Skip to main content

Full text of "The ministry of the Sunday School"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



• I < 


The Works of Dn Pattison 

The History of the English Bible 

i2mo, 281 pages. Price, $1.25. 

The Making of the Sermon 

i2mo, 402 pages. Price, $1.50. 

Public Worship 

i2mo, 271 pages. Price, $1.25. 

The Ministry of the Scsnday School 

i2mo, 272 pages. Price, ^i.oo. 

The Bible In the Twentieth Century 

i2mo, 56 pages, paper. Price, 10 cts. 

The Making of William Carey 

i6mo, 40 pages, leatherette. Price, 10 cts. 

Sent postpaid on receipt of price. 

American Baptist Publication Society 

Z430 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia 





'Professor in T{ochester Theological Seminary 

When men do anything for God^ the very least things they never 

know where it will end^ nor what amount of work it will do for 

him. Love's secret^ therefore^ is to be always doing things for 

God, and not to mind because they are such very little ones, 

— Frederick William Faber 


Bmerican JSaptiet publication Societis 


Copyright igoa by the 
AMERICAN Baptist Publication Society 

Published April, 1902 

from tbe Society's own press 

1^^ /v J 

^0 tbe f aculti^ anD StuDente 


IRcQcnVe parfi College 


^be WarttorD ^beological Seminan? 



This book has grown out of the ** Ridley Lec- 
tures " on " The Minister in Relation to Children 
and Sunday-schools/' delivered at Regent's Park 
College, London, in the summer of 1900. The 
same course was given before the students of the 
Hartford Theological Seminary, Hartford, Conn., 
and single lectures in the series have been used 

In preparing them for the press I have widened 
the original scope by adding the lectures which 
deal with the origin, progress, and future of the 
modern Sunday-school. The literary form in 
which they were originally cast when prepared 
for delivery as lectures has been changed some- 
what, the better to appeal to the constituency of 
readers now addressed ; but I have not materially 
altered the aim to which I was committed by the 
Ridley foundation, namely, to deal mainly with the 
minister in his relation to the young people of his 
congregation. The importance of this aspect of 
Sunday-school work, and the slight attention which 
it has so far received, seem to me to justify this dis- 
tinct and definite purpose in the book, even though 

• • 


it now addresses itself to a wider and more varied au- 
dience than that for which it was originally intended. 

I wish to express my grateful appreciation of 
the help which t have received in the preparation 
of this volume from Dr. H. Clay Trumbull, of 
Philadelphia, and his son, Mr. C. G. Trumbull ; Dr. 
C. R. Blackall, editor of periodicals of the Ameri- 
can Baptist Publication Society; and Rev. Carey 
Bonner, general secretary of the Sunday-school 
Union of London. 

The literature of the Sunday-school has now be- 
come very large, and the marginal references in 
this volume will show how much I have been in- 
debted to many writers. Let me make special 
mention of the works on Robert Raikes, by J. 
Henry Harris ; W. H. Watson's ** History and 
Work of the .Sunday-school Union ** ; and Dr. H. 
Clay Trumbull's admirable Yale lectures on the 
Sunday-school ; the report of the World's Sunday- 
school Convention, held in London, in 1889, with 
much statistical literature of the same kind and of 
later date ; and also of Dr. S. L. Gulick's excel- 
lent summaries in " The Growth of the Kingdom 
of God." Many valuable suggestions of a prac- 
tical nature will be found in Dr. Edward Judson*s 
little book on **The Institutional Church," and in 
the "Handbook on Sunday-school Work," by Rev. 
L. E. Peters. 

January i, 1902. ^ • "• "• 



The Bible and the Child i 

The Sunday-school in the Eighteenth Century 47 

The Sunday-school in the Nineteenth Century 75 


The Minister and the Young People of the 
Congregation 105 

The Minister and the Sunday-school 149 

The Minister in the Sunday-school 185 

The Sunday-school and the Twentieth Century 229 


The authority of the Bible the first consideration. The 
Old Testament : Patriarchal times ; the child in the larger 
family of Israel. The New Testament : Jesus now the 
prominent figure. Subsequent Ages : Growth of priestly 
assumption ; the Reformation. The early days of the 
Sunday-school. Inadequate conception of the child's 
nature. Misconception as to pastoral obligations. The 
growth of more healthful views. 


To the young chaplain who inquired of the 
Duke of Wellington whether, in the face of the 
prejudice, superstition, and ignorance of the 
Hindus, it did not seem to him a hopeless and 
extravagant enterprise to preach the Christian 
religion to the people of India, the answer came 
back without a moment's hesitation : " Look, sir, 
to your marching orders — * Preach the gospel to 
every creature.* '* 

This suggests the course for us to pursue in 
considering the duty of the Christian minister in 
relation to the young people of his congregation. 
His work among them, whether in the pulpit, the 
school, or the home ; whether as preacher, teacher, 
or friend, must be settled by the instructions and 
examples which he finds in the Bible. The author 
of this book is the Father of the child. In no 
other volume in all literature is there a gallery of 
children with faces so varied or so interesting. 
Every type of child may be found there, and the 
tenderest as well as the ripest life is set in high 
and inspiring light, and looked at with reference 



not to time alone but also to still wider and more 
lasting relations. So that when we study what 
by precept and example the Bible teaches us as to 
the children, we may expect to find our way direct 
to the will of God in relation to the church in its 
treatment of them, and to that will, also, in rela- 
tion to the minister of his holy religion, who by 
his life and teaching is the servant of the church 
and the messenger of the gospel to the youngest 
lamb of the fold. 

Unquestionably much attention is given in the 
Bible to the lives of children. The charm which 
the book has for those who have not as yet 
caught its deeper notes is due in large measure to 
this. In contrast with other sacred books of the 
ages it is full of child life. In its earlier chapters, 
onward from the voice that calls Cain to account 
for the death of his brother, we are taught the 
lesson, afterward to be emphasized by Jesus him- 
self, that the life of the young is dear to God. 
The destinies of the world seem to travel down 
to Egypt with the lad Joseph, and to rock with 
the infant Moses in his ark of bulrushes on the 
Nile. The helm of history is for the time in the 
grasp of the child. And this in its turn suggests 
that in the sight of God the child is not only dear 
to his heart, but also precious beyond our human 
computation. It is from him that we learn that 
It is 


Awful to behold 
A helpless infant newly born, 
Whose little hands unconscious hold 
The keys of darkness and of dawn. 

The old schoolmaster who always lifted his cap 
to his scholars, as to the future masters of the 
world, was right. Jacob climbing through dubious 
paths to the height of Peniel ; Joseph learning that 
it was not his brethren, but God, who sent him 
down to Egypt; Moses attaining to a diviner 
parentage by refusing to be called the son of 
Pharaoh's daughter ; Samuel waking in the temple 
to a loftier consecration than any Eli could bestow 
as he cries, " Speak, Lord, for thy servant hear- 
eth"; David taken from the $heepfold to feed 
and guide the chosen people ; Josiah crowned a 
child, but not too young to become a reformer as 
well as a ruler — these are lives which in their 
earlier developments are prophetic of the mighty 
power to be wielded through all time by him of 
whom Isaiah cried centuries before his birth, 
'* Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, 
and the government shall be upon his shoulders." ^ 
So true is it that alike in the home, the nation, 
and the whole wide world it is the little child that 
leads. For we have not learned the teaching of 
the Bible aright until from other lips than those 
of Jesus we hear the words which gained a newer 

^ Isa. 9 : 6. 


and deeper meaning as he spoke them : " Except 
ye be converted and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." ^ 

In considering what the Bible teaches as to the 
minister in his relation to children, we will turn, 
in the first place, to the Old Testament. 

When we do so, what impresses us at once, I 
think, is that the whole history of the human race 
strikes its roots in the family. Of Abraham, the 
Lord says : " For I know him that he will com- 
mand his children and his household after him. " ^ 
Here, in germ, is the principle of family training, 
out of which I believe all other training must 
grow. Back of the priest we see the patriarch ; 
back of the church, the family. Abraham was 
the head of the household, and, therefore, its 
minister. You remember how nobly Burns pic- 
tures this high office in the " Cotter's Saturday 
Night," when, bending over the big ha* Bible : 

The priestlike father reads the sacred page, 

How Abram was the friend of God on high ; 
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage 

With Amalek' s ungracious progeny ! 
Or how the royal bard did groaning lie 

Beneath the stroke of heaven' s avenging ire ; 
Or Job' s pathetic plaint and wailing cry ; 

Or rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire ; 
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre. 

1 Matt. 18:3. * Gen. 18 : 19. 


And the patriarchal portrait receives its crowning 
touch when, 

Kneeling down to heaven* s eternal king, 
The saint, the father, and the husband prays. 

The development of the theocracy can be followed 
step by step from the call of Abram — " I am the 
Almighty God, walk before me and be thou per- 
fect " ^ — to the prophecy (among the last words 
of the Old Testament) of the day in which " there 
shall be upon the bells of the horses holiness 
unto the Lord," ^ and through it all no national 
or ecclesiastical changes are suffered to affect 
this fact of the supreme importance of the family 
as the foundation of human society. The insist- 
ence on the duties which the parent owes to the 
child and the child to the parent hinges on the 
truth, never lost sight of for one instant, that God 
is the Father of both the one and the other. In 
other words, it is the religious aspect of the house- 
hold that is of paramount importance. 

To this may be traced the obligation under 
which the parent is laid to train his children. To 
him, and not to priest or instructor, is it said of 
the commandments, the statutes, and the judg- 
ments by which the people were to be guided : 
" Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy chil- 

^ Gen. 17:1. * Zech. 14 : 20. 


dren, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in 
thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, 
and when thou liest down, and when thou risest 
up." ^ The preservation of the national records 
seemed to hinge upon the maintenance of this un- 
written history. So Joshua says to the Israelites, 
when at last Jordan has been crossed and Canaan 
reached : " When your children shall ask their 
fathers in time to come, saying. What mean these 
stones ? Then ye shall let your children know, say- 
ing, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For 
the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan 
from before you, until ye were passed over," and the 
spirit of the theocracy breathes in the final words 
of the passage, " That all the people of the earth 
might know the hand of the Lord that it is mighty : 
that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever." ^ 
Thus is fulfilled the psalmist's aspiration in ages 
long subsequent to this, "Instead of thy fathers 
shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make 
princes in all the earth." ^ Although as the years 
passed on the disposition to do this work of 
parental instruction by proxy and deputy would 
inevitably grow, yet such passages as these, and 
many others like them, would be ready to his hand 
when the national reformer recalled the Hebrew 
to his duties and sounded the keynote of revival 

^ Deut. 6:7. * Josh. 4:21. « Ps. 45 : 16. 


in the heart of the family : ^ " Set your hearts 
unto all the words which I testify among you this 
day, which ye shall command your children to 
observe to do, all the words of this law." And 
for us the insistence upon parental obligation at a 
time when church and school are such convenient 
and capable substitutes for it, and when in the 
vaunt of numbers we are tempted to lose sight of 
the value of each one, is surely of equal impor- 
tance. There was profound wisdom as well as 
shrewd wit in the repartee of Julia Ward Howe 
when Charles Sumner refused to give her help for 
a runaway Negro, saying in his lofty way : " I no 
longer care for the individual ; I am only inter- 
ested in the race,*' and she replied : " I am glad 
that God Almighty has not got quite so far as that 
yet." We may be well assured that he never will, 
and that we, for our part, never ought to. 

To this hour the Jew is the most powerful illus- 
tration of heredity. Find him where you may, he 
cannot be hid. But this law in its very highest 
aspect is expressed in the parting resolve of 
Joshua: *'As for me, and my house,' we will serve 
the Lord." . We have no right to insist upon the 
malign and fatal working of this law of heredity in 
some instances, while laying no stress upon its 
golden fruitage in others. He who by the opera- 

^ Deut. 32 : 46. 


tion of a natural law visits the iniquities of the 
fathers upon the children to the third and fourth 
generation, also makes promise of unspeakable 
blessing to us and to our children if we be obe- 
dient. "The Scriptures," says Horace Bushnell, 
"have a perpetual habit, if I may so speak, of 
associating children with the character and destiny 
of their parents. They do not always regard the 
individual as an isolated unit, but they often look 
upon men as they exist in families and races and 
under organic laws.** ^ 

For here, as elsewhere, example speaks louder 
than precept. The father is a teacher in every 
case. His very silence, his prayerlessness, his 
irreligion, his indifference to the highest claims of 
the soul, come to form a part of the child*s train- 
ing. And equally he who wears the white flower 
of a blameless life in the presence of his family is 
a preacher of righteousness, although his lips are 
inapt to set forth the truth which is incarnate in 
his daily conduct. Both alike illustrate Jean 
Paul's saying that the mother puts the commas 
and semicolons into the child's life, but the father 
the colons and the periods. We remember how 
the twisted strands run, now white and now black, 
through the royal annals of Judah and Israel: 
"Azariah did that which was right in the sight of 

^ "Christian Nurture," p. 39. 


the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah 
had done," or "Jehoiachin did that which was evil 
in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his 
father had done.*' ^ We weary of the swing of 
the pendulum with its monotonous burden imtil 
we reflect that it is the pendulum which always 
and everywhere tells off the history of human 

One more word must be added before we leave 
this point of the duty of the parent under the 
theocracy to train his children in religion. The 
teaching which was prescribed was not so much in 
the history of the nation as it was in the laws of 
God. In our admiration of the heroic deeds by 
which a patriotic ancestry won for us our liberties 
are we not tempted to overlook the principles, 
powerful and sometimes perhaps stern, by which 
their devotion was inspired.^ To "teach and to 
do" were duties which went hand in hand in the 
Mosaic legislation,^ and both were to be practised, 
so that ** thou and thy son and thy son's son, all 
the days of thy life," may flourish and increase in 
the land that floweth with milk and honey. We 
shall see, by and by, in what this instruction 
consisted, but I say this much at once because it 
seems to me of great moment that we should 
recognize that all religious teaching in home and 

^ 2 Kings 15 : 3 ; 2 Kings 24 : 9. ^ Deut. 6. 


church and school must be scriptural. The Bible 
is not only a book of examples, it is also a book 
of precepts. There is law in its life as well as 
life in its law. The unfeigned faith in Timothy,^ 
his inheritance from his grandmother Lois and his 
mother Eunice, came, we may well believe, from 
the fact that from a child he had known the Holy 
Scriptures, which were able to make him wise 
unto salvation. 

We have been speaking hitherto of the child in 
the household where the father was in some very 
important sense priest as well as patriarch. This 
must have continued even after the Jewish hier- 
archy grew in stateliness and splendor. The 
claims of that hierarchy could never supersede the 
rights and duties of the parent toward his sons 
and daughters. To them he stood as the per- 
petual reminder of the relation in which Jehovah 
stood toward each of his children, for, as we 
know, that relation was paternal, never priestly. 
And so by solemn rites the child was early brought 
into another family, wider, more wonderful than 
the little circle at home — I mean the family of 
Israel. The lesser led to the larger, but to each 
the center was the same. There, in the faith of 
the devout Hebrew, rose the august and inspiring 
Presence to whom appeal might be made by every 

II.. _i . .... . _ I 

^ 2 Tim. 3 : 15. 


son of Israel : " Have we not all one father ? hath 
not one God created us ?** ^ 

Into this family the Jewish child was brought 
by a primitive rite which was not peculiar to the 
Hebrews. As consciousness asserted itself and the 
world about him appealed to his heart and mind he 
came to understand to how much this rite admitted 
him and how widespread and how strong was the 
influence of his national religion. That religion 
consisted of two things : ** Knowledge of God, which 
by a series of inferences, one from the other, ulti- 
mately resolved itself into theology ; and service, 
which again consisted of the proper observance of 
all that was prescribed by God and of works 
of charity toward men.** * 

That multitudes initiated into the family and 
trained in its ceremonial observances and in its 
moral code failed to take up their sonship was of 
course true. The personal life, then as now, too 
often proved that all "are not Israel that are of 
Israel.** But my point is not affected by this fact. 
What I aim to make clear is the perpetual pres- 
ence of religion, ritual or moral, during the whole 
life of the Hebrew, and especially for our present 
purpose, during his early years. 

It was never out of sight or hearing with him. 

^ Mai. 2 : lo. 

' Edersheim, "Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of 
Christ," p. 125. 


Occasionally he would be taken up to Jerusalem 
to the great festival, borne thither on a tide of 
expectant or triumphant song and listening to the 
pulsations of the splendid and imposing national 
faith at its fountain head. But independent of 
these special occasions his memory would, from 
the first, be richly stored with sacred associations. 
When his own candle was added to the family 
illumination at the feast of the Dedication ; when 
he took his part in the good cheer of Purim ; 
when the home was abandoned for the booth at 
the feast of Tabernacles, and when with scrupulous 
care the Passover meal was made ready, he would, 
perhaps all unconsciously to himself, associate the 
most gladsome and the most serious moments of 
his young life with religion.^ 

Still more to our purpose is it to follow him in 
his hours of schooling in the precepts of the law. 
By and by parental instruction was supplemented 
by the teaching of the synagogue school. Here 
it was that, as Philo says, the Jews learned from 
their earliest youth to " bear the image of the law 
in their souls.** ^ The vicissitudes of war, civil 
strife, changes of fortune or of place, banishment 
itself, any or all of these might separate the Jew 
from the land of his birth and from the city of his 
solemnities, but the synagogue school was a per- 

. ^Edersheim, ** Sketches," etc., p. io8. 
^Trumbull, "Yale Lectures on the Sunday-school," pp. 7, 8. 


manent institution. Like the pillar in the wilder- 
ness, it went with him always, alike in the daylight 
and in the darkness of his fortunes. Instruction 
in the law came in time to rise above public wor- 
ship among the features of the synagogue. The 
exile multiplied these Bible-schools amazingly. ^ 
At least eleven different expressions were coined 
to describe them. Attendance upon them ulti- 
mately became obligatory. At five years of age 
the Hebrew Bible was to be begun, and that, let 
us notice, not with Genesis, but with Leviticus ; 
not with history, but with law.^ From the age of 
six onward through his whole life the Hebrew 
remained in school. " Entering thus early," says 
Doctor Trumbull, "the Jewish scholar never came 
to an age for graduation from that school. He 
was to continue in it during his earthly life-course 
and at death he was supposed to pass on into the 
heavenly Bible-school beyond." ^ 

We see, then, that the Sunday-school of to-day 
is in the direct line of succession from the Bible- 
school of the Jewish synagogue, and so we can 
understand the satisfaction with which, a century 
or more ago, Robert Raikes, the founder of our 
modern schools, wrote after attending the first 
anniversary of the Sunday-school in an English 
parish church : " The happy choice of a text had a 

^ Trumbull, ** Yale Lectures on the Sunday-school," pp. 8, ii. 
'Edersheim, ** Sketches," p. 130. '**Yale Lectures," p. 192. 


remarkable effect in commanding the attention of 
the audience. The Scriptures could not have 
furnished a passage more literally applicable to the 
subject. It was taken from Deut. 31 : 12, 13: 
' Gather the people together, men, and women, 
and children, and thy stranger that is within thy 
gates, that they may hear, and that they may 
learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to 
do all the words of this law : and that their chil- 
dren, which have not known any thing, may hear, 
and learn to fear the Lord your God/ " ^ 

When from the Old Testament we pass to the 
New, we find no material change in the view of 
infancy, childhood, and youth, as God sees them 
and as he wills that his ministers shall regard 

Now, the prominent figure in our pictures is 
Jesus, the ideal young Hebrew. Glance at his 
own life. A poor woman standing in a London 
gallery before a picture of the Virgin and Child, 
was heard to say, "Who wouldn't be a good 
mother with such a son as that ? '' But that his 
Father's business is calling to him so imperiously, 
we could wish that we knew more of that fair 
childhood and that opening youth. What we do 
know is wonderfully fascinating. In the temple 
at eight days old he was initiated into the family 

1 Gregory's ** Life of Robert Raikes," p. 178. 


of Israel. Over the babe, cradled in his arms, 
devout Simeon broke forth into the prayer which 
in its last words 

Did attain 
To something of prophetic strain. 

In Nazareth, growing in wisdom as he grew in 
age, Jesus was subject to his parents ; and in all 
probability in the synagogue school of the little 
city " he learned his earliest earthly lesson from 
the book of Leviticus.'* ^ 

So he made ready for the visit to Jerusalem 
which was taken " after the custom of the feast '* ; ^ 
and in the higher school, as we may dare to call it, 
in the temple, the boy of twelve found his place 
among the doctors of the law, " hearing them and 
asking them questions, so that all that heard him 
were astonished at his understanding and an- 

Consider the course which Jesus pursued with 
children and young people. Naturally they had a 
great charm for him. Still in his eyes heaven lay 
around them. To have a little child in his arms 
was to come nearer to heaven than he could come 
in any other way. Follower and crowd had to 
stand back when the child appealed to his love. 
There was a depth in the child's wondering glance, 
and a response in the child's simple embrace which 

* Trumbull, p. 29. * Luke 2 : 42. 



he sought for in vain elsewhere. The kingdom of 
heaven was within appreciable reach of the arms 
that held the infant, and the child set in the midst 
of envious and ambitious disciples — a, jewel in a 
swine's snout — preached a silent sermon on the 
humility without which no man can ever be truly 
great. The man whom we think of as the young- 
est and most childlike among the apostles was the 
disciple whom Jesus loved, and the only other time 
when that expression is used is when the young 
ruler kneels at his feet to ask what he shall do to 
inherit eternal life. The young girl at his bidding 
arose from the dead ; and it was a young man, the 
only son of his mother and she a widow, on whom 
he worked the miracle of resurrection at the gate 
of Nain. 

This natural attraction toward the life which 
was still in its springtide comes to have a deeper 
meaning when we listen to the words which fell 
from our Lord's lips as to children. Of such, he 
said again and again, was the kingdom of heaven. 
To despise one of these little ones was the gravest 
offense, " for I say unto you, that in heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father 
which is in heaven." ^ Among the last injunctions 
to Peter was that to " Feed my lambs," which, in- 
terpret it as we may, can scarcely have been spoken 

1 Matt. l8 : lo. 


without some profound reference to the young life 
to be hereafter folded in the church which our 
Lord came to found.^ 

It is to Jesus, then, that we look as the model 
teacher, for while John the Baptist came preaching 
in the wilderness, it was Jesus who rather taught,^ 
beside the lake or in the court of the temple. It 
is in Jesus that we see the model pastor, by his last 
words to Peter and the other disciples giving its 
perpetual place in the Christian ministry to the 
prophecy of Isaiah, *< He shall feed his flock like a 
shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arms, 
and carry them in his bosom.'* ^ 

It is to Jesus also that we turn for the model of 
what each minister should aim to be in his relation 
to the young people of his congregation. More 
than the teacher, more than the pastor, he should 
aspire to be their friend. For the infant in arms, 
for the little child beginning to run, for the young 
man on the threshold of life, Jesus had an irresist- 
ible attractiveness. He had, as no other before or 
since, the one touch of nature which makes the 
whole world kin. And this youth saw and to 
this youth responded, while lives more mature in 
the ways of the world held aloof. 

On the mount of ascension Jesus was parted 
from his disciples and a cloud received him out of 

^ Craft, "The Bible and the Sunday-school/* p. 107. 
* Trumbull, p. 33. ' Isa. 40 : ii. 


their sight. But still the traditional insistence 
upon the value of the child, which lay at the very 
foundation of the Jewish theocracy, and received 
a fresh emphasis from the lips of our Lord, re- 
mained. " For the promise,'* said Peter in his 
address on the day of Pentecost, " is to you, and 
to your children." ^ Children at a very early age 
were baptized and added to the Lord. There is 
nothing which makes Paul so much one of our- 
selves as his tender affection for Titus, " my own 
son," or for " Son Timothy," ^ the heir of his in- 
spiring charges ; or for Onesimus the runaway 
slave, "whom I have begotten in my bonds." In 
Timothy himself we find the earliest example of 
boyhood in a Christian family. " To his recollec- 
tion, there probably never was a time when he did 
not sympathize with the piety so venerable in Lois, 
so lovely in Eunice. He had been trained for 
Christ, and grew up a lamb in the Shepherd's 
fold." ^ 

Paul's Epistles are the witnesses that because a 
boy or girl came into that fold filial duties were 
by no means relaxed. Rather were they strength- 
ened by new and more sacred bonds. *' Children," * 
the injunction now ran, "obey your parents in the 
Lord ; for this is right." Here was a new motive 

^ Acts 2 : 39. 2 I Tim. I : 18. 

' S. G. Green, "Christian Ministry to the Young," p. 18. 

* Eph. 6 : I. 


for a natural duty. You catch its force still bet- 
ter in another form of the same injunction : "Chil- 
dren, obey your parents in all things ; for this is 
well pleasing unto the Lord." ^ The ancient Jew- 
ish conception seems to be lifted into a serener 
light as we listen to John when he begins his sec- 
ond Epistle : " The elder unto the elect lady, and 
her children, whom I love in the truth.'* * 

As to distinct teaching, such as was the strength 
of the synagogue school, it is abundantly evident 
that to it under the new order which was gradually 
growing up, all the old honor was paid.^ Paul, who 
had himself been a scholar in the school of Gama- 
liel, made the synagogue wherever he went in his 
journeys as a Christian missionary the scene of 
careful, patient, exhaustive teaching, while at 
Athens,* in the market-place, every day, he dis- 
cussed the truths of the kingdom with them that 
met with him. There seems, therefore, to be 
some reason in the claim that the ancient Jewish 
schools, which had gained in number and in influ- 
ence after the exile, became now " the fresh start- 
ing points of the Christian church * in all the 
earlier apostolic work under the requirements and 
the authority of the Great Commission.*' The 
Bible-school was literally the nursery of the church. 
"The Apostolic Church,*' as Baron Bunsen says, 

* Col. 3 ; 20. * 2 John i. ' Trumbull, p. 48. 

* Acts 17 : 17. * Trumbull, p. 48. 


"made the school the connecting link between 
herself and the world/' ^ And the Acts of the 
Apostles, which is indeed but the first chapter in 
the acts of the Holy Spirit to which no limit of 
time can be put, closes appropriately with the 
figure of Paul in his own hired house in Rome,^ 
where he received all that came in unto him, 
preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those 
things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with 
all confidence, no man forbidding him." A teacher 
to the last, and so a model for many of us to whom 
may be denied his eloquent tongue, his burning 
zeal, and the varied and adventurous chapters in 
the history of his ministry. 

My reason for pursuing this line of thought will 
be made plain if we pass from this clear, exhilarat- 
ing air into the ages which followed. To do so is, 
little by little, to change our atmosphere for the 
worse. How this happened it is not to our pur- 
pose to describe. The Hebrew conception of the 
home, with its careful training in the law, dies out. 
The apostolic practice of free discussion is trans- 
formed into the medieval pronouncement of dog- 
matic conclusions. The simple rites of the primi- 
tive church stiffen into awful and mysterious 
sacraments. There is little or no home nurture 
encouraged. The child is handed over to the 

1 Trumbull, p. 39. * Acts 28 : 30, 31. 


priest for instruction. The formal catechism, with 
its perplexing definitions, becomes the authoritative 
substitute for the more natural conversation of an 
earlier day. Jesus no longer sits in the midst of 
the doctors, hearing them and asking them ques- 
tions. The child spirit is not now welcome there, 
and the heart of the child beats there, warm and 
responsive, no more. An era comes of hard dog- 
matic theology. In science the Middle Ages 
made the sun go round the earth, substituting 
center for circumference ; and in their religious 
dialectics, by a like confusion between greater 
and less, the world of human life revolves about a 
hard and fast system of thought. In the sphere of 
our own subject the child is made for theology, not 
theology for the child. Among other ominous 
features which mark this changed aspect of the 
Christian faith we note the growth of fear as an 
instrument of spiritual influence. Threats take 
the place of promises, and once more the disciples 
repel the child from the arms of the Master. 

It might be a suggestive inquiry, were this the 
place to pursue it, how far the debased medieval 
teaching as to children in their relation to the 
church cast a shadow over the Protestant Reforma- 
tion, which was a revolt against it, and to what 
extent that shadow lingered in the later Puritan 
teaching, which influences us yet. Because this 
influence has been so virile in its effect on the life 


of the church and the commonwealth we must 
pause for a few moments to glance at one or two 
of its characteristics. 

Let us try to picture to ourselves what religion 
meant to the Puritan boy or girl in the old Eng- 
land of the Ironsides or in the New England of 
the Massachusetts settlers. 

" When your children shall ask their fathers '* ^ 
suggests the Jewish method of teaching. It is 
significant that the question comes from the child, 
the answer from the parent. An exchange of this 
kind has often dismayed the elders as much as if 
the boy had gained possession of the rod or the 
horse of the spur. But in the early Christian time 
the religious teaching, following the Jewish model, 
" was mainly by the approved means of question 
and answer." ^ The word "homily*' suggests that 
in the services of the meeting-house the sermon 
was so free in its cast that questions were en- 
couraged. " Even when the ministry was trans- 
ferred to a designated class of persons this right 
of joining in conversation with the preacher (as he 
discoursed) was not wholly surrendered by the 
congregation." ^ To the neglect and abandonment 
of this wholesome practice we owe it that the tone 
of the preacher became gradually authoritative and 
dogmatic, " As who should say, ' I am Sir Oracle, 

1 Josh. 1:51. * Trumbull, p. 52. ^Ibid.^ p. 54. 


and when I ope my lips let no dog bark.'" The 
Bible-school of Paul and his fellow-apostles (had it 
been preserved) would have held the spirit of 
ecclesiastical assumption in check. The layman 
would have had his chance. Even the child might 
have put his question. The evidence is only too 
abundant that the reverse condition of things pre- 
vailed. The layman who raised his voice was apt ' 
to pay for his contumacy with his life. And even 
under the Puritan rule the child was bidden to be 
seen but not heard. The prevailing impression as 
to children, in the England on either side of the 
Atlantic, seems to have been that they must be 
held in, if not with bit and bridle, then with rod 
and rule. Dr. E. N. Kirk, in our own country, 
recalled the days of his childhood as days " when 
indoctrination and restraint were the highest aim 
of parents, preachers, and teachers.'* 

The Puritan was so much accustomed to be 
persecuted that we need not wonder at his import- 
ing into the theological teaching which he gave to 
his children some of the sterner and harsher 
elements of medieval theology. I cannot think 
that religion to the Puritan boy was so joyous or 
so wholesome a thing as it was to the young He- 
brew. The "New England Primer" was scarcely 
an evolution from the conversations in Paul's hired 
house in Rome, and the " Bay Psalm Book" 
can hardly be put in tune with the jubilant or- 


chestra of the sons of Asaph. To refer to the 
" New England Primer" is to speak of the Ameri- 
can classic of the eighteenth century, about which 
it is no exaggeration to say that •* there never has 
been printed in this country a book laying no 
claim to inspiration whose influence has been so 
extended and enduring as that of the ' New Eng- 
land Primer."* In many respects, I had almost 
said in most, it seems to be a compendium of 
religious faith and practice well worthy of the 
place which it held unchallenged for a hundred 
years in the life of the colonists. All the more 
interesting, therefore, is it to turn to its pages for 
light upon our present subject. There is much 
said and taught as to young people. These four 
lines we are bidden learn by heart : 

Have communion with few, 

Be intimate with One, 
Deal justly with all, 

Speak evil of none. 

Are they not almost cynical in their shrewdness ? 
Certainly they are not likely to promote sociability. 
The "Advice to Youth,*' in another part of the 
book, is not founded on the Gospels, but is a 
paraphrase from the closing words of Ecclesiastes, 
and what we notice is that the burden of its mes- 
sage recalls rather the despair of Anacreon than the 
exhilaration of the last chapter of the Philippians : 


Behold, the months come hasting on 
When you shall say, my joys are gone. 

The view of sin is remarkable chiefly by defect. 
Much stress is laid upon its origin in the heart, 
due to "Adam's sin imputed to me, and a corrupt 
nature dwelling in me," so that this nature is 
" empty of grace, bent unto sin, only unto sin and 
that continually." But little is made of its moral 
heinousness, of the present punishment it brings 
with it, of the shame and degradation into which 
it drags our manhood and womanhood. Even in 
the lines which seem to incline toward a brighter 
view of the possibilities of life, a sudden twist at 
the last brings in the inevitable lash : 

What' s right and good now show me, Lord, 
And teach me by thy grace and word. 
Thus shall I be a child of God, 
And love and fear thy hand and rod. 

This element of fear is rarely absent, but in al- 
most every instance it is dread of future retribu- 
tion rather than of present punishment. At any 
moment that future may become the present, for 

Cruel death is always near, 
So frail a thing is man. 

Even in the famous alphabet from which genera- 
tions of New England children learned their let- 
ters, Y gives us a cut of a boy with a wine cup 


rather larger than his head before him, while the 
skeleton at the feast rises on the other side of the 
table, and the cheerful legend runs : 

While youth do cheer, 
Death may be near, 

and the exigencies of the letter which comes be. 
fore this, — X, — are met by bidding the child to 
say — and how he must have wondered who 
" Xerxes ** was : — 

Xerxes did die, and so must I. 

Probably in all Protestant literature there is 
nothing more sombre or tragic than the " Dialogue 
between Christ, Youth, and the Devil," with which 
this primer concludes. It is at some grotesquely 
terrible twelfth century carving over a cathedral 
portal that we seem to be gazing as we read what 
Death, the last speaker, says : 

Youth, I am come to fetch thy breath. 
And carry thee to the shades of death. 
No pity on thee can I show. 
Thou hast thy God offended so. 
Thy soul and body F 11 divide. 
Thy body in the grave F 11 hide, 
And thy dear soul in hell must lie 
With devils to eternity. 

It almost appears as though the treatment of 
children were somehow turned about since the days 


when Jesus drew the babes to his arms and blessed 
them. The answers in the ** Shorter Catechism " 
are as a rule admirable, and the definition of the 
chief end of man has probably never been ex- 
celled. But to commit these answers to memory, 
as an exercise in sheer mnemonics, must have led 
to a wrong conception of religion. The intellect 
rather than the heart was appealed to. And so the 
mischief made itself apparent when a system or a 
scheme of theology took the place of religion, and 
the decisions of councils or assemblies, embodied 
in carefully weighed phrases, rose between the 
child and the simplicity that is in Christ. It 
seems strange when we remember the picture of 
Philip Doddridge, the little boy, learning the 
Scripture history from the Dutch tiles in the fire- 
place, as he sat on his mother's knee, to hear 
Philip Doddridge the divine saying: •* Without a 
miracle it cannot be expected that much of the 
Christian scheme could be understood by these 
little creatures in the first dawning of reason, 
though a few evangelical phrases may be taught 
(to them), and sometimes, by a happy kind of acci- 
dent, may be rightly applied." ^ In that saving 
clause of concession, "a happy kind of accident,'* 
lay the whole catechetical method, and among the 
triumphs of the evangelical revival, for which no 

^ Trumbull, p. 125. 


man sighed more sincerely or prayed more ear- 
nestly than did Philip Doddridge, the establishment, 
and spread of the Sunday-school is assuredly one 
of the most glorious. 

Striking its roots in the Middle Ages rather 
than in the first days of Christianity, the Puritan 
conception of the child was so much in evidence 
when the Sunday-school system was founded that 
it is well for us to recognize its powerful influence. 
It is impossible to acquit that conception of grave 
injustice to the child himself, and consequently of 
grave misapprehension of the minister's duty 
toward him. 

Was it not a mistake to make religion so largely 
a matter of the understanding, to the neglect of 
the feelings ? To do this (and it has always been 
the weakness of Protestantism) was untrue to the 
child's nature. In it there are wide and fruitful 
margins of imagination bordering the hard, beaten 
track of fact. Nothing in the child's life is felt apart 
from its atmosphere, or looked at apart from its 
sunlight. A child sees each thing in the concrete, 
or else sees it not at all.^ Perhaps in consequence 
of this natural delight in fancy, the child finds very 

1 *' When I say my prayers, ' * a little child said lately, **I al- 
ways see everything. "When I say, * deliver us from evil, ' I see 
God going out with a spear to fight Satan ; and when I say, * for- 
give us our trespasses,* I see him with a big rubber cleaning a 


few difficulties in the narratives of the Bible. 
Often he lives in a world of imagination ; and there 
the axe can swim, and the cruse of salt can heal 
the bitter waters of the fountain ; under stress of 
circumstances there is nothing wonderful in the 
ass speaking, and it was to be expected that the 
whale, being prepared for the purpose, would swal- 
low Jonah. There is no skepticism in a healthy 
childhood, and so the highest science when once it 
recognizes that there are more things in heaven 
and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy, 
sees a new application in those great words : 
** Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as a 
little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of 
heaven." * 

Consider also the misconception which the min- 
ister is likely to form, under the teaching which 
we have in view, of his duties and privileges as the 
pastor of the lambs of the flock. 

The extreme emphasis which the Puritan clergy- 
man placed on a corrupt nature in the child would 
be likely to befog him as he looked at children 
themselves. He would endeavor to make them 
square with his theology, and although it might be 
a task as difficult and painful of accomplishment 
as the Chinese foot-binding, yet it must be done. 
So the child would not be understood ; and here 

1 Matt. i8 : 4. 


as elsewhere ignorance as to your material is likely 
to prove fatal to sound building. Then, in due 
course the time came when the pendulum swung 
to the opposite extreme, and Channing's appeal 
found many responsive hearers : 

You must have faith in the child whom you instruct 
Believe in the greatness of its nature, and in its capacity 
of improvement. . . Have faith in his nature, especially 
as fitted for religion. Do not, as some do, look on the 
child as born under the curse of God, as naturally hostile 
to all goodness and truth. . . Was it an infant demon 
which Jesus took in his arms and said, ''Of such is the 
kingdom of heaven " ? Is the child who, as you relate to 
him a story of suffering or generosity, listens with a tearful 
or kindling eye and a thrilling heart, is he a child of hell ? 
My friends, have faith in the child ; not that it is virtuous 
and holy at birth ; for virtue or holiness is not, cannot be, 
born with us, . . but have faith in the child as capable of 
knowing and loving the good and the true, as having a con- 
science to take the side of duty, as open to ingenuous mo- 
tives for well-doing, as created for knowledge, wisdom, 
piety, and disinterested love.* 

Another evil which may be traced to an erro- 
neous view of the resources and capacities of the 
young, was a disbelief in their early conversion. 
" A New England clergyman's wife," says Dr. 
Trumbull, " told me, years ago, that when, as a 
child, she and one or two of her playmates were 
interested in the subject of personal religion, they 

1 "Works," p. 359. 

