“Ourselves, our Souls

and Bodies”

Book of Common Prayer

[p iv]

‘𝕳𝖔𝖒𝖊 𝕰𝖉𝖚𝖈𝖆𝖙𝖎𝖔𝖓’ 𝕾𝖊𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖘



Book I. Self-Knowledge

Book II. Self-Direction


Charlotte M. Mason




Dryden House, Gerrard Street, W.


Charlotte Mason Poetry Online Edition

Public Domain

[p v]

“Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure, … to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.”

Zech. ii. 1, 2.

[p vi]


𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔐𝔢𝔪𝔟𝔢𝔯𝔰

(past and present) of

𝔗𝔥𝔢 ℌ𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔈𝔡𝔲𝔠𝔞𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫

this little book is affectionately

inscribed, in the belief that they will

make its teaching their own, and

will disseminate it as

they are able

[p vii]

“O maraviglia! che qual egli scelse

l’umile pianta, cotal si rinacque

Subitamente là onde la svelse.”

[p viii]

We read in the Purgatorio, Canto I., how Virgil was directed to prepare Dante for his difficult ascent:

“Va dunque, e fa che tu costui ricinghe

d’un giunco schietto, e che gli lavi il viso

si che ogni sucidume quindi stinghe:


Questa isoletta intorno ad imo ad imo,

laggiu, cola dove la batte l’onda,

porta de’ giunchi sopra il molle limo.

Null’ altra pianta, che facesse fronda

o indurasse, vi puote aver vita,

pero che alle percosse non seconda.


Venimmo poi in sul litro diserto,


Quivi mi cinse si come altrui piacque:

o maraviglia! che qual egli scelse

l’umile pianta, cotal si rinacque

Subitamente là onde la svelse.”

“Go, then, and see thou gird this one about

With a smooth rush, and that thou wash his face,

So that thou cleanse away all stain therefrom.


This little island round about its base,

Below there, yonder where the billow beats it,

Doth rushes bear upon its washy ooze;

No other plant that putteth forth the leaf,

Or that doth indurate, can there have life,

Because it yieldeth not unto the shocks.


Then came we down upon the desert shore.


There he begirt me as the other pleased;

O marvellous! for even as he culled

The humble plant, such it sprang up again

Suddenly there where he uprooted it.”

(Longfellow’s Translation.)

[p ix]

Preface to the ‘Home Education’ Series

The educational outlook is rather misty and depressing both at home and abroad. That science should be a staple of education, that the teaching of Latin, of modern languages, of mathematics, must be reformed, that nature and handicrafts should be pressed into service for the training of the eye and hand, that boys and girls must learn to write English and therefore must know something of history and literature; and, on the other hand, that education must be made more technical and utilitarian—these, and such as these, are the cries of expedience with which we take the field. But we have no unifying principle, no definite aim; in fact, no philosophy of education. As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the ‘fallings from us, vanishings,’ failures, and disappointments which mark our educational records.

Those of us, who have spent many years in pursuing the benign and elusive vision of Education, perceive [p x] that her approaches are regulated by a law, and that this law has yet to be evoked. We can discern its outlines, but no more. We know that it is pervasive; there is no part of a child’s home-life or school-work which the law does not penetrate. It is illuminating, too, showing the value, or lack of value, of a thousand systems and expedients. It is not only a light, but a measure, providing a standard whereby all things, small and great, belonging to educational work must be tested. The law is liberal, taking in whatsoever things are true, honest, and of good report, and offering no limitation or hindrance save where excess should injure. And the path indicated by the law is continuous and progressive, with no transition stage from the cradle to the grave, except that maturity takes up the regular self-direction to which immaturity has been trained. We shall doubtless find, when we apprehend the law, that certain German thinkers—Kant, Herbart, Lotze, Froebel—are justified; that, as they say, it is ‘necessary’ to believe in God; that, therefore, the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and the chief end of education. By one more character shall we be able to recognise this perfect law of educational liberty when it shall be made evident. It has been said that ‘The best idea which we can form of absolute truth is that it is able to meet every condition by which it can be tested.’ This we shall expect of our law—that it shall meet every test of experiment and every test of rational investigation.

Not having received the tables of our law, we [p xi] fall back upon Froebel or upon Herbart; or, if we belong to another School, upon Locke or Spencer; but we are not satisfied. A discontent is it a divine discontent? is upon us; and assuredly we should hail a workable, effectual philosophy of education as a deliverance from much perplexity. Before this great deliverance comes to us it is probable that many tentative efforts will be put forth, having more or less of the characters of a philosophy; notably, having a central idea, a body of thought with various members working in vital harmony.

Such a theory of education, which need not be careful to call itself a system of psychology, must be in harmony with the thought movements of the age; must regard education, not as a shut-off compartment, but as being as much a part of life as birth or growth, marriage or work; and it must leave the pupil attached to the world at many points of contact. It is true that educationalists are already eager to establish such contact in several directions, but their efforts rest upon an axiom here and an idea there, and there is no broad unifying basis of thought to support the whole.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread; and the hope that there may be many tentative efforts towards a philosophy of education, and that all of them will bring us nearer to the magnum opus, encourages me to launch one such attempt. The central thought, or rather body of thought, upon [p xii] which I found, is the somewhat obvious fact that the child is a person with all the possibilities and powers included in personality. Some of the members which develop from this nucleus have been exploited from time to time by educational thinkers, and exist vaguely in the general common sense, a notion here, another there. One thesis, which is, perhaps, new, that Education is the Science of Relations, appears to me to solve the question of a curriculum, as showing that the object of education is to put a child in living touch with as much as may be of the life of Nature and of thought. Add to this one or two keys to self-knowledge, and the educated youth goes forth with some idea of self-management, with some pursuits, and many vital interests. My excuse for venturing to offer a solution, however tentative and passing, to the problem of education is twofold. For between thirty and forty years I have laboured without pause to establish a working and philosophic theory of education; and in the next place, each article of the educational faith I offer has been arrived at by inductive processes; and has, I think, been verified by a long and wide series of experiments. It is, however, with sincere diffidence that I venture to offer the results of this long labour; because I know that in this field there are many labourers far more able and expert than I—the ‘angels’ who fear to tread, so precarious is the footing!

But, if only pour encourager les autres, I append a short synopsis of the educational theory advanced [p xiii] in the volumes of the ‘Home Education Series.’ The treatment is not methodic, but incidental; here a little, there a little, as seemed to me most likely to meet the occasions of parents and teachers. I should add that in the course of a number of years the various essays have been prepared for the use of the Parents’ Educational Union in the hope that that Society might witness for a more or less coherent body of educational thought.

“The consequence of truth is great; therefore the judgment of it must not be negligent.”


1. Children are born persons.

2. They are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and evil.

3. The principles of authority on the one hand and obedience on the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but—

4. These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon, whether by fear or love, suggestion or influence, or undue play upon any one natural desire.

5. Therefore we are limited to three educational instruments—the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas.

6. By the saying, education is an atmosphere, it is not meant that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child environment,’ [p xiv] especially adapted and prepared; but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the ‘child’s’ level.

7. By education is a discipline, is meant the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structure to habitual lines of thought—i.e., to our habits.

8. In the saying that education is a life, the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied. The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.

9. But the mind is not a receptacle into which ideas must be dropped, each idea adding to an ‘apperception mass’ of its like, the theory upon which the Herbartian doctrine of interest rests.

10. On the contrary, a child’s mind is no mere sac to hold ideas; but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual organism, with an appetite for all knowledge. This is its proper diet, with which it is prepared to deal, and which it can digest and assimilate as the body does foodstuffs.

11. This difference is not a verbal quibble. The Herbartian doctrine lays the stress of education—the preparation of knowledge in enticing morsels, presented in due order—upon the teacher. Children [p xv] taught upon this principle are in danger of receiving much teaching with little knowledge; and the teacher’s axiom is, ‘What a child learns matters less than how he learns it.’

