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tion of their children to others, and these generally young persons, but also the solemn work of praying for them? That parents who can afford to do it should contribute most liberally to support Sunday schools, the rich benefits of which their children are constantly receiving, is a most manifest duty. But surely there is a great deficiency here, or else this valuable institution would be a hundred fold more amply supported. And we are decidedly of the opinion that every parent who has health, and is not prevented by domestic duties, should enter the Sunday school as a teacher, if he is at all capable. And if he is not capable, he ought to go to work to render himself capable as speedily as possible ; for he is certainly not capable of performing the duties of a parent, if he is incapable of teaching a class in a Sabbath school. Parents ought to make the very best teachers, inasmuch as they have had opportunities of acquiring much experience. It was long ago thought that “ days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” We rejoice indeed that a change is taking place in this respect, and that some parents of great respectability and affluence in our cities, and even judges and legislators are now to be found as teachers and superintendents in Sabbath schools. May this noble example be universally imitated!
3. The duties of ministers of the Gospel. We believe it to be the duty of every pastor to become the patron and general superintendent of the Sunday schools in his congregation; to visit them in succession; to spend much of his time in this work; to take measures to have a Sunday school established wherever there is none, if it be at all practicable to accomplish it; to induce suitable persons to become teachers, and to instruct and prepare them for their work ; to examine frequently all the scholars assembled in the church, and thus display to parents the progress of the children and the importance of the institution; to see that suitable books are selected for the libraries; to attend the monthly concert for Sunday schools, and enjoin it upon parents as well as teachers to be there; to study the utmost simplicity in his manner of exhibiting the truth to juvenile minds ;-a point in which ministers greatly fail, and sinfully so, because it is a defect which every one can overcome, if he is determined to do it. In a word, we could hardly express our views better than by holding up the example of
faithful ministerial labour in Sunday schools which we presented in another part of this article. We cannot conceive how a minister, who does not preach in more than one place on a Sabbath, could do more for the cause of Christ, than by spending the afternoon of the Sabbath in promoting Sunday schools throughout his parish, and even beyond it, if it interfere with no other labourer in the vineyard. To be training up several hundred youth in the knowledge of the Scriptures is a great work. Ministers have devoted an undue proportion of their labour to those that are grown up; whilst the young, by far the most hopeful part of their congregations, have been almost wholly neglected. It has been justly said, that there is reason to believe that the amazing want of success in the use of the divinely appointed means of saving men, has been owing in part to the fact, that we commence our efforts to lead mankind into the paths of holiness at a period of life too late by ten or fifteen years. There has been, and still is, too little instruction of the youth.
And is it not the appropriate work of ministers to promote Sunday schools? Do not all expect it of them? Does it not coincide exactly with their occupation and business? And would it not often open a way for them into the houses and affections of those (for there are such within the bounds of every congregation) who seldom attend the preaching of the Gospel ? What would be the effect of a minister's spending much of his time in bis Sunday schools, talking kindly and faithfully to his dear children, encouraging the timid, leading the inquiring to Jesus? Would it not be of the most desirable kind? A Sunday scholar becomes sick; the pastor hears of it, and kindly visits the little sufferer, talks to him of the love of Jesus, exhorts him to put his trust in Him, prays with him and his afllicted parents, soothes his fears, assists him in preparing to die, sustains his feeble head in the last agonies of failing nature, and closes his fixed, and now sightless, eyes. Oh! will not such kindness open the heart, however long and fast it may have been closed by prejudice, and furnish the opportunity, long desired by the faithful minister, of doing good to the souls of a whole family which had hitherto been without the pale of his influence?
God commands his pastors to care for the lambs of his flock. Our blessed Lord whilst upon the earth did neither despise nor forget them. He tenderly took them into his arms and blessed them. It had been predicted of him, that “ He would carry the lambs in his bosom.” And it was one
of his last commands, addressed to one of the most distinguished of his apostles, “ Feed my lambs.” Oh! how blessed will be the lot of that faithful Shepherd who has been the means of saving many of the precious lambs of his flock ! Who will be able to say, at the coming of the Great Shepherd, “Behold I, and the children which God hath given
But how awful will be the condemnation of that unfaithful pastor who now permits the lambs to wander from the fold, on the dark mountains of sin, to become a prey to ravenous wolves ever ready to devour!
This cursory view of the history of Sabbath schools, their importance, and the operations of the American S. S. Union, we design as an introduction to our future labours in this department. Our readers may expect often to find in the succeeding numbers of the Repertory brief reviews of books prepared for the instruction of our youth, and especially such as are written for Sabbath schools.
