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as much our duty to honor and obey our parents, as it was the duty of Adam and Eve not to touch "the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” It was because they failed in obedience that they were driven from the garden; had they remained obedient, they would have had Eden for their home.
And what is it that so often makes us unhappy? Disobedience to God. When a child has told a lie, conscience, like a "flaming sword," drives him from happiness; while one who speaks and acts the truth, is always in a kind of Paradise.
Let us not forget that obedience to the commands of God restores us in part to the happiness of Eden.
"Yet thy commandments are my delights."
These, then, were the duties-Industry and Obedience-which made Paradise a happy place; and if we practice them, the joys of Eden so far will be ours.
But there were enjoyments as well as duties.
I. Knowledge. We do not know much about the wisdom of our first parents before the fall. Nothing is told us upon the subject. We read that Adam named the cattle, and, therefore, we know that he had all the knowledge that was suited to his state. Ignorance, where we ought to be wise, makes us unhappy; and, therefore, Adam must have had just as much wisdom as was necessary to his happiness. How much knowledge he had none can say, but since God was his instructor he must have been very wise; wisdom then was an enjoyment of Paradise-it was a part of it-it made man happy. Now who will say that this enjoyment has not been granted to us? Without industry it is impossible; without obedience worthless! But with both-how good it is! And consider what knowledge God has granted to us. He has told us about the creation of the world, as far as we can understand it. In his book he has given us the history of many good menfine poetry-simple parables-and all to teach us wisdom. A knowledge of God's works and word, will make us happy, and bring back the joys of Eden! Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her." We know some things that Adam could never have known. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." And what is the object of the Sunday school? What do your teachers want to do for you? Restore you to Eden by teaching you" the wisdom of God!"
II. Innocence.-This was the next enjoyment. But surely we can never have this! This was the great secret of happiness, and the beauty of Paradise. Sin now has cursed the world. "We are born in sin." "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God."
How then can we return to that blissful state? But do we not sometimes value our safety more when we know that we have been in danger? "Death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." But Jesus came to regain Paradise for us. He came from Heaven to make man happy again, to forgive our sins and make us holy. These are joys equal to those of Paradise. It was glorious (and we wish it had been our joy), to converse with God as a friend in the garden of Eden! But still he talks with us in his Word-Jesus converses with us there, and the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in those who believe in him. He produces fruits equal (yes even more beautiful to look upon) than those which bloomed there. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith!" glorious cluster! as sweet as could be found in Paradise. great work of the Saviour was to restore us to innocence! one rise to a higher state of happiness on earth than this? "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels."
The subtle serpent by tempting our first parents, was the means of their losing Eden. But Christ is stronger than our enemy, and has conquered him. "For this purpose was the Son of God manifested that he might destroy the work of the devil," and to give to each "a Paradise within him-happier far."
How often does this familiar salutation pass our lips! how many and varied circumstances! Often they are the expression of anxious desire for the welfare of a friend or relative; at others a mere form of recognition. And, perhaps, many of us would be sadly annoyed if, in reply to the question, we were subjected to a long list of ailments-imaginary or real-in return for our inquiry. Let me say, there is no apathy in the "How do you do?" at the head of this paper. The salutation is cordial. No closer bond of universal brotherhood exists than the one which draws our affections and sympathies towards each other. We need no secret sign or pass-word; for throughout the world we are (or ought to be) "united as the heart of one man." Permit me, then, as one of yourselves, to ask in all affection, "How do you do?"
1. How do you do as regards personal piety? We must never forget that this lies at the very root of usefulness. As well might we expect fruit without the seasonable rising of the sap, or fruitful harvest without the seasonable showers and sunshine, as expect increasing
usefulness without a constant growth in grace. Lacking this, our work will be slavery; possessing it, a constant source of Christian enjoyment. When religion has its throne in the heart, it will be no sacrifice to devote time and talent to the sweet occupation of training souls for usefulness, and happiness, and heaven. "Pure religion and undefiled," will be to us the very life and soul of Christian effort.
2. How do you do as regards Christian unity? The time has come for us to cast off all that approaches to narrow-mindedness, and to think only of the progress of the great cause in which we are engaged. A delightful change has taken place of late in this respect, which is manifested in the fellow-feeling existing amongst our evangelical denominations. And surely we can afford to fraternize, for the cause is one; the object is one; the results one; the final meeting one; the rest from labour one. It will not at all impoverish us to wish God speed to all who love the Lord Jesus; and whilst we properly have a preference, and make a selection as to our own sphere of labour, we may still rejoice in the prosperity of all.
3. How do you do as regards cordial co-operation? Has the superintendent the staunch support which is his due? There are many ways in which he may be annoyed, yet falling short of an absolute breach of the rules. Thanks to "Brother John" for his list of "things which he has seen" appearing in the February number of this Magazine. Very pointed, and very good. The comfort and usefulness of a superintendent depend much on the co-operation of the teachers. By them is he made weak or strong. He ought to be valiant indeed if all the teachers are true to him in the management of the school. Give him fair-play. Meet his wishes, so far as they are consistent with the rules, and its general welfare. His position needs the sympathy and kind regard of all who are identified with him. Better give way a point of no vital importance, than pain his mind. Depend upon it, he loves his teachers better far than any other class of associates. Be ever ready to heartily unite in whatever may tend to advance and increase the influence of your own dear school.
