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VOICES AT SEA. It is remarkable how far sounds may be carried over the quiet sea, when the breezes are favourable. A ship's crew, a hundred miles from the shores of Chili, were once surprised by the clear ringing of bells. They were thought to be ghostly voices by the superstitious mariners, but afterwards proved to be the ringing of the bells of Valparaiso for a service at that hour.
A young sailor, in a clear, starlight morning, was slowly pacing fore and aft, when he was startled by a clear, distinct sound of voices singing a tune quite frequent in the Bethel prayer-meetings. It was too distant to hear the words, but the familiar melody, with its hallowed associations, caused his heart to thrill with joy. A moment before he had thought himself alone with his ship's company. They were more than two thousand miles from land, and, as far as we know, equally distant from any other vessel. But now, within hearing, was a little company gathered for morning devotions. Oh! what a joy to feel, that though unknown and unseen, they could yet meet by faith—
“Around one common mercy-seat.” To a true Christian, away among strangers, or in a strange land, there is hardly a greater joy than to meet with one who loves the Lord. The impenitent, and even the scoffing, in hours of need or terror, are equally glad to find themselves in the company of praying ones. The sceptical traveller found all his anxious fears dispelled, in the lonesome frontier cabin, when his rough host took down his well-worn Bible, and gathered his family for evening worship. Let us shew by our holy walk and conversation that we are Christians, wherever we may be. We do not know the help and cheer it will be to many lonely burdened hearts, who thought themselves alone on the world's ocean.
Young TEACHERS.—Young teachers need sympathy and encouragement. Few realize, unless they retain a vivid remembrance of their own experience, with what secret misgivings and embarrassment the young Sunday school teacher not unfrequently accepts, from a sense of duty, the charge of a class, confided to his or her care. The Sunday school system, in its present development, does not furnish teachers trained for their work, as our Normal schools do in the interests of our common schools. Such material and capacity as can be obtained, must be made use of. Nevertheless, where sincere Christian experience is made the basis of qualification, great good may be expected, and is constantly wrought. Be gentle and considerate with the young teachers. The want of training, which is to be regretted in view of the harmonious action of the Sunday school forces, is no less personally regretted by the teacher who, for the first time, assumes the responsibility of a class. Be chary of criticism, whether toward one of your own family or another who has lately accepted this unwonted charge. We have known a young teacher who was really attaining excellence, hurt to the quick by a remark uncharitably made regarding a want of judgment on some minor matter of class arrangement.
THE BOY WITH THE FIVE LOAVES. “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what
are they among so many?"-JOHN vi. 9. WHAT time the Saviour spread His feast For thousands on the mountain side
One of the last and least
The abundant store supplied.
Å lamb of Jesus' fold,
Though now unknown by name.
Their Lord's laborious days,
His frugal basket bear.
For his own simple part,
To the world's hidden King?
far off he saw one speak
Of him in Jesus' ear.
Where hungry thousands be?”.
Nay-Christ will find a way!
By tens and fifties, still
As clouds when breezes sleep.
When from that favoured boy
The wondrous pledge he took ?
For His eternal board,
THE SHEEP.—That soft and harmless creature, that clothes civilized man everywhere in the colder latitudes with its fleece,—that feeds him with its fresh,—that gives its bowels to be spun into the cat-gut with which he refits his musical instruments,—whose horns he has learned to fashion into a thousand useful trinkets,—and whose skin, converted into parchment, served to convey to later times the thinking of the first full blow of the human intellect across the dreary gulf of the middle ages.--Hugh Miller.
DO NOT STOP TEACHING.
(By Rev. Henry M. Simpson, A.M.) The want of culture, and the want of grace in the teacher, are the greatest discouragements in teaching. Every ordinary Sunday afternoon's work makes the deficiency more apparent and more oppressive to the candid teacher. The new methods of our church have revealed the difficulty more fully than ever before. The Convention, the Institute, and the Normal Class, are the lenses under the magnifying power of which the microscopic imperfections of the teachers have in their own eyes grown into such proportions as to dishearten them. How many teachers have been heard to say, at the close of an Institute faithfully attended, “I am not fit to teach. I cannot do that. If that is the way to teach, then I have never taught.” “I must give up my class at the next teachers' meeting.” This is a legitimate result. The Institute is a splendid success that bears such fruit as this. Often the better the teacher, the deeper the conviction of unfitness. But it must not end here. Do not give up. Improve. Work. Pray. Teachers, we are in for the work now. We must make it succeed, and make Sunday school teaching more immediately useful than it has ever been before. Do not fly from the responsibility. It is the teacher who never feels the responsibility painfully that is not fit to be a teacher. God helps those who do feel it. In Paris many houses are built of a kind of stone so soft and so easily cut as that often great shafts of it, rough and unfinished, are put into position, and while the whole weight of a lofty building rests upon it, the sculptor will carve them into exquisite forms, and shape the graceful statue, or the column of the beautiful Doric or Corinthian order of architecture. And God will sometimes improve the heart and mould the character of the parent or teacher, even while working under a sense of immense responsibility, until he becomes not only fit to be a teacher on earth, but a seraph in heaven. And then the want of grace is a reason no better for giving up than the want of gifts. Seek for grace. A Sunday school teacher came to me not long ago, and said, “I want to give up my class.” Why?” “Because they ask such questions." “Do they? Then you can prepare, you can study; here are books and maps; we will help you.” “But you do not understand. The questions are not about the Bible. My scholars are too small to puzzle me so; but they ask me so often whether I am & Christian, and whether I love Jesus. I cannot teach them. I must stop if I cannot have another class." Who would not say to such a teacher, “You must get grace, be converted, learn to love Jesus? Of course, you are not fit to teach; but you must not stop teaching; but seek first the kingdom of God." 'All the Sunday school teachers must come to Jesus. -Sunday School Journal.
