“When saints gather
round Thee, dear Saviour above,
And hasten to crown Thee with jewels of love,
Amid those bright mansions of glory so fair—
Oh, tell me, dear Saviour, if I shall be there!”
Some of these sentiments are unscriptural. Some may do for penitent prodigals. But all are out of place on the lips of baptized children of the Church. Let such rather joyfully sing:
“I am Jesus’
Therefore glad and gay I am;
Jesus loves me, Jesus knows me,
All that’s good and fair He shows me,
Tends me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name,”
and such other cheerful and healthy hymns as breathe the spirit of the Church of the Reformation.
This we believe to be the object of our Sunday-schools, as far as the baptized children of Christian parents are concerned. They are to be helps, to keep the children true to their baptismal covenant, and to enable them to grow strong and stronger against sin and in holiness. Jesus did not tell Peter to convert, but feed His lambs.
From these considerations we see how important it is for Lutheran Sunday-schools to have teachers who “know of the doctrine, whether it be true;” who are “rooted and grounded in the faith;” who are “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them;” who are “apt to teach.”
A teacher who does not understand and appreciate the Lutheran doctrine of baptism is out of place in a Lutheran Sunday-school. It is certainly not desirable to have the child instructed at home that it was given to Christ in baptism, received and owned by Him and belongs to Him, and then have the Sunday-school teacher teach it that until it experiences some remarkable change, which the teacher cannot at all explain, it belongs not to Christ, but to the unconverted world. The teaching of the pulpit, the catechetical class, the home and the Sunday-school, ought certainly to be in perfect harmony—especially so on the vital point of the personal relation of the child to the Saviour and His salvation. To have clashing and contradictory instruction is a sure way to sow the seeds of doubt and skepticism.
We must have sound instruction and influence in the Sunday-school, and to this end we must have sound and clear helps and equipments for teacher and pupil. The worship of the school, the singing, the opening and closing exercises, must all be in harmony with this great fundamental idea of feeding those who are already Christ’s lambs.
RELATION TO THOSE IN COVENANT
RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST, AND ALSO
TO THE UNBAPTIZED AND WANDERING.
We are still speaking of the dealing of the Sunday-school with the baptized children of Christian parents. We have seen how important it is that the Sunday-school work in harmony with the pastor and the parent. We have seen that, to this end, it is especially important that the instruction of the teacher be in harmony with the doctrine of our Church on baptismal Grace, and the keeping of the baptismal covenant.