come within the experience of almost every one, nowadays, there can be little room for doubt that the new principle of conduct is very much in evidence throughout the length and breadth of our land. Consciously or unconsciously, it is affecting the character and determining the point-of-view of vast numbers in the new generation.

If you attempt to reason with them and they are willing and intelligent enough to express themselves frankly, their answer and justification for the way they are going sums up about as follows:

"Why shouldn't I think of myself and do what I like and want, as often as I get the chance?

"As long as I steer clear of the law and avoid breaking my neck, what other consequences are there that I need to keep worrying about?[Pg 60]

"Why shouldn't I be a pleasure-seeker and a pleasure-lover? Why shouldn't I follow my inclinations and do what I like, whenever and wherever I get the chance?"

Why not?

If you expect them to act contrary to their inclinations, to deny themselves the pleasures that they want, and to do things they do not feel like doing, there ought to be a good and sufficient reason. It ought to be so clear and convincing that it can be accepted with a whole heart and a settled resolve to abide by it.

The young people of to-day are made of exactly the same stuff as the young people of any other day. They have the same sort of instincts and the same underlying aspiration to get the most and the best out of life. Owing to altered conditions, for reasons which we have outlined, they are being left to go about it very largely in their own way, with less coercion from without, than young people have probably ever known before in the history of civilization.

How far will you get by telling them that the way they are going is immoral and sinful? They can answer by saying "If I choose to be immoral and satisfy myself, why shouldn't I? I'm not afraid of being sinful, or any of those old-fashioned scare-crows."[Pg 61]

How far will you get by advising that the rod be taken out again and that they be beaten into submission to forms of authority which they no longer believe in or respect? This might result in teaching them duplicity and cunning and resentment, but probably nothing more beneficial to their spiritual health.

It seems to me more sensible to be patient with them and talk matters over with them and try to answer their question in exactly the same spirit in which it is asked.

The question is "Why shouldn't I go ahead and gratify my inclinations in any way that suits myself."

There are many reasons, some of which ought not to be very difficult for any one to understand. Broadly speaking, they are of three different kinds—First, experience; second, affection; third, faith.

Let us examine them in order, in a simple, leisurely way, and try to make clear the essence of each.

What does the question of experience lead to and imply?

First, there is one's own experience; then there is the experience of other people.

Our own experience teaches us very quickly that we often have impulses which it would be a[Pg 62] mistake to obey. If you feel like pulling a strange dog's tail and the dog turns on you and bites your hand and the wound has to be cauterized, and you have to go through a lot of pain and trouble and fear of hydrophobia, one lesson will probably be enough for you.

Suppose you are overheated and feel like sitting in a draft and letting the cool air blow on you, and this is followed by a heavy cold which lays you up for a week or two?

Or suppose you are on top of a tall building and feel a strong impulse to jump out and go sailing through the air? Many people have this impulse, but they have previously had enough experience to know what happens to people who fall from high places.

The number of such examples might be multiplied indefinitely, but enough has been suggested to indicate the principle. It is quite obvious and childishly simple—the lessons taught to each and every one of us by our own experience.

Now let us follow this path a step further. It is quite possible for you to have impulses and inclinations to do things which might cause you irreparable harm. The consequences of these things are not something that you can remember and foresee, because in your own experience they have not occurred before. If you stick to your[Pg 63] idea of obeying no one but yourself and of being unafraid to do what you want, the lesson in store for you may come too late.

Certain impulses of yours, if followed, may cause death. Others may cause permanent injury to yourself, or irreparable harm to others.

A little boy seeing an automobile coming along the road sometimes has an impulse to run across the road in front of the automobile, for the fun and excitement of it. If you are a boy and feel like it, why shouldn't you?

You have never tripped and fallen in front of an automobile—you have never misjudged the speed of it and been struck and killed that way.

You have never seen any other boy killed that way. There is nothing in your own experience to deter you.

If the automobile happens to hit you, you will have acquired experience that might be useful to you, but the cost is too great. If you are not dead, you may be crippled for life.

If you are convalescing from typhoid fever, you are likely to have a ravenous appetite. You feel very well and you derive considerable pleasure from the milk-toast and soft-boiled eggs you have been getting, but they do not begin to satisfy you. Every instinct within you calls for a big piece of juicy beef-steak and fried potatoes. There is[Pg 64] no reason in your experience why you should not gratify your desire—you may have been told by the doctor that it isn't time for that yet and you must be content with what is ordered for you. But if you believe in doing what you feel like and the doctor is out of the way, why not have your beef-steak? I happen to know of two separate cases where this occurred—friends of mine. The doctor in each case apparently took too much for granted and failed to impress upon their minds forcibly enough the need of obeying his orders rather than their own inclinations. The experience came too late—because it brought death with it.

Or suppose you are in some out-of-the-way place and are hot and tired and very thirsty and the only water available comes from a supply which is not fit to drink? You may have been told this by some one who knows more about it than you do, but if you believe in ignoring other people's opinions and thinking only of yourself—and the water is cool and clear and you feel like drinking it, why shouldn't you? Suppose it turns out that clear, cool water may be polluted with cholera, or yellow fever, or other deadly germs? You may never recover from the effects of it.

These are crude, haphazard illustrations of a principle which is constantly at work in human[Pg 65] lives in a great variety of ways. The obvious meaning of it is that your experience, or your own lack of experience, in many questions and emergencies may not be enough for you to go by, or depend upon.

Most young people have had very little experience of many things that are liable to have a vital bearing on their own lives, their own selves, their own hope of happiness.

As a matter of fact it must be evident to any one who will reflect a moment, that no one individual, however long he may have lived, or however full and varied his life may have been, can possibly have had in his own personal experience more than a small fraction of the things that may occur and do keep occurring in the world of humanity.

If he has led a clean, healthy, vigorous life, he cannot have experienced the feelings and problems of a drunkard and dope-fiend slowly submerging in dissipation and vice. If he married young and has known the joy of entire devotion to a loyal and loving helpmate, he cannot have had the experience of a profligate who has been divorced four times and is about to take another chance with a dashing grass-widow. Hundreds and thousands of situations that other human [Pg 66]beings are called upon to face, he cannot have gone through on his own account.

But if we are able to find out and bear in mind the experience of other people, we can make use of it, as a warning and a guide, in much the same way as if it had happened to ourselves. If I have seen a boy try to run across the road in front of an automobile and stumble and get killed, it is not necessary for me to get killed in order to appreciate the danger of the experiment. You may never have seen this happen, but if I have and I tell you about it, you can use the information you get from me and still save yourself the necessity of risking your neck.

This principle is not at all difficult to understand. It has always been applied, to greater or less extent, in the lives of all human beings, everywhere. It is no more than common sense to profit by the experiences of others, and try to avoid their mistakes.

It seems strange that such a universal principle should be overlooked by the up-to-date minds of the new generation. Yet the least little glimmer of light from it would in itself seem to be a sufficient answer to their question.

"Why shouldn't I go ahead and gratify all my impulses?"

Because although your own limited experience[Pg 67] may be insufficient to warn you and guide you, the experience of other people has shown repeatedly that such and such impulses usually lead to such and such consequences which would be very harmful to you.

In the long run the results of others' experience are a better guide to follow than your selfish impulses. You wish to be intelligent and reasonable, don't you? Well, if you lack experience and understanding, it is neither intelligent nor reasonable to imagine that you are the best judge of the consequences.

Of course, the examples we have cited so far—the strange dog that bites, the boy and the automobile, typhoid fever and polluted water—are very elementary. Also the questions they involve—the harmful consequences of certain impulses—are direct and immediate and entirely material. They serve well enough to answer a question and illustrate a principle and that is all they were intended for. The principle is worth bearing in mind, because its application extends to all sorts of complicated questions of conduct. One reason that the young people of to-day are so confused in their moral ideas is just because they have been allowed to overlook this simple, fundamental principle.

It frequently happens that the most important[Pg 68] consequences of the thing you do, or fail to do, are not direct and immediate but fairly remote and obscure. An individual without much experience or knowledge of the world may easily neglect to consider them.

For instance, I have known several cases where young men of good family forged their fathers' names. They were up-to-date young men, of course. But even so, how could they come to do such a thing?

By gratifying their inclinations, in the first place, in accordance with the up-to-date idea. One natural consequence of this is that, in order to gratify a new inclination, or as a result of having gratified the last one, it becomes necessary to have more money. That is one of the annoyances of civilization, which even the most advanced of the new generation haven't yet been able to change. Many of their pet impulses cannot be indulged without money. It is an old-fashioned convention and very irksome, but for the time being, at least, it has to be made the best of.

The young men in question eventually found themselves faced with this problem. They had to have money. How could they get it? Not by asking their mother, or father, for it. That source of supply had been used up to the last drop, with the help of all sorts of pretexts, subterfuges and[Pg 69] broken promises. There was no longer any available friend or relative to borrow from. That resource had also been used up. They had no jewelry left to pawn—that had been used up, too.

So finally, for the want of a better way, they arrived at this scheme of signing their fathers' names to checks.

After all, looking at it from their point-of-view, and bearing in mind the freedom of the individual, why shouldn't they?

It would do no great harm to their fathers—no real harm at all. They had plenty of money in the bank.

But it would constitute forgery—a serious offense, against the law. "What of that? So is speeding an automobile against the law. Who's afraid of breaking the law—if you have the nerve?"

Is there no such thing as right and wrong? Don't you know in your heart that this would be wrong—very wrong?

"I've been fed up with that kind of talk all my life. What other people think about such things is their affair. I believe in deciding for myself and doing as I like.

"The main thing I've got to consider is my chance of getting away with it and what is liable to happen if I don't. I am sure I can make a[Pg 70] good enough imitation of my father's signature to get the check cashed at one of the stores the family deals with. If it goes to the bank along with other checks and the amount is not large, there is small chance of any attention being paid to it. If it once gets into father's account at the bank, as likely as not it will never be discovered. And even if it should be, at some future date, no father would bring a charge against his own son. So the worst that can happen is another one of those family scenes which I have gone through before.

"The most important thing of all is that I need the money—I've got to have it—and this is the least objectionable way I can think of to get it."

This is presumably the process of reasoning the young men in question went through. In each case the immediate consequence of the act was apparently harmless and quite satisfactory to them. They got the money they wanted, the checks were taken in at the bank, time passed and no one knew the difference.

The indirect and remote consequences of this kind of conduct, however, came eventually. They nearly always do. The forgeries in each case were repeated—why shouldn't they be? And the day finally arrived when they were brought to light. In each of the cases the suffering and heart-break[Pg 71] of the mothers and fathers was pitiful and beyond recovery in this world. That was one of the indirect consequences.

One of the young men, whom I had known as a bright, attractive collegian, was sent to prison, eventually, in spite of all his family could do. Another died in an institution for incurables. All forfeited their birthright of home, family, decent associations and ended up in degradation and wreckage.

That was one of the remote consequences.

Let us take a more usual example, much less extreme—the young man who steps on the throttle of his automobile because he feels like going fast.

As far as his own experience is concerned, where is the reason for him to deny his impulse?

If a traffic cop happens to see him, he might get "pinched" and fined. That's about the only thing worth considering. But if he keeps his eyes open and his companions in the back seat watch out behind, there's not much chance of that. And after all, suppose he does happen to "get pinched," what of it? There are plenty of others. His father will have to pay a fine and there will be a little scolding and unpleasantness in the family, at the worst.

As for the danger, who's afraid of that? It only makes it more exciting and more fun.[Pg 72]

The result is logical enough, if you start with the premise that each individual is free to follow his inclinations and decide for himself.

Very few young men have sufficient experience of their own, or sufficient reflection and wisdom, to give due weight to the indirect and remote consequences which may come from such conduct.

Let us pause and imagine a few of them.

In the first place, an automobile skimming along the road at the rate of sixty or seventy miles an hour has in it elements of danger which are entitled to some consideration. The danger is not only for those who are in the car, but also for others who may wish to use the same road. An accumulated mass of experience has amply demonstrated this. That is the underlying reason for the speed laws—not that young men may be "pinched" by "traffic cops" and fathers be made to pay fines.

If the young man driving the car were the only one concerned in the danger, it might be different. He could claim the right to risk his own neck when he felt like it, and it might be conceded to him. But such is not the case—such is never the case—other people cannot help being affected by his conduct. His companions in the car, their families, his own family, other people on the road and all[Pg 73] their families, may be very much concerned in a possible accident caused by his recklessness.

If he kills a little girl, or a boy on a bicycle, or a lady coming out of a cross-road, or if the damage is merely the injury of a few people and the wrecking of a car, there are sure to be unpleasant consequences for the young man himself.

So much for the question of accident or danger of accident, but there is another question of another sort involved.

Suppose the young man has promised his mother and father that he would not drive fast—never above thirty miles an hour—suppose it was on this distinct understanding that their anxiety was allayed and he was trusted to take the car by himself wherever he liked?

Does it make any difference to him whether he breaks a promise—to his mother and father?

He can say to himself that it is only a natural fussiness on their part, and as they are not in the car, they won't know anything about it.

But sooner or later they do know about it; such things nearly always have a way of coming to light. It is an old saying which has been very generally confirmed that, in the long run, "the truth will out." One of the girls in the car tells somebody how fast they went and that somebody refers to it before others until it gets to the boy's[Pg 74] mother and father. What harm to the boy? A little scolding, perhaps, and a repetition of the warning and the promise?

That's only the superficial consequence. There is a deeper and more remote one. The parents' confidence in their boy receives a shock. The boy can't always be trusted to keep his word. Also he is inclined to be reckless and irresponsible.

The parents have always idolized the boy; the father has never ceased looking forward to the day when he could turn over to his son a big share of his responsibilities and see him carry on the name and prestige of the family. It is the most natural and fondest hope that fathers have.

This hope begins to be undermined when the boy does something which shows that he cannot be trusted. If he will break his word and take a reckless chance, merely for the sake of gratifying a trivial inclination, what is to keep him from doing so, on other occasions for the same reason? The same spirit and the same point-of-view are certain to find repeated opportunities for the same sort of irresponsible conduct.

When, in the course of time, the realization of this finally comes home to the mother and father, the consequences, although remote, are apt to be extremely serious for all concerned—including the boy.[Pg 75]

His character is irresponsible and untrustworthy. His word, or promise, is of no account—he cannot be counted on to keep it. That has been proved by his conduct—unmistakably.

What the harm is to an individual of developing a character of this kind—or a lack of character—is a big and fairly complicated subject which is apparently not much considered by up-to-date young people, who are satisfied to judge things from the point-of-view of selfishness and personal experience. It may be left for discussion later on.

The harm to mother and father and members of the family is also a matter which they incline to imagine is no concern of theirs. According to the new principle, the main consideration is one's own ego and its right to freedom. This question, too, may be left for later discussion.

But there still remains a harm and a loss of a practical, material kind, which in due course is pretty sure to come to the young man, himself. As it has a direct bearing on his pleasures and inclinations, even the most selfish individual should find it worth considering.

If you do things that are reckless and irresponsible, if you break your word and fail to keep your promise, the people who cease to trust you, those who have most to do with you, will treat you accordingly. Those who have it in their[Pg 76] power to contribute largely to your enjoyment, and to your opportunities, will refrain from doing so. Invitations, friendships, relationships of various kinds that might have been at your disposal, will be withheld from you.

To get the most out of life, even from an entirely material and selfish point-of-view, you need a lot of help from other people. First and foremost you need it from your own family, in countless ways.

Suppose your own father, as a result of your irresponsibility, refuses to let you have an automobile to break the speed laws with? Suppose he is forced by experience to realize that you can't be trusted with money, any more than you can be trusted with an automobile? This realization is sure to be a source of great disappointment and sorrow to him, but he has to accept it. He must abandon his hope of turning over his responsibilities to you. If money is placed at your disposal, you may be expected to gamble with it on the stock exchange, or the race-track, or to squander it in gratifications of an unworthy and demoralizing kind. A young man who thinks only of gratifying his inclinations, who is not afraid to be reckless and inconsiderate of others, and who fails to keep his word, is hardly a fit person to be placed in control of money. It frequently happens that a[Pg 77] father feels it a duty, when he makes his will, to tie up the family inheritance in such a way that it will be beyond the reach of an untrustworthy son.

So that the remote and indirect consequences of this kind of conduct may be more harmful to a young man than his lack of experience and understanding makes him aware of, at the time being.

How about the young woman of superior intellect and breeding, who had an inclination to smoke opium, on one occasion, and to sniff cocaine, on another?

Suppose she had been better informed on the subject than she apparently was. Suppose she happened to have a friend, who had been connected with one of the state institutions for drug addicts, and this friend had told her about the inmates—how hopeless and pitiful their degradation was—how abject their slavery to the drug sensation for which they continually yearned. No way has been found to cure them, because they have no will to be cured. And the beginnings of the habit are so often accidental and trivial—curiosity, or bravado, or carelessness on the part of a practitioner. A Harvard college student, of good family, for instance, was on a spree in Boston, with some friends—they went to an opium joint and thought it would be fun to try the[Pg 78] sensation. This particular boy remained in the den twenty-four hours, under the influence. That was the beginning—and the end. He went there again—he got himself a lay-out—and is now a hopeless wreck in the state institution, twenty-one years old. Another is a society woman who was given a dose of heroin and that one dose proved sufficient for her undoing. The craving for it came and she wanted more and more.

Or suppose some one had told her about a very remarkable case which came to my attention, a number of years ago. Four young physicians were associates on the staff of one of our leading medical institutions. A considerable part of their time was devoted to research work and among other things they started experimenting with the effects of cocaine, which was a comparatively recent discovery. They were brilliant young men of unusual character and promise, but all four succumbed to the cocaine habit. The last of them died in pitiful degradation, within five years of their first experiment.

Experience has shown that just as there are certain poisons which the bodily functions are unable to resist, so there are certain drugs which have the effect of sapping the will and distorting the judgment. The craving which they leave in[Pg 79] their wake may very easily become so compelling that human nature cannot resist it.

So that if any society woman has sufficient understanding of the subject, there is plenty of reason why she should dismiss an inclination to try opium-smoking, or cocaine sniffing. The impulse is mere whim, silly curiosity—the consequences may be degrading, terrible.

But if she believes in paying no heed to the conventional ideas of other people, and is lacking in experience and knowledge of her own, she may be very well pleased with herself for her daring. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread"—that is an old saying which suggests that ignorant people, defying the counsels of experience, were known to exist before now—only in the past they were called "fools," whereas to-day they prefer to be considered "exponents of advanced thought," with a superior point-of-view, inaugurating a new era of "emancipation."

It is not my purpose here to go on multiplying examples. I merely wished to indicate as simply and clearly as possible an underlying, fundamental principle. It is at work in countless ways, in everybody's life, nearly all the time. Personal impulses and inclinations may be very short-sighted, very unlovely, very unworthy. Greed, murder, arson, lust, theft, lying, betrayal—are[Pg 80] only a few samples of the variety of impulses which may come and do come frequently to various individuals upon occasion.

Our own limited experience and a little reason may be a sufficient guide in many cases. They teach us to overrule certain inclinations, whose consequences we understand and which we deem contrary to our interests.

In many other cases, the consequences may be just as contrary to our interests, though they lie beyond our own experience and present understanding. For that reason people have been taught throughout the centuries to accept and be guided by the accumulated experience and wisdom of those who have gone before. This accumulated experience has been preserved and made available to each new generation, in many ways—traditions, conventions, customs, familiar quotations, standard books, the schools and the Bible. Most of all, it has been the special care and function of parents to instill it into their children. For the first ten or fifteen years of life, children are constantly being told what to do and what not to do, in all sorts of contingencies. And what they are told is the result of accumulated experience in crystallized practical form.

In the days of obedience, discipline and fear of punishment, children accepted and respected this[Pg 81] guidance, as authoritative. They formed the habit of doing not what they felt like, but what was considered right and best for them. Very often the true reasons, the complicated motives and remote consequences, involved in a question of conduct were not comprehended by the young people, and only vaguely sensed by their parents. They were traditional ideas, generally approved by right-minded people and passed along. Their origin, in nearly all cases, was the accumulated experience and wisdom of people who did comprehend.

So it happens that a young woman, or a young man, of the new school, without respect for old-fashioned teachings, and with insufficient experience, or knowledge of their own, can fall into the error of imagining that their selfish interests are best served by gratifying each passing inclination.

Their first shallow mistake, as I have tried to show, is in overlooking the lessons of others' experience.

This whole point-of-view, of course, is absolutely selfish and for the time being, I have been content to meet them on their own ground and answer them in terms of absolute selfishness. Even on the assumption that a human being is a kind of animal, which feels no need of consideration for others' welfare, and is devoid of any higher[Pg 82] aspirations than a full measure of selfish enjoyment—even then, purely as a question of intelligence, a matter of policy, there are excellent reasons why various impulses and inclinations should be resisted and denied. The nature of these reasons I have attempted to suggest and make clear by some haphazard examples and as previously noted, the basis of them all is Experience.[Pg 83]



There remain two other sets of reasons why our selfish inclinations should often be denied—affection and faith. They are of a higher and finer order. We will take them one at a time.

The conscious life of a human being is by no means limited to the perception of sensations and the exercise of reason. These are important functions, but they are not all. A human being is also provided with a heart, which is capable of feeling sympathy for other human beings—for all living things. This sympathetic feeling may cover a wide range—pity, commiseration, friendship, admiration, devotion, adoration.

It is not the nature of mankind to live an isolated existence, in loneliness. Boys and girls, men and women, from the beginning of life to the end, yearn for the companionship of others with whom they can share their thoughts and feelings, their pleasures and their pains. Through [Pg 84]association with others come affectionate feelings for certain ones. We attach ourselves to them with bonds of sympathy, understanding, love.

The feeling of affection is such a normal and essential part of human life that it seeks to find expression at every opportunity. A warm-hearted child will lavish it on a kitten, or a rag doll; or will show it for a mongrel dog. If the kitten, or the dog is hurt, or sick, or even hungry, the girl or boy will be distressed by its trouble and want to help it.

This is a primitive form of the feeling; carried to its full development in the heart of a sensitive, noble nature it becomes one of the most beautiful and vital of human attributes.

As we share our thoughts and feelings with another and are allowed to share his in return, our centre of interest expands, as it were, and the essence of life within us enriches itself by this sympathetic mingling with the essence of the other. His thoughts, his feelings, his welfare are no longer a matter of indifference to us. As our sympathy and attachment grow, we become more and more concerned in this other's interests; they become a part of our existence, in a strange and lovely way, just as real and just as dear to us as if they were our own. Any pleasure, or good fortune, becomes doubly[Pg 85] grateful, if we may share it with him; no pleasure is worth considering, if in order to obtain it, we would be obliged to cause him a deprivation. We cannot forget his welfare, or his happiness, we do not wish to forget his welfare or his happiness, because through our sympathy and affection, the essence of another life has become inexpressively near and dear to us.

To a greater or less degree, this capacity for affection is inherent in human kind, from the lowest to the highest. It is a most precious human quality and it opens the gates of life to a sort of satisfaction that is infinitely bigger and finer and more lasting than anything that can be obtained from the mere gratification of selfish and material impulses.

Now, while it is true that practically everybody is aware of this feeling and has a need for affection and sympathy, not all people by any means have big enough hearts, or fine enough natures, to respond to the need very deeply. Cold, superficial, self-centered people may go through life giving a very small modicum of sympathy or affection to anybody and receiving very little in return. Many a man is incapable and unworthy of being a real true friend to anybody. He may have brains and breeding and plenty of animal desires, but in his heart there is no understanding of what[Pg 86] it means to be devoted to a welfare not his own. The same is true no doubt of a great many women, those whose characters are too fickle and unstable to permit of any deep and lasting attachment. Fortunately, even in the case of such men and women, if they marry and have children, some of the joy and meaning of this heart-life is still vouchsafed them. They feel it for their sons and daughters.

If they have no children and are unmarried, there are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters to keep alive some measure of sympathy and endearment. A human being who is totally bereft of such attachments, without any feeling that comes from the heart for any one, is such a rare exception that he need not be considered. Such lives, if they do exist, would appear to normal beings as very pitiful.

As a usual thing, for most of us, the affections are constantly in operation. Certain people who are near and dear to us are never really out of our lives at all. Consciously or subconsciously, we carry them with us wherever we go, tucked away in our hearts, ready to rise up at the slightest provocation and take a vital part in our innermost deliberations.

A little boy or girl of the right sort, with the right kind of loving parents, grows up naturally[Pg 87] with this feeling for them. In all sorts of new experiences and questions of conduct, the thought comes spontaneously: "What will mother think about this?" "She'll be terribly surprised when I tell her that." "Father will be pleased and proud when he knows what I've done." "I don't think she'd approve of that." "He'll laugh at me, when he hears this." And so forth and so on, countless times, in countless connections.

Mothers and fathers carry around a similar feeling with regard to their children. Things that they see, things that they hear, things that they read, plans and projects of all kinds, are spontaneously colored by the consideration of their effect on the son or daughter—surprise, pleasure, disappointment, good or ill.

The same thing takes place to a remarkable extent between a man and a woman who love each other deeply. Nothing of importance can happen to one, without an immediate reflection of the effect and bearing it will have on the other. A frequent result of this is that, in order to give pleasure to the other, one will act contrary to his own selfish inclination. And the anticipation of this pleasure to be given to the other can be strong enough to transform this denial and deprivation of self into a sweeter and finer form of satisfaction.[Pg 88]

This same order of feeling, based on sympathy and affection, springing from the heart, extends and ramifies and attaches itself in a great variety of ways, in the life of a human being, as we have already suggested.

While instances of complete devotion of one nature to another are comparatively rare, in any walk of life, and while most individuals are lacking in the bigness of heart and depth of feeling to be capable of it, under any circumstances, the importance of affection comes home to nearly everybody, to greater or less extent, and is treasured up as one of the essentials of life.

As a result of this human sympathy and affection, it would seem only natural and obvious that there should come to everyone a realization of the fact that in many of the things we do, for our own good or ill, other people besides ourselves can't help being concerned. We may, by thinking only of our own inclinations and seeking to gain our selfish ends, be doing great harm and injustice to them. If other people are affected by what we do, and they have feelings of the same sort as ours, are not they, too, entitled to some consideration?

This idea seems so simple and evident that any thinking person might be expected to admit it and understand it. Yet, as we have seen[Pg 89] repeatedly in discussing the attitude of the new generation, it is one of the questions about which there prevails the greatest misconception and confusion of mind. Up-to-date young people, absorbed in the habit of doing what they like and deciding for themselves, very easily fall into the way of overlooking this consideration almost entirely. They fail to grasp the importance of the part that sympathy and affection have been assigned to play in their own natures; and at the same time they lose sight of the feelings and interests of others who must be affected by the consequences of their acts. Lack of consideration for others has come to be spoken of currently as one of the marked characteristics of this new generation.

For this reason, if for no other, it may be just as well to linger on the subject and make explanations doubly plain, rather than leave any possible ground for a continuation of the confusion and misunderstanding.

Suppose you were walking along a country road and you came upon a nice little boy, named Harry, one of your neighbor's sons, and Harry was sitting hunched up on a stump, sniffling and sobbing, with tears streaming down his cheeks. Upon enquiring the cause of his trouble, you learn that a bigger boy, Jake, had taken away Harry's apple. Strictly speaking, the apple didn't belong[Pg 90] to either of them, but Harry had spied it on the tree and after a great deal of determined effort had managed to climb out on the branch and shake it down. Then Jake came along and took it.

Now, to see a little fellow sobbing with disappointment, deprived of something his heart was set on and which he had worked hard to get, is enough to arouse a feeling of sympathy in any normal and kindly person. You feel sorry for Harry and you'd like to do something for him.

Suppose you happen to look along the road, just then, and you spy Jake seated on a fence rail with an air of contentment, proceeding to eat the apple—what would you feel like doing and saying to him? Suppose you controlled yourself and asked him quietly why he took that apple away from Harry, and he replied, with a defiant grin "Because I wanted it. I like apples, and this is a fine big one!" If you continue to talk quietly to Jake, and show him Harry sobbing on the stump, and make him realize the situation, as like as not it will end up by Jake's saying: "All right—if he feels as bad as that, let him have it. I didn't know he was that kind of a cry baby." And he will pass up his own inclination, rather than cause that much harm to another.

That is a very primitive example which illustrates the principle in its simplest form. In the[Pg 91] first place you are moved by sympathy and consideration for another, when you feel sorry for Harry and want to help him, and so is Jake when he is willing to forego his own desire for Harry's sake—although he lacked consideration in the first place, in taking something on which another's heart was set.

Here is another example:

A boy, George, is an only son and very dear to his parents, who have watched over him always with loving care. During the summer vacation, George has been invited to make a week's visit at the home of a school-mate which is in another state. The trip is a longer and more complicated one than George has ever undertaken by himself, and his mother cannot help feeling apprehensive and anxious at the thought of possible accidents and emergencies which may occur. It involves a night run on a steamboat, a railroad journey and a long automobile ride through mountainous country. The mother, not wishing to stand in the way of her boy's pleasure, gives a reluctant consent. She makes no attempt to disguise the anxiety she will feel while he is on the way, and impresses on his mind the importance of sending her a telegram, as soon as he has arrived safely at his destination. George laughs at her fears, boy-fashion, and promises to do as she wishes.[Pg 92]

No sooner has he started on his way, than the mother's heart enters upon a period of increasing perturbation. Suppose something should happen to the steamer—that it should break down, or catch fire, or run on a reef—or that there should be a railroad accident—or that George should lose his ticket, or be robbed of his money and find himself in some far-away spot, not knowing what to do with no one to go to? Then that long motor ride through deserted country—suppose it should be raining and the roads slippery and they should try to make it too fast? So many things are among the possibilities, and one can never be sure until it is over.

Some people might feel inclined to smile at this account of a mother's apprehension, but it is only a natural attribute of devoted love, ineffably sweet and beautiful. While the precious child is exposed to possible dangers, she cannot help feeling thus. She talks to the father about it, wanting the comfort of his reassurance; and she lies awake that night imagining things and counting the hours that must separate her from the telegram announcing George's safety.

At last the time comes when, according to schedule, she may expect the message. She waits about, in momentary suspense, for the telephone ring from Western Union.[Pg 93]

Now suppose the minutes pass and then the hours, until the mother's apprehension grows into feverish and unreasoning alarm. She gets word to her husband and communicates her alarm to him. As more time passes, the conviction comes that something has happened to their son, and something must be done. They attempt to get a long distance telephone connection with the home of George's friend, but after a long delay and various appeals, the report comes that there is a break-down on the line somewhere, in the mountain section. They get in communication with the steamboat offices and the railroad station, and after interminable efforts finally ascertain that there has been no accident on either line. There remains the motor trip—or the possibility of a personal mishap to George at some stage of the journey—and no way of telling. In the end, they send a telegram to the mother of George's friend, and resign themselves to wait, in an agony of suspense for the answer.

Individuals who are phlegmatic, matter-of-fact, and not very intense in their feelings might be inclined to ridicule this anxiety and suffering on the part of the parents, for so slight a cause; they would fail to understand it. But any mother with children of her own would understand [Pg 94]perfectly and be moved to genuine and heart-felt sympathy.

The condition of George's mother would naturally evoke the same sort of compassion as the spectacle of Harry on the tree stump, sobbing for his apple.

But what of the Jake, in this case—the prime factor of the problem? The Jake in this case, of course, is no other than our only son, George. No trouble of any sort was experienced by him in the various stages of his journey. Upon his arrival, there were a number of new people to meet and various elements of interest in the new surroundings to occupy his attention. For the time being, he forgot to think of the mother he had left behind.

Hours later, as they are starting a game of tennis, it suddenly occurs to him that he has not yet sent his telegram home, but as it would be a bother to go back to the house now and he feels like going ahead with the tennis game, he makes a mental note and puts it off. It is not until dinner time that he thinks of it again and when he finds that the telephone is out of order and he would have to motor in to the telegraph office, its doesn't seem worth the trouble. He has allowed so much time to go by already that he decides the most satisfactory way out of it is to[Pg 95] wait until he finds time to write a letter and explain, as an excuse for not keeping his promise, that the telephone wasn't working.

Before he has an opportunity to write his letter, the telegram arrives from home disclosing his mother's anxiety—whereupon he feels ashamed and sorry, and hurries to the telegraph office to send a reply.

