• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Title Page
 Preface
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV






Group Title: three children, or, An illustration of the benefits of Sabbath schools
Title: The three children, or, An illustration of the benefits of Sabbath schools
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 Material Information
Title: The three children, or, An illustration of the benefits of Sabbath schools
Alternate Title: Illustration of the benefits of Sabbath schools
Physical Description: 36 p. : ; 14 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Travelling preacher
Methodist Episcopal Church -- Sunday School Union
Carlton & Phillips ( Publisher )
Publisher: Carlton & Phillips
Place of Publication: New-York
Publication Date: 1854
 Subjects
Subject: Sunday schools -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1854
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by a Travelling preacher ; written for the Sunday-school Union of the Mehodist Episcopal Church.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00003559
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238524
oclc - 46466296
notis - ALH9040
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Preface
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Chapter II
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Chapter III
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Chapter IV
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
Full Text



THE


THREE


CHILDREN


OB,


AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE BENEFITS
OF SABBATH SCHOOLS.



WRBIFN ORE THM BUNDAQY-80JIOOL1 UNION OF THB 3METODIST
AWTSCOPAL eOfUEOlw



BY A TRAVELLTITG PREACHER.







NtmewSork:
PUBLISHED BY CARLTO-N'& PHILLIPS.
SUNDAM-SCHOOL UTNON, 20 MULBEBRR-STREET.
1854








PREFACE.


Tis little work is solely designed to pro-
mote the interests of Sabbath schools. It sim-
ply presents a few facts to the reader, on the
truth of which he may confidently rely. The
author has long been of the opinion that it is
radically.wrong to fill Sabbath-school libraries
with works of fiction'; as they tend to mislead
the youthful reader, and induce a false taste,
which will hereafter be a bar to his reading
other more important books. True, the style
of such works may be tender, and therefore
attracting. But should this be the only excel-
lence of books put in the hands of children ? If
they do not now know their real character,
they will hereafter; and will it not tend there-
fore to weaken their faith in true histories, and
induce doubts as to the faithfulness of every-
thing they read, Scripture incident not ex-
cepted?
No fraud should be used with children All
done for them should be with simplicity, plain-
ness, and truth. And the author is of W
that if ministers were to use a little WS9






4 PBfPFAC.B
diligence withal, facts might be collected suff.i
cieat to supply all our wants for Sabbath school
p'ir- oses.
The facts herein recorded have rested on my
i.find for some time. I have related them fre.
quently at Sabbath school meetings, and now,
at the suggestion of several friends, they are
presented to the public in another and more
lasting form. If they shall add any interest to
Sabbath schools my object is fully attained in
their publication.
I have studiously avoided naming persons or
places, as the occurrences are recent, and per.
sons interested now living, that none may be
elated or offended, and the work be the more
general, and therefore the more useful.
TLE AuTBOB.







THE THREE CHILDREN.


CHAPTER I.
SKETCHES of the lives anid doings of great
men who have filled posts of distinction, either
in the civil or religious world, are always more
or less useful. They not only preserve from
decay and entire loss the memory of those who
certainly should not be forgotten, but serve also
to stimulate those who follow after to imitate
them in laudable distinction. For this reason,
perhaps more than any other, biographical
studies are always particularly useful to the
young. And what is a happy circumstance,
studies in this department of knowledge fail not
to be more interesting and pleasing than in anv
other. The youth here needs but little urging
to duty, but is drawn forward in the narrative
by a desire of ascertaining the termination of
a career which to him seems already so full of
marvellous incident. These sentiments are
deemed perfectly accordant to experience.
But while our libraries abound with histories
of the great, who have, by their goodness or
wisdom, attracted the general attention, why
is it that the numerous examples of pious chil-
dren, who have distinguished themselves by
their early attainments, are in a great measure
left unrecorded, and therefore totally forgotten






THE TB R EE CHXb IL RN.


in a few short years, to be of service to none
The Sabbath school library should abound with
little volumes containing such histories.
It is hoped that this small volume, selected
from the diary of a travelling preacher, as it
contains nothing but substantial facts, as they
passed under his own observation, will find a
place in every Sunday school library, and a care-
ful reader in every child composing the school.
The scene of my labours as a Gospel minister
in 1824 was in the lower counties of New-Jer-
sey. Young and inexperienced in such a call-
ing, I was aware that my services- in the pulpit
could not compare with others who possessed
the advantage of many more years ofexperience,
the effect of which fails not to tell in the use-
fulness of those who make it their business to
improve time and mark transpiring events.
And surely none will say that I misjudged my
course when I determined in some small degree
to make amends for this deficiency by labour-
ing for the good of my people in another way.
Sabbath schools, at that time, in that section of
country, were but in their infant state. But
few took that decided interest in them which
was needed to gain them a perfect establish.
ment. As might be expected, schools were few
and far between, and these had a mere exist-
ence : indebted for even that to a few who
were both teachers and sole supporters. To
these schools, and the children generally on the
circuit, I determined to render every possible
attention; believing then, and so have con-






