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4thly, Our prayers should partake of fervour.-If we are in earnest, it is desirable that we should appear so in our prayers, for unless we do thus appear, we are not likely to make the children think that we are so. The importance of the object of our prayers, demands ardour of entieaty, and warmth of ex: pression; for who, with the feelings of Christianity glowing in his bosom, can reflect on those who surround him in the midst of a School; the awful state of many with whom he is praying, and the worth of immortal souls, and help praying with servour. Yet such is the cold and lifeless manner in which some persons pray, that if we were not acquainted with the object of their petitions, we should naturally suppose it of trivial moment from their appearance; this may however be imputable to habit, and not to insincerity or want of interest in the welfare of the children; but it is very desirable for them to endeavour to overcome this frigid and formal habit, which doubtless might be effected by perseverance, for it is a shame that the desires of a mind burning with a vivid Aame, should be expressed in words like icicles, colidly dropping to the frozen ground. 5thly, Our
prayers should be short.-It seems hardly necessary to say any thing on this particular, as the necessity of brevity is sel!-evident. The minds of children cannot be kept a great while on one object, especially of a religious nature, but they are quickly tired with a protracted duty; if, therefore, we intend to pray with the children, it is absolutely necessary that our prayers
should not be extended to an immoderate length ; long prayers are likely to contain many“ vain repetitions," which being of no utility, it is our duty to avoid, and not suffer the performance of one duty, by its length, to interfere with another. Eight or ten minutes I conceive to be fully long enough, and in general five minutes will be amply sufficient
. I do not however intend to say that we ought to pray by the clock, or that in no case whatever we should esceed the periods mentioned, but every one must use his own judgment respecting this subject, and regulate his conduct accordingly.
These few cursory remarks I leave to the attention of my brethren. I feel sensible that it is far easier to direct than to practise, but if we do not consider and examine the subject, we are not likely to perform this duty acceptably or beneficially; we should endeavour to attend to the voice of prudence, lest our performance delightful and useful in itself, should be rendered painful and improper for want of attention to the dictates of reflection, prudence and experience.
On SCRIPTURAL QUESTIONS for SUNDAY SCHOOL
CHILDREN. FROV a conviction that of all the labours of a Sunday School Teachus or Superintendent for the spiritual welfare of his Scholars, it is especially ineumbent upon him to lead them to an intimate acquaintance with the sacred scriptures, and from a consciousness that I had myself been deficient in that point, I was led several montis since to adopt the following plan, which has not only proved a source of exquisite pleasure to myself, but has also I believe, been really advantageous to several of the children under my care. After exhibiting a Bible in the presence of the whole School, and asking several questions which drew forth an explicit acknowledgement, that it was the Book of God, that it contained the revelation of his will to man, which if attended to would be a sure guide to present and eternal happiness, but if neglected the consequences would be awful indeed, and that it was the indispensable duty of every person to search it diligently, I directed them to read their Bibles attentively in the course of the week, and find out whether they contained any, and what directions to keep holy the Sabbathdas
, promising a reward to the most industrious; but the next Sunday I was disappointed as none of them were provided with any answers Judging that this arose either from shyness or the novelty of the plan, I read to them some of the inost important commauds to that duty; and then gave as the subject of research during the ensuing week, the duty of children to their parents; observing at the same time, that I should carefully read my Bible, and we would see who could find out most, they or myself. This succeeded in engaging their attention, and the ensuing Sabbath they brought me a number of approprate texts, proving that children ought to honour and obey their parents. Other subjects were then given in succession, viz, lying, swearing, taking the Lord's name in vain, pride, the creation of the world, the fall of man, the death of Abel, the flood, the heart of man in bis natural state, the day of judgment, the tinal portion of the righteous and the wicked, the means devised by infinite wisdom for the delivery of man, &c. The industry of the children in finding out suitable answers was pleasing indeed; twenty, thirty, forty, and even eighty different texts were brought by thein on some of the subjects. I endeavoured as much as possible to prevent their availing themselves of the fruit of each others labours, and questioned them closely as to the methods they took to tind out the answers; one, child had a concordance, this was forbidden, because ali the
children had not concordances, and therefore did not stand on equal ground. Their general plan is to look over the contenus at the heads of the chapters, and if they discover any thing there which suits them, they rear the chapter till they find it. I believe several have thus gone through almost every book from Genesis to the Revelations; some have spent nearly every leisure bourin the employment, and others have agreed with their schoolfellows to meet in the evenings after the labours of the day and read the Scriptures together!! As might be expected, several of the passages they selected were very inappropriate, and sometimes even ludicrous; but others have been the most pointed and suitable that could be found, as may be seen on referring to the undermentioned texts, which were produced by them in answer to the questions proposed. On the Day of Judgment they brought Daniel vii. 9, 10. Matthew, xxv. 31, &c. ii. Pe ter ini. 7, 10. Rev. ss. 12, 13. On the final state of the Righteous and the wicked, Psalm ix. 17. Matt. xxv. 34, 41. Rev. xxi. 3, 4, and xxii. 15. Ou the means devised for the Redemption of Men, Thou shalt call his name Jesus ; for • he shall save his people from their sins.” Matt. i. 21. God
