Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

THE

SABBATH SCHOOL MAGAZINE.

REGULAR SABBATH SERVICES FOR THE YOUNG OF OUR

CONGREGATIONS.

(By Mr. James Bell, High School, Glasgow.) It is a cheering fact that the Scottish Churches are at last beginning to realize that far too little has been done for the young of their various congregations.

For example, in the last General Assembly of the “Free Church,” the Rev. Dr. J. Julius Wood, of Dumfries, Convener of the Committee on the State of Religion and Morals, said,

“There are one or two of the means of grace to which I beg to call the attention of the Assembly; I may refer especially to the sermons addressed to the young. From the report sent in by the Synods, it appears that, in some places, bi-monthly sermons are addressed especially to the young, and we are told that the young have received special benefit from these sermons. I think the practice might be adopted by us, perhaps, to a greater extent than is the case at present. I think that special sermons to the young now and then might have a very good effect, in reminding them that they are cared for by the Church, and might be the means of leading them to give themselves early to the Saviour.”

This statement is very good, so far as it goes; but it does not seem to meet the necessities of the case. * Bi-monthly sermons,” or sermons

now and then,” to the young, mayremindthem that they are cared for by the Church,” but cared for to an utterly inadequate extent. Do not the

young form a very large and a very important part of every congregation, and why, then, should they be remembered only " now and thenof the Church's care over them ?—why should not this be done every Sabbath? A few minutes will suffice, and great good must certainly result. The following plan is suggested as one which, if faithfully carried out, will go far to supply the defect. Let the service of the forenoon or afternoon be shortened fifteen minutes, and, at its close, let two verses be sung to a lively tune. The minister should then tell the young people, NO. 1.]

(vol. XXIII.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A

that, having already addressed their fathers and mothers, he desires to preach a short sermon to them. He should then give out a text, make a few remarks, with illustrations, and dismiss the congregation at the usual hour. The children will relish and attend to such a service, because it shews them that their minister loves them, and cares for them, as a part of the congregation; and also because it is their own service, and fitted for them. The parents, too, will give close attention to the children's sermon, in order that it may form part of the Sabbath evening conversation, and thus enable them to know how much of the service is remembered by the children.

On this subject being mentioned to some clergymen, the objection has been raised, “I cannot preach well to children; I have tried it, and have not succeeded.” It is likely, however, that any clergyman who feels this difficulty has preached but seldom to the young, and nearly always under unfavourable circumstances. The sermon, possibly 40 or 50 minutes long, was addressed to a large mass of children gathered together in the area of the church, and who, being out of their usual places, were restless and inattentive. To interest and benefit such an audience requires a preacher of peculiar power and gifts; but the plan now proposed, where all the children are in their usual seats, and beside their friends, is peculiarly simple and easy. To preach a short sermon, never longer than fifteen minutes, is a pleasant duty, and one which every clergyman could accomplish if he were determined to persevere. These considerations are humbly submitted to the clergymen of the various churches, as worthy of their most serious consideration.

It is further earnestly to be hoped that some means will be taken to train our students to address the young, so that, when licensed and ordained, they will delight in speaking to them every Sabbath; and that such attention will be given to the young of all our congregations, as will ensure the procuring from among them of able and willing workers in the Saviour's cause: and thus the difficulty now felt in getting labourers for the vineyard will be greatly diminished, if not altogether removed.

MODEL LESSON CLASS. It affords us much pleasure to call the attention of teachers and adult scholars resident in the East end of the city to the above class, which is to be resumed on Thursday evening, 12th January, at a quarter-past eight o'clock, in the hall of East Campbell Street United Presbyterian Church.

We understand that Mr. Morrison has been asked by the Directors

[ocr errors]

of the Union to deliver an introductory lecture on the “ Art of Teaching," on the opening night, instead of the usual lesson, as had been done in the Western District at the opening of the session. On that occasion we were glad to see so large an attendance, the hall of the Religious Institution Rooms being quite full; and it must be satisfactory to Mr. Morrison, and gratifying to the Directors, that the teachers in the Middle and Western Districts have shewn their high appreciation of this invaluable class by their earnest and regular attendance, fully justifying the expectation expressed in our former notice at the beginning of the session.

BLIGHTED HOPES; OR, THE YOUNG SCHOLAR. TOWARDS the close of 1869, in one of the largest towns in Lancashire, a youth of eighteen years passed away from life. His brief term of existence was spent in the most obscure and humble associations; but there is, nevertheless, something about his short history not unworthy of a place

in these pages.

For some years previous to his death, W- J-attended the Sabbath school connected with Trinity Church, Wavertree. One evening, as the teacher was hearing the lesson of the class, he was struck on observing one of the lads reading somewhat differently from the ordinary version of the Scriptures, and on further inquiry found that he was translating from a French New Testament as he went on. The knowledge of that remarkable achievement led to further investigation, when it was found that the youth of fifteen years, a mere office-boy, without anything but the merest ordinary education, had already acquired a fair knowledge of the French language, and at the same time was studying Latin. To these he subsequently added Greek, both ancient and modern; and his thirst for knowledge still remaining unabated, and being desirous to commit to writing some of the choice sayings of those who endeavour to enlighten society through the medium of the pulpit and the platform, he began assiduously the study of short-hand, and made sufficient progress in the art to enable him to take down correctly the utterance of any ordinary spokesman; and was able also to impart some portion of his acquired knowledge to others.

