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is low and unworthy. How wrong then for men, and Christian men too, ministers even, to toil with might and main for a wranglership or doublefirst. They should get up the knowledge by all means, for it is, or ought to be, self-satisfying—but the reward-that they ought not to touch. It's the unclean thing—a sop to their “ lower nature." Yet men strive hard for these prizes to whom money is of little object; but it is the honor of a reward which stimulates them, and so it is with children, for to them, even as with adults
“Fame to generous minds is dear,” Besides, it is "evidently " unjust to those of slender capacity and fewer advantages." Have a “Union Secretary " or a "Country Superintendent" any children at school, and do they ever bring home prizes? It may be actually for Scriptural Knowledge! Or has either of their sons passed the Scriptural Examination at the University of London, and received a prize ? If so, not a moment should be lost in sending back such prize to the school or university. The good obtained in the “working up" should have been a sufficient reward-besides, it was evidently unjust that A. B., the son of a “Union Secretary," passed and received a prize, while C. D., the son of your humble servant, and a young man of slender capacity and fewer advantages, was plucked-and for nothing but disgrace.
Such are the legitimate results of the advocacy of a “Union Secretary," and a "Country Superintendent,"if properly followed out. That they will ever be received by the world, I do not believe. That they will ever find much acceptance with children, especially with boys, I also do not believe--for children are but men of smaller growth. It is all very well to tell children that the good they receive, should be a sufficient inducement for them to attend school. They do not see it, or if they do, they do not believe it. They want tangible, visible, and immediate results. Tens of thousands only attend for the rewards they get; or, the compulsion of parents. If these were removed, they would leave next Sunday. In schools where the system of rewards has been abolished, I know the greatest secret discontent, and secret indifference arise. The good have nothing to strive for more than the bad-hence the former grow careless, and the latter continue so. This I have heard from the boys themselves, and one of the best means of learning the feelings of your scholars is to descend ex cathedrâ, and for a time be their companion. In advocating rewards, I do not plead for their indiscriminate use, or rather abuse. This is the real cause of mischief after all. We do not wish to reward children for coming to school, as some indeed strangely imagine, but for coming early. We do not ask that prizes should be given for any behaviour, but for good behaviour. We do not seek to reward all the scholars, but only those who deserve rewarding. We demand proof if told that we mistake.
A few words more, and I have done. In many schools where the teachers believe they have abolished prizes, they have done no such thing—they have only changed the method of distributing them. The teachers meet, they fold their arms and talk complacently of the changes they have effected, of the improvements they have made. They did away prizes long ago, and they are not Tories to return to a worn-out policy. But miserably do they find themselves deceived, when it is pointed out that though they have changed the name, they have not changed the thing named. One instance from the school with which I am connected, will illustrate my meaning, Some years ago the teachers abolished the practice of giving tickets as rewards to well-conducted children.' By doing so, they imagined they had abolished prizes. Whereupon they decreed that every boy of good behaviour should have a Bible at half-price ! In a school I am acquainted with, the teachers did away with tickets on principle, and immediately threw open the library to boys recommended by the teachers, all having previously to pay for that 'privilege. Are not these prizes? If not, what are they? I could adduce many other similar instances, but space forbids. Of course under the system in our own school a boy receives but one prize; then he is on the same level with the others. Whether the school has improved or not under the new regime must remain a secret. The valuable opinion of our faithful and tried senior superintendent, after 50 years of service, may, possibly, have some weight with, and be useful to, a “Union Secretary," and a “ Country Superintendent." I shall be most happy to place it at their private disposal. Warminster.
F. S. P.S. While a scholar in the West of England, it was my privilege to have two most excellent men for my teachers. It was the practice of both these men to give out scriptural subjects on which to write our thoughts against the following Sunday. About once in six months, it may be less, we wrote essays for prizes. Although these prizes were in nearly every case monopolized by two members of the class, and though many years have now gone by, yet several of my former classmates have since told me of the incalculable advantage they derived from this exercise. For my own part, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to both these men for the mental and moral improvement I received in writing my essays, and in striving for a prize : and it is with feelings of deepest and increasing interest that I look from time to time upon two of these prizes on the shelves beside me.
THE TEACHER'S RESPONSIBILITY. HAVE you carefully considered what are your responsibilities in the selfimposed duty you have undertaken? If the heart of a child is susceptible of religious impressions, and those impressions do form the germ of a religious character, then your work should have for its object nothing less than the salvation of the children under your care. You have undertaken a duty which never can be properly discharged, if you aim at any less result than bringing them to Christ. Have you considered how responsible such a position is, and how serious are its consequences, both to yourselves and to the children you instruct ? Can anything less than persevering earnestness and labour on your part, for their salvation, free you from a responsibility, the burden of which is as heavy as the despair of a lost soul?
