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the same manner, and I could not resist a smile: the boys giving a glance at me, but too willingly joined, and laughed outright. I found, to my sorrow, that I could not get them again to listen seriously that night; and for several nights afterwards, some of them were always trying to say things to make me laugh. It took me, I dare say, four or five nights to overcome the effects of that smile. With a great many children, and with Teachers too, (and they are happy teachers,) such an incident would do no permanent harm; the effects would pass away in a few minutes: but still there is a very large class of children, with whom to give way to a smile, even on such an occasion, is almost to give up authority over them.
The best method I found, to keep down the ludicrous feeling, was to speak immediately and rapidly on the the lesson, so as to turn attention from the subject. I had asked the question of a boy, “What did Christ do, when he had done preaching ?” the answer immediately was, “He would precent." (For the sake of the English reader, I mention, that the precentor in Scotland is the person who leads the tune in the congregation.) I said at once,
Just look at the few verses before, and answer me this,” putting a few questions that had nothing to do with what we had been speaking about. This plan perfectly succeeded in leading my mind and theirs from the answer given. To some, feeling that they could not be moved by such things, it may seem strange that a person should be so easily made to laugh; allowance must be made for different constitutions.
But, no doubt, the best way to overcome all these light and ludicrous feelings, is to breathe a secret prayer, that God would, at this time, so tune our hearts, that we may be led to feel more and more the importance of conducting ourselves aright in our sacred duties, and that we may
allow nothing trifling to interfere with or mar the progress of our pupils in the way to eternal life. A constant attention to praying and meditation about eternity will, no doubt, be the means of bringing our feelings of this nature under more complete subjection to our divine Master.
EXAMPLE AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR
And oh! may
“I could not help feeling very low on Monday. Like Hezekiah, I thought the Lord was about to cut short my days. Oh! that I could have made use of his language, and said, 'I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.” But, my beloved Eliza, I have to mourn how little I have done for him who hath done such great things for me. Let me entreat you to pray that, if my life be prolonged, I may be more anxious for the spiritual welfare of others.
more than ever magnify the riches of his grace. May he suffer me never more to wander from him; but may his love be the prevailing principle in my life, his word the rule of all my actions, and his blessed self
my all in all, my portion for ever.” To another dear friend (who considers her advice and counsel the means in the hand of God of impressing upon her mind the reality of divine things, and awakening her to a deeper concern about her eternal interests,) she wrote in a similar strain, with allusion to her Sabbath-school labours.
“I tremble lest, while I have been anxious about the souls of others, I have neglected my own.
How awful if, in the great day, these dear children should be found in the kingdom of God, and I myself cast out! Let me then, while anxious for their spiritual welfare, be more concerned for the salvation of my own soul. May I ever seek a humble and a contrite spirit! May the prayer the publican be mine, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.'”
ADDRESS TO THE GIRLS OF MY
DAY-SCHOOL. The readers of the “ Teacher's Visitor" are doubtless well pleased to find the subject of rewards taken up by
* From a “Memorial of a departed Sister," by the Rev. Thomas Page. London: Simpkin and Marshall.
some of its contributors. It is a subject which merits the earnest and careful attention of parents and instructors. There is a singular contrariety of opinion prevailing in regard to it. Much has been said and written cn both sides of the question—the one party conceiving that outward marks of approval may be so employed as to exercise a beneficial influence on the youthful character, the other rejecting all records of conduct, and all expressions of approval in the shape of tangible reward, as unnecessary, and even injurious—insisting that no other inducement to well-doing ought to be held out to the
young than the pleasure arising from the consciousness of having fulfilled the demands of duty. I leave it to abler pens than mine to enter upon further discussions on these much-disputed points. It has occurred to me, however, that the following little address may not be altogther uninteresting to some Teachers, inasmuch as a simple, practical illustration sometimes arrests our attention, when a theoretical narrative fails to do so. It was my first address to the assembled children of my recently formed Day-school; and fearing that in my new position I might speak unadvisedly before my juvenile audience, I made copious notes on the subjects which I wished to bring forward. From these notes the following portions of the address, bearing on the subject of reward, are selected.