This youth was the son of a labouring man. From an early period of life he was employed from morning till late at night in endeavouring to aid in the support of his father's large family. Money was a very scarce commodity with him, and he was under the necessity of depriving him. self of those books he had a longing desire to obtain, until some kind friend bestowed upon him a small gratuity for any slight service performed. His employer soon discovered the boy's intelligence, and with considerate generosity gave him encouragement and promotion, and proposed to send him out to Alexandria, to occupy a position of trust there. Difficulties in business, however, suddenly arose, which not only prevented that arrangement from being carried out, but ultimately threw him out of employment. Soon afterwards he was introduced to the notice of a gentleman who was in want of an intelligent youth to act as secretary, for which the young man's knowledge of stenography eminently qualified him. In this occupation he felt contented and happy, and was enabled to pursue his studies with renewed vigour; but pulmonary consumption--too often the concomitant of early promise—began to manifest itself, and, after a long and lingering sickness, carried him away.

His modest merit, and kind genial manner, had gained him many friends, who seemed to vie with each other in administering those comforts which kindness could dictate to soothe his declining hours.

As his bodily powers were slowly but surely giving way, his mind seemed to grow clearer and more brilliant, retaining its perfect consciousness to the latest. In his sore agony, his mother, being grieved at his sufferings, mournfully ejaculated, “ My dear boy, God help you, and succour you in your sore affliction !” to which he feebly replied, “ Mother, He is helping me; He is sustaining me by His grace.” And with these words upon his lips his spirit passed peacefully away.

How few, indeed, of the youths of our cities and towns, with advantages immensely superior to those possessed by this lad of eighteen, have filled up the brief term of their lives with actions so useful, and with purposes so honourable! He was truly a bud of fair promise, cut down at the very time when his influence for good was about to manifest itself with power upon those with whom he associated. His general intelligence placed him high above those of his own age with whom he daily mingled; but there was, nevertheless, about him a gentleness and humility of demeanour which betokened the sterling worth of his character.

He was never reluctant to confess that his first religious impressions were obtained in the Sabbath school, and that it was through the instru: mentality of the exercises given there that the desire was first imbibed for a more extensive acquaintance with those sources of information and instruction of which he so industriously and laudably availed himself

, This is another instance to prove that the labour of our Sabbath school teachers is not in vain, for in many quarters little thought of, the “good seed of the Word” is dropping into the well-furrowed fruitful soil, and producing fruit which exerts a healthful influence on society, and ripens and matures for the better world beyond.

NEGLECTED DUTY.–One of the saddest thoughts that weigh upon the heart of the sincere Christian, is that of opportunities for doing good which have been wasted. Their shadow returns upon the mind like a nightmare. Archbishop Usher, after fifty-five years of earnest labour in the ministry, uttered the following prayer on his death-bed :-“ O Lord, in special pardon me my sins of omission."

OUR UNCONVERTED ONES. Our unconverted ones are the great burden of pious parents, pious pastors, pious teachers. The pastor feels that his work is not done if he gain not the souls of his people. The parent cries, “Oh that Ishmael may live before thee!" "Oh, my unconverted children!" And the godly teacher, feeling the pressure of the same solicitude, cries, “ Oh, my unconverted scholars! My heart's desire and prayer to God for them is, that they may be saved.” It is a solicitude the faithful teacher can never escape. Look at his position. God has ordained the three great institutions—the family, the church, and the school. The responsibility rests primarily upon the parent. The church feels its responsibility for the families it gathers under its instruction. And the teacher comes in as an assistant, a helper to the parent and the pastor, to the family and the church. It does not take the responsibility from the parent or the pastor. It is only a kindred relation, with kindred responsibilities. The teacher, with the parent and the pastor, charges himself, in a measure, with the conversion of the souls of the children. Solemn position! Relation of untold responsibility! What teacher who feels it but has its weight resting down upon his soul as a burden too heavy for him to bear? This sense of his solemn trust leads him, of necessity, to a sense of his profound dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The work of the soul's conversion is the teacher's instrumentally, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit efficiently. He therefore is much in prayer, calling down the baptism of the Spirit upon his labour, and wrestling with the angel of the Covenant until he prevails, and the blessing comes. Sometimes the seed sown does not at once spring up. It lies in the soil and ripens only in future years. But Satan catches away so many of these precious seeds, that the yearning soul of the teacher cannot be satisfied, even though he be submissive to the divine will. He expects immediate fruit. He looks to see his scholars brought to Christ. He can preach to them no other gospel than now! Dow!--Rev. Wm. M. Paxton.

THE SABBATH SCHOOL AND THE CHURCH. The following remarks on the connection betwixt the Sabbath school and the Church are from an address delivered by the Rev.J. T. Whiteman, at the opening of a State Sunday School Convention in Charleston,

Carolina :

The relation of the Sunday school to the Church, is that of a fraction

a to its unit, of the blossom to its tree. They are not two independent spheres forced together at one point by benevolent pressure from without, but they are two planes touching at every point, held together by mutual cohesion ; dependent, inseparable, and in glorious unity.

Two errors should be guarded; first, that of considering the Sunday school of human origin, the out-growth of philanthropy or the development of advanced Christian civilization ; and, secondly, we should avoid

1 the error of magnifying it into a church within the church, or an independent institution only put under tribute of the house of God. The Sunday

« ForrigeFortsett »