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I take this occasion to bewail what has long appeared to me considerably to lessen the benefit which otherwise would result from the Sunday School system. I mean the inattention with which it is treated by the leading persons of most congregations. One would be ready to imagine from their neglect, that the business of these institutions was either below their notice or beyond their duty; and to be left exclusively to the hands of youth and inexperience. This arises from the opinion that they are intended merely for the purpose of teaching reading and writing; than which a more mistaken notion was never imbibed, nor one more injurious to the best interests of myriads of immortal beings. 1 heave what I fear will be an unavailing sigh, while I consider what would he the blessing that these dear children would derive, could they but enjoy the benefit of that matured experience, that enlarged knowledge, that exemplary piety, which most of our congregations possess in many of their leading members. I am aware that many of them have families of their own that prefer large and sacred claims upon their time. This, however, is not the case with others, whose children are perhaps at boarding schools, or are either too young er too old to be the subjects of parental instruction; while in some cases there are no children at all. Did such persons consider how much they could benefit an institution, the spiritual advantages of which have never yet been a thousandth part known; did they but know what a negative injury they are doing to innumerable immortal souls, by withholding the benefits of their knowledge and experience; did they but know how much their assistance, either statedly or even occasionally, would encourage their younger friends, and especially did they but recollect how speedily the day of their usefulness is running on to a close, they would no longer deny that which would not impoverish their own souls, but which would be likely to make others rich indeed."
Our schools have been very often deprived much sooner than was necessary of the valuable assistance of many excellent teachers, by the foolish practice of young persons giving up their attendance immediately after marriage. I acknowledge that the secession of females in such circumstances becomes very frequently a matter of propriety; domestic arrangements requiring their presence in their own habitations. But for a young man to withdraw his assistance merely because he is a husband, is an absurdity too manifest to be justifiedTill such time as a rising family of his own demand his attention, there is certainly no reason why it should be taken away from the children of the poor. There is no divine law that I am acquainted with which makes it a crime, nor any human ordinance which makes it a disgrace for a married person to be a seacher in a Sunday School.
NOTE. We rejoice to inform our readers that Mr. J. is preparing for the press, in the form of a small pocket volume, price about 2s, or 2s. 6d. The Sunday School Teacher's Guide, containing
Introduction,-A brief survey of the origin, progress, and improvement of the Sunday School system.
Chap. 1-The ultimate object which every teacher should keep in view as the end of his exertions.
Chap. 2-The necessary qualifications for properly discharging the duties of
Chap. 3-The manner in which the duties of a teacher should be performed. Chap. 4-The duties of Sunday School teachers to each other.
Chap. 5—The discouragements of teachers.
Chap. &-The best means of keeping up the spirit of the work in a teacher's
Chap. 7— Some motives which should excite to diligence in the work.
"The ADAPTATION of MONITORIAL ASSISTANCE, to accelerate the ATTAINMENT of the OBJECTS of SUNDAY SCHOOL TUITION examined." 12mo. 41 pages, 1s. 6d.
THE title of this publication may serve as a sample of the affected and inflated style in which it is written; an evil too common among young authors.
The English language abounds more than any other with plain words, calculated to convey our ideas with force and certainty; why then should such words be used, as "impactation," "dernier resort," "secularziation," &c. which occur too frequently in this little work. It appears from the preface that the question concerning the utility of monitors. in Sunday Schools, remained for discussion after this publication appeared; and we know not how the author can clear himself of censure, for having prejudged, and in such a conclusive manner, condemned the plan before it had been thoroughly investigated; and for confining himself, according to his own account, to a statement of the system of monitors, which he attacks, that appeared in the Teacher's Magazine two years ago: when he might have gone to the Sunday School he mentions, and have seen it in effectual operation among nearly one thousand children, there he would, by scrutinizing it closely, have had an opportunity of judging fairly of its effects. Having neglected this, nearly all his arguments are unsupported by facts, and for want of more plainness, they, in some instances, appear to have a doubtful application.
Sunday Schools, both in a political and religious view, are of far greater importance than Christians in general consider them. They serve as a medium through which the sublime truths of the gospel are conveyed to the youthful mind; and in numerous instances we observe children deriving incalculable benefit from them, who but for such institutions, would have remained in total ignorance. Sunday Schools embrace two kinds of instruction; first, religious; secondly, mechanical, or the art of reading &c. The time most children remain in them is but short, perhaps on the average not more than two or three years. It is therefore a matter of serious concern, that this period should be employed to the best advantage, and by introducing the moni torial system to assist the teachers in the mechanical part of their work, and to preserve order among the scholars, the attainment of this object is rendered more certain.
In the pamphlet before us the author has endeavoured to shew the danger of introducing the plan of monitors into Sunday Schools; but here, alas, he argues upon most mistaken notions. He supposes the monitors interfere in the religious instruction of the children, that they are the "immediate governors" of the scholars; that they are the sole dispensers of rewards and pu nishments; that they will become proud, conceited, arbitrary and liars: from which we naturally infer, that the superintendent
and teachers must be unconcerned spectators, capable of being imposed upon, and dictated to by the monitors; which fully proves, that he knows nothing of the system practically, and the operation of which he does not appear to understand.
We here leave this little work, hoping that before our author attempts to write for the public again, he will more closely investigate any subject that may come under his notice; and study plainness and simplicity in communicating his ideas.