THB THREE CHILDRENN.


tinued to believe since, that, pressed as he is
with other important duties, the minister pays
too little regard to children. Perhaps the
apology rendered for neglecting this most im-
portant class of our charge, in addition-to the one
above alluded to may be, they are neglected by
their parents;. they are too young to receive
much advantage -from our attentions; and
withal so volatile, and occupied with childish
amusements, it is hard to attract them.
To this we may answer, that they are im-
mortal beings for whom the Saviour showed a
deep regard, and if their parents are careless
of their spiritual good, surely there is the more
need that we should use efforts to supply their
lack : and their having lively dispositioils is the
very circumstance on which we should fix at-
tention, to make their very amusements turn to
their advantage. This is the principle on
which the infant schooLsystem proceeds.
But to return to my narrative. The old
system of tickets and rewards was then in use,
as none knew any better plan. A school library,
in that section at least, was then unheard of:
the present improvements in the mode of in.
struction were then altogether unknown : the
chief business of the child was to commit, and
that of the teacher to hear him recite on Sab-
bath what he had committed during the week.
To encourage the children in their duties, (as
I had no time on Sabbath,) I made it my busi-
ness to hear them recite their lessons on Satur-
day afternoon. On one of these occasions, a






TU TWRBE CHILDREN.


little boy, whose name was John, particularly
took my attention by general good behaviour,
diligence, and remarkable strength of recollec-
tion. The New Testament was his only book
of study. After I had taken my seat in the
school, and was prepared to hear recitations,
this little boy approached me, his book open in
his hand, which he .carefully placed on my
knee, stating that he should begin at the first
chapter of John. He then proceeded in his
recitations, chapter after chapter, in a manly
tone of voice, with a correctness and ease fully
indicating the pains he had bestowed on his
lesson; thus continuing till he had passed
through twelve chapters, not even then the least
wearied. I interrupted him by inquiring, Are
you not most through ? 0 no, he rejoined, I can
go through twenty more chapters in the same
way. I however informed him that no more
time could be allowed him now, lest the other
children should feel themselves neglected.
He reluctantly took his seat. Several others
followed, some reciting from catechisms, some
as the first from the New Testament, all doing
themselves and their- teachers much credit.
After an hour and a half spent in this pleasing
exercise the children were dismissed, and all
quietly retired to their homes.
The next day, being the Sabbath, I ascended
the pulpit, went through the usual exercises,
took my text, and preached as on other occa.
sions. My attention during preaching was
particularly arrested by the countenance of






THr THrIE O1wELD NN.


little John, who was one of my hearers, and I
judged one of the most attentive in the assembly.
His eyes were fixed toward the pulpit from the
taking of the text till the sermon was ended.
As might have been expected, ardent desire
was awaked in my mind to know why the boy
was held -in such deep attention, as I supposed
him too young to mark and be thus .attracted
by the thread of a discourse. To satisfy my
curiosity, on leaving the church I took the boy
by the hand, and leisurely walked with him in
the direction of his home. John, said I, what
caused you to look at me so earnestly while I
was preaching? He readily replied, I was
watching to see if you said oyer any of the
verses which I knew." Well, did I repeat any ?
" O yes, a good many." Can you recollect any
of them now ? He then commenced and re-
cited almost every quotation I had made from
the New Testament. Truly, said I to myself,
this is wonderful Let me ever be the advo-
cate of Sabbath schools, as the best means to
make children wise and good, as the best auxi-
liary to the Gospel. Here have I truly found
a fine example of their good effects. This lit-
tle boy, but for the Sabbath school, might now
have been playing in the street, profaning this
holy day.; but he is actually one of the best
hearers that has listened to my ministry this
day. I took occasion to exhort him to cleave
to his school and studies, be obedient to his
parents and teachers, and particularly not to
forget to pray to his Father in heaven; all






HTHE THBEE CHILDREN.


which he cordially promised to attend to. I
then took leave of him to go to my next ap-
pointment.
But the best part of this narrative is yet un-
told. John continued faithful to his school, a
regular hearer of the word, evidently feeling
more and more attached to his New Testament.
It was not long, however, before he saw the
need of doing something more than merely read,
hear, and use a ceremony of prayer; a deep
sense of unpardoned sin soon aroused him
actively to seek that salvation of which he felt
himself destitute, and which he saw was pro-
mised him in the book he constantly studied.
His prayer was soon heard by Him who
said, Suffer little children to- come-unto me,
and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom
of heaven." A few Sabbaths after, on return-
ing to the neighborhood, I had the pleasure-of
seeing him come forward for admission into
society upon trial. To all my questions he
gave a satisfactory reply, so that myself and
all present were convinced that lib had- under-
standingly sought and happily found the pearl
of infinite price, that he had obtained peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. His
life afterward, so long as my labours were con-
tinued on the circuit, was such as to remove
all suspicion (if any had existed) that his
change was unsound and ideal. Since my
removal from that section of country I have
not once heard from little John, but hope he
has become a teacher, active and vigorous, in


