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THE great object of Sabbath school instruction, is so to present the truth to the minds of those taught, that they shall feel its application to themselves.
These Questions attempt to aid the Teacher in accomplishing this object. The design of the writer was not only to communicate knowledge, but to do it in such a manner as to excite the child to THINK. But besides this, there was the purpose of making SELF the subject of reflection. To accomplish this, personal questions have been asked. Other questions have been so framed, as to introduce topics for conversation. In all cases, reference has been had to the subject under consideration. Some effort has been made to awaken and direct the mind of the teacher, as well as to enlighten and profit the scholar; for all must have observed, that the teacher imparts his own mental state to the child he teaches.
Every lesson has some important principle involved. This is usually indicated near its close, and no pains should be spared in endeavoring to impress it on the child's mind. In order to profit in the highest degree, the class must experience some pleasure in the examination of the lesson. To give this pleasure, the teacher must be familiar with the lesson. With these questions, the lesson will require some study, but demand more reflection. We have endeavored, in framing these questions, to lead the mind of the teacher forward in such a path, that objects might constantly present themselves to his eye, which would afford pleasing and forcible illustrations of the truth taught. One Sabbath should NEVER CLOSE, before the lesson and questions for the next have been CAREFULLY READ. Your mind is then in a good state, and during the week you can gather illustrations from observation and experience. If you, whose minds are matured, demand them, in the instruction you receive from the pulpit, how much more does the volatile mind of the
child require fulness and aptness of illustration? The portion of Scripture selected is peculiarly spiritual, and these questions are directed to the heart; can you use them without much prayer?
The Gospel of John was selected, because it was supposed to have received less attention than the others, and on account of its peculiar character. It presents the teachings of Jesus concerning himself. It contains the strongest evidence, that "he spake as never man spake." It is an inimitable portraiture of the character of him who "was with God in the beginning," but "was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John presents us with what Jesus is, more than what he does. No one can properly prepare himself to teach the truths here presented, without being profited himself; and he may be cheered with the assurance, that the word shall accomplish good to those taught.
Should it be found, that this volume answers the expectations of the friends of Sabbath Schools, another may be expected in due time, on the remaining portion of this Gospel and John's Epistles; and, should the series be continued, perhaps the Psalms and Proverbs will be taken up at some future time.
BOSTON, March 20, 1838.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
The Second Edition of the New England Sabbath School Question Book, has been called for much earlier than was anticipated. It has, however, undergone an entire revision. Some addition has been made to every lesson. And at the close of every third lesson, Questions for Review have been introduced. It is hoped, that every school will spend the fourth Sabbath in reviewing the three previous lessons. The questions for review are more general, and sometimes present a fuller view of the subject than the others. If the Teacher take a proper interest, the Scholar will never be uninterested in the review. The text has been introduced in connexion with each lesson, so that if the scholar has been careful to look at all the references, and fix them in his mind, he will need only the question book before him in the recitation of the class. As this edition is stereotyped, no change will be made in the arrangement in future. The writer has endeavored to profit by the suggestions which have been made, by the friends of Sabbath Schools, in the periodicals which have kindly noticed the work. Much time and severe application have been devoted to the preparation of this little book of simple questions. The work was undertaken with a deep conviction of the difficulty of performing it well; the offering has been made to the friends of Sabbath Schools, attended with fervent prayer that it may be accepted by him for whose sake it was undertaken, and, attended by his blessing, accomplish something for the advancement of the cause of truth and piety in this interesting department of Christian labor.
CAMBRIDGE, June 28, 1838.
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN.
The Preexistence and Divine Nature of Christ.
CH. i. 1-13.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Do you understand what GOSPEL means? Who wrote this account of the miracles and teaching of Jesus?
Of what nation was he?
What do you know about this man?
21. Mark 1: 19, 20.
In what part of the Bible have you before seen the word beginning?- Gen. 1 : 1.
1 WHAT was in the beginning?
Do you think that WORD, here, is the name of any being?