Advert for the Children's Special Service Mission
Medium: Print on paper
The late 19th century was simultaneously a time of unprecedented religious evangelism in Britain and the beginning of philosophical humanism, which cast doubt on the existence of God. The trend towards humanism began with the publication of Darwin's 'The Origin of the Species', which proposed theories of natural selection and evolution among animal species. But Darwin's work resonated into philosophy and even literary criticism. English thinkers such as Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin suggested that The Bible could be read and appreciated as a novel, rather than purely as a reflection of the Divine wisdom of God.
Against this background of pervasive religious doubt, church ministers had to work very hard to keep their congregations. Sunday schools became particularly popular at this time as an accessible means of introducing children to religion.