12. But, believing that the normal child has powers of mind that fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, we must give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care, only, that the knowledge offered to him is vital—that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes the principle that,—

13. Education is the science of relations; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we must train him upon physical exercises, nature, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books; for we know that our business is, not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of—

‘Those first-born affinities

That fit our new existence to existing things.’

14. There are also two secrets of moral and intellectual self-management which should be offered to children; these we may call the Way of the Will and the Way of the Reason.

15. The Way of the Will.—Children should be taught—

(a) To distinguish between ‘I want’ and ‘I will.’

(b) That the way to will effectively is to turn our [p xvi] thoughts from that which we desire but do not will.

(c) That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or interesting.

(d) That, after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigour.

(This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as diversion, whose office it is to ease us for a time from will effort, that we may ‘will’ again with added power. The use of suggestion—even self-suggestion—as an aid to the will, is to be deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character. It would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and that human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as of success.)

16. The Way of the Reason.—We should teach children, too, not to ‘lean’ (too confidently) ‘unto their own understanding,’ because the function of reason is, to give logical demonstration (a) of mathematical truth; and (b) of an initial idea, accepted by the will. In the former case reason is, perhaps, an infallible guide, but in the second it is not always a safe one; for whether that initial idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs.

17. Therefore children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of initial ideas. [p xvii] To help them in this choice we should give them principles of conduct and a wide range of the knowledge fitted for them.

These three principles (15, 16 and 17) should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need.

18. We should allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children; but should teach them that the divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.

The ‘Home Education’ Series is so called from the title of the first volume, and not as dealing, wholly or principally, with ‘Home’ as opposed to ‘School’ education.

[p xviii]

[p xix]


“Who was it that said ‘Know thyself’ came down from heaven? It is quite true—true as Gospel. It came straight to whoever said it first.”—Life of Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Possibly we fail to give ‘effective moral training based upon Christian principles’ to young people because our teaching is scrappy, and rests mainly upon appeals to the emotions through tale and song. Inspiring as these are, we may not depend upon them entirely, because emotional response is short-lived, and the appeal is deadened by repetition: the response of the intellect to coherent and consecutive teaching appears, on the contrary, to be continuous and enduring. Boys and girls, youths and maidens, have as much capacity to apprehend what is presented to their minds as have their elders; and, like their elders, they take great pleasure and interest in an appeal to their understanding which discovers to them the ground-plan of human nature—a common possession.

The point of view taken in this volume is, that all beautiful and noble possibilities are present in everyone; but that each person is subject to assault [p xx] and hindrance in various ways, of which he should be aware in order that he may watch and pray. Hortatory teaching is apt to bore both young people and their elders; but an ordered presentation of the possibilities that lie in human nature, and of the risks that attend these, can hardly fail to have an enlightening and stimulating effect. This volume is intended as an appeal to the young to make the most of themselves, because of the vast possibilities that are in them and of the law of God which constrains them.

The teaching in Book I. is designed for boys and girls under sixteen. That in Book II. should, perhaps, appeal to young people of any age; possibly young men and women may welcome an attempt to thrash out some of the problems which must needs perplex them. In the hands of the teachers of elementary schools, the book should give some help in the formation of character. If only half a dozen children in each such school got an idea of what is possible to them and what they should aim at, some elevation of character throughout the nation should be manifest in a single generation. In our moral as in our intellectual education, we work too entirely upon narrow utilitarian lines: we want the impulse of profounder conceptions. The middle and upper forms of a public school, and those indicated above, fairly represent the classes of readers the author has in view.

The two ‘Books’ are published separately in order [p xxi] that each may be put into the hands of the readers for whom it is designed; but, because parents and teachers should make a particular study of such moral teaching as they may offer to the young people for whom they are responsible, it seems desirable that the two volumes should form one of the ‘Home Education Series.’ Questions are appended for the use of more serious students. The more or less casual ordering of young people which falls to their elders might become more purposeful if it were laid down upon some such carefully considered ground-plan of human nature as this book attempts to offer. The scheme of thought rests upon intuitive morality, as sanctioned by the authority of Revelation.

The systems of morality formulated by authoritative writers upon ethics are, perhaps, expanded a little to include latent capacity for every kind of goodness in all normal human beings. Some attempt has been made to define certain limitations of reason, conscience, and the will, the disregard of which is a fertile cause of error in human conduct.

What is sometimes described as the ‘immanence of God’; the capacity of man for relations with the divine; and the maimed and incomplete character of the life in which these relations are not fulfilled, are touched upon, because these matters belong to a knowledge which is ‘the chief end of man.’ The allusions and excerpts which illustrate the text have been carefully chosen from sources that fall within everybody’s reading, because the object is rather to [p xxii] arrest the attention of the reader, and fix it, for example, upon the teaching of Scott and Plutarch, than to suggest unknown sources of edification. We are all too well content to let alone that of which we do not already know something.

Ambleside, May 1905.

A somewhat arbitrary use has been made of certain terms—dæmon,’ for example—when such use appeared to lend itself to clearness or force in putting the case.

[p xxiii]

Contents of Book I




The Kingdom of Mansoul

The riches of Mansoul—Rivers and cities—Books and playgrounds—Churches and delectable mountains, … 1


The Perils of Mansoul

The government to blame—Peril of sloth—Peril of fire—Perils of plague, flood, famine—Peril of discord—Peril of darkness, … 5


The Government of Mansoul

Each of us a Kingdom of Mansoul—Officers of State—The four Chambers, … 9




The Esquires of the Body: Hunger

The work of the appetites—How Hunger behaves—Hunger, a servant; Gluttony, a ruler—How gluttony affects the body—How to avoid greediness, … 11

[p xxiv]


The Esquires of the Body: Thirst

Thirst likes cold water—Drunkenness craves for alcohol—Why people abstain, … 15


The Esquires of the Body: Restlessness and Rest

Restlessness makes the body strong—But Restlessness may be a hard master—Rest, a good servant—Sloth, a tyrant, … 18


The Esquires of the Body: Chastity

How to rule the appetites—Each appetite has its time—Uncleanness—Purity—Glorify God in your bodies—The appetites, our servants, not our masters, … 21


The Pages of the Body: The Five Senses

Taste, agreeable and useful—Pampered, becomes our master, … 24

‘Smell’ is lazy—Should give Mansoul much pleasure—Should serve on the Board of Health—Practice in catching odours, … 25

Touch, most pervasive—most useful—The ‘touch’ of the blind—A kind ‘touch’—Practice in ‘touch’—Touch tries for mastery over Mansoul—Good to have little things to put up with, … 26

Sight brings half our joy—Eyes and No-eyes, … 28

Hearing a source of joy—The more we listen, the more we hear—Some nice sounds—Music, the great joy we owe to hearing—How to get the hearing ear, … 29





‘Ourselves,’ a vast country not yet explored—Self-control, self-knowledge, self-reverence, … 33

[p xxv]


My Lord Intellect

Introduces Mansoul to delightful realms—Science, a vast and joyous region—Imagination cheers the traveller here—History, a pleasant place—The shows of History—We are making History—We cannot be at home in History without Imagination—Mathematics, a mountainous land—Philosophy explores Mansoul—Literature, a very rich and glorious kingdom—How to recognise Literature—Our Beauty sense—Beauty in nature—The Palace of Art—The Hall of Simulation—The intellectual life, … 35


The Dæmons of Intellect

Inertia will not let us beginHabit goes always over the same ground—We may not stay in one field of thought—A magnanimous mind, … 45


My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination

Living pictures—The cultivated Imagination—Imagination must not make pictures of self—How to exorcise the dæmon—Living pictures of sin—Unclean imaginings—Living pictures of horrors, … 48


The Beauty Sense

The dæmon of exclusiveness—We may not choose our lives—A paradise of pleasure, … 54


My Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason

Reason, an advocate—How we reason—The good man’s reason—Reason’s part in good works and great inventions—What is meant by Common Sense—Everything we use has been thought out by someone—Good and sensible persons come to opposite conclusions—Reason is not infallible—Anarchists [p xxvi] —Reason in Mathematics—Reason must be used to good purpose—Reason works out a notion received by the Will, and does not begin it—Why there are different schools of philosophy—Practice in reasoning, … 56


The Lords of the Exchequer, The Desires (Part I.)

