The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1
argued for nearly a whole week, and with four judges on the bench, the prohibition of the Bible by the School Board was ordered to be withdrawn so that the Bible might be read.
It is a mistake to undervalue the simple reading of the Bible. While that may be granted to be insufficient for denominational purposes yet those fundamental truths may be learned from it, that are held in the highest estimation in all Christian lands, such as the death of Christ, and his prevailing intercession. But apart from its distinctive religious teaching, we can claim that the Bible is the best and most reliable text book in the important departments of ancient Jewish history. Anything short of denominational instruction has been styled 'a jelly fish religion.' (Church News March, 1884.) Such allegations must be made thoughtlessly, and in forget fulness of the fact that the saints of the Bible existed before our modern denominations took their rise. Failing religious instruction, as given previous to 1877, it is to be hoped that no lover of the Bible will decry its being at least read in the schools day by day. The acquaintance even with the ten commandments and the Lord's Prayer and the elementary truths of religion would afford a basis of conduct not to be despised.
In New Zealand, some of our Governors and members of Parliament have expressed such views on this matter as show that in their opinion the legislation was a mistake.
Sir Hercules Robinson, Governor of New Zealand, at the opening of the Normal School, Wellington (1880), having referred to the system pursued at Home and in New South Wales, said, "Here, I believe, there page 17 is nothing of the kind, and the omission appears to me to indicate a forget fulness of the fact that the twofold object of National Education is to secure in the individual citizen intellectual clearness and moral worth." He went on to say that with the franchise so extended as it is now, it is important that every man should have intelligence enough to form a sound judgement on subjects of public concern. "But (ho continued) it is even more essential to the well-being of a community that its youth should be taught to love right and hate wrong, that they should be brought up to entertain a strong sense of truth and justice, virtue and integrity, honor and duty, respect for constitutional authorities, and the law,—these and such like moral results can, I fear, never be accomplished by infellectual cultivation alone." He quoted Professor Huxley as confessing himself at a loss to know how the religious feeling, the essential basis of conduct, could be kept up, without the use of the Bible. The quotation is continued to show, from its character and contents, the propriety of its being made known to the children.
Sir William Fox (1880), speaking in support of his position that an overwhelming majority of the fathers and mothers in this country desired the Bible read in schools, stated that a clergyman who had resided in the province of Nelson had for thirteen years tested public feeling in the matter by personal canvass, and the result was that nine-tenths of the people were opposed to the secularising of the Act. The Provincial Council in 1873 refused to secularise it accordingly. Sir William continued:—"There is another point of view from which I approach this subject. I think it is an indignity offered by ourselves to ourselves, that in a country, nine-tenths of whose inhabitants profess a religion of Some sort based on the sacred scriptures, the sacred Scriptures should be