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THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
The Sunday school has sometimes been ealle<l the nursery of the Church. The im pression which this term conveys to the miiuls of many people is that it is for the purpose of taking care of the little children and re lieving the mother of some of the duties which she owes her children. We once knew a god ly superintendent, who never seemed to real ize that there were any except very young children in his school, although he himself taught a large Bible class of men. In his prayers he prayed only for "the little chil dren"; and, in referring to the collection, ho always reminded the school that each one must be sure to bring his "pennies." It may be a good thing to relieve the tired mothers of the care of their children for an hour and a half 011 Sunday morning. But, if that is the object of the Sunday school, it is not entitled to its existence. Another meaning has been given to the term nursery, as though the figure was taken from the business of raising trees, shrubs and vines, which are to be transplanted into the orchard. The Sunday sehool ought to be a place in which the young are trained in the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be brought to accept him as their Saviour. It has done a great work in this direction, for in almost all churches the larger proportion of their mem bership comes from the Sunday schools. In both of these eases there is the feeling that the Sunday sehool is for the young. A far better definition is that which says that "the Sunday school is the Church studying the word of God." This means that every one is eligible to membership and needs to be in this school. No one has ever graduated or can ever grad uate from the study of the Bibie. The modern Sunday school idea presents This plan very clearly. It provides for all ages and all classes in its membership. Babies that are too young to attend are put upon t he eradle roll, which links them to the school from the very beginning of their lives. Those of all ages who can attend the school will find suitable places as scholars or teachers. The business man who has to be away from home, the mother whose household duties keep her at home, the invalid who must be a "shut in" can each belong to the Home Department and share in the study of God's word. Individual study of the Bible, and the home teaching of the children, are valuable and very important, but there ought to go along with these the study with others. Because of its importance every member of the church ought to make an earnest effort to see that everything possible is done to make the Sunday sehool a success. Every member of the church, and especially every parent, who can possibly do so, ought to attend Sun day school regularly and punctually. Where possible parents ought to go with their chil dren. But, whether they do this or not, they ought to see that their children attend regu larly and promptly, and that they go with well prepared lessons. At least as much atten tion should be given to these matters in con nection with the Sunday sehool as with the day school. THE MINISTER, A SPIRITUAL LEADER. There is a strong and striking tendency to day to widen the field of the pastor. Some churches, in looking about for a pastor, insist 011 his being a man of affairs, an executive, and no higher qualification than this is found in their eyes. We wonder if the Church is not making its greatest mistake just here. And by demand ing this in the minister, pushing our men out into secular work? Recently a young minister, graduate of one of our theological seminaries, came to the writer and asked if he would use his influence with the authorities of the Y. M. C. A. so that ho could have spiritual work to do, instead of acting as Social Secretary. The Church seems to value the social side of a minister's life as of more value than the spiritual. It is remarkable that in a world of disorder our Master said to his apostles, "Co teach all nations, etc." And even in so agreeable a business as re lieving the necessities of the widows and pov erty-stricken people of the Jerusalem Church, the apostles saw the datiger to the Church of becoming its executive heads. So they com manded the Church, by the Holy Spirit, that they choose out seven men who should be over this business, while they gave themselves to their proper, spiritual work. Our Church made a beginning last March in committing, in the main, the "drive" for be nevolences to laymen. Pity it was not turned over in its entirety to them. Let us note some of the disadvantages of turning the pastor into a man of all trades. His time and energy is consumed on things of a material nature largely. Every man has only a given amount of energy. Consume it on one thing, it is absent from another. lie cannot give the same zeal to all. Even if he could the spiritual nature of his work demands his all. No one man can do the work of the dea con, Sunday school superintendent, janitor, agent for the various causes, and have a great amount of energy for spiritual study and teach ing. There is something almost antagonistic be tween the temporal and spiritual affairs of the kingdom. Each clamors for all a minister has. Each tries to push the other out, and the tem poral has the advantage. So it often happens that the really great spiritual preachers are not business men ? not executives. The minister is open to and often overcome by the temptation to put time and soul-power on temporal things. They are more easily done, they command more attention, they win the favor of the people. When a minister begins to plume himself on being a good business man, he begins to lose spiritual power. Hut for the average minister, the work is not as well done as might he by a wide-awake layman. His education has not been along these lines and he cannot overcome the inertia of his life. The most serious damage is to the Church, by allowing the deacons to fail in their duties ? to put off the work upon the minister. The Church will soon lose its responsibility for doing its duty, and become atrophied in all its Christian work. The apostles did a wise thing for the Church when they called on the Church to do this work of relieving the need; and immediately there followed a great revival in the Church. Our Synods and Presbyteries have become mere business affairs in which the elders even take very little part. We ought to draw a sharp line between the spiritual and the temporal, and the pastor ought to stay on his side, and if the Church fails to do its part, then do not say: "Oh! he was a good preacher, but he could not raise money for the causes nor get his people to work; so his ministry was a failure"; when the fact was, the Church shoved all this work on the overburdened shoulders of the pastor, and of course he cotdd not do it. Let the Church realize that its failure is not due to the pastor, but to its mistaken notion about the duty and work of its spiritual leader. Let the minister stand to his God-given work of spiritual leadership and teaching; and put the other on the proper shoulders. A. A. L. Contributed THE RULING ELDERS TO THE RESCUE. By Judge John Newton Lyle. As an object of pity the ruling elder looms high. He has been reduced to the ranks. The Scriptures and standards of his Church crowned him a bishop. The teaching elders and the congregations have made him a lay man. F or, as to bishoping, the former con siders himself the whole cheese, whilst the lat ter, stall-fed on powerful sermons, won't tol erate him as a teacher. In an obituary notice of a member of his session, a Texas pastor recently spoke of the deceased brother as a consecrated and devout "layman." That is the teaching elder's notion of his position. The people view him as a waiting boy to hand them the elements on communion occasions. As to his preaching to them, or offering to function as a ruler over them, they would spurn (fairly spit on) the proposition. The result is they are cowed, hacked like whipped fighting cocks, and act as poor boys at a frolic. The reports of the last meetings of the church courts show that those bodies ignore and set them aside. Yet they make up one-half of any church court. When look ing for workers to supply the place of pastors called as chaplains, their cry was for conse crated "laymen," completely ignoring the lhousands of "ordained" workers already in the Church. Boys, I feel sorry for you. Have been one of you for forty-three years, and know how it is myself. Am now a W. C., but must say you are much to blame for the sad plight in which you find yourselves. You have loved case more than work, and have not done your duty. It was pleasant to lie back and let the pastor do all the teaching and pastoral work. The Rev. Dr. John S. Grasty, when pastor of the First church, Austin, Texas, away back in 1875, was complaining to us of the session for not doing pastoral visiting. Our clerk of ses sion, a fine old Southern gentleman, humorous ly replied: "Doctor, that's what we pay you to do. Why should a man keep a dog and do his own barking?" That was said in jest, but it speaks a feeling, deep down in the hearts of some. You might word it thus: The pastor gets all the pay, let him do all the pastoral work. Brethren, get a move on yourselves. The Church needs you. It is reported that five hundred and forty of our pulpits are already vacant, and no preachers to fill them. No pulpit should be empty as long as there is an cider over the congregation. Let the elders of pastorless churches do their duty. Assemble their congregations every Sabbath. If you can't preach, you can read a sermon. The faithful of your flocks will stand by you. It is your sworn duty to keep the light shining. The thoughts you do 'not speak shine out in your cheeks and eyes. My business is not to remake myself, But to make the absolute best of what God made. ? Robert Brpwning.