- Category: The Christadelphian Instructor
THE CHRISTADELPHIAN INSTRUCTOR
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
THE SYSTEM OF TRUTH REVEALED IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
with Proof-texts in full appended to nearly every answer
Also an Appendix containing 100 Questions and Answers suited to the capacity of children under eight
By Robert Roberts of Birmingham
A WORD BEFORE BEGINING
This little catechetical instructor has been desired for years by those who have put away the theologies of the day on coming to an understanding of the Holy Scriptures. They have desired it as a help in the instruction of families and schools, for which ordinary catechisms have become to them worse than useless. It has not been possible to comply with their wishes till now, nor perhaps even now to the full extent. The Instructor supplied may come short of what is wanted, but it is at least a step in the direction of their wishes.
It is an attempt to present a complete outline of the system of truth contained in the Bible, in a form suited to juvenile instruction. This is done on the Bible plan rather than the one usually observed in such publications. The Bible plan is an historic one. Revelation has been a work of history and not of disquisition. While communicating principles, commandments, promises, and prophecies by inspiration, it has done all this in connection with the record of national events; and the promises, purposes, and principles so associated cannot be fully apprehended apart from those national events. The work of revelation is, in brief, the history of the Jewish race from the call of Abraham to the resurrection of Christ in their midst. This history is, therefore, made a prominent feature in the Instructor.
It is considered of great importance now-a-days to drill children thoroughly in the knowledge of modern history—especially the history of the English kings. All historical knowledge is valuable, but none of it can be compared to the knowledge of Bible history, which is the history of God’s purpose with the earth so far as it has been carried out. It is of great importance to everyone to be thoroughly acquainted with the elements of this history.
The Instructor is compiled on the plan of questions and answers. Each answer is followed by “proof,” so that the learner may become acquainted with the grounds upon which the answer is to be accepted as true. The proofs appended to the purely historical answers are mostly confined to references, as they are too extensive for quotation. In all cases where it is important the children should be acquainted with the very words of Scripture—(as justifying disputed or unrecognised truth)—the passages are quoted in full.
The answers are divided into sections, so as somewhat to lighten and simplify the contents as a whole; but the division is not according to any very strict method of classification. The whole of the answers were first written as a natural and progressive unfolding of truth, and the section headings introduced afterwards to take off the heaviness of so much solid matter. It is easier to learn in sections than otherwise. Experience seems to prove that the best way to use such a book, is to get the children to commit the answers to memory—not too many at a time. Three answers per Sunday would make a sufficient lesson, and would take the scholar over the whole of the contents in three years. This applies to the body of the Instructor, and not to the simple questions supplied in the appendix for young children.
It would be a good plan to have the scholars over 8 and under 12 years of age to learn the answers without the proofs, and all over 12 to learn the proofs as well as the answers.
As for those under 8, more simple answers would be needed.
An attempt to provide such, without proofs, will be found at the end (see appendix).
The Instructor would chiefly be serviceable in schools, but it would also be suitable for use in a family where a school was not within reach. It may also be found serviceable for some who are not children. The study of it might be a useful preliminary to that examination which in our age is necessary before the obedience to the truth in baptism. The suggestion may hurt some whose prejudices are not on the side of wisdom. It may have something useful in it for all that.
There is no need to prove the usefulness, the wisdom, and the duty of instructing our children in the ways of God. Even if Paul had not said, “Bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” common sense and benevolence would have dictated such a thing.
The instruction of children is not so easy or so interesting as the instruction of grown persons. On the other hand, it is a work in which those can take part who may not be fitted for adult work. It is pre-eminently a work of patience and faith. Results are not so quickly visible, but they are more certain and lasting if the right plan is adopted. It is a work requiring kindness and disinterested perseverance to a greater degree than any other class of work in the truth.
Wise parents will recognise the obligation of privately doing their utmost to instil the principles of scriptural wisdom into the minds and hearts of their children. At the same time they will not despise the help accorded by a Sunday School, which, while finding a field of useful work in the truth for such as are anxious to do something, and yet might not be able to do anything else effectually is a great aid to the private efforts made by parents.
The children are benefited by coming together. They receive a stimulus wanting in mere home effort; and have their minds enlarged by the more extended aspects in which things appear to them in association than when confined to the family circle.