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We have received a most interesting letter from the secretaries of the Biriningham Union, informing us that their Union took place on the 13th of February last, and we have no doubt but the affection, ability, and zeal of the secretaries, are a pleasing presage of the permanence and future utility of their Union.
Extract from the Report of the SUNDERLAND SUNDAY-School
UNION, for the Year ending 31st December, 1814. Your Committee have to report that the resolutions, passed at the last general meeting, have, by several of the schools, been carried into effect; libraries and Bible Associations bave been formed, and a flourishing Adult School for Females is vow established in Sunderland.
It must afford sincere pleasure, - not merely to Sunday School teachers, but to every true friend of Religion, -to find that the grand end, which each school in this Union has in view, is religious instruction; and your Committee doubt not but, through the Divine blessing, the united efforts of the teachers, in this respect, will be crowned with success.
Deputations have been sent to several of the schools, in order to enquire into their modes of teaching, and to explain, in a practical manner, the printed rules. The success tliat bas attended the endeavours of your Committee in this respect, will best be seen from the annexed extracts of reports received from the several districts.
The following schools have been added to the Union during the past year, viz. Oxclose, High Felling, Enon Chapel School, Zion Chapel School, Durham School, and the Sunderland Female Adult School. The whole of these schools, excepting Durbam, are new schools established within the last twelve months; the Durham School has existed for some time, and at present, with the immediate vicinity, constitutes a new district.
The school at Sheriffe Hill has been unavoidably given up, from having lost the place where they taught; but they have recently built a new school, which it is trusted, when opened, will be well filled.
The schools at Mount and Gateshead's Fell Chapel have also been given up; the former, it is hoped, may be recommenced again; the latter school was given up for the winter from the dampness of the place; and, owing to a declension among the teachers, the want of funds, and a debt owing to the depositary, the few remaining teachers are so much discouraged that they appear unwilling again to commence the school. Your Committee having taken the state of this school into consideration, agreed to make themi a grant of the books for which they stood indebted, on condition of their recommencing the school; and, in case they should determine not to do so, to take back the books in their present state, without any ex-pence to them for the injury they may have received.
As it regards the declension of children in the different schools, your Committee beg leave to suggest the necessity of vigorous measures being used, to recover, if possible, those children who have quitted them; and, perhaps, there is no method more likely to effect this, than by appointing visitors to go through the different families, to enquire into the cause of their absence, and to solicit the parents, in an affectionate manuer, to send their children again.
The Committee would also recommend to those schools, whose funds are small
, and yet are desirous of establishing libraries, to follow the example of some other schools, and commence at first with single tracts, a large assortment of which are published by the Religious Tract Society, and others. A library on this scale may be begun at a very trifling expence; and though the quantity of matter in each tract is small, yet it is weighty, and inay be better digested in many of the families who are unaccustomed to reading, than a larger book.
Your Committee having thus endeavoured to lay before you their proceedings during the past year conclude, by expressing their earnest desire that the spirit of love, which liath bitherto been so manifested in this institution, may continue to increase ; and that similar societies may be formed till every poor child in this country shall be able to read for himself the Sacred volume.
The total number of children connected with the Union, is 5099; and of teachers 841.
Extructs frum the District Reports. At the commencement of the year, visitors were appointed to visit the families of our children; and the Committee feel pleasure is reporting, that these visits have not been altogether in vain, as by their means a door has been opened to disseminate religious tracts among the poorest of our towns-people; nor is this the only good that these visits liave effected ; for, while endeavouring to spread these little silent monitors, with sorrow the visitors' beheld the wretched ignorance which prevailed among the adults they had an opportunity of seeing; and the Committee of these schools, anxious, if possible, to save soine of the poor females who appeared ready to be carried down by the torrent of sin and infamy, which we have melancholy proof, prevails to a very high degree in populous sez-ports, determined to begin a Sunday School for their instruction.
The Female Adult School commenced, in April 1814, with only three scholars; it has continued gradually to increase, and at present there are ninety female adults under instruction. We also feel pleasure in reporting the good this school has already produced; some of the adults, who, prior to the commencement of the school, were ignorant of their letters, and were unacquainted with their duty, either to their Creator or their
neighbour, have not only learnt to read, but the instruction giver them has produced a desire to attend divine worship regularly; and we have some cause to hope their understandings have been considerably enlightened.
In the beginning of last year persons were appointed as religious instructors to our schools, the reports received from them are gratifying; they say, “ As far as we can judge, we believe many of the children are not only willing but desirous of being instructed; we have been glad to observe that many of them seem to feel themselves interested in the truths they are learning."
We have received the following account from two of our members, who have been visiting the town, house by house, on behalf of the Bible Association, and as it tends to illustrate the good effects of Sunday Schools, hope it will prove an encouragement to all engaged in them; they say,
" We went into one house where there was a middle aged woman, she said her daughter had a bible; after a little conversation slie spoke nearly as follows: 'I have great reason to bless God for the good my child and husband have got by the Sunday Schools; my husband frequently came home on the Lord's day intoxicated; it was usual for him to spend part of the money he received on a Saturday at the public house on a Sunday: about two years ago, my little girl, who was then not nine years old, said to him,-Oh, Father! it is very wrong to spend the money you work for the rest of the week at the ale-house on Sundays! At first he wanted to jest with her about it; but she prevailed with him to read her catechism; it produced such an effect upon him that I have never had occasion to blame him for it since;.- to our shame we may say our child has taught us both: we lived without prayer, but nothing could hinder her from prayer night and morning as regularly as she arose and retired to rest.'
