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on his seat, gazing on the stranger, exclaimed loud enough for those near him to hear, “That's the best prayer I ever heard !"
It ought to be distinct and slow. Sometimes the voice may be loud, sometimes it ought to sink almost to a whisper ; but it must always be distinctly and easily heard by every one who is expected to join in the devotion. Each word ought to be distinctly and fully pronounced ; and this can only be done when the prayer is offered up slowly and solemnly. Few people can think quickly, and, certainly, children cannot. If, therefore, their minds are to follow you in prayer, and not be left behind, it must be pronounced slowly,
Another material aid is, to have the sentences very short and complete. Let a full pause intervene between each. Did not our Lord so teach his disciples? The Lord's prayer is eomposed of such short sentences. Never let any sentence be long; such sentences are always more difficult to understand.
Eamestness and reverence ought to pervade the whole service; so that if some one, totally ignorant of the language of the speaker, should enter the room, he could at once perceive that these feelings had full expression. Here is work for the teacher's heart ! Language may be studied, thoughts may be prepared, the voice may be accurately modulated; but we question if any art ean so impart the appearance of earnestness and veneration as to impose on a school full of children. Men and women might be deceived; but the instincts of the young are unblunted and keen; they are not easily eheated; and therefore the teacher, who would awaken reverence and eamestness in their hearts must fill his own with these divine graces from heaven's fountain."
Such seems to be the ideal of the devotional exercises of a Sunday-school. The difficulty is, to reduce them to practice. It is difficult. We knew one teacher who tried, frequently and earnestly, to lead the prayers of his school in what he thought a suitable manner, and the result of his experience was this :
First. The prayers—both the thoughts and the words-must be prepared previously by the teacher, just as he prepares his lesson.
Secondly. The best preparation he found was, just to write them carefully out-without reading them, however, when at the superintendent's desk.
Bome teachers may be able to find the right thoughts and the right words at the time they are required, without previous preparation : if so, it is well; but, surely, it is better to prepare carefully than introduce unsuitable thoughts and words into the service in which you invite children to join. The speaker in the prayer, is merely the mouth of the supplicants: it is not his wishes, his sins, his condition, which furnish the materials for prayer ; it is their wishes, their sins, and their condition, that ought to mould the prayer; and it is thus speaking for others—those so generally unlike himself -which makes preparation so necessary to most teachers. It may be useful to subjoin a brief illustration of the written prayers above referred to:
PRAYER FOR A SUNDAY-SCHOOL. tri Our Father which art in heaven,' we, poor children, are come to pray
to Thee. Help us to remember that God sees us now-that God sees each boy and each girl—that God sees each heart-that God knows what we are thinking about just now. Lord, keep us from trifling-keep us from pretending to pray.
"O God, Thou hast been very good to us. We come to thank Thee. We thank Thee for this Sabbath-day-for our Sunday-school. We thank Thee for kind fathers and mothers—for kind teachers and friends. We thank Thee for food this day-for our clothes-for our dear-loved homes. How many children have no fathers or mothers, food, or clothes ! Lord, pity them; make us thankful. We thank Thee for our Bibles. We thank Thee for a Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord-for all that He did while on earth-for all He said—for His love to poor sinners—for His love to usfor His death and his resurrection. Lord, we thank Thee.
Oh, teach us to love Him. For His sake, pardon our many sins. Our hearts are very hard, and very wicked. We have been disobedient to our parents—we have been idle and careless-we have been proud and unkind
- we have quarrelled, and told lies--we have not loved Jesus—we have forgotten the Saviour who died for us. Oh, forgive our sins now, even today.
“O Lord, make us good. Give us new hearts. May we be sorry for our sins ! May we not be disobedient any more! May we be kind to brothers and sisters ! May we be humble! May we be dilligent at school, and at home! Oh, make us like the holy child Jesus.
“Now, bless our Sunday-school. Bless our lessons; may they do us good! Bless our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. Bless us all ; and hear us, for Christ's sake. Amen."