10






THE THREE OLtT.DREN.


the very school where he was co diligent a
scholar, and that he has sustaired the reputa-
tion for humble piety since thr.t he did during
my acquaintance with him.
Let it be remembered, this little boy was con.
verted by means of the Sabbath school; at
least this first led him to read his New Testa.
ment with diligence: from this he became an
attentive hearer of the Gospel, and finally he
obtained pardoning mercy. How much good
he shall yet do in the world is known only to
God; but, if faithful, he doubtless can and will
do much. How great then will be the reward
of the teachers and supporters of that school !
Men may not give them the honour due to their
merit, yelternity will not fail to show that
such are the ones whom IWeaven delighteth -to
honour.
But too little credit is given to those who
devote themselves to the interests of Sabbath
schools. The Church is not sufficiently grate.
ful, and parents are often less so. Some teach-
ers on this account may be -discouraged, and
in seasons of temptation almost persuaded to
abandon their work. But let no one hastily
come to such a conclusion. The results of
Sabbath schools prove them to be under Divine
control and influence, as well as the preaching
of the Gospel,-and therefore, like the faithful
minister of Christ, the teacher should endure
hardness as a good soldier, not looking to men
for his reward, but to Him in whose service he is
engaged. Whatever careless men may think


11






THR TIHME OCHLDRmN.


of h'm, if he have a single eye, and pursue his
work with a steady hand, doubtless he shall
reap iL due season the reward of well doing.
And even now a peaceful, approving conscience
shall, in some good degree, compensate for the
fatigues and hardness endured. Yet, what is
more, the Sabbath cannot be better improved
for advantage to himself; as, in the present
plan of Sabbath school instruction, the Bible is
almost constantly studied, and of course he will
become more and more acquainted with it.
Where then could he serve himself better than
in the school, striving to serve others? The
faithful teacher will, no doubt, hereafter be dis-
tinguished from others by his superior knowledge
of the Holy Scriptures, and more complete ac-
quaintance with human nature, as both are
developing before him every week while in the
regular discharge of his duties. If he sees this
as he should, nothing will induce him to aban-
don such a work.



CHAPTER II.
MY next appointment was among the moun.
tains of the same state. Here I found a people
whose domestic habits differed materially from
those of the lower counties; the country rough,
and abounding with hills and valleys. These
valleys in some cases were extensive, fertile,
and well populated, with here and there a flou.


12






rED TENURU CHILDREN.


rising little village, in which there was gene.
rally a church, school house, and mill, the ne.
cessary appendages of a country village. The
inhabitants generally assembled twice on Sab-
bath in the church, for the purpose of wor-
ship: a common school was taught during the
week in the school house, and on Sabbath the
same house was occupied by a Sabbath school.
This was the case generally throughout the
circuit. My regular duties called me through
these valleys and villages frequently, whereby
an acquaintance was formed with the inhabit-
ants generally. The summer and autumn had
passed away pleasantly, without mny remarka-
ble occurrence to fix its history in the memory,
save. that a few souls had been occasionally
converted in the different appointments. North-
ern winds began to chill the streams by which
the valleys had been so plentifully watered dur-
ing the season of vegetation.
On a cold morning in the commencement of
winter; having travelled several miles, facing the
breeze, down the side of a rugged mountain, I
stopped at the house of a friend who the day
previous had been listening to the word of God,
while I was feebly attempting t6 preach. While
thus seated by a farmer's fireside, a shivering
neighbour entered the room, and urged- my at-
tendance at her house for a few moments,
alleging, as the ground of her request, that she
had a husband and ten children, none of whom
professed religion. Whatever other calls I may
have, I seldom turn a deaf ear to such invite


18






THB THREE CHILDREIn.


tions as these, especially when founded on such
reasons. I, of course, complied with her wishes,
visited her house, and had a long interview with
the family. The house was mean in its exte.
rior, seated at the foot of a large hill, -which
displayed a little of the grandeur of nature.
slightly affected by the toils of the labourer.
The interior of the building had nothing spe.
cially attracting, with the exception of the
group of children seated pensively around the
stove, some with school Bibles, some with Tes-
taments, and others with smaller books in their
hands, the contents of which they seemed
anxious to imprint on their memories. The
introduction of a stranger seemed for a moment
to interrupt in some measure the studies bfthe
whole. This moment I seized as a proper one
to speak individually to each member of the
family. The father and elder children were
first interrogated as to their acquaintance with
Divine things, but all confessed, though with
regret, their want of a saving knowledge of
God. To these succeeded reproofs and suita.
ble exhortations, and all seemed to hear and
receive the advice- given with cordiality.
My next business was to speak to -all the
smaller children; a duty which I never neg-
lect, a duty generally attended with as happy
results as any other to which the minister of
Christ is called: a duty, moreover, to which
all ministers are urged by the Scripture and
the example of Christ. Among these children
there was a little girl of twelve years, whose