Though we know nothing of the persons the following account relates to, yet, from the means by which we obtained our information, we cannot doubt its authenticity. “ A lad, about nine years of age, said to his mother, I wish you would not let my brother bring any thing home that is smuggled, when he goes to sea !
wish that child ?' said the mother. He answered, “Because my catechism says it is wrong.' Tic mother replied, • But that is only the word of a man.' He said,
Mother, is it the word of a man, which said, -Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsars ? This reply entirely silenced his mother; but his father, who appears to have been by, atteinpted to say something in defence of smuggling, when the boy asked, “ Father, whether is it worse to rob one or to rob many?' By these questions and answers, the boy silenced both his parents on the subject of smuggling.".
We believe the following accounts will prove acceptable to you, as they tend strongly to confirm the benefit likely to be
derived from Sunday School libraries: we had them from the before-named persons; they say, “ In another house we visited respecting bibles; the woman said her son was now a sailor, and bad been a Sunday School scholar; he had got such a love for reading, that the book was scarcely ever out of his hands." In another house, the woman said, “ My son has just returned from a voyage to the Brazils." On the Sunday he said, “Mother, I will go to the school, --surely they will not refuse to let me read books out of the library, as I used to do.” These accounts we consider as great encouragement to proceed in the work, believing, if we faint not, we shall see yet greater fruit of our labour.
Oue of our friends related to the Committee that, when his boy got a book from the library, such was his eagerness to read and study it, that his mother could hardly get him to bed at night. The children, who are privileged with books from the library, give evident signs of improvement, both in knowledge and behaviour.
We beg leave to subjoin the following: “Some years ago, a boy attended our school; he resided at some distance: one sabbath, being later than usual in getting home, his father came out to meet him; when he met him, the father began to enquire the cause of his staying so late, the boy, with apparent concern in his countenance, said “Every body's daddy goes to the meeting but you." The father felt something touch his heart; the tears started in his eye; he determined with himself to go to the meeting the next Lord's day, which he accordingly did, and continued to attend preaching till his mind was enlightened, and his soul converted to God. Last Monday, the Lord removed him out of time into eternity. During bis long atfliction he was visited by our friends, who always found him happy and resigned to the will of God, having a strong confidence in the Saviour of mankind.
NO Report has been received from the Frome Sunday School Union. Mr. Blatch the late secretary has quitted the scenes of earthly labour, to enter on his heavenly rest and Teward.
EXTRACT from the First ANNUAL REPORT of the West KENT
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION WHATEVER may have been the expectation of the individuals who first encouraged and promoted the formation of the West Kent Sunday School Union, your committee have good reason to believe that their most anxious desire for its prosperity has been not only fulfilled, but exceeded; and although they are aware that much remains to be done, they entertain a well grounded hope and belief, that you will rejoice that the exertions already made for the establishment of new schools, and the support of such as have been already formed, have been attended with such abundant success.
Since the first quarterly meeting, the school which had just been opened under your patronage, near the Canal Bridge, on the Lower Road, leading from Deptford to Rotherhithe, and then contained 28 children, has increased to 83; and as convenient school-rooms have been made at the new Meeting lately built, there is reason to expect a further increase.
A new school has lately been opened under the auspices of the Union, in Brewhouse-lane, Greenwich, in which 26 boys are now instructed.
Your committee cannot forbear to congratulate the Union on the prosperous state of the Adult School which has been established at Greenwich, where 53 men and 10 women manifest the 'utmost anxiety to receive instruction; and the progress they make in the acquirement of knowledge, affords the highest gratification to the persons employed to communicate it.
A similar school has been established at Woolwich, and from 'the accounts last reported, there is reason to believe that it will
be attended with the most complete success, and form a distinguishing feature in the next annual report.
It is with regret your committee have to state, that in consequence of the number of children who attended the school esta. blislied at Brockley, having been considerably diminished by removals, it has been found expedient to transfer the remainder to the school at Lewisham, where they now attend.
Repeated efforts have been used to establish a school at Charlton, and although they have not yet been attended with the wished for success, your committee will not relax in their endeavours to effect this desirable object, and hope that by prudent perse(verance, they will be enabled ultimately to surmount the ditficulties which have hitherto intervened.
The schools at Woolwich Common and Erith continue to be supported by the Union, in the former of which there has been an increase of 9, and in the latter of 16 children since the first quarterly meeting.
From the following statement of the several schools connected with the Union, it will be seen that, in the aggregate, an increase of 223 children has taken place in a period of 9 months, independent of the two Adult schools at Greenwich and Woolwich, viz.
No. May 1814. No. Feb. 1815
178 Hughes's Fields, Deptford..
144 New Cross
88 Greenwich Road..
183 East-street, Greenwich ...
87 Brewhouse-lane, Greenwich
26 Providence Chapel, Woolwich
170 Salem Chapel, Woolwich ...
225 ..... 210