“A Conspiracy Against Our Public Schools” American Sentinel 11, 5, pp. 34, 35.

IN treating “practical Christian sociology from the standpoint of education,” Dr. Crafts says:—

Our “godless schools,” so far as they are “godless,” however made so, cannot be defended on American principles. We must retake those surrendered guns and reoccupy the only defensible position for an American Christian nation, namely, that our public schools shall again teach Christian morals in an unsectarian manner as a necessary basis of social security and good citizenship. 511

Recognizing some, at least, of the difficulties that would beset an attempt to carry out this suggestion, our author says:—

In these days of a more complex and more critical population, it might be wise in some cases to put in place of the extemporaneous freedom of former years and the timid secularity of recent times, carefully prepared schedules of Bible readings and text-books of morals from which controverted points had been excluded, so far as practicable, by mutual agreement of Protestant and Roman Catholic authorities, six-sevenths of whose creeds, as we shall show, is “common Christianity” that can be taught in unison for six days per week, leaving the sabbath for sectarian teaching in the case of these who do not believe that even then it is better to teach the “common Christianity.” 512

“Such a plan is practicable,” adds Dr. Crafts, “for it is practiced.” He then cites “the case of the Pennsylvania Reform School at Morganza, where our ‘common Christianity,’ with special reference to Christian morals, has been taught daily to the whole school for many years by Protestant teachers from an unsectarian Christian text book, written for this purpose by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Canevan, of Pittsburg; a text book which has been approved by his bishop, approved also by a Presbyterian editor 513 on the board of the management and by other Protestants.”

This wonderful book is entitled, “Easy Lessons in Christian Doctrine,” and the reader will be interested to know just what it teaches. This very proper curiosity we shall endeavor to gratify sufficiently to indicate the character of the book and to illustrate fairly the practical workings of the system recommended by the author of “Practical Christian Sociology.”

“Easy Lessons in Christian Doctrine” is a pamphlet of fifty-three pages, four by five and one-half inches in size, in two parts. Part I., thirty-two pages, is made up of twenty-three lessons in Roman Catholic doctrine, concerning creation, the trinity, the fall, the redemption, the commandments, and the judgment. Part II. is a short history of the Christian religion reaching from creation to the day of Pentecost.

We cannot notice each lesson in detail, but shall quote sufficient to prove our statement that the lessons are lessons in Roman Catholic doctrine. The phraseology throughout betrays a Roman Catholic writer, one who has been instructed in Roman Catholic religious books. For instance, the word “justice” is used where the King James version always uses “righteousness;” “Sem” where the King James uses “Shem;” “Pasch” where the King James always uses “Passover.”

But we will let the book speak for itself. The following passage upon the subject of sins, distinctly sets forth the Roman Catholic doctrine of mortal and venial sins, but here this papal doctrine is made “easy” by calling them “grievous offenses” and “small offenses“:—

Ques. Are all actual sins equally great?

Ans. No; all sins are not equally great; there are grievous offenses against the law of God, and there are also small offenses against the law of God.

Q. What are the effects of grievous offenses against the law of God?

A. Grievous offenses against the law of God kill the soul, by depriving it of the true spiritual life of grace, and make it liable to eternal punishment in hell.

Q. What are the effects of small offenses against the law of God?

A. Grievous offenses against the law of God kill the soul, by depriving it of the true spiritual life of grace, and make it liable to eternal punishment in hell.

Q. What are the effects of small offenses against the law of God?

A. Small offenses against the law of God do not rob the soul of the true spiritual life of grace; but they hurt the soul by lessening its love for God, and by disposing to great sins.

Q. Is it a great misfortune to fall into grievous sin?

A. It is the greatest of all misfortunes.

The next thing after this piece of papal doctrine is to find a purgatory for those souls who are “hurt” by the small misfortune of “small offenses” against the law of God; and this is done in the following “easy” lesson:—

Ques. Did Christ’s soul descend into the hell of the damned?

Ans. The hell into which Christ’s soul descended was not the hell of the damned, but a place or state of rest.

Q. Who were in this place of rest?

A. The souls of the just who died before Christ.

Q. Why did Christ descend into this place?

A. To announce to those spirits that were in prison the joyful tidings of their redemption.

Q. When did the souls of the just who died before Christ go to heaven?

A. When Christ ascended into heaven.

Q. Where was Christ’s body while his soul was in limbo, or the place of rest?

A. In the sepulcher, or grave.

This limbo is an “easy” word for the latin limbus partum, and is essentially the Roman Catholic purgatory. This indeed is evident from the doctrine of the whole lesson. How the editor of the Presbyterian Banner or even the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” could indorse such teaching is more than we can explain. The fact that they do, shows to what lengths “Protestants” are willing to go in this matter.