'fHE BiBLfi A>^D iHE CMiLD 3^ 

dared not be detected by their parents in social 
prayer, lest their action should be deemed irrev- 
erent, and they were necessitated to seek Christ 
clandestinely/' ^ When the great awakening 
swept over Northampton, in 1734, Jonathan Ed- 
wards was ** amazed at the large numbers of chil- 
dren who professed what he regarded as a genuine 
experience." ^ The truth was that the conception 
of what conversion meant had become inadequate 
to the thing itself. There were no doubt good 
men and true in the churches who were as much 
scandalized at the early devotion of the young as 
were the chief priests and scribes with the children 
of Jerusalem crying their hosannas before the 
Saviour as he entered the temple, and they as 
much as the chief priests and scribes needed to 
lay to heart the psalmist's words : " Out of the 
mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected 
praise. * 

Perhaps it is owing to these unrevised theologi- 
cal conceptions, which had come centuries before 
from the churches that made no place for conver- 
sion in their ecclesiastical arrangements, that the 
Sabbath-school, when first it was proposed in 
America, found little favor with many good people 
and some opposition from others. Professor Aus- 
tin Phelps, in looking back to the days of his child- 

1 Trumbull, p. 174. » Allen's "Edwards," p. 158. 

» Matt. 21 : 16. 


hood, remarks that biblical exposition was not 
common, except in the exercises of public worship, 
and then he goes on to say : 

Nearly all the exposition of the Scriptures which the 
people received was from their pastors and was given by 
them from their pulpits. The formal, religious instruction 
of children at home was confined mainly to two things, 
the Westminster Catechism and the text of Scriptures, 
both of which were committed to memory. Aged persons 
are still living who give evidence of this fact in their own 
religious culture. 

The second Sabbath-school in Massachusetts was estab- 
lished by my father, at the suggestion of a Christian lady, 
in his parish at West Brookfield. It was done in opposi- 
tion to the judgment of some of his most devout parish- 
ioners. They refused to countenance the innovation by the 
presence of their children. And he has told me that they 
and others who favored it had reflected so little on the 
subject that they scarcely knew what to do with the children 
who did attend.^ 

It cannot be due to mere accident that the more 
healthful feeling and policy of the ministry and 
the church, as regards the young people of the 
congregation, dates from the beginning of the 
Sunday-school era. The old New England idea 
seems to have been that the Lord's Day was not to 
be secularized by any kind of instruction. Not 
even of the Bible was there to be any teaching. 
The day was sacred to worship, and, while that 

1 **Theory of Preaching,** p. 206. 


worship included its full share of preaching, noth- 
ing which savored of a school class was to intrude 
upon it. For Bible instruction the week-day 
schools were designed. The better class of min- 
isters no doubt catechised in these schools, and, 
later, in the churches, in an intelligent manner. 
But for the rest it was easier to preach than it was 
to catechise, and it was easier, when catechising 
needed to be done, to keep to the words of the 
book. So it came about that in process of time 
the catechism was dropped in the day-school in 
favor of secular subjects and in the church service 
in favor of the sermon. ^*An untaught genera- 
tion — untaught in any form of the divinely ap- 
pointed Bible-school — was a sure result, and the 
religious decline of New England was inevitable.*' * 

Not yet, it would seem, had our forefathers dis- 
covered that often the Sunday-school is the starting 
place for the church. This is one lesson which 
our home missionary societies have taught us. 
The church to-day owes fully as much to the 
school as the school owes to the church. How 
emphatically true this is we may have further op- 
portunities to point out. At present there are 
two results of this new feeling in relation to chil- 

First, I think the pastor came to believe, as his 

» Trumbull, pp; 88, 89. 


predecessors had not, in bringing children into the 
church. He must fold as well as feed the lambs 
of the flock. 

How reasonable this sounds to us. To quote 
Dr. Edward Judson : * ** It is sometimes said that 
even a child can be converted; it should be said 
that even a grown person can be. The nearer the 
cradle, as a rule, the nearer Christ. The most 
intelligent Christians are readiest to accept chil- 
dren." And so the same writer happily compares 
the conversion of the child to crossing a stream 
near its source. To do so is easy. " Only a step 
will take you across, and you may even pass from 
bank to bank without knowing it." But every 
after mile of the river's course, broadening the 
water, increases the difficulty of crossing. Perhaps 
it was to meet this familiar experience that the 
church, neglecting child conversion and Christian 
culture, was driven to violent and artificial revival 
methods. The still small voice had no longer a 
hearing amid the hundred vociferating tones of 
business and pleasure, and so the cornet, the big 
drum, the American organ, by and by the whole 
orchestra, had to be turned on. More than half 
of the evils inevitable to the clamorous revival — 
noisy, irreverent, shallow — must be placed to the 
account of the church, which by its neglect of the 

* "The Institutional Church,*' p. 109. 


reasonable methods pursued under the Hebrew 
theocracy, and so on to the days of the apostles, 
was driven to resort to methods which were often 
as unreasonable as they were unscriptural. We 
must of course recognize in passing that the better 
men among the evangelistic preachers are now in 
full and happy accord with the more excellent way 
which we are commending. But it is difficult to 
account for the leakage in American church-mem- 
bership — often largest in the districts which have 
been roused and swept by a revival— on any other 
explanation than that the so-called conversion of 
the young people has been preceded by no nurture 
and followed by no training. It has been little 
more than a passing breeze, seized at the moment 
to fill the sails, and when that has died away, the 
convert, numbered among the trophies of the 
awakening, has lain 

As idle as a painted ship 
Upon a painted ocean. 

The humanity of early church-fellowship must 
be apparent. The nominal conversion of one 
already versed in sin and sadly wise in the ways of 
the world is often little more than the life pre- 
server which hangs from the ceiling of the state- 
room in an ocean steamer. Neglected at ordinary 
times, it may be hastily assumed in a time of dan- 
ger or alarm, perhaps to save, but perhaps and 


quite as probably only to entangle the wearer and 
so hasten him to his end. The simple and natural 
conversion of the young is like learning to swim, 
once learned not always practised, but never to be 
forgotten. It should be the aim of the Christian 
minister to bring the lamb into the fold before the 
bitter winds are abroad. A wrong is done to God, 
to his wisdom, and to his love, by any course 
which allows men and women to believe that 
salvation is something which comes in only when 
sin has run riot in the soul ; that the far country, 
with its bitter bondage and its hard hunger, is a 
necessary step toward the father's house and wel- 
come. There is no need that we continue in sin 
that grace may abound. No ; " Thou shalt call 
his name Jesus : for he shall save his people from 
their sins." ^ Religion is indeed an antidote when 
the poison has been taken, but it is far more and 
far better. It is a preventive first, and a cure 
only when as a preventive it has not been used. 
"I am," says Jesus, "the bread of life." The 
journey into the far country, the riotous living, the 
citizen's field, and the degrading companionship of 
the swine, must have sown tares in the memory 
of the prodigal which would, in a happier future, 
shame and torment him, and from which he might 
have been free had he never cried, " Father, give 

* Matt. I : 21. 


me the portion of goods that falleth to me." No 
return to the God of our youth, after we have 
wandered far from him, can take the sting from 
the natural law in the spiritual world : " He that 
soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corrup- 

A pastor of long experience says : \ 

We are verily guilty if we do not thoroughly believe in, 
labor, and pray for, early conversions. Is it not written : 
* * Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth ' ' ? 
that Eli «* perceived that the Lord had called Samuel, the 
child** ? that Josiah began, when eight years old, to seek 
after his father* s God ? Robert Hall became a Christian 
at twelve, Matthew Henry at seven. Mr. Spurgeon states 
that in one year he had baptized forty children and that 
they had held out better than an average equal number of 

This leads me to notice the second feature in 
our present conviction as to the relation of the 
minister to the children in his congregation. I 
mean the increasing importance which he attaches 
to Christian nurture. 

When Horace Bushnell used that phrase a 
generation ago it fell upon the ear of the church 
almost as the accent of an unknown tongue. The 
suspicion of a strange new doctrine which attached 
to some of the conclusions of his fresh and vigor- 
ous volume attached, in a certain degree, even to 

^Baldwin, ** A Forty-one Years' Pastorate," pp. 53, 54. 


its fortunate title. And yet that title was a re- 
covery, and, like the casket brought up from the 
sunken wreck by the diver, carried in it great 
treasure. For Paul wrote : " And ye fathers, pro- 
voke not your children to wrath ; but bring them 
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." 

How early that nurture begins — if indeed it 
can even be said to have a beginning — we need 
not inquire. It should be the atmosphere into 
which the new life is bom. The child should no 
more be able to recall its first breath than he can 
recall his own first step. It goes with the birth- 
right and is part of it. To the children that have 
not known anything, to the little ones that cannot 
discern between their right hand and their left 
hand, it belongs. Can any one say when feeling 
begins in the mind of a boy or girl ? The things 
which still affect you the most keenly are the 
things which cannot be traced to their source : 

A boy* s will is the wind* s will, 

And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.* 

It was for a draught from the well of Bethlehem ^ 
that David longed in the hot day, begirt with the 
enemy, but when first he drank of that well no 
Philistines rose between him and its cool waters. 
The remembrance clung to him through sheepfold, 

* Longfellow, ** My Lost Youth.** * 2 Sam. 23 : 16. 


court, and camp, and at the moment when his 
thirst was fiercest the memory was the most tan- 
talizing, until, turned by the valor of his three 
mighty men into reality, it became a drink offer- 
ing to be poured out unto the Lord. 

At the earliest opportunity, and touching with 
great care the faculties only half conscious, the 
parent and pastor should begin the work of Chris- 
tian nurture. " For before the harvest, when the 
bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in 
the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with 
pruning diooks and take away and cut down the 
branches." ^ Millet, afterward to win fame as the 
painter of the **Angelus," was but a little boy 
when he saw his first sunset on the waves ; his 
first, I say, because first in the impression which 
it made upon his mind. The splendor of the 
scene threw the child into an ecstasy of delight. 
" My son," his father said, taking off his cap rev- 
erently, " it is God." The boy never failed after 
that to associate with the setting sun the power 
and the goodness of God. There were after years 
of willful wandering from him, but at length the 
influence started by the profound word from his 
father brought him to his true self and to his true 
home. And so, to lift this truth to its highest set- 
ting, we may say with Horace Bushnell,^ speaking 

1 Isa. 18: 5. 2 *• Christian Nurture," pp. 11, 12. 


of the children thus early nurtured in the Chris- 
tian life : 

Perhaps they will go through a rough mental struggle at 
some future day and seem to others and to themselves there 
to have entered on a Christian life . And yet it may be true 
that there was still some root of right principle established 
in their childhood which is here only quickened and devel- 
oped, as when Christians of mature age are revived in their 
piety after a period of spiritual lethargy, for it is conceiv- 
able that regenerate character may exist long before it is 
fully and formally developed. 

At present I am saying nothing further as to 
the more definite and formal training which must 
surely make an important part of this nurture. So 
much depends upon early impressions uncon- 
sciously received that I have been content to dwell 
chiefly upon them. And the pastor will be remem- 
bered by the boy as that boy grows up and leaves 
home, and when sermon and prayer fade out of 
his memory, more by what he was than by what 
he said, just as to his old students at Rugby 
Thomas Arnold was not a schoolmaster so much 
as a very incarnation of character in the class 
room and of devotion in the chapel. But Christian 
nurture is incomplete if it depends only or even 
mainly upon the power of a good example or the 
atmosphere of a godly home. There must be 
careful teaching based upon the truths revealed or 
emphasized in the Bible. It was when Jehosha- 


phat sought the Lord so that his heart was lifted 
up in his ways that he instituted throughout his 
whole kingdom the most complete system of 
biblical instruction of which we have any record. 
His chosen officers " taught in Judah ; and had the 
book of the law of the Lord with them, and went 
about throughout all the cities of Judah and taught 
the people." ^ 

Equally explicit, in its insistence on an intelli- 
gent study of Scripture, is the better known pic- 
ture of Ezra standing in the midst of the people in 
Jerusalem, on his pulpit of wood, and to the men 
and women and all that could hear with under- 
standing, reading in the law of God distinctly and 
giving the sense and causing the people to under- 
stand the meaning. 

To do this is primarily the work of the parents 
with their children, but also of the minister as 
well. The crown and consummation of Christian 
nurture is not an ability to repeat in their order all 
the books of the Bible, or to pass examinations on 
Scripture geography or on the lives of the Herods. 
These are but things which accompany salvation. 
What we must aim at supremely is the develop- 
ment of the Christian life. 

My chief concern in this chapter has been with 
that. I have tried to show how strong and deep 

' 2 Chron. 17 : 7-9. 


is the divine love for children and what ample pro- 
vision has always been made by our heavenly 
Father for their religious education. Starting 
with the far-off days when the roots of national 
life were struck firm and deep in the family and 
when the father was also the priest to his house- 
hold, we have followed the divine method through 
the life of the Hebrew people, catching the voice 
of the child in the simple festivals which gladdened 
the year at home, and the more splendid celebra- 
tions in the holy city to which now and again he was 
carried. We have seen how he went, on the week 
day and on the Sabbath also, to the synagogue, 
associating the acquisition of all knowledge with 
the fear of the Lord, which was the beginning of it 
all. We have mingled with the throng that sur- 
rounded Jesus of Nazareth and watched his tender 
care of the little ones, and listened to his profound 
teaching as to children and the kingdom, and seen 
his divine glory as it displayed itself in raising 
young life from the grave. There was no break in 
the line of testimony when the present Jesus be- 
came the ascended Lord. No directions are clearer 
than those which Paul gave to parent and children 
alike, and no more attractive or affecting picture 
is there than that of the old veteran and his young 
companions, Timothy and Titus. 

I have endeavored to indicate some of the cor- 
rupting causes to which we must trace the partial 


loss of this "tale of olden time, long, long ago"; 
and with far keener zest, I trust, we have seen the 
recovery of the true idea — so closely bound up 
with alike the Old and the New Testament — under 
the evangelical revival of our own era, which gave 
to us the institution of the Sunday-school and the 
insistence on Christian nurture. It was only after 
he had served a painful apprenticeship to expe- 
rience that Richard Baxter, himself a prince in 
the pulpit, discovered that the pulpit is not the 
only throne which the preacher has to fill, but that 
"education is as properly a means of grace as 
preaching/' ^ The truth which came so late to 
him he might have found in the old book of Prov- 
erbs : " Train up a child in the way he should go : 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it."^ 

* Bushnell, p. 25. ' Pro v. 22 : 6. 



Characteristics of the century. What led to the estab- 
lishment of Sunday-schools. The impulse of human 
sympathy. The evangelical revival. Precursors of the 
Modern Sunday-school. Borromeo, AUeine, and others. 
The originators of the Sunday-school. Robert Raikes, 
Rowland Hill, Charles of Bala, Hannah More. Immediate 




We are in the habit of tracing the Sunday- 
schools of the present time to the eighteenth cen- 
tury. While this is true, it needs to be remem- 
bered that the causes which led to their being 
established were in operation long before the 
century dawned, and also that the first half of the 
century gave scant promise of the great awakening 
in morals and religion with which it closed. It 
was a period of political and spiritual stagnation. 
The statesmanship of Sir Robert Walpole expressed 
its highest ambition in his maxim, " Quieta non 
moverey The bishops of the Established Church 
of England anticipated in their conduct and often 
in their counsels Talleyrand's famous advice, 
" Above all things, no zeal.*' The Nonconformists 
were almost equally afraid of enthusiasm, and even 
the devout Philip Doddridge, while praying for a 
revival of religion, did not dare wish for it to come 
in his time. 

The beginning of the eighteenth century was a 
period of moral barrenness. Politics were corrupt, 



social life was coarse, and religion, like some shallow 
stream creeping through a region of marsh and 
sand, moved slowly if it moved at all. The bril- 
liant Granville had the clergy as well as the laity 
in his thoughts when, in 1709, he wrote to his 
friend Harley : " We constantly remember you, I 
can't say in our prayers, for I fear we don't all 
pray, but in our cups, for we all drink." Even 
fifty years after this, the genial bachelor, Gilbert 
White, the vicar of Selborne and the chronicler in 
charming language of its natural history, loved to 
fill his house with guests and to dance on Saturday 
night almost to the dawn of Sunday morning. 

More to our purpose is it to recognize in pass- 
ing the widespread youthful depravity, and of this 
we shall find abundant proof as we go on. A 
coarse and brutal age registers its vices in the 
children. As the Talmud puts it: "What the 
child says out of doors he has learned indoors.** 

It is true that the age was not lacking — to 
reverse a well-known epigram — in the excellencies 
of its defects. Rude it certainly was, but it was 
not soft ; coarse it was, and also strong. The Brit- 
ish people prided themselves on their vigor. Pro- 
tracted wars had indeed impoverished the land 
and robbed the fields of a large proportion of the 
tillers of 'the soil, but it should be acknowledged, 
as one among the few helpful symptoms with 
which the century opened, that poor and sordid as 


were the conditions of large masses of the popula- 
tion of England, never had a higher value been 
set on the national virtue of courage. 

Already the forces were gathering which would 
appeal to this virtue and summon it to a nobler 
conflict than the main in the cock-pit or the wrest- 
ling bout on the village green. They were strong 
men and women who before the century reached 
its third quarter responded to the passionate ap- 
peals of George Whitefield and built themselves 
into the society organized by John Wesley. 

The spiritual torpor of the eighteenth century 
was effectually broken before that century touched 
its fiftieth year. Doddridge had written his *' Rise 
and Progress of Religion in the Soul"; Wesley 
had made the Holy Club of Oxford a spiritual 
force in the community ; Whitefield had joined 
two continents with the cry, "O Earth, Earth, 
Earth, hear the word of the Lord"; John Newton 
had yielded his sturdy and genial heart to the 
service of Christ and his church; and in New 
England, Jonathan Edwards, combining with a 
metaphysical acumen still peerless in its force an 
imagination that Dante might have envied, had 
flung himself into the religious quickening of his 
parish in Northampton and started a train of con- 
sequences which aimed at nothing less than the 
evangelization of the world. The practical benevo- 
lence of Robert Raikes; the missionary zeal of 


William Carey ; the philanthropy of Hannah More ; 
the persuasive eloquence of William Wilberforce, 
consecrated to the cause of freedom; and the 
social reform of Thomas Chalmers, in which he 
anticipated so much of the work to which the 
church is giving itself to-day, all these, directly or 
indirectly, had their rise in the first half of the 
eighteenth century. When the sun of the century 
sloped toward the west an impulse of human sym- 
pathy was coming to be its chief glory. For the 
prisoner languishing in his foul cell, for the lunatic 
in his fetters, for the miserable waif in the work- 
house, and the hapless climbing boy in the chim- 
ney, relief was at hand. "The moral, the philan- 
thropic, the religious ideas which have molded 
English society into its present shape" were al- 
ready active.^ And when John Wesley wrote, in 
1784, "God begins his work in children," he 
showed where the emphasis of reformation must 
be laid. The Sunday-school was an inevitable 
consequence of this strong impulse of human sym- 
pathy which throbbed in the blood of the country 
a hundred and fifty years ago. 

The evangelical revival of the same period can 
scarcely be separated from this quickened philan- 
thropy. The one was the works, the other the 
faith of the same great movement. Mr. John 

* J. R. Green. 


Morley says that "with the death of Cromwell the 
brief life of Puritan theocracy in England expired. 
It was a phase of a movement that left an inherit- 
ance of some noble thoughts, the memory of a 
brave struggle for human freedom, and a procession 
of strong and capacious master spirits, with Milton 
and Cromwell at their head. Political ends mis- 
carry and the revolutionary leader treads a path of 
fire." But he lights up the gloom of this apparent 
failure of a great experience when he adds : " It is 
our true wisdom to learn how to combine sane and 
equitable historic verdicts with a just value for 
those eternal qualities of high endeavor on which, 
amid all changes of fashion, formula, direction, the 
world's best hopes depend." Without any doubt 
the religious revival of the eighteenth century was 
a return to Puritanism, but it was the Puritanism 
of the Protestant Reformation rather than that of 
Oliver Cromwell. "The glorious Reformation" 
was one theme of which the devout members of 
the Established Church of England never tired, 
and Hannah More could not forgive her favorite 
prot^g^f Macaulay, whose studies she had directed, 
because in the pages of the " Edinburgh Review" 
he expressed his admiration for the tenacious vi- 
tality of popery. She was so grieved at his defec- 
tion that she changed her purpose of leaving him 
her library, a change of which the pain was, we 
fear, greater to her than was the loss to him. 


When we speak of the modern Sunday-school as 
the child of the eighteenth century we must not 
forget the good work of earlier years, nor when 
we call Robert Raikes its founder must we fail to 
do justice to those who preceded him in the enter- 
prise now so closely associated with his name. 
The story of the Sunday-school movement cannot 
be fairly told unless we recognize that here, as 

The healing of the world 
Is in God' s nameless saints. 

Many of them have no memorial on earth, and 
many more are barely known. An accident re- 
vealed the fact, for instance, that some years 
before Raikes began his work in Gloucester, "a 
quiet, studious, unobtrusive Independent min- 
ister"^ at Nailsworth, not far away, was in the 
habit of teaching the children of his congregation 
on Sunday. He may have been one of many who 
established and maintained schools for the religious 
instruction of children independent of the move- 
ment started by Robert Raikes. Indeed, two 
hundred years before this time. Cardinal Borro- 
meo drew upon himself the hatred of the monas- 
tic order by establishing among the churches of 
northern Italy a number of Sunday-schools. For 
teaching poor children to read in the cathedral of 

1 *' Robert Raikes : the Man and His Work," Harris, p. 138. 


Milan he was charged with being ** a desecrator 
of the Sabbath, the sanctuary, and his priesthood. 
His Sunday-school was thought to be a dangerous 
innovation." In the beautiful parish church of St. 
Mary Magdalen, in the west of England town of 
Taunton, the saintly Joseph Alleine catechised 
and instructed children in the middle of the seven- 
teenth century. There is no pleasanter picture 
than that which shows us the vicar of Catterick 
in Yorkshire, Theophilus Lindsay, just a hundred 
years later, getting about him the village boys on 
Sunday afternoons and forming them into a large 
circle, " himself holding a Bible open in his hand, 
with which he walked slowly around, giving it 
regularly in succession to the boys,*' ^ so that each 
read the book in his turn and had the passage 
explained.'* Mr. Lindsay subsequently became a 
Unitarian, and a monument in the forecourt of the 
Unitarian Chapel, Essex Street, London, associates 
his name with the names of Cardinal Borromeo 
and Robert Raikes as the " originators of Sunday- 

Among the friends of children, and the most 
successful workers for them, we should certainly 
mention Isaac Watts, whose ** Divine Songs " an- 
ticipated by nearly two centuries the children's 
book which some of the best authors of the present 

^ " Robert Raikes and Northamptonshire Sunday-schools,*' p. I. 


day have given us. The change in public senti- 
ment in this matter of writing for children may be 
inferred from his words : " I well know that some 
of my friends imagine my time is employed in too 
mean a service while I write for babes ; but I con- 
tent myself with this thought, that nothing is too 
mean for a servant of Christ to engage in if he can 
thereby most effectually promote the kingdom of 
his blessed Maker." 

Probably it would be fair to claim for Robert 
Raikes that what he did was to revive and organize 
the work of instructing children in the truths of the 
Christian religion. This work had never entirely 
died out. The catechism is almost as old as the 
church. Its value in the estimation of the clergy 
rose or declined with the rise or decline of religion. 
Too often it " so fell into disuse that when prac- 
tised it seemed a new thing and pious donors gave 
legacies for its perpetuation.*' ^ 

The Reformation recognized its worth and in- 
sisted under heavy penalties that it should be 
maintained. With the Puritans it "grew into a 
kind of domestic inquisition," especially in Scot- 
land, and many among the Nonconformists of 
England continued to employ it as the medium 
for the religious teaching of their children. When 
Robert Raikes writes that " Providence was pleased 

' Harris, ** Robert Raikes," p. 155. 


to make me the instrument of introducing Sunday- 
schools/' he had in mind the schools of his own 
system. A layman himself, he took the work out 
of the hands of the clergy to the extent that 
henceforth it was no longer doomed to depend on 
their faithfulness for being done or to lie at the 
mercy of their negligence for being left undone. 

We have thus far been tracing the causes which 
led to the establishment of Sunday-schools in the 
eighteenth century, a century which before it was 
fifty years old saw the stagnation of its earlier 
period finally broken up, although it needed all 
the forces which the evangelical leaders could 
muster to lift Great Britain from her spiritual 
torpor and put a soul behind the ribs of death. 
The modern Sunday-school system, however, was 
not to originate with Methodism or with the clergy 
of the Established Church of England. In com- 
mon with other great philanthropic enterprises, it 
was to be bom in the heart of a layman and to 
number among its earliest advocates men and 
women who were well known in the ranks of busi- 
ness, politics, literature, and fashion. Of how 
much service this was to the movement we shall 
see if we glance at some of the prominent figures 
in the early history of Sunday-schools. 

By common consent the first place in the group 
belongs to Robert Raikes, who was born in the 
old cathedral city of Gloucester in 1736, lived 


there all his life, and there died in 1811. He 
came of good Yorkshire stock, and his father, who 
was printer and publisher of the " Gloucester Jour- 
nal," was fearless in maintaining the liberty of the 
press at the time when it was gagged and banned, 
and high-minded in his resolve that in an age of 
moral corruption his paper should be kept clean 
and sweet. Ability and integrity had their reward, 
and the Raikes family has not ceased to boast of 
its number of men of mark in Church and State 
down to the present time. At twenty-one, by the 
death of his father, Robert found himself sole pro- 
prietor of the newspaper, and his philanthropic 
spirit can be detected in its columns from the time 
that he became its editor. He made his paper 
"a means of communication between the prisoners 
and debtors, whom he found naked and starving 
and rotting in the jail." ^ 

A very human as well as a very humane person 
was Robert Raikes ; gay and genial in tempera- 
ment, with a certain childlike pleasure in his own 
success and a simplicity of mind which never cul- 
tivated the English virtue of reserve. He was 
fastidious in his tastes, in his dislike of dirt and 
disturbance, in his shrinking from what was coarse 
and rude. Although in the estimation of the 
cathedral city, where social lines would be drawn 

* Harris, p. 103. 


Strictly, he was in trade, he maintained a generous 
house, had a handsome service of plate, and took 
some pride in saying, "I keep no shop." The 
circumstance which led to his interesting himself 
in the depraved and neglected children of Glouces- 
ter may have been that when he was reading proof 
in his office he was "much annoyed by children 
playing under his very nose." And if this offended 
his taste, his moral sense was still more shocked 
when through the window came their curses as 
they quarreled and fought over their hop-scotch, 
five-stones, and chuck. 

Perhaps to moralize was a characteristic of the 
age in which he lived, but the moralizing of the 
eighteenth century too often ended on itself. Not 
so in the case of Raikes. " Ignorance," ^ he wrote, 
"is the root of the degradation everywhere around 
us"; "idleness is a consequence of ignorance"; 
" prevention is better than cure " ; " religion must 
wait on improved education among the masses 
before we shall be able to make much advance, 
but religion and education may go together." A 
more excellent way than begging in the columns 
of his newspaper for pence for starving prisoners 
was now in sight. It took him twenty years to 
come to the conclusion that any genuine reforma- 
tion must begin, not in the cells of the Gloucester 

* Harris, p. 72. 


jails, but in the gutters of Gloucester streets, that 
even his Sunday-schools were not sufficient, but 
that education the whole week through must be 
tried. The conclusion once reached was held to 
tenaciously to the end. That he was a layman 
and a journalist in the tide of public affairs, and 
given to regarding them as a citizen rather than as 
an ecclesiastic, was an augury for good, but it was 
fortunate also that with a message to a country in 
which Church meant the national establishment 
and State meant the government of King George 
III., he was a loyal Episcopalian. William King, 
a woolen card-maker, who was a Dissenter and a 
follower of Whitefield, talking over the desecration 
of the Sabbath with him, said that he himself had 
tried to open a Sunday-school in his native village, 
but "that from multitude of business through the 
week he could not attend to it as he wished.'* " It 
will not do for Dissenters," rejoined Raikes, "it 
must be from the Church." He was attached to 
his sovereign, lighted bonfires when the news of 
British victories reached the office, attended with 
alacrity the mock execution of Tom Paine (found 
guilty of treason and sentenced as an outlaw), and 
read the book of Revelation and the Prophets for 
references to the politics of France and her bewil- 
dered republic. 

When, in a very quiet way, he started his first 
Sunday-school, it was for boys only. An old man 


who lived into the sixties of the last century re- 
membered being sent to a Sunday-school in Sooty 
Alley, opposite the City Prison, — called Sooty 
Alley because the chimney sweeps lived there, — 
and while he did not recall learning anything, his 
memory carrying him back over eighty years, 
testified that there were no girls in the school and 
that the boys were " turrible bad." This was in 
1 780. Within three years the young savages were 
brought into some kind of order, the girls, little 
better at first than they, were admitted, and when 
William Wilberforce was brought to see the school 
the boys had learned to bow and the girls 
to courtesy when strangers entered the room. 
The children repeated simple prayers and the 
catechism, and answered Bible questions, and 
sang Doctor Watts' hymns. When Mr. Raikes 
marched his children to church every Sunday 
their clean clothes and good behavior made them 
conspicuous in the congregation. They no longer 
stuck pins into one another during service, nor 
fought and swore so that the parish beadle had to 
be called in to expel them. The fastidious Mr. 
Raikes, whom his fellow-citizens were wont to 
sneer at as a dandy, sat among them and kept 
them under control by the power of his presence 
as much as by the fear of his rod. 

Closely associated with Robert Raikes was 
Rev. Thomas Stock, a clergyman, who was also 


headmaster of the Gloucester Cathedral School. 
The two men seem to have met by accident one 
day, and, comparing notes, the one with an expe- 
rience gathered from editing his paper and visiting 
the jail, the other with an experience gained in 
country parishes where he had tried to teach the 
children their catechism, determined that some- 
thing must be done to reclaim the young ruffians 
swarming in the streets around them. Stock was 
a man of gentler spirit than Raikes, with his tem- 
per under better control, and a nature patient and 
yet firm.^ It is said that the rules which he drew 
up for the conduct of his schools gave the model 
for those adopted later by the Sunday-school com- 
mittees. The old house still shown in St. Catha- 
rine Street, Gloucester, although it has been 
changed somewhat in the course of years, is sub- 
stantially the same as it was when "a school was 
established in it by the joint enterprise of Raikes 
and Stock." ^ To this hour the house goes by 
the name of " Robert Raikes* first Sunday-school.*' 
The fact that Raikes lived in a dull cathedral 
city, hard to stir to any enthusiasm or win over to 
any new methods, makes his success all the more 
remarkable. But it also accounts for the com- 
parative indifference with which for a long time 
his work was regarded, as well as for the feeling 

^ Harris, p. 107. ^Ibid.^ p. 35. 


of depression against which even his gay nature 
and sanguine temperament were not always proof. 
" I walk alone," he said. " It seems as if I had 
discovered a new country where no adventurer 
chooses to follow.*' But this was far from being 
a fair statement of the case. Into the new coun- 
try which he had so far discovered the quickened 
evangelical life of England was not long in follow- 
ing him. In London, Rowland Hill, the minister 
of Surrey Chapel and one of the most original of 
men, in the foremost rank of the pulpit orators 
of his time, and responsive to the cry of humanity 
whenever its tones reached him, began a Sunday- 
school about 1784. It is interesting to note that 
in the schoolroom of his chapel the Religious 
Tract Society was formed five years later, and 
that it grew out of the demands of the new enter- 
prise. In the same room in 1803 the Sunday- 
school Union was inaugurated.* Closely connected 
with these movements was the work of the Rev. 
T. Charles, of Bala, who, beginning Sunday-schools 
in Wales, was gladdened by a wonderful religious 
awakening in his parish and the whole country- 
side, largely attributable to the Sunday-school 
instruction. From this revival sprang the call for 
Welsh Bibles, and it was when he made his way to 
London, and before his colleagues on the com- 

1 (( 

Northamptonshire Sunday-schools,** p. 18. 


mittee of the Religious Tract Society pleaded that 
a society should be formed to supply the Scriptures 
to the Welsh people in their own tongue, that 
Rev. Joseph Hughes, secretary of the Tract So- 
ciety, uttered the memorable words, " If for Wales, 
why not also for the empire and the world?*' from 
which grew the British and Foreign Bible Society. 
The Sunday-school was a parent of the other two 
societies, in the same way as demand is the parent 
of supply. 

What Robert Raikes did for the children of the 
city, Hannah More did for the children of the 
country.^ One of five sisters, daughters of a 
Suffolk gentleman of damaged fortune but high 
character, who became the head master of a school 
in Gloucester, Hannah More sat on her father's 
knee as a little child listening to the poetry of 
Virgil, Horace, and Homer, and at seventeen had 
written a drama to be acted by the pupils of her 
sisters' school which at once brought her into 
notice. She was twenty-seven when she paid her 
first visit to London. Garrick, who had met with 
a criticism of his acting from her pen, introduced 
her to his wife, in whom she found her most inti- 
mate friend ; Reynolds, the greatest living English 
painter, made dinners in her honor; at the house 
of Mrs. Delaney she touched a former generation 

- ----- M II I ■ - ■ I ■ I "1 ^^ -*- '"' " ' —^^^' 

* Bom 1745. 


when she shook hands with Horace Walpole ; the 
bluestockings of London welcomed her as one of 
themselves; Edmund Burke, the incomparable 
orator, paid her compliments as sincere as they 
were graceful; and the famous Samuel Johnson 
approached her in his most affable mood, toying 
with a macaw on his finger and reciting a verse 
from a hymn which she had composed. Her 
sprightly letters remain as the chronicle of her 
social and literary triumphs. As we read them, 
however, we notice their tone growing more seri- 
ous. Even when at the crest of the wave of 
fashion she had craved a quiet which London 
could not give, and in the intoxicating hour when 
her play of "Percy" ran neck and neck with "The 
School for Scandal" in the race for popularity, 
"being of the Christian faction," she firmly de- 
clined all invitations to Sunday dinners and routs. 
The death of Garrick and her close companionship 
with his widow (whose " domestic chaplain " Han- 
nah was jocularly called) cut her aloof from the 
pleasures of the town, and before long her heart 
was wholly given to God.^ She settled at Cowslip 
Green, ten miles from Bristol and ten from the 
romantic Cheddar Cliffs, where she was so shocked 
at the condition of the villagers about her that 
she wrote to a friend, " I have devoted the rem- 

* "Hannah More's Memoirs,** Vol. I., p. 400. 



nant of my life to the poor and those that have no 
helper, and if I can do them little good I can at 
least sympathize with them, and I know it is some 
comfort for a forlorn creature to be able to say, 
'There is something that cares for me."* From 
that time until her death, at eighty-eight years of 
age, she remained constant to her resolve. To 
supply the spiritual and intellectual needs of vil- 
lage children, "immersed in deplorable ignorance 
and depravity," she opened first one school and 
then another, battling with the prejudice of the 
farmers, the brutality of the squires, and the open 
or concealed opposition of the parsons, and bringing 
to bear on the boors of Somersetshire villages all 
the arts of coquetry which had once been practised 
in the drawing rooms of London. ** Miss Wilber- 
force," she wrote to William Wilberforce, the most 
fascinating of philanthropists, who shared with 
herself and others the expenses of her enterprise, 
" would have been shocked had she seen the petty • 
tyrants whose insolence I stroked and tamed, the 
ugly children I praised, the pointers and spaniels I 
caressed, the cider I commended, and the wine 
I swallowed." ^ In the end she conquered. The 
schools were rapidly filled with boys and girls. 
The teaching in the class on Sunday naturally 
paved the way for simple services for older people. 

* "Memoirs,** Vol. I., p. 339. 


The clergy were shamed into activity and found 
their hands again. Her house at Barley Wood 
*• became a Mecca whither pilgrims of all sorts 
resorted ; not the leaders of the evangelical school 
alone, but many others came to listen to her bril- 
liant conversation, yield to her enthusiastic philan- 
thropy, and own that here was a religion which 
was as cheerful as it was sincere and as inspiring 
as it was practical."^ It is easy to see why the 
Sunday-schools of Robert Raikes and Hannah 
More attracted a notice which might have been 
denied to the school of the clergyman of the 
parish or the minister of the dissenting meeting- 
house. It was impossible to look on them as 
simply work demanded by a sense of duty. The 
journalist who was thoroughly successful in his 
honorable calling and the literary lion who for 
more than one season was the rage of London 
deliberately devoted their lives to reaching the 
children of city slums and country hamlets with 
the truths of the gospel. Evidently religion was 
no profession to be practised by the clergy only, but 
rather a life to be lived out by every true follower 
of Him who went about doing good. Business 
paused to watch Robert Raikes as he marshaled 
his waifs into church, and frivolity grew serious, at 
least for a moment, as the irresistible Hannah 

^Overton, **The English Church in the Nineteenth Century," 
p. 91. 


More was seen ministering to the plowboys of 
Somersetshire. This was religion in earnest. It 
meant something. It was the happy fate of Han- 
nah More, living to extreme old age, ** to see the 
battle against vice and ignorance, which at first 
she waged if not single-handed at any rate with 
the support of a very few, ultimately carried on 
by a large and formidable army in all parts of the 
country." ^ She is really a link between the 
chapter in the history of Sunday-schools which 
tells the story of their birth and that which details 
the story of their progress. At the immediate 
results of the Sunday-school enterprise we must 
now glance in closing this part of our subject. 

