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IN CONNECTION WITH THE
ARTICLES OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
Mothers and Sunday School Trachers.
138. f. 8.
We ought to be zealous for the most important parts of our religion, and to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, but we ought not to employ this sacred fervour of spirit in the service of any article, till we have seen it made out with plain and strong conviction, that it is a necessary or important point of faith or practice, and is either an evident dictate of the light of nature or an assured article of revelation. Zeal must not reign over the powers of our understanding, but obey them. God is the God of light and truth, a God of reason and order, and He never requires of mankind to use their natural faculties amiss, for the support of his cause. Even the most mysterious and sublime doctrines of revelation, are not to be believed without a just reason for it, nor should our pious affections be engaged in defence of them till we have plain and convincing proof that they are certainly revealed, though, perhaps, we may never in this world attain to clear and distinct ideas of them.
J. WATTS, D.D.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS.
THE first institution of Sunday Schools had doubtless in view the reclaiming of poor children from the barbarism of ignorance-ignorance of the existence of a God, the rewarder of virtue and the punisher of vice. To implant in the hearts of the poor a powerful incentive to virtuous actions—the knowledge that their hearts were all open to the observation of an all-seeing Godthe first principles of religion were necessarily taught : the simplest form of instruction was wisely adopted.
But the people of England have, since that period, made rapid progress in religious knowledge; and it is to be feared that that knowledge, being of a desultory character, may lead them into the errors incident to mental pride, opinionativeness, and stubbornness, which lead to schism, thence to infidelity.
That these schools have considerably benefited
society there can be no doubt, for it is to them the increased knowledge of the poor of this age is chiefly owing. That there are evils attending every state of life cannot be disputed; but we must confess that knowledge produces civilization; civilization creates politeness in general, and exalted merit in particular. Therefore, while the natural corruption of the human nature will display itself in some form or other in every condition of life, let us appreciate and be thankful for the blessings of civilization, the opportunities we enjoy of walking in the light of divine truth, and employing our talents in the service of our God and our fellow-creatures.
In the present age it appears necessary to guard against schism. May not the Sunday School do something towards this, as well as towards the improvement of society, by teaching her children to admire, and love, and venerate their Church? Surely, the doctrines are worthy. If they arelet each teacher make them the subject of instruction, that the young disciples may know what they are to believe, and not what they are not to believe ; that they may be zealous in defending and upholding their own creed, not in attacking other creeds; that they may seek to promote the glory of the Church they love, and not to mar the glory of the Church they hate.
In a Sunday School there are three parties the children, the teachers, the superintendent and pastor. Each of these parties has separate and relative duties to perform, without which there can be no harmony, no excellence.
1. The children's duties are attention, diligence, and implicit obedience; they are recipients of benefits and the objects of much care.
2. The teachers' duties are kindness, devotion, justice, judgment, and wisdom. These are the labourers who ought to make their charge their particular care.
3. The superintendent’s and pastor's duties relate not so much to the children as to the teachers. They should be careful to instruct the teachers, or see that they are acquainted with, perform the duties, and teach the lessons which they undertake.
And let all examine themselves, and see if they have done what they profess to do.
In many schools much is learned, but it is so ill digested that youthful minds are quite unable to bring their knowledge to bear on any subject ; they can give no reason for the faith they profess; and this is because their lessons are so various, their instructions so different. Would not a plan for the instruction of the different classes bearing a relation one to the other be an improvement ?