14






TE THRRE CHILDREN.


name was Mary, with whose conversation and
general manners I was specially delighted.
She seemed more intelligent than ordinary, and
willing, yea, even anxious to converse with me.
I inquired as to her knowledge of the contents
of the small book sh'e held in her hand, which
I found she could repeat with all ease. My
next inquiry was, whether this was the only
book she possessed. She replied in the nega.
tive, and, starting from her seat, she ran into
the chamber, and after a few moments returned
with her apron full of small books, which, on
examination, I found were all Sabbath school
books. Mary, said I, where did. you get so
many books they must have cost your pa a
fine penny. "0 no," said she, they cost hia
nothing ; they were given me at the Sabbath
school as reward books." What, all these !
surely you must have been a very good girl,
you have really a fine library. But have you
read them all? because books are useless lum.
ber if they are stored up, only to be looked at.
Some children in my knowledge keep their
books simply to play with and show to their
friends ; I hope this is not the case with you,
Mary. No," said she, I have learned them
all." Learned them all? what do you mean
by that, Mary ? You most certainly do not
know each of these books as you do the one
held in your hand when I entered the house.
" Yes sir, I can say them out of book." Why
Mary, you must have studied very hard, or you
could never have learned so much.; here is a


15






WTHE TIHEE CHRILDEUN.


great many. Yes, this is my library." Here
her mother interrupted us by saying, The study
of those books has not prevented her from work
scarcely at all; when about house at work, a
book has been generally open before her, on
which she would now and- then cast her eye,
and in this way she has learned chiefly all the
books in her possession; she is very diligent;
scarcely ever idle. I found her fond of books
beyond any that I ever knew : no lawyer could
prize his extensive collection of statute books
and digests more ardently than little Mary did
her valuable collection of Sabbath school books.
On inquiring if these were -all she had, she
silently left me, went up stairs again to the
place of deposit, and soon returned with a fine
copy of the Holy Scriptures, which she plea.
santly placed in my hand, saying, "6 Here is one
more." Yes, said I, this is one indeed, a fine
one too, worth all the rest, though the others
are excellent for the kind. It was neat and
clean, indicating the care with which it had
been used. Mary, I see you do not abuse your
books, as some children that I have known :
the cover is not soiled, nor are the corners
bruised or folded down. I am pleased with
that, Mary. On opening the book I observed a
label within the cover, stating that this was a
present from the Sabbath school, as a reward
to Mary S., for her diligence in commit-
ting, and reciting before the school, the whole
of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John, during the summer. Astonishing, said I


16






HBE ThBRB CHtLDRBN.


have you really learned all this ? and did you
recite it before your teacher ? Yes," replied
Mary, with a smile of satisfaction on her coun.
tenance, "and I can do it now with as much
ease as then." But certainly, said I, this must
nave occupied all your time, so that you could
nave been of no service to your ma during the
summer. "No," she replied, I worked hard
all the time: part of the time I pulled flax in
the field with my brothers." Turning to her
mother, I inquired how she could have done
this. Why, said she, Mary always took the
Testament with her to her work: this she
spread out upon the ground, and laid a little
stone on the corner to keep the wind from blow-
ing the leaves, and then, in returning to de.
posit her handful of flax, would cast her eye on
tie. book and read a line or verse. By this
means, together with improving leisure mo-
ments and Sabbath mornings, she has been able
to learn thus much, and as a reward the super-
intendent has given her that beautiful Bible, of
which she is very careful, and she talks more
about it than all her clothes, or any thing else
she has. And this attachment is not to the
outward appearance and beauty of the book
only, but she constantly reads it. What it
contains so very attracting to the mind of such
a child I cannot tell; but so it is; she reads
it almost constantly. Mrs. S., said I, let her
read it; the Lord will no. doubt bless it to her:
the future designs of Providence we cannot now
investigate. But it may be this child is. des-
2


17






THE THREE CHILDREN.


tined to fill some important place in the world's
history. She may yet be, to many, a pattern
of true piety ; her light may yet shine afar, to
dispel the darkness of many a mind by scrip-
tural light, and by this means the Lord, per-
haps even now, may be preparing her for her
future work. Give your child up to God in this
the morning of her life, and she may yet do
honour to herself and parents, as well as much
good in the world.
After this interesting conversation had ended,
I took occasion to address the whole family on
the importance of reading the word of God
daily and constantly; and the advantage to be
derived from practising the wise lessons therein
given: after which we all joined in prayer to
God, and offering up ourselves to Him who has
the right to do with us as seemeth him good.
I then took an affectionate leave of the family
with which I had spent so agreeable an hour,
promising to call on them again on my next
tour around the circuit. For several days after,
in riding to my appointments, little Mary and
the Sabbath school were on my mind. How
useful, thought I, are these schools But for
them this little girl might have spent her time
carelessly, trifling away her precious hours;
but for these she would have had no library of
books, no Bible; she might have been disobe-
dient to her parents, and rude to her brothers
and sisters; but now, taught as she is in
the Holy Scriptures, she will soon become
a Sabbath school teacher; one that will try to


