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exerting on the mind and manners a pitiable and disgusting influence, while the demoralising and antireligious tendencies and consequences are truly deplorable. These strictures by the writer, from his known and often expressed sentiments, may possibly be smiled at by some, and pronounced extraneous by others, but their importance is such as to warrant their publicity on every fitting occasion, and thus something would be done to render Sundayschool and other moral and religious instruction less abortive. The age, the state of society, the interests of the young require it, while humanity,
The Sunday School.
A SABBATH-SCHOOL SCHOLAR.
"He, being dead, yet speaketh.”—HEB. xi. 4.
In a Sunday school, in one of the villages in the beautiful county of Devonshire, might have been seen, some few months ago, a thin, lively little fellow, with a pale face, sharp features, and bright eyes, of an open, intelligent look, and having a very prepossessing appearance. He sprang from respectable parents, and was their only child. As might be expected, their hearts were bound up in the lad. Indeed, had he not been their sole offspring, he would have occupied a large place in their affections, there was so much in him which was truly interesting.
order, virtue and religion all loudly call for it. Many philanthropic and religious speakers and writers, with other good people, entertain similar views. Would that all had greater moral courage in honestly expressing them! Joseph Wood's teaching was all the more consistent and valuable as comprising this social reform. Again we pray that many, many may copy his example generally, tread in his steps, serve their generation, prove faithful unto death, and through the merits of an adorable Redeemer obtain the crown of life. E. R.
One thing for which he was noted was, his love for reading. To the young he practically says, take pleasure in perusing the writings of good men cultivate a taste for books. Listen to him; for bear in mind that youthhood is sowing time to manhood, and that if you now neglect to sow the seeds of knowledge by omitting to read, you will, when you grow up, be ignorant, and
have, in consequence, to lose and to suffer much in after-life, and, probably, through eternity. Then the blame will lie at your door, as you have every facility for mental, moral, and religious improvement. Be careful, however, to peruse only such books as are fitted to render you wise and holy, useful and happy. A bad book is as pernicious as a bad associate. The former will as really mislead and ruin as the latter. Just as many grubs assume the colour of the food they feed on, so we become like the literature we read, or the company we keep. Care, too, must be taken to reflect on that which you read. Meditation is to the soul what digestion is to the body. It is by digesting the food you eat, that your bodies increase in size and strength. Even so it is by meditating on the works you peruse, that your minds are enlarged and invigorated. The most wholesome diet, though swallowed, will, if undigested, do the system no good. In like manner,
the best volumes, although read, will, if unmeditated on, be profitless to the spirit. As the cattle after they have grazed, lie down and ruminate, and thereby draw such nourishment from the grass they have eaten as will strengthen themselves, and render them beneficial to man; so you, on having perused a paragraph or chapter, must rest awhile and ponder over it, and thus extract therefrom whatever will be profitable to yourselves, and enable you to serve your day and generation.
Much of what he read he laid up in his memory. Many portions of the sacred oracles, suitable hymns, and beautiful pieces, he learned and publicly repeated at Sabbath-school anniversaries. Once breaking down in the middle of a recitation, and none present being able to help him out, he was sadly put about. On recollecting the part forgotten, he exclaimed, as the examiner with others withdrew, "I can say it now, Sir; I can say it now, Sir;" and so he could; but he was too late, as the time for rehearsal had passed, and the people were separating. No doubt the failure led him for the future to be more thoroughly up to the mark. At another period, after the examination was over, and the remainder of the youngsters were eagerly refreshing themselves with tea and plum cake, he was intent on repeating a long, diversive, and edifying dialogue to several ministers gathered round him, all of whom seemed struck with his abilities, and intimated that he would, if spared and rightly trained, be a bright one. Some of the exquisite pieces he got by rote, appeared to edify and cheer him in his sickness, parts of which he recited to his distressed mother, adding, "he could rehearse the whole were he only told a word or two."
Verily he, by his industry in learning, reproves the idle, and commends the diligent scholar, and thus, 66 he, being dead, yet speaketh." If deserving reproof, receive it, and henceforth diligently learn, not forgetting that indolent school-boys generally make lazy, ignorant, worthless men, for they, at least, grow up unfitted
for the higher callings of life, and become the subjects of useless regrets and bitter self-reproaches. If meriting the commendation, take it, and be spurred on thereby to yet greater application to your book, remembering that the more knowledge and wisdom you acquire, the better will be your chance of getting on in the world, of advantaging mankind, and of glorifying God your Saviour. As you can have but one life here, and as on the use you make of that life will depend the character and condition of your being hereafter, so you can now have only one youth, and on the manner in which you employ that youth, will depend the reputation and state of your manhood.