Lesson three of Part II. sets forth the Roman Catholic doctrine of Genesis 3:15, which, according to to [sic.] the Catholic Bible, reads as follows:—

I will be enmities between thee and the woman [35] and thy seed and her seed. She shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

Having thus, by a mistranslation, artfully eliminated Christ, the seed, from the latter part of this text, this “easy” lesson giving his work and honor to another, continues:—

Ques. How was a Redeemer promised?

Ans. To show how hateful sin was to him, God cursed the serpent which had deceived Eve, condemning him to crawl upon the ground and to eat the dust; besides, he said enmity should exist between the serpent and the woman, but in the end the woman would crush his head.

Of course it is but a step from this to the papal assumption that the church is the woman which is to crush the serpent’s head by dominating the world through her visible head, the pope of Rome. And this the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” calls teaching “Christian morals in an unsectarian manner”!

Nor is this all. Lesson five of Part II. easily inculcates the “easy lesson” of the papal unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, as follows:—

Ques. What were the principal religious rites and festivals of the Mosaic law?

Ans. The principal religious rites of the law given to Moses were sacrifices offered to God; they were either bloody, in which were offered heifers, and sheep, and goats, and doves; or unbloody, in which were offered cakes, and unleavened bread, and wine.

It is not a matter of surprise that a Roman Catholic bishop should indorse this book, but that the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” and the editor of the Presbyterian Banner and “other Protestants” should indorse it show how far the so-called Protestant profession has become like the Roman Catholic. When Roman Catholics and Protestants unite, it is only by surrender on the part of the latter. Roman Catholicism has not abated one jot of her claims nor modified in one tittle her doctrine; and the only way it is possible for Roman Catholics and Protestants ever to unite is by the Protestants becoming Roman Catholic, if not in name at least in doctrine and methods. Rome is willing that the Bible should be taught in the public schools if she is permitted to put her gloss upon it; she is even anxious that “Christian morals” should be taught if only she prepares the “easy” lessons. She is willing that all the so-called “moral” and “Christian” reforms should receive aid from the State either in money or influence, if she is allowed to so color them that they contribute directly or indirectly to her upbuilding, but not otherwise. “Rome never changes.”

But how far would the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” carry this matter of Christian instruction in the public schools? Let the book itself answer the question:—

“A Christian nation,” may consistently insist “with malice toward none and charity for all,” that the public schools of a “Christian nation” shall teach an authoritative Christian morality. 514

But this still leaves unanswered the question how far shall this teaching go? Again we quote:—

Compulsory hygienic education, “with special reference to alcoholics and narcotics,” shows that health and strength as well as morals and religion call for total abstinence not only from alcoholic beverages but also from tobacco, and the impurity which both provoke and promote. And the hygienic necessity of sabbath rest also to the best health and longest life is soon to be added in connection with Dr. A. Haegler’s chart.

Dr. Haegler calls attention to the chemical facts of expenditure and repair in constituents of the blood, as demonstrated by Pillerkofer and Voit, who showed that the nightly rest after the day’s work did not afford a complete recuperation of the vital forces and was insufficient to keep the mind and body in tone; but that, if this reparation is not supplemented by an occasional longer period of rest, the system is subjected to a gradual falling in pitch. 515

Here stands revealed the goal that “Practical Christian Sociologists” would reach; they would teach a “morality” that included the religious observance of Sunday, for in his book, “The Sabbath for Man,” Dr. Crafts insists that a purely civil rest is not sufficient. “Take the religion out,” says he, “and you take the rest out.”

And in giving this “instruction” Dr. A. Haegler’s utterly misleading chart is to be used?

It is true that abstinence from labor one day in seven, if it is not accompanied with dissipation, gives physical rest, but rest is not the great object of the Sabbath, and to so teach children is monstrously wicked. Of course Sunday is not the Sabbath, but the scheme to teach “an authoritatively Christian morality” means the teaching of the children that Sunday is the Sabbath and that the great object of the Sabbath is rest. As well might they teach that baptism is for the putting away of the filth of the flesh!

It is not true that the object of the Sabbath is physical rest. People who keep no sabbath live quite as long and enjoy quite as good health, other things being equal, as do those who have the regular weekly rest. March 11, 1890, the writer heard Bishop Andrews, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who had just returned from China, say: “In China they have no septennial division of time, no weekly rest day, merely annual festivals. They work right along all the time with no day of rest as such; yet they live to a very advanced age. This fact has led one of the most careful thinkers who has ever been sent as missionary to China, to raise a serious question whether the great purpose of the Sabbath is not for worship and communion with the other world.”

“The Sabbath was made for man,” but not alone nor even primarily for his physical necessities. “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” 516 But “Practical Christian Sociology” proposes to teach the children of all the people at public expense that the great object of the Sabbath is physical rest, and to impress this falsehood upon their minds by means of an utterly misleading chart. As we have intimated more than once in the past, such sociology may be practical but it is not Christian.

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