18






THE TS'REE CHLUDRUX. 1


induce the children of her class to do as she has
done, learn nearly half of the New Testament,
and a number of other useful books. In a word,
she will soon be a pattern of true piety in this
neighbourhood, a great blessing to her parents
and friends, and an honour to the cause of God.
These were some of my musings when leav-
ing the scene just described. But 0 how short
is our sight into futurity-! How little do we %now
of what will be! How wonderfully mysterious
are the ways of Providence When we calcu.
late on future ease and prosperity, he sees
trouble and vexation in our pathway. The per.
sons whom we deem most promising, and desire
to live longest, calculating on their greater use-
fulness in the world, are frequently the very
ones-whom Providence has been thus early pre-
paring for a better world and more worthy-so-
ciety. I have here to record another sad in
stance of this description, to be numbered among
the many that have already occurred, in which
persons of the greatest comparative attainments,
and promising the most enlarged satisfaction
to the hopes of anxious friends, have been soon
smitten by disease-cut down as the tender
flower, and much too soon for our comfort laid
in the cold grave.
How gloomy are such providence when con-
templated simply by the light of reason, inde-
pendent of revelation! Indeed they would be
almost beyond endurance, were we not blessed
with the cheering light of the Holy Bible, which
happily turns our eyes away from the darkness


19






rTH THrtE OWILDRIN.


of earth, and opens an immortality to our view
and contemplation, where beauty is undying,
and moral excellence never decays. By the
light which the Bible casts on such circum-
stances, lost children and friends, whom we
leave dearly loved, are seen taken from one
world to another; from pain, trouble, and sor-
row in this state, to joys which will never
pass away, where the eye shall never be wet
with tears, and where friends, once united, shall
part no more.
But to resume my narrative. Before I had
come to that part of my circuit again in which
this family resided, the unwelcome tidings
reached me that little Mary was sick, and her
friends were apprehensive she would not re-
cover, accompanied by an urgent request that
I should come and see her with all convenient
speed. Of course I hastened to the place, en.
tered the room, and found her lying on the bed
in much composure, while her friends were
gathered around, with looks of deep solicitude.
I was soon seated by her, and inquired how
she felt. Her feeble reply was, that she was
quite sick. After making some inquiries of
her friends, and briefly examining her symp.
toms, I perceived their fears were not ground-
less. In my view' but little hope existed that
she would ever recover. Disease had pros-
trated her strength, and it was apparent death
was not far off.
Mary, said I, are you willing to die ? Whether
this was the first time that death had been


20






Tr T-sRn CI nLDRnBI.


named to he I do not know ; but, with stream.
ing eyes, she replied, Yes, sir." What, will.
ing to leave your father and mother who love
you so much, and have done for you all that
you have desired! and all your brothers and
sisters whom you so much love; and the Sab-
bath school where you have so frequently at-
tended, and heard the prayers of the superin-
tendent, where your teachers have so often
instructed you to read the Holy Bible? "Yes,"
she replied .again, I am willing."
But you know it is a great thing to die,
Mary, and all need a preparation, for so great
a change. And do you know that you are
prepared to leave the world ? She replied, I
think I am, sir.'I How do you know this.? I
inquired. 0 I learned," said she, by reading
my Bible, that I was a sinner as well as others,
that Jesus Christ came into.the world to save
sinners, and that he would save all who prayed
and repented of their sins, and then he would
love them as his children." She said that she
had been praying, and was truly sorry for all
her sins, and she now felt that Jesus loved ber,
and would receive her; therefore she was will-
ing to die, as she believed -she would go to
heaven, and be with Jesus who had died for her.
This-was truly a tender moment. Her mother,
who was standing by her bed, and hearing her
thus calmly talking of dying, could not refrain
from bursting into a flood of tears. Knowing
the tender tie existing between mother and
child, I inquired how she could think-of leaving


21






TnHi WnB caoLn W .MN


so tender a mother as now stood by weeping
for fear of losing her! She calmly replied,
"The Lord will take care of mother."
We then all joined in prayer to almighty
God, that he would fully prepare little Mary for
her change, and give her an easy passage from
earth to heaven. The scene was impressive
indeed : the whole family, with myself, on our
knees, all bathed in tears, and filled with mixed
sensations of grief and joy--grief, to think we
were about to lose a child endeared to us all in
a very high degree, to see her no more until
the great day of final judgment ; and joy, be-
cause she was so happy and fearless in the near
approach of death. Prayer being ended, I ap.
preached to bid her adieu. She stretched out
her little hand with much firinness, and dis-
tinctly said, r Farewell, sir." After commend-
ing her to God, I-left the house and proceeded
on my circuit, telling all the children I met
with how happy I had left little Mary S.
She lingered in much pain of body for two
weeks after my visit, and died in the same com-
posure of mind evinced during her sickness. Her
confidence in Christ she retained to the last;
often speaking of the goodness of God to her
soul, and telling her friends how thankful she was
that she had ever been sent to the Sabbath school,
as it was there she had learned to love and fear
the Saviour. There the first knowledge had
been imparted that the Bible was truly the word
of God, and able to make her wise unto salva.
tion.






