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and robbed the wrecker of his prey. So, if we improve the Sundayschool as we ought, when this generation has passed away, the light of our children will flow out with more beauty, and send its rays further than that of the fathers has ever done.
A TEACHER'S MUSINGS.
Mark vi. 45.-48.
How different, yet how harmonious were the engagements of Master and disciples ! “ Constrained” by him, they set out on their voyage across the lake. He, alone, amid the gathering shadows, ascends the mountain, and seeks communion with his Father. Nor is it only converse, but prayer, which is heard on that hill-top; Jesus prays, takes the bumble position of a suppliant, and pours out, from his large heart, the desires which are welling up within. Hour after hour glides away—the thin clouds of evening grow deeper, and darken into night—the heavy dew settles on the earth, and the mountain is wrapped in mist, but there he is still, "continuing instant in prayer!"
And how speeds the tiny bark on the waters ? Alas, it is “in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves ; for the wind was contrary." The poor fishermen long for their Master, almost wishing they had not embarked, but continuing to row hard against wind and tide. We almost hear them say, “Why is he not with us ? is he unmindful of our peril? does he not see how impossible it is for us to cross the lake as he commanded ?" And our hearts echo the words, “Does he not see ?"
Yes, he sees them “ toiling in rowing,” and still he prays on! Thus night wears towards its “fourth watch”—the promise of dawn even begins to break through the silent darkness, as Jesus descends from the mountain. He is just in time—the disciples were so wrought up by the excitement of their position, as not at first to recognise him whose presence they so much desired. Jesus came "walking upon the sea,” treading beneath his feet the raging waves. willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.”
We, as Sunday school teachers, may surely take encouragement from this narrative. “The love of Christ constraineth us” to engage in our arduous task. But we meet with much opposition, ever experiencing the truth of that assertion, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest.” Again and again, when we deemed ourselves progressing, our little bark is driven back by some new discovery of stubbornness in the hearts of our children ; and sometimes, feeling that the work is too hard for us, we are fain to give over
“ Then they
“toiling in rowing." "If we were only sensible of our Master's presence," we think, “we could work hopefully on, but oh! not alone."
Where is our Master, then ? On the mountain, praying. He sees us, marks each struggle, hears each dip of the oar, but he will not take the work out of our hands. “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”
Not always shall we thus be left. In his own good time, he will come to us, and then we shall see his power as God, for he“ walketh on the wings of the wind, and his footsteps are in great waters.” Our difficulties shall be surmounted, the victory won, the work completed and Jesus shall be seen as the doer of it all. But we must not expect so glorious a result except as the end of our “patient continuance in well-doing," assisted by the intercession poured by our unseen Lord into the ear of Almighty Goodness. Jesus prays while we work, and thus “ we have fellowship one with another.” Norwich.
P. S. S.
WHAT HAS THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL A RIGHT TO CLAIM
AT THE HAND OF THE CHURCH? 1. That it shall have a hearty faith in the feasibility of childhood conversion? The history of this institution affords the evidence. Children can feel. They can weep tears of genuine Gospel sorrow when they have transgressed the Divine law. They can feel the agony of conviction, and they can exercise saving faith in Jesus Christ. But this must be ingrained into the heart of the Church. Only this will give working power.
2. The co-operation and leadership of the whole ministerial force. The religious teaching of children is recognized and insisted upon by our Church as an essential part of ministerial duty, to be performed diligently and in every place. The Church also recognizes the Sundayschool as an important agency in this work of religious, of doctrinal instruction, and has committed it, with her other great plans, to ministerial leadership. An occasional visit from a pastor is not enough. An interest so vast and far-reaching in its results demands hearty cooperation. Any minister too dignified for this, is an unmitigated abomination, and should be promptly located for unacceptability. Personally I have this to say, if any man is appointed to serve as the pastor of my family, and will not know my children, I shall use every exertion to have him removed at the close of the first year, and shall deeply regret that we have no usage which will cast him adrift at the end of six months. Perhaps the Lord may have use for such a man in some other fiel?
3. The hearty, working sympathy of the whole Church. Not that which says, " Be warmed and fed ;" " be supplied with books, and papers, and teachers, and prosper," and then leaves it destitute of each. We hear a great deal, perhaps none too much, of Christian consecration. There is a genuine consecration. Any, save consecration to Christian service, the work of God, and the Church, causes rejoicing in perdition. Hear that brother talk; he has given all to God; he is willing to do anything or nothing-especially nothing-for the Lord. And yet, under the shadow of his dwelling are untaught, perishing children, and no effort made to save them! They were going down quick into hell, without a helping hand or warning voice, while he is prating of consecration! I have no faith in any genius but the genius for hard work ; no faith in any Christianity but the Christianity of hard work, HE who laid all upon that altar which he consecrated with his own blood, continually “wept about doing good.” In His name we appeal to the Church for its hearty, working sympathy in behalf of this work.
4. Finally. Generous pecuniary assistance. Money is needed as well as work, “Money is the sinew of war." But there is just ground of complaint, that while it is poured forth like water for other purposes, for the interests of the Sunday-school it is given, even in the most prosperous times, in a grudging and niggardly spirit. We ask that here shall be devised" liberal things.” It is a noble enterprise. It seeks the conversion and moral training of our children; therefore it has a right to claim of the Church a princely heart, a princely hand, and a princely coffer.
Let the Church realise the magnitude of the trust here committed to her charge. Let her meet those duties in the right spirit. For, truly, it is the cause of our children, it is the cause of humanity, it is the cause of God.
