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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 74

The Great Want of the Education System: The Bible Ostracised

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The Bible Ostracised.

The Great Want of the Education System.

Re printed from the "North Otago Times," Oamaru

The Bible in Schools.

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The following is Mr Church's [unclear: ech] on Resolution No. 4, at the [unclear: ble] schools meeting :

That this meeting is strongly of opinion [unclear: At] in the event of Mr G. J. Smith's Bill [unclear: ing] thrown out this session, united action [unclear: ld] be at once taken throughout the [unclear: ny] for the purpose of influencing the [unclear: coming] general election in favor of [unclear: ble] reading in our public schools, and that [unclear: he] following gentlemen be appointed a [unclear: ttee] to take this matter in hand, and [unclear: set] with the ministers of the Presbytery [unclear: of] North Otago: Revs. Canon Gould and [unclear: ten,] and Messrs Greenwood, Scott, [unclear: rell] Church, Harkness, and Rose, with [unclear: ver,] to add to their number.

Sir—Were I to consult my own [unclear: onal] feelings I would content my-[unclear: df] with the reading of the resolution, [unclear: ing] assured that it clearly and [unclear: lly] voice the opinion of this meet-[unclear: lng] I seldom appear on a platform, [unclear: ed] rarely address public meetings [unclear: not] there are occasions and circum [unclear: nces] when a man should and must [unclear: take] a part in any effort to obtain a [unclear: at] and permanent good for the [unclear: nity] in which he dwells. This [unclear: sider] such a time, for the objects [unclear: the] are striving to obtain are of [unclear: ndent] importance, and, when [unclear: red] will be of supreme value to [unclear: to] present and future generations [unclear: new] Zealand. With God given [unclear: ions] on the subject of educa-[unclear: tion] would be a coward, unless, to [unclear: test] of my ability, I gave utter [unclear: lucky] such convictions. When the [unclear: Hud] and glory of the Sovereign [unclear: oye] of the Universe, and of the Great [unclear: mer] are involved, and when we [unclear: ise] our dependence on the Al [unclear: hty] for all true prosperity, and [unclear: now] that our sons and daughters would be instructed in the revelations of the grand Old Book, that can alone establish a well ordered society, it becomes us all to unite with one purpose to secure the introduction of Bible-reading into the public schools of the colony. Standing as I do, on the border land between earth and heaven; looking back through the vista of a long life with its varied experiences; summing up the results of different modes of education fully before me; and with the records of history, moreover, to guide me, I unhesitatingly affirm that education without the teaching of God's Book and God's law is lop sided, and is imperfect.

It Educates the Physical

and mental faculties alone of our being, and leaves untouched, unmoved, and undeveloped the highest part of our nature—the moral and spiritual. I, therefore, claim to have the right-, and to have the duty imposed upon me of urging upon my fellow colonists, that it is not only desirable, but it is absolutely essential we should have the Bible daily read in our national schools. While I try to do, this, you will kindly bear with me for a few minutes. Education is, like the poor, a question that will ever be with us, for generation succeeds generation and there always will be changes and modifications required to meet the wants of advancing humanity, but the Word of God shall abide for ever as the rock upon which education must be founded. I am not one of those who regard our present education system as a gift from heaven, perfect and infallible, and who bow down before it as a fetish, and would page 2 "at all hazards" maintain it in violate with all its anomalies, in equity and expense. But with : nothing of all that have we now to deal. We have one specific and definite object in view, and to obtain that, we must bend all our energies and unitedly use all our influence. What that object is all know who are present, and I would, at the outset, deprecate that apologetic strain with which all former efforts have been marred, and righteously demand from the State what the large majority of colonists desire for their children. There is a great blank—an ugly chasm in the system that has now been in force for nearly twenty years, and that blank must be filled up, and that chasm must be bridged over with such religious teaching as can be given under the existing circumstances of differing creeds and varied interpretations of Scripture. This can without difficulty be accomplished by the adoption of the " Scripture Text Book," which is asked for in the Bill of Mr Smith during this session. However, I am almost sure, that in a moribund Parliament, with a general election imminent the Bill would not pass If my opinion be found to be correct, it gives great force and importance to the first part of the resolution 1 have read and moved—namely, that we must then be determined to return representatives to the next Parliament, who shall be in favor of the whole Bible being read in our schools, and if need be, to have their pledge on this vital point.

We are a Self Governed People

by our full representative system, and in this connection, it is well be remind our firm allies, the ladies, that they now have the right to the suffrage, and should religiously exercise it in a direction and for a cause that appeal to them, whether as the wives, mothers, daughters, or sisters of men. " Nations," says Smiles, " are but the outcomes of homes, and peoples of mothers."

