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General Convention--1865.















THE Committee on Christian Education have not been forgetful of the duty laid upon them by the Convention. Much time and effort have been given to the subject in joint and separate reflection. As no one of the Committee had anticipated any such duty when he carne to the Convention, statistical information was not within reach, except as given in the reports from the various Dioceses to the Committee on the State of the Church. They sought information from that source, but the papers of that Committee were not completed in time for their use. The call they made on the members of the House for facts or suggestions, was not answered except by one clerical member, who gave them valuable facts touching the parochial school work in his own western parish. Perhaps, however, this report may be none the less useful because it can offer only principles and suggestions, without attempting to give statistics.

The Committee agreed to divide the whole subject into five parts.

I. The Home.

II. The Parochial School, including all the provisions of the parish for the nurture, instruction and guidance of its children, in schools of any sort, in the truths and duties of our faith.

III. The Boarding School, for the young of either sex when sent away from their home and parish.

IV. The College.

V. The spiritual nurture of the Minister of the Church, in the home, the school, the college and the seminary.

This report is not the production of any one member of the Committee. Its various parts were assigned to different [3/4] members, lay as well as clerical, and their contributions are here put together, and, as we hope, really related to each other, though the unity is that of the subject and thought, not of origin from one mind.

The Committee specially desire to call attention to the fact that this is the first time that any such Committee of the General Convention has been actually at work on this subject. Three years ago, at the last session, such a Committee was named at the instance of the Committee On the State of the Church, but there was time then only to recognize the importance of this matter of Christian Education. At present the Committee can only hope that they have been able to indicate the proper divisions of the subject, and to open them to the serious consideration of this Convention and of the whole Church.


Home Education, the Committee need hardly say, is the first and most important part of their subject, because it is the basis of all Education. Comparatively few, in spite of all that is said upon it, appreciate the influence for time and for eternity of a well-ordered home-circle, a judicious system of domestic instruction. It is a school always open, teaching as well by example as by precept. Its voice is never silent through childhood and youth, and is not hushed among the labors and trials of later years. The memory of a happy Christian home brings men back to the thought, at least, of the simplicity and purity of childhood with a directness and power which unveil vice and disarm temptation. By far the larger part of the errors and vices, the irreligion and infidelity of the age, is directly chargeable to the neglect of home culture by the fathers and mothers of the land. It is only justice to say, that the responsibility of this neglect rests with much greater weight upon the former than upon the latter. Many a wife and mother strives to do her whole duty towards her little ones, and with sorrow of heart fails for the want of aid and sympathy from him from whom she has a right to expect both.

[5] The causes which have led to the wide departure in this regard from the habits of our fathers are numerous. The great one, no doubt, is the intense earnestness which animates almost all in their worldly pursuits. The father has but little intercourse with his children, for his business will not permit it. The mother finds the care of the family and the demands of society too urgent for the proper discharge of her religious duty to them. And so they are both likely to resort to the compromises and substitutes which have been provided, and to be careless about the influences which will do as much for their children's education as any purposed training can do.

Our Prayer Book lays down a certain system of Christian Education. A child, being made in Baptism "a member of Christ, the child of Groh, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," is to be trained up as such from infancy, in the knowledge and practice of his Baptismal Covenant with GOD. The duty of so training him is laid upon his parents,-his sponsors, and his pastor. For their help and guidance a Catechism is provided, which is not only doctrinal but practical; and the Liturgy, the Sacred Year, and all the godly customs appointed, as well as the whole tone and spirit of his life in the Church, are all homogeneous therewith, are all parts of the one great and well-tried system under which a child can be virtuously brought up to lead a godly and a Christian life. Every service he joins in, and every day he keeps, every contact of any kind with the Church which is always faithful to her LORD in her order and worship, helps to store his memory and his heart with impressions and associations and knowledge no less valuable than those which he gains when consciously a scholar.