so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in bim, should not perish, but have ever• lasting life.' John ii. 16. This is a faithful saying, and * worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the ' world to save sinners,' i Timothy i. 15. I desired them to find out who was the best king of Judah after the revolt of the ten tribes; they named Hezekiah, and gave as a proof, 2 Kings, xviii, 5, 6, 'He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after • him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor 'any that were before him, for he clave to the Lord and de* parted not from following him, but kept his commandments, ' which the Lord commanded Moses. I informed them I had read of one king of Judah who was remarkably wicked, but afterwards became a good man; and desired them to find out his name, the sins he committed, and the means of his conversion; they named Manasseh, and referred me to 2 Chron, xxxiii, 1–14. In answer to the question, what psalın is best suited to the state of a man broken down under a sense of his sin? they fixed upon the 51st; What pealm will best describe the feelings of a man whose sins are forgiven? they pointed out psalms xxiii, xxxii. 1, 2. xxxiv. xli. 1, 2, 3. Ixxxv. xci. ciii.ithat psalm is most descriptive of the omnipresence and omuiscience of God: they chose the cxxxix. Being required to tiud out who was the best servant of whom an account is given in the Old Testament? they exquired, Did I mean the servaut
of man or the servant of God? Having directed them to find out the most wicked Son, mentioned in the Old Testament, pointed out Ham, Reuben and Ibsalom. One of them being asked whether Absalom was really the most wicked? he replied "No; there were two others more wicked still, the two sons of Sennacherib, who actually slew their father whilst worshipping in the temple of his idol; whereas, Absalom had only conspired to slay lis, but he did not know that he was at liberty to starch for examples among the heathen!!!
At the first I gave out a new subject every week, but fearing that it would weary the childrell, I have lately given them only one à month, which plan is also adopted by another respectable Sunday School in this city, into which it was introduced in consequence of the plan beiny mentioned in one of the quarterly meetings of our Sunday School Union. The examination of the children in this manner, has given me very pleasing opportunities of conversing familiarly with them on divine subjects , and I have often been agreeably surprised at the shrewd remarks they made and the information they possessed. Visitors have occasionally been present at these examinations, who were no less delighted with the improvement of the children than myself; and some of the bappiest moments I have enjoyed in the Schools, have been when thus engaged in teaching my youthful chargé. through the help of the blessed book of God, to know him and Jesus Chrisi whom he hath sent, whom to know, is eternal life. · Bristol.
An Address from the SUNDAY School Union, to
CLERGYMEN and MINISTERS. THE Committee of the Sunday School Union, deeply impressed with the importance of the Work in which they are engaged, beg permission to intrude for a few moments on your attention. You are placed by Providence in highly important Situations, where your influence is extensively felt. TO
you, as the Ministers of Christ, who are particularly enjoined to feed the lambs, and to imitate Him who gathered them in his arms, and carried them in his bosom, to you, the appeal will not be futile.
Perhaps Sunday Schools have not hitherto engaged much of your attention, and you have not one attached to your Church. A few remarks will point out the advantages arising from these Institutions. In the present day it is quite unne VOL. II.
cessary to expaliate on the general benefits of education: inspiration, reason and experience concur in the testimony, that for the soul to be without knowledge, it is not good. But to you, as the religious instructors of our Country, Sunday Schools possess a claim of peculiar and momentous importance. These institutions are not nierely intended to ditfirse useful knowledge, to civilize, and to moralize the lower Orders, they are designed for religious instruction, and are most happily calculated to promote the immortal interests of the Rising generation.
Sunday Schools have very frequently become nurseries for the Church on earth, and in heaven. In the early ages of Christianity, historians frequently refer to the (atechumens, who were made the particular care of the Church, and as soon as they were capable of instruction, were taught the truths and the duties of religion preparatory to a public profession. Sunday Scholars may now be considered as Catechumens, under a course of religious instruction, well calculated, with the Divine blessing, to render them intelligent, sincere Christians, and ornaments to the Church of the most high God.
The benefits of Sunday Schools are not restricted to the Scholars, they extend to their instructors and parents. Many amiable moral young persons who have been employed as teachers, have, while imparting instruction, been led to see the infinite importance of religion for themselves, and have become enlightened and decided characters. Others, who were pious when they became teachers, have been excited to greater decision, activity and usefuluess; they have been enabled to grow in grace, and while they have been watering others, the Di. vine promise has been fulfilled, and they have been watered theinseives. Numerous are the instances in which the parents of Sunday Scholars have derived everlasting good from Uie instructions their children have received, the Books they have read, and the visits of the Teachers. Many ministers, in whose congregations Sunday Schools have been some time established, can testify the truth of these observations, from the facts which have come beneath their owil notice. Indeed it has been often said by acute observers that there is a marked difference between congregations where Suuday Schools are established, and where they do not exist. They diffuse a spirit or zeal, love and active usefulness, through a religious society; they fill the place with attentive hearers, and thus additions are made to the Church of such as shall be saved.
But perhaps you say, " these institutions we acknowledge to be exceedingly useful, yet we do not know how to begin, we