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ary service amongst the poor and scholars week after week, see them come degraded was brought forcibly before the to us more than willingly for instruction, attention of the conference, and it was and yet to so very small an extent unite boldly claimed as the field in which our with us in close church fellowship, withlabours would find their most appropriate out anxiously asking why these things This view of the subject was are so? We do not grudge to other not fully adopted, but it should receive religious bodies, that our scholars should calm and prayerful consideration on the as it were carry into their midst the part of all who desire to have a share in fruits of the care and instruction which leading home the erring and wandering we have bestowed: in this sense we sheep to the fold of Christ. The duty would willingly labour that other men and privilege of united prayer occupied might enter into our labours. But we a considerable amount of attention in do inquire with some apprehension, Why the conference. In its practical applica- cannot these people find amongst us tion this subject, as was to be expected, that further help and sympathy and nurgave rise to some slight diversity of ture which they need, and which the opinion, but it was remarkable to how church exists for the very purpose of large an extent real unanimity prevailed helping to afford? These are questions with regard to it; and how little dis- which cannot be suppressed, and which position there was, either on the one the Committee are well assured it is hand to limit Christian liberty, or on the not the wish of any right minded other to use this liberty, so as to give amongst us to suppress. To say that uneasiness to those who may have a these questions found a solution at Leeds tender fear of engaging in any uncalled- would be too much; but they were for service. The Committee would here earnestly, and we trust impartially express their carnest desire that the looked at." momentous duty and blessed privilege of prayer may ever be regarded in their true light by those occupied in the scriptural instruction of others. Nor was it alone in connexion with this subject that the truth became apparent, that the vitality of the church is inseparably bound up with the fulfilment of her duties towards those without her borders. The conference was on this occasion induced fairly to confront the difficult yet most interesting question of the connexion between the Sunday school and the church; or to put the matter closely to ourselves, between the Firstday school and the Society of Friends, Some readers of the report of the conference may think that the questions raised belong more properly to the yearly meeting itself than to such a body. But the fact was, that the considerations could not, with the present state of feeling amongst our teachers, be long set aside. How indeed is it possible for us to meet with our senior and our adult
CHURCH CONGRESS AT MANCHESTER. THIS Conference on matters connected with the National Church, was held at Manchester, on October 13-15. On the third day the subject of education occupied the attention of those assembled. After a paper had been read by the Rev. W. J. Kennedy, on day schools, the Rev. J. E. Clarke, of Derby, read a paper on Sunday schools, from which we select the following.
The Rev. J. E. Clarke said, he would speak chiefly of Sunday schools in large towns,where those who were approaching manhood and womanhood continued to be scholars. He feared they failed to train up any great proportion of young people to be devout intelligent members of the Church. He looked for the causes of this, and would mention some points in respect to teaching, teachers, and churches. In the teaching a more distinctive church tone was required It
was strange in how many Sunday was a kind of republic, entirely indepenschools the Church catechism was not dent of the minister. This was alien to taught. It would be a boon if they had the spirit of the Church of England, in a short catechism published by author- which the clergyman not only ministered ity, which, without naming sects, should to those of mature years, but also directed provide the scholars with first principles, the teaching of the young. The third expressed very simply, and teaching point of weakness, was that which them why they were not Wesleyans, should be their glory and strength, Independents, or Baptists. The Sunday namely, their churches. These were school-room was not made as pleasant but sparsely attended, and he believed as it might be. Sunday should be made it was the miserable exclusiveness of a happy day. It was a question whether the pew system in its abuse which sent there were not too many sessions of the thousands to chapel, where, though there school held. Much would result if the were pews, all comers were made more school time was shorter, and if a few welcome than the church thought quite minutes were given at the beginning genteel. Next to this was the distaste and end of the session for the singing of given to the restless spirits of the boys hymns. The room should be made at- by the length of the services and the tractive by flowers being placed