Now this being so, it follows that the true Prayer-Book ideal of a Christian Education in these days would be one in which Home and School and Parish, Parents, Sponsors, Pastor and Teachers, each in turn, would do their duty to the child with constant remembrance of his Baptismal Covenant, both as to its privileges and its responsibilities. It would be a training in which the teachings and customs of our household of the faith would be allowed to have their due influence and [5/6] their complete harmony. And surely it must commence in the home. When your Committee think what the "daily life of a Christian child" may be in a home in which the Church and her heavenly ways are appreciated and loved by old and young; in which parents and children are all working out their salvation, side by side; in which the very days, as they come and go, are charged with reminders and helps in holy living; in which the tone is devout, humble, loving, believing, as the Church would train her members to be; they are sorry to know that few of Christ's little ones among us are so nurtured--sorry to have to turn aside to account for so sad a fact.


Under which head the Committee would consider,

1. The Sunday School, 2. The Day School, and 3. (as most conveniently placed here, in relation to this and the former general division,) The Literature provided for our children.

1. The Sunday School. As often conducted among us, the Sunday School is an institution too much apart from, and substituted for, the system of our Prayer Book. Through the activity of its friends, the Sunday School has a Literature of its own, and an importance absolutely fearful when we measure its means with the demands too generally made upon it. The Sunday School is commonly expected to make up, in an hour or two on one day, for the absence of direct religious instruction during the rest of the week, in our day schools, and even in the home; and all this by the means of bodies of teachers, whose chief qualification, often and even generally, is willingness to serve, of whom many must be unfit to bear so great responsibility, and very few can be expected to have the divine gift of ability to teach. The Committee rejoice that the attention of the Church has been again called to this important matter of late, by more than one of our Bishops and our Diocesan Conventions; and they would urge anew, that the efforts of the ministry and people of our Church who adopt the Sunday School among their instrumentalities, should be addressed to reconciling it with the Prayer Book [6/7] scheme of Christian Education. They urge the endeavor to rouse parents to their responsibilities, which no Sunday School can take from them; to make the office of sponsor a reality; to restore more generally pastoral catechisings "openly in the Church;" to inculcate more widely and generally the principle that the teachers in Sunday Schools should be regarded only as the agents, helpers, and Catechists of the pastor, acting always under his direction; that the Sunday School should be kept in subordination to the Church in its claims upon the children; and that they be accustomed to our worship by joining in it with their elders at least once on each Sunday, and in special services at which the sermon shall be more particularly adapted to them.

2. The Day School. It is the glory of our country that schools are provided for the children of all classes. It is not yet the glory of our Church that she has provided for her own children's daily tuition in "those things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health." We must not admit that religion can be rightly, or safely, divorced from education. Divine truth should be learned along with the lessons of the school, and enforced and illustrated in its discipline and order. The prevailing notion, so hard to eradicate from men's minds, that their business has no relation to God's service, and the converse, is no doubt due, in most instances, to the entire separation of God's service and school-life in the early years. The difficulties in the way of any thing better are not insurmountable. For the rich, for those able to defray the expenses of private and select schools, provision can be made in schools, created and managed by Churchmen for the direct purpose. In some Dioceses such schools have long been in operation; in others they have lately been formed. Let the mind of the Church once be awakened to the necessity, and the demand will produce the supply. But for those who can not bear the heavy expense of select schools, the Church is more loudly called to provide. She must not come in any conflict with the State, nor need she do it. In some dioceses the public schools are so admirable in every respect but the one, that we could not without the most lavish expenditure [7/8] expect to compete with them, even if we were able to offer the education gratuitously. All that can be urged upon the whole Church is, that her ministers and people will not simply acquiesce in whatever schools may happen to be near them, but conscientiously do their best to provide Christian education for the children of the Church. Either by opening and supporting parochial schools; by using whatever fair influence they may, in the management of the public schools, at least by showing active interest in them, in which the Committee are compelled to think that many of the Clergy are remiss; by gathering into Church schools, which would be comparatively inexpensive, the little children, and preparing them for the public schools, which they often enter at too young an age; by turning the instructions of Sunday frequently to the subjects of school life; and by showing the same sort of interest in their school experiences which a wise pastor, or a kind friend, will sometimes express and always feel in the affairs of men and women;--by these and such like means the members of our Church can do much for the Christian education of our children, if they will but believe in the importance and the duty of securing it for them.

