« PoprzedniaDalej »
How comes a bad man abroad in the world? "Society has neglected him," says some one. That may be; when he was found by the public authorities in the way of temptation with none to care for his soul or body, it may have been the neglected duty of some public officer to have rescued him and put him under the control of some reformatory institution. But how came the neglected boy or girl in vicious or dangerous associations ? Because the father did not chasten him while there was hopé, or because that mother did not gently whisper the counsels of wisdom into her ear when she was laying her weary head on her lap. Is it replied, that the father was a drunkard and the mother ignorant and degraded. This is only removing our position one stage back without weakening it. There may be defects or wrongs in the organization of society which indirectly contribute to the existence of the evils to which we refer; but whatever they are, ninety-nine of every one hundred cases are traceable to what some one person has done or left undone at some anterior stage of their history.
We hear a very interesting account of a child rescued from a filthy and degraded cellar or garret-taken to the mission-school-cleaned, clothed, taught, and perhaps fed by charity, brought under gracious influences, awakened, converted, and becoming a preacher of righteousness to his fellow-men. We naturally and properly admire the wisdom which ordained an agency so benign and so well adapted to its end, and the grace that gives it such striking efficiency; but when we come to look into the working of it do we find that the mission-school saved the outcast? In one sense it did, because without it, there would have been no such appropriate provision for the case.
But the mission-school does not go to the outcast children any more than the hospital goes to the wounded man. Some individual heart inust be touched with pity and act with promptness. In the case of the rescued child, probably some woman, possibly some man, buttons his coat about him-buffets the sharp wind, or the driving sleet, finds or makes his way to some remote street or obscure alley, to see a sick or distressed family, whose condition has been incidentally revealed to him. His kindness wins their hearts-though made almost callotis by long struggles with poverty and misfortune, unsanctified by divine grace. He sees to the relief of their most urgent wants, and when spring opens, he invites the children to go to Sunday school. They come; and what then? Is the Sunday school, as such, to accomplish the great work which is to be done for them in enlightening their minds, awakening their consciences, and softening their hearts? If it is well organized and conducted, it will certainly contribute to such an end; but (so far as human instrumentality is concerned,) it is some individual teacher who is to assume this office. It is not the hospital which restores the sick man to health or heals the wounded man. It is the blessing of the Great Physician on the skill of the medical or surgical officer, and the attention and fidelity of an individual nurse. So in the assembly of ehildren, it is the individual voice or smile or act of some one teacher, that is seen and felt in the marvellous transformations which are sometimes beheld in our Sunday schools.
There is an individual duty incumbent on every parent, in relation to his own children which is not transferable, except in cases of absolutte inability:
The relation itself imposes the duty. It is not society, nor the laws of society, that create or can dissolve or modify it. If neither of the parents are competent to instruct and guide the child, it then becomes their duty to seek the best substitute that is within their reach, and avail themselves of its aid : this is a faithful Christian teacher in a well organized Sunday school. Then the teacher (not the school,) assumes the individual responsibility; and while occupying the place of the parent, is subject to the obligations of that most important relation. Dinton, the minister of public instruction in Prussia, once uttered the following memorable words:
-“I promised God that I would look upon every Prussian peasant child as a being who would complain of me before God, if f neglected to furnish him with the best education, as a man and a Christian, which it was in my power to provide." If such a sentiment became the director of the public schools of a large empire, how much more does it become the parent or the teacher, whose province of duty is limited to a circle of half a dozen ?
And so it is in all other spheres of human influence and action. The aggregate of the good or evil that presents itself to our view, is made up of what is done by Mr. Smith or Master Jones, or not done by Mrs. Smith or Miss Jones. And even in the more elevated and imposing stations of duty and responsibility-the same principle holds. It is not the administration that is corrupt or mischievous. It is some one man of selfish, ambitious, or corrupt design, who drops a word or suggests a course which others of like passions stand ready to take up and carry out. Gathering numbers and strength from the wayside in its progress, it ultimately becomes mature and formidable enough to cope with any rival interest or party. History, if it could minutely analyze the initiation of the measures which form its chief projecting points, would show that the bloodiest persecutions, the most desolating wars, the most appalling revolutions, not less than schemes for the amelioration of human suffering, and for the promotion of truth, liberty and love-have originated in the breast of an INDIVIDUAL
From all which we infer that every man and every woman has an individual work to do in the world, which no combination of their strength or influence can accomplish. Each has a claim of his fellow creat well as of his Creator to answer, sooner or later. Whether it may be urged by a little child or a particular class or family, or a neighborhood, or the great bulk of society-it is his business diligently to inquire. And when the sphere of duty is ascertained, he is the happiest and most useful man who labors most contentedly, cheerfully, and constantly within it.American Sunday School Journal.
