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Observer, Nov. 1, '72.
pronounced by Dr. Thomas, the vast and attentive assembly dispersed, and the autumnal session of the Baptist Union was brought to a close.
Brethren, mark the signs of the times, gather up the lessons, and use them for the glory of God.
HOW A SUNDAY SCHOOL OUGHT TO BE CARRIED ON TO
REALIZE THE DESIRED RESULTS.* 1. GENERALLY, it required a superior class of teachers, experimentally and spiritually; a different kind of lessons, with less of the secular element in them; and finally, the shifting of the responsibility and general management from inexperienced hands, and placing it under the watchful eye of the officers of the church. Under such care it would prosper, and be a greater power for good in the family, the church and the world than it had ever been.
This was desirable ; and owing to our New Testament liberty, no community was more able than ourselves to effect the desired change. The denominational influences of the present national system of education, with its admirable provisions for secular instruction, were special reasons why we should arouse ourselves to the task before us as churches, and veto creed teaching in any form in the day schools, as well as mere secular teaching in the Sunday Schools.
2. The special means of reformation he suggested was the division of the school into four sections. Providing the scholars numbered above a hundred, the boys and girls to be separated into two classes, still belonging to the same section. If under one hundred, then let the boys and girls be formed into four mixed sections, to be divided by standing or sitting on different sides in the same class.
SECTION I, to be called the “ Infant Class,” say of any number up to thirty children or more, if thought desirable, from four to seven years of age. Some objected to infant classes, and said that “the children were too young, and that parents ought then to look after them.” He replied that Jesus recognized them, and blessed them, saying" of such is the kingdom of heaven." We must begin at the beginning, when the mind is young, tender and impressible. As for superseding parental duty, they must remember that one grand aim of the Sunday School would be realized by supplying, if need be, and at least supplementing, the great lack of parental care and teaching at this early age. Raised seats should be provided for them if possible, the girls being set on one side and the boys on the other. Have a large black board or slate, and chalk; large picture cards, with Scriptural subjects, and a pointer. The teacher should not be a little boy or girl out of a senior class, nor a mere zealous youth. No! A teacher is wanted here! We look into an average church and find elders, deacons, exhorters, preachers, etc., and a noble band of sisters in the Lord. From these I find teachers ; the great difficulty being not in their scarcity, as some say, but in the choice of some four or eight only for our model Sunday School, so as not to displease the rest and leave any idle or useless. Then get the teacher from the church, say an active brother above thirty years of age, with a small family attending school. The
* From a paper read by R. Mumby, at the Sunday School Conference, Leicester.
Observer, Nov. 1,72.
elders and deacons invite him to the work, but through over modesty he does not comply. Then let the church ask him. He consents, and on Sunday first meets with his little flock. He talks kindly and cheerfully to them about common objects, say the days of the week, explaining and illustrating their origin and differences. He talks about the sun, moon and stars, and draws them on the black board, and gets them to repeat what they learn. Then let him teach them a simple verse, and get them to stand up and sing it. Show them the letters of the alphabet also on the board, and how they are formed; point to a picture card and tell a tale about it; draw out answers to questions, and sing again. In this varied and cheerful way carry on the lessons, and then conclude by a short, simple and earnest prayer.
SECTION II, or “Second Class,” to consist of any number-say about thirty children. Girls and boys to be divided, standing on each side. Ages from seven to nine, and able to read easy words. Each scholar to have an easy Scripture reading book, from which all the class in turn may read aloud a short passage. The teacher to be chosen from the Diaconate, or from among the most useful, devoted and gifted brethren ; experience, moral and spiritual standing, being the indispensable qualifications for the work. The class assembled, singing and prayer over, let him begin by hearing each scholar read a little, not staying to correct bad readers, but helping them over hard words, and passing on to the next. His work should not consist so much in teaching reading—for that could be done at home or in a day school-as rather to impress upon them solemn and important truths, explain what has been read, ask questions thereon, offer remarks explaining, illustrating, simplifying and teaching the duties we owe to each other and to God. Let simple addresses, simple words, be spoken on Christianity in general; the gospel message of love ; God as almighty and all-seeing. Inculcate obedience to parents, and respect to age and position. Lead them to know the duties of citizenship, and what it means ; train them in the habits of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, smoking, snuffing, and other dirty, hurtful and useless practices. Encourage the boys to cleanliness, the girls to neatness, and both to punctuality. Here is a fine field for usefulness. The skilful teacher can turn the heart-soil almost at will, and sow the seed of truth divine, while after years will see the golden harvest.
