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I still find that the way of religion is pleasantness, and all its paths are peace. And as the Lord has promised that in due season we shall reap, if we faint not; I hope, in the strength of the Lord, I shall not grow weary in well doing; for what is sown in weakness, the Lord can raise in power. And that the Lord may be pleased to bless more abundantly your labours, and the labours of all the like institutions, is the wish of your very grateful and humble
EXTRACTS from an Address in behalf of SUNDAY
Schools, published 1790. IF zeal for the glory of God, if love to the souls of men, in a general view, does not plead powerfully enough with you, to engage in this work, I will endeavour to move your own bowels to plead the infants cause.
Are you parents? Have you those that are part of yourselves? If you are, and are Christians, let me remind you that you are mortal. No foresight of yours can prevent those dear branches from being bereft of
your instruction and care: your two, or four, or six infants may be left unprovided for, without father or mother; or they may have some poor relative, who can barely spare them a wretched subsistence, without being capable of giving them the first rudiments of education, or bestowing the least attention to their immortal spirits. Yes, your offspring may be wretched yanderers, craving a morsel of bread at the door or windows of those who are now far below you in life; they may, be exposed to all the sad consequences of uninstructed poverty, surrounded with examples of, and temptations to all the shocking crimes, so frequently connected with such a state of indigence and distress. No parents to instil the great principles of justice, mercy, and truth, but every thing around, combining with every inward disposition, to lead ibem to act in constant opposition to those principles.
See then your own children, your dearest and most darling children from whose opening understandings yoq derive a pleasure, only exceeded by the amiableness of their dispositions, or the displays of their early piety! See those very children reduced by your absence, death, or change of circumstances, to the staie described, and then say what would be your sentiments of the generous minded persons, who would not only impart an insignificant part of their substance to clothe or feed them, but in a sense adopt them into tbeir families, and dedicate a part of their leisure liours, in attempting to supply the loss their minds felt by being deprived of you. Yes, consider one or many of your own, rescued from all this wretchedness and ignorance, by the kindness of a neighbour or a friend, and then say in what light the question appears! See if this view does not, with the strongest einphasis, bid you go and do likewise. But, pursue the thought still further ; imagine your child growing to maturity, in sin, ignorance, and poverty, follow him through a life of impiety, to a death of ignominy and shame; or, if he fall not a sacrifice to the hand of public justice yet, if you can bear the supposition, see him falling under the infinitely heavier stroke of a sin avenging God; follow him to the regions of darkness, cursing the hour of his existence, and those who were the instruments of it! lamenting, vainly lamenting, that he knew not in the day of his visitation, the things which were for his peace. On the other hand, consider him passing through this life with humility, discretion, integrity, and usefulness; view him a blessing to all connected with him, whether they are neighbours, friends, servants, or children ; follow him through the most afflictive scenes of life, till he enters the valley of the shadow of death, and there see the blessed consequences of a mind acquainted with the Gospel of peace! Behold your child a victor over the last enemy! 'I'race him rising in the morning of the resurrection, see him there enjoying the beautiful vision, and whilst he is adoring God, as the source, and the Lamb, as the purchaser of all this blessedness, his happy spirit overflows with gratitude to the instruments of his blessedness; and suppose the difference between these states of bliss and woe has been effected by the instructions of an unlooked for friend ; suppose you were permitted from the heavenly world, to view scenes of this nature, say, what more than propriety, what kindness would you see in the labours of those who were instruments of good to your children. Are these thoughts just? Is there any thing fallacious in considering the subject in this light? Is it improper to say “ Religious instruction is the great end serious people ought to propose in Sunday Schools? Will it be affirmed that they are not calculated to answer this end? If this be not affirmed, are the consequences of religious instruction less important, (when attended with
divine blessing,) than these mentioned? And surely, if these are the consequences, which may be expected from them, those who can reject such considerations will be proof against any other.
On the NON-ATTENDANCE of TEACHERS. PERMIT one who has the best interest of Sunday Schools at heart, and who is engaged in that honourable calling, to solicit the attention of your numerous readers to the following question; how far is it the duty of teachers to leave their young charge to the care of those who are almost strangers, to attend the preaching of favorite ministers, and sometimes, nay repeatedly, leave them to themselves. I would not wish to be thought severe and harsh towards them, while I have so many foibles myself to correct. But I consider Sunday School teachers lay themselves under an obligation to the Almighty, and to one another, to unite to instruct the children conmitted to their charge; and when they engage to become Sunday School teachers, they become responsible to God for their conduct towards those children; knowing, that at a future day they must give an account of their stewardship. Another thing I would observe, that when a teacher has a particular class
, he knows the particular disposition of those children who are in that class, he knows their different tempers, and can act accordingly; whereas, a stranger cannot have that opportunity, therefore cannot exact that authority their teacher can, consequently there cannot be that order that is proper
in a class of children. There may be engagements, when it may be the duty of a teacher to be absent; but then cannot he find a proper supply for his class, surely
“ Children take much notice” is an old and very true proverb; they notice the absence of their teacher, and perhaps are led to think that they may do the saine. Teachers should never be above giving the reason of their absence to their children, according to my idea at least, I have found it goud in my own class.
