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teaching a mixed class, so that all may be profited, and none overlooked. While endeavouring to make the subject clear to the dull scholar, there is the danger that the bright one may become wearied and uninterested. Of course judicious classification will in some degree obviate this difficulty, but yet in a measure it will almost necessarily be experienced.
These remarks will perhaps suffice to show the importance of studying the characters and dispositions of your class, and to indicate one or two salient points requiring your special notice. But not only the natural dispositions of the children, but the particular circumstances in which they are placed will demand your attention. Try and make youself familiar with the influences surrounding them during the week, with the characters of their parents, their education, companions, &c. This knowledge will be a vast assistance to you, and enable you to acquire an influence over them which nothing else could give. This subject however will require further notice hereafter. Barnsbury.
C. E. O.
WHAT IS A SUNDAY SCHOOL ? MR. EDITOR.-Some months ago, an article appeared in your magazine proposing and answering the question, “ Are Sunday schools of Divine authority ?" The answer was, very properly, in the affirmative; but it struck me at the time, and subsequent observation and information, have deepened and confirmed the impression, that the writer should have given his readers some explanation of what he meant by the indefinite term “Sunday school,” that there might have been no mistake as to the kind of institution he concluded was of Divine anthority. In order to shew the necessity for such explanation, I will give you two or three specimens of what are called, in some places, Sunday schools; two of them will be purely dissenting specimens, the third a mixture.
First. School assembles at nine o'clock professedly, is opened by singing and prayer, after which commences teaching, which lasts ten minutes; then follows ten minutes of play for the scholars, which alternation is kept up during the whole time; during the play time, the teachers occupy themselves either with conversing with their neighbours, or by reading a newspaper or magazine, both of which might be seen protruding from their pockets or lying by their side.
Second. I give as near as I remember, in the words of the minister connected with the place, “ a good school for the size of the placetolerable good supply of teachers-an influential, efficient superintendent, only he was such a drunken man !”
The Third is on a large scale, numbering some two thousand scho
lars more or less. The information is derived partly as the result of personal observation, and partly from persons on the spot. It assembles at the usual hours, meeting in the evenings as well; the time is divided between the three branches of learning, reading, writing and arithmetic, the two latter occupying the usual hours for divine service, from half-past ten to twelve ; they attend of course no place of worship; whether they have any kind of worship at any time of the day I cannot say. The teachers are supplied by the various denominations in the town, agreeing to sink their distinctive peculiarities for the sake of union; but they seem not only to sink these but piety as well; and if, as is confidently affirmed, the school turns out more infidels than anything else, who can wonder at it; or be surprised to find that in the town that supports such a place, churches and chapels are miserably attended.
Now, I should hardly imagine that any one will be bold enough to assert or maintain that any such places as those I have given specimens of, are entitled to be considered as of Divine authority, or in any way sanctioned by the word of God. Will some of your numerous correspondents favor your readers with an outline of such a Sunday school as may rightly be considered of Divine authority ? Stafford.
MEDITATIONS FOR MARCH. MARCH is a good month for changes. In business it is the beginning of the Spring Season, and frequently changes are made in filling up different posts with efficient men; those that have not done well in one position are transferred to another more adapted to their talents; where there are not sufficient in the establishment, fresh hands are taken in, and you can see if you watch the proprietor that he is evidently making preparation to go forward with additional impetus. Business (he says) must be done, and the question he puts to himself is, where can I best place my staff so as to have every man in his right place; for the real man of business knows full well that all have not talents alike, and that it is for him to study character ; to find out qualities; to measure capabilities; to have force enough to do the work, and not to have too much, which inevitably encourages idleness and neglect.
Now there is an important question which Christian men of business would do well sometimes to think of. Can I put forth too much energy in my daily business : my reply would be, no, not if you are putting forth greater energy in the cause of Christ; but when, as I occasionally see among Christians, men of thorough business habits
thinking and reasoning something as I have done with reference to their worldly occupation, planning for its increased prosperity, and then look at them in relation to the church with which they are associated, I cannot help feeling sometimes that all cannot be right within, for the world seems to be having all the best thoughts, all the most strenuous efforts, and the very life of the man seems to be not in his religion and his God, but in his business.
