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when your own spirit is melted into | ing, and all that was joyous and juvenile sympathy with the Saviour's spirit; in his ardent nature was in full when one Gospel is welling up in your sympathy with all that was young and bosom and another Gospel is glistening eager around him.
And just as every in your eye, a text or verse of a hymn, outbreak of depravity vexed his or a few simple sentences, will do more righteous soul, so every indication of in the
way of heart-work at such a propi- goodness was sure to catch his eye and tious moment than years of dry routine. cheer his heart. The best of the lads
A young lady had charge of a Bible- he would carry off to his country-seat class of fourteen girls. She taught them in Westmoreland to spend the holidays, conscientiously for years without any and took in them as true and intense an visible success. She then lost a very interest as if they had been sons or dear and intimate friend, and spent some younger brothers ; and in this way, by weeks with the relative in whose house being the friend of the scholars, he her friend died. During this period of became the master of the school. And sequestration the Spirit of God had been it is only in some such way
that drawing her mind away from the world, attain a full ascendancy over your charge. and fixing it more intently on heavenly In order to be the children's pastor or and everlasting things. At the end of the children's teacher you must be the these weeks she returned to her class; children's friend. And this is what some but now she met her old scholars with people cannot be. They are severe and very altered feelings. She was filled sullen, and little children share their with love to their souls, and had a desire spleen. They shake them and cuff them, to glorify God such as she had never and treat them as if it were a crime to felt before. She gave out a hymn, and be little—a bad sign of a human being such was the solemnity of her manner that he has not grown big. And others and the earnestness of her tone, that in who have not this savage humour are the reading of that hymn one of the entirely wanting in fellow-feeling for the scholars was pierced to the heart, and young. They are precise and formal, and was led at once to cry,“ What must I do cannot condescend to the little estate. to be saved ?” The lesson for next To employ children's ideas or children's Sabbath was the freeness of the Gospel phrases they fancy is almost as unmanly offer, and the young people were to as it would be to go to sleep in a cradle search the Bible for instances. When or walk the streets with a rattle; and they met that Sabbath, every heart was therefore, in talking to children, they use too full to speak, and the whole class sat the same abstract and general language silent, bowed before the felt presence of which they employ among their own God. And the result of this awakening coevals. But the true teacher is neither was, that eleven of the fourteen pupils the patron nor the tyrant; he is the gave evidence of real conversion, and friend of children. To the boys he bebecame exemplary followers of the Lord comes as a boy, and to the infants he Jesus. On one or two Sabbaths of becomes as an infant, that he may gain spiritual instruction—when the heart them all. And if it be not natural to was full and God was glorified- -a bless him, grace can give him this congeniality ing rested which had been withheld for with his youthful charge. Drinking of a long succession of conscientious but his Master's Spirit,—that Master who customary Sabbaths.
with full consciousness of children's per2. Another requisite to successful versity and sinfulness, but with equal teaching is affection for the young. It consciousness of the important place was to this that Dr. Arnold mainly owed they fill in the kingdom of heaven, said, his pre-eminence as the head of a public
“Suffer the children to come to me,”school. Many who have held that the disciple of Jesus makes it a conposition have been merely pedagogues. science to be kind to children. He They have felt it a hardship to look after prays and labours to have his own soul a parcel of boys, and have tried to save filled with the Saviour's exuberant their dignity by a pompous stiffness or benignity. He learns to look with new an awful severity. Dr. Arnold felt it no eyes on the little ones around him. He hardship to teach. He gloried in being sees them in the light of the great a schoolmaster. He felt it a high call hereafter; he sees them in all the im
portance of their future history, and all * Teacher Taught, p. 282.
