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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good morals and gentle manners

From McGuffey's 2nd reader (revised)
Once upon a time, in the land under our feet, the Bible was the unquestioned sovereign of all books. In this land, parents, teachers and all other officials, including the president, public representatives, and Supreme Court justices agreed that children should all be taught from this book.

It was during this time that a textbook company chose to publish a text that explained morality and manners from a Biblical perspective. Its title was "Good Morals and Gentle Manners".

I have been reading this text aloud to my children. There is no mention of "self esteem" and no promises of having a "perfect life now". In fact, the whole focus is on one's duty to God and man.

Way back when, the word "duty" was not dirty. Certain things were expected ("musts" Charlotte Mason would have called them), and no apologies were made, no excuses offered.

There is a danger in reading this book; if a child (or adult) were to read these pages, he/she would be accountable. There would not be any hiding in ignorance, and so such a person would probably experience...GUILT!

But the most marvelous, wonderful thing of all is that this guilt could lead to the realization that everyone needs their sins to be atoned for, and so the fallow ground would be ready, it would be broken up and made pliable and receptive for the seeds of the Gospel--the good news that Jesus came to forgive, He came to die and bleed for the trespasses of mankind!

As I have been so enjoying books by Ray Comfort lately, I am greatly enthusiastic about sharing this with my children. I don't want them to grow up with a "pseudo" faith, I want them to be genuinely converted.

I have often wondered that the reason we had experienced so many sweeping revivals in the past is that people of the past were well schooled in what depravity and separation from God really meant. It was only in the realization that Jesus died to save them that they experienced any relief from their own consciences, which had been trained from birth to understand sin and guilt.

But, thanks to ministries such as Dollar Homeschool and other online digital resources, we can turn back the clock a bit, and perhaps return to God's original plan for parents and families.


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