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A true labourer in this vineyard will never labour in vain : such is the nature of the Gospel of Christ, and such is the promise of God to every honest worker, that it will become the wisdom and power of God to their salvation. In view of the nature of the Gospel and this promise of God, not only may the faithful teacher labour for, but may absolutely expect to see, his children coming to Christ as the legitimate result of his faithfulness.
And, on the other hand, that teacher has great reason to doubt either his fitness or his faithfulness when he sees no fruits of salvation as the result of his work.
It is not enough to teach your children the history or the geography of the Bible, the theories of commentators, or the abstract doctrines even of the Gospel itself—these are, or may be, all very well and important, too-but they will have time to learn these after they have received other and far greater truths; but seek out of every lesson to find Christ, and hold Him up to them as the great central truth and sun of the whole gospel system ; seek to turn that vital light toward them, always letting it rest and settle upon their hearts, and if you are faithful, it will there penetrate and become a fountain of light to guide them safely through this world to heaven.
If every teacher of Sunday schools would so labour as if he considered the salvation of the children depended upon his faithfulness, there would be a directness in his effort, and a solemn earnestness, too, which on the impressible and susceptible mind and heart of a child would have an irresistible power for good. Let once a child feel that you have truths that you consider paramount, and that you are in earnest, and expect that he will yield to and embrace them, and although he may struggle against them, yet the innate power of depravity cannot always hold out against that persuasion to which bis reason, his conscience, and his heart invite him to yield; and though you may never witness the surrender of that heart to the claims of God, yet you will there have implanted that leaven of truth, which, sooner or later, will work until the whole nature is renewed and the heart regenerated. If God has ordained the use of human instrumentalities as a means of salvation-as He most clearly and signally has-He has not done so without clothing its use with an almost infinite power; and that not as an exception, but as a result so certain as to be both the unfailing source of encouragement to the one, and the sure channel of blessing to the other.
But remember, teachers, that such glorious results can come from notbing but constant prayer for God's blessing on your labour, and constant faith that that blessing will descend as the reward of your faithfulness.
THE ART OF CONDUCTING A BIBLE LESSON. In conducting a Bible lesson, it is very important to remember throughout what is the point of the passage. This should be kept prominently in view. Towards this, the teacher should keep moving step by step ; and although on his road to it, he may look sometimes to the right, and sometimes to the left, yet he must not turn off and follow any of the various other roads which branch off from the direct one. What this is, of course must be settled in the teacher's mind before he comes to school; if not, he will be running off from it at every word, and omitting the main lesson of the passage, which perhaps he never saw. He will draw the same general truths from every text,
Keeping this in mind, the teacher goes to work. The passage is first read sentence by sentence, once or twice; and it will be necessary, with the younger children especially, then to go over it again, with questions and ellipses; inverting the sentences, and, as it were, telling the story, and making it the children's own.
Then comes the explanation of words and ideas. Every WORD. must be understood, as the whole gist of a sentence may turn upon one word. And every ideu needs to be drawn out: for many a truth, expressed in the simplest words, is nevertheless not grasped by a child's mind. For instance, almost every child if asked “For what purpose did Jesus come into the world ?” would answer" to save sinners ;" and yet, if you
further questioned them, you would discover that many did not understand what Jesus did—what “to save" means, or what sin is.
The question occurs, How are these explanations to be given ?
Every word represents either an object, or a combination of objects. If you had a picture of the object expressed by the word you wished to explain, your end would be gained at once. The thing to be aimed at, then, is to draw a picture before the mind's eye; and this may be done by illustration and analogy.
Suppose for instance, the passage before you was John xvi. 33. * In the world, ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Almost every word needs illustration—the world—tribulationbeing of good cheer---overcoming the world.
