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The law of adaptation should be observed in teaching. Milk for babes, "but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age." In the Sunday school this rule is often broken, and the manner of teaching is not always adapted to "nourish up in the words of faith and of good doctrine"—somewhere there is Bad defect, and hence many are not acquainted from childhood with "the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
The catechism is often used too early or used in a manner injudicious and unsuccessful. No person would teach French or English history from a mere outline. History must be known before it can be digested—when all the changes and vicissitudes of the nation, when all the deeds and dates are familiar to the mind, then a sketch is an admirable and convenient form, for combining and linking together in harmony the various individual details and facts. But to teach from a meagre outline, will give but narrow and prejudicial views of the noblest record of man's doings and God's providence. Catechisms are only outlines, compendium* "of those things which are most surely believed among as." These outlines must be filled up from the Bible, lest training should be defective, and growth stunted and dwarfish. Our youth must know from the word of God, and not from the words of man "the certainty of those things wherein they have been instructed." Against the present use, or rather abuse, of catechisms, we give one or two suggestions.
Catechisms and forms are mere abstractions in human language, and not lessons in a practical form. They are often beautiful and truthful, but too abstract and metaphysical, too logical and cold. Take the definition of a doctrine in any of our catechisms, and compare that with the scriptural expression of the samo truth, how great the difference! One perfect in thought,
but cold in expression, the other simple in form, but marvellous in power. One addresses the intellect, the other touches the heart. One is theoretical, the other is practical! It is the scriptural and the practical that we must continually present and enforce; doctrine must be pictured in example, and truth must be written in life. The affections must be kindled, the heart must be drawn out in love; truth must be taken out of a dry, technical, and scholastic form, and coupled with fact and life, and daily business. The scripture must be the creed; the heart and the head must be linked together by that " form of sound words" which speaks iu power, and reveals itself in love.
This mode of teaching by catechisms alone, is dangerous, and calculated to lead astray. This is a solemn charge to bring against any system of instruction. I am not insensible to the reponsibility I incur in uttering it, but " we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." It puts theory before practice, and presents the form before the power. Of course knowledge is essential, but the scripture mode of teaching is experience first, and then knowledge after. Feeling before knowing, and knowing as the result of doing. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." The blessings of the gospel are therefore within the reach of all, old and young, learned and illiterate, and are only obtained by faith, and known by experience. A vocabulary of words, forms of expression, and question, and answers, may be committed to memory, and even retained through life, without affecting the heart, and changing the character. This putting of the mere theory, before the practice, this teaching from the "form of godliness," and leaving out the powers, leaves the work undone, and permits the youth to grow up unacquainted with Christ, "whom to know is life eternal." Let mo quote the authority of the great Dr. Arnold, speak
ing of the use of the 39 Articles in the Universities, he said: " I helieve that the religious instruction of every individual undergraduate, would be far purer and more effectual than it is now, if the thirty-nine Articles were never presented to them as a subject of study; but the scriptures were made the only text-book in what are called divinity lectures, whilst the catechism furnished the outline for any more private and personal instruction that was given to individualsThere can be no more fatal error, certainly none more entirely at variance with the Scripture model, than to acquaint the mind with tlte truths of religion in a theoretical form, leaving the application of them to be made afterwards. On the contrary, the practical form is not only that in which they should be first communicated, but in many instances they sliould never be put into the abstract form at all, and if they are so put, thoy become misleading.
"I am led to think that this distinction between the putting of the doctrines of Christianity in the shape of abstract truths, and conveying them as lessous, is of no small importance, because I observe that the scripture constantly adopts the latter mode, while the great disputes amongst Christians have manifestly arisen out of the prevalence of the former.
"If the scripture itself be our textbook, we find all this given in its proper proportions; but on the present system it is perfectly possible for a man to study carefully what we call christian doctrines, and yet to havo a most inadequate notion of christian doctrine in the scriptural sense of the term, the doctrine of christian feelings, and christian principles and practices."
The weight of these words will apologise for the length of the quotation. A good sound scriptural education is most essentially necessary in the present day. Sunday school teachers must feel their responsibility, and be alive to their duty. The Bible, and the Bible only,
must be our text-book. Catechisms are of use to define and preserve our faith, but must never be regarded as the chief or the only instruments of religious training; use them if you like, but never put them before that blessed book by which God has trained his church, and blessed the world for ages. In the Bible we find precept and promise, doctrine and example, combined in harmony, and reflected in life. Samuel and David, and Timothy and Jesus, stand out in word and deed as examples, at home and in life, for youth and every age. "To the law and to the testimony" then, we must appeal, O teachers I Systems of men will change and pass away, but "the word of the Lord abideth for ever." Human philosophy is incompetent to satisfy the heart and direct to God, but the Bible is a record of necessary and saving truth, with God for its author, and salvation for its end. Believe it yourself, and withhold it not from others, lest the curse resounds from the loaves of that holy book loud as the ocean's roar, " Wo unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are enteriug to go in."
