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knowledge, that the Scriptures contain a pearl of great price, a fountain of living waters, in the various streams of which there are " depths iu which the elephant may swim, as well as shallows in which the lamb may wade." "Therefore, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection."
5. "Apt to Teach." This qualification is in some instances, a peculiar gift; but it is seldom wanting altogether, where the earnest and intense interest of a devoted mind exists; where there is. a hallowed flame of love to souls, and a burning desire for their salvation. On this point, we may remark, that in general, we take too much for granted; and find, in fact that we need " line upon line, precept upon precept."
6. A self-denying kind and patient disposition. Whatever we have to do with mind and heart, meets so many trials, there is so much in human nature to hinder, so much to obstruct and discourage, that nothing, but a deep and powerful motive, a motive drawn from the Cross, will bear us and bear us on. The love of Christ is the only allpowerful principle. But love to Christ and love to souls will bear us on, will animate, inspire, and support, when hearts and flesh would fail us, A tenderness to the young, a holy resolution to persevere, a preparedness for opposition to our inclination, and for personal sacrifice, are highly important.
Lastly. Simplicity of feeling, humility of mind, and the habit of prayer. Many teachers in Sunday schools have been undone, and have undone others, by a want of these essential qualifications. A willingness to be taught, the disposition of a disciple, a genuine dependence on the influences of the Holy Spirit, and on "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," together with the great principle of not living to ourselves, in connexion with the qualifications which we have before mentioned, will be most likely to obtain the divine blessing.
If so, who ought to be Sunday school teachers? As far as the children of the poor are concerned, for which Sunday schools were originally instituted, teachers have been found, principally, from those ranks of society immediately above them. From these have been found a supply of most useful and honoured labourers. Nothing will I trust discourage these devoted friends of the cause; and it may be inferred, that it is not a little that will discourage them, or they would long since have drawn back for want of co-operation from higher classes. It is to be feared, that, Sunday school teachers have been too often more fit subjects for instruction than suitablo to instruct others. Untaught and unexperienced, but with the best feelings, they have been left to feel their way, in darkness and difficulty, when they would gladly have sat to receive some spiritual instruction.
In many instances they have been left a prey to. the dissipating variety of books, and plans of Sunday school teaching, which an itch for novelty, a love of book-making, or a desire of book-selling, has imposed upon the public; some of which I hesitate not to say are highly exceptional. Surely instruction ought to be adapted; for error of sentiment and of feeling, at such an age especially, may be lasting and unalterable. Allow me to offer three other suggestions.
I. That, a provision be made for young people as they advance to leave the Sunday schools. Such as the establishment of higher classes of instruction, Bible classes or Minister's classes.
II. That Sunday school instruction claims the countenance and assistance of experienced and influential persons.
III. That the course of instruction should have the best of ministerial and pastoral superintendence.
It is now nearly fifty years since I became a Sunday scliool teacher, and I only regret that I should ever have allowed even ministerial and pastoral duty to relax those exertions. I do now, however, take the. charge of my own Sunday schools, and beg respectfully to recommend my brethren in the ministry to do the same.
I. N. G.
LETTERS TO A YOUNG SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER. Letter 1.
My Dear Friend—Although fully conscious how very imperfectly qualified I am for such a task, I feel that I cannot refuse your request to give you a few hints in reference to the great work in which you are about to engage. It is indeed matter of no little satisfaction to find, that you are not thoughtlessly assuming so great a responsibility as that of a teacher of babes; and if any of the following remarks, should, by the blessing of God, lead you to feel that responsibility even still more, we shall both have reason for deep thankfulness.
In commencing any undertaking it is very important to have a clear and definite conception of the nature of the work proposed to be done. For if without any previous consideration, we rashly pledge ourselves to perform duties, of whose scope and nature we are in a great measure ignorant, the very strong probability is, that those duties will be very imperfectly discharged, if indeed they are not entirely neglected. And this remark, applicable as it is to all the ordinary engagements of life, applies with great force to the important work to which you have dedicated yourself. Hence before entering upon your office as a Sunday school teacher, it will be well for you calmly and carefully to endeavour to realize the momentousnoss of your new position, to survey the ground that lies before you, and to familiarize yourself as far as possible with the nature of the work you have to do.
Important, however, as is this preliminary consideration, it is greatly to be feared that very many enter upon a work which even an angel might almost tremble to undertake, without the slightest feeling of responsibility, or the least thought about its infinite magnitude. They have been asked to become teachers perhaps by some friend already engaged, and who possibly may have as elevated an idea of what such an office involves, as they themselves have; and they accept the invitation as a matter of course. It is a very trifling thing to hear a few poor children read aud repeat lessons, and they have hardly an idea of anything beyond that. It may indeed occur to them that a little self-denial will be required to enable them to attend with the degree of regularity, which will probably be expected of them; but then it is quite a voluntary thing altogether, and if it is not liked, why nothing will be easier than to give it up.
If motives and feelings akin to these have induced you to cuter the Sunday school, permit me to say at the outset, that you have made a grand mistake; and that the sooner you withdraw from your position the better. Not only will you do no good, but you will do positive evil. A teacher who has no higher conception of a Sunday school, than as a mere place in which to impart secular instruction, is utterly unfit for his post, and will only inflict injury by remaining.