Mind must be fed—The desire of approbation—The dæmon of vanity—Fame and infamy—The desire of excelling—Prizes and places—Excelling in things unworthy—The desire of wealth—The dæmon of selfishness—Worthless wealth—The desire of power—‘Managing’ people, … 66


The Lords of the Exchequer, The Desires (Part II.)

The desire of society—We learn from society—Dangers attending the love of—Society, a banquet at which all provide—The desire of knowledge—Curiosity and the desire of knowledge—Emulation and the love of knowledge—‘Marks’ and knowledge—All persons have powers of mind—The ordering of our thoughts, … 73





The Ways of Love

The lords of the house—Love—Counterfeit loves, Self-love—Philandering—Love delights in the goodness of another—Seeks the happiness of his friend—Seeks to be worthy—Desires to serve—Aversion, … 81


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Pity

Knights and ladies of Pity—Idle pity—Self-pity—Our defences, … 87

[p xxvii]


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Benevolence

‘Reform the world, or bear with it’—His faults, not the whole of a person—The affairs of goodwill—The foes of goodwill—The peace of goodwill, … 91


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Sympathy

Sympathy with one, a key to all—A lever to raise—Virtue goes out of us—A spurious sympathy—Tact—Dæmons attending this Lord of Virtue, … 95


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Kindness

Kindness makes life pleasant to others—The kindness of courtesy—Simplicity—Kindness in construction, … 99


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Generosity

Generous impulses common to all the world—Large trustfulness—Generosity is costly, but also remunerative—Fallacious notions that restrain generosity, … 103


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Gratitude

The gladness of a grateful heart—A grateful heart makes a full return—The reproach of ingratitude, … 108


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Courage

We all have courage—The courage of attack—Of endurance—Of serenity—Of our affairs—Of our opinions—Of frankness—Of reproof—Of confession—Of our capacity—Of opportunity, … 112

[p xxviii]


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Loyalty

Loyalty of youth—Our loyalties prepared for us—Loyalty to our king—Loyalty due to our own—Public opinion responsible for anarchy—Loyalty to country—The service of loyalty—Loyalty to a chief—To personal ties—A constant mind—Thoroughness—Loyalty to our principles—Tempers alien to loyalty, … 118


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Humility

Pride of life—Humility, born in us all—Humility travestied—Humility one with simplicity—The way of humility, … 126


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Gladness

Gladness enough in the world for all—Springs in sorrow and pain—Is catching—Is perennial—We are sad when we are sorry for ourselves—Gladness, a duty, … 131



Justice, Universal

We must know the functions of love and justice—Everyone has justice in his heart—I must hurt nobody by word or deed—I must be just to all other persons—We are able to pay the dues of justice—Our own rights, … 136


Justice to the Persons of Others

We begin to understand this duty—To think fairly requires knowledge and consideration—Persons hurt in mind, suffer [p xxix] in body: Gentleness—A word may hurt as much as a blow: Courtesy—We are not free to think hard things about others—Justice to the characters of others, Candour—Prejudice—Respect—Conceit—Discernment—Appreciation—Depreciation, … 140


Truth: Justice in Word

Truth is not violent—Botticelli’s ‘Calumny’—Calumny—Insidiousness and envy—Calumnious hearing and calumnious reading—Fanaticism—The ‘sovereign good,’ … 150


Spoken Truth

Veracity—Scrupulosity is not veracity—Exaggeration—The habit of generalising—Of making a good story—The realm of fiction: Essential and accidental truth—The value of fiction depends on the worth of the writer—Fiction affects our enthusiasms—Essential truth, … 156


Some Causes of Lying

Malicious lies—Cowardly lies—The falsehood of reserve—Boasting lies—Romancing lies—Lies for friendship’s sake—Magna est veritas, … 163


Integrity: Justice in Action

Integrity in work: ‘Ca’ canny’—A standard—We are all paid labourers—Integrity grows—‘Do ye nexte thynge’—Do the chief thing—The habit of finishing—Integrity in the use of time: Drifters and dawdlers—Cribbing time—Integrity in material: Honesty—Small debts—Bargains—Our neighbour’s property—Borrowed property, … 167

[p xxx]


Opinions: Justice in Thought

Three ‘opinions’—An opinion worth having—Opinions on trial—‘Fads’—Matters upon which we must form opinions—Opinions about books—Our duty with regard to opinion, … 179


Principles: Justice in Motive

Principles, bad and good—How to distinguish—Our principles ‘writ large,’ … 187


Self-ordering: Justice to Ourselves

My duty to myself—Temperance avoids every excess—Soberness does not seek excitement—Self-indulgence leads to vice—The parting of the ways—The fate of the drunkard—‘En parole’—Excitement—The ways of the glutton: Circe—Interests in life—Slothfulness—Uncleanness, … 191



Plans—Preparation—Possibilities—The habit of being of use—The ‘Neverheeds’—Servant or master—The law of habit—Our calling, … 204

[p xxxi]

Contents of Book II







The Court of Appeal

Conscience, the judge, always in court—Everyone has a sense of duty—Conscience may give wrong judgments—Conscience may be tampered with—Conscience must be instructed, … 5


The Instruction of Conscience

Instruction by books—The poet and essayist are our teachers—So are the novelists and the dramatists, … 9


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Temperance

Temperance in eating—In drinking—In taking our ease—In day-dreaming—‘Know thy work and do it’—Principle underlying temperance—We live in our times, … 12

[p xxxii]


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Chastity (Part I.)

Chastity of soul—The tragedy of Edward II.—Each of us, a king in his own realm—We are not free to give ourselves without reserve, … 21


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Chastity (Part II.)

Ordered Friendship

A sane and generous friendship—A friendship loyal in spite of disillusion—Friends brought to us by the circumstances of life, … 29


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Chastity (Part III.)

The Final Unchastity, … 33


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Fortitude

Fortitude—Fortitude in poverty—Fortitude under vexatious provocations—Cheerful, serviceable fortitude—The roll of our heroes, … 41


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Prudence

Imprudence is selfishness—Prudence in affairs—Prudence in the choice of a friend—Prudence rejects undue influence—Prudence temperate in all things—Prudent citizens the wealth of the state, … 49

[p xxxiii]



Opinions ‘in the Air

Casual opinion—How fallacies work, … 56


The Uninstructed Conscience

Conscience persistent upon some points—Moral stability—A nation may be unstable—A besetting idea—Perils of ignorance—Scrupulosity, … 60


The Instructed Conscience

Sound moral judgment—Moral judgments and a virtuous life, … 68


Some Instructors of Conscience: Poetry, Novels, Essays

Poetry—Novels—Essays, … 71


Some Instructors of Conscience: History and Philosophy

History—The informed patriot—Philosophy—A ‘message,’ … 74


Some Instructors of Conscience: Theology

Theology—The divine method—The Bible contains a revelation of God—The higher criticism—Indecision—Study of the Bible—‘Revelation’ of the Bible unique—No revelation [p xxxiv] is repeated—Interpretation—Sentimental humanity—Superstition—An ‘indulgent’ God—Christ presented in the Gospels—Miracles—The words of Christ—The Incarnation and the Resurrection—Trivial doubts, … 79


