The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55
The Bible in the Schools
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]
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.