« PreviousContinue »
The Fifteenth Report of the Tasmanian Sunday School Union has reached the Committee, and contains a return of 26 schools, containing 221 teachers, and 1,936 scholars. The “Quarterly Sunday School Teachers' Magazine," which has the sanction of the Union, although not published by it, is about to be issued monthly. It appears that the “ List of Scripture Lessons" prepared by the London Union has again been adopted, and printed for the use of the schools in Hobart Town and its neighbourhood ; and a supply of the Notes on those Lessons had also been obtained for the assistance of teachers, who are judiciously reminded that these notes are not intended to supersede preparation, but to act as auxiliary to it.
The Committee have made a small grant of books in aid of a Maori Sunday school at the Kohanga Native Institution, Waikato, New Zealand.
The applications made to the Committee for assistance to schools, established in various parts of the West Indies, have been numerous, and have been cheerfully granted and gratefully acknowledged. The Com. mittee do not think it desirable to give, where the scholars are able to purchase, the books required for their school use, as they think a proper spirit of self-dependence would be cultivated, and the books themselves have a higher value in the eyes of those who had made some little effort to obtain them. But the general testimony to the poverty of the laboring classes in the West Indies, and the deep impression the Committee feel of the importance of sound religious instruction to remove the evils which ages of slavery have deeply imprinted on the native character, have caused them to respond readily to the appeals made to them. It would be tedious to refer to these communications in detail, but a few extracts from the one forwarded by the Rev. Walter Dendy, of Salter's Hill, Jamaica, will be read with interest The schools under Mr. Dendy's care at Salter's Hill and Maldon, contain 501 scholars. These schools meet in the morning, and in addition “ several Sunday evening schools are in operation in different parts of the district, as the scholars cannot be assembled a second time in their school-rooms at Salter's Hill and Maldon, the distance being too great. We have 13 of these schools in connection. During the past year 8 teachers have made a public profession of attachment to the Saviour, and 5 of the scholars. Several of the scholars bave become inquirers. I have found the back numbers of the "Bible Class Magazine" very useful, not only as furnishing valuable reading to the Sunday scholars, but several were given to the more advanced day scholars, who committed to memory the poetical pieces for recitation at the examination of the day schools.
The back numbers of the “ Scripture Notes," also given by your valuable Union, are used in the Sunday schools at Salter's Hill and Maldon ; also at the church members' meeting, held once a month for instruction and prayer; by a large class of inquirers at Salter's Hill, and by a similar class at Maldon, Previous to public service on Sunday mornings, both at Salter's Hill and Maldon, after the school closes, many of the scholars assemble in the chapel in front of the platform, and repeat the appointed portion of scripture, as arranged by the Committee of the Sunday School Union. This plan has been adopted by me for some years ; it has the effect of interesting the congregation in the Sunday school, as well as inducing the scholars to commit the passages more correctly to memory
than they probably would. While the scholars are being questioned, the congregation at the same time are also receiving instruction."
The Committee have maintained a friendly intercourse with their fellowlaborers in the United States of America. They have received a report of the proceedings at a convention of the ministers and teachers of Sunday schools in the State of Connecticut, held at Newhaven, on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd days of June last. It affords a strong evidence of the value which our American brethren set upon these institutions, that the teachers with their pastors should be willing to travel considerable distances, and to spend three whole days in receiving intelligence as to the progress of the schools during the year, and in discussing questions connected with their extension and improvement. : It appeared that the Governor of the State attended, and took a part in the proceedings of the convention, and addressed one of the assemblages of scholars at Newhaven, that were held in connection with it. So much important information was laid before the convention, that the Committee thought it would be pleasant and profitable to English teachers to be made acquainted with some of the details, and in the first four numbers of the “ Union Magazine” for the present year, articles will be found groping together the principal facts communicated to the convention. It is, therefore, unnecessary to repeat them here ; but the general result should be stated that the 566 schools, from which reports had been received, contained 59,019 scholars, of whom 11,202, or 1 in 5}, were over 18 years of age; and 5,182, or 1 in 12, had been converted to Christ during the year. Such a statement will excite feelings of gratitude that God should have so blessed the labours of their teachers, and will lead to more earnest prayer that the Holy Spirit may be poured out in equal abundance on our schools in England; that so America and Britain may, in this respect, rejoice together.
