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about the art of teaching, -the simple art of presenting truth, in a certain way, to the scholars' minds,—which was all very valuable, but he had very frequently noticed among teachers that, after acquiring the art, they imagined that no more was to be done ; and instead of giving the cultivation of their minds a prominent place in their occupations, forbore to read carefully, or to think closely, even upon the subject lessons for their classes. The consequence was, that though a stranger going into their classes would think such teachers were models of adroitness, from the facility with which they used the art they had acquired, he would, if he attended those classes for a few times, find a great meagreness in the quality of the teaching. Therefore, as a practical question, how to increase the efficiency of the Sunday school ? he would say, there was nothing more important than that teachers should set seriously to work to think ; that they should not read superficial works, but the very best books published, not simply on religion, but on every other subject, so that they might acquire a mental stamina, which would fit them for the more efficient discharge of their important duties. But there was another matter of far more importance than intellectual qualifications, and that was the temperature-the spiritual temperature-of the teacher's own mind. He believed it sometimes happened that the intellectual power and the moral strength of the teacher existed in inverse ratio ; and that a teacher with feeble intellectual power possessed so extraordinary a development of spiritual life, that in all that he undertook for God, he seemed to do good ; while men of much higher intelligence, though they might produce skilful scholars, had but few fruits. It had been his privilege lately to have intercourse with a gentleman in Scotland who had been a principal agent in the revivals there,-a man of considerable mind, and who was converted to God at forty-eight years of age. Though possessing, as he said, considerable powers of mind, they were undisciplined, and his sermons, though sound and good, were not superior to what were heard in most pulpits ; but the secret of his success was his intense-it might almost be said, his red-hot earnestness. He scarcely ever addressed an audience, either in town or country, whether educated or unlearned, whether among the higher classes of society, or amongst its dregs, without seeing souls converted. In private, his intercourse with friends or strangers was of precisely the same quality. He had one ruling idea and passion in his heart—that of saving souls,-and it was the intense earnestness of that man's life that made him so successful in the work. He (Mr. Inglis) therefore pressed this point upon the attention of teachers, as the principal thing of all in connection with their works. They could not all be clever ; they had not all got great intellectual powers, or the means of cultivating their intellectual powers, such as they were, but they had all the means of going to a throne of grace, -of living heavenly, devoted, earnest lives, for Christ Jesus. A great deal had been said with regard to correspondence. Many years ago he had a class of girls, one of whom was very serious and attentive. She left the school for service, and he had no means of communicating with her. It so happened, that he accidentally learned that she had given up all religious ideas and feelings. He corresponded with her, and in her reply she made use of a most extraordinary expression, -"When I attended your class,” she said, "I loved the sabbath, the Bible, the Sunday school, and prayer; but I have given them all up, and now I am going to hell,—and I don't care !” This expression made him feel that she did care, and he sat down and wrote her as earnest a letter as he could pen. He heard no more of her for some time. The first sermon that he preached, he saw her before him, but he had no communication further with her, until he heard she had applied for admission to the church. She then told him his letter was not the means of her conversion ; but after she had read it she laid it open in her trunk, so that whenever she got anything out of it, it lay before her as a
testimony for God. It worked, however, upon her mind, and the sermon that he preached that day became the turning point. She became a most excellent Christian woman, and for the last ten or fifteen years had been adorning the doctrines of the gospel. With reference to visitation, it was very difficult to go to their houses to see the scholars, and converse with them privately, because they were usually in company with many more ; but there was another plan, and that was--to get the scholars to go to the teacher's house individually, and talk to them there. He had known amazing fruits to be produced in that way. The scholars, first of all, were diffident, but by-and-by their hearts opened and they freely told their teachers all the thoughts and emotions which, perhaps, had been struggling their minds for weeks and months, but to which they had never dared to give expression, One word with regard to success in teaching. He was afraid that they erred in two ways here ; first, in not expecting success ; and second, in not believing in it when it arrived. It was of immense importance that the children should be converted when young. With few exceptions, men who were brought to Christ, after a long course of sin, never did any good to the church. Such men were wonderful monuments of the skill of the Great Physician, but as regarded usefulness, they were almost always cripples for life,hospital Christians, -and though saved themselves, hardly ever were any good to others. On the other hand, when a person young in years, and strong and fresh in energy, became converted, who could tell how much good might be effected ? After referring to the religious awakening in the north, Mr. Inglis concluded by an earnest appeal to the teachers present to persevere in their work, whatever discouragements might surround them, and never to despair of success, while faithfully labouring for God's glory.
Mr. CULVERWELL referred to the practice of holding meetings from year to year for the purposes of reunions between old scholars and teachers. It was not so generally adopted in many parts of the country as in the metropolis, but wherever it had been tried, it had been found of great service. He urged the extension of the plan as one most effective means of making the influence of the Sunday school continuous.
