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that immediately surround him; he is curious to learn about the sun, and the moon, and the stars; about distant countries; about the manners of foreigners; about birds, and beasts, and fishes; nay, even about machines, and many other human inventions : but about the nature or God, and about man's relation to him, and the great truths of revealed religion, you know that there is rarely any strong curiosity in a child's mind. You do not find the appetite for such knowledge as this already existing there. You have to create it; and until you have created it, he cannot give you the fixed and earnest attention you want, without an effort which is positively painful to him.
At the outset we should be aware of these two simple facts ; first, that fixed attention is a hard thing for anybody to give; and second, that fixed attention to religious subjects is especially a hard thing for children to give. When we have fairly taken these facts into account, we shall be better
However hard it may be to gain attention, we must get it, if we are to do any good at all in a Sunday school. It is of no use there to tell children things which go no deeper than the surface of their minds, and which will be swept away to make room for the first trifling matter which claims admission there. If children are really to be the better for what we teach, if the truths which we love so well are really to go deep into their consciences, and become the guiding principles of their lives, it is no half-hearted, languid atter tion, which will serve our purpose. We are not dealing with facts which will bear to be received and then forgotten; but with truths, which, if they have any significance at all, have an eternal significance; and if they are to have any practical value to a child at all, must not only be received by his understanding, but lodged securely in his memory, and made to tell upon the formation of his character for this world and the next.
First, let me tell you how you will not get attention. You will not get it by claiming it, by demanding it as a right, or by entreating it as a favor; by urging upon your pupils the importance of the service, the sacredness of the day, the kindness of their teachers, or the great and solemn character of the truths you have to impart. All these are very legitimate arguments to use to older Christians.
You and I, we may hope, feel their force. The sense of these things keeps us thoughtful and silent many a time, perhaps, when we are hearing a dull or unintelligible address. We feel we ought to be attentive, and so we make an effort to be so.
Nothing, in the long run (except fear, which I know you would feel to be a very unsatisfactory motive) can keep a child's attention fixed, but a sense of real interest in the thing you are saying. It is necessary that he should feel that the subject claims attention for itself, not that you are claiming attention for the subject. Depend upon it, that attention got by threats, by authority, or even by promises, or indeed by any external means whatever, is not a genuine or effective thing. The real attention, such as alone can serve the purpose of a Sunday school teacher, must always be founded on the fact that you have got something to say which is worth a child's hearing, and that you can say it in such a manner, that he shall feel it to be worth his hearing.-J. G. Fitch, on " The Art of Securing Attention."
The General Reader.
" I am
his life happy? No, doubtless, for Controversy may be sometimes duty; nature is content with a little; and but the love of disputation is a serious yet you shall hardly meet with a man
that evil. Luther, who contended earnestly
complains not of some want : and for the truth, used to pray,—" From thus, when we might be happy and a vain-glorious doctor, a contentious quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. pastor, and nice questions, the Lord
TRUTH. deliver his church."
A man in digging the earth found
a piece of yellow metal ; it shone a FEAR OF GOD.
little, and particularly excited his The fear of the Christian is not ser- attention; he rubbed it, the more vile, but filial. There is a great differ- brightly it shone ! “ It is gold" ence between fearing God, and being thought he, and he asked the opinion afraid of God. The godly fear God, of a friend. His friend said, as a dutiful and loving son fears his no judge of metals, take it to a goldfather ; but the wicked are afraid of smith and he will decide.” The goldhim, as a prisoner is of his judge. smith was consulted; he thought it
gold: he tried it, and was convinced
he was right; he assayed it, and FASHION
found it to be pure gold. Those who Custom gives a sanction to fashion, look for truth as more valuable than and reconciles us even to its incon- gold, must (at least in doubtful cases), veniency. The fashion of this year is take as much trouble as the man who laughed at in the next. There are found the metal, and the goldsmith fashions of every date, from five hun- who assayed it, or he will not be dred years even to one day: of the worthy of so inestimable a treasure as first, was that of erecting Religious Truth. Houses; of the last, was that of de
MEDDLERS. stroying them.