On the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th February last, a national convention of Sunday school teachers was held at Philadelphia, of which a former Governor of the State of Pennsylvania was elected President, and at which much information was communicated, many stirring appeals addressed to the teachers, and some important resolutions adopted relative to the future prosecution of the work.
The secretary of the New York Sunday School Union, in acknowledging the receipt of specimens of the recent publications, says: -" Unless you knew precisely our exigencies, it would be difficult to comprehend how completely adapted all those various articles were to just meet our present wants. The large book, the “ Union Magazine,” is a fountain of knowledge. I read it over and over again with renewed gratification.”
The missionary operations of the American Sunday School Union are still carried on with great energy. Their missionaries have been successful in organizing during the last year 1,200 new Sunday schools in as many different neighbourhoods previously destitute.
A Sunday school convention has also been held at Guelph, in Upper Canada, for the counties of Wellington, Waterloo, and Grey, and which resulted in the formation of the Wellington and Waterloo Sunday School Union. Amongst the resolutions adopted at the convention, was the
following:-" That it appears to this convention that it is exceedingly desirable that suitable records should be kept in every school, and would recommend that the books provided for this purpose by the English Sunday School Union should be obtained, and used by every scholar in our Union.".
These repeated testimonies will serve to prove the extensive and beneficial influence exerted by the publications of the Union in various parts of the world.
In reporting the domestic proceedings of the Union, the Committee have to refer, in the first instance, to the death, on Sunday, September 12th, of Mr. William Bugby, who so long laboured with the successive Committees of the Union in carrying on its operations. He joined the Committee in the year 1818; and, until advancing years and the removal of his residence compelled him, in 1854, to relinquish his office, he was one of the most punctual and industrious of its members. His business habits, bis poetical talent, and his thoroughly catholic spirit, rendered bis co-operation most valuable, and caused the loss of his services to be severely felt, although they were partly supplied by the presence of his eldest son on the Committee. There is one of the publications of the Union which received especial attention from him; “ The Scholar's Hymn Book.” He laboured diligently in the Sub-Committee, by which that work was compiled, and some of the hymns inserted were composed by him. The value of those services may be partly estimated by the success which has attended that publication, of which hundreds of thousands have been circulated in this country and the colonies, and of which no less than 180,000 copies have been issued from the Depository during the last three years. One of the latest of Mr. Bugby's literary efforts was the little piece, entitled, “ The Opposite side of the Way,” written at the erection of the Jubilee Memorial Building. It afforded the Committee a melancholy pleasure to record on their minutes an expression of their grateful recollection of his services, and their sympathy with his widow and family, to whom a copy of the resolution was forwarded.
The pressure of his other engagements has compelled Mr. Forsaith to retire from the office of secretary. He, however, desires still to serve the Union as a member of the Committee; and it has afforded the Committee pleasure to fill up the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Forsaith's resignation, by the election of Mr. Fountain John Hartley, who has, by the regularity of his attendance, his attention to the publications of the Union, and his efficient services as a member of the Visitation Sub-Committee, long rendered most valuable assistance to the Committee. They rejoice that he will now be placed in a station of still greater influence and usefulness.
In the last Report it was intimated that the Committee did not intend to make any further appeal on the subject of the debt still remaining in respect of the Jubilee Memorial Building. This intention was somewhat altered by the proceedings at the last auniversary. The Honourable G. F. Angas then urged that the debt should not be suffered to continue, and presented £25 on behalf of the teachers and scholars of South Australia; and Mr. Henry Lee, the indefatigable secretary of the Salford Union, promised to contribute the last £25. The Committee felt themselves 'compelled to make known the desire thus expressed that this pecuniary obligation should be extinguished, and they have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of many contributions towards this object, amongst others, £26 12s, 9d. from the scholars and teachers of one of the South Sea Islands; £50 from Robert Ridley, Esq., Hexbam; £100 from Mr. D. Benham, a former member of the Committee; and £32 6s. a further contribution from the Newcastle Union. The balance remaining due has thus been entirely extinguished ; and this noble building, which has cost with its furniture and fittings £8,298 7s. 3d., is now the property of the Union, free from all encumbrance, except the ground rent payable to the landlords, the Governors of St. Thomas's Hospital, and without the committee having been compelled to sell the Depository in Paternoster Row, which is satisfactorily let, and will. yield an annual income to the funds. The trustees of the Union have executed a declaration of trust, stating that they hold the Jubilee Memorial Building and its contents at the disposal of the Committee of the Union for the time being. As the funds which would have been devoted to the general benevolent objects of the Union have been to some extent applied to the extinction of this debt, any further contributions on that account will be carried to the Benevolent account.
