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I ask once more, you and all England, whether the profanities we so much deplore are found alone amongst the men to whom the name of Rubens and of Michael Angelo are unknown ? or whether they are not found among some of your choicest connoisseurs in art? I speak to wise men ; judge what I say. And if so, it becomes something worse than ignorance for people to go about and say, "Now give the people of England all these advantages, and then you will have all manner of morality; deal with their physical condition scientifically, and with their intellectual condition philosophically, and you will turn their habitations into a paradise, and themselves into princes and kings.” Sir, all experience denies it, and the entire drift of revelation contradicts it; and we stand hero to-night to say that, acting upon the contradiction, we have a more excellent way by teaching and by preaching every. where ; that we are not to deal with symptoms, but with sources; that we are not to deal with profanity, or falsehood, or debauchery, or dishonesty, or inhumanity, in the forms in which they meet our eye now and then, but down in their most essential elements; and we go to our classes and our pulpits, strong in the Lord and in tho power of His might, not merely assuming the deprayity of human nature, but knowing that we have a great cure for that depravity in the transforming efficacy of God the Holy Ghost, and in the precious blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And give me what we have had now for fifty-six years, according to this Report ; give me the Sunday School Union, embodying, as it does, the Sunday school operations, and if I be asked, as I have been asked in the paper, sneeringly and scornfully, “What comes of all your Sunday schooling, and your evangelical efforts !" I say, Sir, the attitude of our country amongst the countries of the earth comes of it. What comes of evangelical effort ! The high position of old England at this moment ; and not only its high position, but, I believe, its deeply founded and its invulnerable position, God helping us. What comes of it? Where have the men been living, or what have they been doing, to ask such a question ? A loyal population ; a throne established on the affections of the people; more love for men, and more reverence towards God, than the same population has seen ever since the world has existed. And that goes on with yet accumulating force from day to day. God does not forsako the work of his own hands. God does bless our children in our schools, and blesses them when they grow up to be parents, by making them blessings to their children. The work is going on to-night, and we give it an impulse here, and God blesses us as we are doing it. Then, as a yet larger result, what will follow? Honest speech ; mercantile morality; genial, kindly neighbourhood ; loyalty yet firmer and more intelligent : the loving of one another as we love ourselves, because we have learned the great lesson of loving God with all our hearts. Give me a population doing that ; and, as you know so well, Sir, we have a large mass of the population doing that now, doing it yet more and more ; mark me, not the corrected ones, but the regenerated ones; not the improved ones, but the twice-born ones; not the amended ones in the exterior, but the newly created ones in the interior--the very nature itself transformed : and that being the case, they will deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. No need for the law to arm itself to keep them in order; no need for justice to be ever on the alert for fear of them; no need for humanity to stand aloof, because it dreads them; no need for virgin modesty to stand in dread of such people as they approach. Conjugal relationships, filial, fraternal, parental relationships, are all held sacred. There, Şir, you have safety; and I venture the avowal that you have not it anywhere else. Whon a man is right with God, then is he right to be trustod with his fellow. So that after the Report we have read to-night, after what we find of promise in the annual meeting of this Union, I think we may say our “beloved” land indeed, with emphasis. Yes, Old England, there is hope for the still. The burial-place of our fathers, and tho birthplace of our children, there is hope for Old England after all. She shall be delivered from her dreadful pauperism, and she shall be rescued from her unrighteous legislation; she shall be cleansed from her terrible licentiousness, and she shall be saved, God helping her, on the one hand, from the superstition that endangers our immortality, and, on the other hand, from the infidelity that laughs our immortality to scorn, and she shall become a royal habitation of righteousness, and joy, and peaco in the Holy Ghost. Great Britain ! great, not in the conventional designations of your secular geography alone ; great, not in the grateful rocabulary of Italian refugees alone, and refugees from other lands, who will talk to you about Great Britain as you cannot understand, when they find in it a shelter and a home ; great, not merely in the vocabulary of many-tongued and many-charactered people ; but great in all the essential, the illustrious, wide-reaching, and everdeepening qualities of greatness, that will make her a light in the world and a praise in the whole earth. No work for some unborn Gibbon in the decline and fall of the British Empire, then; for there shall be impregpable stability; there shall be no inglorious, pitiful, disreputable downfall : but there shall be indefinite advancement and imperishable renown.
