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lopt ore su ile 13011 UI pa frys T of, vi 107 EDOC.; 0197 1:57:1! ws What SUNDAY SCHOOLS MADE PLEASANT PLACES. :.


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7'}; cb12!!!) The heading of this article does' not for a moment suppose that Sun day schools are not pleasant places. There exists a class of people who, if you suggest to them such a consideration, shrug their shoulders, and say, "Well, they are not such miserable places, after all!"- just as if that was necessarily implied when you consider the subject matter of this paper. Not at all! You have only to look in on some Sabbath afternoon into that' busy hive of bees--the infant class room, or into that 'scene of adjacent circles-the general class room, where each central figure is the object of all surrounding eyes, and then say whether the mien of teacher and scholar alike does not make ' manifest enough that Sunday schools are pleasant places. It is admitted at the same time that this may not be the case in all classes alike, nor in all schools alike. It is still further admitted that in the best schools' pleasantness' may not be developed in so great a degree as it might be. Therefore, dear critic, there is still room for the subject, Sunday schools made pleasant places.”!?

How, then, is this to be done extensively and wisely. The first suggestion I have to make is that Sunday school teachers should be pleas sant persons. s. i It is not enough for any of von

to be sincere and spiritual at heart, we must be tender, cheerful, and kind in life. There are some people lin' the world who pride themselves upon being very plain. spoken, very honest, very upright. Doubtless they are. But they are often uncomfortable people to do with, and they have sometimes 'an accompanying mannerism which is not beautiful at all. People often praise them greatly, and say," Ah! a thoroughly downright honest man, that: you mustn't mind that sharpness or that bluntness!"! Not mind it? Well, perhaps we can get tover it, and contrive to love the the

person, not because of it, but in spite of it. Yet let it be remembered, if we can overcome its influence children cannot well get over it; they pre-emi. nently love that side of character which appeals to the tenderness of the heart, whilst they respect the other side which appeals to the strength of the conscience. If we are to win them we must not only be true and earnést, but tender and kind." I' deeply sympathize with the child who did not want to go to heaven with some cantankerous relative of ada vanced years, reputed to be a good person, but exceedingly morose and slightly snappish.'' Such, then, are some suggested difficulties in the way of success. We may be honest, earnest, and devoted, but may lack tliat sunshine of heart which is so pleasant to children. We ought to strive for its attainment. To be thoroughly successful with children we must let the light of kindness, as well as the fire of truth, glisten in our eyes, and seek evermore to be pleasant as well as pious persons.

But here let there not be any misunderstanding concerning the nature of the pleasantness referred to. We are serious persons, and

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have a very serious work to do. I am not arguing that all our teaching should please the taste; God forbid! How can it be pleasant to quicken the sense of sin, to give sharpness to the sting of conscience, and to warn of wicked ways? How can it be pleasant to speak, as we must do if we are Christ's faithful servants, of manifold matters connected with character, conversation, and companionship? I would be the last in the world to suggest that we should lower our standard of teaching as regards truth. No, not for an hour! but we may speak even of these things so as to as well as to warn. Concerning, too, the royal

theme of love to the Saviour, an abiding consecration to Christ, and the joys and blessings of piety,-what a revelation there should be in our faces and gestures of the great truth that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace! Nor would

countenance the pleasantness which is born of grotesque anecdote or pseudo-wit; these seem to me as essentially opposed to the class-room as to the pulpit; they only weaken the impression they were intended to

to subserve; and worse than all, they serve to lower the respect in which the teacher should be held : most certainly they tend to the lessening of his own self-respect. Sunday schools are not made pleasant places by such illicit means as these; all must be in harmony with seriousness and devoutness, or teaching itself will be in vain., Concerning the work of the teacher, it is manifest that as much pre

e paration as the week-day life permits will tend to augment the plea, santness of the class., Illustrations well chosen, adaptations well pon, dered, little personal experiences well put, and a parable-teaching which is very dear to children wisely employed, will all tend to the great end desired. Dull, insipid teaching comes very often from want of preparation.", Some teachers have learnt the art of interesting the children; and I need scarcely say that to interest is in itself to please. A thorough esprit de corps among the teachers will also tend to make Sunday schools pleaşant, and give a sense of mutual trust, respect, and affection. It has been often said that this has its difficulties. I do not think so,, for it must have been seen in practical working that the greatest respect is paid to individual position and character, and that none really suffer from a thorough and hearty co-operation in this work. Depend upon it that this esprit de corps does not level distinctions, but harmonizes them, and makes manifest, amidst the diversity of circumstance and character, the true unity in Christe,

One in heart, one


purpose, one in effort, Sunday school teachers, in their aggregate unity, tend to aug, ment the true pleasantness of the school, to the avoidance of antago, nisms of feeling, and to the fulfilment of our Lord's prayer " that they all may be one,” The scholars will feel the force of this unity, and will learn to respect superintendents and teachers in their corporate capacity as well as in their individual work.