What has made Scotland!

A country poor and sterile by [unclear: Nat] not only materially wealthy, but [unclear: for] very nursery of men and [unclear: wo] eminent in every walk of life, [unclear: Ho] training in homely virtues, and [unclear: the] sound education of its [unclear: paro] schools, founded on the Bible by [unclear: the] direction of that " man amongst [unclear: man]—the fearless reformer, John [unclear: kect] As previous speakers have so [unclear: fal] and ably expressed the urgent [unclear: reason] for the change in our system, [unclear: and] combated the trifling objection [unclear: that] are raised, it is unnecessary for [unclear: a] to traverse the same ground, and content myself with endorsing [unclear: the] greater, if not the whole, of what [unclear: the] have advanced.

But there are one or two [unclear: pain] upon which I would desire to say [unclear: a] few words. One of my chief [unclear: reas] for demanding Bible-reading in [unclear: our]national schools is : That so long [unclear: and] the Word of God is excluded [unclear: fro] them, so long do we, as a nation [unclear: be] to our seal that no [unclear: recognit], required or needed from our [unclear: children] of the existence of a Supreme [unclear: being] and of the revelation of His [unclear: gra] purposes towards the world. [unclear: ua] therefore, we as the units of nation, rise up, protest and [unclear: dad] the excision of that part of the [unclear: ub] cation Act which virtual [unclear: are] practically prevents such a [unclear: recog] tion, we are morally responsible [unclear: ar] guilty of casting " away the [unclear: iaj] the Lord of Hosts, and despising [unclear: te]Word of the Holy One of [unclear: Isra] We know from Scriptural and [unclear: ses] lar history alike the woes that [unclear: ha] come upon God's own chosen [unclear: pe] for thier persistent violation of commands that they should [unclear: diligj] learn and obey His statutes. Know that the Israelites are [unclear: so] where in the world being [unclear: "sif,] wheat among the nations,'! that the Jews are " scattered [unclear: be]peeled" in every country under [unclear: of]sun despised and persecuted, [unclear: a] word and a reproach amongst people. We, in New Zealands, in some measure a people [unclear: pew] page 3 favored In this land we have a goodly heritage. Its climate is bright and invigorating; its soil is fruitfull beyond comparison; it has gold and minerals in unknown quantities and freedom to govern ourselves as best we can; having, in short the corn, wine and oil, and cattle and sheep upon a thousand hills Let us then be true to ourselves, and recognise with thankful huminity the Great Giver of all good, and beware of tempting God to withdraw or blast all these material blessing by provoking " the eyes of his glory by lightly esteeming His word "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud; for the Lord hath spoken give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death; and make it gross darkness.

Another Reason

why I want the Bible to be read daily by our children is that I regard it as the only sure foundation for all sound morality At this period in the history of the world, it is an idle work to traverse this opinion, for all that a noble, pure, of good repute, and of unselfishness is the fruit of that great example set before us in the word of Grace. That Word which from beginning to end "teaches us. To deny ungodliness and worldly [unclear: sts] and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." morality perishes if it be diverted from religion. Righteousness without God fearing is a rootless flower [unclear: back] in the garden of a child," so [unclear: bys]Archdeacon Farrar, and again [unclear: another] great writer says, " Every-[unclear: ere] the tendency has been to separ religion from morality to set them [unclear: in] opposition even; but a religion [unclear: out] morality is a superstition and worse; and anything like an [unclear: uate] sense of morality without religion is impossible. The only salvation for man is in the union of the two as Christianity unites them." my third reason for my opinion is, that the State has assumed the duty of education, and provides the means. Having taken away the control over their children for a large part of their time, parents are justified in demanding that this compulsory education should be not only free as regards cost, but it should be full, and not partial and incomplete. Herein lies the righteousness of our claim—and the preservation of a national system—for depend upon it if the Bible continues to be excluded, we shall witness the resurrection of the denominational system with all its fruitlessness and all its other evil consequences. The universality of the national system is its one great redeeming feature, inasmuch as all children alike of rich and poor, can obtain the primary elements of education, and can, therefore, if they choose, rise as high as they may in the social scale, by industry, application and perseverance." The State is sovereign over all its own works; it has created the school for its own purposes, and it is for it to say sim-pliciter what those purposes are and how they are to be secured. If the State decides that its citizens must be trained in certain moral and spiritual principles, reverence for which is essential to its own well-being, and then decides that for lodging those principles in the human breast there is no instrument to compare for effectiveness with the Bible, it would appoint the Bible to be taught compulsorily without any conscience clause, in all its schools. For the school is a State institution, which the State has called into existence for its own ends, and in which the State alone must determine what is to be taught, whereas the Church was not created by the State, nor for the State, and to be faithful to its vocation, and especially to its catholicity, must decline legal relations with the State, the very conception of which implies that within certain limits the two can only move together. That is what is written by an authority in the British Weekly.

