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Maresfield. Several difficulties at present interfere; these require further consideration, which your committee hope to
Lamberhurst. They have at present no Sunday School; but the enquiries that are making will probably terminate in facilitating the realizement of our wishes.
Tyshurst. A Sunday School appears at present impracticable. Goadhurst. The Rev. Mr. Fox has been using his best endeavours; and though a sufficient number of active teachers cannot yet be obtained, your committee hope soon to report the establishment of one in this populous place.
Horsemanden. Inquiries are making, which they hope will be crowned with success, no school having yet been established. Tudely and Capel. A school-house is erecting, and in which it is intended to include Sabbath instruction.
Pembury. There is a school under the superintendence of the Rev. Mr. Woodgate, consisting of near one hundred children, which your committee hope to have the pleasure of reporting a further increase.
Brenchley. A Sunday School, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Kesterman and friends, consists of about eighty children, and which your committee hope will be considerably increased.
From the above sketch, your committee hope it will appear, that a Sunday School Union, in which the friends of religious knowledge, of every denomination, may conscientiously unite their energies, possesses many advantages and facilities for the dispersion of ignorance, which individual benevolence could not, however anxious, accomplish. By the aid of this Union, 10. has been distributed for the revival of schools, that might otherwise have decayed; and near 4000 books, Spelling Books, Catechisms, Hymn Books, Tracts, &c. have been distributed, where they appeared necessary. Your committee rejoice, that while thus employed as the dispensers of your liberality, they have found the promise was not given in vain, that they who water others, shall themselves be refreshed. They have found there, is a re-action in Christian benevolence, and that concern for others has suggested the necessity of personal consistency, that, in proportion as the benevolent feelings get into more active exercise, their own domestic circle has shared a greater measure of happiness; and they cannot but feel happy in the recollection, that upwards of five hundred children have been rescued from a state of mental ignorance, and whom, they trust, having been endued with knowledge as a compass, and with the Bible as their pilot, shall be conducted, through the agency of the Divine Spirit, over the tumultuous scenes and through the stormy voyage of human life, into the haven of eternal rest and joy. The peace of neighbourhoods has been preserved; and the parents, instead of consuming their Sabbaths in idleness, have, in numerous instances, walked to the house of God, in company with
their infant charge. One instance, in particular, your committee feel a delight in recording. "A little girl, whose mind was particularly impressed while hearing the teacher reminding the children in the school, of the invitation of the Redeemer-Suffer little children to come unto me,' &c. became the instructor of her parents; and now, through the blessing of the Most High, herself and the parents appear to be walking in all the ordinances of the Lord, blameless; the father seems approaching with rapidity the house appointed for all living; but the converse, the prayers, and the reading of the Scriptures to him by his wife and daughter, are the chief solace of declining life."
Other children give evidences of the reception and adoption of correct, because Bible principles; and like the woman of Samaria, Christian feelings having been produced, are anxious to be useful; some having offered their services as teachers. These promising blossoms lead your committee to hope for abundance of fruit.
Anxious to promote the welfare of society, churchmen, surrounded by other denominations, have here forgotten the distinctions of party and their particular attachments, and having tasted how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, their meetings have been ever attended with unanimity, and they have longed for the day which ancient prophecy assures them is approaching, when Ephraim shall no longer envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim; but when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole earth.
Having one common object, the instruction of youth in Evangelical principles, they trust they shall become useful auxiliaries to that noble institution, the glory of their native isle, "the British and Foreign Bible Society," and thereby be preparing the way for one generation to praise their Creator's works to another, and declare his mighty acts.
Ere long, they trust, neighbouring nations will catch the flame; even now, France, so long our country's rival, they trust, is destined to become our rival in the commerce of benevolence. She has now three Sunday Schools; and they hope this is but as a grain of mustard seed, that will soon become a majestic tree, under whose branches that unhappy nation shall sit and be healed. If arguments were needed for the concentration of every energy in the care of youth, her philosophers would teach us a most useful lesson; they poisoned the stream by entering, with their baneful influence, into the seminaries of instruction, and the revolution was produced. Let it be our honourable employ, to direct them, in early life, to the cause and cure of moral evil, and thereby ensure not the destruction of the social edifice, but the future happiness and prosperity of our country; if because of swearing and Sabbath breaking, the land has mourned, let us aim at removing the cause of sorrow, by beginning with youth; and as righteousness exalteth a nation, let us assist its diffusion,
and seek the exaltation of ours, that wisdom and knowledge may be the stability of our times: but this will be best produced by union; it was this effected the deliverance of Europe; and it is this seems intended to effect the overthrow of idolatry and superstition throughout our world.
Extract from the Third Report
SHEFFIELD SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
THE following is the list of teachers and scholars (children and adults), in the nineteen Schools of the Union, according to the latest returns.
Schools of the Sheffield Sunday School Union.-1815.
Zion Chapel, Attercliffe.
Methodist Chapel, Attercliffe
Methodist School, Darnal...