We shall certainly suffer in the higher ends of teaching if we turn to extra hymn-singing to achieve the object discussed in this paper. Nothing can be more beautiful than the sweet song of praise to the Redeemer from child-lips, but it would be a serious mistake to let that




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exercise infringe upon teaching-time; nothing must be suffered to touch that : before all other things the trnth as it is in Jesus, must be taught; and how to make that work in itself powerful and pleasant must be our

very highest aim. 1,116 Du vil II :*9*vi I have said in the introduction to this article that Sunday schools ARE

pleasant places. I adhere to thatı : All facts prove it. The very pre»sence of the interested assemblage attests it. . Children, like grown people,

, will not go to places they do not like; there must be attraction in the place; no compulsion whatever would get them there without this... Though their mothers sent them, they would manage to stay 1 halfway on the road. I am told that the pleasantness of Sunday , schools is often marredby late çomers. 11. Very likely, but the remedy is close at hand : it is not in scolding them, still less is it in punishing them ; it is in making the mental viands as savoury as you can to attract i them early to the banquet next Lord's day. It must be plain to the least observant that the children in some classes are seldom late; they come early, not only because the teacher is in time (in itself a most important thing), but because they are hungry to hear what he has to say. I am sure that, to superintendents especially, Sunday schools would be more pleasant places than they have been if yery early the house was full; it must jar upon the nerves considerably to find the school is in a peripatetic state during the best part of school-time. 1.If Sunday schools are made pleasant places, we need fcar no diminu. tion of their usefulness in the coming time. - It is easy enough to criticise all/forms and kinds of work, and hard enough to do the work.

Sunday schools take their share in this criticism. Now the teaching is not pictorial enough, now not doctrinal enough, now not ethical enough, -and now not educational enough. . All this and more than this we must expect to hear, and we must even bear with our critical friends when jthey make this addendum, that they are not pleasant enough. We only ask that it be remembered Sunday schools are not playgrounds, or toy-shops, or mere choral classes, and that much hard and carnest work has to be done in them; that neglected, their aim is lost and their glory gone ili

It is evident, I think, that parents may do much to help in the direction of making Sunday schools pleasant : they may send their children with clean faces, and dismiss them from home with a cheerful good-bye; they may talk with them about the teaching, and hear them say their texts or hymns; they may expedite their departure for school, so that they be in time; and they may remember the teacher in their family prayers. 1: All this will tell upon the child, and he will go with elastic step to the Sunday school, not as a refuge from idleness, or as an hour's exile from home, but as to a place which both father and mother mani. festly think a very privileged place indeed. · I am quite convinced that the estimate a parent is seen to take of the school will very vastly affect the estimate of the child.

Sunday schools are also pleasant places indeed to teachers. They love to be there. During the summer holiday, those of them that can get away to ne rural retreat, or some seaside town, are sure to visit

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the Sunday schools of the place, and they long to have a hand at the work. Yes, they joy in their work. They are not dragged to it by the scold hand of duty, but they are drawn to it by the attraction of love.

If laid aside by sickness, or removed by distance, their hearts are still " with their classes ! They delight to illustrate and to enforce the sweet

story of old, and to rimprint in the soft wax of the young heart the teachings of the inspired Word. They love to be there. They enjoy the interest, trust, and affection of their classes, and they can but feel the respect the children entertain for them as teachers over them in the Lord: Yes, I repeat the torde respect, for it is in the personal influ. ence of characters that the child gets so much good, and the teacher insures so much power. 7. It must be pleasant to any Christian heart to 2 feel that the life is telling as well as the teaching; and one of the

