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of moral abominations, drunk with the wine of atheism, mad with the diabolism of hatred to God and his truth; and through blood and flame and agony he led that people back, and taught them how deep and sure is the perdition of the nation that will forget God.
No, the doctrine of force, of physical punishment in the last necessity, can not be excluded without violence to the truth of history, the facts of experience, and the revelation of God's word. It was ordained with the murder of Abel, vindicated in the tragedy of a drowning world at the deluge, promulgated in terms at Sinai, attested by the fiery judgments of every nation and epoch, and is to-day confirmed by the testimony of teachers of every land, confirmed by the ordeal of trial, and demonstrated in the desolating storm that recently raged over the land of Washington.
Let us beware how we exclude this doctrine from our theories of school and parental discipline, lest haply we be found fighting against the best interests of our children, against the weal of the Republic, against the ordinance of God.
Who can say that, among the germinal concurrent causes that precipitated the great rebellion, the widespread theory that moral forces alone should be employed in the family, the school-room, and, by logical inference, in the government itself, did not play an important part ?
Children rebel; the parents persuade: the rebellion continues; the rod is not invoked; punishment would
not be in accordance with the “spirit of the age !” the children only want to be let alone.”
Pupils rebel; the teacher admonishes, appeals to their sense of honor and right, to their conscience and moral sense: the rebellion continues; the rod sleeps, punishment is withheld—the enlightened sentiment of the age must not be outraged! the pupils only wish “ to be let alone."
Eleven States rebel and defy the authority of the government. The government implores, points to her kindness and protection in the past, pledges a continuance in the future; the rebellious States will not listen, they are defiant still, they point their artillery upon Sumter, they threaten war; but amid their parricidal preparations they deprecate force. “Do not coerce us; let us alone, we only want to be let alone.” But the theory of " moral suasion ” ended here, the national heart soon set itself right again, the heresy was lost amid the clash of arms, millions of men were employed to inflict corporal punishment upon the rebellious, God's lesson of force was believed in and practiced at once, and amid the thunder of battle the bubble of “no coercion” burst, and forever. Is there not a connection in these cases ? Did not the leaven of insubordination begin to work at the fireside and in the school-room? Was not the demand of the men of the South to be let alone, the legitimate outgrowth of such theories and such teachings ? Was it not logical? Did it not give rise, in part, to the namby-pambyism of even good and loyal men about co
ercion and subjugation ? Could the stern old doctrines of the Bible and of our fathers ever lead to such results ? Is it conceivable that men deriving their notions of justice and punishment from such sources should take up arms against so mild and good a government, and then ask to be let alone? We do not say that these false ideas of parental and school government were the mainspring of the rebellion, but we can not help thinking that they coöperated with other causes to hasten the crisis. Was it possible for the South to suppose the North, where so much had been said and written in behalf of moral suasion, would at once and unitedly adopt the policy of coercion? However this may be, it is clear that such theories and teachings are fundamentally wrong and dangerous, and must issue in disaster to the family, the school, and the state.
We yield to no one in the prominence we would give to distinctive moral forces. We go with the moral suasionists in every thing, except that, when they fail, we have one more remedy to try before we give the case up as hopeless. We do not say that some schools can not be properly governed without resorting to corporal punishment. All we claim is, that the right should be reserved for the case when it comes, if it comes.
Punishment is the just and righteous penalty of incorrigible disobedience, sanctioned by both divine and human authority, and vital in all governments, parental, school, and civil. Children instinctively assent to the truth of those principles. If their moral training has been at all what it
should be, they expect punishment to succeed persistence in evil doing, as a matter of course, and their sense of right is disappointed, shocked, if it does not come. It seems to us that no sound and healthy moral nature, especially if the Bible and experience have been the guides, can withhold its approbation from such a doctrine.
Obedience in the family is the invariable assurance of obedience in the school. Obedience in the school makes loyal and obedient citizens of the state; loyal, patriotic, and obedient States make rebellion and treason to the government impossible. And the doctrine of the righteousness and certainty of ultimate severe punishment for crime and wickedness is the corner-stone of all intelligent and lasting obedience. Who can estimate the value of such sentiments deeply rooted in the minds and hearts of the five millions of school children in the Northern States ? How sublime is the evidence of the growth and power of such sentiments, imperfectly inculcated as they have been; what a glorious affirmance of the national utility of free schools ! Not a State that participated in the great rebellion ever had a system of free schools worthy of the name; and there was scarcely a loyal one that had not long pointed with pride to such a system. The line of free schools divided the loyal and rebel States almost as sharply as the different camps of the contending armies. No; neither revelation, history, experience, nor mental or moral philosophy, rightly interrogated, can be made to support the theory that force
should never, in the last resort, be invoked to extort obedience to the demands of just and rightful authority. But have these views been inculcated in our public schools with the earnestness and fidelity which their im. portance demands? Is not insubordination bold and rampant among our youth? Has it not been increasing for years? Having been so long “sowing the wind," have we not begun to “reap the whirlwind" ? and does not the harvest give promise of being fruitful and terrific?
It is in our common schools and families that these ideas of obedience must first be implanted in the mind and heart. We must there seek to enthrone in the soul just conceptions of the majesty and dignity of lam ; to inculcate a cordial recognition of the divine supremacy and grandeur of rightful authority. Children will thus be early brought to admit the nobleness, the blessedness, of hearty and joyous submission to such authority. They will learn to delight in a full surrender of conscious ignorance and weakness to the guidance of wisdom and strength. They will see in a cheerful subordination to just and duly constituted authority the highest glory and dignity of man. They will come to repudiate the foolish dogma, so common among the children of this generation, that submission is necessarily degradation; and assent to the truth that, when yielded to rightful authority, wielded by those lawfully invested therewith, submission is an honor, not a degradation. Thus the habit of reverent allegiance is