« PreviousContinue »
the perusal. On senior classes also, a little book by Mr. Watson, senior secretary, has been published by the Union, and will be found serviceable to all connected with such class es.
A preparation class for the study of the lessons for the following sabbath, has for a long time been held, every Wednesday evening, first on the premises of the Union in Paternoster Row, and then where it is now held, at the Jubilee Memorial Building, Old Bailey.
From this, have sprung numerous other preparation classes, some in individual schools, others in districts ; many of which continue to be held with great advantage to those teachers who are able to attend. It is evident, that by many meeting together, thoughts are interchanged, and valuable hints and information may be obtained by every person present, each in his turn communicating something to the common stock.
More recently, in one of the districts of our own auxiliary, a training class has been established, of which, it is impossible to speak too highly; and which has been followed up by a similar one at the Jubilee Building, Old Bailey, and others in the other auxiliaries. Here much practical valuable information may be gained by all who are engaged in Sunday school instruction.
Having now glanced at some of the efforts made by the Sunday School Union, to improve the methods of instruction, we come to the third head;—" To ascertain those situations where schools are most wanted, and promote their establishment.” In the earlier days of the Union's history, the former part of this was more needed, than it is now, and was more carried out. Of late years the latter part has been more exclusively followed out, that is to say, assistance has been freely rendered to those who were establishing schools, although the Union has not taken the initiative in their establishment. Pecuniary grants to the extent of several thousands of pounds, have been made to schools in all parts of town and country, besides large amounts granted in aid of schools by the separate organization of the four London Auxiliaries.
The fourth head: “To supply books and stationery suited to Sunday schools at reduced prices"-opens so wide a field for amplification, that I must do it but scanty justice, lest the worthy chairman call me to order on the point of time. Under the head of “improved methods of instruction,” we have already noticed many of the publications of the Union, and now we may notice others. It is in connexion with this branch of their operations, that some of the most laborious part of their gratuitous labor is undertaken by the members of the committee. First, we will notice the Hymn Books--selections known to all present, for teachers and for scholars. These collections are deservedly popular, and have been sold, and are still being sold, by tens, nay, hundreds of thousands. These naturally lead us to the “Tune Book," concerning which such diversities of opinion exist. It certainly comprehends tunes of all sorts, and, speaking as an individual, I would remark, that it seems unreasonable to decry a collection of tunes containing many confessedly good, on account of the presence of some which may be thought to merit a contrary appellation, No person is bound to, nor, indeed, has time to sing all—let each select for himself. A good selection of chants is included, and is published separately also.
Then we come to the “Union Harmonist,” and “ Juvenile Harmonist,” containing numerous pieces, secular and religious, suited for general use.
I must refrain from giving more than the mere names of the following, which, in their issue, have cost the committee and officers much time and attention. A series of Tracts on various Sunday school subjects, ; a series of Sunday school Handbills for distribution amongst scholars and their parents ; a Book of Prayers, suited for the opening and closing services in schools; not intended, of course, to supersede the practice of extempore prayers, but merely published to supply a need which is felt for such a book in many schools conducted by ladies, or persons unaccustomed to the habit of praying extempore in public. Directions for the establishment and management of Sunday schools. A valuable little work on Illustrative Teaching, lately published by a member of the committee. The three Tracts, published annually, for the new year, addressed respectively to teachers, parents, and scholars. Now a Penny Almanack is added to the list. These are but some of the publications prepared by the Union; a full detailed list may be easily obtained, and is now and then advertized in the various periodicals.
I must not omit to mention the four monthly magazines published by the Union—the “Union Magazine," price 2d., or to teachers 11d., containing much valuable Sunday school matter, and which, from its importance, combined with cheapness, really ought to be taken in by every teacher. The “Bible Class Magazine,” suited for young people, generally, whether connected with Sunday Schools or not, price 1d., or to teachers d. The “ Child's Own Magazine," at one half-penny, for the little ones, with several woodcuts; and the “Youths' Magazine," which, having been commenced some forty years ago by members of the Union committee, and having passed through various hands during that period, has from last Christmas come into the hands of the Union, and is now their property. These four are all under the management of a sub-committee, and are gratuitously edited by members of the committee.