Another mode for making these portions of our Sabbath worship more interesting, would be to choose a special topic for prayer, and fix the children's thoughts on it. Pray, for instance, against some special sin-as e. g., pride, anger, disobedience, untruthfulness, revenge, or idleness. Or some of the many blessings we need may be selected and dwelt on in prayer -such as health, soundness of mind, humility, docility, wisdom, courage, gentleness, repentance, faith, charity. Frequently the subject of the lesson may afford a suitable topic for the supplications of the school; and the prayer may serve to enforce the teaching, while the teaching prepares for intelligently joining in the prayer. Such an arrangement lessens the intellectual effort of the scholars most materially.
We annex another specimen, to give some idea of what we point to. We earnestly wish we had printed a number of good suitable prayers for our Sunday-schools? Dare we call it a sort of " Sunday-school Liturgy?"
PRAYER AGAINST PRIDE. O God, Thou art very high and holy. We are very little, and very sinful; yet we are very proud. Satan is proud, and we are like him. We pray that we may no longer be proud. May each girl and boy feel that they are proud; that it is very wrong to be proud-very foolish ; that it makes God very angry; God hates a high look; God hates a proud heart.
" Teach us that we have nothing to be proud of. If we are strong, God
gave the strength; if we have beauty. God gave it. We have nothing that is ours, but sin ; all else is God's. Oh, make us humble.
“Teach us to remember our sins—how many, how vile they are. Teach us to see our own faults, and to hide the faults of others. Teach us to think little of ourselves—to be content with the lowest place.
" Teach us to think much of Christ-of His love to such sinners as we. Teach us to think others better than ourselves. May each boy and girl hear and obey Christ's call: Come and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly, and
shall find rest for your souls.' “Oh, Jesus, make us like Thyself, gentle and lowly, humble and meek. Oh, may we be no more proud! Oh, forgive our pride-our proud thoughts -our proud words, and proud looks. Give us new and humble hearts, Amen."
THE TEACHER WITHOUT QUALIFICATION.
(From Toda). ABOUT this time a new teacher offered his services, who was deemed in every respect qualified to instruct this class; he possessed good natural understanding, a well-cultivated mind, and in some respects he was industrious and persevering. He rose early, except occasionally on Sabbath mornings, when he thought it prudent to indulge himself a little. Sundays were the only days when he ever left home without private prayer for a blessing on the concerns of the day. Indeed, he found no time : as it was, he generally went late to the school, and on more than one occasion he came in just in time to hear a stranger address the children on the importance of always being early and punctually at school. When he thus lost an hour in the morning, he felt somewhat displeased with himself, and nothing seemed to go right all day. The children soon acquired the habit of coming late ; perhaps they did not wish to hurt the feelings of their teacher, by being in their places an hour before him. However this may have been, from his indifferent manner, one scholar after another stayed away altogether. As his class diminished, the superintendent continued to fill it up with new scholars Sunday after Sunday. The superintendent soon found that he might as well turn the scholars out of school, for it amounted to the same thing; and he found it necessary to urge upon this teacher the importance of complying with a rule of the school, which made it the duty of the teachers to visit the absentees, and report the cause. Indeed the teacher soon began to feel ashamed of his reduced class; perhaps he was fearful it might be thought by some that he did not possess natural ability to interest and instruct the class; and he determined that he would inquire after the absentees. About the middle of the week he found leisure, but then recollected that his roll-book was locked up in the school-room; and by the time he found it convenient to see the superintendent and obtain a list of the names, it was Saturday afternoon.
It proved to be an exceedingly unpleasant day, but he was determined to do something before another Sabbath ; and off he went with a list of absentees sufficient to have formed a large class, with hardly time to call upon half the number.
He had considerable difficulty to find where many lived; some had removed, and one or two had some time since tried some other Sundayschool, which they liked much better. He inquired at one place for Mr. J., and found no such person. When the mother of the boy appeared, he informed her that Joseph had not been to the school the last two Sundays. Joseph being there, said he was at school on Sunday afternoon week; and the teacher just recollected that he himself was absent that afternoon, and could not contradict the child; and after saying a few words on the importance of regular attendance, he went his way.
The next house at which he called, he saw the father of George, and told him that his son had not been to school for a few Sundays past. . 'No,' said the father, he has not been for five weeks. Previous to sending him to the Sunday-school, he stayed in the house and read, or went to church with his mother. As we knew much good had been received in Sunday-schools, and many of our rich neighbours sent their children, we were persuaded to send George, and we had him ready every Sunday, and thought that he attended the school regularly; but last Sabbath he came running home, followed by a friend of mine, who informed me that George spent every Sunday with a crowd of bad boys, near his house, and they had just broken his parlour window. And now, as I cannot be certain that he will do any better, I shall keep him in the house.'