This is a more or less typical example of a great many cases where lack of consideration for others is not necessarily due to a lack of affection or sympathy, but comes from a lack of thoughtfulness and understanding. George may love his mother very much and he would not voluntarily hurt her feelings, or be the cause of her suffering. The sight of his mother in tears would cause him unhappiness and he would gladly make a real sacrifice in order to comfort her. But the sight of his mother's suffering, or the thought of his mother's suffering, is not before him—it does not enter into his calculations or motives of conduct. In order for this to take place, a certain amount of reflection and imagination is required on his part.

In the case of Harry and Jake and the apple, we assumed that some one came along and called Jake's attention to the unhappiness of Harry.[Pg 96] When Jake was made to see and realize, he responded with a feeling of consideration.

But in the case of George and the vast majority of cases where this question is involved, no one comes along to explain to you. If the pleasure or pain of others is involved in what you do, the thought of that must come from yourself. Very often those others are not present at the time and the consequences may not be immediately and superficially apparent. Imagination, reflection, and a habit of mind, may be needed to realize the effect upon them.

Suppose you have a friend named Brown whom you have known many years and have a good deal of affection for. An unexpected opportunity offers for you to get a week's hunting in the South and you think how fine it would be, if you can get the right sort of companion to share it with you. You see Brown, tell him about it, invite him and he accepts. You immediately start in making plans and arrangements—dogs, guns, food, drinks—leaving nothing undone to make it a bang-up affair and give Brown and yourself the time of your lives. Now suppose when you have fixed up everything and are waiting in joyful anticipation for the hour to arrive, you receive word from Brown, with apologies and a lame excuse, that he must deprive himself of the pleasure of going[Pg 97] with you? And suppose you discover later, in an accidental way, that the real reason Brown left you flat was because something else turned up that appealed to him more and he was thinking only of himself?

Suppose, now, you are a society lady, or a society man, and you have accepted an invitation from a woman friend to motor out to her country place and dine and spend the night—and suppose when the day arrives, you are offered a box at the opera, that night, to hear Caruso? As this appeals to you much more than the other, you send a wire to the country at the last minute, pretending an indisposition, and go to the opera. What of the woman friend—who had made special efforts and invited certain people on your account, and had counted on you as a main consideration in her whole affair? Your absence upsets her completely, spoils her party, and robs her of something on which she had spent a good deal of time and effort and on which her heart was set.

If she ever discovers or suspects the true reason for your desertion, you will have inflicted a wound in her feelings that few friendships can survive and the loss of a friend in this world is hardly to be regarded as a trifling matter.

These few examples which we have cited and a countless multitude of others, of a more or less[Pg 98] similar nature, which might be drawn from the everyday experiences of any human being, tend to make plain the palpable truth—that very often other people besides ourselves are concerned in our actions and we do violence to our better feelings and theirs, if we leave them out of consideration. Even up-to-date young people of the most selfish order can hardly fail to recognize that and admit it, in certain instances—when the others are before their eyes, or the effect upon them is so direct and immediate that it cannot escape their attention. In such instances they respond instinctively to the finer side of their natures, where sympathy and affection are found. But just as soon as an effort of reflection and imagination is required to realize this same effect on others, there is no longer the same response. The will and the faculty to do this appear, somehow, to be lacking; so that they lose sight of this consideration very easily, and leave it out of account as a controlling influence. Some one else has to direct their attention, do the thinking for them and appeal to their feelings, in order to restore the equilibrium.

This difficulty of voluntary reflection and understanding on their part is still greater when it comes to another phase of the question, which is one degree more complicated, but no less vital[Pg 99] in its bearing on the affections. You cannot do evil things, or act in such a way as will bring harmful consequences upon yourself, without causing suffering to those who love you. If your mother is very sweet and gentle and loves you devotedly and you have a good deal of tender affection for her, you would not think of striking her a blow on the face with your clenched fist. No impulse within you, however selfish, could make you do that. Yet the pain from such a blow would be as nothing compared to the suffering you might cause her by smoking opium or sniffing cocaine or doing something dishonorable, like forging your father's signature.

None of these things affect her directly or personally, but sympathetically, through her love for you.

So it is in the case of the boy who, after promising not to drive over thirty miles an hour, goes speeding on the highway and gets arrested. The fine which has to be paid by father is an infinitesimal part of the harm and hurt which is caused the parents.

You cannot sit in a draft and catch a heavy cold, without causing a certain amount of anxiety and distress to your sister, or your wife, who are devoted to you—if it runs into pneumonia, the hurt to them is greater; and if you happen to die[Pg 100] of it, that may release you from further suffering, only to make theirs heaviest of all.

I went to a dance, last summer, at the home of a young married couple in a fashionable community. The hostess was rather an extreme example of the up-to-date school, with the well formed habit of looking at things from the point-of-view of her own inclinations.

After the dancing had been going on a short while, she found she was not in the humor for it; the men who asked her to dance didn't interest her, and she felt like going to bed. Being a firm believer in individualism and thinking only of herself, she quietly withdrew and went to bed.

A number of her guests had not yet arrived. When they did and sought to greet their hostess, inquiries were made and in the end everybody was apprised of her behavior. She imagined that it concerned only herself, whereas the sympathy, affection, the kindly attitude which all those people were disposed to have for her suffered a shock. A touch of resentment and antipathy was left behind which would make itself felt in future relations. The sympathy and affection of those about us is a part of life too precious and necessary to our well-being to be lightly cast aside. The loss to us and to them, however trifling in[Pg 101] any one instance, may in the course of time involve lasting consequences.

In the various examples we have cited so far, it has been a question of hurting or depriving others, through lack of consideration. A similar motive comes into play in prompting us to bestow pleasure upon others. Human sympathy causes us to delight in the joy of those we love, just as their sorrow saddens us. We like to give them presents, prepare surprises for them, devise ways and means of adding to their happiness. Such acts on our part are usually accompanied by a very sweet and lovely feeling of sentiment. Our hearts are warmed by the thought and sight of this good that is coming to those we love. Some cynical and shallow reasoners like to argue that such acts are only a disguised form of selfishness because, as we have a sympathetic share in the pleasure, we benefit by it, ourselves. Any such argument is usually found to be no more than a quibble on words and a pretense of cleverness. Nevertheless, as this sort of talk is liable to crop up at any time, in connection with human motives, and cause a confusion of idea, it may be just as well to pause for a moment and dispose of it.

If you find our little friend Harry sobbing on a tree stump because he has lost his apple, you feel sorry for him—because you understand and[Pg 102] sympathize. If you had an apple in your pocket, you would give it to him. You are not thinking of yourself—you are thinking of him. If Jake comes along and restores the apple and Harry stops crying and offers Jake half, the feeling of gladness that comes to you has nothing selfish in it at all. There is no motive or calculation of self-gratification in the sentiments you have experienced. They are inspired, not by the thought of your own welfare, but the welfare of another. The essence of them is sympathy and affection.

So it is with countless acts of kindness which frequently involve the need of denying our selfish inclinations—depriving ourselves of personal gratifications—for the sake of helping others who are in trouble, or bringing pleasure to those we love. The first consideration—the true determining motive—is not any thought of the benefit to ourselves, but the benefit to them. In every-day language the word used to characterize such acts and feelings is generosity—and this is properly and popularly considered the exact opposite of selfishness.

Now because it has been observed by thoughtful people that acts of generosity are frequently accompanied by a feeling of satisfaction and gladness, this fact has been seized upon by a certain order of cold-blooded individuals as a pretext for[Pg 103] distorting the truth. They argue that this feeling of satisfaction with yourself which comes from generosity is such a desirable thing in your eyes that you want it for yourself—consequently when you show kindness and sympathy for others you are obeying the same motive as the cynic, himself, who having small sympathy for others, prefers the frank gratification of his own ego. This, of course, is pure sophistry. But if any mind is so kinked that it must reason that way, there is a simple answer which will suffice to bring it through the question to the main point. Whenever the pleasure to be derived by an individual comes to him through sympathy and affection and consideration for the feelings of another—that sort of pleasure is so different in its origin and its essence from the pleasure which comes from the gratification of personal appetites and desires that the mass of mankind has recognized the difference since the beginning of civilization.

One kind of pleasure flows from acts of sentiment for others' sake; the other kind is rooted in the indulgence of personal desires. The essence of one is usually characterized as generosity; the other, selfishness. If the cynic will promise to keep the distinction clear in his head and stop confusing himself with quibbles or words, he may call the motives any names he likes.[Pg 104]

This question of consideration for others is so important and far-reaching in its effect on human lives that no pains should be spared to keep it from being lost sight of or misunderstood. And yet, as we have observed, at the present time, among up-to-date individuals, it is apparently being lost sight of, more and more. In a general way, it is being bunched with those other old-fashioned notions and conventions that were wont to interfere with the freedom of the individual. Why should an emancipated ego, brought up in the modern way, be constantly bothered by the thought of others?

If we pause and examine this attitude of mind, dispassionately, from another angle, a possible explanation suggests itself. There may be two reasons, of a distinct and different sort why any given person might fail to feel the significance of so vital a part of life.

In the first place, some natures may be rather lacking in the qualities of affection and sympathy. All people are not alike, in this respect, by any means. Some are instinctively warm-hearted and intense in their feelings—others are naturally inclined to coldness and indifference. To a cold nature, the woes or pleasures of others are of comparatively minor consequence. There is no rush of heart-felt sympathy, if the supply is so thin[Pg 105] and weak that it hardly suffices for the needs of self.

That is one explanation of how certain natures, if left to their own resources, can be lacking in consideration.

But if we are right in assuming that the general run of human nature is much the same to-day as it has always been, there ought to be the same instincts of sympathy and affection, the same kind of warm-hearts among our new generation, as there were in the time of our grandmothers. As consideration for others is founded on these, there must be some other explanation for the lack of consideration which is a growing tendency, obvious to all.

The truth of the matter seems to be that consideration for others is not a primitive instinct like hunger or thirst; nor is it a simple, inborn quality or impulse, like affection or sympathy. It requires a certain amount of thoughtfulness, reflection and control of self, in order to transfer one's attention from one's own inclination and interest to the welfare of another, especially when that other is not at hand to offer a reminder or make an appeal.

But under proper guidance, through enlightenment and constant exercise, this faculty is susceptible of such development that it may in time[Pg 106] permeate the mind, become an essential part of the character, a sort of second nature, just as real and solid, and infinitely more lovely than the instincts which it dominates.

The capacity and capability necessary for this development are present to a greater or less extent in all human natures. But through neglect and mismanagement and lack of enlightenment and exercise, they may shrivel and fade and contribute very little to beauty of character, or the joy of living.

In the light of the foregoing observations, there is nothing in the attitude of the new generation toward this whole question which remains incomprehensible, or even very puzzling. Their advanced ideas, when sifted down, would seem to signify no more than insufficient development of the finer and better side of their natures, and a lack of understanding concerning the important rôle which affection and sympathy are capable of playing in the search for happiness. This part of their training and education has been neglected, somehow, in the confusion arising from lost traditions and standards. An essential and beautiful part of their humanity has been allowed to shrivel away until it has been lost sight of in their calculations.

In all the past periods of our civilization, when[Pg 107] obedience and discipline held sway, no such over-sight was likely to occur. One of the first lessons repeatedly and forcibly impressed upon every growing individual was the necessity of considering other people's wishes. There were three people at least, who had always to be considered—mother, father and God. Consideration of these would be rewarded and lack of consideration, sooner or later, was sure to bring punishment.

In this old-fashioned way—crudely, if you will, but nevertheless with relative effectiveness—a habit of mind, was established, involving self-control, which readily became second nature. It became almost instinctive to pause in the presence of temptation or selfish inclination, and consider the effect upon others. Once this habit was formed, the teachings of mother and father, of Sunday school, church and Bible all tended to develop it and extend its application—love your fellows, let your sympathy and affection flow out to them, consider their welfare, in all that you do, and you will be blessed and happy.

How is that habit of mind—that second nature—being acquired to-day and how will it be acquired in the future, among people who have ceased to respect the traditions of the past and are pleased to accept the idea of the freedom of[Pg 108] the individual, the right to gratify yourself and every inclination, without fear or favor?

Must there be a return to the old-fashioned methods and beliefs? Nothing is more unlikely. As a reaction against the present tendency, there may be efforts on the part of some well-intentioned people to return to the régime of obedience, discipline and the fear of God. But such reactions do not usually last very long. The next step that will help toward the real solution of the problem must be forward, not backward. The underlying reason why the old formulas have been losing their prestige is probably because there were fallacies and crudities contained in them which humanity has outgrown.

You might look back with longing to the happy state you were in when you believed in Santa Claus, but after you have reached a certain age, all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot bring Santa Claus back to you again.[Pg 109]



If the life of man were confined to the exercise of his senses and material instincts, there would be no problems of conduct. There would be perceptions and sensations,—some pleasant, others disagreeable. Appetites and desires would make themselves felt and he would seek to satisfy them.

The underlying motive of all his acts would be to prolong life, go toward pleasure and away from pain.

All about us are living things—plants, fish, animals—whose existence, as far as we know, seems limited to these simple considerations. They form part of man's life—one side of his nature—the animal side.

If, in addition to this life of the senses, we concede to man a brain, a thinking apparatus, which enables him to remember, compare, calculate, the question of his conduct at any given time is apt to become more complicated, through[Pg 110] considerations of reason. As we have seen in our previous discussions, his brain may decide him to forego a present pleasure, in order to escape a future pain; or to endure a present pain, for the sake of a future pleasure.

Still, the mere addition of a reasoning mind, would in no way alter the nature of the underlying motive. The considerations would still remain purely animal—prolonging life, getting the greatest sum of pleasure, avoiding the greatest sum of pain.

It is not until we begin to take note of the sympathies, affections, generous emotions of which man is capable, that we recognize another and inner nature, which may be concerned and moved by considerations that don't depend upon sensations, or selfish instincts and are not, in their very essence, animal at all. In every day language, this is the heart and the heart-life of man. It is as far removed from the brain, as it is from the senses. The brainiest people may be the least affectionate and the least generous—just as the most sensual people may so be.

We have seen, in discussing this side of human nature, the bearing it has on the conduct of the individual. More delicate and more complicated motives and considerations are introduced into the problem through its influence. Its essence[Pg 111] is sweeter, finer, less obvious and more elevating than the instincts which the brute beasts share with us.

But sensations, calculations and sympathetic emotions are still not enough to explain some of the most important questions and decisions that enter into the life of man. Above and beyond all these, deeper, vaguer, more complicated and more inspiring, is another function or quality—another side of his nature—which distinguishes him completely from all the other earthly creatures. This is the spiritual side, the soul,—the home of conscience, honor, responsibility, idealism.

Let us begin with some simple examples:

If a big bully kicks a little boy; or a man deserts his friend in the hour of need; or an innocent person is sent to prison;—a feeling of protest arises within me. It tells me such things ought not to be. They are not right, they are wrong.

My self-interest has nothing to do with it. As far as I am personally concerned, none of these things makes the slightest difference.

If I turn to my intellect, that offers me no explanation. It tells me that the bully is only obeying his natural instincts, in the same way a cat does when it springs on a mouse. It is logical and proper for each and every living thing to act[Pg 112] in accordance with its impulses. As for the man who deserts his friend, he is merely looking out for himself—a perfectly reasonable thing for any one to do. When we come to the third case, my intellect tells me that the person sent to prison was given a fair trial in accordance with the laws—the evidence was against him—and he was adjudged guilty. Because I happen to know that he was innocent, does that make the occurrence any less reasonable? As I was not concerned in it, I cannot be held accountable, so what difference does it make to me?

My affections give me the same negative response as my self-interest and my reason. The bully, the small boy; the man and his friend; the innocent person—they are strangers to me; no personal attachment applies to any of them.

And yet the feeling within me is unmistakable. Where does it come from? That other side of my nature, where dwells the sense of right and wrong.

It is just as vague and mysterious, but just as real as another kind of sense to which it may be compared. This other sense also baffles the intellect, but it is none the less generally recognized and accepted.

Certain kinds of music, sunsets, moonlight nights, paintings, arouse in me a delicate [Pg 113]feeling of pleasure, mixed with admiration. It is not only my physical sensations which are involved—my eyes and my ears—but something deeper within me which seems to be quite apart from reason or intellect.

Also my interest and attention are by no means confined to the sensations which I am experiencing; I consider the things themselves and call them beautiful. Certain other sounds and sights strike me as discordant, or unpleasant, and I call them ugly. And the faculty within me which determines this, I call a sense of Beauty.

In the same way, this other sense within me is appealed to by certain deeds and qualities of men. That which is fine, just, generous, noble, I call right; another sort of thing, of a contrary tendency, I call wrong. And the faculty, itself, I call a sense of right and wrong.

Suppose an individual walking along a road, wondering how he is going to raise fifty dollars which he needs very badly, comes upon an automobile standing in a lonely spot; and then sees a lady who has been picking wild-flowers, get into the automobile and after fussing with her flowers, her wrap, her hand-bag and handkerchief, let drop some small object to the ground, before driving away. He strolls up to the spot and picks up the object, which proves to be a purse[Pg 114] containing eighty dollars in bank-notes. There is no one in sight, and after a moment's hesitation, obeying an impulse of self-interest, he pockets the money, throws the purse into the bushes and turns his steps another way.

As far as his self-interest and his intellect are concerned, they agree in telling him he is very lucky. He has obtained the money which he wanted, he has broken no law, and there is not the slightest risk or danger of any sort involved in his conduct. He can pay his debt and have money to spare, with every reason to feel happy over his good fortune.

But if the spiritual side of his nature is at all developed, he is apt to be tormented by a vague, persistent feeling of another kind. It tells him he has done something unworthy of his better self. In every day language, we say he is troubled by his conscience.

It not infrequently happens that individuals who have done wrong are so affected by this feeling that they make restitution and confession when they are safely beyond the reach of detection.

Neither the intellect nor self-interest plays any part in such conduct, which is contrary to the advice of both. It is inspired uniquely by this soul-feeling, called conscience.[Pg 115]

Slightly different from this, but belonging to the same family, is the sentiment of honor.

A number of years ago, a young man whom I knew, happened to go to a notorious gambling house in New York, with a couple of companions. One of these young men was a member of a wealthy family and had been frequently to this place, where he was always most welcome. My friend held a clerical position in a financial institution, was making his own living, and at the time had about fifteen hundred dollars in the bank, which represented his entire worldly assets. It was late at night, the young men had been to a party and were in rather a hilarious and reckless mood when they started playing roulette. After they used up the money they had with them, they were allowed to continue playing on credit, chips being supplied to them as called for. My friend, after losing more than he could afford, was urged by desperation to keep on trying to recoup, and when he finally left the house, in the early hours of the morning, he had lost ten thousand dollars. That was the situation which faced him in his sober senses, the next day.

A gambling debt has no standing in law. No legal claim of any kind could be made against him and he was perfectly aware of the fact. The proprietor of the establishment was a thoroughly[Pg 116] unscrupulous individual with a shady record, and the games played there were open to a suspicion of crookedness. My friend had previously been told that. He had only to let the loss go unpaid and ignore the whole incident, without the slightest fear of consequences, so far as honest people were concerned.

But this young man felt that such conduct would not be honorable. So he went to the place again, explained to the proprietor his financial situation and promised to pay off as much as he could, year by year, until the debt was cancelled. It took him five years to accomplish this, and during that time, he stuck faithfully to a resolve not to touch a card or gamble in any way. Later on the young man became vice-president of one of the largest financial institutions in America, a position which he still holds. He had then, and still has a sense of honor.

Many a gentleman of good breeding and fine feelings has told deliberate lies and perjured himself under oath, in order to shield the reputation of a lady. Even though he may be under no personal obligation to the lady in question, but merely an accidental witness of some occurrence, a certain kind of man feels compelled by his sense of honor to protect her. It is not honest to tell a lie, it is a legal offense to perjure one's self; there[Pg 117] is no reason of the intellect to make you bear false witness and defeat the ends of justice for the sake of an individual, who may have done wrong and be deserving of punishment.

Yet so it is and among those who share this sense there is a beauty and nobility about such conduct which is akin to that of a sunset or moonlit night.

Let us take an example of a more commonplace kind in the business world. Suppose a certain individual, Jones, living in a small community has a coal yard. When the autumn comes, Jones's bins are piled high and in addition to this, Jones has several carloads of coal on a siding, and numerous other carloads in transit. Jones's brother, who is interested in a coal mine, has advised Jones that as there is prospect of a miner's strike, he had better get his full winter's supply in advance, with a little extra and this has been so arranged. The strike takes place as predicted and then owing to war conditions in Europe, there comes a coal shortage throughout the land.

With the arrival of the first touch of winter various people in the community begin sending orders to Jones. In the meantime, he has been doing a little thinking. His customers have got to have coal and they've got to buy it from him.[Pg 118] Under existing conditions, there is no other way for them to procure it, at any price. So to speak, he holds them in the hollow of his hand.

His entire supply has cost him five dollars a ton and he had figured to sell it at six, which would allow him his usual satisfactory profit. But now it dawns upon him that if he refuses to sell a single ton of it for less than twenty dollars, his people will have to pay that, or freeze, and he will make more profit in this one winter than all the rest of the years put together.

So he makes up his mind to put up his price to twenty dollars and to meet all complaints by replying with a shrug that he is not asking any one to buy—they are free to get their coal elsewhere.

Is not Jones perfectly honest? Would any business man of the present day blame him? Is he not entitled to make all the money he can, in accordance with the laws? Is there not every reason for his intellect to approve of his shrewdness in taking advantage of his opportunity?

But suppose Jones's mother is a sweet, old-fashioned lady whom he has always loved and revered; and suppose upon learning of the situation, she calls her son to her side, takes his hand in hers and talks to him in this wise:

"My son, these people are all dependent upon[Pg 119] you, to keep from freezing. They are entirely at your mercy. To take advantage of helpless people and fleece them of their savings, because unexpected circumstances have placed them in your power, is not the kind of thing I could bear to see you do. It does not seem to me quite worthy or honorable."

I have imagined it to be Jones's mother speaking thus; but if Jones's father happened to be an old-fashioned gentleman of a certain type, or an artist, a poet, a musician, he might be moved by the same feeling—a matter, not of honesty, but of honor.

Jones, however, being a typical business man of the present day, is not conscious of any such feeling. If by chance, an idea of this kind did creep into his head, he would dismiss it as quixotic, not practical. He believes that "business is business." If you ask him whether Shylock was right and justified in demanding his pound of flesh, he might hesitate a moment, but after thinking it over, he would probably reply:

"If Shylock had a proper contract calling for such a penalty and had lent his money on those conditions, he was entirely within his rights. If the other parties weren't prepared to live up to the terms of the agreement, they had no business to sign their names to it. That was their[Pg 120] lookout. Their only recourse is to show something irregular or illegal in the way it was drawn up and quash it on that count, or else settle up in accordance with its stipulations. Shylock had performed his part of the agreement and he demanded that the other party should do the same."

If you questioned Jones further about himself, you might learn that he had always believed and practiced the principle that "Honesty is the best policy," and nothing could swerve him from it. This has nothing to do with that inner feeling called a sentiment of honor. It is of a different essence entirely. When sifted down, it is found to consist of reason, experience and a matter-of-fact calculation of self-interest. If you don't cheat, or break the laws, and establish a reputation for honest dealing, you will gain more by it in the long run than you lose. Nothing very inspired or inspiring about that, or very different in kind from the principle of the crook who says: "If I take care to avoid detection, but pay no attention to right and wrong, I will gain more in the long run than I lose."

The detail of the calculation is different, but the motive and object are the same—self-interest and self-advantage. The soul, the conscience, the sentiment of honor are not involved in either.

During the late war, tens of thousands of[Pg 121] individuals and corporations followed Jones's example and chuckled with glee as the undreamed-of profits rolled in. They took advantage of the situation and became what is known as profiteers. The brain and self-interest were acting over time, but the spiritual nature was slumbering.

Suppose you are making a visit to a business friend and he leaves you alone in his office for a few minutes, while he is called out by some emergency—and suppose he has left on his desk an envelope containing business secrets which you could profit by—and suppose you take advantage of your opportunity, open the envelope, glance at the papers, get the information and later on make good use of it?

An individual who is capable of doing that must be rather lacking in the sense of honor.

If a business man happened to tell his wife something of a confidential nature, as some husbands do, and the wife were indiscreet enough to mention it to your wife, without realizing its full import, and your wife repeated it to you, and you thereupon proceeded to communicate it to the business man's competitor—you might not break any law, or do anything dishonest, and your intellect might tell you there was profit for yourself to be gained by it—and many another person in your place might jump at the chance—but[Pg 122] for all that, there ought to be a feeling within you to prevent you doing it, because it would not be honorable.

In the world of politics, some people might feel that it is not honorable to use a position of public trust for private ends.

Suppose you have it in your power to make an appointment which might prove very lucrative to a certain type of individual who has no scruples about graft. Among your political henchmen there is just such an individual and he wants the appointment. There is another man whom you might appoint, if you chose to, a high-minded, public-spirited man, fitter and better for it in every way; but the political henchman was an important factor in obtaining for you the office which you now occupy; his good will and influence may be very helpful in your future campaigns, whereas the other man has done nothing for you and is without political influence. If you gave him the appointment, you would make an enemy of your henchman and his followers. Your self-interest and your intellect combine in showing you what a mistake that would be.

Usually a politician, by the time he has been selected by other politicians as a candidate for office, has become amenable to reason and may be counted on to avoid such a mistake. But[Pg 123] occasionally a gentleman of another sort finds himself in this position and he refuses to do the usual thing, because it goes counter to an inner feeling—his sense of honor.

So it is with countless other questions of conduct, which at various times, in various communities, with various individuals, involve this feeling. In some people it is highly developed and frequently determines the motive of conduct, in a fine, noble, compelling way which is directly opposed to material considerations of self-interest. In other people, it is so feeble, and crude that its wee small voice is seldom heeded or heard in the calculations and decisions of their practical lives.

In addition to the sentiments of honor and conscience and right and wrong, there are various other fine and noble feelings to which the soul of man is susceptible, to a greater or less extent, according to the individual nature. Self-respect, loyalty, gratitude, responsibility, self-sacrifice may be cited, by way of suggestion.

Now, while there can be no doubt that human nature is capable of all these feelings and that individuals have been found to possess them, in different communities, at different times, it is equally obvious that among vast numbers of other individuals they find little or no expression.

There have been periods in the history of[Pg 124] certain peoples when nearly all the nobler sentiments seem to have shrivelled up. The Roman Empire, when it was in its decay; the upper classes of England, after the Restoration; France, during the period which preceded the Revolution—are examples of such a condition. The leading citizens appear to have thrown conscience to the winds and let themselves go, without restraint, to a life of dissipation, corruption, and the indulgence of the senses.

Also in our country, among certain classes, in certain communities, it is quite apparent that the finer feelings, the moral standards, of the average individual are at a lower ebb, than they seem to be in certain other sections.

In view of these observations, it is fairly safe to conclude that the spiritual feelings of man are subject to alteration, through an influence or influences of some sort. The same sort of influence that shows its general effect in a given class or community may be presumed to be at work on the nature or character of the individuals who compose that community.

If the sentiment of honor, for instance, is a vital compelling force in one individual, and is so weak or deficient in another as to be a negligible quantity, what is the explanation of this difference? What influence has developed the[Pg 125] sentiment in one, and retarded or eliminated it in the other? On what does it depend? What causes it to come to life in the human soul? What good is it, when it does come?

The same questions apply to conscience, loyalty, responsibility, right and wrong. Whence do they come—and what are they good for?

These questions are simple to ask—but when one attempts to answer them in a simple, convincing way, they are found to be full of hidden depths and complexities.

Down below them, is another question which is included in them all and which sooner or later must be faced by each and every one of us: "Why am I here on earth? Has my life any purpose in the great, everlasting scheme of things? What is that purpose?"

Until we have arrived at some sort of an answer to that question, we cannot make much headway in answering the others.

If there were no purpose at all to an individual life, what difference would it make whether he had a conscience or not?

If his purpose is to get as much satisfaction out of life as he can, between his birth and his death, why shouldn't he go about it in any old way that suits himself? What real difference does it make whether he chooses to indulge in alcohol, opium,[Pg 126] and other dissipations for a short while, or prefers to prolong his span by sticking to wheat, potatoes and sobriety? Purely a matter of personal taste, to be decided by each individual for himself.

Suppose on account of his affections and sympathies for other individuals, the idea occurs to him that he was meant to serve them, also? What real difference would that make if their lives had no other purpose, either? They will all be dead very soon, anyhow, whether you join with them in a mutual serving society, or not. If there is no other end in view for each and every one, but to live and die, what boots it?

But suppose it might be that after death their spirits could live on, in an unknown world? Even so, any service you happened to do for them, here, would hardly be counted in their favor, over there.

But mightn't it be counted in your favor—over there? Isn't it possible that every kind and helpful thing you do for your fellow men in your life on earth might be to the advantage of your spirit in the other world?

Suppose it could be proved that this were the true purpose of life—to win benefit and glory for your spirit in the world beyond?

"Well," you might reply, "—if that is the way things stand, it would be putting a big premium[Pg 127] on canny foresight. A cold-blooded, utterly selfish individual could make his calculations accordingly and feather his future nest at every opportunity, while the rest of us poor devils who couldn't calculate so well would be piling up future trouble.

"Is that what is meant by soul and conscience and honor? Does the 'spiritual side of man's nature,' when stripped of its camouflage, mean a shrewd calculation which seeks to gain a lasting reward for the spirit, after the body is used up?"

In the face of such a question, of such a line of thought, there is something within us which revolts. If we can find words to express the cause and nature of this revolt, so much the better; but even if we cannot, a vague but unshakable feeling persists within us that any views of this sort are superficial, inadequate and uncomprehending.

Just as we found, in connection with human sympathy and affection, that cold reason might make the mistake of trying to explain them in terms of selfishness, so we find that when reason undertakes to penetrate into the human soul, it is apt to emerge with a distortion which lacks the essence of the whole thing.

In the first place, so far as reason goes, after countless generations of man on earth, what evidence has yet been discovered to prove conclusively that when a man dies, the spirit of him[Pg 128] disengages itself from the dead body and goes on to an unknown world to continue life there?

When a dog dies, does the spirit of him do the same thing? A bird? A spider? A germ? A flower? They all have the spirit of life within them—a wonderful complex life—and a struggle for existence on earth—of much the same sort as man's.

I was talking to a charming lady, the other day, who said she firmly believes that the spirits of them all go on to a better world, along with man's.

But whether they do, or whether they don't, what means has any intellect been able to find in all these centuries to settle the question and prove it scientifically, without fear of contradiction?

Even if the intellect were satisfied to take so much for granted, at a guess, for the sake of having something to go by, there still remains the same element of uncertainty surrounding the question: "Why am I here? If my spirit is the only part of me that is destined to live on, what was the need of chaining it for this short space of time to animal instincts and a perishable body?"

All sorts of theories have been advanced, in the search for a plausible explanation, but again, in all the ages of civilization, no conclusive proof[Pg 129] has been found that any one of them is the right one.

In ancient times the theory seemed to be that the purpose of life was to develop the body to its highest state of prowess and beauty and to make liberal sacrifices to the gods, in order to gain and retain their favor. The idea seems to have been current for many centuries that when the spirit mounted to another world, it somehow carried the shape and characteristics of the earthly body along with it. Reason enough to make the body strong and beautiful, if the spirit were to continue tied up to it eternally.

Even in Shakespeare's time and all through the Middle Ages, whenever departed spirits were supposed to come back to earth to communicate with mortals, they always appeared in the same bodily form they had had on earth.

On this assumption, if one individual happened to die when his body was young and strong and handsome, his spirit would have an advantage over another individual, who lasted on earth until his body was old, decrepit and ugly.

It may be that the unfairness of this thought had something to do with the eventual discarding of the belief. It may also be that in the course of time and accumulated experience, the more advanced intellects arrived at the conclusion that[Pg 130] sacrifices made to the gods had little perceptible effect on the course of events. In any case European civilization appears to have arrived at a stage where it was ripe and ready for another sort of conception.

This other conception was the unimportance and unworthiness of the body and all material things. The spirit was the only thing that signified and that was to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, as announced in divine commandments. Sacrifices on the altar or gifts to the priests would avail nothing, if the spirit were undutiful. The Lord was to be worshipped and addressed in prayer—and He was at all times prepared to mete out rewards and punishments in strict accordance to the deserts of the spirit. Good and worshipful spirits would be blessed with everlasting life in paradise, while those who disobeyed the commandments, or neglected to be baptized and worship in the ordained way would be consigned to eternal torture and damnation.

This theory was accepted by many millions of people and for a long time held an awe-inspiring sway over their imaginations.