In 1 780 the Sunday-school was an experiment. 
Within five years it was an assured success. The 
" Gentleman's Magazine,*' still famous in the his- 
tory of literature from its association with the 
early struggles of Samuel Johnson, and at that 
time the most influential journal in Great Britain, 
understands that "the establishment of Sunday- 
schools (1784) is becoming very general." To 
"the truly benevolent Mr. Raikes," it informs its 
readers, "it is incredible with what rapidity this 
grain of mustard seed is extending its branches 
over the kingdom." Raikes estimated the num- 
ber of children under Sunday instruction in Eng- 

^ Overton, p. 91. 


land and Wales in 1780 at two hundred and fifty 
thousand ; the Bishop of Salisbury warmly recom- 
mends the schools ; the Bishop of Llandaff takes 
some steps toward introducing them into the large 
towns of his diocese; the Dean of Lincoln be- 
lieves that the contemplation of criminal England 
"would be a gloomy office but for the establish- 
ment of Sunday-schools'*; the devoted Fletcher, 
of Madeley, begins six schools in his district, and 
marks not only moral reformation but spiritual 
quickening among both young and old.* 

In America the growth of the Sunday-school 
system was so general and so rapid that it is hard 
to say just where the first seed was sown. A 
Sunday-school was organized as early as 1 780 in 
Virginia under the directors of Bishop Asbury ; 
in 1 791 Philadelphia saw a Sunday-school society 
formed to secure religious instruction for poor 
children, which continues active still ; in the same 
year a Sunday-school was started in Boston ; and 
two years after, Kate Ferguson, a Negro, began 
one in New York ; in 1797 the first Baptist Sunday- 
school was begun at Pawtucket, R. I.,^ and was 
modeled upon the plan of the Raikes* schools in 
England ; before the century closed the Sunday- 
school was an accepted and essential agency of 
any progressive church ; while out of systematic 

* "Johnson's Cyclopaedia,** art. "Sunday-schools." 
' ** A Century of Baptist Achievement,** p. 236. 


Sunday-school movements in Pittsburg, Pa., in 
Philadelphia, in New York, and in Boston, grew the 
American Sunday-school Union, which was organ- 
ized in 1824. The first Sunday-school in Canada 
would seem to have been organized by Rev. Wil- 
liam Smart, a young pioneer preacher, at Brook- 
ville, in the year 181 1, almost immediately on his 
coming to America from England. 

Of course there was opposition. The bishops 
were by no means unanimous in their approval, 
and many of their clergy were open in their oppo- 
sition. The alarmists feared that " the education 
of the poor would unfit them for menial service, 
raise discontent, and foment rebellion.'* In Scot- 
land a prominent Presbyterian minister declared 
that while Sunday-schools might be needed in 
England, where few parents in common life were 
qualified to instruct their children in the principles 
of true religion, no such argument held good in 
regard to his native country. Sunday-schools were 
" reflections on every parish where they were ap- 
pointed.'* Yet this was the very country in which 
Thomas Chalmers before long unearthed the de- 
pravity of Glasgow, and where within fifty years 
Thomas Guthrie, plunging into the reeking wynds 
of Edinburgh, founded ragged schools. The Sun- 
day-school, however, was destined to conquer, and 
in 1798 a society was formed in Edinburgh called 
** The Sabbath Evening School Society,** having 


for its object the extension of the system to the 
country at large. In the north of Ireland an inde- 
pendent effort on behalf of the neglected children 
of a country district was made by Doctor Ken- 
nedy,^ curate of Bright parish, County Down, and 
out of a singing class established by him in 1774 
grew a school held regularly every Sunday for an 
hour and a half before the morning service. It 
was not until eleven years later that he learned of 
the work of Robert Raikes and remodeled his own 
school on the Gloucester plan. 

The moral reformation wrought by the early 
Sunday-schools was matter for general remark. 
"No plan," wrote Adam Smith, "has promised to 
effect a change of manner with equal ease since 
the days of the apostles." ^ Children once con- 
spicuous for brutality and profaneness became 
quiet and respectful and Sunday revels and wakes 
were suppressed. Formerly a day of licentious 
idleness, Sunday was now in hundreds of parishes 
a day of public worship. Children who used to go 
about begging of any stranger that came into the 
village now went to church and behaved well. At 
Bolton, as the children sang their hymns, John 
Wesley thought that their voices could not be ex- 
celled unless it might be by " the singing of angels 
in our Father's house." As they grew up with a 

1 Harris, p. 181. * Ibid.^ p. 129. 


knowledge of reading, the young farmers, abandon- 
ing the public house, took to reading, and used 
" their bacon racks in the double capacity of book- 
cases." ^ " The Sunday-schools established by Mr. 
Raikes/' says Green, "were the beginnings of 
popular education. By her writings and by her 
own personal example Hannah More drew the 
sympathy of England to the poverty and crime of 
the agricultural laborer." It is not claiming too 
much for Robert Raikes and Hannah More to say 
that by their devotion to the children of the poor 
in city and country they prepared the way for the 
career of the Earl of Shaftesbury, and made pos- 
sible the reforms in the treatment of the boys and 
girls in the factory and on the farm in which his 
great name is embalmed. 

The second half of the eighteenth century, in 
striking contrast with the first, saw both England 
and America stirred to a new passion for the 
Christian life. The evangelical awakening which 
we associate with the consecrated generalship of 
Wesley, the pleadings of Jonathan Edwards, the 
apostolic zeal of Whitefield, the missionary enter- 
prise of Carey, found in the Sunday-school a most 
fertile field for prayer sowing and joyful reaping. 
George HI. recognized the true source of Eng- 
land's strength when, visiting a Sunday-school at 

^ Harris, pp. 79, 80. 


Brentford, he uttered the wish "that every poor 
child in my kingdom should be taught to read the 
Bible." The king builded better than he knew 
when he said this, for he unconsciously defined 
what the true mission of the Sunday-school was to 
be. Following the Revolutionary War, the earlier 
efforts of the Sunday-school in England and 
America " were in line with those of Robert 
Raikes in England, religious teaching, being held 
secondary to secular and moral instruction. In 
proportion as secular and public schools were pro- 
vided for communities, the work so changed that 
religious teaching became the dominant purpose." ^ 
In the Baptist Sunday-school at Pawtucket, to 
which I have already referred as organized in 
1797, it was not until eight years later that the 
distinctly religious features were introduced.^ 
Slowly the Bible came to its own, but by the 
close of the eighteenth century, while very much 
remained to be done, — as indeed much remains 
to be done still, — it was generally recognized that 
the Sunday-school was not a means of moral 
reformation alone, but more and also better. It 
was a medium for distinctively Christian teaching, 
fairly to be included in the Commission of its 
Divine Founder: "Go ye into all the world and 
preach the gospel to every creature." 

1 Dr. C. R. Blackall. 
' ** A Century of Baptist Achievement," p. 236. 

\ I 



The decline of Sunday-schools with the opening century. 
Causes in England. Secular education. Political condi- 
tions. Growth of cities and increase of child labor. Inade- 
quate organization. The revived interest in Sunday-schools 
due (i) to better organization ; Sunday-school Unions ; 
statistics of growth, Great Britain and America ; (2) to better 
teaching ; the catechism ; the use of the Bible ; the Inter- 
national Lesson Series. 




It will be remembered that in the early days of 
the Sunday-school movement there was, in England 
certainly, a necessity for better secular teaching. 
How to read and write and even to cypher the 
scholar needed to learn before he could with any 
measure of intelligence study the Bible. In the 
estimation of Robert Raikes ignorance was the 
root of the degradation which he found everywhere 
around him. Even religion itself, said he, had ** to 
wait on improved education." Simultaneously, 
about the beginning of the nineteenth century two 
men became interested in popular education, and, 
I had almost said, stumbled on a plan of employ- 
ing the elder scholars to teach the younger. This 
plan lay at the foundation of the systems with 
which their names are associated. These two 
men were Dr. Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster.^ 
When a chaplain at Madras, Doctor Bell happened 
in an early morning ride to pass by a Malabar 
school where he saw a number of children seated 

* Otcrton, p. 236, et seq, 



on the ground writing with their fingers on the 
sand. It suggested itself to him that the older 
scholars in the British Military Orphan Asylum 
could under his care teach the younger ones their 
letters in this primitive way. Out of this sprang 
the pupil-teacher system. A few years later a 
poor Quaker lad, barely twenty years of age, 
named Joseph Lancaster, obtained from his father 
the use of a room in the Borough Road, in London, 
in which he might keep a cheap school for the 
poor in the neighborhood. To this school scholars 
came in abundance, but money did not. He could 
not afford to pay an assistant, and so was "com- 
pelled to make use of the services of his pupils to 
teach each other as monitors, and this practice, 
the sheer offspring of necessity, ended in the 
demonstration and definition of the power of one 
master to teach hundreds.*' Doctor Bell was an 
Episcopalian, and held that the national religion 
must be the foundation of national education. 
The parochial system was ready to his hand, and 
so, under the " National Society," " national 
schools " were planted or revived in the parishes 
of England. Joseph Lancaster was a Quaker, and 
believed that secular education, while it was not 
to be irreligious, should be strictly undenomina- 
tional. Out of this conviction came the " British 
and Foreign School Society," with its widespread 
network of British schools. I glance at the for- 


gotten controversy as to the priority of Bell or 
Lancaster only to call attention to its influence 
on Sunday-schools. Undoubtedly the revived in- 
terest in national education hastened the settle- 
ment of the moot question whether the combina- 
tion of secular with religious instruction in the 
Sunday-school needed to be any longer continued. 
But another result was that the growth of the 
spirit of nonconformity led to the conclusion that 
the children of parents who were dissenters ought 
to be at liberty to go to their own places of wor- 
ship, instead of being marched, as in the time of 
Robert Raikes and Hannah More, to the parish 
church. This was the arrangement which Joseph 
Lancaster made in his schools. Plainly the lines 
between conformity and nonconformity to the Es- 
tablished Church were to be tightly drawn in the 
matter of both sacred and secular schooling. 
When the nineteenth century began, Sunday- 
schools were slowly feeling their way to their true 
vocation. It was only twenty years since the first 
school was opened by Raikes in Gloucester. The 
prospering gale was not yet filling out the canvas 
of the good ship, and at times her sails flapped 
ominously in the wind. The early years of the 
new century were indeed in many directions years 
not of progress, but of decline. In America, ac- 
cording to Dr. H. Clay Trumbull, " Bible study 
and Bible teaching were at a lower ebb than at 


any earlier period." ^ In Great Britain, neither 
Church nor State was clear in its mind as to what 
this innovation, with its strong infusion of the lay 
and voluntary elements, portended. The French 
Revolution had outraged the conservative preju- 
dices, which the country gentlemen of England mis- 
took for principles, and strengthened the conyiction 
that the masses of the people could only be kept 
quiet by being kept ignorant. Sunday-schools 
were or would be " nurseries of Jacobinism." Even 
a bishop of intelligence so far violated the usual 
episcopal caution as to declare of some of the 
schools held in connection with the conventicles 
of the dissenters that there was much ground for 
suspicion "that sedition and atheism are the real 
objects of these institutions." ** Indeed," he added 
with unpardonable vagueness, " in some places this 
is known to be the case." This alarm was neither 
widespread nor long-lived. The cure for it, as that 
same bishop pointed out, was for the clergy of the 
Church of England to promote the establishment 
of Sunday-schools in their parishes. As a rule 
the clergy took this advice, and " at the commence- 
ment of the nineteenth century the Sunday-school 
had become a part of the regular organization of 
almost every well-worked parish." * 

A more powerful reason for the temporary 

* Harris, p. 220. * Overton, p. 245. 


eclipse in the progress of Sunday-schools in the 
Old Country is to be found in the decline of the 
evangelical party. It was still indeed the strong- 
est party in the national church, and remained so 
for twenty-five years more, but its leaders were 
passing away, and the fervor of its first zeal was 
dying out. We need also to remember that the 
Sunday-school was not at this time a purely volun- 
tary system. Teachers were still paid in many 
instances. The need for secular instruction was 
still recognized. The Board school, now almost 
universal in England, with its improved methods 
of teaching, came nearer to the sunset than to the 
dawn of the century. The Sunday-school was not 
as yet so entirely religious as to appeal to the 
passion for souls, which was the distinguishing 
feature of the evangelical revival, a passion which 
held its own even when the revival was treasured 
among the traditions of a great past. Nor had 
that revival laid hold on the mass of the clergy, 
otherwise than to either shame or stimulate them 
into a life somewhat worthier of their sacred call- 
ing and less indifferent to their ordination vows. 
The clergyman of that time was no longer the 
clergyman of Fielding's novels, but neither was he 
the minister of Paul's letter to Titus.^ "He 
farmed his own glebe," says Froude, "kept horses. 

^ Overton, p. i6. 


shot and hunted moderately, and mixed in general 
society. His wife and daughters looked after the 
poor and taught in the Sunday-school/* The de- 
cline in the first enthusiasm for Sunday-schools 
was only one symptom of the decline in evangeli- 
cal religion, or, as perhaps it would be fairer to put 
it, in the failure of evangelical religion to over- 
come the inertness of the long years of spiritual 
lethargy and unfaithfulness.^ The Sunday-school 
had not, so far, found its feet. It had not defined 
the path which it was hereafter to pursue. 

What has just been said of the Sunday-school is 
also true of Great Britain at large. She had the 
excellence of "the giant's strength," but too often 
she used it tyrannously, " like a giant." She had 
not yet learned how to control her own resources. 
The development of machinery and the application 
of the power of steam had given an immense 
impulse to her manufactories, and — what we need 
to notice for the bearing it has upon our subject — 
the great centers where these manufactories were 
being carried on " became studded with vast mills 
surrounded by a densely crowded population, and 
a demand for the labor of women and children 
had been created which gave rise to frightful 
abuses and cruelties." ^ The village life of Eng- 
land was no longer the country's chief pride. The 

^ Overton, p. 5. 
* Hodder, **The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, " p. 20. 


population of the kingdom was increasing by 
gigantic strides, and that population was centering, 
a black ominous mass, in the manufacturing towns. 
To meet this changed condition of things, neither 
the government nor the church was ready. To 
quote the biographer of the Earl of Shaftesbury : 

There were no efficient educational laws in existence ; 
industrial schools, mechanics* institutes, workingmen's 
clubs were unknown ; the poor laws were pauperizing and 
degrading ; the science of sanitation, a free newspaper 
press, limited liability, employers' liability, all these had 
yet to be. The church was in a state of lethargy, and the 
vast machinery of philanthropy, with which we have been 
familiar since the beginning of the second half of the nine- 
teenth century, was only in its infancy.^ 

The increased demand for child labor would 
naturally affect the Sunday-school. In common 
with every humane enterprise, if not blocked by 
the greed of the manufacturer it would be chilled 
by the indifference of an age to which, as never 
before, material issues were appealing. For nearly 
half a century this condition of things was to con- 
tinue, until Lord Ashley (afterward Earl of Shaftes- 
bury) gave a voice to the people, appealing on 
behalf of humanity at the bar of public opinion. 
" We ask," he cried, in bringing in his " Bill for 
the Regulation of Labor in Factories," "but a 
slight relaxation of toil, a time to live and a time 

* Hodder, pp. 1 14, 1 15. 


to die; a time for those comforts that sweeten life 
and a time for those duties that adorn it." ^ Eng- 
land, outside of Parliament, was more ready to 
respond to the dumb appeal of the overworked 
and underfed millions of her population than were 
her rulers ; but Sir Robert Peel was taken aback 
when to his sarcastic inquiry whether the House 
of Commons was prepared to "legislate for all 
these people,'* and for restriction of hours of labor 
in agriculture, the House broke out in a tremen- 
dous cheer. Now this battle for the people was 
also the battle for the Sunday-school. 

Undoubtedly the most serious obstacle to the 
healthful growth of Sunday-schools a hundred 
years ago was lack of system. The experimental 
period had not yet been passed. There was no 
large combination of Sunday-school workers for 
general conference and united action. Just as the 
first carriages which ran by steam were modeled 
on the unmeaning lines of the ancient stagecoach, 
so the first Sunday-schools were modeled on the 
lines of the day-schools. The teachers in the 
schools which Raikes began in Gloucester and 
Hannah More in Cheddar were all paid. At a 
Sunday-school anniversary in Northamptonshire, in 
1789, we find that, "in addition to the one or two 
shillings, or even more, received as wages, * rewards 

* Hoddcr, p. 33. 


for diligence' were bestowed upon the teachers." ^ 
The unpaid teacher, in common with the lay 
preacher, seems to be a fruit of early Methodism. 
A number of Wesleyan office bearers were lament- 
ing their inability to hire teachers for want of 
funds, when one of them, bolder than the rest, 
said, " Let us do the work ourselves." Then, and 
not before, the work got done. As early as 1785 
Wesley records that there were teachers in his 
schools who gave their services gratuitously. The 
Sunday-school "treat" of to-day is probably a sur- 
vival of the time when boys and girls had to be 
lured to school by pious bribes. Presents of 
clothes were made to scholars in the days of 
Raikes : " Straw hats and blue bands," in one 
instance, " to all the girls ; black hats and blue 
bands to all the boys." By his will Robert Raikes 
directed that ** his Sunday scholars should follow 
his remains to the grave, each receiving a shilling 
and a plum cake." The remembrance of these 
funeral baked meats lingered in the mind of at least 
one of these scholars, Mrs. Summerhill, until 
1880. "On his next birthday after the funeral," 
she added, "we all went to a house in Bolt Lane 
and had a good dinner of roast beef and plum pud- 
ding." Writing half a century since, the late 
Hugh Stowell Brown, of Liverpool, says : " It is 

1 ti 

Northamptonshire Schools, *' pp. 15, 16. 


curiously illustrative of the change of customs, 
that in our first Sunday-school treats, more than 
forty years ago, the children were regaled with 
cake and wine." Very slowly the conception of 
the Sunday-school as an institution formed on the 
model of the day-school, with rewards and treats 
thrown in to attract where attendance could not 
be peremptorily enforced, died out. Between its 
disappearance and the general acceptance of the 
modern idea of a purely voluntary institution, in 
which love was lure enough, there was a time 
when the Sunday-school declined. In the city of 
Gloucester, for example, the cradle of the Sunday- 
school, and ten years before the death of Robert 
Raikes, unpaid teaching was made general, but 
riot before the old system had shown ominous 
signs of decrepitude.^ Six young men, lamenting 
the decline of Sunday-schools in the city, banded 
themselves together with the determination to 
revive them. All their efforts were in vain, until, 
having resolved to do the work themselves, " gath- 
ering one night, after business hours, around a 
post at the corner of a lane, within twenty yards of 
the spot where Bishop Hooper was martyred, they 
clasped each other by the hand, and with rever- 
ently uncovered heads resolved that, come what 
would, Sunday-schools in Gloucester should be 

1 (( 

Northamptonshire Schools,'* p. 17. 


re-established. As a fund to start with they sub- 
scribed a half-crown each, and then dividing the 
city into districts, they canvassed it for scholars. 
On the following Sunday upward of one hundred 
children attended, and from that time forward the 
work prospered.'' 

The revival of Sunday-schools after the setback 
in the early years of the nineteenth century seems 
to be chiefly due to general organization and to 
better methods of teaching. 

The British Sunday-school Union dates from 
1 803, and grew out of a weekly meeting of active 
teachers who, grappling with the needs of London, 
"found reason to lament the want of plan and 
order, and desired some means by which the neg- 
lected districts might be supplied with schools 
and young persons of suitable dispositions be in- 
duced to undertake the work." ^ A union ** de- 
signed to consist of teachers and others actively 
engaged in some Protestant Sunday-school " was 
formed. From London it spread over the whole 
country. In 1824, to guarantee the Christian 
character of the institution, a doctrinal limitation 
was resolved upon, as twelve years earlier the 
schools connected with the union had been recom- 
mended not to teach reading, writing, and spelling 
in their classes on Sunday, "the same being con- 
icy. W. H. Watson, "The Sunday-school Union.** 


sidered as a breach of the sanctity of that day." ^ 
The earlier publications of the Union, however, 
virtually acknowledged the general lack of a com- 
mon school training by furnishing more than one 
"Introduction to Reading." 

After nine years of quiet growth the union 
"made its proceedings more public" by inviting 
the teachers and friends of Sunday-schools to a 
breakfast at the New London Tavern. This essen- 
tially British function, worthy of a robust people, 
became so popular that although the hour of the 
meal was placed at six o'clock, by 1832 the attend- 
ance exceeded one thousand two hundred, and an 
attempt was made (happily without success) to ex- 
clude ladies. The first Sunday-school " Notes " seem 
to have been published in "The Teachers' Maga- 
zine" in 1 84 1, and as early as 1816 a hymn book 
for teachers was issued, followed six years later by 
one for the use of scholars. The Sunday-school 
Union celebrated the jubilee of Sunday-schools on 
the 14th of September, 1831, the anniversary of 
Robert Raikes' birthday, and in July, 1852, with 
the commencement of the fiftieth year of its exist- 
ence, its own jubilee was commemorated by public 
meetings in London (including the inevitable break- 
fast), and by starting a fund to put up a Jubilee 
Memorial Building, which was completed in 1856. 

^ Watson, p. 19. 


The first general Sunday-school Convention grew 
out of a conference of evangelical Christians of all 
nations held at Geneva in 1861. It gathered in 
London in September, 1862, at the time of the 
International Exhibition, and among the speakers 
from abroad was Mr. Albert Woodruff, of New 
York, who had devoted himself to Sunday-school 
work in France, Italy, and Germany, and Rev. J. 
H. Vincent, of Illinois, whose name is now united 
with that of Mr. B. F. Jacobs as prominent in the 
annals of American Sunday-schools. 

In America, as in Great Britain, there were, 
very early in the history of Sunday-schools, unions 
of teachers for purposes of fellowship and study. 
The century, as we have seen, opened with Bible 
study and Bible teaching at a lower ebb than at 
any earlier period. It was the Sunday-school 
wisely and intelligently organized that raised the 
standard of Christianity in New England and the 
South, and by and by, as the chief agency of 
evangelization, in the newer portions of the United 
States. "The Society of Sunday-schools" in the 
England of Hannah More's time found a parallel 
in systematic movements in Pittsburg, in 1809, and 
in New York five years later, and then in Phila- 
delphia, and so on through other cities. Out of 
these grew "The American Sunday-school Union," 
which dates, as we have already seen, from 1824. 
One distinction between English and American 


Sunday-schools seems to have been the greater Use 
made in this country of denominational as distin- 
guished from union methods. For instance, in 
the annual report of "The Baptist Tract Society," 
in 1830, a suggestion was made that "the time 
may come when the number of schools in our 
denomination will be so great as to require the 
Baptist Tract Society to publish a series of Sab- 
bath-school books suited to their needs." ^ The 
Tract Society changed its name to ** The American 
Baptist Publication and Sunday-school Society," 
and in the end, under the less cumbrous title of 
"The American Baptist Publication Society," came 
to be generally recognized "as the specific denomi- 
national Sunday-school organization." It would 
be idle for us to discuss in this place the relative 
advantage of unionism and denominationalism in 
Sunday-school work. The evangelical Sunday- 
schools of America are practically one, as are the 
evangelical churches. But nothing is gained to 
the whole by the sacrifice or surrender of what is 
peculiar to each. The present growth of Sunday- 
schools, not in numbers only or chiefly, but also 
in efficiency and intelligence, is the best answer to 
those who at the prompting of a laudable senti- 
ment would urge any widespread union inde- 
pendent of denominational lines. For all practical 

* ** A Century of Baptist Achievement,'* pp. 236, 237. 


purposes the individual Sunday-school does better 
as the child of the individual church, under her 
wing, and subject to her control. 

In the early days of the movement little atten- 
tion was paid to statistics, and one aim of the 
unions when they were formed was to remedy this 
lack. But the growth of Sunday-schools in Eng- 
land and Wales was evidently rapid after the torpor 
of the first years of the nineteenth century had 
been broken.^ In 1818 four per cent, of the popu- 
lation were in school, and the total of scholars was 
four hundred and seventy-seven thousand, two hun- 
dred and twenty-five ; in 1833 ^^e percentage was 
eleven ; in 1851 it was thirteen and five-tenths; in 
1880 fifteen, and in 1887 it had risen to twenty 
per cent, of the population, and there are reported 
six hundred and sixteen thousand nine hundred 
and forty-one teachers, and five million seven 
hundred and thirty-three thousand three hun- 
dred and twenty-five scholars. In the United 
States more attention would seem to have been 
given to statistics when once the practice of get- 
ting them had been begun. In 1875 there were 
sixty-four thousand eight hundred and seventy- 
one schools, seven hundred and fifty-three thousand 
and sixty teachers, and five million seven hundred 
and ninety thousand six hundred and eighty-three 

1 Gulick, "The Growth of the Kingdom of God," p. 104. 


scholars. In 1896 there were one hundred and 
thirty-two thousand six hundred and thirty-nine 
schools, one million three hundred and ninety-six 
thousand five hundred and eight teachers, and 
ten million eight hundred and ninety thousand and 
ninety-two scholars, and at the World's Sunday- 
school Convention, held in London in 1889,^ it was 
announced that about one-sixth of the population 
of the United States were in Sunday-schools, 
while the returns of 1899 give the total of one 
hundred and thirty-eight thousand one hundred 
and eighty schools, one million four hundred and 
thirteen thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven 
officers and teachers, and eleven million four hun- 
dred and ninety-seven thousand three hundred 
and twenty-eight scholars. In Canada, taking the 
country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we find 
ten thousand one hundred and seventy-four schools, 
seventy-nine thousand five hundred officers and 
teachers, and a total of scholars amounting to six 
hundred and fifty-seven thousand four hundred 
and forty-two. 

More than once attention has been called to the 
fact that the growth of intelligence, the wider 
education, and the better kind of teaching in the 
public schools, ran side by side with the spread of 
Sunday-schools and their general improvement in 

1 ** World's Sunday-school Convention Report, 1889,** p. 79. 


methods and in organization. The harmony be- 
tween education and religion is nowhere more 
apparent than in the United States. The Sunday- 
schools have the brightest young life of the coun- 
try in their classes as teachers or scholars. The 
growth of Sunday-schools has been simultaneous 
with the growth of religion in the schools and col- 
leges. A hundred years ago there were only three 
professed Christians in Yale College ; to-day, out 
of one thousand four hundred recent graduates of 
Harvard, only two declared themselves to be un- 
believers. "Never before were there so many 
evangelical church-members among the students 
of that institution. The Intercollegiate Young 
Men*s Christian Association is the largest college 
organization in the world. * No fraternity, no ath- 
letic organization, compares with it in size.* " ^ 

It is when we pass on to consider the character 
of the teaching in the Sunday-school that we 
understand how vast was the growth made in the 
nineteenth century. When Robert Raikes began 
his work, few of the children gathering in his 
schools could read. The Horn-book was the poor 
substitute in old England for the New England 
Primer across the Atlantic. It consisted of "a 
single page upon which the alphabet and a few 

^Gulick, p. 154 (1897). For details of Sunday-school progress 
on the continent of Europe, see **The Day, the Book, and the 
Teacher," by E. Paxton Hood, Chap. XI. 


short words were printed.^ This was pasted upon 
a small piece of board with a handle, and the 
printed matter was covered with transparent horn, 
so that the fingers of the young reader, probably 
seldom very clean, should not obliterate the let- 
ters." It was no doubt because education was in 
so backward a condition in England that the 
catechism, which relied chiefly on the memory, 
was so generally used. As we have seen, it was 
necessary for the Sunday-school to do what the 
day-school had failed to do. A scholar in the 
early part of the century recalls how **we had 
long, narrow trays, filled with sand, in which with 
our forefingers we used to trace the letters of the 
alphabet. Then came what were called * battle- 
dores,* thin pieces of wood, having printed on each 
side words of two or three syllables. The next 
stage was a spelling-book, and so on to catechisms 
and long passages of Scripture and hymns, to be 
learned during the week and repeated to the 
teacher on Sunday." ^ " After morning church," 
says one of the scholars, ** Mr. Raikes used to 
hear us all say the Collect for the day, and who- 
ever said it best had a penny. In school the 
Bible and the* catechism were taught us." Faith 
in a catechism was very general, and still remains 
so, although the entirely satisfactory catechism is 

' E. P. Hood, p. 9. 
* ** Northamptonshire Sunday-schools,** p. 15. 


yet an unfulfilled prophecy. Others besides Dr. J. 
A. Broadus have found an extremely difficult task 
" to make questions and answers about the exist- 
ence and attributes of the Divine Being that shall 
be intelligible to children," and yet few will be 
disposed to quarrel with the enthusiasm of Robert 
Louis Stevenson when he writes that " the Shorter 
Catechism opens with the best and shortest and 
completest sermon ever written upon man's chief 
end.** At the first public meeting of the Sunday- 
school Union in London, in 1812, it was reported 
that thirty-eight thousand copies of a catechism in 
verse, entitled ** Milk for Babes," had been printed ; 
and in the records of an old Baptist church in 
Yorkshire, under date October 15, 1822, I find 
that the church "thought it proper that school 
children be taught to get catechisms off.'* I ask 
you to notice this because it is plain, I think, that 
the older Sunday-schools trained the memory far 
more than we do, and to me it seems one good 
sign of our times that there is once more a strong 
and intelligent movement, originating with the 
editors of the "Biblical World," of Chicago, to 
formulate a catechism for pupils between the ages 
of sixteen and twenty-one.^ 

It will have been remarked that under Robert 
Raikes the Bible was taught in the school. No 

^ — I -* 

1 '* The Outlook,'' March 2, 1901. 


catechism was to be suffered to usurp its place. 
As early as 1794 he printed a little book of one 
hundred and twenty pages, about four inches 
square, ***The Sunday-school Companion,' con- 
sisting of Scripture sentences. Disposed in such 
Order as will quickly ground young learners in the 
Fundamental Doctrines of our most Holy Re- 
ligion, and at the same time Lead Them Pleas- 
antly On from Simple and Easy to Compound and 
Difficult Words/* The Bible was to be the text- 
book in the class. Among the first publications 
of the Sunday-school Union we find ^ " A Select 
List of Scriptures, designed as a Guide to teachers 
for a course of reading in Sunday-schools." In 
18 1 8 the union prepared a "Reading book con- 
sisting of extracts from the Sacred Scriptures." 
And these publications were only temporary in 
the minds of the managers of the union. ** The 
object desired and sought after was placing in the 
hands of all the scholars who could read the Bible, 
a complete copy of the word of God." This it 
was, you remember, which made the Sunday- 
school enterprise the parent of the Bible Society. 
That society, in its turn, recognized its obligation 
to the Sunday-school Union when, in 1840, after 
repeated applications, it complied with the request 
of the committee for a cheap Bible. The object 

^ Watson, pp. 44, 45. 


of this concession was that, ** read under the direc- 
tion of pious teachers, the Scriptures should be 
studied . . . and their truths impressed upon the 
memory/' ^ The reduction in the price of Bibles 
created such a demand that, after expending 
;£ 1 4,000, the Bible Society found it necessary in 
self-defense to stop the supply. This was sixty 
years ago. To-day the Bible is probably the cheap- 
est book which issues from the press. 

The Bible continued to be used in the classes 
of English Sunday-schools certainly through the 
first two-thirds of the nineteenth century. Prob- 
ably it is still used in very many of them. For a 
glimpse of the teaching as late as 1858 in a village 
in one of the midland counties, I am indebted to 
my friend, Rev. Dr. Trotter, president of Acadia 
College, Nova Scotia. He writes : 

In the Sunday-school of the General Baptist Church, at 
Thurkeston, Leicestershire, England, where I attended as a 
boy from 1858 to 1867, the exercises were ordinarily about 
as follows : School was opened with singing and prayer, the 
exercises being conducted by humble men, of only the 
slightest education, who were either farm laborers or petty 
tradesfolk. The hymns used were of a very doleful sort, a 
very familiar one being : 

** And am I bom to die, 
To lay this body down, 
And must my trembling spirit fly 
Into a world unknown ? " 

^ Watson, p. 48. 


Only at the Sunday-school anniversary, when special serv- 
ices were arranged, were the brighter hymns, which were 
then coming somewhat into use in other places, employed. 
The first of these which I can recall, and which was handed 
out in printed form on single sheets, was the hymn, 

** There is a better world, they say, 
Oh, Sebright!" 

I can never forget the delight with which this hymn thrilled 
me as a little fellow of seven or eight 

The prayers were very hackneyed, so much so that as 
regards fixity of expression we got the advantage of a liturgy 
without, however, its color and music. Nevertheless, the 
ideas so often repeated were substantially correct ideas, and 
they glowed with real earnestness. 

After the opening exercises we were dismissed to classes. 
So far as my own experience goes, and I think it represents 
what prevailed in the school, the half-hour spent in class 
was spent entirely in the reading of the Scriptures. There 
was no international series of lessons in those times, nor 
was there any systematic direction whatever of the work in 
the classes. One class read in one part of the Bible, an- 
other in another part Often the choice of the portion was 
made after the class had assembled, the scholars having as 
much to do in deciding the point as the teacher. Having 
fixed upon the portion, we read by turn till the half-hour 
was up. I cannot recall that there was any effort at ex- 
planation. By the reading process, however, we got a 
certain surface familiarity with large portions of the Bible. 
At the close of the half-hour the superintendent called out 
**time to dismiss," the younger children were then gath- 
ered together for singing and to be talked to by somebody, 
while the older scholars retired to a large vestry, round the 
walls of which were folding desks, to spend half an hour 
writing in copy books, this being the only opportunity 


some of the poorer children had of learning to write at all. 
After this the entire school was gathered together for closing 
exercises, which always included a few words about the 
need of being born again, or the dying of Jesus as the 
ground of forgiveness, or something vital. It was a crude 
jumble of exercises, but I can trace the views I hold and 
the experiences through which God' s grace has led me to 
certain beginnings of thought and feeling and resolve in 
the Sunday-school of that dear village far away. 

The Sunday-school Union of London, first by 
preparing a list of reading lessons for the use of 
classes and then by publishing monthly " notes " 
as a guide to teachers in their private study of the 
lesson for the day, had prepared the way for a still 
wider and more important combination. It was in 
Chicago that, under Dr. J. H. Vincent, the first suc- 
cessful effort was made to promote uniformity in 
Bible study in all the Protestant schools of the city. 
** So successful was this experiment at uniformity 
in Chicago that the schools from other towns and 
cities soon began to use these lessons also. Before 
the international plan was agreed upon it is believed 
that there were three millions of people engaged in 
studying the lessons issued from Chicago. Then 
the question arose, * Why not extend this method 
of studying the Scriptures throughout the United 
States and so make it national ? * The indica- 
tions were that that could easily be done. * But 
why not strike out boldly and go still further } ' 
it was asked. * Why not make it international } 


WTiy may there not be a common study of the 
Bible for the world ? ' " * The question of adopting 
a plan of united Bible study was debated at a Na- 
tional Sunday-school Convention held in 1872 in 
Indianapolis. WTien the debate was closed and 
the chairman put the question to the vote, with 
the exception of ten persons, the great throng 
arose to vote in favor of the proposal, and as by 
a common impulse the convention broke into the 
doxology in which all English-speaking people 
give voice to religious joy, 

** Ftaise God from whom all blessings flow.** 

Next day the committee which had the matter in 
charge was instructed to select " A course ol les- 
sons for a series of years not exceeding seven, 
which shall, as far as they may decide possible, 
embrace a general study of the Bible." * An Eng- 
lish religious magazine, in describing what is justly 
called •' a great literary syndicate," thus sketches 
the work which has now for so many years been 
faithfully carried on bv the staff of " The Inter- 
national Sundav-school Lesson Series": 

Tbe rast dimensions to which it has attained is a striking 
evidence of the evangelical power of ChiistianitT. Little 
more than rfunv^nve yeais since these was no diooght of 
simultaneous sTvidv in our Sccdav-schools : nowadays 
twenty million teachers and p:ipi!s are we^ after week 

« " The Scndav XlagusM." 1901. 


Studying the same lesson. The central editorial staff of 
this great organization is the American Lesson Committee, 
which held its last meeting in New York on April 17, 1901. 
It has, however, an auxiliary body of associates known as 
the British section, to which its work is submitted for 
amendment and concurrence. As the members of this 
section are divided between England, Australia, and India, 
it will be seen that the entire editorial organization covers 
three continents. America, however, exerts the dominant 
influence, for the initiative rests with the American com- 
mittee and the movement had its birth in Chicago. 

Generally the sessions are held in the parlor of a hotel. 
The full number on the committee roll is fifteen. The 
present American Lesson Committee was appointed in 
1896 and proceeded to the preparation of lessons for 1900- 
1905. The theme chosen was the life of Christ and of the 
great prophets, leaders, and apostles. At the first meeting 
the scheme for this particular study is settled and an abstract 
of the proceedings is sent to each member of the British 
section — six in England, one in Australia, and one in India. 
When the criticism on the abstract comes back, the com- 
mittee meets again, and if the scheme is approved by the 
corresponding members a detailed outline of the lessons for 
five years is arranged. The first question with regard to 
each lesson is, ' ' From what book and chapter shall it be 
taken ? ' ' The selection must be above denominational or 
controversial issues, and it must be within the mental grasp 
of every boy or girl, and at least a portion of the lesson and 
the golden text must hold the attention of the toddlers in 
the primary classes. 

Then the passage which is the gem of the lesson is se- 
lected for special treatment Almost as difficult a task as 
the choice of golden texts, to which much thought is devoted, 
is the giving of appropriate names to the various lessons. 


When the lessons for the quarter have been chosen the 
selections are subjected to a critical examination r^arding 
their relation to the lessons of the whole year. In the same 
manner the completion of the selections for a year is the 
signal for a patient re-examination of every lesson, with 
special reference to the manner in which the year' s series 
fits into the plan for the period and for the entire six years 
embraced in the work of the committee. Then the lessons 
thus definitely selected by the American Committee are 
printed on strong paper, and copies are forwarded to the 
British section for final emendation. After this the year' s 
lessons are sent round to the great publishing houses, which 
print them as leaflets, and hundreds of commentators set to 
work to assist in elucidating them. 

