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dering in the dust. The bettering the condition of the poor by religious instruction throughout the world, &c. &c. were drank with acclamations, The company retired from this feast of reason highly gratified, and justly considering the day as deserving to be held in remembrance.
QUARTERLY REPORT OF THE
WEST KENT SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION
WHEN truly benevolent minds learn, that prosperous attempts are making to promote the welfare of immortal beings, they enjoy a high gratification; and are anxious to know, not so much the particular spot where they are carried on, or who are the honoured instruments employed in them, as the extent of the benefit that is likely to arise. Those persons cannot be said to adorn the Christian character to its full extent, who withhold that assistance from a benevolent institution, which it is in their power to communicate, merely because it does not fall within the boundary line with which indolence, or something else has surrounded their sphere of operation. Doubtless, if the mind has received all that charity of feeling which the religion of Jesus is capable of imparting, it will know of "no limits but the world or distinction of men amongst the whole human race" for its exercise, except such as the prospect of more extensive usefulness may define.
They who "profess and call themselves Christians," ought to be active in the service of him by whose name they are distin, guished, whenever and wherever they can. Let us not be misunderstood. We do not intend that they are to neglect one object to promote another.
Should persons who are solicited to co-operate in some new means to forward the cause of religion and humanity, be induced by what they deem sufficient motives to decline; let them be satisfied with giving a refusal, or if they must say something, let their voice be heard in the language of encouragement.
Perhaps you will not perceive an immediate connexion betwixt the preceding remarks, and the quarterly report we have to present. As we are doubtful whether there would not be some difficulty in making such a connexion appear, we shall decline the ȧttempt.
We are, Dear Sir,
T. W. KERSHAW,
The third quarterly meeting of the West Kent Sunday School Union, was held at East-street Chapel, Greenwich, on Friday Evening the 18th of November.
W. Stone, Esq. having taken the chair, a hymn was sung, and the Rev. Mr. Scott commenced with prayer.
Interesting reports were read from several of the schools belonging to the union, including the following one from the Greenwich Adult School, (removed from Deptford.)
The prudent operations of well directed zeal, especially amongst Christians have generally been productive of the most beneficial consequences to the community at large; and the formation of one society for the promotion of public morals, has not unfrequently led to the establishment of others. Of late years, this observation has been verified in a remarkable degree, and to an extent far beyond the sanguine expectations of minds most ardent for the dissemination of religious truth: in our own neighbourhood a spirit of emulation and Christian zeal has been exerted, which we hope will know of no limits but the world, or distinction of men amongst the whole human race..
The enquiry instituted by the Deptford Bible Association, into the want of the Scriptures amongst the poor, led to a knowledge that ignorance prevailed to a considerable extent, and that numerous persons who were desirous to possess a Bible, were not only incapable of reading it, but even unacquainted with the letters of the alphabet: an attempt was therefore made to establish a school for the instruction of adults, which at first was numerously attended, and for a time the teachers had reason to be satisfied with the success of their labours, but for want of a well organized plan, it gradually declined, and was ultimately discontinued.
An effort was however made a short time previous to the last quarterly meeting of your union, by some of its members, with the assistance of others to re-establish it, and a suitable place having been obtained, and a plan adopted for the regular attendance of superintendents and teachers, it is now hoped that it will be permanently carried on. The number of adults has increased since your last quarterly meeting; there are now twenty-two on the books, ten are enabled to read the New Testament with which they have been supplied, and it will no doubt be gratifying to the union to be informed, that of this number seven are Catholics, and that they not only manifest a strong desire to obtain knowledge themselves, but have voluntarily subscribed towards the Hibernian Society, established for the formation and support of schools amongst the children of catholics and protestants in Ireland.
No particular striking instances of usefulness were contained in the reports, but the information they conveyed, was in general, of a very encouraging nature; it appears that several of the schools have increased since our last meeting. From the reports of Hughes' Fields, and the Canal Bridge Sunday Schools, we fearn
that they have not sufficient room for the number of children who are desirous of admittance.
One of the secretaries reported that the efforts of the subcommittee appointed to form adult schools at Woolwich, had been attended with success: thirteen men and three women being now under instruction.
The Rev. Mr. Purkis stated, that two school-rooms are nearly completed (in connexion with a chapel) at the Canal Bridge, capable of receiving 160 children, and from an enquiry instituted, he had not a doubt but the attendance of that number will be secured so soon as the rooms are fit for their reception.
The meeting was informed by the Rev. Mr. Scott, that a room had been taken by the committee of the school at East-street, which will present an opening for a considerable accession of children.
W. Stone, Esq. John Dyer, Esq. the Rev. Messrs. Purkis and Scott, and the secretaries, severally addressed the meeting upon the benefits resulting from Sunday School tuition, both as it respects the community at large, as well as those engaged in it, and pressing the necessity of an unwearied zeal in so arduous, but important and honorable an employment.
The chairman concluded with prayer.
N. B. The school at Dartmouth-row chapel, has increased to 103, it consists wholly of boys, only one teacher attends, the rest of the business is performed by Monitors. The Woolwich-road School goes on well.