Rev. J. LORD, of Thrapston, while admitting that in many cases Sunday school teachers and superintendents were not so well qualified as could be desired, reminded the meeting that it was often necessary to make use of whatever agency was offered, if the work was to be carried on at all. He endorsed the sentiment of the delegate from Birmingham, and believed that the preparation by the Committee of a superintendent's handbook would be very serviceable, especially in those parts of the country where meetings for conference on subjects of interest in the management of schools could not be held. He spoke of the value of teachers' prayer meetings, and of the stumbling-blocks thrown in the way of the Sunday school teacher's success in his work by the drinking customs of the day.
Mr. WRIGHT, of Birmingham, thought that one error which had been committed in the past was that Sunday schools had been made too cheap ; and he suggested, among other means of increasing their influence, the granting of a certificate of attendance and good conduct to scholars who might have belonged to a school for some years.
Mr. GROSER said the Sunday School Union had prepared a form of such certificate, which could be obtained in the Depository.
Mr. SWALLOW, of Manchester, made some observations upon the duties of superintendents, and laid special stress upon the exercise of discrimination by him in appointing scholars to suitable classes on their admission to the school.
Mr. BUTCHER, in reference to his suggestion of a children's communion service,
said his object was to meet the observations sometimes made by pious children, that they were too young to join tho church.
Rev. J. KEED, of Cambridge, encouraged the teachers, from facts which had come under his notice during the past year, to labour and pray for the conversion of their charge. He warned them against expecting old piety in young children-the development of a forty years' experience of the Christian life in a youth of tender age.
Mr. COOPER, of Brighton, believed that much of the want of the religious influence of teachers over their classes was, that they were so seldom with them ; while so large a portion of their time the children were exposed to influences of quite a contrary character. He suggested that one method of meeting this difficulty would be to establish a week-day gathering of the classes, in some service of a more or less religious character.
The conversation was then adjourned until the afternoon.
Mr. CUTHBERTSON, who read some extracts from addresses delivered in the recent Sunday School Conference in Phil hia, and pointed out the importance of Sunday school teachers labouring for the conversion of their children, as though the attain. ment of that result lay in their own hands. He said he had been struck with one fact, which he had ascertained in the course of his inquiries, víz., -that very few children in Sunday schools were converted to God through the regular session of the sabbath day's teaching. None of those teachers who had been eminently successful in the conversion of their classes had confined their labours to the school, but had adopted various means to awaken and keep up a spiritual interest amongst the children. He believed that very much depended upon the appeal to the child individually by the teacher; and some of the most successful teachers had adopted the plan of meeting their scholars half an hour before preaching in the evening for that purpose. He referred also to the special Sabbath evening services, as valuable auxiliaries to the regular teaching in the schools. Another plan, which had been adopted with very great success, was for the minister to meet the inquirers in connection with the school ; and in the north of England it had resulted in considerable accessions to the church. He was satisfied that, though it was all very well to have intelligent teachers who could conduct their classes with skill and interest during the morning and afternoon of the Sabbath day, unless they adopted some means for getting their children alone, and praying and talking with them earnestly and pointedly, the work of God would not progress to any great extent among them.
Mr. Day, of the East London Auxiliary, spoke of the successes which attended his labours as a teacher in early life, which he attributed (under God) to the earnestness and devotion he was able to bring to bear upon it. The great want of the schools in the present day was not only that they should get all the information in their power, and acquire all the necessary skill for imparting that information to others, but that they should have a preparation of heart for their work. He feared that, in too many instances, superintendents were ill qualified for their duties, and unable to assist teachers in the discharge of theirs.
Mr. BRAIN recommended the holding of parents' meetings, and said that he never had known an instance of such gatherings without good having resulted. He urged upon teachers a careful study of the characters and dispositions of their children, and spoke of the advantages likely to flow from the epistolary correspondence already spoken to.
Mr. WHITE, of Woolwich, while concurring generally in the observations of the Chairman as to the future of our day schools, said he was not without hope
that the religious influence of those schools would be in part at least maintained, as many of the masters of British and other schools were mon of undoubted piety and of earnest zeal. He called attention to the fact, that some of our Sunday schools were too secular in character, and their great object too much subordinated to mere routine. The qualification of superintendents was a very important point ; and he suggested to the Committee of the parent Society the holding of a conference upon the duties, responsibilities, and defects of Sunday school superintendents.
Mr. TERRY defended the superintendents as a class from the charge of incapacity, and the Sunday schools from the charge of secularity, which he thought must be the exception and not the rule. No reference had been made, he said, to the infant classes in the course of the conversation, and he thought that more attention might be advantageously paid to them. The most successful teachers for those classes were those who had themselves been children in our schools.
Mr. GOULD, of Bristol, thought it would be admitted generally, that hitherto the results achieved had not been commensurate with the exertions put forth, and that they had a right to look for something more. They wanted more faith in their work. He gave some interesting particulars respecting the spiritual condition of the schools in his Union, and amongst his recommendations laid special stress upon the visitation of the children at their homes.
