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Counsels on Sabbath School Work

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    Self-examination

    The Lord would have the teachers of our Sabbath schools examine themselves whether they be in the love of God. There will be tests and provings of God to try the character in the experience of all who are working in the cause of God. The teachers should be constantly learning and striving for a more thorough understanding, a right judgment in the things of God . There is danger of the teachers becoming self-confident, and so filled with self-esteem that they will not realize their own deficiencies, that there is with them a narrowness of ideas, and they do not broaden or expand. They do not become more and more capable, but more and more self-important. They do not bring Jesus into their hearts and into their experiences. The teacher should cultivate his powers, cultivate his speech so as to speak distinctly, giving intelligent articulation. The mental powers should be cultivated, not be left so weak, and the powers of thought so confused, that they cannot explain nor understand the doctrines of our faith. If the teacher is not one of sincere piety, of purity, of self-denial, of willingness to endure inconvenience, then he is not fit for the great and solemn work. It is the duty of the teacher to test his own powers, his own spirit, and understand his true position before God, by close examination....CSW 96.2

    The Teacher's Example

    The one who shall accept the responsibility of teacher, if not fully qualified, if he senses the responsibility of his position, will do his utmost to learn. He will cultivate reverence, cheerfulness, and firmness. Let the deportment be of that character that your class will be educated to have solemn thoughts and reverence toward God. While the ideas may be presented in simplicity, the language, when speaking of God, of Christ, His sufferings, His resurrection, as realities to you, should carry the minds up high above earthly things, and make them feel that they are in the presence of the Infinite One.CSW 97.1

    The Sabbath school is no place for that class who skim the surface, who talk fluently and in a spirit of levity of eternal, testing truths, which are higher than the heavens and broader than the worlds. The behavior of a class will represent the character of a teacher in the example which they have before them. If they are rude, and continue so, if irreverent, then there is a cause, and the matter needs to be thoroughly probed.CSW 97.2

    Reverent yet Cheerful

    The teacher may have reverence and yet be cheerful. And in the place of flippancy of manner, he should be a searcher for the deep things of God. Any affectation will not be natural. Let the class receive the impression that religion is a reality, that it is desirable; for it brings peace and rest and happiness. Let not your class receive the impression that a cold, unsympathetic character is religion. Let the peace and glory of Christ's presence within make the face speak His love, the lips utter thankfulness and praise.CSW 98.1

    Those who are in the habit of communing with God will have His light reflected in the countenance. Children hate the gloom of clouds and sadness. Their hearts respond to brightness, to cheerfulness, to love. While a teacher should be firm and decided, he should not be stern, exacting, and dictatorial. A dignified authority is required in the teacher, else he lacks that ability which will make him a successful teacher. The children are quick to discern any weakness or defect of character in the teacher. The deportment is making its impression. The words which you utter will not give them the right mold unless they see in your character the model. A correct Christian character exemplified in the daily life will do a great work in the character building of your class, more, far more, than all your teachings and oft-repeated lessons. God has so related us individually to the great web of humanity that unconsciously we draw from others, with whom we are brought in contact, their ways, practices, and habits. And God forbid that the least of one of these little ones shall be left to walk from the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Let the teacher have that practical godliness that the character and love of Jesus will be revealed in him.CSW 98.2

    The Sabbath school is not a place of entertainment, to amuse and divert the children, although, rightly conducted, it can be all of this; but it is a place where children and youth are educated, where the Bible is opened to the understanding, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. It is a place where the light of truth is to be imparted. Not all who teach in our Sabbath schools qualify themselves for the work. Let every teacher feel that he must know more; he must be better acquainted with those with whom he has to deal, better acquainted with the best methods of imparting knowledge; and when he has done the best he can, that he has come far short.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 95-98.CSW 99.1

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