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And among them all, he believes that there has rarely, if ever, been a case of wilful lying to him. He will never force a boy to tell the truth: “ that would not be the truth.” He will not ask a question till he is sure he shall get an honest answer. And — we feel entitled to say it here — his heart has been drawn by a great tenderness to those vagrants and exiles, friendless, so many of them, except as they have found a friend in him. He has thought of them as, by their very birth and position, the natural enemies (so to speak) of the well-housed, the prosperous, the carefully educated, the comfortably clad. He has believed it possible, if there is no pretension in the confidence shown them, to win their absolute confidence in return; and, by frank good-will, to make a bridge between the classes 80 widely separated in society. And as it is part of his religious faith, that nothing is made in vain, so he believes that no human life, however evil and base, is without its purpose, if it is only to call out the offices of Christian charity from the more favored and intelligent.*
We have tried to indicate something of the method and the spirit that have brought about moral results which a very slight acquaintance sees to be extraordinary, and which some who lave known them have held to be quite unparalleled. As one indication of the influences among which they had to be brought about, — we do not mean positively unfriendly, but unsympa
* Groundless and vague charges of an attempt to control the boys' opinions, in a way hostile to the “evangelical” creeds, are sufficiently refuted by the following, from a former teacher in the school, not of Mr. Allen's own religious faith :
“I am very happy to bear my testimony to the entire absence of sectarianism which has always characterized your religious instruction to the boys. I have often noticed and admired the care with which, in your public intercourse with them, you confined yourself to the essentials of religion, and avoided introducing any peculiar views which you might personally hold. . . . The kind of religious instruction which they receive from you, is, in my opinion, exactly that which is best calculated to do them real good, namely, the application of right principles of action to cases to which their attention is, at the time, drawn by circumstances.
“You ask me for suggestions as to any new or better way of promoting true religion among the boys. I have none to make, however. I entirely approve, as I have said, of the course now pursued. Preaching, except in rare instances, has little if any effect. All that is done must be done by timely precept and example. And that, so far at least as you are concerned, they certainly receive. Yours respectfully, "Milton, Dec. 13, 1866.
GEORGE K. DANIELL, Jun."
thetic, and probably unintelligent of his motives, - we find that, among the subordinate officers and teachers of the institution (about forty in all), more than six to one are persons of what is called “ evangelical” belief. The difference of view, consciously or not, is radical, touching the whole theory of moral discipline and penal justice. Till he went there, it was as convicts, not as pupils, that the boys were treated: and the more keenly they could be made to feel it, and be cowed by it, the better. Even his most faithful subordinates would sometimes hardly understand why, when guilt has once been frankly confessed, any further penalty is as frankly remitted: but, as he has held, the very object, and the only object, of the discipline has been effected when the offender has once been brought to that point. And his judgment is fully borne out by the character of the boys (more than eight hundred) who have been dismissed from under his charge. Nor will a mind of different cast easily catch the motive which draws the teacher near enough to the pupil to make that personal influence possible. A part of Mr. Allen's moral power, in dealing with his boys, has come from his being their nurse and hospital-physician at need, and even, for the last five years, their operating dentist in all ordinary cases. It is a literal truth to say, that, in his presence, those boys have shown the affection, the frank confidence, even the rough good-humor and playfulness, of sons by the side of an indulgent father; and that, when he left, there was as genuine grief among them as at a father's leaving home for a distant and uncertain journey.* And, as one token among many, of the degree to which his confidence in them was deserved, it was his custom to let them go, unguarded and unwatched, thirty or fifty at once, to attend a lecture or religious service in the neighbourhood; while, of more than a hundred who were allowed to visit a cattle-show in the village, not one was complained of for any mischief, or failed to report himself at the proper hour.
Before going to assume this charge in Westborough, Mr. Allen had known something in outline of the “ Irish system” of
See a letter in the Boston Transcript of May 10.
prison discipline, the key of which is, a careful gradation of penalties and privileges, resting on understood conditions, and implying a certain degree of trust to be reposed in the prisoners themselves. We have not space to show how admirably the principles of it have been applied in the “congregate department,” the “family system," and the apprenticeship to trades, all under control and supervision of the School; only to say, that in great part it was his own study and skill by which the method was applied and developed, before its details could be learned from other sources. In connection with this topic, however, we add the testimony of those who have best understood this whole matter of public charities and reformatory discipline; who deplore our present fashion of congregating the criminal, the unfortunate, the insane, in vast public institutions, as full of evil and danger; and urge that they should be scattered in households of moderate size, under easier control, in nearer contact with society at large. The family system in operation at Westborough — especially through the influence of the excellent female heads of these households — has been full of unmixed good; and to it, in very great measure, the best results of the institution, economical as well as moral, are to be ascribed.
