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The Teacher and the Taught

The Teacher and the Taught

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Published by glennpease
BY HENRY ROBERT REYNOLDS, D.D.


I TIMOTHT rv. 16.

TaJce heed unto thyself, cmd unto the doctrine; contiwue in them:
for in doing this thou shalt ioth save thyself, and them, that
hear thee. ,
BY HENRY ROBERT REYNOLDS, D.D.


I TIMOTHT rv. 16.

TaJce heed unto thyself, cmd unto the doctrine; contiwue in them:
for in doing this thou shalt ioth save thyself, and them, that
hear thee. ,

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 18, 2013
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THE TEACHER AD THE TAUGHTBY HERY ROBERT REYOLDS, D.D.I TIMOTHT rv. 16.TaJce heed unto thyself, cmd unto the doctrine; contiwue in them:for in doing this thou shalt ioth save thyself, and them, thathear thee. ,It is a common complaint that our ordinary duties,by the very fact that they are daily and constant, losetheir power to impress us with their own grandeur.Hahit and acquired instincts take the place of loftymotives; unconscious and resistless tendencies oftendo our work for us, in the place of the intelligent andcomprehensive mind, the active and well-balancedwill. The result is, that very often the noblest dutybecomes the mere revolution of a machine; thedivinest sympathies flow in some deep channel of routine ; and the sublimest work dwindles into com-mon-place, or is degraded into drudgery. There isan old copy-book sentence about familiarity and whatit breeds, perpetually establishing itself in the veryheart of benevolent enterprise and high profession.* This sermon was addressed to a large assembly of Sunday-School Teachers.312 SEBMO X7I.Our religious work suffers from the same cause of depression. "We may continue to do it, but it is oftendone from the most tame, worldly, and incompetentmotives. When face to face with its hard realities,when hand to hand with the sheer worldliness of agood deal of it, we lose its higher inspirations, andtamper with its heavenly intention.God has provided a vast system of mutual co-operation and stimulus, by which He means to rouseus from such lethargy, to awaken within us new andhigher motives, and has further designed that weshould provoke one another to love and to good
 
works. He has given the poet, the artist, the publicorator, the successful writer, the preacher of Hisgospel, a work to do in this matter ; and has said tomultitudes of His servants, ' Arise, lift and strip theveils which custom has thrown over the fkce of truth !Awake ! clear off the rubbish which has accumulatedon the pathways of holy duty,, the] dead leaveswhich cover sacred way-marks, the rust which .de-files and impedes the wheels of religious organiza-tion!' Our Father summons us perpetually tohigher exertion and to deeper feeling by one an-other's conscience, and mercifully provides a schemeof mutual and reciprocal appeal, to war against thesedepressing tendencies. I know well that the effectof these mutual appeals is considerably diminished bya provoking reflection which pervades the minds of those who need arousing, — namely, that the poet,the preacher, or the writer is lound to say such andTHE TEACHER AD THE TAUGHT. 313such things ; that he in his work is exposed to simi-lar temptations and listlessness, and that he needsfrom others the same kind of stimulus which he ven-tures to give to them. All this is true, and mightreasonably give edge to his discourse j but there is,I fear, a systematic deduction made for his knownopinions, for his pledged character, for his profes-sional calling, — and though he is supposed to beperfectly sincere in what he says, yet the unpleasantforce of what is said fails to penetrate the thick-skinned conscience of those who have this traitor atwork within them. Still, without such help the worldand the Church would be far more indifferent andstiff-necked than they are.Sunday-school teachers are not exempt from thisdeteriorating influence in the midst of their gloriouswork. They are often compelled to fall back uponmere habit and fashion, upon rule and common-place,in the discharge of their momentous duties. Theholy day comes round, and finds them jaded, it maybe, with then* week's toil, and distracted with theirtrials or business ; and, alas ! the sight of their classdoes not always drive the world out of their hearts !
 
The Holy Book, ready to flash heaven^s light intotheir souls, seems covered with a film of unintelli-gibility. The gravest responsibilities do not alwayssucceed in quickening their zeal. The Great Throneof Grace is there, but sometimes their prayers arehindered. There seems nothing sublime in the imme-diate duty, nothing Divine in the morning's work.314 SERMO X7I.*and the too welcome bell rings them away to morecongenial occupations. As years pass away, there isa monotony which at last wears many of them out,and they feel that the great and far-reaching enter-prise has few attractions for them : it seems to themto be a piece of machinery which can dispense withtheir languid efforts; and it would be hard work torenew within them their first strong attachment tothe duties of a teacher in a Sunday-school.I have selected for a text words which were ad-dressed by St. Paul to his young friend and coadjutor,Timothy, and which are generally supposed to applyexpressly to the ministers of the Gospel. Surelythey are none the less appropriate on that account.This judgment about, and use of my text, need in noway interfere with its immediate application to thoseof you who are Sunday-school teachers, because youtoo are ministers of the Gospel, and that for the fol-lowing reasons: — first, you are workmen for God;secondly, you are students of God's Word ; thirdly,you are servants of His Church; fourthly, you arewatchers for souls. Let me make a few remarks oneach of these characteristics of your office, with thedouble intent of arousing you to a larger and noblerview of what that ofHce really is, and of justifyingmy adaptation to your case of this appeal, and of thegrand inducement which follows it.(i) You are workmen for God.The Great Worker has called you to His counsels,and He has assigned to you a task. Much of His

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