Page images

of intermission. Since that time his zeal has induced several others to become members of the school. For such conspicuous acts of good conduct, every mark of distinction within our power has been conferred on him, and we hope his inerit may be rewarded by some token of your approbation."

Another report contains the following: “ The committee regrets to say, that, from circumstances beyond their control, they have not been able to make as full and complete a statement of their labours and success, as the magnitude of the subject requires. “ The desire of being first among those who were devoting their time and talents to the improvement of the minds and the correction of the morals of the ignorant, the profligate, and the needy of our city, was powerful in calling many and able teachers to undertake in this great and good work.

“ The spirit with which they enlisted could only be equalled by the object in which they engaged, and our first essays were crowned with abundant success.

“ By a systematic division of all that part of the city included by Catherine-street, the Bowery-road, and Rivingtonstreet, we were enabled to visit every house, and to ascertain most of the objects of the Institution. These circumstances, combined with the interest we were enabled to excite in parents by special interviews during our visits, brought at our first meeting about three hundred children, mostly boys from ten to fifteen years of age, whose mental stupidity was only equalled by their depravity and disrespect for good behaviour.

« Such a number of children, it will readily be seen, required a room of no ordinary size for their accommodation; and though every exertion was made to procure a place where they might be taught to advantage, none could be obtained.

“Regretting, as we do, that our time and labour have been productive of so few of the objects of the Institution, the committee feel themselves called upon to declare, that in general the importance of the subject does not appear to be duly appreciated in this section of our city, though perhaps no part of it calls for greater exertions, or promises a richer or more abundant harvest. To this, however, there must be some exceptions. The very arduous and singular services of the Rev. Mr. Safford, merit our warınest gratitude, and have been productive of the most important consequences to our scholars.

“Trusting in the aid and guidance of Him who has thus roused the feelings of his people to the diffusion of his Holy Word, and the advancement of knowledge and virtue, we will go forward, not doubting but all obstacles will give way before us, and that our labours will be considered by your most respectable body as the best testimony of our zeal.”

After the ordinary business of the meeting, the President again addressed the superintendents and teachers, and gave them much wise and excellent advice, of which the following are the heads :

“ 1. To consider the importance of the employment in which you have freely and gratuitously engaged.

“ 2. Let all your instructions be grounded on religion.

“ 3. Let all your instructions be conveyed in the accents of kindness and affection,

4. Study well (as far as time and circumstances will permit) the tempers and dispositions of the children.

“ 5. Permit us also to recommend to all of you, gentlemen, as well the superintendents as teachers, that you observe the greatest punctuality in your attendance at the precise time for opening your respective Schools. In this way, your respective duties being well arranged and properly understood, all will proceed with exactness, harmony, and mutual good will.

“ 6. We trust, gentlemen, that from your fair standings and characters in lite, either as members in full communion, or regular attendance at some one of the many distinguished places of public worship in this favoured city, it is needless to present to your view, the propriety of a regular attendance at church, at least once on every Sunday. This is so important a duty, and so congenial with your own practice, views, and feelings, as to require no observa. tions from us. The subject is only meutioned, that the nature and obligations of public worship may not escape attention.”

The meeting was concluded with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Morti



FROM extracts of two letters from a young lady in Philadelphia, and other sources, it appears, that almost every church in that city has a Sabbath School Association, for the instruction of poor children. In this laudable employment, the Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and different denominations of Preshyterians, are all engaged. The Associations consist generally of pious young ladies, who form a constitution for themselves, and then seek the destitute and ignorant for their pupils. They attend on the children generally in rotation, by a committee; but in some instances, all the members are constant teachers. Testaments are obtained for these schools from the Bible Society, and other religious books from the Tract Societies. Each young lady takes the charge of ten or twenty scholars, and instructs them in one corner of the church, while another does the same in another part; and frequently, during the public worship of the Sabbath, she is seen at the head of her band, preserving order, and attempting to enforce attention. The blacks are not excluded from the care of any association, or of any member of it; and the writer of the letters has not been ashamed to appear at the head of a class of little chimney-sweepers.

The same young lady was also the prime mover of schools for the adult poor iu Philadelphia; and she has bad the happiness of knowing that several aged black people, who were under her care, have not only learned to read The Bible, but to know Jesus Christ, so as to inherit eternal life. In one of these schools, a young lad has repeated the greater part of the New Testament.

Before these Sabbath School associations were contemplated in

this country, the Evangelical Society of Philadelphia sent forth its members two and two, to collect and superintend schools in the poorer and more vicious parts of the city. This Society still continues its labours, and in some measure assists the Female Associations. It was particularly instrumental in collecting the children of several schools, to the amount of four or five. thousand. The place of meeting was the Rev. Dr. Brodhead's church. The pumber was so great that, many of them had to remain outside of the building. Dr. B-delivered an appropriate discourse to them, and their teachers. So large a collection of children as this was never before seen in the city, assembled for any purposes much less for religious improvement.