INCIDENT OF THE WAR.—I saw three Prussians killed, with their hands folded in prayer, and two of them had a little pocket Bible lying by their side. The regimental preacher, who drew my attention to one of these, told me that he had been one of the merriest and most boisterous men in the regiment, but that in such hours as these the soul turns as by instinct to the higher things.—Newspaper Correspondent.
WATCHING ONE'S SELF. “WHEN I was a boy,” said an old man,“ we had a schoolmaster who had an odd way of catching idle boys. One day he called out to us:
“Boys, I must have a closer attention to your books. The first one of you that sees another boy idle, I want you to inform me, and I will attend to his case.'
Ah,” thought I to myself, “there is Joe Simmons, that I don't like. I'll watch him, and if I see him look off his book, I'll tell.”
It was not long before I saw Joe look off his book, and immediately 1 informed the master.
• Indeed,” said he ; "and how did you know he was idle ?"
CLEAR AND COLD.—The Christian must beware of being satisfied with “ clear views.” It is, no doubt, very needful to “hold fast the form of sound words;" but then, a form of sound words without near and intimate fellowship with Christ, will leave the heart as cold as an icicle. We must remember that, in nature, the clearest nights are often the coldest. Thus it may be with professing Christians. They may be clear in their views as a bright winter's night, and yet remain in heart as cold. A sound creed in the head, without the genial presence of Christ in the heart, is a poor, cold, dead, worthless, soul-deceiving thing. The true way of obtaining clearer views of the Gospel is to look in the face of Jesus Christ.” The true way to attain a knowledge of sound doctrine is to feel, by the touch of faith, the very pulsations of the heart of Jesus. Tbus, light and love will be found together.
TREATMENT OF ANSWERS. — - Make the most of the answers you get from your scholars. They will be blundering and badly expressed many times. Some of them will be erroneous in matter as well as manner. But give them the same advantage that you would a picture; put them, by all means, in the best light possible. An honest, well-meant answer, wide of the truth though it may be, is far better than no answer. When it is corrected in a kind and forbearing spirit, the wrong answer will help to fix the right one indelibly in the mind. Let your scholars never, from a fear as regards its reception, hesitate to give, in proper time and place, such response to your questions as they are able. Through timidity, a well prepared scholar will not unseldom give a very faulty answer.
Check the smile that is going round, by seizing upon the best point, and turning the answer to the best possible account, ignoring the mistake while you yet make the fact or truth patent to all. The scholar's feeling will thus be spared, while others will be encouraged to answer.
Our conversation need not always be of grace, but it should always be with grace.—Matthew Henry.
THE POWER OF PRAYER.—— The mightiest man on earth is the man who has most power with God. For God is almighty; and man is omnipotent for the accomplishment of his purpose when he has the promise of all needed help from the Most High. The hiding of the power which determines the destiny of nations is not in the cabinets of kings or the heavy battalions of war, but in the closets of praying men, who have been raised by faith to the exalted rank of princes with God. The conflict which gained the greatest victory for Scotland, and gave her such freedom and intelligence as she enjoys to-day, did not originate in Holyrood Palace, nor was it waged upon the high places of the field, but in the solitary chamber of the man who prayed all night, crying in the agony and desperation of faith, "Give me Scotland, or I die!"—Night unto Night, by Dr. March.
The Good SCHOOLMASTER.—What a well assorted union of qualities is required to constitute a good schoolmaster! A good schoolmaster ought to be a man who knows much more than he is called upon to teach, that he may teach with intelligence and taste; who has a noble and elevated mind, that he may preserve that dignity of mind and deportment without which he will never obtain the respect and confidence of families; who possesses a rare mixture of gentleness and firmness; a man not ignorant of his rights, but thinking much more of his duties; shewing to all a good example, and serving to all as a counsellor; not given to change his condition, but satisfied with his situation because it gives him the power of doing good; and who has made up his mind to live and die in the service of primary instruction, which, to him, is the service of God and his fellow-creatures.-Guizot.
THE Sailor BOY AND THE SHIP“ DUFF.”—In the year 1796, when the ship Duff was preparing to take out the missionaries from the London Missionary Society, Mr. Cox, one of the directors, was one day walking in the street, where he was met by a very fine-looking boy, about fourteen years of age, who, stopping him, said, “ Pray, sir, have not you some management in the ship that is going out with the missionaries?"_“Yes, I have, my young man,” said Mr Cox. “I should like very much, sir, to go out with her as a cabin-boy.”- ?—“Would you?” said Mr. Cox, “ have you any parents ?"-"I have a mother,” said the boy, “but no father.” “ And is your mother willing you should go ?" — Oh yes, sir, very willing.” Mr. Cox then desired the boy to call at his house, and to bring his mother along with him, that she might speak for herself
. At the time appointed the boy and his mother came; and she having declared her willingness that her son should go, the matter was accordingly settled. In the course of the conversation, a gentleman who was present, in order to try the boy, said to him, “So you wish to go to sea ?”—“Yes, sir, in the missionary ship.” “And you can swear a good round oath, I suppose?” Shocked at the very idea of such a thing, the ingenuous little fellow burst into tears, and exclaimed, “If I thought there would be swearing aboard at all I would not go!"