Tr w TKrIB O~IaIDUoN.


A messenger was soon despatched to finish
me with information of her departure, and re-
quest me to come at the time appointed, and
preach over her remains. This of course I was
glad to do, as I wished to impress the neighbour-
hood with the value and great importance of
Sabbath schools, by pointing out the good ef-
fects they had produced on little Mary.
The day appointed for her funeral was cold
in the extreme, the ground all covered with
snow, sufficient to have deterred many from
attending; but, notwithstanding this, the house
was crowded to overflowing, and many had to
stand out of doors in the snow : the numbers
attending sufficiently evidencing how highly
she was esteemed in the neighborhood. I
preached to the assembled multitude on this
mournful occasion from Ecclesiastes xii, 1,
Remember now thy Creator in the days of
thy youth," &c., and enforced the great neces-
sity and excellence of early piety on all; not
failing to refer to the good effects early atten-
tion to the Bible and religion had produced on
little Mary. The whole company was bathed
in tears, and seemed heartily to sympathize
together with the family in the loss sustained
in the death of so amiable a child.
But our loss is doubtless her gain. While we
mourn here on earth, she triumphs in glory.
Yet still we feel the loss. Her parents cannot
but feel it sensibly, as they can no more on
Sabbaths hear her recite her Scripture lesson;
no more have the benefit of her pious conver-


93






THE THREE CHILDREN.


station. The school must feel it deeply, as it
has lost one of its brightest ornaments, and
most excellent examples. But all are consoled
in the reflection that she is Jnuch better off,
and that a wise Father hath taken her away,
no doubt for a wise and merciful purpose. Here
let all dry up their tears, and carefully prepare
to meet her in that holy place of comfort and
peace to which she has gone.
Let all children who read this ever remem-
ber little Mary; how she lived and how she died.
Let them try to copy her example in loving
their book and school. If they have no Bible,
let them persuade their parents or friends to
give them one to be their own property; and
then see if they cannot keep it as clean, and
learn as much of it as did little Mary. She read
it when working about the house, when pulling
flax in the field, and on Sabbath morning be-
fore she went to school. She was never idle.
And see how much better it made her. She
soon learned how to pray; saw she was a
sinner, as all others; and besought Christ
to pardon her sins, and her prayer was soon
heard and answered. Go, children, and do
likewise; so all the good will love you, and your
Father in heaven will call you his own.


24






-H THSRUM CI DAREN.


CHAPTER III.
WHEN my labours terminated on that cir-
cuit, I was appointed to travel nearer the sea.
coast, in the same state. The circuit was one
that had long been established: the people in
many parts, therefore, had long since been in-
ducted into Christianity under the form of
Methodism, and were its well tried friends.
The work of religion was, however, in rather
a low state generally throughout the whole cir-
cuit. No special revival had taken place at
any of the numerous appointments for several
years: yet the prayer -of many true lovers of
Jesus was incessantly offered up to the great
Head of the Church, 0 Lord, revive thy work
--in wrath remember mercy."
In the course of the two years in which I
laboured on that circuit, my colleague and my.
self visited several places where our doctrines
and usages were almost entirely new. It may
seem strange that any place could be found
within the bounds of an old circuit where Me.
thodism would be a new or strange thing. And
truly it was strange to me, that societies should
have been planted all round important and
flourishing villages, and yet the towns them-
selves left entirely without a Methodist. But
such is the fact frequently, whatever the cause
may be. And when at last we enter them, and
preach, perhaps, in some private or school
house, we are soon received with a welcome,


26






rTH TfBB IZ OHILDzU~N


and the people wake up as from a long slumber,
wondering why we had never found them out
before.
All this applies to a certain Village on this cir-
cuit. We had homes and preaching houses,
with quite large societies on every side of it; but
within it Methodism was almost a total stranger.
We commenced preaching in an "( upper room,"
in a retired part of the town, and laboured
faithfully for some time, with a respectable
number of hearers of the poorer class, (as is
usual in such cases,) not being much noticed by
the rich, whose religion too often is that of
fashion, and therefore loves fine churches, much
outward trapping and show. We did not labour
altogether in vain, though the proud beheld us
" afar off," and perhaps considered us as the
messengers of a gloomy religion, coming to
afflict .men with a moping melancholy. But
no ; if so deemed by the proud, we were not
so in reality ; as God blessed his truth, and
would now and then encourage us in our la-
bours by the conversion of a soul.
Our place of worship, the "upper room,"
soon became too, strait for us, and the cry of
several was, Let us have a church. The ob-
jection was ready, and seemed really reasona-
ble and true, We have no money, but little
influence, and few men of enterprise to under-
take it. Notwithstanding all this, an effort-was
soon made, and succeeded far beyond our ex.
pectations. A house was quickly prepared for
our accommodation, and we left our upper