SEPARATE SERVICES. Sir,—This is the custom of our Bagged schools. Why is it not so with Sunday schools generally? If instead of giving our "British Arabs" short addresses and then dismissing them, we request them to go with us to our Places of Worship, to sit for an hour and a half, or more, at each service, the greater part of which is quite j beyond their comprehension, how many of theBe lads will be likely to attend our schools? We might come at once to the conclusion, that Ragged schools would soon be a total failure. Why should wo then require so much moro from our Sunday school children? We passing lEbents.
should not think for a moment of expecting children to be able to render labour like the man—to toil at the oar— to follow the plough—or render service which requires the nerve and strength of the man, whom nature has fitted for toil. If it would be wrong thus to seek premature development in the labours of life, is it not equally wrong and pernicious to expect the same amount of spiritual service from our children? Do they not require " line upon line, here a little, and there a little?" Does it not become ns to imitate our divine Lord, who said, when his disciples could not watch one hour, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak V Did not Christ, as man, feel for man in his weakness? And ought we not to feel likewise for our children, to sympathise with them, and not to lay on them any burdens they are not able to bear? To how many does tho present system become the means of positively setting them altogether against the services of the sanctuary? The writer has a friend who told him, that he traced his objection to religion, to the prolonged services which he was compelled to attend when a boy. Now the parents of this boy, no doubt, thought they were doing God service, when in fact they were helping the prejudices of the human heart against divine realities, by requiring from their children services whioh they felt unable to render. Nature seems to recoil from such Sabbath services. Is there not to be found in almost every Sunday school, young men who would volunteer in the Separate Service movement, who
might "be made useful" by giving addresses to the children, not forgetting that those addresses should be short, pithy, and as full of anecdotes as possible; might they not feel, that " whilst watering others, their own souls are watered?" Does not the Master say, "Son, go work in my vineyard?" Do not our church members too often forget the aggressive spirit of our holy religion, and seem to settle down in unconcern about those around them? We are told "not to be heavers of the word only, but doers." Speaking to a Superintendent of a large Sunday school, he made the objection that the difficulty was to obtain competent men to address the school: but if we consider the matter in its great importance, and how little the children now profit from the public services of the church, I think we shall soon find, by God's blessing, that we possess in most of our churches, a sufficient number of young men, who are capable of talking to children for a short time on a Sabbath day; and by this small beginning, they might afterwards become village preachers. I trust our young men will rouse themselves to the work: as a young man, I feel deeply anxious there should be a general adoption of the special service. I find where it has been introduced that it works well; and may all remember the Saviour's command to Peter, "Feed my lambs." Whilst our pastors are leading the sheep beside the still waters and in the green pastures, may the lambs of the flocks not be overlooked.
A Bagged School Teachee.
The only intelligence which has reached us this month, relating strictly to Sunday schools, has been the following:
An annual treat to the infant
(division of the Craven Hill Chapel School, was given on January 1st, when between 70 and 80 infants took tea in company with a number of teachers and friends of the school; after which, while
the tables were being cleared, the children marched round the room to the sound of the lite played by one of the elder scholars. When settled in their appointed places, the teacher having briefly addressed the little ones, the pastor (Rev. A. McMillan) gave them an address previously to their joining in several games; after which their young hearts were made glad by each receiving a prize from a large and well furnished Christmas tree. The proceedings were enlivened hy the children singing a number of familiar hymns, accompanied by the harmonium.
A Meeting of the senior scholars, formerly, and now, in the Sydney Street Chapel School, Twio Folly, Bethnal Green, was held on Twelfth-night, 6th January, 1863. About sixty, including the teachers, sat down to tea; after which the Rev. T. Temple, president of the school, took the chair; the superintendent, Mr. B. Pryor, Messrs. Burt, Ellison, Fletcher, and some of the scholars addressed the meeting. Refreshments were provided, together with music, &c, and it was manifest throughout the evening that each one present enjoyed the opportunity of seeing each other after a lapse of years.
Whatever opinions our readers may entertain on the subject of excursion trips, they will probably all admit that the examples here set are worthy of imitation. The manifestation by the teachers of sympathy with the scholars in their innocent recreations cannot but be productive of good.