Some Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art

Nature, the debts of recognition, appreciation, and preservation—The schooling of Nature—In our duty towards God—Nature teaches us gratitude—Science—Distinguished from information—Patient observation—Art—We must learn to appreciate and discriminate, … 97


Some Instructors of Conscience: Sociology, Self-Knowledge

Sociology—How other people live—Conditions of helpfulness—Philosophy—To know ourselves is wisdom—Self-knowledge impersonal—Greatness of human nature, … 104



Conviction of Sin

Convicts of sin—Ignorance—Allowance—Prejudice—Sin—Uneasiness of conscience—Sins of omission—The chiding of conscience, … 109



Sudden temptation—Temptation comes from without and from within—Enter not into temptation—The training of a [p xxxv] trusty spirit—Penitence, repentance, restitution—The forgiveness of sins, … 115


Duty and Law

Right and wrong—We all know the law—Law and will—Acquiescence, … 121




The Will-less Life

Anarchy in Mansoul—An easy life, … 126


Will and Wilfulness

Wilful persons are of various dispositions—The wilful person has one aim—A brilliant career does not demand exercise of will—A dividing line … 129


Will not Moral or Immoral

To ‘will’ is not to ‘be good’—‘Will’ not the same thing as ‘an ideal’ … 137


The Will and its Peers

The will subject to solicitations—The will does not act alone, … 141

[p xxxvi]


The Function of Will

The labour of choice—We do as others do—Choice and obedience—We choose between ideas, … 143


The Scope of Will

Allowance does duty for choice—Cheap ‘notions,’ … 147



Moral self-culture—Self-absorption—A better way, … 152


The Effort of Decision

We shirk decisions—‘Toleration’—‘Providence’ and choice—Opinions and principles, … 156



The history of a resolution—The progress of an idea—Personal influence must be unconscious—Sources of ideas—Will, the instrument by which we appropriate ideas, … 160


A Way of the Will

The way of the will a slow way—The will is opposed—The postern to be guarded, … 165

[p xxxvii]



Summary of points considered so far—Will and conventionality, … 170




The Capacities of the Soul 174


The Disabilities of the Soul

Inertia—Preoccupation—Involuntary aversion—Voluntary aversion, … 177


The Knowledge of God

The Bible teaches the knowledge of God, … 182



Unconsidered prayer—Response—Habitual prayer, … 188



The nine—‘My rising soul surveys’—We honour God by thanking Him, … 191

[p xxxviii]



Implies discriminating appreciation—Discoverers give us themes for praise, … 194


Faith in God

‘Only believe’—Faith in persons—Faith, an act of will—Not optional, … 197


Questions for the Use of Students

Book I., … 205

Book II., … 222

[p xxxix]


“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control—

These three alone lead life to sovereign power.”


A Dual Self.—The whole question of self-management and self-perception implies a dual self. There is a self who reverences and a self who is reverenced, a self who knows and a self who is known, a self who controls and a self who is controlled. This, of a dual self, is perhaps our most intimate and our least-acknowledged consciousness. We are a little afraid of metaphysics, and are still more afraid of self-consciousness, and we do not take the trouble to analyse our fears.

It is well that we should fear to wander into regions of mind which we have no plummet to fathom, and from which we are incompetent to bring back any good thing. It is well, too, that we should dread that form of self-consciousness which makes us sensitively, or timorously, or proudly, aware of our individual peculiarities. But, for fear of Scylla and Charybdis, we have avoided unduly a channel which leads to a haven where we would be.

[p xl]

Our business at present is not to attempt any psychological explanation of the fact of the two selves of which each of us is aware; but, rather, to get some clear notions about that, let us call it, objective self, the conduct of which is the chief business of that other troublesome subjective self, of which we are all too much and too unpleasantly aware.

The ‘Horrid’ Self.—One of the miseries of thoughtful children and young people arises from their sense of the worthlessness of this poor, pushing, all too prominent self. They are aware that they are cross and clumsy, rude and ‘horrid.’ Nobody can like them. If even their mother does so, it must be because she does not quite see how disagreeable they are. Vanity, the laying of oneself out for the approbation of others, is very possible, even to children of generous temper. But I doubt if conceit is possible to any but the more commonplace minds, content to shape their opinions, even of themselves, upon what they suppose to be the opinions of those around them.

But for the uneasy young soul, whose chief business in life is the navigation of an unknown craft, some knowledge of the carrying and sailing powers of the vessel is not only beneficent in itself, but is a relief from the obsession of that tiresome other self—the subjective self, we have called it—of which we become aware in that day when we eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and leave the paradise of the unconscious child. This awakening must come to [p xli] us all, and is not necessarily in our case of the nature of guilt, but it is the cause of uneasiness and self-depreciation.

The Great Self.—Any attempt to define the limits of each part of the dual self baffles us. We cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. But after every effort of thought which convinces us that we are but one, we become aware again of ourselves as two. Perhaps if we say that the one is the unsatisfactory self which we produce in our lives; the other, the self of great and beautiful possibilities, which we are aware of as an integral part of us, it is all we can do towards grasping this evasive condition of our being. It may help us to regard for a moment the human soul as a vast estate which it rests with us to realise. By soul, I mean all that we are, including even the visible presentment of us, all our powers of thinking, knowing, loving, judging, appreciating, willing, achieving. There is only one authoritative estimate of the greatness of the human soul. It is put into the balances with the whole world, and the whole world, glorious and beautiful as it is, weighs as nothing in the comparison. But we lose the value of this utterance of our Lord’s because we choose to think that He is speaking of a relative and not an intrinsic value. That the soul of a man is infinitely great, beautiful, and precious in itself we do not venture to think; partly, because religion, for the most part, teaches a self-abasement and effacement contrary to the spirit and the teaching of Christ.

[p xlii]

Emily Bronté.—We are indebted to the Belgian sage, M. Maeterlinck, for his vindication of the greatness of the soul, a vindication the more telling because he does not approach the subject from the religious standpoint, but brings, as it were, an outside witness. He has probably added nothing to the content of philosophy; but we have great need to be reminded, and reminded again, of the things that belong to our life; and to do this for us is a service. His contention, that in Emily Bronté we have an example of the immeasurable range of the soul, seems to me a just one: that a delicate girl, brought up almost in isolation in a remote parsonage, should be able to sound the depths of human passion, conceive of human tragedy, and gather the fruits of human wisdom, is a very fair illustration of the majesty of the soul; all the more so because she was not among the great as regards either virtue or achievement. When we turn from an obscure Emily Bronté to a Shakespeare, a Newton, a Rembrandt, a Dante, a Darwin, a Howard, we begin to discern the immensity of that soul which contains a measure for all things, capacity for all men; but we leave off too soon in our appreciation of our Great; we are too shamefaced to acknowledge to ourselves that it is in our own immensity we find some sort of measure for theirs.

Are there any little men? Perhaps not. It may be that all the properties of the soul are present in everyone, developed or undeveloped, in greater or [p xliii] lesser degree. So Christ seems to have taught; and many a poor and insignificant soul has been found to hold capacity for Him.

But here is a case in which the greater is blessed (or cursed?) of the less. The realised self of each of us is a distressfully poor thing, and yet upon its insight and its action depends the redemption of that greater self, whose limitations no man has discovered. It is, to use a figure, as the relation between a country and its government. The country is ever greater than the governing body; and yet, for its development, the former must depend upon the latter.

The Governing Powers.—What are these central governing powers, or officers, upon whose action the fulfilment of a human being depends? I cannot, as yet, go to Psychology for an answer, because she is still in the act of determining whether or no there be any spirit. Where I appear to abandon the dicta of our more ancient guide, Philosophy, it is only as I am led by common intuition. That which all men perceive to be true of themselves may be considered with a view to the conduct of the affairs of the inner life, just as it is wise to arrange our outward affairs on the belief that the sun rises at such an hour and sets at such an hour. The actual is of less immediate consequence than the apparent fact.