The committee has not failed to represent with 
fairness the great denominations of Protestant 
Christendom, and, although Bishop Vincent and 
Mr. B. F. Jacobs, who were foremost in formu- 
lating the lessons, remain to-day almost alone of 
the leaders at the memorable Indianapolis Con- 
vention, yet the spirit of the great enterprise is 
practically unchanged. Its success was no doubt 
due to a happy mingling of sentiment and common 
sense. The imagination of multitudes of Chris- 
tian people, always eager for union, was fascinated 
by the idea of the great army of Sunday-schools 
engaged simultaneously in the study of the same 
portion of the Bible. And the sturdy denomina- 
tional feeling was satisfied that no personal con- 
victions were to be offended by a plan which left 


it to the separate churches to issue their own 
lesson notes. 

Brought together (such is the testimony of Dr. Warren 
Randolph, speaking in the retrospect of twenty-seven years 
of active work on the International Lesson Committee), as 
we have been from many different denominations, we have 
found no difficulty in regard to a common ground upon 
which to stand in turning every leaf of the Bible. There 
is not a chapter or verse from Genesis to Revelation which 
has been passed by because of differences of opinion. With 
different interpretations we have had nothing whatever to 
do. All that has been left to the teachers and expositors 
of the different schools and different denominations. ^ 

During the remaining years of the century the 
International Lessons held the field. As time 
passed on, with a more intelligent study of the 
Bible there came to be grave questionings on the 
part of many whether too much had not been sur- 
rendered to the mere sentiment of uniformity. 
At the result of these questionings we shall glance 
later on. Our study thus far must certainly have 
convinced us that the International Lesson course 
has rendered an incalculable service to the cause 
of intelligent Bible study. 

And to the whole work of the Sunday-school in 
its renewed vigor we owe it, as much as to any 
one cause, that the religious life of the Old and 
New World has been roused and lifted. Such dark 

1 it 

World's Convention," etc., 1889, p. 120. 


forebodings as the century opened with were cer- 
tainly uncalled for when it closed. "The univer- 
sal inactivity of all religions/* which Horace Wal- 
pole noted in England in 1 780 as a symptom of 
degeneration ; the " daily complaints of the irre- 
ligion and depravity of the age, which in 1802 a 
reviewer of Doctor Blair's sermons feared to be 
'not louder than just'"; the low ebb of Bible 
study and Bible teaching in America at the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century, to which we have 
already alluded, all these had ceased to be charac- 
teristic of that century long before it reached its 
last year. When Canon Farrar affirms that it is 
no exaggeration at all to say that through the 
organization commenced by the simple citizen of 
Gloucester hundreds of thousands of Christ's little 
ones have been reached and have been influenced 
for their temporal and eternal good, he says only 
what the history of the Sunday-schools of the nine- 
teenth century proves to be even less than the whole 
truth. Not the children alone, but the entire life 
of the people at large, has been lifted into a brighter 
light and into a purer and sweeter atmosphere by 
the work which Robert Raikes commenced when, 
in answer to the inward voice, " Can nothing be 
done?" he responded bravely, "Try." 



Nothing should take the place of parental obligation. 
The minister as the friend of the young people. Three 
stages in the development of the young. The minister as 
the pastor of the young people. Influence of infant bap- 
tism. Pastoral visitation. Organizing the young people 
for Christian life and work. The minister as a preacher to 
the young. Children* s services. The sermon or address. 




As there is nothing which should lessen parental 
responsibility, so there is nothing which should 
take the place of parental obligation. The school 
and the church miss their mark when they do this. 
The claims alike of God and of the commonwealth 
demand that the father and the mother recognize 
that on them, in the first instance, does it rest to 
train their child in the duties of life. " There can 
be no question,**^ says Edersheim, "that according 
to the law of Moses, the early education of a child 
devolved upon the father ; of course always bear- 
ing in mind that his first training would be the 
mother's.** It is from the home that we catch the 
earliest notes of instruction. From the lifted tent- 
flap or from the latticed window come these 
sounds: "And ye shall teach these my words to 
your children, speaking of them when thou sittest 
in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, 
when thou liest down and when thou risest up.** * 

Abraham was priest as well as father in his 

1 ** Sketches,*' etc., p. 129. *Deut. 11 : 19. 



household. No after change, no partition of offices, 
can affect the conclusion to which we are brought 
by this fact. Even the initiatory rite of the Jews 
belonged to the parent^ more than to the priest. 
It was they who presented the child. It was they 
who made the offerings. Bushnell, in dealing with 
infant baptism, says : 

According to the more ancient view nothing depends upon 
the priest or minister save that he execute the rite in due 
form. . . Everything depends upon the organic law of 
character pertaining between the parent and the child, the 
church and the child, thus upon duty and holy living and 
gracious example.^ 

At the very outset, then, let us understand 
clearly that the parent precedes the minister, the 
family the church, and the home the school. The 
founder of Sunday-schools, Robert Raikes, evi- 
dently loved his great enterprise none the less be- 
cause he loved his own home circle first, for he 
writes to an old correspondent in the pleasantly 
formal fashion of his century : ** I must now tell 
you that I am blessed with six excellent girls and 
two lovely boys. My eldest boy was born the very 
day that I made public to the world the scheme 
of Sunday-schools, in my paper of November 3, 

And yet home teaching is not enough. The 

I (i 

Christian Nurture," p. 46. 


parents who can and who will give Bible instruc- 
tion to their children are few in number. In the 
majority of cases the most that we can hope for 
is parental example, and the home is fortunate 
when even that is what it should be. In no coun- 
try in the world does the home stand for more 
than it does in Germany, and nowhere, I suppose, 
does the State do more in the way of religious 
education in the public schools ; yet it was the 
lack of intelligent Bible study that led an American 
traveler in that country to start a Sunday-school 
in Berlin which has met with such favor that now 
«* all clergymen who are not rationalists have Sun- 
day-schools.*' ^ 

So it comes about that we need to ask ourselves 
what the church owes to the children ; and since 
the minister is to so large an extent the represent- 
ative of the church our theme in this chapter is 
his relation to them as friend, pastor, and preacher. 

And, first, let us look on the minister as the 
friend of the young people in his congregation. 
First, I say, because it is first. He will influence 
them little as pastor or preacher unless as their 
friend he has already won their hearts. Knowl- 
edge comes by way of the affections ; and it is 
John, " the disciple whom Jesus loved," who look- 
ing through the sheen of the morning, recognizes, 

1 Trumbull, p. 135. 


earlier than Peter or the other disciples, the Mas- 
ter standing on the lake shore, and says in raptured 
tones, "It is the Lord/* 

As I think of it now, in the sunny haze of many 
pastoral reminiscences, no relation other than that 
of kindred, seems more beautiful than this which 
grows up between the minister and the children 
of his parish. It was a far cry from the London 
lodging to the Irish parsonage ; but to Oliver Gold- 
smith the portrait of his father, the good minister, 
had lost none of its vivid color as memory recalled 
it ; and so he wrote : 

E' en children followed with endearing wile 

And pluck' d his gown to share the good man' s smile. 

His ready smile a parent* s warmth express' d. 

Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed. 

To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, 

But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven. 

A pastor writing of his forty years' ^ experience 
in one church says : 

How it began I forget, but it came to pass that for years 
at the close of each morning's service, children from four 
to ten years of age, came up into the pulpit and kissed the 
pastor. That custom was very beautiful. It made the pul- 
pit look like a bouquet of fragrant, animated flowers. He 
will never forget it, and believes that they will remember it 
in all after years. On one occasion an eminent minister, in 
exchange, occupied the pastor' s place, and our little ones, 

* Baldwin, p. 50. 


as was their habit, went up into the pulpit to salute him ; 
but he started back in amazement, and exclaimed : 
** Whose young ones are these?" At which greeting they 
retired in shamefaced disorder. No man can do the full 
work of the ministry without love for, and perpetual interest 
in, children. 

Let the minister, therefore, begin as early as 
possible to win the affection of the children in his 
congregation. Let the child unconsciously asso- 
ciate him with 

The sweet presence of a good diffused. * 

And let those childish memories be connected with 
religion. One purpose of the whole Jewish ritual, 
of the private and united prayers of the family, of 
the various domestic rites, of the weekly Sabbaths 
and the stated festivals, was just this : *' From the 
moment a child was at all capable of being in- 
structed, — still more of his taking any part in the 
services, — the impression would deepen day by 
day. "2 

The Jews, so says Philo, " were from their swad- 
dling clothes, even before being taught either the 
sacred laws or the unwritten customs, trained by 
their parents, teachers, and instructors to recog- 
nize God as Father and as the Maker of the 
world." « 

^ George Eliot. 
^Edersheim, "Sketches,*' etc., p. io8. ^ 3id., p. no. 


It is not for us to speculate on how much of a 
religious nature the soul coming from afar brings 
with it, nor how profound a truth Mrs. Browning 
expresses when she says : 

I have not so far left the coasts of life 

To travel inland, that I cannot hear 

That murmur of the outer Infinite 

Which unweaned babies smile at in their sleep, 

When wondered at for smiling. ^ 

Enough if the pastor comes to be associated 
lovingly in the impressions of this young life, and 
to become an influence for good, growing with its 
growth and strengthening with its strength. The 
fact that the minister assumes no priestly attitude 
toward the child will make the early impression all 
the purer, by importing into it no element that is 
tinctured by pride or assumption. " I have re- 
fused authority," said Henry Ward Beecher, " that 
I might have influence, which is a great deal bet- 

The one essential, so it seems to me, to this 
tender and beautiful influence is that on his part 
the minister preserve fresh the child's heart. Some 
will remember how Mr. Beecher himself kept this, 
and how as he left Plymouth Church for the last 
time it was with his arms about two little street 
boys who had wandered in, after the service was 

^ *• Aurora Leigh." 


over, when the congregation had dispersed, and 
while the organist was playing to the tired preacher 
the tunes he loved the best. Somehow there comes 
unbidden to our minds the words of the olden 
story, as applicable to the man for whom the life 
of storm and stress was now almost over : " And 
his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little 
child, and he was clean." And some will remem- 
ber too, how on his death-bed Thomas Guthrie, 
the children's friend, begged that they would sing 
to him "a bairn's hymn." The child-heart craved 
its own nourishment. I pray my readers to pre- 
serve it also. Apart from the joy which it will bring 
into all your lives, and the relief which it will bring 
into all your ministry, it will be of vast importance 
in your influence on the children in the congrega- 
tion if its minister can to the end say with Words- 
worth • 

My heart leaps up when I behold 
A rainbow in the sky ; 

So was it when my life began. 

So is it now I am a man. 

So be it when I shall grow old, 
Or let me die ! 

The child is father to the man. 

And I could wish my days to be 

Bound each to each by natural piety. 

His affection for the young people and his desire 
to do them good, will lead the minister to study 
them. He will soon discover that the two daugh- 



ters of the horse-leech/ "crying, give, give," have 
many brothers and sisters. A gentleman found a 
little boy, barefooted and in rags, on his doorstep 
one morning. ** And what do you want, little one ? '* 
he inquired ; and the boy looking himself over 
with a rapid glance, answered, "Everything." 
Every healthy child wants everything ; and how- 
ever long he lives or however much he gathers, he 
will not get beyond the noble discontent which 
Paul expressed when he said, ** Not as though I 
had already attained, either were already perfect." 
To the development of what we may for the 
moment call '* the young person," there have been 
three distinct stages. By all means let us remem- 
ber this in our treatment of the various steps of 
that young person's growth. First, imagination, 
when the child, like Robert Louis Stevenson walk- 
ing the Edinburgh street, is forever " supposing." 
The little child is in this stage ; and if one means 
to engage his attention he may tell a story. To 
this succeeds memory, and now a personal remi- 
niscence will interest. Then comes, third, reflec- 
tion, and with it powers of reasoning, which will 
fasten upon a thought if attractively put. Imagi- 
nation, and then memory, and then reflection — 
this, roughly speaking (and with no great care for 
the modern disposition to study child-life in strata), 

* Prov. 30 : 15. 


this seems to be the order of the growing intelli- 
gence. To recall these points when one conducts 
the public service and aims to catch the attention 
of the younger element in the congregation, will 
be good ; but better still will it be never to forget 
it. It will open to us the avenue of approach to 
the hearts of the children, of the boys or girls, 
and of the young people. 

In the second place, we must consider the min- 
ister as the pastor of the young people in his con- 

[The early Jewish riles brought each child in the theoc- 
racy into close relations to the priest The churches which 
observe infant baptism give, perhaps, an advantage of the 
same kind to their minister. It may be viewed as a sacra- 
ment, or it may be looked at only as a simple form of dedi- 
cation, but in any case the pastor, by virtue of this baptis- 
mal service, comes into sympathetic connection with the 
child. He has some ground for appeal, although in most 
cases the ground may not be taken with any pretense of 
sacerdotal authority. 

The writer is strongly disposed to believe that a consecra- 
tion service for infants should be encouraged among us, 
with the assent of the parents, and not so much as a duty 
but as a privilege. There seems to be authority for it in 
the practice of some Baptist churches : for instance, the 
First Baptist Church, Hartford, Ct. ; Dr. John Clifford' s, Lon- 
don ; and Emmanuel Baptist Church, New York City, Sam- 
uel Alman, pastor, 1890. In one church in New York the 
pastor for many years of his ministry has "urged it as a 
duty upon Christian parents to bring their children as soon 
as possible to the house of God and there publicly conse- 


crate and name them with prayer and thanksgiving." To 
every family whose child is thus dedicated, is given a cer- 
tificate of consecration, and the pastor testifies that ' ' many 
blessings have followed this religious ceremony." Among 
the announcements made in the weekly ' ' Bulletin ' * of the 
Westboume Park Baptist Church, Lx)ndon, of which Dr. 
John Clifford is the minister, I find the following : "The 
next baptism will take place on Wednesday evening, Jan- 
uary 19th, and the next dedication service of children to 
God our Father will be held on Sunday morning, January 

One of our first duties as ministers is to include 
the children of the families among those who have 
the benefit of pastoral visitation. We need to 
learn not only their Christian names, but also the 
familiar and endearing epithets which they may 
bear at home. To remember the names of the 
sons of Levi or how Amram stood related to Uzziel 
can be of no practical service to us which is at all 
comparable with the knowledge that Mary is two 
years older than Frank and two years younger 
than Kate. 

Let us study the tastes of the children. There 
are many instances on record of pastoral popularity 
when this was done more literally than is here 
intended. The minister's pockets have prepared 
the way for the minister's precepts. I remember 
riding one summer afternoon with a French curiy 
who was returning to his parish from the weekly 
market, and how heartily he was welcomed as he 


paused at one farm after another to drop his sim- 
ple purchases, — a book for Jacques, a toy for Marie, 
a doll for Babette, — and I think that I learned 
then and there one of my earliest lessons in pas- 
toral theology. "Talk with the children,'* said 
Wesley to his preachers, " every time you see any 
at home." ^ But I mean more, far more, than 
this. Let us find the bent of each young mind. 
We may help to develop the intellectual and moral 
growth of a hundred lives. The normal school, 
the college, the ministry may witness, by and by, 
to the fruitage of our intelligent study of these 
opening years. 

I would go further. When we have won their 
love and gained their respect for our words we 
may now and then form voluntary classes for in- 
struction from our lips in religious truth. In occa- 
sional vacations, winter and spring and summer, 
we can set apart one or two hours and meet those 
who are free from the work of the public school. 
We can talk to them directly and simply upon the 
chief things. Perhaps we may set them learning 
texts so as to have something with which to break 
the ice at the beginning of the hour.^ But we 
must shun all formality, and, as we love the class, 
keep clear of all assumption of the pedagogue. 

^Tyerman's **Life of Wesley," 3 : 23. 

2 " Treasure Texts for Youthful Memories," Barton. The Pil- 
grim Press, Chicago. 


The purely voluntary character of the gathering 
will be helped if the children are met alone, with- 
out any older persons (not even their parents) 
being present. A little book given to each as a 
memorial of these occasional classes will become 
an heirloom. This was the praiseworthy practice 
of the Puritan leader, Cotton Mather. He brought 
his young people into religious association, and 
added to Janeway's " Token for Children '* — then 
first published in Boston — a little book of his own, 
which, however, hardly tempts us by its title, 
" Some examples of children in whom the fear of 
God was remarkably budding before they died in 
several parts of New England.*' ^ But a glance at 
the old-fashioned Sunday-school library may make 
us less censorious when we reflect how long " the 
anaemic child continued to be a great part of 
spiritual literature.'* The pious but unhealthy 
little boy who died early, also died out very slowly 
from our books for children. 

I am not aware that among the experts in sta- 
tistics, often too much in evidence in our churches, 
any one has gathered the figures in reference to 
the causes which lead to conversion. The general 
impression that preaching is the most prolific 
source is probably erroneous. The influence and 
instruction of a good Sunday-school teacher is 

1 **Life,'» p. 221 ; **01d Chester Tales,'' p. 93. 


likely to be more productive of positive results 
than the average sermon. But if I were asked to 
what can be traced the largest number of conver- 
sions which have been permanent and powerful, I 
think that without much hesitation I should point 
to pastoral influence. For personal surrender and 
consecration in a natural and simple way, without 
the unhealthful influences of heated rooms, flaring 
lamps, exciting hymns, and sensational appeals, 
the true minister will work all the time. 

The true pastor will refuse to reckon an ap- 
prenticeship to sin essential to the service of God. 
The time has passed, I hope, in which the house- 
hold of faith numbered no children among its 
family. We have come to believe heartily in 
early folding. It is preferable to Cotton Mather's 
ideal of early dying. His buds all fell short of 
flowers, ours blossom. The story may be recalled 
— which has been told under so many guises that 
there is probably some truth in it — of the good old 
Scottish elder who, being deeply concerned be- 
cause his pastor persistently refused to allow chil- 
dren to be admitted to church-fellowship, invited 
him to his house. After tea the elder took the 
pastor out to see his large flock of sheep put into 
the fold. Taking his stand at the entrance to the 
sheepfold, the elder allowed the sheep to enter, 
but as the little lambs came up he roughly pushed 
them back with a heavy stick. At this unnatural 


treatment the pastor became very indignant and 
exclaimed : " What are you doing to the lambs ? 
They need the shelter far more than the sheep ! '* 
"Just what you are doing to the children of the 
church," was the prompt reply. Upon the churches 
generally as well as upon that particular pastor this 
lesson has had its due effect. We are prepared as 
never before to bring the children to the good 
Shepherd and find shelter for them in his arms. 

Gradually too, although the growth of this con- 
viction is slow, we are coming to see that each 
stage in our human life has to be treated according 
to its own capacity. Nothing seems more intol- 
erable than the religious prodigy. The old head 
upon young shoulders is an abortion. Boys, as 
Henry Drummond puts it, are to be religious as 
boys and not as old maids.^ In religion as in 
other matters it has been found true that for pre- 
cocity "some great price is always demanded, 
sooner or later." ^ A child with a man's appetite, 
a lad of twelve with the erudition of Grotius, a 
cyclopaedic mind in a twenty years old student, 
have no attraction for a sane judgment. It is 
right that your Admirable Crichtons should die 

If the pastor is wise he will encourage only a 
healthful and natural growth in the religious life of 

* H. Drummond, **Life," p. 344, 
' "Life of Margaret Fuller Ossoli," p. 374. 


his young people. It would be hard to calculate 
the harm that has been done to children by teach- 
ing them to repeat formulas in their prayer meet- 
ings which, however much they mean to their 
elders, are on their lips absurd in their unreality. 
By and by they may have significance enough, but 
to foist on the springtime the heats of summer 
and the hurricanes of the fall is to do a wrong to 
the true order of nature. How often one has 
heard that tremendous word "consecration " — •* I 
wish to consecrate myself — from a young girl 
scarcely yet in her teens, and glibly ready with 
phrases for which she really cared less than she 
did for the ribbon on her hat. With all our hearts 
we join with Horace Bushnell in his protest against 

Early wasting of impressions and experiences and a creep- 
ing in of untruth whilst the power vanishes and the forms 
of speech remain. For both the most delicate and the 
most solemn experiences become, after this method, objects 
of continual reflection and conversation under which, at 
last, solemn earnestness as well as all delicacy is destroyed, 
and there remains either a continual self-deception, with 
the semblance of the reality of godliness, or a gnawing con- 
sciousness of an increasing untruthfulness and of an inner 
unfruitfulness beneath a mass of phrases.* 

To promote a healthful growth — a child's faith 
for the child, a boy's for the boy, a young man's 

1 ** Christian Nurture," p. 382. 


for the young man — will be the aim of the pastor. 
It may indeed be easier for him to let the usual 
superficial and unreal methods remain undisturbed, 
just as it may also be easier to preach moral essays 
or to discuss sociological problems or to analyze 
the poets in his sermons rather than Sunday after 
Sunday to preach the truths which are able to 
make men wise unto salvation. But if the preacher 
is a good minister of Jesus Christ he will not let 
his preaching and his pastoral work run on in easy 
grooves and then every two or three years, calling 
on his people to confess their unfaithfulness and 
get up a revival, send for an evangelist and expect 
to do with his poor dynamite what the minister 
himself should have been doing all the time with 
the divine power of Christian nurture and with the 
divine provision of faithful preaching. 

Has not a serious wrong been done to many a 
young person brought into the church, by the neg- 
lect of all after training.^ The greatest anxiety 
has been shown to get him into the Christian 
fellowship, and the greatest joy has been expressed 
when once he was fairly within the gates ; but 
what after that ? The religion even of " highly 
educated young persons,*' it has been said, ** con- 
sists of miscellaneous notions picked up from 
formal attendance on the public worship, supple- 
mented by a few promiscuous remarks heard in 
the home circle, and colored by the superficial 


wash of fictitious literature/' * Let us set ourselves 
to remedy this. The pastor should have training 
classes for young converts, and instruct them fa- 
miliarly in the doctrines and practices, the history 
and present condition, of the church of which they 
are members, as well as of the yet broader church 
of which it, in its turn, forms only a part. 

Do we not also need to revise what I may call 
the church suffrage ? Many churches, it is cur- 
rently reported, are unduly controlled by the young 
people. Irresponsible, swayed by feelings or preju- 
dices, contributing little or nothing to the income 
of the society, yet, by virtue of their numbers alone, 
they can decide the choice of a pastor or precipi- 
tate his resignation, launch the church on the 
troubled sea of debt on the one hand, or on the 
other hinder necessary projects of extension — 
although to do them justice they are apt to be ex- 
pansionists of the most generous kind. The remedy 
for this is some kind of manhood suffrage, some 
clause in the church charter which limits the power 
to vote to what, at least presumably, is an age of 
discretion. It seems a misfortune that when young 
boys or girls join a church, oftener than not, they 
come at a bound into all the rights and privileges 
which the church can offer. 

These are matters of detail ; and yet they are 

^ S. R. Pattison, paper at Baptist Union of Great Britain and 
Ireland, 1869, p. 7. 


not unimportant. Upon them all the pastor will 
have to form and express an opinion. In our 
church life, as much as anywhere else, is it true 
that while life is made up of trifles, life itself is no 

I have set a high value upon pastoral example 
in its unconscious influence on the hearts and 
minds and consciences of the younger people in 
the parish. It is almost impossible to exaggerate 
that influence. The minister who remains many 
years in one charge will enjoy its fruits, as the 
transient birds of passage — ^the parochial tramps 
-—cannot. Their friend and counsellor in infancy, 
childhood, and youth, he will seem to those who 
grow up under his care to be himself a part of the 
established order of things. To adopt the fine 
words of an Oxford student,^ writing in praise of 
his ancient college, and to apply them to the 
parish, " Here, if anywhere, the minister may hope 
to hear the still voice of truth, to penetrate through 
the little transitory questions of the hour to the 
realities which abide while the generations come 
and go." If he has a delicate sense of honor, if 
he is high-minded and disinterested, if he is, to the 
young people, incarnate truth and justice and love, 
then the hour will never come when the influences 
which he exerts will cease. On the other hand, 

' Professor Frazer, Oxford, 1899. 


any meanness or inconsistency will be quickly 
marked, and not he but the very cause of right- 
eousness itself may have to suffer for it. Bernard 
Gilpin, the apostle of the North, in the sixteenth 
century, was only a boy when to his father's hall 
came for bed and board one evening, a preaching 
friar. The sermon of the next day was discounted 
in advance by the intoxication of the supper table ; 
and when the friar in his discourse waxed eloquent 
in exposing the sins of the flesh, the boy plucked 
his father's sleeve and asked him how the man 
dared condemn excesses when he himself had been 
taken to bed drunk the night before. We have no 
quicker, and I had almost said no fairer, critics of 
conduct than the young people in our congrega- 
tion. Certainly there are none who with such in- 
stinctive appreciation will recognize a high ideal 
of manly virtue, and themselves be swayed and 
molded by it. To be their minister seems to me 
an incalculable privilege. In the early French 
revolution the schoolboys of Bourges formed them- 
selves into a company, wore their uniform, learned 
their exercises and marching through the streets 
of the city unfurled a banner bearing this inscrip- 
tion, " TrembleZy tyrans, nous grandirons !'' " Trem- 
ble, tyrants, we shall grow." To muster and mar- 
shall the ranks of growing life is the pastor's office, 
and I know of none that is more inspiring. The 
church of to-morrow marches there. 


This mention of a band of disciplined volunteers 
leads me to urge that we should be judicious in 
organizing the young people in our congregation. 
Let us not add to the already exhausting labors of 
the alphabet by starting new societies calling for 
new arrangements of letters to set forth their aims. 
As a rule, it seems to me that, just as the poorer 
the man the more numerous his family, so the 
smaller the church the larger is likely to be the 
number of petty organizations — each of course 
with its title and its badge — which are struggling 
for an existence, when, oftener than not, they had 
better cease. The inscription on an English tomb- 
stone, " Methuselah Coney, aged two weeks," in- 
voluntarily occurs to me when I run my eye 
over the list of these high-sounding enterprises. 
" Strengthen the things that remain " rather than 
call another piece of inflated feebleness into being. 
In the Church, as in the State, what we need is 
not fresh laws, but rather that what we already 
have be fairly administered. And here it may not 
be out of place to utter a word of caution against 
the peril of inflicting on young and ignorant minds 
conditions that can for the present mean nothing 
to them. With Mr. Beecher I am inclined to say : 

I am opposed, heartily opposed, to the imposition that 
I see practised on children by attempting to make them, at 
nine, ten, eleven, or twelve years old, do things and feel 
things that belong to adult life and do not belong to chil- 


dren. The idea that you can organize them and bring them 
to pledges, and get them to make promises and put them 
on platforms that are pre-eminently out of their reach, it 
seems to me, is absolutely absurd. ^ 

As a practical conclusion to what has been said 
about the relation of the pastor to the young peo- 
ple who have been brought into his church, I 
would urge that he keep in friendly and confiden- 
tial touch with them. Once a year let him meet 
all who have been added to the church in each 
separate year and so give to them a distinct inter- 
est in one another. Let the meeting be at the 
same time social and devotional in its character. 
Let the attendance be limited to those who have 
been mentioned and to the deacons or elders of 
the church. Get each one to speak, however 
briefly. Have light refreshments provided and 
bright music. Let the minister's own address, if 
he makes one, be earnest and faithful. Each such 
gathering can be utilized as a power for putting 
new life into all the church and for pushing out 
on aggressive lines of Christian work. 

I may also recommend that each pastor have in 
the vestibule of his church a pastor's letter-box, of 
which he alone holds the key, and that he invite 
the young people (of course not by any means 
only them) to write to him on any questions of 
faith and practice calling for light. But while 

1** Yale Lectures," II., 185. 


these simple methods are referred to, I must, in 
justice to my present purpose, add that the par- 
ticular way in which this pastoral influence and 
this friendly touch are obtained and kept up seems 
to me altogether secondary. Every man must 
devise his own. What suits one cannot possibly 
suit all. The country church is not to be handled 
as the city church is. The less cultured are not 
responsive to methods which succeed with the 
more refined. Of the true pastor, as of him whose 
servant he is, we may dare to say that 

The old order changeth, yielding place to new, 
And God fulfills himself in many ways. 

We have now spoken of the minister as the 
friend of the young people in his congregation 
and as their pastor. It remains for me to deal 
with a subject of great interest alike to him and to 
them, I mean the minister as preacher. 

Hitherto we have been thinking chiefly of how 
the child, the boy, the girl, the young life in the 
parish, look to the minister. But let us remember 
that there are two sides to everything. Have we 
ever considered the reverse of this and asked our- 
selves how the minister — ^the preacher let us say 
for our present purpose — looks to the child ? 
" Your baby doesn't disturb me," said a minister 
who was vociferating in his sermon to a mother 
who was leaving the church with a crying infant 


"That isn't it, sir/' she replied, *'you disturb my 
baby." When Tennyson wrote his " Northern 
Farmer " we learned, almost it seemed as a revela- 
tion, what the bucolic mind held as to the parson : 

* * An* I hallus corned to' s choorch afoor my Sally wur dead 
An* eerd un a bummin awaay loike a buzzard clock ower 

my ye' ed, 
An' I niver knaw' d, but I thowt a * ad summat to saay, 
An* I thowt a said what a owt to * a said, an* I comed 


In the same way one cannot help hoping that the 
child's laureate will some day interpret for us the 
wide-open eyes and calmly wondering look with 
which the first sermon is received. The young 
preacher in a country congregation who dared to 
hold on with his sermon half an hour after milking 
time was very properly informed by the farmer's 
wife that, if only he had the feelings of a cow, 
under these trying circumstances, he would know 
better when to stop. The minister, if he has kept 
fresh and natural the child's heart, will need no 
such reproof. He will hear his own voice with 
the child's ear and measure his own address by 
the limited rule of the child's power of attention. 

At a very early age children should be brought 
to church. To the church first ; to the school 
second. If it comes to be a question whether the 
boy or girl should go to the morning service or to 
the school, I should answer without any hesita- 


tion, to the service. The habit of attending pub- 
lic worship cannot too soon be begun. The neg- 
lect of this, coupled with the unfortunate hour at 
which many of our Sunday-schools meet, — noon, — 
has done much to break the connection between 
the young people and the church, and to abolish 
that fine old institution, the family pew. The con- 
gregation dispersing at twelve o'clock meets the 
children coming to school. And it may very well 
be that the absence of so large a proportion of our 
population from church can be traced to this fact. 
When the time came for the boy to leave his class, 
having in his own estimation grown too old to go 
any longer to school, there was no other alterna- 
tive to which he had been accustomed than to go 
nowhere. We must work for the revival of the 
family pew, that spectacle of solid and prosperous 
devotion which marks the British as distinguished 
from the American congregation. In the case of 
very young children, the minister, if he is wise, 
will invite parents to bring them, and the mother, 
if she is wise, will resist the temptation to take the 
baby to the very front pew, so as to disturb the 
service to the utmost when the inevitable cry 
comes. She will be content for the time to be 
rather a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord. 
When children are brought to the service, let as 
much liberty as possible be given to them. I hope 
it is unnecessary for me to say that under no cir- 


cumstances should the child be kept awake. If it 
sleeps it will do well for itself, and better perhaps 
for all the rest of the congregation. Let not the 
minister allow himself to be put out by reason of 
any inattention on the part of the children. They 
listen quite as much, in proportion, as do their 
elders, but they have not yet learned how behind 
a mask of polite toleration to conceal a mind which 
is a thousand miles away. Think how little there 
is in the ordinary congregational service to interest 
a boy. How little part he can take in it. I believe 
that Mr. Beecher is right when he says : 

In the Episcopal and the Roman Catholic churches there 
is something for children. In that regard these churches 
are far beyond us. A child can follow the service in the 
hook, can make responses, can read, can sing — and there 
is very much of song service in the Episcopal Church . In 
ours how little is there which is fitted to the thought of the 
children. ^ 

Under the Puritan rul^ in New England the 
ordinary boy seems to have been an object of al- 
most perpetual reprobation. It was the settled 
conviction of the minister that foolishness was 
bound up in the heart of the child, and that with 
him and the tithing man did it rest to expel the 
foolishness and correct the child. The boys were 
seated on the pulpit stairs, and what terrors were 
not conveyed to them by the preacher's word were 

* "Yale Lectures,'* 2, 190. 


carried to them by the other functionary's rod. 
Above them stretched the gallery with its wider 
spaces and its greater freedom, but only when they 
behaved well were they suffered to sit there. They 
persisted, it seems, in breaking the windows in 
search of air ; and one church book still preserves 
this resolution on its pages: "The constables are 
desired to take notis (notice) of the persons that 
open the windows in the tyme of public worship." ^ 
Meanwhile the children, panting and pent in, 
were not really inattentive. Their minds were 
active and all their senses quick. We ourselves 
may remember no word of any sermon ever 
preached in our hearing in those tender years, but 
shall we ever forget the peculiar odor of the sanc- 
tuary — the church smell ; a mixture of mildew and 
moth and rust, with a fair proportion of last Sun- 
day's atmosphere carried forward to this, in the 
one place where air seemed to be as changeless 
and incapable of change as eternity itself ? The 
boy longing, as he afterward confesses, for the 
sounding board pendent above the pulpit, to fall 
and put an end to the preacher and his sermon, 
studying the knots and veins in the woodwork, 
following the beetle's droning flight, and surren- 
dering himself to the fascinating machinations of 
the universal spider, is himself the best vindication 

* Earle, **New England Sabbaths," pp. 59, 61. 


of his intelligence. All he asks for is for some- 
thing to observe, to be interested in, to do. It is 
our duty to meet this demand.^ 

Having brought the child to the church, let us 
make him a special object of study. Let us feed 
him with food convenient for him. Throughout 
the service there should, I venture to think, be 
more variety and change. The congregation should 
rise and sing every hymn, and there should be a 
responsive reading. Our service is often open to 
the criticism that when not triste it is unmeaning 
and even frivolous. The reading of the Scriptures 
should be a matter of very careful study. En- 
courage the use of Bibles in the pew. It is a good 
suggestion that "an effort should be made to 
form this habit in our juvenile assemblies.'* If 
necessary during the reading, by a word or two 
well chosen, explain what to the young and inex- 
perienced may be perplexing. 

Never fail to remember the family in your 
prayer. Are there boys and girls away from home 
at school } Are there others now, for the first 
time, engaging in business } Has some social stage 
been reached t Are there wedding bells in the 
air, or the cry of the first-born, or has some little 
grave been dug in the cemetery } Do not fail to 
make tender reference to all these. 

^LucyLarcom, **ANew England Girlhood.** 


The singing should always attract the young 
people, and much can be said in favor of the plan, 
often carried out, I understand, in the north of 
England, of introducing in some part of the service 
a children's hymn, to be sung by the children 
alone, and for which due preparation must be made 
through the Sunday-school. 

Now as to the sermon. If our reliance is placed 
upon the ordinary discourse, then we should en- 
deavor to have something in it which will attract 
the children, and arrest the attention of the young 
people. This was the practice of Philip Dod- 
dridge and John Wesley.^ To revert for a moment 
to a point on which I have already touched, think 
how the sermon appears to the younger members 
of the congregation. Mr. Beecher says that he 
does not believe that he ever understood a single 
thing that his father preached about, till he was 
ten years old.^ To Lucy Larcom, the preacher 
"seemed to be trying to explain the Bible by put- 
ting it into long words." ^ These are no doubt good 
samples of the impression which even superior ser- 
mons made upon superior children. From these 
you may descend to the lowest point, where you 
will find the young British plowboy, who frankly 
confesses that when the text is announced " I puts 
my feet up on the seat, and I thinks about naw- 

1 Trumbull, $33- ' ** Yale Lectures," 189. 

3 " A New England Girlhood," 55. 


thing at all." This humiliating consummation 
preachers must determine to ward off by all legiti- 
mate means. Even a child can be attracted, if not 
held, by a descriptive or historical sermon. By 
all means let us use concrete words, have illustra- 
tions, nor be afraid of homely and familiar figures. 
It is not at all necessary that our young hearer 
should be able to understand all we say. Probably 
no one does that. Possibly we do not ourselves. 
But there should be hooks in every sermon to 
which the young people can hang an idea ; and in 
every green pasture of the pulpit, daisies, and even 
dandelions, for the children to pick. 

Of late years the plan of preceding the regular 
sermon with a five-minute address to the children 
in sermon form has been growing in favor. To it 
there are only two serious objections, the first, 
that many excellent preachers have no genius for 
speaking to children ; the second, which is even 
more weighty, that the sermon proper comes to be 
looked at as no business of the children's. So 
one of them remarked after a service of the kind 
in London, ** It seems as if we ought to go when 
our sermon is over." They could have found a 
sufficiently strong precedent for doing so, since 
the catechumens, in the early church, used to be 
dismissed when their part of the public worship 
was concluded. But if one has the art of address- 
ing children it is probable that this second objec- 


tion will not hold. The preacher who can do that 
is not likely to preach any sermon in which there 
are no points of interest to the child's mind. 
Subjects for these five-minute sermons can be 
found in the volumes into which some of the best 
of them have been gathered and from the sugges- 
tions of one's own reading and observation. 

But apart altogether from these efforts there 
should be now and then, and I think more fre- 
quently than has been usual with us, a special 
service for the children of the Sunday-school. In 
the times of Robert Raikes and Hannah More the 
custom was to bring the scholars to the church 
and seat them by themselves under the care of 
the teachers. Out of this probably came the 
Sunday-school gallery, from which I in childhood, 
looking up at it from the family pew in a country 
meeting-house, formed my earliest conceptions of 
the Spanish Inquisition. Especially do I recall 
the almost fiendish cunning which the teacher by 
long practice acquired in stinging the face of the 
sleeping or restless boy by means of the pocket 
handkerchief used as a whiplash. When this in- 
strument of torture disappeared, to it succeeded, in 
many cases, the separate service where the scholars 
were addressed by their teachers, who had (or 
thought they had) an aptitude for that exercise. 
Much can be said in favor of this service, and 
especially when from it the boy or girl passes in 


due time to the family seat and the ordinary wor- 
ship of the congregation. 