SUNDAY SCHOOL INTELLIGENCE.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, at NEW YORK, in AMERICA. Copy of a Letter from a Lady to her Friend at Bristol. New York, January 24, 1816.
I CANNOT resist the desire I feel to employ my pen in thanking you for your presents to myself and children of so many interesting publications, from which I trust we have derived both profit and pleasure.
I believe I cannot express my gratitude in a manner better suited to your liberal soul, than by giving you an account of a meeting held this day in this city. Mr. B. published one of your letters in one of our daily papers, I lent the different pub lications relative to Sunday Schools to a number of our friends, and was in hopes the gentlemen would have come forward in the business; but, after waiting a number of weeks, I conversed with several of my own sex, who expressed a wish to unite with me in a "Female Sunday School Union;" accordingly, we called a meeting of the female members of all denominations, who met this day in the lecture room of one of our churches, although the notice was not as general as intended, several hundreds were present. Dr. R-opened the meeting with a very appropriate prayer. When he withdrew, the ladies were pleased to call me to the chair. I addressed the company in a few words, stating for what purpose their attendance was requested, the great need of such an institution in a city where numbers of one sex were training for the gallows and state prison, and of the other for prostitution. Likewise the great want of religious instruction in our small schools; the parents of children attending such, not having time to teach them, would probably gladly avail themselves of Sunday Schools, if within their reach. I said, in order to stimulate them to so good a work, I would read them several extracts from British publications, which would shew them how
much the Lord had blessed such institutions IN THE OLD WORLD; and concluded by humbly hoping that he would extend his blessing to his hand-maidens, in their attempts to train up a seed to serve him in the NEW WORLD. The following extracts were then read.
First part of the Report of London Sunday School Union; the Second Report of the Hibernian Sunday School Society; two letters from the Reverend Mr. Charles of Bala, to the London Society. Mr. P's two letters to D. B. The swearing father reproved by his child, a Sunday School scholar; and concluded with the Salopian ADULT SCHOLARS Address.
I may venture to affirm there was not a dry eye in the room, and tears flowed copiously down the cheeks of many. After some conversation I called upon the ladies of different denominations, who were willing to collect scholars and subscriptions to come forward, which they cheerfully did, from all except one, which I regret to say we had neglected to notify the Moravians.
A committee, cousisting of one or two from each denomination was appointed to form a constitution, and general rules for the mion and schools under their care, to be laid before the society at a meeting this day week.
The committee will meet at my house two days hence. I trust, with the blessing of the Lord, we shall see Sabbath Schools in every part of the city in a few weeks. I read the rules of the Bristol Sunday School, which I think we shall adopt, with a very few alterations. I opened a school for ADULT BLACKS last Sunday morning, I shall send you copies of our rules, reports, &c. as soon as published; thus may those united in Christ, although separated by the Atlantic, provoke each other to good works, until we meet around the throne to join the spirits of the just made perfect. Hallelujah, glory be to that God who works all our works in us.
Be so good as communicate the contents of this letter to our friends Mr. B's family, and should you think that it would give pleasure to the friends of Sunday Schools, to hear that their transatlantic brethren are following their good example, I have only to request that you will withhold my name. Sincerely wishing you success in your works of faith and labour of love. I am, dear sir, your's,
With sincere respect and regard,
Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend at Bristol. New York, February 4, 1816.
My dear friend,
I HAVE but little to communicate to you in return for all the valuable information you were so kind as to send me by Captain
C, on subjects of religious interest or moral improvement. One effect of your zeal however will, I doubt not, prove a suffi cient reward for your labour of love. This city is in a stir throughout, a strong interest awakened, and great exertions commenced for the instruction on Sabbath days of children and adults. Mrs. B. has written to you an account of the first meeting of the ladies; on that day week the second meeting was held, and so great was the crowd of ladies pressing forward, that the company had to adjourn from a lecture room to a church.
Next Sabbath I believe, was appointed for the commencement of the work of teaching; the zeal of three of the congregations led them to begin this day. Mrs. B. visited these three schools, which with a SCHOOL OF BLACK ADULTS, taught by my family, made up one hundred and thirty six scholars, I presume the number, next Lord's day, will amount to one thousand in all the schools. I had forgot to mention that at the second meeting of the ladies, a society was formed, and a constitution drawn up, following very closely the plan which you had sent us. Mrs. B. was elected first directress, and a pious friend of hers, Mrs. M. second directress, with a view to aid the superintendents and teachers of the several schools, and to take a general charge of the concerns of the institution. The constitution will soon be published, and we shall send you a copy of it. I believe the gentlemen are mustering their numbers to follow the example of the ladies, and to take charge of the adults and children of their
I will thank you to subscribe for me to the Evangelical Magazine, and the Sunday School periodical publication, and to forward them as regularly as you can.
10th. February, 1816. The gentlemen of this city are now busily engaged, and a general meeting is called on Monday next, for the organization of a society for the instruction of children and adults.
Your's sincerely, &c.
SABBATH SCHOOL UNION, for SCOTLAND.
Edinburgh, March 12, 1816.
Sir, I HAVE the pleasure of transmitting you an account of the formation of the Sabbath School Union for Scotland, and the proceedings of the general meeting, at its formation, will explain both its objects and plan, and put you in possession of every information regarding it.
The Sabbath Schools in Scotland, you are no doubt aware, are