“A Fine Scheme, Truly!” The American Sentinel 7, 38, pp. 298, 299.

SOME eight years ago an organization known as the “Boys’ Brigade” was formed in Scotland, it subject being “to promote Christ’s kingdom among the boys and train them in habits of reverence, self-respect, and Christian manliness.”

Three years ago the organization was introduced into this country by way of San Francisco; and not a brigade has been organized at Willimantic, Conn. In a sermon in that city on the 18th inst., Rev. C. A. Dinsmore thus explains the scheme for keeping the boys under church influence and interested in church work:—

The boys are equipped in the uniform and drilled in the tactics of the United States Army. They have breech loading Springfield rifles and are [299] as well furnished as the State militia. Every Sunday they march into their Bible class to receive religious instruction, and are under strict military discipline. Every boy pledges himself to attend the weekly drill and Bible class. If he is willfully absent two consecutive weeks without reasonable excuse, he is dishonorably discharged from the company. Boys are appointed to the offices for proficiency in drill and in Bible lessons. Each boy furnishes his own uniforn [sic], costing about five dollars. If a boy is unable to do this, the church will provide him one. The guns are owned by the church. Only boys who attend this church or who have no other church connection are admitted. Great care will be taken not to encroach upon other denominations. With these qualifications the company is open to any boy between the ages of twelve and twenty-one.

To buy the guns and provide for incidental expenses we shall need two hundred and fifty dollars. Next Sunday we shall take a collection for this purpose, and we are confident you will contribute the amount needed. This is not a new experiment and can not fail, if wisely managed, because it is founded on the ineradicable instincts of a boy’s nature.

Certainly it can not fail in stimulating and developing the natural instincts of the human heart. It is an easy matter to teach boys to love applause and to labor for it; but it is quite another thing to teach them to “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” Nevertheless that is the lesson that Christ would have all both old and young to learn; and it is the lesson that the Church should teach. As a means of cultivating pride, the Boys’ Brigade is doubtless a marked success; as a means of grace, it must ever be a dismal failure. [300]

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