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4thl\, Our prayers should partake of fervour.—If we are in earnest, it is desirable that we should appear so in our prayers, for unless we do thus appear, we are not likely to make the children think that we are so. The importance of the object of our prayers, demands ardour of entreaty, and warmth of expression; for who, with tlie feelings of Christianity glowing in his bosom,can reflect on those who surround him in the midst of a School; the awful state of many with whom he is praying, and the worth of immortal souls, and help praying with fervour. Yet such is the cold and lifeless maimer in which some persons pray, that if we were not acquainted with the object of their petitions, we should naturally suppose it of trivial moment from their appearance; this may however be imputable to habit, and not to insincerity or want of interest in the welfare of the children; but it is very desirable for them to endeavour to overcome this f rigid and formal habit, which doubtless might be effected by perseverance, for it is a shame that the desires of a mind burning with a vivid flame, should be expressed in words like icicles, coldly dropping to the frozen ground.
othly, Our prayers should be short.—It seems hardly necessary to say any thing on this particular, as the necessity of brevity is self-evident. The minds of children cannot be kept a great while on one object, especially of a religious nature, but they are quickly tired with a protracted duty; if, therefore, we intend to pray with the children, it is absolutely necessary that our prayers should not be extended to an immoderate length; long prayers are likely to contain many " vain repetitions," which being of no utility, it is our duty to avoid, and not suffer the performance of one duty, by its length, to interfere with another. Eight or ten minutes I conceive to be fully long enough, and in general five minutes will be amply sufficient. I do not however intend to say that we ought to pray by the clockj or that in no case whatever we should exceed the periods mentioned, but every one must use his own judgment respecting this subject, and regulate his conduct accordingly.
These few cursory remarks 1 leave to the attention of my brethren. I feel sensible that it is far easier to direct than to practise, but if we do not consider and examine the subject, w e are not likely to perform this duty acceptably or beneficially; we should endeavour to attend to the voice of prudence, lest our performance delightful and useful in itself, should be rendered painful and improper for want of attention to the dictates of reflection, prudence and experience.
0« Scriptural Questions for Sunday School Children .
FROM a conviction that of all the labours of a Sunday Scjjooi 'l eather or Superintendent for the spiritual welfare of his Scholars, itis especially incumbent upon him to lead them to m Ultimate acquaintance with the sacred scriptures, and from a consciousness that I had myself been deficient in that point, 1 wis ltd several months since to adopt the following plan, which has not only proved a source of exquisite pleasure to myself, but lias also I believe, been really advantageous to. several of the children under my care. After exhibiting a Bible in the presence of the whole School, and asking several questions which drew forth an explicit acknowledgement, that it was the Book of God, that it contained the revelation of his will to man, which if atteadi-d to would be a sure guide to present and eternal happiness, but if neglected the consequences would be awful indeed, and that it was the indispensable duty of every person to search it diligently, I directed them to read their Bibles attentively in the course of the week, and find out whether they coataiued any, and what directions to keep holy the Sabbathday, promising a reward to the most industrious; but the next Stmdaj I was disappointed as none of them were provided with any answers Judging that this arose either from shyness or die ooreity of the plan, 1 read to them .some of the most important commauds to that duty; and then gave as the subject of research during the ensuing week, the duty of children to t&eir parents; observing at the same time, that I should carefully read my Bible, and we would see who could find out most, they or myself. This succeeded in engaging their attention, and the ensuing Sabbath they brought me a number of appropriate texts, proving that children ought to honour and obey Llitir parents. Other subjects were then given in succession, >u. Iving, svveariug, taking the Lord's name in vain, pride, the creation of the world, the fall of man, the death of Abel, the flood, the heart of man iu his natural state, the day of judgment, the Dual portion of the righteous and the wicked, the means sensed by infinite wisdom for the delivery of man, &c. The industry of the children in finding out suitable answers was pleasing indeed; twenty, thirty, forty, and even eighty difiereut texts wtre brought by them on some of the subjects. I endeavoured as much as possible to prevent their availing themselves of the fruit of each others labours, and questioned them closely as to the methods they took to find out the answers; one. child had a concordance, this was forbidden, because ali the children had not concordances, and therefore did not stand on equal ground. Their general plan is to look over the contenu at the heads of the chapters, and if they discover any thing there which suits them, they read the chapter till they find it. I believe several have thus gone through almost every book from Genesis to the Revelations; some have spent nearly every leisure hourin the employment, and others have agreed with their schoolfellows to meet iu the evenings after tiie labours of the day and rt ad the Scriptures together!! As might be expected, several of the passages they selected were very inappropriate, and sometimes even ludicrous; but others have been the most pointed and suitable that could be found, as may be seen on referring to the undermentioned texts, which were produced by them in answer to the questions proposed. On the Day of Judgment they brought Daniel vii. 9, 10. Matthew, xxv. 31,&c. ii. Peter iii. 7, 10. Rev. xx. 12, 13. On the linal state of the Righteous and the wicked, Psalm ix. 17. Matt, xxv. 34, 4 I. Rev. xxi. S, 4, and xxii. 15. (Jn the means devised for the Redemption of Men, 'Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for 'he shall save his people from their sins." Matt. i. 31. 'God 1 so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that 'whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have ever'lasting life.' John iii. Ifi. 'This is a faithful saying, and * worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the 'world to save sinners,' 1 Timothy i. 15. 1 desired them to find out who was the best king of Judah after the revolt of the ten tribes; they named Hezckiah, and gave as a proof, 2 Kings, xviii. 5, 6, ' He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after 'him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor 'any that were before him, for he clave to the Lord and de'parted not from following him, but kept his commandments, 'which the Lord commanded Moses.' 1 informed them I had read of one king of Judah who was remarkably wicked, but afterwards became a good man; and desired them to find out Iiis name, the sins he committed, and the means of his conversion; they named Manasseh, and referred me to 2 Cbron. xxxiii. 1—14. In answer to the question, what psalm is best suited to the stale of a man broken down under a sense of his sin? they fixed upon the 5 I si; What psalm will best describe the feelings of a man whose sins are forgiven? they pointed out psalms xxiii, xxxii. 1, 2. xxxiv. xli. 1,2, 3. Ixxxv. xci. ciii.— What psalm is most descriptive of the omnipresence and omniscience of God? they chose theexxxix. Being required to find out who was the best servant of whom an account is given in tlte Old Testament? they enquired, Did I mean the servaut of man or the servant of God? Having directed them to find out the most w icked Son, mentioned in the Old Testament, pointed (int Ham, Reuben and Absalom. One of them being ssked whither Absalom was really the most wicked? he replied 'ho; there were two others more wicked still, the two sons of Sennacherib, who actually slew their father whilst worshipping in the temple of his idol; whereas, Absalom had only conipireil to slay his, but he did not know that he was at liberty to search for examples among the heathen!!!
At the hist I gave out a new subject every week, but fearing mat it would weary the children, I have liteh given them only one a month, w hich plan is also adoptt d by another respectable >'undav Si:hool in this city, into which it was introduced in consequence of the plan being mentioned in one of the qtiartrrly meetings of our Sunday School Union. The examination df the children m this manner, has given me very pleasing opportunities of convetsing familiarly with them on divine subjects, and I have often been agreeably surprised at the shrewd reinaiU they made and the information they possessed. Visitoii have occasionally been present at these examinations, nere no less delighted with the improvement of the diikten than m\self; and some of the happiest moments I fcweenjojed in the Schools, have been when thus engaged in fesfiing my youthful charge, through the help of the blessed toot ut God, to know hun and Jesus Christ whom he hath whom to know, is eternal life. Bristol. J. W.
An Address from the Sunday School Union, to
THE Committee of the Sunday School Union, deeply impressed with the importance of the Work in which they are engaged, beg permissioM to intrude for a few moments on your attention. You arc placed by Providence in highly importint Situations, where your influence is extensively felt.—• Toyou, as the Ministers of Christ, who are particularly enjoined to feed the lambs, and to imitate Him who gathered Attn in Ins arms, .ind carried them in Ins bosom, to you, the apP»ji will not be futile.
Pethips Sunday Schools have not hitherto engaged much of vour attention, and you have not one attached to your Cbu/cb. A few remarks will point out the advantages arising from these Institutions. In the present day it is quite unne
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cessary to expatiate on the general benefits of education: inspiration, reason and experience concur in the testimony, that for the soul to he without knowledge, it is not good. But to you, as the religious instructors of our Country, Sunday Schools possess a claim of peculiar and momentous importance. These institutions are not merely intended to diffuie useful knowledge, to civilize, and to moralize the lower Orders, they are designed for religious instruction, and are most happily calculated to promote the immortal interests of the ltis'ng generation.
Sunday Schools have very frequently become nurseries for the Church on earth, and in heaven. In the early ages ot Christianity, historians frequently refer to the ( alechumeus, who were made the particular care of the Church, and as soon as they were capable of instruction, were taught the truths and the duties of religion preparatory to a public profession. Sunday Scholars may now be considered as Catechumens, under a course of religions instruction, well calculated, with the Divine blessing, to render them intelligent, sincere Christians, and ornaments to the Church of the most high God.
The benefits of Sunday Schools are not restricted to the Scholars, they extend to their instructors and parents. Many amiable moral young persons w ho have been employed as teachers, have, while imparting instruction, been led to see the infinite importance of religion for themselves, and have become enlightened and decided characters. Others, who were pious when they became teachers, have been excited to greater decision, activity and usefulness; they have been enabled to grow in grace, and while they have been watering others, the Divine promise has been fulfilled, and they have been watered themselves. Numerous are the instances in which the parents of Sunday Scholars have derived everlasting good from the instructions their children have received, the Books they have read, and the visits of the Teachers. Many ministers, ill whose congregations Sunday' Schools have been some time established, can testify the truth of these observations, from the facts which have come beneath their own notice. Indeed it has been often said by acute observers that there is a marked difference between congregations where Sunday Schools are established, and where they do not exist. They diffuse a spirit of zeal, loVe and active usefulness, through a religious society; Jhey fill the place with attentive hearers, and thus additions are r made to the Church of such as shall be saved.
But perhaps you say, " these institutions we acknowledge to be exceedingly useful, jet we do not know how to begin, we