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through the retirement of a poor pilgrim in Bedford jail T Are there not many who liave have been animated by the effusums of a pious Rutherford, in the castle of Aberdeen? But hark! what are those celestial tones I hear in the new Jerusalem? They proceed from the harps of a triumphant band of juvenile victors, who are now singing in glory through the instrumentality of Raikes! Where did the idea of teaching the young on the Sabbath day, enter his benevolent mind? Msthinks, while pleading for sinners in retirement, the thought on Seraph wings descended from heaven on the children's friend.
Experience, no doubt will support me, when I assert that the most useful teachers are those who conscientiously feel the duty of retirement; and when we look through our schools, the classes %i such are easily distinguished, by their progress, order, and punctuality; while on the contrary, the teacher who neglects this duty is often cold in his work ;—he is continually complaining of the difficulties of the way;—he may possess the principle of grace in its purity, but, "ho certainly resembles a winter's evening when the moon shines bright, though very clear, 'tis very cold."
Although I have extended my remarks further than I intended, yet I cannot leave the present part of my subject, without adducing something furllier, to shew the beneficial results of the duty recommended* It is this practice that prepares the teacher for all his duties, and inspires him with holy conti■ dence. It is this by which a spirit of self-examination will be excited. Our motives will be looked into, the slow cause of our progress in the divine life sought out, a holy fervor infused into the mind, and here we may fully expect to enjoy in rich abundance, the blessings of the divine presence; and then we shall be fully qualified to discharge the important stations we fill in the church of God.
From the observations that have been made, it will appear, that one great effect of retirement will be to withdraw the affections from earthly things, while engaged in this sweet employment. "The tumultuous hurry of the world, appears like thuuder rolling at a distance; like the murmuring noise of many waters, the course of which you perceive, while ifs waves break against the rock on which you are safely seated the mind is drawn out in Wie contemplation of heavenly things.
"There like the nightingale she pours
Her solitary lays,
Nor seeks for human praise.''1
And it is in tliese moments we are enabled to say, "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things as loss, for the excellency of die knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.
Meditation and retirement are inseparably connected, and ■when thus viewed the advantage of the latter is apparent. What is a Teacher without meditation? he certainly resembles a broken cistern which holds no water. "Meditation is a means by which we receive and improve ideas; notwithstanding we may have received important ideas into our minds, yet, without subsequent meditation they will soon be overgrown, like flower* and plants in a neglected garden. Meditation is the »bor of the soul in its search after truth. The christian who •eldom or never reflects on spiritual and eternal thiugs, knows bat little of mental pleasure. Want of meditation leaves the mmd open, and the fow ls of the air soon carry off the seed that is dropped into it." When, therefore, the importance of meditation is considered, and itsclosc connexion with retirement: •4! way Teachers reflect on its importance and necessity, if Aey wish to communicate good to the lambs of the Redeemer's flock.
How important then is it that teachers should live much with God. The teacher who continually wails on the Lord m the pubs of retirement will renew his strength: he will be filled with holy zeal, he will mount up as on the wings of eagles; he will run and not be weary, he shall walk and not flint: and when this is the result of our private devotions, a roojt important impediment will be removed, and Sunday Schools promote the spiritual interests of the children.
/ am well aware that many objections against the discharge t>f this duty may be made, and many pleas urged in extenuation of the conduct of some of my fellow labourers. I anticipate one formidable; though I trust not insurmountable impediment tha t will be brought forward, "I have no time;" but i» this correct.5 is it just? time for every thing except the private duties we owe to our children and our God. Surely, if any man could have successfully made this plea, it might have been done by the pious Col. Gardiner; but he knew too well the blessings he derived from meditation and retirement, to let my thing interrupt him in them; and we are told, that when hu regiment was ordered to march at six in the moruiiig, he was up at four; when they marched at four he rose at two: Mid for many years he never suffered any thing of an ordinary ■Mure to impede the performance of this practice; and I doubt not but he fought more valiantly as he prayed most ferleutly. Aud what would be the result of Sunday School
teaching, if ■all felt equally with the holy Colonel, respecting this duty? We should put to flight the armies of the aliens, we should pull down the strong holds of Satan, erect the glorious standard of the cross so firmly, that all the powers of hell could not prevail against it.
I am well aware, that in the present day of zeal and activity, most teachers are fully occupied in the different societies, which may justly be called the glory of our country; and in short, Sunday Schools appear to be the reservoirs for activity, to which every cause resorts for help in the time of need; but it should be kept in remembrance, that if a christian wishes to be lastingly useful, he must not always live in a crowd, and therefore in the language of friendship and brotherly love, I beseech my fellow teachers to attend to their own souls, and let it never be said, " they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
Zeal is praiseworthy, but it must be tempered with knowledge in order to be nseful. Where is knowledge to be ub. tained ?" when a king asked Euclid, the mathematician, if he could uot teach him his art in a more compendious way, he answered, there was no royal way to geometry. Other things maybe seized by might, or purchased with money; but knowledge is only to be attained by study, and study only to be prosecuted in retirement."
