Page images

esteem: or it is that mantle under which he hides his brother's faults, and which he uses as a medium to represent to his view every action as being well intended, though done amiss. In God, it is an attribute which, combining every other, makes up the perfection of his nature; for “God is Love." And in proportion as this principle is cherished in the heart, and kept in lively exercise towards our fellow'creatures, in that proportion we approach to the moral likeness of Him who fileth all in all. From this view of the subject, we must infer that this principle, and this alone, should govern every dispute, quench the growing strife, and cement each heart to another by an indissoluble union. And then if one should fall, two will be ready to lift him up; and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.

3d. Seriousness is requisite to success in sunday school teaching; inasmuch as sunday school teachers have subjects of the most important nature to inculcate upon their pupils. Wishing, as they do, not merely to teach them to read, but also to instruct them in the knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, both by individual teaching and collective addresses. How incongruous must it be then for a sunday school teacher to appear light and trifling in the presence of those children whom he has just been addressing on the value of the soul, the importance of eternity, the happiness of Heaven, and the miseries of Hell: : or, whilst the children are addressed, for him to appear with an insignificant smile upon his countenance! A becom ing gravity will command the attention of the children, and will stamp truth and importance on every sentence, in the administration of advice or reproof, which may be spoken in their hearing. The want of this will consequently produce the contrary effect, and will prove an insurmountable barrier to success in sunday school teaching. For if the chidren behold levity in the conduct of their teachers, at a time when seriousness should be visible on every countenance, viz. whilst giving them advice or reproof, they will have sufficient reason to doubt the truth of what is said to them; or, supposing it to be true, to call in question its importance: and that instruction is very unlikely to prove efficient, which the children, from want of decorum in their teachers, have reason to infer is either false or of little moment.

4th. Veracity is a requisi'e to success in sunday school teaching. Here the sunday school teacher may ask, "Do you suppose that I practise falsehood?" No, not designedly


so; far from it. But every sunday school teacher, who is worthy of the name, possesses a heart warm with affection towards those whom he designs to teach; and, having to administer punishment as well as reward, this amiableness of disposition is likely to lead him into error. For though we should ever cherish that charity which hides a multitude of faults, yet towards children, having discovered a fault and threatened punishment, we should either qualify the denun ciation, or absolutely inflict the awarded correction. I know, from experience, how difficult this is, if not executed immediately. The bowels yearn over the transgressor, and we are willing to pass him by. But this being done we have forfeited our word, the natural result of which is never more to be believed. And when our veracity may be suspected, we cannot reasonably promise ourselves success in attempting to govern those committed to our care.

5th Justice, is likewise a requisite to success in sunday school teaching. This indeed might have been blended with the forementioned requisite, only as this applies to the distribution of rewards and punishments, unconnected with promise or threatening, according to the merit or demerit of the child. The privation of good is the greatest punishment to a child sensible of his privileges. This will require the strictest attention of the sunday school teacher in observing the conduct of his class, that he may by no means encourage the guilty, nor suffer the praise-worthy to lose his reward. And, whilst this line of conduct discovers to the minds of the children the existing distinction between vice and virtue, it is also calculated to induce them to avoid the former, whilst they make the latter the business of their lives.

6th. Stability, or perseverance, is another requisite to success in sunday school teaching. The same una mity, love, seriousness, veracity, and justice, should be maintained in our conduct seven years hence, or even seventy, should our lives be so protracted, as is apparent this day. The sunday schol teacher should be stable as the rock, and regular as the return of day; both as it respects punctuality of attendance in point of time, and the regular use of those means, the exercise of which is calculated to render that attendance beneficial. Sunday school teachers are to the school what pillars are to an edifice, its support: if they fail, the building Or they are like con.manders to an army: commonly, I believe, whi st the generals keep their po t, none but cowards flee, and success is almost certain; but should the

must fall.


commanders withdraw, or relax their exertions and give incoherent orders, even the experienced veteran must quit the field; the consequent effect of which is the whole are routed, and the enemy is left to enjoy an uninterrupted triumph. Thus it will be found with sunday school teachers: whilst they persevere in the path of duty, they wil never want children to teach, and certain success awaits their labours; for they are likely to lead on their little army to conquest and a crown. But if instability attend us, if we quit the sphere of action, or keep it with reluctance, the children will soon fail in their attendance, Satan will throw obstacles in the way of usefulness, and at last the enemy of souls will be left to spread the baneful effect of his victories unmolested in the field.