Occasionally he would ask questions, which indicated that he pondered over what he read and heard. True, they were not always judicious, yet they bespoke an inquiring mind. More than once, when in the class on the Sabbath, he asked about Christ and heaven, and appeared amazed and troubled at the sufferings Jesus endured, in order to save sinners, and at the wickedness of the Jews and Gentiles in inflicting those sufferings; and well he might: for both are astounding and affecting in the extreme. Thanks be to Jesus for submitting to be taken, crucified, and slain by the hands of the wicked; and praise to God for so over-ruling the malice of earth and hell as to render the very death intended for Christ's destruction, the life of the guilty, perishing world, the overthrow of Satan's kingdom, and the establishment of the Lord's reign among mankind.
The last time the dear one was at the minister's house, with a few of his companions, he stopped in the midst of his play, and seated himself beside Mrs. S, and inquired about the Saviour's first advent, and upon other kindred subjects, and would not return to his sport until he was satisfactorily answered. Before leaving, he joined in the hymn,— "Thou guardian of our youthful days, To thee our prayers ascend;" listened attentively to a few remarks
bearing on the same theme, and afterwards knelt with his playfellows and the family around the throne of grace. Little did any then present imagine that his spirit would so soon with rapture soar up to the seat of God, there to
"Praise Him in everlasting strains."
Here, too, he, "though dead, yet speaketh." By his inquiry after the truth he is, in effect, saying to the young folk, "Whatever you do not understand, request your teachers to explain to you; and be especially desirous to gain all the information you can respecting the precious Saviour. At twelve years of age, Jesus was found in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.' Early inquirers after the adorable Saviour will, before long, acquaint themselves with Him, take their stand on His side, begin to witness for Him amongst their fellows in word and deed, glorify His holy name, and have Him promoting them to very great honour.
He sought and found the " thing needful." On Jesus alone the inquiring lad was led to rely for redemption. He gradually felt that he, though young, had sinned against God; and that only Christ, by having died on the cross for sinners, could save his soul, and was ultimately enabled to trust solely to Him for deliverance. More than once the minister reminded him that he was old enough to know right from wrong; and that he had said and done many things which he knew to be improper, directed his attention to God's love to him, in sending His beloved Son to die, to atone for his sins, and told him "he must be sorry before God for whatever he had done amiss, and look to Jesus to pardon his offences, and to fit him for heaven." All this he appeared to understand, feel, and express. Judging from his patience under suffering, his quiet in the prospect of death, and his anticipation of shortly being with Jesus, there can be no doubt he was relying wholly on Christ as his Saviour.
Although dead, he "yet speaketh," young friend, to you, by the confidence he reposed in Christ Jesus for salvation. He, by that confidence, presses the like on you. A Saviour you doubtless need. For, though not many years old, you have told a lie, used naughty words, shown a bad temper, fallen out with your playmates, disobeyed your parents or teachers, discovered an unkind, selfish spirit, or forgotten your Creator. In having thus acted, you have transgressed. Nothing can you do to atone for your transgression, and if not expiated, you cannot dwell with God in heaven, but must be shut up with the Devil in hell. Only Jesus can become your Redeemer. None but Christ has given His life a ransom for us, and only through that ransom will Jehovah forgive our past trespasses, and keep us from future offences. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Before you can possibly be redeemed, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the serpent-bitten Jew do what he would he died, except he looked to the brazen serpent upon the pole. So, do whatever you may, you will be undone unless you behold Jesus, who was lifted up upon the cross, to make satisfaction for the guilt of rebellious man. "He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Quiet the dear lamb found in the chief Shepherd's bosom.- On the breast of the gentle Shepherd he, by faith, rested his little head; and the kind Shepherd's unseen arm supported him well, even preventing his being in the least scared by the approach of the last enemy. Though he knew recovery was impossible, he did not discover any timidity. The conviction that the moment he was absent from the body, he would be present with the Lord, disarmed death of its terrors. In the anticipation of heaven, he lost sight of the gloom of the vale leading thereto. The thought of going to glory swallowed up the conception of
mortality. Dismay he neither expressed nor indicated. Throughout his mind was peaceful. No doubt the beams of the Sun of Righteousness chased away the darkness from the passage to the tomb, and cheered him on his way thither. With the Psalmist he could say, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
Unto you, O young people, he, though "dead, yet speaketh," by the peace he sought and found in Jesus, to the effect that you should strive to possess the like blessing. Give heed to him, and seek tranquillity in the Saviour alone. Apart from Christ, there is no solid, lasting peace for any of us. He, and only He, can silence every alarm, appease our guilty conscience, reconcile us unto God, fill our hearts with joy and gladness, conduct us in the ways of pleasantness, soothe our sorrows, keep us from the dark hour of temptation, smooth our dying pillow, and introduce us to endless blessedness.