Let us take one. “ Tribulation—what is tribulation ?" " Trial," perhaps, would be answered. True; but how does tribulation come to mean trial ? Here is a picture for you to draw and illustrate. You must tell them, then, to begin with, that Tribulum means a winnowing machine, and tributtatio the passing through a winnowing machine. And then you may go on, What is the use of a winnowing machine? Suppose you get no answer ; then (and this is a general principle) you must go further back, and start from something that is known. Did you ever gather an ear of corn? “Yes.” How did you get the grains of wheat from it ? " I rubbed them between my hands -0." What came off besides the wheat ? " Husks." Called also ? " Chaf." Is the chaff good to eat? "No." How did you separate it from the wheat ? " I blew it away" How came the chaff to be blown away, and not the wheat ? “ Because it is lighter than the wheat." If you had a barn full of wheat and chaff, how could you separate them? If you were to throw them up in the air where the wind could catch them, what would it do ? " It would blow away the chaff. And what would become of the wheat? It would fall down upon the floor.” The wind, then, would separate them, or WINNOW them; and this (you may tell them) was the first method. of winnowing corn. The use of a winnowing machine, then is to? “ Separate the chaff from the corn." By exposing it to the “ Wind?" And what is the chaff good for? Good for nothing." And what is the use of wheat? To make bread of.” Then the winnowing machine tries the good, and sepa
rates it from the worthless. What is it which thus tries man? Is it harder to keep your temper when you are encouraged, or when you are provoked ? "When I am provoked." When is it more difficult to be patient—when you are well, or when you are ill? “ When I am ill.” It is easy to profess to be a Christian when you are among Christians, is it not ? Yes, sir.” But is it easy when you are in the shop ? No, sir.” Why not? " Because they laugh at me.” But being provoked—being ill-being laughed at-are, what you call them? “ TRIALS." And trials, you told me, are ? " Tribulation." If your religion, then, is like the chaf-light and good for nothing -this tribulation will blow it away.
Tribulation, then, means WIANOWING ; and trials are so called, because they tend to separate the good from the evil. This might, then, be illustrated from the Scripture. Reference might be made to the people who shonted “Hosanna!" when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and "Crucify him!” a few days afterwards, when they found that to follow him must expose them to suffering; to the seed sown upon the stony ground; to the different effect of trials on Joseph, Peter, Demas; and so the truth be confirmed, that TRIALS purify a true faith, and scatter a false one to the winds; and that, for this reason, the early Christian writers called it by the name of "tribulatio," or winnowing,
Sometimes it may be well to draw the picture in its outline, before you begin to question. Children will attend to such teaching, if it be life-like, varied, minute, and real. Take the next idea in this passage—“ being cheerful in tribulation.” Let us suppose ourselves (one might say) inside a prison, eighteen hundred years ago. Prisons are bad enough now, but they were terrible then-cold, filthy dungeons, with no light or air but what came through a hole in the wall, and nothing to lie on but the ground. Let us look into one of the cells. There lies one victim in irons. His thoughts are of his home, his wife, his children. They are crying for him, but he shall never see them again. There is another going to be put to death to-morrow. He has no Bible, poor fellow ! nothing to cheer him. He does not know what to think of. His only companion is a spider, which he is watching making its net across the air-hole of his cell. But, hark ! there are two men singing in the next cell. Listen, they are singing praises ! Can they be prisoners ? Let us go and see. What! it is the worst cell in the prison; and look, their feet are made fast in the stocks; they are lying with their legs cramped; and see, there is blood upon their garments; they have been cruelly beaten, and yet they are singing praises to God! Who are they? " Paul and Silas” would be the ready answer. Where are they? " At Philippi.” What is their condition ?
“ One of great suffering.” They are in great ? " Tribulation.” And yet they are? Of good cheer.” See, then, how Christ gives "joy in the Holy Ghost, even in much affliction,”
NEVER TELL TOO MUCH.
