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The Second Report, &ce
by some of our most zealous friends to make a tour for the purpose of establishing a Sunday School Union in every county, and Schools in every village.
I often regret that the importance of Sunday Schools in increasing a congregation-promoting the spiritual welfare of the teachers as well as children-diffusing a spirit of piety in the neighbourhood, awakening the energies of the private christian-the aid they afford to Bible Associations, and the enlargement of the benevolent feelings are not thus viewed by ministers generally; though I rejoice there are many, very many, who watch over them with their most affectionate regard.
And, Sir, as no means, however trivial they may appear, should be left untried, to excite more general attention, beg to offer £21, as a premium, for the best poem on the subject of Sunday Schools, which shall detail the state of the English poor prior to their establishment-origin-progresspresent state of-and the good that may be anticipated by their more general adoption on the state of Britain, Europe, and the world.
The day has already dawned, and will, I hope, soon arrive at that glorious meridian, when concerning Britain as it regards a Sunday School in every village, it may be said-she is truly perfect and that the local names attached to Sunday School Unions will shortly be absorbed in a Universal Sunday School Union.
That this may be soon realized is the earnest wish of
A LOVER OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
The Writer is known to the Editor, and has left £21 in his hands for the purpose above mentioned. He wishes to receive the Poem by December 31, 1815, at farthest, and should any profits arise from the publication of it, they will be given to the Sunday School Union. Editor.
THE SECOND REPORT OF THE
SHEFFIELD SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.
(Continued from page 34.)
SOME years ago when the Methodist Sunday Schools, now at Red Hill, were held in Peacroft, Benjamin Davison, a boy, who attended them, absconded one Sabbath afternoon. After many adventures, he arrived as a soldier in the East Indies.--But
though, like Jonah, he fled from the presence of the Lord, he could not escape from the merciful hand that had once apprehended him, and which at length saved him from himself, while he was rushing upon his own destruction. He has since become a witness for the gospel both among his comrades and before the heathen; and by the latest letters received from him, it appears that the blessing of God is upon his labours. There are, at this time, two travelling preachers in the methodist connexion, who received their first instructions in human learning, and their first impressions of divine grace, in the same School in Peacroft.
Ebenezer Ironside, at four years of age, went to the Sunday School at Rotherham, where he was remarkable for punctual attendance and good behaviour. On the removal of his parents to Sheffield, they sent him to Red Hill School, for about two years and a half; but he was afterwards transferred to Queen Street, at his own request, having received so great an affection for Mr. M'Goy, the master of the Lancasterian School, which he attended on the week days, that he wished to be with him on the sabbaths also. This privilege he enjoyed only a few weeks. On Monday, December 13, 1813, he rose in his usual health; in the afternoon he was taken ill; on the Friday following he was a corpse. He died in his eighth year. At the beginning of his sickness he felt deep convictions of being a poor sinful child, who had need of pardon, though his general conduct had been amiable and exemplary in the sight of men. For pardon, therefore, he often prayed; and desired his father to pray with him. Being asked,
whether he would rather get better, or die and go to heaven," he replied "I would rather get better." Afterwards so comfortable a change was wrought in him, that the same question being repeated, his answer was, "Now I would rather die and go to heaven." It is a beautiful circumstance, indicative of the simplicity of the minds of children, that, when they have the assurance of future happiness within themselves, the natural fear of death, which makes even the aged saint tremble when he feels his heart and his flesh fail him, Vanishes entirely: and is not this receiving the kingdom of heaven as a little child?" This dear boy suffered much pain of body, but his soul was staid on Christ; in the last agony, after a fervent prayer, he intreated his father to take him up. The afflicted parent had just power to raise him in his arms, and say in faith, Lord Jesus! receive the spirit of my child!"
Mary Ann Burgess, the youngest of fifteen children, though of a very delicate frame, was a diligent attendant of the Methodist School for five years. Her duty there was indeed her delight, and she loved especially to join her companions in singing the praises of her Saviour. She had an exceedingly sweet voice, and during her illness, which lasted five weeks, she daily exercised herself in " psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs," singing," as well as 66 making melody in her heart unto the Lord. Thus
was she prepared for the song of Moses and the Lamb, in which she was called to unite with the ransomed on Mount Zion, on May 11, 1813.
On the 29th of last December, a person came to a Methodist Class Veetiug, saying that he was principally induced to do so, from the language of his little girl, who went to Qucen Street Sunday School, and who was continually reminding him that his way of life was wrong, and entreating hiin to go where he might learn the right way.
He had had some conversation with the superintendent of the School, which his daughter attended, and had been advised to pray, and use the other means of grace, which christians enjoy in fellowship. He was in great distress of mind on account of his past life, and the bad example which he had set to his family. The class welcomed him cordially, and he has continued to come to it, with blessing to himself, and edification to others.