At the same time, in different parts of the world, India, China, Mexico, Egypt and various countries, a number of other theories concerning the spirit and the body were advanced as the[Pg 131] basis of religious beliefs; and these were accepted by countless other millions of people with the same awe-inspiring credulity.

One feature of these various religions which appears to apply to them all, is worth noting. Each professed the belief that their God or gods ruled in supreme control of the entire universe, eternally, and that all other so-called gods and so-called religions of other peoples which interfered with this idea must necessarily be false and spurious.

In this respect, our own Christian view is like the others. In pursuance of it, immense sums of money, untiring effort and many lives have been spent by devout believers to convince remote peoples of the error of their doctrines and the truth of ours.

But if an unbiased and impartial intellect were permitted to go about among all the different religious sects on earth, and found each and every one proclaiming with the same fervid conviction the unique and everlasting truth of their doctrine and the error of all others, how far could it get in the way of a reasonable conclusion?

There is a sort of conclusion, which appears fairly obvious.

If any one of the doctrines should in truth be all that is claimed for it—the divine revelation, or[Pg 132] the divine inspiration, of an Almighty Providence—then all the other doctrines can be no more than theories, more or less ingenious, more or less erroneous, mere products of man's imagination. Then countless millions of people for countless generations have been left to lead their lives without a right understanding of life or death, the body or the soul, or the real purpose or design for which they were created and by which they will be judged? Only the few lucky ones who happened to be born and brought up in the one true belief can have the advantage of grasping the situation. To an impartial intellect, there would seem to be something about such an arrangement hardly fair or just to all the other countless millions.

But even so, and admitting what is apparently obvious, how could any amount of reasoning arrive at a decision in the matter?

There is nothing to prove that all the theories and doctrines may be any more than guesses, bolstered up with impressive formalities and imagery, according to the needs and temperament, of the races for whom they were made. Taken as a whole, they suggest a great confusion of ideas and many curious contradictions concerning the purpose of man's earthly life and the destiny of his soul.[Pg 133]

Has man really a soul, at all? In what part of his body is it located? What ground is there for imagining that it is any more immortal than his heart or his eye? We can study the eye and dissect it and arrive at a fairly accurate idea of how it works. We know that it can be blinded—put out; also we know that if anything stops the heart from beating, the eye, the brain and our other functions cease to operate and become transfixed in death. Why should this not apply as well to the soul, if there is a function in man which goes by that name?

Enough has been said to indicate a few of the difficulties which stand in the way, when we approach the consideration of man's spiritual nature. A study of the various religions and spiritualistic beliefs which are current in the world to-day would be a tedious task for the average mind and would probably be of little practical use or help to any one.

The same may be said about the scientific theory of evolution. That is essentially an effort of the intellect, focusing the attention on details, processes and stages of development in living things and arriving no nearer to a solution of the unexplainable than we were in the beginning.

Suppose I happen to be impressed by the beauty and wonder of an orange tree, with its[Pg 134] golden, luscious fruit, its delicately tinted and deliciously scented blossoms, its graceful leaves and branches, its symmetrical trunk so firmly rooted in the ground? Merely as a piece of machinery, as a little factory, designed to manufacture a certain kind of edible product, it is far more ingenious, economical and generally marvellous than anything the combined brains of mankind have been able to design throughout the centuries. It is automatic, self-lubricating, self-repairing and goes on, year after year, in fair weather or foul, turning out its brand of juicy pulp, done up charmingly in little yellow packages. How does it operate? How does it always manage to get the necessary raw materials from the earth and the air? How do the roots and the leaves and the sap ever contrive to convert these into perfume and blossoms and pulp and pigment?

Now suppose a scientific intellect comes along and, after investigating, dissecting, analyzing, eventually holds out before my eyes a tiny white seed which it has located in the centre of the yellow package—and says:

"This is the explanation of the whole thing. That orange tree is merely the result, by a process of natural development and evolution, of this seed. We have studied it all out, step by step. If you will give us one of these seeds to start with[Pg 135] and some ground to put it in, there is no mystery about it at all. We can show you how the whole thing happens. Of course, it takes considerable time—but time is nothing to Nature. In this case, only four or five years are required for the seed to become transformed into a fruit-bearing orange tree."

"But," say I, "your investigations and explanations only add to my amazement. The design and formation of that little seed is even more wonderful and incomprehensible than the full-grown orange tree. Within its tiny compass, it not only contains all the complicated miraculous processes which convert earth and air and water into fragrant blossoms, juicy pulp and golden oranges, but it contains in addition to that, other miraculous powers which enable it to develop and transform itself into a special kind of beautiful tree, with roots and branches and leaves. As compared to this one little seed, all the greatest inventions and achievements of man seem like the crudest bungling."

"Tut, tut," replies the scientific intellect, "this is only one sort of seed. There are hundreds, thousands of others, some so small that they look like grains of dust. Each one of these is a complete manufacturing plant, perfect in every detail, each designed to turn out a special[Pg 136] kind of product, different from all the others. One of the most remarkable points about them is that they require no special materials—each and every one of them makes use of the same common ingredients, earth, air, light, water. From those ingredients, this little machine, for instance, working automatically, can turn out a giant red-wood tree, which will last for centuries. This other little one, next to it, working in the same way, will produce thousands upon thousands of roses, of a certain beautiful shade of color and a certain delicate fragrance. And so it is with all these other little machines, which we call seeds,—however amazing the difference in the kind of product, it is due entirely to certain subtle differences in their design."

"But," say I, "what sublime intelligence conceived the plan of those machines, and what kind of sublimely skilful craftsman was able to fashion them?"

"They were made automatically by the various trees and plants."

"But who conceived the plan of the trees and plants?"

"The trees and plants were produced automatically by other little seeds, like these."

"But the first one of these seeds, or the first one[Pg 137] of these trees—who conceived and executed that?"

"Oh, that," says the scientific intellect, "came about through a process of evolution, which extends way back thousands of centuries. We have studied it carefully and reasoned it all out to our entire satisfaction.

"These plant seeds are only one part of it. There are also all the animals and animalculae, including man. There are thousands of different kinds of living creatures and each kind has a distinct design from all the rest, which appears to have been determined by the special purpose for which it was intended.

"As a matter of fact, they are nothing more or less than the results of evolution, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. All we require for the demonstration of our theory, is a little bit of protoplasm at the beginning of things and a mass of elemental matter in an unformed state."

"But," say I, "are you sure you are not trying to befuddle me and befuddle yourself by the use of obscure words? You use the word "protoplasm"—but if you mean by that a kind of machine, like the orange pit or the red-wood seed, your evolution theory and your scientific chain of reasoning and all your big words merely bring[Pg 138] us back to the point where we started and really explain nothing at all. The orange seed, if left to itself in the midst of elemental matter will produce a certain kind of tree and countless oranges. A bit of protoplasm, if left to itself in the midst of elemental matter, will not only produce an orange tree and a red-wood tree, but an elephant, a spider, a human being—all the countless species of living things to be found in the universe. It may take the protoplasm a longer time to turn all this out, but it is a bigger job and time is of small account in such a consideration.

"All I can say is that I prostrate myself in abject and bewildered admiration before that bit of protoplasm. If anything could be more wonderful than the orange seed with which we started, your protoplasm is certainly it. It is a miracle of a million miracles.

"But there is one thing you forgot to tell me—the only thing of any real interest or importance to the average mind in such a theory. What sublime intelligence conceived the plan of that bit of protoplasm—and what kind of sublimely skilful craftsman was able to fashion it?"

"Oh that," says the scientific intellect—"that just happens to be one point which our chain of reasoning has not yet been able to demonstrate[Pg 139] in a logical and satisfactory way. We have left that out of our theory."

"Well then," say I, "here are trees and flowers and animals and mankind, each perfectly adapted for the special function on earth for which they were apparently designed. The plan of them appears to have been determined, somewhere, somehow, by a sublime intelligence which surpasses understanding, for some sublime purpose, apparently, which I am yearning to know. All the details, complications and assumptions of your theory when boiled down to simple terms seem more or less of a quibble on words and meanings.

"Your conclusions are of much the same sort as those of the intellectual cynic whom we quoted in connection with sympathy and affection. He undertook to prove with a chain of reasoning that I obey only motives of selfishness when I shed tears of grief because my friend has lost his only son."

Here we are living together on earth to-day, and here were our fathers and forefathers living, in the same general way with the same general instincts and feelings, as far back as we have any record of; and here presumably will our children and their descendants continue to be living, as far as our imagination can carry us. Whether the process of our creation involved a bit of[Pg 140] protoplasm in the midst of chaos, or whether we were evolved from a thought and a breath of an Almighty God, is of very slight consequence as a human consideration.

In view of the wonderful harmony and fitness of the countless processes and things which we see everywhere about us in nature, it is not strange that mankind seems always to have taken it for granted that a supremely wise and a supremely resourceful intelligence of some sort is responsible for it all. The beginning, the end, the scheme and purpose of so many miracles, extend into the beyond, the unknown, the incomprehensible. What the Supreme Being is like—how or why He came into existence—where matter or life first came from—or even what the connection is between the creatures of this world and the countless stars and planets which may be other worlds—all this is shrouded in the mystery of mysteries.

If we get to thinking very much about it, one of the effects is to make the affairs of man and the like of man seem tiny and unimportant in comparison to the whole—one kind of little creatures on one little globe, when we know there are thousands upon thousands of bigger globes in the firmament and possibly millions and billions of[Pg 141] larger and more exalted creatures on many of them.

But it is only man's intellect that gets tangled up and discouraged by that kind of reasoning. Another side of man's nature comes to the fore and disposes of this tangle with more inspiring sentiments. These sentiments tell us that a marvellous scheme of life is at work in our world, every detail of which from the lowest to the highest appears to have received exactly the same sort of sublime consideration—and that of this entire scheme, the spirit of man has been constituted the leader and master. On this earth at least man is a kind of divine lieutenant, the captain, the commander, the generalissimo of all living things. Somehow, somewhere, there must be a sublime purpose to it all, because it is dominated throughout by a sublime intelligence, an apparently all-wise Providence. Somehow, somewhere, the spirit of man has a never ending responsibility and an awe-inspiring, exalted destiny.

Whether this be true or not, and however, the scientific intellect may be inclined to quibble with arguments and conclusions, there is something inside of each and every one of us to a greater or less extent, which makes us feel that this is so. This something within us, which responds to such a feeling, is a function quite apart from the [Pg 142]intellect—the most highly developed intellects often have the least of it; it is equally removed from the loves and hates, sympathies and antipathies of our heart life; and equally far away from the perceptions and appetites of our senses. It is the side of man's nature which for the want of a better name, we call the soul. And the feeling of the soul that there is somewhere an all-wise Providence, sublime purpose in everything, an exalted destiny for man—irrespective of proof, or science, or calculation or demonstrations of any sort—that feeling in its simplest essence is what we call faith.

"In God We Trust"—that is the motto which appears on American coins. Without great exaggeration, it might be called the motto of humanity, everywhere, at all times. It is a soul feeling; an expression of fundamental faith.

Now as this feeling is not dependent on the reasoning faculty, there should be nothing amazing in the fact that it has been found susceptible of being developed and led far afield in the direction of credulity. All sorts of fairy-tales have been invented by man's imagination, in different countries, at different periods, and imposed upon the simple faith of the masses in order that they might be guided and controlled in a manner that the leading spirits considered best for them. Idols,[Pg 143] divine revelations, oracles, prayers, sacrifices, confessionals, priests, prophets, medicine men, sacred dances and prostrations, awe-inspiring rites and ceremonies of almost every conceivable kind have been resorted to, in order to attain results which were considered beneficial.

In nearly every case, it is safe to say the effort was inspired by an intense soul feeling on the part of an individual, however much it may have been seasoned with shrewdness and calculation and understanding of the people for whose good it was intended.

It is generally admitted that the age in which we live is a scientific age. Scientific investigations, scientific explanations, scientific inventions, scientific methods and theories, are dominant factors in the progress to which modern civilization has been devoting so much of its energy. In our schools, and colleges and text-books, the growing mind is being taught to approach all subjects and questions from a reasonable, practical and scientific point-of-view.

One of the first principles of all science is to take as little as possible for granted, but to investigate and prove everything, without prejudice, in strict accordance with the facts. This is the typical attitude of to-day, encouraged and[Pg 144] absorbed on every side and becoming more wide-spread with each passing year.

Suppose a young man or woman, trained in this way, in school and college, by books of science, magazine articles, newspapers and discussions of one sort or another connected with modern progress, is prompted one fine day to turn his attention to this question of religion and undertake an enquiry into that? Sooner or later, this is very apt to happen to any one, because the churches and ceremonies are all about; and when an individual mind reaches a stage where it wants to think for itself, it can hardly escape from arriving at some conclusion concerning them.

A modern person so trained, is apt to perceive very quickly that many of the statements and assumptions made in the name of any particular religion are unscientific and inaccurate and not much more reasonable than Aladdin and his wonderful lamp, or Jack and the Beanstalk. They pre-suppose an amount of childlike credulity and ignorance on the part of the worshipper, which can only be explained to his mind by the primitive state of the people for whom they were originally intended.

In view of this, the natural tendency for a practical scientific mind of the present generation is to regard the church question as a rather curious[Pg 145] and perplexing survival which, for family and personal reasons, it might be just as well to leave alone.

As science cannot discover how the first protoplasm was created, and as the preaching of the various religions is interwoven with fanciful and unsound assumptions, the most logical solution is to cease bothering one's head about it.

One trouble with this is, that the soul is an important part of man's life and it has need of faith of some sort. To a great extent, civilization depends upon it. If all the people about us had no soul and no faith, it is hard to imagine what the world would be like.

We can imagine, in a way, by turning our attention to the criminal classes. Consider for a moment the make-up of a typical crook—a thief, a burglar, a kidnapper, a hold-up man—a so-called "enemy of the law." What is the underlying difference between him and a worthy citizen? Is it simply that one breaks the law, while the other does not? That is only an apparent, superficial difference, based on results. A worthy man might break the law repeatedly, without becoming in the least a crook; a crook might stay within the law, most carefully and cautiously, without altering in the slightest degree, the essence of his crookedness.[Pg 146]

The real significant difference lies deeper down, in his nature and attitude—attitude toward his fellow men, toward himself, toward the mystery of life. A crook usually has the same sort of appetites and desires as anybody else. He may have the keenest perceptions and excellent taste in matters of beauty and other pleasure-giving refinements. As far as the sensations of life go, and the development of the senses, he may be far above the average, and many of them undoubtedly are.

As for brains, many crooks of the higher order are remarkably quick and resourceful, while not a few have had superior education and book learning.

It is also undoubtedly true that they may have warm hearts and loving natures, and be capable of an unusual amount of loyalty and devotion to their pals.

In addition to that, they are frequently very patient, self-controlled and fearless.

But there is just one quality, one side of their natures, that is deficient—the soul, with its faith. They have no feeling of responsibility within them toward an unknown but holy purpose, toward an all-wise Being, who created the world and entrusted to man a spirit capable of leading it.

Without this feeling, there is no real meaning to the words right and wrong; and that is the[Pg 147] essential mark of a crook. Outside of a few intimates whom he is attached to, the rest of mankind with its laws and aspirations, represents nothing more than a hostile force to be preyed upon and gotten the best of. Provided he can avoid punishment, a crook feels no objection to cheating, stealing, or cutting a throat.

This appears to be the natural principle of life among wild animals, the fish in the sea, the spider and the fly; and it would presumably be the same among men, if man were without a soul and devoid of faith.

There is no feeling of right and wrong among animals, when left to themselves. They merely try to get what they want, by any means at their disposal. In doing this, their only concern is to save their own skins and to avoid a mix-up with another animal or animals stronger than themselves.

In the case of crooks and criminals, these other animals which concern them are usually the representatives of the law.

Certain kinds of animals—dogs, horses, pets—may be tamed and trained by man into an imitation notion of right and wrong. But it is only a superficial imitation, essentially different in composition from the genuine article.

A dog may learn in time that if he chases the[Pg 148] pet cat, his master will give him a beating. After learning this lesson, he may still occasionally give himself the satisfaction of chasing the cat up a tree, but after he has done so, he will show his training by looking guilty, hanging his tail and sneaking off into the bushes. He knows he has done wrong. In this case, however, it simply means that he is anticipating and seeking to mitigate an expected beating. The pain of a beating is bad; a lump of sugar is good, any animal can grasp that, and some animals may be trained to connect the cause and effect.

But that is not at all the same kind of thing as the conception of right and wrong that grows up in man and finds its true explanation in a soul feeling.

This vague, but fundamental, feeling of faith in a divine purpose of some sort for the life of each individual is not dependent upon any particular religion, or creed, or doctrine. It appears to have found expression at all stages of civilization in all countries of which we have any record.

It was found to exist among the savage American Indians and the Aztec Mexicans, as it existed in the earliest mummy age of ancient Egypt, and among the earlier warriors of Europe, as depicted by Homer. Among the yellow races of China and[Pg 149] Japan, the recognition of this same faith extends back to the farther-most records of time.

Whether it evolved from a protoplasm, or was implanted in man by the Creator, it may be regarded as an essential part of the all-wise scheme—which is, which was, and which presumably always will be.

By some such process of observation and reasoning as we have been going through, it is possible to arrive at a relatively safe and satisfactory conclusion to the first soul question: "Has my life any purpose in the great, everlasting scheme of things?"

The answer is: "Undoubtedly. A feeling to that effect is to be found universally among mankind. The intention of the Creator, which surpasses understanding, in this one respect, at least, appears to be unmistakable."

Attached to this conclusion is the second part of the question, to which an answer may be found by a similar process of observation and reasoning:

"Granted that I am assured by an inner feeling that my life has some purpose—what is that purpose?"

It is not difficult to discern a general and practically uniform purpose in normal human beings. First, of course, is the primal instinct of [Pg 150]self-preservation, a feeling that life itself is precious and must be held on to as long as possible. Along with this, goes another primal instinct—to create new life and protect that—and thus continue your race and kind on earth indefinitely.

It is easy enough to see that if these two instincts were lacking, or if any other considerations were allowed to impair their force, the scheme of the world would come to an end. Whatever the purpose of a human life might be, that purpose would be futile, if there were no human lives to accomplish it. So that these two instincts are necessary conditions of any other plan or design. They are the first and foremost considerations in all life, in all civilizations. Not only are they instinctive impulses of man's animal nature, which he shares with brute beings, but they also appeal to his innermost soul with the strongest feelings of which he is capable.

It is right for him to protect himself; it is right for him to protect his wife and children; it is right for him to protect his relatives and friends and fellows from any and all enemies. In order to do this he will kill other human beings, if necessary, in case of war, or attack; and his conscience will not reproach him; it will tell him he has done right.

This feeling has been implanted in all normal[Pg 151] human beings—it has always been and presumably always will be. It may be regarded as part of the divine intention. It is also an unmistakable purpose for each individual—to preserve his own life and strive for its continuation in his off-spring.

That is the first and foremost thing for you to live for. Why? Because the strongest feelings of your whole nature, in accord with your conscience, tell you so.

If we consider woman as distinct from man, we find her strongest instinct and deepest inner feelings impel her to care for and protect her off-spring; but that instead of an impulse to go out and fight against the enemy, she feels in her conscience that it is right and natural for her to rely upon the husband and father to do that. It is for her to stick close to the babies and pray for his success.

That is the only difference—a fundamental difference in the innermost feeling of the male and the female—which appears to have existed always, and may therefore be regarded as a part of the divine intention.

Now, after the continuation of life on earth is safeguarded in this way, is there any other deep and general feeling of man's inner nature which[Pg 152] might furnish an indication of a further purpose for his life?

Is there not in each and every one of us a deep-rooted desire, which is wholly in accord with conscience, to make good in the rôle which has been assigned to us in the mystery of creation? Does not each individual feel moved to accomplish something beyond the mere continuation of life? Is there not within us a vague aspiration to do well and be something good and fine, according to our means and tastes? Do we not want to be a success rather than a failure, both for our own sake and for the sake of those we love, who also love us, and cannot help being affected by what we do?

If by any chance you are deficient in this feeling yourself, or confused about it, you have only to look about any where, at any time, and you will find it in evidence among normal individuals from the days of early childhood.

A little girl likes to be pretty, to dance well, to sew neatly, to be helpful to her mother, to be petted, loved, approved.

A little boy wants to be a fast runner, a fine swimmer, a good fighter—he wants to be strong and brave and self-reliant and many other things, besides. He admires these qualities in other boys; a feeling of his inner nature, in accord with his[Pg 153] conscience, tells him he would like to be that kind of a boy, himself. He feels it is the kind that every one ought to want to be.

And if he is a normal, healthy boy, this feeling arises within him just as naturally and spontaneously as the feeling which comes to a sensitive soul in the presence of a sunset, or musical harmonies and tells it they are beautiful. It is quite apart from any far-sighted calculations of the intellect concerning the practical use which those qualities may, or may not, have in after life.

The same thing is true of the little girl and what she admires and aspires to.

As the youngsters grow up to be men and women, they are still susceptible to the same sort of feeling, in spite of the fact that many other more practical and material considerations are liable to creep in and confuse it, alter it, distort it.

Somewhere, in the inner nature of almost everybody, there persists a feeling of admiration for the fine and noble qualities of mankind. Some of those qualities, experience may have demonstrated, are beyond our personal strength and reach—others may have practical disadvantages, which our self-interest and our reason over-rule, but as long as the feeling is there, it keeps whispering to us, however faintly, that we ought[Pg 154] to try to live up to the best that is in us and not be satisfied with less.

Let us take care to note that this differs completely from another sort of feeling which cold-blooded cynics are apt to confuse it with. This other feeling is inspired by greed and controlled by selfish calculation, and tells certain individuals that by closing their eyes to what is beautiful and admirable in human nature, and by taking advantage of any and every opportunity, they may obtain a greater portion of worldly goods and material pleasures.

This latter feeling is not in touch with conscience and neither to ourselves, nor to others, does it inspire ennobling sentiments. A proper name for it is ambition—a selfish quality, whose essence bears no relation to the aspiration of boy and girl, man and woman, toward what is finest and best.

This feeling of aspiration, which exists in the soul and appears to be innate in human beings everywhere, offers a clear and indisputable revelation of a purpose for man's life, above and beyond the mere continuation of it. It is one very solid answer to the second part of the great question: What is the purpose of my life? To strive toward betterment and excellence, in accordance with your lights and conscience. Why? Because,[Pg 155] just as a feeling within you tells you that a sunset is beautiful, so there is this other feeling within you, which tells you this is fine and right.

Those are fundamental feelings, planted in all mankind, not accidental exceptions. They are surely a part of the all-wise design, an essential part of your purpose in being here.

The finest types of men, the leading spirits of humanity, in all ages and climes, from the earliest savages to the most advanced civilization, have always had that kind of feeling and responded to it. It is a fundamental fact of the soul life, which leaves no room for doubt.

Is there any other feeling of this sort which appears to be so fundamental and world-wide that it may be regarded as an innate and essential part of human nature, independent of climate, or race, or intellectual development?

Is there not a sentiment deep down in all mothers and fathers, to want their children to be finer, better, more nearly perfect than they themselves have been? Has not this sentiment something in it which is quite apart from self-interest, or reason, or the impulses of affection?

Suppose a normal mother is on her death-bed, with but an hour to live? As far as she is concerned, all considerations of self-interest in this world are at an end. After one hour, nothing[Pg 156] that happens can make any difference to her, personally. Her children are in an adjoining room and her thoughts and feelings are full of them. That is only natural—almost inevitable.

What is the essence of her feelings? Love, in the first place. They are inexpressibly dear to her and she feels glad and thankful that all is well with them. What next? A prayerful hope that they will be happy and successful and live to a ripe old age. For her sake? No, for theirs.

Does she wish them to be liars and cheats and ingrates, dissipated and corrupt, if by so doing they can have most pleasure and satisfy themselves? Oh no—not that. Why not? Because there is something within her which wants them to be fine and good and worthy of their birthright. She wants them to cling fast to the best that is in them, not the worst; to do right and be right, whether it serves their pleasure or not.

If a mother would naturally feel this way on her death-bed, so might a father, or a grandmother or a grand-father, in any country—in almost any state of civilization—irrespective of any particular creed or doctrine, to which they might subscribe.

This is not to be taken as saying that all mothers or fathers would be conscious of this feeling—or would have this feeling in them to any [Pg 157]appreciable extent—or that all individuals may be said to have any of the fundamental soul feelings to which we have referred.

Throughout all nature, and in human life as well, there are to be found individual deficiencies and perversions. Since this is as true to-day, as it has been always, in all departments of creation, we can be content to regard it as part of the all-wise but mysterious scheme.

To the best of our knowledge and belief, in practically all communities of human beings of which there is any record, these few self-same feelings of man's innermost nature have become plainly, unmistakably, evident. They appear to be inborn fundamentals of the human soul. As far as they go, they may be safely and confidently accepted as indications of man's purpose here on earth: the preservation of life, the continuation of life, an aspiration in one's own development toward what is admirable and right, and an equally great aspiration to inculcate and develop in one's children the essence of what is best in oneself.

In the face of any such conclusion, a question naturally arises, which a cynical and selfish mind is not slow to make the most of. "If this is the palpable intention and design of an all-wise Creator, how does it happen that so many human[Pg 158] beings fail to carry out the purpose? How does it happen that so many are relatively deficient, or totally unconscious of the feelings themselves? If the general aim and aspiration is toward constant betterment and an ideal of perfection, why, after all these centuries of endeavor, haven't we arrived somewhere near the goal? Why do we find among the individuals of to-day in our country less aspirations toward what is fine and right and honorable than were felt a hundred years ago? Why, when these feelings reached so high a standard in the classic days of Greece, did they decline and shrivel and give way to barbarism? Why did the same thing happen in Rome? If the divine intention is toward progress and betterment and an ideal of right, why has the intention failed so miserably and repeatedly to be carried out? Why haven't I just as much reason to assume that the divine intention, if there be any, is the gradual corruption, decay and disintegration of the human being? Were the motives and behavior of the average man ever more corrupt, immoral and baser than they are to-day—all over the world? If we consider the results, where is the evidence of a constant betterment in man's spiritual nature? My observations and judgment tell me there are no grounds for any such [Pg 159]assumption and there probably never was any such divine intention."

The answer to such objections is fairly simple:

"You are attempting to pass judgment, by means of the reasoning processes of the intellect, on questions which man's intellect is incapable of understanding. As we found to be the case when considering the affections, the result of such an endeavor is a misconception and distortion.

"Although you are well aware that neither reason nor science can offer the faintest glimmer of an explanation as to how, or why, the first essence of life came into existence, or the first elemental matter, or as to what is the ultimate intention or end of a single thing in this world, or any other, yet you have the presumption to criticize the means and methods being employed for the attainment of those ends by an all-wise Creator, who presumably did know, and does know, what they are.

"Underlying your questions and comments is a complete misunderstanding. In considering man's purpose in life, I had no thought of determining God's purpose in creating man, or in creating life, or in creating the world in which the life of man is to be found. That surpasses my understanding. That there is an all-wise design and purpose of some sort, behind and above it[Pg 160] all, I have no doubt. This conviction comes principally from a feeling of my innermost nature, which has been found among mankind, in all ages—faith. It is confirmed and strengthened by the evidence of my perceptions and intellect—the beauty and wonder and fitness in all the processes of creation.

"But even in the simplest facts of nature all about us, there are countless principles at work whose intention cannot be penetrated by human reason. Why were wolves permitted and urged by their instincts to devour innocent lambs? Why were the germs of disease and corruption created with the same bewildering perfection of design and the same mysterious, vital force as the good and beautiful creatures which they infest? Why were exquisite flowers and fruit-bearing trees allowed to be overcome by foul fungus and poisonous weeds?

"If our reason is unable to discern the underlying intention in such simple, every-day occurrences as these, by what right does it pretend to pass judgment on the great complexities and developments of human civilization?"

What good is accomplished by the rise and fall of an empire? Or by the rise and fall of a human individual? What all-wise intention is fulfilled in the deterioration and decay of any thing which[Pg 161] has once seemed admirable and worthy? The human intellect cannot tell.

As long as the intellect cannot grasp the beginning of creation, or the end, the original cause of man's existence, or the final result—how can it presume to criticize and doubt, without getting out of its element and beyond its depth?

God's purpose for man, from the point-of-view of God, is an entirely different thing from an individual's purpose in life, from man's point-of-view. As this difference is something which appears to give rise to a certain amount of confusion in some people's minds, it is worth clearing up by a simple illustration.

Suppose a commanding general, in the midst of a campaign, gives orders for a brigade to occupy a certain ridge and defend it at all costs? Suppose these orders are carried out and, after a heroic defence lasting several days, the entire brigade is wiped out by the enemy?

In such a case, when an order comes, what is, and ought to be, the purpose of each individual soldier composing the brigade? To obey orders, do his duty as well and bravely as he can, and hope for the best—which may be victory, glory and promotion.

What, now, was the purpose of the general, in issuing the orders? Was it to enable those[Pg 162] individual soldiers to win victory and gain promotion? Quite the contrary. His purpose was to delay the enemy advance at that point for forty-eight hours, for reasons of high strategy.

What was the purpose of God in designing mankind in such a way that millions of fine individuals should go forth to maim and exterminate each other, to the accompaniment of untold suffering and misery?

Because the private does not know the purpose of the general; and because neither the private, nor the general, knows the purpose of God, is that a reason to conclude, or imagine, that there is no purpose?

Is that a reason to conclude, or imagine, that the private cannot have and know a purpose of his own—a fine and worthy purpose of which his conscience approves? Does not that same observation apply to the general and to all other individuals, high or low?

Because certain individuals are born blind or deaf, does that imply that mankind was not designed to see or hear? Because certain individuals, through the effects of disease or abuse, lose their sight, does that disprove a purpose for the eye? Because certain communities, or certain civilizations, decline and decay, through corruption, does that prove anything with regard to[Pg 163] the intention and design of the Creator—except that such happenings are apparently a part of the mysterious plan?

It may be that in that plan the soul life of a single individual has more lasting significance than the rise and fall of an empire. Such a conception is apt to strike a matter-of-fact intellect as the height of absurdity. But even in the material world, when it was first suggested that the earth was round, that conception also struck the matter-of-fact intellect as the height of absurdity. So did the idea of Columbus—that he might set sail from Spain, going West, and arrive back at Spain, coming from the East. Nearly all the great discoveries and conceptions of genius have struck the matter-of-fact intellect as the height of absurdity. They dealt with an unknown principle which was different from accepted notions.

But the meaning of a human soul in the eternal plan, or of a certain phase of civilization in the unknown plan, are also unknown principles and the opinions of the intellect concerning them are purely guess-work.

If, however, we feel inclined to use our imaginations, there is a line of thought which might seem to have a remote bearing on this part of the puzzle.

In the material world, and the intellectual world,[Pg 164] and the esthetic world of art and beauty, we may form a matter-of-fact opinion concerning things of which we do know something. We can see the effects of certain occurrences and judge of their relative importance, from man's point-of-view.

Which was more significant and important for the good of civilization—that countless millions of men and women, for countless generations, in Mexico and in Persia, talked and thought and exchanged ideas—or that one single individual, named William Shakespeare, had some ideas which it occurred to him to put on paper?

The brain effort of a single individual more significant for future humanity than the rise and fall of an empire! That kind of conception—dealing with something we know about—does not strike the matter-of-fact intellect as the height of absurdity.

Was a single painting, the Mona Lisa, of a single individual, Leonardo da Vinci, less important than the millions of paintings made during countless generations throughout the entire empire of China?

Do we measure the achievements of a Napoleon, an Alexander, a Washington, by the manner of their decline and death?

It seems simple enough to us that one short[Pg 165] life may have more meaning for the rest of humanity in this world, than millions of other lives. We can see and understand and measure the effects of such occurrences as these, with the intellect.

But in regard to man's inner feelings, the soul life, because the achievement may not be visible—because its record is not written on paper—because its true significance is entirely shrouded in the mysterious intention of creation, how can the intellect know that the conscientious effort of one short life on earth, however humble, may not have a bigger meaning and a more lasting value in the divine scheme than the accomplishments—material, intellectual, artistic—of millions?

The spiritual side appears undoubtedly to be the highest and finest part of man's nature—why then is it not possible that the spiritual struggle of each and every single soul, however inconspicuous in a worldly way, may be the thing that counts most in the everlasting scheme?