on the uncomfortable places assigned to the window sills, and cheap prints on the scholars. He recently received a hint walls. Such influences were not lost, from an American friend, who suggested even on the boys, but tended to refine the holding of a service for the children and elevate them. The young must in the church before they were wearied have recreation, and they should be with the Sunday school. He adopted the helped to provide it themselves in the suggestion, and held a service at a school-room by music and quiet games quarter past nine, in which hymns were on winter nights, and by cricket and sung, and after the second lesson he outdoor games in the summer. A serious gave a ten minutes' address. At ten danger to Sunday school children existed o'clock the children went into the school, in excursion trains, by which the children where the teachers questioned them upwere kept out late, and travelled often in on what they had learned from the adclose carriages with persons in drink. dress, and at half-past ten they were It would be well if a trip was arranged dismissed. This service enabled mothers once or twice a year for scholars and their to come to church with the children and parents; and thus they would be left to return home in time to prepare the without excuse if they ran into the dinner. It introduced the children to temptations of undisciplined excursions. school, and made them acquainted with Another obstruction to the success of the clergyman; and he thought that in Sunday-schools was the grievous abuse every way the practice would work well. of strong drink. The young should be made keenly alive to this danger. With respect to the labours of the teachers, it was easier for ladies to prepare a lesson in the week than for men, hard worked as they were from Monday morning to Saturday night. He could not conceal the fact that comparatively few male teachers prepared the lesson. In Dissenting schools the teachers' lessons were often supplemented by the superintendent. Among Dissenters, however, the school
The Rev. G. D.Grundy, of Leeds, near Oldham, then read a paper on the negative and positive advantages of Sunday schools; after which Mr.Fleet, the secretary of the Church of England Sunday School Institute, addressed the meeting. From the reference afterwards made to this address by the Bishop of Oxford, who occupied the chair, we regret that it does not appear to have been reported, and we cannot therefore present it to our readers.
Mr. Fleet was followed by
those who were once pupils had now become teachers, while their children filled their own place. There was great improvements in our Sunday and dayschools, but something better would yet be achieved by both. Above all things, let the Catechism be taught honestly and faithfully. His system of teaching children was never to say one word about other people's opinions, but teach them what he believed to be right.
Vice Chancellor Page Wood, who said he fully agreed with the remark which had been made, that in the management of day schools they must not look too much to schemes, and plans, and nice inventions. The chief thing was to have soundly and well-trained teachers, and the next that they should not look to any system of cram on the part of those teachers, but should depend upon their giving that instruction they had been The Bishop of Oxford in summing thoroughly guided to teach. His motto up the discussion, said-It seemed to was the man and not the plan. He as me that the one idea which pera boy was taken to hear Mr. Lancaster vaded the whole of Mr. Clarke's paper give one of his lectures many years ago, was, that you are not to look on and all sorts of schemes were propounded the Sunday school for its main result and some of them were very funny. But in the direct and immediate matter of the day for such systems was long gone teaching gained, but that you were to by. They did not ask, as was asked look at it as the most precious opporsome years ago,-What is the system?tunity of bringing the young of the but what kind of man? Whatever was parish upon the day of idleness under the done before the eyes of a child was a part moral and loving influence of the minisof his education. As to cram, he would try of God's Word. I am convinced just mention that once he saw upon a myself that that is the way to make our slate in an infant school the following:- Sunday schools useful. If they are not "Qualities of a sponge-elastic, porous, made, as he beautifully said, pleasant, opaque, absorbent." The poor infant, they are a failure. If it is merely instead of being fed with pap, was regarded only as an opportunity of crammed with that kind of stuff. But teaching syllables and the like to dull we had now come to better days. Of children, I maintain it is an abuse of Sunday schools he should know some- the Lord's-day. If they are used, as was thing, having been a teacher for twenty- urged upon by the next speaker after the eight years. He did not agree with the paper (Mr. Fleet,) considered as a part remark of the writer of one of the papers, of the loving ministry-and a very prein which he doubted the usefulness of cious part of it-their value cannot, I morning Sunday schools, and referred to