the solemnity of their everlasting destiny. He cannot tell but in that class | sury. Before entering on his responsible of his he is training up a Morison or a office it would be well for every intending Williams for the service of mankind, or teacher to examine himself regarding his an immortal spirit for the service of God fitness. “ Am I master of my subject ? in glory. And amidst all their fickle- Do I fully understand the Gospel ? Do ness and forgetfulness, all their infirmi- I clearly comprehend the way in which ties and sins, he finds them full of sinners are to benefit by that Gospel ?interest. His kind and hopeful nature the way in which the Gospel is to do imbibes sprightliness from theirs, and them good? And can I state off-hand his sincere affection beams out in that the great truths of Scripture? Am I fascination which children perceive so at home in its leading doctrines ?-am promptly-a fascination which cold I thoroughly acquainted with its most natures cannot counterfeit; till in the interesting, and important passages ? same group where a spectator sees a May I safely offer myself now as a Bible parcel of children, he sees a band of guide ?” But besides knowing the truth, youthful friends, a little flock of the you need to tell it; and this is quite Saviour's lambs, and taking them as a another thing. A man may be an adept dear deposit and a delightful charge, in a science, and yet not “apt to teach”
—“Lovest thou me? Then feed my it. In Scotland we have had few mathelambs,”—he not only tends them for that maticians like Professor Playfair. His Saviour's sake, but learns to feed them with mind was mathematical. He lived in a somewhat of that Saviour's lovingness. world of plus and minus, and his ima
3. A third qualification-or, rather, gination revelled in its own landscape of two qualifications in one,—are familiarity cubes and spheres, enlivened with infiwith scriptural truth, and felicity in ex- nite series and impossible quantities. pounding it. Should you ever visit the And in the Royal Society, or with field of Waterloo, you could not do better brother sages like Hutton and Leslie, than take Sergeant Cotton for your guide, he could expound his discoveries ; but --for this simple reason, that he has stu- he was far too high and far too deep for died the subject. He was present in the students in his college class. This the battle himself, but he did not think was the philosopher's infirmity. He that circumstance enough, for, as he con- would have been a still greater man fessed to us, his own share in the action had he superadded the teaching talent,did not give him much enlightenment. had he been able, like the blind matheBut having made up his mind to offer matician Euler, to make algebra an himself to visitors as a conductor and amusement, and render the abstrusest interpreter, he spent eight months on the of the sciences attractive to a child. spot, reading every narrative of the battle There is no reason why the same person on which he could lay his hands, con- should not be profound and popular ; ning the different maps and plans and and, indeed, the man who is shallow despatches, and picking up all the anec- dare hardly be simple. Next to enlargdotes and incidents of which he could ing his own views, and establishing his get hold, till he was familiar with the own convictions, the teacher's great study grand outlines of the engagement, and must be the art of communication,-how well furnished with its more curious to make the matter obvious and alluring details; and then he entered on his avo- to his pupils. And happily for you, my cation, an intelligent and accomplished friends, the main part of what you have guide. Ministers are guides. The chil- got to tell is narrative,--of all things the dren's pastor is a guide. The Sunday- easiest told, a story. But still there is school teacher is a guide. And, just boundless scope for ingenuity and need like the preacher, the teacher should be for anxious thought how to tell that fully furnished for his work beforehand. story; and he would need to have a full The grand outline of revelation should heart and glowing lips who could make be so bold and vivid to his view, that on that story as fresh and wonderful and the shortest notice he could state it with affecting as the Bible gives it. If speakunhesitating promptitude and in the ing to children, he would need to forget simplest terms; and he ought to be so that there are old people in the world, versant in scriptural details as to be and must forget that he himself is old. able to variegate his instructions with With all the reverence due to the mighty endless instances from the Bible trea- theme, and yet with the great plainness
of speech required by his unlearned character may emerge. And he is one, auditory, he would need to brighten who in a ragged class would detect the up each sacred narrative; and nowise possible germ of many a virtuous and daunted by repeated failures, should many a lovely thing so many problems never rest till he can paint in words a for Christian zeal and so many trophies panorama, and repeat off-hand a pictorial for all-conquering and all-transforming Bible. And after a year or two of prac- grace. Luther and Knox and Howard tice, should you learn this art of making and Eliot and Williams, all were santhe lesson plain and palpable, you will guine men. They saw everything in be better qualified to teach a Sabbath- rose-light,-in a warm light borrowed school than Dr. Owen or Isaac Barrow from the promises of God, and from the would have been.