Where the separate service is held, whether as 
an occasional or as a regular thing, there should 
be preparation for it as careful and as thorough. as 
that which is given to any other. For a few mo- 
ments, therefore, let us consider the service and 
the sermon. 

Let the first aim be to put life into every part of 
the service. Let the Bible be read, but not too 
many verses. It should be explained as it is read. 
The prayer should be simple and earnest and not 
exposed to the comment of one long-suffering lad, 
who complained that ** the minister had lost his 
amen and could not find it again." When Thacke- 
ray listened to the singing of the charity children 
in St. Paul's Cathedral he declared, "It is the 
finest thing in the world, finer than the Declara- 
tion of Independence." ^ So it is, and so in its 
own measure is the singing of the children any- 
where. For this very reason let us make the 
most of it. The tunes of many of our popular 
hymns seem to be better than the hymns them- 
selves. It must be confessed that they are often 
halting in their metre, unreal in their emotion, 
artificial in their sentiment, and in their doctrine 
shallow or unsound. When a healthy boy sings 

' ** Motley's Letters,'* I : 253. 


with vigorous lungs, **I want to be an angel," 
nothing is further from his thoughts. Even the 
exquisite child's hymn, 

I think when I read the sweet story of old. 
When Jesus was here among men, 

has been criticised for giving the conception of an 
absent Saviour, whereas he is as near to the chil- 
dren now as when in Judea he held them in his 
arms and gave to them his blessing. I venture to 
think that some at least of Doctor Watts*s " Divine 
Songs for Children," although written by a con- 
firmed bachelor, are among the happiest that we 
have, and certainly I should say that the hymns 
which we love best in our ordinary service will in 
many cases be popular with young people. 

The sermon or address demands to be consid- 
ered as our last point. 

The importance of knowing how to preach to 
children and of frequently doing so, needs to be 
brought home to every minister's heart. " Spend 
an hour," was Wesley's injunction to his preachers, 
** spend an hour a week with the children in every 
large town, whether you like it or not." ^ He may 
have learned from Count Zinzendorf and the Mo- 
ravians how useful a practice this was. The 
count and his fellow-religionists preached directly 
to the children, and a remarkable revival among 

* Tyerman, ** Life of Wesley," 3 : 23. 


them had its rise in a discourse to girls by Zinzen^ 
dorf himself.* Let no one allow himself to think 
that there is any condescension on his part in 
doing this. At no other time in all one's ministry 
will he be treading closer in the footprints of the 
Master. And never will he be in better company. 
Mr. Spurgeon declared that for himself he felt 
that he could preach much more readily to the low 
and groveling minds of grown-up people than to 
the purer and sublimer minds of children, who 
seemed to be nearer heaven, better and simpler.^ 
" We call it coming down,*' said Horace Bushnell, 
" when we undertake the preaching to children ; 
whereas it is coming up, rather, out of the subter- 
ranean hills, darkness, intricacies, and dungeon- 
like profundities of old, grown-up sin, to speak to 
the bright daylight creatures of trust and sweet 
affinitres and easy convictions." ^ 

It should be enough to recall the men who have 
made a special practice of the sermon to children 
to convince any one how honorable a work it is. 
At the beginning of the Protestant revival of the 
eighteenth century the leaders were active here. 
The persuasive tones of Philip Doddridge, the in- 
tense devotion of John Wesley, and Richard Cecil's 
rare eloquence, were pressed into the service. The 
succession, from that time to this, has never been 

* Trumbull, p. 106. ^Ibid,^ p. 340. 

»**Life,*»p. 504. 


broken. In the earlier years of our century Alex- 
ander Fletcher*s annual discourse to children was 
one of the events of the year in the city of London. 
John Todd did no better work in all his ministry 
than when he preached his virile sermons to young 
people and then gave them to the press. The 
ministry of Dr. Stephen H. Tyng, in New York, 
was in no small degree a ministry to the young ; 
and, in Philadelphia, Dr. Richard Newton became 
for his generation and for ours the model preacher 
to children. It is remarkable how often the men 
who have excelled in this enviable art have been 
men rich in the spirit of St. John : Frederic 
Denison Maurice, the remembrance of whose face 
in Lincoln*s Inn Chapel is to me a constant bene- 
diction ; the gentle Andrew Bonar ; William Arnot, 
with a mind like a flower garden, as fragrant as it 
was bright ; and John Cairns, of Berwick, whose 

Strength was as the strength of ten, 
Because his heart was pure. 

Space will not allow me to add to the list. Enough 
if I remind my readers that it contains the names 
of men from all the churches whom the church 
universal delights to honor. 

To preach to children is not easy. '* My chil- 
dren's sermons,*' said Doctor Newton, " cost me 
more time and labor than any others I preach." ^ 

1 Trumbull, p. 389. 


Nor is it given to every minister to excel here. 
At a Sunday-school Convention held in Plymouth 
Church, at the time when Mr. Beech er was in his 
prime, he was called upon for an address. In the 
course of his remarks he confessed that he never 
felt at ease in addressing children. His mission 
seemed to be to grown-up people, and he was 
obliged to leave the children to others. Scarcely 
had he said so when Dr. Stephen H. Tyng entered 
the church and took his place on the platform. 
Mr. Beecher went on to give a beautiful picture of 
the work of a Sunday-school teacher. This part 
Doctor Tyng heard, and when his turn came he 
referred in the most flattering terms to the manner 
in which Mr. Beecher had covered the whole 
ground. He then went on to say, in the most 
blissful ignorance of the personal application of his 
words, that he always preferred in his choice of 
pastoral work one child to two adults, adding : 

'* It seems to me that the devil would never ask 
anything more of a minister than to have him feel 
that his mission was chiefly to the grown-up mem- 
bers of his congregation, while some one else was 
to look after the children.*' The crowded audience 
shook with subdued mirth while Doctor Tyng, 
wholly unconscious of the point of his remark, 
continued, pointing to the door of the church. 

" I can see the devil looking in at that door and 
saying to the minister on this platform : ' Now you 


just Stand there and fire away at the old folks and 
ril go around and steal away the little ones.' " 
The audience broke into a peal of laughter which 
utterly astounded good Doctor Tyng. Yet as a 
matter of fact both he and Mr. Beecher were right. 
One star diff ereth from another star in service as 
well as in glory. 

Still, the qualifications on the part of the minis- 
ter for preaching to children are just such as he 
will need in all his pulpit work. He must be 
earnest. He must be sympathetic. That is to 
say, his aim must be not to amuse so much as to 
make better, and he must put himself in the place 
of his hearers, and first feel with, so that he may 
also feel for them. It is difficult to see how this 
could have been the case with a certain London 
minister who took for his text, " Their houses shall 
be full of doleful creatures,'*^ and for his theme, 
** Disagreeable Children." 

A good text will illustrate afresh the truth of 
the proverb, "It is the first step that counts." 
The text should be short, simple, and striking.^ 

"Talitha Cumi" is the text of one of Dean 
Stanley's sermons in Westminster Abbey, where 
he loved to meet the children and to talk to them.^ 
A little mystery, a challenge to the fancy of the 
hearer, will often be useful in attracting attention. 

*Isa. 13 : 21. * Trumbull, 351, 362. 

*W. G. Blackie, " For the Work of the Ministry/' p. 196. 


Nowhere can better texts be found than in the 
great green book of nature, to which Jesus turned 
when he said, ** Consider the lilies, how they grow.*' 

Equally important is the subject of the address. 
It is not at all necessary that it be childish. The 
popular book with boys is the book which is heroic ; 
and I am afraid they prefer the prodigal son who 
went so far afield, to the brother who stayed at 
home and never gave his father any trouble, nor 
gave him, for the matter of that, much of anything 

What is essential in your theme is the human 
element. The young hearer, as much as the Ro- 
man actor, counts nothing that is human foreign 
to him. For this reason, Joseph and David and 
Daniel are favorites forever. Dean Stanley could 
put life into an old legend ; and his story of the 
dying match-boy has passed into a classic. 

As to the treatment of the sermon, I should say 
that one idea is, as a rule, enough. Of older peo- 
ple, even, is this not also true t If you can do it 
skillfully, bring that one idea out of the text by 
means of question and answer. To do this well is 
great art. It is wise sometimes to introduce your- 
self by a question ; but be on your guard when 
you do this. The answer may not always be much 
to your mind. "What would you do,'* inquired 
one preacher, "if you were compelled to stand 
here before so many bright boys and girls, and had 


nothing to say ? " And the irrepressible small boy 
replied, without a moment's hesitation, ** Vd keep 

Dr. A. A. Bonar, one Sunday evening in June, 
appeared at a school in Edinburgh. It was the 
fifth school that he had addressed that day ; and 
some of the scholars had previously heard him 
more than once, being lured to this unusual effort 
of self-sacrifice by the prospect of the impending 
school-treats. They were ready to vote early and 
often. That day the good doctor had used to ex- 
cellent effect his famous children's address from 
the text, " Like as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wing." It began with the question 
" Did any of you, dear little boys or girls, ever see 
a hen i " But even of a good thing it is possible 
to have too much, and so when the usual intro- 
ductory question was launched, the repeaters in 
that evening school, being primed for the purpose, 
answered, " No, sir, no ! We never saw a hen — 
never one of us ever saw a hen ! '* 

The tone of the address should be bright, with- 
out being frivolous. Do not misrepresent the feel- 
ing of our heavenly Father toward children. 
"Thou God seest me," is a good text to preach 
from, but remember that it has in it no terrifying 
thought of God detecting and punishing sin. ** It 
occurs in one of the most beautiful and pathetic 
of Scripture stories, telling of Divine compassion 


for those who have found man's tender mercies 
cruel," and it commemorates the simple faith of 
the outcast Hagar, when for her, under the present 
care of God, " the desert rejoiced and blossomed 
as the rose." * The harrowing and horrible should, 
as a rule, be avoided, and it is no longer desirable 
in the interests of good citizenship or sound life 
insurance that all the good should die young, even 
though that might be the fashion in New England 
in the days of Cotton Mather. 

The moral, — and to every successful sermon to 
children there must be a moral, uttered or unex- 
pressed, — may very well be distributed throughout 
the address rather than concentrated at the close. 
Put there, it runs a chance of being entirely neg- 
lected. When Doctor Robertson, of Irvine, preach- 
ing to the street Arabs of Glasgow, finished his 
story and began to apply it, one of them bade him 
shut up with his moral and give them another 
story. " I learned from that rascal," said he, "to 
wrap the moral well in the heart of the story ; not 
to put it as a sting into the tail." In the same 
spirit as this street waif, a little girl in a much 
more genteel circle of society confided to her 
mother that she liked their new minister — " because 
he has no morals." 

Yet I must add, with the accent of conviction. 

* Mrs. Carus- Wilson, "Unseal the Book," p. 69. 



that in every address to children the element of 
instruction should be found. An English bishop 
has lately been pleading for " teaching sermons," 
and one reason why men are not more attracted to 
the churches is probably to be found in a neglect 
of this truth that we must educate the minds of 
our congregation as well as their hearts. The 
same holds true with younger audiences. 

As to the manner and spirit of the sermon, our 
first and last insistence would frame itself into 
the injunction. Be natural. Let us not affect sim- 
plicity, let us not pretend to feelings which we do 
not have, and never make the fatal blunder of 
talking down to children. The simplicity which I 
am commending is that of Reginald Heber, of 
whom the little child said : " Oh, I like him very 
much, and he told me a good many things, but I 
don't think he knows much more than I do." To 
speak like that is to recall Pascal's eulogy of the 
. supremely good book, <* Every one thinks he could 
have written it himself." 

We shall do well to cultivate the art of speaking 
in words which are short and concrete. The ad- 
dress which began, " My dear children, I do not 
propose, on the present occasion, to detain you 
with any preliminary remarks of a recondite or 
abstruse character," like the Chinese criminal, 
carried its death sentence written on its forefront. 

On the other hand, John Wesley, the greatest 


ecclesiastical general in the Protestant church, 
prepared a sermon to children in which he used 
no word having more than two syllables, and many 
other preachers distinguished in the annals of the 
pulpit have done the same. There is no better 
example as to style than that of Dr. Samuel Cox, 
who found, in revising his sermons to children, 
" clusters of twenty and thirty, or even forty and 
fifty words of one syllable," and who commends 
the simplest and most colloquial English.*' 

So much has been written of late on the subject 
of preaching to children that it looks as though at 
length the church were indeed waking up to its 
neglected opportunity. The published volumes of 
sermons preached to young people form a little 
library of themselves. The counsels and direc- 
tions on the subject in homiletical text-books are 
wise and weighty, and no doubt, in common with 
the counsels and directions for all homiletical 
work, alternately inspire us with emulation and 
overshadow us with despair. 

But, after all, it is at the feet of the one perfect 
Model that each one of us must sit and listen and 
learn. Not only the soldiers, impotent to arrest 
him, but equally the little children held willing 
captives in his arms, bid us acknowledge that 
"never man spake like this man." 




A comparison of the Sunday-school of the earlier times 
and the present day. The minister must adjust his relation 
to the Sunday-school. His relation to the school as a 
whole. The minister is the pastor of the school. His 
relation to the officers of the school. He must advise. and 
supervise. His relation to the teachers of the school. An 
intellectual influence a. spiritual power. Benefit of the 
work to himself. 


How shall we define the Sunday-school ? A 
century of experience has changed our conception 
of the Sunday-school so radically that to-day we 
scarcely recognize it as the same thing that it was 
when Robert Raikes and Hannah More began 
their philanthropic work in the lanes of Gloucester 
and the villages of Somersetshire. Where can 
you find, in England or America, a parallel to the 
picture of the opening of the school at Blagden, 
in the west of England, which we have in Hannah 
More's ** Mendip Annals " ? ^ 

In the beginning of October, 1795, we opened one of the 
largest, most affecting, and interesting schools we had yet 
encountered, composed of a hundred and seventy young 
people, the greater part from eleven to twenty years of age. 
It was an affecting sight Several of the grown-up youths 
had been tried at the last assizes. There were the children 
of a person lately condemned to be hanged, many thieves, 
all ignorant, profane, and vicious beyond belief. Not one 
out of the one hundred and seventy could make any reply 
to the question, * * Who made you ? * ' 

To-day v/e have reached the opposite extreme, 

1 Pp. 168, 169. 



and it is to be feared that some of our Sunday- 
schools are cheerful and sociable children's clubs 
for the promotion of pleasant intercourse, the cir- 
culation of popular literature, the cultivation of 
kindly feeling among the families of the congrega- 
tion, and, incidentally, the study, not of the Bible, 
but of lesson notes more or less connected with it. 

These extremes have certainly one thing in 
common. The Sunday-school of Hannah More 
was strictly parochial, and the Sunday-school of 
to-day is the same in the sense that it keeps largely 
within the bounds of the separate congregations. 
Free though we may be, if we live in America, 
from the parochial divisions which the State marks 
out in the old country, yet our own congregational 
bounds are of the same nature, and, while every 
aggressive Sunday-school by its agencies reaches 
out beyond these bounds, still it remains sub- 
stantially true that " the Sunday-school may be 
defined as the church and congregation, especially 
children, meeting on Sunday for the study of the 
Scriptures.** ^ 

When it is faithful to its office the Sunday- 
school is much more like the early Christian 
assemblages, as they are described by Justin Mar- 
tyr, for instance, than is our modem congrega- 
tional gathering for public worship. Its keynote 

* Judson, "The Institutional Church,** p. 104. 


is instruction. No limit of age, of understanding, 
or of condition, should for one moment be recog- 

The Sunday-school, then, is not so much a 
branch of congregational work as it is the congre- 
gation itself. And the minister stands in just the 
same relation to it as he does to the congregation, 
understanding by the word ** congregation " the 
whole number of those who regularly come under 
his spiritual influence. 

How this truth has been obscured, lost sight of, 
finally denied altogether, history bears melan- 
choly witness. The struggling and scattered 
church of the first days was, as Doctor Trum- 
bull says : ^ 

Unafcle to enforce a uniform church-school system in all 
communities alike with carefully graded instruction from 
the primary class to the divinity schooL The best that it 
could do was to provide in every local church gathering for 
the catechetical instruction of the young, including the 
children of all believers and all other children who could 
be brought under its care. . . Individual Christians were 
forward and active in efforts to reach and to teach the 
young whenever and wherever they might do so. 

But the growth of the hierarchy in numbers, 
power, and assumption gradually changed the sim- 
plicity of the early church. The ministry claimed 
the exclusive right to instruct and then failed to 

» "Yale Lectures," p. 48. 


do it. Romanist and Protestant, State Church- 
man and Nonconformist alike, lay under the male- 
diction of the Master, " Woe unto you, lawyers ! 
for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye 
entered not in yourselves, and them that were 
entering in ye hindered." ^ 

Confining ourselves to the area covered by the 
modern Sunday-school movement, we find abun- 
dant proof in Great Britain and America that the 
woe was well deserved. The opposition of the 
British clergy to that movement in its early days 
was often undisguised and fierce. "Sunday- 
schools," says Sir Charles Reed, "were attacked 
by prelates in the pulpit. The Bishop of Roches- 
ter notably denounced the movement and urged 
the clergy not to support it, and the Archbisitiop 
of Canterbury was the first man in that day to call 
the bishops together to consider whether some- 
thing could not be done to stop this great enter- 
prise." ^ " Later the Presbyterians of Scotland and 
the Congregationalists of New England were rep- 
resented among the opponents of the Sunday- 
school as it battled its way into deserved honor." 

The clerical mind, here as in other matters, was 
slow to change. There were from the first illus- 
trious exceptions to the dislike or distrust with 
which the Sunday-school was regarded, but the 

^Luke II : 52. 'Trumbull, pp. 114, 115. 


average clergyman, when he ceased to persecute, 
did what is little if anything better, he patronized. 
" Within this month/' wrote Mr. Raikes in 1787,^ 
" the minister of my parish has at last conde- 
scended to give me assistance in this laborious 
work, which I have now carried on for six years 
with little or no support. He chooses that the 
children should come to church both morning and 
evening." The Bishop of Gloucester, at his visita- 
tion in July, 1786, ventured so far as to say, with 
genuine episcopal caution, that " he doubted not, 
with proper management and under the inspection 
of the parochial clergy, Sunday-schools might be 
productive of great good among the children of 
the poor throughout the diocese.'* Such a man 
would have patronized the angels of the Advent 
and faintly approved of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, always, of course, " under the inspection 
of the parochial clergy." The flutter in the eccle- 
siastical dovecots may be imagined when one of 
the most liberal and devoted of the Mendip clergy 
needed to write : 

I beg to state that the plans for instructing the children 
and their older relations are circumscribed by every pre- 
caution which appears to me needful or practicable in order 
to guard against the smallest abuse or irregularity. The 
whole economy of the school is under my direction and 

' Gregory, ** Robert Raikes, Journalist and Philanthropist,*' p. 



control, and nothing is done but what I, with my whole 
heart and to the best of my dispassionate judgment, ap- 

So, although with dignified deliberativeness, the 
clergy came to acquiesce in the Sunday-school 
movement. No doubt this was owing in part to 
the fact that the queen herself sent for Raikes to 
hear from his own lips " by what accident a thought 
which promised so much benefit to the lower order 
of people as the institution of Sunday-schools was 
suggested to his mind." At Windsor, under the 
shadow of the royal castle, " the ladies of fashion 
passed their Sundays in teaching the poorest chil- 
dren." There was a fair prospect that Sunday- 
schools, as the eighteenth century wore to its 
close, would become as popular with the aristocracy 
as in our own times slumming has been. The 
vagaries of fashion sometimes carry even her to 
the limits of serious usefulness. 

The British clergy were loyal to the royal ex- 
ample. The name of Mr. Raikes became "a name 
that every clergyman should highly reverence." 
He was eulogized as a patriotic and virtuous citi- 
zen to whom the present generation should " raise a 
monument of gratitude." He was compared with 
Jenner, who had recently benefited the whole 
nation by introducing vaccination. The clergy 
might now safely praise the man who basked in 

1 n 

Mendip Annals,*' p. 188. 


the sunshine of the royal approval and who was 
put side by side with the physician who had warded 
off the small-pox. 

In America, the progress of the Sunday-school 
movement was almost as difficult, and from sub- 
stantially the same causes. The birth of the Amer- 
ican Sunday-school Union was probably under very 
humble circumstances. A colored woman, in 1793, 
started a Sunday-school in New York. Visitors 
to the schools of Robert Raikes gave shape to this 
and other voluntary enterprises. A minister from 
London put enthusiasm into the work in Philadel- 
phia. But even at this time a young girl who 
dared to gather a little school in the galleries of 
her home church in Norwich Town, Connecticut, 
was forbidden to desecrate the day or the place by 
her unsanctioned experiment. She was driven 
even from the schoolhouse to which she had with- 
drawn, and compelled at last to take refuge on the 
church steps. From her baffled but victorious 
endeavor sprang a school which has already sent 
out twenty-six ministers and missionaries, several 
of them members of her own family.^ And of the 
Sunday-school institution at large it can be said 
that "from an aggregate membership of a few 
hundred at the beginning of this century, it has 
come to include, within the evangelical Protestant 

1 Trumbull, p. 128. 


bodies alone, from eight to ten millions, or nearly 
one- fifth of the entire population of the United 
States." ' 

In an earlier chapter we traced the idea of Chris- 
tian nurture through the apostolic age to the earlier 
years of synagogue instruction, and still farther 
back to the founding of the Hebrew theocracy, and 
thence to the tent of Abram and the cradle of re- 
sponsible family life. 

We are now able to claim for the Sunday-school 
(which is so powerful a means of Christian nur- 
ture), that it lies, in germ, in the church of the 
first days. Clouded, obscured, ignored, opposed, 
without doubt it has kept an existence ever since. 
It is the glory of our own times that this stream 
has been cleared of its overgrowth of weeds, that 
its channel has been well defined, and that, as its 
waters have broadened and deepened, and gained 
in volume and speed, the old prophetic words have 
received a fresh fulfillment : " And everything 
shall live whither the river cometh." * Our pres- 
ent position, you will note, is that the Sunday- 
school is a part of the local church, essential to its 
completeness and inseparable from its successful 
existence. You can have the school without the 
church better than you can have the church with- 
out the school. Old age is not so necessary to 

^Trumbull, p. 131. * Ezek. 47 : 9. 


continued life as youth, and we shall part with the 
grave at less cost than with the cradle. Among 
the first things that we have to do, therefore, if 
we are ministers of Jesus Christ, is to adjust our 
relations to the Sunday-school. To a considera- 
tion of this subject we will now turn. 

And, first, the minister must settle just what is 
his relation to the school as a whole. I began this 
chapter, with the definition of the Sunday-school 
as the church and congregation meeting for the 
study of the Bible ; and I did so because it is only 
too easy to lose sight of this close connection be- 
tween the church and the school. 

In England, as we have seen, the school came 
into existence as an independent movement. The 
layman rather than the minister fathered it. Only 
after much active opposition or cool patronage did 
the church recognize in the Sunday-school one of 
her children. In America, on the other hand, the 
birth of the local school — and this is especially 
true in the West — has, oftener than not, preceded 
the birth of the local church. The mother in the 
one case has been the daughter in the other ; and 
the child has literally been father to the man. 

Now let us understand that back of these acci- 
dents of origin, the Sunday-school is one distinct 
phase of the church, and therefore never independ- 
ent of pastoral care and supervision. Here is the 
local school, meeting under the roof of the local 


church. Who is responsible for its management 
and control ? Who shall answer for its condition, 
commend it for its prosperity, or censure it for its 
ill success ? I answer : The local church ; and, 
as the representative of the church, the minister. 

I confess to a jealousy of Mr. Beecher's state- 
ment, except indeed as a telling bit of rhetoric : 
" I think that Sunday-schools are the young peo- 
ple's church." This is to banish the cradle to an 
outhouse, to have the nursery removed to a sepa- 
rate dwelling. It is to encourage the error, al- 
ready too general, that the young people are to 
have their own establishment and to receive their 
visitors, have their own separate circle, create and 
carry on their own interests, entirely indifferent 
to their elders. It is the boarding-house parlor 
and not the family sitting room that is set up as 
our model here. And I protest against it. The 
Sunday-school is not the children's church. The 
church where their parents worship is none too 
good for them, and it ought to be none too formal 
or too old. The forest trees are better for having 
the forest undergrowth. Give the children their 
place in the family circle of the church, as it sur- 
rounds the sacred table or gathers with psalms and 
hymns and spiritual songs to sing and make mel- 
ody to the Lord.^ My church shall be the church 

> Eph. 5 : 19. 


of my children ; and their Sunday-school shall be 
mine as well. 

The responsibility of the pastor for the Sunday- 
school is not optional. It is obligatory. Every de- 
partment of work and worship has been committed 
to the minister, this among the rest. 

The connection between church and school will 
be kept all the closer if the church sustain the 
school financially. A gentleman active in the 
public school system of Toronto says : ^ 

I would like to see Sunday-schools placed on the same 
footing financially with relation to the church that public 
schools hold toward the municipalities and the State. Does 
not the Simday-school bear even a closer relation to the 
church than the public school does to the State ? Is it not 
literally a department, aye, and an important department, 
of the church ? Why then should it not have its place in 
the church estimates ? 

Whatever money is collected in the classes 
should go to beneficence, not to the support of 
the school, not to the paying of a church debt, not 
to defray the expenses of school festivals and pic- 
nics, but exclusively to good works. Let the 
school support, in whole or in part, a missionary 
abroad or on the home field ; let it have its bed in 
the local hospital, its share in the fresh-air fund, 
its contribution to the relief of the famine or the 

* Mr. James Hughes, Inspector of Public Schools, Crafts, ** The 

Bible,** etc., p. 70. 



fire. And let the funds be allotted under the di- 
rection of a committee elected by the whole school, 
with the approval of the church. The officers of 
the school — perhaps even the teachers — should be 
nominated at the annual election held for the pur- 
pose, and voted upon, always subject to the ap- 
proval of the church. 

To the quickened sense of pastoral responsi- 
bility we owe it that the local church is gathering 
about it so many organizations for Christian en- 
deavor, for manual or mental training, for asso- 
ciations of young men and young women, which 
fifty years ago would have been started each upon 
its independent basis. It is little to the credit of 
the church that in the eighteenth century she suf- 
fered the Sunday-school to be begun by laymen, 
and for years held the most valuable of her aux- 
iliaries at arm's length. That the Christian Asso- 
ciations for young men and young women have 
been launched very much in the same way is little 
to the credit of the church in the nineteenth cen- 

I think that what has already been said settles 
the minister's relation to his Sunday-school. He 
is as much the pastor of the school as he is of 
the fellowship. He is as much interested in the 
choice of a superintendent as he is in the choice 
of a deacon or an elder. 


I venture to counsel that from the first the 
minister be very watchful over himself in this 
matter. Let him avoid, by all means, assuming a 
hostile position toward the officers of the school 
or its management. Let the superintendent be 
his close ally. It has sometimes been whispered 
that the relations between the president and vice- 
president in the republic are apt to be strained. 
The officer who comes next to you in rank is the 
one for whom unconsciously to yourself feelings 
of petty jealousy may creep into your heart. The 
superintendent of the Sunday-school is like the 
general in the field, the pastor is rather the minis- 
ter of war. There is always danger of friction. 
Let the minister be on his guard against it. Let 
him make the superintendent his personal friend 
and his official confidant. Let him be his asso- 
ciate, not in any sense his rival. 

I trust that I need not warn any minister against 
falling into a condition of indifference to the 
school. A farmer might as well be indifferent to 
his spring wheat. It is of the first importance 
that he keep in close touch with every teacher in 
his class and with every officer at his work. The 
secret of the success of the late A. T. Stewart, 
the drygoods merchant of New York, was said to 
be that he was always in the store himself, and 
that no single salesman was long out of his sight. 
The care of all the churches was that which daily 


came upon the apostle/ and the care of all the 
interests of the school should equally come upon 
the minister. 

And yet, at the same time, if he is prudent he 
will not allow himself to be meddlesome. The 
clerical weakness of omniscience is one to which 
a minister easily yields. Many of us are credited 
with so much more wisdom than we really possess 
that it is not a very difficult matter for us to be- 
lieve that, like Lord John Russell in Sydney 
Smith's playful satire, we could take command of 
the channel fleet, build St. Peter's, and perform 
the most delicate surgical operation at an hour's 
notice. The ability of the minister is seen, not in 
doing ten men's work, but in setting ten men to 
do it for themselves. 

If the minister makes the best of his relation to 
the school he will find that nowhere is there a 
nobler field for the cultivation of that rare pastoral 
gift which Doctor Chalmers in his stately rhetoric 
was wont to call " the prosperous management of 
human nature." 

Having said so much as to the minister and 
the school, it is easy to pass on to consider what 
should be his relation to its officers. 

The old Greek said, " He is the best shoemaker 
who, out of the leather that he has nearest to his 

*2 Cor. II : 28. 


hand, makes the best pair of shoes." I think 
there is nothing more foolish in a minister than to 
quarrel with his materials. The despondent tone 
is fatal to success. " If any one attempts to haul 
down the American flag, shoot him on the spot," 
wired General Dix on the eve of the Civil War, 
and the whole North promptly waked up to the 
certainty of success. Never haul down your flag ; 
never even fly it at half-mast, as though there 
were a funeral aboard. Make the officers and 
teachers hopeful by your confident air. The 
'' gently complaining and fatigued spirit " which 
Mr. Galton finds in the majority of clergymen is 
an insult to God and to his world. The minister 
who adopts it deserves the same fate — in a par- 
liamentary sense, of course — as the man who 
hauls down the American flag. 

Let us honor our teachers. Let us discover 
their virtues and excellencies. The church just 
now is not crying out for critics, but for helpers. 
The way to get better teachers is to make the 
very best of those we already have. 

I think what has to be said on this part of our 
subject may fall under two divisions. The min- 
ister must advise his teachers and he must super- 
vise them. 

First. He must advise. 

The school, as a whole, is only one of a vast 
number of similar organizations. Upon no branch 


of Christian work is so much thought expended. 
By all means let the minister keep himself posted, 
through the various excellent Sunday-school pub- 
lications, in every advance which the army of 
schools is making. Without showing himself 
eager to advise the adoption of every new method 
that is being discussed, let him never allow his 
mind to fossilize. A school which is growing 
must devise fresh plans for further increase. Can 
you canvass the neighborhood ? Can you make 
each class a recruiting agency ? Can you use the 
press to better advantage i Is there an advance 
all along the line ? To debate such matters, let 
the teachers be met every now and then, and let 
these and other questions be open for free dis- 

It is of the first importance that the minister 
advise, without dictating, as to the men in office 
in the school. Let him find which way the current 
is turning and wisely direct it. If it is possible 
to have as his assistant in the pastorate a man 
qualified to superintend the school, this is in many 
respects a model arrangement. The work which 
has been done by our volunteer superintendents, 
while busy through the week in their daily avoca- 
tions, has been beyond all praise. It is so still. 
But when a Sunday-school is well up in the hun- 
dreds, and is situated in a neighborhood favorable 
to growth, it almost becomes a necessity that one 


man, in addition to the minister, should give his 
exclusive attention to it. The trouble with many 
of our churches seems to be that, unlike some 
armies we have heard of, even if adequately 
manned, they are insufficiently officered. 

Let the minister advise with his teachers as to 
the size and character of the classes and as to 
every permanent addition to the teaching force. 
The band of regular teachers is a kind of cabinet ; 
and the more he takes it into his counsels the more 
likely will it be that the whole school will pull 
unitedly in the right way. All this will require to 
be done by him judiciously. He need not preside 
at teachers* meetings, although he will do well to be 
generally present at them ; but the teachers should 
instinctively feel that his mind is to be sought 
whenever the interests of the school are under dis- 

More pronounced will be the minister's influence 
in the supervision of the school. The teaching 
band first demands his attention. In the opening 
days of this movement, the teachers were many of 
them paid. The present disposition to engage a 
superintendent, well trained for that specific work, 
and to pay him as one of the salaried officers of 
the church, is practically a return to an early 
method. There are instances — but they are rare — 
in which even teachers are paid. As a rule, the 
whole work of Sunday-school instruction is volun- 


tary. And the volunteer Sunday-school corps, 
like the volunteer choir in the church, labors under 
this disadvantage, that it seems ungracious to find 
any fault with it. When the illiterate Indian 
preacher told a passing traveler that his salary was 
five dollars a year and a fish pole, the traveler 
naturally replied that this was " mighty poor pay," 
and the Indian grunted back that it was also 
"mighty poor preach." I have no inclination to 
apply that story very closely ; but we cannot shut 
our eyes to the fact that, take the country over, 
the teaching in our Sunday-schools is not what it 
might be. I should not say so much as this — 
knowing how dangerous it is to indulge in glitter- 
ing generalities — were it not that I wish to fasten 
not a little of the responsibility for the sort of 
teachers to be found in the Sunday-school upon 
the minister. Far more care should be exercised 
in their appointment. And, which is a point on 
which I would lay the utmost stress, when ap- 
pointed the pastor should see to it that week by 
week the lesson for the next Sunday is intelligently 
studied. One of the best ways to freeze out an 
incompetent teacher is to raise the intellectual 
tone of the whole school. The scholars will soon 
find out his incapacity, and in time even the 
teacher may have sufficient grace to find it out 

I would earnestly counsel that the minister en- 


courage in his school not the multiplication of 
classes, so much as their efficiency. If ever it 
should fall to his lot to build a school, let him re- 
member that he can scarcely have too many class- 
rooms. In the hall where all meet there should 
be scarcely any teaching done. We have been 
aiming at the impossible in trying to find in a 
church of, say, four hundred members, a teaching 
staff of forty. Each class may be allowed to be- 
come just as numerous as its teacher can make it, 
and the influence of some masters of the art of 
popular Bible exposition with present-day applica- 
tion, is to be seen in the multitudes that flock to 
their class-rooms. 

Take the utmost care in the selection of teach- 
ers for the kindergarten department. Here from 
the ages of three to seven gather the little chil- 
dren, too young as yet to be admitted into the 
public schools, but not too young to receive im- 
pressions that will be more enduring than many 
lessons later learned. The large church may well 
" employ a devout and trained kindergartner, who 
shall not only educate the child's mind and body 
with the charming symbolic exercises of the kin- 
dergarten, but also tell the story of the life of 
Christ, and teach the child Christian prayers and 
hymns." ^ If equal to doing so, the kindergarten 

^ Judson, p. 172. 


should be established as a weekday institution in 
the church, but often this will not be possible. 
What I am now pleading for is : The teacher of 
little children will learn, as well as her scholars. 
She will be more and more impressed with the 
beauty as well as with the mystery of infancy, and 
will sympathize with Jean Paul Richter when he 
says : " A single child upon the earth would seem 
to us a wonderful angel, come from some distant 
home, who, unaccustomed to our strange language, 
manners, and air, looks at us speechless and in- 

As a final word upon this subject of the teach- 
ing force, let me beg all to remember that, in this 
business of religious instruction, character is of 
the utmost moment. A frivolous teacher, a teacher 
loving the world more than the church, a teacher 
mentally equipped but morally defective, should 
be discouraged from further teaching. I have 
known a teacher of very moderate ability who so 
impressed his moral personality upon his class that 
he became to many of his scholars the most power- 
ful influence for good through all their after lives. 
" Character is capital '' in the ministry, and scarcely 
less is this true also in the case of the teacher. 
To him I may venture to apply the words of Dr. 
Austin Phelps : " Call him what you will, dress 
him as you please, put him where you choose, he 
is practically a minister of the gospel." 


Of late years we have grasped more firmly than 
at first the wider mission of the Sunday-school. 
We have made it central to a network of organi- 
zations. Without it the Christian Endeavor So- 
ciety, the gymnasium, the band of hope, the junior 
missionary bands, the boys* orchestra, the young 
people's literary society, the church sociable, and 
a dozen other institutions, could scarcely exist. 
The parish house, in one form or another, has risen 
as a necessary adjunct to the church building. All 
this is well. Still, the minister will need to be 
watchful over these various interests. Let him 
not multiply them without good reason. Let him 
not allow the thin end of the wedge of rivalry, 
frivolity, or roughness to get a chance. The wise 
direction of the church sociable is no easy matter. 
Let the minister as soon as possible add a good 
stereopticon to his plant. Let him introduce his 
young people, by means of it, to the wonders of 
the world, to the great scenes of history, to the 
masterpieces of art. Let him not condescend to 
enter the field, as many churches have done, in 
competition with the music hall or the variety 
theatre. The mission of the church is not to 
amuse, it is to elevate. Yet, keeping the idea of 
the family, the minister can shed through the 
school an atmosphere of good cheer ; and he can 
make it the center of light and sweetness, draw- 
ing to it the young life of the community. 


A word as to another valuable adjunct to the 
school. I mean the library. Care should be 
taken to have an intelligent committee to select 
books for it. It will be well that the pastor serve 
upon this committee himself. There are two ex- 
tremes to be avoided in a Sunday-school library^ 
books that will not get read and books that ought 
not to get read. A glance at the shelves will very 
likely give a sample of the first of these. Books 
** as good as new/' which means good for little or 
nothing ; black-bound, well printed, with no weak 
pandering to the fancy by illustrations other than an 
occasional portrait : " The Memoir of the Rev- 
erend Ahasuerus Brittle, d. d." ; " The Early Bud 
Blighted *' ; " The Chronological Tables of the 
Kings of Judah and Israel"; a "Treatise on 
Predestination," and "A Life of Joseph in Words 
of One Syllable." A healthy boy to read any of 
these must be reduced to the extremity of intel- 
lectual starvation ; he must be where the besieged 
army is when the soldiers eat their shoe soles. 

