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"TO PARENTS AND GUARDIANS."I

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"TO PARENTS AND GUARDIANS." I The Bishop of Bristol has done a service to the nation in saying some plain things in a preface to a pamphlet by Canon Glazebrook entitled "Religious Education in the Home." The Bishop has seen that the place of definite religious teaching in any coming system of secondary education is a question of the highest moment. It is not a sectarian question, as some would have us suppose, but a national question. It is not the interests of the Church nor yet the interests of Nonconformity which have to be considered, it is the welfare of the whole community. There is always the danger that, in a material age, the value of faith and character may be overlooked but that value is a very real one, more especially to a people charged with the high destinies of an Empire such as ours. In the education of the children of the people the religious element has always been in the public mind. When the Church did nearly all that education the religious element was steadily kept to the front. When the Board School system carce in Churchmen were mainly responsible for securing under many Boards some instruction in religion. There is, however, a grave danger that middle-class and upper-class children may not enjoy an equal advantage. The Bishop of Bristol knows, as we all do, that even now things are not what they should be. When, he says, I was Suffragan Bishop of East London it was a commonplace to tell West End congregations before whom I was pleading the cause of the East London Church Fund that the children of many of our East End parish schools would easily beat their children in general religious knowledge, or in knowledge of the funda- mental points of Christianity and the distinctive features of the Church of England." Few persons with opportunities of observation will question the Bi&hop's statement. That being so, it is of the utmost importance that such religious teach- ing as is at present given iu secondary schools should at least not te lessened. What we need is an increase and not a decrease of such definite teaohing. But, as the Bishop of Bristol regretfully says :—"I have had to learn from experience something of the set purpose and the determined nature of political opposition to definite religious teaching have had to feel sorrowfully the force given and likely to be given by a popular assembly, and by a Government however benevolent individually, to the argument that the only hope of peace in public education lies in the exclusion of definite religious teaching-solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant. There can be no doubt that religiously-minded persons have a very grave fight before them, if they are to secure a worthy position for religious work in the coming machinery of secondary education." For that "grave fight" it behoves parents and guardians, and all who care for the high character of the nation, to prepare themselves.

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