As I do not know of any book to recommend to parents which should help their children in the conduct of life in matters such as I have indicated, which are neither precisely ethical nor religious, I [p xliv] venture to offer an outline of the sort of teaching I have in view in the form in which it might be given to intelligent children and young people of any age, from eight or nine upwards.

How to use this Volume.—I think that in teaching children mothers should make their own of so much as they wish to give of such teaching, and speak it, a little at a time, perhaps by way of Sunday talks. This would help to impress children with the thought that our relations with God embrace the whole of our lives. Older students of life would probably prefer to read for themselves, or with their parents, and the more advanced teaching which is suitable for them will pass over the heads of their younger brothers and sisters.

Book I. Self-Knowledge

Book II. Self-Direction

[p II:203]


[p II:205]


Questions for the Use of Students



The Country of Mansoul

No Questions


The Perils of Mansoul

1. Who is to blame for these perils?

2. What effect has sloth upon Mansoul?

3. What are the causes of fire?

4. How may plague, flood, and famine be brought about?

5. What are the consequences of discord?

6. How does darkness arise in Mansoul?

7. Can it be prevented?

8. On what condition do things go well in Mansoul?


The Government of Mansoul

1. Why is being born like coming into a great estate?

2. What do we mean by the government of Mansoul?

[p II:206]

3. Name some of the officers of state.

4. Name the Chambers in which these ‘sit.’

5. Are these parts of a person?




The Esquires of the Body: Hunger

1. What is the work of the appetites?

2. When does an appetite become a danger?

3. How does hunger behave?

4. Distinguish between hunger and gluttony.

5. How is greediness to be avoided?


The Esquires of the Body: Thirst

1. Why are we thirsty? What drink does thirst require?

2. What are some effects of drunkenness?

3. What is the principle on which persons abstain?


The Esquires of the Body: Restlessness and Rest

1. What is the use of restlessness?

2. Wherein lies the danger?

3. Show that rest and work should alternate.

4. When does rest become sloth?

[p II:207]


The Esquires of the Body: Chastity

1. How would you teach a child to rule his appetites?

2. How would you use the tree of knowledge of good and evil to give the idea of chastity?

3. How would you explain, “Blessed are the pure in heart”?

4. What heroic motive for purity would you give children?

5. Where does slavery to an appetite begin?

6. How would you rule the thoughts?


The Pages of the Body: The Five Senses

1. What two errors are possible to each of the senses?

2. What are the uses and what the danger of the sense of taste?

3. Show that we fail to get full use and full pleasure out of the sense of smell.

4. What practice in catching odours would you give children?

5. What manner of knowledge do we obtain by touch?

6. Show by the ‘touch of the blind,’ a ‘kind touch,’ etc., that the sense of touch may be cultivated.

7. What practice would you recommend?

8. Why is it good to have little things to put up with?

9. Show that sight brings half our joy.

10. How may we learn to see more?

11. What joy and what knowledge should we get from a sense of hearing?

12. How may a good ear for music be acquired?

[p II:208]





1. Show that our way of speaking of ‘ourselves’ is like saying ‘the sun rises.’

2. Upon what does self-reverence depend?

3. Show that self-knowledge must go before self-reverence.

4. And that we must know ourselves before we can control ourselves.


My Lord Intellect

1. What is the function of ‘intellect’?

2. Show that science is an immense and joyous realm.

3. How is imagination serviceable in science?

4. Compare history with the shows of a kinetoscope.

5. How does history enable us to live in a large world?

6. How are we making history?

7. Show that imagination is necessary to the realising of history.

8. What intellectual power is especially employed in mathematics?

9. Why are mathematics delightful?

10. Why is philosophy a necessary study?

11. What are some of the advantages of a knowledge of literature?

12. What powers of the mind go to the study of literature?

13. Give three tests by which literature may be discerned.

[p II:209]

14. What are some of the uses of the æsthetic sense?

15. How may we distinguish between art and simulated art?

16. How may the intellectual life be promoted?

17. In what ways may it be extinguished?


The Dæmons of Intellect

1. What effect has inertia upon the intellectual life?

2. Why may we not stay in one field of thought?

3. What do you understand by a magnanimous mind?


My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination

1. Describe the functions of imagination.

2. What effect has cultivation upon the imagination?

3. In what two regions is imagination forbidden to work?

4. How may self be exorcised from the imagination?

5. What imaginings are especially to be avoided?

6. How may wrong imaginings be hindered?


The Beauty Sense

1. Show that exclusiveness is a temptation to persons who enjoy beauty.

2. What error does the devotee of beauty make?

3. Show that the beauty sense opens a paradise of pleasure.

[p II:210]


My Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason

1. Compare the behaviour of reason with that of an advocate.

2. Suggest the courses of reasoning which may have brought any two persons, Wycliffe and Wickham, for example, to different conclusions.

3. Trace the conceivable course of reasoning of any philanthropist.

4. Show the part of reason in all good works and great inventions.

5. What is meant by common sense?

6. Try to recover the train of reasoning of the man who first made a barrow.

7. How is it that men have come to deify reason?

8. Explain why equally good and sensible persons come to opposite conclusions.

9. How does this prove that reason may bring us to mistaken conclusions?

10. Show that an error of thought may lead to crime.

11. Why is reason almost infallible in mathematics?

12. Show that the power of reasoning is a trust to be used to good purpose.

13. Show that reason works out a notion received by the will.

14. Account for the fact that there are different schools of philosophy.

15. What practice in reasoning would you advise for children?


The Lords of the Exchequer, The Desires

(Part I.)

1. Compare the work of the desires with that of the appetites.

[p II:211]

2. How does the desire of approbation serve a man?

3. Show that vanity may play the part of a mischievous dæmon in our lives.

4. Show that the desires of infamy and of fame come from the same source.

5. How does the desire of excelling work with a hockey-player, for example?

6. Show how this desire serves the man.

7. Show that emulation may have mischievous results in education.

8. Show the danger of emulation in things unworthy.

9. How does the desire of wealth serve mankind?

10. What are the risks attending this desire?

11. How may the desire for worthless possessions be counteracted?

12. Show that ambition is a serviceable desire.

13. What dangers attend the desire to rule?

14. Show that ‘managing’ people are injurious to those about them.


The Lords of the Exchequer, The Desires

(Part II.)

1. Show that the desire of society influences all sane persons.

2. What gain to the mind should come from society?

3. But upon what conditions?

4. Show that the society of every good person is an opportunity.

5. What two dangers attend the love of society?

6. Show that we lose by cultivating only the society of our own set or sort.

7. Which of the desires is to the mind as hunger is to the body?

[p II:212]

8. Distinguish between the desire of knowledge and what is commonly called curiosity.

9. Show that it is upon the knowledge of great matters the mind feeds and grows.

10. Show that the love of knowledge may be extinguished by emulation.

11. What have you to say about ‘marks’ and ‘places’ in this connection?

12. How should we be influenced by the fact that all ‘normal’ persons have powers of mind?

13. Show that the duty of ordering our thoughts arises from the possession of these intellectual powers.





The Ways of Love

1. What are the two affections?

2. Mention some of the ways in which love shows itself.

3. Have we any evidence of how much love is possible to a human being?

4. Why is self-love necessary?

5. When is love a counterfeit?

6. Describe another form of counterfeit love.

7. Name four tests by which love may be recognised.

8. What is the apostolic rule on this subject?

9. Of what feelings opposed to love are we capable?

10. Why?

11. What is the one petition in the Lord’s Prayer to which a condition is attached?

[p II:213]


