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the Church Sunday Schools, on the subject of the latter being added to the Union. The invitation was declined on the ground that "as the Sheffield (church) Schools were admitted into union with the National Society, in London, they could not, with propriety, enter upon an union with the Schools of a different establishment."
The committee rejoice to find, that while new Schools are opened from time to time, the number of scholars in the old ones is rather increased than diminished. The progress of the plan for teaching adults in Schools attached to various congregations in the Union, affords peculiar pleasure to those who have higher views in communicating knowledge to their fellow-creatures, as fellow-sinners, than merely to improve their temporal condition. Adult Schools are the offspring of the most enlightened christian benevolence in the present generation, and with the present generation it is to be hoped that they will cease; for if the children that are growing up around us are not all taught the first principles of necessary learning, it will not be for lack of means, but for the inexcusable neglect or abuse of them. Abundant blessing and success have hitherto accompanied faithful endeavours to supply the deficiency of early instruction, even in advanced life. If Negroes, Greenlanders, Esquimaux, and Hottentots, the rudest and wildest barbarians, to whom the very use of letters was at first incomprehensible, eagerly and easily learn to read and write at any age, when a sufficient motive for diligent application is presented to their minds,-such as the desire to possess a Bible, in which they may privately and leisurely learn those lessons of heavenly wisdom, which the missionaries teach them in public,— how can it be doubted, that even the most ignorant persons in this country may soon be taught the rudiments of common education, wherever there is the will to become scholars, since they begin with advantages of previous knowledge unheard of by savages, and more difficult to be communicated by them than the simple elements of any art. The committee are not allowed to expatiate here; but in the conduct of such Schools, they particularly recommend that Adult Scholars should have adult teachers; and, as far as it may be practicable, that the sexes should be taught apart, and by persons of their own sex.
An excellent Miscellany, published quarterly, at the small price of four shillings a year, entitled "The Sunday School Repository, or Teachers' Magazine," having attracted the notice of some friends of the poor in this town, and being found to contain a great variety of exceedingly useful matter, the committee take the present opportunity of recommending it to the superintendants and teachers of schools in this Union. They likewise earnestly advise the establishment of Bible Associations among the children, whenever they are disposed to subscribe an occasional penny for the purchase of the holy scriptures.
Materials for the remainder of this report have been furnished so liberally by our friends, that the committee find it difficult to select and compress even a moderate proportion of these within their narrow limits. Most of the cases that occur in these communications, are the happy deaths of children; but these perhaps are the best cases, since they can never be reversed. We rejoice in the reformation,-in the new life of the living; but "we rejoice with trembling," lest their goodness should be "as the morning cloud, and the early dew." Oyer the departed we indeed tremble, at the thought of mortality; but amidst trembling we rejoice, when death has set the seal of eternity on the work of salvation;— remembering the words of our dying Redeemer, "It is finished!" (To be concluded in the next Number.)
REPORT OF THE
MACCLESFIELD SUNDAY SCHOOL,
WHATEVER opinions may have prevailed as to the best mode of conducting Sunday Schools, there can be but one respecting their utility. Our pious forefathers, sensible of the advantages of education, erected and endowed Schools for the instruction of youth in many of the parishes and hamlets of this kingdom. Noble as were the intentions of these excellent men, so great has been the increase of the population, and so materially have the circumstances of the country been changed, that a privilege designed for all, is not applicable to that large class of the community whose children are put to work in manufactories at the early period of five or six years of age. To supply this defect, and to prevent the profanation of the Lord's Day, then become very general, was the design of the original projector of Sunday Schools. The effects have justified the plan, and the great utility of these institutions has been proved 66 from the immense in
crease of moral and political good which they have been the instrument of producing." Our venerable and beloved sovereign, deeply sensible of their inestimable value in both views, is well known to have declared, in language highly becoming a Christian king, and the father of his people, that he hoped he should live to see the day when every poor child in his dominions would be able to read his bible." Their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Kent and Sussex have proved themselves the worthy sons of such a sire, and of the high distinction of descendants of the illustrious house of Brunswick, by their attachment to the same cause, evinced by their condescending to honour this institution with their patronage and support. Such are thy princes, happy England? Within thy borders, the felicity, the amelioration, the
moral and intellectual improvement of the lowest orders become the care and concern of the most exalted personages in the state. And while the other nations of Europe have been bleeding at every pore, from a sanguinary and protracted war, thou hast remained in comparative peace and security. It is not meant to be understood that a portion of the vial which has been poured out to the devastation of other countries, has not fallen on the land of Liberty, ships, and commerce; but if we look at other nations, how great is the cause for gratitude to heaven. The fertility of our soil has not arisen from the blood of its inhabitants, we have witnessed no tears for property despoiled, nor heard the whisperings of curses" not loud but deep," for unjust aggressions; every class of society here is equally amenable to the laws; and every subject of this realm may worship God in that way his conscience and his judgment best approve. But while this Committee congratulate themselves, and their countrymen, on the distinguished blessings and privileges they enjoy as Englishmen, and cordially unite in wishing prosperity and success to every institution which has for its object the spread of useful knowledge, and the bettering the condition of man, throughout the world; it will be expected that they describe some, at least, of the claims theirs has upon the patronage of the public at large, and upon that of the town of Macclesfield in particular. Like that grand institution the British and Foreign Bible Society, this, by a happy union of Christians of all denominations, is in its nature and principle universal. The object of that society is the dissemination of the book of God-of this, to teach to read it; and by every means, but that of compulsion, to promote the belief of its heavenly doctrines, and the practice of its divine precepts. Calculated as is the mild and persuasive discipline of this School, to promote habits of subordination, loyalty, industry, sobriety, and restraint in all, this committee could point out not a few who have passed through it, and others now upon their list, whose amiable conduct bespeaks the ascendancy of higher motives,-of Christian principles. And since the publication of the last Annual Report, several have died with a sacred composure of soul, under the influence of Christian hope; testifying how much they were indebted to the salutary instructions they had received in this School.
