I thought we should recap this one…….Amen
I thought we should recap this one…….Amen
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
Do not slander a servant to his master,
lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
There are those who are clean in their own eyes
but are not washed of their filth.
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!
There are those whose teeth are swords,
whose fangs are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mankind.
The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures.
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a virgin.
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when he is filled with food;
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces.
Three things are stately in their tread;
four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him.
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.
The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.(God made man both male and female in the beginning spiritual until we were cursed for transgression)
I have not the understanding of a man.(The spiritual being I am to become to receive the spirit of life once I have put away my fleshly wickedness of the world)
I have not learned wisdom,(The truth in the light of the Holy Spirit of God as true wisdom comes from above)
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.(The Holy Spirit of God as I have been lost a stranger blinded by my fleshly youth)
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?(But the Holy Spirit of God)
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?(For through him all things are moved throughout time and space to inspire all things made and unmade)
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? (The spirits in his protection a new host or I.E. vessel I.E. wine sack as we drink of the spirit and not evil spirits is it no wonder they call alcohol and liquor “spirits”)
Who has established all the ends of the earth?(ordered by God the Holy Spirit of God hovered over the void and created all things – Genesis)
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?(God and the Holy Spirit of God)
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.(None come to the father”God” but through me “The Holy Spirit of God” as he gave all those receiving and honoring the covenant the right to become children of God)
Do not add to his words,(religious persecutions and rituals with their forgotten roots as man shall not live by them alone but every word that came from the mouth of God)
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.( a false teacher not tending to his vineyard)
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;(the yeast of the bread revealing the true word – “the feast of unleavened bread‘s root)
give me neither poverty nor riches;(neither lack of The Holy Spirit or worldly riches as true riches are waiting for me in his kingdom not of this world)
feed me with the food that is needful for me,(Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but drink of the spirit and eat of the unleavened bread as true wisdom comes from above and is the knowledge of God)
lest I be full and deny you(full of evil and impure unable to contain the grace of receiving the Holy Spirit)
and say, “Who is the LORD?”(Lest I be full of evil and not receive the grace of the holy spirit as a lamb sent to slaughter by my wicked ways not being a pure offering to the Lord as a new wine sack to receive The Holy spirit)
or lest I be poor(lacking spirit) and steal (for woe unto them who make them twice the child of hell by teaching false words adulterating the word of God as rituals and words will not save only actions and professions of faith – merit – without you will be stealing those away from the owner when the servant comes to receive them at harvest)
and profane the name of my God.(Adulterating his words)
Do not slander a servant to his master,(do not send an impure offering to the Holy Spirit as he shall see not only the words but the actions to prove upon the merits)
lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.(as it is written those false teachers shall see the darkest of darkness forever)
There are those who curse their fathers (father on earth, Holy Spirit the creator, and God)
and do not bless their mothers.(Mother on earth of the flesh, and mother – from the kingdom of which we come as it is written do not be deceived be not of this world)
There are those who are clean in their own eyes (self righteous not knowing the unleavened word of God trying to be saved by words and rituals alone but it is written “how can I be your master if you do not what I say?”)
but are not washed of their filth.(as water cleanses the earth the Holy Spirit of God cleanses the pure of heart honoring the covenants)
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,(as they seek worldly acceptance and seek the approval for worldly accomplishments)
how high their eyelids lift!(yet they are spiritually blind)
There are those whose teeth are swords,(the wolves looking for the lost with out sheep or shepherd as lambs to slaughter)
whose fangs are knives,(that dig deep to destroy God’s congregation)
to devour the poor(those lacking the truth and spirit) from off the earth,(the vineyard God hath set in place to harvest the pure spirits who have divorced the wickedness of the flesh I.E. the wife of their youth a spirit born into flesh to achieve grace and ascend to the kingdom of God)
the needy from among mankind.(as God created man both male and female and separated us from him for transgression to seek the light in the dark–darkness the wanting of light — light – the truth the wisdom of God – I.E. those needing the Holy Spirit of God to be saved)
The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.(For they do not Give and receive they only take and destroy true life)
Three things are never satisfied;(the vineyard not tended, the lost without a guide, the trials that cannot be stopped without God’s love the Holy Spirit)
four never say, “Enough”:(The blind in Spirit cut off from the father in Heaven)
Sheol, the barren womb,(the seedless vineyard without the Holy Spirit)
the land(host I.E. vessel I.E. wine sack) never satisfied with water,(spirit)
and the fire ( as he will sit as a refiner of silver and to refine silver you must watch it until you see your image in it- therefore without God’s truth at times of trial leaving the silver to long burns it up and destroys it) that never says, “Enough.”
