"Human Betterment" has been delivered, as an address, in various parts of the colony, and is now published by desire of the National Council of the Women of New Zealand. The writer wishes to thank the National Council, and the many true-souled men and women who have helped her in trying to advance the Great Cause. She will be glad to receive correspondence tending to the increase of knowledge relative to the prerogatives of noble parenthood
Wilhelmina Sherriff Bain.Remuera, Auckland, N.Z.
August, 4, 1901.
approach my theme with reverence, conscious that it is one of the very greatest the human mind can contemplate. The subject is as wide as it is high, and I shall but touch its fringes, in the hope that some additional attention may be directed to the true mode of effecting human betterment.
Possibly it may be objected, here and there, that this true mode cannot fittingly be represented by one who has not herself experienced the supreme glory of womanhood; and yet, perhaps, unusual opportunities of observation, and intense realisation of the fraternity which links every grade of existence to its Supreme Source, may be admitted to atone—in some degree—for the disadvantage.
Again, it may be urged, the subject is one that should be reserved for exclusive consideration. But, we meet, in sacred assembly, that we may study, together, the matters of the soul—the soul which, in this stage of being, functions by means of physical organism. We meditate, together, on our past, our present, and our future; we read, together, in the Book of Books, the most direct expressions in all literature regarding the whole constitution of humankind.
Then, it is sometimes thought, the Church and the Bible sanctify any topic; but, otherwise, extreme reserve should be maintained in certain directions. One country surpasses all others in its silence on vital concerns; and this country—the beloved fatherland of some of us—holds a sad distinction in flagrant immorality.page 4
Here we have correlative facts. Do not they suggest that, while the innocence of instruction holds itself calmly and serenely strong throughout the journey of life, the innocence of ignorance is a weakling which may bend, may break, before the first passion it encounters? Do not they also suggest that human existence gains in dignity by every effort which tends toward the solidarity of the race?
The ancient theory of dual souls has of late years been strangely revived. Whatever of fiction or of truth the beautiful idea may contain, it teaches plainly one simple lesson: the profit of either sex is the profit of its complement, and the mutual contemporaneous gain of man and woman forwards irresistibly the general welfare.
Still, a critic may suggest, we colonials know little of the wide world's actualities, and cannot duly estimate the potencies of environment. We have, thank God! no women chain-makers and no women nail-makers in our midst; but, ashamed as we are that there still toil on such victims of the social fabric in great and opulent England—we, too, are devotees of competitiveness—we, too, are busily producing the fruits of that pernicious system. We are manufacturing like conditions, and must expect like consequences. Already our large towns repeat only too faithfully some of the worst features of civilisation. Already, in our New Zealand waters, we have stokers who resignedly anticipate death at forty-five; because, perforce, they slave in Tartarus!
Also, mistaken ideals of domestic management bring monotonous indoor drudgery to the wives and mothers of New Zealand just as to women in older countries. It is pitiful to know that in every hundred little houses a hundred women are banding over a hundred fires, when food for the hundred families could be prepared with more abundance, more variety, and more economy, by an expert—and trained assistants—in one establishment. This central kitchen could be connected with suites of apartments: a social hall for social dining, and rooms for those who prefer separateness; all sumptuously and elegantly supplied, at less cost to the individual than the meals of to-day. Housekeepers who so desired could telephone orders to the central bureau more expeditiously than they now instruct their butchers, bakers, milkmen, grocers, greengrocers, coal merchants and carriers to bring raw page 5 material for the cooking and washing-up which form the routine of weeks and months and years to millions of women; these orders could be suitably delivered; and, later on, the debris cleared away according to arrangement. The bureau would also be a training institution, giving scientific and practical instruction in cooking, cleaning, and laundering, and bestowing certificates which would raise the status of the work and the workers far above their present level. Many other expansions would inevitably follow; all cooperative; all tending to gratify the need that each human being has for other human beings; all ministering to that mutuality of appreciation which is the delight of every noble heart.