Mr. HARTLEY (one of the secretaries of the parent Society) spoke in favour of illustrative teaching, and related some telling instances of the success attending direct individual appeals by teachers to their scholars.
Mr. MEEN was then heard in reply, and in the course of his observations he said, that while admitting that, in many instances, good had been effected, he was afraid that, upon the whole, the Sunday schools of the metropolis had not contributed very much to the augmentation of the church. He was fearful, too, that there was a good deal of mistaken zeal in our schools--too much preaching instead of teaching; and he felt convinced that, after all, they wanted classes in which to teach teachers how to teach. While, therefore, he sincerely hoped that they would be earnest in prayer for a blessing upon their labours, let them not neglect every means by which their young friends might be better qualified for their important trust.
Mr. GROSER, who had occupied the chair during the latter period of the day, made a few observations in closing the discussion. He said there was one point which had not been referred to by any of the former speakers. A good deal had been said, and very properly said, about the influence of parental example, and no doubt the dissolute habits of parents had a serious effect upon our schools. He was inclined to think, however, that in London, at all events, the indifference—the contemptuous indifference of parents, and the semi-infidel principles which they avowed, had a more pernicious influence than the prevalence of intemperance amongst them. And beyond this, he feared that, in many cases, the teachers' example was not very beneficial. He thought the female teacher, who went into her class, Sunday after Sunday, with a very small bonnet just stuck on the back of her head, “ because it is fashionable,” and her hair drawn back till her eyes seem ready to start from their sockets, " because it is fashionable," was exercising a mischievous influence amongst her children. The teachers, too, in the boys' schools, were not exempt from blame. That pernicious habit of smoking was exercising a most disastrous influence upon our scholars. If a Sunday school teacher was seen in the street with a cigar or pipe in his mouth, how could he reprove his scholars if he saw them indulging in the practice ? "I saw Teacher do it,” would be the reply. And smoking led to drinking; and a great deal of the dishonesty which prevailed in the manufacturing districts of the metropolis was more or less traceable to the dissolute habits thus engendered. Let them see to it, that while they were talking about the evil influence of parental conduct, they themselves set an example which the scholars could safely follow.
After singing a hymn, the meeting adjourned to Exeter Hall.
ANNUAL MEETING AT EXETER HALL. THE Annual Meeting was held the same evening in Exeter Hall. The chair was taken by the President of the Society, the Hon. ARTHUR KINNAIRD, M.P., at six o'clock. The proceedings were commenced by singing the following hymn :
HYMN 1. Tune-" OLIVET.” No. 406, Union Tune Book. “Go, feed my lambs,” the Saviour cried, Before we now we bow in prayer,
When he had proved his servant's love ; And ask the influence of thy grace ; In the blest work he lived and died, O save the young from every snare,
Then soared to realms of bliss above, And make them early seek thy face. May we the same blessed Master serve, To each attempt impart success, And the same office humbly fill ;
Each youthful mind to virtue train ; Thy precept, Lord, we would observe, If thou our humble efforts bless, And cheerfully obey thy will.
Our labour will not be in vain. After singing the bymn, the Rev. J. KEED, of Cambridge, offered prayer.
The CHAIRMAN then rose, and said, -My Christian friends, I rejoice that I am permitted once again to take part in your proceedings, and to preside over this meeting. I am thankful to say I have nothing new to tell you, excepting that I may congratulate you on the success which has attended the operations of our Society; but as to that matter, I shall leave it to my friend on the right, who will shortly read to us an abstract of the Report, and avail myself of the presence of so many teachers among us this evening merely to say a few words to urge upon you the maintenance of those principles which have been the source of action hitherto. And I think the days in which we live may induce us to look back to old leading principles : I mean the importance of continuing an education solely founded on the Bible. No principles, in my opinion, will stand, if not founded on Holy Scripture; and let me urge upon you the importance not of studying parts of Scripture merely, but the Scripture as a whole ; not confining your teaching to the New Testament, but going into all its parts, taking the Old Testament in its historical, prophetical, and typical portions alike. Depend upon it, that if you wish the children to grow up as we could desire to see them, they must be trained by and become rooted and grounded in the principles of the ever blessed word of God. Then I would urge you to accustom the young minds of the children to put every doctrine you bring before them to the test of Scripture. It is in that way that you will equally avoid, and teach them to avoid, the errors of superstition on the one hand, and the errors of infidelity on the other; and these are evils which we see everywhere abounding around us. It is an encouragement to us to look abroad, and see that it is only where these thoroughly scriptural principles prevail, that civil and religious liberty abound ; and this feeling of encouragement will not be lessened when we behold two nations, both under the influence of gross superstition, avoiding all reason, and appealing to brute force to settle their differences. If the Bible be followed—which I trust it ever will be in our land--we must remember low much depends on the maintenance of our sabbath privileges ; for where would the working man, and where should you and I, called into active lifo, find time to study that word, if it was not for the preservation to us