The Committee would further suggest, on this matter, that in some communities it might be possible for the Clergy to make some such arrangement as this, with the co-operation of the ministers of other Christian bodies who, very likely, would feel an equal anxiety for their own children. On one or two days of the week let it be a part of the school duties that those children whose parents might so direct, should receive religious instruction from the pastors designated by their parents, for one hour or more, either in the school or elsewhere as might be agreed. The time should be included in the school hours, and attendance on the instruction should be as obligatory as that at any other lesson. This suggestion may seem to some impracticable. Perhaps in many places it might prove so. But our making the suggestion here may call out some really good and feasible plan. The one we propose was thought of years ago in our own land; and is now successfully at work in some parts of Europe. Something, [8/9] surely, ought to be devised and attempted, to hallow and Christianize our daily schools; and the Church and the country have a right to claim such an effort from the Clergy, as the appointed religious teachers of the young as well as of the old.

3. The Literature provided for our children.

Not a word need be said of the power of the press as an Educator; but your Committee are compelled to believe that no denomination of Christians shows less appreciation of it than our church, which should show the most. We have not the books and papers and magazines which meet all our wants, and those which we have, and which might perhaps be improved to meet them, are not circulated as they would be if their value was realized. Elsewhere, Christian ministers and laymen labor in this field on a well-matured plan, and never suffer the work to languish for the lack of personal efforts, influence and gifts. As an illustration of this activity, (and without regard to the value of religious newspapers so called,) a member of the Committee, during the past summer, ascertained by careful enquiry in every parish of one of our Dioceses, that the whole number of Church newspapers circulated therein was in the proportion of less than one to thirty families; and as nearly all were taken by the clergy and the best instructed of the laity, it follows that so far as the history, the progress, and the claims of the Church are to be learned from this source, the great body of the people were almost wholly ignorant. So far as there is a kind of education in it, the education of the people was almost entirely neglected. Now in the same towns it was found that the number of religious newspapers taken among other religious bodies was in the proportion of one to five families! So it is in regard to periodicals of a higher class, and to books of all kinds. Our children learn history and geography from books which misrepresent the Church on almost every page; they are amused and instructed by reading books, stories, biographies, and the like, whose whole influence is against her; they are exposed to the evils of the dangerous newspapers of our day, without the compensation of learning, from a like source, and following with the same [9/10] kind of interest, the progress of the Saviour's kingdom. As a means of Christian Education, the Committee urge most earnestly the need of using the press for the Church's work with a hundred and a thousand fold the present activity; and then of bringing all agencies to bear in the circulation in all parts of our country, alike in the great cities of the sea-board, and in the new settlements just opening to our missions, of a sound Christian literature, imbued with the spirit of our. Lord and His Holy Catholic Church.


The Boarding School is a name at once intelligible as indicating all the schools for the youth of either sex, to which they are sent away from home. Such schools must always abound in any land of wealth and culture, and Church families will provide their pupils in larger proportions than other communions, if we measure by mere population. Churchmen will be among those most likely to seek such advantages for their children.

The Boarding School is not of course provided for those of very limited means; nor is it meant only for the very wealthy. But no work for the poor is more truly a charity, than is a good Church School for the wealthy. These sadly need its careful culture; and in them the Church needs it for her own sake. She must have such schools, distinctly her own, in which her lessons are taught, her influence and worship maintained. She must aim to make these schools equal to the best, better, if she can, than the best, about her. Her schools ought to excel in the kind and grade of mental culture given; in efficient supervision and discipline; in genial home-like influences; in fervent, practical religion growing up naturally, really and gracefully into the very souls of her children. It is so easy to make her services and lessons attractive, so hard to make them repulsive to the young, that the Pastor and Preceptor--and these two characters ought to be united, if possible in the Head of every such school must be most unapt, if the religion of the Church fail to enter the hearts of most of the pupils.

[11] Only let there be no compromise or indistinctness on the point, that the Church is the avowed guide in any such school. Let her holy seasons be observed, her honest sense of religious duty be impressed on her children in such schools, and she will become a Holy Mother to them, such as no other communion can be.

The expensiveness of such institutions offering high culture and refining associations and influences, is one inevitable difficulty; inevitable except where wealth is given or bequeathed to endow the schools.

