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in the New Testament, to the no small satisfaction of many ladies and gentleinen who have visited the schools and witnessed their improvergent, altbough some of them did not even know the letters of the alphabet when they were first prevailed upon to become learners.
EXTRACT of a LETTER from the SecrETARIES of the
Shrewsbury, April 27, 1815. THE annual meeting of the Shropshire Sunday School Union has not yet been held (which should have taken place at Easter) it being inconvenient for Mr. Raffles to attend, who is expected to preach on that occasion for the benefit of the institution. We have got therefore been able to publish our third report; but at the request of the cominittee, I transmit to you a summary of their proceedings during the past year. Permit us to congratulate vour society on the rapid increase of schools, and the extensive mcans afforded for the acquisition of knowledge; and we hope, Four labours will be subservient in no small degree to the accomplistunent of that gracious promise, “ the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Sereral new schools have been opened, and considerable additions made to some of those formerly established. Application : has been made to several of our schools by grown up persons for instruction. In one school twenty adults are taught, one of whom is a man above forty years of age, who entered the school two years 240 with four of his children, when he did not know the alphabet, but by constant attendance can now read the Bible. In another school twenty-seven are taught, who are making rapid progress.
We are happy to say, that in most places where we have opened *chools others have been established on Dr. Bell's system, although in some instances the number of the children in our schools has diminished; and in two cases the schools have been abandoned altogether, in consequence of the exertions of others. If the rising generation are taught to read the word of God, which is able to make them wise unto salvation, by whom, or by what system, is immaterial, in the accomplishment of the object we rejoice, yea, and we will rejoice.
It has appeared to us that by dividing the county into four districts, and having a committee in each for the superintendance of the schools in their neighbourhood, the objects of the Union would be more effectually promoted. Some of the schools are at a considerable distance from us, and in some instances they have greatly declined, we have reason to fear, from the want of some active persons in the neighbourhood zealously devoted to the promotion of the instruction of the rising generation. The conmittee of each district would be expected to superintend the scbools under their care to correspond with the comunittee at
Shrewsbury, and to send an annual report to the Union. This plan has not yet been fully arranged; but the following statement will shew bow many schools there are in each district, the number of scholars in each school, and the number of teachers. District.
Schools. Scholars. Teachers, Shrewsbury, ..............7
72 Broseley, .................5
464 Whitchurch ..............
3 i 170
Total.... 17 1228 168
Sheffield, May 6, 1915. WE have been asked, “What udvantages have resulted from our Sunday School Union ?" and, “What objects our Union embraces ?" and perhaps the answer we have returned to these inquiries, will include the information you wish to receive from us respecting our Union. Since our Union we have gained much information respecting the best manner of conducting sunday schools; for, as there is no reserve among us, each commuoicates the knowledge he possesses on the subject, and the knowledge thus imparted becomes a common stock for the benefit of all. · Our Union has been the occasion of six new schools being esta. blished in the neighbourhood, and neighbouring villages, containing several hundred children, and others are about being established. It has also assisted other schools with donations of from one guinea to five pounds.
Our Union bas, occasioned the establishment of Adult Schools in Sheffield, which already contain 200 persons, some of whom have become decidedly religious characters, who made no profession of religion previous to their being introduced into our Adult Schools, and others appear to be under serious impressions. An instance will be given in our Report of this year, of an elderly person who, eight months ago, did not know his alphabet, nor attend any place of worship, but who now can peruse his Testament with profit, and feels great pleasure in constantly attending the means of grace.
Our Union has been the means of stirring up the zeal of Sunday School Superintendents and Teachers. They have been induced to forget the things which are behind, to reach forth to those which are before, and to press towards greater success, when they have seen themselves so much outstripped by their brethren. Hence, Our. Union bas made Sunday Schools more popular in Sheffield, for they are much better attended both by teachers and children than they were before ; and as one of our rules is attended to invariably," not to receive a scholar from any other school without a written permission from the school left, addressed to the
school applied to, unless the child has been absent from the former school upward of six months,” that desire for change so frequently witnessed in both parents and children is counteracted; and thus, unless an adequate reason be assigned, the latter are prevented from circulating through the different schools to the perplexity of teachers, and the serious injury of the children.
Our Union operates as a battery which levels with the dust those objections which have been raised by narrow policy, and shored up by contracted selfishness. Many there are who are afraid of calling into exercise their utmost energies for the private good, lest their individual interest should be neglected, not recollecting that public good is precisely the aggregate of private benefit, and that as surely as we are instrumental in watering others, so surely, and in that very instance too, we are watered ourselves. Among the members of our Union, there is a generous anxiety for each others' prosperity, and the consequence is an increase in all our schools. One school in 12 months has increased from 10 teachers and 80 scholars, to 35 teacbers and 300 scholars.
Our Union has not only excited greater attention among the teachers, but also à spirit of inquiry as to the result of their labours. It lias been said, that “ those who watch Providence, will never want a Providence to watch ;" and so surely as the conscientious teacher sows his seed and waters it with his prayers, 80 surely will he see it spring up, sometimes the blade, sometimes the ear, and at other times the full corn in the ear, Knowing that an annual report of our Union will be printed, the teacbers are anxious to contribute some important facts that may render it interesting; and Fience they are watching for these throughout the year.