The eye (the wicked ways of the flesh without spiritual eyes) that mocks a father(by words and rituals but does not act in accordance will lack merit)
and scorns to obey a mother (a mother – singular – from the kingdom from which you came often referred to as the Jerusalem in heaven – defying God’s will)
will be picked out by the ravens of the valley (The valley of death as flesh ” the old wine sack will burst not being able to contain the spirit and shall perish in spiritual death not seeing everlasting life)
and eaten by the vultures.(The evil they are surrounded by picking away at them with temptation)
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,(The one who watches over me for no one understands God without his Spiritual Guidance)
the way of a serpent on a rock,(The evil that upon a rock can only be if not on the rock of foundation- The Holy Spirit of God)
the way of a ship on the high seas,(this one shall be revealed to you when you receive it yourself)
and the way of a man with a virgin.( the way of a man “complete putting away childish things and becoming spiritual in maturity” who has received to plant the seed for one who has not – God made man both male and female)
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats and wipes her mouth (the womb of the world eats of the evil seed and hides as a wolf in sheep’s clothing)
and says, “I have done no wrong.”(self righteously)
Under three things the earth trembles; (God, the Holy Spirit, and the servants with a Godly congregation)
under four it cannot bear up:(under evil it cannot ascend)
a slave (as to be free from the bondage of sin we must divorce the wickedness of flesh) when he becomes king,( when evil is allowed to rule over good by transgressions and the lack of spirit….sheep to protect the lamb and shepherds to tend the flock.. for he sent them out as sheep among the wolves as sheep protect their lambs and shepherds keep the flock “congregation” together)
and a fool when he is filled with food;(lacking spirit filled with worldly knowledge and seeds of evil)
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,(for it is written the holy spirit is the bride groom yet if you are not pure it is written he shall not know the workers of lawlessness)
and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress. (a servant when displacing the master- “how can I be your master when you do not what I say)
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,(divided by rituals and religions and the yeast in the bread we are weak)
yet they provide their food in the summer;(meat in due season planting the seed with the faith of a mustard seed to harvest in abundance the good will and God’s purpose)
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,(building their house on firm foundations – The Holy Spirit is the rock)
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;( look for wisdom on high as true wisdom comes from above)
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;( in unity each member has a purpose and skill and together a task is accomplished to establish divinity yet – evil shall deny God and stand against you if you do not know the way as evil has no king and has been denied entry into the kingdom and seek to devour it as locusts hence why God sent the locusts to teach evil a lesson they did not understand)
the lizard you can take in your hands,(for it is written to teach the kingdom of heaven is at hand)
yet it is in kings’ palaces.(plural – the choice is your’s and no other can choose for you – God gave man both male and female dominion over earth and it is by your works and measure that thou shall judge as a lizard is a chameleon it can be renewed beware of wolves but wolves can also be renewed as it is written one day the wolves and sheep shall dine together)
Three things are stately in their tread;(God, The Holy Spirit and the children of God planting seeds to tread out the grain (spirit) for the harvest)
four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts (god)
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster(The Holy Spirit who awakens you upon your rebirth in the spirit), the he-goat,(the child of God)
and a king whose army is with him.(congregation of God who stands for God in purity)
If you have been foolish,(without spiritual guidance) exalting yourself,(self righteousness)
or if you have been devising evil,(slaughtering the lambs having no sheep or shepherd to tend the vineyard by lack of spirit and teaching leavened bread)
put your hand on your mouth.(and speak not of the leaven but seek truth and the Holy Spirit shall set you free)
For pressing milk produces curds,(The press of the vineyard was a wine press to press spirits, milk rots and becomes curd and the Lord accepts no substitutions I.E. rituals and words by false doctrines having no works as it is written the flesh shall perish but all those receiving the grace of God The holy spirit shall not perish but become everlasting)
pressing the nose produces blood,( for the hypocrite lifts his nose and is to righteous shedding the blood of the lamb instead of producing water into wine “spirit” since we did not understand when Jesus was stabbed with the spear water flowed from him to give you this key)
and pressing anger produces strife.(for without love and the wisdom from God religions and rituals separate us with strife for this is the purpose of the greatest being the 2 love God and Love your neighbor as yourself)
We are all his creations and we are all his temples and we all were given the choice….