We do not write these pages in any spirit of hostility to the Board of Trustees, who have uniformly sustained Mr. Allen in his general management of the institution, assuming the full responsibility of the financial results which have incurred the criticism of the Secretary; and who, without doubt, are sincere in thinking that a different religious creed ought to control its moral discipline. Nor do we write to complain of any injustice or hardship as regards Mr. Allen himself, who has worn out a good deal of his strength in this service, and needs the reprieve his resignation gives him, in preparation for other labors. But we consider it a matter of the highest moment, - one which the people of this Commonwealth should seriously consider, — by what principles these munificent and noble charities shall be controlled. Still further : many thoughtful persons among us have been alarmed by what have appeared symptoms of a concerted movement, on a large scale
and extending through many years, to gain control over our great public institutions of education, charity, and reform, in the interest of certain “evangelical ” sects. How earnest, patient, and hopeless that effort has been, in the case of Harvard College, the public is well informed. We entirely respect the motive which prompts that effort. We cannot conceive how any one, who honestly thinks a certain form of faith essential to the soul's salvation and the rescue of the world from ruin, can withhold any amount of zeal or exertion which might possibly save the highest interests of the State from being given in keeping to a “liberal” – that is, an infidel and soul-destroying — faith. But we stand on the plain, broad ground of Protestant and republican liberty, when we say, that the State, in its public action, must not recognize such a motive, or sanction any policy resting on theological ideas or interests of sect. The more conscientious that motive, and the more sincere that policy, the more heartily should it be withstood. And all citizens of the State, who value its true honor and welfare, are bound to watch, with exceeding jealousy, any symptom that may be betrayed of a policy, working in secret and unavowed, to effect, by indirection, what our Bill of Rights condemns as ecclesiastical domination and spiritual tyranny.
Art. IX.- REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
Dr. LAENGIN's little book, on the “Moral Development of Jesus,"* is one of the best of the many critical treatises in this kind which the new interest about the Man of Nazareth is continually bringing forth. It is a striking sign of the rationalistic spirit of the age, that there is so much criticism of Jesus ; that pious preachers, not less than professors in the seminaries, feel at liberty to do more than worship Christ, or prove his Divinity by texts; that they are willing to try his spirit, and consider the human side and sources of his character and his power. Dr. Laengin pretends to be orthodox, and has no
* Ueber die sittliche Entwicklung Jesu. Von GeoRG LAENGIN, Staậtpfarrer in Karlsruhe. Elberfeld, 1866. 16mo, pp. 120.
word of censure for those who accept the creeds and the orthodox view of the Christ. But he puts this wholly aside in his examination, and shows us in Jesus only the noble, pure, and spiritual teacher, who came to a ministry to which his “ religious genius” had called him, and who grew into a larger appreciation of his office. As he was a man, with ties of home, family, kindred, friendship, neighborhood, he could not help being influenced by these ties. Dr. Laengin thinks it absurd to suppose, that relations which entered so largely into the action and the discourse of Jesus could have failed to affect his character. He denies that there is any evidence that Jesus had experience of guilt; but he finds abundant proof that Jesus was moved by various feelings, and had moods of mind. In his childhood, Jesus was taught like other children, and was a diligent student of the Sacred Scripture. The growth of his intellect assisted in the formation of his character. His miraculous birth had nothing to do with this. There is no evidence that he knew any thing about this birth, or that it had any effect either upon his opinions or his action. He never alludes to it, nor do the evangelists or the apostles ever bring it into his words or their own arguments. He had a fine temperament, or rather a fine union of all the four temperaments, – nervous, bilious, lymphatic, and sanguine. In his disciplined soul, opposite traits were perfectly balanced: he could rebuke without wrath, and denounce without hatred. Dr. Laengin finds in his story the proof of sharp mental conflicts, — not so much of the flesh against the spirit as of one part of the spirit against another, the issue leaving him always higher in the spiritual life. As a loving son and brother, it was hard for him to break away from friends of his blood ; but he did it, and was stronger for the sacrifice, though it in no way weakened his love for mother and brethren. As a faithful Jew, it was hard for him to renounce Jewish prejudice, in granting to Gentiles a place in the kingdom; but he did this, and saw the kingdom more glorious, and the Jewish nation more truly God's people in this larger view. His going to John for baptism was a moral act; his temptations were moral experiences; and the virtues which make a large, free, generous, and godlike soul were perfected more and more by his intercourse with men in their blindness, want, and suffering, as well the good as with the wicked. The violent death of John was a warning to him, which he could not neglect; and, after this, his discourse takes a sadder prophetic tone, though with no shade of fear or sign of relenting.