think, be overrated; but if it be only to Scotland in proof. He (Sir P. Wood) had bring tired children to tire them out also travelled in Scotland, and when in before Divine service, by a dull teaching, Glasgow he was most thankful to feel and then take them into the church to that in London there were Sunday schools sit in an inconvenient part of it upon and that the children were not spending very narrow seats, with a man near with the Sunday morning as they were in a stick, to give them a knock upon the Glasgow. He could generally mark the head when they follow the child's insteps of degradation taken by lads. If stinct, which they cannot resist, to kick on the Sunday morning he saw a boy out their leg when it begins to go to playing at what was known as buttons, sleep; then, I think, the Sunday school and then at toss-penny, he put it down becomes one of the most efficient agents as a bad job. That was the sort of work that we can employ in weaning our he saw going on in Glasgow. It afforded children from our beloved Church. him great gratification to know that Therefore, it does need all the delicacy
of hand, which in that admirable paper Mr. Erskine Clarke has pressed upon us, to make Sunday schools what they ought to be made; that catechetical teaching, not in the dry recitation of the letter of the Catechism, but in bringing out that vast amount of Catholic truth which is held in solution in every part of it; that singing, interposed whenever there is a kind of weariness, waking up and tuning the young mind so that it may be roused, not by the material interruption of a poke upon its mere physical rest, but by leading its own internal life to bubble up in a new effervescence of vitality. Well, then, all that he said to you I thought so wise;-not against excursion trains, that is such a mistake,
occupation for twenty-eight years, he had
ALTO-RELIEVO PLAN OF EUROPE.
will let me say so, dear friends,-point setting ourselves against the temper of the time, as if it were possible that we could withstand it. No such thing. Look at the mighty river, that would overflow and devastate the land, and see a set of fools going and trying to barricade it up, to come down with double strength next day, and look at the wise engineer, who gives it a cunning turn, so that it will run into another direction, and be a blessing instead of a curse,-and so defeating Sunday excursion trains by excursion trains, and giving the opportunity to the children and the parents to have an enjoyment, instead of preaching to them that it is a great deal better never to enjoy themselves. And so from first to last we had in that paper practical instruction of the highest kind. We have since in one speechand no one can feel it obnoxious to select that because it is the speech of a man who in the midst of the most oppressive work which this life knows-that of a successful and a great lawyer-we have been able to squeeze out of him--and really though he is not "a sponge"and therefore not at all "porous"-and certainly not "opaque"- -we have been able to squeeze out of him, under the necessity of the confession, that he had been the shameful man that in all that
BUNYAN MEETING, BEdford.
the Chairman offered a few remarks suggested by the occasion. Mr. John Ashton, Secretary, read a statement of the proceedings during the past year. Mr. W. Waring next spoke to the parents of the
It will be satisfactory to know that about 2,000 monthly magazines, chiefly those of the Sunday School Union, are supplied to the scholars annually.
unity of purpose and effort needed to AUTUMNAL MEETING AND CONFERENCE effect their one great object,-the salvation of their children.
OF SUNDAY SCHOOL UNIONS MANCHESTER
THE Church Congress at Manchester, of whose proceedings in relation to Sunday schools, some account is given in previous pages, was soon followed by another important and interesting gathering, which took place at the commencement of November.
In the afternoon of Sunday, November 1st, twenty chapels were occupied by thousands of scholars, who listened with attention to the addresses delivered to them. In the evening of the same day five sermons, referring to the special object of the Conference, were preached in various parts of Manchester and Salford; at the close of three of which special united communion services were held, and at the close of the two others special prayer meetings.
On Monday evening, November 2nd, the Roby school rooms were filled by the assembled delegates and teachers, to listen to a paper read by Mr. Brain, of London, on "The week evening engagements of our Sunday Scholars, how may they be best directed?" After reading the paper, Mr. Brain exhibited two Panoramas, prepared by the Sunday School Union, for the week evening engagements of Sunday scholars. The subject of one being "Coal and Coal Mines," and of the other, "Ireland and the Irish." These excited so much interest that it became necessary to make arrangements for fresh exhibitions.
Tuesday, November 3rd, was wholly devoted to the business of the Conference. The teachers met for prayer at eight o'clock in the morning in York Street Chapel, under the presidency of Mr. H. Lee, after which they assembled in the Upper room of the Free Trade