SECTION III, or the “ New Testament Class,” to comprise about thirty scholars of both sexes, between the ages of ten and fourteen. To find a teacher we enter the church and choose some brother, tolerably well in. formed and educated, say a preacher, an evangelist, a pastor, or a sister with the
necessary qualifications. A teacher found, we set to work. We sing
pray, and then read verses round out of the New Testament, the teacher seeing that his pupils mind their stops and pronounce the words correctly, Have a good map of Palestine hung up at the back of the teacher, to which frequent reference can be made, the scholars being required to find out and state where certain prominent places are or were situated. Again, he would have set forth the original order of the church, passages in proof being asked and given ; also leading points of doctrine, such as Faith, Repentance and Baptism, should be explained in the light of Scripture, passages in proof being required and given. Encourage the scholars to ask questions in and out of the class, and to learn by memory the special
Observer, Nov. 1, '72.
Scriptures bearing upon their lessons. To beget confidence in the Bible explain simple difficulties in Scripture interpretation, and set forth the truth in its effects upon the life by illustrations of Bible worthies, and also those of later times. Have verses of beautiful spiritual poetry, including many of our own church hymns, read now and then by the teacher, to be then recited and, when possible, sung by the scholars. And when the children are in trouble, sick, poor, or in need, let words of Christian sympathy be spoken to them and a helping hand given. If any go astray then let the teacher specially visit such and give gentle admonition, trying to enkindle first love and lost desires for divine things. Children of this age can understand plain teaching and preaching on the Lord's days, and should, therefore, be asked to rehearse in class some of the leading thoughts, tell the subject and mode of treatment of any given address. Let a keen eye, loving heart, and anxious mind be devoted to this class, for it is a promising fleld and white to the harvest. May the Lord send suitable labourers into it.
SECTION IV, or the “ Adult Instruction Class," should embrace scholars from fifteen years old and upward. To this class he would invite young teachers and young Christians of both sexes. Let as many of the brethren in the church as can make it convenient also join it to help on the good work. For a teacher we require one of the pastors—if no one more able can be had. The three qualifications he must possess are—tact, talent, and piety. Only get the right person, and grand results must follow. For teaching apparatus, he would suggest a map of Palestine, one of the world in the time of Christ showing the apostle Pauls travels, and a globe. The lessons should embrace simple science, including some parts of physiology, geology and astronomy, also chronology, embracing the age of the world before the flood, and then down to the Christian era and onwards. Then history in relation to nations, embracing such Bible names as Egypt, Nineveh, Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome, etc. Then biographical sketches, such as the lives of the patriarchs and Bible worthies, also those of such rulers as Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzer, Alexander the Great, Cæsar, Titus and Vespasian. Then New Testament doctrine, comprising Faith, Repentance, Confession, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Mutual Teaching, Church order and government, the selection and appointment of officers and their qualifications. Then in the course of lessons draw contrasts between primitive Christianity in its purity, simplicity and adaptation to the needs of man, and the various religious systems of modern times, pointing out in a kindly and charitable way the evil influences of their errors in faith and practice. Show the only true bond of Christian union to consist in the giving up of all human creeds and party names, building upon the one foundation, even Christ, and acknowIedging Him as Lord by returning to the "faith once delivered to the saints” in all its doctrines and commands, even as they are revealed to us by His apostles in the New Testament Scriptures.
This done, then none would halt between two opinions, but recognize the wisdom and beauty of the divine arrangements for the salvation of man, and be able to give a reason for the hope within them with intelligence, meekness, and fear, knowing that they were on the Lord's side---the side of truth.
Observer, Nov. 1, '72.
MISSIONARIES' LITERARY WORK.
From the English Presbyterian Weekly Review we gather the following, which we would advise our Infidel friends not to read, as it might lead them to contrast, rather unfavourably, the literary unfruitfulness of secular missionaries, during the last twenty years, with the rich and extensive literature which Christian missionaries have given to the world.
Mr. Bradlaugh delights in lecturing upon the Bible and India, China, &c.; and in attacking the missionaries. Let him go out to India, &c., and excel the noble works of these good and devoted men.' Let him produce a grammar, a dictionary, a book of science, in any form, comparable to those written and translated by Christian missionaries. Let him do this, or leave them alone. It is a mark of cowardice to be always attacking absent men; it is a mark of meanness to be always abusing them.
