Song of Solomon 1:8
O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherd’s tents.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is probable that the custom was to commit the lambs and kids to the custody of the women.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): How necessary it is to bring up children in the nurture and fear of the Lord!
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I was noticing, in the life of that man of God—namely, the Earl of Shaftesbury—that his first religious impressions were produced by a humble woman…Little Lord Ashley had a godly nurse who spoke to him of the things of God. He tells us that she died before he was seven years of age; clear proof that early in life his heart had been able to receive the seal of the Spirit of God, and to receive it by humble instrumentality. Blessed among women was she whose name we know not, but who wrought incalculable service for God and man by her holy teaching of the chosen child. Young nurses, note this…There may come under your training hand, my sister, a future father in Israel.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): The longer we live, the more highly we prize the blessed work of Sunday School teaching.
ASHLEY COOPER, LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): It was evident to all thinking persons that we had a great danger in the ignorance of the children of the lower classes, and so the senators began to think of it, and the philosophers began to think of it, and good men of all sorts began to think of it; but while they were all engaged in thinking, a few plain, humble people opened Ragged-schools and did it.
WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Robert Raikes first established Sabbath-schools in Great Britain.
C. H. SPURGEON: His heart prompted him, saying—“Take these little ragged urchins, and teach them the Word of God.”
ROBERT RAIKES (1736-1811): I then inquired if there were any decent, well-disposed women in the neighbourhood who kept schools for teaching to read. I presently was directed to four: to these I applied, and I made agreement with them to receive as many children as I should send them upon the Sundays, whom they were to instruct in reading and in the church catechism. For this I engaged to pay them a shilling each for their day’s employment. The women seemed pleased with the proposal.
C. H. SPURGEON: I regard this as a very blessed institution. I am thankful for the many of our brothers and sisters who give their Sabbath-days, and many of them a considerable part of their week evenings also, to the teaching of other people’s children, who somehow grow to be very much their own…There are the missionaries who were saved in Sabbath-schools, and the thousands, blessed by their labours, contribute to swell the mighty stream of the incalculable, I had almost said infinite, success of Sabbath-school instruction.
CHARLES G. TRUMBULL (1872-1941): The quiet, persistent, undefeatable evangelistic work of the Sunday School is going on all the time.
C. H. SPURGEON: [But] some Christian people have no garden―no personal sphere of service. They belong to the whole clan of Christians, and they pine to see the entire band go out to cultivate the whole world; but they do not come to personal particulars. It is delightful to be warmed up by missionary addresses, and to feel a zeal for the salvation of all the nations; but, after all, the net result of a general theoretic earnestness for all the world does not amount to much. As we should have no horticulture if men had no gardens; so we shall have no missionary work done unless each person has a mission. It is the duty of every believer in Christ, like the first man, Adam, to have a garden to dress and to till. Children are in the Sunday-schools by millions: Thank God for that! But have you a class of your own? All the church at work for Christ! Glorious theory! Are you up and doing for your Lord?
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): For years I really believed that I could not work for God. No one had ever asked me to do anything.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): There are thousands of dear children thronging the lanes, alleys, and court-yards of all our large cities and towns, who either have no parents, or else parents utterly unable or unwilling to instruct them. It is on these the Sunday School teacher fixes his benevolent eye…Should not these be looked after? Is it not a good work to gather such, once a week, for a couple of hours, in order to store their young minds with precious texts of Scripture and sweet hymns, which may leave an impress which no lapse of time shall ever efface? We must thoroughly believe it so; and, with all our hearts, we wish God speed to every one engaged in it.
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Sabbath school instruction, although good as far as it goes, does not supply adequate moral education for the juvenile hordes which infest the streets of our large cities. The interval between Sabbath and Sabbath is too wide. It is like spreading a net with meshes seven inches wide instead of one, before a shoal of herrings. By the great gap of the week, the little Arabs easily slip through, in spite of the stout string which you extend across their path on the Sabbath evening. Ply the work by all means, and ply it hopefully. Labour for the Lord in that department will not be lost: saving truth is thereby deposited in many minds, which the Spirit of God will make fruitful in a future day.
C. H. SPURGEON: Let us bring the young ones into the house of God by means of the Sabbath-school, in the hope that, in after days, they will love the place where His honour dwelleth, and there seek and find eternal life.
D. L. MOODY: Let’s give our strength to Sunday School work.
C. H. SPURGEON: Never service more important: to overlook it would be a grave fault…Witnesses for God are very often persons converted in their youth. He seems to take a delight to make these His special standard-bearers in the day of battle. Look at Samuel! When all Israel became disgusted with the wickedness of Eli’s sorts the child Samuel ministered before the Lord. Look at David! When he is but a shepherd boy he wakes the echoes of the lone hills with his psalms and the accompanying music of his harp. See Josiah! When Israel had revolted it was a child, Josiah by name, that broke down the altars of Baal and burned the bones of his priests. Daniel was but a youth when he took his stand for purity and God. The Lord hath to-day—I know not where—some little Luther on his mother’s knee, some young Calvin learning in our Sunday-school, some youthful Zwingli singing a hymn to Jesus. This age may grow worse and worse; I sometimes think it will, for many signs look that way; but the Lord is preparing for it.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Something besides talent—and may we not say, something beyond talent?—is required in a teacher.
C. H. SPURGEON: Love is the grandest preparation for the ministry, whether exercised in the congregation or in the class. Love, and then feed. If thou lovest, feed…If you want big-souled, large-hearted men or women, look for them among those who are much engaged among the young, bearing with their follies, and sympathising with their weaknesses for Jesus’ sake.
DAVID LIVINGSTONE (1813-1873): O Jesus, fill me with Thy love now, and I beseech thee, use me a little for Thy glory.
C. H. SPURGEON: This, then, is the work: “Feed My lambs.”