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Pity

1. Show that there is pity in every heart.

2. Name a few knights and ladies of pity.

3. Show that ‘a feeling heart’ is a snare.

4. Name a few causes sufficient to excite self-pity.

5. Show the danger of this habit.

6. In what two ways may we defend ourselves from this danger?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Benevolence

1. When is a person benevolent?

2. Why is hearty liking for all persons possible?

3. Show that his faults are not the whole of a person.

4. How does the recognition of this fact work?

5. Distinguish between goodwill and good-nature in dealing with other persons.

6. Characterise ‘benevolence.’

7. Name half a dozen of the foes of goodwill, and show how they act.


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Sympathy

1. Show that sympathy with one should be a key to all.

2. How should this fact affect our dealings with persons we suppose to be on a different intellectual level?

3. How is it that poets, painters, and the like raise the rest of the world?

4. On what condition is our sympathy helpful?

5. What are the mischievous effects of a spurious sympathy?

[p II:214]

6. Show that tact is an expression of sympathy.

7. Show that egotism destroys sympathy.

8. What are the active and the passive manifestations of egotism?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Kindness

1. What is the office of kindness?

2. Comment upon the kindness of courtesy.

3. Show that there can be no kindness without simplicity.

4. Comment upon a movement to make children kind.

5. What is the most generous kindness of all?

6. Show that the opposite behaviour is one of the chief causes of unhappiness in the world.


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Generosity

1. Show that generous impulses are common to all the world.

2. Show that generosity is impatient of cheap cynicism and worldly wisdom.

3. Show that generosity is costly but also remunerative.

4. Show that the interests of the generous heart are duly distributed.

5. Name a few fallacious notions that restrain generosity.

6. What is the rule of life of the generous person?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Gratitude

1. Why is gratitude a joy-giving emotion?

2. How do we come to miss the joy of being grateful?

[p II:215]

3. What two courses are open to the receiver of small kindnesses?

4. Why does a grateful heart always make a full return?

5. How may we escape the reproach of ingratitude?

6. Do we owe gratitude to those only who are present and living?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Courage

1. Show that we all have the courage of attack.

2. What are the ‘dæmons’ that suppress courage?

3. Show that we all have the courage of endurance.

4. That panic, anxiety, and shameful fear are possible to us all.

5. Show that the assurance of courage gives us the courage of serenity.

6. Show that we have the courage of our affairs, and need not be anxious.

7. Show that we fail if we have not the courage of our opinions.

8. How shall we make sure of our opinions?

9. Discuss the courage of frankness.

10. How far may we practice reticence?

11. Show that we are called upon for the courage of reproof.

12. And for the courage of confession.

13. What limits should we set to our confessions?

14. How does the courage of our capacity serve us?

15. Show that intellectual panic is responsible for many failures.

16. What do you understand by the courage of opportunity?

[p II:216]


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Loyalty

1. Why should youth be the age of loyalty?

2. What is the test of loyalty?

3. Show that our loyalties are prepared for us.

4. What have you to say of loyalty to our king?

5. Of loyalty to our own?

6. What would you say of persons who choose to bestow their loyalty upon aliens and the like?

7. Show that public opinion is responsible for anarchy.

8. What does loyalty to our country demand of us?

9. How shall we become ready to meet these demands?

10. What service of loyalty does our country ask of us?

11. Show that loyalty to a chief is the secret of “dignified obedience and proud submission.”

12. Show what loyalty to personal ties demands of us.

13. Show that steadfastness is of the essence of all loyalty.

14. Are all our loyalties due for life?

15. When it is necessary to give up a chief or a dependent, how should the breach be made?

16. Show that thoroughness is of the nature of loyalty.

17. Describe the loyalty we owe to our principles.

18. What are the tempers alien to loyalty?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Humility

1. Show that ‘pride of life’ is the deadliest of our perils.

2. What are the two types of humility we have?

3. How do we travesty the grace of humility?

[p II:217]

4. Why is humility rarely coveted as a Christian grace?

5. Show that resentful tempers are due to self-exaltation.

6. Show that humility is one with simplicity.

7. When do we fall from humility?

8. Why may we not try to be humble?


Love’s Lords in Waiting: Gladness

1. Why is it inexcusable in us not to be glad?

2. Show that gladness springs in sorrow and pain.

3. Show that gladness is catching.

4. That gladness is perennial.

5. Why, then, are people gloomy and irresponsive?

6. Show that gladness is a duty.



Justice, Universal

1. Show that we must know the functions of love and justice.

2. Why does a cry for fair play reach everybody?

3. What dispositions must we show (a) in word, (b) in thought, (c) in act, in order to be just?

4. In what respects do we owe justice to all other persons?

5. How may we ascertain the just dues of other persons?

6. What should encourage us in our efforts?

7. What is the demand of justice with regard to our own rights?

[p II:218]


Justice to the Persons of Others

1. Show that we begin to understand the duty of justice to the persons of others.

2. Show that to think fairly requires knowledge and consideration.

3. In what sense does ungentleness inflict bodily injury?

4. Why is courtesy a matter of justice?

5. Show that we are not free to think hard things about others.

6. Show that we must be just to the characters of others.

7. What quality enables us to be just in this sense?

8. How does prejudice interfere with justice?

9. Show that respect is justly due to all men.

10. What defect in ourselves interferes with the respect we owe?

11. Show that respect must be balanced by discernment.

12. How does appreciation fulfil the dues of justice?

13. Why is depreciation unjust?


Truth: Justice in Word

1. Name a sign by which we may discern truth.

2. Describe Botticelli’s ‘Calumny.’

3. What instruction does the picture offer?

4. How does Wesley distinguish between ‘lying and slandering’?

5. How was envy regarded in the Middle Ages?

6. Show the danger of calumnious hearing and calumnious reading.

[p II:219]

7. What misfortune has befallen the fanatic?

8. How does Bacon describe ‘the sovereign good’?


Spoken Truth

1. What is veracity?

2. Show the error of qualified statements.

3. Show that scrupulosity is not veracity.

4. That exaggeration is mischievous as well as foolish.

5. Why is it not truthful to generalise upon one or two instances?

6. What temptations attend the desire to make a good story?

7. Distinguish between essential and accidental truth.

8. Show the value of fiction in this respect.

9. Show that fiction affects our enthusiasms, and even our religion.

10. Distinguish in some Bible stories between accidental and essential truth.

11. Which of the two is of vital consequence to us, and why?


Some Causes of Lying

1. How would you characterise lies told to lower another in the esteem of his friends?

2. Comment upon cowardly lies.

3. Show that the habit of reserve is akin to the lie of concealment.

4. Show the folly of boastful lies.

5. Show the danger of indulging in romancing lies.

6. Show that we owe truth to our opponents.

7. What four qualities sustain truth?

[p II:220]


Integrity: Justice in Action

1. Show that a ‘ca’ canny’ policy is dishonest.

2. By what standard is the work of every person judged?

3. In what sense are we all paid labourers?

4. Show that integrity of character is of slow growth.

5. Why is ‘Do ye nexte thynge’ a part of integrity?

6. Why does it belong to integrity to do the chief thing first?

7. And also to finish that which we have begun?

8. Show that drifters and dawdlers fail in integrity.

9. That the person who cribs time also fails.

10. Show the importance of integrity in the use of material.

11. How does this principle apply to small debts?

12. And to bargains?

13. And to the care of our neighbours’ property?


Opinions: Justice in Thought

1. Give examples of opinions that are of no value for three different reasons.

2. When is an opinion of value?

3. Why need we have opinions at all?

4. Distinguish between a faddist and a reformer.

5. Mention a few matters upon which we must form opinions.

6. Why should we be at pains to form opinions about books?

7. What sort of books are of lasting value to us, and why?

8. Give half a dozen counsels with regard to forming opinions.

[p II:221]


Principles: Justice in Motive

1. Why are our ‘principles’ so called?

2. Show that principles may be bad or good.

3. How are we to distinguish between bad and good principles?

4. ‘Our principles are our masters.’ What is our duty with regard to them?