On the other hand, there are books which are 
popular and eagerly sought for, but which have no 
true place in the Sunday-school library. We have 
advanced far beyond the point at which our 
fathers drew the line. We no longer discuss the 
mission of fiction. We recognize the good work 
that it can do. But the Sunday-school library 
may be the only avenue open to many children for 


gaining access to the better kinds of readable 
literature and of fiction among the rest. Miss 
Yonge and George Macdonald, Tom Hughes and 
Charles Kingsley, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Miss 
Mulock, and so on down to the books of Mrs. Wig- 
gins and Ralph Connor and Mrs. Mason, how 
they have enriched the shelves dear to boys and 
girls. More serious works will find readers too. 
The success of John G. Paton*s books of mission- 
ary adventure showed conclusively that a true man 
can always command his audience when he has 
something to say and knows how to say it. I 
need only urge two points in passing : first, that 
we remember how poor and worthless, and often 
how demoralizing, is the literature in the home, 
with its Sunday paper and dime novel ; and sec- 
ondly, that we believe in the intelligence of our 
scholars. A Sunday-school lesson may be made 
to suggest reading in Jewish antiquities ; in the 
geography, manners, customs, and present condi- 
tion of Bible lands ; in the history of the time 
and the great leaders living in other parts of the 
world, which will reveal the slumbering faculty and 
give to many a scholar a healthful intellectual im- 
pulse of great value to his whole after career. 

What has been said here as to pastoral super- 
vision has been little more than by way of sug- 
gestion. But it may have opened up the in- 
creased and loftier sense of a pastor's responsi- 


bility which comes to the man who gratefully 
accepts the view of the minister's relation to the 
school and to its officers which I am pressing 
home in this chapter. 

I have reserved to the last the discussion of 
what is in many respects the most important 
branch of our subject, namely, the minister's rela- 
tion to the teachers of the school. 

Among them he must be alike an intellectual and 
a spiritual force. These are the points which re- 
main to be considered. 

And, first, he should be intellectually powerful 
in the teaching corps of his school. 

If our view of the magnitude of Sunday-school 
work be correct, then the minister is fully war- 
ranted in giving a good share of his time and 
thought to it. Should it seem that I am laying a 
burden too heavy upon the minister in what I am 
about to recommend, I can only answer that I am 
speaking from personal experience when I urge 
him to be in the widest sense of the term a 
teacher of teachers. There is no branch of minis- 
terial labor, I believe, which will more richly repay 
him than this. 

Occasionally, then, once in so many years, it 
will be well for him to form a normal class and 
teach it himself. A series of ten or fifteen studies 
under the guidance of a simple handbook will be 
sufficient. The months of the spring or of the 


fall will be a good time for the exercise. Let it be 
kept to one hour, on an evening free from all 
other church engagements, and let the platform 
be furnished with a blackboard and maps. 

The two ends to aim at in a normal class are 
instructing in the art of teaching and instructing 
in the things that have to be taught. One has not 
in this exercise to expound the lesson for the next 
Sunday, but rather to show the teacher how to 
handle his Bible, how to master its contents, and 
how best to explain and apply the truths which it 
sets forth. 

The minister's first duty is to instruct in the art 
of teaching. So few Sunday-school teachers know 
anything about this that sometimes there is no 
sight more pitiful than the teacher on the verge of 
the half-hour given to instructing his class. You 
have a strong inclination to call in the humane 
society as to a case of cruelty to animals or to 
send for the fire brigade and have that teacher put 
out, like a conflagration. You instinctively envy 
the promptitude of the editor who, when the fresh 
hand, nibbling his pen, inquired, " What shall I 
write about ? " answered, " Right about face,** and 
showed him to the door. "And yet show I you 
a more excellent way " with the teacher. Let us 
help him to teach. He has had no training. His 
work through the week, in store or office, has not 
done much for him. It is our duty to take him in 


hand. " On the manner of teaching/* says Doctor 
Channing/ ** how much depends ! I fear it is not 
sufficiently studied by Sunday-school instructors. 
They meet generally, and ought regularly to meet, 
to prepare themselves for their tasks. But their 
object commonly is to learn what they are to 
teach rather than how to teach it, but the last 
requires equal attention with the first, I had almost 
said more.*' It will be wise if the pastor occa- 
sionally turn the band of teachers into a class, or 
make a selection from the number for the purpose, 
and so give an object-lesson in how best a lesson 
may be taught. This need not be done frequently. 
Always, however, he will need to keep plainly be- 
fore the minds of the teachers the fact that three 
things are essential in a good instructor : First, to 
study the truth of the lesson as authoritative ; 
secondly, to arrive at clear ideas as to just what 
the lesson means ; and, thirdly, to get the best 
possible way of expressing it. Teaching, let us 
remember, is the teacher*s first duty ; not counsel, 
or appeal, or story-telling. The teaching should 
not be too scholastic. It is not of the first im- 
portance that the scholar knows the distance from 
Jerusalem to Jericho or the specific gravity of the 
Dead Sea. A casual hearer of Dean Stanley's, at 
Westminster Abbey, came away from the service 

1 "Works,'* p. 366. 


saying, " I went to hear about the way to heaven ; 
I heard only about the way to Palestine." Yet it 
is well to remember that the teacher is to learn 
how to set forth truth to intelligent creatures. 
" Children love knowledge," * says Henry Ward 
Beecher; "treat them as rational human beings. 
Believe that the foundation element in them is 
curiosity, as you call it ; that is, the nascent form 
of philosophical feeling, the knowing states of 
mind that are to be developed in them." It was 
when the nineteenth century was yet young, and, 
shall I say, foolish ? that an American religious 
magazine discussed the ' question, **Can Children 
Reason t " and now, when its successor is yet 
young, one wonders whether those learned dis- 
putants were sworn to eternal celibacy, or whether 
the American children have developed since then 
a new faculty under the impulse of evolution. 
Certainly they are as rational as their elders, and 
possibly not more unreasonable than they. 

The normal class will further be of service for 
instructing the teachers in the things to be taught. 
" Present Bibles ! " is the direction of the superin- 
tendent in a Chicago Sunday-school, just before 
the reading of the morning lesson ; and every 
teacher and scholar holds up a copy of the Bible. 
This is excellent, and suggests that what the 

1 "Yale Lectures," II., 185. 


teacher has to learn is how to teach the Bible. I 
am told that in the Sunday-school of the future 
the normal class will include a course in mental 
and moral philosophy, pedagogics, child-mind, and 
kindergarten.^ Such an announcement reconciles 
one to the approach of old age, and adds another 
charm to the prospect of the grave. Meanwhile, 
the Bible will probably suffice for people of ordi- 
nary intelligence and leisure. It was the early 
text book in the Jewish schools and among the 
first Christians as they gathered their children for- 
religious instruction.^ In it the Albigenses, the 
Lollards, the Wycliffites, and the followers of John 
Huss, trained their families ; and at this hour it 
is the basis of the admirable teaching given in their 
schools by the Waldenses, who thereby maintain 
the noble traditions of a thousand years.^ 

The course of instruction which is given in the 
normal class should embrace Bible history, and the 
history of the Bible ; the growth of the canon and 
the order of the books ; the geography, national 
history, and leading characteristics of the lands of 
the Bible; and, finally, a consideration of the prin- 
cipal truths with which the book deals. To this 
normal class study all may be invited who wish 

^ Mead, ** Modern Methods in Church Work," p. 241. 
*Edersheim, "Sketches," etc., p. 125. Trumbull, p. 63. 
' ^^Quelques Explications pour aider V Etude de la Bible,*' 
Toni Petrie, 1898. 


to come ; and from it there may be found a sup- 
ply of teachers in an emergency. 

The normal class, as I have said, may be needed 
only once in so many years. And if the pastor is 
fortunate in his association with brother ministers, 
the burden of it may easily be shared with others. 
But it should not be allowed to pass into incapable 
hands. Not every man has the necessary equip- 
ment of studiousness, mental alacrity, popular ad- 
dress, good temper, and devotion to his work to do 
it well. 

There is another class which, in my judgment, 
the pastor had better conduct himself. I mean 
the preparation class, in which the following Sun- 
day's lesson is carefully studied. One evening in 
the week should be given up entirely to this en- 
gagement. Writing to me on the subject. Dr. A. 
F. Schauffler, of New York, an expert in conduct- 
ing such a class, says : 

Might I venture to ask you to put very special emphasis 
on the influence which a pastor ought to exercise as the 
teacher of his teachers ? The whole question of the leader- 
ship of teachers' meetings is one of very great importance, 
and ministers in any city who develop the power of leading 
a union teachers* meeting, have a field opened to them sec- 
ond perhaps to none other in the world. 

I am afraid that it is with good reason that 
Doctor Schauffler adds : 

Multitudes of ministers are graduated from our seminaries 


who have no faintest conception of the field of usefulness 
thus open to them. They think so litUe of teachers* meet- 
ings that they pay no attention to the subject 

An experience of many years in conducting this 
meeting — which I always threw open to all, from 
any school or congregation, who desired to attend 
it — confirms me in my hearty approval of these 

Let the minister take the lesson exposition him- 
self. Let him prepare for it as thoroughly as he 
would for a sermon. Short of making the att«id- 
ance of his own teachers obhgatory let him do all 
in his power to have them there regularly. The 
task is not an easy one, but it will pay a hundred 
fold. The two foes to teaching among ministers, 
from the beginning, have been preaching and 
ritual. This exercise may go a long way toward 
teaching them how to teach in their sermon work. 
It may break up the parson-tone into v^^ich the 
enemy so readily beguiles many good men. It will 
certainly furnish many a rich text and useful theme 
for the pulpit. 

The instruction of the hour may take one of two 
forms. It may be cast in the mold of a running 
exposition, with blackboard accompaniment, and 
opportunity, either by word of mouth or in writing, 
for any who wish to ask questions at the close. 
Or — which it is no doubt preferable when a capa- 
ble leader conducts it — the lesson may be taken 


up by means of questions and answers. " The 
object is not merely to give instruction, but to put 
it into a communicable form, so that in learning 
the hearers may be prepared to teach. Questions 
should be asked by the conductor of the class as 
to the leading points of the lesson. . . Better still, 
questions should be invited from the members of 
the class, that their own difficulties may be fairly 
stated, and that the mental needs of the scholars 
whom they represent may be adequately given." ^ 

It remains that in this chapter I glance, much 
more briefly than the subject deserves, at the 
minister's spiritual power among his teachers. 
What the moral influence — the higher personality 
— of a principal is in the public school, that should 
the religious influence — the highest personality — 
of the minister be in the Sunday-school. 

The great danger of Sunday-schools, as Doctor 
Channing said, "is that they will fall into a course 
of mechanical teaching, that they will give religion 
as a lifeless tradition, and not as a quickening 
reality. To wake up the soul to a clear, affection- 
ate perception of the reality and truth and great- 
ness of religion, is the great end of teaching." 

I think that at least once every month the pas- 
tor should meet the officers and teachers of the 
school for prayer and conference — and for nothing 

^S. G. Green, "Christiaii Ministry," etc., p. 187. 


else. The promotion of the spiritual life of this 
body is of immense importance. Among the second- 
ary blessings of such a meeting (as well as of class 
prayer meetings, which he can also hold occasion- 
ally), will be the development of spiritual efficiency 
among the teachers. They will learn to pray in 
public to edification. They will become accus- 
tomed to hear their own voices in the statement 
of religious experience. 

At this meeting also, which need not be pro- 
longed beyond half an hour at the most, the min- 
ister may give his teachers valuable suggestions as 
to how to do evangelistic work with their scholars. 
On this point Rev. W. F. Crafts says : 

It would be an excellent practice to devote fifteen min- 
utes at each weekly teachers* meeting to the use of the 
Bible with inquirers. Let the superintendent or pastor 
state some difficulty, such as is presented by those who are 
seeking Christ, and ask from the teacher the appropriate 
passages to cancel the difficulty. * 

More will need to be said on this important 
jsubject in our next chapter, when we propose to 
carry the minister into the school itself. What I 
,now urge upon him in his ministry is, in a word, 
to regard the teachers in his Sunday-school as 
assistant pastors. So Dr. Edward Judson puts 
the matter : 

1 *♦ The Bible in the Sunday-school,*' p. 55. 


Let the pastor commit to the care of his teachers the 
families represented in their classes. Let the teachers call 
upon these families regularly and report their condition to 
the pastor. . . Strangers will be visited, because families 
arc in the habit of throwing their children out as feelers. 
The sick will not be overlooked. The whole church will 
become a compact social organism. * 

I wonder, in bringing this chapter to a close, 
whether it has seemed to any one as though I 
were laying a good deal on the minister ? He has 
so much to do already! With reference to not a 
little the pastor does or seems to do — the " busy 
idleness " which eats into his time — I am disposed 
to think that both he and the church may dispense 
with it sooner than with this fine discipline of 
mind and soul to which I am urging him. And 
let me say that, whether these Sunday-school en- 
gagements — a regular preparation class for his 
teachers once a week, an occasional normal class, 
gatherings at stated or special intervals for directly 
religious conference and prayer — whether these 
prove irksome or refreshing will depend very 
largely on himself. It is inexpressibly good to be 
working in the nurseries of life with the young 
plants and saplings. They said that on into her 
old age, Rosa Bonheur, the greatest animal painter 
of the last century, carried the charm of an eighteen- 
year-old girl because she loved so enthusiastically 

1 **The Institutional Church,** p. io6. 


the cattle and deer of her forest at Fontainebleau. 
It is even better, more invigorating, and more in- 
spiring, to live among the children and to live for 
them. The minister should be more than a teacher 
of teachers ; yes, more, and better. He should be 
their atmosphere, " to teach them the fundamental 
truths of Christianity without neglecting their spir- 
itual affections and religious feelings, and to make 
them love each other, and love the church, and 
associate with the whole round of religion the 
most joyous thoughts and feelings." ^ Under such 
a conviction as this the minister will find his 
reward for every hour of preparatory study which 
he may give to the exposition of the Sunday-school 
lesson and for all the pains he may expend in 
advising and supervising the devoted band of 
teachers that he will be sure to gather about him. 
Here, as in many other branches of pastoral 
service, finding it a joyful toil, he will come to 
prove the truth of Macbeth's words. 

The labor we delight in physics pain. 
iBeecher, "Yale Lectures," III., i88. 




Beginning of the Sunday-school in England and America. 
Three watchwords : Reformation, information, regenera- 
tion. There must be a power to reform. The Sunday- 
school must also educate. Bible study. Occasional serv- 
ices conducted by the minister. Memorizing Scripture. 
The catechism. Should the minister be a teacher ? The 
regenerating mission of the Sunday-school. The minister 
should be well known by the scholars. He must take the 
lead in special efforts for their spiritual welfare. The sub- 
ject of religious decision to be made prominent A child's 
religion. The minister a unifying influence between home 
and school and church and schooL 



On the Thames Embankment, in London, the 
people of England have raised a statue in honor 
of Robert Raikes, the Gloucester printer, to whom, 
more than to any other one man, Sunday-schools 
owe their birth. The site of the statue is well 
chosen, beside the noble river which, rising in the 
county where Raikes was born, is now moving 
swiftly toward the sea. It suggests the great 
enterprise which from very humble beginnings 
has swept on in its beneficent course until the 
whole world is the better for it. Dean Farrar 
gives voice to a feeling which we all share with 
him when he says that he never passes that statue 
without a sense of pleasure. 

Raikes tells us, after seeing the ragged children rioting 
about on Sunday in the streets of Gloucester : " As I asked, 
* Can nothing be done?* a voice answered, *Try.* I did 
try," he says, " and see what God hath wrought" There 
are now Sunday-school teachers by tens of thousands all 
over the world, but, humanly speaking, they all owe their 
origin to that one word, *' try," so softly whispered by some 
voice divine to the loving and tender conscience of Robert 
Raikes a hundred years ago. The echoes of that word 
might be prolonged by millions of grateful children who 



have been taught for generation after generation by loving 
teachers in Sunday-schools. 

How it all came about Robert Raikes often told 
his friends : 

The utility of an establishment of this sort was first sug> 
gested by a group of miserable little wretches whom I ob- 
served one day in the street where many people employed 
in the pin manufactory reside. I was expressing my con* 
cem to one at their forlorn and neglected state, and was 
told that if I were to pass through that street upon Sundays 
it would shock me indeed to see the crowds of children who 
were spending that sacred day in noise and riot, to the 
extreme annoyance of all decent people. I immediately 
determined to make some little effort to remedy the evil ^ 

Reformation, then, was the first thought in the 
Sunday-school system. But another followed, of 
necessity. In the same letter from which I have 
been quoting Raikes sounds a still higher note. In 
these schools " children may be received,*' he says, 
"upon the Sunday, and then engaged in learning 
to read and to repeat their catechism or an)rthing 
else that may be deemed proper to open their 
minds to a knowledge of their duty to God, to 
their neighbors, and themselves." Reformation 
was to go hand in hand with information. These, 
however, were not enough. Within a year or two 
John Wesley, with characteristic devotion to the 
true purpose of being, writes : " I find these schools 

* Gregory's ** Raikes/' p. 60. 


springing up wherever I go. Perhaps God may 
have a deeper end therein than men are aware of. 
Who knows but some of these schools may become 
nurseries of Christians.^*' To his mind it is 
evident that reformation and information were 
incomplete unless they led to transformation. 

In America the Sunday-school system, while it 
did not spring directly from the movement in the 
mother country, was so radical in its action that, 
although it may have grown out of the catechetical 
practice in the churches, it really amounted to a 
revolution.^ No doubt the shocking condition of 
morals in England in the last century — when even 
in a cathedral city such as Gloucester, abounding 
in clergymen, ** the streets swarmed with rogues 
and vagabonds, who were flogged through the city 
weekly by scores," and where George Whitefield 
was known only as a dirty little rascal who robbed 
his mother's till and tried to quiet his conscience 
by giving part of the plunder to the poor, — made 
the movement more reformatory in its character 
than in the happier districts of New England; 
but there was need of moral dynamite every- 
where. And this the Sunday-school movement 
gave. The minister, as he comes to his Sunday- 
school to take his share in this important branch 
of Christian work, will do well to keep in mind the 

1 ** Life of Dr. Jeter," p. 26. 


three impelling forces — reformation, information, 
transformation — v/ith which the young enterprise 
was started a hundred and twenty years ago. 

First, then, let him remember that there must 
be in the Sunday-school a power to reform, a moral 
influence. This lay at the root of the Jewish 
school system. " The grand object of the teacher 
was moral as well as intellectual training. To 
keep children from all intercourse with the vicious ; 
to suppress all feelings of bitterness, even though 
wrong had been done to one*s parents ; to punish 
all wrong-doing ; rather to show sin in its repulsive- 
ness than to predict what punishment would fol- 
low, either in this or the next world, so as not to 
* discourage ' the child — such are some of the rules 
laid down ** in the Talmud.^ 

The minister may well use the school for incul- 
cating by example some of the minor moralities 
— courtesy, for instance, and considerateness — ^to 
which slight attention is paid in many, homes. 
Much will depend upon him in these matters. 
The aim of the parochial system was to put a gen- 
tleman in every parish, and, whether it succeeded 
or not, it was a true and noble aim. On the part 
of the minister, grace of manner, politeness, and 
instinctive respect for the teacher — ^keeping him 
from intruding and from interrupting him in his 

^Edersheim, "Sketches," etc., p. 135. 


work, a careful regard for the office of superin- 
tendent, and a public recognition on every occasion 
of him who fills the office — will impress the scholars 
with the beauty of courtesy. 

The Sunday-school never stops with itself. The 
home must feel its power. Some of the first 
schools were held in private houses.^ It was in a 
weaver's cottage in Lancashire that a school was 
gathered to the clanging of an old brass pestle and 
mortar by a poor bobbin winder some years before 
Raikes began his work. And nowhere, I suppose, 
more than in this same English county has the 
Sunday-school reached the home with such prac- 
tical organizations as beneficiary and sick and 
burial clubs.^ 

Of the late R. W. Dale, of Birmingham, his 
biographer says that "he never forgot that of 
most children it may be said that if they have no 
church in the home they have no home in the 
church." But, judged by this criterion, how 
many homes are no homes. The school alone, of 
all the agencies of the church, is likely to reach 
them with its saving message. From it, there- 
fore, the minister will do well to launch any move- 
ment — such as the ** Pleasant Sunday Afternoons " 
— for the bettering and brightening of the common 
lot of the men and women all about him. From 

1 Gregory, p. 47. 
«Mead, ** Modem Methods," etc.. Chap. XXXVII. 


the school he can carry the news of every such 
organization to the homes of the scholars. I do 
not mean that the church is to be known in the 
neighborhood as a place of entertainment. Such 
it is not. With Dr. A. J. Gordon I say : " The 
rage for church amusement which the last few 
years have witnessed has filled me with sincere 
alarm. No reader of history can be ignorant of 
the fact that it was precisely this process by which 
the apostasy and corruption of Christianity were 
originally accomplished." And, with him, I be- 
lieve that the Society of Christian Endeavor "has 
turned the energy and activity of our young peo- 
ple into a better channel." It is well that the 
school should be known in the home by the various 
ministries of that society, but it is not well — it is 
shameful and humiliating — that it should be known 
by degrading the scholars into touts and ticket 
agents for what has been called, not too severely, 
** the devil's mission of amusement." 

Widening our circle, we remark that the minis- 
ter may, through the instruction given to the 
scholars and the example set them, do something 
to promote civic purity. It would be interesting, 
were there space to do so, to trace this in some 
concrete example,— in Birmingham, England, for 
instance, which has been called the best governed 
city in the world, and which has become so in the 
last forty years, mainly because a body of young 


men, ministers and Sunday-school teachers chiefly, 
gave themselves with self-sacrificing ardor to the 
good of the community. 

Nor need we stay here. The Sunday-school 
has exerted a national influence. The work of 
Robert Raikes was scarcely six years old when 
the Gloucestershire magistrates passed a unani- 
mous vote to the effect that "the benefit of 
Sunday-schools to the morals of the rising genera- 
tion is too evident not to merit the recognition of 
this bench and the thanks of the community to 
the gentlemen instrumental in promoting them.*' ^ 
Indeed, it was the dreadful condition of the prisons, 
making him write "could unhappy wretches see 
the misery that awaits them in a crowded gaol 
they would surely relinquish the gratifications that 
reduce them to such a state of wretchedness," and 
" the thought of the convict ships carrying out about 
one thousand miserable creatures who might have 
lived, perhaps happily, in this country had they 
been early taught good principles,'* that led Raikes 
to begin his schools. And, even after he had 
gathered his scholars in classes and brought them 
into some kind of order, how much of the criminal 
element remained we may judge from the words 
of an eye-witness : " There were always bad *uns 
coming in. I know the parents of one or two of 

* Gregory, p. 8i. 



them used to walk them to school with fourteen- 
pound weights tied to their legs to keep them 
from running away. Other boys would come 
with wood tied to their ankles/* So bad were 
they that Raikes, at times, had to take them home 
to their parents to be "walloped/* and he used to 
stop and see it done. Sometimes the boys would 
be " belted '' or strapped all the way to school. No 
one would take any notice of punishment being 
inflicted in Sunday-schools when they were first 
started. The only sense that would appeal to the 
boys who were first got together was the sense of 
pain. Corporal punishment only very slowly died 
out of the discipline of the Sunday-schools in 
Great Britain. Possibly it is not wholly dead yet. 
In New England the catechism (which was the 
Sunday-school in germ) was certainly a powerful 
agent in repressing evil and promoting good citi- 
zenship, and one of the eulogists of that old- 
fashioned instrument for the welfare of the parish, 
challenges his audience with the questions, " Did 
you ever know any man who was brought up on 
the catechism who did not vote on rainy days, and 
vote right too ? No. Did you ever know a de- 
faulter, or a communist, or a profane swearer, or a 
bulldozer, who was brought up on the catechism ? 
No.'* ^ This is, no doubt, the testimony of a par- 

* Dorus Clarke, "Saying the Catechism," pp. 38, 39. 


tial witness ; but without any question the effect 
of the training in the Sunday-school on the home, 
the neighborhood, and the whole community was 
very marked. "The mere fact,'* it has been said, 
"that children attend the Sunday-school brings 
the subject of religion, week after week, before 
the minds of the parents, and is a standing ad- 
monition that the fear of the Lord should be the 
law of the household." ^ After twenty-five years* 
experience of Sunday-schools in Ireland, the par- 
liamentary report testified to their influence on 
the moral character and in promoting deference to 
the laws ; while in Wales, the Royal Education 
Commission, by the mouth of one of its officials, 
declared that " in little more than half a century 
the Sunday-school has been the main agency in 
effecting that change in the moral and social popu- 
lation of the country, to which a parallel can 
scarcely be found in history." ^ 

The minister has yet to understand his office 
who does not view himself as an influence on the 
community. He is called upon to deal with men 
and women in their social, their civic, and their 
national relations. It is the homes of the coming 
years that are about him in the school, it is the 
citizens who soon will cast their ballots, it is the 
factors for weal or woe of the century, at whose 

* Trumbull, pp. 162, 163. "^Jbid,,-^, 165. 


doors we stand. " The twig will become a tree," 
as the son of William the Silent said, called so 
early by the assassin's bullet to take his father's 
place. That is what you need to remember. " He 
who helps a child," to quote the words of Phillips 
Brooks, "helps humanity with a distinctiveness, 
with an immediateness, which no other help given 
to human creatures in any other stage of their 
human life can possibly give again. The thing 
that made the divine Master indignant as he stood 
there in Jerusalem was that he dreamed of seeing 
before him a man who had harmed some of these 
little ones, and he said of any such ruffian, * It 
were better for him that he never had been born.' 
It is such an awful thing to hurt a child's life ; to 
aid a child's life is beautiful." * 

How much the Sunday-school has changed in 
its character will be evident if I have been fol- 
lowed thus far. The well-to-do and the reputable 
have taken possession of the organization which 
was intended at first only for the poor and unfor- 
tunate. As has so often happened in the history 
of the world, Pharaoh's dream has been reversed, 
and the seven rank and full ears have devoured 
the seven thin ears, blasted with the East wind. 

Robert Raikes was an old man, when in his re- 
tirement there came to visit him a young Quaker 

* Phillips Brooks, " Essays and Addresses,** pp. 506, 507. 


named Joseph Lancaster, who was then absorbed 
in the plan, which afterward made his name famous 
in the annals of popular education, for giving 
week-day instruction to the children of the poor. 
Leaning on the arm of his visitor, Raikes led him 
through the thoroughfares of Gloucester to the 
spot in a back street where the first school was 
held. " Pause here," said the old man. Uncov- 
ering his head and closing his eyes, he stood for a 
moment in silent prayer. Then turning toward 
his friend, while the tears rolled down his cheeks, 
he said, " This is the spot on which I stood when 
I saw the destitution of the children and the 
desecration of the Sabbath by the inhabitants of 
the city.'* And then he added, referring to the 
incident mentioned in the first sentences of this 
chapter, "As I asked, 'Can nothing be done.^' a 
voice answered, *Try.* I did try, and see what 
God has wrought. I can never pass by this spot, 
where the word * try ' came so powerfully into my 
mind, without lifting up my hands and heart 
to heaven in gratitude to God for having put 
such a thought into my heart.'* The meeting on 
that memorable spot of the two men who did so 
much, the one for sacred and the other for secular 
schools, seems to me a subject fit for a painter. 
Already the time had come when the Sunday- 
school could hope to keep itself to its own true 
vocation. At first, perforce, a great part of its 


work had been to teach reading and writing. I 
myself was once granted the use of a vacant ware- 
house for a Sunday-school in a poor and crowded 
district of an English city on condition that we 
taught not reading and writing only, but arithme- 
tic as well. All this is now changed ; the public 
school takes its moral and religious character from 
the Sunday-school, and the minister must remem- 
ber in his dealings with his scholars of how much 
moment this is. Aim, by all means, to make the 
Sunday-school not the young people's church, but 
the place where the whole congregation meets to 
study the Bible. " The righteous," said the rab- 
bis, " go from the synagogues to the school ; from 
the place of prayer to the place of study." ^ En- 
tering the synagogue Bible-school at six years old, 
"the Jewish scholar never came to an age for 
graduation from that school." The way to keep 
the young people in the school is for the older 
people to remain in it ; and first of all, for the 
minister to do so. 

We may begin, therefore, by laying it down as 
the duty of the minister to be found in the Sun- 
day-school every Sunday. Occasionally, but not as 
a matter of course, let him offer prayer at the open- 
ing or closing of the exercises. Let him be ready 
to review the last Sunday's lesson before the les- 

^ Trumbull, p. 16. 


son for the day is taken up. Or, he may review, 
briefly and with spirit, the lesson just taught, be- 
fore the school is dismissed. Let him not, in 
either case, spend more than a few minutes over 
his review. He should have a blackboard and 
learn, for it is an art, to use it deftly and to good 

Anyhow, let the minister be there. He needs 
to learn that it is really not necessary in order to 
exert an influence that he be always talking. He 
can talk too much and be heard too often. His 
silence may do as much good as his speech, possi- 
bly sometimes even more. To be seen there, 
ready for service or suggestion, is what must, first 
of all, be expected of him. 

I think much may be said in favor of a brief 
exercise, say of five minutes, in which the pastor 
drills the school in memorizing Scripture. JLet 
none misunderstand me. The parrot method is, 
of course, to be condemned. In its feeblest and 
most tyrannical days, the "Catechism of the West- 
minster Assembly" was taught thus, but so it was 
never intended to be taught. Learning by rote is 
not really learning at all. The understanding is 
not called into play. But with this word of warn- 
ing, I heartily commend the practice of learning 
the very words of Scripture. There is certainly 
known to me one compendium of "Treasure Texts " 
for youthful memories which might be used with 


advantage occasionally in our schools, and very 
likely there are more.^ 

Shall we venture a step farther and remind our 
readers how powerful an agent in religious education 
the catechism has been ? " A boy/' said Lord Bacon, 
"can preach, but a man only can catechise." Per- 
haps the prevalence of preaching and the paucity 
of catechetical instruction is, in part at least, ex- 
plained here. Among the Jews, and in the early 
church, one suspects that Lord Bacon's words 
would have called forth hearty assent. You re- 
member that our Lord's public life^ may almost 
be said to lie between the scene in the temple, 
when he is found among the doctors hearing them 
and asking them questions, and that other scene, 
not long before the end, when, put to shame and 
silence by his words, the lawyers *' durst not from 
that day forth ask him any more questions."* 
The buildings of the early church were constructed 
in part with a special view to the catechumen,* 
and the frequent questions in the sermons of the 
greatest of the preachers of the first days, notably 
Chrysostom, were not alone for rhetorical effect.* 
They were, in part certainly, survivals of the golden 
time when the pew not only might, but must an- 
swer back to the pulpit. The catechisms of the 

^ ** Treasure Texts.** Boston : The Pilgrim Press. 

* Luke 2 : 46. ' Matt. 22 : 46. 

* Trumbull, p. 51. * Ibid,^ p. 60. 


great churches of Christendom are standing proofs 
of the importance which, in past centuries, has been 
attached to this exercise, and among the rules 
printed by Raikes for use in some of the earliest 
of his Sunday-schools, I find this one, that the 
scholars " shall assemble at church on the second 
evening of every month, at six o'clock, to be ex- 
amined and to bear a plain exposition of the cate- 
chism, which the minister will endeavor to give 
them."* How powerfully the catechism which 
formed part of the *'New England Primer" influ- 
enced the first settlers in the eastern part of 
America, I need only remind you. It was taught 
in the day-schools and as regularly recited there, 
down to times comparatively modern, "as Web- 
ster's Spelling Book or Murray's English Gram- 
mar."* On the Sunday afternoons appointed for 
saying the catechism, the meeting-house would be 
crowded with anxious parents and sympathizing 
friends, while the minister, standing in the pulpit, 
put out the questions to the children in order, and 
each one, when the question came to him, was 
expected to wheel out of the line of scholars into 
the broad aisle and face the minister and make his 
very best obeisance and answer the question put 
to him without the slightest mistake.^ 

It is easy to see how the use of the catechism 

* Gregory, p. 151. ' Dorus Clarke, p. 18. ' Ibid., p. 17. 


would be first abused and would then decline, how 
it would become formal and meaningless when the 
fire was dying out at the heart of the church ; but 
I think that it would be hard to show any substi- 
tute for it which is worthy of taking its place. 
The Assembly's catechism still seems to me to 
remain peerless, and after careful examination of 
many of its forerunners and successors, down to 
the " Evangelical Free Church Catechism,** pub- 
lished by a kind of ecclesiastical syndicate in Great 
Britain, there is no other compendium of Bible 
truth which appears to be at all comparable with 
it. Admitting, as it does, of ready modification to 
meet the needs of the age, I believe that if a 
catechism is to be used in our schools at all, it 
will be on the lines of this historic manual. 

Were a catechism introduced, it would be the 
minister who would have to teach it. To do so 
would form part of his work in the Sunday-school. 
A few minutes each Sunday, or a monthly exercise 
of perhaps a quarter of an hour, would suffice. 
Everything would depend on the way in which he 
carried the exercise through. If well done, he and 
the people committed to his care might come to 
agree with John Owen, the Puritan, when he says : 
" More knowledge is ordinarily diffused, especially 
among the young and ignorant, by one hour's 
catechetical exercise than by many hours* con- 
tinual discourse.** 


Before leaving this part of our subject, I may 
be allowed to suggest that at all events the min- 
ister will do well now and then to offer prizes to 
the scholars who pass the best examinations, oral 
or written, in the lessons of a given period. This 
plan has been successfully adopted in England 
and much can be said in its favor. Certainly it is 
to be regretted that our elaborate system of Sun- 
day-school lessons does not oftener cumulate at 
some visible point and show some appreciable 

We now come to a question of no little moment 
to the minister in the Sunday-school. Should he 
himself teach } The ancient teaching, we must 
remember, was all based on the catechism and it 
was conducted by the priest or pastor. Now that 
we have wisely distributed the teaching office and 
enlarged it so materially, is the minister to have 
no part in it ? Luther, in common with others of 
the Reformers, was emphatic in his insistence on 
the duty of the preacher to be a teacher also. He 
held that a bishop ought to give proof before 6ein^ 
a bishop that he had aptness to teach. Many of 
the popes have served this same apprenticeship, 
and the present Archbishop of Canterbury was 
famous in his earlier years as the greatest suc- 
cessor to Thomas Arnold in the head-mastership 
of Rugby School. 

Yet I should be inclined to say that, with one 


exception, to which I am about to allude, the min- 
ister had better not have a class in the Sunday- 
school. His exposition of the lesson in the previ- 
ous week will have fitted him to teach, and it will 
be well for him to be ready to fill the vacant chair 
of some absent teacher, — to carry, in fact, a roving 
commission, which will allow him to become ac- 
quainted with every part of his school. 

The exception, the only exception, that I make 
to this, is in favor of a Bible class for young men. 
With the utmost advantage he may gather about 
him, if he be equal to doing so, those to whom 
the poet's words apply — "Shades of the prison- 
house begin to close upon the growing boy." The 
most serious trouble with our Sunday-school sys- 
tem is that it does not prove more successful in 
retaining the older scholars, and especially the 
lads who openly boast that they are no longer 
boys and yet secretly fear that they are not quite 
men. The leakage between the school and the 
church is heaviest here. From eighteen to twenty- 
eight, is, as Doctor Cuyler says, the golden age of 
opportunity. It is commonly the decisive decade 
also. " If a young man reaches thirty without 
giving his heart to Christ, he has missed his best 
time, and from that date onward the chances of 
conversion (humanly speaking), diminish in a geo- 
metric ratio." Then, very often comes the time 
when the growing boy, begins to lose his interest 


in the school. If he is taught in the main room 
this is especially the case. And unless something is 
done, within a few months he may be drifting 
away. It is of him that Mr. Spurgeon is thinking 
when he says, " A link must be found between 
the senior scholars and the public means of grace, 
or else Sunday-school work will be pouring water 
into a leaking bucket.** On the other hand, the 
boys of fifteen or sixteen, if retained, interested 
and brought to religious decision, will be the very 
life-blood of the church twenty years hence. I 
shall be forgiven if I say that I am now speaking 
from personal experience. A young men*s Bible 
class which I began and maintained in one of our 
Eastern cities, teaching it in a separate room im- 
mediately after the morning service, was more 
productive of good than any other one feature in 
my ministry there. It grew in numbers and was 
organized as a society, and when last I heard of it 
it was flourishing still. Numbers of its members 
were added to the church. It became a power in 
the community, and business men in search of 
young men to fill places in their offices or stores 
often turned to that class first of all " It would 
be impossible," the minister wrote a few years 
since, " even to name all the advantages which 
have come to our own church, to other churches, 
and to the young men of the city, through the 
agency of the society." 


The minister should have such a class in his 
school. Rather than let it fall into incompetent 
hands, he should teach it himself. The actual 
teaching need be all that he does. The president 
and other oflScers of the class should be chosen by 
popular vote. But as a teacher he must bring him- 
self face to face with his young men. He must be 
considerate, sympathetic, and perfectly honest. He 
will find that his scholars often break upon him 
** with very tough questions, questions that wear a 
considerable looking toward infidelity.'* ^ He may 
well teach his lips to say, " I do not know." Any 
assumption of the dogmatist will close the mouth 
of some young questioner, but it will not convince 
his mind. It will only alienate his heart. Yet the 
pastor will do well to remember the golden words 
which Dr. Marcus Dods once spoke to just such 
a class which he taught after his Sunday afternoon 
service in Glasgow. "The Bible was given more 
for our edification than for polemical purposes." 

So one aim should be never lost sight of. I 
mean the religious decision of each young man in 
the class. Having won their confidence, the min- 
ister may readily find an occasion to talk with 
those who are not already Christians, and discuss 
with them their difficulties, explain the matters 

which may perpleic them, and so win them to the 

, f ' ' ,^ . . ^ . ■ . ■ • ' 

1 Bushnell, p. 378. 


Saviour. He may (if hef is wise he will) get the 
Christian young men in his class to help him in 
this important matter. The remarkable success 
of the " Young Men's Baraca Union of America/' 
which sprang into existence from the conversation 
of four members of a Bible class for young men 
with their teacher when he was concerned at the 
few conversions for the large amount of work ex- 
pended, is proof how much can be done here. 
That teacher writes to me : ^ ** The Baraca now 
numbers three hundred classes in thirty-four 
States and Canada, and is growing rapidly. One 
hundred and fifteen of my own class have joined 
my church.'* I would advise every student for 
the Christian ministry to obtain the literature in 
reference to this very interesting organization, and 
even at the risk of adding another society to his 
list, to associate himself with it. 

