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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

The Bible in the Schools

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The Bible in the Schools.

The following fragment was picked up to day outside of the Stuart street Oddfellows' Hall, where the Educational Institute is to meet to-morrow. [We did not know till now that there were Seers amongst the Dominies.—Ed. E S]

Time, 1890.

Scene. State School, not a hundred miles from Dunedin. Bible Lessons being given by the Headmaster.

Pupil reads Matthew xxii., verse 21 : "They say unto him 'Cæsar's.' Then he saith unto them, 'Render therefore unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's.'"

Master (examining the class): What is meant by Cæsar and Cæsar's?

Pupil A : Cæsar was a Roman Emperor.

Master : But what is meant by rendering unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's?

Pupil B: Giving to him all that belongs to him.

Master : What belonged to him?

Pupil A: A coin, with his head on it.

Master : That may have once belonged to him. But this verse has a particular meaning. Cæsar here stands for Government, and in some things we must recognise the Government. What things do the Government do?

Pupil D : They look after the Railways

Pupil E : They look after Schools.

Pupil F : The policemen are Government men.

Mastkr : Can you tell me some things that we are not to look to Government to?

Pupil A: Food.

Pupil G : Religion. Government, papa says, should never meddle with Churches and Religion.

Master : Yes, boys, our Religion is a matter between us and God alone; and that is what is meant by rendering unto God the things that are God's.

Pupil G holds up his hand.

Master : Well, Gilbert, what is it?

Pupil G : Please, sir, is this a Government School?

Master : Of course it is.

Pupil G : Is the Bible a religious book?

Master : Profoundly so; but what makes you ask these questions?

Pupil G : Please, sir, papa says that the Government should not teach Religion.

Master : Well, boys, that is a question I cannot say anything about. All I know is that some years ago some people thought that folks would get mad if the Bible was not taught in schools.

Pupil G : Please, sir, is that fulfilling the verse?

Master : Well, boys, I cannot say.

Pupil H : Please, sir, why does Thomas Jones not come to Bible lesson V He is out in the shed now, and it is cold and wet.

Master : His papa objects.

Pupil H : Is it naughty not to read the Bible? We all like Thomas Jones, and his father is very good to US.

Master : Boys, it is time for writing lesson.