« PreviousContinue »
The first expence would, by this means, be greatly reduced, and this is a very important point; for it often happens that people in country villages, at least those who are zealous for these institutions, are of the poorer sort. I lately knew an instance in a village where a suitable room and seats were procured, and a sufficient number of persons offer their services as gratuitous teachers, but on account of the expence the design was laid aside.
Another, and a most important advantage would be, that people in country villages would be able, with comfort and convenience, to get a supply of proper Sunday School books; and this would be a very great benefit indeed. I believe, sir, people who dwell in large towns, and who are conversant with books, can scarce form an idea of the difficulties, disappointments, and waste of time to which country people are exposed, in their endeavours to procure Sunday School books. The first books indeed are now easy to be procured, the Sunday School Union having happily removed the difficulties in this respect; but with regard to bibles and testaments, the difficulties, in general, remain as strong as ever.
Suppose a plain country man, who has a zeal for the good of his fellow-creatures, by reading your Magazine, or by some other means, gets to see into the value of these institutions. He immediately enters into the spirit of the work, he converses with his neighbours,-a spirit of enterprize is stirred up, a room is fixed upon, and seats are provided. But, alas! the great task is to provide books. With regard to first books, their anxieties are removed, they have confidence in the Sunday School Union, and can depend upon being well and properly supplied. But bibles and testaments are wanted. They scarce know how or where to procure them;-their family calls, in general, require all their time and attendance; the sum of money required is also beyond their reach; application is made to the more wealthy neighbours, but these, their own children being educated, have perhaps no further zeal. What can now be done? Some, perhaps, have zeal enough to involve themselves in debt to accomplish the charity, and the books, after many difficulties and disappointments, are at length procured.*
Having never been accustomed to these matters, they have no knowledge of the best manner of laying them in, nor of
Sunday Schools requiring assistance, should apply for Spelling Books and Testaments to the Society for the support and encouragement of Sunday Schools throughout the British Dominions.-Secretary, Mr. Thomas Smith, Little Moorfields,
dividing them into parts; the consequence is, that the debt is heavy, and the bibles and testaments, though expensive, are in general of the worst kind, the paper almost brown, and the print scarcely legible; the teachers are hereby often wearied, their eyesight injured, their labours frustrated, and the progress of the children greatly obstructed.
These are serious grievances, and call loudly on the friends of mankind for redress; and to whom can these people look for help but to those noble institutions, the Sunday School Union, the Society for the support and encouragement of Sunday Schools, and the British and Foreign Bible Society.
If these friends of mankind would condescend to take this matter into consideration, they night, without any material difficulty, form an establishment for selling bibles and testaments in parts, upon the plan on which the Sunday School Union supplies spelling-books. This would be productive of much good; the establishment of Sunday Schools in country villages would be greatly promoted, obstacles would be removed, grievances redressed, and their own funds not at all injured.
These remarks are not the fruits of speculative reasoning, but are taken from actual observation and experience; for having been often called upon to assist in opening and establishing village Sunday Schools, I have witnessed these things in their full extent, and am of opinion that many talents would hereby be called into action, which through difficulties now lie buried.
A measure of this kind also appears to meet the views of all these societies. The two former, by smoothing the way for others, would be instrumental in promoting Sunday Schools in places to which their personal exertions cannot as yet extend; and the noble views of the latter would be accomplished by the circulation of the scriptures in so useful a manner.
The bibles and testaments issued by the Bible Society are always of a good quality; they might, therefore, without difficulty, furnish a constant supply; and if the Sunday School Union would condescend to undertake the sale, the establishment would be complete. An arrangement might then be made for selling them at stated prices, in sheets, or in volumes bound to order.
People in country villages would reap great advantage from an establishment of this kind. Their anxieties would be removed, and their minds delightfully set at rest. They could look with confidence to the Sunday School Union, and could depend upon being supplied with a full complement of proper Sunday School books, in a regular way, and of a good quality.
This would set aside many of those perplexing difficulties, disappointments, &c. which country people, in these cases, almost uniformly meet with. The establishment of Sunday Schools would be greatly promoted, the burdens would be eased, the teachers would go on more delightfully in the work, the children would make a more rapid progress, and I think I may say, the thanksgivings of many would redound to the glory of God. Yours, &c.
A COUNTRYMAN *.
ADULT SCHOOL SOCIETY in BERKS, BUCKS, and Oxon.
