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footing for the gliding feet, or a place of repose for the restless weary spirit. They have distinguished at intervals, perhaps, or have fancied they discerned a few faint streaks of light, but these have vanished, leaving the darkness yet more unbearable. Oh ! what would they not give for the full, clear light of day. Yet be not disoouraged struggling one. The Highest, surely, will not disdain these yearnings for goodness, these cravings after holiness. Faint not, He will yet bless thee, and make thee a blessing.
"Thro' waves thro' clouds and storms,
Then joyfully wilt thou seek to lead these young ones also to rejoice in the light of His countenance.
Unconverted Teachers! [When you and your charge Bhall stand side by side in judgment, what account can you render, if, by your deficiency, you have prevented them from entering the Kingdom?
Pray For Ihe " Unconverted Teachers."—Christian World.
ON REWARD-GIVING IN SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
Mr. Editor.—I was very much surprised to observe a letter in your last month's Magazine, from "a Union Secretary," (p. 42) objecting in toto to the old fashioned plan of bestowing rewards to the children frequenting Sunday schools. He there says that we should "teach a child that the best roward it can havo, is the good resulting in his own mind and heart and life, under God's blessing, from rightly valuing and duly improving the instructions received," and that "to hire children to attond Sunday schools, &C-, is unsound and harmful," To which objection I would humbly urge the reply, that there are many children attending Sunday schools who aro too young to imbibe this, and who would seldom, if ever, be in time for the opening services of school if no rewards were given.
How many are there who endeavour to lead the young children astray, and make them lato at school, and probably succeed, to a far greater degree, in a school where no rewards or tickets are offered.
To illustrate this more fully, we will suppose a case. A mother sends her child to the Sunday school, ten minutes before the time of opening. On the way to school the child meets with another child older than himself. He trios to persuade him to go another way, until within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour of the school being closed. Now, if no rewards are held out as an inducement to attend the school, it would no doubt bo said by the elder boy, "There are no tickets given if you go early, and we will therefore go to school about ten minutes before closing, so that you can tell your mother you have been to school without telling a lie." This would all seem right enough to the younger child's mind, and lie wonld be induced to play truant, and, perhaps, tell an indirect falsehood to his parent; whereas, if rewards are given, the child would be able to answer, in this way, "If I am not in time for the opening of the school I shall not get a ticket, and mother will be sure to know I have stayod away; no, I shall go to school, you can stay away if you choose." This would, perhaps, strike the mind of the other boy with great force, and ho might be persuaded to attend more regularly than heretofore.
It is very difficult, indeod, almost impossible, to teach children to come to the Sunday sohool becauso it is right, if you do not bestow rewards for so doing. We all know (those who are teachers especially) how prone the children are to wander from the paths of truth and uprightucss, and to prefer the broad way that leadeth to perdition. Whereas, if some little acknowledgment Is made to them for regular attendance, good behaviour, Ice, it is an inducement for them to come to the Sunday school until they arrive at an age sufficient to think for themselves, and then, perhaps, they may love to attend, because it is the place where they first heard of Jesus as the meek and lowly Saviour, who, when on earth, was not ashamed to take little children up in his arms and bless them.
Another reason In favor of rewards is, that where such Is the ease, children who have the opportunity of deserving thein, will use it to the beat of their power; and another, who may not possess such opportunities, will endeavour to obtain them by some means or other, and try to persuado his mother to make haste and get him ready for school, or he will not obtain a ticket. The mother seeing the child is very anxious to proceed to school in time for a ticket, and hearing how hard lie pleads, (even if no higher or holier motive induce her) will bustle about and start the child off. And he may, some time or other, be so struck by tho prayer that is offered up to the throne of grace by the superintendent or teacher opening school, as to cry out, like the Phillipian gaoler of old, " What must 1 do to be saved."
