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Of all the benevolent institutions of the present agė, none Seems better calculated to distinguish and benefit the British nation than the establishment of Sunday Schools, for the instruction of the children of the poor and miserable cottager. These institutions tend most to inspire a fear of God, loyalty to the king, and good-will to mankind-as also to the consummation of the desire of our beloved monarch, “ that every child in his dominions might be able to read the Bible.
The children of the town of Bedford have for á considerable time enjoyed the advantage of gratuitous sabbath instruction, aš Sunday Schools have long been formed, both in the Establishment and among the various classes of Dissenters; but it is to be lamented that hundreds of children in the surrounding villages are entirely destitute of such a privilege. The grand object of the members of this Union is to direct their attention to those forlorn and neglected tribes of their fellow-creatures, and they hope not to rest from their labour until every child, capable of receiving instruction, within the precincts of the county of Bedford, is able to read the Bible. Beholding the general activity which sur. rounds them-considering the immense practical good and national felicity this system of tuition is calculated to produce, the members of the Committee feel themselves imperiously called upon to use every laudable endeavour to accomplish an object so much desired.
The principles upon which this society is founded, and on which they intend to proceed, will, it is hoped, be deemed unexception. able, and in every respect liberal. Without attaching themselves to any party, they earnestly solicit the co-operation of all their object is to promote the instruction of indigent children, and thus improve the condition of the rising generation.
The Committee respectfully beg the cordial co-operation of the established clergy and ministers of religion of every denomination, in the various towns and villages throughout the county of Bed ford, and solicit the patronage and support of the principal inha. bitants of those villages where Schools are established, or may be hereafter formed: the object of the Union being not to make proselytes to any sect or party, but to " instruct the youthful mind, and teach the young idea how to shoot,” and to comprehend the meaning of that volume of inspiration which contains the fundamental doctrines of every protestant church.
With these benevolent views the Committee enter an extensive field, and anticipate that success which is inseparably connected with Christian unanimity. The Committee hope to convince the British public, that although an immortal Howard (who supported a Sunday School at his iydividual expence) is no longer a resident in their neighbourhood, the sacred fire of philanthropy was not extinguisbed in the county of Bedford when that prodigy of bene volence quitted the world.
EXTRACT of a LETTER from the SECRETARY of the DURSLEY
and ULEY SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION. OUR first quarterly meeting for prayer to Almighty God to bless our endeavours, was held at Uley in July 1813, when three of the members engaged in prayer, and an appropriate address was delivered by a minister, suitable hymns were sung before each prayer.
Second meeting in October, was Ireld at Cam, conducted on the same plan (as they all are.)
Third meeting in January, was held at the Tabernacle, Dursley, When the secretary delivered the following report:
At the Tabernacle Sunday School are taught 290 children.
136 of that number admitted since the second quarterly meeting.
After the third meeting, it was unanimously agreed to extend the services of the Union to neighbouring villages, namely, Halinore, Cambridge, and Nymphsfield, to be regularly supplied by two teachers from the Union, at which places schools have been established with great success.
Fourth meeting in April, was held at tlie chapel, Dursley.
Fifth meeting, July, Uley chapc!; when the secretary delivered the following report of the number of children taught by the Union : Dursley Tabernacle, including 10 adults...
329 Ditto, Chapel ........ditto.. 16 ... Cam •••••••••••••••• ditto 3...........
189 Uley................ditto.. 2 ...........
165 Halmore 65; Cambridge, 74; Nymphsfield.... 103 .... 242
Increase since last.... 371 Sixth meeting in October, was held at Cam meeting, after which it was agreed to establish a school at Kingscote, under the direction of the Union, which was accomplished beyond our expectations.
Seventh meeting in January 1815, was held at the Tabernacle, Dursley, when the secretary delivered the report : Durslev Tabernacle School ................. 304 children. Ditto Chapel ......ditto.......... ....... 363 Camici,i........ditto.................... 191 Uley...........ditto...nic.ins......... Nymphsfield, 110; Cowley, 119....
Cambridge, 60; Halmore, 50 ................ 110
1473 Last report.... 1254
Increase...... 219 Eighth meeting in April was held at the Chapel, Dursley, where it was resolved to extend the Union to Shortwood, from the solicitation of the teachers belonging to the Sunday School long since established there, therefore the next quarterly meeting in July will be held there.
It is worthy of remark, that the children of the three village schools, Halford, Nymphsfield, and Kingscote, have subscribed upwards of three thousand pence for Bibles and Testaments. I rejoice to mention, that at all the village schools established by the Union, the Lord has brought forward some who have kindly lent their hand in the work, particularly Kingscote, where our endeavours have been seconded beyond our most sauguine .expectations.