May all our schools be filled with teachers who resemble Isaac of old, of whom it is said, "he went out to meditate in the field at eventide."
I am, Sir, Your's respectfully,
Mikutes taken at the Qiiahteely Meeting of the Sunday School Union.
Question.—What means are most adapted to promote the spiritual welfare of children who have left Sunday Schools.
A teacher stated, that he thought it very desirable that each child on quitting a Sunday School, should have a book publicly presented to him, and that the minister of the place should address him on the occasion. The publicity of this proceeding is useful, there is something in it singular and striking, and it may have a beneficial influence on their future conduct. He thought an epistolary correspondence maintained with those children who had left Sunday Schools, would be useful, and particularly enforced the necessity of seeking their welfare at the throne of grace.
The proposer of the question thought the subject to be highly important, and deserving of the most serious attention. Teachers too frequently thought that their duties ceased when a scholar departed from the School; thus a child was left at the most important era of life, at a time when the character was just forming, and the active vbusiness of life commencing, without a suitable friend and director. He thought that a Sunday School teacher should be exceedingly careful to ascertain the situations of life in which his scholars were to be placed, when they no longer received his instructions. He should see that his child was placed in a family or situation where serious impressions might be cultivated and nourished, least all his labour be counteracted by pernicious examples, and vicious connexions. It was highly desirable for teachers to conciliate the regard and respect of the parents, so that they might unite with them in selecting situations for the children, where moral and religious instruction would be still continued. It was the practice in the School to which he belonged, of inquiring for such situations, and recommending the children to sui&ble places. There might be a tub-committee from the tcichcrs appointed for tliis purpose, and notice might be given from the pulpit that any friends who wanted such servants should apply at the School. On dismissing a scholar, if he has been m the School three or four years, and behaved well, he should be presented with a Bible or some serious book, as 2 token of regard. At the same time he should be publicly addressed, be cautioned of the many dangers to which he w ill be exposed in life, and exhorted now that he is able to judge for himself, to become decidedly the servant of the Lord. A child who has behaved well should likewise be permitted still to receive books from the circulating library, and be encouraged when he has an opportunity to visit the School. When the children are settled in situations in life, their teacher should still continue to follow them with the anxiety of a spiritual father, he should visit them at their abodes, he should see that they attend public worship, and give them such advice and assistance as their circumstances may require. Occasional meetings of old scholars with their teachers, have been frequently fouud useful, and if properly conducted, arc certainly hkelj to do good. Sunday School teachers should thus use all their exertions to give permanence and decision to the religious impressions they have endeavoured to impart, remembering that they will, at the Jast great day, have to give an account of their labours in this important part of the gospel vineyard.
A teacher said, that it was always a matter of regret to part with the children, and very desirable to keep them as long as possible. They might therefore be employed as monitors, and thus continued under the care of their teachers. In his School a quarterly meeting was held, to which all the children who left the School were invited, and also many of them attended on the Sabbath evening.
A Friend thought that the examples which teachers set before the children had much influence on their minds, even when they had quitted the School. He recommended that they should be presented with religious tracts and good books, and be particularly warned against the peculiar temptations to which they would be exposed.
Speech of Mr. J. Montgomery, at the Anniversary of the Sheffield Scjc Day-school Union;
SCHOOLS for the instruction of adults in Sheffield, are the offspring of the Sunday School Union: it was in one of the meetings of your committee that the idea was first suggested, and Mr. Birks has told us who was the Author of the hint. At our last anniversary, a few experiments had been made in this way; now two hundred persons, between youth and old age, are under instruction. Small and fugitive indeed would be the advantage of the learning taught to such scholars, if it were a benefit for this life only; thank God! it is more; it is a benefit, which improved, will last for ever, and become as infinite in degree as eternal in duration. Some of the subjects of this benevolence, in the course of nature, must soon know its value.
"This is a day which the Lord bath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."-—Many of us remember the visitation of grace, that overpowered our assembly, in the neighbouring chapel, at the last anniversary of the Sunday School Union. "Our master, even Christ," was in the midst of us, and though we saw him not with our bodily eyes, he made his presence felt, and manifested himself to our hearts, as evidently as he appeared to his disciples, after his resurrection, shewing his hands, and his feet, and his side, while from our souls we were ready to exclaim, with Thomas, " My Lord! and my God!—We went thither with little expectation; but our faith, which was only as a grain of mustard-seed, when we met, grew up into a tree of paradise before we parted. It was not a delusion; it was not the dream of an hour: it was a vision of glory, beginning indeed iu time, but to be perpetuated