"Among the results of missions ought to be classed the great amount of literary work performed by missionaries, in addition to their regular duties. The task of correctly translating the Scriptures, of creating a Christian literature, or of reducing an unwritten language to system and character, and then of composing its entire literature, is toil of the most trying and difficult character. Let us look only at two fields of labour. A number of missionaries at Constantinople are at present either wholly given to this work of translation and authorship, or are residing there temporarily for the purpose, giving thus the advantages of mutual consultation and of reference to the library of the mission. Here the Rev. Dr. Rigg has now completed two translations of the entire Bible—the first into Armenian, the second into Bulgarian. In the latter he has had the assistance of another missionary. At present he is engaged on the translation of the Scriptures into Armeno-Turkish, a third and equally great work. The Rev. Dr. Schauffer is engaged in rendering the Bible into high classic Turkish, a work that requires a perfect knowledge of Persian and Arabic, as well as Hebrew and Greek. Of this version the Psalms and the New Testament are the only portions published. The Rev. Mr. Pettibone has for many years edited all works rendered into Armenian, and has been peculiarly successful in the authorship of hymns in that tongue. The Rev. Mr. Herrick, of Marsovan, is at present there, for the purpose of superintending the printing of his “Ecclesiastical History.” The Rev. Dr. Edwin Bliss is editing no less than six newspapers-three of them weeklies and three monthlies—in the Armenian and Turkish languages and in three alphabets. Since its establishment this press has printed and issued 165,500 copies of the Scriptures, entire or in part ; 157,400 school books of thirty-seven kinds ; 200 tracts : altogether comprising 289,000,000 pages.
At other mission-stations are like literary enterprises maintained. The American Presbyterian mission at Lodiana, India, has just issued a cata. logue of nearly two hundred publications that have issued from its press, comprising the whole Bible, as well as portions of it, commentaries, hymn books, tracts on religious subjects and on science, dictionaries, grammars, and a lurge number of text books. Here the languages employed are the Persian Urdu, the Nagari, the Gurmuki, and Roman Urdu, and the English, in all of which a permanent and invaluable evangelical literature has been thus
Observer, Nov. 1, 72
In the Friend of India we find a list of books published by the American missionaries within the last few years in Burmah. It is quite too long to reproduce; but includes Burmese and English, English and Burmese dictionaries, grammars, geometries, a trigonometry with tables, one on surveying, arithmetics, spelling books, readers, one on anatomy. philosophies, histories ancient and modern, geographies, the entire Bible, a reference Testament, together with more than fifty other books and tracts of a more or less religious character. In Sgau Karen works have been printed on arithmetic, astronomy, philosophy, surveying, materia medica, Scripture geography, a dictionary, Sgau and English, English and Sgau, as well as a thesaurus of the language. In other Karen dialects the missionaries have issued a philosophy, translations of Genesis, Isaiah, the New Testament, a digest of Scripture, the catechism, and a life of Christ.
THE NATIONAL SECULAR SOCIETY. MR. BRADLAUGH's followers are beginning to see something like " tyranny" written even upon his chin, and something uncommonly like despotism pencilled upon his brows. They are beginning to see through his clap trap oratory and his love of theatrical display; through that peroration of abuse and blackguardism which greets an opponent, and which generally ends by catching up a book, thrusting it under the arm, and marching ont with eyes upturned-the very image of a Pope.
A large number of the Secularists, of the better sort, are beginning to see that there is not much “ freedom" where one man wants all his own way, nor much "freethought” where one man's thought is to rule.
The freethinkers have therefore called a congress, and have decided, by a large majority, to form another Secular Society, totally distinct from any in existence. This means simply rebellion ; that Mr. Bradlaugh's “ National Secular Society” does not suit the majority of the better class of Secularists, and that they consider themselves intelligent enough to choose their own clothes without employing Mr. Bradlaugh as tailor.
What he thinks of such a proceeding is not easy to divine. That he will not publish any fair or full account of the formation of the new society we may be sure. Platform orator for free press and free speech he may be, but it is going a little too far to expect him to practice what he preaches. Image breaker though he is, he is not quite prepared to have his own wings clipped, his own pedestal smashed.
Dire confusion reigns to-day in the Secular camp ; a confusion, the causes of which, Joseph Barker has so graphically described—“Unbelievers," writes Mr. Barker, “ find it next to impossible to unite. They are not a rope of sand, for the simple reason that they are not a rope at all. They are lawless, and cannot submit to needful restraint. They are suspicious, jealous and cannot trust each other. They are proud aud selfish, every one seeking to be first ; so that they cannot gree. Hence they seldom organize except when greatly excited, and when the excitement is over their societies fall to pieces again. They come nearest to union when they wish to annoy a deserter from their ranks, or to injure an opponent; but even rage and malice cannot keep them together long. Before they have fully spent their fury on their enemies, they begin to worry and devour