Minister Joseph Preston Kirk
If the water was turned to wine
the world would be a beautiful place,
Instead a thousand tears drown out the silence
of calm in this place.
We should look to the heavens
for the answers we seek
yet the wolves have blinded the weak.
How much sorrow must the world partake
before they embrace the God they forsake.
Though one often says I have my dreams
they often forget they have within them the means.
When the bread has been sliced and crumbled among men
we can follow the crumbs to find our way back again.
If on our knees is where we should pray
standing on corners God hears not a word we say.
How did we get here away from the land upon which we were blessed
and from where the love among his children we once caressed.
Who gives life that gave not it’s root
who are we not to bear it’s fruit.
The rainbow is the bow around the cloud
A sign about the confusion that speaks so loud.
A promise given is a promise kept
yet outside the covenant is why they wept.
A sun and moon for signs and seasons
a light in the dark for spiritual reasons.
The earth like sand apart slips through the palms of your hands
but with water and mix we build things grand.
Together in the spirit we are in God’s hands
with a little wisdom one understands.
Guard your hearts for it is of passion
for it was of this the Lord showed compassion.
Pray to our father in the Holy One’s name
and together our lives will never be the same.
A history chosen by choice to repeat
and a world brought down to his feet.
How many times must we be pressed before we learn
it is our father who shows his concern.
If we are blind in spirit we are taught through flesh
but with wisdom bodies of the Spirit God will refresh.
Forged in love brought down by fire
look to your heart and keep check of the true desire.
Raise up your house and stand in light
only upon his rock are all things made right.
Is it no wonder they called it old glory
or have you forgotten the true founding story.
Is it no wonder they said for purple mountain’s Majesty?
or have we forgotten it and become a tragedy.
Did they not say crown thy good with brotherhood?
in the body of the Holy Spirit as we should.
Does not Church mean a congregation
or has it been turned into an entertaining sensation.
Does not love endure all things
or have we once again sought worldly kings.
Does a plant not bend toward the light in the way it must grow?
is it no wonder it is written you reap what you sow?
If you plow a wide field do you not plow straight and narrow along the row?
Is it no wonder it is written the way is wide but the path is narrow?
As you walk along that path do you not drop your seeds along the way?
Is it no wonder we were made from the dirt upon which the seeds we must lay?
How many ways have the servants of God taught
before understanding, love and communion can be wrought.
The tree of life has many branches twigs and stems bearing fruit
with wisdom we must plant our root.
For a tree cut off from its foundation
leads to a simple point of contemplation.
While watching from his towers the guardians have wept
as the vineyard has been terribly kept.
Seek wisdom in the God above
holding fast to the covenant brought about from his love.
This is wisdom:
Everyone born has 3 fathers with one most high
Every spirit grown was once before known
Every seed planted is covered in darkness under the earth to reach up into the light
Every crop not tended withers away
a lamb with a shepherd is saved from slaughter
a shepherd with sheep is always warm
But even a withered a dried up pond is filled and calm after a storm
let he who has wisdom calculate the number of the beast
while the children of God sit about the harvest and feast
~Minister Joseph Preston Kirk
Have you been the giver for so long that you have forgotten how to receive? Allow others to give you some of the love that you give so freely. Seek a balance between your giving and your receiving.
But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us –see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but i want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Here’s the general principle about giving, receiving and proportional return.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down Quickly, and make it four hundred.’ 7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ 8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 he chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'”
I Corinthians 1:27-31
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages”
I Timothy 5:17-18
I will close with a prayer. Lord, may your love be known who all who hear your voice, who choose to obey you in matters of sacrifice and self discipline. As you are the master to whom we ultimately serve, help us entrust the provisions of our lives into your care. Help us to have courage in the face of apparent lack so that we may not be deceived in our carnal nature. Help us to have humility in the face of apparent plenty so that we may also not be deceived in that same carnal nature. May we, as Paul your servant did, learn to be content in our present conditions, whatever they may be.
That’s not to say it’s an easy purpose, or a convenient one. It might very well seem hard or even impossible, but it only looks that way. The truth is that one day you will look back and see how all the pieces fit together. And how your life has been a complete and utter success.
Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Galatians 6:9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Philippians 1:6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
James 5:11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Revelation 2:2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
C.S. Lewis Quotes About Perseverance
God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” Albert Einstein
“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” Calvin Coolidge
“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” Tom Hopkins
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Marianne Williamson
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak” Thomas Carlyle
“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance” Samuel Johnson
The Educational System Problem
Only a handful of educational theorists hold the view that if only the adult world would get out of the way, children would ripen into fully realized people. Most thinkers, educational practitioners, and parents acknowledge that children are born helpless and need the care and guidance of adults into their teens and often beyond. More specifically, children need to learn how to live harmoniously in society. Historically, the mission of schools has been to develop in the young both the intellectual and the moral virtues. Concern for the moral virtues, such as honesty, responsibility, and respect for others, is the domain of moral education.
Moral education, then, refers to helping children acquire those virtues or moral habits that will help them individually live good lives and at the same time become productive, contributing members of their communities. In this view, moral education should contribute not only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion of a community. The word moral comes from a Latin root (mos, moris) and means the code or customs of a people, the social glue that defines how individuals should live together.
Every enduring community has a moral code and it is the responsibility and the concern of its adults to instill this code in the hearts and minds of its young. Since the advent of schooling, adults have expected the schools to contribute positively to the moral education of children. When the first common schools were founded in the New World, moral education was the prime concern. New England Puritans believed the moral code resided in the Bible. Therefore, it was imperative that children be taught to read, thus having access to its grounding wisdom. As early as 1642 the colony of Massachusetts passed a law requiring parents to educate their children. In 1647 the famous Old Deluder Satan Act strengthened the law. Without the ability to read the Scriptures, children would be prey to the snares of Satan.
The colonial period. As common school spread throughout the colonies, the moral education of children was taken for granted. Formal education had a distinctly moral and religion emphasis. Harvard College was founded to prepare clergy for their work. Those men who carved out the United States from the British crown risked their fortunes, their families, and their very lives with their seditious rebellion. Most of them were classically educated in philosophy, theology, and political science, so they had learned that history’s great thinkers held democracy in low regard. They knew that democracy contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction and could degenerate into mobocracy with the many preying on the few and with political leaders pandering to the citizenry’s hunger for bread and circuses. The founders’ writings, particularly those of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John and Abigail Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, are filled with admonitions that their new country make education a high priority. While the early leaders saw economic reasons for more and longer schooling, they were convinced that the form of government they were adopting was, at heart, a moral compact among people.
Nineteenth century. As the young republic took shape, schooling was promoted for both secular and moral reasons. In 1832, a time when some of the Founding Fathers were still alive, Abraham Lincoln wrote, in his first political announcement (March 9,1832), “I desire to see a time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present.” Horace Mann, the nineteenth-century champion of the common schools, strongly advocated for moral education. He and his followers were worried by the widespread drunkenness, crime, and poverty during the Jacksonian period in which they lived. Of concern, too, were the waves of immigrants flooding into cities, unprepared for urban life and particularly unprepared to participate in democratic civic life. Mann and his supporters saw free public schools as the ethical leaven of society. In 1849, in his twelfth and final report to the Massachusetts Board of Education, he wrote that if children age four to sixteen could experience “the elevating influences of good schools, the dark host of private vices and public crimes, which now embitter domestic peace and stain the civilization of the age, might, in 99 cases in every 100, be banished from the world”(p. 96).
In the nineteenth century, teachers were hired and trained with the clear expectation that they would advance the moral mission of the school and attend to character formation. Literature, biography, and history were taught with the explicit intention of infusing children with high moral standards and good examples to guide their lives. Students’ copybook headings offered morally uplifting thoughts: “Quarrelsome persons are always dangerous companions” and “Praise follows exertion.” The most successful textbooks during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the famed McGuffey readers, which were filled with moral stories, urgings, and lessons. During this period of our evolution as a nation, moral education was deep in the very fabric of our schools.
There was, however, something else in the fabric of moral education that caused it to become problematic: religion. In the United States, as a group of colonies and later as a new nation, the overwhelming dominant religion was Protestantism. While not as prominent as during the Puritan era, the King James Bible was, nevertheless, a staple of U.S. public schools. The root of the moral code was seen as residing there. However, as waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Italy came to the country from the mid-nineteenth century forward, the pan-Protestant tone and orthodoxy of the schools came under scrutiny and a reaction set in. Concerned that their children would be weaned from their faith, Catholics developed their own school system. Later in the twentieth century, other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, and even various Protestant denominations, formed their own schools. Each group desired, and continues to desire, that its moral education be rooted in its respective faith or code.