bright results to which their ardent faith 4. And besides this talent for simpli- looked forward. And if you would be a fication, it is very desirable that a teacher successful teacher, you must be sanguine. should have a warm and hopeful dispo- You must shed on your class some of sition. No doubt a phlegmatic teacher, this borrowed rose-light. You must not if he be serious and faithful, will be more be daunted by any difficulty. You must successful than his sanguine colleague not even be startled by any outbreak of who is withal light-hearted and desul depravity. And you must not despond, tory; but it is quite possible to be viva- though hopes be only raised in order to cious without being frivolous, and hopeful be dashed again. Still look not at the without being romantic or visionary. turbulent spirits and sulky truants before And in order to gain the hearts of chil- you; but look at the Christian citizens dren, it is needful to be fraught with ex- and affectionate disciples into whom you pectation and fervour. Their sunny tem- hope to see them transformed. They perament shrinks away from all that is are yet to be your joy and crown: take dark and gloomy; and what is worse, if pains with them, therefore, though they they have a sombre teacher, by an inevi- be your present grief and cross. Hope table association of ideas, his shadow is the best, and this very hope will end in apt to rest ever after on every religious something good. In due season you subject. The Gospel is pure and genuine will reap,
faint not. gladness. It is God reconciled; it is 5. But the more conscientious a teacher peace in the conscience; it is the blessed is, and the more pains he takes, the more prospect of glory. And did we tarry profoundly must he feel that something under its constant shining, its hopeful- beyond the teacher is essential to ensure ness should gild our countenance, and success. The field may be beautifully beam on all our movements. The Chris- ploughed,—the furrows straight as an tian and the Christian teacher should be arrow-flight,—and the seed-corn may be an embodied Gospel; and if despondency the choicest parcel, fresh, clean, and or severity be our habitual temperament, finely sifted, and brought from some we may be devout, but we are not Evan- famous farm ;--but there it has lain gelical. We have got a wrong version week after week, and skilfully harrowed of the Christian revelation, and are giving in, but nothing comes of it. There is forth an erroneous view of it. But more one element which the husbandman than this, few have ever effected anything cannot command. He has no control important, as Reformers or Evangelists, over heaven's bottles, and so long as who did not carry with them a genial | the sky is blue the rigs are brown. A atmosphere and look at the brightest teacher may have a yearning affection sides of things. The philanthropist is towards the children of his charge. They one who takes up a lump of rusty ore, may be often present to his thoughts. and espies in it a bar of precious metal. He may delight in preparing the SabHe is one who dredges rags from the bath's lesson, and may speak to them in kennel, and sees them converted into the simplest and most winsome words. sheets of virgin paper, ready for the But if the Lord withhold his blessing, poet's pen or the artist's pencil. He is all his efforts will end in weariness of one who sees in an island of dirty savages the flesh and prostration of spirit. But a commonwealth of intelligence and piety that blessing will not be withheld, if not come as yet; and who discerns in a prayer, believing, earnest, and perseconvict-ship a gymnasium for moral dis- vering, ask it. That good gift, the cipline, and the probationary school from Holy Spirit, your heavenly Father will which many a renovated and ennobled I assuredly grant to the teacher's fervent
intercessions. And this is the chief value own heart, she became desirous of doing of pastoral love,-whether it be the good to others, and got an infant class minister's love to his people, or the in the Sabbath-school. Over her little teacher's love to his scholars. It is not scholars her sweet temper and endearits immediate efficacy,—it is not its direct ing kindness gave her such ascendancy, moral power, -but it sends that teacher that when she was too ill to come to or minister to God. It compels them to them, they gladly came to her, and went pray. When the feeling is, "My little through their lesson beside the couch of children, of whom I travail in birth until their beloved teacher; and over the Christ be formed in you,” that solicitude rough neighbours, her gentle piety and can find no relief except at the throne of holy walk, gave her such a hold, that grace. It cannot refrain from prayer; when they were dying, they would send and prayer is power. God hears it ; and for her to counsel and pray with them ; when for an object so agreeable to his and, like a city missionary, she has often will as the conversion of sinners and the been summoned to their homes of sorrow salvation of souls, there is every security at the dead hour of night. The sturdy that he will answer it. You may see the men would say to her, “If any one
You may find the good molest thee send for us, and we will even seed springing up in some tender heart. fight for thee;" and when she apYou may be called to attend the sick-bed proached their houses, she would often of a Johnny Ross, or a little James, be greeted, “Here comes our little angel, and hear him with dying breath declare bless her.” I mention Elizabeth Bales his love to Jesus. Or, when ready to to show that in this hallowed work, the despond, after years of labour, you may willing spirit can conquer poverty and find a sudden recompense by surprising manifold infirmity. your scholars in a little prayer-meeting, The next was originally a London or giving some other sign of youthful boy,—a cruel and quarrelsome blackpiety.t. Or, looking over the list of guard, who used to torture animals for your old scholars, you may find many of his diversion, and whose delight was to them now giving evidence that God has set other boys a-fighting. He ran away brought them to himself,—like that from home, and, after many adventures, American teacher who could reckon enlisted. He was besieged in Gibraltar, among his former scholars 106 church- and performed many exploits of terrific members and ten students for the daring. Seldom has a private soldier ministry. Or you may not see the entered with more zest into the business answer for long. The seed cast on the of bloodshed, and on the day that the waters of England may spring up at the Spanish batteries were blown
up; foot of the Himalayahs, or in the back- frantic with joy, and hurraed till he lost woods of Canada, and the teacher may his voice. At the end of the war he be resting from his labours, before he came home, and a sermon of Mr. Roknows that the run-away scholar, or the maine having taken his fancy, he conprodigal youth, has began to follow tinued to attend that faithful minister of him. But faith and prayer never fail. Jesus Christ till the truth was brought “In the morning sow thy seed, and in home to his conscience by the Spirit of the evening withhold not thine hand: for God. After his conversion, he retained thou knowest not whether shall prosper, all the heroism and enterprize of his this or that, or whether they both shall early days, only he found for them a be alike good."
