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which lie behind the terms, but these terms themselves only serve to obscure and bewilder. Many a poor child, earnestly exhorted to faith and repentance, has been sorely exercised as to the meaning of these phrases. A child may understand what it is to be sorry for having been bad, and for having done wrong, and yet may be confused by definitions of repentance and examples which are foreign to its own life experience. So is it with faith. A child may know what it is to trust in Christ as a friend and Saviour, and in God as a reconciled Father in Christ, and yet be bewildered and distressed by exhortations to faith which he cannot understand, and knows not how to follow. With older children it may and will be useful to explain the terminology of evangelical theology, but with younger children this is worse than useless. Even in their case, when you use and explain the terms, it is of the highest importance to make sure that the reality, the all-important reality-is taught as well as the nomenclature of theology. In explaining these great truths it is well to use human analogy and experience as a ladder reaching up to the spiritual and the divine. A child knows what it is to trust, love, and obey its father, and so, in a higher degree, may it come to trust, love, and obey its Father who is in heaven. Even the child mind can grasp the idea of love and self-sacrifice; and human examples, although they fall far short of the Divine reality, may be useful steps in the ladder which leads upwards to heavenly light, and the radiant glory of the Divine love. An experienced and able teacher told me that, in explaining that sublime and expressive answer to the question in the Shorter Catechism, " What is God?” he used to ask—What would you think of a man who was constant and unchanging in his power to help, in his holiness of life and character, in his wisdom to counsel and guide, in bis stern justice, in his true-hearted kindness, and unfailing truth ? How heroic such a man would be; and suppose him self-existent, eternal, and all-powerful, you rise to some idea of God-of His unsearchable greatness and unspeakable love. We may teach them, in like manner, to rise from nature up to nature's God-from the beauty of hill and dale, of tree and flower, to the wisdom and glory of the great Creator, who hath fashioned them with so wondrous skill. Again, with regard to conversion, we are apt to puzzle children sadly, and fill their minds with needless alarm by laying down a prescribed formula and a uniform experience, which they are all expected to have. Let us not forget that God leads His own children to himself in many ways. We have our Timothy's and Samuel's, as well as our Philippian jailor, and our Saul of Tarsus. There is no Procrustes' bed of religious experience. That our hearts are bad, and our lives have been sinful—that there is no life or hope for us but in Christ and His great sacrifice—that Christ is willing to receive and welcome all who come to Him—that it is our duty, and should be our great delight, to love and obey our heavenly Father with a perfect heart-all this we must teach; but the manner in which our soul realizes it must be left to individual experience. I have often thought that under the training of Christian homes, the influence of a Gospel ministry, and other Christian influences, we should look for a quiet, almost unconscious growth of the young spirit into the spiritual life the life of Christ.
5. A word on the intellectual tastes of children. As might be inferred from the strength of the imagination, and their simple tastes, children are very fond of stories. How singular is it that many of our nursery rhymes and stories have retained their popularity for centuries! Stories such as “ Jack the Giant Killer," and simple rhymes like “ Jack and Jill,” have been the wonder and delight of many generations of children. The characters and scenes in a story are presented to their minds with a vividness and reality we older folks can scarcely understand. Critical considerations of improbability, and other difficulties, never occur to their minds; for with how great and eager delight are fairy tales read or heard, and, through the intensity of the youthful imagination, pictured with a wonderful reality! I remember, three or four years ago, sitting down to peruse the “ Arabian Nights Entertainment” for the first time; but after a vigorous effort to get up any real interest in the book, I threw it aside in weariness and disgust, regretting that I had not read all these wonderful things before my fancy got blunted, and my mind too practical for tales of wonder and the imagination. Although it may not fall exactly within the sphere of Sabbath school work, I would urge the importance of making children acquainted with “Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.” They may not grasp its spiritual significance, but they will appreciate the power and wonderful charm of that beautiful allegory in a way which those who read it for the first time later in life can never do. It will be a valuable possession, and the experiences of advancing life will invest it with ever new and deeper meaning. But where shall we get stories for children at all equal to the stories of the Bible ?-of Joseph and Samuel; of David and Jonathan; and that most wonderful story of all, the sinless checkered life of the Son of Man; of the angel music which the shepherds heard on the still night on the plains of Bethlehem; of the boyhood in Nazareth, of striking miracle and beautiful parable; of the awful darkness of Calvary, and the wonder of the resurrection and the empty grave; and last of all, the glory of the ascension, and the going home to that “happy land, far far away," to prepare a place for the children whom He loves. Then, boys are fond of heroes and heroic deeds; but where shall we find heroes of firmer, nobler mould, and of deeds more truly heroic, than in the lives of the heroes of Hebrew history? David and Jonathan, Gideon and Samson-what boy does not read the story of their heroic deeds with a thrill of pleasure which almost no other history can give ?
(To be continued.)
M i nor Morals.
(Continued from page 13.) In what way is the Sabbath school concerned with the question of minor morals? Has the Sabbath school any part in this reform? and, if any, what part? It will readily be conceded that the Sabbath school is. .constituted to teach religion—to train the young in piety and virtue.
True piety produces true politeness. Piety relates to God; politeness relates to man. “Be holy" reminds us of our duty to God; “Be courteous” reminds us of our duty to man.
There are thus two ways in dealing with the young,-viz., Ist, with their hearts; and 2nd, with their habits. In aiming at a new heart and right spirit, the teacher aims at the highest object within his reach. In dealing with the habits of a child, he aims at external culture. But why not both? May not the religious teacher carry on, at once, both the improvement of the heart and the improvement of the habits of his pupils ? External order is required to cultivate piety; and the habits of children very much affect their tempers and dispositions. Hence, while aiming at renovation of heart and the inculcation of heavenly principles, it is important to restrain impetuosity, check insubordination, curb selfwill, and tame the savage temper of the animal nature. Children are often spoiled at home. What with being made either toys of parents, favourites of friends, and objects of amusement to visitors, they too often become selfish, exacting, defiant. Let such children come together in groups, or collect them in hundreds, and then the superintendent knows that his office is by no means a sinecure. By degrees the rough youths embolden the gentle and timid, and, consequently, rudeness prevails and noise abounds.
Compare, for example, children trained daily under exact regulations with those who are allowed to live as they list. At a boys' trip to the seaside recently, numbering upwards of 300, it was, of course, to be expected that bathing would be one of their pastimes; but as the tide was too far out, the order “Don't” was issued, and, though sadly disappointed, the boys balted in their race to the water, and looked on with sad eyes; but they, nevertheless, obeyed. Now, these boys had been placed in a certain institution as having been either unmanageable or unfortunate, and yet their discipline throughout is far above that of the generality of our Glasgow youth. Let a Sabbath school or Band of Hope hold a soiree or go a trip, and what then? Alas! not infrequently the soiree is not unlike a menagerie at feeding time, and the trip too often ends in chaos. Too often, during its progress, it violates utterly the first principles which must underlie our minor morals. Let a superintendent or teacher, or even a minister, ask and caution the young people, before the soiree begins, to be orderly; or, before the trip starts, to let trees, shrubs, and flowers alone when in the country. Well, what is the result? Is it not too often disobedience in the social meeting, with disorder and discomfort; while at the pic-nic it is violence, lawlessness, sheer folly, and riot? And yet, let these same children be present in the church let them even be witnesses of the Sacrament-of the Communion when it is being dispensed—and their behaviour is subdued, silent, even reverential. There is, perhaps, no place where children are more orderly or more manageable than in a church. During a ministry of nearly a-quarter of a century, I do not remember requiring to correct a child for misconduct; while on Communion occasions, even when their numbers were multiplied, their conduct has been all that one could wish.
Now, in what way can Sabbath schools improve the minor morals of the young? The children of niission schools, particularly under modern education, among whom the religious teacher has to work, are improving; but there is still as much need as ever, if not more, for moral discipline. Unless our teaching and training, in this respect, keeps pace with general education, and governs the original and acquired powers of the mind, cleverness may be a loss to society, as well as a disability to a vicious, untrained youth. Let men be great, but let them also be good. Let them be talented, but let them be kind. Let them be heroic, if they choose, but let them also“ fear God and regard man.”
The article which originated this interesting subject says, "Be courteous.” It animadverts on too much teaching of the atonement, justification by faith, and the Shorter Catechism; or, at the least, asserts that there has been far too little ethics taught in Scottish churches and schools.
One is reminded, at this point, of the great experiment of Dr. Thomas Chalmers. For a long period of years that able preacher taught his parishioners morals, admonishing them to be honest, chaste, good; but it was not given him to know of a single fruit of morality as the result of his exertions. But as soon as he himself was renewed in the spirit of his mind, then there came over his people too a similar happy, holy change.
Probably there has been an under-estimate of the first part of that singular ministry, and an over-estimate of the second part; yet, doubtless, godliness is the root of gentleness, and a good heart the secret of good habits.
“ Talk they of morals ?
O thou bleeding Lamb!
The great morality is love of Thee.” Well, how practically can the Sabbath school deal with juvenile rudeness, and reduce the boisterousness of our youth to healthful limits ? It is perhaps easier to restrain than stimulate, to curb and brake a spirited animal than to goad or force a dull one into service. It is not dulness certainly with which we have to deal ; it is exuberance of spirit, superfluous animal action, surplus mental vigour. Now, this must not be suppressed, but only subdued and regulated, not rooted up.
The British climate, while neither like that of sunny lands, eastern or southern, nor equal in brightness to continental countries, is yet such as to promote colour in the cheek, and vigour both in the body and mind. This prowess of mind and body must be disciplined into serene selfpossession and personal excellence, as well as trained into national tameness and tenderness. We require finer feelings, finer perceptions, sweeter sympathy, more of Christ—more of His love and gentleness, allied with His strength. Our ideal is real, our example is pure, and may be initated. We are not aiming at a phantom. We have the means at our disposal—the Word, the Spirit, the grace of God.
The Sabbath school is in a position to undertake a great work. Let it, then, meet the case on band. In entering a Sabbath school there is often a rush, then a bustle, if not an uproar, until the services are fully under control. The exit, also, like the entrance, is too frequently characterized by a flight, accompanied by noise, and followed by harsh shouting in the Sreets. Some schools are better, some worse; but we fear those situated
in mission districts require more or less amendment. In order that pupils be orderly, there must be proper oversight and rule. Some classes, even in the universities, have been scenes of disorder, owing either to the weakness or eccentricity of the professors; for it is the man who must rule the boy. Children are just the reflection of their elders; and what we see in the young is the outcome of our own good or evil.
There is a good growing custom among Sabbath school teachers, of shaking hands with their class before parting; and this is a step, or a hand ! in the right direction. Were all teachers in their places to receive their scholars as they enter the school, how much would this abate their excess, and tone their tempers! Were teachers careful to support the superintendent in the government of the school, much of the tumult would be prevented, and better habits acquired. It is in "littles " we must deal if we would be successful in much. Obsta principiis is an old and able maxim. Resist beginnings. Prevent risings of temper, and you prevent rebellion. Be polite, and politeness will ensue.
Some attention is demanded to these minor details. Give not less care to things essential; but “take us the foxes, the little foxes, which spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes." Utile et dulce was a Roman maxim which the Scotch would do well to study; that is, combine the useful and the beautiful. The useful may be fair-ornaments add worth to utility, and beauty enhances worth.
The Scotch are justly acknowledged to be energetic, enterprising, chivalrous; but rather wanting in finish or polish. The solid block is good, but the surface is rather rough. Now, let us all polish ourselves somewhat, and then be polishers of others. Talent has no right to be rude, nor wealth to be arrogant. Democracy must not shout, nor a multitude become fierce. Nor, in seeking courtesy, must men become too precise or punctilious. Perhaps honest bluntness is better than cold fastidiousness. What is wanted is, that men should be deferential, sympathetic, kindly. A good-hearted person can never be habitually coarse. The heart is the seat of real gentleness. The true Christian is the true gentleman or lady.
Let courtesy be personal, domestic, social, general. Let all aim in its attainment and advancement. Let it be seen and heard in church and school, in council and senate, in high and low, in rich and poor, and in man, woman, and child. The great demand our admiration, but the good our imitation. It was Jesus Christ who said, “Learn of me, for I an meek and lowly in heart.”
The Infant Class. The Committee of the Glasgow Sabbath School Union have been much gratified at the reception given to the scheme of lessons, issued last month, for Infant classes. The following is one of many testimonies to its valte, and the need of special provision being made for this section of our scholars. Another friend has kindly prepared lists of a variety of large coloured pictures or cartoons from those issued by the Wesleyan Methodist Sabbath