Self-ordering: Justice to Ourselves

1. What is our duty towards our bodies?

2. Indicate several ways of being intemperate.

3. Show that soberness includes more than abstinence from drink.

4. What habit leads to the four kinds of physical vice?

5. What changes mark the parting of the ways?

6. Why does the drunkard drink?

7. Indicate his fate.

8. In what sense may we say that God puts us ‘en parole’ in the matter of self-indulgence?

9. Show that excitement is a kind of intoxication.

10. Show that gluttony is as offensive as drunkenness.

11. Show how interests in life are a safeguard against offences.

12. What is a common symptom of slothfulness, and what is the cure?

13. Of the four roads to ruin, which is the worst?

14. What caution and what command should help to safeguard us?

[p II:222]



1. What do boy and girl alike desire about the work they will have to do?

2. How is it possible to prepare for our calling when we do not know what it will be?

3. How may we get the habit of being of use?

4. Show how the law of habit may help us or hinder us.

5. Our calling comes to each of us. What must we do towards it?



1. How is the body sustained, and how ruined?

2. With what powers fitted to deal with knowledge is the mind endowed?

3. What functions serve the same purpose for the mind as do the appetites for the body?

4. Name some of the virtues which belong to love, and some of those which belong to justice.

5. What virtues include the justice we owe to our own bodies?

6. Why are body, heart, and mind in need of government?

7. What are the governing powers?

[p II:223]





The Court of Appeal

1. In what ways may conscience be figured by a judge in a court of law?

2. To what two or three facts does conscience continually bear witness?

3. Why is it possible for conscience to give wrong judgments?

4. What advocate is employed to tamper with conscience?

5. Why is it necessary that conscience should be instructed?


The Instruction of Conscience

1. Upon what teachers does conscience depend for instruction?

2. Account for the value of the teaching given by history and biography.

3. For the peculiar value of the Bible as our instructor in morals.

4. How does poetry teach us?

5. Why is the teaching of the older novelists and dramatists to be preferred?

[p II:224]


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Temperance

1. Give two or three examples from literature of intemperance in eating.

2. In drinking.

3. In taking our ease.

4. In day-dreaming.

5. What is Carlyle’s counsel about work?

6. What principle underlies temperance?

7. Why may we not be solicitous about health?

8. Show that neglect, also, of the physical nature arises from intemperance.

9. Give a few rules for the ordering of our physical life.

10. Why is it necessary to have clear principles as to our duty in this matter?


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Chastity (Part I.)

1. How do over-fond friendships affect chastity of soul?

2. ‘Yet how have I transgressed?’ What lesson for our own lives does this question of the King (Edward II.) bring home?

3. Why are we not free to give ourselves without reserve?


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Chastity (Part II.)

1. Cite some examples of sane and generous friendships.

2. What rules for self-government may we deduce in each case?

3. What two classes of friends claim our loyalty?

[p II:225]


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: The Final Unchastity

1. Show the effect of dalliance in devious ways.

2. What habit prepares the way?

3. With what monster of our nature must we dread to be at death-grapple?

4. Where does safety lie?

5. How may we keep ‘a virgin heart in work and will’?


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Fortitude

1. Describe Botticelli’s ‘Fortitude.’

2. Name some points in which Isaiah sets forth an image of fortitude.

3. From two or three examples show that there is an element of tenderness in fortitude.

4. Show that Sir Kenneth in The Talisman offers an example of fortitude.

5. Give an example of fortitude under vexatious provocations.

6. Of cheerful, serviceable fortitude.

7. What of the ‘black ribbon’ when things go wrong?

8. Show that fortitude belongs to the body.

9. What is the apostolic injunction as to fortitude?


The Rulings of Conscience in the House of Body: Prudence

1. Illustrate the fact that ‘imprudence is selfishness.’

2. Show that prudence is necessary in our affairs.

[p II:226]

3. In the choice of our friends.

4. How does prudence act with regard to undue influence?

5. Show that prudence prefers simplicity to luxury.

6. That prudent citizens are the wealth of the state.

7. What does the simplicity of prudence allow us in our surroundings?

8. ‘My servant shall deal prudently.’ How was this fulfilled?



Opinions ‘in the Air’

1. What part of our living do we emancipate from the judgment of conscience?

2. Show the danger of casual opinions.

3. How does a fallacy work?

4. Give four rules that should help us in this matter of opinions.


The Uninstructed Conscience

1. Show that, in everyone, conscience is persistent upon some points.

2. How do you account for moral instability, and by whom is it shown?

3. Show, by example, that a nation may be unstable.

4. Illustrate the danger of a besetting idea.

5. Indicate some of the perils of moral ignorance.

[p II:227]

6. Show that undue scrupulosity is an outcome of ignorance.

7. What moral advantage, exactly, has the instructed over the uninstructed conscience?


The Instructed Conscience

1. Show, by some examples, that sound moral judgment is a valuable asset.

2. Distinguish between the power to form moral judgments and the power to live a virtuous life.

3. How are we to get the former power?


Some Instructors of Conscience: Poetry, Novels, Essays

1. Show that the power of poetry to instruct conscience does not depend on its direct teaching.

2. Indicate the gradual way in which Shakespeare influences us.

3. To what purpose should we read novels, and what sort of novels should we read?

4. Why should essays be studied for instruction?


Some Instructors of Conscience: History and Philosophy

1. Why does history make great claims upon us at the present time?

2. Distinguish between the informed and the ignorant patriot.

[p II:228]

3. Illustrate the need there is for some study of philosophy.

4. By what means should we reach our convictions?

5. Illustrate, by the behaviour of Columbus.

6. How may we distinguish a ‘message’ from a fanatical notion?

7. Give one secret of safety in matters of philosophy.


Some Instructors of Conscience: Theology

1. Most people ‘live a poor, maimed life.’ Why?

2. Contrast our Lord’s method of teaching with all usual methods.

3. Account for the fact that our Lord’s sayings are ‘hard’ intellectually as well as morally.

4. ‘They sit in darkness.’ Who sit thus, and wherefore?

5. Where is the harm of occupying our minds about questions of criticism?

6. Have we any indications that we are declining from the knowledge of God?

7. What is the one vital question for us all?

8. When are the little religious books we use unwholesome?

9. What should we bear in mind regarding the authors of the Scriptures?

10. What may we look for in the lives of men as told in the Bible?

11. Show that the revelation contained in the Bible is unique.

12. What two laws would appear to regulate the revelations given to the world?

13. What reflections should safeguard us from the ‘Lo, here!’ of each new religion?

14. What is our hope of distinguishing between the merely human and the inspired elements in the Bible?

[p II:229]

15. How may we discern the essential truth in Bible narratives?

16. Show that the disregard of life which shocks us in some of these is paralleled in our own day.

17. Is there any key to the mystery?

18. Why is it necessary to put away prejudices and misconceptions regarding the Bible?

19. What is the penalty of ignorance about God?

20. Show that the common notion of God as an ‘indulgent’ Parent is unfounded.

21. Why is every slight record of Christ in the Gospels momentous to us?

22. Name any arguments that present themselves to the mind of a Christian in answer to the statement that ‘miracles do not happen.’