William Wallace levelled the first blow at feudalism when he taught the people of Scotland that they were no mere vassals, but men and women with human claims; the last blow is being struck now when the problem of domestic service is everywhere discussed. The so-called "servant girl difficulty" has assumed international proportions. A New Zealand phase of the matter is the suggestion that Japanese men should be imported to do our domestic work; but the complications of this idea are so many and so obvious that they need not be at present discussed. Some such plan as that of central bureaux is much more likely to be evolved out of conditions which make the kitchen the topic of conversation wherever women come together, and which render the vast majority of women old before their years—unfit to be the glad and bright helpmeets of their husbands, unfit to be the mothers of healthy and happy progeny. The ordinary woman finds it impossible to be true to her own higher self when she has so much interminable washing, scrubbing, tidying, making, mending, cooking, and washing-up to attend to. Her noblest duties and privileges are those which appear to be the most easily neglected, and the energies which might have become manifest in glorious children are worn out in work, and worry, and vitiated air. The extraordinary woman of any country rises above the very worst of these disadvantages, and surrounds herself with love and peace.
Environment is a tremendous factor in the possibilities of being, but it tends to modify rather than to originate. The creative faculty is given to parents, and much more especially to mothers. The father has direct vivifying potency, with subsequent indirect influences; the mother contributes the actual germ, and page 6 all the interdependencies of her own system during the cryptic period, and then nourishes and is mainly instrumental in developing the new life when it has been ushered upon time.
The gifted and instructed mother can endow her child with characteristics superior to the environment of its birth. Almost every woman is unselfish enough to devote her maternal capacities in this way, if only she were aware of her marvellous powers. Thus it becomes the duty of all true lovers of humanity to spread the beautiful knowledge: those who are in more favorable surroundings to those who are in less favorable; so that, ere long, the modifying—and modifiable—environment will itself become elevated by the improved persons constantly being born.
Heredity, environment, spiritual influx: the mother, and the mother alone, can blend these forces in celestial unison!
* * * * * *
Our social life is very difficult. It is built on such a terribly false basis that it must of necessity be full of trouble, disappointment, and hard fruitless toil. It is built on the foundation of selfishness—on the conviction that each individual is a unit apart from all other individuals'; that each family is a unit apart from all other families; that each town, each country, each nationality must fight for itself against all the rest of the world.
This conviction is directly opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. The opening phrase of the prayer he bequeathed to us gives marvellous suggestion of our one and infinitely protective Source. When the human race has learnt to meditate aright on the words: "Our Father," it will truly recognise the divine brotherhood they imply. The lesson was inculcated by our great Master on every possible occasion. He said: Love thy neighbor; and, yet further, Love thine enemies; then, in simple concise language he codified for us a rule to guide us in every relationship of existence: Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you!
How different from the multitudinous and complex laws enacted by every civilised government! Laws so multitudinous that the people to be governed by them do not know one-hundredth page 7 part of them, and so complex that they enforce long years of study upon the huge armies of experts who gain their livelihood by giving opposite interpretations to these same statutes! We cannot doubt that legislation tries to construct itself on the principles of justice. But it gropes very feebly, and it gropes in the dark, because it will not behold the light of heavenly love.
Every earnest mind, every sympathetic heart, saddens over the sorrows of humanity. They press around us on every side, and noble schemes of reform are constantly being tried. But, when these have any measure of success, they are slow and partial in operation, and they frequently generate new difficulties which they have no power to cope with.
The methods of cure are never so satisfactory as those of prevention, and it was by the methods of prevention that the great Reformer worked and showed us how to work. He said: Except ye be born again ye cannot be saved. Let us try to understand the meaning of these words. It is intensely spiritual; applying not only to this sphere, but to the sphere beyond the grave. Everything we do, every word we utter, every thought we conceive, has consequences in time and in eternity that affect ourselves and others. Of our own strength we cannot fulfil, we cannot even estimate this responsibility. By the light of reason we may try to regulate our actions and our words so as to do good and not evil; but our inmost thought needs higher guidance. And it is the thought that is the individual. We may unconsciously deceive ourselves by generous deeds and pure expressions but thought is selfhood, and persists when nothing remains to cloak it.
