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be intimately acquainted with the source from whence success is to be expected. You must sow the seed in its season, with the diligence of the husbandman; and then exercise, like him, an unlimited dependance upon the influences of the heavens; for it is God that giveth increase to the labours of both.
A spirit of earnest prayer should be the living soul of all your conduct. While your eye is fixed upon the children, your heart should be lifted up to God. You should sit down as between them and the fountain of life; and while opening, by instruction, a channel to their hearts, seek to draw the living stream, by prayer, from heaven. Your closet should also be the scene of your anxiety for their welfare. In those seasons of hallowed seclusion, where your soul makes her nearest and happiest approaches to the throne of divine grace, give it in charge their immortal interests. God loves the prayers of his people, and especially delights in the prayers of pious benevolence. Importune him, therefore, to bless your efforts; confess to him that the work of conversion is all his own; hang the interests of the school upon
his arm, and lay them down in the light of his countenance.
Especially on the morning of the Sabbath, in the prospect of your exertions, next to your own growth in grace, seek the principal subject of your prayers, in the welfare of the children. Pray for grace to
found faithful, and to be made sufficient for these things. Entreat of God to rouse you from lukewarmness, and to enable
you to feel the weight of others' souls upon your own. Thus qualify yourself, if I may so speak, for your office. Did you come to the school every Sabbath, like Moses from the mount, direct from the presence and the converse of God, bringing all the solemn tenderness with which you had supplicated for the children at the mercy seat, what a character would be imparted to your deportment! The solemn air of eternity, irradiated with the beams of heavenly glory, would be visible upon your countenance, while the meekness of Jesus, and the mercy of the Gospel, breathed forth in all your language, would admonish the children, that it was not a time for
them to trifle, when their Teacher had come to them with“ a message from God.”
Provided they possess other qualifications in an equal degree, those who are most prayerful will be most successful; on the other hand, it is a matter of little surprise, that po success attends the efforts of those (I mean in the way of spiritual benefit,) by whom the duty is neglected. They labour, as might be expected, in a field on which the dew of heaven seldom distils, and which bringeth forth little else than thorns and briars. Whenever we shall be favoured to perceive a spirit of prayer resting upon the great mass of our Teachers, and insinuating itself into all their exertions, we shall not wait long before we have a degree of success among the children, which will delight and astonish us; for it is said of Jehovah, that “He heareth prayer.”
DBAR SIR,—The subject which I wish to submit to the consideration of your numerous readers is that of United Prayer.
In your July number, after having given some truly “Useful Hints for Teachers,” you conclude by saying, “Let all engaged in this delightful work unite as a body in earnest prayer, one for another; for I feel convinced, if such were the case, our feeble efforts would be more abundantly blessed by God.” Of the truth of your conviction, I think that no Christian can entertain a doubt. But how are we to “unite as a body in earnest prayer, one for another"? This must be spiritually, and not bodily-each teacher praying in secret for others. May not, however, the fellow-labourers of one school unite? We all know that the prayers of a body of Christians are very efficacious in obtaining the blessings sought for. If, therefore, a number of teachers were to unite in heartfelt prayer for the blessing of God upon their labours, we cannot doubt that they would be abundantly answered.
There are two difficulties which will probably be presented to the minds of those who may feel desirous of forming a union for prayer; and these I will now endeavour, briefly, to solve.
1st. What time can be fixed for the meeting?
Many of our teachers, by being apprenticed to some retail trade, are so situated that they have no time at their own disposal. Any evening in the week which may be allotted for this purpose will, therefore, to these teachers, be unavailable. I would suggest the Sunday morning. The usual hour for the commencement of school business is nine o'clock; and I propose that some time previous to this be set apart for the meeting under consideration. Why may we not meet at eight o'clock, and spend an hour, or half an hour, in prayer and praise? There would surely be sufficient time before this for dressing and the secret devotions of the morning. Some, perhaps, will object to this on account of the late hour at which they retire to rest on Saturday evenings. This hour is with myself, and many others, midnight. But if for six mornings in the week, to please our earthly masters or ourselves, we rise at five, six, or half-past, ought we not to rise at least as early for one morning to please our heavenly Master, and for our spiritual interests? Let us bring to mind the words so frequently repeated to us in boyhood, when we complained of inability to perform any duty—“Where there is a will, there is a way.” With the prospect of so delightful a meeting with which to commence the holy duties of the day, no Christian teacher would waste his hours in needless slumber.