The resolution having been put, and carried unanimously, the audience joined in singing the following hymn.
On Aaron's reverend head ;
And o'er his garments spread :
When streams of love, from Christ the 'T'is pleasant as the morning dews
Descend to every soul, [spring, That fall on Zion's bill, And heavenly peace, with balmy wing, Where God his mildest glory shows, Shades and bedews the whole :
And makes his grace distil. The Rev. J. F. SERJEANT : I have to move the following resolution :“That whilo this meeting would desire to record its conviction that the increase
of general education, and the extended circulation of periodical literature, require on the part of all those who undertake the intellectual and moral and religious instruction of others, diligent preparation for the faithful discharge of so important a duty, this meeting would also urge on all Sunday school teachers the necessity of sceking, by specific prayer for and with their scholars, and by personal and individual appeals to their hearts, to render the class instruction more interesting and efficient, and thus to bring the scholars to an
early decision for Christ.” You see the resolution speaks of the increase of general education, and in the ex. tended circulation of periodical literature. It is an age of improvement. Truly, of the making of books there is no end. We have the Bible-the Book of books-of all sizes, at all prices, without note, or commont. Again, we have it beautifully illustrated and copiously annotated, published in one hundred and fifty-six different languages. We have books on geography, books on navigation, books on astronomy, books on medicine, books on law. Then there are serials constantly fluttering from the press, some of them adapted for sick rooms, some for splendid drawing rooms, some for lowly huts, some for busy factories. Every subject is discussed. Even bishops of the bench doff their lawn sleeves, and peers of the realm lay asirle their coronets, to locture in mechanics' institutes to popular auditorios. There is scarcely a subject that is not discussed, from the economy of a beehive up to the evangelisation of a continent-from the manufacture of a pin to the discovery of the latest planet. Now, this resolution recognises this increase of general education and the expanded circulation of periodical literature, and calls upon us to increased preparation of our Scripture lessons on behalf of our classes. I think we can never urge too much upon our teachers the importance of preparation. I urge our teachers, if their lessons form a part of a previously arranged scheme, to look at those lessons on a Monday morning previously to leaving their bed-room ; to put it off to Monday evening is hazardous. Make yourself sure of the opportunity while it occurs.
You read, perhaps, your Bibles every Monday morning; take one of the Sunday school lessons as your subject that morning, even though it break your chain of daily reading. The fact of reading in order to teach others, need be no barrier to your personal edification. On the contrary, the fact that you read with a view to find out, for your own profit, all that the passage contains, will the better enable you to apply them to the hearts and consciences of those whom you teach. If you devote Monday morning, then, to the work of preparation, you will go forth prepared to turn the events of the week to purposes of practical utility. An illustration, cut from the columns of a newspaper-a providential escapo, a calamitous accident, a wreck on shore, or a storm at sea-will all subserve important ends. It needs but a pair of Sunday school eyes, and every incident that transpires around you will illustrato your subject; every book that you take from your shelf will afford you a contribution, while every person that you meet will enable you to solve some doubt, or will supply to you some information. As an instance of the mode in which we can collect materials for teaching and preaching, if we keep our eyes and cars open, I will mention to you that I was travelling to-day in a railway carriage, and was conversing with a gentleman upon Abrakam's sacrifice of Isaac ; and the gentleman remarked to me this—his viow was so novel that I think it worth while to propound it to you-"I have never regarded Isaac so much as a type of our blessed Saviour as of this sin-sick and guilty world bearing its own burden, tied and bound, ready to be placed upon the altar, and to be consumed by the stroke of Almighty vengeance. The ram was the true type of Christ, which was offered up upon the altar in the stead of his son.” I merely throw the thought out to you; it may or not be correct ; but its novelty struck me, and the more I thought of it, the more I was persuaded of its accuracy. However, not only should we, on Monday morning, get a cursory view of our lesson ; but it becomes us, during the week, to devote some time to its close and critical study, find out the meaning of every word it