At the next place the teacher knocked very gently at the door, for he had lost some confidence in himself. He did not knock again, or wait long, and he had no time to lose; and perhaps quieted his conscience with the thought, 'Well, I have called, and if no one comes, it is not my fault;' and away he went, without even looking back.
We shall only mention one more call, which he had some difficulty in making, not knowing exactly who to ask for. Here he saw the mother of a boy who had been in his class; introduced himself as the Sunday-school teacher, and inquired about her son James, who had been absent from the class. She looked sorrowful, and said she believed 'James was better off, she hoped he was in heaven.'
What! is James really dead ? '
“Yes,' said his mother, he died of a fever from taking a severe cold one Sunday, in the street : he was ill just thirteen days on Thursday week last.'
When the teacher recollected himself a little, he said, 'He could not have thought it so long a time since James was at school,' inquired whether he thought he was going to die, and what were his views. The mother replied, that as he became worse, he was very much alarmed at the thought of death, talked about the Sunday-school, and longed to see the teacher he used to have, and wished me often to read the Bible to him: and when he became very ill, and near his end, he seemed resigned to die. We asked him if we should send for you, and he did not seem to desire it. He said, 'the Sunday-school teacher we have now has never been here, and may be he would not like to come,' and then he held up his poor thin arms, and said, “I think he would hardly recollect me, I've fell away so much.' James died without seeing his teacher.
This teacher !—he seldom thought of James while he lived, but he never forgot him when he was dead !
REWARD-GIVING IN SUNDAY SCHOOLS. Mr. EDITOR, -As a teacher of eight or nine years' experience, in both Day and Sunday schools, will you allow me to express an opinion on the system of “Reward-Giving."
First, then, I confess that my sympathy is strongly on the side of "An Union Secretary,"-(p. 42.) In schools, where the ticket system has been used, I have known such a plan as the following adopted :-One boy who has been induced to play truant, meets with another who has attended sehool and obtained his ticket, and the two arrange so that the truant becomes the possessor of the ticket, and the other tells his mother “he has had a ticket, but that he has lost it.” I do not give this as a theoretical plan, but in numerous instances have had personal knowledge of them. In this manner a temptation is put in a child's way for deceit ; and which should always be studiously avoided.
I shall always advise, as I have practised myself, never to allow a child to be absent from a class without knowing the reason of it, either by the teacher's personal visiting, or, if the time would not allow of it, to send by a member of the class, (and one may always be found willing to make enquiries.) For the child may be ill—then it is the duty of the Sunday school teacher to visit him; he may be playing the truant, a little private conversation with the teacher would very soon make the tear flow fast from the child's eye, and convince him of his sin, (for it is an act of disobedience to one of God's laws-fifth commandment.)
The teaching of a Sunday school should be of such a character as, of itself, to give the children an intense desire to attend its classes, and to be there in time; and a kind word of commendation from the teacher to his children for being in time, with a few remarks now and then upon the duty of obeying the precept, “Let every thing be done decently and in order," with the evil consequences pointed out of not attending to it, will do more than the rewards. I know one school in which the reward system was discontinued, and the results often were incomparably superior to what they had been before.
The system is unfair ; for if the children are rewarded for lessons, which I believe is the general plan, one child with great ability will be rewarded for learning a lesson, over which he has not spent one quarter the time and labor that another child, with less ability, has; and so the latter says—"Oh! its no use my trying, for so and so will be sure to do it better than I shall."
But this is but a minor point in the school government or organization. The quality of the results after all depends upon the teachers themselves. No teacher should ever leave his or her house, without imploring tlie blessing of our Divine teacher to attend the labors of the day, and during the week should be ever devoutly seeking Divine teaching, so that he may be able more effectively to impart the knowledge of Divine truth, with which it has pleased God to bless them.
The Sunday School Union is doing a creditable work in the establishment of “ Training Classes” for the benefit of those engaged in the work ; and the writer's heart will rejoice to see the day, should he ever be per