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of the Bible, and thus, while rejoicing in and indebted to the many fruitful experiments of others, render that curriculum in its present form the most scientific and pedagogical yet proposed; and almost every progressive method and new appliance becomes a part of its working scheme as naturally as peaches grow on peach trees.

Seventh. No curriculum of any kind can be complete without special provision for general reviews and for supplemental lessons, including catechisms, condensed summaries of Bible history and Bible facts, and memorizing of the masterpieces of Biblical literature.

Nor can any scheme of religious education for the young be complete without training and study outside of the Sunday school,- at home, in pastor's classes, in young people's societies and various other means, bringing into closest contact the Sunday school with the home, and the day school; the Bible with other literature; Sundays with weekdays; spiritual impressions with daily life.





The special committee appointed to report on the subject of worship in the Sunday-school has been unable to hold a meeting, but a strenuous effort has been made to consult by correspondence, and the following report represents, in some measure, our collective thought.

Two main lines of inquiry present themselves. The first relates to the general place and dignity of worship exercises taken together. The second relates to the details of such exercises. We would offer remarks upon both of these.

First, as to worship exercises in general. We feel the need of pleading urgently for special attention to this element in Sunday school services. A hasty, heedless, and even irreverent treatment of it is far too common. The very name " Introductory Exercises " is apt to suggest a perfunctory attitude of mind in superintendents, teachers, and scholars, and in many schools these exercises have come to be mechanical, tasteless, spiritless, and therefore positively harmful. Any exercise of social devotion that is so handled must be dangerous, both because of its immediate reaction on all participants at the moment, and because it creates a false standard for similar exercises elsewhere. It may be seriously queried whether the general poverty of public worship in some churches is not due in large measure to the deteriorating influence of the Sunday school in the past, under which successive generations of children have been unintentionally misled as to the dignity, reality, and utility of social prayer and praise. Probably, too, these careless habits have contributed to the low estimate of the Sunday school itself in many cases and to a diffused spirit of unreality and lifelessness in the whole institution. No church can afford to allow this degenerating tendency to set in, since in the long run it is destructive both of the best value of the Sunday school and even of the health of the Church in general. Happily, there is an increasing number of pastors and superintendents that are alive to the danger, and the instinct of all earnest workers can always be trusted to respond to efforts to avoid it.

We offer these suggestions. Whatever time is set apart in the Sunday school for common exercises should be jealously guarded against abbreviation, interruption, or distraction. The intrusion of extended

notices and of mechanical operations should be prevented. Noise and confusion should be suppressed, and haste and triviality should be eliminated. For the leadership of worship exercises, due preparation should be made beforehand. The signs of listlessness and unreadiness on the leader's part in the substance of his prayers, in the choice of hymns, in the handling of Scripture-reading, are sure to be noted, and they either annoy or entrap the whole school. On the other hand, nothing is more contagious than a spirit of genuine enthusiasm and devoutness on the leader's part. Real study should be expended by him upon the plan and execution of all general exercises, so that they shall not be monotonous or repetitious, or without a rememberable point and climax. The accent may fall now on the Bible-reading, now on the prayer, now on the singing, but something in each service should be emphatically valuable, so that it may leave a definite impression alongside of the further impression made by the lesson study. Success must, of course, come through the dextrous handling of many details.

With a view to the reclamation of general exercises from misuse, we further raise the question whether in some schools it may not be wise, at least sometimes, to invert the usual plan of the Sunday school service, beginning the lesson study almost at the opening of the session, and then closing with a series of general exercises of a worshipful sort. We believe that in many cases this would be a decided gain for both parts of the service. This might be managed so that the whole should culminate, as it ought, in a spirit of prayer and praise, and send the scholars forth with the warmth of devotion, zeal, and enthusiasm in their hearts, in addition to the impress of the lesson on their heads and their consciences. The kindling of feelings and sentiments is really the finest result of any service, and a strong accent on common and united worship as the crowning experience of the hour would have a value greater than any other that can be named. Yet, it is needless to say, this change of plan should not be attempted in any school where the devotional atmosphere is cold or stagnant, and surely not unless both the superintendent and the teachers are ready to put their minds and souls into making the last section of the service a true climax.