WE have received an account of a meeting held in the Town Hall, Great Marlow, for the formation of a society for the institution of schools for adults, in the district," comprehended within a circle round the town of Great Marlow, of which the towns of Maidenhead, Henley, Wycombe, Beaconsfield, and Bornham may be regarded as the circumference." From the perusal of the statement, and circular letter previously issued, and the marked distinction therein made between clergymen of the Church of England, and the ministers in other religious denominations, clergymen being necessarily members of the committee, and dissenting ministers not, the clergyman of each parish, having a vote on the appointment of any teacher, notwithstanding his election by the committee of which that clergyman was himself a member, the inhabitants being requested to visit the schools when instituted, and to make their reports, not to the committee, to the clergyman. We had anticipated that jealousies would arise, and that there would not be that mutual respect and confidence which we have seen so happily prevail in other societies, and which would insure the co-operation of all denominations; we are not, therefore, surprized at hearing that the dissenters in general, residing within that district, have not cordially united. We trust, however, that they will shew that, though differing as to mode, they agree in the object,
The editor, many years ago, divided the bible and testament into parts. To explain the plan more fully, he divided the testament into 12 parts, each part containing 16 lessons. Ist part, Matthew, containing 1071 verses; 2d, Mark, 677; 3d, Luke, 1151; 4th, John, 879; 5th, Acts, 1007; 6th, Romans, 493; 7th, 1st and 2d Corinthians, 694; 8th, Galatians to Colossians, 503; 9th, 1st Thessalonians to 2d Timothy, 332: 10th, Titus to Hebrews, 374; 11th, James to Jude, 432; 12th, Revelations, 404. The chief objections to this plan are the great expence of binding the several parts, and the facility with which the whole of the Bible and Testament may now be procured by the
and are not indisposed to bear their part in carrying it into complete effect. We believe that there is not a dissenting place of worship within the district which has not connected with it one or more Sunday Schools, and we hope ere long to hear that they have shewn an equal zeal in the institution of schools for adults.
Another part of the plan avowed by the preliminary address, and passed into resolution, which excited our most serious regret, was the proposed employment of paid masters and mistresses, and even of the elder children, in charity schools. From the observations of our late venerable friend, the Rev. T. Charles, (to be found in No. 3 of this work) which have been confirmed by experience, it is apparent that the successful instruction of adults requires that degree of patience, of perseverance, of kindness, and of attention to the feelings, and even to the prejudices of the scholars, which cannot be expected to arise from any other motive but an earnest desire to promote their best interests.
If the schools are rendered interesting, we feel no doubt that they will be well attended; but we believe that will never be accomplished by merely teaching the alphabet and reading lessons; we know that the schools under a society of considerable extent, in which all denominations are engaged, are always commenced with prayer, and that no objection has been made, or we believe felt, to that which has raised so much dispute in the meeting above referred to, namely, answering those questions which the scholars propose on the scriptures they are reading; and in the infancy of the institution of adult schools, we had rather see one school in a district well conducted by those who feel a real interest in the work, than a school in every parish conducted by hired teachers, or the elder children in Charity Schools-the latter, we fear, would throw a discredit upon the institution, while we feel assured that the former would recom mend itself to general adoption, and that the whole of the district proposed would in a very short time be covered with schools, interesting and benefitting the population, at an expence bearing but a very small proportion to that stated at the meeting at Great Marlow, viz. £800!
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
BATH SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
THE committee of the Bath Sunday School Union feel highly gratified in reporting the favourable progress of its labours at this
first annual meeting; and although the nature of Sunday Schools may be now pretty generally understood, and the beneficial effects produced by the establishment of them rightly appreciated, it is presumed that some allusion to the nature and design of Sunday School Unions may not be altogether unnecessary on the present occasion. The committee would therefore beg permission to observe, that a Sunday School Union is the friendly association and cordial co-operation of the managers and teachers of various Sunday Schools belonging to different denominations of Christians, for the purpose of opening, organizing, and maintaining Sunday Schools in surrounding country villages where none had been before established, and thereby imparting to the uninstructed children of the neighbouring poor that kind of religious knowledge and instruction which the poor children of this and many other cities and large towns have been favoured with, more or less, for many years past. It may be further premised, that a Sunday School has for its grand object the realizing the pious wish of the venerable and truly patriotic monarch of this highly favoured country, whose benevolent and paternal feelings prompted him to say it was the warm desire of his royal heart that every poor man's child throughout his extensive dominions should be able to read the Bible. And if one individual school can so far attain this pleasing object as to impart such necessary instruction to some hundreds of poor children, what may not be done when the active managers and zealous teachers of several schools shall draw their energies into one common focus, and, regardless of all trifling differences and party distinctions, unite together for the holy purpose of benefiting their fellow-creatures?
Immediately after the formation of this Union the committee commenced its labours: upwards of seventy volunteer teachers were soon enrolled by the secretaries, who began their career of usefulness, agreeably to the original plan of the society, by the formation of schools, and extending the blessings of gratuitous and religious instruction to the poor children of neighbouring villages. How far the managers and teachers of the Bath Sunday School Union have succeeded in their humble attempt to do good, and how far the success which has accompanied their endeavours may have been commensurate with the nature and designs of the institution, let a statement of facts determine.
The following eighteen new schools have been opened under the auspices of the Union, in nearly the order in which they are arranged: