Friday, September 10, 2010

the centres of life...

This report to the Unitarian Sunday School Society given by Rev. George Batchelor in 1901:


"If all the men and women of any congregation, be it large or small, should accept as a fact that which has been abundantly shown in experience, that the whole public and private life of the next generation will be determined by the influence exerted upon the boys and girls in their homes, their week-day schools, and their Sunday-schools before they are eighteen years of age, this feeble impulse which now lends itself to the moral and religious education of the young, will become a swelling flood, lifting every institution of society to a higher level.

We cannot make Abraham Lincolns six feet four inches high, with other features to match; but men of that type of character we might produce in abundance if we loved and honored and reverenced and rewarded men of that type. That which appears written all over the surface of the national life, whether good or evil, indicates exactly that which in their secret hearts millions of men and women have really honored and cherished. When evil appears on the surface, and for very shame we rise up to criticise and condemn, we shape in a moderate degree public opinion and the events which make history, without, however, greatly changing the deeper impulses of the national life. But the influence for which I am pleading, which may be exerted upon the young in our Sunday schools and churches, shapes the national life and all its institutions from the roots upward. If every boy and girl in every one of our congregations knew that, going out into the world, there was an organization at home that expected great things of its children, that it would note their successes and rejoice in their moral achievement, what an impulse of moral good health would be felt in all the ranks of society! Music, art, a knowledge of sacred literature, are accomplishments graceful and beautiful. But their full work is not done until they have reached the centres of life and stirred the impulses which create character."


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