This is a question, we repeat, which all the science of all the wise men of all the generations is completely incapable of deciding. No amount of reasoning can disprove it, any more than it can prove it. That is the special point I have been trying to make clear. Because the cold processes[Pg 166] of the intellect are inclined to dismiss as absurd all kinds of beliefs and conceptions which they cannot verify, they need not be abandoned on that account.[Pg 167]



No amount of reasoning can alter the fact that certain spontaneous and fundamental feelings of man's inner nature inspire him to conscientious effort and, as they presumably owe their origin to an all-wise Creator, they may be safely relied on to indicate his part and responsibility in the mysterious scheme.

It seems to me that nothing in the whole problem of life is more important than a thorough realization of this undoubted truth—that the big fundamental feelings of man's better nature are absolutely independent and apart from the working of his intellect, or any calculation of self-interest, conscious or implied, just as they are independent of his material appetites and instincts. A clear understanding of this truth will answer many of the questions which are so apt to confuse the reason and trouble the peace of mind of the average much instructed person.

If a scientific doubter asks us how we can be[Pg 168] sure of this, we can answer without hesitation that the evidence of our own inner feelings is unmistakable proof of it. The only proof of a feeling is the feeling itself. We have it—we are conscious of it—it is, as far as we are concerned, and it is futile for any outsider to deny it.

If any one is so constituted that he cannot get the force of this, we may make the understanding of it easier by turning his attention to the feelings of man's esthetic nature, which operate in a somewhat similar way. We have already had occasion to refer to them, but we may be permitted to do so again, with added emphasis. They are an illustration and a confirmation of the vitally important principle which we have just been stating.

If a setting sun, or a harmony, or musical notes, appeal to my sense of beauty and give rise to a vague but delicious emotion of my inner nature, all the arguments of all the intellects on earth are powerless to alter the essence and meaning of that feeling, so far as my nature is concerned. To me that feeling of beauty is a fact, and it would remain just as much a fact, even if no other person in the world shared it with me; and every other person in the world undertook to deny its existence. The only proof I have of it, the only proof I need for it, is that I feel it.[Pg 169]

Now when the intellect takes upon itself to meddle with such things, a learned professor may explain that a certain musical note is composed of vibrations—so many thousand per second—which are communicated to particles of matter in suspension in the air and carried by them to the tympanum of the ear, which acts thus-and-so upon the various components of the hearing apparatus, and finally arrives through a system of ganglia to a certain nerve centre, located somewhere in a brain cell, or the spinal column. He may use a great many other big words and display various kinds of scientific devices for measuring sound waves and calculating vibrations, but when he has finished, all his science will not enable him to compose a touching melody, or feel the beauty and inspiration of it. A little child, or a negro mammy, with a soul for music, will feel and give out something, whose very essence has nothing to do with the intellect and which the most formidable intellect is powerless to grasp.

The same thing is true of painting and poetry and sculpture. The feelings which inspire them and the feelings which they arouse in receptive souls are totally independent of the intellect.

The reason may argue that as one leg of the Venus de Milo is found by measurement to be considerably shorter than the other, it is absurd[Pg 170] to call that a beautiful figure of a woman—or that it should excite as much admiration as a scientifically constructed statue in which all the proportions would be in accord with carefully tabulated statistics.

As a photograph of a young and healthy girl is more accurate and more pleasing in subject than a painting of an old woman, what reason is there for it to arouse less esthetic feeling than an immortal portrait by Rembrandt?

If a description of a small water course, drawn up by a surveyor and a lawyer, is exact and comprehensive, why should it not appeal to the imagination and sense of beauty more satisfactorily than a poem by Tennyson, entitled "The Brook?"

The obvious answer is that in all such questions the intellect is out of its element, trying to lay hands on something which has no tangible substance.

If this point-of-view is not enough to give your intellect food for thought and suggest its very decided limitations in the life of man, you may turn its light upon the simplest and most material sensations and feelings which belong to the animal nature and are common to all mankind.

What reason is there for my brother to dote on fried onions, while I cannot endure them? Why does my uncle like pig's feet and eels and[Pg 171] snails, while my wife is made almost ill at the sight of them? Your intellect may tell you that you ought to like the taste of castor oil, because it is good for you; but all the intellect in the world cannot make you like the taste of castor oil.

The taste, the savor, the feel of things—whether it be in the material world, or the esthetic world, or the spiritual world—is a part of life in which the intellect is forever condemned to remain an outsider. It may be very much interested in what is going on, it may reason with the causes and effects and characteristics of what it sees; it may make suggestions to the will-power and argue against the impulses which are prompted by the feelings; but it cannot prevent the feelings, or the impulses, from being there and having their say.

The life and say of the feelings mean much to the welfare of each individual. Let us suppose that the circumstances of my life were such that I could truthfully express myself as follows:

"I feel well and strong; I feel that I love my wife devotedly and my wife returns that love; I feel immense affection for my children; I feel I would make any and every sacrifice to protect them and my wife from harm; I feel very hopeful about the future, both for my family and myself; I feel I have done my best, in accordance with my ability; I have a feeling of loyalty to my friends[Pg 172] and a feeling of honor in my dealings with my fellow men; I feel content with my lot, in particular, and the way of the world, in general; and whether my life was evolved from a monkey and a protoplasm, or came into being as a divine and perfect conception, I feel an abiding faith in an all-wise but mysterious purpose for everything."

There are no material considerations, or calculations of self-interest, or reasoning processes, in this kind of summary. It is made up exclusively of fundamental and spontaneous feelings which are in existence, to a greater or less extent, among all sorts and manners of individuals, in any known stage of civilization. A peasant living in a hut, in a vineyard in Sicily, is just as capable of having them, as a millionaire living in a city palace, or a scientist presiding over an academy of learning. A native Patagonian, or a Swede, or a Chinaman, may be just as susceptible to them as a French artist, or an American steel king. As they come from the inner nature, and as all men have an inner nature, it is possible for them to be experienced by all men.

There are, of course, countless other beautiful and inspired feelings that may come to life in the inner nature of an individual, but the few simple ones which we have suggested are sufficient for an illustration.[Pg 173]

Now let us imagine, for a moment, another illustration. Let us imagine that a modern intellect, scientifically trained and enlightened, undertook to investigate, analyze, dissect, in a methodical and accurate way, the facts which gave rise to my feelings, or are implied by them, in an effort to determine the reason and reasonableness of such interesting phenomena.

I feel well and strong. "But," says he, "that does not necessarily prove that you are well or strong. It may be merely an assumption founded on ignorance of scientific facts." The proper way to determine how well and strong I am is to have my health and strength tested and rated in an expert way. According to the report of such an expert, my state of health is only 63 per cent normal and my strength is less than 50 per cent of standard for my weight and age.

Strictly speaking, I am neither well nor strong, and my feeling in that respect may be dismissed as unwarranted by the facts and consequently unreasonable.

"I feel that I love my wife devotedly and that my wife returns that love."

"But," says the intellect, "those are only words. As a matter of fact, how severe and accurate a test have either of those devotions been submitted to? Have you ever been thrown into[Pg 174] contact, alone and undisturbed, with a woman who is more beautiful and more appealing than your wife—who yearns for you and invites you with abandoned intensity? Has your wife's devotion been subjected to a corresponding test? Until that has been done, it is only reasonable to assume that there may be a good deal of exaggeration and self-delusion in the conclusions which you have arrived at. As there are certain prejudices and difficulties in the way of having these tests made, and as neither you nor your wife appear willing for the other to try them, any satisfactory estimate of your reciprocal devotions must remain in abeyance. Our statistics show, however, that in 87 per cent. of the cases where a mutual and unalterable devotion is supposed to exist, the determining factor on one side or the other, is the accidental absence of a sufficiently appealing opportunity. The evidence of the divorce courts offers a valuable source of information on this phase of the subject. Purely as a matter of averages, the conjecture may be hazarded that your assumption in this regard, as in the other, may be founded on a misconception."

In the same way, the intellect may introduce reasons and deductions in criticism of my hopes for my children, and the fallacies which may have[Pg 175] crept into my theories of loyalty and honor and aspiration.

Finally, he might say: "Permit me to observe that you made a curious and somewhat amazing statement, just now, in reference to faith and an all-wise purpose. Is it possible that you are still under the influence of an out-grown mediaeval superstition? The only reasonable assumption with regard to man's place in the universe has been quite clearly and scientifically established by the modern theory of evolution. It appears from that, that you and I are descended from an ape, which in turn is a second-cousin-once-removed, so to speak, of the bat, the spider, and the shark. We are all animals together, slowly passing through different phases of evolution, and man owes his existence entirely to the accidental results of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Man's tribe happens to be more numerous than that of the elephant, or the whale, which are larger animals; but less numerous than that of the ant, which is almost his equal in intelligence and decidedly more industrious, though it is so much smaller than man. Millions of ants come into existence and go out of existence, every day, without making any appreciable difference in the gradual processes of evolution. The same thing may be said of man—or bats[Pg 176] and whales. Surely it is high time that a well-educated person of the twentieth century should consider such things from a reasonable, scientific point-of-view."

When he has finished with this, if I am still in a receptive mood, he may condescend to explain to me that self-interest and enlightened reason supply the true and underlying motives for all conduct; and that this is the only conception of life which is susceptible of intelligent explanation.

As a matter of fact, although this illustration is entirely fanciful, I was given a book to read, the other day, a modern book on morals, in which this was the gist of the argument throughout—enlightened self-interest, or selfishness, as the only sound and sufficient motive for everything we do. The friend who gave it to me had accepted it as scientific and authoritative and was thoroughly in accord with its conclusions. I may add that this particular "friend," as far as I have been able to observe, is the quintessence of selfishness.

My purpose, in imagining these illustrations, was to render obvious and palpable the limitations of the intellect, when it attempts to translate feelings into terms of reason, or when it attempts to substitute scientific calculations for spontaneous emotions. The essence of one is[Pg 177] feeling; the essence of the other is logic; and the idea of replacing the former by the latter is about as incongruous as an attempt to paint the perfume of a violet with an adding machine.

In the heart and soul and even in the esthetic nature of every individual is that mysterious element, which goes back to the beginning of creation. In many of the finest and most important acts of man, it may supply either the determining cause, or the principal effect. It cannot be explained in terms of material self-interest, or enlightened reason, because its essence is neither material nor reasonable. It has in it a touch of the ideal and divine, which was implanted in man, or has evolved in man, in accordance with the all-wise intention.

When we have succeeded in arriving at a clear realization of this fundamental truth, and imagine we have put man's intellect back in the place where it properly belongs, we must pause a moment to make equally clear that we must not under-estimate the wonder and importance of that same intellect, in the life of every individual and the life of mankind in general.

In this age of science, the attention and interest of the universe have been largely focussed on the marvellous achievements of the human intellect. Discoveries, inventions, advanced[Pg 178] methods and great strides of progress in countless directions are the boast and pride of modern times. There is no disputing this, nor is there any doubt but that a great wave of scientific accomplishment, which was somewhat slow in developing, has, within the last two generations, suddenly assumed the most stupendous and bewildering proportions. The railroad and the automobile; the telephone and electric light; the airplane, phonograph, moving picture; anti-septic surgery and the germ theory of disease; the dreadnought, the submarine and wireless telegraphy;—these are but a few striking examples of the hundreds and thousands of achievements which the intellect has been able to accomplish in a comparatively short space of time.

No wonder that we hear and read on all sides such constant and confident reference to the "advancement of science," the "progress of humanity," and the bewildering resourcefulness of man's brain.

All those achievements are objective and impersonal; they concern the comforts and welfare, of each and every one of us, to a greater or less extent, but in a purely material and general way.

When we turn to the personal life of the individual and consider his acts and motives,[Pg 179] subjectively, we find that the rôle played by the intellect is almost equally important.

As we have seen in our previous discussions, the intellect has a say in nearly everything we do or think of doing. It enquires into the cause, and considers the effect, and passes judgment, for or against, in accordance with the dictates of its reason. If a certain instinct within us, which may be purely animal, has a need for food or water, the intellect recognizes and approves the need; but if the food and water set before us is poisonous or unfit, it is the intellect which determines that and overrules the instinct. If another instinct, or impulse, prompts us to set fire to a house, or jump out of a window, the intellect decides that such an act would be unreasonable and forbids us to do so.

It frequently happens that two or more of our instincts, inclinations, desires, are opposed to each other. I want to eat my apple now; I want to keep it to eat at the ball-game; and I want to trade it for Tim's lignum-vitæ top. In such a case, it is the intellect which considers the advantages and disadvantages of each and announces its decision. If it is a healthy intellect, in good control, it will enforce its decision, too; but even if it isn't, and an unruly impulse proves too strong to be denied, that won't prevent the[Pg 180] intellect from pointing out the mistake that is being made and keeping it in memory for future reference.

It is not necessary to go over all this ground again. We have already examined it with sufficient care in connection with the first answer which we gave to the up-to-date youth who wanted to know why he shouldn't follow his every inclination. The various examples which we cited to illustrate the significance of reason and experience are enough to establish the point we are now making.

As far as the material things of this world are concerned, and the material needs of the individual, the intellect is generally and properly acknowledged as the sovereign master. The rule of reason in private life; and the rule of science in civilization have become more and more the accepted standards of the world in which we live.

If an instinct or a desire is unreasonable, it should not be allowed to prevail; if a tradition or a convention of the past is unscientific, it should be discarded and ridiculed as something out-of-date. That is the conclusion which advanced intellects have reached through scientific methods of enlightenment; it is the message they have been communicating, the example which they have been setting, until the wide-spread results are[Pg 181] becoming increasingly apparent among all classes and in nearly all places, where modern science and civilization have penetrated.

It ought not to be very difficult for any one to recognize and understand why the methods of science and the rule of reason occupy such a dominant place in public estimation as they undoubtedly do to-day. The only natural question is why they have not always, in by-gone generations, occupied just as high a place. The answer to this question is very simple, though some people's attention may not have been called to it. The scientific method of investigation, as we know it to-day, is a comparatively recent product of the human intellect. There was no science of any such kind when Homer wrote the Iliad, or when the Christian religion was founded, or when Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa and Shakespeare wrote his masterpieces. Even at the time our great American republic was put into operation, modern science was still in its swaddling clothes. It is only in the last two generations that it may be said to have reached its true form and begun turning out in rapid succession the multitude of discoveries and inventions which have had such an immense effect in the daily life of civilization.

It also takes a certain amount of time for great[Pg 182] changes to permeate, and become absorbed by masses of people, so that it should not seem strange if many of the indirect results have only begun to be noticeable within the past few years.

And now if we look about and pause to reflect on these triumphs of modern science, as they affect the life and ideas and feelings of the average individual, a very curious and somewhat startling question is liable to suggest itself.

Is it possible that right here may be the main and underlying cause of the so-called "demoralization" of the present generation? Is it possible that the "impossible notions" and the equally "impossible conduct" of the up-to-date young people which grandmother finds so shocking are traceable to this source? Is it possible that faith, honor, loyalty and other ideals and aspirations of man's better nature, are being neglected and corrupted by the methods of modern science and the rule of reason?

The very idea of such a possibility, when it first dawned upon me, seemed like such a palpable absurdity that I put it aside, yet as I followed the other trains of thought which have been under discussion, this idea kept recurring with greater and greater persistency. If it happened to be true, the lesson to be derived from it might prove so important and helpful to struggling[Pg 183] humanity, that it appears to me, now, entitled to careful consideration.

Let us begin with a general commentary and ask ourselves—How comes it, while scientific methods have achieved such amazing results in the material world, they have not succeeded equally well in improving the inner nature of man? How comes it that science, with all its investigations and accurately reasoned conclusions, cannot show the individuals of the present day how to make better paintings than Raphael or Titian? Or better statues than Michael Angelo? Or better music than Chopin or Wagner? Or better literature than Moliere or Shakespeare?

It can show him how to make a hundred times better ship, or factory, or surgical operation; but when it comes to this other kind of thing, it appears to have made no improvement at all. Those artists we have named and hundreds of others in past centuries, who made immortal masterpieces, had no intellects enlightened by modern science, nor any of the benefits of modern education and progress. If we may judge at all by results (which is the modern, enlightened way), the only effect of science in teaching people how to get an inspiration and find a beautiful expression for it, has been a detriment rather than a help.[Pg 184]

If you take a boy to-day, who has a natural bent for poetry, or painting, how much will you help him by filling his mind with scientific methods and theories, rules and exceptions, deductions and compilations, of the various elements which should logically determine the value of the finished product? By giving his intellect a thorough course in scientific training, which may occupy his time and absorb his energy for many years, is it not possible that you will turn out in the end a plodding hack, instead of the inspired artist who might have been?

Did anybody ever feel the poetic beauty of a rose with greater intensity for having examined its petals through a microscope, and learned to classify it scientifically, both as to species and variety?

Did anybody ever learn by scientific rules of grammar and classified tables of words, to speak a foreign language with the ease and charm of a child, who picks it up from a stupid governess in one-tenth the time? The childlike, natural way to learn a language is to absorb it into the system, almost without effort, until it becomes a part of second nature—in much the same way that we absorb tunes. Without the slightest conscious effort, we are absorbing and retaining countless bars of music, all through our[Pg 185] lives—yet can anybody imagine an enlightened intellect, undertaking to analyze and classify with scientific method the use of sharps and flats in different kinds of bars, and attempting to learn them in that form?

Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Æneid are generally regarded as great masterpieces of literature. They are full of poetic feeling, imagination, charm and inspiring sentiments. They are still being read by thousands of boys and girls, every year, but they are being read to the accompaniment of grammars, lexicons, and the commentary of learned professors, upon roots, derivatives and obsolete usages. A vast amount of time and energy is devoted to this undertaking, which is usually justified on the ground that it affords excellent training for the intellect. But how about the feelings of admiration and enthusiasm which works of such great beauty were intended to inspire? Are they exercised to the same extent? Or is the tendency rather to trammel and divert them by so much laborious and irrelevant interference?

When we turn to the more personal feelings of the individual, in his intimate relations with other beings, is not the situation much the same? Has scientific thought discovered, or devised, any means of increasing the warmth and tenderness of[Pg 186] the human heart? Has the rule of reason made husbands and wives any more devoted to each other, or to their friends? It has succeeded in providing a great many people with a telephone and an automobile, but has it succeeded equally well in providing them with generous feelings of self-denial and consideration for others? Or has its tendency, on the contrary, been rather to interfere with the spontaneous development of such feelings, by attempting to replace them by an analysis of human motives in which calculations of self-interest are made the prime factor?

But it is only when we come to the spiritual feelings that the really radical effects of science upon man's nature are encountered. And the method of these changes is so eminently "reasonable," as to be almost self-explanatory.

First is the question of religion, which in all countries and at all times has been such an important influence in the conduct of mankind. For the time being, let us be content to confine our attention to our own country and our own Christian religion, and ask ourselves frankly what conclusions the modern methods of scientific investigation and the modern rule of reason might be expected to arrive at in regard to that? What about all the miracles so devoutly recorded in the Bible? Through investigation and reason, science[Pg 187] to-day considers itself in a position to pronounce them totally unscientific; and the rule of reason concludes that they were presumably founded on the imagination, credulity and ignorance which prevailed in an unenlightened period. What about the angels with the flaming swords, and the voices from on high, the golden thrones of heaven, the raging fires of hell, and the childlike account of the world's creation? With the same complacent assurance, modern science and reason are pleased to brush them aside as concoctions of ignorance and credulity. And so with countless other ideas set down in this same holy book—the motives of jealousy and vanity attributed to the all-wise Ruler—His insistence upon formalities in the manner of worship and baptism and christening—His threats concerning other alleged gods and unbelievers, who dare to dispute His sovereignty. All such ideas, when subjected to the acid test of scientifically enlightened reason, are shown in the colors of absurdity and ridicule.

The general conclusion arrived at by this kind of investigation is considered by scientific minds entirely logical and inevitable. As this so-called holy book is found to contain so many errors, inaccuracies, false statements and absurdities, the notion, or claim, of its being a "revelation," communicated, or inspired, from a supernatural[Pg 188] source, is unreasonable and untenable. An all-wise Creator could not be ignorant, or inaccurate. This particular book, like many other similar and rival ones to be found in other parts of the world, may be scientifically assumed to be no more than a typical and very creditable product of the unenlightened civilization which gave it birth.

This tendency and effect of modern science is so direct and obvious that he who runs may read. How far it has already spread and acted upon the great numbers of people who compose our population is not possible to determine. Nor is it of any great importance. As we observed before, it takes considerable time for great changes of this sort to permeate to and become absorbed by the masses. But the evidence is only too plain, on all sides, that this operation is now in full swing and gaining ground rapidly. Among the up-to-date people of the new generation, the religious beliefs of a very large proportion have become so confused and unsettled by it, that they are no longer quite sure in their own hearts whether they have any at all. If you have any doubts about this matter, or have overlooked it, a very little enquiry among the people you meet every day, of all classes and kinds, will suffice to bring it home to you.

Of course, there are still in every community[Pg 189] a considerable number of people who cling bravely to the traditions of the past, who deplore and combat with indignation the up-to-date and demoralizing tendencies; who still believe in their religion as firmly as ever, who still regard the Bible as a divine revelation; and who still display the same fervid attachment to the various forms and ceremonies of their particular church.

There are also probably a few who, for private reasons, although they have really ceased to believe, are still to be found sitting in church pews.

But when we consider that modern scientific methods are of comparatively recent origin, the wonder should be, not that so many people have resisted their tendencies in the matter of religion and still cling to their beliefs, but that such great numbers have been affected by them in so short a time.

It seems only too plain and palpable that this is the inevitable tendency of modern science, when brought to bear upon traditional doctrines. It eats them away, bit by bit, and step by step, until there is nothing left but a crumbling residue.

But this is only one side of it—the negative side—which applies to what science has been taking down. There is also a positive side, which[Pg 190] applies to what science has undertaken to set up in its place.

As we have had occasion to note, the fundamental feelings of faith and aspiration are not dependent upon any particular form of religion. Faith has been found to subsist and flourish under various creeds and all manners of worship, in all stages of civilization. All that it wants is something to shelter and sustain and encourage it, in its struggles against the baser instincts. Any religion which does this, by appealing to the imagination and inspiring whole-souled belief, might be considered satisfactory in any given community.

The next question, therefore, which we are entitled to ask ourselves is this:

After science has succeeded in eating into and breaking down the particular temple in which our fundamental faith had found a refuge, what fitting substitute has it been able to discover or devise, in order to meet this universal requirement?

The nearest approach to a scientific answer appears to be the theory of evolution, which informs man that, instead of being a special and majestic creation of an all-wise Almighty, as he had so foolishly and ignorantly imagined, he can consider himself a remote and more or less accidental, development of a protoplasm; and more[Pg 191] immediately, the lineal descendant of the ape, to whom he still bears a close resemblance, in a scientific way.

As there is nothing about an ape, or a protoplasm to be accepted as a haven of refuge, science points to another conclusion. (And in quoting science, here or elsewhere, let it be borne in mind that I make no claim of speaking as a scientific expert, but am merely attempting to give the general gist and point-of-view as it affects the average intelligence. In such a general way, this, then, is what science says:)

"If you must worship something, instead of taking a figment of the imagination, why not pick out something real and established, about whose insistence there can be no doubt—the most logical and admirable thing on earth—your own self and your scientifically enlightened intellect? If you need a creed of some sort, to take the place of the antiquated one which science has broken down, why not accept a pleasing and simple creed which is entirely logical? Let your conduct be governed at all times by your own self-interest and the rule of reason. For everything that happens in this world, there must be a cause; and for every act of a living thing, there must be a motive, either conscious or unconscious. These are universal facts which have been adequately [Pg 192]established by scientific research. In the case of an individual man, the only logical and sufficient motive which can be arrived at in a scientific way, to explain his conduct, under any and all circumstances, is the principle of self-interest, which he shares, with all other animals. This may be conscious or unconscious, more or less enlightened, or more or less deluded by ignorance and instinct; but that in no way affects the application of the principle."

This is the only practical substitute which science has to offer for the religious structures which it has been slowly, but surely, destroying. But as this also is no haven of refuge for the vague feelings of faith and aspiration, where are they to go? In the process of demolition, they appear to have been left groping about, more dead than alive, under the ruins.

With an upheaval of this kind, spreading in the souls of great numbers of people, and their fundamental faith groping in confusion, is there anything strange in the fact that we hear and see constant references to "the spirit of unrest," which has become so prevalent among all classes at the present time?

In the relations of capital and labor, in the political world and the business world; in the divorce courts and domestic life, the deportment[Pg 193] of women and the bringing up of children; in various other forms and directions, both public and private, no less than in church circles—there has been rapidly accumulating evidence of a mysterious influence of some sort, with a tendency to confuse and unsettle the standards and conduct of mankind.

This state of affairs is not confined to our own country. It appears to be equally evident in England, if we may believe the testimony of those who pretend to know. In confirmation of this, it may be worth while to give a few quotations from a more or less authoritative and much discussed English book which was published recently. In the concluding chapter of his work, the author refers more particularly to the aristocracy of England, a privileged class of men who in the past have generally been considered a bulwark of traditional and lofty standards.

At the present time, the author says:

We are a nation without standards, kept in health rather by memories which are fading than by examples which are compelling.... We still march to the dying music of great traditions, but there is no captain of civilization at the head of our ranks. We have indeed almost ceased to be an army marching with confidence towards the enemy, and have become a mob breaking impatiently loose from the discipline and ideals of our past.

... Aristocracy has lost its respect for learning, it has grown careless of manners, it has abandoned faith in its duty, it is conscious of no solemn obligations, but it still remains[Pg 194] for the multitude a true aristocracy, and looking up at that aristocracy, for its standards, the multitude has become materialistic, throwing Puritanism to the dogs, and pushing as heartily forward to the trough as any full-fed glutton in the middle or the upper ranks of life.

... There is no example of modesty, restraint, thrift, duty, or culture. Everything is sensual and ostentatious, and shamefacedly sensual and ostentatious.

... It is a grievous thing to corrupt the minds of the simple. The poor have always believed in heartiness and cheerfulness. All their proverbs spring out of a keen sense of virtue. All their games are of a manly character. To materialize this glorious people, to commercialize and mamonize it, to make it think of economics, instead of life, to make it bitter, discontented and tyrannous, this is to strike at the very heart of England.

The author of this book has a very clear idea, very forcibly expressed, that the example of the upper classes, the leading citizens in the community, exerts a great influence on the others. That is a universal principle which applies, in greater or less degree, to all other countries, including America. It furnishes a simple explanation of how comparatively stupid people, who do very little thinking of any kind, may be found putting into effect motives and points-of-view which owe their origin to the enlightened reason of a few superior intellects.

Also it may be observed that while the author appears to recognize and affirm with conviction a general demoralization of standards among the aristocracy, he does not attempt to suggest any visible cause for it. It may be gathered, in a[Pg 195] way, that he takes for granted that, somehow, it is a consequence of the World War. This notion, as we have seen, is so apt to be fallen back on as a convenient excuse for anything and everything that is now taking place.

But to the best of my knowledge and belief, confirmed by all manner of testimony and information, the tendencies in England which the author refers to, no less than the similar tendencies in America, were plainly in evidence and rapidly gathering momentum before the beginning of war.

For tendencies which appear to be world-wide, it is fair to assume that there must be some cause, or causes, which are world-wide also. The spread of modern science complies with that. Our English author refers to the declining influence and lack of vitality of the English church, without hazarding an opinion as to the cause. The idea which we have gotten hold of affords a clue to that part of it, at least.

If it is also a clue to all the rest, as I suggest it may be, then, by following its lead in different directions, we ought to unearth lucid explanations for the various phenomena which are disturbing and perplexing so many people.

Let us go on a little further and see just what we do find.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that I am a[Pg 196] workman, a mechanic, of the average intelligence to be found among the great run of so-called common people. I have heard enough about modern science to be lost in wonder of it and I received a good modern education at the high school. I gave up going to church because it didn't appeal to me—a lot of the Bible preaching seemed out-of-date, unreasonable and unpractical. I've heard a little about this theory of evolution—man descended from an ape—and as modern science is said to have proved it, I guess it must be so. The main thing that concerns me is that I'm here, on the job, with a living to make. There are a lot of other men around me, about the same as I am. We're reasonable and practical and believe in getting all we can, honestly. We think we're about as good as anybody else and we believe in the rule of the majority.

When I look about at the people born luckier than I am, with more of the world's goods, I can't see that they're any different from the rest of us. They're trying to get all they can, too, only they've managed to get a blame sight more than the rest of us. Take my boss, for instance. Is there any reason for him to be living in a big house with eight servants, and riding around in a limousine car, when all I can afford is a flivver? Does he work any harder than I do? Is he any[Pg 197] better man? or any smarter? I haven't seen any proof of it. But just because he happened to have a rich father before him, he's allowed to get the lion's share of all we make. Is that reasonable? We all want the good things of life, as much as he does, and if we're in the majority, why shouldn't we have our share?

He didn't make the capital that's in this business, and he didn't have anything to do with making his rich father; and the money his father made, when you come down to it, was squeezed from men like us. If the world is supposed to be run by reason, and reason says the majority ought to rule, why shouldn't each one of us have an equal share with him?

I'm thinking of myself, of course, the same as everybody else—first, last and all the time—and in that way I'd be a lot better off, but that doesn't prevent what I want from being reasonable.

Without saying it, in so many words, is it not plain that I am merely following in a way that an ordinary mind might understand, the creed which science has recommended as the underlying motive for all conduct—self-interest and the rule of reason.

Doubtless a very highly developed scientific intellect might declare that my reason is not sufficiently enlightened; but it has received a high[Pg 198] school education, and looked about at what other people are doing, and formed the scientific habit of sticking to the facts. Isn't that about as much as Enlightened Reason could expect of me?

Now if you happen to be another type of workman, less affected by the modern scientific conclusions concerning life, you might reply as follows:

"I feel very contented and humbly grateful to the Lord for all the benefits he has given us. I am well and strong, I have a better home, and better wages, and squarer treatment than workmen ever received in any country in the world. I can make enough to provide modestly and comfortably for my wife and children, which after all is the main thing for my happiness. It is not for me to pass judgment on the life of our employer, or his inheritance, or the life of his father before him, or the great scheme of human existence which is behind and beyond it all. It is enough for me to accept such things, as the wish of an all-wise Creator."

Of these two opposing points of view, which appears to be the one that has been spreading and gaining in the world to-day—in America and England, Italy, France, Spain and other countries? Which one is dependent upon the fundamental feelings of faith and aspiration, which have[Pg 199] always found shelter in a religion of some sort—and which one may be traced, almost directly, to a crude interpretation of the progress and dictates of modern science?

And let it be noted that in this field, also, before the world war began, this movement of self-interest and reason was already in evidence and well on its way.

If we examine the Labor Union and the Closed Shop, and Strikes and Socialism and Bolshevism, and all those other kindred isms, we can see, readily enough, that the under side of them all is tarred with the same brush—self-interest, selfishness, greed, individual and collective, and reason, argument, excuse, more or less distorted and perverted, but more or less enlightened by the principles of modern Science, as they appear to the average intellect. The fundamental and innate spiritual feelings of man's better nature have been so covered over by the energy of this brush that, for the most part, they are only rarely and intermittently discernible.

Suppose we now follow our clue in another direction—into the home and family and private life of the average up-to-date woman. And it is permitted us to imagine, if we choose, that I am such a woman, while you are my well-meaning, but rather out-of-date, husband.[Pg 200]

I have received my education at a typical school of the present day, organized on thoroughly modern and scientific principles. In my studies and my general instruction, I have learned to consider everything from a strictly rational point-of-view—hygiene, psychology, economics, the equal rights of the individual, the expediency of the laws, the need of judges to interpret them and of police to enforce them—and a variety of other school subjects which are regarded as an excellent training for the intellect. Among other things which I learned very quickly, both outside and inside of school, is that most pompous and impressive preachers don't practise what they preach. It's so unpractical and unreasonable that it appears to be a sort of pretence and convention for the benefit of the young and gullible. I find it more sensible to be guided by what other intelligent people around you are actually doing and learn in that way what they really think.

This is the era of woman's emancipation and the most intellectual and leading women of to-day believe that woman is the equal of man; and has as much right as he to the privileges and freedom of action, in every direction, which he was able so long and so unfairly to reserve for himself. As other women think that way about it and it's much more satisfactory to me, I[Pg 201] thoroughly agree with them. Marriage is an agreement between equals, a partnership for mutual convenience and happiness, and exactly the same obligations apply to one, as the other. If men find pleasure in smoking and drinking and gambling and flirting with pretty women, why shouldn't I smoke and drink and gamble and flirt with attractive men? If other women paint their faces, or dye their hair, or wear short skirts to show their silk stockings, or low-necked and low-backed gowns, to make themselves more attractive, why shouldn't I?