We will not affirm that God will hold teachers responsible for the salvation of their children ; but, without doubt, He will hold them,
responsible for all the consequences of a neglect of their duty to them and He may see that such neglect has resulted in their eternal destruction.
The only and true mission of a Sunday school teacher is to hold up Christ, as He is revealed in His Gospel, before them continually; to seek to impress them with the loveliness of His character, the power of His claims, the infinite nature of His love, and the exceeding and eternal value of His salvation. And it seems to me, that anything less than this falls below the true standard of duty, in so much as it falls short of bringing them to Christ, where only salvation can be found.
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, toom 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 his 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 hasHe 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 nothing but constant prayer for God's blessing on your labour, and constant faith that that blessing will descend as the reward of your faithfulness. - Christian Treasury.
A FEW WORDS TO FEMALE TEACHERS.
We are unknown to each other in the flesh, but by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body; we are made partakers of one holy calling; we serve one Lord, and one heaven will be our peaceful, everlasting home. Such being our unity, let us converse in spirit for a season, and may our communion be with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ. The Sunday school is an unobtrusive sphere of labor, which plainly bespeaks it ours whose adorning should be the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Never does the Christian woman appear more in her right place than when, in simplicity, gentleness, and love, she is telling the little ones of Jesus.
Teaching the young is a weighty and solemn work in which we need the wisdom of the serpent, with the harmlessness of the dove. The more we feel its solemnity, and the more tremblingly we enter upon it the better we are fitted for our labor ; only when weak are we strong. We have to deal with deathless realities; each scholar in our classes has an intelligent, sensitive being, which shall be coeval with eternity. Never will the time come when teachers or children shall cease to be. O immortality, thou weight on man's existence ! shall we not be solemn when we think of thee, remembering that thou dost involve an endless life of blessedness, or the death that never dies? Our children, too, are dying creatures-descendants of a fallen head; partakers of his guilt; the subjects of universal corruption ; death is their fearful heritage. At most, a few short years
will end their earthly life. O time, thou short-lived bubble, shall we not be solemn when we think of thee? Let us, my sisters, while time remains, speak faithfully to our charge. We must tell them they are by nature, " dead in trespasses and sins ;" we must repeat the truths, “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish," and "ye must be born again." Then how sweet it is to tell that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" and that this only begotten Son, Jesus, the sinner's friend, has said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me." Such are the weapons of our warfare, but they are mighty only " throngh God." The Word without the Spirit affects not the heart. May we ever be looking unto Jesus, desiring that he may send the Comforter to cheer us in our work.
The management of children requires a delicate discrimination ; a word of reproof will almost break some little hearts, calling up the rising blush, and the starting tear ; others need to be sharply admonished. Some are so lethargic that it is with difficulty you rouse them to feel interest; while others are so constantly active that unless you watchfully give a direction to their energies, they are sure to employ themselves in mischief. Innumerable other shades of character come before us, and ever-varying circumstances will arise requiring much discretion. And shall we trust in our own fancied wisdom ? It is written, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." Let us look to the Lord of Hosts, who will be a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment."
I know not how it is with others, but I find, when reflecting on a day's teaching, so much that has been faulty that I am cast down. My only means of comfort is this just to bring my imperfections all to the feet of Jesus, asking that he will pardon, and in condescending compassion prevent their doing harm. May we enjoy fellowship with him as our elder brother ; he sympathises with us, and is so gracious that we may bring the minutest matters to his mercy-seat.
How are we distinguished by sovereign grace in being drawn from the vanities of time to the cross of Christ. We know not fully the debt we owe, but we can each say with McCheyne,
" When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own,
Not till then--how much I owe."
There are many rewards to cheer us. It is worth laboring for the affection of our scholars ; the love of the poorest child is far more precious than gold. Using our talents in the Master's service, we find them increased; and while we work on, "looking unto Jesus," fresh strength continually descends from him, and we are witnesses of the truth that “the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary.” It is in active service, too, as the result of a chastened, sober zeal, that the evidences of our calling and election shine brightest. What so truly proves us disciples of Jesus, and heirs of glory, as our following him in humility, meekness, and active love? We are never so happy as when we seek our blessedness in serving him whose blood and obedience redeemed us. The Lord's people are “ zealous of good works.”
“ Faith in God, if such be thine,
Shall be found thy safest sign;
Prove the best of tokens still." While teaching others let us seek to know and enjoy our own acceptance in the Beloved. Sometimes we feel Christ very near, saying to us, if
any man serve me, him will my Father honor ;' and shall we not prize the honor that cometh from God?
Let us not be weary, sisters, our life here is a working day, eternity will be our Sabbath.
“Go labor on ! spend and be spent,
Thy joy to do thy Father's will;
Shall not the servant follow still ?
All earthly loss is heavenly gain!