If we imagine a state of existence in which we shall be seen as we are, we can scarcely support the idea. We feel that we must have some little shroud to keep our consciousness a thing apart. And yet, even here and now, we are seen as we are; not by the world manifest to our senses, but by that other world in which also we abide. We are surrounded by hosts of witnesses: in the sunshine, in the darkness, in the street, and in our most secluded chambers. We cannot flee from them; because we are spirits incarnate, and they are spirits excarnate.page 8
This knowledge that we mortals live in two worlds has never yet been generally appreciated. The Bible and other inspired books abound in it; but we have explained and interpreted the truth as a truth of past epochs. The great poets, the true seers of every age, have beheld the Unseen, and we have considered them dazzled by the aberrations of their own genius. Here and there the humble mourner has been comforted by dreams or visions, and we have respectfully pitied his fond delusion. But the evidences are fast increasing in every land, and minds of every pitch are symphonising in the discovery of the wondrous glory which material sense veils from our gaze.
When the world-wide revelation does come, it will give ideals very different from those of to-day. We shall learn that moral worth is the only real excellence, and that unselfishness is the key to open the gates of Paradise. We shall learn that human experience is granted us so that we may individualise in moral growth, and that the use we make of earthly opportunity decides our stage of progression beyond the grave. We shall learn that the body must not be the master of the spirit, but must be its minister; for the spirit is so encased that of necessity it acquires knowledge through the body, and this knowledge cither helps forward or retards its eternal well-being. We shall learn that motherhood is the sublimest privilege of humanity; that it has potencies unimagined to-day by the great bulk of the race; we shall learn that motherhood decides the character of the unborn.
Then we shall recognise the futility of curative reform; we shall see that the unequal distribution of wealth, and all the miseries which flow from the competitiveness of selfishness, are evils which will perpetuate themselves under one form or another until we, humankind, are "born again" in the likeness of our Elder Brother.
It may be felt that this "re birth" is but an extravagant phrase; that our own habits and the habits of our surroundings constrain us to go on day by day and year by year in grooves out of which we cannot escape; and that, too frequently, the person who tries in every particular to live the Christ life is incompetent to hold his own in the struggle for existence.page 9
The difficulties are indeed great, but they do not amount to impossibility. Most of us have been privileged to know some simple modest soul, striving—not for his own material profit—but for the service he may render to others; fearing neither poverty, nor disease, nor old age, nor death: just quietly unfolding his personality in heavenly trust. Here and there, too, we know of communities of men and women who have come together that they may help each other to follow the Divine Exemplar. But, because the great mass never consider the urgent need to live according to the Sermon on the Mount, or, considering the need, are prevented by the tremendous obstacles, we know that the world is to be saved by women: the mothers of the present and of coming times.
Motherhood can and will regenerate our race. It must, however, as a first condition, recognise its own duties, its own functions, its own almost illimitable capacities. The criminal carelessness of to-day—which regards children as a haphazard result of mere bodily intimacy—to be refused existence it may be—to be anticipated grudgingly or heedlessly—to be relegated to mercenary care, or endured as unavoidable troubles that have to be fed and clothed—or which pampers them in body and mind as the reflex of parental vanity—all this must be replaced by the solemn conviction that the woman who gives birth to a child introduces an immortal being to the earthly stage of its experiences; and that on the aspiration of her own spirit depends the grade of the entity newly brought into this world, and its further development through the physical.
Instead of the headlong tumult of passion which seeks its own expression, only—so often—to end there, love will again and again sanctify itself that it may become the fitting warranty of parenthood. Then the wife who desires to be a mother will try to regulate her every thought so that she may be worthy to receive from the Great Source of all Being a germ of divinity., and may be able to fashion its human character in harmony with the Supreme. Pre-natal influences are mysteriously attractive, and still more mysteriously creative. How often do we see a child unlike all its progenitors! How often do we remark that genius page 10 has no ancestry and little or no posterity! And, alas, how certainly we are assured that a loveless pair must have discordant offspring!
We see and we know these facts and others of like significance, but we do not blend their meaning into conduct. The classic Greeks were more thoughtful and more consistent. They were ardent worshippers of human beauty; and, desiring to have beautiful sons and daughters, they adorned their sleeping chambers with marble, which sculptured their exquisite ideals of manly and womanly strength and grace. They gained what they sought—a national face and figure of physical perfection.
