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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 except 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 is 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 to 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 frequent 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
child in the way in which he should go," which has annexed to it the assurance, that "when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Indeed, it is perhaps not in the power of the most zealous Sunday- || school teacher fully to accomplish all that is meant by training up a child in the way in which he should go. His opportunities of watching the daily effect of his instructions are few and limited; he cannot always follow the youth into the scenes and employments of the week; to check him when he is doing wrong-restrain him when he is wandering-advise him when he is hesitating-fortify him when he is tempted-and encourage him when he is doing right. All this he cannot do: he can only make him acquainted with the general outlines of the good path-he can guard him against the cross-roads where he may be most apt to go astray-he can lay before him the motives which should induce him to keep in that path, and never to swerve from it— and he can give some idea of the flowers and the fruits of "pleasantness and peace" with which it is strewn, and of the blissful regions to which it conducts all those who continue in it to the end. He can also give him an idea of the temptations to wander from it—the allurements that present themselves at the numerous avenues of the broad road in which so many thousands walk themselves, and, for a time, use so many seductive arts to induce others to join them-he can describe the dangers that beset this crooked way as it is farther pursued, the thorns and briers which are sure to thicken during the onward course-the dangerous precipices that border it on every side, and the gulf of endless perdi. tion, into which all must fall, who choose to continue in it, until it has become too late to retrace their steps. All this it ought to be his aim to do: all this, indeed, under favourable circumstances, and with the usual opportunities he can by patience and perseverance accomplish. He can also direct the young listener to Him from whom alone he can obtain wisdom to choose the good way, and strength and resolution to persevere in it; and having done this, he can himself breathe the fervent prayer, that the Spirit of all grace may seal instruction on the youthful heart; and there, so far as he is concerned, he must leave the matter. Yet is he not to leave it in despondency. The whole economy of grace, all the analogies of nature, all the promises of God, forbid him to ¦ despair. The precious seed, although buried long in dust, will not disappoint his hope. While yet springing, it may be withered by an ungenial east wind, nipped by an early frost, or deluged by an overflowing torrent. But the germ of vitality is there,-again it may revive, and again it may be hid by the ranker exuberance of the weeds that for a time outstrip it; yet its growth is perennial; and, cherished by the re
freshing dew of heavenly grace, and drawn out by the genial beams of the Sun of righteousness, it will in due time display, first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. Here is the handful of corn, which in faith you commit to the ground, amidst some difficulties and many solicitudes; there, tall, luxuriant, and laden with immortal fruit, it waves like the trees of God's own planting-the cedars that are around mount Lebanon!
And although the chief end of the Sunday-school instructor is not to make dutiful sons and daughters, affectionate brothers and sisters, good husbands, good wives, or good citizens, yet this is an end which he may lawfully keep in view in the prosecution of his higher objects, and one to secure which he is adopting the most efficient means. He belongs to the most enlightened class of philanthropists; he is also a coadjutor of the Christian minister; and if faithful to his trust, and upright in his motives, he is a fellow-worker with God himself! Let us not then hear of the humble occupation of a Sunday-school teacher. In this sense, there is nothing humble about it. It is intrinsically as noble an employment as that of the man who sits to dispense justice, to protect the good and to be the terror of evil-doers-inasmuch as it is more surely adapted to benefit society, and to save the individual. The Sabbath-school teacher has, indeed, to cultivate an humble dependence on God, but before men he has to "magnify his office." He should be classed by the poet among the purest patriots, as one
"Who noble ends by noble means attains ;"
but he has not like many other patriots to encounter the frightful alternative of "failing and smiling in exile or in chains," for both his success and his reward are secure-being guaranteed by the sure promise of Him who "is not unrighteous to forget his work of faith and labour of love."
Silcoates, Jan. 29th, 1848.
Scripture Difficulties.—No. III.
"And he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."-GEN. 111. 24.
THE words here rendered "a flaming sword, turning every way," are literally, "a flame turning or folding upon itself." The Jews read it thus; "And he thrust out the man, and caused the glory of his presence to dwell of old at the east of the garden of Eden, above the two cherubim." Bishop Horne says, "The design of this manifestation was to reveal the will of God for the conduct of his people, and to accept the
sacrifice offered to him, and to acknowledge the sprinkling of blood,' without which (after the fall) there was no remission. All this was done TO KEEP or PRESERVE the way to the tree of life." In the spirit of repentance and faith, the delinquents were to wait "till one happier man should regain the blissful seat," and open the kingdom of heaven to all believers,-himself the true TREE of LIFE in THE PARADISE of God. Thus this passage, which has been so long the butt of infidels, and the stumbling-block to believers, not only becomes cleared of its difficulties, but throws a light and glory on the whole patriarchal dispensation.
"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."-GEN. VI. 6.
"IF God is perfect and foreknew all things, why should he repent?" asked an intelligent boy of his teacher. The Scriptures here speak of God in the language of men, and represent him as using the same language. There is no language capable of conveying the correct idea: it can only be descriptive of the event, and not the cause. An apparent change in the course of the Divine government, and in the treatment of God's accountable creatures is the subject of this passage; this is spoken of as the result of a change in the mind of God occasioned by a disappointment of his expectations. When men alter the conduct they have been long pursuing in respect of others, and withhold the kindness they have been accustomed to exercise towards them, it is because their views and purpose are altered, and the change is generally accompanied with some strong emotion, some disquieting passion. But God cannot change his counsel, or be affected by anger or grief; evil as well as good is subservient to his will, and accomplishes his wise designs.
All such passages in the sacred writings must be interpreted in consistency with this incontrovertible truth.
WHO WOULD NOT BE A SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHER? THE Sunday-school teacher is one of the happiest beings in existence; his very countenance is lit up with a sweet smile of benevolence, as he passes along early on the Sunday morning, with firm and active step. Whatever of a worldly character happens to attract his notice, he heeds it not, his careful eye observes it, but not to be arrested by it; his is an urgent business: he stops not to spend his time in unprofitable conversation, but on he goes, and if he overtakes any youthful groups, he has for them a smile, a word, or a nod; he soon expects to meet them in the Sunday-school, to which his steps are directed. Yes, it is there he hopes to impart to the youthful soul the glorious news of salvation; it is this that makes him happy. The harmony and order of his class are apparent, the words which drop from his lips are like the honeycomb; his children catch the music of his voice as he unfolds to them some new idea gathered from the sacred volume; they gaze with admiration and surprise as he tells them of the joys and happiness of heaven-then he is happy.