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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 bath 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 lore, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith!” A glorious cluster! as sweet as could be found in Paradise. Why the great work of the Saviour was to restore us to innocence! Can any 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 DO YOU DO?" How often does this familiar salutation pass our lips ! And under 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 specd 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 superinterdent 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 ut 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 accom, plish 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? York.
CHEERING VIEWS OF THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE
OF SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHING. “LET the child educate himself. Instruct him in all other things 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 rould 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 Sundar-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 infant mind was impressible. The adult mind was unimpressible, O, how unimpressible. How many sermons were preached in this city last Sunday. I presume they were good sermons.
All 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 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.
The Church is dependent, to a great extent, on the Sunday-school for its own perpetuity. In this world all things decay. Look at that great sewer through which the ruined humanity of a city goes down to hell. It would not last long, but for its tributaries—the grogshops, and the other nurseries of sin. So with the great stream that flows towards heaven. It must have its tributaries, and the Sunday-school is one of them. We must look to the Sunday-school for missionaries. We have but just begun this great work. Lo! the world's harvest is ripe for the sickle. The reapers must come from the Sunday-schools.
It is not merely the children that are saved by this instrumentality; but the parents througlı the children. Give me access to the child, and I will assure you access to the father. A physician was inquiring, the other day, about the practice of another. The answer was, “O, his practice is small; it is only among children.” “Ah !" replied the other, “ the physician who practices among the children will soon have the mothers, and the fathers too.” It is so with the Sunday.school. Saint Louis was once taken in that
We have access to heaven
in that way.
Children are the weak point of the world. If angels were to come to the world to take it for the Lord Jesus Christ, I have sometimes thought that they would not go to capitals and cabinets, but would go first to the world's weak point-the children. So when the Church concentrates itself at the world's weak point, the world will be taken. If we could only collect into one body this half million of children of young immortals committed to our charge—and the Church could see them thus collected, nothing more would be necessary to inspire the feeling that must result in the accomplishment of our object. I had a friend who was very anxious to be rich.
If ever anyone deserved to be rich, he did. He toiled early and late; he ate the bread of diligence. But he had more industry than judgment, and he became involved in hopeless bankruptcy. I went to him, and found him greatly depressed in spirits. I endeavored to console him. I told him that he had much left after the wreck of his fortune. “No,” he said, " he had nothing." I insisted that he had, and that, reduced as he was, he would not exchange his lot with that of any other man on earth. He replied that there was one man in the room with whom he would gladly exchange. As I was the only person in the room, he could mean no other; so I accepted the offer, and we agreed to make the transfer. “I will take your house” said he; "what will you have in return ?" I had no children at the time, and putting my hand on the head of his beautiful little girl, said, “I will take her.” “No, no!" he exclaimed, “I would not part with her for the world.” And he would not. How great sacrifices, then, ought a Church be ready to make, which has half a million of them!