Human effort has been applied to the modification of many different kinds of animals, and has invariably succeeded in improving their form and disposition—or in making them approach any desired result. Plant life has been absolutely transmogrified—in numberless instances—by the intelligence of man. But the question of human betterment has been left to lawmakers and reformers; although lawmakers produce lawbreakers, and reform is experimental and uncertain.
Noble motherhood could, in one generation, lift our race to a higher plane; and could, within one century, raise the average individual to the level of glorious strength, beauty, loving-kindness and purity. Let us think of the men and women of past and present times whom most we admire and revere, and imagine the possibility of our lovely planet being wholly peopled by such as they. We find ourselves contemplating "the kingdom of heaven on earth. Our Elder Brother foreknew this kingdom, and taught us to pray for it. Shall we proceed, in the twentieth century, with vain repetitions? Rather let us consider the words: Except ye be born again ye cannot be saved. They are true, strangely and solemnly true for every one of us. Not a fault, not a mistake is obliterated from the book of remembrance until it has been atoned for to the uttermost fraction. We may think we ourselves have forgotten; we may flatter ourselves that no one else has ever known. Vague ideas of the All-seeing Eye may sometimes trouble us, but we allow them to continue vague, fancying that we shall not be held to account so very strictly after all.page 11
But, so soon as we realise our immortality, we also realise that perfection is our goal. Nothing less than perfection can be the aim and object of never-ending existence. We know not what the immeasurable periods may be, how many, and how strange; but we do know that with enlarging consciousness we shall survey the steps of our ascension, more and more able to recognise our own misdoings, more and more willing to acknowledge the divine justice which links all being in one endless chain, so that the secretest error committed by one hurts all, and the cup of cold water administered to the obscurest sufferer is given to the very Lord of Lords!
Order is Heaven's first law. This first law of Heaven is so different from merely human law that it cannot by any possibility be evaded. A coach and six, it is often remarked, may be driven through any enactment in any civil statute book; but there is no power in the whole cosmos that can infringe—in the slightest degree—the law by which the Absolute makes manifestation: the law of cause and effect. It cannot be broken. It cannot be tampered with. If we ignorantly seek to break the law of cause and effect, we break ourselves, while the law inviolably fulfils its operations. If we think we may tamper, ever so slightly, with this law, cause and effect sweep majestically on—and we are left with a bitter harvest. "As ye sow, ye shall reap" is the decree of infinite, eternal justice: infinite throughout infinitude, eternal throughout the time which had no beginning and will have no end.
We are born again when, humbly and reverently, like little children, we come into the realisation of this law. Then we see that there is no other law, truly so-called, and that there is no possibility of happiness outside its observance.
Now let us revert to the responsibility which rests upon motherhood. Thoughts are things. This is no idle phrase. It is the simple expression of an overwhelming fact. Our thoughts project themselves far into infinite space, interblending with emanations from other beings, interweaving our destinies with all the marvels of the Seen and the Unseen. Were we sensitive enough, we should be able to perceive the thought radiations from ourselves and from our surroundings near and remote. Even as we page 12 are, we can feel many an influence unexpressed in words; every house has its mental atmosphere, which affects the most casual visitor; every person has his own aura, which envelops him with attractive and repellent forces. The woman who expects to become a mother imprints—consciously or unconsciously—her lightest fancy on the unborn; as she thinks, the hidden germ expands in all its possibilities. Mated in love and nurtured by love her affections brood over the bud enclosed within herself, until love becomes the basic element of the new life being formed. Desiring that her child may be endowed with spirituality, she herself becomes spiritual in every emotion. Eager that it may be specially helpful to humankind in science or in art, she concentrates her own mind upon the thought. Calmly and regularly she performs her duties, conforming to the highest standards and the purest ideals, so that her darling may walk surefootedly through any mists of perplexity and any storms of adversity whatsoever. She freely dispenses the melodies of her own well-ordered existence, and she listens for the music of the spheres, so that her little one may be attuned to the divine harmony. And when the child bursts into the day, she watches every tendency, that it may be trained aright—not by means of repression and opposition—but by the gracious methods which overcome all evil with good. She watches constantly, for she treasures her motherhood as the means of bringing immortality into this mortality, and helping it to function in higher and still higher modes of expression.