I am happy to say our quarterly meetings have been productive of much good to the institution, by animating our efforts, strengthening our hands in the work, and uniting all in bonds of love and peace. You will perceive by the reports, that the number of children under the teaching of the Union, have very considerably increased since the commencement; but it is not in the number of children I would congratulate my associates in labour, but on the number of those to whom they have been made instuments of impressing on their tender minds a lively concern for their immortal souls. I fatter myself there are many that have, through the grace of God have, imbibed serious impressions; pray with us that their number may be increased, and that in these our imperfect labours, a single eye may be kept to the glory of God.
THE Reports of the Sunday School Unions previously established, are become increasingly interesting, as will be evinced by the following extracts :
EXTRACT from the REPORT of the NOTTINGHAM SUNDAY
SCHOOL UNION. THE committee of this Union, hail with great satisfaction, the return of the anniversary of an institution which they are pcrsuaded, has contributed very materially to promote the cause of Sabbath Schools, the best interests of the rising generation, and the enlargement of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And, while they reflect with pleasure on the fruit which has been already produced, they look forward, with an animating expectation, and with a firm reliance upon the Divine blessing, to
a period when that fruit shall be increased an hundred, and evet a thousand fold. Union is strength; the great law of the New Covenant is love; and the more those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, esteem, and love each other, the more they strive together for the things by which they shall edify one another, and to promote the cause of their common Lord, ihe more abundant will be the blessing of God, and the more extensive will be their success.-It will be recollected, that, at the last aúnual meeting, it was reported, that the first edition of the Hymn Book, consisting of 5,000 copies, had been sold, and that a sub-committee was appointed to prepare a second edition for the press; that edition, consisting of 7,000 copies, which was published in August last, is also vearly disposed of; and a third edition, intended to consist of 10,000 common, and 500 fine copies, is now going through the press—The society will perceive the growing influence and utility of the Depository, when they are informed, that 2892 Easy Lessons and Spelling Books, 960 Copy Books, 3141 Hymn Books, 600 Catechisms, besides Slates and Quills, have been sold during the last year; beside which, 160 Easy Lesson Books have been given to Adult Schools, and 60 to two new schools for children.-The committee take this opportunity to express, that they and the society are under the greatest obligation to Mr. Roworth, for the great and unremitting exertions he has used in promoting the in terests of this useful establishment.
Considering the excellency and the useful tendency, of the sermon delivered at the last annual meeting, by the Rev. Mr. Stevenson, of Loughborough, your committee requested him to publish it; that publication has accordingly taken place, and it is now sold at the society's depository.
The Union becoming increasingly extensive, and, in consequence, the duties of the secretary proportionably heavy, it was resolved at the meeting of the committee, held on the 30th of December last, on the motion of Mr. A. Barnett, the present secretary, seconded Mr. N. Barnsdall, that Mr. Thomas Smith be appointed joint secretary with Mr. Barnett; and Mr. Smith bas, since that time, signified his willingness to accept that appointment for the ensuing year.
Your committee are concerned to state, that their exertions to promote the establishment and success of Adult Schools have not been attended with a greater measure of success; they trust that the subject will not be lost sight of by the society, or by its future committees, and that persevering and patient exertions, will be crowned with more encouraging success, until the happy period shall arrive, when through the universal influence of early education, the necessity of Adult Institutious shall be wholly superseded.
The committee have been happy if their services should have proved in any way acceptable to the society; and have contributed to promote the very interesting objects of it; they have
felt anxious that the duty they have discharged should be progressively divided with the other friends of the institution, and that in a way least calculated to retard the important duties of their official situatiou; they have therefore determined, and beg leave to recommend that determination to be adopted by the society,--That the senior member of the committee, selected from each congregation, shall annually retire from his station, and that the vacaney shall be filled up by some other person from the same society.
The society will observe, with pleasure, not only the increase of Sabbath School institutions, but the many gratifying and encouraging instances of success which annually multiply upon us. The immortal spirits of many children are doubtless now in heaven, who have been conducted there by the fostering hand of Sabbath School education; and many young persons are now 0Ccupring honourable and useful places in our churches, - many are deroting their Sabbaths to the worship of God, and spending their weeks in his fear, who, but for these institutions, had been Dow in the darkness of ignorance, and in the broad road to destruction. These are the first fruits,-and but the first fruits. They are sufficient for an encouragement, but not sufficient for Cor satisfaction.-Let us go on, till our tens shall become thousands, till the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.-Unto him be glory for ever and ever. Агред.
Saxnary of the Sunday Schools, comprising the Nottingham
Sunday School Union. Religious Denominations, Schools. Children, Teachers, Methodist ................36
751 Methodist New Itinerancy...14
284 General Baptist............ 26
405 Independent .............l
177 Particular Baptist .......... 7
107 Various ... !!!! !!
Clear Increase ..........10
288 The reports of the schools, in reference to general improvement and moral and religious instruction, are very encouraging.
The following Statement exhibits the progressive Increase of the
Onion, from its Commencement to the last Annual Meeting.
Schook, containing Children instructed by Teachers August 14th, 1810,....32
722 April 15th, 1811,•*•.37