The lecture hall has been used during the winter for the exhibition of a model of the Tabernacle, the property of Mr. Dillworth, of Manchester, and prepared for him at a cost of £300. It is on a scale of one inch to the cubit, and exhibits that sacred building in all its details. The Committee felt much pleasure in assisting the Christian desire of Mr. Dillworth, that a public knowledge of this part of the Mosaic ritual might be diffused, especially in its typical relation to the Christian dispensation. They, therefore, gladly undertook the exhibition of this beautiful and instructive model; the lecture hall was suitably fitted up; some members of the Committee undertook the office of lecturers; and about 18,000 individuals have received the instruction thus provided. There was no idea entertained that it would be necessary to keep the model on view for so lengthened a period, but the Committee have felt unwilling to propose its removal, while there was manifested so much desire still to see it.
The preparation class, so long conducted by Mr. Cuthbertson on Wednesday evenings, still continues, but an attempt to conduct a training class during the winter did not succeed-probably from a cause which makes the want of success a motive for thankfulness rather than for regret,the establishment of nine such classes in the Auxiliaries, which have been generally well attended. A prayer meeting was held for some time in the class room on Saturday evenings, and some lectures have been delivered in the lecture hall, but the attendance on them has not been satisfactory, and it will be necessary to consider in what way the ample accommodation at the disposal of the Committee can be rendered productive of most benefit to their fellow teachers.
The library and reading-room continue to be highly valued. The number of subscribers during the past year was 1,260.
The sixteen manuscripts sent in as competitors for the prizes of £25 and £10, offered by the Committee for a Teachers' Manual, have been examined by the three adjudicators appointed by the Committee, and the prizes have been awarded in accordance with their report. There was not any difficulty felt in deciding which two were entitled to pre-eminence, but the determination of the relative merits of those two was found to require much more deliberation, so nearly equal were they found to be.
The adjudicators have added to their report the following observations :-“ Most of the unsuccessful MSS. are very respectable, and some are characterized by considerable ability, vigour, and large aoquaintance with Sunday school objects. We think it is highly gratifying that in this competition so many worthy writers have appeared, manifesting not only increased interest but increased ability enlisted in the cause of Sunday schools."
Previously to the letters of the successful candidates being opened, the Committee resolved, in consequence of the opinion expressed by the adjudi. cators of the nearly equal merits of the two Prize Essays, to increase the second prize from £10 to £20.
It then appeared that, as in a former competition, the first prize had been won by a lady, the daughter of the late highly esteemed Rev. Dr. Henderson, while the second has been obtained by the Rev. J. F. Serjeant, Incumbent of St. Mary's Church, Bryanstone Square, and so well known by the writings which have long interested and instructed teachers.
The claims made on the Committee for the grants of lending libraries have much increased, but have been most cheerfully met. The number of libraries granted has amounted to 304. The schools thus assisted contained 60,745 scholars, of whom 37,903 were scripture readers. The libraries thus supplied would have cost at the retail prices £1,878 16s. 9d., but the schools only paid the sum of £638 138. 9d. for them. The total number of such libraries granted to the present time amounts to 4,252.
The Committee have found it convenient to have their Trade as well as their Benevolent accounts made up to the 31st of March. The amount of sales, £18,455 38., now reported, covers a period of fifteen months instead of twelve, but it may be considered as showing an increase in the year of about £3,000. So large an addition to the business of the Union renders an augmentation of the capital indispensable, and the Committee have, therefore, resolved to appropriate to that purpose the sum of £750 out of the profits of the year.
The increase in the sales of the periodicals published by the Union has both surprised and gratified the Committee. The “Union Magazine," which last year advanced from a circulation of 4,000 to 6,000, now circu. lates 8,000 copies; and the circulation of the four monthly periodicals of the Union, which was last year reported to be 88,000 copies, has now reached 95,000 copies. The Committee have been encouraged by this success to add a fifth publication to their existing periodicals, The Youth's Magazine.” This work originated in the Committee of the Union; but that body not being prepared to undertake the responsibility, Mr. W. B. Gurney, the founder and secretary of the Union, in connection with one or two friends, undertook it, and in 1805 commenced this the first religious periodical for young people. It met with great success, was eminently useful, and yielded large profits, the whole of which were devoted by its conductors to educational objects.
At length, however, it was injuriously affected by the