26






THJ TarBE C1H 1iDBIo.


room," and took possession of it in the name
of the Lord, with cheerful and thankful hearts.
A few months after, while preaching on Sab-
bath morning in this newly erected temple of
prayer, I perceived one or two young persons
in the congregation more- than commonly agi-
tated : tears frequently started from their eyes,
but were soon wiped away withran evident de-
sign to concea( emotion. Preaching being over,
I met the class as usual, and, to my astonish-
ment, these two lads, who during the sermon
had seemed so ashamed of their feelings as to
use efforts to conceal them, tarried-among the
members. I spoke to them both, found them very
much alarmed on account of their sinful condi-
tion, and willing to seek earnestly for a pardoning
Saviour. In the evening, after public service,
I descended into the altar, and told the congre-
gation my conviction that God was about to
work a good work in that place, and was now
ready to commence it ; and if any there felt the
pressing need of pardoning mercy, if they would
come forward we would join in prayer for their
salvation. A pause ensued: for a moment all
was deep silence; at length one arose and ap.
broached me with a weeping murmur; after a
moment another, till seven bended their knees
together in prayer before God. It was a solemn
time. The like of this had never been wit-
nessed in the town before. All eyes were fixed,
all hearts seemed affected. None, however,
professed to experience pardon that night.
Meetings for prayer were appointed-every eve.


27






"TESZ Tu[EE oCLDBRENw.


ning through the following week, and souls were
converted at each. The first offer made for
persons to come forward and join society was
about a week after, when twenty-seven pre-
sented themselves, and were taken in on trial.
The work had now but just commenced. The
sound of it spread through the town and sur-
rounding country with the swiftness of wind,
and multitudes flocked from every quarter to
witness the wonderful work of God. This, as
might be expected, increased the number of
inquirers, and tended to fan the flame already
kindled: many who came through mere cu-
riosity returned praising God, and telling of the
gracious change wrought in their own souls.
The meetings were continued each evening
without interruption for weeks together, with
still increasing interest, until the excitement
became so great in the town, that for some days
business was well nigh suspended; -stores were
closed, principals and. clerks found enough to
do in taking care of their souls, and inquiring
what they must do to be saved. Thus did the
Lord continue to work for some months, until
two hundred and upward were added to our own
Church, and near one hundred joined a sister
Church, chiefly those converted at our meetings.
But the work was- truly the Lord's: no human
power could have produced or sustained it.
Perhaps no revival has equalled it in the state
of New-Jersey for the last fifty years. It was
remarkable, not only for the persons converted,
who were many of them middle-aged, had long






THE THREE QCHILDRIBBN


continued in sin, and some had drunk in infi.
delity; but for the rapidity with which pro-
gressed and spread through the town and coun-
try at large.
My previous remarks have been only designed
to prepare the way for detailing a few circum-
stances connected with this work. It has often
been said that the most remarkable and general
revivals always commence among the younger
portions of community, and the poorer classes.
Mr. Wesley once said, concerning a revival that
had taken place in one of the towns where he
laboured : It has begun in the wrong end of tlhe
town, (meaning among the rich,) and therefore
will not be as general as though it had first ap-
peared at the other. This remark has been fully
justified, so far as 'my experience has gone.
The first subjects of the work referred to above
were young persons from twelve to eighteen
years of age. Of the latter were the two young
men spoken of before, who wept in the congrega-
tion, and were the first to approach the altar;
both of whom stand fast to the present hour, re
turning thanks to God for his unspeakable mer-
cies in bringing them from darkness to lighIt.
And one of them (then an apprentice) is now a
principal supporter of the society in that place.
Another of the early subjects of this work was
a little girl of twelve or thirteen years, a regular
attendant on the Sabbath school. She (with
several others of equal age) presented herself at
the altar for prayer, and soon professed to have
experienced a change of heart, the truth of


29






TIE TEHr-EE CHILDREN.


dern times. With it I was connected from first
to laaIf watching all its movements; correct-
ing,iWfar as was practicable, all that went
wrong : and encouraging the feeble faith of the
wavering; pointing the humble inquirer to the
Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the
world', as the only one who could help the af-
flicted soul in its distress on account of sin.
Many doubtless shall have cause to rejoice in a
future day that they were residents of the neigh-
bourhood at that favoured time ; and sure I am
the recollection of its scenes shall never fade
from my own memory while reason holds its
empire, and the lamp of life continues to burn.
One soul, at least, has entered its rest which
was then saved by the power of grace, and many
others are still on their way, serving God night
and day with fastings and prayer. The tone
of piety in the town was- greatly raised, the
effect of which in future days who can tell ?
Before this the knowledge of salvation by the
remission of sins was a dark and doubtful sub-
ject in community. But few professed to have
any knowledge on the subject more than a
faint hope, which was believed to be the
highest possible attainment. Hence, when this
little girl, with many other young persons, pro-
fessed to have the witness of the Spirit testi.
flying satisfactorily to their conversion, much
noise was made about it. The old professors
were alarmed and indignant; and cried out,.
" Shall these children teach us? they must- be
stopped. But to stop such a work was beyond