Her true mate supports her with his aid and with his counsel; where she might falter he is strong; his love enhaloes the group with mutually tender and sacred regard. Such help is of inestimable value to all women, and many fail in their high and holy office of maternity because it is not rendered to them.
Therefore the woman should choose the man for the great love-worthiness that impels reciprocity between them, and for no other reason. The marriage of spiritual kinship is the only guarantee of wedded happiness, and the only rightful authenticity of parenthood.
* * * * * *page 13
Some contrasting illustrations may be cited here. A most estimable young woman married because she was tired of refusing an importunate lover. She very soon realised her fatal blunder, and in her wretchedness she nearly lost her reason. Her son grew up with marked ability, but peculiar characteristics, which developed into hopeless insanity before he reached manhood. Another girl made the same terrible mistake; finding out, soon after marriage, the despotism and the ugly temper she had bound herself to. She, however, determined that, although fatherhood and all other influences seemed unfavorable, her child should be well born; and nobly she kept her resolve. In diet she avoided all stimulants, using fruit, wholemeal bread, and milk chiefly; in conduct she employed herself actively and wisely, especially exercising her talent in drawing; in every word and as far as possible every thought she remembered that she was modelling a new existence. Her son proved healthy and handsome, a gifted architect, loved and honored wherever he was known.
The infamous Juke family, of New York, descended from five unchaste sisters. They were born, as multitudes are born, with prenatal bias toward evil. At last record they numbered 1200 persons, nearly all of whom were at the time inmates of gaols, poor houses, and houses of evil repute; and nearly 600 of the unhappy creatures wore known to be foully diseased.
Guiteau, the miserable assassin of President Garfield, came into existence without one welcome. His mother hated him and tried by every means to slay him before birth. From earliest childhood his body was diseased, his nervous system was depraved, and his mind was the mind of a murderer.
A traveller in a rough district rested for the night with a family who appeared as uncouth as their surroundings were. One exception, however, was a young girl of gentle loveliness. The contrast impressed the traveller very much. He elicited from the poor work-worn mother that, for some months of her life, she possessed a book which in its turn possessed her. All day she read, and all night she dream ad of, Scott's "Lady of the Lake"; and, when at last her little one was born, she felt that she looked upon another Ellen Douglas.
A poor woman, suddenly compelled to support herself and her unborn child by shopkeeping, was hampered by ignorance of page 14 arithmetic. But, though she had never learnt "the tables," she had concentrativeness, and she used every spare minute in reiterating to herself her doings over the counter. Her son proved a prodigy: one of those infants that occasionally amaze the world by calculations—invariably correct—which stagger all the professors of numeration.
The mother of Huxley had remarkably keen intuitions, and the great biologist proudly told that from her he inherited the swift and clear insight that distinguished him.
Manoah's wife was informed, "by an angel," what she must not eat and must not drink, before Samson was born. Hannah prayed to Heaven for Samuel; and, before his birth, she dedicated him.
Every careful observer can multiply such instances; and every intelligent mother—when her attention has been drawn to this great subject—can recall some of the causes which differentiate each child she has borne from all other children.
* * * * * *
With right conditions preceding nativity, and with that gradual leading-out of all the faculties which alone deserves the name of education: the mode which begins in the very cradle; which brings the growing intellect into closer and closer comprehension of Nature; which vanquishes the ape, the wolf, the tiger, by nourishing the splendid manhood, or womanhood, that is to be—with these just advantages of heredity and environment, humankind will develop in physical strength and grace, in mental power and flexibility, in spiritual fervor and purity, far beyond its possibilities by any other method. The bulwarks which society now erects against the horrors of its own production: prohibitive measures, penal codes, police, gaols, armies, foundling hospitals, homes for the aged poor—all these will melt away in the nothingness of a fevered past. The long, long night will vanish; and, in the effulgence of a new era, the world will begin to appreciate the marvellous perfection of Heaven's first law.