In regard to my children, I love them, of course, and I believe in bringing them up in accordance with modern, enlightened ideas. First of all, I want their love and affection—the pleasure of having them run to me and throw their arms about me, when I come into the room. If I scold them and spank them and keep interfering with their natural instincts, I might end up by making them afraid of me—as they are of their father. I don't want that. I much prefer to pet them and spoil them and find excuses for them.

I have so many interests and engagements of my own to attend to,—social, civic, musical, charitable—that I haven't much time or nerves left, to devote to my children. An up-to-date emancipated woman could hardly be expected to subject[Pg 202] herself to that kind of hum-drum strain, in any case. My nervous system is very highly organized and their restless activity makes me irritable. I couldn't stand very much of it—even if I didn't have my own affairs to occupy most of my time. I always try to make it a point, however, to see them and kiss them and have them throw their arms about me, before going to bed. I get the best nurse I can for them—the present one is a Swede, the last one, Irish—but they seem to be such stupid, cranky things! However, one thing I insist upon—they are not to slap the children, and are to let them have their own way, as far as possible. And I make it equally plain to the children that if they have any grievance, they needn't mind about their father—all they have to do is come to me, and throw their arms about my neck, and I will do the best to straighten it out for them. That does a great deal to help me keep their affection.

If I get tired of my husband and cease to love him (or find some other man whom I love more), or if my husband neglects and humiliates me and I find him involved in an affair with another woman; or for any other reason which seems sufficient to me; I consider it only proper that I should have the right to go to a divorce court and dissolve the partnership. As it is an arrangement[Pg 203] between equals, for mutual convenience and happiness, when it ceases to be convenient or agreeable to me, it is perfectly reasonable that I should withdraw. That is to my self-interest guided by reason. Thousands upon thousands of other women are doing it, and no up-to-date enlightened person thinks any the worse of them—so why shouldn't I?

You, my well meaning, but out-of-date husband, may be imagined as replying to this briefly as follows:

"What has become of all the deep and beautiful feelings of faith and devotion and self-sacrifice, which throughout the ages have given a heavenly significance to the ideal of motherhood and wife-hood? Woman was not made in the same mold as man and such was evidently not the intention of the all-wise Creator. But in man's imagination and in his better nature, the essence of woman's purpose and greatness has appeared to consist in being a sort of guardian angel of the home and family. Her crown was made of purity, chastity, modesty, infinite tenderness and patience and underlying fidelity to her sacred cause. It is to her in this capacity, with such a crown upon her head, that the noblest of men have been willing to bow down, in humbleness and submission, not as to an equal, or a rival in worldly prowess, but as to a superior and more exquisite soul.[Pg 204]

"That is the birthright of woman, the glory of her creation, yet between your petty motives of self-interest and the up-to-date enlightenment of your intellect, you are trying to argue it off the face of the earth. You have exchanged a spiritual ideal of womanhood for a material mess of pottage."

There have been plenty of vain and selfish women, in the past, just as there have been profligate women and immoral men; but in the communities of the past, where faith and aspiration were wont to flourish and be sustained and encouraged by religion, such selfishness was not to be avowed or imitated. In the light of finer and more spiritual feelings, it appeared as a deficiency and corruption of character. But in the up-to-date rule of reason, backed by the analysis and conclusions of science, there is no need to conceal it, or excuse it. It is the strong minds, not the weak ones, which set the example; the enlightened, scientific, matter-of-fact intellects, which proclaim the principle and encourage the timid and less advanced to follow in their wake.

As regards the training of children, up-to-date considerations of self-interest on the part of the parents, mixed in with instinctive love, as I have suggested by my illustration, would naturally[Pg 205] result in giving them an early start on the broad highway of calculating selfishness.

All the imposing school houses which dot the length and breadth of our land—public-schools, private-schools, boarding-schools—are constructed and administered in accordance with modern principles. In them no effort is spared to educate and enlighten the youthful intellect. It is trained in scientific information, and scientific methods, and scientific habits of thought. Rewards of one kind or another—diplomas, marks, privileges, prizes—are designed to operate as a stimulant for intellectual endeavor and excellence. Also considerable effort is expended, to care for health and develop the body, in accordance with scientific principles. In the gymnasium and on the athletic field, prizes are given to stimulate excellence in this branch of endeavor.

But where, in all these institutions, are scientific professors devoting an equal amount of energy to the care and development of the feelings and sentiments of the spiritual nature? Where are the teachers of modesty and self-denial? Of cheerfulness and sympathy and consideration for others? Of sincerity, honor, fidelity,—conscience, aspiration, and faith in a mysterious, all-wise destiny? Where are the prizes and marks to stimulate endeavor in these? What eloquent and[Pg 206] inspiring assurance does this science give to the youthful soul that its delicate feelings are of more importance in the life of man than any excellence of the body, or the intellect?

A simple, old-fashioned mother, who loved her children with her whole soul, might go a long way toward supplying this need. With no thought of self-interest, but with a feeling of deepest devotion to them and their welfare, she was usually more than willing, to do all that seemed best for their spiritual growth, with the help of God. In this inspired cause, she had no thought of sparing herself, or them, from self-denial or self-sacrifice. Such an undertaking on the part of motherhood has generally been regarded as a beautiful thing, the most beautiful and sublime on earth—perhaps for the very reason that it calls for so much self-denial and is so completely devoid of selfishness.

But an up-to-date mother, reasonably persuaded that she is the equal and rival of her husband in worldly pursuits, could hardly be expected to handicap herself in any such way. In accordance with the principle of self-interest and the rule of reason, she can make a much more convenient and agreeable arrangement. The money which her husband provides can be used to hire nurses and governesses, who will take the children off[Pg 207] her hands; and at an early age they can be sent away to a first-class school and so relieve her of all bother and responsibility. After that, comes college and then, of course, the rest is their affair.

While they are little, she can kiss them good-night and feel their little arms about her neck and dote on their tender affection; and later, when they come back from school for their vacations, she can make a great fuss about them and let everybody admire the fond and foolish demonstrations of a mother's love.

With due regard for the variations and differences of degree which occur in specific cases, does this not represent, both with regard to up-to-date women and the training of up-to-date children, the general underlying tendency which is causing so much comment? It can hardly by any stretch of the imagination, be attributed to the world war, especially as it was already in evidence before the war. But, as we have tried to make plain, it can be traced very simply and almost directly to the influences and effects of the modern scientific movement, and the matter-of-fact habit of mind engendered by it, which accepts as a logical conclusion, the principle of self-interest and the rule of reason.

If we continue to follow our clue in other directions, wherever the up-to-date principles, or lack[Pg 208] of principle, have been causing comment, disturbing traditions, or appearing as a spirit of unrest, we find them susceptible of the same general observations and the same general explanation.

A distinctly modern idea, that the nations of the world, as well as the individuals, should forever remain at peace; and that all differences between them should be settled by arbitration, is a typical product of the modern and scientific intellect. It has been much talked of lately and widely endorsed by logical persons. It is perfectly in accord with the principle of self-interest and the rule of reason. There is no rational justification for the immense loss of life, suffering, destruction and devastation caused by war. The only trouble about the principle is that, as it deals with human beings, there is with this, as with other questions of conduct, that same unknown factor—the spiritual side of man's nature. One of the most fundamental feelings of manhood—true for a nation, as it is for an individual—is that it is right, sublimely and everlastingly right, for a man to fight for his wife and children, to fight for his home and native land, to fight for honor and to fight for right, as his conscience points to it.

It was in obedience to such a feeling that countless devout Christians, in the Middle Ages, fought and killed to uphold their religion. Their [Pg 209]consciences did not reprove them, it inspired them—notwithstanding the curious fact that one of the doctrines of their Bible was "to resist not evil" and to "turn the other cheek." But the fundamental feelings within them, of right and wrong, of faith and aspiration, were stronger than a creed.

The same thing was true of one of the wisest and most spiritual men who ever lived—Abraham Lincoln. In his conscience, he felt it was right for slaves to be freed and for the integrity of our nation to be preserved, no matter how great the cost of life and suffering and devastation.

The decisions of a board of arbitration, of cold intellects, basing their decisions on reasons of expediency, or abstract and scientific principles of a worldly kind, could not satisfy such feelings, or be permitted to override them. Lincoln would not, and could not, have felt justified in abandoning his cause to the opinion of European intellects, any more than the militant Christians could have their faith regulated by the decisions of Chinese and Persians.

It is in recognition of this principle, that up to the present time questions which may affect the honor of a nation have not been considered a fit subject for arbitration. As long as faith and aspiration and their kindred feelings are in the[Pg 210] ascendant, conscience will tell the individual, as it will tell the nation, that certain things cannot and must not be abandoned, even at the cost of life.

If through the influence of the rule of reason, such a conception may be overlooked by the enlightened intellects of W.J. Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, and a host of other well-educated people, that fact in itself may be regarded as an additional symptom of the extent to which modern scientific training has spread confusion in the sentiments of the present generation.

Countless people are to be met with every day whose strongest inner feelings are not strong enough to revolt at the thought of being passed upon, or decided against, by the matter-of-fact arbitration of reason.

I could not love thee, dear, so well
Loved I not honor more.

The meaning of those inspired words, to the average up-to-date mind, is so lacking in common-sense and self-interest, as to appear simple silliness.

The other day, I was talking to a friend about the bringing up of our boys and, in the course of our conversation, he expressed a sentiment which struck me as profoundly significant. He said: "I would rather have my boy be something fine,[Pg 211] even if he got nowhere by it, than to see him receive recognition and reward for doing something not so fine—and I would rather have my boy feel that way about it, too."

By way of illustration, if a bully were kicking a little tot, my friend would rather have his boy fight the bully and get licked and rolled in the dust, than to see his boy win first prize and much applause, for out-boxing a boy smaller than himself.

Of course that is quite contrary to up-to-date principles and scientific enlightenment. There is no course in any of the high schools which teaches that sentiment, and the whole tendency of scientific training is to judge things by their tangible results. Moreover, the rule of reason would decide that your boy is not justified in resorting to a fight, under any circumstances. He might get hurt, or hurt somebody else. The propriety and right of the bully to do his kicking, should be settled by arbitration. An impartial investigation might determine that the little tot had done something to irritate the bully to such an extent that his display of anger and brutality was but a natural reaction.

Again and again, we arrive at the same underlying observation and explanation. The intellect, scientifically enlightened, would argue away and take the place of innate, inspired feelings, whose[Pg 212] faith has been correspondingly impaired and shaken by the breaking down of religious shelter and sustenance.

The relative passing away of honor in the business affairs of man, and its replacement by technical and hair-splitting calculations of legality, which pass for honesty; the system of graft and pull and private benefit, which appears to have permeated and fastened itself upon most of the political machines in most of the cities of our land; the personal immorality, or unmorality, and practical cynicism, which are so much in evidence, even among the best educated and most enlightened—especially among the best educated and most enlightened—in public and in private, in their own homes and in their neighbors' homes, as well as in the divorce courts; the conduct of the up-to-date young men, turned out by our most progressive schools—those of the leading families, no less than those in humbler walks of life—their increasing readiness to treat every pretty girl they meet as a proper field of endeavor and a possible instrument of pleasure; and the corresponding attitude among thoroughly educated and up-to-date girls, in accepting and welcoming such treatment; all these characteristic symptoms of the modern spirit, of the so-called "unrest," need not be referred, in any but a secondary and[Pg 213] accessory way, to the after effects of a war, which did not begin until their line of progress was already plainly indicated.

Instead of that, with all these symptoms in mind, let us sum up the logical effect upon the average individual of our progressive methods and training.

Does he not say to himself, and should he not be expected to say to himself:

"This is a wonderful age we live in, with the automobile, telephone, moving picture, victrola, and all the other inventions. Modern science is the greatest thing ever. And one of the biggest things it has done was to puncture a lot of old-fashioned superstitions and conventions, so that nowadays no sensible person need believe in them. Each person can run his own life in his own way, in accordance with the dictates of his own reason. Of course, there are the laws—but barring prohibition, which everybody breaks,—there's nothing in the others that a reasonable person need have trouble with."

The obvious tendency of this is toward unmorality, rather than immorality—what is good for self, in the eyes of self, without reference to religion, tradition or convention. The fundamental feelings of faith and aspiration which found protection and expression in those forms have been[Pg 214] obscured and disregarded in the confusion of the break-down. Also the practical wisdom and accumulated experience of ages, which were crystallized in them, has gone by the board in the same way. Modern science has scuttled the ships which carried them. The material desires of each individual, left to the judgment of the individual intellect, are apt to be treated with a certain amount of indulgence—even when the intellect has received the full benefit of modern scientific enlightenment. Unmorality, lack of restraint, lack of faith and aspiration, self-indulgence and pleasure seeking in all its forms—this is the natural and inevitable consequence of the kind of progress which modern science is accomplishing, in connection with the conduct of the individual.

Is not this a perfectly plausible explanation for the condition of affairs which the English author describes so concisely, without apparently comprehending?

"We are a nation without standards, kept in health rather by memories which are fading than by examples which are compelling.... We have become a mob breaking impatiently loose from the discipline and ideals of our past.... Everything is sensual and ostentatious."

In our own country, among people of my class and kind, I may add the testimony of first-hand[Pg 215] information, that a large proportion of them, at the present time, have come to regard passing pleasure and acts of immediate self-interest as the chief object and motive of their lives. It is the pleasure of eating and drinking which concerns them and not the needs of hunger or thirst; the appeal of sex solely as a source of pleasure, far removed from any thought or aspiration to create new life and care for it; the pursuit of money for the pleasure of gain, and the pleasure of out-witting others, and the gratification of vanities and luxuries, far removed from essential needs; meaningless distractions and entertainments, which tickle the wit and nerves of the material senses, but by which neither the heart feelings, nor the soul feelings, nor even the deeper esthetic feelings, are stirred or stimulated; jazz music, bright colors, lively movement, jokes and snappy ideas, seasoned preferably with spice and sex—this is the state, apparently, to which modern methods and the rule of reason have led them.

To judge from observation and various information, which is only too available, this tendency is steadily increasing; while, to judge it by the light of the underlying causes which we have attempted to trace and make plain, there is logical reason to expect that it will keep on increasing.

What, then, of the future? Is our civilization,[Pg 216] like that of the Roman Empire, destined to decline and decay? If the present condition is indeed an effect of modern science, either directly or indirectly, how can it fail to continue? Modern science and the enlightened intellect were never in fuller ascendency than they are at the present moment. They are the proudest boast of our time. The very people who are lamenting the demoralization in our standards of living, are at the same time applauding the triumphant march of science. Could they ever be convinced that there is any connection between the two—that the downfall which they deplore was brought about by the rise which they applaud?

Self-determination, as a modern principle of enlightened reason, was established and expounded by no less an authority than the scientifically educated intellect of our distinguished ex-president—in its application to the smaller and weaker peoples of the earth, as well as to the large and strong. If self-determination is the proper thing for each nation, should it not be an equally proper thing for each individual? And, as it is hoped and assumed that in this advanced age each nation will be guided by the rule of reason, why may the same assumption not be applied to the individual?

If all the nations in the world were to follow[Pg 217] the lead of Russia and respond to motives not approved by the intellect of our ex-president, he might conclude that a large proportion of the world's population was still unreasonable, without being convinced of the unsoundness of a principle which was, and would remain, in his mind the correct answer of enlightened reason.

If the rule of the majority, in any thickly populated community, was found to result in the election of demagogues and grafters and unscrupulous politicians, who are clever enough to take advantage of the private selfishness and prejudices and indifference of the individual; and if you considered it a reasonable and enlightened principle that every citizen should have equal rights and the majority rule, the unfortunate results might lead you to have a very poor opinion of the majority and resentment for the corrupt politicians, without convincing you of the unsoundness of the enlightened principle.

If the system of compulsory education—of enforced attendance at the high school—of all manner of children from the humbler walks of life were found to result in filling their simple heads with extravagant notions and worldly ambitions for which nature did not intend them, which breed discontent with the kind of work for which they are suited, which separate them from their[Pg 218] parents and their congenial inheritance, and impel them in mistaken paths to learn bitterness and revolt—if this were found to be the tendency in a large percentage of cases; and if your reason considered that all individuals are entitled to equal opportunity, and that the education of the masses is an enlightened modern principle, the tangible results, however unfortunate they might appear, would not convince you of the unsoundness of the principle.

As a matter of fact, very few people may be convinced of anything which is contrary to their liking, or in opposition to their preconceived notions. An open mind may be helped to form an opinion, and people may be confirmed and enlightened by ideas which are congenial to their way of thinking, but that is as much as may reasonably be expected.

This phase of the subject has not been my concern. I am merely trying to find expression for what seems to me the truth, as I feel it and see it.

And the truth is, obviously, that the aim and effort of modern science has been to build up rather than to tear down. It has been striving, with all the means at its command, to discover the true facts and the true principles with regard to all things and to utilize them for the benefit of mankind.[Pg 219]

It may be its attention has been chiefly occupied with the material things of life, and the material principles which apply to them, but modern progress, in many ways is a splendid thing. As applied to the life of the individual, it is a splendid thing to improve the health and strength and condition of the human body. And as for the intellect, anything that science has done or could do to develop it to the highest degree, must be regarded as a step in the right direction. The body and the mind are essential parts of a human being and, as we have had occasion to observe, it is a fundamental aspiration of man to make them always better.

If science, in investigating the true facts of existence, has been led to conclude that many old-time traditions and beliefs were largely composed of imagination and ignorance, and the indirect results of such a conclusion have proved unsettling and disconcerting, should blame be attached to any effort which seeks only the truth?

The present condition, however unfortunate it may appear to us who are experiencing it, may be no more than a passing phase of development. The dawn of better days and finer standards, may lie just ahead of us, and when they come, it may be found that the enlightenment of the intellect[Pg 220] by modern science was a necessary step in preparation for them.

I, for one, am by no means without hope. Upon what grounds that hope is founded remains to be considered carefully.[Pg 221]



If we admit, or assume, that the ideals and moral standards of our civilization are on the decline—that materialism, selfishness, pleasure-seeking and dissipation of various kinds, are tending to supplant the finer feelings; and that this movement has been gaining ground rapidly in recent years—the question that naturally arises is: Where will it lead to? Who, or what, is going to stop it?

A distinguished gentleman has lately been delivering a lecture in various nearby cities on "The Break-down of Civilization," and from the brief reports I have seen of it, he is thoroughly convinced that things are going from bad to worse. I quoted a while ago from an English author, whose summing up is to the same effect. Newspaper editorials and magazine articles and the private conversation of various people, are constantly expressing similar views, and I have just come upon the expressed opinion of the eminent[Pg 222] writer and thinker, H.G. Wells, that unless something is done very soon, civilization is facing "the greatest wreckage yet known in world history."

As the present "demoralization" was well under way before the World War began, that may be referred to, at most, as an accelerating influence, but not as the underlying cause. It is more intelligent, and more to the point, to recognize frankly that among a large and increasing proportion of our people there has been a crumbling away of religious belief. As a result of that, the fundamental feelings of the soul—faith, conscience, aspiration—are being neglected and starved.

So much ought to be fairly obvious to any one who is willing to observe and enquire.

When we go one step deeper and look for the cause why religious belief has been crumbling down, there is more room for confusion of ideas and differences of opinion. Many people blame the churches and the ministers and the lack of proper training of the children by their parents. Others blame the automobile and sports and recreations which are being indulged in on Sunday, through the laxity and insufficiency of the law-makers. Still others attribute it largely to the pernicious influence of the alien population. Finally, there are some who blame the vain, selfish[Pg 223] spirit of the age, without bothering their heads to decide where that came from (except to infer a general relationship to the devil.)

These opinions are opposed by those who regard the decline of religion as a source of satisfaction. In their eyes, it is an antiquated, narrow-minded influence which has been allowed to interfere too long with modern progress. The cause of its decline, as they see it, is a perfectly natural one—due to the fact that it has long since out-lived its usefulness, and in the present stage of civilization, people are much better off without it. They want Sunday to be, not a holy day, but a holiday, unhampered by Blue Laws or religious cant of any kind.

As for the so-called demoralization of the present day, this latter class are inclined to laugh at the croakers who look at things that way. Conventions and styles are always changing and the modern ones are more practical and sensible than the old ones. New ways of doing things have always appeared more or less shocking, until people got used to them. That is the law of progress. The present age is an age of progress and on the whole the world is more progressive and more enlightened than it has ever been before.

These are the two prevailing currents of opinion, clashing against each other, losing patience[Pg 224] with each other, and attempting to get the best of each other by means of agitation and organization, movements and anti-movements, of one kind and another, including legislative enactments.

It is fairly safe to assume that no effort of the religious sects can stay the march of the modern movement. It is possible to conceive that, through the forces of reaction, certain Blue Laws may be passed again and that in certain communities the religious observance of Sunday may be made obligatory. Such things, at most, would be only of superficial consequence. They cannot stop the spread of scientific enlightenment. And scientific enlightenment cannot be made to believe in tenets which are contrary to facts and conclusions, as it has been able to demonstrate them.

On the other hand, it seems equally safe to assume that modern science and the rule of reason, if left to themselves, cannot be expected to nourish and encourage spiritual feelings. Their tendency, as has been quite plainly indicated, is in the opposite direction—to leave them out in the cold.

Another conclusion, which is beginning to dawn on many people—even those scientifically enlightened—and which is likely to be more and more generally recognized, is that the life of man without the inspiration of a faith of some sort, and[Pg 225] the other inner feelings which attach to it, rapidly tends to materialism, selfishness, demoralization, corruption and decay.

That, in brief, is the situation which confronts us all collectively, and upon the solution of which the future of our civilization, to a large extent, undoubtedly depends.

Suggestions of one kind or another, tending toward an alleged solution, will presumably keep making their appearance at intervals and a perfectly reasonable question is whether a sufficiently inspiring and sufficiently compelling solution will emerge in time to prevent the threatened chaos.

For the moment, let us be content to defer consideration of the possible solutions and turn our attention to the predicament which, in the meantime, confronts the average individual.

Let us suppose that such an individual, whatever may be the status of his religious belief, or unbelief, becomes convinced in his own mind that the selfishness and immorality and lack of sentiment, which seem to be spreading in all classes, is a bad thing. Suppose he is willing to admit, after due consideration, that our diagnosis and explanation of what is taking place is relatively correct. As most minds of the present day have a practical turn, the thing which interests him most, the thing he asks at once and really wants[Pg 226] to know is what you have to propose as a remedy. How are you going to make people less selfish and more considerate of others? Less mercenary and more honorable? Less immoral, or unmoral, and more virtuous?

That is the main thing which counts, from a practical, personal point-of-view: "How am I to benefit by your conclusions and how are you going to make others benefit by them? Unless you have something tangible and useful to offer, your observations, though curious and instructive, are not of much account."

Let us try, therefore, to reply, in this same spirit, and hazard some suggestions which may prove helpful to those who want help.

In the first place, let us call attention to the fact that after an individual has reached maturity, and his character and habits are formed, it is extremely difficult to change them to any great extent. The motives and point-of-view which determine most of his acts have become, so to speak, a part of his second nature. This second nature is something of slow growth and development. That is the obvious meaning of the old adage—"As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." To change the inclination of a full-grown tree, requires a great deal of determination.

In the case of human character, it may[Pg 227] occasionally be done, through a great inspiration of the heart, or the soul. For a deep, ennobling love, or a new-born, exalted faith, the spirit and will are capable of almost any transformation. But usually good intentions, whose origin is confined to the reason and which are at variance with an established inclination, don't persist very long.

The natural inference and expectation should be therefore, that most people of mature years, however much they might approve of other people's mending their ways, or even of mending their own, will be found to limit their effort principally to talk.

In the absence of a great inspiration, the chief influence which keeps acting on them is the example and standards of their associates—the prevailing style and custom. Most people are very susceptible to this—women especially. For the sake of being in the fashion—or for the sake of not being considered out-of-date—many a nice woman may be led to do things which her instincts tell her are not nice at all.

To a slightly less degree, the same thing may be said of men.

But as the people who set new styles and establish new customs, in a selfish, materialistic age, are not apt to be guided by any great reverence for the finer traditional feelings, there is little[Pg 228] help to be looked for, from this kind of influence. The immediate tendency is all in the opposite direction. A woman's own reason might tell her that it is more becoming to pencil her eye-brows and paint her lips and face and yet, if left to herself, an inherited instinct might keep her from doing so. But as soon as she finds that has become the fashion, she hesitates no longer. Women of innate modesty are to be seen, exposing their legs and bodies in public, drinking, smoking, gambling and dancing in a sensual manner with sensual men—things which they would revolt at doing, if it were not for the style. It matters not that the people who set the style were devoid of modesty and prompted solely by material considerations of self-indulgence and immorality.

Under such conditions, how can people who are headed in this direction be prevailed upon by any amount of advice, however well-founded and helpful it might be? They may feel that they would like to see others doing differently, but until that takes place, their brains will not give them sufficient inspiration, or sufficient determination, to make a lone fight.

There may be exceptions, of course, and in time these exceptions may become fairly numerous; but as long as the main issue lies between a return to old-fashioned religious beliefs on the one hand,[Pg 229] and the dictates of enlightened self-interest on the other, individuals who can have no real enthusiasm for either, will be left to mark time or drift, more or less reluctantly, with the current.

This is what may be reasonably expected to happen for some time to come, unless a great and fateful thing comes to pass, which will alter the entire course of modern civilization. As this great and fateful thing is purely a matter of conjecture, and may have no bearing on the conduct of people now living, we will defer the discussion of it until after we have finished with more immediate and practical considerations.

There appears to be one way, at least, in which a clear understanding of the moral situation may result in practical benefit. The little children of the present day may still be bent and guided, their second natures may yet be helped to grow and their characters to form, in any desired direction. If we feel it is too late to bother over much about trying to change ourselves, or the people about us, that feeling does not apply to our children.

That is a hopeful and helpful thought, and thoroughly practical. If all the mothers and fathers of the present generation wanted their children to be better and finer than the demoralized people so much in evidence; and if they set[Pg 230] about it in the right way, all might yet be well for the future. And as a matter of fact, nearly all parents do want their children to be better and finer. All that they ask is to be shown the right way and they are ready, or think they are ready, to follow it. This is not only a question of good intentions, prompted by reason,—it also involves, as we have seen, the most fundamental feelings of the heart and soul.

It is a wonderful and beautiful thing—the depth and strength of this feeling of parental love, especially the mother's. Nothing seems able to kill it, or corrupt it, in the vast majority of cases. The exceptions are infinitesimal. Even in those communities, and classes, and individuals where materialism and self-indulgence have become most pronounced, it is extremely rare to find a mother who does not love her child; who does not hope and strive, in accordance with her lights, for its welfare; who is not willing, if occasion demands, to make a real sacrifice for its sake.

Many mothers have not over-much deep feeling of any other kind; many mothers have little understanding of the problems of life which confront themselves, let alone those which confront their husbands, or their children; very few mothers have more than a confused idea of the influences at work in forming character, in[Pg 231] developing ideals and generous impulses, on the one hand; or self-interest, self-indulgence, and the rule of reason, on the other.

Hardly anything could be of more help to the future of our race than a clear and settled realization on the part of every mother of one simple truth, which so many of our observations, in the preceding pages, have tended to bring out. The body of your child and the brain of your child are beautiful things, worthy of careful attention; but they are not nearly so beautiful, or so deeply significant, as the heart of your child, or the soul of your child. A strong and healthy body and a highly educated intellect do not make a fine character; they may belong, just as well, to a mean and selfish man, or an immoral woman,—a crook, or a profligate. A warm heart and a sensitive, dominant soul, do make a fine character, and they cannot possibly result in meanness and immorality. Those sides of your child's nature are entitled to the most loving care, the most constant attention, it is humanely possible to give them.

In the average family of to-day, how much thought, or time, is devoted to the observance of this essential principle? How many mothers are consistently striving to watch over every tender requirement of the heart feelings and soul feelings of their children?[Pg 232]

The bodies are well enough cared for, as a matter of course. The modern rules of hygiene and the advice of doctors may be relied on for that. The same thing is true as regards the education of the intellect. Kindergartens, primaries, high schools, boarding schools, colleges,—relieve parents of all anxiety on that score. These two sides of a growing life, the physical and the mental, are so well taken care of, more or less impersonally, by the modern scientific system, that even if the mother neglects them entirely, they still receive adequate attention.

Is this equally true of the heart and the soul, the development of character, so vitally important in the life and worth of every human being? If, in spite of her love for her child, these considerations are neglected by the mother, through lack of understanding, or the demands of her own self-interest, is the remedy for this neglect also to be found in the modern system? Unfortunately not. And right there is the source of a great measure of the present demoralization. If the truth of this could only be brought home to every mother, would not many a loving mother, for the sake of her child, be willing to sacrifice some of her own selfishness? If not, then indeed there is little hope left for the future of our civilization. But the beauty and wonder and endurance of that[Pg 233] God-given mother's love, in all ages and in all climes, ought to convince us that the only difficulty lies in clearing away from the head of the up-to-date woman the confusion of ideas, the materialistic theories of sexless intellects, and the force of pernicious example, which have been brought to bear on her self-interest, and obscured, for the time being, her intuitive and eternally right understanding.[Pg 234]



As the heart of a child naturally begins developing before the soul feelings, let us talk about that first. And when we speak about the "heart," it is, of course, understood that we are not referring to the physical organ which pumps blood, but to that part of human nature which responds to affection and sympathy.

The heart of a child—what a mysterious, wonderful, sensitive, beautiful thing it is! How much it gives and how much it is capable of receiving! And the one thing it wants most—the one it craves and hungers for, as an essential of its nourishment and growth—is love, tender, devoted, unfailing love. From the earliest babyhood, straight on to the years of maturity, and still on, that is the greatest need of the human heart for its full and happy growth.

In early childhood, where is it to get that tender, devoted love, if not from its mother? Will it get it from a well-paid nurse or governess, whether[Pg 235] Swede or Irish, French or English? In the vast majority of cases, the nurse or governess hasn't it to give. Love is something which can't be bought with money. Many a governess is a discontented person, who thinks she is worthy of better things. Many a nurse is thick-skinned and bad-tempered. A large proportion of both have much more tender feeling for their wages and their selfish interests, than they have for the child entrusted to their care. Should anything different be expected? It is not their child. In a few months, or a few years, it will pass out entirely from their existence.

Plenty of people can be hired to take care of your child's body and its physical needs—nurses, governesses, doctors; plenty of people can look after the education of its intellect; nurses, teachers, tutors, professors—but no one can be employed to take your place in feeding it devoted love, because that love is God-given and God has not given it to the others, but has given it to you.

The mother who turns over the heart life of her child to the keeping of a paid employee is guilty of a vital neglect. If later on, it should happen that the child proves lacking in affection, sympathy, consideration for others, and fails to fulfill the mother's fond aspirations, in that respect, she has herself to blame, first of all.[Pg 236]

If this simple truth could be brought home to every modern mother, it might prove very helpful to the next generation.

It is not difficult to suggest how the affections find nourishment and development. And remember we are not yet considering the moral feelings, but only the heart.

Love begets love; love is largely mutual; love thrives on the companionship of the loved ones.

The tenderness, sympathy, devotion of a mother, very surely and quickly open out the heart feelings of her child and meet with warm response. The more constant the companionship, the more constant the outpouring of affection on both sides, the more that side of the child nature grows.

And the more it grows,—with mother watching over it, helping and guiding, setting the example—the more it has to give to other people and things. It will love a doll, a kitten, a puppy dog, and show them the same sort of tender attention that it receives from mother. It will feel sorry for a poor little bird with a broken wing; it will feel sorry for father, when he comes home tired with a headache; it will put its arms about father's neck and want to kiss the headache away.

As it grows older, it should be allowed to feel, and made to feel, that mother's love and father's love will never desert it—that that love may be[Pg 237] counted on, as a mainstay of life, through thick and thin, fair weather and foul, to the very end. This should not be left as a matter of uncertainty, or wonder, or doubt. No mother should ever say to a child, or allow it to imagine, that if it should be naughty or bad, or do this, that or the other, mother would cease to love it, or father would cease to love it. Such an idea is poisonous to the true feeling and conception of love, which should be cherished in every child by every mother. Mother should take pains to make the child feel,—and she should take pains to make father do so, too,—that no matter what it does, their love for it will never weaken or waver. It is not enough to assume that this will be taken for granted—it should be confided to the child, at opportune moments, as the most sacred of secrets, the holiest of promises. And no time is more opportune for the telling of it—no time means more or counts more—than one of those moments when the child has done wrong and is troubled in its conscience, and feels ashamed and forsaken. That is a splendid occasion, for a mother's love and a father's love to prove themselves, by making doubly plain that although they, too, may feel ashamed, the strength and warmth of their love is undiminished.