REMARKS ON A CERTAIN EXTREME IN PURSU
ING THE TEMPERANCE CAUSE.
Every friend of religion, of good morals, and of human happiness must, undoubtedly, have rejoiced to witness the recent triumphs of the Temperance cause. The formation of Temperance Societies in every part of our country, and the zeal manifested by many of these associations in enlightening the public mind, in overcoming prejudices, and in rescuing to all appearance multitudes of the young and the old from the jaws of that monster which is daily swallowing up thousands ;-cannot be contemplated by any benevolent man without heartfelt pleasure; without cordial thankfulness to that God who has put it into the heart of his people to take these measures, and who has been pleased thus far to crown them with an abundant blessing:
It is also the firm opinion of the writer of this article, that
the plan upon which all Temperance Societies ought to be formed—the only wise and efficient plan, is that of total abslinence from ardent spirits, unless when prescribed by a physician as a medicine; and a physician, too, who is not himself a tippler. The idea of parleying or treating with such an insidious enemy is as hopeless as it is criminal.
He keeps no faith with his votaries. There is every reason to adopt with decision the opinion of the venerable and eloquent Dr Dwight, that he who habitually drinks any portion of ardent spirits, however small, ought to deem himself, and to be regarded by others, as in the high road to intemperance, and as in real danger of coming to that deplorable result. Indeed it is delightful to perceive that the public mind is more and more approximating to the conclusion—undoubtedly the correct conclusion—that for persons in health, of all ages-WATER is the only proper drink: the most healthful, the most strengthening, and in every respect the most salutary drink. Our children ought to be trained up in this habit, both by example and precept; and no one who wishes to live out all his days, and to make the most both of his mind and body, ought ever to allow himself in any other habit. There can be no mistake about this matter. That all stimulants, in proportion to their concentrated power, consume the vital principle, and thus undermine the physical strength, is just as demonstrable as any proposition in mathematics. The only wonder is, that enlightened and thinking people should have been so extremely slow in coming to a conclusion which ought, centuries ago, to have been universally admitted and acted on. And here, Messrs Editors, I cannot help expressing my gratitude to the “ American Temperance Society,” for taking the lead in this business, and for a large amount of benefit which that Institution and its numerous auxiliaries have been the means of conferring on our nation and the world. When I reflect on what has been done, in the course of two or three years, to inform and influence the minds of the American population on this subject, I am filled with wonder, and am constrained to exclaim, What hath God wrought!
That there is a special call for these voluntary efforts in our own country, seems to be generally granted. If we were inhabitants of France, of Spain, or of some other countries, where, however enormously prevalent other forms of
vice may be, intemperate drinking is comparatively rare; I should not feel that we were called upon to make any such special efforts. But here the appalling predominance of the evil certainly demands a peculiar system of measures. But it is of the utmost importance that our course of proceeding be cautiously devised, and such as, in all its stages, will command the approbation of our wisest and best citizens. The intemperate and infidel part of the community will rejoice to see us doing any thing calculated to produce distraction and division among ourselves.
Now nothing appears to me more fitted to retard the progress, and to discredit the character of this great cause, than adopting, with the honest design of promoting it, such rash and extreme measures as cannot fail io shake the confidence of many in our general system ; totally to alienate others; and, in the end, to produce a serious counteraction, which may prove deeply injurious, if not finally destructive, to the great plans which we are pursuing. It is by no means a new thing under the sun, that indiscreet, rash, and extravagant friends should do more to injure the cause which they advocate, than the most determined open enemies.
These remarks have been prompted by the intelligence, received through various channels of religious information, that a number of churches in New England and some within the bounds of the Presbyterian church, have adopted the pledge of total abstinence from ardent spirits, unless when prescribed as a medicine, by a physician, as a term of christian communion. So that, from this time, no one shall be admitted to membership in their respective churches, unless he will give this pledge. I observe, also, a notice in the public prints, that a benevolent individual has offered a premium of $250, for the best Tract, to be devoted no doubt to the support of the same system of measures. I must say, that I have read these statements with deep regret, and with no little apprehension that, if they be correctof which I fear there can be no question—the consequences can scarcely fail to be unhappy.
I am altogether at a loss to know on what authority it is, that the pledge in question can be required as a term of christian communion. We are accustomed to believe and say, that as the church is Christ's property, and governed by Christ's laws, it is not consistent with our allegiance to him, to “ teach for doctrines the commandments of men,” or to