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the adaptation we may plant some hope of success. Appealing to the Christian adult we might ask, “ Are you in the habit of attending public worship where your heart is not interested, and where your mind is not instructed ? Have you chosen such a ministry for yourself? or, if it be your misfortune to be placed under such a ministry, is it not your habit to absent yourself for another spiritual leader? Can more self-denial be expected from an unconverted child than from a pious woman, or from a godly man?
Secondly, Separate Services can alone speak with children to God, or speak for God to children.—If prayer breathe the desires which the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows of an adult have begotten ; and if these feelings are excited by the care of business, the charge of a family, the toil of earning daily bread, the discipline of suffering, the state of trade, the politics of the government, the condition of the nations--can children follow that prayer? If adoration expresses conceptions beyond their reach, and if thanksgiving acknowledge mercies they cannot have received, and if confession mention sins beyond their sphere—can children unite? Yet the worship of our public services does all this, and to be effective must do it. But prayer with children alone, can not only use those simple forms of speech which infant lips employ, it can embrace those particular objects which the sphere of a child's life involves. Thanksgiving and confession can also, as the exercise of prayer, refer to the scenes of school and of play, to the circumstances of the errand-boy, of the apprentice, and junior servant; and can exclude those objects with which children are not familiar. The same remarks apply to preaching. The preacher who would interest children must, to a considerable extent, think as a child, and speak as a child. A congregation of adults often suffers considerable loss through a preacher using Lexicon words, and not everyday-life-words; and a congregation of children, when not addressed as children, is in a far more evil case.
The mental condition, and the external circumstances of children, are so different from the inner and outer state of the adult, that to speak with them, and to speak to them, we must employ a separate tongue. We may speak for them and over them without this distinction, but a recognition of childhood's state is essential for carrying the minds of children with us, or for conveying ideas to their intellect and sentiments to their heart.
Thirdly, Separate Services can alone be expected in any large measure to be the means of the conversion of children.-- In what does converting power abide, or with what is it connected? There is no virtue in the place of Christian assembly :
“ The heart alone can make divine
Religion's spot." There is no abstract and absolute God's house. God's house is that
spot or structure which to our hearts is a meeting-place with God. The building which is "amiable” to the Christian through associations of God's presence therewith, is not lovely to the mind that has not connected with it corresponding thoughts. So that to the case we are contemplating,
no more advantage is derived from assembling our Sabbathschool children in our places of worship than would be obtained by convening them in any other building. There is no salvatory virtue in the mere forms and modes of public worship. Say, the children see an assembly kneel and sit and stand ; thus taking the posture of the worshipper and of the disciple: but it is not often to them a delightful sight, and the mere spectacle is without remedial power. Say, the children hear an assembly utter the expressions of worship; but if the words are not easy to be understood, how shall the children know what is spoken? so far as they are concerned, the assembly speaks into the air. There is no converting power in the mere office and function of the Christian ministry. The hem of an apostle's garment in the day of miracle, might be the channel of healing influence, but no contact with the mere bodily presence of a minister has any power to bless. With what then is converting power allied ? “ Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Truth is the incorruptible seed of the second birth. Now this truth, to be the seed of a Divine life, must be believed; and before it can be believed, it must be understood; and to be understood it must be so spoken as to meet the mental capacity, and the soul-sympathy of the individuals concerned. Hymns, moreover, which children fail to comprehend, do not teach and admonish them, or awaken their glory to the service of praise. Prayers which children cannot understand, do not lift up their souls to God, and by sympathy create the supplication, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” And sermons which are above the mental range of children cannot be the channels of the living seed to them. But while in no instance of adaptation, is there reason to expect invariable and universal success; in the one case we are paralysed by despair, while in the other we are certainly nerved by hope.
Fourthly, By the foregoing observations, it will appear that the objects for which Sabbath-school children are conducted to public worship can only be extensively realized in Separate Services.—We have stated, that worship and ministration specially adapted to children, can alone be expected to engender a devotional taste and to form a devotional habitthat in such services alone can the fellowship and attention of children be reasonably looked for and that we cannot hope for conversions among children as the result of ordinary ministration. We know of no other object for which children are conducted to our houses of instruction and prayer; and it would hence appear that hundreds of thousands of children are assembled every Lord's day in our places of public worship without an object or end. If any stranger, pointing to the children's seats, were to inquire, “What mean ye by this service?" the only answer we could furnish would be, “ We found it so, we keep it so”—“ It was, it is.” Few, I hope, would add, “And thus it ever must be.
