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BEAUTIFUL TESTIMONY TO A FAITHFUL TEACHER, NOW DEPARTED TO HER REST.
[From *' A Brief but Beautiful; or • Biographical Sketch of the late Mas. William Allison, of Leeds. By A. M. Stalker."]
She loved the work of Sunday school teaching, on which she entered soon after her return to Leeds, and seemed out of her element when prevented meeting her class. Thus on one occasion, when from home, she says, "You do not know how / missed the Sunday school yesterday. It was the Sabbath for the teachers' prayer meeting, and I wish very much to be there." In this interesting sphere of exertion she labored for four years in the most exemplary manner. Her regular and punctual attendance, as well as her felicitous manner of conducting the exercises of the class, led the superintendent richly to prize her efficient aid.
In her class at the Sunday school, her manner was particularly kind and winning. Her looks, her tones, her words, her doings, were redolent of love. As a consequence, her pupils " rejoiced in her light." Their salvation lay near her heart. It was lacerated only when any member of the class seemed indifferent to the lesson, or had acted so as to render necessary the discipline of the school. "Don't you sometimes feel terribly," said she, to her sister, " when you are teaching, as if you might not be saying just the right thing, and that your message, if a little differently worded, might do more good?" Jane replied, "Yes; but you know we can pray for right words." Mary's face brightened, and, as if rejoiced at what she hoped was a proof of the object of her solicitude being a subject of divine grace, she exclaimed, " True, O love, and I thank God you say We can pray."
During her last illness she often spoke of her scholars, and one occasion when consciousness was partially suspended, she was heard with great earnestness exclaiming, " Don't expel her, don't expel her;" evidently taking the part of some little incorrigible whom she hoped yet to be the means of improving. May those who were privileged with her valuable and kind instructions treasure them in their memories, and practise them in their lives.
THE TEACHER AT HIS POST. By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American Poet. "Kindly the teacher stood, like an angel of light, there amongst them, And to the children explained he the holy, the highest, in few words, Thorough, yet simple and clear; (for sublimity always is simple; Both in sermon, and song, a child can seize on its meaning;) E'en as the green growing bud is unfolded when springtide approaches, Leaf by life is developed, and, warmed by the radiant sunshine, Blushes with purple and gold, till at last the perfected blossom Opens its odorous chalice, and rocks with its crown in the breezes. So was unfelded here the Christian lore of salvation, Line by line, from the soul of childhood. The fathers and mothers Stood behind them in tears, and were glad at each well-worded answer" "IT IS A PITY TO HURT THEIR FEELINGS."
Such is the reply almost invariably offered to any question regarding men who are tilling posts for which they are manifestly unfit, from year to year. If the reason is asked, why they continue to occupy such posts— why they are not superseded by better men—you are told that "they are good people who mean well;" that "they would feel it very deeply;" and that " it would be a pity to hurt their feelings." It would be a hard task to attempt to estimate the number of ministers who occupy pidpits to the utter hindrance of the spread of the gospel in their churches; and if you ask the members why it is that they do not endeavor to procure a better pastor, the answer is, "he is so tender hearted that it is a pity to hurt his feelings."
So with our Sunday schools. AVe have superintendents who are so foolishly good natured and indulgent as to have forfeited all obedience on the part of the scholars; others who are so sternly severe as to be repulsive to them. Many will address them as though they possessed all know • ledge—theological, philosophical, and scientific. Others offer prayers such as would be understood by Jewish Rabbis, or German philosophers, or Cambridge professors, but certainly not by children; and yet these men are elected, and re-elected year after year to fill the deeply responsible post of managing and directing the school; and inexpressible wonder is occasioned why the boys and girls desert the school to wander about the streets and lanes, wheiythey are just arriving at the age at which they might be useful in teaching junior classes, and becoming members of the church. If you ask the teachers why a new superintendent is not appointed
at the annual meeting, the reply is, "Mr. has been in so long that
it is a pity to hurt his feelings." And just the same with secretaries and visitors; secretaries who come late and keep confused accounts, and classify badly: and visitors, who seldom visit, are put in as cyphers to fill these places just on the ground "that it is a pity to hurt their feelings."