With nourishment and care of this kind the[Pg 238] heart nature of a child is almost sure to grow and thrive. Its love will feel the influence of the big love it receives and want to respond in kind. In due time, it may say to itself, and confide as a holy secret to mother, that its feeling for her and father will never change, either, no matter what happens, to the end of time.

As regards consideration for others, with the constant help and guidance and example of a devoted mother, this can be made to grow and thrive, too, until it becomes a beautiful and sensitive part of second nature.

With such feelings nourished and cherished in this way, there is ground for hope that one of a parent's sweetest and most fundamental aspirations, in regard to the off-spring, will not be disappointed. The heart will be in the right place.

Now, on the other hand, it is only too easy to see what may happen and what does frequently happen, if this sacred responsibility of a mother is neglected.

Suppose the child is left, for the greater part of the time, day in and day out, to the companionship and care of a hired substitute, a nurse or governess? In the first place, the substitute is very apt to have no love at all, or what little it has, may be a very thin and shoddy variety. Frequently a nurse is unsympathetic, irritable, and[Pg 239] selfish. That does not provide either good nourishment, or good example, for the tender heart feelings.

When a child does wrong, the nurse scolds it and displays an ill-feeling which is the very contrary of tenderness and affection. That is bad enough, but it is not half so bad as the fact that this same repellent treatment is very often accorded a child when it has not done wrong at all, but has merely obeyed some spontaneous and beautiful impulse of its little nature, which an irritable nurse does not bother to understand. The way that a nurse wishes a child to go is not usually prompted by any loving consideration for the heart feelings of the child, but a very selfish consideration for the convenience and prejudices of the nurse.

I have known many cases where the sensitive feelings of a little boy or girl have been turned to violent dislike by a nurse, or a governess. For days and weeks and months they have been obliged to live in the constant companionship and under the constant influence of an antipathy which sours and freezes their affections. I have known cases where a nurse, in order to achieve her own ends and relieve herself of trouble, has told a child to lie quietly in bed, when the light goes out, or a big and horrible bugaboo will creep out of the darkness and spring upon it.[Pg 240] In such cases, the nurse takes good care to keep the child from giving a hint of this to mother or father, under pain of equally terrifying consequences. I have friends to-day, grown up men and women, who cannot go into a dark room, anywhere, without a shiver and shudder of nameless dread, which began with that same black bugaboo.

I have known countless cases, where a nurse has said to a child, who has done something wrong or annoying: "I don't love you any more. I don't like you now at all." And I have known countless cases where mothers, themselves, have said and acted the same thing. And the effect of that is to belittle and corrupt in the child's heart a bigger and deeper conception of love, as a loyal and steadfast thing, with no string attached to it. If a nurse, or a mother, can withdraw her love, for a slight cause, then a child when it grows up can expect to do the same; a wife can withdraw her love from her husband, if he does something to displease her; a husband from his wife; a son and a daughter from their parents; a sister from her brother. How sad that seems, at first, and how it hurts! But little by little, as one sees and learns, and as the twig is bent—do not many up-to-date young people adapt themselves very comfortably to that belittled conception of love? Do[Pg 241] not the divorce courts and remarriages and scattered children and the talk and acts of emancipated women give ample evidence of it?

How glibly a certain kind of woman talks about sons and daughters lacking affection, and being so selfish, and so inconsiderate of others! How many of those women have taken the trouble to consider whether the heart feelings of those sons and daughters were nourished and cherished and guided, by the devotion of a loving mother?

This is a woefully inadequate sketch of one of the most important elements of life, one of the most vital factors in the formation of human character, about which volumes might be written. It may be enough, however, to suggest reflection and a better understanding on the part of some mothers, well-intentioned, but confused by progressive theories, who are really in need of help.

We may now move on to the moral and spiritual feelings.

The most casual observer has no difficulty in noting the fact that most children to-day are lacking in discipline, obedience, respect, consideration for others, and many other qualities, which have been regarded as essential to a well-bred person. There has been no end of talk about it lately, as we know.

As far as I have been able to learn, there is a[Pg 242] fairly general consensus of opinion that this is due to a lack of the proper kind of early training in the home. As often as this question has come up in my presence, it has always been answered readily and confidently to this same effect, and the answer has met with unanimous approval of men and women alike.

But I have never heard one single woman attempt to explain how it is that, with all the emancipation, and higher education, and scientific enlightenment, which has been placed at her disposal, modern mothers should fail to give their children a better training than ever, instead of a worse. Is it good for the children? No, of course not, they admit. Don't modern mothers love their children? How absurd! Every mother loves her children—more than a man can understand. Then why is it modern children don't receive proper training by their modern mothers? Oh, well, a good many women, nowadays, have so many other things to do, they haven't the time. Are these other things more important than the welfare of their children? Not that—nothing could be more important. Then, why—?

If anybody gets that far with the average modern woman, he has done very well. She usually shrugs her shoulders, tells you not to be silly and parries with some feeling remarks about[Pg 243] husbands and fathers. What do they do? And how do they do it? And who's really to blame?

If you ask a modern man the same question, and no women are present, he may express himself confidentially, that most women, nowadays, are so fed up on civic committees, or recreation centers—bridge parties or pink teas—uplift movements or school boards—golf, tennis, automobiling—that they don't know what's going on in their own homes. They have advanced ideas about everything—principally themselves. When it comes to the children, their advanced ideas result, pretty much, in letting them get along without any home training at all.

The women, when left to themselves, usually have little trouble in convincing themselves that if men had the proper kind of love for their wives and showed them the consideration and devotion which every feminine heart craves and is entitled to, there would be no trouble at all about the home. Every true woman would be found to respond magnificently. In nearly every case, the fault begins with the man—in his neglect and selfishness—and then man-fashion, he turns around and tries to lay it at the door of the woman. And so forth and so on.

But again, no one attempts to suggest, or explain, why it is that the modern husband, who is[Pg 244] better educated and more enlightened than husbands ever were before, should be behaving so badly. It is enough to agree and expatiate on the fact, without countless examples, that that is how it is.

And the average mother, to-day, will be found expressing the fervent hope that her son will not grow up to be as self-centered and neglectful of his wife, as most husbands are.

The effect of such talk, naturally, is to becloud the point at issue and confuse the mind. The point is that even in the minds of the women, the unseemly behavior of young people of both sexes is due to a lack of proper training in childhood. No enlightened woman believes, or claims, that two wrongs make a right. She does not believe that a man could, or should, take the place of a mother in dealing with children. She does not believe that he should become soft and effeminate, for the tender training of infants, but on the contrary, should be energetic and manly, for the battle of success.

As far as the children are concerned, she cannot but admit that the immediate responsibility has nowhere else to rest but in her. If she chooses to pass it over to a nurse or governess, that is her affair. It is for her to engage or discharge the nurse and governess as she sees fit. And it[Pg 245] is rare indeed to find a mother anywhere who would think of allowing any interference with what she considers her fundamental right.

If she neglects her responsibility, or fails in it, and the results are more or less disastrous, it is a very feminine excuse, to argue that she has a selfish and inconsiderate husband. The care of the children was her affair, not his; both herself and nature agree upon insisting that this should be so.

In this connection, therefore, it is to the mothers, principally, that we should address ourselves. At some other time, we may, if we choose, enter upon a discussion of that complex and much confused question of husband and wife in their relation to each other.

Under present-day conditions, curiously enough, the first thing it seems necessary to ask a mother is this:

Did you ever stop to reflect upon the tremendous and wonderful importance which may attach to the bringing up of one single child? Even if your heart feelings are rather anemic and your soul-feelings have become so muddled and confused by practical considerations that you no longer get any real message or inspiration from those two divine sources, yet you still have left a modern and enlightened brain. Even that is[Pg 246] enough to make you almost dizzy at the thought of this thing, if you will pause long enough to give it careful attention.

A modern battleship, or an airplane, or an automobile, is a vastly complicated and efficient piece of machinery. If you, yourself, left to your own resources, had the ability to turn out a complete battleship of the most improved design, you would doubtless consider that you had achieved something to be immensely proud of. But the greatest battleship on earth is not one-hundredth part as complicated and efficient a piece of machinery as your little son. And one of a dozen different faculties with which your son is equipped—the power of memory, for instance—is infinitely more intricate and more wonderful than anything and everything about a battleship put together.

You might have an ambition to paint a beautiful picture, or compose beautiful music, or write beautiful poetry, or do something else with your life which you deem to be useful or beneficial to your fellow men. But by cherishing such ambitions in your son and transmitting to him all that is best in your own self, this same result may be obtained for the use and benefit of your fellow men. And in addition to that, you will have given to the world a wonderful human being, who may[Pg 247] be able to achieve many bigger and better things than you could hope to do. More than that, your son may be able to transmit the ambitions and feelings which you have given him, to his children and their children, until your one achievement in making a splendid son, may expand and multiply into a wonderful lot of men and women, each and every one of whom may achieve more useful and beautiful things for the benefit of mankind than you could hope to do. All this may readily come about, if you apply yourself unsparingly to the unique and glorious task of making your son the right kind of man.

This is only one part of the wonder. If you are willing to devote your heart and soul to this one task, another recompense is in store for you—a multitude of sublime recompenses. Each and every fine and beautiful thing your son does, as long as you live, will fill you with deeper gladness, more intense joy, than anything you yourself could possibly accomplish, through your own efforts. That is the crowning miracle of a mother's love and every mother who loves her own with all her heart, knows that it is eternally true. Just to look at your son and feel that he is fine and right and worthy of all the love you have lavished on him, is to taste an exquisite[Pg 248] contentment, to which no other kind of earthly pleasure is comparable.

And this same feeling of contentment will be waiting to steal into your heart upon the coming of your son's children—each and every one. Your mother's love will find a renewal of its glory in your grandchildren. For they, too, have in them the same mysterious spirit of you which you cherished in your son. And so, as you sit back, in old age, in brooding contentment over the young lives, so full of possibilities, you may reflect, in the sweetest way imaginable, that it is going on indefinitely, this essence of you and yours, on and on, to the end of time, fulfilling on earth the unfathomed but divine purpose of the all-wise Creator.

People whose interest in life is centered in self-indulgence and material pleasure, may regard with dread the approach of old age; but not so a mother, whose deepest feelings have gone unreservedly to her children. To her it will come smiling, with the radiance of that most beautiful of all periods—a golden Indian summer.

Take it all in all—for the reasons we have suggested and many others—the bringing up and giving to the world of a fine human being, the endeavor to make that human being as nearly right as possible, is the most important, the most[Pg 249] profoundly significant undertaking that exists on earth. The all-wise Creator has entrusted that work, in a most beautiful and soul-stirring way, to mother love, the deepest and strongest feeling of which humanity is capable.

If a mere man will devote the greatest part of his energies, day in and day out, year in and year out, to making pictures, or making stoves, or making money, to support the family,—how can a mother be unwilling to devote as much of her energy to this sacred task, which she knows is of more vital consequence than any material thing?

Would that some one might be found to carry this message to every mother in the land—some one whose voice is so tender and true and appealing, that it might find its way straight to the core of their hearts and souls—clearing up the tangle of confused notions which the sexless reason and self-interest of progressive intellects have been making!

In the meanwhile, we must be content to see things as they are and pin our faith to the belief that, as the baleful effects of the current misunderstanding become more and more apparent, the mother love, of its own accord, will become sufficiently alarmed, to throw aside its lethargy and[Pg 250] seek to make amends by devoting itself more consistently to the welfare of its own.

Let us assume, therefore, that a mother of the present day, is deeply concerned in the moral and spiritual feelings of her children—that she wants them to have fine sentiments and fine characters—and that she is anxious to do anything within her power to bring this result about. What is she to do? What method is she to follow? In this age of enlightenment, with all sorts of theories in the air, how is she to know the proper way of forming a fine character? As a matter of fact, in many cases, it is just because her ideas on this subject have become so confused, that many a modern mother has been led to side-step the responsibility and let things drift along in the easiest way, after the example of those about her.

One of the first questions that is sure to confront her is the question of discipline and obedience. On the one hand, is the traditional idea of the past—"Spare the rod and spoil the child." She is familiar with this and there is nearly always someone near her who advocates it firmly—very possibly her own husband. On the other hand, she has read and heard and seen a lot which is directly opposed to that. Children should not be controlled by fear, like animals. There is[Pg 251] something mean and ugly and revolting in the very idea. It is better to be loved than feared—better for the mother and better for the child.

Between these two contradictory principles, even if she has the best intentions in the world, what is she to do? Is it to be wondered at, if many a modern mother, in this predicament, vacillates between the two? She doesn't like to punish the child and most of the time she avoids doing it; but now and then, when things have gone too far, or she is tired and irritable, she makes up for it by losing her temper and going to extremes. And the effect of this kind of treatment on the forming of a child's character is about as bad as could be. It doesn't produce discipline and it doesn't produce obedience; and it doesn't lead the way to any moral conception or principle. What it does inculcate in the child spirit very quickly is a feeling that the attitude of mother is largely a matter of mood, a very uncertain and variable quantity, which for the time being has to be put up with. And as the child cares more for mother, presumably, than anybody else in the world, it is no more than natural for it to apply this same point-of-view to other people with whom it comes into contact. There may be a certain amount of precocious wisdom in this, but it does not help the growth of moral feeling. And[Pg 252] so it happens, in many cases, that at the very start, the twig is given a bend in the wrong direction.

No mother really wants to spoil her child. She may say, with a loving and enigmatical smile, that she prefers to "spoil" it; but that is only her way of saying that she knows better than some stern and misguided people what is best for its tender wants. If she thought for a moment she was really spoiling the child's character, she would stop smiling at once and become very much exercised.

As we have started with this question of discipline, let us not leave it until we have followed it out to the full limit of our reflections.

If the choice necessarily resolved itself into one or the other of these two principles—strict obedience, rigidly enforced by punishment; or a vacillating policy of petting and scolding, leading to moral confusion—there could be little hesitation in deciding which would be apt to give better results in the formation of character. The old way, if somewhat crude and summary, has proved itself capable of producing discipline and respect for authority, a womanly woman and a manly man. The other way has not given much evidence of producing anything nearly so worthy or admirable.[Pg 253]

But, as a matter of fact, the choice need not be, and should not be, limited to these two principles at all. There is another method of arriving at the formation of character which is essentially different from either.

The chief fault of the old method of giving the child a whipping, if it disobeys, is by no means confined to a lessening of a child's love for the mother, who whips it. This is one consideration which is given great weight by many women, at present. It would in itself be a real hurt to the mother and a real hurt to the child. But there are other considerations. Sometimes the whipping may not be deserved—it may be occasioned by a loss of temper, or a misunderstanding—and in such cases it is apt to leave a feeling of resentment and injustice. This is in addition to the feeling of fear, which corporal punishment is apt to produce. Quite irrespective of the harm to love, it introduces a false motive into the formation of character. The little sprouts of conscience may be overshadowed by this weed of fear. The fear of a whip, in a hand which may be strong but not necessarily just, very naturally brings into play the instinct of self-defence, to prompt and justify all manner of concealment, deception, cunning, lying. Those are a lot more[Pg 254] weeds which may in time crowd out the more delicate soul feelings.

Discipline, bought at such a price, is paid for very dearly. In my own personal experience as boy and man, the most hypocritical, mean-spirited treacherous characters I have come into contact with, were among those who had been most disciplined by unsympathetic and unrelenting parents.

This is not to say, or imply, that corporal punishment, or stern treatment, necessarily leads to such unfortunate results. It is merely to indicate some of the possible dangers and drawbacks. With sturdy, primitive natures, an occasional beating is a matter of little moment; while for unthinking, commonplace minds, and undeveloped, unsensitive souls, the habit of obedience and docile respect for authority, in any and all forms, may be an excellent thing. A wolf cannot be trained in the same way as a setter dog, or a canary bird; and even among horses, the kind of treatment that a cart-horse thrives under, would ruin a thoroughbred completely.

The traditional methods of handling children date back to a time when there were many wolves and cart-horses and no method would have generally survived which did not include them.

But in our advanced civilization, as mothers frequently have more sensitive stock to deal with,[Pg 255] there is reason for them to feel that, somehow, they should go about it differently. This appears to be a partial explanation of what we see going throughout the length and breadth of our land. It is for their benefit that a more sympathetic principle has been gradually emerging from the confusion.

And let us note in passing that the altered sentiment on the part of mothers, and the principle which responds to it, cannot be credited in any way to the achievements of modern science, because a similar tendency showed itself sooner and became more pronounced and wide-spread in communities of China and Japan, where no modern science had penetrated. It would seem rather an intuitive growth of delicate understanding on the part of parents, as they become relieved from the strenuous needs of material existence.

This third principle does not tend to "spoil" the child, or repress its affection, or distort any of the finer impulses of its spiritual nature. It does not destroy obedience or discipline; but instead of obedience and discipline inspired by a whip, it seeks to erect self-obedience, self-discipline and self-control.

How does it work? First, through love, because in nature that comes first; then, little by[Pg 256] little, through the unfolding of conscience and faith.

We have talked about the heart feelings of a child, so it is only necessary to refer to them again, not for the joy they may bring to mothers, but because loyalty, fidelity, consideration for others, growing out of affection, may merge imperceptibly with feelings which are essentially moral and spiritual, to the immense advantage of both. Let a mother love her child, then, and cherish its love, with all the lavishness, tenderness, constancy of which she is capable. There can never be too much of it—there can never be enough of it—either for the child's good, or the mother's. And before the child is really old enough to think, let it have a radiant, deep-rooted feeling that mother's love is a mainstay of life, which will never waver or desert it, under any possible contingency, and which it, in turn, will never, never desert. And let a mother never trifle with that feeling, or prove fickle to it, at any stage, but treasure it as the holiest of holies, the very essence of the character she hopes to see formed.

In the early stages of development, when a child's mind is unable to reason or understand, little habits of second nature are formed. The moral questions do not come to the fore until the age of reason and the first awakening of the[Pg 257] spiritual feelings. And they bring with them unavoidably, the problem of obedience and discipline.

Suppose your son disobeys you, what then? Or suppose he has disobeyed the nurse, and she comes and tells you? Something has to be done about that, surely. What must you do?

Well, first of all, there is one thing you must be very careful not to do. Don't scold—don't speak harshly—don't look cross—don't get angry. Look at your child with sympathy and understanding, and when he meets your eye, with a cunning little look of shame and defiance, smile back at him reassuringly, and hold out your hand to him. Then, after the nurse has had her say, thank her for telling you about it and ask her to leave you, because in the tender confidences between mother and son it is not proper that an outside and possibly antagonistic influence should intrude.

When she has gone, take him on your knee, put your arms about him and hug him tight. Don't let him forget for an instant that he is your very own and you are his very own mother. Whatever may be going to come of it, keep that point clear—that you are his partner and help-mate and he is never going to be left out in the cold. Nothing will help more toward a fair-minded understanding of the situation. Ask him to tell you all about it, just how and why it all happened and help him[Pg 258] with your sympathy and patience to express himself fully.

Let us imagine that this is what has occurred:

When he was out walking, he saw a dead bird lying under the bushes on the other side of a ditch. The nurse, Delia, told him not to, but he did climb across the ditch and picked it up. It was an awfully pretty bird and he just wanted to look at it. When she told him to throw it away, he wouldn't come back. Then she caught him and shook his arm and he couldn't help it—he just got angry. He threw the bird at her and called her "an ugly old crow."

When mother has heard it all, she can start in very gently to answer and explain. And it won't hurt a bit to begin by letting him see that she understands perfectly just how he felt. She remembers a dead bird she found once, when she was little. But, on the other hand, Delia was only doing what she thought was best. There might have been nasty worms on the bird.

But that, after all, is not the main thing. The main thing is, that if he is to be trusted to go out walking with his nurse, he must be willing to do as she says, no matter how unreasonable it may seem. Otherwise mother would be worrying all the time—and something dreadful might happen—he might get lost, or run over. He[Pg 259] doesn't have to go out walking with Delia, if he doesn't want to; that is for him to decide. But if he does decide to go, it must be on the distinct understanding that he agrees not to disobey her.

The boy is rightly entitled to his say about this and if he has any objections, it is for mother to meet them and dissipate them with her love and reasons. Nothing should be demanded between mother and son which does not seem just and fair to both.

One final point remains to be considered. He threw the bird in Delia's face and called her a name which must have hurt her feelings.

Boy: "I couldn't help it. I was angry."

Mother: "I understand that perfectly. But all the same, it was rather hard on Delia, especially when she was only trying to do what she thought was right."

Boy: "Sometimes, I've got an awful temper."

Mother: "I don't mind that a bit. I'm glad of it. It's only because you have such strong feelings."

Boy: "Have you got a temper, too?"

Mother (smiling and nodding): "Of course I have—as bad as yours—or worse."

Boy (delighted): "Really?"

Mother: "But it's something we all have to learn to control. Because if we can't control it,[Pg 260] it's sure to make us do things that we're ashamed of afterwards—things that are unkind and unfair to others. Aren't you just a little bit ashamed of what you did to Delia?"

Boy (meeting her eye with smile of enquiry—then looking away and thinking, with feeling): "No—I'm not!"

Mother (petting his hand): "Well—I suppose you're still thinking about the bird—and there's still a little of that old temper left. But wait awhile and think it over. And—I'm going to tell you something that I think would be awfully nice. Sometime, if you did happen to feel like it and went to Delia of your own accord and explained to her how you lost your temper and were sorry for calling her that awful name——?"

Boy (looking away, thinking, then turning to her, hesitating and shaking his head): "I couldn't mummy, please,—I couldn't—not now——"

Mother: "I'm sure she'd appreciate it, a lot. Poor Delia—she tries so hard and she's so sensitive and she's really so fond of you. Of course, I wouldn't want you to say you were sorry, unless it was really true. It's only a sham and a humbug to make people say things they don't mean. It's entirely a question of how you feel about it, in your own heart. And nobody can decide that for you but yourself."[Pg 261]

After an incident of this sort, how would a mother feel if Delia told her, the next afternoon, that Master Bob had come to her and apologized like a little gentleman—and he'd been so sweet and dear—and he'd kissed her—and it touched her so, it broke her all up and she couldn't help crying?

If we take the pains to examine a little every-day example of this sort, it is not difficult to see that it involves some fairly important feelings. First of all, it encourages a feeling of faith—faith in mother, in her sympathy and understanding and justice. Then consideration for others—self-control—and finally conscience, what the inner nature, of its own accord, feels to be right. All these may be of vital account in the formation of a fine character, and they may be brought into play by this sort of treatment just as effectually as by a beating.

Of course it cannot be assumed, or expected, that the immediate result in any given case will prove so satisfactory. Sooner or later, with nearly all children, there are sure to come times when gentle explanations will not suffice. Something more impressive has to be resorted to.

This final resort was, in fact, faintly indicated in our example—but so faintly, that it might be overlooked.[Pg 262]

It was carefully explained to the boy that if he would not agree to obey Delia, when he went out walking with her, then he could not enjoy the privilege of going out walking with Delia. This is a principle of punishment, which may be applied to any and all cases, to almost any desired degree.

And it has at least one great advantage over other kinds of punishment. It can be made to avoid all danger of seeming unjust and arousing resentment.

Let us look into the application of this principle with reference to the more serious problems of misconduct which are liable to arise.

In general experience, the most serious troubles, or faults, which a mother has to contend with, are forgetfulness, temper, selfishness, deception, lying. Her aim is to see them supplanted by a habit of reflection, self-control, consideration for others, sincerity, truth. She believes and feels that these latter qualities are better for the boy's own welfare, better for the people he loves, better for everybody. She wants her boy to feel this way about it, too.

Very well, then, the first thing to be sure of is that the boy really understands the meaning of those things which you expect of him—the whys and wherefores and the good that is in them. [Pg 263]Otherwise—if he is not sincere about it, if he must do things in which he doesn't believe—there's an element of sham about it which leads quite naturally to concealment and hypocrisy.

It is true, he may always be counted on to do a great deal for love, for mother's sake,—provided that mother has cared for that love. But that is a sacred privilege, which should not be abused. It may have the effect of setting a bad example. If she has the right to ask him to do something which he doesn't see the sense of and doesn't feel like doing, why shouldn't he have the same right to ask her to let him do things which she doesn't see the sense of and doesn't feel like letting him do? If that is the way of love, why doesn't it apply to one, as well as the other? This may be very cunning and sweet, upon occasion; but for steady diet, it does not help the growth of moral feeling.

It is much better that he should never be required to do things which he cannot understand sufficiently to feel the right of. This all comes about quite naturally, in the course of companionship. There are countless opportunities for explaining and questioning, about this, that, or the other. No growing child is slow about asking innumerable questions and trying his best to understand. Preaching of any kind isn't necessary. It[Pg 264] seldom, if ever, gets home in the best way. The same thing is true of scolding and harsh words. They are not at all necessary; and they usually do a great deal more harm than good.

Let us suppose, then, that your son has been guilty of an act of selfishness—and to make matters worse, through a feeling of shame, he has first attempted concealment and then resorted to lying.

That is a rather trying situation for mother to face. It is about as hard a nut as she will ever have to crack. In the old days, there would be no hesitation in saying that the first thing it called for was a good sound beating.

But instead of that, let us imagine that mother is brave enough to stick to her love feeling, reassures her boy, smilingly, and holds him close. First she gives him a chance to tell all about it, in his own way, and helps him along to a confidential admission of the shameful facts.

And to make the case as extreme as possible, we will assume that there were no palliating circumstances whatever. The best that the boy can say for himself is that he just didn't stop to think—he went ahead and did it—and afterwards, he felt ashamed and didn't want anyone to know—and then, well, he tried to get out of it by lying.

Mother (smiling, thinking): "Well,[Pg 265] well—here's a pretty kettle of fish—isn't it? What in the world are we going to do about it?"

Boy (looking down, nervous, does not answer).

Mother: "I suppose there's no use crying over it. The main thing is how we can find a way to keep it from happening again. Perhaps it would help, if we could find the right kind of punishment?" (No answer.) "What kind of punishment shall it be—the fairest we can think of? Suppose you decide it for yourself. What would you suggest?"

Boy (very nervous): "I don't know."

Mother: "How would it be if, the next time you told a lie, you and mother couldn't, either of you, go riding in the automobile for two days?"

Boy (troubled, thinking, giving her a look): "Two whole days?"

Mother (smiling): "That's a pretty big punishment but, after all, lying is a pretty bad thing, which we don't want to have happen. Suppose we start with that and agree on it—two whole days?"

Boy (looking down, thinking, very nervous): "If you couldn't go riding, either—why should you be punished?"

Mother: "Because I'm your own mother and I love you better than anything in the world. Whatever you do, can't help affecting me. Besides,[Pg 266] you see, in a way, I'm largely responsible for whatever you do. If I don't bring you up right—isn't it my fault? And if we both have to be punished together, that may help you to remember."

Boy gives her a glance, looks down, thinking—begins to smile, hesitates.

Mother: "What are you thinking? Tell me."

Boy: "You mightn't know anything about it—if it was to the cook, or Delia, or Vincent—or somebody else?"

Mother: "That's true. It's something else for us to think about. If a boy tells a lie to anybody—because he's ashamed or afraid—that's bad enough. But afterwards, if he doesn't own up to it like a little man, but tries to conceal it from his mother, or deny it, that is ever so much worse. It deserves a much bigger punishment. Isn't that right?... Isn't it?"

Boy looks down, showing more nervousness, finally assents.

Mother: "Very well, then—this is what seems fair to me: If my boy tells another lie and doesn't attempt to deny it, afterwards—then the punishment will be as we agreed—two days, with no automobile for either of us. But if, before she hears of it, he comes, of his own accord, and tells mother all about it—that's better, and we'll[Pg 267] reduce the punishment to one day. But if, on the contrary, he tries to conceal it and denies it and tells more lies, that is worst of all—and when it is found out, as it is very apt to be, sooner or later—then the punishment will have to be harder on all of us—and father will have to be included too."

Boy (quickly): "Father?"

Mother: "If father is going to have that kind of a son, he will have to know about it and suffer for it, too. He will have to take his punishment, whether he wants to or not—the same as you and I."

Boy: "Oh, mummy, please! Does father have to know about that, yet?"

Mother: "Well, you see, dear, father loves us both, very much. We both belong to him—we both bear his name—and he works very hard to give us everything he can to make us happy."

Boy: "But if I don't do it again——?"

Mother (hugging him): "All right! If you really mean to try very hard, perhaps we'll never have to come to that. I'm quite sure I don't want to, any more than you do. There! it's understood and agreed—and we won't say another word about it."

That is a simple example of the principle; but it is enough to suggest the beginning and end of[Pg 268] the whole thing. It can be made elastic enough—gentle or severe enough—to fit almost any or all cases that may be imagined.

The punishment is talked over and understood in advance, not in any way as a chastisement, inflicted by an angry parent, but as a necessary and eminently fair means of impressing upon an unformed character the need of self-control, and the avoidance of an act which he knows is unworthy.

There are always certain things in every child's life which mean a lot to him—dolls, toys, games, skates, baseball, bicycle, automobile rides, swimming, tennis, golf—or something else—at all ages, up to manhood.

To be deprived of an important pleasure is a sure way of making him stop and think over the meaning of it. There is only one thing that will bring it home more surely and more deeply, and that is to see the one he loves best deprived of her important pleasures, too, as a result of his misconduct. If mother cannot go out in the automobile; if mother cannot play the piano; if mother cannot read to him, or tell him stories; if mother cannot come to the table for her meals;—the sight of this and the knowledge that he is the cause of it, will put a terrible tug on the heart-strings and the conscience. And in extreme cases,[Pg 269] if father has to be included in the punishment, and deprived of his pleasures, too, that makes the boy's feeling of guilty responsibility even more pronounced.

Yet, with it all, there is no chance for a sense of personal resentment and injustice to obscure the meaning. The unfairness and severity—if there be any—applies most to mother and is inflicted by the boy's own act. And if mother sets the example of accepting it bravely and smilingly, with no complaint and no scolding, and clings fast to her love and sympathy, in this trial of love, such experiences may be counted on to prove entirely helpful to the growth of moral feeling and self-discipline.

And once a punishment has been determined and agreed upon in advance, it should never be deviated from in the slightest degree. If a child were allowed to evade it, or modify it, by cajolery or cunning appeal, that would tend to destroy the spirit of fairness and faith in mother's word.

If a child will not respond to this kind of treatment and this kind of punishment, it is fairly safe to assume that he would respond even less, as far as the development of character is concerned, to ill-temper, harsh language, and the whip.

So much for the question of discipline, about which many well-intentioned mothers of the[Pg 270] present day are so perplexed and confused. In this connection, however, there remains to be made a general observation and warning, upon which too much stress can hardly be laid.

A certain amount of discipline, in a few important matters which involve moral feeling, is almost essential to the proper formation of character. On the other hand, constant restraint and excessive discipline, in the natural exuberance of youthful impulses and activities, is unwise and unfair to human nature. A mother who puts a healthy, normal boy in a pretty suit of clothes, and then would talk punishment, because he plays in the mud, or climbs a tree, doesn't deserve to have a healthy, normal boy. His impulse to play in the mud and climb trees is infinitely more vital and admirable than the vanity and sentimentality which attaches to spotless clothes. Sturdy vitality is a splendid foundation for sturdy character. Almost any kind of activity which does not endanger his life or health is good for him. Lots of love and a little helpful guidance, in essential things, is all that he usually needs—and very, very little repression, of any kind—the less the better.

In a child's nature the faculty of imagination and the force of example are important considerations in the development of the spiritual feelings and the formation of fine ideals. The world of[Pg 271] make-believe, of purest fantasy, is just as interesting and just as significant as the every day actualities of life. It makes not the slightest difference to a little boy, or girl, whether the stories you read them, or the acts of hero and heroine, are reasonable or not. (And if, in the preceding pages, I have referred to the child as being a boy, that is only for convenience in writing and not to imply that the observations would differ in the case of a girl.) The child's imagination is ready and eager to follow you anywhere and the main thing is the exercise of the feelings occasioned by fictitious events.