The plan on which the Evangelical Society had long proceeded, of rewarding the children for each lesson with a coloured card, on which is printed some passage of Scripture, was adopted by the School Associations, and continues to be highly useful. A given number of cards of one kind entitle the pupil to one of another colour ; and five or ten of the last description will procure him a book, which commonly is some selection of hymns, a Psalın Book, or a Testament. It has the double advantage of exciting the attention of the poor children, and gradually storing their minds with a knowledge of the word of Gorl. It is most cordially recommended to those who have the charge of such Schools. EXTRACT from the First ANNUAL Report of the Newark

SUNDAY School INSTITUTION. AMERICA. OUR institution commenced in May, 1815; it gradually increased during the summer season to an average of about four hundred and forty scholars. It is proper to observe, however, that a considerable proportion of these could not come under the denomination of poor children; for many of them were blessed with the advantage of attending the ordinary schools iu the week days. It was pleasing and encouraging to witness the attention and ardour of this interesting group in the attainment of religious knowledge; it was pleasant to listen to them while repeating from memory passages of Scripture ; answering questions in the catefhism, or reciting psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. In such exercises their advancement was rapid, and their diligence as gratifying, as the themes which they lisped were delightful. So sweet and heavenly is the voice of religion breathing from infant lips!

As the winter approached, it was deemed expedient to make new arraugements, and to confine the attention of the teachers to poor children and adults and particularly, to the people of colour. The beneficial effects of thus combining the efforts of the teachers, and directing them exclusively in behalf of those who had none to befriend or impart to them religious instruction, soon became manifest; and although in the improvement of all, the hopes and expectations of the instructors were more than fealized, yet they would more especially present to their patrons



and the public, the progress of the blacks, because these poor and almost forsaken creatures comprised by far the largest portion of the school, and because it is believed that this was the first Sunday school instituted for the coloured people; ever established in the United States. Their number amounted to upwards of two hun. dred of both sexes, and of all ages, from infancy to gray hairs. In general, such as could not read, as was the case with almost all of them, evinced a persevering and anxious desire to be enabled for themselves to look into the blessed word of God. Some of those who commenced at the alphabet, have already attained to that important acquirement; and the rest are speedily following on. Many who could spell in one, two, and three syllables, have also been brought to read the Bible. The rapid advancement of this part of our destitute fellow-creatures, can be better understood when we consider their very slender advantages; that from the nature of their occupation, they can have but few and transient opportunities for study, such 'merely as they can occasionally scize from their daily routine of labour, or take from their usual hours of rest. The little time which they employ every Sabbath in the school, furnishes their principal opportunity; and yet their improvement has been extraordinary. Judging from facts and observations, it would seem to be vain any more to oppose the cultivation of the mind of the coloured people on the ground of inferiority of intellect, of incapacity, or of an untractable and unteachable disposition: for if the regular six days tuition of those more highly favoured be put in competition with the simple two hours on a Sunday which these enjoy, where would the comparison lead us?

The exertions of the instructors have not been confined merely to the intellectual improvement of their charge; they have also constantly endeavoured to improve the heart; to enforce, with suitable exhortations, the practical import of such texts as “ Servants, obey your masters;” “ Children, obey your parents ;" and, generally, to inculcate the sublime principles of the blessed religion of Jesus. And they with deference, yet with confidence, appeal to the candour and the observation of the public, whether or no some amendment at least has not been discovered in the outward behaviour, the public and private walk and conversation of some of this class of society? Whether or no, some have not by these means, been rendered more pliant and tractable ; more sedate and humble, and, in general," become better and more useful servants. Some, we are well assured, have been reclaimed from a habit of profaneness, and from the vice of intemperance. Besides, prayer meetings have lately been set up among them which have been well attended; and their spiritual offerings seemed to flow warm from the heart, and to breathe the pure spirit of devotion.

The schools are now in a prosperous state; with a zeal charac. teristic of the sex, some pious young ladies have kindly contributed their aid; and have recently undertaken the management of the female department of the coloured people; •


LO! the day of judgment hasting,

Speeds as quick as time can fly,
Life is ev'ry moment wasting,

And eternity is nigh.
Come, my soul, from earth retiring,

Haste from all its scenes away;
To the throne of God aspiring,

Contemplate the judgment day.
Lo! the Son of Man descending,

Sits upon his mighty throne;
Angels and archangels bending,

His eternal glories own.
Every man of every nation,

By his piercing eye review'd,
He will render to his station,

With unerring rectitude.
Then the King, his saints addressing,

Speaks with condescending graceYe who have my Father's blessing, “ Enter to this blissful place. “ All your kind and gentle actions,

“ To the least of these ye see, I consider benefactions,

“ Thro' my breth’ren, unto me.” We who have the young instructed,

May we thus be own’d and bless'd; And with those whom we've conducted,

Enter into heav'nly rest. Oh! what shouts of joy and blessing,

We and our dear youth shall raise; When seraphic pow'rs possessing,

We unite our songs of praise. Let these bright anticipations,

Fix our hopes and faith above; While, in our appointed stations,

We fulfil our work of love,

« PreviousContinue »