We look to-day toward the abject millions of India, we consider the teeming hordes of China, we glory in born leaders, we notice the characteristics which differentiate the members of every page 15 family, we enrich ourselves with stores of the most significant facts. Let us think of the poor little girl-mothers of the apathetic Hindoos, and of the bestial position accorded to women innumerable throughout the vast territories of China; let us remember the great mothers of great men; let us observe the moods which sway the pre-natal period; and, thus reflecting, let us acknowledge the inevitableness of cause and effect. The dancing mote, the mighty sun, the solar system, the universe, other universes, the whole inconceivable cosmos—all that we term matter and all that we term spirit—alike obey this law.
Shall we seek to contravene it, or blindly ignore it? Then suffering will be ours. If we sow the wind we reap the whirlwind, even though we err in ignorance. Pain is our monitress; austere, inflexible. However hard the lesson, however oft repeated, it must be mastered. Nothing perfunctory will serve us; the cold hard word "duty" has no place in the divine lexicon. Any reform that begins on the outside will only harass and delay our betterment, for all real growth proceeds from within.
The chords of life thrill with gladness when the individual enters into unison with immutable law; they vibrate the happiness of consonance with its majestic harmony. The race awaits this supreme development. All its poverty, famine, disease, warfare, ill-will of every kind, are but the effects of a specific cause, the shrieks of a dissonance that never can become musical. Opposition cannot possibly attune them aright, attempts to ameliorate them will only intensify their jarring influences. Parenthood will subdue them by touching the keynote of universal brotherhood, by endowing the next and successive generations with the invincible courage of fellow-feeling for all that lives. Chiefly the responsibility rests on women, the right divine is almost wholly theirs.
O responsibility superb! O right divine, which out glows the lustre of any kingly crown! Loving purely, women will conceive in purity, loving wisely they will nurture the unborn with spiritual sustenance—fashioning a temple worthy of an immortal spirit. No anger shall disturb those holy months, no malice, no mean intention: peace will be in all their thoughts, and joy, and gratitude. Dwelling in the scene and in the unseen, they will use all material things with temperance and discretion, and they will1 page 16 constantly maintain receptiveness for a spiritual influx that shall, later, evolve in the goodness and greatness of their children.
* * * * *
It may be supposed that there is one fatal flaw in any argument based on the potentialities of enlightened parenthood. "Lasses and lads," it may be exclaimed, "will fall in love and marry in the old haphazard manner to the end of time, regardless of all the dictates of physiology and fitness." But this haphazard manner results from ignorance. Essential knowledge is withheld from young people, or it is allowed to drift to them through the basest channels. Human beings, capable of appreciating their own marvellous complexity, and the onward and upward stages of their own development, are drilled in mere words, drilled—like so many automata-in the names of things, names of places, names of people, until they approach that most impressionable period which awakens a new phase of life within them. They are wholly unprepared for it. They notice the reserve maintained regarding it by those who must know what they are just finding out, and they imitate this reserve in a secrecy which works incalculable harm. Some are swept away by the floodtide of passion, which seems to them ungovernable, because they have not been taught that it can be governed; and they earn a keen futurity of suffering for themselves—and others. Some entwine their youth in an ardent but fleeting fancy, a pretty efflorescence of the spring, only to learn that they must thereafter bear the fetters of mistaken union. Is it right that this haphazard manner should be perpetuated—by heedlessness—or by a spurious modesty which treats the holiest subject under the sun as a thing unclean?
"Nothing is stranger than the rest,
From pole to pole;
The world in the ditch, the egg in the nest,
The flesh, and the soul!"
Very young children can be interested in botany. By kindergarten methods they can be trained to take intelligent delight in the buds and blossoms which symbolise human relationships; and, page 17 step by step, they can be led on to decipher the lovely analogies. By slow degrees, one natural process after another may be observed, and its teachings assimilated; all being interpreted by that spirit of wisdom which sways ever more and more to reverence. Almost unconsciously each tender soul will expand in the unassailable strength of instructed purity; regarding itself as for a while enshrined in a tabernacle not made with hands, and rejoicing in the sacredness of other souls and other bodies.