contains, the design of every precept it enjoins, the connection of every incident which it details. Look at every parallel reference, hunt your subject through its every ramification, master its geography and its chronology, find out the place where and the time when each event occurred, look at all the varied events mentioned about the same subject in the word of God, so that you may be prepared, if need be, to group them around your special subject in chronological order. Work your mine, until from its deop dark bosom you draw up load after load of precious ore, and stand appalled and amazed at the riches which have requited your search. And if the subject be thus studied, it will generally resolve itself into appropriate divisions, and these divisions will make the lesson itself memorable to our scholars. I do not mean, neither did my friend on my left mean, that by some Procrustean process of expansion or contraction wo should bring every subject to harmonise with somo artificial frame. work ; but every lesson has its salient points, and by diligent study and earnest prayer we shall be enabled to draw out these. I will give you one or two instances of what I mean by having a kind of framework on which to hang our lessons. One of the most interesting subjects I ever taught a class, was the quarrel of Abraham with Lot. I took as my divisions the scene of the quarrel, the circumstances of the quarrel, the settlement of the quarrel, and the sequel to the quarrel. Again, upon another occasion I took the first Psalm, and I showed how it described the Christian ; first, negatively ; next, positively; and thirdly, metaphorically. Do away with the hard words, if you please ; and then you have, first, what a Christian does not do"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly”—and so on; secondly, what the Christian does do—"he delighteth in the law of the Lord, and therein he meditateth day and night;" thirdly, what the Christian is like, namely, a tree planted by the running water; and, fourthly, what the Christian is not likethe chaff carried away by the wind. What the Christian does, what he does not ; what the Christian is like, what he is unlike. Again, I took once the account of the borrowed axe, mentioned in 2 Kings vi., and we found there a beautiful illustration of these four points--diligence in work, companionship in work, conscientiousness in work, God's blessing accompanying and crowning work. First, diligence in work. The sons of the prophet knew that an abode would not drop into their laps ready made from heaven. Wishing would not procure it; but they knew where there was a suitable site on which to build, and suitable materials with which to build ; they had hands that would wield the axe, backs that would bear the burden, and immediately, in a united troop, they set forth. A plan was concocted, the foundations were laid, the walls were reared, and presently the edifice stood forth, fitted and furnished, ready for their comfort and convenience. There we have an illustration of companionship in work. “Go, I pray thee, with thy servants," and accordingly Elisha accompanied them. Companionship in work contracts miles into furlongs, makes heavy burdens light as feathers ; it hangs squalid walls with sunbeams. Now, although we cannot have what the world calls good company in our work, we can have the best company—the company of the Triune Jehovah--and, as a little girl said in her crib, when waking up in the middle of the night, “I think one wants but three things in this world—the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make him holy; the love of God, to make him happy; and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, that he may be always in good company.” Next, we have an illustration of conscientiousness in work. “Alas ! Master, for it was borrowed.” Not—" it is no consequence, because it was borrowed,” but “Alas ! Master, for it was borrowed." Then we may enlarge on the blessedness of a good conscience; a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man. It is a rare thing to find a person thoroughly conscientious,-on who, if he finds a bank note, will be as anxious to find an owner as he was glad to find the note; one who, if he borrows money, will be as eager to repay as he was willing to borrow; one who will work behind his master's back as vigorously as if his master's eyes were beaming upon him like two stars. Nevertheless, a conscience is a blessing. A man without a conscience is afraid to go through a wood at night ; afraid to go into a room where there is a dead body ; afraid to step on deck in the storm : but a man who keeps a conscience void of offence towards God and man, can look the whole world in the face, for he fears not any man. Finally, we have an instance of God's blessing accompanying and crowning work. The man of God said, “Where fell it ?" The place was pointed out, and the axe was restored. It shows that in little things God can bless us ; that ordinary work may become acceptable worship ; that in the running of an errand, in the lighting of a fire, in the writing of a copy, in the hemming of a pocket-handkerchief, or in the nursing of an infant, we may manifest as much of the essential Christian spirit, and have as much of the Divine blessing, as when we meet in solemn conclave, where the great congregation bend together the knee in prayer, or raise together the voice in praise. Let me give you another illustration of a lesson that I once gave. It was a description of the character of Barnabas. We are told, when the work of grace broke out in Antioch, the church at Jerusalem sent down Barnabas to take cognizance of what occurred; and we are told that whon he was come, and had seen the grace of God," he was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the
Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." Now these were the divisions, simple enough,-just, in short, the natural groupings in which the lessons, by a diligent study, fell. First, what Barnabas saw. He saw the grace of God. Grace is a thing which is to be seen. The Bible does not recognise secret grace. Secondly, what he felt,---"When he saw the grace of God, he was glad.” Joy, then, is the genius of the Christian dispensation. Thirdly, what he did,—"he exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord,"—the sum and substance of all religion,—its Alpha and its Omega. Cleaving unto the Lord is the hum of the six days, and the rest of the seventh ; in conflict and sorrow, in prosperity and joy.. What Barnabas was,—“a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost ;" and more especially of that which is the cardinal fruit of the Spirit - faith. What he saw, what he felt, what he did, what he was, Now I leave the work of preparation, and speak for a moment or two upon the second point, which tho resolution calls upon us to bear in mind, -that is, the importance of earnest prayer ; the importance of seeking, by specific prayer for and with our scholars, and by personal and individual appeals to their hearts,-to render the class instruction more interesting and efficient, and thus, to bring them to an early decision for Christ. I was thinking to-day of that striking passage in the forty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, “I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring : and they shall spring up as among grass, as willows by the water-courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” I thought of the first clause especially, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring ;" and it struck me that the clauses were identical, only that different terms were used in each. In the first part, it was "thy seed ;" in the next, offspring." In the first, "my Spirit ;" in the next, “my blessing ;" and I deduced from it this conclusion,– that God meant His Spirit to be identical with His blessing. It is not so with us. We say, “ Blessed are the strong," for in this world might has often triumphed against right, and justice walks about desolate, for want of a friend. "Blessed are the rich,” for a hundred tongues are ready to trumpet their praise ; a hundred hands are ready to work in their service; and a hundred feet ready to run their errands; and "blessed are the wise," to them knowledge unlocks its stores, science its secrets. They know how to calculate, in any given case, the probabilities of success or failure, and to take time at the time which, if taken, will lead on to fortune. A competency for life, celebrity in the literary world, a commission in the ariny or the navy, a name in the commercial world, which shall be the symbol of credit, of respectability, and of honour,—these are the withered gourds with which we seek to embower our children's earthly heritage ; this is the false jewellery with which we bedeck their persons. But when the Lord says, “I will bless," what saith he? "I will give them that which, if they are the proudest of earth’s nobles, will constrain them to pour contempt on all their prido, and which, if they are the pitifullest of earth's sons, will fill their hearts with holy joy, and invest their persons with sacred dignity. I will give them that which shall warm the heart if it be cold, break the heart if it be hard, comfort the heart if it be troubled ; that which shall be as fire to penetrate, as the wind to purify, as the water to cleanse, as the dew to refresh and fertilize." I will pour upon them my Spirit in giving unto them my blessing ; thus upon thy seed will I do.” In the first part of the verse the church had been mentioned. "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” And then succeeds the mention of the churches younger members : "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, my blessing upon thine off spring.” When the rain descended upon God's heritage, tho oaks of Bashan, the cedars of Lebanon, and the vines of Eshcol, all felt its fertilizing effects, but the