I fear you will be curiously enquiring what all this has to do with Sunday schools ? Well, the suggestion to let God have your first thoughts, your highest love, your noblest powers of mind and heart, devoted, consecrated to him, will do you no harm. Are our Sunday schools as well arranged as they might be; as a rule, have we the right men in the right place? I am not sufficiently acquainted with the large field of Sunday school work to answer this question ; but in some of our schools I know changes might be made with advantage both to superintendent, teachers, and scholars; and the more I see of Sunday schools, the more am I convinced that the superintendent gives the key-note to the whole school. Where it necessary to define the requisites for the most important office in connection with every school, I would say, a warm heart, a clear head, a well-furnished mind, a lover of children, and most essentially, fond of order, and an aptness in getting it, both from teachers and scholars. It is not always easy to get just such a one as you would wish ; but if you have one that is guiding your school well, uniting the teachers together, making them the great object of his solicitude, giving one or two evenings a week, at least, to meet with them in a preparation class, sparing no pains to qualify even the youngest for the class he fills; and if you find that the infant and senior classes are well looked after, increase in number, and if from the latter you have many recruits for the Lord's side, may we not hope, that at any rate, in your superintendent, you have the right man in the right place; and be assured that if your school has been long established, and there are not in it children enquiring of their teacher the way to heaven, with their faces directed thitherward, there is reason to fear that either teacher or superintendent are lacking either in faith, or prayer, or labor, or love, or perhaps consistentcy of life, or some other of those essentially requisite Christian virtues, without which we can never acceptably serve our heavenly father, or engage in his work of love here. That we may all of us, as teachers of the young, have a year of great prosperity in our several classes and schools has dictated the above, and shall be the prayer of your fellow-laborer. Croydon.
SPECIMEN OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL ADDRESS.
PARADISE REGAINED. Many suppose that the world which we inhabit is a very unhappy place; they say so, whether they really think so is another matter; and they would teach us, that while here, we have nothing to expect but sadness and sorrow.
Children read about the beauties of Paradise ; its glorious rivers laughing to the sun-its delicious fruits so sweet to the taste-its harmless animals roaming at pleasure-but more than all of Adam and Eve in their innocence, till they almost wish they could live there, and have Eden for their home!
All was joy there! There was no disease or death in that happy garden. It must
It must have been a song full of sweetness which they sung there; no discord in it, but full of praise and thanksgiving. These are some of the words which the good blind poet Milton imagined they might have sung, but we may be sure they were even more glorious still:
" His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud ; and wave your tops, ye pines,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise !"* Oh! to think that they sinned! that they were shut out from that beautiful place
" That fruit
Brought death into the world, and all our woe." And what disappoints many so much is, that there is no more entrance tbere. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” And so, because this garden is closed against us, some suppose this is an unhappy world, and that mankind must be miserable. It would be much better if such people would think less of “ Paradise Lost,” and more of “ Paradise Regained.” It is really wicked to complain of this beautiful world which God has given us! He intends us to be happy. This is why he
When we consider the exposure of children to the profane language of the streets, we have a sufficient argument for the occasional use of the highest classical compositions, and poetry should never be quoted except it be of the choicest order. Good poetry is more easily understood than bad.
made us. He did drive Adam and Eve out of the first garden, because of their disobedience, but the question is, whether he has not given us another ! Let us see, whether this world, notwithstanding that sin has entered it, may not become a Paradise ! We are created by the same God. He “has breathed into our nostrils the breath of life." We have the same father, and the blessings bestowed upon our first parents may become ours.
Í. But what was their very first duty-Industry. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden to dress it, and to keep it.” God having made man, knew that he must have something to do in order to be happy. This then is the first secret of the happiness of Eden-something to occupy the hands and the mind. You have sometimes looked abroad in the beautiful summer-time, and all seemed calm and happy. If by the sea you have watched the waves rolling fresh upon the shore, bringing cheerfulness and health with them! Or you have heard the lark, as it rises from its bed of grass, singing its sweet songs, mounting higher and higher towards heaven! You have smelled the sweet fragrance of the flowers, or seen the busy reapers in the harvest field! Why is it that everything looks so happy? because everything is doing its work. The sun, the sea, the birds, the flowers, are all fulfilling their appointed tasks !
Look at that mother, how cheerful she is ! Yet she is hard at work for her child. But it is because she is so industrious that she is so happy.
And what sort of child is it that is most miserable ? Just the idle child. Oh! if any of us wish again to live in Paradise, let us remember that we must learn the first duty of that happy place. Life to us is a garden. There are many spots in it which we have to cultivate: all have some duties to perform, even the youngest. These things bring Eden back—when we are doing all according to God's will, and on the spot where He has placed us. Just as it was with Adam, so it is with us, we are put into the garden to dress and keep it. No one ever was born into this world without some spot in this garden of life which he was to dress and keep.
II. Obedience. This was his next duty. This was necessary to Paradise. You see that immediately our first parents neglected the command of God, they were driven out of the garden. There were beautiful trees there ! “Every tree that is pleasant to the sight;" and most refreshing were the fruits that grew upon them. Yes; and there are beautiful trees in this world, the fruit of which makes the heart glad. There is that fine tree “ Obedience to Parents."
· Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” What beautiful fruit is that! how pleasant to the taste !--not forbidden fruit, but none is sweeter. It is