Such are the advantages which the town and neighbourhood of Macclesfield have been reaping from an institution, begun and established nearly eighteen years ago, under the auspices of a man whose memory is engraven on the hearts of many, whose efforts in promoting the temporal and eternal happiness of all ranks, in this populous district, during a period of twenty-four years, were uniform and unremitting; and whose many amiable virtues had the warm admiration and high esteem of every one, except the envious and malignant.
But to secure the permanent establishment of the institution, a building was wanting, the sole property of the charity, wherein the system so long and so successfully acted upon, might be perpetuated, without danger of molestation or interruption; which a merely hired one would be always subject to. This, through the good hand of God, and the benevolence and zeal of the numerous friends and supporters of the institution, has been effected; and an edifice, already vested in the hands of trustees, for the use of the poor of Macclesfield and its vicinity for ever, capable of containing three thousand scholars, appears at once an ornament to the town, and a monument of the Christian philanthropy, munificence, and public spirit of those who were the instruments of erecting it. To the benevolent indi viduals and public bodies, who have so generously patronized the design by their liberal pecuniary subscriptions-to those who have aided its accomplishment by the labour of their horses, or that of personal manual exertion, and to all who have discovered any interest in its prosperity and success, the committee return their warmest thanks, accompanied by ardent prayers to the throne of grace, that when the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, this that they have done may be told for a memorial of them, and the approbation of the judge be manifest by his own blessed declaration-" Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these ye did it unto me." In making this public and grateful acknowledgement to the friends and benefactors of the institution, the committee deem it a debt of justice to report, that of the £3000 subscribed for the accomplishment of this great object, £1000 have been furnished by the teachers and scholars, aud that their weekly subscriptions are still continued. Thus the subjects of the charity are contributing with their own money to the perpetuity of their own improvement, and that of posterity. There is an indescribable strength in this principle, which increases its means of prosperity by the mere force of its own movements. It has been said by an acute observer, that “of such a lesson it is impossible to form an estimate. It is the greatest among the real rights of man to promote the moral and intellectual happiness of his own species. Here the lowest moves in the same sphere with the highest, until he reach the same level of benevolence. This is the best equality--and although it is power, it is consecrated power,-the sword of the giant from the temple of the Lord."
In this School 1,100 boys, and 1,167 girls are educated, Total, 2,267.
We have received the following account of the placing of the foundation stone, in addition to the above report,
On the 22d April, 1813, the gentlemen composing the committee, for carrying into effect the design of erecting a building to
contain from two thousand to three thousand children, for gratuitous instruction on Sundays, in this large and populous town; went in procession from the Macclesfield Arms Inn, preceded by the artificers and workmen, carrying the insignia of their professions, and a full band of music, and attended by two lodges of free and accepted masons, in the uniforms of their respective orders; to lay the first stone of the edifice about to be erected, by the voluntary contributions and subscriptions of the inhabitants. and the public. The procession arrived upon the ground soon after one o'clock, when the two masonic societies passed through a line, formed by the committee, to a platform, purposely erected for their accommodation; at the summit of which the stone was prepared. Two thousand children, or upwards, of which the institution at present consists, attended by their teachers; who had been previously arranged on the scite of the ground appropriated to the intended building now sang a hymn selected for the occasion, accompanied by the whole band of instrumental performers in the centre. The effect produced by this grand and solemn service was impressive beyond description; and if the writer may be allowed to express something like unto the emotions of his own heart, on the occasion; the surrounding multitude must have felt in no low degree, the force of that beautiful passage in the book of Job: “I delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless, and him that had none to help him; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." One of the masonic brethren having read the inscription on the brass plate, a number of coins were deposited, and the stone was laid with the usual formalities. The masonic chaplain then proceeded to deliver an appropriate and impressive oration, and afterwards offered up a prayer for the prosperity of the institution, and the town; for the important designs connected with the intended edifice, and for the general extension and advancement of Christ's kingdom upon earth. &c.
Notwithstanding it is computed that there were not less than from ten to twelve thousand spectators on the ground, not the slightest disorder prevailed. And while the people evinced the lively sensations, and the grateful interests they felt in the transactions of this memorable day, by their acclamations and their blessings; the committee had to congratulate themselves on the termination of the business, without the occurrence of a single injurious accident.
The procession returned to the Inn (in the same order it had proceeded to the ground, save that the committee were in the rear) where an excellent dinner was provided for the friends of the institution.
The chair was taken by George Pearson, Esq. after dinner, the healths of the King, the Queen, the Prince Regent, and Royal Family; prosperity to their intended edifice for a Sunday School, in Macclesfield, and may its beneficial effects be seen and known, when those who were the instruments of raising it shall be moul