So it is; the Apostle plainly inculcates the duty of Christian courtesy, and such is indispensable where right feelings are to be preserved; but the feeling above referred to arises not from a desire to be courteous, but an unmanly and reprehensible shrinking from stern duty, from a feeble and sickly sentimentalism, and from a false delicacy of mind, at once injurious to ourselves, to the institution concerned, and to the person who is thus occupying a false position.
"It is a pity to hurt their feelings ;" but then are they not inflicting untold injury by this psuedo regard for their feelings? A superintendent of the kind already referred to is (of course unwittingly) doing much mischief to every teacher and scholar who is unfortunately placed under his direction. For instance: in the devotional exercises he offers up a prayer so learned, so abstract, and so lengthy, that no child understands a sentence of it, and the scholars are whispering, yawning, spitting, or playing during the sacred exercise. The teacher, instead of having his mind soothed and prepared for his duties by the worship of God, is occupied by reproving his scholars and endeavouring to keep them quiet; and thus both teachers and scholars
are unprepared for the right performance of their duties by their mouthpiece in their collective devotional exercises not giving adequate expression to their wants and feelings. A man who holds the place of superintendent of a school without possessing the essential qualifications for the post, is a barrier to success, and casts a blighting influence over the whole institution. Yet we are told " it is a pity to hurt their feelings" by effecting a change for the better. Is it not a greater pity that the cause of God should thus be fearfully injured and its progress prevented; and whether is it better to allow an officer to hold a false position to his own material damage and depreciation, as well as to prevent the success of a work which he himself loves, than to kindly, firmly, and clearly give him to understand that he is deficient in the very peculiar though essential combination of qualities which are so needful for the office.
The same censure will apply to any official who holds a place without the requisite qualities ; it would be kinder to them, it would be a greater exemplification of Christian principle, it would be more consistent with a love of God, and a desire for the spread of his kingdom if such men were frankly and tenderly told the truth, than to sacrifice principle and prosperity by a mawkish and unnatural regard for their " feelings."
"God has his plan," says a Tyrolian proverb, "for every man;" and every one who is thus in a false position is not only not working out the plan God intended for him, but actually preventing a better agent from doing his work, by vainly and effectually trying to do it for him. There is something every man is fitted for and intended*.to perform: each man therefore who has been led out of his sphere of labor has left his own vacant, and is keeping some one else out of theirs, who for this very reason perhaps is standing idle, or laboring to the injury and harm of mankind, instead of for their well-being; and yet we are told "it is a pity to hurt their feelings 1" But is it not a greater pity, and a grievous sin to tolerate a man in sacrificing his lifetime to labors for which he was not destined by God; to allow the kingdom of Christ to suffer wrong, and to shrink from the manly and courageous discharge of a Christian duty? The evil referred to is a wide spread one; let ministers of churches, superintendents, and Sunday school teachers ponder well their position, and be prepared to act as the occasion may demand, always seeking the assistance of the divine spirit of truth.
Neiccastle-on-Tyne. W. J. T.
TEACH THEM TO THINK.
Teach your children to think, and you arrive at the secret of success. Punctuality, order, attention, love, are all embodied in this one point. What a difference does an abstract truism present when brought to the test of thought, and kindled by the fire of imagination. At once it loses its garb of frigidity, and by enquiry and kind suggestion, and remark?, becomes in itself a little history. Take an instance. You tell your children "God is love." Follow up that truism, by asking questions such as these, What their idea of love is? What an idea is? What gives them the power of having an idea? Repeat all this in simple language, in accents suited to a child; but as you value their future happiness in life, and through eternity, teach them to think. What a new world is opened to the child who has a teacher who can thus bring out of darkness a ray of light; and on the other hand, how many a scholar has gone to his home heavy and disappointed, because, unable to grasp at the glimmering of a truth whicli might have been clearly solved by a judicious teacher.
But, putting aside the use you may be to your scholars, just glance at the value set upon your own position in the eyes of the little ones. Love is the helm of your little bark. Do they confide in the one who merely goes through an accustomed routine of duty, or in him who seems the very breath of the sentiment he proposes? If you would win the affection of jour class, you must let them see you are in earnest. Unabsorbed in self, your every energy should be directed to your great work. Enter not then rashly into the Sunday school vineyard. Remember the responsibility. Consider that you are not only teaching for time, but educating souls for eternity. Depend not on your own energies; lean not upon your own strength, but in childlike simplicity |go to Jesus, and learn of the Great Teacher.