Previous to the union of sunday schools little comparatively was known of the good in them; but by the annual reports that are issuing from the different unions, the scattered rays of light which irradiated a little spot here and there, are collected and barst forth in a flood of light upon the world; the candle is no longer hid under a bushel, but it is placed in a candlestick and gives light to the whole house.
We have been asked why we unite? and we have answered, and still say, the greatness of the work in which we are engaged, and the numerous enemies we have to overcome, demand it. If the name of our enemies be Legion, and their ensign Destruction, ours must be Union and Salvation. As it respects the work iu which we are engaged, we conceive it to be nothing less than the glorifying of God in the evangelizing of the world; and can this grand object be effected by Calvinists only? by Methodists, by Baptists, by Churchmen singly? no, we must forget minor distinctions, and unite under the banner of the captain of salva. tion, and, as one vast army of the Living God, go forth from victory to victory, till a subject world owas the authority of our great Iminanuel.
We have received a most interesting letter from the secretaries of the Birmingham Union, informing us that their Union took place on the 13th of February last, and we have no doubt but the affection, ability, and zeal of the secretaries, are a pleasing presage of the permanence and future utility of their Union.
EXTRACT from the Report of the SUNDERLAND SUNDAY-Schout
Union, for the Year ending 31st December, 1814. Your Committee have to report that the resolutions, passed at the last general meeting, have, by several of the schools, beca carried into effect; libraries and Bible Associations have been formed, and a flourishing Adult School for Females is pow established in Sunderland.
It must afford sincere pleasure,- not merely to Sunday-School teachers, but to every true friend of Religion,—to find that the grand end, which each school in this Union has in view, is religious instruction; and your Committee doubt not but, through the Divine blessing, the united efforts of the teachers, in this respect, will be crowned with success.
Deputations have been sent to several of the schools, in order to enquire into their modes of teaching, and to explain, in a practical manner, the printed rules. The success tliat has attended the endeavours of your Committee in this respect, will best be seen from the annexed extracts of reports received from the several districts.
The following schools have been added to the Union during the past year, viz. Oxclose, High Felling, Enon Chapel School, Zion Chapel School, Durham School, and the Sunderland Female Adult School. The whole of these schools, excepting Durham, are new schools established within the last twelve inonths; the Durham School has existed for some time, and at present, with the immediate vicinity, constitutes a new district. : The school at Sheriffe Hill has been unavoidably given up, from having lost the place where they taught; but they have recently built a new school, which it is trusted, when opened, will be well filled.
The schools at Mount and Gateshead's Fell Chapel have also been given up; the former, it is hoped, may be recommenced again; the latter school was given up for the winter from the dampness of the place; and, owing to a declension among the teachers, the want of funds, and a debt owing to the depositary, the few remaining teachers are so much discouraged that they appear unwilling again to commence the school. Your Committee baving taken the state of this school into consideration, agreed to make them a grant of the books for which they stood indebted, on condition of their recommencing the school; and, in case they should determine not to do so, to take back the books in their present state, without any expence to them for the injury they may have received.
. As it regards the declension of children in the different schools, your Committee beg leave to suggest the necessity of vigorous measures being used, to recover, if possible, those children who have quitted them; and, perhaps, there is no method more likely to effect this, than by appointing visitors to go through the different families, to enquire into the cause of their absence, and to solicit the parents, in an affectionate manner, to send their children again.
The Committee would also recommend to those schools, whose funds are small, and yet are desirous of establishing libraries, to follow the example of some other schools, and commence at first with single tracts, a large assortment of which are published by the Religious Tract Society, and others. A library on this scale may be begun at a very trifling expence'; and though the quantity of matter in each tract is small, yet it is weighty, and may be better digested in many of the families who are unaccustomed to reading, than a larger book.
Your Committee having thus endeavoured to lay before you their proceedings during the past year conclude, by expressing their earnest desire that the spirit of love, which hath hitherto been so manifested in this institution, may continue to increase; and that similar societies may be formed till every poor child in this country shall be able to read for himself the Sacred volume.
The total number of children connected with the Union, is 5099; and of teachers 841.
Extructs from the District Reports. At the commencement of the year, vişitors were appointed to visit the families of our children; and the Committee feel pleasare is reporting, that these visits have not been altogether in . vin, as by their means a door has been opened to disseminate religious tracts among the poorest of our towns-people; nor is this the only good that these visits have effected ; for, while endeavouring to spread these little silent monitors, with sorrow the visitors beheld the wretched ignorance which prevailed among the adults they had an opportunity of seeing; and the Committee of these schools, anxious, if possible, to save some of the poor females who appeared ready to be carried down by the torrent of sin and infainy, which we have melancholy proof, prevails to a very high degree in populous sea-ports, determined to begin a Sunday School for their instruction.
The Female Adult School commenced, in April 1814, with only three scholars; it has continued gradually to increase, and at present there are ninety female adults under instruction. We also feel pleasure in reporting the good this school has already produced ; some of the adults, who, prior to the commencement of the school, were ignorant of their letters, and were unacquainted with their duty,' either to their Creator or their