893






THa TEr3RaB CHIIDRON.


their power. They finally, many of them at
least, saw their own deficiency, came fa at
the foot of the cross, sought and foundat it
was all true which they had heard, that men
could know, by the witnessing Spirit of God,
that they were his children.
Here is another testimony to. the good effects
of Sunday schools. Had not this child been a
regular attendant of the Sunday school, she
might not have been found among penitents in
the Church weeping on account of sin : and
therefore might not have been thus saved by the
power of grace. He who sees as man does not
see. and knows what causes produce certain
effects, shall doubtless hereafter give us to know
more than we can now on this subject. Then
shall we see that, in many cases, Sunday school
have been the prominent means of revivals;
by the conversion of some of the scholars first,
then of the teachers; and these being gene-
rally possessed of much enterprise, the work is
thus carried out, by their aid and instrument-
ality, into the Church in general, and the world
of sinners. How vastly important then are
these schools! They may have been looked
upon as merely affecting the children who at-
tend them ; and even this, should they do no
more, should engage all in their support: but
experience proves their benefits do not end here.
They are of great advantage to the Church and
world. Who that looks at them in this light
can be indifferent to their success ? Who among
us will close his hand, or shut up his heart,


33






TCE ThElR CHILSDREn.


when called on to aid such nurseries of piety
and VWtue ? What parent will restrain his chil-
dren from receiving their numerous advantages?



CHAPTER IV.
PARENTS, you have not half waked up to your
duties and obligations toward your tender and
much loved children. You desire them well
qualified for this life; hence are laying up trea-
sures for their future use, and whether it will be
their blessing or curse God only knows, not you.
There are nearly as many instances where-they
are ruined by it as where they are benefited ;
probably more. But the advantages of Sabbath
schools to them are not doubtful, but certain.
Here they learn to keep holy the Sabbath day,
read the Holy Scriptures, love their parents and
fellows, as well as trained up for usefulness and
piety. Then, as you love them, as you desire
their happiness and prosperity in this life and
that which is to come, let nothing prevent you
from sending them to these schools. Urge them
off at the proper hour: overcome their teluc-
tance, if they have any, by entreaty and author-
ity. Let not the sin of ignorance, carelessness,
and impiety rest on those over whom you are
overseers. Prepare them for honour, comfort,
and usefulness, by keeping them in the Sabbath
school. As we have already seen, in the cases
of John and Mary, their good results, abandon


84






TIn TB3UB2 cIrDaU. *


for ever the infidel idea, that no religious influ-
ence should be used till children are of acient
age to analyze and judge for themselves. It
would be just as reasonable and philosophical to
let them come to full age before they are taught
any business, in order that they may judge
which will best suit their peculiar fancy. Were
you to do thus, reason and experience temeh
that they would fancy none, but would be better
suited with the idleness in which they were
raised, and to which they had become accus-
tomed. Will they not equally love Sabbath
breaking, folly, and irreligion, when grown up,
if habituated to it when children ? Witness the
thousands of young people thus raised in con-
tempt of all piety while under the guardianship
of-eareless and profane parents. Let these ad.
monish you of your duty, and, as you wish well
to those who shall bear your name, and either
be an honour or a disgrace to you when you are
laid in the grave, look well to their morals;
send them to the Sabbath school, where they
shall be taught, in the Bible, the best of morals,
and trained up by those sacred rules of holy
living prescribed by prophets and apostles. And
can you die in peace without this ? Will not
your neglected offspring press upon your recol-
lection in the honest hour of death ? Will it
then appear as a small matter that by your
means they have had existence, and by you are
left to pursue their random course through life,
careless and unconcerned as to their eternal
and most important interests? No; though


35






THR THREE CHLwnrBDREN.


Indifferent now, you then cannot be. Like the
rich msn, you will then see, though too late,
vour error; and crave the privilege ofreturniug
to life and health, that you may, in some de.
gree, atone for the past by diligence in fare
in preparing your children for religion and vir.
tle. Do it then while you may, while the op.
portunity is afforded you for the purpose. Read
this little volume over and over carefully. Mark
the history of the children herein recorded ;
and determine that your little ones shall have
similar opportunities: then they may, by the
blessing of God, realize as much profit : so
shall they be a comfort to your declining years
and perpetuate your memory honourably. And
who can tell (except He who sees the end from
the beginning) bow much good you shall have
thus conferred upon the world ? Those chil-
dren of yours may hereafter exert a vast influ-
ence on their own immediate neighbourhood
first, and then extend it tauch wider ; till gene-
rations yet unborn shall be reached by it, and
thus many sons and daughters be brought to
the ways of piety and to heaven.




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