2nd. There being many of us who have neither the ability nor the confidence to pray aloud before others, who is to lead the devotion?
Allow me to ask, Did you ever try? Many difficul. ties which, at first, appear to be insurmountable, would almost vanish, if we would but act in accordance with these two little words in our language, try and trust. If you cannot pray fluently, you can, if you are sincere, offer such prayers as will be acceptable with God; and no one would come to these meetings, I hope, to gratify the unholy desire of criticising your prayers.
The advantages which would arise from the adoption of this suggestion are numerous. The greatest of these, and the one for which we are the most anxious, is the efficacy of united prayer. But there are others, which, though of minor importance, are not to be disregarded. Brotherly love would be increased in the hearts of the teachers; confidence would be inspired in opening their minds one to another, so that we should be enabled to bear each other's spiritual burdens. How pleasing would be the smile with which a teacher, when entering upon the scholastic duties of the day, would be welcomed by his fellow-labourers. There would be no more that solitary feeling which sometimes fills the mind, but we should feel as one body. The early hours of the Sabbath would become endeared to each heart; and instead of being spent in carnal indulgence, as they now too frequently are, they would be gladly devoted to the work of prayer and praise.
Hoping that this subject will receive your attention, and praying that a blessing may rest upon the labour which you undertake for our advantage, and that a spirit of earnest prayer may be poured into the hearts of the fraternity, I have the happiness of subscribing myself,
A SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHER. Bilston, September 2nd, 1845.
[The Editor thinks this suggestion most worthy of consideration. Properly conducted, such an arrangement could not fail to have a beneficial influence over the minds of the Teachers throughout the day; and where the Clergyman could meet his Teachers, and conduct their devotions, it would be a great advantage.]
ON LEVITY AND GRAVITY. AMONG the many things required by the Teacher, is a complete control over himself, particularly a control over his risible faculties. Children often say and do such strange things in the very midst of the most solemn exercises, that it requires a summoning up of all the religious feeling of the sacredness of our duties, to overcome the almost irresistible desire to laugh. The subject is one to which young teachers especially would do well to pay some attention. All laughter or appearance of
levity ought to be carefully avoided, if it was for no other reason than because it makes sacred things to be lightly thought of. Abbott, or Todd, makes mention of a teacher who gave way to laughter once in a class, at some absurd thing which a boy had said, and the evil effects of which were seen afterwards, by the class getting into bad order, the teacher having, in consequence, lost to a considerable extent, his power of control over them. In order to show the nature of the things that occasionally are so very trying to the Teacher, a few instances may be given from the writer's own experience.
One Sabbath, during the time of prayer, I looked round to see that all the children were conducting them. selves properly, and to my great discomposure, observed one of my boys, at a little distance, with great gravity, going through the operation of shaving ; brushing away with one hand, and then using a finger of the other, in imitation of a razor. I was afraid to move, lest I should attract attention to him. I was equally afraid to take my eye off him, in case he might continue his ex. travagances, and so set the whole class a laughing. With great difficulty I managed to conceal a smile under an appearance of great sternness, and having caught his eye at last, he stopped abruptly. I had much pain for some minutes in the effort to overcome myself. On another occasion, a boy had fallen asleep on his seat, and in one or two seconds, a boy on one side had taken a string from his pocket, passed it round his big toe, (it being summer, he was barefoot,) and the other end having been taken by the boy on the other side, they commenced to see-saw it up and down, making the boy, of course, awake with a start from feeling the pain.
It was done so rapidly that, before I could interfere, it was over, leaving the same painful feeling as before. But the last instance I shall mention is perhaps of a kind more common than the others. A boy was reading a verse of the New Testament, and instead of saying “ The Scribes and Pharisees,” said, The Scribes and paraphrases. The ludicrous mistake was too much for me, especially when he immediately read it over again in