Fifthly, We do not hesitate to assert that injury is inflicted by the attendance of children on ordinary public services.--Sanitary reform! is one of the public demands of these times. Perhaps this reformation will proceed much farther than its leaders and supporters anticipate. Does the Sabbath-school teacher imagine that it will interfere with his procedure? If he fancy himself secure from disturbance, we have only
“ Be not deceived." We think that sanitary reform may find a wide sphere in our Sabbath-schools; and, in our judgment, it should
at once put its corrective hand on our public worship practices. Can it be for the health of children to keep them occupied on the Lord's day morning, from nine o'clock until one-to place them during two hours of that time in such a position that they are either shivering with cold, or fainting with heat—to make them sit still doing nothing through two long hours, many badly clothed and ill-fed, not a few suf. fering from positive disease, some exhausted with six day' hard work, and the majority having known toil and confinement of some description during the week-and then to jade them with “ sit still,” “ keep awake," "hold your tongue,” “sit up,"
," "attend,” – the word being, not seldom, we fear, followed by the blow? We say, here is scope for sanitary reform. For the children's health-sake, appoint separate services. "That bad habits are engendered by the present system none will deny. We speak that which every Sabbath-school teacher knows, and we testify what all such see. But evil habits are begotten beyond inattention and dislike to public worship. Among the most prominent, we may mention the habit of deception. Those children who behave well, do it generally as a mere eye-service. When the teacher's eye is upon them, they look demure and attentive ; but when that eye is diverted, the little prisoners talk on the sly, and play on the sly; aud thus Pharisees and hypocrites are born in swarms. Is not the time of our Sabbath scholars wasted by our present system? If it be true that they are not interested and instructed by the services, and that they cannot be; then, verily, two_precious hours are cast away. But the time of the teachers is lost. They stand or sit as sentinels-one guard (say) to every fifty children. Reckoning the number of Sabbath-school children in England and Wales at two millions, we thus have forty thousand teachers wasting eighty thousand precious hours on the Sabbath, and two millions of children wasting four millions of hours. But we now speak of the teachers. If they worship and listen to the preaching, they cannot keep the children quiet; if they keep the children quiet, they cannot worship and hear. Now what, we ask, is gained by merely keeping down open and boisterous disorder? Is this result worthy the means? Not unfrequently the minister and his congregation are annoyed and disturbed by the bad behaviour of Sabbathschools, and the melody of the ministration, and the harmony of kindred labours have been destroyed by the voice of rebuke from the pulpit, and the cry of complaint from the pew. An opportunity of usefulness is hereby also lost." It is possible to interest and to instruct the children by services adapted to their case; and the hours allotted to public worship are the opportunity.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ON THE CHIEF END OF SABBATH-SCHOOL
BY DR. MUNRO.
This subject deserves the consideration of Sabbath-school teachers, because it is probable that in proportion as the end is clearly understood and distinctly kept in view, so will the best and most suitable means to effect that end be employed. There could be no great encouragement to labour gratuitously in pursuit of an object, the attainment of which might be very doubtful; nor yet would it be very cheering to have to persevere in entire ignorance of the result which the means employed might tend to produce. The Sabbath-school instructor is not condemned to do either the one or the other, and it is therefore highly desirable that each teacher should constantly keep before him the end which all are labouring to attain, in order to secure that unanimity of feeling, and that unity of purpose, best calculated to give strength and efficiency to their collective exertions.
One might suppose that in a country called pre-eminently a Christian land, the mere remembrance of the day on which such schools are conducted, would be enough to convince every one that the instruction communicated in a Sabbath-school ought to be strictly religious instruction. Nor will there, we apprehend, be found many disposed to deny that the chief end of religious instruction should be to teach men how to become wise unto salvation, and how man may again become fitted to answer his own chief end, viz., “ to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever.”
But if this view be correct, it follows that it is no legitimate aim of a Sabbath-school instructor to impart knowledge merely because it may be useful knowledge, in the lower sense of useful, with reference to the affairs of this life. To teach, for example, the art of writing, or of ciphering, is rather to teach the desecration of the day of sacred rest ; for if one set of teachers may introduce these because of their supposed utility, what good reason can be adduced why another may not introduce the teaching of the mechanical arts of knitting and weaving, or in short, of any of those employments which are usually denominated useful? Nothing can be legitimately taught in the Sunday-school ex. cept that which has a tendency to facilitate the labours of the teacher in attempting to communicate to his youthful auditors a knowledge of Divine truth, and to increase their acquaintance with the Bible—the divinely constituted repository of that truth. The great aim of the Sabbath-school instructor should be to lead his scholars to become disciples of Christ, and it therefore follows that he should, as far as in his power, teach them to
search the Scriptures, because they are they which testify of him.”
The word of God is described as the incorruptible seed which springs up and bears its fruit unto eternal life. There is not only the sowing of the seed, but there is also the preparation of the ground, necessary to secure the abundant fruit. Part of this preparation is essentially the
work of the Sabbath-school instructor, and it is his office to seek to enlighten the minds of those whom he teaches, by the communication of Divine knowledge—the knowledge of the whole circle of truths taught in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Many of the historical and narrative parts of the Bible are exceedingly attractive, and adapted to excite a useful curiosity, and a desire of knowledge in the youthful breast. Nothing, for instance, can be more interesting, more simple and more pathetic than the history of Joseph, or more replete with those moral lessons which every one of the Scripture narratives is intended to convey. The teacher should be ready to point out the truth that ought to be learned, and the inferences that are to be drawn, from each part of these histories-the errors and the vices which we are warned to avoid by the view of their miserable consequences in the case of othersand the virtues and graces which we are encouraged to practice by the exhibition of the happy rewards which ultimately attend a strict adherence to that which is right, and a determined avoidance of that which
wrong. He should teach the learner to trace the unerring hand of Divine providence-never failing to work out its own designs, and controlling all human affairs, and thus to learn the “fear of God,” which is “the beginning of wisdom.” The intellects of the young should be exercised in drawing these inferences and deducing these lessons from every part of the Bible which they may read or hear read to them; and, in addition to this, the mind should be carefully imbued with the doctrinal truth taught in Holy Writ. The character and condition of man as a fallen being, compared with that state and character from which he has fallen--the relation in which he stands to his Maker, and tə his fellow-men, with the duties that arise out of these relations—the character, attributes, and perfections of God, and the requirements of his holy law -the immortality of the human soul, and the future state of rewards and punishments—the only method of regaining the favour of God, through the new and living way consecrated by the blood of Christ :the certain salvation of all who accept, and the no less certain destruction of all who reject, his offered grace all these and such like doctrines should be made familiar to the mind, and that by frequert reiteration. There is to be “line upon line, and precept upon precept.” The truth ought, if possible, to be brought home to the conscience and to the affections; but it is not enough to produce temporary impressions, however good, without seeking fully to enlighten the mind and inform the judgment, in order to establish a rational and abiding conviction. Much more than is likely to be effected by any momentary appeal to the youthful feelings or emotions, is implied in that “training up of a