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liam, that you ask this question. I have often thought of it myself, and asked myself how good men could have neglected the poor and the ignorant so long. For at first, you know, Sabbath-schools were intended only for the poor and ignorant children who had no other means of instruction, but it was afterwards found that they were fitted to improve and bless children of every condition.
The same neglect is seen in regard to all the benevolent societies and institutions of the present day. We cannot think why they were not established long before they were. We can only say of it," the times of this wickedness God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent," and engage with all their might in these noble enterprises. But, though in the history of Sabbath-schools which I have given you, I said that Mr. Raikes was the founder of them, I meant modern Sabbath-schools. In the time of the apostles there were schools established by the Christians, very much, though not exactly, like our Sabbath-schools. Did you ever hear of persons called Catechumens?
George Homer. I remember I have seen that word in a column of hard words in my spelling book, every one of which had ch in it, but I never knew what it meant. I supposed it meant something like catechism.
Mr. Anderson. So it does, and like catechism, is derived from a Greek word which means to teach. A catechism is what is taught, and catechumen is the pupil who is taught. These words began to be used very soon after the establishment of Christianity, and were applied by the Greek Christians to classes which were formed, in the first century, in all the principal churches. They were composed of children and young persons, and likewise adults, who needed instruction in the principles and duties of religion, and were taught on the Sabbath and other convenient times.
William. I wish, Mr. Anderson, you would tell us about them. I had rather hear about those who lived so long ago, than about persons who live in our times.
Mr. Anderson. That is just what I am going to do. See what I have got here.
George. A map! a map of Jerusalem!
You have bought it for us, have you not, Mr. Anderson? You are so good, and contrive so many ways to surprise us.
William. You will tell us all about it, will you not, Mr. Anderson? See, George, see, there is mount Calvary, and the crosses on it; and there is the temple, and every thing we have read about in our lessons.
Mr. Anderson. Stop, boys, stop, do not be quite so earnest, and I will tell you what I propose to do. I have been reading an account of a class of catechumens, who lived about ten years after the death of Christ, at Joppa, a seaport on the Mediterranean sea, where you remember Peter raised Dorcas to life, and gathered a little church.* It was a class of Jewish boys about twelve years of age. Two of them, whose names were Jonathan and Simon, were brothers, and their uncle, whose name was Selumiel, was their teacher. The Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament), and the gospels of Matthew and Mark, were all the parts of the Bible which they then had. Selumiel was a very faithful teacher, and endeavoured to interest them in every way, by describing
* See Acts ix. 36-43.
the places mentioned in the gospels which they studied, which he was very well prepared to do, as he had often been up to attend the feasts at Jerusalem before his conversion to Christianity.
The boys rewarded his faithfulness by their diligence and interest in their lessons. Jonathan and Simeon both became pious. Their interest in the narratives of Matthew and Mark was so much increased, and their desire to visit the scenes where most of the events occurred was so great, that Selumiel consented to take them with him, on a visit to Jerusalem.
Now I propose, boys, if you would like it, to give you, at our weekly meetings, an account of the visit of Selumiel and his scholars to Jerusalem. And I wish you to take this map, and study it, so as to be able to tell me where all the principal places on it are situated, as Mount Moriah, Mount Zion, Mount Acra, Mount Olivet, &c., so that you can follow me in the story which I shall tell you about Selumiel and his scholars.
George. I will do it, Mr. Anderson. I have studied geography at school, and I know
how to get it.
And this is such a pretty map I shall be delighted to study it.
Mr. Anderson. Next week then, as it is now time to dismiss, I will give you an account of the journey from Joppa to Jerusalem. In the mean time, here is a small map of Palestine, and I wish you to find out the distance and direction of Joppa from Jerusalem, and all you can respecting the places on the route. William. We will do as you wish us, Mr. Anderson. It makes the lessons so much more interesting to look out the places on a map, that I have almost worn out the little map of Palestine in my Union Questions, studying it so much. And I know almost all the places now, so that I shall not have to study very hard to get what you request us to learn.
And now, as it is
Mr. Anderson. I am very happy to find you so studious, William. That is the way to become wise and good. time to close our meeting, we will sing this beautiful hymn which I have selected for this occasion. It is expressive of the feelings of the exiled Jew towards the land of his fathers, and as we propose, in imagination, to