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This Text Book is the outcome of a wide demand for a complete Handbook, covering fully all phases of Religious Education in the Church. There was no such book hitherto extant. It took a library of some thirty or more volumes to cover the necessary field, as laid down in the "Standard Course for Teacher-Training" set forth by the Joint Commission on Sunday Schools. Such reading was overwhelming, unnecessary (for often but a few pages or precepts of a writer applied directly to Religious Education), and costly in the purchase of so many volumes.
The author prepared a smaller book, "Sunday School Teaching," a compilation of authorities covering 175 pages, in 1903, which has gone through three large editions in five years, being the Guide Book for the training of several thousand Sunday School teachers, of all religious bodies. Even day school educators found it suggestive and illuminating. It will be continued in the market.
This Text Book, however, much larger and more complete, is designed (a) as a Manual for Instruction in Theological Seminaries, Colleges, etc.; (b) for the guidance of Leaders of Teacher-Training Classes, for whom additional authorities have been noted at the opening of each chapter; (c) for Clergy, Superintendents, and Lay teachers who are capable and willing to pursue deeper study than is offered by the smaller Manual.
Authorities have been generally and fully quoted, because it is felt that it adds greater weight to give the statements of experts in their own language. All credit is assigned to them, and the thankful indebtedness of the world of Religious Education is unreservedly accorded them. WM. WALTER SMITH.
June 1, 1908.
The natural man, as he walks abroad, sees at first only the natural world and its people, and is satisfied to take it and them as they appear to be; or is, at least, until the Afterward of things spiritual commences to claim its place in his apprehension. Through the long ages men have worked on in unconcerned acceptation of things as they are, pushing and hauling to make them go, while a few more thoughtful, scattered here and there in every generation, have turned aside to question more deeply nature's close reserve and to look anew into the human heart. In this they may not have succeeded; they have often failed; often enough also they have found their time unready for any advance in thought, but when the time is ready their studies open to the world new vistas of invention and accomplishment which quicken their generation with an insight that brings a new enthusiasm of life. As long as any unexplored province of this Afterward is left to us, some measure of this enthusiasm, some extension of the fulness of life, may still be ours.
But it is only for those who will pay the price. They who conduct research or constructive work in the laboratory, observatory, or field must, as an indispensable prerequisite, accustom themselves to the most sensitive adaptation of eyes and fingers that they may work with such nicety as to permit no indication of a phenomenon, expected or unexpected, to escape their observation, nor any reaction to vary in the slightest degree from the previous one without their notice. No preoccupation of mind may come between them and their work; even their personal equation must at times be made to know its place and keep it, as a constant correction to the reading of their instruments. A careless motion may disarrange the slowly maturing observation of weeks; the misturn of a micrometer screw throw out a whole programme of geodetic observations. All this the scientist knows, and if he attempts to do original work he trains his senses to serve him in harmony with the extraordinary refinement of the work undertaken and the instruments which he devises and uses. The casual visitor looks with respect upon these shining instruments and glances helplessly through the formulas that express the results, but without a tremor of that agitation which has so often prevented the physicist
or the astronomer from completing his calculations as he has seen them tending toward the confirmation of a new law.
Not less nice must be the adjustment of eye and ear and finger, nor less clairvoyant the perception of the artist who would render the subtle harmonies of sound, of line or of color everywhere about in the world, indefinable through any formula, unsearchable by any instrument except the human mind.
In every science and in every art they must do the works who would explore and accomplish; their knowledge must be the firsthand acquaintance of the thorough-going lover. But in none can this intimate service be less spared than in the pursuit of the study upon which the book before us enters, a study which is at once a science, calling for its skilful manipulation, and an art, calling for the fine perception and sensitive rendering of an art. It has relations and agreements with these, but is other and more than this, for we are conscious of passing beyond the limitations of both science and art when the little child is set in our midst a consciousness shining clearly in the minds of those who have not, themselves, strayed too far from the confines of the kingdom to recognize its citizens in these youngest of the angels.
What training, then, in this era of overshadowing sciences shall our dull perceptions receive that we may rightly experiment with an organism so constituted, so endowed; and how shall we lead the child through our laboratory with so light a touch as not to brush away before their time the trailing clouds of glory with which it comes to us from its home? Books and lectures will teach us much in terms of other men's experience; class room work will add to them the grasp of experience, but, it must be said, the experience of limitations rather than of possibilities, dealing as we have to here with the restrained conditions of the mind in confinement, as also will often be true of the family life. But elsewhere paths through untrodden fields of original research lie open to us as straight as that one which, for Christian, led from the wicket gate, and as illuminating, for the Interpreter's House to which they lead is the heart of every child. We may, perchance, think ourselves old for this pilgrimage, but the children are always new.
