12 Old-time Schools and School-books
if any parent or others shall think there is just cause for complaint against the master for too much severity, they shall have liberty to tell him so in friendly and loving way.
The emphasis laid on religious instruction in these rules was very characteristic of the colonial period. The children were perpetually enveloped, week-days and Sundays, in an atmosphere saturated with religious forms, services, ideas, and language. To illustrate how omnipresent this religious atmosphere was, I cannot do better than to cite the occasion when Judge Sewell found that the spout which conducted the rain water from his roof did not perform its office. After patient searching, a ball belonging to the Sewell children was discovered lodged in the spout. Thereupon the father sent for the minister and had a season of prayer with his boys, that their mischief or carelessness might be set in its proper aspect and that the event might be sanctified to their spiritual good. Powers of darkness and of light were struggling for the possession of every youthful soul, and it was the duty of parents, ministers, and teachers to lose no opportunity to pluck the children as brands from the burning.
The efforts to make the children religious were not by any means uniformly successful. No doubt the insistence of the elders on the solemnities often deadened their charges' sensibilities. At any rate, character and conduct among the young people were far from perfect. A committee appointed to see if the instruction at Harvard remained true to its early adopted motto, For Christ and the Church, reported