The Last Reason

I shall give, and in it is involved the page 4 crucial point of the whole controversy. The introduction of Bible teaching will give taxpayers a better return for their money, and will increase the efficiency of the present system.

Secular teaching by itself is in sufficient for the equipment of man even for the present life, and those young men and women who proceed from such schools are, as a rule, not nearly so well fitted for the duties of private, social and political life as are those who are well versed in the scriptures, and are regulated in their transactions with their fellow men by those vital principles of truth taught therein. "The entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple." " A good understanding have all they who feat the Lord." Look at Joseph in Egypt, at Daniel in Babylon, and a thousand other illustrations of the fact that those who enjoy the favor of the Lord have also, as a rule, the favor of man, at all events, even when their interests clash, his respect and confidence. But I must hurry on and emphasise, with all the scathing indignation I can express, the anomalous and cruel fact that for nearly twenty years this secularism has held possession of our schools, because, forsooth! the Bible might offend the tender and ignorant consciences of a miserable minority of Atheists, Freethinkers, jews, Mussulmen, and Agnostics or know nothings; while the sentiments. Wishes and consciences of the great majority of our Christian colonists have been ignored, violated and trampled upon daily. It reminds me of that peculiar and off times morbid love that a mother has for an idiot child or maybe an errant and wild scapegrace of a son, which lavishes all its care and attention on the silliest and least worthy, while the others have only the crumbs of affection left them. The scapegrace of godless secularism is petted and nourished, while religion, the fountain and handmaid of every virtue, is ignored and starved, and put outside of our schools as [unclear: some] inherently wrong, Before the [unclear: cen] tury close in darkness and [unclear: troj] let us put away from us this [unclear: st] of infatuated silliness and [unclear: mis] toleration ! Do we want good [unclear: fre] from education ? Do we [unclear: ind] Let me give you then the [unclear: opini] one or two authorities on the [unclear: res] of secular teaching, for which [unclear: wa] taxpayers, and so liberally [unclear: pa] A writer in a pamphlet on the education system of Victoria says, [unclear: rega] the teachers and taught, " They [unclear: ha]been brought up under a [unclear: sys] which puts reading before religion writing before righteousness, [unclear: gr] mar before goodness, and verbs [unclear: be] virtue.' Bishop Bromley, of [unclear: ho] recently made the strong [unclear: sta] in the Victorian Review, which dicates a low moral tone in [unclear: pupi] teachers alike. He said :[unclear: th] State school-teachers are making [unclear: the] pupils as much the children of [unclear: the] as themselves." Bishop [unclear: Moor] now of Manchester, said in [unclear: ref] to the Victorian system that " continued in force his [unclear: br] ministers would soon find their [unclear: ow] pation gone. They would no [unclear: to] be pastors of Christian [unclear: chur] would have to become [unclear: missiona] the white heathen around then From America come such [unclear: words] these, "The system of secular [unclear: educa] tion in the public schools [unclear: fai] train young people for the duties [unclear: of] business of life. It rather [unclear: mu] them bumptious and [unclear: imperml] The public school is one of [unclear: the] agencies of social vice, "where [unclear: te] influences are as rife as fungi [unclear: in] swamp." " When religion is[unclear: dri] out of the heart of man, [unclear: supers] rushes in to fill the vacuum, [unclear: cl] paring Massachusetts and her sister New England States[unclear: when] secular education prevails, and [unclear: gina] and her five sister States [unclear: whih] parents educate their own [unclear: chi] denominational schools, we [unclear: fin] the former produces in the [unclear: ra] the population four times [unclear: as th] criminals as the latter, twenty times as many paupers, for [unclear: time] page 5 many suicides, and twice as many luna tice." Secular education by itself, apart from the life giving principles of true religion is of Satan. He would have a cynical and malignant joy could this his masterpiece of destructive enmity to God and man, be established generally in the world.