Even then, the cost cannot be small; but this will be met, if the work be well done. And if parishes were, first, to build a parsonage, and then, secondly, to endow the Rectorship with a scholarship in a boy's school or a girl's school; for the son or daughter of the Pastor, the interests of that Parish, of the school and of the Church would be all promoted together. Dioceses with such schools and such parishes would be highly blessed. Its parsonages would be happy homes, and their sons and daughters would grow up to perpetuate and extend in the ministry and in godly homes and schools, the intelligence and piety which well become such a Church as ours.

And parents, whenever they send their children from their own care and that of their home pastors, should send them to such schools of the Church and to none others. The clergy of the Church ought earnestly to teach this, as the clear and bounden duty of parents. Fashion and fancy should less than they do, divert the Church parents from such a decision. There is great lack of wisdom in our Church on this point. If all the patronage of the Church were given to her own schools, as it ought to be, these schools would thrive as they never yet have done; and the intelligent, Church-like piety and zeal of our homes and people would be greatly promoted. The effort in every Diocese ought to be, to have such schools, incorporated and permanent, not to the exclusion of private individual enterprises, but still with a view and effort to build up permanent schools, duly incorporated and duly supervised by the Bishops and the visitors whom the Church would recognize. Thus far we have spoken jointly of schools for boys and girls, --for these principles apply to the schools for both sexes.


All these principles should be even still more recognized and maintained in "the College," as this word is commonly used among us. Fewer Colleges are needed, for but a small proportion of young men go to College; would that the proportion were much larger! It is a strange and not a creditable fact that so few of our sons go through College. Many parents, indeed, make great sacrifices to give their sons this advantage. More parents fall short of what they could and ought to do in this matter. Still we need fewer Colleges for young men than we need schools for boys.

All the more have the Church and the parents the duty to make strong Colleges; strong in sufficient endowments, in ample equipments, in scholarships (which should always be prizes) to reward excellence in moral and intellectual worth; and strong in numbers. And in the College the Church should be distinctly avowed and exhibited as the acknowledged authority in religious truths and duties. This would expand and elevate the College; it would not narrow or depress it. Learning is among the proper inheritances of the Anglican Church and the Anglican race. There is a soundness and soberness of mind natural to the Church; a pure literary taste and a thorough culture are her long established and proper characteristics, those which her Colleges should perpetuate and promote as her peculiar inheritance. The Prayer Book is a great educator of the mind. It tends to make a scholar of any one who uses it heartily. It teaches genuine love of the truth, of all truth. It hallows all the books and studies of the young Collegian.

In this land Church Colleges must meet great competition. The oldest and largest of our Colleges and Universities are not of the Church. The competition is therefore great against the Church; and Church parents err sadly in sending their sons, as Church wealth errs in giving its endowments to other than Church Colleges. Munificence outside of the Church shames the largest gifts yet known among us; and many a noble endowment goes even now from Churchmen to institutions not our own, and less needing such aid than our own Colleges [12/13] need it. We urge here only the wisdom and frankness which we see in other religious bodies. What others avow and do, can not be liberal in them and bigoted in us.

And the sons of Churchmen need a College where the faith and worship of their homes and home parishes are still secured to them. College life is the seed time of the man's soul. Shall that precious time be surrendered to the sowers of other seed than the Church's? Nor may Christian parents continue to yield, as too many do, to the fatal idea that youths in College do not need, or will not brook or use well, the religious and moral safeguards which no earlier or later part of life can safely discard. The vices of College life are too numerous, too peculiar, too perilous, to be as lightly regarded as they are by so many among us. Such vices are not inevitable if the home would first do its work well; if then, that work go on rightly in the school; and, if then, in the College, the Church meet the young man with the lessons and the care which the parents would still uphold by their sanction and influence. Order, obedience, true di§cipline, virtue, reverence, purity, and real religion are lacking in our American College life. In such sad deficiency parents, professors, and even clergymen acquiesce too easily, as though however painful and dangerous, it must be an evil without remedy. There need be no such lack, if parents, pastors, and college officers think together, work together, trustfully one with another,--and all loyally to the Church and her Head.