The true instructor must of course be enthusiastic as well as expert, a lover of his kind, and a devout exponent of Supreme Law. With advancing enlightenment there will be many such; sowing their thrice-winnowed seed in public seminaries; discussing nothing pathological; their commanding theme the very godliness of health, for
"Only Health Puts us Rapport with the Universe.
They will discern character and ability in every expression: in the head, the face, the hands, more especially. When, for instance, they find the posterior section of the brain unduly developed, they will direct energy to the frontal and coronal regions; knowing, as a scientific fact, that the intellectual and spiritual faculties can be, by such effort, wonderfully enlarged; knowing that construction of the noble proves the only real destruction of the ignoble; and knowing that: "Resist not evil, but overcome all evil with good," is a divinely infallible precept. They will never make suggestions of incapacity or wilfully wrong intention; they will hang no battle scenes on the walls; they will commemorate no ferocities of man or beast; Onward and Upward will be their watchword as they point to the glorious and joyous conquests that await our race in the evolution of its finer forces.
Not in vain does such inspiration as Walt Whitman's proclaim:
"Produce great persons, the rest follows!
A great city is that which has the greatest men and women: The place where a great city stands is not the place of stretched wharves, docks, manufactures,' deposits of produce merely;page 18
Nor the place of the most numerous population.
Where the city of the faithfullest friends stands,
Where the city of the cleanliness of the sexes stands,
Where the city of the healthiest fathers stands,
Where the city of the best-bodied mothers stands,
Where equanimity is illustrated in affairs,
Where children are taught to be laws to themselves, and to depend on themselves,
There the great city stands!"
In the meantime, parents have almost exclusive privileges as educators in the best sense, though the future is not very remote which will train all its children in self-knowledge, and in the immutability of cause and effect; thus making them laws unto themselves, able to depend on themselves, splendidly eager to become the builders of great cities over the wide and happy earth.
But now, and for all time, the crowning prerogatives belong inalienably to Motherhood. With its divinely creative and formative powers, enlightened Motherhood will bring such great persons into existence that human betterment will be achieved—bright beyond our brightest dreams.
The century just begun has already been named "The Women's Century," and it will abundantly justify its proud designation. Women will prove themselves the regenerators of humankind. They will arise in their righteousness and declare: "There shall be no disease, no poverty, no crime; there shall be no debasement of any appetite; there shall be no war between individuals or between peoples. We say these things shall no longer be. We—mothers of the world, students of the law which rules infinity—affirm that our children and the children of all future times shall be loving, true, wise, brave, strong, and beautiful in the Universal Brotherhood of Divine Harmony."
* * * * * *
"The soul is of itself, all verges to it;
All has reference to what ensues:
page 19 All that a person does, says, thinks, is of consequence;
Not a move can a man or woman make, which affects him, or her, in a day, month, any part of the direct lifetime, or the hour of death,
But the same affects him or her onward, afterward, through the indirect lifetime;
The indirect is just as much as the direct;
The spirit receives from the body just as much as it gives to the body—if not more.
Not one word or deed but has results beyond death as really as before death.
Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything:
No specification is necessary; all that a man or woman docs, that is vigorous, benevolent, clean, is so much profit to him or her,
In the unshakeable order of the universe, and through the whole scope of it forever."
"Unfolded out of the folds of the woman, man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded;
Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth is to come the superbest man of the earth;
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain come all the folds of the man's brain, duly obedient;
Unfolded out of the justice of the woman all justice is unfolded;
Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy;
For a man is a great thing upon the earth, and throughout eternity; but every jot of the greatness of the man is unfolded out of woman;
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself."
"All, all for immortality!
Love, like the silent light, enwrapping all;
page 20 Nature's amelioration blessing all:
The blossoms, fruits of ages, orchards divine and certain,
Forms, objects, growths, humanities, to spiritual images ripening.
Give me, O God, to sing that thought!
Give me, give him, or her, I love, this quenchless faith in Thee, in Thee!
Whatever else withheld—withhold not from us
Belief in plan of Thee enclosed in time and space:
Health, peace, salvation universal!
Is it a dream?
Nay; but the lack of it the dream;
And, failing it, life's lore and wealth a dream;
And all the world a dream!"
Printed at the Gisborne Times Office, Gisborne.