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induces us to place before you for consideration the following scheme for Sabbath Afternoon Services in churches for the boys and girls of this district:
* That we have for the past four years conducted Sabbath Forenoon Services in various districts of the city, for boys and girls not attending church. These meetings have as their aim the formation of a habit of Sabbath observance, and they are held at 11 o'clock forenoon, so as to teach the young people to respect the Sabbath bells and obey their call. There are 19 of these meetings at present in operation, of which........ are situated in this district, attended by a daily average of...... boys and girls. We are very anxious that these young people should be gradually led to attend church, and have frequently endeavoured to induce the older ones to attend, by taking pews for them. But as the services of the church are generally, at present, adapted to minds of mature comprehension, it has been found, that the boys and girls were not much interested, and often neglected their church-attendance.
That, while disclaiming any wish to dictate as to the regular services, we would crave permission to suggest the following mode by which the juvenile capacity of the boys and girls might be met without any serious 'interference with the usual worship of the congregation, viz. :-To arrange in this district for holding a Monthly Sabbath Afternoon Service for boys and girls in a few neighbouring churches; one church taking the first Sabbath of the month, another the second, and so on. Thus the more advanced teaching in each congregation would be interrupted only once a-month by a juvenile service, while the boys and girls would have special provision made for them every Sabbath in one church or another. By an arrangement carried out with great advantage in some churches, the area might be reserved for the children, the passages and pews being superintended by the teachers, &c. The young people would thus feel that they were not only expected, but welcomed ; and, doubtless, as they grew up and recognised the obligations of church-membership, they would connect themselves with one or other of those churches which had already been instrumental in implanting that desire. By previous intimations, these services could be made available not only for the forenoon meetings, but also for the young of the congregation and the Sabbath schools of the district.
“Your memorialists crave for the foregoing your early consideration, and they shall be happy to co-operate at any time in bringing the boys and girls attending the meetings to these Church Services.
For the Directors,
“JAMES BELL, President.
of Religious Department.
We are glad to say, that many ministers are entering upon the scheme as one which may be expected to connect the young people more closely than hitherto with churches. One writes: “At our congregational meeting it was unanimously agreed, that the centre of the church be given up once a-month to your young people.” Another writes: “ There was but one opinion among us as to the desirableness of having such a service in our church every month, in the afternoon, as you suggested.”
We claim for this movement the hearty co-operation of all Sabbath school teachers : it is the copestone which will keep the structure we are building firm and secure. In the case of many of our West-end congregations, who have schools in the poorer districts of the city, it would be encouraging if the teachers accompanied their scholars to the nearest church in the district where such a service was held, disregarding any distinction of denominationalism. The children will feel most at home in a church near their own locality, and it is our great object to make them really feel at home in church. Let us be very earnest in this work, always remembering humbly that it was even to His disciples that our Lord had to say, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
TEACHERS' WEEKLY PREPARATORY MEETINGS.
(To the Editor of the Sabbath School Magazine.) Sir,—At the late conference of Sabbath school teachers, held in Sydney Place Hall, there were several topics that came up for discussion, the purport of which was to shew the various hindrances that existed as to Sabbath school work. One of these hindrances—that specially referred to by several speakers-was the lack of interest manifested by Sabbath school societies towards the weekly preparatory meetings. Now, I presume that no one will deny the utility of these meetings—affording, as they do, when properly conducted, a very great stimulus to the teachers, and conveying an amount of information upon those subjects the teacher would not otherwise acquire. What, then, is the reason of the apathy that exists on the part of teachers regarding these meetings? It seems to me, that it should have been a subject of inquiry at the conference, to discover, if possible, how it happens, that out of forty societies under the control of the Union, only ten have adopted these meetings as a means of preparing them for the work of the Sabbath. If these meetings are really desirable, and no one disputes the fact, it is evident that something must be done to bring the matter more prominently before the societies. It is all very well to recommend their usefulness to the teachers generally; but I think that those who are interested in Sabbath school work should first of all know the reason why these meetings are not attended-try to discover a remedy for the revival of those that are already abandoned, and strongly to urge their adoption in those societies that have never yet known the advantages that are to be derived from them. I have had some little experience in connection with these meetings, and my impression is, that they have failed in accomplishing the objects for which they were intended; and the reason is simply this, that the majority of teachers are not qualified to give such an exposition of the lesson as the subject demands. Nor can any such qualification be expected on their part; for, without some system of special training, these meetings cannot be productive of much good. Success can only be obtained by securing properly qualified persons to conduct them; and success can only be expected in the classes by a careful and prayerful preparation on the subject.
If it is necessary that a minister of the Gospel should undergo a seven or eight years' curriculum of study before he is permitted to take charge of a congregation, what can be expected from Sabbath school teachers, who have to bring the same message of salvation before the young, while many of them are drafted into our schools without any preparation at all? No doubt, valuable service has been rendered to the teachers by the model lessons of Mr. Morrison; but the magnitude of the work, in a city like Glasgow, cannot be overtaken by one or two, however qualified they may be; and while I do not expect that a model teacher can be secured for every society, at the same time, it is not too much to expect that the highest talent in the various churches should be consecrated to this noble work. I am happy to say, that the minister who presides over the society with which I am connected, has commenced the good work, by devoting an hour weekly for the instruction of the teachers: and I would humbly suggest, that if other ministers would go and do likewise, it would tend very materially to promote the best interests of the Sabbath school throughout the country.—Yours truly, 10 Bellgrove Street, Glasgow.
