We have spoken of the importance and benefits of home training and instruction. We endeavored to show that Christian parents are under the most solemn obligation to instruct their children in the truth of God’s Word. We also endeavored to show that, in order to give their children a clear understanding of the saving truths of the Bible, they could do no better than to diligently teach them Luther’s Small Catechism; that this was really Luther’s idea and purpose when he wrote that excellent little religious manual; that the first catechetical class ought indeed to be in the family, with father and mother as teachers;—that this home class ought to be carried on so long and so persistently, that in it the children would become perfectly familiar with the contents of the book; so familiar indeed, that they would know all the parts that Luther wrote perfectly by heart. Luther’s Small Cathechism, i.e., the parts that Luther wrote himself, is really quite a small book. By giving only a little time and attention to it each week, the parents could easily, in a few years, have all their children know it as perfectly as they know their multiplication table. And such ought to be the case.
After these beginnings have thus been made, and while the home instruction is still going on, the work of the Sunday-school teacher comes in as a help to the home class. In every Sunday-school class there ought to be, with each lesson, some instruction in the Catechism. To this end each teacher, in a Lutheran Sunday-school, ought to be familiarly at home in this most important text-book. The teacher should endeavor so to teach these lessons, that the pupil would learn to love and appreciate the Catechism more and more. Thus, the school ought to be a helper to the home. And thus, home and school together, working in harmony for the same end, would prepare the children for the pastor’s catechetical class.
If this good old-fashioned custom were kept up in all our households and schools, then would the pastor’s catechetical class be more of a pleasure and a profit to himself and his catechumens. It would then be the pastor’s part, as it should be, to review the contents with his class, and thus to find how well the preparatory work had been done. Then could he devote his time and energy to what is really the pastor’s part of the work, viz., to explain and set forth clearly the meaning of the Catechism, and show how it all applies to the heart and life of every one.