It will be in the recollection of many, that when the great lines of railway from London to various parts were opened, care was taken that their metropolitan stations should be kept at a distanco from the business parts of London. Thus it became necessary to travel to Faddington to take the rail to Bristol; to Euston Square or to King's Cross, both on the north side of
the New Road, leading from FinsburySquare to Faddington, in order to reach the lines leading to the north-west and northern parts of our island. But this was soon felt to be a great grievance, and for some years efforts havo been made to remove it. It was at length suggested that a railway might be constructed below the surface of the roads, proceeding from Faddington, and passing near the stations of the North Western and Great Northern Railways, having a terminus in the valley of the Fleet near Holborn Bridge. It was long before the design took any practical shape; adequate pecuniary support was not obtained, and all hope of carrying out the plan seemed abandoned. The failure of another undertaking, however, opened the way to the carrying out this, as it is commonly called, underground, but more correctly, Metropolitan Railway. The Corporation of London had been induced to open a new road from Holborn Bridge in continuation of Farringdon Street, with a view of making a more convenient way to the north. A large quantity of property was necessarily destroyed, the road was constructed, but no one would erect buildings on either side of it, and a large quantity of land belonging to the City was thus lying unoccupied. It occurred to the late Mr. Charles Pearson, the Solicitor to the Corporation, that if this new railway could be constructed, this land, which would be wanted for the station, would become valuable; in addition to which great facilities would be afforded to the dead meat market, which it was proposed to establish in Smithfield. He therefore induced the Corporation not only to promote the scheme, but to render large pecuniary help,'aided by which it has at length, after more than ordinary difficulties in its construction, been completed, and was opened for traffic on January 10th. Wo were coming out of Gloucestershire that morning, and availed ourselves of this opportunity of getting to Fleet Street. The motion Wrb reinarkably smooth, and no inconvenience wag sustained from the tunnels, which occupy 'a considerable portion of the distance, although not the whole. The rail appears to be found exceedingly convenient, and the number of passengers already exceeds 20,000 daily. There is another line approaching Farringdon Street from the South, connected with the London, Chatham, and Dover Kailway, and which will cross the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge. By the aid of these lines, there will be connected
nate in the metropolis. From day-break to midnight, the stream of life rushes through our streets; it never ebbs, except for the few cold hours that come between extreme night and the earliest dawn. Before the man of fashion—and not even he is idle—has left his last party, the market-carts are rumbling into Covent-garden, and Billingsgate is awake. London never sleeps through out her whole length and breadth. At all hours there is some twitching in her mighty limbs—some muttering from her
railway communication between the giant lips—some restless tossings to and
Continent and the whole of the North and West of England, as well as Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.
In addition to this, other lines are in progress, and still more contemplated, which will carry railways through some of the busiest districts of the metropolis. The comfort of the residents, and the aspect of the public ways, are not increased by these undertakings, which in the South of London require arches and bridges, but the continually increasing traffic seems to render them a necessity. On the day the Metropolitan Railway was opened, The Daily Tekyraph published an article on the streets of London, part of which we extract for the amusement of our readers:—
"Wonderful are our London streets:
no city in the world presents a panorama at once so swift, so varied, and so full. Life with us is at fever heat; no hour of the day is without its business or its excitement. We are a nation tremendously at work; as ceaselessly as the hammer beats upon the anvil, so ceaselessly throbs the brain. There is little idleness in England. Our country gentlemen, when they are not labouring through thick covers or (barging at fivebarred gates, are visiting gaols, attending quarter sessions, or examining bluebooks. Age itself has not the privilege of being lazy. Genially and cheerfully to the last, the Englishman of sixty labours away. This activity, this incessant toil, this fiery speed, all culnii
fro. Our citizens relieve each other, even as sentries do; but perpetually there is some one on the watch. No imaginative drama was ever so full of strange and startling contrasts, of sudden surprises, of splendour and squalor, of enjoyment pushed to its wildest heights and sorrow thrown into its most hidden depths, as one single day of real metropolitan life. There was never a painter who could limn the scene in its entirety. No smaller man than Turner could ever suggest to us the sombre splendour of our London sunsets, when the sun burns slowly down through clouds which are blurred with the smoke of a mightycity; no weaker hand than Hogarth's could reproduce the busy and bustling crowds who sweep onward, intent on pleasure or on gain."
The Distress In The Cotton Districts has somewhat abated, so far as can be judged by the number of applicants for parochial relief, but it is feared that it is beginning to be felt more severely by many whose means have enabled them to encounter it hitherto. It is not the want of cotton which is felt now, but its high price, which renders the manufacture of it unprofitable. Trade cannot be resumed to any extent until the prices of the raw material, and of the manufactured article bear a fairer proportion to each other. The kind and liberal effort made in New York to assist in this