HAPPY DEPARTURE OF A PIOUS SUNDAY SCHOLAR.
By Mr. ROBERT FRAME of Glasgow. The Sunday school at F- - was a most interesting one. The children composing it belonged principally to the middle-classes of society. Their parents, for the greater part, were religious people ; and the teaching of the Sunday school being thus supplemented and enforced by home instruction, the result was considerable spirituality of mind and feeling among the scholars, and decorum in the school.
Mr. C, was a most sincere Christian, and devoted to his work. He had been long connected with the school, and much success had followed his labours. His school being considered a model one, it was much visited. Scholars so orderly and attentive as were there, soon attracted general notice, but among them one little girl arrested particular attention. Her name was ALICE RAY.
Alice was a sweet little girl whom every one involuntarily loved. She was a small, delicate looking child. Her pale face wore an expression of premature gravity, while she attended to the exercises of the school, but when conversing with her fellow-scholars ber kind, gentle words, were accompanied by sweet smiles. Her dark blue eye ever beamed with good nature and sparkled with intelligence.
She was a lovely little thing, but her beauty seemed too spiritual and fragile for earth. It was not her beauty, however, that made Alice the loved of all. The fairest fruit may not be the sweetest, but Alice had an inward beauty, which, unlike mere external grace, is abiding and of great value. It was her calm, agreeable disposition, her humble and unostentatious manner, her love of all that was good and pure, and her simple but earnest piety, that constituted the chief charm. Her parents were in good circumstances, and being Christians, not in name only, but in deed, Alice, with her brothers and sisters, were early taught the truths of the Scriptures.
Though Alice was never seri sly unwell, she was not strong; and as she grew in years she did not improve in health. As she grew older, however, her mind expanded rapidly; and her love to the Saviour increased. No one thought that Alice would be long on earth. Her parents, who were tenderly attached to her, tried every means in their power of benefiting her health but without any very favourable result following.
Alice frequently spoke about spiritual things to her companions and others. Her views of Divine truth were clear and decided. Occasional difficulties she experienced, but doubts or fears never troubled her. She spoke of death only as the beginning of eternal happiness, and alluded without reserve to the fears entertained regarding her health, frequently saying she believed her days on earth would be few; and indeed many things about her betokened an early ripening for heaven.
As long as her strength permitted, Alice attended the school regularly; and on the first Sabbath when illness prevented her from attending, both teacher and scholars were sad, when thinking about her, having a presentiment that they would see her there no more.
Alice resided in a cottage pleasantly situated, near the side of a broad stream that flowed in calm majesty through scenes of great beauty. A garden adjoined the cottage, on which, and the shining stream beyond, the window of Alice's little chamber looked down. To that chamber Alice was now closely confined. But no murmur or complaint was heard there. Her words, as before, were full of gentleness and trust in God.
For some time hopes of her recovery were entertained. It was early spring, and the summer was anxiously desired, when Alice might be removed to another locality more likely to be beneficial. The summer came, but Alice could not be removed, she was hasting away. It was pleasing and instructive to hear the words of the young dying Christian. As though her near approach to the eternal world had brought her religious life to maturity, she spoke with the experience of age. If hopes of her recovery were expressed in her presence, she at once stated her firm conviction that death would soon come, while she spoke lovingly of her friends, and sorrowed for their sorrow. She exhibited a deep interest in the progress of the school,
and sent many kind messages to the scholars, but she never desired to be among them again, or to remain with her friends.
" I am going home to God,” she said, on one occasion, to Mr. C “ I am going home to God, where Jesus is at his right hand.” “It is a good hope, Alice;" replied Mr. C
Heaven is the Christian's home, and it is a blessed thought that there we shall be for with the Lord. There all those have gone who have been his faithful followers, and there we shall go too, if we love him steadfastly."
Yes," she said, “Jesus loves those who love Him, and He will receive them into heaven. I wish I could love Him better; if I could recall my past life I would strive to do so.”
“ You may be spared yet, Alice."
“No, no! I am sure I shall not; but I am not afraid to die. I know I shall be happier when I am away. Do not cry,” she added, turning to her mother, who stood weeping by the bed-side; “you will soon come to Alice; you have all loved me very much, and I love you very much too, but soon I shall have to leave you."
“ If it is our heavenly Father's will, Alice, you must,” said her mother. "We hoped to have had you longer with us, but His will be done. It is a comfort to us that you have so good a hope, that Jesus is precious to your soul."
“Yes, dear mother, you and father taught me to love Him, and we shall meet beside his throne above."
Such conversations were frequent, till the effort of speaking became too exhausting for her. She then desired that hymns and passages of Scripture might be read to her, to which she listened with close attention.
A special favourite with her, was the beautiful hymn beginning :-
“ When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
And pour contempt on all my pride."
It was a beautiful day; summer's prime seemed to have come back again, so bright and lovely was the face of nature. Alice had requested that she might be placed on an easy chair near the window. The exceeding warmth and beauty of the day induced her parents to comply with her request. Her father lifted her carefully, and placed her in the desired position. She looked 80 well that hope almost rose in his breast as he kissed her, and left to attend his business.
Alice seemed to enjoy the charming scene. The garden glowed with bright flowers; the river shone beneath the sun, and the air was filled with the song of bìrds. Her mother and sisters were beside her, but she seemed unconscious of their presence, nor did she answer when they addressed her. Feeling alarmed, they prepared to remove her to the bed, but a swift change passed over her countenance and arrested them. Her eyelids fell slowly