SUNDAY SCHOOLS IN SPAIN. The Daily News states that Sunday Schools instituted in Madrid, under the auspices of several ladies of rank, have given rise to establishments of the same kind in many of the principal cities of Spain. A letter from Saragossa mentions their having been established in that city, under the direction of a committee, of which the Marchioness of Ayerve and Niviano and the Countess of Sobradial and Ataves are active members.
AN EXAMPLE OF EMBLEMATIC TEACHING.
THE STING OF DEATH IS SIN."
Paraphrase.—Death is said to have a sting, that sting is sin. Sin is the.........sting of death.
Emblem.—You know some animals which have stings. Bee, Wasp, and Serpent. And you are afraid of these animals because of their.........sting.
Whether you would have a needle or a sting put into your flesh ? A needle. There is something then about the sting that you are very much afraid of ......... the venom, the poison. Your hand is not only pierced by a sting, but venom is put in with it.
You are at all times afraid of a dog's bite, but when are you most afraid ? In hot weather ; for then a dog may get..........mad, and its bite in such a state has driven people mad too.
You have heard of the people called the serpent charmers. They can handle the most deadly serpents, as they try to make people believe. But they take out first.........the sting; and then of course there is no danger.
Proposition.-Death is said to have.........a sting. If that sting is taken away, we need not be afraid of.........death. I can do no more harm.
Application. You have heard of death-beds of wicked men. They were miserable in their last moments, and as they passed away they groaned “Lost ! lost! lost!” There the sting was, and it had not been taken out.
Others have died in peace; they were indeed glad to die, because they were going to heaven. The sting had been taken away. If this sting is taken away, it matters not what pains we suffer. The martyrs, as the flames gather about them and burn them up, rejoice.
Who takes away the sting-sin? Christ. “ Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved." Near Swansea.
PRIZE ESSAY ON SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHING. A PRIZE of books, of the value of five guineas, is offered to Sunday-school Teachers, by the Rev. Anthony Crowdy, M.A., Honorary Secretary to the Sunday-school Committee of the Winchester Diocesan Board, for the best essay on the subject,“ What is the best method of teaching children the special doctrines of Christianity, as they bear on a child's daily life, his duties, his difficulties, and his faults ?"
The Adjudicators are, the Rev. J. F. SERJEANT, Curate of St. Mary's Bryanstone Square, London ; the Rev. J. J. Bolton, Minister of St. Paul's Chapel, Kilburn; and the Rev. J. SMITH, Rector of Little Hinton, Wilts, and late Principal of the Training School, Winchester.
The Essays must not exceed 300 lines foolscap. They must be sent in to the Rev. A. CROWDY, West Hill, Winchester, by 31st March, 1859. Each essay is to be distinguished by a Motto, and to be accompanied by a sealed Envelope, having on the outside a corresponding Motto, and containing the writer's name and address.-Winchester, December 1858.
IMPORTANCE OF TRUTHFULNESS. IN childhood, if ever, the bad passions must be weeded out, just as they begin to appear. The weeds are easily removed from a garden before they have taken deep root. And here, first of all, let every tendency to prevarication and lying be checked. Truthfulness is the foundation of character. Let the manfulness, moral dignity, and the imperative duty of always speaking the truth be inculcated, Let the meanness, the turpitude, and guilt of lying and prevarication be equally inculcated. Every sentiment of honor, and the whole moral sense, should be arrayed against lying, under every form and degree. Speak the truth in all things, on all occasions, under the strongest temptations not to speak it; in the face of shame and suffering, speak it; speak it if ye die for it ; for there is no gain or adyantage to be put in the balance against speaking the truth. Thus ought we to teach our children from the earliest dawn of moral apprehension. These three things once gained, viz., the habit of implicit obedience, the habit of prayer, and undeviating truthfulness, and then the way is open for every gracious influence, and every form of holy nature. You have now drawn your child from the circle of worldly snares and unholy powers, and brought him to the place where heavenly order reigns, where sacred altars are kindled, and where angels pay their visits.—British Mother's Journal.