23. Show that the words of Christ are more amazing than the miracles of the Gospels.

24. Why may we not accept the modern tendency to reservation on the doctrine of the Resurrection and the Incarnation?

25. What is the peril concealed in trivial doubts?

26. What would you say of the temper which examines, and finally cherishes, every objection presented to the mind?


Some Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art

1. Show that ignorance is a vice in regard to the things of nature.

2. In what two ways does nature approach us?

3. Show that nature is an instructor in our duty towards God.

4. That nature moves us to gratitude.

[p II:230]

5. Show that preoccupation of mind has of late shut out this teaching from us.

6. What instruction has science for the conscience?

7. Distinguish between science and scientific information.

8. What duty is laid upon conscience with regard to science?

9. With regard to art?

10. In what spirit should we approach art?


Some Instructors of Conscience: Sociology

1. Why is it necessary to understand how other people live?

2. Why is casual help usually a hindrance?

3. What are the conditions of helpfulness?

4. In what sense is it wisdom to know ourselves?

5. What have you to say of the greatness of human nature?



Conviction of Sin

1. What is the office of conscience?

2. What convictions appear to be common to all men?

3. Show that religion is not a substitute for the instructed conscience.

4. Name three habits of mind, either of which may stultify conscience.

5. Show that the uneasiness of conscience testifies to sin.

6. How do our sins of omission affect us?

7. Show that the chiding of conscience is a thing to be thankful for.

[p II:231]



1. How does temptation come upon us?

2. Whence does temptation arise?

3. What is the secret of heroic lives?

4. How is a trusty spirit trained?

5. What is our part, that we may not enter into temptation?

6. Is it possible for penitence to become an error?

7. What is its due place?

8. What do you understand by, ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins?’


Duty and Law

1. Why is it wrong to do ‘wrong’?

2. What is ‘wrong’?

3. In what various ways have people answered these questions?

4. May we excuse wrong-doing because it is ‘human nature’?

5. Contrast the serenity of the enlightened Christian conscience with the uneasiness of superstition.

6. Why is it a delight to perceive and to fulfil the law?




The Will-less Life

1. Show that it is possible for conscience, love, intellect, reason, to behave whimsically and unworthily.

[p II:232]

2. What power within us has the ordering of the rest?

3. Show that it is possible to live without the exercise of will.


Will and Wilfulness

1. Show that wilful persons are of various dispositions.

2. What is the common characteristic of wilful persons? Give examples.

3. Contrast the behaviour of wilfulness and of will.

4. Give some examples of will-power and wilfulness from Scott.

5. Class a score or so of persons (in literature or history) on each side of a dividing line—on one side, the wilful; on the other, persons who will.

6. Instance nations that fall on either side of such a line. Why?

7. Describe the teaching which has weakened the will-power of Western nations.

8. What is our Lord’s attitude in this matter?


Will not Moral or Immoral

1. Show that will may act towards good or evil ends.

2. That a person of will may use bad means towards good ends.

3. Distinguish between ‘will’ and ‘an ideal.’

4. What curious question on this subject does Browning raise?

5. What is the distinctive quality of a man?

6. ‘Thus far we have seen’—what six points concerning the will?

[p II:233]


The Will and its Peers

1. Show that the will is subject to solicitations.

2. That the will does not act alone.

3. What is the business of will?

4. When exercised, and upon what?


The Function of Will

1. What single power of man is a free agent?

2. What is the one act possible to the will?

3. Account for our increasing inability to choose.

4. Show the evil of ready-made garments and ready-made opinions.

5. Why may we choose for ourselves only, and not for others?

6. How would you reconcile the two duties of choice and obedience?

7. Distinguish between the obedience of habit and that of choice.

8. What is it that we are called upon to choose between?


The Scope of Will

1. Show how allowance may do duty for will-choice.

2. Contrast the behaviour of will and allowance at the tailor’s, for example.

3. Is it necessary to make a choice of will, at first hand, on all small occasions?

[p II:234]

4. How does the fallacy underlying the ‘newest and cheapest’ lead us astray?

5. What great will-choice is open to us all



1. What is to be said about moral self-culture for its own sake?

2. How does absorption of any kind affect others?

3. Show the difference between absorption as a phase, or for a purpose, and self-absorption.

4. Describe a better way than moral self-culture.

5. Show that what we call ‘self-denial’ is impossible to love.

6. In what sense does our Lord claim self-denial from us?


The Effort of Decision

1. How do we try to escape the effort of decision?

2. Sum up the sort of creed held in the name of ‘Toleration.’

3. Describe a picture of Ludwig Richter’s showing how ‘Providence’ and ‘freewill’ co-operate.

4. How may we distinguish a decision of will from one of ‘allowance’?

5. What two assets does the person who uses his will gather through his life?

6. Show how these serve him on small and great occasions.

[p II:235]



1. Give two or three examples of the history of resolution.

2. What truth is figured by the nimbus of the pictured saint?

3. When does ‘influence’ become injurious?

4. From what sort of influence must we safeguard ourselves?

5. The influence of a person is in the ratio of––?

6. What several acts of the will are required of us?


A Way of the Will

1. Sum up the conclusions arrived at so far with regard to the will.

2. What is to be said to persons of good-will who dread temptation?

3. Particularise the postern to be guarded.

4. The porters on guard.

5. Shall we fight or run away?

6. In what ‘way of the will’ does our safety lie?

7. Show that the same rule (what rule?) applies to intellectual and moral insurgent ideas.

8. Show how our Lord’s condemnation of fallacies proves that opinions are judged upon moral grounds.



1. Why is it important to know all we can about the behaviour of the will?

[p II:236]

2. Sum up (again) the sixteen, or so, points we have endeavoured to make, so far.

3. Distinguish between the man of good-will and the conventional person.

4. What two services are open to men?

5. What is the distinguishing mark of freewill?

6. ‘The poet has said the last word’; what is it?




The Capacities of the Soul

1. ‘We wonder whether we are indeed finite creatures’; give four or five grounds for such wonder.

2. Show the limiting and deceptive nature of our ordinary religious thoughts.

3. Show in what respect the needs of the soul are satisfied by God alone.


The Disabilities of the Soul

1. Name some of the chronic disabilities of the soul.

2. How may we discern in ourselves ‘the inert soul’?

3. What is the cure of this soul-ailment?

4. How does preoccupation affect our relations with God?

5. Show how our ‘involuntary aversion’ to God may really be of service.

6. Distinguish between voluntary and involuntary aversion.

7. Show the supreme importance of will-choice.

[p II:237]


The Knowledge of God

1. What is the condition on which we may have the one satisfying intimacy?

2. What persons have capacity for this intimacy?

3. What tokens of the divine friendship may we look for?

4. Name some of the ways by which the knowledge of God may first come to us.

5. Show that the Bible is the immediate source of such knowledge.

6. In what respect does the Bible stand alone among the great writings of the past?

7. Show how fit and necessary the knowledge of God is to the soul of man.

8. Is this knowledge inevitable?



1. Describe some of the movements of unconsidered prayer.

2. Some of the responses to these.

3. What two requirements of the soul are thus met?

4. What are some of the uses and occasions of habitual prayer?

5. How may we serve the world in our habitual prayers?



1. What causes restrain us from the gratitude we owe?

2. ‘My rising soul surveys’—what occasions for being thankful?

[p II:238]

3. For what, besides our ‘meat,’ may we well ‘say grace’?

4. Why does it matter that we should thank God?



1. Show that ‘praise’ implies more than thanksgiving.

2. Whom do we think of as being endowed with the right to praise God?

3. Show that ‘praise’ is our duty also.

4. Name some occasions of praise discovered by the Psalmist.

5. What persons, to-day, especially afford us themes for praise?


Faith in God

1. Why do we find it perplexing to be told we must ‘believe in God’?

2. How does faith come?

3. Show that we have faith in each other.

4. That there are two sorts of faith in persons.

5. Show that faith of both sorts is due to God.

6. How shall we know if we have the faith of recognition?

7. Show that faith is an act of will.

8. Show that to believe in God is a duty required of us.

9. Is this duty fulfilled in the service of men?

10. Show that no article of the Christian (or of the Apostles’) Creed appeals to our understanding.

11. That all the great things of life also are mysteries.

12. Show that Christianity means the recognition of Christ.