I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me, and the children are able to endure.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I think that, in your Sunday-school teaching, you can try to do too much, and accomplish nothing. You cannot get a quarter loaf into a child all at once; but it goes to be done by breaking it up, and putting some nice warm milk with it. So, when you have a great mass of truth, and you say to yourself, “How am I to get this loaf into that child’s mind and heart?” Break it up small, and give it to them with some nice warm milk of affection; and thus, by God’s grace, you will get it into the children, and they will be built up thereby.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): To preach truths and notions above the hearers’ capacity, is like a nurse that should go to feed a child with a spoon too big to go into its mouth…As Jacob said, “I will lead on softly, as the children are able to endure.”
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear―understandings are like narrow-necked vessels; we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spoiled and lost. “Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little” must be our rule.
C. H. SPURGEON: It is said by some that children cannot understand the great mysteries of religion. We even know some Sunday School teachers who cautiously avoid mentioning the great doctrines of the gospel because they think the children are not prepared to receive them.
J. C. RYLE: You need not shrink from bringing any doctrine before them. You need not fancy that the leading doctrines of Christianity are things which children cannot understand. Children understand far more of the Bible than we are apt to suppose.
C. H. SPURGEON: Never go to your class with the thought that the children cannot comprehend you; for if you do not make them understand, it is because you do not understand yourselves; if you do not teach children what you wish, it is because you are not fit for the task: you should find out simpler words more fitted for their capacity, and then you would discover that it was not the fault of the child, but the fault of the teacher, if he did not learn.
WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Vigilantly supervise the selection of books for the Sabbath-school library. Not a few offered for this purpose are trash, and some are worse than trash.
C. H. SPURGEON: The gospel is not a boat to be freighted with human thoughts, fine speculations, scraps of poetry, and pretty tales—the gospel seed is to be put into the young heart just as it is…Feed the kids with the same gospel as the grown-up sheep, though not exactly in the same terms; let your language be appropriate to them, but let it be the same truth.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Dividing aright the Word of truth, 2 Timothy 2:15 —This is a beautiful metaphor, and one that skillfully expresses the chief design of teaching…Paul assigns to teachers the duty of dividing or cutting, as if a father, in giving food to his children, were dividing the bread, by cutting it into small pieces.
C. H. SPURGEON: You want to bless your children, to save their souls, and have fellowship with Christ in the doing of it; then teach them the truths which the apostles taught…God forbid that we should have our Sunday-schools the hot-beds of Arminianism, while our churches are gardens of Calvinism. We shall soon have a division in the camp if that be so. The same gospel for all.
ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): The education of children should proceed on the principle that they are in an unregenerate state…But though the religious education of children should proceed on the ground that they are destitute of grace, it ought ever to be used as a means of grace. Every lesson, therefore, should be accompanied with the lifting up of the heart of the instructor to God for a blessing on the means.
AUGUSTINE (354-430): The Christian teacher will succeed more by piety in prayer than by gifts of oratory.
C. H. SPURGEON: A bird when it is sitting on its eggs, or when the little ones are newly-hatched, has about it a mother-spirit, so that it devotes all its life to the feeding of its little ones: other birds may be taking their pleasure on the wing, but this bird sits still the life-long day and night, or else its only flights are to provide for gaping mouths which seem to be never filled. A passion has taken possession of the bird; and something like it comes over the true soul-winner: he would gladly die to win souls; he pines, he pleads, he plods to bless those on whom his heart is set.
CHARLES G. TRUMBULL (1872-1941): Has there been any better plan devised for teaching boys than one that set forth at a New York state convention in 1858, whose method, noted then as “somewhat peculiar,” was reported as follows? “The first thing he set out to do, was to secure the affections of the boys. Then he made it a rule to spend six hours every week in the study of the lesson. Next, he endeavoured to secure the co-operation of their parents, by visiting them in turn at least once a month. He kept a large class-book, in which entries were made with as much care and with almost as much minuteness as in his counting-room ledger. Every morning and night, he took that class-book with him into a retired chamber, and knelt over it in prayer to God, praying for each boy by name.”
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Sunday was busy day for me then…I would have to be up by six o’clock to get the hall ready for Sunday School. Every Saturday night a German society held a dance there, and I had to roll out beer kegs, sweep up sawdust, clean up generally, and arrange the chairs. This I did not think it right to hire done on Sunday, so sometimes with the assistance of a scholar, and often without any, I would do it myself. This usually took most of the morning, and when it was done I would have to drum up the scholars and new boys and girls…When school was over I visited absent scholars and found out why they were not at Sunday School―sometimes, after such a day’s work, I thought I sinned in going to sleep over my prayers.
C. H. SPURGEON: Sunday-school teachers, cry unto God that you may attend your classes with a sincere desire to promote God’s glory, leaning wholly on His strength. Do not be content with the ordinary routine, gathering your children there, and sending them home again; but cry, “Lord, give us the agony which a teacher ought to feel for his child’s soul.” Ask that you may go to school with deep feelings, with throes of love over the children’s hearts, that you may teach them with tearful eyes, groaning before heaven that you may be the means of their salvation and deliverance from death.