Imágenes de páginas

of the moment, procrastination, indolence, and worldly interruptions, will incessantly hinder its operation. Fixed days and hours (portioned with a due regard to all other ministerial claims) should be devoted to it with the same conscientious determination as to pulpit preparations. Our visits should embrace as large a scope of solid instruction as time and opportunity may allow; and we should enter into the spirit of the system with lively and tender interest. An affectionate attention to the young forms a prominent part of this superintendence, both from their connexion with the present encouragement and future prospects of the ministry, and from the successful avenues which are thus opened to the hearts of parents. To win, therefore, their confidence, by frequent communication and by habits of kindness, will open, with little additional labour, a promise of an abundant harvest. It may sometimes be necessary, in this ministry, to avail ourselves of the most correct sources of information relative to our people; though much discretion is required, to avoid the evils of jealousy and suspicion, and to apply to the best use the materials thus furnished to our hand.


"We may further remark, that this system is also most strongly inculcated from the highest authority. Searching and seeking out the sheep, is marked by the Great Shepherd, as the difference between himself and hirelings; against whom the neglect of this pastoral care formed a main article of indictment. Indeed his own ministry was of this character. With his disciples, it was that of the Good Shepherd, who, 'calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.' With the world, it was the constant wakefulness to improve every opportunity, as well of private as of public and general instruction. The ministry of his Apostles was framed after the same pattern. During the three years, that the great Apostle was the resident pastor of a church, he combined pastoral with public instruction. 'He ceased not to warn every one of them night and day with tears; and the testimony of his conscience on this particular, seems to have been his rejoicing under the overwhelming pressure of ministerial responsibility.

* T


"The documents of the early ages furnish abundant testimony to the pastoral work, as a constituent part of the primitive ministry. Ignatius is said to have known almost every individual in his flock. Cyprian frequently gives us his judgment and practice on this subject. Gregory wrote a serious treatise on this department of the ministry. At a later period of the church, Ostervald expresses his surprise, that a Christian minister can satisfy his conscience, without a diligent parochial ministration. The questions and exhortations in our own ordination services are evidently formed upon this model. The episcopal instructions of Taylor, Hort, Burnet, Leighton, Secker, and Wilson, (not to mention other names of more recent date) have solemnly charged it upon our consciences. The obligation of our ordination vow-to 'take heed to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made us overseers evidently implies (as Baxter observes) that each individual member of our charge must be taken heed of, and watched over by us in our ministry. To which end it is supposed necessary, that (unless where absolute necessity forbiddeth it, through the scarcity of pastors, and greatness of the flock) we should know every person that belongeth to our charge.' 'I confess,' (says Bishop Burnet), that this way of




[ocr errors]

parochial visitation is an increase of labour; but that will seem no hard matter to such, as have a right sense of their ordination vows, of the value of souls, and of the dignity of their function. If men had the spirit of their calling in them, and a due measure of flame and heat in carrying it on, labour in it would be rather a pleasure than a trouble.'

"The form of pastoral intercourse may admit of considerable variation, While it may often be wise to combine with ministerial instruction a sympathizing interest in their temporal difficulties, at other times our contact with them should be purely upon spiritual principles. Let them be alone with us in the presence of God. The delicacy and weakness of the early impressions need this intimate intercourse. The awakened inquirer is filled, and often at the same time confounded, with the engrossing novelty and importance of the subject. He wants a guide, a confidential counsellor, a tender and experienced friend. He must be taken aside, and made to feel himself the object of exclusive solicitude. Others again in a hesitating suspense need the filial confidence of pastoral communion to have their convictions cherished, re-touched, deepened, and directed more immediately to the Saviour, as the charm that dispels the allurements, and as the power that breaks the chains, that still hold them to the world The serious, humble, and perplexed need the same pastoral confidence to open their grief, and receive the benefit of ghostly counsel and advice.' In our communication, however, with these confidential cases, the mode of continued address may be most advantageously exchanged for affectionate catechetical inquiry. This is usually found most effectual in eliciting the gradual disclosure of individual perplexities, and thus in obtaining the most valuable materials for accommodating our instruction to their need.


[ocr errors]

"It is also most important, that the communion of a minister with his flock should be equalized-that he should shew himself equally the friend, the father, the minister, of all-'a debtor to the wise and unwise, without preferring one above another, doing nothing by partiality.' He should be to his flock-as the soul to the body-as the head to the members-invigorating every part of the body-the lowest as well as the highest; and contributing to the benefit of every member alike. It is invariably found, that the suspicion of favoritism fosters a spirit of pride in its objects, and of envy in the rest, and therefore is most destructive to the unity and prosperity of the flock. As far as this confidential character is preserved, there will be as little occasion to enforce relative rights and obligations, as to fix the precise boundaries of authority and obedience between man and wife, where the spirit of the marriage relation is maintained.


"This general view of the principles of the pastoral work will show at once its laboriousness, and its importance. To acquaint ourselves with the various wants of our people; to win their affections; to give a seasonable warning, encouragement, instruction, or consolation; to identify ourselves with their spiritual interests, in the temper of Christian sympathy, and under a sense of ministerial obligation; to do this with the constancy, seriousness, and fervid energy which the matter requires is indeed a work of industry, patience, and self-denial. And yet, how else can we make full proof of our ministry, but by ready obedience to the injunction,- watch thou in all things; do the work of an evangelist?'


"If therefore we should sketch (as illustrative of these principles) the portrait of a Christian pastor-it would be that of a parent walking among his children-always at hand-to be found in his own house, or met with among the folds of his flock-encouraging, warning, directing, instructing-as a counsellor, ready to advise as a friend, to aid, sympathize, and console-with the affection of a mother to lift up the weak —with the long-suffering' of a father to 'reprove, rebuke, and exhort.’ Such a one--like Bishop Wilson in the Isle of Man, or Oberlin in the Ban de la Roche-gradually bears down all opposition, really lives in the hearts of his people, and will do more for their temporal and spiritual welfare, than men of the most splendid talents and commanding eloquence."