Men little think how immorally
they act in rashly meddling with INDESTRUCTIBILITY OF THE
what they do not understand. Their SCRIPTURES.
delusive good intention is no sort of The Scriptures are the richest jewels excuse for their presumption. They that Christ hath left. Satan and his who truly mean well must be fearful agents have been endeavouring in all of acting ill. ages to blow out the light of God's Word, but have never succeeded-a
MEDICAL BOOKS. clear evidence that it was lighted from A book which directs people how to Heaven.
physic themselves, ought to be entitled
Every Man his own Poisoner, because UNHALLOWED WEALTH.
it cannot possibly teach them how to
discriminate between the resemblant Can any man charge God that he symptoms of different diseases. has not given him enough to make Southey.
THE GENERAL READER.
INTERCOURSE WITH CHILDREN. ( turally have been expected, on literary
The most essential point in our subjects, in a very short tinie sal intercourse with children is to be
down to cards. Mr. Locke, after fectly true ourselves. Every other looking on for some time, pulled out interest ought to be sacrificed to that his pocket-book, and began to write of truth. When we in any way
with great attention. One of the deceive a child, we not only show him company, observing this, took the a pernicious example-we also lose liberty of asking him what he was our own influence over him for ever. writing?“ My Lord," said Locke,
“ I am endeavouring, as far as posSEASONABLE REPROOF. sible, to profit by my present situa
tion; for having waited with impaA distinguished clergyman of wit and
tience for the horour of being in piety dining with a party, an individual present, notorious for speculation company with the greatest geniuses
of the on religion, pointing to a fowl (pro- nothing better than write down your
age, I thought I could do nounced by the speaker fool) on the table, said, “ Mr. F., many persons down the substance of what
conversation : and, indeed, I have set
have say that all animals will rise from the
said this hour or two." This welldead, do you think that that fowl will
timed ridicule had its desired effect; rise again ? "
“ I know not,” replied and those noblemen, fully sensible of the minister ; " but if fools rise not its force, immediately quitted their again, you will sleep for ever.”
play, and entered into a conversation
more rational and better suited to the HUMANITY.
dignity of their characters. Two British officers led their troops against a settlement of the enemy in America. One of them, entering a REGARD FOR DUTY. house, the mistress of which was lying in child-bed, he ordered mother
The 19th of May, 1780, was re
markably dark in Connecticut. and child to be killed. At that mo
Candles were lighted in many houses: ment, another following him, cried
the birds were silent, and disappeared : out,—“What, kill a woman and child ? No. That child is not an enemy of
and domestic fowls retired to roost. the king, or friend of the congress idea that the judgment day was at
The people were impressed by the Long before he can do evil the dis
hand. This opinion was entertained pute will be settled.” He then set a
by the legislature, at that time sitting guard at the door, and saved mother
at Hartford. The house of and child.
representatives adjourned: the council proposed
to follow the example. Colonel CARD PLAYING AND
Davenport objected." The day of CONVERSATION.
judgment," he said, "is either Mr. Locke having been introduced approaching, or it is not. If it is not, by Lord Shaftesbury to the Duke of there is no cause for an adjournment: Buckingham and Lord Halifax, these if it is, I choose to be found doing my three noblemen, instead of conversing duty. I wish, therefore, that candles with the philosopher, as might na may be brought.”
IMBECILITY OF INFIDELITY. works, neither in part nor in the Infidels and Atheists usually lose
whole. For that were the greatest courage and confidence in their opi- arrogancy and presumption of man nions in seasons of distress, and sink that Antichrist could set up against at the view of death into sulien des- God, to affirm that å man might by
his own works take away and purge pondency or despair. Now if according to their impiety there be no God,
his own sins, and so justify himself. why do they deny him in their
But justification is the office of God
prosperity? There can be no other reason
only, and is not a thing which we assigned than this; that in a state of
render unto him, but which health their minds are clouded with receive of him ; not which we give to the blind follies of the world; but him, but which we take of him, by that like distracted persons their rea
his free mercy, and by the only merits
of his most dearly beloved Son, our son returns at the point of death.
only Redeemer, Saviour, and Justifier, Jesus Christ." (Tit. iii, 1-8.)
