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also with the receptivity of the child. It means that we recognize the basal principle involved in all theories of knowledge that there must be not only an objective, independent order of truth, but an active mind appropriating that truth. To be concerned, therefore, only with the truth to be presented is to neglect one half of the problem. We must state our truth, but it must be in terms suited to the mind of the student. Failure to do this, neglect of this essential prerequisite of all learning, lies at the basis of most of our present inefficiency. Know the truth, but, above all, study the child to whom the truth is to be presented. If it is not suited to his mind and experience the process is worse than useless. Potentiality has been smothered. In short, the principle recognized by graded systems of instruction deserves our unqualified commendation.

2. Religious instruction must to a large degree be personal and individual. By this statement we do not mean to disregard the truth that there are common elements in all religious instruction. Every boy and girl must be taught to be kind and generous and loving. But any one who is the parent of more than one child knows the aspect of the truth which is presented here. In the same home one child may have what seems to be an innate and profound reverence for speaking the truth. Even a hint from either parent that the child is not implicitly to be trusted wounds and harms a sensitive spirit. Another child utterly disregards the demands of veracity and is guided solely by the purpose to gain his own ends. This condition which prevails in many homes only illustrates the truth of the principle here enunciated. It is true for all education. The past decade in experimental psychology has done much to reveal individual differentiations and to express the wisdom of introducing a sane amount of individualization into all instruction. The American colleges are learning that students cannot be educated in the mass. Common educational needs there are, but the institution which fails to recognize fundamental variations in the mental needs and temperaments of its students is doomed to fail of its largest efficiency. This fact applies in the highest degree to the religious instruction of our youth. Every child has its own unique problems. Only in proportion as its instruction deals with these questions in a personal and individual way is it adequate and effective. At this juncture appears the supreme importance of the home. After all is said and done, no one can quite take the place of home and parent. But where it must be done, it lays upon the teacher the necessity of a close personal relationship to each scholar and a prolonged study of the individual needs of each pupil. Therefore we must know not only the child in the abstract, but also the individual child. Every student presents a new problem to real teachers of religion.

3. Religious instruction must be reasonable. Without seeming to imply that the child must accept nothing from his elders upon the authority of their experience, and without failing to recognize that obedience must be learned prior to nine years of age if at all, it may be affirmed that the child has a right to have his instruction appeal to his reason. Obedience to a reasonable command is much easier than to one which is manifestly unjust. There is no necessary or possible conflict between reason and religious instruction. We live in a rational universe, and believe in a reasonable and just God. We conceive of revelation as God becoming known. This knowledge must be acquired by the mind of the child. No possible opposition therefore can or need be posited between the child's reason and the teaching upon which his character is based. Just in so far as it is possible, therefore, the child should be led to see the rational grounds upon which his instruction rests. In every specific situation that arises, decisions may be made upon the basis of the reasons involved.

This principle must be applied particularly to the whole subject of punishment. We cannot agree with that school of deterministic writers who would conceive of penalty as having only a forward look, as related solely to reformative and not punitive ends. Punishment, upon the libertarian basis, must have a backward as well as a forward look. It must be definitely related to the past action which was wrong as well as to the future action which we seek to make right. Therefore let the child gradually acquire the truth that all his penalty is logically related to his deeds. Let him realize the reasonableness of punishment. If he puts his hand in the fire it will be burned. Nature is inexorable in her administration of penalty. Punishment grows out of the action. Let the child understand that evil consequences necessarily and inevitably inhere in evil deeds. Let the impression prevail that penalty is not the whim or caprice either of a parent or of an Infinite Judge so much as it is the logical and rational effect of a cause which the child himself has set in operation.

4. Religious instruction should consist of positive suggestions rather than negative commands. The individual experience of every one attests the truth of this principle. It has two aspects. One is the frank recognition of that curious trait of personality which rebels at commands and responds to suggestions. It tells us that character is produced not by laws, regulations, and statutes, but by quiet influence, loving suggestion, and individual guidance. It affirms that in character building, leading is better than driving, that desires are more potent than decrees.