The Schools belonging to Queen Street Chapel have afforded many instances of children, who after being benefited as schoiars, have become teachers; and some, having given satisfactory evidence of their christian faith, have been admitted into Church fellowsbip. One of the latter observes in a letter on this subject, that the principal means, wliich the Lord used to alarm him of his dangerous state by nature, were the sickness and death of his Father: " I saw then," says he, if I had died when iny father did, Lell must certainly have been my portion for ever. This caused him to “ flee from the wrath to come,” and his language now is, “ I had rather be a door-kerper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness." —Anothe: scholar, now a teacher, informs the superintcudent, that being awfully awakened by a discourse delivered to the children on the exceeding sinfulhess of sin, his father at the same time was seized with a mortal distemper, who enjoying the strength and consolation of the gospel, most affectionately warned himn of the unisery of lying on a sick bed unprepared for eternity. It is remarkable that in both these cases, the death of the parent was the more immediate occasion of what we trust will prove to have beco the new birth of the children. A third youth confesses that when he tirst heard of the love of God in Christ, he was very little concerned about it; but afterwards the good seed, which seemed to die after it was sown, sprang up vigorously, and it is hoped will bring forth fruit abundantly. This is one among thousands of instances, perpetually recurring, in which the labours of faithful men seem to fail for a season, but“ God, who giveth the increase,” gives it in his own time, and in his own manner. Ministers and teachers knowing their duty, bave nothing to do but to do their duty, Though the spiritual fruits of years of painful industry appear bit as the gleanings after harvest, the servants of God must neither murmur nor be disheartened. To keep them humble, it may please Him to shew them only so much of the produce of their
toil, as shall encourage them to continue in well doing, stimulate them to use greater diligence, and cause them to repose more implicit faith in his promises and in his power. Though the whole region seemed a thirsty wilderness to Hagar, there was a spring of water at her side, seen only by the eye of God: though Elijah thought himself left alone on the earth from the slaughter of the righteous, the Lord had preserved to himself seven thousand in Israel, who had not bowed the knee to Baal. The day of judgment alone will discover all the effects of Sunday School instruction.
Several young persons belonging to Queen Street have gone to their everlasting home, during the past year. Elizabeth Snowden was admitted to the School in 1807, became a teacher in 1810, and died in March 1814. Her illness, she believed, was caused by excessive grief and consternation, at the death of her brother, who burst a blood vessel, and expired almost instantaneously. She fell repeatedly into fainting fits, when the remembrance came upon her, of his unexpected summons to the bar of eternal justice. But she had space for repentance given her; she availed herself of it, found mercy, and died with a hope full of immortality.
Emma E*** went to the Park School, in connection with Queen Street establishment. One morning having read for her lesson the Memoirs of a little Girl, who died happily, on heṛ return home she said to her mother, "I wish I may die like that good child." Her wish rose to heaven as a prayer, and it was granted. On the 15th of August being at school, and saying her catechism, when she came to the word Christ," she broke into tears, and could proceed no farther. Her teacher had some sweet conversation with her afterwards, when she declared it was all her desire to love Christ and to follow him. The next day she was taken ill. In the midst of anguish and weakness, being asked whether she should like to get better and go to Miss Blythe's School? she answered, "No; I must go to heaven,”—“Can you trust Jesus for all?"-Yes I can."—" And you are not afraid to "No."-When her senses failed her, in delirium she repeated broken sentences of prayer, and lines of her favourite hymns She died at the age of ten years.
Sarah Parkin, of Queen Street' School, died in October last. The visitor from the School being about to pray with her, at her own request, asked her, shall I pray that you may grow well again?" "No, said she, leave that entirely to the Lord.”—“Shall I pray that he may cause your pains to cease?,-She replied with great emotion, "I would rather go to heaven, and be with Jesus for ever."-At this School, (Queen Street,) there is a little fund, supported by teachers and friends, to enable the visitors to afford small temporary relief, in extreme cases, to the families of sick children whom they attend.
A friend of the Union, lately conversing with a teacher of one
of the Schools, urged the necessity of those persons being themselves in the way to heaven, who undertook to direct others in it. The youth ingenuously declared :-" Three years ago I was unacquainted with that way, but being led to offer myself as a teacher in our Sunday School, it pleased God to become my teacher there, and now I experience the blessing of instructing poor children in the things that will do their souls good." This circumstance being repeated the same evening, by the person aforementioned, to the superintendent of a Sunday School, the latter, with equal candour replied: " when I gave my services at first as a teacher, I had little knowledge of God, and no love for him, or his ways. One Sunday while I was reproving a bad boy, my conscience smote me, and told me that I was in the practice of the very sin of which he had been guilty. It pleased God to follow up this conviction, with such repentance and change of heart, that I hope to praise him through eternity for it." The committee record these examples for the assurance of those, who feel a difficulty in admitting persons of sober life and conversation as teachers in Sunday Schools, unless, from the first they give decisive evidence, that they are" passed from death unto life."
It is very delightful to the advocates of the Union, to behold the same fruits of the spirit, produced in various nurseries of the Lord, under the culture of different denominations of his people. Among the children, belonging to the school, under the care of the New Methodist Congregation, at Scotland Street, two are known to have finished their course, in the past year, who according to their little strength, having kept the faith, and fought the good fight, laid hold of eternal life in the agony of death. One of these, Hannah Carter, was left an orphan, at the age of two years, with her grand parents, who were very low in the world, and very ignorant of divine things. Under these disadvantages she grew up, till in her twelfth year she was sent to Sycamore Street School. Here she soon learned to read the Bible; but it was not till she was visited with a lingering disease, of eighteen months continuance, that she learned to love it truly, by experiencing the comforts of the gospel in her tribulation. Her edifying conversation, and lovely simplicity, in testifying the blessedness which she enjoyed from this source, so softenet the heart of her aged grandfather, that he became earnestly de sirous of sharing the same portion, which in life and in death enriched her poverty, and lightened her burthen. He now meets regularly in fellowship with the people of God. Her remains were sung to the grave, at her express desire, by some of her companions. One of these shortly followed her both to the dust and to glory. Ann Bamforth fell sick, the week after Hannah Carter's interment. In her last hours she found not only peace, but joy in believing, and appeared to depart, with the flight of au angel, to heaven.
A teacher, in Howard Street Chapel Sunday School, whose