Imatges de pÓgina

as something real, just as you speak of the interests of this life. Do not speak, as if you were repeating words received from tradition, but as if you were talking of things, which you have seen and known. Nothing attracts old and young more than a tone of reality, the natural tone of strong conviction. Speak to them of God as a real being, of heaven as a real state, of duty as a real obligation. Let them see, that you regard Christianity as intended to bear on real and common life, that you expect every principle which you teach to be acted out, to be made a rule in the concerns of every day. Show the application of Christianity to the familiar scenes and pursuits of life. Bring it out to them as the Great Reality. So teach, and you will not teach in vain.

I have thus set before you the principles on which Sunday schools should rest, and by which they should be guided. If they shall, in any degree, conform to these principles, and I trust they will, you cannot, my friends, cherish them with too much care. Their purpose cannot be spoken of too strongly. Their end is, the moral and religious education of the young, and this is the most pressing concern of our times. In all times, indeed, it has strong claims; but it was never, perhaps, so important as now, and never could its neglect induce such fearful consequences. The present is a season of great peril to the rising generation. It is distinguished by a remarkable development of human power, activity, and freedom. The progress of science has given men a new control of nature, and in this way has opened new sources of wealth and mul

tiplied the means of indulgence, and in an equal degree multiplied temptations to worldliness, cupidity, and crime. Our times are still more distinguished by the spirit of liberty and innovation. Old institutions and usages, the old restraints on the young, have been broken down. Men of all conditions and ages, think, speak, write, act, with a freedom unknown before. Our times have their advantages. But we must not hide from ourselves our true position. This increase of power and freedom, of which I have spoken, tends, in the first instance, to unsettle moral principles, to give to men's minds a restlessness, a want of stability, a wildness of opinion, an extravagance of desire, a bold, rash, reckless spirit. These are times of great moral danger. Outward restraints are removed to an unprecedented degree; and, consequently, there is a need of inward restraint, of the controlling power of a pure religion, beyond what was ever known before. The principles of the young are exposed to fearful assaults, and they need to be fortified with peculiar care. Temptations throng on the rising generation with new violence, and the power to withstand them must be proportionably increased. Society never needed such zealous efforts, such unslumbering watchfulness for its safety, as at this moment; and without faithfulness on the part of parents and good men, its bright prospects may be turned into gloom.

Sunday schools belong to this period of society. They grow naturally from the extension of knowledge, in consequence of which more are qualified to teach than in

former times, and they are suited to prepare the young for the severe trials which await them in life. As such, let them be cherished. The great question for parents to ask is, how they may strengthen their children against temptation, how they can implant into them puinciples of duty, purposes of virtue, which will withstand all storms, and which will grow up into all that is generous, just, beautiful, and holy, in feeling and action. The question, how your children may prosper most in life, should be secondary. Give them force of character, and you will give them more than a fortune. Give them pure and lofty principles, and you will give them more than thrones. Instil into them Christian benevolence and the love of God, and you enrich them more than by laying worlds at their feet. Sunday schools are meant to aid you in the great work of forming your children to true excellence. I say they are meant to aid you, not to relieve you from the work, not to be your substitute, not to diminish domestic watchfulness and teaching, but to concur with you, to give you fellowlaborers, to strengthen your influence over your children. Then give these schools your hearty support, without which they cannot prosper. You indeed sustain interesting relations to society, but your great relation is to your children; and in truth you cannot discharge your obligations to society by any service so effectual, as by training up for it enlightened and worthy members in the bosom of the family and the church.

Like all schools, the Sunday school must owe its influence to its teachers. I would, therefore, close this discourse

with saying, that the most gifted in our congregation cannot find a worthier field of labor than the Sunday school. The noblest work on earth is to act with an elevating power on a human spirit. The greatest men of past times have not been politicians or warriors, who have influenced the outward policy or grandeur of kingdoms; but men, who, by their deep wisdom and generous sentiments, have given light and life to the minds and hearts of their own age, and left a legacy of truth and virtue to prosperity. Whoever, in the humblest sphere, imparts God's truth to one human spirit, partakes their glory. He labors on an immortal nature. He is laying the foundation of imperishable excellence and happiness. His work, if he succeed, will outlive empires and the stars.



When o'er the mountains rose the orb of day,
And spread o'er vale and plain his cheering ray,
How swell'd the human bosom with delight,
As the rich landscapes burst upon the sight!
The ripening harvest waved in golden pride,
And clustering vineyards clothed the hillock's side;
Whence rose the song which lighten'd labour's toil,
As bow'd the swain beneath the luscious spoil;
Where the fair valley spread her bosom green,
What varied forms of busy life were seen!

There toil'd the hind, the hunter led the chase,
Or the bold warrior moved with martial grace;
Whilst blooming beauty cull'd the opening flower,
Or led the dance through pleasure's roseate bower;
Then, half-conceal'd beneath the cedar's shade,
The humble dwelling its white walls display'd;
Or the proud city's loftier domes arise,

Where pomp and grandeur caught th' admiring eyes.
Fair was the scene! but guilt and pain were there;
The tyrant master, and the slave's despair;
The haughty brow, that heaven's just God defied,
The lust of pleasure, and the rage of pride;

There, from their bowls, the midnight revellers reel ;
There the fell murderer grasps the reeking steel:
By rapine led, the plunderers track their way,
Through waste and slaughter, to their hapless prey;
Whilst age and infancy lament in vain,

Or bleed, the victims of the impious train.

Mustering his wrath, awhile his anger stay'd; Till full their cup, the Lord of Heaven delay'd To pour his vengeance; as the whirlwind sleeps, Ere o'er the main with furious blast it sweeps, Then burst at once, on earth's astonished train, The raging tempest and tremendous rain; Whilst pealing thunders heaven's vast concave rend, And, struck by lightning, rolling rocks descend; High heaves the ocean's bed-the o'erwhelming tide Rushes against the mountain's yielding side; 'Tis vain for succour to those hills to fly, For now not e'en their loftiest tops are dry; Beast, man, and city, share one common grave, And calm above them rolls the avenging wave; Whilst yon dark speck, slow floating, now contains, Of beast or human life the sole remains.

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