Drone—drone—drone—gigantic bees that boomed in a cavern of drowsiness—
Babbitt started from his open-eyed nap, thanked the teacher for “the privilege of listening to her splendid teaching,” and staggered on to the next circle.
After two weeks of this he had no suggestions whatever for the Reverend Dr. Drew.
Then he discovered a world of Sunday School journals, an enormous and busy domain of weeklies and monthlies which were as technical, as practical and forward-looking, as the real-estate columns or the shoe-trade magazines. He bought half a dozen of them at a religious book-shop and till after midnight he read them and admired.
He found many lucrative tips on “Focusing Appeals,” “Scouting for New Members,” and “Getting Prospects to Sign up with the Sunday School.” He particularly liked the word “prospects,” and he was moved by the rubric:
“The moral springs of the community’s life lie deep in its Sunday Schools—its schools of religious instruction and inspiration. Neglect now means loss of spiritual vigor and moral power in years to come.... Facts like the above, followed by a straight-arm appeal, will reach folks who can never be laughed or jollied into doing their part.”
Babbitt admitted, “That’s so. I used to skin out of the ole Sunday School at Catawba every chance I got, but same time, I wouldn’t be where I am to-day, maybe, if it hadn’t been for its training in—in moral power. And all about the Bible. (Great literature. Have to read some of it again, one of these days).”
How scientifically the Sunday School could be organized he learned from an article in the Westminster Adult Bible Class:
“The second vice-president looks after the fellowship of the class. She chooses a group to help her. These become ushers. Every one who comes gets a glad hand. No one goes away a stranger. One member of the group stands on the doorstep and invites passers-by to come in.”
Perhaps most of all Babbitt appreciated the remarks by William H. Ridgway in the Sunday School Times:
“If you have a Sunday School class without any pep and get-up-and-go in it, that is, without interest, that is uncertain in attendance, that acts like a fellow with the spring fever, let old Dr. Ridgway write you a prescription. Rx. Invite the Bunch for Supper.”
The Sunday School journals were as well rounded as they were practical. They neglected none of the arts. As to music the Sunday School Times advertised that C. Harold Lowden, “known to thousands through his sacred compositions,” had written a new masterpiece, “entitled ’Yearning for You.’ The poem, by Harry D. Kerr, is one of the daintiest you could imagine and the music is indescribably beautiful. Critics are agreed that it will sweep the country. May be made into a charming sacred song by substituting the hymn words, ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.’”
Even manual training was adequately considered. Babbitt noted an ingenious way of illustrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ: