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constantly recruited by means of this incendiary stuff. Other bad reading may be found in the sensational and vulgarizing stories of“ dime" and “ nickel libraries ;” and much of the so-called “religious reading" for children is also mere weak sentimentalism and literary drivel, that ought not to be allowed to go into a child's hands without thorough sifting.
mind or moral nature.
Then keep them well supplied with the best reading. Do not cater to mere love of excitement, else you will make them literary inebriates, rushing feverishly from book to book, as the drunkard goes from glass to glass, to satisfy a diseased craving. Give them that which will awaken & healthy relish for good literature, and which will tend to make them wise, strong, upright, and noble hearted.
Some will object that their children have no taste for the best things. The good books selected for them they throw aside as dull and spiritless; they prefer spicy stories, exciting adventure, and fun with a dash of slang in it. The parents conclude that the taste must mature before it will readily turn to better things, and that it is well enough to let them read what they please till they outgrow their present fancy for trash. No greater mistake could be made. The literary taste gets its direction fixed in childhood, as a rule. If a child manifests a perverted or depraved taste, you cannot begin too soon to reform it, unless you wish him through life to prefer light and worthless reading. Reconstruct his literary appetite. If he does not like the best, let his ingenuity and patient training teach him to like it. If parents and teachers are willing to give self-denial and painstaking care enough to it, they will be surprised, and so will the children, to see how they presently turn with repugnance fron things beneath them, and with eager relish to books that both interest and help them.
All who mean to help children in this matter should themselves have a high standard of reading. The general sentiment of the household goes far to determine the child's ideas. The book that the teacher talks about, or that the librarian recommends, will attract attention and interest. Contempt for trash, and enthusiasm for the best reading, should be so vital an element in the family atmosphere that it should be breathed in by the child, as the instinct for good behaviour ought to be. Clarles Dudley Warner says the reason why children read trash “is because heir parents, or older persons about them, either have not the habit of reading, or they also read trash. . . . I suspect that the vast majority of people care little for reading, except as it furnishes them a smattering of news or gives them a temporary excitment." Children will be quick to catch the tone of such persons, and will care only for the newspaper, the novel, and the picture paper.
It is a great help for the parent or older friend to read with the child. The companionship in letters helps the younger one over the hard places, and tends to interest him in what might otherwise grow dull. Mothers have carried their boys of twelve through Plutarch's Lives, and D'Aubigné's Reformation, and Prescott's and Motley's histories, and the poems of Scott, and Milton, and Whittier, and Longfellow, to the growing delight of the boys, and the profit of both parties. A special advantage of this method is the relish it awakens in the child for things that interest maturer minds. It is a great point gained when a boy feels that it is a little beneath him to be interested in children's literature chiefly. “We have little liking," says Miss C. M. Yonge, “ for books for boys.' If boys have healthy, intelligent minds they would be doing much better if they were reading books for men." It helps to create a relish for this higher class of reading to read with the children.
Another help is to give the children illustrated editions of the best books; the picture tells the story even more vividly than the words. Better yet is the custom, practised in some schools, of letting them make their own illustrated editions of history, travel, or biography, with pictorial papers, scissors, and scrap-book. Another method of illustrated readings is to connect the children's reading with their studies; as, in studying geography, to read “poems of places” in connection with localities described ; in studying history, to read stories that illustrate a particular epoch, with the account of the illustrious men and the great writers of the period ; in studying mechanics, to read the story of inventors and inventions. Good reading thus gains a practical value to the child's mind from the association, and so gains attractiveness. — Boston Congregationalist.
Sabbath School Statistics.
FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND REPORT FOR 1885. Tue report submitted to the Free Church Assembly in May last contains a large amount of detailed information relating to Sabbath schools, and the interests of the young generally, throughout the Church. The report says : "In looking back on many past years in reference to progress on this subject, it will be found that a constant aim of the committee has been, not merely the encouragement of individual effort, but the recognition ind incorporation of her Sabbath school system with the ecclesiastical organization of the Church. This may now be regarded as having been practically accomplished. Recognition and care by kirk-sessions was specially urged by Dr. Candlish in moving the deliverance on the Sabbath school report of 1856. Progress in that direction, more or less, has ever since continued to be made. Unmistakable evidence of this, more full and more frequent than ever before, will be found in the present report. Supervision and consideration by presbyteries and synods is now, also, in various forms, almost universal; while the systematic visitation by presbyteries of the Sabbath schools within their bounds is gradually extending. But while rejoicing that the issue of former efforts by the committee, during many successive years, has been to so large an extent practically accomplished, it is still found that by watching over and stimulating the ecclesiastical action, which gradually increases in completeness, and by continuing the careful gathering up, recording, and circulating of figures and facts as to the work now actually going on, important help is afforded. It is to be observed that these extracts are not mere opinions, or vague and general statements as to a congregation or a district, but detailed facts as to what is actually at present being done; and others are thereby stimulated to 'go and do likewise.'”
The following is an abstract summary of statistics for the year :Number of Sabbath schools, Congregational and Missionary, - 1,952 Senior classes, including Ministers', -
Total, 3,203 Sabbath school Teachers, Male, 8,038 ; Female, 8,798; Total, 16,836 Teachers of Senior classes, including Ministers',
1,273 Total engaged in Teaching, . - 18,109 Scholars at ordinary schools, Male, 74,534; Female, 84,817; Total, 159,351 Scholars at Senior Classes, Male, 19,667; Female, 26,374; Total, 46,041 Total under Instruction,
- 205,392 “Children's Record,” copies circulated in Schools, monthly, - 72,518 Circulated otherwise,
• 7,482 Total monthly circulation,
• 80,000 Sabbath school Missionary Contributions
Total Contributions for the year, - - - £5,511 10 8
Doe the Nexte Thynge.
On the wall of an old English parsonage there is engraved, in old daxon letters sunk in the granite, the motto: “Doe the Nexte Thynge." Like many other groupings of plain words, it has wrapped up in its quaint simplicity a treasure of significance. For how many doubts wouĪl be solved, how many cares would be lightened, how effectually the proilem of life would be wrought out, if, instead of halting in the way, or freting at visionary difficulties to come, we should each day and hour just go on to do the next thing. The word may have two meanings. If that whek we are trying to do is plainly impossible, pass on to do the next dury that offers. If what we have aspired to as the best is plainly not at once to be reached, go on to do the next best. .
To do the next thing freely and heartily we must let go the last, draw off the eyes from the past. This was Paul's method in that mightily energetic life of his. The last thing may have been a failure. You cannot afford to let it discourage you,—the next thing may be a success; or the last thing may have been a victory,—don't rest on your laurels. The next thing may be a grander triumph ; at least it may be more
anxious about results. Act with what light you have and what strength you have at the time, and leave results with God. If the path of duty leads through a stone wall, or a solid phalanx of bristling difficulties, take the next step, go at it. Your going through is God's business, not yours.
The doing the next thing will prove a medicine for heavy care and anxiety; for it is not the things we do that weary and wear us, but the fretting over things left undone in the past, and things we want to do, but cannot in the future. Do not leave your work half finished. Do the next thing necessary to mature and the next thing essential to complete it. Do it patiently, reverently, trustfully, and with thy might.
"Be earnest !
“CALLED to be saints.” That, we fear, has lost its great meaning in these worryful days, when "saints” are folk sadly out of place. If we had them amongst us we should hardly know what to do with them, and should be proposing glass cases to preserve them for exhibition. And yet we most deeply feel that what our age wants, what the spiritual life in us wants, and what our Christian work wants, is the presence of saintly men and women, saints who do not talk,—who shine; who keep their souls so near to the sun that His radiance is all around them. We remember such. We wish we knew such. The memory of them is our inspiration. The sight of them would lift us up to nobler things. The charm of holiness is. an unspeakable, an irresistible charm. God's saints are His unanswerable argument, for they shew what “ Almighty grace can do.” God's saints are happy in God with a happiness that makes our poor self-seeking pleasure feel worthless as the “ crackling of thorns under a pot.” At one of our great meetings recently, the chairman said, and roused the house by saying, “Men are the great want of our times ; give us men.” We incline to reply, “There are plenty of strong men about; saints are the great want of our times : give us saints.” For the men and women who have kept the faith for us, through ages of controversies and temptations, have not been so much the preachers, or the apologists, as those whose attractive, witnessing “holiness” has shone out among men for God. But saintliness means the culture of the inner life ; and that, we fear, is fast becoming a lost art. Taylor's “Holy Living” is now a book to wonder over: nobody exactly wants it for his personal help. We read it as a part of our study of English literature. “Cultivate the conduct," is now the cry, “and never mind the springs of conduct.” “Preach practical sermons, ye ministers, but take care not to press on the people that they only prosper as their souls prosper."" We ask for no morbid introspections, but, in the name of all seekers after God and the true godly life, we do ask for models of saintliness.-S. S. Chronicle.
Speaking the Truth.
THERE is in modern society an apparent reverence for truth. It appears in the fact that popular sentiment considers a reputation for lying a disgraceful thing. There is nothing that will be more quickly resented; nothing that is considered a more deadly insult than to be accused of falsehood. We might suppose from this that everybody loved truth and hated a lie.
But everybody knows that the amount of truth current in public and private intercourse is so small as to make that intercourse almost wholly unreliable. The Scottish preacher's comment on the 116th Psalm was not far out of the way. He read the words, “I said in my haste, All men are liars," and commented thus : "Ah, David, ye said it in haste, did ye! Weel, if you were alive noo, ye micht say it after mature deliberation." Not to speak of the deliberate and intentional lying that is carried by no tongue and pen, in business and social life, with intention to deceive, a vast amount of current untruth is unintentional.
1. In careless speech, when the words are not the utterance of any conviction, thought out and reasoned upon and spoken with the sincerity of truth, but when the tongue runs unguided and the words flow unguarded; when no thought goes before to inquire what impression the words may produce, and no wish follows after to desire that such impression may be according to truth. Not much wonder if such careless speech should often be betrayed into crooked paths. Not much wonder if its effect upon other minds should often be the same as if it were the utterance of intentional falsehood.
2. In vain, self-lauding speech, when the littleness of self-laudation sets one to talking about his own exploits, or about the faults and failures of his neighbours. Such speech, from such a motive, is sure to go beyond the truth. The very necessity of self-justification demands such exaggeration of statement and such colouring of facts as leave no distinction between it and downright falsehood.
3. In bitter, prejudiced, vengeful speech, when the words are applied to some object of reasonable dislike. It is an impossibility in a world like this to love everybody with the love of approval and complacency. The utmost we can do is to love the unlovely with the love of pity and compassion. And where we cannot love with a feeling of approval and attraction we ought to say as little as possible. It is very hard to talk much about such people and speak only the truth. Words of praise belie the feelings, and words of blame are easily borne on the current of feeling beyond the facts. If we are so unfortunate as to dislike anybody, the best way to adhere to the truth is to hold the tongue. Don't talk about them. It is hard to do. It is a sweet salve to the feelings to have others share that feeling, and in the attempt to win others to our opinion, it must be expressed in words, and words spoken with such a motive are sure to .convey more to others than they mean to ourselves. If people do not like vus, we hope they will let us alone, and at least not talk about us in our .absence.