The Secularism

that would only give God a secondary or subordinates, place in the world, that He has created for Himself and for his representative man upon earth cometh from the pit of blackless and to that pit it must be [unclear: erded] if we would save society from becoming like Sodom or Gomorrah, [unclear: eye] like ancient Greece, with her high intellect and refined arts, which was yet the abode of similar [unclear: nations] and licentious conduct and, unmentionable crimes. Had I youth and ability, I would, like another peter the Hermit, raise a [unclear: crased] from Auckland to Stewart's Island to go up and wrest the possession of the very fountain head of society the demon of secularism and destroy and take away the elements, for they are not the lord's,"and erect in place the hundred of truth, righteousness and every taught in the everlasting Word of the Triune God. But I must not join you much longer, yet I have somewhat to say of the absurdity of missing our young children on the [unclear: ks] of secularism, and sending them out into the world with no [unclear: art] to guide them, and no habits or [unclear: cter] framed on any true prin [unclear: le]hence larrikinism etc. William [unclear: this]of London, the great educa-[unclear: sist] says: "To reform a character [unclear: truly] a more arduous task than to [unclear: one] and how can we look for success in the greater and more [unclear: ult] undertaking from those who [unclear: are] equal to the easier," and let me [unclear: know]his words, who are unwilling [unclear: the]in many cases hostile to the [unclear: tion] of good character in early [unclear: th]?

But we have been acting a principle the very antithesis of what [unclear: a] question involves. We let the largest portion of our children grow up in ignorance of the sound principles of morality and duty, and then, when the natural and inevitable fruits of our neglect of the primary task manifest themselves in overt acts of vice and crime, as in gambling, fraud, drunkenness impurity, and blasphemous language and every other evil thing, we set ourselves the impossible task of eradicating these by prohibitory and restraining enactments and laws of men's device. If the cancerous root of man's natural disinclination for good remain unchecked in its growth, or, if we omit to supply an effectual antidote by grafting in God s eternal law of good so long are we engaged, like Sisyphus, in a never-ending and a barren toil, and furnishing a spectacle of mad folly to God and men, and to angels, fallen and unfallen alike. "The idea out of which the future civilisation must grow is here, there and everywhere in the Book of Life. That idea is, the moral regeneration of the individual. In this one aim lies the rudiment of all that is practicable for the amelioration of the race. This is the germ of the whole tree. The wisdom of God is to begin at the beginning. The wise master builder starts at the foundation and builds up." We are in short, raising the structure of our

National Life

upon the apex of a pyramid, its foundation the negation of God, and its head a hideous monster of innumerable laws, the oil-spring of minds steeped in arid secularism and gross materialism. Just one word on the value of the Bible in schools as a book of literature that cannot be surpassed in the world of letters. Professor Huxley (in words I have forgotten) gives emphatic testimony that it is impossible for a man to consider himself as educated without an intimate knowledge of its histories, its poetry, its grand epic stories, and the national anthems of the psalms. Professor Moulton in his new book has these words, "The Bible has page 6 lyrics which Pindar cannot surpass, rhetorics as forcible as Demosthenes, and contemplative prose not inferior to Plato's." "What a book!" exclaimed the brilliant and sceptical Heine, after a day spent in the unwonted task of reading it. "Vast and wide as the world, rooted in the abyss of creation, and towering up beyond the blue vaults of heaven. Sunrise and sunset, promise and fulfilment, life and death, the whole drama of humanity are all in this book! Its light is like the body of the heavens in its clearness; its vastness like the bosom of the sea; its variety like the scenes of nature,"' Goethe says, " Let the world profess as it likes, let all the branches of human research develop to the very utmost, nothing will take the place of the Bible, that foundation of all culture and of all education." How, then, I ask, can young people brought up in ignorance of such a book become interested in general literature, when it is saturated through and through with allusions and reference to its contents ? A taste for reading is one great preservative from vice and idleness, and we take no steps to encourage stimulate it. I am done when give expression to sentiments [unclear: fore] spoken in Oamaru. We are in new land, and are building up a [unclear: ew] nation. Do we desire to build greatness, and make New Zealand power for good in the world ?[unclear: the] let us recognise that while [unclear: grete] finds its nourishment in [unclear: material] wealth; its inspiration is in magnificence of thought; its foundation and stability lie in [unclear: obediefl] God's law of righteousness. [unclear: let] then teach, let us educate, but [unclear: let] first and above all give our [unclear: childr] the knowledge of the only [unclear: livi] true God our Saviour. If generally throughout the world [unclear: ha] their actions directed by the [unclear: wis] from above," and if their lives [unclear: ay] pervaded by the love of God man, when our sons should be plants grown up in their youth our daughters were as corner polished after the similitude palace," we might begin to look [unclear: of] for the advent of that millennial when, in the words of Burns,

"Man to man the world o'er

Shall brothers be for a that"