Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

GOSPEL ADVOCATE.

“ Knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel.” Phil. i. 17.

No. 16.]

APRIL, 1822.

[No. 4. Vol. II.

THEOLOGICAL.

ON THE MANAGEMENT OF SUNDAY

SCHOOLS.

a

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate, tinued under the same teacher ? If

this question be decided in the affirmative, it will, I presume, be considered

necessary that the instruction of a class I Am a Sunday school teacher, and, as should be varied, as often as the scholars

I am a constant reader of your valua- have completed a course of study.5 ble work, I have often wished that some That every scholar in a class should be

portion of it were set apart for the precisely on the same footing, and stu. insertion of essays on the subject of dying the same lesson, I take for grantSunday school instruction-a subject, ed; because the reasonableness and in my humble opinion, of as much im- necessity of the provision is evident. portance as that of preaching. As The arguments in favour of the affir. many of your

readers are, no doubt, mative to this question are, that the like myself, engaged as teachers in teachers and scholars become mutually Sunday schools, I hope you will en- attached to each other; and that the deavour, occasionally, to insert an es. children will make greater improve say on the subject, pointing out the ment by being under the instruction of most eligible mode of conducting such one whom they love, and to whom they establishments.

have become attached. It is also said, I reside, Mr. Editor, not far from the that the teachers, by being long acmetropolis. I have visited several of quainted with their scholars, become the Sunday schools which are there more familiar with their tempers and established, and find several different habits, and feel greater interest in their methods pursued in their management. welfare and improvement. Now, sir, I am a plain man, and do On the other side, it is stated that not wish to puzzle my brains with an there ought to be a regular gradation argument as to wbich is the best mode; of classes ; that as the scholars advance but I wish to propose one or two que- in learning, they should be raised to ries, which I hope you, or some of classes of higher standing, and pursue your able correspondents, who are prac- different studies. If the teachers are tically acquainted with the subject, always confined to teaching the same will answer for my satisfaction. branches, they will become better ac

I wish, in the first place, to inquire, quainted with those branches, and of Is it for the interest of a Sunday school, course better qualified to teach them. that the scholars should always be con- Another question which I wish to 14

ADVOCATE, VOL. II,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

propose, is, Are rewards useful in a

A third question, on which I wish to Sunday school ? It is contended by receive information, is, how far the those who think they are, that no school Madras system, or system of mutual can be kept in so good order without, instruction, can be introduced with ad. as with, the system of distributing re- vantage into Sunday schools. Were wards for good behaviour, diligence, the only, or indeed the principal object &c.

of Sunday school instruction, to keep On the other hand, it is said, that the children in order, I should have no the system of giving rewards to chil. hesitation in saying that this system dren excites and brings into action would be decidedly the best which those natural, depraved principles of could be adopted. But as the princithe human heart, which it is the object pal objects of Sunday schools are to of Sunday school instruction to dis- impart religious instruction, I think the countenance and suppress. It should introduction of this system would not be the object of Sunday school teach- be productive of much advantage. But ers to stimulate their scholars to the I state the question for the purpose of due performance of their duty, by other receiving instruction on the subject; than worldly motives ;-by the satis- not for giving my own opinion. faction which will necessarily be pro- One more question, and I have done. duced in their own consciences ; by Ought corporal punishment, in any case, the approbation of their friends; and, to be resorted to in a Sunday school ? If above all, the approbation of their not, how should refractory and disobeGod. These, it is said, are the mo- dient scholars be punished ? tives to action which Sunday school If you, sir, or any of your corres. teachers should hold out to the children pondents, will give satisfactory answers committed to their care ; to which to these questions, I shall be much may also be added, another induce. gratified. I may, hereafter, trouble ment, which often has great influence you with some further remarks, should upon the minds of children; the con- you think the present of sufficient consideration, that the greater the progress sequence to merit a place in your valuthey make in their studies, the greater able work. will the benefit be to them in after life, They should be taught, that they are destined one day to fill important places in society; and that, in order to their filling those places with credit to them- An Earnest Persuasive to the frequent selves, and usefulness to others, they receiving of the Holy Communion. must be diligent, while they are young, Supposed to have been written by in learning those things which will be the late Bishop Seabury. of use to them in the stations to which BRETHREN, beloved in Christ,—The tithey may hereafter be called. They tle has informed you, that my design is to should be excited, not by the desire of address you on the subject of frequent excelling their fellows, but by that holy communion in the holy eucharist, or emulation which will lead them to press sacrament of the body and blood of forward till they attain to the possession Christ, commonly called the Lord's of all the learning which it is possible supper. The subject is an important for tbem to acquire. This point, being one, and claims your serious attention : within the reach of every one, may be and the great neglect of the duty reaspired to, without any reference to quires plainness of speech, and freethe exertions of their fellow scholars, dom of admonition on my part. I have, and without being stimulated by a de- therefore, to request, that you will sire to excel them.

carefully read and consider what is

A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER.

