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lars more or less. The information is derived partly as the result of personal observation, and partly from persons on the spot. It assembles at the usual hours, meeting in the evenings as well; the time is divided between the three branches of learning, reading, writing and arithmetic, the two latter occupying the usual hours for divine service, from half-past ten to twelve; they attend of course no place of worship; whether they have any kind of worship at any time of the day I cannot say. The teachers are supplied by the various denominations in the town, agreeing to sink their distinctive peculiarities for the sake of union; but they seem not only to sink these but piety as well; and if, as is confidently affirmed, the school turns out more infidels than anything else, who can wonder at it; or be surprised to find that in the town that supports such a place, churches and chapels are miserably attended.
Now, I should hardly imagine that any one will be bold enough to assert or maintain that any such places as those I have given specimens of, are entitled to be considered as of Divine authority, or in any way sanctioned by the word of God. Will some of your numerous correspondents favor your readers with an outline of such a Sunday school as may rightly be considered of Divine authority?
MEDITATIONS FOR MARCH.
MARCH is a good month for changes. In business it is the beginning of the Spring Season, and frequently changes are made in filling up different posts with efficient men; those that have not done well in one position are transferred to another more adapted to their talents; where there are not sufficient in the establishment, fresh hands are taken in, and you can see if you watch the proprietor that he is evidently making preparation to go forward with additional impetus. Business (he says) must be done, and the question he puts to himself is, where can I best place my staff so as to have every man in his right place; for the real man of business knows full well that all have not talents alike, and that it is for him to study character; to find out qualities; to measure capabilities; to have force enough to do the work, and not to have too much, which inevitably encourages idleness and neglect.
Now there is an important question which Christian men of business would do well sometimes to think of. Can I put forth too much energy in my daily business: my reply would be, no, not if you are putting forth greater energy in the cause of Christ; but when, as I occasionally see among Christians, men of thorough business habits
thinking and reasoning something as I have done with reference to their worldly occupation, planning for its increased prosperity, and then look at them in relation to the church with which they are associated, I cannot help feeling sometimes that all cannot be right within, for the world seems to be having all the best thoughts, all the most strenuous efforts, and the very life of the man seems to be not in his religion and his God, but in his business.
I fear you will be curiously enquiring what all this has to do with Sunday schools? Well, the suggestion to let God have your first thoughts, your highest love, your noblest powers of mind and heart, devoted, consecrated to him, will do you no harm. Are our Sunday schools as well arranged as they might be; as a rule, have we the right men in the right place? I am not sufficiently acquainted with the large field of Sunday school work to answer this question; but in some of our schools I know changes might be made with advantage both to superintendent, teachers, and scholars; and the more I see of Sunday schools, the more am I convinced that the superintendent gives the key-note to the whole school. Where it necessary to define the requisites for the most important office in connection with every school, I would say, a warm heart, a clear head, a well-furnished mind, a lover of children; and most essentially, fond of order, and an aptness in getting it, both from teachers and scholars. It is not always easy to get just such a one as you would wish; but if you have one that is guiding your school well, uniting the teachers together, making them the great object of his solicitude, giving one or two evenings a week, at least, to meet with them in a preparation class, sparing no pains to qualify even the youngest for the class he fills; and if you find that the infant and senior classes are well looked after, increase in number, and if from the latter you have many recruits for the Lord's side, may we not hope, that at any rate, in your superintendent, you have the right man in the right place; and be assured that if your school has been long established, and there are not in it children enquiring of their teacher the way to heaven, with their faces directed thitherward, there is reason to fear that either teacher or superintendent are lacking either in faith, or prayer, or labor, or love, or perhaps consistentcy of life, or some other of those essentially requisite Christian virtues, without which we can never acceptably serve our heavenly father, or engage in his work of love here. That we may all of us, as teachers of the young, have a year of great prosperity in our several classes and schools has dictated the above, and shall be the prayer of your fellow-laborer.
SPECIMEN OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL ADDRESS.
Many suppose that the world which we inhabit is a very unhappy place; they say so, whether they really think so is another matter; and they would teach us, that while here, we have nothing to expect. but sadness and sorrow.
Children read about the beauties of Paradise; its glorious rivers laughing to the sun-its delicious fruits so sweet to the taste-its harmless animals roaming at pleasure-but more than all of Adam and Eve in their innocence, till they almost wish they could live there, and have Eden for their home!
All was joy there! There was no disease or death in that happy garden. It must have been a song full of sweetness which they sung there; no discord in it, but full of praise and thanksgiving. These are some of the words which the good blind poet Milton imagined they might have sung, but we may be sure they were even more glorious still:
"His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow,
That singing up to heav'n gate ascend,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise !"