FORM No. 1.

NAME OF STREET, Castle Gate, visited 24th Jan. 1841.


Thompson, John
Carter, Jane
Woolley, Robert
Smith, Henry
Cartledge, Wm.
Johnson, Henry


[blocks in formation]

Occupation. Children







Occupation. Pop.





No. of Age of youngest
and oldest




FORM No. 2.


ment, or Meeting.







9 mos.
14 yrs.
10 yrs. 18 yrs.
2 yrs.


yr. | 15 yr.
6 mos. 19 yrs.




FORM No. 3.

No. of Attend Attend Place of
Chil- Sunday Day


School School













P. Book.



B. P.
T. P.
none P.
B. P.
B. -
B. P.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


Church B. T.
Indepen T.
Church B. P.

[ocr errors]


Mary to come to S.S
Out of work

His mother, here.
Superintends S. S.
Mary ill.

Test or

P. Book


ment Obser

Tab. 1 vations.


Savings Bank


Can Write







These forms may be varied according to the taste of the clergyman. Several works of this kind have been published, as, "THE PAROCHIAL VISITOR," (No. 2) by Bemrose, Derby; "CLERGYMAN'S PARISH BOOK,” (No. 3) by Rev. C. B. Tayler, Rector of St. Peter's, Chester; "SPECULUM GREGIS," by a Country Curate.


"In the morning sow thy seed."

THE minister, who wishes for the most extensive usefulness, must be particularly attentive to the education and instruction of the young. Innumerable are the passages of Scripture which enjoin this all-important duty, and special promises are annexed to the performance of it. And in no part of his ministerial work does the laborious minister of Jesus Christ sooner reap the fruits of his labour.


"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, ine upon line; here a little, and there a little."-Isa. xxviii. 9, 10.

"The infants' school system," as Mr. Bridges remarks, "under the regulation of Christian discipline and instruction, may be considered as one of the most valuable and successful experiments on the theory of education:" but "unless Christian instruction and discipline be the governing principles of the system of infant education, it must be viewed as a scheme of doubtful expediency; of uncertain prospect of usefulness, or even of probable and overbalancing evil.” *

Remarks on Infants' Schools. ↑

The infant mind is capable of receiving instruction on moral and religious subjects at a very early period. Even in the elements of ordinary learning, children may be easily instructed much earlier than is generally supposed: and as, in a commercial country, they are often put to various employments at a very early period, and are thus too often deprived of proper and needful education, it becomes highly important, and indeed absolutely necessary, to avail ourselves of the capacity of the infant mind, and teach them elementary truths from their earliest years. Unless this be done, such children are in danger of growing up wholly uneducated, and all the evil propensities of their nature unrestrained; while the vicious habits acquired from the example of parents will be confirmed, and grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength.

It is true that parents are the proper and natural instructors of children; and they have advantages of an obvious and important nature for discharging this duty. Were such parents enlightened and religious characters, all interference with their peculiar and paramount obligations

* Christian Ministry, p. 537. 541.

+ Twenty-fourth annual Report of the Schools in Circus street, Liverpool.


would be manifestly impertinent intrusion. But parents in the lower walks of life are, to a lamentable extent, neither wise nor pious; but live in the neglect of every sacred obligation, and in the practice of the grossest vices. They may not directly and deliberately wish their children should imitate them in these particulars; but their example is far more powerful than any occasional advice or correction which their children receive: so that, if no one interfere on their behalf, these poor children will grow up in habits of lying, swearing, and theft, and familiar with drunkenness, gluttony, and the grossest vice. Thus unenlightened in religious truth, ignorant of moral obligations, and accustomed to the most shocking immorality, what can be expected, but that these wretched children of sin and misery will resemble the character of their parents in its worst features, and propagate the same vices in their own offspring? and thus misery, guilt, and crime will descend, with accumulated virulence, to the latest ages.

There are, indeed, happily, in our day many schools for the instruction of poor children; and on the Lord's day, a great many, who are unable to attend throughout the week, receive the instruction offered by our Sunday-schools; but most of these are adapted to children of more advanced age; and in a very great number of instances, the children of the poor are deprived of the advantages either of Day or of Sabbathschools, by the necessity the parents are under of putting them out to some employment that will contribute to their support. There wants, therefore, some plan for teaching those infants whose age and circumstances would prevent their admission into such institutions. But even if children do finally obtain admission into Day and Sunday-schools, this consideration does not do away with the necessity of preparing them fully to profit by these advantages, and, if possible, of preventing the formation of vicious habits, or of nipping them in the bud.

These views and impressions have led many respectable individuals to think of schools for infants; and experiments have been made, in London and elsewhere, with the happiest effects, on the possibility of teaching them the most important truths, and of forming them to the most beneficial habits.

The most formidable objections may, indeed, present themselves to the minds of those who think only of the tender age, the inattentive minds, and unsteady character of little children, without having seen the system in active operation, or having observed its beneficial results. The difficulty and danger of bringing them to school, the difficulty of managing them while there, the little hope we can have of arresting their attention and enlightening their minds, will all suggest themselves as insurmountable obstacles.

But the actual operation of the plan is found to be easy and efficacious; for parents are often desirous of being freed from the care of their infant children for a part of the day, while they attend to domestic duties, or earn something in laborious engagements. The school is usually in a central situation; elder children are often coming to the same or to neighbouring schools; and often the neighbours agree in alternately conducting all the children of the neighbourhood to and from the school.

It is true, that in the school, the same degree of order cannot be

« AnteriorContinuar »