From the admission and employment of such teachers, there is no doubt that great evils have resulted. Any one of merely ordinary, or even of greatly less than ordinary intelligence, lias been gladly received without any attempt being made to ascertain his 'qualifications. The son of some church-member, the friend of some teacher, he has been proposed, voted for, and accepted almost as a matter of course, lie is appointed to a class, takes some interest for a time in hearing the children read, and repeat their lessons, and after a while, probably gets weary of such dull routine, and gives up his office with as much thoughtlessness and indifference as he undertook it. Any thought about the salvation of his young charge, and of the fearful responsibility he has incurred, by being brought into contact with them, probably never enters into his imagination.
Common as is such a state of things, it is one nevertheless fraught with so much evil, that it is necessary very earnestly, and very anxiously to press the subject upon the attention of every one entering upon the work of a Sunday school teacher. Better, far better that our schools should be half denuded of teachers, than that the vacant classes should be tilled up by those who have such low and false notions of the character and design of the Sunday school work.
Let me then ask your attention while I endeavour briefly to indicate the objects which the Sunday school is intended to accomplish, and the position which you as a teacher will occupy.
At its first establishment there is no doubt that the benevolent founder had in view the reclamation of children from the streets, and their instruction in reading, kc. And not till long after did the Christian church recognize the importance of this institution as a means of accomplishing incalculable good among the rising generation. Indeed, even now its value is but imperfectly apprehended by those who ought to appreciate it most.
Looked at in its true light however; it is as an agency for the con^ version of the young that it must be contemplated. This is its lofty mission; this its true glory. It accomplishes other collateral objects, bat those are all subservient to its grand and noble purpose. If it fail in this, in whatever else it may succeed, it must bo regarded as unsuccessful. It is not to be considered as an institution for the education of the young in secular or even in religious knowledge. It aims at the heart, not at the intellect. Valuable indeed it is as a training school for the mental powers, but far higher than this is its design. And it is only as this design is clearly and steadily kept in view, that we are likely to realize the full results of such an institution.
If this then be its purpose, consider as you take your place in the class, how solemn, how infinitely responsible is the position you occupy. A number of young minds are brought into contact with yours, and the influence you exert upon them is an influence for eternity. Every time you meet them an impression is made upon them either for good or evil. By your listless indifferent manner you may confirm them in indifference to their eternal interests, or, by your evident earnestness and anxiety, may awaken in them a like anxiety about the salvation of their souls.
It will not, however, do to assume earnestness where it is not felt. Children arc good judges of character. They will very soon sec through a veil. It is no use seeming to love them, if at the bottom of your heart you do not love them. A teacher must be real. He must not simply seem to be, he must be. Go then into your class, tremblingly alive to your responsibility, glowing with love to your young charge, burning with a desire for their salvation, and making the conversion of every child the great and absorbing object to which all your teaching and all your efforts tend. Let nothing short of this satisfy you. Be constant in prayer, that such a result may follow. Ask not only that the children may be converted, but converted now, and by your agency. Expect to see the fruit of your labor, and to receive the answer to your prayers. Be not satisfied with vague hopes that in " after years" the result of your instructions will be seen. It is of course true in some cases, that " though seed lie buried long in dust, it shan't deceive the hope," but is there not reason to fear that we sometimes quote the words as a sort of excuse for our own indolence and neglect? Is it not probable that if wo sought more than we do the immediate conversion of our scholars, and looked and labored more earnestly for such a result, [that it would more frequently follow? Early piety in our schools is sometimes looked upon as an exotic; not as it ought to be, a beautiful indigenous plant. Let it be your effort, however, in humble dependence on the Holy Spirit, that all your class may be " plants of piety and grace."
Such then is the exalted object which the Sunday school seeks to accomplish ; such the glorious and spirit-stirring work to which you have devoted yourself. And who can estimate its importance? Who even faintly, conceive of its results? If it be a grand work to produce an exquisite painting, that as " a thing of beauty," shall be " a joy for ever,"—the short " for ever" of man, what must it be to mould a human soul for the long "for ever" of God. And such a work is yours. Can you conceive a nobler one? Look at the children around you. Ignorant they may be; guilty they are, immortal they are. Immortal ! and you have to train them! O think of it! and say when you have realized the thought, as far as such a thought can be realized, whether you can ever sufficiently estimate the importance of your position.
Barnsbury. C. E. O.
SPECIMEN OP A SUNDAY SCHOOL ADDRESS.
THE HEAVENLY VISITOR.
"Uehold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open tho door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with inc."— &ev. iii. 20.
Near the fountains in Trafalgar Square, there is a place called the "Royal Academy." During the season, if you should enter there, you would find several large rooms, with the walls decorated with splendid paintings. There you would see portraits, landscapes, historical pictures, and some that Sunday School children would know were suggested by the Bible. That is the book for pictures; and of all that have ever been painted by the best artists, none are more beautiful than those which have been taught by the Bible. Many of them preach a sermon to us, and on some the text is printed underneath.* Some time ago you might have seen a small picture there with these words on the frame—" Behold I stand at the door and
• Hunt's celebrated " Pre-Raphaelite."