Teachers are apt to undervalue the influence of the simple reading of the Word in school, and to attribute too much to their own instructions. Now, though there are difficulties in the Scriptures, and we read them under all the disadvantages of a translation, such is their mingled simplicity and majesty, that no modern work written for children has the same power to arrest attention and reach the heart. The stories of the creation—of the flood—of the cities of the plain—of Moses and Daniel—Elijah and Elisha—and, above all, of Jesus Christ—are milk for babes, as much as they are meat for men. A child at first may meet with many words, sentences, and peculiarities which are unintelligible; he may not understand what the firmament was, nor that Pharoah was a general name for the kings of Egypt, nor how Darius came to the throne of Assyria; but the moral of the history will reach him almost unclouded.
We shall have a few remarks to offer under another head on the practice of teaching reading on Sabbath. The following observations have reference only to the reading of a Bible lesson.
1. Teach children the habit of reading the Bible correctly and fluently. With good readers, this is easily secured ; but as many of the children attending school have a partial education, it requires attention on the part of the teacher to make them always read ciswvell as they are able. Few teachers are so careful as they might be. Thus, it is a very common reading with children, instead of, "Nor sitteth in the scortier's chair," "Nor sitteth in the corner chair." A careless teacher will find his readers deteriorating rather than improving.
2. "To assist backward scholars, when difficult words occur, give the correct pronunciation at once, and do not suffer the scholar first to miscall them two or three times."
3. When a sentence has been read imperfectly, the teacher should read it aloud, and make the scholar read it again.
4. "Always join," says Mr Collins, "in the reading-lessons. The careful and distinct manner in which you read; the proper emphasis which you put on the more important words; the change of tone which you adopt when the language of different individuals is introduced; your constant observance of the several pauses, and the general adaptation of your style to the varied subjects as they occur, will do more to produce good readers in a Sabbath-school class, than a multitude of elaborate lectures on the art of reading." We may add that, by joining in the reading lesson, the teacher will promote the fellowship of the class.