Extract from the Bath and Cheltenham Gazette, of December, 14th, 1814.
Lyncomb, Dec. 12th, 1814.
I BEG leave to trouble you with a few particulars of a meeting of the "Bath Sunday School Union," held on Tuesday last, at the Chapel of the Countess of Huntingdon, in this city.-The Rev. Dr. Haweis in the chair.
The business commenced with a report by Mr. Whitchurch, one of the secretaries, of the proceedings of the society since the last meeting, together with a summary view of the Sunday Schools established under the Union within twelve miles of Bath, whereby it appeared that about 3100 poor children had been made partakers of the invaluable blessing of education. After drawing a lively picture of the happy and wonderful progress, in forming and carrying on schools for the rising generation, the secretary took notice of the great advancement lately made in this city and its vicinity, in teaching grown persons to read the Bible. It ap
* The women have since increased to seven.
peared that several " Adult Schools" had been established here, and that 207 persons, male and female, (some very old) had attained an ability to read, or were under instruction.
The meeting was favoured with the company of Dr. Pole, and Stephen Prust, Esq. of Bristol, gentlemen who take a lively interest in promoting schools for adults in that city and its neighbourhood; the latter indeed may be said to have been a principal instrument in the hands of Divine Providence, in bringing these schools to the state of perfection they have attained in that city. In this labour of love, Mr. Prust had been assisted by a benevolent individual, in a very humble station of life, who having observed with regret that notwithstanding the numerous Bible Societies which had been instituted, that blessed book was of little use to those who were unable to read, formed a noble and generous design for the instruction of such ignorant poor persons. Countenanced by this friend of humanity, the humble philanthropist visited most of the poor in the city of Bristol, and took down the names of those grown persons who could not read, as well as those who were desirous of being taught; whence arose the several Adult Schools in that city, which appear to have been signally blessed to the enlightening many darkened minds. The number of adults in Bristol and its vicinity taught or under instruction, is stated to be about 2000.
Dr. Pole and Mr. Prust severally addressed the meeting in a lively and feeling manner;* and were ably followed by the Rev. T. Roberts.-Mr. Prust, in the course of his speech, introduced several anecdotes illustrative of the good effects of adult schools. With your permission, Mr. Editor, I will subjoin one of these, which I trust will prove as acceptable to your readers as it was to the late meeting.
A FRIEND TO THE POOR.
The case alluded to was that of a poor woman, who told Mr. P. that she had cause to bless God for Adult Schools. Her husband was not only the tyrant of his own house, but the terror of the neighbourhood; as the first information she had of his return home (late at night) was his knocking down the watchman, quarrelling with his companions, or insulting whoever happened to be as late as himself in the street. These were the signals for her to secure her crockery ware, which in these drunken fits it was his delight to break, then horsewhip her soundly, and retire to rest. This horrid life she endured for years; and, what added to her pitiable situation, her husband seldom brought her home any of his earnings, but spent them at the ale house: while she, by in
• We understand that Dr. Pole's address will appear shortly in the form of a pamphlet.
cessant hard labour as a washerwoman, could scarcely keep herself and children in existence. At length she perceived an improvement in his behaviour: he came home earlier, was less unkind, and by degrees became bearable. Still she dared not ask him the cause, till one evening he said, "Where dost think I have been, Bet?" "I don't know, John; but wherever you have been, I hope you will go again; I never saw such an alteration in a man in my life." "I have been at the Adult School, where I have been learning to read, and can now read in the Bible, which has told me that I was going headlong to hell; so I have done with the alehouse and my drunken companions; and thou shalt go, Bet; and when thou canst read too, we may be as happy as others." She went, learnt to read, and while learning the letter, they drank into the spirit of the Bible; they became vital Christians, and, from being the most miserable, they were now among the most happy of human beings. That tongue, which uttered blasphemy, was now filled with praise; those lips which breathed curses, scandal, and obscenity, now were daily employed in prayer to God for a blessing on his family. In short, the change in his whole conduct was so great as to excite the astonishment of his neighbours, and produced in the breast of his wife, the most lively emotions of gratitude to God. She often looked on him with astonishment, and could scarcely think he was her husband; he was become so conscientious in his dealings, so honest, so industrious, that he would not mis-spend a moment: they were lately in the extreme of poverty, but were now in comparative afiluence: all their wants were supplied; habits of frugality, of charity, of brotherly kindness, were formed; and that house, which was lately a hell upon earth, was now become a paradise.
WILTSHIRE SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
ON Wednesday, Nov. 30th, a general meeting was held at Warminster for the formation and establishment of a Sunday School Union, designed to consist of Christians of all denominations, including Wilts and East-Somerset. The principles upon which this society is founded, and on which they intend to proceed, will, it is hoped, be deemed unexceptionable, and in every respect liberal: without attaching themselves to any party, they earnestly solicit the co-operation of all. Their object is, to promote the instruction of indigent children, and thus to improve the condition of the rising generation. They will endeavour to establish schools where it may be considered eligible, and to give additional impulse to those already existing. Necessitous schools will be supplied with books, either gratuitously, or at considerably reduced prices.