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2. “At it again." Application is required. The intellect must be cultivated or we shall fall short of the mark. What might pass well enough years ago, will not do now. If the intellect become stagnant our young people will find it out; and then, instead of being honoured, we may come to be despised, which will prove fatal to our efforts, and end in failure. Enemies are in the field, in the shape of temptation presented to the young in various forms; and our instructions must be made attractive as well as useful, would we secure them on the side of virtue and religion. We want more energy, No class of people on carth ought to throw more energy into their work than we.
The cause demands and deserves this at our hands.
3. “At it again." Duty calls. “How much owest thou unto thy Lord,” is a question to be asked by us individually and frequently. We believe the Saviour has called us to feed his lambs-a high and honorable duty, and not to be lightly esteemed. Do we recognise this fact? We ought, at least, to be prepared to render to our great Master the conscientious discharge of duty which we accord to an earthly master, whose time and property we are so ready to protect. What we are about is worth doing well. We must not let inclination, or desire for ease and rest, cause us to swerve from the line of duty which is plainly marked out for us, so long as bodily and mental powers are continued to us; or we must relinquish the hope of hearing the “well done, good and faithful servant.”
4. “At it again." Time flies. Yes it does ; and works great changes in its flight. Teachers and scholars meet and part and pass away. In the school of forty teachers of which the writer is superintendent, only two remain who were teachers at his appointment seventeen years ago. And how many during those years have joined us, and again been separated from us? Each successive Sabbath reminds us of the flight of time; but more especially do the solemn facts strike us as we close our annual labors and enter on another year. How fitting the season for pious resolves ! How suitable for renewed and vigorous action.
5. “At it again.” Life is uncertain ; an old axiom—but very forcible. The more we think on it, the better for us. What are our feelings towards the husbandman, who, although favored with the same sunny days as his neighbours, allows the golden opportunity to slip away; and whilst they hate secured the bountiful crop, has the mortification of seeing his produce wasted in the field : Certainly not those of sympathy and condolence. The weeks of harvest last not all the year,
and we, as Christian laborers, must seize the present season, that when the summons comes for rest our appointed task may have been accomplished.
Dear brethren, let us " at it again," in earnestness, prayer, love and zeal, York.
“A WINTER DREAM."
One dreary winter night, as I lay upon my couch dreamily cogitating over the past, the door of the room was gently opened, and a tall majestic looking personage entered; he beckoned me out, and taking me in his arms, few with me to a far distant land, which I afterwards found was called "Dream land.” Having arrived there, we walked on through a variety of curious objects, till we arrived at a splendid palace, on the outside of which was written, in glittering characters, “The House of Vision.” My guide seemed perfectly well acquainted with the many intricate passages we traversed, for he did not hesitate a moment, till we came to a large room, the door of which opened before him as of its own accord. The only light that came into the room was through a chink in the wall in the shape of a cross, which enabled me to see that the place was full of remarkable instruments, but not to discern their shape or character. My guide gave me one of these instruments, the name of which was “ Faith," and bid me look through it, after that he had anointed my eyes with an ointment he called “ Balm of Gilead,” without which he said none could look steadily, or be able to discern anything through it at all to their own satisfaction. After having gazed steadily for a few moments, I saw a large building full of children, not scattered about, but arranged in separate divisions; and over each division was set one who, I was told, was instructing the children in the things of the kingdom. But had I not been told, I should never have guessed it, for I saw one of these teachers fast asleep, and another kept yawning and looking up at the clock, another was idly talking; and I saw out of them all but one who seemed to me really in earnest. And, surprised at this, I asked my guide what ailed them, as the subject of their instruction seemed so soul-stirring. Another voice than my guide's answered this time, and said, “They are wicked and slothful servants, but few are really earnest; they draw nigh unto me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; but I will not separate the sham from the real now, let both grow together till the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, bind ye together first the tares into bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." I wept when the voice said this, for I knew the Unchangeable One spoke it. My guide then led me to another place, in which were many dens, and most of them had an inhabitant, and I recognized some of the teachers I had seen before. I asked one of them how he came to be there, and, wailing and beating his breast, he said, "I was in yon world professedly a teacher in a Sunday school, but I did not care for the children; I went to pass away the time at first, and afterwards, when I was tired of it, I ayailed myself of every excuse to stop away. Ta
children followed my example, they saw me going in the paths of sin, and followed after; and I, who ought to have been their spiritual father, have now to bear their curses and imprecations. Oh, when you get back to earth, bid those I left behind, take warning by my example, lest they also come to this place of torment.” Glad was I to get from that place, and again look through the glass. My guide now bid me look upwards, and I saw the throne of God, surrounded by countless legions of immortal spirits; but I noticed one more bright than any, with a sweeter voice, and a harp that sent forth more melodious sounds than any, and a troop of little ones were dancing by his side, and shouting “ Glory, glory, glory," and in him I recognised the earnest teacher. I should have gazed long, but my guide took the glass from my hand, and again few with me back to earth. On this I awoke, and found myself still lying on my couch, and lo, 'twas but a dream.