greatest delights of the earnest teacher is to feel that under God the youngi heart is moulded by the personal influence of the life. i . Pleasant places!! Ask the devoted teacher which lis the happiest hour in all the (week, and he will tell you that season in which he is uplifting the tendrils of the young and susceptible heart from earth, and trying to train them around the cross of the Lord Jesus Ohrist. i? O 18:17:1155 1'16 L SOÁ visit from the pastor his manifest interest and joy in the work, - Will tend to make Sunday schools more pleasant still; it will be felt that he sympathizes in the hard toil and the earnest expectations of the teachers, and that he is one with them in their highest desires and aims. Moreover, in its energizing influence on the teachers, and its inspiriting influence on the whole school, it will assuredly work for good. When the pastor sees a warm and respectful welcome given him, and a wave of pleasures pass all faces at his presence in his school, it will also *tend to make the Sunday school a most pleasant place to him. Pleasant places ? says my friend in Glamshire ; why, sir, in my day, sir, we used to keep them in order, isirs many a time, sir, I've had arismart hạzel switch twisted up my sleeve; and if they were a bit unruly, sir, Why-** Well, friend, welcan guess the rost. -But! thank God even then you were not the representative of many schools. You thought it alls might no doubt to translato very literally the passage about the rod; you seldom spared it, and you sometimes snapped it. -But your schools 'werel not very full, friend, and porhapsi tas regards child-training the former days were not better than these. We believe in the omnipotence jof kindness. - We believe, those punishments are in the end severest which are plied upon the conscience and the heart; and we feel sure that, to make the Sunday school a pleasant place, you need not on the one hand, exclude the strictest government, any more than you need, on the other hand, try the lash! Bolin tykkes to stand tid, siis ott 119

Pleasant places! Oh, what a large jury we could appeal to if we liked !a jury from dwellers in many climes, bronzed and whiskered men, who have felled the forests of the new Australian world, and who are building their rude wilderness homes where the wild prairie existed but a little while ago; men adown whose sunburnt cheeks swift tears would chase each other at the memory of old England's Sunday schools.

Women, too, who are mothers now, and who have gone far over land and wave to distant places of the earth, training their children-yes, and their children's children, in the glorious doctrines of that' gospel which they, too, learnt in the Sunday schools of that old fatherland they never have forgotten! Yes, dear reader, there are multitudes—thousands upon thousands—who at this very hour, in looking back through the vista of past years at the childhood which seems so dreamlike and so distanzt, would say with beating hearts, Bless God for the happy Sunday schools of olden times.

Pleasant places ! yes, in the generations past they were, and may God help us to make them more so in the generations yet to come!


EARNESTNESS IN TEACHING. It is much to be lamented that there are so few enthusiasts in this honourable and important work. Many who are engaged in it regard it as a bondage, and sigh for the day which shall finally release them from its drudgery and din. They have never felt that theirs is a high calling, nor do they ever enter the schoolroom with the inspiring consciousness that they go as missionaries and pastors there.

They undervalue their scholars. Instead of regarding them as all that now exists of a generation as important as our own ; instead of recog. nising in their present dispositions the mischief or beneficence which must tell on wide neighbourhoods ere a few short years are run; instead of training up immortal spirits and expansive minds for usefulness now and glory afterwards, many teachers have never seen their pupils in any other light than as so many rows of turbulent rebels, a rabble of necessary torments, a roomful of that mighty plague with which the Nile of our noisy humanity is all croaking and jumping

And many undervalue themselves. Instead of recollecting their glorious vocation, and eyeing the cloud of teacher-witnesses with whom they are encompassed ; instead of a high-souled zeal for their profession, as that which should form the plastic mind after the finest models of human attainment and Scriptural excellence, many regard their office as so menial that they have always the feeling as if themselves were pedants. To prescribe the task, to hear the lesson, to administer monotonous praise ard blame, is the listless round of their official perfunctoriness. But there are few fields of brighter promise than the calling of a teacher. If he give himself wholly to it, if he set before him the highest object of all tuition, the bringing souls to Christ; if he can form a real affection for his

i scholars, and maintain a parental anxiety for their proficiency and their principles; if he has wisdom enough to understand them, and kindness enough to sympathize with them ; if he have sufficient love for learning to have no distaste for lessons,

; he will be sure to inspire a zeal for study into the minds of many, he will win the love of all except the very few whose hearts are deaf-born, and in a short time the best features of his own character will be multiplying in spheres farsundered, in the kindred persons of grateful pupils. Should he live long enough, they will praise him in the gate of public life, or cheer his declining days in the homes which he taught them to make happy. Or should he die soon enough, the rest from his labours will ever and anon be heightened by the arrival of another and another of the children whom God hath given him.--Jas. Hamilton, D.D.

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