The Sunday School Teacher's Guide
By John Angell James, 1816
THE MOST EFFECTUAL MEANS OF KEEPING UP ZEAL
It is a fact which all experience proves, that the most important object, by being constantly in sight, loses much of its power to interest. Zeal is apt to languish, when it is no longer excited by the stimulus of novelty—and the fervor of first love, without great care, will soon sink into dull formality. It is not to be wondered at, if among the active supporters of a Sunday School, the vice of lukewarmness should sometimes be found. Hence it is of importance to ascertain the best means for keeping up the zeal of the teacher's office. By this I mean, the prosecution of its duties with vigor, interest, and delight—in opposition to that lifeless and indolent manner of dragging through them which is but too common with many.
1. Keep in view the ultimate object of your labors.
The more importance we attach to an object, the less danger we shall be exposed to, of ceasing to regard it with solicitude. Whatever is momentous, must be interesting. Hence the necessity of keeping steadily and clearly before your mind, the salvation of the soul, as the ultimate end of all your efforts. What can have such a tendency to engage the feelings, and keep them engaged, as this? The mere endeavor to teach them reading or writing; the effort at only intellectual improvement, cannot in the very nature of things have such power over the heart of the teacher—as the steady contemplation of the immortal soul's salvation as a noble prize—and eternity as a wonderful excitement. If anything can keep up the spirit of the office, it is to bring the mind from time to time under the influence of such inducements as these. When you feel your heart losing its ardor, and sinking into a lukewarm state, look afresh to the world of immortality, and behold in the crown of eternal life, the object of your pursuit. If anything can keep your attention alive to the interests of the...