Methodist School, Handsworth Wood
By a resolution of the last annual meeting, the committee were authorized to encourage the formation of Sunday Schools in adjacent villages, where such were wanted, by visits, small donations in money or books, and by such other means as might be found expedient. This has been done successfully in several instances. In the extensive parish of Ecclesfield, in consequence of deputations sent from our committee, three considerable Sunday Schools have been established,-at Bradfield, at Grenoside, and in Ecclesfield itself. The beneficial influence of these on parents,
children, and teachers has been already felt in an unexpected measure, and acknowledged even by those who at first appeared indifferent or averse to the experiment. In Bradfield especially the plan has been so zealously adopted, that twenty pounds have been subscribed by the neighbours, sixty teachers have enrolled their names, and a hundred and fifty scholars attend on the Sabbath, many of whom, both boys and girls, during the wintermonths, came from great distances, through rain and snow, and on very bad roads. The father of one of these has said, that he is obliged to call his son up on every other morning of the week, but on Sunday the boy rises early without calling. The women who rose early on the morning of the first Christian Sabbath, and went to the sepulchre, saw a vision of angels; and Mary who tarried the longest there was the first to whom the risen Saviour appeared.
At Grenoside School there are already thirty-five teachers, and a hundred and fifty scholars. Of the improvement of the latter, the superintendent speaks with much satisfaction, and though they are not, and cannot be, all at once, so well behaved and obedient as children who have been longer under discipline, yet the hearty delight which they take in singing hymns, and the alacrity with which they subscribe for bibles, are encouraging tokens, that future good of the best kind will be wrought in their souls as well as in their manners.
Ecclesfield School has thirty-two teachers, and a hundred and five scholars. Many more would attend, were there room to receive them. Such has been the external change of conduct in the youth of this village, and so much more orderly and peaceable is the Sabbath there now than it has been heretofore, that the goodwill, we believe, of every body has been conciliated, and present prospects are very promising.
The villages of Totley and Dore have also been visited from our committee; and though not immediately by the agency of our friends, yet certainly from their stirring up the minds of the inha-bitants, the latter have redeemed the credit of their neighbourhood by beginning Sunday Schools in each place. They that are not against us are for us; we wish them God's speed; and though they follow not after us, we will not presume to forbid them, so long as they cast out evil spirits in the same name as we cast them out. Thus, in the past year, five flourishing Schools have risen up to call this Union blessed; and through rude and widespread tracts, where the children ran wild as the cattle on the moors, growing up in ignorance and hardness of heart, more than six hundred are gathered into little folds, many of whom we trust will be added to the flock of the good Shepherd on earth, and numbered everlastingly with the redeemed in heaven. Some pecuniary assistance has also been sent to a very meritorious and necessitous establishment at Swinton, near Rotherham, which was thank fully received. Donations of money and books have been
voted to Sunday Schools at the Manor, at Gleadless, and conditionally to several other places, which have been visited, but where no opening as yet has been made. In all these missions, it has been the express injunction of the committee to their representatives, not to prescribe or dictate any particular plan, nor prefer one denomination of Christians before another, but to leave the well-disposed people themselves to build upon their own foundation, and to perfect their work under the sanction of Churchmen, Calvinists, or Methodists, according to their local circumstances; for in this Union all true disciples are one in Christ Jesus.
We are pleased to learn, that in most, if not in all the Schools in our connection, bible associations have been formed among the children. These ought to be promoted as much as possible, since they afford the readiest, the surest, and the most effectual means of supplying poor families with the Scriptures.
We shall proceed to give a few extracts from the numerous details which have been furnished to us by the Schools in the Union. The length of the whole must be our apology for the brevity with which we are compelled to notice each.
The Queen-street School informs us, that since the last anniversary, nine teachers belonging to it have been received into church fellowship; and others manifest by their walk and conversation, that the grace of God has not been bestowed on them in vain. Among them too the voice of the Lord has been heard, saying "Be ye also ready." A female teacher, who, for years past, had laboured under much bodily affliction, entered into her eternal rest a few months ago, testifying to those around her, that "the dying love of Jesus was the only ground of her hope in life, and her comfort in death."-A girl, who had left the school, evidenced the good impressions which she had received there, by ministering to the support of her widowed mother to the close of life, with filial piety, and exemplary resignation to the divine will, while she herself was suffering severely in her person as well as in her parent. Our friends of this school earnestly recommend to their brethren and sisters in similar institutions to adopt the plan, which they have found exceedingly beneficial, of spending half an hour of each Sabbath's engagements with the children, in singing, prayer, and affectionate exhortation, since if religious knowledge be not principally inculcated, even Sunday Schools will produce comparatively little good. The adult Schools on the original plan having not equalled in all respects the hopes of their supporters, seven places have been taken in different parts of the town, for the purpose of instructing in small companies such persons as are willing to learn to read, but unwilling to go far out of their way to be taught.
(To be continued.)