This is one of the earliest ways for the tender soul nature to find nourishment and growth. The more rhymes and jingles it can hear, the more fairy tales, stories of adventure, thrilling deeds of heroism, the better it is for the forming traits of character. In nearly all the stories a mother may find to read or tell to her children, there are examples and side-lights of courage, devotion, honor, loyalty, cheerfulness, patience, and other exhilarating qualities. There is no necessity of picking and choosing too carefully, or of attempting to confine the exercise to a certain sort of fiction whose tendency is obviously moral. The biggest part of it is to give the imagination and feelings plenty of food to grow on, to[Pg 272] encourage and stimulate a liking and admiration for things which appeal to the interest through the imagination. Given half a chance, nature can be fairly well trusted to look after the rest—and in the long run is apt to prove as true a guide as finicky and restricted notions which may be lacking in broad comprehension.

One of the loveliest and most helpful occupations any mother can have is to learn to tell stories to her children. Many mothers may find themselves a little deficient in this ability, at first; but, with the inspiration of love and their holy cause, almost any mother can soon acquire a charming facility in doing it. And the advantage to the children, as well as to mother, which may be derived from this method is very considerable. A story told by mother is easier to understand, more sympathetic, more delightful, less set and cumbersome than nearly any story which has to be read methodically from the printed pages of a book. A mother is in close touch with the needs and natures of her own flock—she can embellish and interpret and add her own loving comments, as such and as often as she feels the call for it.

I have found by experience that so many stories which are supposedly designed for children, make use of big and stilted words, complicated ideas,[Pg 273] and tedious, long-winded explanations. Mother can read them so quickly by herself and then preserve the pith and point of them in her own manner of recounting. There is practically no limit to the variety of kinds and subjects which may be interpreted and rendered available in this way. The story of Ivanhoe, or Quentin Durward, or Lohengrin, may be just as readily told in this way as Cinderella, or Robin Hood, or Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp. But set any child the task of reading for itself a great volume of Ivanhoe, or many of the other world classics, or of listening to any one who waded through the long descriptions for hours on end, is hardly to be thought of.

Fortunately there are a number of books which seem to have been written by people who love children and understand them. These a mother can search out and select from and make good use of.

One of the curious things about youth is that children love to hear the same stories over and over again, even after they know them almost by heart. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the appeal is principally to the feelings and not to the intellect. Intellectual people, when once they know the contents of a book, seldom have any further interest in it. But music and painting and poetry do not lose interest through familiarity,[Pg 274] even for mature natures. Their appeal is more like that which stories have for children.

Owing to this condition of affairs, a mother need never be at a loss for stories to tell or stories to read. This part of child life should not be an exceptional occurrence due to her mood or whim, but a constant feature of the daily life to be counted on and treasured up. The lovely atmosphere which surrounds it, the moral and spiritual ideals which are engendered by it, combine in making it a precious influence in the rearing of a new generation.

"But," exclaims the up-to-date woman, of enlightened intellect, "what kind of old-fashioned, benighted mother are you prating about! This is the era of woman's rights and woman's emancipation! What time would a woman have for her own affairs—for the exercise of her rights, which have been won with so much effort—if she had to keep bothering her head with that sort of thing?"

That is true. It would seem as if we had forgotten about the self-interest and selfishness of the modern movement, which is there on all sides to poke its tongue at a mother's devotion to her sacred cause.

Indeed, we have no answer to give to that kind of selfishness. The essence of our thought is love[Pg 275] and faith in the love of motherhood. There is no selfishness in it and the language it uses is not translatable into terms which the rule of reason can hope to understand.

But to those mothers whose hearts are still in the right place, even if their heads have become more or less confused by the shouting and example of intellectual leaders, there is a very simple observation to suggest, as an answer to such objections.

Is it of much importance or benefit to you, yourself, or to anybody, or any thing, that you should spend so much of your time in gambling at the bridge table? Or gossiping at an afternoon tea? Or attending a meeting at the woman's club? Or at the hair-dresser's and manicure's? Or in intellectual pursuits of any kind? Is it not more important to you and to your family and to the future of your race and kind, to devote a considerable amount of your time and energy to the children, who love you and need you and can profit greatly by your help?

Is not that entitled to the best you can give, not only because it is the most important of all earthly occupations, but because by doing it you set the blessed example of thinking first and most of others, and last and least of self?

After the children are tucked in their beds,[Pg 276] peaceful and happy in the land of dreams, then it is time enough for you to turn your thoughts to personal distractions and pleasures, which are proper and wholesome for a human being when the daily work of life is done. Nobody will begrudge it to you, and you need not begrudge it to yourself. It is what distractions are for. It is also what the great majority of husbands and fathers and grandfathers have been doing since the beginning of time—working to the best of their ability for the good of home and family—content with their recreation, after the work is done?

How can any true mother in her heart and soul be so disturbed and misguided by intellectual enlightenment that she could be led to desert her eternal responsibility for the pursuit of selfishness—or the agitation of isms?

It ought to be reasonably clear that if a mother does desert her responsibility, and leaves to the care of a hired employee the development of her child's moral and spiritual feelings, the results are liable to be very unsatisfactory. It is the same story over again, which we took account of in connection with the heart feelings. Nagging, scolding, lack of sympathy, false standards, superstitions, threats, deceptions, bug-a-boos—are all apt to take a hand in forcing a necessity for[Pg 277] discipline and deforming character. The tangles of temper, fear, deception, resentment, will never be unravelled and patiently straightened out. In their wake, are pretty sure to come, sooner or later, scenes with mother and father—hypocritical or defiant, cajoling, whining, or tempestuous—in which harsh and ugly words will sometimes play a part.

And one fine day, the mother will probably vouchsafe the remark, as so many modern mothers have done in my presence, that when certain boys, or girls, reach a certain age, they get so that it is quite impossible to do anything with them at home and the only sensible way is to ship them off to a boarding-school.

How much of a mother's time is required for the right kind of care for her children? Who can judge of each case, but the right kind of mother? Whatever the child has need of, that is for her to watch over and give, to the fullest of her capacity.

And what of the rôle of a father in this most vital of responsibilities? It is essentially that of a help-mate—to bring cheer and comfort and courage, and the tenderest of protection and support. "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"—so says the old adage. In any case, it is upon the sanctity and devotion of[Pg 278] mother love that the future of our race depends—and the deepest feeling of a manly man has never doubted it.

There is much, much more that might be said about the relationship of a father to a mother, and of a mother to a father. The right foundation for it should be the deepest of moral and spiritual feelings. The true significance of it cannot help being eternal, not temporary. In no department of life, has the scientific principle of self-interest and the rule of reason had a more confusing, corrupting, and destructive influence. To attempt to translate the meaning of a marriage into terms of a business partnership is a ghastly mockery.

This subject is too big and the discussion of it would carry us too far afield, to be undertaken in the present connection. Our attention has been confined, for the time being, to mother love and the formation of character for the next generation.

And the next question which confronts mother love is the question of schools and school education—one of the most perplexing and troubling of all, and yet unavoidable.

Let us suppose that our mother is an ideal one—that she has gladly responded with the best that is in her to her love and responsibility—that she has cherished and nourished every tender little bud in the heart and soul of her boy—that the twig[Pg 279] of character is rising up straight and beautiful, in every respect.

Then comes the day when Master Bob must go off to school—a day school, or a boarding school, or first one and then the other.

Why does he have to do this? In the first place because it is the custom every boy is supposed to do it, when he arrives at a certain age—and then, to receive proper instruction, his brain must be taught, his mind enlightened.

So off to school he must go, and when he gets there, a new and different atmosphere surrounds him, a new influence is brought to bear on the little character, so tenderly forming, and in the main the nature of this influence is two-fold. First, there is the school-room and the school books and the teaching of teachers—and second, there is the companionship, intimacy, teaching, of the other boys with whom he is thrown into contact.

As the action of this latter influence is usually the more immediate, direct, and compelling, we may as well give it the foremost place in our consideration. And let us be careful to state frankly and bear constantly in mind that all cases are by no means alike. The conditions to be met with may be largely accidental and differ materially in degree or kind. And the consequences, for any particular boy, may depend very largely upon[Pg 280] accidental circumstances, or inherited tendencies. A boy, who is naturally warm-blooded and very impulsive, may not react in the same way as another boy, who is inclined to be reserved and reflective. If I am led by my observations to make use of extreme or exceptional examples it is not my intention to imply that they are the rule, but merely to bring out clearly a point, or meaning, which, in less degree, may have a more general application.

We have already had occasion to refer repeatedly to the force of example in shaping the conduct and ideas of a vast majority of people. Nowhere is this force more rapidly effective, than in the case of growing children. It is their instinct to absorb and imitate, consciously or unconsciously, and so adapt themselves to new conditions of development.

And this instinct is sure to be very much alive, more than ever alive, when boys and girls find themselves removed from the family influence, amid new conditions and new companions of the school.

Before we follow our boy, Bob, so far, let us pause for a moment and consider this question of companionship with other boys and the influence of example, as it may have applied to him, while mother was still at hand to watch over him.[Pg 281] Any boy or boys that Bob might come into contact with, or make companions of, would also come under mother's eye. Not only that, but Bob would repeat to her, spontaneously and gushingly, every new thing that they said, or did. And if Bob still had a nurse hanging about, she would have an eye and an ear and something to say to mother, too. If one of these boys happened to be tricky and deceitful, resentful and cruel, mother would be sure to know about it very quickly. She could straighten out Bob's feelings with regard to any of those things before real damage occurred; and she could see to it that such contamination was kept away from him. As long as a boy remains under the home influence, it is part of mother's responsibility to guard against just such things.

As soon as he goes away to school, and gets under the new influence, it is no longer possible for her to do so. Of all the various kinds of boys to be found at any school, which ones Bobby is destined to have as closest companions, to exchange confidences with constantly, and have set him the example, is largely a matter of luck, or accident. It may come about through adjoining seats in class, or though proficiency in the same games, or a common interest in collecting bird's eggs, or postage stamps, or through being room-mates, or sleeping in the same corridor at[Pg 282] boarding-school, or one of a dozen other haphazard reasons.

Let us imagine that by chance, in this way, Bobby's closest companions turn out, in due time, to be four in number. And for the sake of emphasizing our meaning and the principle involved, let us imagine that the accident, in this particular case, is more extreme than usual.

The first boy, Ed, has been brought up chiefly by a stern and rigidly moral father of the old school, who has reprimanded, disciplined, chastised, most consistently and thoroughly. The second boy, Sam, has a society mother, somewhat of a belle, and so feverishly absorbed in her vanities and distractions, that his up-bringing, from the cradle, has devolved entirely upon a series of Irish, Swedish and German nurses. The third boy, Bill, has a very intellectual mother, an ardent devotee of woman's rights, and an active worker in various up-lift and educational movements. She laid out a plan of mental development for him, in early childhood, in accordance with the latest scientific books, but not having the time to attend to it herself, and having had constant rows with her nurses, she has ended up by heaping the blame on the natural stupidity and stubbornness of the boy, which could only have been inherited from his father. The fourth boy, Hal, is the most[Pg 283] up-to-date of all. His mother and father were both divorced and both remarried and both have new families, for which his only feeling is mild resentment and disdain.

These boys are hardly to blame if, as a result of such home training, the growth of their characters has already become tangled and somewhat over-run by the weeds of selfishness and calculation. If they were only mischievous, high-spirited and lacking in respect, the harm might not be great; but there is also a deficiency of the generous feelings of sympathy and affection, of moral standards, and of any abiding faith in what should be. Their bodies and their brains may be well developed; but not their hearts and souls.

They may find it to their interest to display perfect discipline in the school-room and receive high marks and commendation from their teachers; they may also excel in the various games and win prizes on the athletic field; but this in no way prevents them from setting an insidious example to a less precocious companion.

For practical purposes, the point-of-view and controlling motives of these four boys is in fairly complete accord. They think it is very smart to do things which are against the rules; but they think it is very stupid to get caught. They believe in using their wits to get the best of other[Pg 284] people—especially older people, like parents and teachers. They believe in practising concealment, dissimulation and insincerity; but they are very wary of getting saddled with a downright lie. They have the utmost contempt for a "tell-tale," and they include in this opprobrium any boy who hasn't sense enough to keep from older people an inkling of any sort, as to what he himself may have been up to, as well as any others of the crowd. Nothing is half so bad as blabbing what you know—not even the risk of getting caught in a lie. They laugh at scruples of conscience; and they place little dependence on mother love, or father love, or any kind of love which isn't self-centered and decidedly material. They also have little use for high-flown sentiment, poetry, old-fashioned prejudices and pretences of romance; and if they do have time to read a book, they want it to be something up-to-date and exciting—a detective story, for instance, with a master thief and vampires. In addition to this, they have a number of other precocious and undigested notions about a variety of things, which they are ready to pass out confidentially, in almost any connection.

Again we repeat that it is not to be inferred that all the boys in any school, or any great proportion of them, are necessarily of this sort. But[Pg 285] in almost any school, some of them are liable to be met with—more so to-day than ever, for reasons which have been amply explained. There is no way of telling, at school, what certain boys may be thinking and saying and doing, when they are out of sight and hearing. If our boy, Bob, is unfortunate enough to be thrown in close and constant contact with that kind, it is unreasonable to imagine that he is at all to blame. His natural effort is to try and adapt himself to conditions as he finds them; he sees and feels that he is but a tiny part of a big system, in which most matters are determined for him, by the system itself. Aside from which, his nature is very trusting and sensitive, rather shy at first, and totally without experience of this new and perplexing world.

The feelings and ideals which have been growing so tenderly in his little heart and soul are not robust enough to offer much resistance to repeated and covert attacks. They are in as great a need as ever, of guidance and encouragement and nourishment and the sunlight of loving sympathy. The formation of character was proceeding in a beautiful and promising way, but it may not be safely assumed that the results are complete and permanent at such an early age—the customary age which most parents accept for sending their children to school. And where, in[Pg 286] the chance companionship of school life, is a fitting substitute to be found for the right kind of family influence and the devotion of mother love?

It is sad to say it, but I have, in my own experience, known a number of cases, where the havoc caused in a promising character was directly traceable to the influence and bad example of youthful associates.

A practical, up-to-date mind might say complacently that such characters must have been so weak that they would probably have gone that way, anyhow. But that is merely to close one's eyes to the understanding of a vital principle, the inner feelings of heart and soul which play such a large part in the formation of character, are subject to growth and alteration, like all other living things; and until they are given a fair chance to become strong, by development and exercise and proper care, why should anything more than a relative weakness be expected of them? If you abandon them too soon to blighting influences, there is always danger of their being more or less spoiled.

The other side of the school question relates to the school-books and school-rooms and the teaching of the teachers.

When we stop and consider that the average little boy, or girl, between the ages of six and[Pg 287] fourteen, spends thousands upon thousands of hours, in a more or less dreary and distasteful and uninspiring way, over school-books, in school and out, it might seem as if we had a right to ask ourselves: Does the result justify the means? Does any one claim, or imagine, that school-books contain much nourishment for the heart and soul, or the moral feelings, or love of beauty? Upon what grounds, does any one claim, or imagine, that such things are less important to the growth of character, and a cheerful disposition, and fine standards of conduct, than the training of the intellect? If we are perfectly satisfied that the method employed to train the intellect does not and need not interfere with a corresponding development of those other sides of human nature—that is one thing. But let us not be satisfied to take so much for granted, without giving it a little thought. That is the first point to get clear.

All those thousands of hours spent over school-books, in school-rooms, if they were not confined to that, might be devoted to other things. That is obvious and inevitable. What kind of things? If they were allowed a freedom of choice, children would want to do the things that interested them the most—things they felt like doing. And the natural feelings of each growing individual[Pg 288] would be the dominant factor in nearly all cases. The natural feelings of a little boy, or a little girl, are nothing for any one to be ashamed of, or deplore, or wish to make otherwise. They are part of the all-wise plan, designed more profoundly and beautifully than any science of man can comprehend. And nothing is more natural than that a boy, or a girl, growing up in an atmosphere of love and sympathy and kindness, and what is right and fair and admirable, should respond to those feelings, more and more, and grow to have them, too. Some selfish instincts have to be guided and controlled by deeper and better feelings and the exercise of reason, and that is natural, too. And even the selfish instincts are just as natural and just as wisely planned as the deeper and better feelings, or the exercise of reason.

In the advanced stage of enlightenment at which we have arrived can any reasonable person fail to recognize this palpable truth? It is possible that some people might be found who have happened to overlook it; but less easy to believe that they could fail to recognize it, when it is called to their attention.

Any normal child delights in the exercise of all its faculties and instincts and feelings—whether they be of the heart and the soul, or the body and the brain. This is the natural method of their[Pg 289] growth. And the ideal individual would be one in whom all these sides had reached their fullest development, in a perfectly balanced whole.

The vast majority of things which interest children and which they naturally like and seek to do are unconsciously in line with this endeavor. They all give exercise to some quality which is useful and proper to human nature. And the variety of interests which may act in this way is so infinitely great, that children are seldom at a loss to find something that appeals to them. Sometimes they need advice, or help from older people, but that, too, is as it should be.

If children, between six and fourteen, had at their disposal those thousands of hours which we have referred to, and did not have to bother with school or school-books—what kind of use might they be expected to put them to?

It is not at all difficult to imagine. Play, in the first place, and games—in the sunshine and open air. And if the sun isn't shining, on rainy days, more play and games—in the play-room, or about the house, or somewhere under shelter. Marbles and tops and kites; jumping rope, rolling hoops, making pin-wheels; skating, sledding, snow-balling; baseball, fishing, tennis; leap-frog, running, climbing trees; and dozens of other pastimes, too numerous to think of. The very[Pg 290] sound of them is healthy and joyous and exhilarating and the general effect of them on a growing nature is just as wholesome.

But this is not all, by any means—only one kind of thing, chiefly of value to the physical side of development—health and strength and vitality and cheerfulness.

In addition to this, there are many other interests of a different order which may appeal to youth very strongly. A collection of postage stamps, or birds' eggs, or picture cards, may become of absorbing interest to boys and girls, with time on their hands. These may encourage patience and perseverance and observation and enthusiasm, which are most admirable as traits of character.

A boy may become deeply absorbed in a set of carpenter's tools and the things he can do with them. He can set his heart on making a pair of stilts, and a boat that will float and steer and sail, and tables and boxes and chests of drawers for his collections—all of which may develop skill and determination and an aspiration to fine accomplishment. And the interest so begun may lead to a bracket-saw and carving tools, or a turning lathe, and the fashioning of more intricate and beautiful things.

A boy, or a girl, may have a camera and learn[Pg 291] to take pictures and develop them and print them, and encourage in this way the growth of feelings and tastes and much useful knowledge—in addition to mental training.

Boys and girls may set their hearts on building a beautiful snow fort—and work and slave and overcome obstacles—until they have given themselves a fine lesson in industry, and the rewards of successful accomplishment.

A boy may become interested in a printing press, or a steam engine, or an electric machine of some sort, and acquire by means of it, not only a lot of worthy satisfaction and pleasure, but the enthusiasm of deep, spontaneous feelings—in addition to useful information and mental training.

A perfectly normal boy, without any special bent for music, or art, may want to play on a drum, or a banjo—or to paint pictures with water-colors—and through the effort devoted to this want, encourage the growth of tastes and feelings, which may prove of benefit and value, all through life.

If boys and girls are not occupied and tired by forced application to school-books, there is hardly any limit to the number of things, to which they may turn their attention, with natural energy and enthusiasm, and frequently with great benefit to[Pg 292] feelings and qualities which involve not only the body and the mind, but the heart and soul, as well.

We have named but a few of the activities to which those thousands of hours, now consumed by school-books and school-rooms, might be otherwise devoted. Whether or not those things are more important to general development of character, they certainly cannot be indulged in to anything like the same extent, if so much time and energy is daily required for school education. When children are released from the school-room, their heads and their nerves are fairly tired and their bodies longing for freedom. There is usually another period of study hanging over them, before bed-time; and although a certain number of hours are allowed them for recreation, that recreation is not apt to take the form of heart-felt interests which put an added strain on nerves and head.

With this point-of-view in mind, it may prove worth while to illustrate by some concrete examples the kind of results that are liable to occur. And in choosing examples, this time, it will not be necessary to rely upon conjecture or imagination. It so happens that I may refer to some actual cases where boys and girls have not been obliged to go to school, or even to open a[Pg 293] school-book, during all those thousands of hours. And, strangely enough, in spite of the forebodings and disapproval of many intellectual people, who always feel it their duty to protest against such a procedure, the results in all the cases I have any knowledge of, were not disastrous at all, but very much the contrary.

Let us begin with some girls—three sisters. Their parents were well-born and well-educated, the father being a man of considerable distinction and originality. From a position of comparative wealth, they were reduced by business reverses, to relative poverty, and retired to a farmhouse in an unsettled district. The mother was in delicate health, the father under the need of trying to repair his fortunes, and there was no school-house within reach. In addition to that, the father had very little belief in current school methods, or the efficacy of school books. The result was that the three girls were allowed to go without any education of the prescribed kind; but an old man who happened to be living nearby, with nothing to do, was prevailed upon to come every day and help along with their enlightenment in any way they desired, or he saw fit. This old man had once had artistic tendencies, had tried his hand at various things, and was well-read and well-travelled. He soon took a great interest in[Pg 294] the three bright and charming girls, and came to regard himself in the light of a kindly, sympathetic companion—which is the next best thing to a mother, or a father.

He helped the girls with their flower garden, went walking with them in the fields and answered as many of their questions as he could about flowers and planting and trees and shrubs and plants, birds, snakes and bees—anything and everything they showed an interest in.

When it was raining, he played on the piano for them and showed them how to play little tunes for themselves—which they thought was great fun. He could paint and draw very well and he brought them a box of water colors and showed them how to color pictures and draw flowers and birds and simple things for themselves. He also got some clay and played with them at modelling figures of various kinds.

In addition to that, he had one idea, which was a sort of hobby, and about which he talked to them a lot. Every girl, as she grew up, as well as every boy and man, would be called upon, sooner or later, to write letters to people she cared about, and wanted those letters to be nice and interesting. Most people didn't know how to express their thoughts. So every day, they sat down together, indoors or out, and each wrote a[Pg 295] letter to an imaginary friend. Little by little, the letters became easier and longer and more interesting.

Frequently he recited poetry that he knew by heart, and told them fairy tales, and stories of every description from the many books he had read.

And so the thousands of hours were spent with simple natural interests, in a most enjoyable way, without a thought of school-books, or anything distasteful, compulsory or confining.

What, in this case, were some of the results? One was that the life of their inner feelings was developed to an unusual degree. Everything was done to encourage them, and nothing to suppress, or distort them. The stories and poems made a constant appeal to their imagination, while the daily letters which they wrote became a means of reflecting and applying this appeal.

A love of beautiful things was naturally developed in them, and they naturally conceived a fondness for music and painting and modelling and poetry and story-telling. There was no pressure exerted upon them in any of these directions—merely the encouragement of spontaneous interest and the help of example.

These tastes and qualities, became the common possession of all three girls. They could all write[Pg 296] poetry and stories; they could all draw and paint and model and play tunes on the piano—with more or less feeling and facility—and they all grew up with remarkably sympathetic and gracious personalities—which became, later on, very widely admired and commented upon.

One of the girls, the eldest, conceived a deeper liking than the others for music. As time went on, she wanted to spend more and more time at the piano—playing and practising and learning to read the notes.

The second girl, in a similar way, was more attracted to drawing and modelling and painting. The youngest one, while the other two were thus engaged, liked to sit down with pencil and paper and amuse herself in writing rhymes and stories.

The eldest daughter became a fine musician and composer of music, and a brilliant career was in sight for her at the time of her death, which occurred when she was just out of her teens.

The second daughter, won for herself a distinguished place as a painter, in Paris and in this country.

The youngest one left to her own resources, a widow with a little son to support, achieved much wealth and fame as a literary celebrity, one of the most admired of her generation.

Let us now refer to some other cases, this time[Pg 297] to boys, where the bringing-up happened to be accomplished without any aid, or interference, of school-books or school-teaching. In some instances this procedure was due to illness and delicate health on the part of the boy, which made fresh air and freedom from confinement seem more important than the benefits of mental training. In other cases, the parents deliberately believed and decided it was better for self-development and the formation of character to dispense with what they considered the disadvantages of school methods.

As long as a boy does not know how to read, and is not taught how, it is the most natural thing in the world for him to want somebody to tell—or read—to him fairy-tales and verses and stories of every kind that he can understand. And this want is sure to be supplied, when there are loving parents to watch out for it. It may be the mother, the nurse, the father, or an aunt, or an uncle, who take turns at it.

Sooner or later, as a result of this, the child is very apt to feel a curiosity and interest and ambition to learn how to read stories for himself. In the absence of any forcing, the more he thinks about it, the more his heart becomes set on it. He asks questions about letters and words in books—surprises his mother by showing how[Pg 298] he can print his own name, then her name and father's. Little by little, without anybody's teaching him, almost without any one's realizing it, he has learned to read. This might not happen, of course, in an unsympathetic atmosphere—if there were no story telling, and no story books lying about, to bring the inspiration. But as far as my experience goes, it has always happened, somewhere between the ages of eight and ten, if not before.

One boy I know, after learning to read for himself, in this way, in rummaging through the bookshelves, came upon a queer little book of Experimental Chemistry. It was very old and primitive and had curious wood-cut illustrations in it. It had long ago belonged to the boy's grand-father. It was easy to read and told about simple experiments that any boy could try himself. The necessary ingredients for many of them could be found at home, or be bought for a few cents at the drug-store. It happened to arouse his interest.

The first experiment described how to take a little powdered sugar and mix it with a little powder obtained by crushing up a tablet of chlorate of potash—such as people put in their mouths for a sore throat. That would make an explosive, as powerful as the powder used in guns. It could be set off by dropping on it from an eye-dropper[Pg 299] one drop of a certain kind of acid, from the druggist's.

The boy procured the necessary things, then ran to his mother, and asked her if he might try the experiment. She responded to his enthusiasm and only asked permission to stand by and look on. He dropped the acid on the powder—and sure enough, the powder went off with a big flash. Wonderful excitement and joy! The experiment had to be repeated again and again, for the amazement of the waitress and the cook—and especially for father, as soon as he came home.

That was the beginning of a new interest. The boy kept the book by him and pored over it, and set his heart upon acquiring first one thing after another, as they became necessary. As he accumulated bottles and glass tubes, and chemicals and apparatus, he made shelves and stands for them with his carpenter tools.

In due time, he got other books on the same subject and became the possessor of a very practical little chemical laboratory, which was all of his very own making. At the age of twelve, he was thoroughly at home in dozens of complicated processes and experiments.

This was only one of the many interests which he had plenty of time to follow, with the same sort of enthusiasm. At the age of fourteen, his[Pg 300] laboratory was a thing of the past, but for all that, years after, at college, among his various other achievements, he had no trouble in winning a prize scholarship in chemistry.

Another boy, brought up in a similar way and having learned to read without teaching, first took a lively interest in automobiles. When the family car went wrong, he watched the repairs, asked questions, and was ready to lend a helping hand. Many of the troubles on a modern car are apt to be in connection with the electrical equipment—battery, lights, magneto, timer, self-starter, etc. Sooner or later, a boy who takes an interest, is apt to become more or less familiar with the principle of all these things, especially if his nerves and brain are not deadened by forced application. At any rate, this boy soon did. This led to an interest in other electrical things—the ringing of bells and buzzers about the house, and the installation of an electric motor which would run the sewing machine, or a grindstone, or a little lathe. Then he got hold of a booklet about wireless telegraphy. There is something thrilling about the idea which appeals to the imagination—the receiving of mysterious messages from afar, through the air, and sending back from your little instrument the far-flying answers.

At the age of twelve, this boy with the aid of[Pg 301] a Japanese servant, had set up his own aerial and apparatus, had learned the code alphabet and was thoroughly familiar with all the delicate intricacies of detector, tuning coil, sparker and the rest of it. He had gotten in touch with certain other wireless operators within a radius of ten miles and, although he had never seen any of them, he could recognize instantly the sound of their different instruments and it was a joy and delight to hold conversations with them and call them up for a good-night, before he went to bed. And before he was thirteen, he undertook to construct with his own hands a tuning coil which would be better for his purposes than the kind he could afford to buy at the store. After much determined effort, he succeeded and installed it and had the satisfaction of finding that it was, indeed, decidedly better.

Another boy, who had never had to bother his head with school-books, but who had also learned to read, in due time got started on a new interest by a printing-press, which was given to him for Christmas. He puzzled with it and worked over it, until he learned to set up type and operate it very nicely. Then he began printing visiting cards—first for himself, then mother and father, then the servants and friends. It was great fun to take orders from them and charge them ten[Pg 302] cents a dozen, in a business-like way. Next he got a larger press and different kinds of type, and by dint of perseverance he found among the trades-people a few kindly souls, who allowed him to print their business cards for them at so much a hundred.

Out of this interest grew a more ambitious one. How fine it would be to print and publish a little newspaper, with stories and verses and advertisements and subscriptions and everything! This appealed to the imagination and became an absorbing ambition. In this particular case, the newspaper project soon outdistanced the printing press. The newspaper must be bigger and finer than a press of that kind could possibly manage. So the boy went to a regular printer and found out about the cost and details of publishing such a paper as he had in mind. He didn't have enough money of his own for that, but he figured out that by going again to the tradespeople and getting them to pay for advertising in his paper and by making people pay for subscriptions to the paper, the problem could be solved. He decided to limit the scope of his enterprise to the publication of six numbers, one every month. He went to different tradespeople with whom the family dealt, stated his intentions, and asked for advertisements at the rate of fifty cents a number. He[Pg 303] was only twelve years old at the time and they naturally had doubts about his ability to carry out the project; but some were found with enough kindly sympathy to agree to pay him, when he brought them the paper containing the advertisement. In the same way, among relatives and friends and neighbors, he sought subscriptions at the rate of five cents a copy and succeeded in obtaining a sufficient number for his purpose.

He chose a name for his paper by himself but, when it came to the question of the reading matter, he did not presume to attempt much of that, at first, but felt he could do better by appealing to his mother and aunt and others for the kind of contributions he had in mind.

He carried out his project, to the letter,—six numbers, one a month—and at the end of it, he not only had the satisfaction of a fine effort well done, but he had also earned a clear profit of over fifteen dollars. Likewise, he had helped the growth of character, the taste for literary achievement, the acquisition of much useful experience and information, and considerable mental training of an admirable sort.

I might continue in this way, almost indefinitely, telling about the interests and results which may come quite naturally to boys and girls freed from the routine of school training.[Pg 304]

Enough has been said, however, to suggest food for thought. With a feeling of interest, or enthusiasm, behind it, almost any kind of mental exercise, or physical exercise, takes on the color of gladness. Without interest, or enthusiasm, almost any kind of compulsory effort becomes drab and drear and irksome. The intellect can be a splendid friend to the feelings—it can bring all sorts of suggestions to them, and point out their usefulness and their charm—but if, for some reason which may be entirely intuitive and fundamental and all-wise, the feelings refuse to respond, or to coöperate, any further compulsion is apt to prove futile and unproductive of the right growth of character.

These are a few of the considerations which led to the remark, in connection with our boy, Bob, that the question of schools and school education is one of the most perplexing and troubling.

No loving mother is responsible for the existing school system, nor could she alter it, if she wanted to. Even if she has a little pinch of the heart at the thought of subjecting her sensitive boy to such an ordeal, how can she dare to do otherwise? Among people of all classes, it is considered proper and necessary, for children to be sent to school.

But provided a mother has a clear[Pg 305] understanding that her child's feelings and vitality are the most important things, it is always possible for her to seek some sort of a compromise in his favor. She can delay the time of sending him away, until nine, or ten, or eleven. If he goes to a private school, she can very often arrange matters so that he need only attend the morning session, and never be "kept in," after hours, for punishment. She can help him with the studies which he brings home, and take great pains never to scold him, or show displeasure, or disappointment, if he gets bad marks. She can explain to him that while it is only natural for a school-teacher to attach an exaggerated importance to the training of the brain, mothers and fathers care a great deal more about deeper and finer interests and the right kind of conduct.

That is about all most mothers can do,—no matter how great their love—as long as the present system remains in force. When, or how, it will ever be changed radically, is something about which it would be futile to express an opinion.

Another question which naturally arises in this connection has to do with college and the very difficult entrance examinations which a modern boy is required to pass. How is he to do that, unless he is sent to school in time to be prepared?[Pg 306] Many mothers and fathers want their boys to have a college education.

To this objection, there is an easy and reassuring answer.

Even if your boy has never seen the inside of a school-book, before the age of thirteen or fourteen, that need not prevent him from being prepared for college, just as well and at about the same time, as the average boy who has been attending school from the age of five, or six.

