In the Home, Sunday-School and Church are children of all ages, from six to sixteen. It is found impracticable to give to all this varied company the same teaching. The lessons that are admirably adapted for boys and girls between ten and fifteen are utterly unsuited to the children between six and ten. Moreover after looking carefully, I have not been able to find satisfactory lessons which can be taught to the young children except by one especially trained for the work; and such instructions are hard to find.
After various experiments I adopted in my own teaching the following plan. We divided the children into two sections; the First Section including all over nine years old, the Second Section all those under nine.
I selected for twelve lessons, twelve Bible stories following in succession, beginning with the story of Adam and Eve. On each of these stories I prepared a catechism of very simple questions and answers, and printed them by a duplicating process. After the opening of "The Children's Hour," I told the story to all present in simple language, explaining that while the story was told to all it was for the special benefit of the smaller children; but =I noticed even the oldest boys and girls listened to it with interest equal to the youngest=.
After the Bible story and the singing of a hymn, the Second Section withdrew to another room. There the children were divided into classes, and taught the questions and answers. A copy of the leaflet containing the questions and answers of the story for the day was given to each child, to be taken home and reviewed by parents or the older members of the family.
By separating the children into two grades, the older young people can receive instruction suited to their age, and the little ones are also provided for.
So many pastors and others have requested copies of the leaflets containing the questions and answers, that it has seemed desirable to publish them; and they are now completed upon the entire Bible story, and brought together in book form for the use of teachers of children.
These lessons may be used in classes of the Sunday School, by teachers who desire a more consecutive treatment of the Bible story than is given in the International Sunday School lessons, and by parents.
There are many families where "The Story of the Bible" has been read to the interest and profit of the children. Parents will find that these lessons will help to fix the important facts of the Bible story in the minds of the little ones.
It will be seen that the questions and answers do not embrace all the stories in the book. A selection has been made of what seem to be the most important subjects, affording weekly lessons for one year, with allowance for vacations, in the Old Testament, and another year in the New Testament.
In the hope that these lessons may aid the children of to-day, who are to be the men and women of to-morrow, to gain a definite knowledge of the Word of God these lessons are sent forth.
JESSE LYMAN HURLBUT.