THE GLORY OF THE COMING TIME. EVERYTHING here is fleeting and transitory. The vanity to which all things are subjected, is modified by circumstances, and assumes various appearances; but still it is but vanity. Creation is travailing in pain for that glorious day when the majesty of God shall be finished; when His children shall be manifested, and His righteous judgment revealed. The cloud now spread over creation by the introduction of sin will then be dispersed; or rather, it will form the shade which shall give prominence to the picture. It will no longer appear a blot upon the Divine workmanship, but will be seen to have been the occasion of the grandest display of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God; and, consequently, to have in the highest degree advanced the happiness of all His obedient creatures. Satan had established a kingdom whose foundations appeared immoveable. Mankind had come under the curse; and the immutability, as well as the truth and justice of God, seemed to preclude the possibility of its reversal; but Satan was taken in his own snare; his usurpation was overturned, and he himself made the unwilling instrument of exhibiting the manifold wisdom of God. The angels now desire to look into the mystery of the incarnation, but then the curtain will rise, and the glory of the consummated plan of redemption, in all its unrivalled splendour, will burst upon the universe. May we live under the influence of this animating prospect !-James Haldane.
THE MOSAIC ACCOUNT OF CREATION, The object of this inspired cosmogony, or account of the world's origin, is not scientific, but religious. Hence it was to be expected, that while nothing contained in it could ever be found really, and in the long-run, to contradict science, the gradual progress of discovery might give oceasion for apparent and temporary contradictions. The current interpretation of the Divine record in such matters, will naturally accommodate itself to the actual state of scientific knowledge and opinion at the time; so that, when science takes a step in advance, revelation may seem to be left behind. The remedy here is to be found in the exercise of caution, forbearance, and suspense, on the part both of the student of Scripture and of the student of science; and, so far as Scripture is concerned, it is often safer and better to dismiss or to qualify old interpretations, than instantly to adopt new ones. Let the student of science push his inquiries still further, without too hastily assuming, in the meantime, that the result to which he has been brought demands a departure from the plain sense of Scripture; and let the student of Scripture give himself to the exposition of the narrative in its moral and spiritual application, without prematurely committing bimself, or it, to the particular details or principles of any scientific school.—Candlish on Genesis.—[These remarks are mended to the attention of teachers in studying the first Lesson of the New Scheme.]
TOPLADY'S CONVERSION. Augustus TOPLADY gave to the world one of the sweetest hymns in the English language. Since first it came from the pen of its gifted author, human hearts everywhere have poured forth their longings in the beautiful words:
“Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee." The soul just bursting away from the thraldom of sin, has breathed forth its new love and trust in these sweet words. The child of God who has fought the good fight, who has finished his course, has sung this hymn, standing with feet bathed in Jordan's waters, ready for the conflict with the last enemy, and with the notes of that song of joyful trust still on his lips, has made the passage of the dark river, and reached heaven's gate in triumph.
In the dark places of the earth, as well as in the land of light and peace, this song has been sung.
He who set in motion this lay of Christian trust, caught the inspiration wbich gave it birth from one of God's lowliest ones. The fire of devotion, which burned steadily and brightly to the close of life, was kindled by a spark.
When à lad of sixteen, on a visit to Ireland, young Toplady one day strolled into a barn, where an illiterate layman was preaching. The great truths which he was striving to set forth were couched in humblest phrase; but it was the preaching of the cross. Christ was held up as the sinner's only Saviour. The truth reached the heart of Toplady, and from that time the powers of his active and brilliant inind were consecrated to Christ, his hope. He died in the vigour of early manhood ; but not until he had done a great work for the Master. Through his faithful ministry many souls were led to Christ. Beside his controversial works, he has left a rich legacy of sound hymns, and through them he, being dead, yet speaks.
When in much weakness that faithful servant of God preached Christ in that humble sanctuary to a few lowly followers, little did he think that among his auditors was one would be brought to the light through his instrumentality, and who would do such a work for God.
So we know not whom among those with whom we daily walk, God will call to highest service and immortal renown. Happy indeed are we, if to us is delegated the privilege of turning a sinner from the error of his ways; and since God does not disdain the humblest instrumentality, since He deigns to bless the smallest service born of love to Him, let us watch for souls as those that must give account.
RICH FOR A MOMENT. The British ship “ Britannia” was wrecked off the coast of Brazil, and had on board a large consignment of Spanish dollars. In the hope of saving some of them, a number of barrels were brought on deck, but the vessel went to pieces so fast, that the only hope for life was in taking at once to the boats. The last boat was about to push off, when a young midshipman went back to see if any one was still on board. To his surprise, there sat a man on the deck, with a hatchet in his hand, with which he had broken open several of the casks, the contents of which he was now heaping up about him.
“What are you doing there?” shouted the youth. “Don't you know the ship is fast going to pieces?”
“The ship may go," said the man; I have lived a poor wretch all my life, and I am determined to die rich.”
His remonstrances were answered only by another stroke of the hatchet, and he was left to his fate.
We should count such a person a madman; but he has too many imitators. Men seem determined to die rich at all hazards.
The only riches we can hug to our bosom with joy, in our dying hour, are the riches of grace through Jesus Christ, which we must make ours before the dark hour comes. How rich have many died in their garrets and huts, while kings and princes have entered on the other life more destitute than beggars! Who would not rather choose to be rich for eternity, than rich for the fleeting moment in which the ship is sinking into the dark waters?
How to TEACH.—Instruct your pupils from the Bible; the Church by your gifts and graces; the world, by your own example and influence; and yourself, by observation and meditation. But attempt nothing without first sitting at the feet of Jesus, and seeking the help of the Holy Spirit.