Second, as to some details. The exercises commonly used are Bible-reading (in concert or responsively), prayer (often including the Lord's prayer in concert), and more or less singing. Some schools add various antiphonal sentences (at the opening or the close), recitations of a psalm, the beatitudes, the creed, the commandments, etc. We remark briefly on several of these in turn.

We doubt the wisdom of the common reading of the lesson as a general exercise, except in schools where the average intelligence as to the text is low. But we hold that there is great use in reading many of the Psalms responsively, if they are chosen with some relation to the lesson topic, and we wonder why more schools do not bring into such use large quantities of other material from all parts of the Bible. By judicious selection, the range of Biblical passages in common knowledge might be vastly broadened, especially where the lessons themselves are very limited in extent.

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The question of Sunday-school singing is in dispute. Many seem to hold that the great aim should be to find melodies that children will sing with vocal zest, regardless of the sense or the inherent value of the words thus making the singing mainly useful as a physical diversion. Others seem anxious to strike as many different keys in the singing as possible, heaping together scraps of many hymns of widely different character and turning restlessly from one to another. Some superintendents make no preparation for this part of the service, and either fall back helplessly on threadbare "favorites " or indulge in eccentric experiments on the spur of the moment. It is to be feared that a majority of schools choose cheap and poor hymn-books, with the notion either that "anything will do for children or that children are all babies. There is no doubt, too, that the incompetence of play- ers and leaders is often an unavoidable hindrance to what otherwise would be attempted. We feel that deliverance from many difficulties and from much poverty of spiritual value is to be sought in a more general, hearty, and intelligent emphasis on the hymns as such. They should be chosen primarily for their words, should not be cut up into too small morsels, and should often be introduced by a remark or two to make them more worth while. We wonder that the memorizing of fine hymns is so uncommon, both in classes and for common recitation. We believe that the thoughtful and thorough use of even two hymns in a service is worth infinitely more than the heedless ejaculation of fragments of many without earnest feeling. We wonder, too, that so few experiments are tried with Sunday school chanting. We are not so much impressed with the importance of multiplying instruments or magnifying a "choir," except so far as these supply needed tonal assistance. The great desideratum is not volume of sound or sensuous exhilaration, but the appeal to the imagination and the heart from the beauty and the passion of those hymns that are really worthy of the name. It has been demonstrated again and again that children are susceptible to these potencies, and they should not be defrauded of

what may be of the highest spiritual use to them at once and in future life.

Sunday school prayers should certainly not be prolix or stilted. But they ought to be real, fervent, tasteful, and broad in sympathy. Instead of trying to cover all desirable topics or to voice all the moods of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication at any one time, an effort should be made to strike different notes at different times, so as to keep the whole gamut of thought and sentiment in mind. We believe that there is utility in increasing the number of memorized prayers that can be used by all in concert, and also that the custom of having a moment of silent prayer preceding that which is spoken is most desirable. Great care should be taken to stimulate the habit on the scholars' part of making the prayer their own, not something said to them. The co-operation of the teachers in dignifying this exercise and making it personal to the scholars is indispensable.

The order in which worship exercises are arranged is often of great importance. We doubt the wisdom of accenting song as the opening item. Song, like prayer, grows out of sentiments awakened otherwise. Opening sentences of some sort seem to be the ideal, followed by a hymn, then by the Bible-reading, then by the prayer, then by another hymn. If the lesson study could be advanced to an earlier point, it would be enough to have the sentences and a hymn before the lesson, and all other exercises after. It is evident, however, that no one order is necessary, and there may be reason for variety from time to time.

Respectfully submitted.

WALDO S. PRATT, Chairman.

PROF. CHARLES M. STUART, D. D., Garrett Biblical Institute.

REV. GEORGE F. NASON, New Rochelle, N. Y.

MRS. A. G. LESTER, Chicago, Ill.





There is a tendency to count too much on the positively religious influence of the home, and also to presume too largely upon the idea that the child will come into the life of the church and will there obtain the worshipful spirit wanting in the life of the school. Relatively, an alarming proportion of the pupils are not attendants upon the service of the church while they are in the school, nor do they afterwards come into the life of the church. After a more or less brief stay in

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