[ocr errors]

here addressed to you, and bear pa- gress his law, and are equally guilty tiently that plain dealing which pro- in his sight. ceeds only from a desire to stir you up That Christ declared the will of God, to the practice of a duty, which I sup- and that whatever he commanded is the pose an indispensable one, and in the command or law of God, must be ownneglect of whicb, you live in a constant ed by all who acknowledge his divinity, state of sin against your God.

indeed by all who acknowledge he "Sin,” said the apostle, " is the acted by divine authority. Now, he transgression of the law."* The will gave no command inore positive than of God, when made known to us, is his the one relating to the holy ordinance law to us, and binds us in all cases of which I am treating. The institu. whatsoever. Nothing is sinful any fur- tion is as solemn as it possibly can be, ther than it is contrary to God's will; and was made at the commencement of and every thing is sinful in the same the most solemn period of bis ministry degree that it is contrary to his will: on earth. The injunction on bis aposfor to contradict the will of God con- tles to do as he had done, and thereby stitutes the nature and essence of sin. keep up the memorial he appointed, is The will of God is made known to as absolute as any con

and that ever us by revelation, and is declared in the was given.* holy bible, which is intended by God From the account the holy evangeto be the standard of our faith and lists have left us, the universal and practice, that we may know, at all perpetual obligation of this command times, what he requires us to believe is very apparent. It is true, it does not and do.

appear there were any persons present Some of God's commands are pro- at the institution, besides the apostles ; hibitory, i. e. they forbid us to do cer. but this will furnish no argument against tain things because they are contrary the universal obligation all Christians to his will : and they are contrary to are under to comply with it. They bis will, because, as far as we can are all as much interested in it as the judge, they are destructive of our own apostles were. Christ died equally for happiness, and of the happiness of us, and for all Christians, as he did for others. Other commands are positive, the apostles. We, therefore, and all requiring us to do certain things in Christians, are as much obliged to reobedience to God. In many instances gard the institution as the apostles we can perceive that what God com- 'were. Nothing in the institution pecumands is conducive to our welfare, and liarly related to them, except the power to the welfare of others, and reason will of administration. By the command, teach us to believe, all God's commands “Do this in remembrance of me,” they proceed from the same benevolent prin- were empowered and obliged to ad. ciple-a desire of doing us good, though minister the holy ordinance; and, conour blindness may not perceive it. sequently, Christians were obliged to

However, the essence of all sin con- receive it; for unless they did receive sisting in acting contrary to the will of it, the apostles could not administer it. God, there must be the same sin and That the apostles were, by our Sadanger in neglecting to do what God viour's command, obliged to this admincommands, as in doing what he forbids. istration, appears from the institution In either case, we transgress the will or compared with

the command. For the law of God, and commit sin; and, whe- command, “ This do in remembrance ther it be by wilfully doing what God of me," relates not barely to eating las forbidden, or wilfully omitting what bread and drinking wine in rememhe has commanded, we equally trans

* Matt. xxvi. 26. Mark xiv. 22.

Luke 1 John ii. 4.

xxiir 19.

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

brance of Christ, as the Socinians teach, communicate with them in the celebraand some ill-informed Christians sup. tion of it; so a little reflection will conpose, but to the whole transaction. By vince us, that the same obligation lay it the apostles were enjoined, when upon their successors, the bishops of the they administered the holy communion, Christian church, and upon all duly to do as Christ then did-take bread authorized by them, and upon