Oh! to think that they sinned! that they were shut out from that beautiful place
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe."
And what disappoints many so much is, that there is no more entrance there. "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." And so, because this garden is closed against us, some suppose this is an unhappy world, and that mankind must be miserable. It would be much better if such people would think less of "Paradise Lost," and more of "Paradise Regained." It is really wicked to complain of this beautiful world which God has given us! He intends us to be happy. This is why he
When we consider the exposure of children to the profane language of the streets, we have a sufficient argument for the occasional use of the highest classical compositions, and poetry should never be quoted except it be of the choicest order. Good poetry is more easily understood than bad.
made us. He did drive Adam and Eve out of the first garden, because of their disobedience, but the question is, whether he has not given us another! Let us see, whether this world, notwithstanding that sin has entered it, may not become a Paradise! We are created by the same God. He has breathed into our nostrils the breath of life." We have the same father, and the blessings bestowed upon our first parents may become ours.
I. But what was their very first duty-Industry. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden to dress it, and to keep it." God having made man, knew that he must have something to do in order to be happy. This then is the first secret of the happiness of Eden-something to occupy the hands and the mind. You have sometimes looked abroad in the beautiful summer-time, and all seemed calm and happy. If by the sea you have watched the waves rolling fresh upon the shore, bringing cheerfulness and health with them! Or you have heard the lark, as it rises from its bed of grass, singing its sweet songs, mounting higher and higher towards heaven! You have smelled the sweet fragrance of the flowers, or seen the busy reapers in the harvest field! Why is it that everything looks so happy? because everything is doing its work. The sun, the sea, the birds, the flowers, are all fulfilling their appointed tasks!
Look at that mother, how cheerful she is! Yet she is hard at work for her child. But it is because she is so industrious that she is so happy.
And what sort of child is it that is most miserable? Just the idle child. Oh! if any of us wish again to live in Paradise, let us remember that we must learn the first duty of that happy place. Life to us is a garden. There are many spots in it which we have to cultivate: all have some duties to perform, even the youngest. These things bring Eden back-when we are doing all according to God's will, and on the spot where He has placed us. Just as it was with Adam, so it is with us, we are put into the garden to dress and keep it. No one ever was born into this world without some spot in this garden of life which he was to dress and keep.
II. Obedience. This was his next duty. This was necessary to Paradise. You see that immediately our first parents neglected the command of God, they were driven out of the garden. There were beautiful trees there! "Every tree that is pleasant to the sight;" and most refreshing were the fruits that grew upon them. Yes; and there are beautiful trees in this world, the fruit of which makes the heart glad. There is that fine tree " Obedience to Parents." "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." What beautiful fruit is that! how pleasant to the taste!-not forbidden fruit, but none is sweeter. It is
as much our duty to honor and obey our parents, as it was the duty of Adam and Eve not to touch "the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” It was because they failed in obedience that they were driven from the garden; had they remained obedient, they would have had Eden for their home.
And what is it that so often makes us unhappy? Disobedience to God. When a child has told a lie, conscience, like a "flaming sword," drives him from happiness; while one who speaks and acts the truth, is always in a kind of Paradise.
Let us not forget that obedience to the commands of God restores us in part to the happiness of Eden.
"Yet thy commandments are my delights."
These, then, were the duties-Industry and Obedience-which made Paradise a happy place; and if we practice them, the joys of Eden so far will be ours.
But there were enjoyments as well as duties.
I. Knowledge. We do not know much about the wisdom of our first parents before the fall. Nothing is told us upon the subject. We read that Adam named the cattle, and, therefore, we know that he had all the knowledge that was suited to his state. Ignorance, where we ought to be wise, makes us unhappy; and, therefore, Adam must have had just as much wisdom as was necessary to his happiness. How much knowledge he had none can say, but since God was his instructor he must have been very wise; wisdom then was an enjoyment of Paradise-it was a part of it-it made man happy. Now who will say that this enjoyment has not been granted to us? Without industry it is impossible; without obedience worthless! But with both-how good it is! And consider what knowledge God has granted to us. He has told us about the creation of the world, as far as we can understand it. In his book he has given us the history of many good menfine poetry—simple parables—and all to teach us wisdom. A knowledge of God's works and word, will make us happy, and bring back the joys of Eden! Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace," "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her." We know some things that Adam could never have known. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." And what is the object of the Sunday school? What do your teachers want to do for you? Restore you to Eden by teaching you "the wisdom of God!"
II. Innocence. This was the next enjoyment. But surely we can never have this! This was the great secret of happiness, and the beauty of Paradise. Sin now has cursed the world. "We are born in sin." "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God."