So much then for the work which the minister 
may do in his school as a channel for information. 
Let him not fear lest this interest in the young 
people of his charge should prove too heavy a 
tax. On the contrary, it will keep him vigorous 
and young himself. He will find his enthusiasm 
a tonic. The preparation class of the week will 
furnish him the material for the Bible class on 
the Sunday. The fellowship of young and ardent 

* W." A. Hudson; 200 Coinslock Ave., S)rracuse, N. Y., June, 
1899. Comp. "The Standard,'* June 1889, p. n. 


hearts will do him good ; the fresh angles, some- 
time very acute and sometimes very obtuse, at 
which truth is seen will cause him to understand 
how much, and how little too, there often is to the 
human mind ; and the growth of his church in the 
stalwart and energetic blood of the coming genera- 
tion will round out to its completion the great 
aspiration of the psalmist : " Both young men and 
maidens, old men and children, let them praise the 
name of the Lord." ^ 

At this point I wish to recall the fine prophetic 
phrase of John Wesley when he beheld in the 
Sunday-school of the coming era " nurseries for 
Christians.*' No prophecy has ever received richer 
fulfillment. Of no other enterprise of the Chris- 
tian church has it been more true to say, " This 
and that man was born in her ; and the Highest 
himself shall establish her." The moral and the 
intellectual influences of the Sunday-school fall 
short of their noblest end, they fail to touch the 
high-water mark of their fullest power, unless some 
distinct effort be made to crown each life with 
complete consecration to Christ. The Sunday- 
school is a reforming and informing agency ; but, 
more than this, it is under God a transforming 
power. And here it is that the minister should 
do his best work. 

1 P». 148 1 12. 


I have already counseled the minister to be in 
the Sunday-school every Sunday. ** Frequently," 
said Mr. Spurgeon to one of his students, ** visit 
your Sabbath-schools, if it is only to walk through 
them/** Of a devoted English clergyman, his 
friend writes : " I remember hearing him say in the 
Sunday-school that, during the whole of six and 
twenty years, except when away on his oflScial 
duties at Chester Cathedral, he had only twice 
failed to be present in the school by at least two 
minutes before the regular hour for opening on 
Sunday morning." ^ I make this point again, and 
in this place, because of what has to be said about 
the minister as a spiritual force in the life of the 
school. If he is rarely seen there, his occasional 
presence will either be passed over with indiffer- 
ence, or associated in the minds of teachers and 
scholars with a kind of officialism. He will have 
come only to do his duty, or perhaps to make a 
formal attack on their souls. 

Let the minister be there regularly, and he will 
be what every minister should aim to be, namely, 
the pastor of the school. Dr. S. G. Green, in his 
lectures on ** Christian Ministry to the Young," ^ 
speaks of one pastor who ** conducted the opening 
service of the school weekly for many years. The 
teachers and children knew they would meet their 

^ " Reminiscences of C. H. Spurgeon," by W. Williams, p. 194. 
^ Davies, "Successful Preachers,*' p. 278. ' Green, p. 182. 



minister there at nine on Sunday morning, and the 
consequence was a regularity and fullness of at- 
tendance hardly to be paralleled under ordinary 

Without going the length of Dr. Stephen Tyng, 
of New York, who believed in the minister " tak- 
ing the pastoral charge and superintendence of his 
own school," I should say with him that it is the 
minister's duty " to give his mind and time and 
presence and actual labor, to the work of saving 
and teaching the children of his flock." ^ 

I mention three essentials to success in this 

The first is pastoral sympathy. The minister 
must be there as the mother is in her nursery, 
because he loves to be, and indeed cannot stay 
away. No doubt there are men to whom this 
comes more easily than it does to others. Dogs 
and children, it is said, make few mistakes in their 
judgment of people. There are ministers and 
men, not only of great eloquence, but of genuine 
kindness of heart too, who are not at home among 
children. But they are the exceptions. There 
are others again of whom it is true to say that 
they seem never to have been children themselves. 
They were born old, and swaddled in buckram. 
To them a healthy, vigorous, demonstrative boy is 

^ "Forty Years* Experience,'* etc., p. 196. 


like a Fourth of July every day, no one can tell 
when he will go off, or what mischief he will do 
when he explodes. Such men may have their 
place in the ministry, alas, who has not ? but not 
in the Sunday-school. The first qualification for 
pastoral success among the young is for the pastor 
to be himself young at heart. 

The second is, pastoral knowledge. Let the 
minister cultivate the art of remembering names. 
His visits to the homes will help him here. And 
when he fails, a little tact may be used to bring 
him the information he needs. Jonathan Edwards 
might be allowed to ask the same boy his name 
twice in the course of an hour, receiving in re- 
sponse to his question, put a second time, " Whose 
boy are you.^" the answer, "Noah Holmes' boy, 
sir, the same boy that I was an hour ago '* ; but it 
is not allowed to many of us to forget and to be 
forgiven as was he. It will gain ready access to 
the hearts of our young people if we know their 
names, their homes, and some point in the life or 
tastes of each which shall particularize every case, 
and make each one stand, if not on his own merits, 
which might be an insufficient footing for many of 
them, at all events on his own individuality. 

To pastoral sympathy and pastoral knowledge, 
it is natural to add pastoral oversight. Doctor 
Tyng, looking in at the door of his main Sunday- 
school room at St. George's, New York, could say 


with honest pride, as his glance swept over all the 
classes of that busy throng : " Every teacher in 
that room started under my eye as a scholar in 
the infant class. I have trained them all myself ; 
and I know them all ; and they know me. They 
are my children in the faith." This is a rare case, 
of course, and yet measurably it may be true of 
the minister that by his presence, his sympathy, 
his careful attention to his school, he may gain a 
power over it which shall make him the overseer, 
the bishop indeed. In one direction, certainly, 
he will need to be vigilant. Around the Sunday- 
school, as around the outer courts about the tem- 
ple at Jerusalem, grow up organizations of many 
kinds. Boys' Brigades, in which Henry Drum- 
mond placed more faith than most of us do ; 
church guilds, for more purposes than I have 
time to enumerate; Baraca bands; prayer circles; 
Bible reading alliances ; these and many others 
have trained themselves about the parent trunk 
until sometimes you cannot see the tree for leaves. 
My present contention is that none of these should 
be allowed to grow away from the minister's over- 
sight. He will need, if he watches for souls as one 
that must give account, to use each of them as a 
channel of spiritual influence. 

The man who in his early ministry won for him- 
self the title of "the model preacher of Con- 
necticut," and who later achieved as honorable a 


success in St. Louis, I mean Dr. Constans L. 
Goodell, was the ideal Sunday-school pastor. Few 
left hi3 church after the morning service, almost 
the whole congregation, with additions from the 
younger children, took part in the after hour of 
Bible study. He says : ^ " The pastor will reach 
the children through the Bible-school. That is 
not the children's church, but it is the church and 
pastor mingling with the children, and laying out 
all their experience and wisdom and spiritual 
power on them for their instruction in righteous- 
ness. The pastor is always in the Bible-school. 
He thus brings the adults and youth together, re- 
taining the older scholars in the school ... all 
bound together by mutual interest. The Sabbath- 
school becomes a constant feeder of the church, 
and the church becomes a garden enclosed about 
the children. Is not this God's order.?" 

This was the man who won the children's 
hearts as Jesus did, not with treats and presents 
and cheap pleasantries, but with the gracious and 
sympathetic spirit of the kingdom of heaven it- 
self. And we do not wonder when his biographer 
tells us that " when Doctor Goodell died, a little 
boy of another church and Sunday-school, ran 
home and said to his mother, ' Oh, mamma, the 
children's friend is dead ! ' " 

1 "The Advance," May 24, 1888. 


We have now reached the key to the situation, 
and must condense, on the minister putting forth 
all his influence in the school for the spiritual 
welfare of the scholars. 

The first essential is that between the pastor 
and the teachers in the school there should be the 
heartiest sympathy in this matter; I am almost 
tempted to say that the one thing needful in a 
Sunday-school teacher is that he should be "a 
Christian, and a Christian of a pronounced type ; 
not one whose conduct belies his doctrine, for God, 
looking through the eyes of a little child, will be 
quick to detect that ; not one who is perfunctory 
in his attendance, considering it a tax or a conde- 
scension ; but one who acts from the highest mo- 
tives. It is a mistake to think any one will do 
for a Sunday-school teacher. He ought to be 
selected from the saintliest and best and wisest of 
the church." * 

Paul writing to Philemon sends greeting "to 
the church in thy house." That teacher is happy 
who has a church in his class, and who meeting 
with those who have made a religious decision 
unites with them in prayer and conference for the 
conversion of the rest. Now and then the pastor 
also will do wisely to meet with them. Let him 
feel the pulse of each class. 

^ Rev. George Short, B. A. 


"The Society of Christian Endeavor," or its 
equivalent, in the church, should be kept in close 
touch with the spiritual condition of the school. 
That organization, however new and original in its 
title and machinery, is in spirit one with organiza- 
tions which have long been in healthful operation 
in many of our British and New England churches.^ 
They are the safest nurseries for Christian culture. 
It matters little what name they bear, or what is 
the special apparatus with which they work ; badges 
and buttons are sometimes foolish enough ; the 
weeds of laws and by-laws may, if mistaken for the 
essentials, spring up and choke the free and health- 
ful growth of the good seed of the kingdom ; but 
the society of young people banded together for a 
vigorous and persistent endeavor after the divine 
life, is necessary to the highest welfare of the 
church and the school. The pastor should be 
present, rather however to suggest than to con- 
trol at the religious meetings of his young people. 
It is these gatherings that are likely to register 
the rise of spiritual fervor, the tides of the Spirit, 
which taken at the flood carry him and his people 
out into the deep seas of religious prosperity. 

The Sunday-school in which the minister keeps 
the subject of religious decision prominent in 
private conversation and in public appeals, will be 

* Trumbull, p. 293. 


the school best prepared for such special efforts as 
ought occasionally to be made for the conversion 
of the unconverted in the classes. It will be borne 
in upon him at certain times, or it will become the 
conviction of the most earnest and devoted of his 
teachers, or perhaps the solicitude of a mother for 
the conversion of her boy may be the single in- 
centive to it, but in one or another way he will be- 
come impressed with the feeling that the school is 
ripening for a harvest. 

The history of religious revivals is closely con- 
nected with the history of Sunday-schools. The 
spiritual dearth of the middle of the eighteenth 
century was broken up by the great religious 
awakening in New England and Great Britain. At 
once the heart of the church was moved to solic- 
itude for the conversion of children. There were 
obstacles of traditionalism to be met and swept 
away, of course. But with clear and open vision 
the master minds, from John Wesley to Lyman 
Beecher, saw in that widespread quickening their 
opportunity, and with an intense and unabated 
passion drove toward it.^ To the loving nature of 
Wesley, the Sunday-school seemed "one of the 
noblest specimens of charity which has been set on 
foot since the Norman conquest " ; and that hero 
of a hundred revivals, Doctor Lyman Beecher, lived 

1 Tyerman's "Wesley," Vol. III., p. 522. 


to see the prophecies of his earlier years as to 
Sabbath-schools more than realized/ In Scotland, 
among a people excessively conservative of ances- 
tral faith and traditional practice, Thomas Chal- 
mers, perhaps the greatest of all her reformers, 
beheld in the Sunday-school the new power which 
would stem the woful degeneracy going on in the 
religious habit and character of the country, and 
he challenged the parents of his native land "to 
regard a well-conducted Sabbath-school in any 
other light than as a blessing and an acquisition to 
their children." * 

Without adding to their testimonies, I need only 
appeal to our own experience. Is it not true that 
the Sunday-school in every large and vigorous 
Christian church has at intervals a time of special 
religious revival } And on the conduct of the serv- 
ices at such seasons, does not the future, not of the 
school alone but also of the church itself, largely 
depend ? Pastoral responsibility is never a reality 
more serious than now. I urge upon the minis- 
ter respect for "the soul of the child." In the 
special services which you hold with the scholars 
dread nothing more than injuring the natural deli- 
cacy of a young faith. " Let the preacher," says 
Dr. S. G. Green, "beware of arousing emotions 
and demonstrations after which almost anything 

* Trumbull, p. 124. * Md,^ p. 162. 


must be an anti-climax *' ; and he cautions us 
against such exhibitions as impair the modesty of 
childhood, and minister either to thoughtlessness 
or irreverence or both.^ 

What services in all the ministry of the word 
call for greater delicacy of touch than these ? For 
what does one need more the prepared heart, 
the heart of the Christ of the children ? We are 
to deal with the plastic nature of childhood, the 
impressionable nature of youth. Already in some 
hearts the hardening processes are going on. 
Some are even now feeling the first dim fascina- 
tion of the evils that are in the world. To win 
the children for Christ has been the aim of the 
wisest of men and women in the church universal 
through all time. If St. Francis Xavier cries : ^ 
" Give me the children until they are seven years 
old, and any one may take them afterward," 
none the less urgent is Luther's tone as he says : 
"Young children and scholars are the seed and 
the source of the church.'* We listen to Cardinal 
Manning when he declares : " Give me the children 
and England shall be Catholic in twenty years," 
only to draw from his words a still loftier courage as 
sweeping a far wider area we dare assert : " Give the 
children to Christ, and in twenty years the world 
shall be Christian." A child's theology may not be 

^ "Lectures on Sunday-school," p. l8i. 
* Trumbull, pp. 67, 71. 


the theology of the churches which embodies itself 
in the creeds of Christendom, but we know little of 
the child's heart until we have found that there is 
in it the possibility of a consciousness of wrong- 
doing, a sorrow for sin, a desire to change, and a 
love for the Saviour quickened by the sense of a 
need of him. The religion of the child is not en- 
tirely emotional, and when boyhood and girlhood 
are reached there is an ability to grasp and to ap- 
ply the simple theology of the New Testament, 
which is as real in its spirit and as clear in its 
mental apprehension as that which comes in later 
years. The little child is the ideal of the- believer, 
and rises before us through all the centuries with 
the arms of Jesus about him as the model for him 
who would enter the kingdom of God ; and we 
know that that kingdom is "righteousness and 
peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." In what we 
have to say, therefore, during a time of special 
spiritual interest in the Sunday-school, let us not 
deal only in the anecdotal. Illustrate truth by all 
means, but first make quite plain the truth we 
propose to illustrate. 

The beginning of these special efforts for the 
conversion of the scholars should be as quiet and 
natural as possible. Some Sunday morning or 
afternoon when the signs are favorable, having 
previously obtained the consent of the superin- 
tendent, let the regular exercises of the school be 


SO arranged that thq last ten minutes can be given 
to the pastor. Let him talk at once, directly, with 
great plainness and earnestness, upon the need 
for personal salvation and the opportunity for it. 
Let him call for manifestations of religious de- 
cision. Methods will vary, but the thing itself is 
what is aimed at. Let this meeting lead to 
others, still more distinctly evangelistic in their 
character. I think that a gathering of those whose 
hearts are touched may be appointed for that same 
Sunday, in the afternoon, or let them come to th€^ 
meeting of the young people in the evening. 
Have two or three meetings in the week. Keep 
them clear of all formality, and in all let there 
be a wise but vigorous drawing of the net. 

Let none underrate the importance of such a 
time of religious awakening. It cannot be sum- 
moned at will. It cannot be got up at the bidding 
of a peripatetic evangelist. It has as little in 
common with the mechanical artifices of the 
worked-up revival as the natural motions of the 
human body have with the wooden gestures of a 
painter's dummy. Let the pastor take the work 
very seriously, for is it not his ? As truly as any 
scholar in the school he can pray for himself : 

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, 
Look upon a little child ; 
Pity my simplicity. 
Suffer me to come to thee. 


With as genuine a humility as Solomon's can he 
plead : '* O Lord, my God, thou hast made thy 
servant king : . . and I am but a little child : I know 
not how to go out or come in." ^ The conscious- 
ness of ignorance is a good sympton in teacher as 
well as in scholar. It is the first step toward 
enlightenment. Margaret Fuller was always 
cheered when any of her pupils wrote to her say- 
ing that they felt their ignorance. She would 
label such letters " under conviction." 

Now, if ever, the familiar saying, *' The Sunday- 
school is the nursery of the church," will take on 
a very solemn and inspiring purport. The minis- 
ter will repeat it to himself in this new atmosphere 
of experiences, and in the clear, resonant air it will 
carry a pressure of meaning bordering on the sub- 
lime. Should he be so happy as to remain with 
one church for many years, or at any rate to keep 
track of it, he will as time goes on see the fruitage 
of efforts which, when he put them forth, seemed 
just as natural as breathing, and the contrast will 
come home to him between the simple letting fall 
of the seed from the hand of the sower, and the 
golden glory of the harvest, by and by. I shall 
not be chargeable with exaggeration if I say that 
to the Sunday-school and to the honest work of 
teachers and pastor for the religious decision of 

1 1 Kings 3 : 7. 


the scholars, we are indebted for the devoted lives 
of many of the very best who are serving the 
church of Christ to-day. Our elders and deacons 
and office-bearers, our wisest superintendents, and 
our most earnest and intelligent teachers, were 
born again in the Sunday-school. They have given 
back to her what she first gave them, good measure 
pressed down and running over. And what shall 
I say as to the service which the Sunday-school 
has rendered to the Christian ministry.? What 
need that I say anything when the ranks of every 
theological seminary, the record of every pulpit, 
the annals of every mission field are ready with 
their witnesses } Professor Drummond found, as 
the result of his inquiries of a number of mission- 
aries, that the average age at which they began 
to think of the foreign field was when they were 
thirteen years old ; and had his inquiries been 
pushed farther and carried over a still wider range, 
I believe the result would have confirmed the con- 
viction, which has grown in my mind to a cer- 
tainty, that the Sunday-school is the place where 
first the future minister or missionary hears the 
voice of the Lord, and where earliest comes the 
response, ^' Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." 
I would close what has been said on this subject 
with two words of counsel. First, let none be 
hasty in bringing the scholars into the church. 
There should be some equivalent in every denom- 


ination for the primitive catechumen class, for the 
confirmation class of the Episcopalian Church, and 
for the probationary training given in other com- 
munions. The main thing for us is to make good 
work. Once a week, for some time, let the pastor 
meet the candidates for church-membership from 
among the scholars, and have personal conversa- 
tion with them one by one. The annual loss from 
our church lists is, I am persuaded, due in a large 
measure to the lack of careful preparatory train- 

It is due also to the absence of after training, 
and so I would further advise that the pastor meet 
the young members of the church for brief courses 
on such subjects as the elements of religion, the 
meaning of the Christian ordinances, the history 
of the religious denomination to which they have 
attached themselves, and their duties and priv- 
ileges as members of a local church, " Precept 
must be upon precept, precept upon precept ; 
line upon line, line upon line ; here a little, and 
there a little.*' It is hard to clear the minister of 
responsibility for very much of the defection in 
the ranks of church-membership when we reflect 
how remiss he has been here. To bring into the 
church is good ; but to keep in the church is 
better ; and yet in his eagerness to swell the num- 
bers of the fellowship how often the minister over- 
looks the other end of the procession, and fails to 


notice that the untrained and the ill-fed are falling 
away as fast ks the new recruits are coming in. 
Christian nurture is a minister's duty as well as 
converting zeal. "Take heed therefore unto all 
the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made 
you overseers, to feed the church of God, which 
he hath purchased with his own blood/' 

Between the home and the school there will be 
no rivalry if the pastor's interests are given to the 
one as much as to the other. They are but sepa- 
rate rooms in one house. The early practice, as 
we have seen, was for the father to be priest as 
well as patriarch in his own household. And in 
theory the belief lingered into our own century 
that parents spent some time, certainly, on Sun- 
day, in instructing their children. How sincere 
the objection to the Sunday-school on the ground 
that it usurped this parental duty and left the in- 
fant Moses to the mercies of the Nile it is not 
necessary for us to determine. It was heard most 
loudly in an age of general parental neglect, and 
sometimes it was raised by the clergy who were 
jealous lest the office of the sponsor and of the 
minister should be set aside. Yet it is in evi- 
dence that the Sunday-school was forced into ex- 
istence by parental and priestly neglect. Alike 
the home instruction and the parochial system had 
failed in the cities of England, as Raikes found 
when he was appalled at the profligacy of the chil- 


dren in Gloucester, and in the rural districts as 
Hannah More discovered when the rich farmer in 
one village assured her that "religion would be 
the ruin of agriculture, that it was a very danger- 
ous thing, and had produced much mischief ever 
since it was introduced by the monks down at 
Glastonbury." ^ I have little belief in the honesty 
of this sudden access of parental virtue which had 
to be met in Scotland, for example, by the fervid 
eloquence of Chalmers arguing that the alterna- 
tive was "not whether the rising generation should 
be trained to Christianity in schools or trained to 
it under the roof of their fathers ; but whether 
they shall be trained to it in schools or not trained 
at all." ' I say I have little belief in the honesty 
of this objection to Sunday-schools when I learn 
that, at the time when they were founded, in Scot- 
land the immorality in the homes of the upper 
classes and the wretchedness of the hovels of the 
poor defied description ; that in Ireland even the 
children of Protestants were "no better than 
heathen " ; that in England, William Wilberforce 
was shocked at finding that within three miles of 
a cathedral city every house in one village, and 
that a sample of all the rest, was a scene of the 
greatest ignorance and vice ; and that in America, 
while skepticism was as much the fashion in the 

^ **Mendip Annals," p. 14. * Trumbull, pp. 160-162. 



colleges as though it had been a species of ath- 
letics, among the descendants of the Pilgrims, re- 
ligious instruction in the family and in the church 
had so far declined that Lyman Beecher declared 
that " the result was a band of infidels and here- 
tics and profligates." ^ The fact is, that the Sun- 
day-school, so far from usurping the place of home,^ 
has made it in many instances sweet home, and 
has restored to it the sanctities and endearments 
of which irreligion had threatened to despoil it. 

And if the Sunday-school has not put itself in 
rivalry with the home, equally true is it to assert 
that it has not put itself in rivalry with the church. 
Occasionally some champion of the exclusive spir- 
itual prerogative of the clergy — a survival of the 
Dark Ages — raises his voice in honest but bigoted 
warning. The Sunday-school is arraigned because 
of " incompetence of the teachers to give religious 
instruction, because it is destructive of church- 
going, and because it has done much to destroy 
parental responsibility and priestly obligation." ^ 
And all the time the Roman Catholic hierarchy 
declares that it is the divinely constituted guardian 
of faith and morals. Against those claims, which 
are as dangerous to civil liberty as they are to 
religious progress, the Sunday-school may build 
an effectual barrier.* 

^ Trumbull, p. 167. 
« 1899. » Dr. R. W. Dale's ** Life,'' p. 286. 


In the Old World, as every reader of the his- 
tory of the eighteenth century knows, the Sunday- 
school has been one of the most powerful agencies 
for reviving the church. It has kindled the zeal 
of both the clergy and the laity. It has made re- 
ligion, as it is embodied in a visible fellowship, a 
necessary element in the life of the people. And 
in America the Sunday-school has led in the west- 
ward march of emigration, and the Sunday-school 
Union alone for three-quarters of a century has 
been organizing neighborhood Sunday-schools at the 
average rate of three every day.^ From the school 
has grown the church, and the one has as truly been 
the precursor of the other, as Caxton's printing 
press was the precursor of Tyndale's English Bible. 

How much the school has done for the church 
by renewing her youth I need not say. What the 
author of " Alice in Wonderland '* — in whom "the 
boy never quite left the man " — said of the world 
at large we can say of thousands of vigorous and 
prosperous churches : " It is the glory of the 
world that there is a perpetual succession of 
happy young life, given to pour fresh blood into 
the sluggish veins of humanity and set its heart 
beating again with that hopefulness which is God's 
best gift. The heaviest curse which he could lay 
upon us would be to keep us living on forever in 

1 Trumbull, p. 189. 


a world in which no new life was seen and to let 
the human race grow older without sending young 
faces to brighten its weary visions, and remind it 
of its own childhood. We should get mad and 
savage enough to devour each other at last, if the 
children did not come to keep us sane and fill us 
with gentler thoughts ; they give us something to 
work for when we are tired of working for our- 
selves ; they refurnish our world with new hopes 
when all our dear old hopes are dead ; they make 
us believe in God again when the sorrows of life 
have driven us faithless ; and they help to keep us 
in the better way for their sake, when if we 
thought only of ourselves we might drift into the 
evil way. What are they but his jewels of bright, 
celestial worth ? What are they but ladders set 
up from heaven to earth .^**^ 

I believe that it would be capable of proof that 
the children have done fully as much for the 
church as the church has done for the children. 
If the school is the pioneer of the sanctuary in 
many a wild Western settlement, equally is it, to 
every Christian fellowship, the adjunct aiming to 
introduce the entire congregation, young and old, 
to systematic Bible study, and the feeder bringing 
to it from the world about it the new blood by 
which its life is to be sustained. 

^ Lewis Carroll. 



The Sunday-school must be in touch with the times. 
Signs of dissatisfaction. Criticism. To keep abreast of 
the new century the Sunday-school must (i) respond to its 
inevitable demands — life centering in great cities, danger 
of the Sunday-school growing away from the people ; 

(2) fall in with the philanthropic sentiment of the century ; 

(3) sympathize with the religious thought of the century — 
the emphasis on the life that now is as determining the life 
that is to come ; (4) avail itself of the progressive intelli- 
gence of the century — the model school, the building, offi- 
cers, new methods, teachers, classes, teaching. 

Conclusion : The minister lives for the future in caring 
for the young life of the congregation. 



Our study of the Sunday-school would not be 
complete without a forward glance over the cen- 
tury whose threshold we have so lately crossed. 
To this we turn in conclusion. The modern Sun- 
day-school is already more than a hundred years 
old. Both the experimental stage and the stage 
of reaction from the first enthusiasm have been 
safely survived. From the beginning the move- 
ment had in it elements which augured well for its 
permanence. Its first leaders might be opposed, 
but they could not be despised. An enterprise 
which enlisted the active devotion of Raikes, with 
his business sagacity, of Hannah More, with her 
brilliant social charm, of Charles of Bala, with his 
apostolic zeal, of William Wilberforce, the peer of 
William Pitt for eloquence, and of John Wesley, 
the foremost religious leader of the century, was 
bound to succeed. Its founders were not fanatics 
nor visionaries. They were eminently sane and 
practical, and their intellects were as keen as their 
affections were warm. 

The closing years of the eighteenth century 



saw the rise of the modern Sunday-school. The 
first half of the nineteenth gave to it shape, unit- 
ing its range, concentrating its powers, and organ- 
izing its forces. To the second half of the nine- 
teenth century fell the still harder task of im- 
proving the teaching in the Sunday-school, and 
here it was the Americans outstripped all others 
and furnished Sunday-school literature which is 
incomparably superior to that of any other coun- 

That the Sunday-school still falls short of what 
it might be is evident enough. It must keep in 
the full current of the century if it is to live and 
to fulfill its high destiny. Perhaps it is a matter 
for congratulation, rather than for complaint, that 
the truest friends of the Sunday-school movement 
are the frankest of its critics. No more than any 
other institution is it secure against the tendency 
to fossilize. 

Many of the best and ablest leaders in the affairs of 
God, says one writer, * are vigilant and vigorous in devising 
and applying new ideas to the system as it is in vogue. 
The process has been in the main one of graft upon an un- 
pruned stock, and the result a rather elaborate and, per- 
haps, not altogether homogeneous and healthy organism. 
The feeling lives and grows that the institution not only is 
imperfect, but is falling short of that degree of efficiency 
which fairly should be looked for in an institution of so im- 
portant professed mission. In the average Sunday-school 

^ W. H. S. Demarest, **The Presbyterian Review,'* Jan. 7, 1901. 


there are unquestioned defects in work and lack of re- 

The Sunday-school of the twentieth century 
must be kept abreast of the times. How shall this 
be done ? 

We answer, first, by responding to the inevita- 
ble demands of the century. When Raikes first 
drew public attention to the work which was being 
done in his school he laid the chief stress on the 
country and not on the city life, which it aimed to 

Farmers and other inhabitants of the towns and villages 
complain that they receive more injury in their property 
on the Sabbath than all the week beside. This, in a great 
measure, proceeds from the lawless state of the younger 
class, who are allowed to run wild on that day, free fi-om 
every restraint To remedy this evil, persons duly quali- 
fied are employed to instruct those that cannot read ; and 
those that may have learnt to read are taught the catechism 
and conducted to church.^ 

Although his work began in a city, it was a 
city of no great size, and England was still a rural 
community. This is no longer the case in the 
Old World, and still less is it the case in the New. 
Human life is more and more centering in cities. 
The Sunday-school of the time in which we live 
must not be suffered to grow away from the 
masses of the people. It must not yield to the 

^ ** Gloucester Journal,'* Nov. 3, 1783. 


temptation to which too many churches have 
yielded and move off from the crowded courts and 
congested tenements. It must march with the 
wholesome impulse which is now working in uni- 
versity settlements, and multiplying Christian 
agencies in the machinery of what is not very hap- 
pily termed the institutional church. We can- 
not afford to lose sight of the class on whose be- 
half Sunday-schools were first started in the lanes 
of Gloucester and the hamlets of Cheddar, and 
for whom Charles Dickens, half a century after, 
so well pleaded when he raised his voice in favor 
of what he was the first to call " Ragged Schools." 
The Sunday-school must not be allowed to narrow 
down to a club for the children of the congrega- 
tion ; it must hold to its original democratic char- 
acter, and welcome alike the rich and the poor, in 
the conviction that the Lord is the Maker of them 

Then the Sunday-school must keep abreast of 
the times by falling in with the prevailing senti- 
ment of the century. There is a growing feeling, 
the civilized world over, that we are part of a 
great human brotherhood, that we are our brother's 
keeper. Philanthropy, unless we misread the signs 
of the times, is to be one of the distinctive fea- 
tures of this new age. To it we are impelled by 
the crowded city life in which the majority of men 
and women pass their days, as well as by the in- 


creasing acquaintance with the conditions of this 
life, for which we are indebted to our newspapers 
and periodical literature. It was a journalist, re- 
member, who first established a Sunday-school, 
and no ordained Christian pastor ever carried 
within his breast a more sympathizing heart than 
did he. Robert Raikes was full of love for the 
bodies and minds and souls of the children of 
Gloucester. In the very age which gave us mod- 
ern missions he, in the true missionary spirit, gave 
us Sunday-schools. To him, first of all, we owe it 
that, as Dr. H. Clay Trumbull says, ** A child is a 
great deal bigger than he was a century ago. He 
has grown more than a hundred years since then. 
Conspicuous among the features of progress in 
this century is the recognition of the child in his 
relative importance before the thinkers and doers 
of the Christian church and of the outside world." 
'* He had a good way with children," said an old 
woman recalling Robert Raikes ; ** he had author- 
ity with him, and yet they were not afraid." It 
is impossible to calculate how much this one man 
increased the sum of human happiness. The love 
for the masses perishing in ignorance in England 
which burned in the bosom of Wesley, and for the 
millions dying in heathenism in India which glowed 
in the heart of Carey, and for the thousands and 
tens of thousands of prisoners mouldering in fetid 
dungeons which mastered the soul of John How- 


ard, the true philanthropy which, flow in what 
channels it may, comes first of all from God, who 
is its source, this it was which became the master 
passion in the life of Robert Raikes. In the next 
century it found its most illustrious champion in 
Lord Shaftesbury, but he was only one of a band 
of devoted men and women who gave themselves 
up to the betterment of their kind. To-day this 
philanthropy is not only pouring out its wealth as 
never before, but better yet, it is following in the 
very footsteps of Him who, not satisfied with 
sending others, himself came to seek and to save 
the lost. "The world for Christ in this century" 
is the watchword of the new philanthropy, which 
means also " Christ for the world.*' There is sig- 
nificance in the fact that the work of the leading 
evangelist of our times, as his course of useful- 
ness drew to its close, more and more took on the 
form of work for the young life of his country, 
first building and endowing for it schools, and later 
yet, reaching it in the colleges and inspiring it to 
volunteer for missions to the uttermost parts of 
the earth. 

The Sunday-school must, still further, keep 
abreast of the times by sympathizing with the re- 
ligious thought of the century. It does not im- 
ply that there has been any radical change in 
theology because our age differs from that which 
preceded it in the degree of emphasis which it 


lays on certain truths. What Henry Melvill said 
of the Tree of Life is also true of our Chris- 
tian faith : " You cannot come out of season to it. 
You may bring your season with you, and the tree 
takes it, and bears another fruit." Each age finds 
there the fruit best suited to your needs. Wisely 
says the Talmud : ** Do not confine your children 
to your own learning, for they were born in another 
time." " Every age must have its own forms of 
Christian language and thought. Our children's 
children will not use the exact dialect in which 
we speak one with another of eternal things. 
Theological systems are the construction of the 
age, and every generation may be left to build its 
own."^ Each century is tolerably sure to give 
prominence to those aspects of eternal truths 
which specially meet its needs. When the hosts 
of the enemy are still on the horizon, the be- 
sieged garrison is on the ramparts, but when they 
are swarming about the moat and drawbridge, the 
battlements will not need to be manned so strongly 
as the foundations. A hundred years ago the dis- 
position was to emphasize the future life and the 
need of salvation now for the sake of that ; and 
to-day the disposition is to emphasize the present 
life, and to urge men to " a new and larger con- 
ception of what the salvation of a soul must 

1 ** Christianity and the Child" ; W. Brock, in "The Ancient 
Faith in Modern Light,** p. 350. 


mean/* The Sunday-school teacher will be likely 
to feel the influence of this shifted emphasis. 
And so the present life of the scholar, his con- 
duct and character, will become not less momen- 
tous in his eyes than will his future destiny. He 
cannot consent to separate the two. His experi- 
ence in the school and in the world about him 
bears witness that whatsoever a man soweth that 
shall he also reap. The minister, also, in his work 
in the Sunday-school, will do the same. How to 
seize, retain, and mold the life which is maturing 
in his school and congregation is one of the most 
serious problems before the twentieth century 
minister. All the more serious is it because the 
age of compulsion in which Sunday-schools were 
born is forever past. The old authority, which 
counted for so much in the home of a hundred 
years ago, in the Old Country, has scarcely a par- 
allel among us to-day. He is no true pastor who 
does not give himself with all his strength to re- 
taining the young people in his congregation. 
"The fact remains that a large proportion of Sun- 
day-school children graduate themselves from its 
halls and into life wholly separate from the church 
at least, and perhaps set apart to do evil."^ It is 
no exceptional case which is described in the fol- 
lowing words : " In a certain city, the number of 

^Demarest, p. 135 


men in the churches and congregations was much 
smaller than that of women. But in the Sunday- 
schools of those same churches, the number of 
boys was slightly in excess of the number of girls. 
In other words, as many boys are brought under 
church influence as girls ; but about the age of 
twelve or thirteen, while the girls remain, the 
boys, many of them, drop out of the religious 
circle. It would seem, then, that the point at 
which especial religious effort is to be directed is 
the point at which the boy becomes the young 
man. That period passed and the boy, now the 
young man, still kept in the congregation, he may 
be expected to remain in it all his life." Our 
most faithful and able ministers are so impressed 
with the momentous issues of this present life 
that they are striving most earnestly to hold the 
young men and women in their congregations 
through this critical period. Robert Raikes, after 
trying in vain to reform criminals in the jail for 
thirty years, resolved that prevention must be not 
only better but also likelier than cure. So he 
began at the other end, and Sunday-schools were 
the result. I have spoken at sufficient length of 
the various ways in which ministers of Christ may 
try to gain and keep their young people, but I 
should counsel that they be quick to notice any 
successful effort in the direction of forming closer 
union between the session of the school and the 


session of public worship.^ That by the working 
of our present arrangement of services these two 
are not only not mutually helpful, but often very 
much the reverse, is to my mind an argument for 
a more excellent way, if only one can be devised. 
Finally, the Sunday-school must keep abreast 
of the times by availing itself of the progressive 
intelligence of the century. In nothing is this 
intelligence showing itself more than in the matter 
of education. The little red schoolhouse is a 
memory now, not a model. The public schools of 
America and the board schools of Great Britain 
are planned with increasing care, and serve their 
highest ends now as never before. Shall the 
building in which the Sunday-school meets still 
continue to recall the old familiar model of that 
ancient makeshift at the country cross roads ? 
The time may come when if the whole school 
needs to meet for preliminary exercises — generally 
needlessly prolonged — the main audience room of 
the church will be used rather than sacrifice the 
space in the schoolroom proper, which should be 
divided so that classes can be taught without any 
annoyance to one by another. Each class should 
have its own room. The wonder is not that the 
work has been poorly done under the present sys- 
tem, but that it has been done at all. 

^ Demarest, p. 142. 