SUNDAY SCHOOL Facts and ANECDOTES. A BOY came to a Sunday School, near East Grinsted in Sussex, who could not read, and in a short time he had
learnt to read remarkably well. His teacher questioned him one Sunday relative to the rapid progress he had made, and asked him how he had managed to learn so quickly. The boy replied, " After I came to this Sunday School I resolved to spare no pains in learning to read, and being the best player at marbies among all the boys, it was my custom to play with a boy at “ring taw” and win his marbles; we then went to the church yard, and I gave him a marble to teach me to read what was written on a grave stone, which, when I had learnt, we went to the next, and from that to another. As I kept on learning he received the inarbles, and was very well satisfied with his pay. When I had parted with nearly all, we went to play again ; and being such a good hand at it, I was sure to win them back. In this way I went on with different boys, till I had learnt to read all that was written on the grave stones; and having, besides this, the advantage of coming to school every Sunday, I have learnt to read in this short time."
“ONE instance of the advantage of sowing beside all Waters' I ought to communicate. A child about seven or eight years of age, by repeated importunity, prevailed on her mother to hear me in the evening. The Lord made her a visit as he did Lydia, and we now consider her a humble, close-walking disciple of Jesus Christ. Thanks to his blessed name for this little Hebrew inaid he sent us.”
“ MY school here is numerously attended by Papists, who commit the Scriptures to memory, and seek for a Bible as eagerly as the Protestants. One girl, aged 19, who got and learned to read a Testament here, saw the absurdities of the Roman church, and lately went to the establishment: hundreds of others are now led to see their system has no place in the word of God, and I doubt not will openly avow their change of mind. These things are cause of great thankfulness to the Lord, who alone can render our feeble efforts effectual.”
A lad belonging to a Sunday School some time since, being in company with some boys, one of them struck him on the face; when he, with the greatest degree of composure, turned the other side also. On returning home he related the circumstance to bis master, who enquired why he acted thus: “ Because," replied the lad, “yor read we should do so in the Bible this morning."
An ADDRESS delivered to the TEACHERS of the BIRMINGIIAM
SUNDAY SCHOOL Union, by the Rev. J. A. James. WE feel peculiar pleasure in directing the attention of our readers to this animated, eloquent, and judicious address. It exhibits the glowing feelings with which a zealous Christian Minister beholds the labours, and exults in the success of Sunday School teachers. The writer does not generalize his remarks, as many ministers have done in their addresses on similar occasions, but enters into the spirit of the subject, and displays an ardent zeal for the Sunday School cause, a lively interest in its success, and deep acquaintance with its particular objects and great designs. The following extract from the introductory part of the address displays the necessity of Sunday Schools:
“ Exposed during the week to the moral contamination with which, through the indiscriminate mixture of the sexes, the atmosphere of our manufactories is so heavily laden; with very little, at least in the case of multitudes, to counteract at home, the evil they are so ready to learn abroad; nothing seems wanting as the climax of their spiritual wretchedness, but to be let loose on the sabhath, to roam through the fields and the streets, there to ripen for guilt and infamy on earth, for torment and despair in bell. Merciful and beneficial indeed are those asylams, whose doors are every Sunday thrown wide open, to allure the multitude of early wanderers which crowd the road that leadeth to destruction. Myriads who would otherwise have gone down to the grave almost ignorant of the existence of their God, and of their souls, have received, whatever they have done with it, that knowledge, which if properly improved, is sufficient to guide their feet to the celestial city.
The following are Mr. James's divisions. 1st. The ultimate object to which all your exertions should be directed. 2nd. The necessary qualification for this work. 3rd. The manner in which your duty should be performed.
Under the first head Mr. James remarks, It is for you to penetrate the forbidding exterior, by which the nobler part of man in these children is concealed, and behind the vail of ignorance, poverty, and childhood, to recognize, as the ultimate object of your labours, that im. mortal spirit for which the Son of God expired on the cross, and for which beaven and hell are engaged in ceaseless conflict. With every child that providence directs to our schools, he sends this message, take this child and bring it up for ne.
Religious instruction, by a method adapted to the capacities of children, is particularly and justly enforced.
Teach them the radical corruption of their nature, and the necessity of divive influence to renovate their hearts, Endeavour to open to their minds the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they may be prepared to perceive the necessity of the atoning sacrifice of hin who is Emmanuel, God with us. Lead them to Mount Sinai, there to awaken their consciences by the thunders of the law; from thence conduct them to Mount Calvary, and collecting them ronnd the cross of him who said, suffer little children to coine wito me, and forbid VOL. II.