Twentieth century. During this same late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century period, there was also a growing reaction against organized religion and the belief in a spiritual dimension of human existence. Intellectual leaders and writers were deeply influenced by the ideas of the English naturalist Charles Darwin, the German political philosopher Karl Marx, the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, and the German philosopher and poet Friedrich Nietzsche, and by a growing strict interpretation of the separation of church and state doctrine. This trend increased after World War II and was further intensified by what appeared to be the large cracks in the nation’s moral consensus in the late 1960s. Since for so many Americans the strongest roots of moral truths reside in their religious beliefs, educators and others became wary of using the schools for moral education. More and more this was seen to be the province of the family and the church. Some educators became proponents of “value-free” schooling, ignoring the fact that it is impossible to create a school devoid of ethical issues, lessons, and controversies.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, as many schools attempted to ignore the moral dimension of schooling, three things happened: Achievement scores began to decline, discipline and behavior problems increased, and voices were raised accusing the schools of teaching secular humanism. As the same time, educators were encouraged to address the moral concerns of students using two approaches: values clarification and cognitive developmental moral education.
The first, values clarification, rests on little theory other than the assumption that students need practice choosing among moral alternatives and that teachers should be facilitators of the clarification process rather than indoctrinators of particular moral ideas or value choices. This approach, although widely practiced, came under strong criticism for, among other things, promoting moral relativism among students. While currently few educators confidently advocate values clarification, its residue of teacher neutrality and hesitance to actively address ethical issues and the moral domain persists.
The second approach, cognitive developmental moral education, sprang from the work of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget and was further developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. In contrast to values clarification, cognitive moral development is heavy on theory and light on classroom applications. In its most popular form, Kohlberg posited six sequential stages of moral development, which potentially individuals could achieve. Each stage represents a distinctive way an individual thinks about a moral situation or problem. Teachers are encouraged to engage students from an early age and throughout their schooling in discussion of moral issues and dilemmas. In the later years of his life, Kohlberg was urging educators to transform their schools into “just communities,” environments within which students’ moral stage development would accelerate.
In the early 1980s, amid the widespread concern over students’ poor academic achievements and behavior, educators rediscovered the word character. Moral education had a religious tinge, which made many uneasy. Character with its emphasis on forming good habits and eliminating poor habits struck a popular and traditional chord. The word character has a Greek root, coming from the verb “to engrave.” Thus character speaks to the active process of making marks or signs (i.e., good habits) on one’s person. The early formation of good habits is widely acknowledged to be in the best interests of both the individual and society.
In addition, character formation is recognized as something that parents begin early, but the work is hardly completed when a child goes to school. Implicit in the concept of character is the recognition that adults begin the engraving process of habituation to consideration of others, self-control, and responsibility, then teachers and others contribute to the work, but eventually the young person takes over the engraving or formation of his own character. Clearly, though, with their learning demands and taxing events, children’s school years are a prime opportunity for positive and negative (i.e., virtues and vices) character formation.
The impetus and energy behind the return of character education to American schools did not come from within the educational community. It has been fueled, first, by parental desire for orderly schools where standards of behavior and good habits are stressed, and, second, by state and national politicians who responded to these anxious concerns of parents. During his presidency, William Clinton hosted five conferences on character education. President George W. Bush expanded on the programs of the previous administration and made character education a major focus of his educational reform agenda. One of the politically appealing aspects of character education, as opposed to moral education with its religious overtones, is that character education speaks more to the formation of a good citizen. A widely repeated definition (i.e., character education is helping a child to know the good, to desire the good, and to do the good) straddles this issue. For some people the internal focus of character education comfortably can be both religious and civic and for others the focus can be strictly civic, dealing exclusively on the formation of the good citizen.
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own [NOTE]; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.
I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.
‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware.
As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania; but if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential control.
I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes centred in one, which was, that the country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care.
I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.
But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.
I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A summer’s experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an attempt on this city [Philadelphia]; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined. If he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the Tories have; he is bringing a war into their country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory may never more be mentioned; but should the Tories give him encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year’s arms may expel them from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years’ war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.
Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.
There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both. Howe’s first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the tories call making their peace, “a peace which passeth all understanding” indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe’s army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.
I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.
Minister Joseph Preston Kirk