All of the boys I have referred to, passed their examinations far better than the average. All those thousands of hours which were devoted to other interests, entirely apart from school-books, did not have the effect of retarding the boys' mental development and training. It was only a different kind of training, more in accordance with the methods of nature. When these boys arrived at the age of thirteen, they had more character, more self-control, more determination and more mental equipment, than the vast majority of boys acquire at school. I think it is a fair presumption, that under favorable conditions, such a result may be expected.

It was the college question that eventually brought these boys to preparatory schools, at the ages of thirteen, or fourteen. And in order to enter a preparatory school and get used to the[Pg 307] ways of school-books, it may be necessary for the boy to do some preliminary studying, for a few months, with some one to help him. But by that time, he has an object in view, his interest is involved, and he will seldom require the slightest urging. Without exception, the boys I have referred to attained high rank, both in school and in college.

There remains one more thing to think about in connection with the bringing up of children. What about religion? Here is also a consideration which can hardly be avoided.

If the parents are church-goers and still believe in the truth and teachings of the Bible,—that is one thing. In that case, all a mother has to do is to encourage her children in the same belief, take them to church and Sunday School, and teach them to say their prayers from earliest childhood.

But there are also many parents, who no longer go to church and whose faith in the traditional teachings has become very much shaken. Their numbers have been increasing very rapidly, for reasons which we have referred to, and are extremely likely to keep on increasing. Suppose a loving mother belongs to this class—what is best and wisest for her to do with her son?[Pg 308]

"Mother, where did I come from? And who made all these other people? What for?"

Those are simple and natural questions, which are apt to come fairly soon in the growth of intelligence. They call for some sort of answer. It is the first beginning of a soul feeling, a groping for a faith of some sort in human destiny.

What is to be mother's answer?

If she says she doesn't know—nobody does—that is very unsatisfactory and very troubling. The groping will still continue, with more and more persistency. If mother has a reason for refusing to tell, the information must be sought elsewhere. And it will very soon be forthcoming from some one—the nurse, or the cook, or the waitress. God made the world—He lives in heaven—He rewards people if they are good, by making them angels; and if they are bad, He sends them to hell, to be roasted by the devil. The churches, which the child has seen, are where people go to pray to God and worship Him.

This answers the question and is perfectly satisfactory, for the time being. But the attitude of mother is apt to give rise to suspicion that she was only pretending, when she said she didn't know. If the nurse knows—and all the people who go to church, know—then mother must know, too. Perhaps mother, for reasons of her own,[Pg 309] doesn't wish him to know yet, and would blame the nurse for telling him? Then the nurse would blame him. If mother chooses to conceal things from him, he can avoid trouble by concealing things from mother. This implies a breach of confidence between mother and son—which is not at all good for a forming character.

It is far better for mother to show a sympathetic understanding of the soul need and respond to it accordingly. A child has no end of imagination, and feelings to correspond. It is the spirit and meaning of ideas which signify, and not their material accuracy. Rhymes and jingles and mother goose and fairy tales and Santa Claus are all founded on an understanding of this. They supply in fanciful form a very real and necessary food for the inner nature. In the same way, with this religious groping, food that will satisfy must be given in some form.

But as a religious belief is something which it is hoped will last through life, it would seem best to clothe it, as far as possible, in ideas that will not have to be discarded by the intellect, when that becomes enlightened.

Nearly every mother believes that the world and all it contains were created, somehow, by an all-wise Being—and that this Being has an everlasting existence somewhere. The usual name for[Pg 310] that Being, in the English language, is God, and the unknown place where He dwells, is usually called heaven. That is something which may be told to any child; the idea is easy to grasp, it responds to a fundamental need, and it can never be disproved by any amount of science, or enlightenment.

As compared to God, mother and father and all people on the earth are like little children, and each and every one is allowed to share in the benefits of His love and wisdom. He wishes all his children to do what they feel is right and fine, and fight against what is mean and wrong.

If some people have less money than others, and fewer material pleasures, and in other ways seem less fortunate, that does not mean that they are less worthy of love and consideration. Nor does it mean that they are less fine, or necessarily less fortunate. The highest kind of satisfaction in life comes almost entirely from being true to your own generous feelings and doing the best you can under any and all circumstances. A poor little cripple may have this satisfaction, just as well as a rich man's son. It is very possible that the little cripple's spirit and his life on earth, will count for more in the eternal scheme, than the rich man's son. Material pleasures are perfectly natural and right and desirable; but they are only[Pg 311] one part of life. A mother who has a beautiful boy and loves him with her whole heart and soul, has a more precious treasure than all the money in the world can buy.

Those are also religious beliefs which may be told to any boy, or girl, and allowed to take root and grow, for all time. They are the expression of fundamental feelings which no amount of science can disprove, or deny.

As regards the question of spoken prayers, we come upon considerations of a slightly different order. The idea of spoken prayer and the spirit which underlies it are beautiful and inspiring. The soul of an individual to be in direct, personal communication with the all-wise Creator—how thrilling and sublime! It would seem almost the deepest and dearest wish that mortal man could have. It is also an idea which a child can readily grasp and believe and put into practise.

But certain mothers and fathers, whom I have heard talk on this subject, find themselves confronted by scruples and objections which are entirely sincere and conscientious. While admitting the beauty of the idea, they point to the fact that they themselves no longer believe in it, or practise it. To their minds, it has become no more than the survival of a superstition, which is no longer tenable. Under such circumstances, they can see[Pg 312] no justification for imposing it upon the credulity of their children.

One answer to such an objection is that it is always possible for the reason to be at fault in matters which involve the unknown. Aside from that, there are many worse things for children than the survival of a beautiful superstition. The same scruples might be applied, without any element of doubt, to the idea of Santa Claus; but the spirit of that belief, while it lasts, is so joyful, and its influence so benign, that it would take an extremely dry heart and an excessive rule of reason to desire its abolition.


And now, at last, we have reached a point, where, in thinking of the future and the hope for coming generations, we may turn our gaze in a new direction and enter the realm of conjecture and prophecy.

There is an old saying that "Coming events cast their shadows before." If we let our thoughts dwell on the confused shadows which appear to be hanging over the spirit of our present civilization, it is possible to imagine that we can see in them the outlines of a coming event of the most profound importance. This would be neither more, nor less, than the birth of a new[Pg 313] religion—or what amounts to the same thing, a new form of religious belief.

What grounds are there for imagining such an absurdity? It is only a conjecture—it could not be anything else—but for all that, it is not necessarily an absurdity.

The conflict which is going on between the old traditional beliefs and the advanced spirit of enlightenment has in it elements of contradiction, too deep and too radical, to permit of a complete victory on the part of either. If the struggle were to continue indefinitely, on the present lines, it seems inevitable that countless numbers must be found, on one extreme, who would never be willing to abandon their faith; and, on the other extreme, would be countless numbers who could never consent to a return to what they consider disproved and antiquated superstitions. And somewhere between these two, will be a constantly increasing mass of others, pushed and pulled in opposite directions, half-pretending agreement with both sides, but without real loyalty to either, trying in a more or less troubled way, to remain non-committal, and arriving at a state of indifference, drifting along, without leadership, or conviction.

If we may believe the testimony of observers in England, this condition of affairs is already quite[Pg 314] plainly indicated there—as much or more, as it is in this country.

Such a situation is well nigh intolerable to humanity. The palpable results of it can hardly fail to be disheartening to any normal being. And out of this disheartenment will inevitably come a yearning, more or less unconscious, but more and more appealing, for something different and something better, a yearning for true and unquestionable leadership, which can inflame the imagination, inspire new faith, and command whole-souled devotion, as it points the way.

In the mysterious scheme of the universe, in the all-wise design, when such a yearning becomes intense enough and widespread enough, I cannot but believe that somehow, somewhere, out of a tenement, or out of a palace, or out of the wilderness, will come the appointed leader. This is the fateful event of my conjecture, which I imagine is casting its shadow before, and which may bring a renewal of light and enthusiasm to millions of troubled souls.

It may not come for a generation, or it may not come in a century, or it may be close at hand. What the particular form and force of the new inspiration will be like, is beyond the scope of the imagination.

But it is not so difficult to hazard a prophecy in[Pg 315] regard to its essence. There will be no claim, or creed, of any kind, to which scientific information, or enlightened reason, can ever find ground to take exception. It will not belittle admiration for the human body, or the human brain, or even of pleasures and desires which may be purely material; but, on the contrary, will encourage the development of them all, as a relatively important part of the all-wise design. Above and beyond these, will be a deeper and greater appeal to the most generous and noble intuitions of the heart and soul. There will be very little consideration for punishments, or rewards, or threats, or anger,—to force the human soul into submission of any kind; but there will be immense consideration for love of others and love of right, individual responsibility and self-control. Pervading and illuminating all, will be a blessed faith in the beauty and wisdom and purpose of the eternal mystery.

And whenever, or wherever, this kind of ideal comes, and rings out through the land, with compelling inspiration, I venture the prophecy that the prevailing spirit of civilization will be ripe and ready to receive it with open arms.[Pg 317]


Los Angeles Times, Feb. 8, 1921.


We had supposed that the decadence obvious in the sartorial modes for society women reached its limit last year and that a saner and more decent sense of propriety would evince itself in the revulsion of public taste. But the tendency to bizarre indecency has increased so that now we are offered in our public ballrooms the spectacle of criminal impropriety—of women's bare legs with painted knees, of naked backs and lewdly veiled bosoms, of transparent skirts and suggestive nudity, of decorated flesh and vulgar exposure generally—the sort of thing that has ever preceded the downfall of civilizations. It has no relation whatever to the nudity of innocence, as is perfectly obvious with one glance at the type of dancing women that affects these disgusting extremes, for their whole deportment is entirely in accord with their scant covering and nastily conceived exposures. They are brazenly inviting[Pg 318] a certain kind of attention and they get only the sort of attention they invite. They are degrading all womanhood with their shamelessness, at a time when the more worthy of their sex have striven to win and deserve to win that respect which should rightfully be theirs.

The people are all overwhelmed by the appalling crime wave that has beset the world—not only by murders, robberies and hold-ups, but by the ghastly increase in marital unfaithfulness which clogs the divorce courts; and the attacks against women and girls which have become a daily department of the news. The incredible and loathsome conditions cannot be overstated. They are widespread, staggering in their viciousness. And we unhesitatingly declare that the preposterous vulgarity and criminal impropriety of that vastly increasing number of women who adopt these indecent modes for "party gowns" is, if not responsible for the dirty conditions, at least a large and important factor. And it is deplorable that, as the extremists jump from extreme to extreme, the presumably decent women follow. They are slower to adopt the full measure of indecency, but each season finds them "conservatively" following at a respectful distance, so that the modes for decent women to-day were the extremes of indecency a few short seasons back.[Pg 319]

Why do they do it? It is a poor explanation to declare that they thus become more attractive to men. If they are honest with themselves, they know very well that the sort of attraction thus engendered makes the lowest possible appeal. If they are honest with themselves, they know very well that masculine taste in such matters is absolutely in the hands of women, that the standard they set is the standard which will inevitably be adopted. It has been said that every country gets the women it deserves, but rather would we say that every woman gets the sort of attention she deserves. Intelligent women know this, no matter what their argument to the contrary.

But the women, who are going to these disgusting and revolting extremes, are not intelligent. Man may be vile, but he also has perception. Observe the women in any public ballroom to-day—those who expose the most have the least worthy of exposure. These lewd revelations are certainly not in the cause of beauty. It is the fat and podgy, or the lean and bony, female, for the most part, one who has neither natural physical nor mental attraction, that resorts to this means of commanding attention. She makes one appeal, and only one, and that to the very lowest instincts of masculine human nature. No matter how she may deceive herself to the contrary, she is deliberately[Pg 320] catering to the animal passion of men. Beautiful and charming women of mind and character do not feel this urge to trade upon their "private charms." But the unintelligent and dubious female is invariably the one to make a bid for the only sort of attention she can hope to inspire.

Theodore Maynard, now lecturing before the women's clubs upon the "Imminent Break-up of Civilization," defines civilization as that condition of a people founded upon justice and honor. It is not a question of brilliant inventions, of motor cars, telephones, magnificent hotels, luxury and comfort. It is essentially a state of refinement, culture and honor.

"I could not love thee, dear, so well, loved I not honor more."

That honor which is the very basis of civilization is essentially chaste. And civilized women must be the essential guardians of chastity and honor. Where women cater to the dishonorable and unchaste, there can be no civilization, no sanctity of the home, which should be the very citadel of honor.

Adam in Eden whined that Eve had demoralized him. Eve to-day whines that Adam and his war have demoralized her. They are both wrong and both culpable. And as in the old biblical story, God will hold both Adam and Eve[Pg 321] responsible and both shall be driven from the Garden of Eden, our great modern civilization that is gaining all save honor, that keystone of the arch without which it must fall to ruin.

And the modern unchastity of women's clothes, the crude, lewd, wholly indefensible appeal to man's lowest instincts, the deliberate trading on the unclean and the lustful side of human nature, is, we repeat, a basic cause of that widespread dishonor and crime that are polluting civilization to-day. Surely there are enough decent, intelligent, noble-minded women left to halt this mad craze for criminal impropriety. Surely they can and will take the lead for purity, decency and honor, rather than be content to follow at long distance that road which leads to nothing but degradation for all humanity. Women and only women, can halt this mad delirium—this hideous craving for attention at any cost, at all cost. Where can it end, except in utter degradation, not only for their own sex, but for their husbands and their sons?

This utter debasement of that precious heritage called "love" is the bitterest possible reflection upon our modern civilization. The sort of attraction these unchaste, nakedly adorned, women "of fashion" hold out can never inspire that precious, priceless thing which "passeth all [Pg 322]understanding," which survives all the travail of tribulation, that beautiful emotion that "age cannot wither nor custom stale," which radiates the dark places with shining light.

"Oh, woman, lovely woman! nature made thee
To temper man; we had been brutes without you;
There's in you all that we believe of heaven
Amazing brightness, purity and truth,
Eternal joy and everlasting love."

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 17, 1920.

The financial and business summary for December, issued by the Citizens' National Bank, will be circulated to-day. This careful review of general conditions classes business as unsatisfactory from the standpoint of current activity, but hastens to explain that data supporting this conclusion is on the surface, and then, arguing from the human standpoint, says that there is greater need just now that we determine when the tendency to cancel contracts, and otherwise strike the element of integrity from our business relations, will cease, than there is that we know when commodity prices will reach the bottom.

"To-day," the summary continues, "we are registering a very low point of commercial morality, and as we approach the portals of a new year, a year full of promise and plenty, there is a[Pg 323] great need of a full individual sense of our personal relations to one another.

"It is not a struggling that is tearing apart the commercial, social and home circles of to-day; instead, it is the lack of struggle, a missing ambition to stamp out the measure of selfishness that has been permitted to breed in the human consciousness. Our growth during the coming years, both as individual business concerns, as a nation, and as a race, will be in a direct ratio to our re-establishment of individual and mass integrity.

"The weakness of the bond market is merely an affair of permanence. It seems to be purely a seller's market with the cause of the selling temporarily prohibitive to reinvestment. The income tax has caused a new seasonal liquidation period to be written into the category of investment influences so that the present bond market, though definitely in a major trend upward, still hangs down around bargain levels.

"Possibly some sympathetic bear influence is reflected into the present bond market through the sharp breaks in the stock market, yet whatever may be the cause of present low bond prices and dull activity, it is certain that the underlying fundamentals in control of the investment situation are favorable to a long swing upward, with the course to higher levels graded and fit for[Pg 324] rapid travel when the turn of the year re-energizes the sinews of finance."

The protest against the present "blue-laws" is strong and the laws under fire are branded as the limit of legislative meddling, but here are some of the old laws that were really blue:

These laws once were in force in Connecticut:

No one shall run on the Sabbath day, or walk in his garden or elsewhere, except reverently to and from meeting.

No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep house, cut hair, or shave on the Sabbath day.

No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or fasting day.

The Sabbath shall begin at sunset on Saturday.

Whoever brings cards or dice into this dominion shall pay a fine of five pounds.

No one shall read common prayer, keep Christmas or Saints' days, make mince pies, dance, play cards or play on any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet and Jew's harp.

No gospel minister shall join people in marriage; the magistrates only shall join in marriage, as they may do it with less scandal to Christ's church.[Pg 325]

A man that strikes his wife shall pay a fine of ten pounds; a woman that strikes her husband shall be punished as the court directs.

A wife shall be deemed good evidence against her husband.

No man shall court a maid in person, or by letter, without first obtaining consent of her parents; five pounds penalty for the first offense to imprisonment for the third offense.

Married persons must live together or be imprisoned.

Every male person shall have his hair cut round according to a cap.

A child over sixteen years old who strikes his father shall be put to death.

A child over sixteen years old who is stubborn and rebellious shall be put to death.

Whoever, professing the Christian religion, shall wittingly deny the Song of Solomon to be the infallible word of God, may be whipped forty lashes and fined fifty pounds.

Whoever marries two wives or more shall be executed.

Saying that the Christian religion is a politic device to keep ignorant men in awe shall be punished with death.

Any man who uses tobacco in the street shall be fined, or if he do so in his own house, a stranger[Pg 326] being present, he shall be fined, but if on a journey, five miles from any house, he may smoke.

Any single person without a servant, wishing to keep house by himself, must get the consent of the selectmen unless he be a public officer.

Persons not proved guilty, but lying under a strong suspicion of guilt, may be punished, though not so severely as would be the case had they been convicted.

Every family must have a Bible, catechism and other good books.

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 5, 1921.


The prompt detection and punishment of the two kidnappers, who were fools enough to believe that they could carry out a melodramatic abduction and get away with it, is a satisfaction to the public. But it does not remove the possibility of similar crimes, attempted and perhaps executed, by the large class of individuals who, like the Carrs, have crooked minds—minds that see only glamour and excitement in the life of a criminal, that are willing to take any chance and gamble with their own lives and liberty as the stakes, for revenge or merely to get money to satisfy their physical demands.[Pg 327]

Ten years, more or less, spent in the penitentiary is not likely to straighten out the false conceptions of such men. The Carrs will probably leave the prison with criminal tendencies strengthened by the associations and repressions of penitentiary life.

It is just that such criminals should be put where they cannot prey upon society. But, while we are dealing out due punishment, the main effort of the social body should be put into the prevention of crime. We are talking greatly, just now, of the world-wave of crime following the war. Tomes are being written concerning its causes and its cures. But the primary cause of all crime is the lack of true comprehension of the meaning of life—a distorted viewpoint—a crooked mind.

The causes of such minds are many: heredity, environment, associations, lack of proper self-control and understanding; they can all be summed up, however, as the lack of moral sense in the individual and in the race. The guiding star of existence, the conscience, in such cases, has ceased to function; the goal ahead, a future existence, has been lost sight of. Souls are adrift. Here is the secret of the unrest, the crime, the upheaval of to-day.

The old forms of religion, with their rituals and professions, have lost their hold upon a large[Pg 328] portion of humanity. The newer and clearer conceptions of the great truths that are the basis of all religion have not, as yet, taken the place of the old beliefs in the minds and lives of the majority. The people of the world are to-day at sea, with no definite port ahead, with no guiding hand upon the helm of their ship.

In the chaos of this rudderless age state and church are making desperate efforts to palliate the evils of nonreligion and its consequence, non-morality. In our own country we are multiplying state-provided nurseries, schools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, colleges and hundreds of other substitutes for the homes and the home training that fails under the strenuous tests of present-day life. We are enormously attempting to train bodies and brains from the cradle to full citizenship. But with all our provisions and equipment we are failing to touch the real keystone of all character—the spiritual nature of man. We are teaching morality because it is morality, proved by experience to be expedient, on the whole, for a satisfactory career on the earth. But our schools and our churches, also, are failing to teach the highest secret of life—the self-control of mind and body through willed righteousness, based upon a knowledge and comprehension of a God-created and governed universe.[Pg 329]

Nor do our schools and colleges train their pupils to an understanding of their own mental powers and the development of right will, of sound reason, of controlled and regulated action. We flood our children and youth with equipment, with teachers, with opportunity for learning things from the outside; yet our educational training is failing, as a whole, in giving to the youth of this country the one essential thing for right living—a true and high ideal and the strength of will to attain it.

Men like the two just sent away; women like Mrs. Peete (whether she be guilty of murder or not) are the products of a generation that has torn itself away from its old anchors of religion, of duty and responsibility and has not yet set up a new standard to true its conduct. State and church, with all their will to do and their efforts and expenditure of means, can never take the place of right-minded parents and homes where children are taught by example and by word their true relations to God and to their fellow-men. Crooked minds can only be prevented by heritage from men and women, who understand their responsibility to God and to their country, and who start their sons and daughters out upon the journey of life with a chance, at least, for decency and uprightness.[Pg 330]

New York Tribune, April 22, 1921.


"Your Constitution Is All Sail and No Anchor"

The subjoined letter from the historian Macaulay to Henry S. Randall, of Cortland, N.Y., is taken from an old file of The Cortland Standard. It was published originally in Harper's Magazine.

Holly Lodge, Kensington,
London, May 23, 1857.

Dear Sir: The four volumes of the Colonial History of New York reached me safely. I assure you that I shall value them highly. They contain much to interest an English as well as an American reader. Pray accept my thanks and convey them to the Regents of the University.

You are surprised to learn that I have not a high opinion of Mr. Jefferson, and I am surprised at your surprise. I am certain that I never wrote a line, and that I never, in Parliament, in conversation, or even on the hustings—a place where it is the fashion to court the populace—uttered a word indicating an opinion that the supreme authority in a state ought to be intrusted to the majority of citizens told by the head; in other words, to the poorest and most ignorant part of society.

I have long been convinced that institutions[Pg 331] purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both. In Europe, where the population is dense, the effect of such institutions would be almost instantaneous. What happened lately in France is an example. In 1848 a pure democracy was established there. During a short time there was reason to expect a general spoliation, a national bankruptcy, a new partition of the soil, a maximum of prices, a ruinous load of taxation laid on the rich for the purpose of supporting the poor in idleness.

Such a system would, in twenty years, have made France as poor and barbarous as the France of the Carlovingians. Happily the danger was averted; and now there is a despotism, a silent tribune, an enslaved press. Liberty is gone, but civilization has been saved.

I have not the smallest doubt that if we had a purely democratic government here the effect would be the same. Either the poor would plunder the rich and civilization would perish, or order and prosperity would be saved by a strong military government, and liberty would perish.

You may think that your country enjoys an exemption from these evils. I will frankly own to you that I am of a very different opinion. Your fate I believe to be certain, though it is deferred by a physical cause. As long as you have a[Pg 332] boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land your laboring population will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the Old World, and while that is the case the Jeffersonian politics may continue to exist without causing any fatal calamity.

But the time will come when New England will be as thickly peopled as old England. Wages will be as low and will fluctuate as much with you as with us. You will have your Manchesters and Birminghams, and in those Manchesters and Birminghams hundreds of thousands of artisans will assuredly be sometimes out of work. Then your institutions will be fairly brought to the test. Distress everywhere makes the laborer mutinous and discontented, and inclines him to listen with eagerness to agitators who tell him that it is a monstrous iniquity that one man should have a million while another cannot get a full meal.

In bad years there is plenty of grumbling here, and sometimes a little rioting. But it matters little. For here the sufferers are not the rulers. The supreme power is in the hands of a class, numerous indeed, but select; of an educated class; of a class which is, and knows itself to be, deeply interested in the security of property and the maintenance of order. Accordingly, the malcontents are firmly yet gently restrained. The bad[Pg 333] time is got over without robbing the wealthy to relieve the indigent. The springs of national prosperity soon begin to flow again; work is plentiful, wages rise and all is tranquillity and cheerfulness. I have seen England pass three or four times through such critical seasons as I have described.

Through such seasons the United States will have to pass in the course of the next century, if not this. How will you pass through them? I heartily wish you a good deliverance. But my reason and my wishes are at war and I cannot help foreboding the worst. It is quite plan that your government will never be able to restrain a distressed and discontented majority. For with you the majority is the government, and has the rich, who are always a minority, absolutely at its mercy.

The day will come when in the State of New York a multitude of people, none of whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half a dinner, will choose a legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort of a legislature will be chosen? On one side is a statesman preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of public faith. On the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of capitalists and usurers and asking why anybody should be[Pg 334] permitted to drink champagne and to ride in a carriage while thousands of honest folks are in want of necessaries. Which of the two candidates are likely to be preferred by a workingman who hears his children cry for more bread?

I seriously apprehend that you will, in some such seasons of adversity as I have described, do things which will prevent prosperity from returning; that you will act like people who should in a year of scarcity devour all the seed corn and thus make the next year not of scarcity, but of absolute famine. There will be, I fear, spoliation. The spoliation will increase the distress. The distress will produce fresh spoliation.

There is nothing to stop you. Your Constitution is all sail and no anchor. As I said before, when a society has entered on this downward progress, either civilization or liberty must perish. Either some Cæsar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth, with this difference, that the Huns and vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from without, and that your Huns and vandals will have been engendered within your own country by your own institutions.[Pg 335]

I have the honor to be, dear sir, your faithful servant, T.B. Macaulay.

H.S. Randall, Esq., etc., etc., etc.


Radical propagandists, with a sublime disregard for facts and history, persist in extolling the tenets of Russian Communism as new discoveries in the art of government. They assert that the Bolshevists have solved for the first time in history the problem of social equality. They say the experiment of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" has never before been attempted and that it fails to find favor outside Russia because peoples are always prone to condemn what they do not understand.

Russia, however, is but the last of many countries to rebel against its own prosperity. During the twenty years preceding the World War Russia enjoyed the greatest growth and development, both of its resources and education, in the history of the country. Two-thirds of the agricultural land in the nation was owned and occupied by the farming classes, which comprised nearly three-fourths of the population. In ten years the number of depositors in the savings banks of[Pg 336] Russia had doubled and the gross amount of the deposits had quadrupled.

Then came the war, to be followed by Bolshevism. The experience of Russia in the last two years, however, is not unique in the history of nations. The narration of the spoliation of the rich, the confiscation of the estates and the profligate waste of the national substance is only a repetition, almost verse for verse and line for line, of the license and the abuses of the last years of the Athenian democracy. It was then demonstrated that the impoverishing of the rich could not enrich the poor, and that a state without wealth will soon be a state without liberty. In the idiom of the gallery gods, it is all "old stuff."

The Charmides of Xenophon's "Banquet" celebrates the pleasures and profits of poverty. He once possessed a fortune that made him fear thieves and sycophants—in reality the same thing—Athens had levied heavy taxes on the rich and had passed laws making it a capital offense for a person of wealth to attempt to flee the state. The money raised by thus taxing the wealthy was distributed to the poor in the public places. Any one holding a certificate showing that he had not sufficient wealth to be taxed was admitted free to the theaters and was entitled to one meal a day at restaurants supported by the state.[Pg 337]

The people's council, fearful that there might be a disposition to stop this waste of public money, passed acts which decreed capital punishment to any orator who should propose to modify the laws which made "poverty a blessing."

Charmides recounts that he once lived in a state of perpetual terror. New taxes were decreed every day, each of which he was compelled to pay. He was deprived of the liberty even of leaving the state. His lot was worse than that of the meanest slave.

Behold! a fertile imagination came to his rescue. He embarked in a speculation in which failure was inevitable. Good fortune attended him. Within a brief time he was penniless and happy. The unfortunate speculator who had gained possession of the wealth of Charmides lived for a brief time in the agony of wealth; then he attempted to flee the state, was apprehended and executed.

Charmides makes votive offerings to the gods of Athens for his escape from the terror and servitude of property. "How comfortably I sleep!" he cries. "The republic has confidence in me. I am no longer threatened. It is I who threaten others. A free man, I can go or stay. I appear at the theater. I am admitted free. The rich rise in trembling and offer me the best seats. When[Pg 338] I walk abroad in the streets they stand aside to offer me an unobstructed passage. To-day I resemble a tyrant. Then I was a slave. Then I paid tribute to the state. Now the state, my tributary, supports me. I lose nothing; for I have nothing."

For a time democratic Athens was a veritable Bolshevist paradise. But when the ranks of the rich became depleted, when none cared longer to engage in any profitable industry, the public revenue fell until there was no money to support the happy idlers. The rich were tortured in the vain hope that they would produce hidden treasure; but the public treasury remained empty.

This period of riotous profligacy followed the happy conclusion for Athens of the Theban war. When the Athenian proletariat discovered that the state was about to pass under the yoke of Philip they hunted down the remnant of the wealthy class that still remained, executed some, banished others and sold still others into slavery for "betraying the Athenian state and leaving it helpless before its enemies."

Shortly afterwards Athens came under the despotism of Philip, who speedily conscripted this proletariat for forced labor. For a hundred years afterwards, however, Athenian writers in bewailing their loss of liberty blamed the fall of Athens[Pg 339] upon the "rich," who failed to arm and equip a force to fight Philip.

All the wisdom of her philosophers, all the art and learning whose loss the world still mourns, fell before the onslaught of this triumphant democracy. The culture of the few could not prevail against the greed of the many. Domestic conditions became so intolerable that a majority of the Athenians welcomed the stern but salutary rule of the tyrant. For they had learned that the tyranny of a despot is easier to be borne than that of universal poverty.

One does not have to interrogate the future to learn whither Russia under Bolshevism is tending; one has but to look to the past. Like causes cannot produce unlike effects. Under given conditions national eclipses can be predicted as surely as the eclipses of the planets.

Los Angeles Times, May 4, 1921.


The hundredth anniversary of the passing of Napoleon centers attention anew on one of the baffling figures of all time—a man at once attractive and repulsive; a soldier of infinite courage who on at least one occasion acted the coward; a[Pg 340] master strategist who, to the last, seemed never to fully grasp that strategy by which he almost recast a world.

He found Europe feudal and left it modern. He opened up new realms of knowledge to the servants; revolutionized military tactics; founded lasting industries; gave a new birth to French law; mocked and yet fostered freedom.

More volumes have been written regarding him than any other character in history—one excepted. Nevertheless, he still remains the most elusive, the most unsatisfying genius that the world has ever known.

His accomplishments have by this time been fully set forth and properly valued. We know that he stands practically alone as the greatest strategist of the ages. Cromwell, on a smaller scale and within a far more limited sphere, more nearly approaches him, perhaps, than does any other.

We know also that he was an adroit politician and a statesman on a scale rarely equalled in Europe. He was also an orator and an adept at coining phrases. He was an executive of immense power and a man of tremendous personal charm.

Of course, he was relentless, cruel, unscrupulous and all the rest of it, as we have been so often told. But, praise and blame aside, the question of[Pg 341] the source of his power still remains the important thing.

Certainly he was not great because he was a brilliant student, for, all in all, he was not deeply read. It could hardly be claimed that he was of the electric, assimilative type, for he would listen to no one and held opinions of others in contempt. He was not even a strong reasoner as the term is generally used.

Wherein, then, lay that genius which makes him the outstanding Frenchman and one of the supreme personages of history? Apparently he was pre-eminent because, more than almost any man who ever lived, he had the power of harnessing his intuitive processes to his practical problems.

He, it seems, was able to tap that vast, hidden and unsung reservoir of knowledge which is the epitome of all that the human mind has grasped and which, though flowing through the subconscious mind of all, is available in its entirety to but few—and then in all too brief flashes.

The theory of the quality of the human mind, with its every-day, jerky reasoning powers and its submerged, smooth intuitions, finds its strongest support in such an individual.

The subliminal mind, psychologists tell us, reaches out into daily life when the normal intelligence is in abeyance—as in sleep or profound [Pg 342]relaxation. This subliminal (below the threshold) mind is swifter than the conscious mind and over-reaches it in a flash. It is practically unerring. It is controlled by laws not yet grasped to any great extent. It is hidden from life, yet rules it.

Mystics have the gift, in varying degree, of allowing their subconscious minds to engulf and enfold them. The real poets have written in words that live because, unknowingly, they have fallen back on and given expression to the accumulated hopes and visions of the mind of man. The prophets have simply been those with the power to make their instincts vocal. Genius, in all its phases, is seemingly but the measure of the extent to which men coördinate their two minds, their instinct and their reason.

Napoleon, in practically every crisis in which he functioned, struck those about him as being in a dazed and unnatural condition. He had those same periods of semi-stupefaction that characterized Cæsar, Paul, Alexander, Goethe, Lincoln and other exceptional men at the time of or immediately following a terrific use of their mental machinery.

What, then, if, in the final analysis, it should be shown that Napoleon's greatness lay in the fact that he did not take his own mind or any other man's mind too seriously?

Transcriber's notes:

Obvious typographical errors corrected.
Obvious Punctuation errors standardised.
Page 333 "It is quite plan that": As per original.

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