4. How do you do as regards brotherly-love. Love!-that noble attribute of the mind which religion so eminently developes. To labour for immortal souls, is, in some humble measure, to tread in the footsteps of the Redeemer; and to do this well, we must "love one another." The ordinary friendships of life may be, and often are, sweet and refreshing; but something higher and sweeter is attainable by those who have consecrated themselves to the service of their Lord and master, and have his cause at heart. Ours should be a closer communion than exists in the interchange of sentiment and feeling of commom place life. "Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."
5. How do you do as regards tender affection? A blessing on the
dear faces and warm hearts of our young friends. They love to look on us, and we on them. What will not affection accomplish? Older hearts have been softened, and more stubborn tempers have been subdued by tender affection than any with which we have to deal. Peter would not have melted so soon under an upbraiding reproach from his Master, as did he under the look of tender affection. This, with the blessing of God, is the key wherewith to unlock the young heart. We must let the young ones know that we feel with them, and for them; that our words do not give the lie to our disposition towards them; then will heart come out towards heart, and our largest desires be fulfilled on their behalf.
6. How do you do as regards individual responsibility. The school, most undoubtedly belongs to the church; but the church can accomplish little or nothing unless the individual members composing it put forth a hand. Let each work, then the church will prosper. With all due respect and love for fellow Christians, (who may each find some work in the vineyard,) the fact is clear and palpable, that all are not adapted or qualified for the work of Sabbath school teaching. But many eyes are turned to you my friends, and many prayers are offered for you, who have been placed by God's providence in the position which you hold. He has been graciously pleased to enlist you for the working out of his designs of mercy to our race, and in so doing has spoken to each, individually, the command, "Feed my lambs." Work with all your might as though success depended on each one of you alone.
Dear friends, we want more of the benevolence of the gospel to pervade our minds, fill our hearts, and regulate our lives. Let us try more than ever to gain the mastery over self; 'twill be a noble victory. Let us seek to encircle in the arms of Christian love the youthful objects of our care, benefiting ourselves in the effort to seek and save, that each one of my fellow laborers may not be afraid to answer the question-How do you do?
CHEERING VIEWS OF THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE
Instruct him in all other things "LET the child educate himself. but leave his mind unbiassed, that when older he may be free to choose to try all things, and hold fast to that which is good." But the child would choose something. He was depraved. This was not merely a doctrine of the Church, but a fact patent in observation. He was born into a wicked world, a great university of iniquity. Hence the importance of religious instruction through the Sunday-school,
Notice the facilities of Sunday-schools. The youthful mind was accessible, not so with the adult. The adult had feelings, opinions, prejudices. To get possession of him was like getting possession of property long held wrongfully. You would be resisted at every point. Law and logic would be sifted, and the worst made to appear the better reason, and you were not certain of triumph when the case was decided in your favor, and you got to the door with the sheriff.
The mind of the adult was a Sebastopol, and could only be taken by a long and desperate storm.
The adult mind was unim
The infant mind was impressible. pressible, O, how unimpressible. How many sermons were preached in this city last Sunday. I presume they were good sermons. the influences of the religious press and of prayer were with them, and yet were there many converted last Sabbath? Were there many even convicted?
It is not so on other subjects. When the telegraph brings news of bank suspensions, of a financial panic, the whole country is thrilled with the news, and shows how much it is excited. When politicians wish to call attention to any topic, they do not work unsuccessfully. They pour out their money, and bring out their orators, and they can predict exactly the effect. They say, here is so much money and so much labor, and they know the result as well as Wellington knew the effect when his forces were calculated before an engagement. An impression on the mind of an adult is not lasting. In a single day it may be gone. But write on the mind of a child, and it will not wash away. It is as if printed in a book. Nay, more, as if written with an iron stylet on a tablet of lead. Nay, more, as if cut in the imperishable rock. The sculptor of Greece, when he had formed his statue of Minerva, cut his image in it so deeply that it could only be obliterated by destroying the statue. So with the Sunday-school teacher. His lessons are impressed so deeply, that they cannot be lost without destroying the whole moral structure.
Let us glance at the remuneration of Sunday-school instruction. It is a law of Providence, that we can do no good to others without doing good to ourselves. "We learn by teaching," say the instructors. So the Sunday-school teachers are learning. They are gathering more valuable knowledge of the human mind, than they would by poring over the pages of Reid or Stewart. They are acquiring facility and felicity of thought and expression, and that perseverance, which is crowned by success in life. If the whole church would come into the field, O, how it would improve! If the old would come, would they not become young? If the stiff in body and mind, would they not become supple? If the ignorant, would they not learn? No man can say he has no time.