Let one who has the spirit for this quest and who would know for himself the possibilities, the depth, and the resources of the child-life, seek the companionship, during their period of childhood and growing up, of even a few boys and girls who have received their due inheritance of vigorous minds, high spirits, and sensitive and affectionate natures. Let such an one bring as his equipment as much of the open vision of the artist, the precision of the scientist, as he may command and with these some aptitude of the heart, which he will surely need for following the quest where their arts end and life begins. Each child thus known will be to him a new revelation with its unique and fresh personality, diverging at unexpected points from the fine traits common
to them all. They will see the light of each day in the brilliant hues of morning-the morning in hues far beyond the rays of his visible spectrum; the simplest things of nature will be mysterious to them, but the most mysterious things will be seen with clear and unperplexed vision and adequately explained by referring them to God. They turn this clear vision on their little world and its people, bestowing a wealth of affection on their friends, idealizing those whom they love, discriminating acutely against others, and eager in their overflowing energy of life, joyous and wistful by turns, to apply its quality to everything about them; to pictures which thenceforth become to them real scenes with colors which, when they chance upon them again in later years, seem to be those of a child-world of their imagining; to early poems and stories which weave themselves into life and appear, as memory turns back to them, to have been part of it. They will endue the colors of the sky, the whiteness and shapes of the clouds, with such intimate personal association that in after years the same aspects of clouds and sky will have power to bring back at unexpected moments the wellrecognized vision of childhood, transforming the light of the common day into that of another and ideal world, and as quickly fading. This friend will often feel the little hand that clasps his own quiver with emotion. The glow of the spirit in the eyes, the welling up of tears in the presence of sudden joy or unexpected reproof-he will see these and other changing moods flash by in expressions that bring out the inexpressible play of the tender modeling of the face and he will lose no faintest reflected light, no shadow of curls on the firm and transparent flesh.
And yet, unless the vision that shone through his own youth is still an open one and by it he can discover and interpret these shy moods and thoughts, he will not be able to reënter the child's world: the child will never tell, and the curves of his observation, when he attempts to plot them, will as likely as not wander off into fourth dimensional space, whither he cannot follow them however acute his mind may be― strange fatality, of growing away from our own best selves, which obliges us to learn anew in formal studies what was to us in youth the spontaneous response of the heart to life.
This friend will bring an unaffected interest to the discussion of the affairs which make up the child's little round of life, nor need he count the time lost nor deem it an idle experience. If he is worthy the child will know it by intuitive insight and will yield him his confidence, and in all their relations he will illustrate those graces whose acquiring and holding now taxes our grown-up virtue-simplicity, candor, sincerity, and courtesy in its finer aspects-these and others all suffused with what the artist would call atmosphere, the indefinable charm of personality. He will presently see these qualities diminish in the growing child, its contact with the world blunting their fine edges before his eyes in the school room and the family. He will become aware, if he has not thought of it before, of the necessary change in
the child's frank outlook on the world, the turning inward more and more of the ideals, from lack of sympathy, from fear of ridicule. With the loss or secretion of this finer sensibility will also pass that ingenuousness with parents and friends-the instinctive closing of the sensitive plant against the kindly but rough touch of those about it. The world is not ingenuous with the child, why then should he continue to be frank with the world? People do not mean to be cruel nor are they to blame, in this generation, for failing in the artist's perception of beauty, or of being unconscious of the finer elements of human nature; and yet neither artist nor scientist, attempting really much less delicate reactions, would expect to work thus even with inanimate substances. Unthinking people having the care of the child, as serenely unconscious of the exquisite poise of the sensitive little spirit as a coal heaver might be of the adjustment of a dividing engine, will in an hour effect a disillusionment which no teaching can ever restore. Few parents can refrain from speaking in the presence of their children, to visitors, of the awkward age and its manners, or will hesitate to refer to their early punishments. Few teachers can refrain from telling the class some story of tortures-to be lodged in the mind at its most impressionable age and held there throughout life; nor would such a teacher spare her sarcasm at the expense of some little girl whose quality of mind is yet immeasurably beyond her own point of view. In a hundred other ways which all seem to attack the child's natural acceptation of the world as virtuous, the friend of the child will see the painstaking instructions given emptied of its living content-its only point of real contact, by the inconsistency of the teacher. O shallow minds and hearts, unwittingly exposed to the serious eyes that front you: how would the graces flourish in the world if at the critical moment the teacher could realize the words of Christ and change places with the learner!
On the other hand, in the association between the child and a friend, here assumed, withdrawn for the time from the disturbance of the world, opportunity will be given for some training at once natural and spiritual to which the child's spirit is entitled. Each will have much to learn from the other and there will be constant, if unconscious, teaching on both sides; the fine reactions under this skilful handling bringing forth results which the angels will desire to look into. Living its own inner life straight on as it surely will do, the child will form its ideals and evolve its personality, we know not whence nor how, by some unerring selection of its own. We are not to impose the limits of our notions upon it but to take heed lest our own notions mingle too much with it. The period of morning calm, its age of faith, passes quickly into a period of questioning and thence to an age of reason. How much of daring construction of the substance of life other and different from our teaching is going on in the busy little heads during these periods and what its import in the character that will finally emerge, even the most trusted friend cannot be told, but recalling his