A CARNAL MIND. One great hindrance to the effect of
Dr. Owen says, “ if a man of a religion, as the most important prin carnal mind is brought into a large ciple of social good, would be removed, could men be taught to regard it in if into a company of Christians, he
company, he will have much to do; all its relations to humanity. They will feel little interest; if into a would then be compelled to acknow. smaller company engaged in religious ledge, that it is not existing where it exercises, he will feel still less; but if is not active, and that the proper taken into a closet and forced to meobject of its action is the world. As ditate on God and eternity, this will Christianity is professed, even in this
be insupportable !" age, and in this country, the belief of thousands is more a monastical pro- VALUE OF A BIBLE. fession, than an active faith.
In the year 1272, the pay of a
la boring man was three halfpence per DEATH.
day. In 1274, the price of a Bible, A Christian in this world is but with a commentary, fairly written, gold in the ore; at death the
was thirty pounds. That precious
pure gold is melted out and separated, and
volume, which may now be obtained, the dross cast away and consumed. by many laborers, for less than one Death is a judgment that leaves a man
day's pay, would then have cost them no more land than his grave, no more
thirteen years' labor to produce. It is clothes than his shroud, no
further worthy of remark, that in the house than his coffin.-Flavel,
year 1240, the building of two arches of London Bridge cost twenty-fire
pounds; five pounds less than the "NOT UNTO US."
price of a Bible!
How great are the “ Justification is not the office of privileges of British Christians in our man, but of God; for man cannot time, when the Bible no longer remake himself righteous by his own mains a costly acquisition.
MORAL WORTH ESTEEMED, FLATTERY REBUKED.
The French Ambassador who yisiof the most distinguished preachers ted the illustrious Bacon during his among the reformed in the time of last illness, on finding him in bed, Luther. No candid man was his ene- with the curtains drawn, addressed to my. So extensive were his learning, him this fulsome compliment; “ You benevolence and liberality, and so are like the angels, of whom we amiable was his piety, that Erasmus, hear and read much, but have not the with whom he lived some time, re- pleasure of seeing.” The reply was marked, “I would have thought my- the sentiment of a philosopher, and self sufficiently happy in his single the language of a Christian. “ If the friendship."
complaisance of others compares me to an angel, my infirmities tell me, I
am only a man," ILL-NATURE. One of the deepest and most common causes of evil speaking is, ill-na
NIGHT STUDIES, ture and cruelty of disposition ; and,
Extraordinary wakefulness, cnaby a general mistake, ill-nature pass- bling persons to study hard for days eth for wit, as cunning doth for wis- and nights without sleep, leads to a dom ; though in truth they are nothing very erroneous idea of the harmlessakin to one another, but as far distant ness of this excess. Intense thought as vice and virtue,--Tillotson.
or abstraction, has a powerful influence
on the circulation; and this absence ADAM'S APPLE
of sleep is obviously the result of exIs the name given to the pro- cessive action of the brain, which, if tuberance in the fore part of the not relieved, must soon run
on to throat, occasioned by the pro- delirium. Extraordinary wakefulness jection of the thyroid cartilage of is, therefore, the signal of nature for the larynx, This name originated suspending such pursuits. from a superstitious tradition, that a piece of the forbidden fruit which Adam ate, stuck in his throat, and
VICES AND VIRTUES, IN occasioned the swelling. -Timbs's
WHOM FOUND. Popular Errors.
The greater part of vices consist
cither in defects or excesses ; the ROYALTY.
greater part of virtues, in the obserLouis VI. of France, who was an vance of a just medium. The virtues accomplished sovereign, and possessed are found less among the low and the great energy of mind, courage, and great, than in the middling classes of activity, when on his death bed, mankind. The low are less acquainaddressed his son in the following ted with their duties; this is their remarkable words : " Recollect that defect : the great know them, transroyalty is nothing more than a public gress them, and give themselves up to charge, of which you must render a excess. The generality of men who very strict account to him who makes form the middle class, understand kings, and who will judge them." them better, and practise them more.