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2. And, ye Parents and Guardians, take heed that your children and wards may become, not only virtuous, but religious. What the Schools of the Prophets were of old to men, Sabbath Schools are now to children. In the former, ministers were taught, and in the latter, children learn, the mysteries of godliness. Sabbath Schools, those heaven-suggested assemblies, those miniature ministries, are designed as helpmeets to the instructions of the parent, the guardian, and the minister. Preaching is to reform souls from sin; sabbath schools to fortify them against sinning. Preaching is addressed to habits already formed, and difficult to be changed; sabbath schools endeavour to mould the habits as they appear, and while they are easily turned. Here are instilled into the tender minds of children the divine precepts of the gospel. Here they are prepared for a life of virtue and piety; and have the religious admonitions of home strengthened and extended. In youth, the memory is tenacious of its impressions. How behooving then, that these impressions be good. Here the attention of children is excited by the hour, the place, the teachers, and the large number of their own age engaged in the same studies. Here no one can interrupt, nor be interrupted. Besides, if sabbath schools do no positive good, they prevent much evil, which is in fact doing much good. Many children will not attend church, unless led thither by their teachers; but will profane the sabbath by mischievous idleness, and training about the streets. Upon mothers therefore, who are tenderly alive to the happiness of their offspring, and upon whom their religious education so mainly devolves, is the value of sabbath schools particularly urged. They are important also to parents, who regard their own future comfort. When in years, or feeble and sick, they will need the succour and consolation of obedient, grateful children. Are not children more likely to be such, when early imbued with religious instruction? And how like a dagger in their bosoms, if their children prove thankless and corrupt, through their unnatural neglect. For, we ask with pain, even if parents and guardians are qualified to instruct at home, do they always do it? And if willing, are not they, and their little ones, liable to be called away,
or disturbed by company? But the utility of sabbath schools is, we allow, of primary, and indeed inestimable application, to those children, who are left uncultured at home, to grow up, like noxious weeds, and poison all
3. And, ye Teachers, be not weary in well-doing, for in due time ye shall reap, if ye There is no faint not. way, perhaps, in which females, especially, can do so much for religion, as by becoming teachers in sabbath schools. They are forbidden to preach; but by the examples of Lois, and Eunice, and Priscilla, and others, they are encouraged to render private instruction. And though, what you do, the children know not fully now, yet shall they know hereafter. And even the teachers themselves, and many parents at home, have been led into serious reflection, by the exercises at school, and the visible change wrought upon the children. It is to the honour of the female sex, that so many have come forward in this heavenly duty. They are fitted by nature for it, and the cause may be safely committed into their hands. Go on, ye Teachers, in the good work. Like Tryphena, and Tryphosa, go on, and labour in the Lord. In my soul, I bid you, God speed. You give your time, which is more precious than money; but you give it for souls, which are more precious than time. You will find a reward in your own bosoms. Continue to sow in hope. You may gather the fruit in another world. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. Inasmuch delightful words inasmuch as thou didst it unto the least of these, thou didst it unto me. Go on then, ye Christian Pioneers, both male and female, and be numbered among those, who have turned many to righteousness.
4. And now, in parting, I turn once more unto you, ye Children. I have told you that, while young, you must please your parents; that you must love your school; that you must study your bibles; and that you must cherish personal religion. I have told you, what you must do, and what you must not do. And now, as you increase in stature, may you increase in favour with
God and man. May you be spotless as the snows, pure as the dews, of heaven. May it be said of you, Many sons and daughters have done virtuously, but ye have excelled them all. May you live long, to gladden the declining years of your parents; and, at last, rise on angels' wings into undying glory. Farewell now, ye Children, who have hearkened unto me: I have endeavoured to teach you the fear of the Lord.
SHORTNESS OF TIME.
1 Cor. vii, 29.
BRETHREN, THE TIME IS SHORT.
THIS concise, but emphatic, and solemn declaration of the faithful preacher Paul to his brethren, remains, as applied to us, equally true; and may lead us to ponder a while upon the obvious, but unheeded truth, that the time of man on earth is short; and suggest the wisdom, therefore, of devoting it to Virtue and Religion.
I. THE TIME OF MAN ON EARTH IS SHORT.
All History, and all Nature, are a solemn paraphrase on this truth. This World has ever been a World of Graves. Where now are they, who built those vast cities of old, Babylon and Nineveh? Where are they, who reared that Tower, whose top might reach unto heaven ? Where are they, who since founded those stupendous piles on the plains of Egypt, that threaten to outbrave time? Their bodies crumbled into dust; their souls gone to Judgment. The Antediluvians, they lived several hundreds of ages; but the close of their story is -they died. The wide surface of the earth is hallowed with mortal ashes. The ships of the ocean sail over floating corpses. The miner turns up human bones with his mattock. In every town, we note a grave-yard. Each weekly paper has its square for the dead. Our carriages are sometimes turned out of the way by the slowly-coming hearse. Day after day, the tolling bell tells of a passed, or a passing soul.
In the Book of Providence, and the Book of Inspiration, the Ancient of Days warneth us, that the time of man on earth is short; and yet we regard it not. One of the three things never satisfied is the grave. We often seek the living among the dead. Man lieth down, and riseth not, till the heavens be no more; they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. Both the seasons, and the reasons, of our deaths, are secret. Each hour has its changes, which we call chances; for we look not beyond the visible effect, to the invisible Cause. When they shall say, Peace and Safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them; they shall not escape in all the plain. To the infant in the cradle, that has just begun to distinguish its mother by her smiles; to the youth, who boasts of the vigour of health, and the pride of strength; to the man of middle life, whose natural energies are yet unabated, but who hath gray hairs here and there upon him, yet knoweth it not; time is but a reprieve from the sentence of death. To the man of feeble knees, and quivering voice, who hath passed his allotted term; time is nothing at all he is already dying. Surely, every man walketh in a vain show; he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. Go to now, ye that say, to-day, or to-morrow, we will go into such a city, and continue there a year; and buy, and sell, and get gain; whereas, ye know not what shall be on the morrow. Death, says the proverb, stands behind the back of a young man, but before the face of an old man. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. Each year, God hands to his grim messenger the long black-sealed roll, of those marked out to die. He saith, Go, take that good man away from the evil to come. Go, cut down that aged sinner, who cumbers the ground. Death walks near each of our doors, and overpasses those only, whom the angel of mercy has reprieved for one term longer of