These and such like ideas are not mere theory. They have been realized among us; not perfectly or widely enough, but far enough to prove that more might easily be done than most among us have yet had wisdom or faith to expect. Unbelief, defective and erroneous belief, on the one side; and the dark superstition of Romanism on the other side, seduce and corrupt many of our sons and of our daughters. Many parents seem strangely, sadly blinded here. All over our land, especially aside from the great centres of population, nay, at not a few even of those centres, Romish schools and colleges draw in the sons and daughters of Church people. East and west this is so. In our vast West this is the great peril of our young [13/14] people, and the great sin of their parents. Cheapness or local convenience, even fashion or chance, decide so grave a question to the misleading and ruin of pot a few. Would to God parents and pastors could be awakened to their duty here! the parents, to provide for their children's moral and spiritual life and atmosphere, something better than any merely negative, mixed or corrupt religion; and the pastors, to warn the parents often, earnestly and distinctly of the sin and peril of any indifference on such a point.


As to Theological education, our part in this report is only, as we conceive, to say, that if our Homes, our Schools and our Colleges were working out our needs and duty for our sons, our families would be giving us more men loving the ministry and fitted for it. Parents must begin at home the influences, which later culture would then develope and confirm. The homes of wealth and competence would give their sons to the holy ministry, as well as the homes less gifted in worldly riches and name. The young man whose need and merit would at once incite and entitle him to get aid, would find his honorable pathway through the College and the Seminary by means of prizes and scholarships, which would encourage his manly ambition, his spirit of independence, his sense of high duty, and his intellectual and moral fitness for his holy calling. And in the College and in the Seminary, the aspirant to the ministry would have that genuine Church oversight, comfort and guidance, which would help him to persevere in his sacred choice, and to grow up into a full meetness and entire devotion to his work; a blessed result which many a devout youth now finds not easily attainable in the absence of that nurture which the Church owes to all, especially to those whom she would admit into her ministry.

The Committee therefore propose to the Convention the following resolutions:

[15] 1. Resolved, That this Convention would press upon the hearts and consciences of parents the exceeding importance of the more diligent training of their children at home in Christian truths and duties, as the special task of the parents themselves, of the father as well as of the mother; a duty not to be delegated to any one else, and to which parents should devote a due part of the time and energies of the Lord's Day especially.

2. Resolved, That the Convention .earnestly counsel parents and preceptors to guard their youthful charge from the corrupting influences of much of the common literature of the day, and to provide for them wholesome and instructive, as well as attractive books and periodicals, as a most needful part of family Christian culture.

3. Resolved, That the duty is hereby solemnly urged upon those who have worldly wealth, to give towards the endowment of the Schools and the Colleges of the Church, and the foundation of professorships, scholarships and prizes, by gifts during life, and by bequests which will strengthen this part of the Church's work long after the donor has gone to his rest.

4. Resolved, That it is most clearly and imperatively the duty of parents and guardians to their children and wards as well as to the Church, when they send the sons and daughters of the Church away from their homes, to send them to her own Schools and Colleges, not to those where her worship and teaching are unknown, and least of all to those in which Romanism so stealthily but surely perverts the faith of so many of the children of unreflecting or faithless parents.

5. Resolved, That the godly parents in the Church owe more of their sons to the ministry of Christ; and that they ought by prayer and spiritual culture to form the hopes and hearts of such sons into that devotion to this peculiar and high calling, which alone can fit men for the ministry and make it a work of joy to their souls.

6. Resolved, That, with the concurrence of the House of Bishops, a joint committee, of seven members on the part of this house, be appointed to consider this whole matter during [15/16] the recess of the General Convention, to procure facts and prepare suggestions for the next Convention, and to promote by any means deemed advisable, the general work of Christian Education.


JOHN B. KERFOOT, Chairman, Connecticut.
D. R. GOODWIN, Pennsylvania.
Wm. E. ARMYITAGE, Michigan.
Wm. R. NICHOLSON, Massachusetts.
CHARLES A. LEWIS, Connecticut.
ELI T. WILDER, Minnesota.

The Joint Committee appointed under the sixth resolution consists of

The RT. REV. DR. MCILVAINE, of Ohio,
The RT. REV. DR. SMITH, of Kentucky,
The RT. REV. DR. WHITTINGHAM, of Maryland,
The REV. Dr. KERFOOT, of Connecticut,
The REV. Mr. ARMITAGE, of Michigan,
The REV. Dr. H. A. COIT, of New Hampshire,
The REV. DR. HUBBARD, of North Carolina,
MR. ELI T. WILDER, of Minnesota,

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