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mind, and soul, and strength, to the work. Begin again and afresh. With the better understanding you may have acquired, and with the experience you have gained, give up yourselves with new purposes of entire devotedness. Open your heart to receive the subject, let it come in and possess you. In order to this, surrender your heart more entirely to God; present yourselves to Christ, and let his love constrain you. Pray for a more abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit upon your own heart; seek a revival of your own personal religion. If you have lost your first love, recover it ; “Do your first works.” If the Christian be revived, so will the Sunday-school teacher. It is the oil of piety that must feed the flame of zeal, which, without more grace, will be flickering and dim.
2. DETERMINE to embrace more intelligently, cordially, and constantly, THE GREAT work of Sunday-school teaching. Begin the year more intent upon seeking the salvation of the children. Fix your eye upon the soul and eternity. Feel that your vocation is for minds and souls, and that though you could make your children scholars and philosophers, yet if you could not make them Christians, you would fail of your object ; at the same time, recollect that you have to train the mind, to awaken the thinking faculty, and to keep it awake; to quicken and guide the intellect. Some teachers, yes, and superintendents, too, egregiously err, by supposing that they have little else to do, than to deliver long addresses to the children, and to be ever preaching to them. I am afraid some spend their time in preaching to their class, as a sort of preparation and practice, for preaching to adults; the eye of their ambition is upon the pulpit, while seated on the form. Long preachments to children are not the way to
attract them to religion, but to repel them from it: teach them to think, to use their minds themselves, and not merely communicate knowledge to them,—this is education. Instruction is not education. Select a plain and easy passage of Scripture, or take up those selected for you, and after being thoroughly sure you understand it yourself, turn the children's minds upon it, and aid them to investigate it for themselves; thus give them something to do, as well as to hear; make them feel that the Bible is a book for them, not only for the teacher, a book for them to read, as well as to have expounded to them, and which they can understand in many parts by their own study. You have done a great thing for a child's salvation, and his intellect, too, when you have made him love his Bible, and feel that he can read it with advantage for, and by, himself.
3. DETERMINE to qualify yourself more perfectly for your office and its functions : by more intense piety; by the cultivation of your own minds, and by acquiring a greater aptitude to teach. Let it be a study with you, how you can engage and fix attention; how you can awaken, stimulate and guide inquiry; how you can produce a thirst for knowledge and a desire after improvement. For this purpose, read, meditate, remember, and apply. There is an invaluable book which I recommend to those who would cultivate their own intellectual powers, with a view to attain a greater facility to cultivate the minds of others, and that is, “Taylor's Elements of Thought." Read, also, “Nicholls's Help to the Reading of the Bible.” Study the works of the Religious Tract Society, on the Rites and Customs of the Jews," " Mrs. Henderson's Scripture Lessons," “ Barnes's Notes on the Gospels
and the Acts,” “Todd's Sunday-school Teacher," and the " Sunday-school Teachers' Magazine,” and many other works which, by their size and cheapness, are within your reach, on science and history. You must be prepared, qualified, to teach. Teaching is a great work. « How vast and abiding the satisfaction which results from calling forth the intellectual and moral resources of your species. Giving the immortal mind of man the consciousness of its powers and faculties, invigorating the judgment, regulating the will, and purifying the heart.” But for such a work you must have higher qualifications than to teach the alphabet, and hear hymns, and set lessons in catechisms; you must read, think, acquire knowledge, and know how to train the mind. Too many of our teachers are deplorably deficient on all essential qualifications for their office. (4. DETERMINE to become a more excellent Sunday-school teacher in EVERY respect. Aim at completeness, at universal perfection in punctuality, constancy, method, order, submission to the superintendents, harmony with your fellowteachers, respect and deference for your minister, affection for your children, and every thing else connected with the well-being of the school, look upon the school as a piece of moral machinery, the working of which, as a whole, depends upon the working of each particular part. A single wheel, or pivot, yea, a screw, or pin, that does not work well, impedes all. Will you be that bad pivot, screw, or pin ? In collective bodies, each should be what the whole should be ; each should consider himself as the representative of the whole. Do not aim merely at isolated perfection, but associated perfection; some horses will draw very well alone, but not in a team ; you work in teams, labour to do well with others. Supply all defects, then; be not satisfied to go on without improvement; run upon wheels, act upon hinges ; let your motto be, “Better and better ;": mediocrity will not do in such times as these. We want not bustle, but effect; not only zeal, but intelligence; not only bodies, but minds; not only virtue, but talents: we want ardent piety, combined with devotedness, thoughtfulness, ingenuity. We want, in short, a higher order of agency, a capability in our great body of teachers to understand, to appreciate, and to tremble at the fact, that nearly the whole next generation of citizens, parents, and adult immortal beings, in the lower classes of society, are at this moment in their hands, to have their characters formed for time and eternity.
Sunday-school teachers, do you need motives to excite you to all this? Meditate upon the importance of the times in which you are called to live and act. You have entered upon the state when the rapidity with which the scenes are changed, would seem to indicate that the winding up of the plot is approaching. Study the features of the age; open your eyes, and ears, and minds, to what is going on around you; man's existence was never more important; know the times, and be up with your age. Advert to a few particulars. Behold the progress of emigration, and the myriads that are flocking out to form colonies, which are in some not very distant age to become kingdoms. Many of these emigrants, most of them, are among the labouring class. What a motive to exertion, to send out a well-taught Christian race, which shall lay the foundations of empires, not in atheism, but in Christianity.
Think of the great missionary enterprise. The
whole church is rising up for the conversion of the whole world. Train up your children to feel an interest, and bear a part, in the glorious undertaking; enlarge their knowledge, enlist their hearts, inflame their imagination by missionary intelligence, and qualify yourselves to carry on the great work of evangelizing the world. Planta germ of missionary spirit in their souls, to grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength; elevạte their views of their own importance, without endangering their humility; make them feel they are something in the moral world.
Comtemplate with dismay the spirit of infidelity, walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour. That rampant and ferocious beast, in roaming for its prey, has left the heights of society, at least in great part, for the vale of poverty. He is attacking the labouring classes, and worrying and devouring myriads. The diffusion of infidel principles among the dense masses of our manufacturing population, is frightful ; prepare your children to resist his attacks, by giving them knowledge of Scripture, and its evidences; by pre-engaging their minds in favour of Christianity; by forming their habits of a devotional character; by implanting right principles.
Observe the efforts of Popery. Fifty years ago it seemed to have received a mortal wound, and, as we thought, lay bleeding to death. The wound is healed, it has risen upon its feet, and with giant strength is labouring to seize upon our country and the world; its exertions are prodigious both at home and abroad. Its cathedrals, chapels, bishops, priests, convents, are multiplying ; and so are its converts; it has lately had a public procession in one large manufacturing town of a large array of converts from the labouring popu