Peckham. L. H.
THE HEAVENLY TELEGRAPH.
(From a recent address to a Sunday School.) God has given us a telegraph from earth to heaven, that man may hold instant communication with the creator of all things. Jesus Christ laid down that telegraph, with branches to every human heart, and every living soul may send a message when he likes, without money and without price. That poor, ragged, fatherless, friendless lad, for whom no one seems to tare, may send his message quicker than by the electric telegraph, straight up to the heavenly Father, as he sits on his eternal throne; and he shall find that Jesus cares for him, that the everlasting arms are round about him, and that the eternal God is his refuge. And that "winding boy" who toils in the stocking maker's shop, exposed to the jeers and scorn of the men because he goes to the Sunday school and sings his hymns; why, he may tell his troubles in a silent message to his Saviour, and he shall at once feel that God is a very present help in every time of trouble. And the beggar on the road side who cannot get near the Queen, because of her servants and soldiers, may tell his tale to the King of Kings, and ho shall be heard, though the heavenly throne is surrounded by angels and archangels, and cherubims and seraphims. This telegraph from man to God is always open— the line shall never break, no, not till heaven and earth shall pass away, and not then. Every one of us may send our messages quick as thought, and the eternal God will hear them in the house, or by the way. In the Sunday school, or in the place of worship; in the workshop, or in the street; in the garden, or in the field; on the mountain top, or on the bosom of the mighty deep, we may talk with our Almighty Father, and hold communion with the Creator of heaven and earth.
AnT thou ia earnest? dost thou think—'tis thine to train for Heaven? Kememberest thou the worth of that immortal soul committed to thy care? For if not earnest, thou art making but a mockery of that which should engage thy warmest thought, thy earnest action. Pause awhile, and ask, What is my task, and what iny object in accomplishing it. Thy task,—oh, is it not a blessed one? to lead the little ones to Him, who loves the little ones, to bless. To tell of all his love to guilty men. Speakest thou of the spirit's work, and his most blessed teaching? Oh, beseech them not to try to stifle his convictions, but to yield their hearts to his blessed influence, and to yield them NOW; that now they may be happy,—reconciled to God, through Jesus Christ,—to listen now to that important question, "Wilt thou from this time cry to me, Thou art my father, thou the guide of all my youth shalt be." Note, ere they wander far in paths of sin and death, lured by the great Deceiver, on and on to certain ruin. Note, ere they die.' for who can say how soon they may be called to meet their God and Judge. Is this thy task, oh teacher? What then thy object in performing it? Is it indeed the welfare of theso young immortals, and glory of thy God? Oh, such it should be, and, laboring thus, thou shalt not work in vain Art thou but sincere'. hope on, hope ever, thou yet mayst see the fruit of thy endeavors,—or, if not, remember 'tis all known to Him, who has commanded thus :—" In life's fair morning sow thy seed, nor e'en in eveuing"time withhold thy hand; thou knowest not which may prosper, or whether "both alike."
Lower Tooting. Sabah.
EXAMPLES OF EMBLEMATIC TEACHING.
Hosea vi. 4. "O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? 0 Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it passeth away."
Emblem. The morning cloud and the early dew pass away.
Subject. Thus it was with the goodness of Ephraim and Judah— it passed away.
1. You know what we get from clouds. When the sky is black and
covered with clouds, you expect rain. The cloud mentioned is
the morning cloud. You have seen clouds when the day begins to dawn. Do theso usually pass away? No. Indeed, when we see them, we are almost certain it will rain. The emblem applies to Palestine.
In Palestine and the countries in that part of the world not a drop of rain falls for weeks upon weeks. No clouds cover the sky except in the morning; of these clouds the passage speaks.
Will they bring rain to the drooping flowers, the thirsty ground, and the empty brooks? How eagerly, it may be, the farmer watches between hope and fear! But ah! it is the morning cloud—the sun shines brighter, and the rays dispel it. It passeth away.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? 0 Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as the morning cloud.