There’s nothing quite like religion for raising your children. Before giving you a nineteenth-century example, here is first the approbation the booklet in question received from William Meagher, the Vicar General (or bishop’s deputy) in Dublin:
I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatever in it contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Faith; but on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify the youthful classes for whose benefit it has been written.
The writer in question is Fr. John Furniss (1809-1865), a Catholic priest. His booklets have sold over four million copies, and this is a representative quote, aimed at children, from ‘The Sight of Hell’:
XXVII. The Fourth Dungeon.
The Boiling Kettle
Look into this little prison. In the middle of it there is a boy, a young man. He is silent; despair is on him. He stands straight up. His eyes are burning like two burning coals. Two long flames come out of his ears. His breathing is difficult. Sometimes he opens his mouth and breath of blazing fire rolls out of it. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No; then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalded veins of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head. The marrow is boiling in his bones! Ask him, put the question to him, why is he thus tormented? His answer is, that when he was alive, his blood boiled to do very wicked things, and he did them, and it was for that he went to dancing-houses, public-houses, and theatres. Ask him, does he think the punishment greater than he deserves? “No,” he says, “my punishment is not greater than I deserve, it is just. I knew it not so well on earth, but I know now that it is just. There is a just and a terrible God. He is terrible to sinners in Hell — but He is just!”
Yes, just awful. I guess this is one way to keep the young ones away from discos and theaters. They can instead spend their nights crying and peeing their beds in terror, afraid of committing some vague and dreadful sin.