Several other reasons might be adduced why rewards should be given in the Sunday school, but I will not trespass on your valuable spaoe any longer. T think sufficient cause has been shown for those schools which already give rewards to continue to do so; and in those where no suoh practice exists, 1 hope they may see ample reason to adopt them at once.
Cambridgeshire. A Sunday Scuoor, Secretary.
P. 8. I think the writer of the letter reforred to would do well to publish some comprehensive and judicious plan for the telf supiwrt of Sunday school!. Does he mean that wo arc to have no collections or donations for the schools, and that they should bo maintained by tho teachers themselves without any other pecuniary aid? If so, ho must have forgotten that by far the greater part of the Sunday school teachers are working people, who have to earn their bread by the labor of their hands and the sweat of their brow, and are therefore unable to give both time and money for the benefit of youthful instruction.
CLASSIFICATION AND PROMOTION OF SCHOLARS.
The following is an outline of the opinions expressed at a recent Superintendents' Meeting, connected with the Church of England Sunday School Institute.
The Classification Of Scholars on their first admittance into the school requires much care and discrimination on the part of the superintendent; he must take into consideration their age, knowledge, intelligence, and disposition, so that he may allot them to the class and to the teacher most suitable to them. This can be ascertained in a great measure by a personal interview with and examination of each scholar, after which they could be placed conditionally in the class apparently the most suitable, and at the expiration of three or four Sundays the superintendent, from his own observation, and the report of the teacher will decide either to confirm the appointment, or to enter them permanently into another class. It is necessary that the superintendent should be well acquainted with the relative standard and attainments of each class, and the ability and disposition of the respective teachers, to enable him to classify his scholars properly.
In some schools it is the practice to retain all the new scholars in a separate class for a few Sundays, to test them, and then appoint them to a regular class; but the previous plan is better, as the new scholars differ so much in knowledge and ability.
It is not desirable to give new scholars lesson books on their first entrance into school, because in many instances theyattend for two or three Sundays only, and then leave: it is better to wait a few Sundays, to see if they are likely to continue.
In the case of elder scholars, who cannot read, it is the practice in some schools, in which they have many such, to keep them in a distinct class, taught by an able and suitable teacher, until they are sufficiently advanced to be drafted into the regular classes: but generally it is the custom to place them at once with children of about the same age and mental powers, taking care first to secure the consent of the teacher, and the good-will of the class in favor of the new comer. It is highly detrimental to place such elder children, although ignorant, amongst the little or junior classes, as calculated to disgust them and drive them from the school. Week-evening instruction should be provided for such scholars, whenever practicable.
With regard to precocious children, it is not advisable to put young children, though forward, into the cider classes' as it is likely to incense the elder ones against them, or to disgust them, rather than to incite them to greater efforts; moreover, the mental powers of the young are generally inferior to those of the elder scholars.
Some schools have also separate classes and teachers for those scholars who attend only in the afternoon; but it is more advantageous to place them amongst the other classes, from their being of various attainments and capacities.
The Promotion Of Children from one class to another above it, is surrounded with many difficulties : for example,—Teachers arc often unwilling to partSKth their best scholars, and oftentimes scholars would rather leave the school than be parted from a favorite teacher; whilst always the bond of love between the particular teacher and scholar is severed. Teachers and scholars should be taught to take a mutual interest in each other throughout the school; there should be more of the family spirit in it, whereby particular likings would be to some extent avoided. Every child in the school should be led to look forward to pass through the school to the senior class, and after that to become themselves teachers. If rewards are given only to the one or two best scholars in each class, th e promotion of a child would also endanger its reward; but this is wrong in principle, rewards should always be so given that every child in the school may have equal chance of obtaining one if it will entitle itself to it.
The first object to be considered in the promotion of children is the welfare of each particular child. Promotion is necessary throughout the school, at stated seasons, as some scholars will advance more rapidly than others; and when one gets to be much beyond the rest, it is necessary to promote him to a higher class, or the others will be discouraged by his answering everything; though if the scholars are well classified, promotion need take place but seldom, say once in each year; but in many schools it is done half-yearly, and in some even quarterly; but this is an evil. Yet, on the other hand, it is disadvantageous for a scholar to remain many years under the same teacher, as it is likely there would be a great sameness in the teaching. Sometimes dislike and ill-feeling will spring up betwixt a teacher and scholar through a want of sympathy between them, and it will become necessary to appoint the scholar to another class; whilst it will be found that a scholar, unruly with one teacher, will be submissive with another, because he can exercise more influence over him; but in promoting such scholars, care must be taken not to give to them the appearance of a victory; better lose scholars than permit them to gain the ascendancy.
In case of a class getting over full, it is often necessary to promote some of the scholars; but in some schools this is partly avoided by making two or more divisions to the same class, all equal in rank, so that new scholars or those promoted from a lower class can be placed in whichever division of the class there is most room, thus preventing any one from getting overcrowded. But in case of a class losing very many of its scholars, it is better to disperse the remaining ones amongst other classes, and place the teacher somewhere else, rather than to disturb many other classes to fill up that one.
As in the classification, so in the promotion of children, the mutual adaptation to each other of the teacher and the scholar must never be lost sight of; the chief object being, not maintaining the classes of a uniform size, but the highest good of each individual scholar.
An examination of each class by the superintendent very often precedes the half-yearly or annnal promotion, but the report of each teacher, and the marks in the register, should also be taken into consideration.
FRIENDLY CAUTION FOR THE BENEFIT OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
It is not surprising that the friends of Sunday schools should feel some distrust of the tendency of many recent measures to turn them into moneymills. Such a use of them is of late years. Twenty or thirty years ago the great aim of all Sunday schools was to instruct children and youth (who would otherwise be uninstructed) in the great truths of our Protestant faith. Teachers of years and experience—many of them the honored and noble of the land—wore accustomed to prepare with diligence for their class duties, and the two sessions a day, (which were then held in a large majority of schools,) afforded them none too much time to accomplish their sacred task.
After a while the library assumed an undue share of attention in the machinery of the school; and then came children's newspapers with rattling consequence; and at last feasts, fairs, pic-nics, and public processions and celebrations claimed a wide berth, and the humdrum work of Scripture teaching was pushed into the background, and the enthusiasm of those who had given themselves heartily to this divine office was sensibly cooled.
But nothing has been engrafted on our Sunday school stock which threatens so seriously to divert the institution from its original purpose, if not fatally to overlay it, as the multiplied schemes which are in vogue to make money out of them. In some schools not les3 than seven or eight general objects of benevolence are submitted to the children every year, to say nothing of special culls by strangers, who being courteously asked to make an address, often adroitly insinuate an appeal for the pennies.
Were these calls of such a character that children could readily comprehend them, the objection to them would be less formidable; but it is not so. As a sample of the way in which they are presented, the following case may serve: A Missionary Society desired to raise funds for the support of a new mission in Japan. One of the persons connected with that mission married the half-sister of our minister's wife. 'When our last monthly concert was observed, a letter was read from this gentleman
(which by the way, had been previously published in the Magazine,)
appealing for help. It was proposed to make a special collection in this behalf on the next Sunday in the church. The minister suggested that perhaps the Sunday school children would like to help. No sooner said than done. The superintendent proposed the subject, expressing'at the same time the pleasure it would give him to see their liberality. Finally, the proposition is distinctly made to try and raise a sufficient sum to make the pastor a life-member of the Missionary Society—thus killing two birds with one stone; i. e. sending the Gospel to the heathen and paying a compliment to the minister. The next Sunday, "Please give inc a penny for the Sunday school collection ! ■' rings through the homes of the children, and half a pound of coined copper is the result.
Now it is quite clear that such a process does not nemsarily strengthen the benevolent principle in the children. It might, be difficult for one in twenty of them to tell on the next Sabbath what the collection was for, »nd stillmore difficult to tell what self-denial their share of it had cost them.