7th. Prayer is an essential requisite to success in sunday school teaching. "Without me ye can do nothing," said infinite Wisdom. "Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but God only can give the increase," said an inspired apostle. But" Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive," sounds from the sacred word. Believers in all ages have experienced the truth of these promises, and the prayer of faith has overcome many difficulties, has procured inuumerable blessings, and has always been particularly sanctioned by divine approbation.

What then shall we not be able to accomplish by prayer? 1st. Individual secret prayer. each one supplicating the throne of grace, that success may attend his own personal labours.

2d. Prayer with the children, that God may pour down his blessing upon the united efforts of the teachers, upon the understandings of the children, and succeed, by his efficient blessing, every attempt to instruct them.

Sdly. Prayer in these our quarterly meetings, that God may animate each heart with sacred fire, kindled by the love of Jesus Christ. With this powerful weapon of all prayer" in our hands, no instrument that may be formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against us in judg ment we shall condemn. Then let us go cheerfully forward, relying on Him who has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." And may we so run as to obtain that no inan can take, our crown. For in due time we shall reap, if we faint not.



Question. By what means can bad behaviour and inattention to improvement be most effectually counteracted in Sunday Scholars ?

The opener of the subject thought that, in order to adopt suitable measures to attain the great object of the question, it was almost necessary to become a philosopher. That which would counteract these evils in one child would not in another. Some are inattentive from levity, and others from a bad inclination of the mind-these must be treated differently. Emulation, though often spoken against as bringing the baser passions into exercise, would conduce to this end in a well-regulated school; but it was absolutely necessary in attaining this object that the teacher should attend constantly, and become well acquainted with his children. Thus, by exciting a friendly spirit of emulation, and watching over it constantly, attention would be excited and improvement promoted. Teachers should be continually leading their children forwards-they should raise up a spirit of enquiry, and direct their attention to the wonderful things contained in the bible. Monitors had been found very useful in checking inattention and bad behaviour. A disorderly label fixed on a bad child had often produced the desired effect.

A friend stated that inattention and bad behaviour generally arose from the neglect of the teachers. If they were talking about all the circumstances of the past week instead of attending to their classes, the children might be expected to behave badly.

A teacher stated that the want of a judicious mode of pu nishment was one cause of inattention and bad behaviour, He reprobated the conduct of those, who after the admoni tion or punishment of a child, seem rather disposed to pity the offender, than to express their abhorrence of his crime. Whenever punishment was to be inflicted, it should be done promptly, and a strict regard should be paid to whatever had been previously stated both with regard to punishments and rewards. He was extremely averse to the use of the cane, and recommended that emulation should be excited, and the characters of the various pupils so discriminated as to render punishment salutary. He cautioned teachers against undue familiarity with their children, as it would deprive punishment of its due effect, and concluded by


[ocr errors]

recommending humility, early and regular attendance, and diligence in the business of the School.

A superintendent stated that children should not be considered as mere machines; they all possessed lively feelings, and each of them had an individual character. It was of the greatest importance that a teacher should be intimately acquainted with the character of each of his pupils, that he might know how to adopt those plans which were best suited to the cases of each individual. Shame and a deprivation of rewards had often been found serviceable. He thought earnest affectionate private expostulation to be one of the best means o counteracting inattention and bad behaviour-this will often produce the desired effect, when sterner measures would only irritate and harden. It was of great importance not only to attend to the behaviour of the children in school, but likewise during the week, and by all means to secure the constant co-operation of their parents and friends. Every thing in a Sunday School should have an encouraging and interesting appearance. Let teachers strew the path with flowers and lead their children on in wisdom's ways. By the use of these means many children, who once were inattentive and bad in their behaviour, will become ornaments to the School and comforts to their teachers,

A teacher said, that conciliatory measures would be always found best. The ill-conduct of the children commonly arose from the faults of the teacher. There were some who were only half-teachers. He thought that by exercising great care in the admission of teachers, many evils would be avoided and much benefit arise.

A friend said that many bad effects arose from lateness in the attendance of teachers, as it encouraged the children to imitate their examples. The children should be kept constantly employed; it could not be expected that they would behavé well if they had nothing to do.

A teacher thought that constant attention should be paid to impress on the mind of the pupils the idea, that their benefit was the great object which induced their instructors to give up so many conforts and privileges. In speaking to Sunday School children, one of the best ways to overcome their inattention was, to relate some interesting anecdote. It was not only necessary that scholars should love their teachers they should also respect them. When children were repeatedly bd in their behaviour and inattentive to their own improvement, as a last expedient, it might be necessary to expel them. He recollected the case of a very bad boy, who was placed on the form and publicly addressed

« PreviousContinue »