Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


SUNDAY SCHOOL CHURCHES. -A valuable minister of the gospel recently made use of the following illustration to impress on the minds of the members of his church, that they ought to exert all the influence they have on the side of Christ, however little influence that may be :- Suppose,' said he, that the small fibres of which a cable rope is composed were each a living creature, and suppose that one of these fibres, or threads, when the anchor is cast out, and the ship tossed by winds and waves, should say, I will not hold, my strength is small, it will not bear an ounce. It cannot be of much consequence, that it be exerted in holding the large ship; I will let go ; and so that fibre or thread lets go. Another reasons in the same way, comes to the same conclusion, that its strength is so small that it can be of little use, and lets go, and so another and another, until two-thirds of them have let go, and the rest of the fibres or threads composing the cable rope are broken in twain, and the

ship driven ashore and wrecked.' The application is obvious. Let Christians, when they are disposed to imagine that they can have but little influence-too little to be of any use, and therefore they will strive to exert themselves none at all, think of the fibres or threads of the cable rope, and beware of letting go, lest, for want of these little influences, the church is driven from its stedfastness, great detriment received, and souls lost. Thus has many a promising school been allowed to drift without pilot, or helm, or anchor, or hope, just because one after another of the professing Christians has let go the work of teaching, visiting, praying, for the sabbath school.

SUNDAY SCHOOL INFLUENCES. -Away among the Alleghanies, there is a spring so small, that a single ox in a summer's day could drain it dry. It steals its unobtrusive way among the hills, till it spreads out in the beautiful Ohio. Thence it stretches away a thousand miles, leaving on its banks more than a hundred villages and cities, and many thousand cultivated farms; and bearing on its bosom more than half a thousand steam-boats. Then, joining the Mississippi, it stretches away and away, some twelve hundred miles more, till it falls into the great emblem of eternity. It is one of the tributaries of that ocean, which, obedient only to God, shall roar and roar, till the angel, with one foot on the sea and the other on the land, shall lift up his hand to heaven and swear that time shall be longer. So with moral influence. It is a rill-a rivulet -a river-an ocean, boundless and fathomless as eternity. That rill is now rising in every soul, in every class! Oh, spirit of God, sanctify these influences for earth's benefit and heaven's glory!

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Teacher.

[ocr errors]


FROM a very ancient drawing, we are here enabled to give a representation of the cross erected in 1450 in St. Paul's churchyard,

London. Both before and after the Reformation preaching crosses and market crosses were common. In many of our old towns, vestiges of them are still extant. The general design of market crosses was to infuse the morality of the cross into the transactions of the market: preaching crosses were used for various ecclesiastical purposes, especially for itinerant and occasional preaching, the preacher often writing on the pillar the day when he would again proclaim "the blessed gospel."

The St. Paul's cross stood till 1643, when, by order of Parliament, it was destroyed, as having been an instrument of Popish mischief, and the resort of the idle. During the Commonwealth, it was common to publish the banns of matrimony at these crosses. Interesting associations connect many of the old crosses with the reformers and puritans of ever blessed memory.


THE spirit of another muchbeloved and honoured Sabbath

school teacher has left its clayey tenement, and soared home to its Father. Death appears to be particularly busy in our ranks. Soldier after soldier is fallingnot conquered, but conquering in death. Laying aside their swords to take up the crown which awaits them at the entrance to glory. They rest from their laboursthe body in the sepulchre-the spirit in heaven.


"Our graves of rest are many here, Many our glorious mansions there, And faith a place to us has shown Before the throne, Prepared for us by Christ the Son." MARTHA NEWPORT was born 8th February 1825, and for many years a devoted teacher of the young. Her early life evidenced that she was a flower offered in the bud." From the age of eight years, she had been connected with the Sunday school cause; and at fourteen, became a teacher in the school connected with the Union Chapel, Horselydown, Southwark, and fulfilled her duties with punctuality and faithfulness.

A trifling circumstance made an impression on her mind, which

was never effaced. It was this: her minister, the Rev. John Adey, one evening, as she was coming out of the vestry, placed his hand upon her head, and said, "Bless you, my child!" The prayer was answered; God gave her a great blessing-a desire to be saved and blessed of Him. How frequently might ministers and teachers bring down a blessing upon the little ones, by a pious and heartfelt petition delivered by way of a blessing. In the autumn of 1841, her pastor preached from the words "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved." This led to her decision, and in November of the same year, she was admitted a member of the church.


Her respected father gives the following account of her illness: 'Her health had been very delicate for nearly three years, and on the 11th November, 1846, she was obliged to take to her bed, and gradually grew worse and weaker. As her bodily health and strength declined, she was invariably strenthened by the Spirit of God, and enabled to bear patiently the Lord's will concerning her. At the commencement of her last illness, she was much harrassed with doubts and fears; but, through the mercy of our God, they were gradually removed, and Christ became increasingly precious to her. She would often repeat those lines of the poet


"Nothing in my hand I bring,, Simply to Thy cross I cling.' She was rather diffident, and could not say much to any one. She took great comfort from that passage in Isaiah xli, 10th verseFear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, 1 will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." She was fond of Hymn xx, Book I. and Psalm xvii. of Watts, and often repeated them. She would

sometimes say, 'Oh, what should I do now, if I had a Saviour to seek; but I have found Him.' She was always glad to have the Scriptures read to her, for she could not read much herself. Having acquired a great knowledge of the Scriptures, she could repeat many parts of them, and was much delighted in hearing John xiv. and the Romans viii. read to her. She much enjoyed family worship; sometimes she could not bear much reading, her cough being so troublesome; but would have each of us repeat a passage of Scripture, repeating hers in turn, which was always very appropriate. Almost the last text she repeated was, "My days are like a shadow that declineth," Psalm cii. verse 11. When speaking on the subject of death, she was not at all dismayed, but spoke of it as though she were going on a journey. When in much pain at times, and her mother expressed sorrow, she would say 'It is all needful, what are my sufferings, compared with Christ's ?' A few days before her departure, a friend observed,