The other aspect asserts that the best way to train youth is not to emphasize evil by attacking it or attempting to suppress it, but by definitely replacing it by the open commendation of good. It would formulate its instruction positively, not negatively. Instead of saying “ Lie not,” it would say “ Speak the truth”; instead of bemoaning evil, it would exalt the good. But this principle goes even farther. Instead of saying to the child, "Do not do this," it suggests some positive action of a totally different character. If one child in the home is unkind to another, the wise mother does not couch her suggestion in the form of a denunciation of the precise manifestation of the unkindness, but disregarding the specific deed, suggests an entirely new field of action. Every child is won by suggestion rather than by command, by positive rather than by negative guidance.

5. Finally, religious instruction will depend for its effectiveness upon the spirit and life of the teacher. What we teach is not so much the content of any given lesson as our own method of life. The scholar may speedily forget what we taught, but will never forget how we taught. We might formulate the most perfect system of ethics that could be conceived, we might present a most thoroughly graded system of lessons, we might have for instruction the brightest intellects that America produces, but our religious education would be useless and meaningless unless back of all our psychology and theology and criticism and methods there is a sympathetic human heart beating with patient love for the growing pupil. Not our knowledge, but our affection; not our course of study, but our interest; not our words, but our life, will determine the ultimate outcome of our effort to build character.




Jesus Christ is King. He has crown rights in all humanity, but his lordship is not universally acknowledged. Even in Christendom many hearts refuse him sway and great peoples have not bowed the knee. Nothing less than world-wide supremacy will satisfy the King or content his hosts. Those of us who went up to Edinburgh and shared in the Missionary Cruise to the near East, went asking, "Is He increasingly victorious or gradually being vanquished?” The question of questions for all his followers concerns


The first impression produced by the Conference in Edinburgh and emphasized by conditions in the Levant, was of

I. Difficulty of the Task. (a) Vast unoccupied areas are as yet untouched by missionary effort. The Commission on Carrying the Gospel to all Non-Christians in the World presented, as part of its report, a map upon which missionary centers were indicated by red dots. The dull monotony of large sections was entirely unrelieved by a single dash of red; over two hundred and fifty millions are entirely unprovided for.

(6) The difficulty of the task was still further emphasized in the disclosure of the incompleteness of result where missions are established. While Christendom has been making five million converts in Africa, Islam has made sixty million. In Jerusalem one sentimental soul keeps the teakettle boiling night and day because her Lord is to come again in Jerusalem and will need the cup of tea she is waiting to give Him. After visiting Oriental cities, seeing the Christian churches, schools, hospitals, and publishing establishments, one could not avoid the depressing question, “What are these among so many?

(c) Turning from the difficulties abroad, we find quite as serious ones at home. Most conspicuous is the disunion of the churches. How can we hope to have adequate response to the Great Commission when disciples of the same Master forget him in their selfish, jealous, and careless disregard of the larger interests of the Church? By these sectarian divisions the life at the center is so weakened that the tide of strength halts long before it reaches the high-water mark needed to flood the entire field.

(d) The weakening of religious faith at home, particularly among our educated classes, will inevitably destroy the motive for missions. In many lives it has already done so, and those of the finest training and character have lost sympathy because, as Professor Eucken has well said, “The main current of intellectual life runs for the most part counter to religion.” The other day at Cairo I found, among books of many languages, a sixpenny copy of Haeckel's "Riddle of the Universe." Though the more thoughtful men of our time recognize in books of that sort a past phase of human thought, its sale at so distant a place is indication of the abiding vitality of the unbelief which feels it must deny the spiritual, and particularly the personality of God and the immortality of the soul. The decay of faith and disunion at home are by all odds the most serious of the difficulties in Jesus Christ's supremacy. The World Missionary Conference was the board of strategy of the Militant Church, unflinchingly attempting to paint things as they are.

From the difficulties of the task let us turn to the

II. Possibilities of Success. Over against each of the difficulties there appear other possibilities which give an earnest of final success.

(a) There is the rise of a new spiritual aspiration in modern intellectual life. For a generation men have tried to reach a synthesis of truth unillumined by Christ. They have found themselves baffled, agnostic, and to-day from Germany, Britain, and America, there comes a demand for something more intelligible, more satisfactory.

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