Teacher, which is thy character ? art thou the earnest worker, glorifying thy father which is in hearen? or art thou an idler, disgracing thy God, and heaping up wrath againgst the day of wrath ? Art thou earnestly endeavouring to teach thy scholars the way to that better land, where all are earnest ? or dost thou go to the school to gain the name of a self-denying man? or art thou ashamed to give up the work having been engaged in it so long? Which is it? Read the two pictures, and at each one ask thyself "Is it I?” Thou mayest cheat others, but thou canst not cheat thine own soul, nor cloak and dissemble yourself before the face of your heavenly father. Art thou a wicked and slothful servant: What! ten children's souls to answer for and · idle ? What! the blood of ten immortal spirits on thine hands and not striving to wipe it off? What! is not thine own soul burdened enough with sin as it is and wilt thou add their sins to thine ? For thus saith the Lord, "their blood will I require at thine hand.” What! thou never comest to the prayer meeting, and canst thou expect to do any good? Thou never breathest a prayer for thy superintendent, and canst thou wonder if his heart is heavy, if his hands hang down, if his knees become feeble? Thou slothful servant, arise from the lethargy in which thou hast enveloped thyself; “quit you like men, be strong,' “be an earnest worker for Him,” and “verily thou shalt not lose thy reward." Uppingham.
ARCHBISHOP FENELON'S PRAYER. O Lord, take my heart, for I cannot give it; and when thou hast it, oh keep it, for I cannot keep it for thee; and save me in spite of myself, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
DISADVANTAGES OF THE “ ALTERNATE” SYSTEM
In the infantile days of the Sunday School Institution, serious imperfections were necessarily tolerated, and many of them even undetected. But in every year that has been added to its age, improved plans of organization, more successful methods of management, and more efficiency in the teaching agency are observed, and are urgently called for. Among the quarters needing reform in many schools, we should make a serious omission if we overlooked the teachers them. selves. At our last quarterly social meeting, we were occupied some time in considering the importance of having well prepared teachers. We have now the pleasure of directing attention to an improvement which
many teachers can make for their own, and the school's advantage, viz.: by giving up the alternate system of teaching, and becoming regular and constant teachers; that is, the whole Sabbath,
Sabbath. It is readily believed that teachers are most anxious to increase their amount of usefulness, and with this as their motive, we offer a few suggestions and recommend for their adoption-the plan of having one teacher only to each class.
The teacher's work is one of such importance that it is deserving of his best and constant attention, and demands unremitting effort. It is important, because of the momentous consequences depending upon it. The spiritual interests of the scholars are to a great extent en. trusted to him, and his constant care and attention are demanded in order that he may spiritually benefit them. The sculptor gives a thousand gentle touches with his chisel, before he fashions the unshapen marble into the beautiful statue ; and so we would argue, that without diligent and regular application on the part of the teachers, scholars may pass from under their care, without any spiritual form or shape; in other words, without any deep and lasting impressions having been made upon their minds.
The teacher's work is difficult, because the most regular teacher sees his scholars but seldom, while teachers of evil who counteract his work, exert their influence over them every day.
Home example and influence are often against the teacher, for we must remember, that the greater part of our scholars cannot be called the children of Christian parents. Street companions may often be
een leading our scholars away, and the dispositions of many lead them to prefer evil rather than good, and they too often yield to the temptations of their street associates.
The teacher's opportunities are so few and short for gaining his scholars' affections, for becoming acquainted with their habits and
dispositions, and for making good impressions upon their minds, that no opportunity should be lost.
Again, the art of teaching WELL can only be acquired by long and earnest practice. The irregular teacher is like the half-day scholar from a mill, whom the school-master cannot push on in his learning as the others. Whatever improvement the alternate teacher makes in the art of teaching one Sabbath, is partly lost by the intermissive nature of his work; thus efficiency is seldom attained.
In considering the disadvantage of the alternate system, we will, firstly, name those which bear upon the school as a whole.
As a rule, the alternate teacher cannot have that interest in his school, and in his scholars, which would prompt him to constant attendance.
Knowing he is only half a teacher, he has not strong motives to regularity; and the alternate teacher is often one of the absent teachers.
This remark was supported with sad force by statistics of teachers' attendance during the past quarter, read at the same meeting.
This occasional absence has a very injurious effect upon the order of the school, and the improvement of the particular class.
Such a teacher knows less of the superintendent's plans and government, and thus, instead of aiding, he often thwarts his attempts to improve the discipline of the school. The example of such a teacher has not a good influence on scholars; they infer a want of earnestness and attention, and are sooner drawn away when companions entice. The class under two teachers cannot be so orderly, or very seldom is,
Let us consider the disadvantages to the teacher himself.
He has less interest, less pleasure in the work, than the regular teacher. If he is a teacher from a sense of Christian duty, he is justified in adopting such method as gives him the greatest pleasure in his work; and constancy of attendance is one thing that certainly will make him more at home in his labour of duty.
If he is a teacher because it is to him a “ labour of love," why, then he is sure to be amongst the constant teachers, unless the utmost necessity prevents him; and, therefore, my remarks do not apply to such as cannot, by any means, be constant teachers.
The alternate teacher has less control and authority in his class, because every teacher has different ideas and methods of governing; therefore they often class and counteract each other. He feels less his personal responsibility as a teacher when that responsibility is divided. The responsibility is there, but he feels it less, and this is a serious dis. advantage.
In concluding, we may remark, that we have not been theorizing merely in attributing greater success to the constant than to the alternate system of teaching.