And as the plan of the building is to be fol- 
lowed, as far as may be, from that of the modern 
public school, so as in the public school where 
no inferior influences are suffered to interfere 
with the rights of the people, the choice of offi- 
cers is to be of the best. The president of Chi- 
cago University is superintendent of the Sunday- 
school of the church of which he is a member; 
one of the ablest Greek scholars in the country 
is director of the work of instruction ; a colleague 
of his, as able as himself, is director of the be- 
nevolent work ; while the spiritual work of the 
school is under the direction of the minister of 
the church. In this school, which has done fine 
work in education, while the spiritual life of the 
pupils has been roused and quickened by con- 
stant conversions, " there are three main divi- 
sions : the elementary, embracing the kindergar- 
ten and the first four grades ; the secondary, 
embracing eight grades ; and the adult division. 
Each division has a principal, secretary, and one 
or more superintendents in charge of instruction 
in groups of classes, each of which, of course, 
has its regular teacher.*' These better arrange- 
ments will claim, where they do not create, new 
methods of teaching. There is no higher honor 
than to be found competent as a teacher in a Sun- 
day-school. It was of teachers that John Wesley 
was thinking when he wrote to his brother Charles, 



a few months before his death : " Nothing can 
prevent the increase of the blessed work but the 
neglect of the instruments ; therefore be sure to 
watch over these with all care, that they may not 
grow weary in well-doing.'* It was one of the 
greatest schoolmasters of our time, Thring of Up- 
pingham, who traced to his early experience in 
teaching, when he was a curate in the very country 
where, a century before, Sunday-schools were 
born, what skill he afterward used as headmaster 
of one of the most famous of English schools : 

Never shall I forget those schools in the suburbs of Glou- 
cester, and their little classroom, with its solemn problem 
(no more difficult one in the world), how on earth the Cam- 
bridge honor man, with his success and his brain work, was 
to get at the minds of those little laborers' sons, with their 
unfurnished heads and no time to give. They had to be 
got at, or I had failed . . . There I learned the great secret 
of St Augustine* s golden key, which, though it be of gold, 
is useless unless it fits the wards of the lock. And I found 
the wards I had to fit, the wards of my lock which had to 
be opened, the minds of those little street boys very queer 
and tortuous affairs ; and I had to set about cutting and 
chipping myself in every way to make myself into the 
wooden key which should have the one merit of a key, 
however common it might look, the merit of fitting the lock 
and unlocking the minds and opening the shut chambers of 
the heart 

The church is slowly waking up to her respon- 
sibility in the matter of training teachers to teach. 
The Sunday-school Commission of the Protestant 


Episcopal Diocese, of New York, has taken the 
lead in doing this ; ^ but the day cannot be far dis- 
tant in which the best principles and methods of 
teaching will be made the subject of careful and 
intelligent drill in public classes for all teachers 
who care to attend. Summer schools for this 
purpose, and evening classes through the winter, 
will be much more general than they have been. 

From the public school also we may learn to 
have fewer classes, larger in the number of schol- 
ars enrolled in each, and better taught. The num- 
ber of scholars in the public schools, according to 
the United States Census, 1 890-1 891, was eight 
million three hundred and twenty-nine thousand 
two hundred and thirty-four, as against eight mil- 
lion six hundred and forty-nine thousand one hun- 
dred and thirty-one in Sunday-schools. But in 
the case of the public schools three hundred and 
sixty-eight thousand seven hundred and ninety- 
one teachers sufficed, whereas, with only a slightly 
larger number of scholars, the Sunday-schools 
numbered one million one hundred and fifty-one 
thousand three hundred and forty teachers.^ The 
city of Rochester, N. Y., has more large Sunday- 
school classes than any other city in the United 
States. There are forty classes with a member- 
ship which in 1900 ran up to between three thou- 

1 "Outlook," Dec. 15, 19CX). 
^Gulick, "The Growth of the Kingdom,'' p. 152. 


sand and four thousand men, and the explanation 
of this is that some of the most vigorous and com- 
petent young men in the city have devoted them- 
selves to this work. One of these, the Hon. 
Walter Hubbell, alluding to the rapid growth of 
his class during the nine years that he has taught 
it, says : 

We now number two hundred and fifty, and this year, so 
far, we have had an average attendance of something like 
one hundred and fifty. I hardly know what to say in an- 
swer to the question about the methods employed in teach- 
ing. We use the International series of lessons, and I en- 
deavor to keep closely to the text I never discuss politics 
or the ordinary international, national, or social questions 
of the day. The class gives entertainments during the 
winter. The treasurer's report shows that it costs about 
one thousand dollars a year to run the class, including the 
cost of the banquet and what we pay the male quartette, 
which is unquestionably the best one in the city. A large 
number of the men seem to be very much interested in the 
class, and do a great deal of work, and to this fact I at- 
tribute the success of the class. We have various commit- 
tees who look after the membership, who call on the sick, 
who attempt to find employment for the unemployed, who 
take care of the social functions, and who look out for the 
program of the general exercises on Sunday. 

That the character of the teaching will rise 
with the growing intelligence of the teachers, 
goes without saying. The days of the uniform 
lesson are, let us hope, numbered. Lessons must be 
graded to the capacity of the scholars. The present 


prospect is for three courses instead of one, fol- 
lowing the classification of the school. There 
may be a danger that in the revulsion from the 
old hortatory methods of teaching we may go to 
an opposite extreme and become too scholastic. 
It was against this that so broad-minded and ac- 
curate a scholar as Dr. John A. Broadus found it 
necessary to protest : " The so-called inductive 
method of study will answer for college students 
and a few Bible classes, but most pupils and most 
teachers will never make anything of it.** And 
certainly the minute study of the words of Scrip- 
ture, the finding of concealed or unobserved 
truths by the close scrutiny of tenses and cases 
which perplexed Phillips Brooks' mother in the 
preaching of the new school of evangelicals of 
her day, will perplex much more than it will profit 
the ordinary scholar in a Sunday-school class. In 
the Sunday-school we deal not with processes so 
much as with results. The teacher's main aim 
should be moral and spiritual rather than intel- 
lectual. Not that any one of these should be 
rigidly separated from the others. No such dis- 
tinction exists in fact. Faith and practice are 
complementary, the two sides of the same shield, 
and the reason is never ignored in the arguments 
and appeals of the Christian religion. The text- 
•book in the Sunday-school is the Bible, and " the 
ultimate aim of the teaching is the knowledge of 


Christ, Christian experience, personal salvation." ^ 
The school stands or falls, not by the completeness 
of its apparatus, its intellectual ability, the per- 
fection of its organization, the popularity of its 
teachers, the social position of its scholars ; no, but 
by its yielding results which would have satisfied 
Jesus himself ; by the measure in which it responds 
to his command, "Suffer little children to come 
unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 
It was this distinctly religious purpose in the school 
system of the Hebrews which constituted its 
strength, giving so deep a meaning to the saying 
of one of the rabbis : *' The Almighty prefers the 
breath of children at school to the smoke rising 
from the temple's altars." This it is also which has 
made the catechism so important an element in 
the national life of Scotland, of Germany, of New 
England, and of many other lands. The chief 
end of the catechism was not reached until the 
soul was won for God. And just here it is that 
the main work of the minister needs to be done. 
He must sow with eternity in view. I have just 
said that the text-book in the school has to be the 
Bible. By this I mean the Bible, and not selec- 
tions from it or notes upon it. The demand for 
cheaper Bibles with which in its early years the 
Sunday-school Union of England and Wales be- 

Demarest, ** Presbyterian Review," 1901, p. 130. 


sieged the Bible Society, is only to be understood 
when we remember that a Bible was supposed to 
be necessary to each scholar. In England this 
was certainly the rule through the first half of the 
nineteenth century. When by and by the lesson- 
leaf was introduced it was considered a sign of 
an ill-prepared teacher that he brought it with him 
into the class. We have fallen on other times in 
this respect, and the very perfection and beauty 
of our Sunday-school notes, issuing from many 
publishing houses and creating large vested pecu- 
niary interests, has tended to let the comment 
usurp the place of the book itself. A writer al- 
ready quoted, in pleading for reconstruction in the 
Sunday-school, does not put the wound thus in- 
flicted on the Bible in the house of its friends too 
strongly when he says : ^ 

The use of lesson leaves very generally so sets the Bible 
itself in the background as seriously to prevent familiarity 
with it as a whole, with the reference of its different parts 
to one another, and with the immediate setting and signifi- 
cance of the passage under study. * Not only is the Bible 
itself thus too little in practical use, but the tearing of a 
few verses from it inevitably forbids the mind* s emphasis 
and remembrance of them in scriptural oneness. It would 
be so in the study of any text-book. 

The Bible must be restored to its place in the 
school, and it must be given a chance to be heard. 

^ Demarest, p. 1 901. 


The charge is brought against the service of pub- 
lic worship in many churches that it has ceased to 
be scriptural in thought and expression. This is 
much to be regretted. The question has lately 
been raised whether to-day the Bible is as gener- 
ally familiar to us as it was to the English people 
in the days of Shakespeare. The vast number of 
references in his plays, direct or indirect, to its 
words and characters and incidents proves that 
the great body of those who saw them performed 
caught at once the allusions to the Bible in which 
they abound. The study of the Bible itself, the 
habit of committing its great passages to memory, 
the practice of comparing scripture with scripture 
by a ready use of parallel verses, all this needs to 
be revived, and the Sunday-school is one place 
where it can be done. Dr. John Clifford, of Lon- 
don, sounds a note which, without creating a panic, 
should certainly put us on our guard when he 
says : ^ 

We must get our yoiyig people to understand the incal- 
culable value of the Bible to the religious life and general 
well-being of the nation, to its order and progress, to its 
liberty aud greatness. The Bible has made us. Our Refor- 
mation sprang out of that book. It was the Bible preached 
by Wyclifife and his poor priests which inspired that re- 
volt against papacy which isSued at length in our departure 
from Rome and in the ascent of the British people to free- 

^ ** Sacerdotalism and Sunday-schools,** p. 14. 


dom of conscience and to sovereignty in the life of the 

What is true of England is certainly true of 
America also. The discovery of childhood, it has 
been affirmed, was the greatest discovery of the 
nineteenth century. This is only a rhetorical way 
of putting the truth which Dr. H. Clay Trumbull 
sets before us more soberly when he says : 

Jesus Qirist not only gave children a place in his king- 
dom, he gave them the chief place. He did not say that 
if a child grew up to manhood, having kept on improving, 
he might come to understand God* s truth ; he did say that 
the only way in which a mature man could understand this 
truth was in getting back to his child way of thinking. 
That this was not a mere figure of speech is shown by his 
having a real flesh and blood child before him when he 
said it This has been a hard saying for apostles and theo- 
logians and preachers generally to realize the truth of ; but 
they have been making a good start the past century. There 
is hope of them — the most childlike. 

Up to the close of the eighteenth century many Chris- 
tian ministers really had the idea that the chief business 
of the church, by the command of the Master, is to preach 
to grown-up persons, instead of to teach pupils in the 
church school, and they worked along in the line of that 
erroneous idea. Even if, at that time, ministers occasion- 
ally tried preaching to children, they usually failed to come 
up to a child* s apprehension. Teaching children by proper 
modes of teaching was hardly attempted on any exten- 
sive scale. 

No sweeping arraignment of the Sunday-school 


can be just. To it, in the main, we owe it that 
childhood has come to its own ; that the young 
life of the community has been nurtured and 
trained heavenward ; that the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Associations have sprung into existence in 
every civilized land ; and that in this country alone 
half a million young men study the Bible in its 
classes every year; that the Christian Endeavor 
Societies belt the world ; that the life of the home, 
the family, the community has been lifted heaven- 
ward. This unpaid enterprise can be placed side 
by side with any system of secular schools, and 
not fear by the comparison. To-day it is the most 
conspicuous triumph of the voluntary system in 
the service of Christ and the church. For this 
reason, and because what is good should always 
aim to be better, the Sunday-school ought with 
the new century to go up higher. If it is to keep 
in touch with the era of thought and action on 
which we have now entered, it must do so. No 
words of mine can impress too strongly on the 
minds of my readers, lay and ministerial, the 
grandeur and the solemnity of the obligation 
under which we live as servants of Jesus Christ 
to the children of our church. The Talmud says : 
" Jerusalem was destroyed because the instruction 
of the young was neglected." A holier temple 
than that which fell before the torch of Titus is 
the shrine which we are to guard. The late Bishop 


Creighton, not thinking how near he was to the 
close of his career, sang on the threshold of the 
year in which he died : 

Oh ! earlier shall the roses blow, 
In after years, those happier years ; 

And children weep, when we lie low. 
Far fewer tears, far softer tears. 

Oh ! true shall boyish laughter ring, 
Like tinkling chimes in happier times ; 

And merrier shall the maidens sing. 
And I not there, and I not there. 

The children's future became the thought of 
all others most insistent in his mind. The greatest 
contribution to the unborn years that a Christian 
minister can make he considered to be this, to live 
for the children who should so soon occupy our 
place. Our best and strongest thoughts and words 
fall into the hearts of the children and young 
people who gather about us ; and because the boy 
is very weak who dares entirely outgrow his boy- 
hood when he comes to be a man, there they 
remain, growing with his growth, strengthening 
with his strength, safeguards, by God's blessing, 
against evil, sources of inspiration, fountains of 
water springing up into everlasting life, like " the 
hymns of dear old Doctor Watts," of which in his 
old age Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote : " They 
thrilled me when a babe, and will mingle, I doubt 
not, with my last wandering thoughts." 


In bringing this discussion to a close, I desire 
to do so on a note as broad as the theme itself, 
when looked at in all its aspects, warrants. We 
have seen that the roots of the Sunday-school lie 
far back in the early years of the human family. 
The work of Robert Raikes and his comrades was 
a revival rather than a creation. From the tent 
of Abraham beneath the oak at Mam re ; from the 
divine recognition, earlier yet, of the family as the 
center of all civil and religious life, sprang the 
system of Christian nurture in which the Sunday- 
school is only one factor. Never is this thought 
of the divine sanction for the family relationship 
absent from the heart of the patriarch, from the 
song of the psalmist, from the promise of the seer, 
or from the prayer of the patriot. Listen to it as 
it welds together the training of the family with 
the prosperity of the nation :' **That our sons may 
be as plants grown up in their youth ; that our 
daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after 
the similitude of a palace : that our garners may 
be full, affording all manner of store ; that there be 
no complaining in our streets. Happy is that 
people, that is in such a case : yea, happy is that 
people, whose God is the Lord." The Hebrew 
theocracy in its prime insisted on the religious 
training of the young people, both at home and 

1 Ps. 144 : 12. 


in the school, and even when Jerusalem fell, tradi- 
tion has preserved for us the number of schools 
in the sacred city as four hundred and eighty.^ 
With more probability the most profound of Jew- 
ish medieval scholars traces to the neglect of the 
education of the children the decline and over- 
throw of the theocracy itself. The lesson which 
the reformers of the eighteenth century spelled 
out from the slums of English cities and the shame 
of English villages, is a lesson to which every ad- 
vance in national education has only added new 
emphasis. I mean that the religious training of 
the children, whether under the monarchy or the 
republic, is no business of the State, but must be 
undertaken by the church of Christ. For this 
training each minister is, within the sphere of his 
own influence, responsible. It is not the will of 
his Father in heaven that one of these little ones 
should perish, that one should grow up without 
the knowledge of his love and care. The same 
pity which stirred in the manly heart of Robert 
Raikes and in the gentle bosom of Hannah More 
should stir within the soul of the Christian min- 
ister.* The Sunday-school has ceased to be the 
property of any one class, and now belongs, as 
does the public school, to every family in the com- 
munity. The note of the true democracy is 

1 Edersheim, "Sketches/* p. 135. 
2 Dale's *♦ Life," p. 235. P. Brooks' ♦* Addresses," p. 503. 


sounded here as it ought to be. " The rich and 
the poor meet together, and the Lord is the maker 
of them all." ^ 

It has been asserted that the time in which we 
live is specially the age of the young ; and Emer- 
son quotes a witty physician who, remembering 
the hardships of his own youth, said:^ "It is a 
misfortune to have been born when children were 
nothing and to live till men were nothing.** And yet 
what the men shall be ten or fifteen years hence 
depends on what the children are now. And the 
children and the young people will be very largely 
what we make them. Addressing myself espe- 
cially to the rising ministry, I would say : Believe 
me, brethren, standing on the threshold of your 
Christian ministry, you can afford to neglect almost 
anything sooner than the families of your congre- 
gation and the classes in your school. Beside the 
chair of the aged or the bed of the dying you will 
touch the springs of memory, and there is a wealth 
of experience to be gained in such ministries ; but 
when you address yourself to this great task of 
Christian nurture, you are surrounded by the 
pleasures of hope. You "speak to the bright 
daylight creatures of trust,** you face and influence 
a future of untold possibilities, you lay a molding 
hand on the slumbering forces of the new century 

^ Prov. 22 : 2. * Emerson's ** Lectures," p. 307. 


the like of which this world has never seen be- 

Bliss is it in this dawn to be alive, 
But to be young is very heaven. 

To yourselves it will be a welcome relief, turn- 
ing from the mingled experiences of the pastorate, 
from the man old and hardened in sin, from the 
man who bears 

The emptiness of ages in his face, 

And on his back the burden of the world, 

from these and so many others who sadden or 
shadow your heart, to pass into the springtime of 
hope and enthusiasm as you labor with the young 
people in your congregation. 

I offer congratulations on the prospect of this 
ministry to the home circle and the Sunday-school. 
About us as about the Master may the children 
gather in instinctive love ; to us as to him may 
the young man hasten to learn how to inherit eter- 
nal life ; may we, as wag the Lord himself, be 
encircled by a band of ardent and devoted souls 
eager for work in the kingdom ; and when the last 
account shall be made, may it be ours to rise with 
many a star in the crown of our rejoicing and to 
say, " Behold, here am I and the children whom 
the Lord hath given me." 


Alleine, Joseph, a forerunner of 
the Sunday-school, 55. 

America, Sunday-school in, 69, 157. 

American Baptist Publication So- 
ciety, its growth, <K). 

American Sunday School Union, 
its origin, 70, 89. 

Arnold, Thomas, his influence on 
boys, 42. 

Authority, of Bible, 3. 

Bacon, Francis (Lord), on value 
of catechism, 200. 

Baldwin : on early conversion, 39 ; 
his custom of kissing children 
after service, 110. 

Baraca Union, 207. 

Baptism, infant, 108. 

Baxter, Richard, on value of teach- 
ing, 45. 

Beecher, H. W. : on value of influ- 
ence, 112 ; on injudiciously in- 
fluencing children, 126 ; on serv- 
ices unattractive to children, 
131, 134 ; and Doctor Tyng, 141 ; 
on Sunday-schools, 141, 160; on 
teaching children, 177 ; on influ- 
ence of minister on children, 

Beecher, Lyman, on religious con- 
dition of New England before 
founding of Sunday-schools, 226. 

Bell, Andrew, his pupil-teacher 
system, 77. 

Bible: and the child, 3-45; as 
guide to minister, 3 : children 
in, 3 ; a book of precepts as well 
as examples, 12; lack of expo- 
sition of, among Puritans, 34 ; 

in the Sunday-school, 95, 177, 
246: its purpose, 206. (See New 
Testament: Old Testament.) 

Bible-class, for young men. 204. 

Bible-schools: among Jews, 14, 
252; their Increase during the 
Exile, 15. (See Sunday-school.) 

Bonar, Dr. A. A., his experience 
in addressing children, 144. 

Books: for children, 118, 172. (See 
New England Primer.) 

Borromeo, Cardinal, his Sunday- 
schools. 54. 

British and Foreign Bible Society, 
its origin, 64. 

British and Foreign School So- 
ciety, its origin, 78. 

Broadus, Dr. J. A., against induc- 
tive method of teaching, 245. 

Brock, W., on change of religious 
thought, 237. 

Brooks, Phillips, on value of help- 
ing children, 196. 

Browning, Mrs., quoted, 112. 

Bums, quoted, 6. 

Bushnell, Horace: on family 
unity, 10 ; on Christian nurture, 
42 ; on infant baptism 108 ; on 
teaching children empty formu- 
las, 121: on preaching to chil- 
dren, 139 : on questions of young 
men, 206. 

Carey, his influence on awakening 
of eighteenth century, 52. 

Carroll. Lewis, on children, 227. 

Carus- Wilson, Mrs., on God's feel- 
ing for children, 145. 

Catechism : in medieval times, 23 ; 




in New England, 29, 34, 35, 194, 
201; its connection with relig- 
ious life, 35, 5G ; in the Reforma- 
tion, 56 ; its use in the Sunday- 
school, 94, 200. 

Chalmers, Thomas : his influence 
on awakening of eighteenth 
century, 52; quoted, 164; his 
appreciation of the Sunday- 
school, 217, 225. 

Channing: on having faith in 
children, ;<2 ; on teaching, 176 ; 
on the danger of Sunday-schools, 

Character of Sunday-school teach- 
ers, 170, 214, 241. 

Charles. T., his work, 63. 

Children: the Bible and, 3-45; 
necessity of training, 5 ; Hebrew 
training of 6-16, 107, 111, 115, 190, 
198 : home training of, 6, 43, 107 ; 
in New Testament, 16-22; love 
of Jesus for, 17 ; medieval train- 
ing of, 22, 131 ; Puritan training 
of, 24-30; emotional life of, 30, 
40 ; not naturally corrupt, 31 ; 
conversion of, 32, 33, 36, 118; 
nurture of, 39 ; their depravity 
in eighteenth century, 50 ; rela- 
tion of minister to, 109-147 : 
stages in development of. 114; 
consecration of, 115 ; books for, 
118, 172 ; their training after con- 
version, 122 ; their influence on 
church elections, 123 ; as critics, 
124 ; injudicious organization of, 
126 ; should be brought to church 
early, 129 ; unfitness of ordinary 
church service to, 131 ; demand 
variety in church service, 133; 
special address for, 135 : service 
for, 136 : sermon for, 138 : duty 
of church to elevate, 171 ; their 
love of knowledge, 177 ; impor- 
tance of reaching, 218. 

Church: influence of Sunday- 
school on, 21, 34, 35, 158, 159, 221, 
227 ; hymns for, 134 ; should sup- 

port Sunday-school, 161 ; its re- 
lation to home, 191. 

Clarke, D., on value of catechism, 

Clifford, Dr. John, on study of 
Bible. 248. 

Consecration, of children, 115. 

Conversion : of children, 32, 33, 
36, 118 ; inadequacy of Puritan 
conception of, 33. 

Corruption, natural, of children, 

Cox, Dr. Samuel, his sermons for 
children, 147. 

Crafts, W. F., on teaching evangel- 
istic methods, 182. 

Creighton, Bishop, quoted, 251. 

Criticism, of children, 124. 

Cuyler, Doctor, on importance of 
reaching young men, 204. 

Dale, R. W.. on relation of church 
and home, 191. 

Demarest. W. H. S. : on Sunday- 
school reform, 232 : on retaining 
young people, 238; on the aim 
of teaching, 245 ; on use of Bible 
in Sunday-school, 247. 

Doddridge, Philip: on teaching 
children, 29 ; his attitude toward 
revivals, 49; his influence on 
awakening of eighteenth cen- 
tury, 51. 

Dods, Dr. Marcus, on the purpose 
of the Bible, 206. 

Drummond, Henry: on religion 
of boys, 120; his inquiry con- 
cerning early religious impres- 
sions, 222. 

Duty : of parent to child, 7, 43, 107 ; 
of minister to Sunday-school 
(see Minister). 

Edersheim: on the essence of 
Hebrew religion, 13 ; on training 
of Hebrew children, 14, 15, 111, 
190: on parental obligation in 
Mosaic law, 107 : use of Bible in 
Jewish schools, 178. 



Education, secular: in England 
in nineteenth century, 78; its 
influence on Sunday-school, 79. 

Edwards, Jonathan : on child con- 
version, 33; his influence in 
awakening of eighteenth cen- 
tury, 51. 

Eighteenth century : Sunday- 
school in, 49-73 ; morality of, 49 ; 
religious awakening in, 51. 

Elections, church, unduly influ- 
enced by children, 123. 

Eliot, Geoige, quoted. 111. 

Ezra, as a teacher, 43. 

Family: history rooted in, 6; re- 
ligious aspect of, 6. 

Farrar, Dean, on influence of 
Raikes, 187. 

Frazer, Prof., on influence of min- 
ister on young, 124. 

Germany, Sunday-school in, 109. 

Goldsmith, his picture of the vil- 
lage pastor, 110. 

Goodell, C. L., an ideal Sunday- 
school pastor, 213. 

Gordon, A. J., on church amuse- 
ments, 192. 

Granville, as an example of eigh- 
teenth century morality, 50. 

Green, J. R., on the awakening in 
the eighteenth century, 52. 

Green, S. G. : on conducting a 
preparation class, 181; on the 
minister in the Sunday-school, 
209; on emotional excitement, 

Gulick : on growth of British Sun- 
day-schools, 91 ; on present re- 
ligious condition of collies, 98 ; 
on size of Sunday-school classes, 

Guthrie, his childlikeness, 118. 

Heber, his childlikeness, 146. 
Hebrews, their training of chil- 
dren, 6-16, 107, 111, 115, 190, 198. 

Hill, Rowland, his Sunday-school, 

Hodder, on early nineteenth cen- 
tury, 83. 

Holmes, O. W., on Watts' hymns, 

Home: training of children in, 
6. 43, 50, 107 ; influence of Sun- 
day-school on, 191 ; its relation 
to Sunday-school, 224. (See Fam- 

Horn-book, 98. 

Howe, Julia Ward, her answer to 
Sumner, 9. 

Hubbell, W., on growth of his 
men's Bible class, 244. 

Hudson, M. A., on the Baraca 
IJnion, 207. 

Hymms : of Watts, 55, 61, 138, 251 ; 
of church, 134 ; for Sunday- 
school, 137. 

Ireland, Sunday-school in, 71. 

Jehoshaphat, his system of bibli- 
cal instruction, 43. 

Jesus : on the necessity of child- 
likeness, 6; his childhood, 16; 
his love for children, 17-20; a 
model for the minister in his 
relation to children, 19 ; his in- 
fluence on children, 147. 

Judson, Edward: on child con- 
version, 36 : his definition of 
Sunday-school, 152 ; on the khi- 
dergarten, 169 : on pastoral work 
of Sunday-school teachers, 183. 

Kindergarten, in Sunday-school, 

Kirk, E. N., on former method of 
training children, 25. 

Lancaster, Joseph, his pupil- 
teacher system, 78. 

Larcom. Lucy, on sermons unin- 
telligible to children, 134. 

Lessons, uniform, 99. 

Letter-box of minister, 127. 



Library of Sunday-school, 118, 172. 
Lindsay, T., his Sunday-school, 55. 
Longfellow, quoted, 40. 
Luther, on influencing children, 

Manning, Cardiuul, on influen- 
cing children, 218. 

Mather, Cotton, his class for chil- 
dren, 118. 

Men. young: Bible class for, 204, 
244 ; importance of reaching, 204 ; 
their questions, 206; their Baruca 
Union, 207. 

Middle Ages, training of children 
in, 22, 131. 

Millet, influence of early training 
on, 41. 

Minister : his guide the Bible, 3 ; 
his model, 19; his function in 
medieval times, 22; must not 
think children corrupt, 31 ; bis 
view of child conversion, 85 ; his 
lasting influence on children, 42; 
his relation to his young people, 
109-147; as friend of children, 
109; as pastor of children, 115; 
his visitation of the young, 116 ; 
value of long pastorate to, 124 ; 
his unconscious influence on 
children, 121; should keep in 
close touch with young con- 
verts, 127, 223; his letter-box, 
127; as preacher to children, 
128, 134, 138 ; his public prayer, 
133 ; his relation to the Sunday- 
school, 153-184 ; as pastor of the 
Sunday-school, 159 ; his relation 
to Sunday-school oflScers, 163 ; as 
adviser to teachers, 165; must 
supervise teachers. 167 ; must ex- 
ert an intellectual influence on 
teachers, 174; his normal class, 
174; his preparation class, 179; 
his spiritual influence on teach- 
ers, 181 ; should often meet offi- 
cers and teachers, 181 ; benefit 
of Sunday-school work to, 183; 

in the Sunday-school, 187-228; 
his moral influence in the 
school, 190 ; may indirectly pro- 
mote civic purity, 192 ; his influ- 
ence on community, 195 ; should 
attend Sunday-school, 198, 209; 
his part in exercises of Sunday- 
school, 198; should teach in 
Sunday-school, 203 ; his class for 
young men, 204, advantages of 
Sunday-school teaching to, 207 ; 
essentials to success in Sunday- 
school work of, 210; must work 
for spiritual welfare of Sunday- 
school, 214; must keep promi- 
nent the subject of religious 
decision, 215; should teach can- 
didates for church-membership, 
223; a unifying influence be- 
tween home and school, 224 ; a 
unifying influence between 
church and school, 226; must 
sympathize with change of relig- 
ious thought, 238 ; lives for the 
future for caring for children, 

More, H. ; her influence on awak- 
ening of eighteenth century, 
52 ; and Macaulay, 53 ; her life 
and work, 61-68 ; parochial char- 
acter of Sunday-school of, 152. 

Morley, J., on Puritan theocracy, 

New England Primer: its influ- 
ence, 26 ; its Puritan character, 
26-29 ; its view of sin, 27 ; ele- 
ment of fear in teachings of, 27. 
28 ; lack of emotional appeal in, 
29 ; quoted, 26, 27, 28. 

Newton, John, his influence on 
awakening of eighteenth cen- 
tury, 51. 

Newton, Richard, on preaching 
to children, 140. 

Nineteenth century, Sunday- 
school in, 77-104 ; secular educa- 
tion in England in, 73. 



Normal class, conducted by min- 
ister, 174. 

Nurture, Christian : origin of term, 
39; banning of, 40; necessity 
of, 41. (See Children ; Sunday- 

Officers of Sunday-school: rela- 
tion of minister to, 16S, 181 ; need 
of good, 241. 

Organization, of young people, 

Owen, John, on the catechism, 

Parent: his duty to children, 7, 
43, 107 ; is always a teacher, 10 ; 
mistaken ideas of obligation of, 

Pascal, on the supremely good 
book, 146. 

Pattison, S. R., on the religion of 
children, 122. 

Paul : on children, 20, 21, 40 ; his 
public teaching, 21, 22. 

Phelps, Austin : on lack of expo- 
sition in early Sunday-schools, 
34 ; on character, 170. 

Phllo, on Jewish training of chil- 
dren, 14, 111. 

Prayer, public, of minister, 133. 

Preparation class, conducted by 
minister, 179. 

Puritan training of children : in- 
fluence of medieval teaching 
upon, 23 ; its dictatorial nature, 
24 ; its sternness, 25-30 : its influ- 
ence on Sunday-school, 30. 

Puritans: their training of chil- 
dren (see above) ; their idea of 
conversion, 33 ; their theocracy, 

Raikes, Robert: quoted, 15; his 
influence on awakening of eigh- 
teenth century, 51, 54 ; as origi- 
nator of Sunday-school, 56, 188, 
196 ; his life and work, 57-61 ; on 
acquiescence of clergy in Sun- 

day-school movement, 155 ; early 
appreciation of, 156, 193; his 
monument, 187; his handlmg 
of children, 235. 

Reed, Charles, on opposition to 
early Sunday-schools, 154. 

Reformation, Protestant : influ- 
ence of medieval teaching re- 
garding children upon, 23; its 
Puritanism, 33 ; its appreciation 
of the catechism, 56. 

Religious Tract Society, its origin, 

Revivals, their evils largely due 
to wrong methods, 36; connec- 
tion of Sunday-school with, 216. 

Richter, Jean Paul: on influence 
of parents, 10 ; on the beauty of 
childhood, 170. 

Robertson, Dr., on application of 
moral in story, 145. 

Sabbath Evening School Society, 
its origin, 70. 

Schaufller, A. F., on training 
teachers, 179. 

Scotland, Sunday-school in, 70. 

Sermon : should attract children, 
134 ; for children, 138 ; instruct- 
ive element in, 145. 

Services, for children, 1.S6. 

Short, Geo., on character of 
teacher, 214. 

Singing: should attract children, 
134, 137. (See Hymns.) 

Smith, Adam, on value of Sunday- 
school, 71. 

Society, American Baptist Publi- 
cation, its growth, 80. 

Society, British and Foreign Bible, 
its origin, 64. 

Society, British and Foreign 
School, its origin, 78. 

Society of Christian Endeavor: 
its good influence, 192 ; its rela- 
tion to Sunday-school, 215. 

Society, Religious Tract, its origin, 



Society, Sabbath Eveuing School, 
its origiu, 70. 

Spui-geou: ou child conversion, 
39 ; on keeping 3'oung men In 
Sunday-school, 205 ; on the duty 
of the minister to visit his Sun- 
day-school, 209. 

Stanley, Dean: human element 
in preaching of, 143; criticism 
of, 176. 

Stock, Thomas, his Sunday-school 
work, 61, 62. 

Sumner, Charles, and Julia Ward 
Howe, 9. 

Sunday-school : among Hebrews, 
14, 252 ; its increase during exile, 
15; evolution of modern, 15; 
during apostolic times, 21 ; as 
the nursery of the church, 21, 
159, 221, 227 ; in medieval times, 
22, 23 ; opposition to. 33, 70, 154, 
157, 226; lack of exposition in 
New England, 34 ; its influence 
on modern church, 31, 35, 158 ; its 
aim, 43, 245 ; in eighteenth cen- 
tury, 49-73 ; its inception, 54 ; ori- 
gin of modern, 57; indifference 
toward early, 62, 63 ; immediate 
results of its establishment in 
eighteenth century, 68-73; its 
origin in America, 69, 157; in 
Scotland, 70; in Ireland, 71; 
influence of early, 71; its part 
in religious awakening of eigh- 
teenth century, 72: change 
in character of, 73; in nine- 
teenth century, 77-104 ; its de- 
cline in early nineteenth cen- 
tury, 79; its recognition by 
Church of England, 80: effect 
of decline of evangelical party 
upon, 81 ; influence of industrial 
growth upon, 83 ; beginning of 
unpaid teaching in. 85 ; presents 
in. 85, 86, 203; its revival in 
Gloucester, 86; better organiza- 
tion of, 87: first Convention of 
workers in, 89; statistics con- 

cerning, 91 ; improvement of 
teaching in, 93, 168. 244 ; cate- 
chism in, 94, 200; Bible in, 95, 
177, 246 ; lesson series for, 99 ; its 
influence on nineteenth century, 
103 : its origin in Germany, 109 : 
its library, 118, 172 ; defined, 151 ; 
of earlier times compared with 
that of to-day, 151, 196; the 
modern, 153 ; relation of minis- 
ter to, 153-184 ; its early simplic- 
ity, 153; continuity of, 158; 
not the children's church, 160; 
should be supported by the 
church, 161 ; efficacy better than 
numbers in, 169; its kindergar- 
ten, 169; importance of charac- 
ter in teachei-s of, 170, 214, 241 ; 
its wider mission, 171 : minister's 
relation to, teachers, 174 ; prepa- 
ration for teaching in, 189, 242 ; 
its great danger, 181 ; monthly 
meeting of teachers of, 181 ; the 
minister in, 187-228; three im- 
pelling f6rces of early, 188; its 
reforming power, 190; its influ- 
ence on the home, 191; its 
influence on civic purity, 192; 
its national influence, 193 ; pun- 
ishment in, 194 ; young men's 
Bible class of, 201; as a trans- 
forming agency, 208 ; essentials 
to success of minister in, 210; 
its connection with revivals, 
216; is not in rivalry with the 
home, 224 ; is not in rivalry 
with the church, 226; in the 
twentieth century, 231-255 ; must 
keep in touch with the times, 
232; must respond to demands 
upon it, 233; must agree with 
prevailing sentiment, 234 ; must 
sympathize with changing 
thought, 236; must avail itself 
of progressive intelligence, 240 ; 
separate classrooms in. 210; 
need of good officers in, 241 ; 
new methods in, 241; size of 



classes in, 243 ; its world iuflu- 

ence, 249. 
Sunday-school Union : its origin, 

63, 87; its doctrinal limitation, 

87 : its publications, 88. 
Sunday-school Union, American, 

its origin, 70, 89. 

Talleyrand, his advice against 
zeal, 49. 

Talmud: on home training, 50; 
its rules regarding training of 
children, 190, 237 ; on national 
importance of training chil- 
dren, 250. 

Teachers in Sunday-school : 
wages paid to early, 84; begin- 
ning of unpaid, 85; improve- 
ment of, 93, 168, 214 ; importance 
of character in, 170, 214. 241 ; re- 
lation of minister to, 174; nor- 
mal class for, 174 : three things 
essential to, 176; preparation 
class for, 179, 212; monthly 
meeting of, 181 ; as assistant pas- 
tors, 182 ; must sympathize with 
changing thought, 238 ; need of 
good, 241. 

Tennyson, quoted, 128, 129. 

Testament, New, on training chil- 
dren, 16-22. 

Testament, Old, on training chil- 
dren, 6-16. 

Thackeray, his appreciation of 
singing of children, 137. 

Thring, his debt to Sunday-school 
teaching, 242. 

Timothy, our first example of 
Christian nurture, 20. 

Training: See Children ; Teachers. 

Trotter, Doctor, on English Sun- 
day-schools in middle of nine- 
teenth century, 97. 

Trumbull : on Hebrew training of 
children, 14, 15, 198 : on Jesus as 
the model teacher, 19 ; on apos- 
tolic teaching of children, 21, 
24 ; on child-conversion, 32 ; on 

the catechism, 35, 200; on re- 
ligious character of early nine- 
teenth century, 79 ; on Sunday- 
schools in Germany, 109; on 
good texts for sermons to chil- 
dren, 142; on early Sunday- 
schools, 153; on opposition to 
early Sunday-schools, 154; on 
growth of Sunday-school move- 
ment, 157 ; on indirect influence 
of Sunday-school, 195; on So- 
ciety of Christian Endeavor, 
215 ; on modern growth of regard 
for children, 235 ; on importance 
of childlikeness, 249. 

Twentieth century, Sunday-school 
in, 231-255. 

Tyiig, Stephen : and Beecher, 141 ; 
on value of Sunday-school work, 
141 ; on relation of minister to 
Sunday-school, 210 ; his Sunday- 
school, 211. 

Visitation of children by minis- 
ter, 116. 

Waldenses, use of Bible by, 178. 

Walpole, R.. his maxim, 49. 

Watchwords of Sunday-school 
movement, 188. 

Watts, Isaac, his hymns, 55, 61, 
138, 251. 

Wellington, Duke of, on duty, 3. 

Wesley, John : his influence on 
awakening of eighteenth cen- 
tury, 51 : on child conversion, 
52; on talking .with children, 
117; on associating with chil- 
dren, 138; his sermon for chil- 
dren, 147 ; on growth and value 
of Sunday -schools, 188, 216; on 
Sunday-school teachers. 241. 

White, Gilbert, as an example of 
morality of eighteenth century, 

Whitefield, his influence on awak- 
ening of eighteenth century, 51. 

Wilberforce: his influence on 



awakening of eighteenth cen- 
tury, 52 ; on English village life 
before founding of Sunday- 
school, 225. 
Wordsworth, quoted, 113, 204, 255. 

Xavier, on influencing cliildren, 

Zinzendorf, as a preacher to chil- 
dren, 138.