Do not tell the learner too much about a subject, and puzzle him with many things, before he has understood the first principles ; do not nim at being wonderfully profound in your first explanations, but reserve your profundity for subsequent stages. Even extreme accuracy may be dispensed with at first; it is not wise to puzzle the learner with little niceties and refinements, when he is convulsively grasping at anything like an approximate idea of the matter in hand. You will not mislead him by using or permitting an expression which is not quite technically accurate; the mistake will not fix itself upon his mind, for he is not giving his attention to that little point in which the inaccuracy lies : he is not yet able to appreciate nice distinctions and petty exceptions. The first thing is to give him a rough general idea of the subject; and when he has mastered that, you may proceed to enlarge, refine, and dive deep. There are some teachers who cannot hold their peace when occasion requires, but seem impelled by their nature to tell all they know upon every subject they touch upon; the consequence is, that the learner, being unable to discriminate between the essential and the non-essential, is overwhelmed with the mass of learning, and instead of having a clear idea of the main points, has an indistinct recollection of many things.-Everett's Philosophy of Teaching.
THE BEST KIND OF KNOWLEDGE THE EASIEST
Every man ought to try to get as much knowledge as he can on all subjects; for knowledge is power, and it is not good for the soul to be without it. But how small a portion of knowledge can the most industrious acquire! We do not, however, say, with
“Athena's wisest son
All that we know is, nothing can be known." That is not true. We can know something; but how little compared with what is known by beings who occupy a higher sphere! And how little of that which we call knowledge really deserves the name! Hypothesis, conjecture, speculation, constitute no inconsiderable portion of what we call philosophy. Even in religion some are found frequently to dogmatize when it would be better for them to doubt. It is well for us that we are not bound, as Chillingworth says, to know the meaning of a million points contained in Divine revelation. It is fortunate, indeed, that necessary knowledge comprehends but a few points, and those easily comprehended, and as easily attainable. We can be saved through the atonement of Christ, without being able to explain its philosophy. We may repent, and believe the Gospel, without being skilled in the schools of divinity. We may “know our Bible true," without the capacity of producing the evidences by which its Divine origin is demonstrated. The masses of mankind cannot find the time, they have not the capacity, they are not in the circumstances, to make the investigation of the scholar, or to master the systems which a human learning has formed. But the man never lived, no matter how obscure his station, how dull his intellect, how pressing his engagements, who could not acquire knowledge enough to save his soul alive. Let him have an honest, docile, earnest mind, and the most unlettered may take honors in the school of Christ.
"No matter how dull the scholar whom He
Takes into His school, and gives him to see ;
And wise to salvation He makes us through faith."
“We may puzzle ourselves in the pursuit of knowledge, dive into the mysteries of all arts and sciences, especially engulf ourselves deep in the studies of those three highest professions of physic, law, and divinity: for physic, search into the writings of Hippocrates, Galen, and the methodists, of Avicen and the empirics, of Paracelsus and the chemists; for law, wrestle through the large bodies of both laws, civil and canon, with the vast tomes of gloeses, repertories, responses, and commentaries thereon, and take in the reports and year-books of our common law to boot ; for divinily, get through a course of councils, fathers, schoolmen, casuists, expositors, controversers of all sorts and sects. When all is done, after much weariness to the flesh, and, in comparison thereof, little satisfaction to the mind; for the more knowledge we gain by all this travel, the more we discern our own ignorance, and thereby but increase our own sorrows: the short of all is this, and when I have said it I have done,-you shall evermore find-try it when you will-temperance the best physic, patience the best law, and a good conscience the best divinity."—Wesleyan Sunday School Magazine.
FAITH OF CHILDHOOD. How beautiful and lovely is the confiding faith of a little one! Behold a little darling applying to his ear the convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell. He deems he hears the murmurings of the distant sea,—with what rapture does he listen,-how his little eyes 'gleam on you in surprise and wonder ; how delightful is faith to him,—so glad, so joyous, receives he the tidings of the unknown world. Call this not credulity, but a divinity that stirs within us—the longings of the soul for its native home. Oh! damp not this pure faith, but use it as one of the first instruments of teaching. In conveying instruction, it is a most important point always to bear in mind, that far more may be done by exciting the sympathy of a child, than by appealing to its reason. Things indeed should always be presented to it in a garb of truth and good sense; but unless its feelings are in unison with its convictions, it may be perfectly persuaded of truths, without being in. Auenced by them in practice.