How beautiful the sun shines this morning;' she answered 'Yes, I am glad to see it; but what is that compared with the Sun of righteousness?' Expressing her gratitude to God, for the kind attention and sympathy manifested by our friends, she said, 'It was the Lord put it in their hearts to act so towards me, the unworthiest of all.' She derived much comfort and consolation from the kind visits of her dear pastor, and the deacons, and other friends. On Saturday, the 13th February, she was much worse and gradually sinking. When I got home in the evening, she seemed to revive a little, saying she was glad I was come. I asked her if Christ were still precious to her; her answer was, Oh, yes, father; and I long to be gone:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]


I am going to leave you all tonight.' In about an hour and a half afterwards, she beckoned us to come close to her; she held out her hand and embraced us all affectionately, saying, I am going; and reclined on her pillows, and shortly afterwards fell asleep in the arms of her dear Redeemer, without a sigh or a groan. We feel assured she could adopt the language of the Psalmist and say, 'Into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth."

[blocks in formation]




REALLY, I have been sometimes ashamed of the sluggish way in which I have gone into my class-and have not been able to liken my manner to anything else than that in which a dull horse goes to market,' as though every step I took would throw me down. I remember going into my class in this style for the last time. I sat down, not so much as knowing where the lesson was to be found, or where the subject was. No commentary had been consulted! -no time spent in study!—not a single question ready! Uninterested myself, you may be sure I failed to interest my scholars. To all intents and purposes I sat as a statue-a soul without life. The lesson commenced (for my scholars knew where it was to be found), but no explanations! no illustra

tions! no anecdotes! no allusion to familiar scenes! The time hung heavily on our hands, and i felt utterly miserable-oh, thought I, far better wear out than rust


Do you think Uncle Harry was alone when he acted thus? He wishes he had been; but the thought comes into his mind that there are very many of his fellowlabourers-if they may be so called-who are frequently in the same predicament-who seem too lazy to study. He has often observed, that those who have the most time for study, generally act as though they would rather do anything than devote an hour or two to meditation on the subject for their classes. Is not such teaching a drag? How miserable! Indeed, you do then make a labour of love. It is regularly rusting out oneself!

I told you just now that it was the last time I entered into my class unprepared. Aye, it was a

happy time when I set to work in you must be burning and shinearnest when I resolved to wearing lights. You must be set on out. Oh, I love to see a shining a hill-not of boasting; but Sunday school teacher, whose eyes on the bill Calvary. There must sparkle with love-whose soul is you take your station. There fired with zeal-and who, far from must you borrow rays of light rusting out his life, is every day from the Sun of righteousness, growing brighter and brighter- and gather fresh light every day, whose every energy is developing till the period arrive when you itself in his work. To such an one, shall be changed into the same I say-Go on, go on—' better wear image from glory to glory. out than rust out!'

Your spiritual life must shineand if you derive it from its proper source, it cannot but shine: and its light be intercepted by not a single cloud-till that of death shall hide you from the world. And even then, the rays of your departure shall guide many a wanderer to the Sun of righteousness.

Your light must shine before men-not that you may be seen of men: but that men and children, seeing your good worksyour Christian life-your lovely temper-your holy zeal, and your earnest desire for their spiritual benefit, may be led to glorify your heavenly Father. If then, by your light shining before men continually and clearly-brighter and brighter-souls are led to the Saviour, the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world'-and become in their turn burning and shining lights-amid the darkness that is in the world, you will confess with me- better wear out than rust out' for the attainment of so glorious an end.


Imagine a teacher begining his work in the early inorning of his days. He works, he watches, he prays! Every moment he has to spare is spent in the study of the book in which he teaches-in meditation for his class. The midnight hour oft leaves him in study-and the morning dawn again finds him engaged in Sunday school meditation. The whole of the sabbath is spent in the school in the class. Prayer, faith, hope, and charity are evident in all his proceedings. He walks, he speaks, he acts, he sleeps, he lives a Sunday school teacher! It is evident his thought is 'I cannot do enough in the service of him who has done so much for me! But this teacher is early called to his rest, and it is the opinion of all who knew him that his anxiety and zeal for the conversion of the rising race, and his great mental exertions for this end, have exhausted his bodily powers, and he sunk under it! And if it be so, dear friends-he has finished the work which his heavenly Father had committed to him-and he is now enjoying the reward-even the crown of life. 'Better wear out than rust out!'

Every teacher is a light set in the world, that is, if he be a Christian. It is possible, however, that this light be hid under a bushel, and there may burn, but to no advantage. A candle beneath a bushel may burn, but will burn itself out to the advantage of no one. Teachers,

Lastly, you must burn out of the world-shine more and more unto the perfect day. Your light must not be suffered to go out, till death shall take you away. You must burn and wear out in God's work. Burn through the valley of death-and then shall you be welcomed to glory as one who has turned many to righteousness and you shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. With such a prospect 'better wear out than rust out.'

« PreviousContinue »