It will be perceived that reward, and not competition for reward, is the plan pursued. A mark of approbation for doing well—not for doing better than another-conferred without any invidious comparisons of intellectual superiority—without any reference whatever to the merit or demerit of others—the question being, not whether one child have one talent, and another two, but whether all have, by regular exertion and general good conduct, so traded with the talents intrusted to their keeping as to merit the approving testimony of those whose favourable opinion I anxiously hope I do not err in thus stimulating them to obtain. It is plain that my own views on this very important and very difficult subject have a decided bearing towards the employment of rewards when cautiously and judiciously bestowed. Let it, at the same time, be understood, that I utterly condemn the manner in which the bestowment of rewards is too frequently conducted. Did my opinion coincide with that of “ A Devonshire Teacher," who, in the last num. ber of the “Visitor" asserts that “any system of rewards and prizes produces emulation," I would at once remodel the system by which my little school is at present governed. It is doubtless true that a system of reward, to be carried on without exciting a spirit of emulation, is not to be framed without serious and deliberate thinking We venture to express our humble hope that the task has been performed, and that the plan which the following simple address lays open is free of the fearful sin of inculcating in the hearts of the young those very feelings of pride and envy which it ought to be our great aim to restrain and subdue.
That so many advocates of youthful competition are to be found, is to us a matter of surprise and sorrow. It is unaccountable that competition, in any and every form, is not perceived to be a deadly poison, contaminating, to an alarming extent, the plans of that too numerous class of parents and instructors who admit it into their systems of education. In adopting it, we foster and encourage that pride of heart which is but too natural to all human beings; we train the young to triumph in their own superiority, and to regard their own individual benefit at the expense of injury to others.
One proof of the truth of these remarks lies before me at this moment, in the public account of an examination of the children of one of our schools a short time ago. The examination is stated to have taken place in the presence of a numerous assemblage of ladies and gentlemen. It began by the principal scholars, boys and girls, reciting portions of the service of our Church. A chapter in the New Testament was then read, and the children were afterwards examined with respect to the extent of their understanding concerning it; their answers for the most part being very satisfactory; “There was a spirit of emulation," says the writer of the article, “among the scholars, both the boys and the girls, which is always satisfactory, to be observed by the
judicious promoters of education of the people: in fact, the only confusion that arose during the proceedings, which lasted three hours, was that caused by the eagerness of one to answer the questions before another.”
Alas! dear children, yes, we can well imagine your eager anxiety to display your own superiority-your secret hope, all hateful and sinful as it is—that your companions may fail, in order that you may succeed. We understand somewhat of the feelings which are at work in those young hearts of yours.
Oh! we understand them too well not to tremble for
when we see you excited to exertion by means of a stimulant which cannot stand the test of God's unerring word. If your bearts be what that word declares them to be, then have the sins of pride, envy, jealousy, strife, and resentment been fostered and strengthened within them-moral crimes pronounced to be deserving of eternal condemnation.
Bear with us, instructors of the young, while we entreat you to consider whether these things ought so to be. We do not ask you to bestow more than a passing thought on the few feeble words which we venture to
We do ask you to open the sacred volume, and to pause in serious meditation on the apostolic directions. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love. Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory. Look not every man on his own things,
every man also on the things of others.” Consider those inspired words with reference to the immortal minds on which your plans are operating; and say whether you ought not instantly, and for ever, to discard from your systems of education every thing which might tend to encourage feelings so completely the reverse of those which the word of God declares to be necessary.
My little address will probably be better understood by the insertion of one of the rules of the school, explanatory of the system which, after repeated consideration, I felt justified in adopting; and which, 1 may add, has produced, as I thankfully believe, too happy an effect on the conduct and character of the children for me to experience one feeling of regret in having subjected them to its influence.
lay before you.