PERSUASIVES TO PERSEVERANCE. The Jewish people anciently supposed the blessing of devout men upon their children had great effect upon their interest; hence mothers brought young children to Christ to lay his hands upon them and bless them. It has been our happy privilege to emulate these good matrons. Such motherly wisdom is worthy of our emulation, for it was characteristic of woman's modest piety, affectionate prudence, and surprising sagacity. Their well-timed measures were encouraged by divine approbation. Who then dare impede or cross the enterprising zeal of Sunday school teachers, or mock the humble measures of Ragged school philanthropists? We cannot disregard the repeated admonitions of Holy Writ which direct us to speak often and familiarly with the young to render them familiar with the whole word of God. Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to watch the opening curiosity of the infant mind, and to respond encouragingly to their many astonishing enquiries. Let them ask what they will, it is no plague but a pleasure to strive to give them satisfaction, and to gratify them with our society as childlike and simple as men can be with children.
The law repeatedly demanded children to be brought to Jehovah, and shall the Gospel shut them out from a gentle Saviour, that King Messiah who took them up in his arms and blessed them? See Exodus xii. 26, 27, 34; Deuteronomy xxxii. 45, 46, and xxxi. 12, 13; Joshua viii. 35; Exodus 1.9; Jonah iv. 11 ; Proverbs iv. 1, 10; Psalms xxxiv. 11.
Children are invited to the Saviour by every means of persuasion and encouragement, and with the best promises of success. If youth with tender hearts cannot be won, what can we expect to do with a stiff and hardened old age ? As age increases, difficulties and cares increase, with pain and death; thus very few indeed reach a good old age. Need we then say any more to urge teachers to be faithful, and children to love the Saviour? Everything demands early and decided piety. Those who begin early are less liable to make shipwreck of a good profession, and will certainly have most enjoyment with Christ in this present life and greatest joy hereafter. Children are invited to Christ before the wealthy, the strong, the wise, and the talented, to become wise, mighty, wealthy, and glorious. Then deal quietly with the choicest of the jewels of the Saviour's crown. Draw them by love, train them with care, and lead them on into a well established faith in Jesus. This work is one that no soldier of the Saviour will treat slightly; if there be shame or scorn attending it, we may rejoice and glory in a share of that persecution which is blessed and sanctified hy a divine head, that was crowned with thorns and buffeted for his good will to mankind. The Saviour is with us, angels may emulate us in such a good work if it were theirs to do, the Holy Spirit is with us, and our heavenly Father extends his special and peculiar care over us to render our labours fruitful. Then pray on, faint not, labour on, for great is your reward, if you run well to the end. lIonesty and profession will serve the world, but we must serye the Saviour by loving little children, and by the exercise of this love : if we are worn out in such a cause it will be the crown of our ending days; but if we rust out in idleness it will be our confusion in judgment. It will be better to shine in glory after a working life, than to shine like burnished brass only for a short season and then become a castaway for ever.-From !f Scenes of Village Labor," by George Perkins, late of the London City Mission. Published by Partridge and Co.
GRATEFUL TESTIMONY, The Sunday school was a place of much interest to me when a child: For when quite young I was taken there for the purpose of learning to read God's holy word; and by diligence, attention, and earnestness, I succeeded to some extent. And I shall never forget the gracious influences that I used to feel in my heart, when the teacher talked to me about my soul and the Saviour. This makes me think that it is the duty of every teacher, in every Sunday school, not merely to teach the children how to read, which is itself a great good, but how they may obtain eternal life. Youth is the most seasonable time to sow the seed of truth in the mind, for it is then open and free. There are not any of those prejudices, nor any of those cares of life to contend with, which so often hinder persons of riper years.
When I think of the great good that has resulted from Sunday school tuition in this country, my heart rejoices. Since the formation of the Sunday school system, there appears to have been a great change in our national character. Qur conduct and our manners, as working men, are not so rude and vulgar, upon the whole, as they once were.
It was, indeed, a happy era in the history of England, when these schools first commenced. There are thousands of persons that would, in all proba. bility, never have known how to read, if it had not been for these institu