The interesting boy prayed betimes. -Early he began to call on the name of the Lord. Nor did he call in vain. While ill, he gave satisfactory proofs that his infant voice was heard, and that the Good Shepherd was about to admit him into His fold above. One day the mother, on entering the rooin, observed his lips moving, and inquired if he spoke. After a short silence he answered, "I was praying to God;" adding, "the Lord will not be angry with me for not kneeling, will He? You know He has taken away my strength; and He is aware
of my weakness." "O no, my dear," she replied; and then asked for what he was praying. I was, he responded, "beseeching God very fervently to spare me to you, that I might help to make you happy." The sorrowing mother rejoined, "My dear, you are not mine, but the Lord's, and He has only lent you to me for a brief period, and is going to take you to dwell with Himself; and I must learn to say, 'Thy will be done."" A week or two after he remarked again, "Mother, I have
just besought Christ to enable you to spare me, and for Him to take me to be with Him in glory."
How comforting to the anxious mother to discover him praying, unprompted by any of humankind! What earthly parent would not like to find his children similarly engaged? O, the mingled gratitude and pleasure the bereaved ones must feel, whenever recollecting that theirs prayed! Really, the recollection is enough to turn every murmur into praise, and all grief into joy.
Though dead, he, by his supplications, yet speaketh." Practically he says to every child, now, in your earliest days, begin to seek the Saviour with your whole heart. Hearken to Him, and set about doing so in good earnest, with strong hope, and from the present period. Believingly, and at once, entreat Jesus to forgive your sins through His atoning blood, to change you by His renewing Spirit, and to direct your feet in the paths of righteousness and peace, for His name's sake. You have every encouragement. "I love them," says Christ, "that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." Yea, he even comes to you, and puts the very petition into your mouth you should present to the Most High. "Wilt thou not from this time," He suggests,
cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth?"
Some effort the little one made on behalf of missions.-For several years he took a collecting-card, and was most incessant in his applications to get it filled; and not without success either. Once he succeeded in getting two crowded with donations. person, on being solicited for a trifle, told him he was becoming quite a beggar. This startled and discouraged him. Instead, however, of ceasing to collect, he went and asked a very different individual, and on receiving a shilling, said, "Mr. L—, am I begging in soliciting something for my card?" The gentleman most encouragingly assured him that he was not. Nor was he; for he did not request anything for himself, only for Christ's cause; and who
ever gave, was merely giving Christ of His own. "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts; and if Jehovah ask through a collector for any of that gold or silver to spread His truth in the world, neither He nor the collector is stooping to beg in so doing, but simply asking for some of His own, which He has entrusted to us as His stewards.
Although dead, he, by his exertions for the support of missionaries, "yet speaketh." By those efforts, and by the mites he dropped into the London Missionary box, when sent round the school, or carried from class to class by himself, he says, "Go thou and do likewise." Neither he nor you will ever regret trying to promote the interests of Christ's kingdom. But you must be quick. Had not Charles set to work this year, directly he was furnished with a collecting card, that card would have had to be returned blank, so rapidly was he prostrated by sickness. For Jesus, then, henceforth employ your head and heart, hands and feet, tongue and pen, time and money.
Under suffering, the youth's patience was manifest. Nearly four months he languished. At times he suffered much. The doctor himself seemed quite moved at his protracted sufferings. Towards the close, he had to be lifted out of bed many times in a night; yet, though exceedingly harassed, and often very restless in consequence of the nature of his malady, he did not fret or murmur, but patiently bore his long and painful affliction. Several observed that he was a patient little sufferer.
Through his patience in sickness, he, though dead, "yet speaketh." By that calm endurance of his last illness he sets all an example how they should behave under trials, and bids them meekly bow to the afflictive dispensations of Providence. The lips of inspiration say, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let
patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." In no case does the Almighty afflict willingly, and always with a view to the soul's profit. He afflicts the unconverted, with an eye to their conversion, and the converted, to bring about their sanctification.
Becoming behaviour the young invalid showed when visited. He listened attentively to the minister's remarks, promptly replied to his questions, and joined him in prayer, clasping his wasted hands, and closing his languid eyes. Had he been able, he would have kneeled while supplication was made on his behalf; and afterwards expressed surprise and regret that two youngsters who were present, and kept their seats, did not know how to behave at so solemn a season. From the first, he treated the visitor with proper respect, gave him a hearty welcome, and paid due attention to his instructions.
Such being his demeanour, it commends itself to us for imitation; and thus he, "though dead, yet speaketh." It is a good sign when we esteem our teachers, receive their teachings, and delight to join them at the throne of grace. How respectful was young Samuel to the venerable Eli! What affection did he show for him! O the promptitude with which he obeyed his voice! Where was one more tractable and docile? Who so reluctant to wound his teacher's feelings? Can another, more juvenile, be found taking so prominent, active, and ready a part in the service of the sanctuary? Ay, and to what high distinctions he ultimately rose among his countrymen, and in the church of the living God! Marvellous is the difference in the Philippian jailor's treatment of Paul and Silas before and after his conversion. Many children care not to attend to their instructor's tuition, or to answer his interrogations; and play, trifle, or look about them in prayer-time. Not a few, too, of a larger growth, are reluctant to hear the messenger of the Lord of Hosts, or to bend the knee with him in