higher exercise and a nobler field. I thought to have quoted a few ex- Sixty years ago, the Sabbath-school amples of zealous and successful Sab- was a novelty in London, and it was to bath teachers; but the time is short, and the Sabbath-school that this good soldier I shall only mention two.
of Jesus Christ devoted his energies. The first was a young woman at Bir- “ The Mint” in his native Southwark mingham, in very humble circumstances, was at that time a focus of filth, and a and from her childhood she had been den of depravity. He invaded it with fearfully distorted by a spinal injury. the benevolent purpose of evangelizing But after the grace of God touched her it; but the mud and rotten eggs with
See Todd, chap. xviii. † Scottish Sabbath-school Teacher's Mag., * E. Bales: a Pattern for Sunday-school vol. i., p. 27.
Teachers and Tract Distributors. By J. A. Teacher Taught, p. 282.
James. Religious Tract Society.
which the ruffian inhabitants assailed fireside at home which it is some hardthem, soon drove off the two friends who ship to leave. But you are right. You had promised to help him, and he was follow a Saviour who, on a benevolent left to campaign it single-handed. He errand, left a home incomparably more opened a school, but so dirty were the delightful, and submitted to privations children,—some of them gleaned off the immeasurably more severe. Let Christ's dust-heap, and others fished up from the love constrain you, and then you will gutter,—that it required a stout heart to never grudge the bookish leisure, or the hold on with them. But by degrees he cheerful hearth, which you abandon for cleaned them, and tamed them, and his sake. Let Christ's love constrain clothed them, till by-and-by he found you, and you will be like Gabriel who, himself surrounded with a neat, orderly, on an errand of mercy, would bid a and affectionate class. His wife took in blithe good-morrow to his companions hand the bigger girls; and such as were in glory, and never fret one moment at mast deserving, she trained up to be quitting the Sabbath of the skies. servants, and got them out into good "Lovest thou me? Feed my lambs.” places. He lived for his Sabbath-school; Listening to these words of the Chief he would rise early on Sabbath morning Shepherd, though they accost you in to pray for it, and when he met the some snug arbour or sunny dell, you children his whole nature was concen- will never hesitate, but snatching up tered in desires for their salvation ; and, your scrip and your crook, you will hie glowing from a bosom warmed with the away to the wilderness; and if there be love of God and man, his burning sen- some self-denial, there are health and tences were like the heated shot he used happiness in the toils of such perseverto rain on the floating batteries; they ing philanthropy. The conquest over lodged and smouldered, till the heart of laziness; the habit of punctuality, and some young scholar, or perhaps some constancy; the vigilance and self-control; older visitor, waxed hot, and the fire of the searching of Scripture; the tender conviction burned. After many years solemnity, the gentle firmness, the felt of such pains and prayers, he bethought responsibility, and the forth-drawn affechim, and invited a number of old scho- tions of the Sabbath-school teacher, are lars to meet him. Some of them were all part of that moral discipline by which servants, and some heads of families; and God fits his people for a higher standing of the party then gathered, he found four- and wider usefulness on earth, or imparts teen members of churches, and almost a fuller meetness for his service above. all the rest constant attendants on wor- And it is a blessed thing to do battle ship. So affected was he by this good with that empire dark and doomed,—the ness of God in blessing his labours, that God-defying empire of moral evil;-a he continued a similar meeting of old glorious thing to drive in the lines and scholars every year, and finding now no lessen the domain of God's great enemy. spot on earth so lovely as “the Mint,” But beyond all, blessed is it if in answer he removed to it altogether. The days to your prayers and requital of your of mud and rotten eggs were over, and pains, you find some young spirit reas he moved about the streets with lenting—the tear of godly sorrow in groups of infants trotting after him, there some thoughtless eye, and the meek and were few who did not inwardly bless the wistful look of some restless scholar, good old soldier; and when he had watching the ear which the Lord hath completed his fourscore years, there were opened. Most blissful, most surprising, counted more than 2,000 who owed their and most humbling,— ---sure to bring you first knowledge of the Bible to Thomas to your knees in astonishment and Cranfield.*
adoration, to find that you have been As the minister of this Church, I would the means of leading an immortal spirit cordially thank you, my Christian friends, to the feet of Jesus. And, oh, who can for your work of faith and labour of tell the blessedness if, beyond all your love. I know that some of you have present knowledge and your
fondest week-day toils which well entitle you to hope, the "books opened” shall exhibit the Sabbath's rest; and I know that names once on your teaching roll, and others have a happy circle and a pleasant when you thought that you had spent
your strength in vain, you detect by the * The Useful Christian: a Memoir of light of the great white throne “ the Thomas Cranfield. Religious Tract Society.
children whom God hath given you ”