all Chrisand break it, and offer it up to God, tians of every period, from their days by thanksgiving and prayer, consecrat. to ours, to make the same holy memoing it to be his mystical body, the me. rial of his blessed body and blood morial or representative of that body which Christ commanded. The comwbich Christ, in the institution, willing- mand of Christ, - This do in rememly offered up and devoted to God, a brance of me," has no limit of time sacrifice and propitiation for the sin of annexed to it. It must, therefore, conthe world, and which, in consequence tinue in force till he who gave shall of his offering, was soon after slain upon repeal it. We are as much interested u the cross for our redemption the body in the sacrifice of Christ's death, and, in of Christ in virtue and efficacy. They therefore, as much obliged to commemowere then to distribute it to the Chris. rate it, as the first Christians were. tians who attended the holy solemnity, We need the benefits of his redemption : as Christ distributed it to them. Like- as much as they did. It must, therewise, they were to take the cup, and fore, be as much our duty to commemo- t offer it up to God, by prayer, thanks- rate his sacrifice for sin, in the way he giving, and blessing, consecrating it to appointed, as it was theirs; that, receivbe the sacramental blood of Christ-the ing his blessed body and blood in the representative or memorial of his blood, holy communion, we may be made which Christ devoted to God to be shed partakers of all the benefits of his death. for sin- the blood of Christ, in virtue Was there any doubt of this matter, the and efficacy, to all worthy receivers. authority of St. Paul would fully reThey were then to give it to all the move it. As oft as ye eat this bread Christians present, to drink of it in re. and drink this cup, ye do show the membrance, or for a memorial of Christ. Lord's death till he come. Ye do So that all they who received the sa. represent, set forth, exhibit, the Lord's cramental body and blood, i. e. the death, till he come, at the end of the bread and wine, thus blessed and con world, to judge the quick and the dead, secrated, by Christ's authorized minis. according to his most true promise to ter, with true penitence and faith, his apostles : “ If I go and prepare a might, at the same time, receive in a place for you, I will come again and spiritual and mysterious manner, the receive you to myself." life-giving body and blood of Christ, In this sense the early Christians un. i. e. all the benefits of his passion, derstood their Lord's command. And death, and resurrection. This memorial, I say, the apostles

* Or, show ye the Lord's death till he were obliged to make in obedience to show bread--the bread of the presence, or

come. Probably there is an allusion to the their Lord's command. And the Chris. bread of representation, under the economy tians of their time were, of course, of the law; that, as that pointed to the obliged to communicate with them, or true, (not figurative) bread, the bread of their Lord's command could not be ful. God which should come down from heaven filled

to be given for the life of the world, even

Christ Jesus ; so the show bread under the As it appears that the very institu.

gospel, the eucharistick bread and wine, tion of the holy eucharist laid an obli. points to the same Lord Jesus Christ al. gation upon the apostles to administer, ready come. and upon all Christians of their time to

† John xiv. 3.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

so strong a sense had they of their the communion, and to which all others, duty to commemorate their Redeemer's where there is any hope of doing good, love in dying for them, that they never may be referred, is that of unworthiness. assembled for divine worship, but the And it is probable, a sense of their holy eucharist made a principal part deficiencies, and a strong apprehension of the solemnity: nor was it till the of the sin of unworthy receiving, keep love of Christians abated, and their more well disposed people from the faith declined, that the memorial of communion than any other reason. Let Christ's death came to be celebrated such well disposed people consider the only on particular occasions.

danger of disobeying God, as well as Consider these things, and let your the danger of unworthy receiving. By own consciences determine, whether refusing to communicate, they sin your neglect of the holy communion against God's positive law; but by can be justified on any principles of communicating, it is not certain they Christianity or reason? Whenever you would incur the guilt of unworthy recompare your conduct with Christ's ceiving; for with some tender concommand, sure I am, your own bearts sciences, there is more of apprehension must condemn you. Remember then, than reality in the case.

And why "God is greater than your heart, and should any one keep himself in such a knoweth all things."* It is not so state as that he must sin against God, much with me, as with your God, you either by disobeying his positive law, have this matter to settle and did you or by unworthy attendance upon his attend to it, you would make no more ordinance ? Why does he not rather excuses, but immediately prepare your repent of his unworthiness, and amend selves to become worthy guests at God's his life? God is ready to bless his table.

efforts, if they be sincere, and to accept It is to be feared there are some who his penitence. never think enough of the subject to It is to be regretted that the word make excuses about it. To these I damnation is used by our translators, have nothing to say at present. Till in rendering a passage of St. Paul to they come to a better mind, they will the Corinthians ;* for that seems to be give no attention, and till they do, no the occasion of the great terrour of un. reason or persuasion can take any hold worthy receiving. The literal meaning of them. I flatter myself there are few, of the word is judgment, and it is so renI hope bone, among you in so hopeless dered in the margin of our bible; and à condition. Most people intend to had it been in the text, “ He that eat. consider the subject of religion some eth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and time or other, and to make up for all drinketh judgment to himself," it would deficiencies by their after diligence. bave prevented much_uneasiness to The misfortune is, this some time or many pious people. That St. Paul other is long in coming; and there is used the word here to express temporal danger lest it never come at all. Neg- judgments, and not eternal damnation, ligence, and indisposition to reflection, appears from the next verse : “ For and attachment to the world, and the this cause"-on account of this unworlust of sensual pleasure, by continuance thy receiving—“ many are weak and grows stronger, and death closes the sickly among you, and many sleep"scene, before any resolutions of the are dead. He then observes, that the future amendment are carried into ef- way to avoid these judgments was, to

judge ourselves, and amend our lives, The great excuse for not coming to and then “we should not be judged”

.*

fect.

* 1 Joha üi. 20

I Cor. xi. 29.

« PreviousContinue »