A year or two back a publication which had come out in parts, known as the “Library of Biblical Literature,” was offered to the Union, and considering that it was a work which would be valuable to
teachers, they purchased it, and now sell it at a reduced price. It contains a great deal of valuable information on subjects connected with the Bible, historical, geographical, scientific, literary, &c.
The Class Registers and Diaries, published annually, together with the various books for the Roll of Attendance, Minutes, &c. in each school, have found great favor, and are valuable helps to both teachers and officers of schools.
One of the most important features of the Union under this fourth head is, the granting of books for lending libraries to connected schools, at one-third of the retail price. Many thousands of pounds) worth of books have thus been given, and when we consider that in these days of cheap literature, our scholars, who will read something, will find abundance of temptation to procure trashy, or positively injurious reading, unless they are supplied with that which is good, we shall see the importance of maintaining every school library in a state of efficiency. No book is sent out which has not been read, and approved by three members of the committee.
Having thus taken a hurried review of the operations of the Union, in connexion with each of the four points of the constitution, we may allude to a few other matters.
For many years the Union has possessed a valuable and constantly increasing Library, both for circulation and for reference. It now contains about 4,000 volumes. Every teacher of a connected school may have the use of these, together with the use of a spacious reading-room, supplied with numerous periodicals, all the principal reviews, and several newspapers, every week-day, from three o'clock until ten, at the merely nominal charge of 1s. per annum. There is a separate room for the use of ladies, and latterly the privileges of the library have been extended on the same terms to senior scholars of sixteen years old and upwards.
Courses of Lectures are delivered also in the new large Lecture Hall in the Jubilee Building, to which subscribers to the Library have free
Several of these have been printed in the Union Magazine, at the time of delivery, and two have been published separately; one by the Rev. Dr. Spence, on the Mistakes of Sunday School Teachers; the other by Mr. Fitch, on the Art of Questioning. A lecture by this same gentleman, on the “ Art of securing attention in a Sunday school class,” which was delivered to the members of a local training class, is published, and will be found very useful by all teachers who may
Singing classes have also been held at the Jubilee Building, and at the present time, a valuable model of the Tabernacle is being exhibited gratuitously, illustrated by explanatory lectures.
To encourage the delivery of lectures in schools to scholars and
parents, the Union has purchased the whole set of large colored diagrams of the Working Men's Educational Union, about 400 in number, which are lent out at the low charge of 1s. per day, per set; each set consisting of from six to twenty diagrams.
The Committee has taken upon itself the duty of watching all endeavours to procure legislative sanction to Sabbath breaking. Ten years ago an attempt was made to greatly increase the Sunday labour in the Post Office; the Union got up numerous petitions, and in concert with other religious bodies, succeeded to a large extent in preventing the evil. Then the efforts of the Union will be fresh in the recollection of most of those who listen to me, on the occasion of the unsuccessful attempt made in 1852, to legalize the Sunday opening of the Crystal Palace. It is now within a few days of being exactly three years since a densely crowded meeting was held in Exeter Hall, under the auspices of the Union, in opposition to the measure brought forward by Sir J. Walmsley, for throwing open certain places of amusement on the Lord's day. Lord Shaftesbury presided, and resolutions condemnatory of the proposal were adopted. At the same time, the organization of the Union was effectively brought into play, in securing the preparation and signature of numerous petitions on the subject, which aided materially in swelling the vast aggregate of those petitions which so powerfully affected the fate of the proposal, which it will be remembered, was ignominiously rejected by a majority of 378 to 50.
Even more lately, on the occasion of its being expected that the Crystal Palace Company would make an application to Government, or the Legislature, on the Sunday question, the Union Committee again came forward, and united with other bodies in a deputation to Sir G. Grey, then Home Secretary, praying Government to give the weight of their influence against any legalized Sabbath desecration.
And now, I have endeavoured to present the case of the Sunday School Union, as a claimant to the support and countenance of every Sunday school teacher. I have tried to depict it as one, happily one amongst many; but still one of the great agencies for good in the present day—one of the leagues formed for aiding in numerous ways those who are carrying on the battle of the Lord against the strongholds of Satan. And if this be so, need I say anything further in urging its claims upon erery teacher? Does any one ask, what is to be gained by subscribing to a Missionary Society, a Bible Society, a Hospital, or any charity? No. The religious and the benevolent consider it their duty to aid in carrying forward these undertakings, and so I have tried to show, that it is a simple duty of every teacher to become connected with the Union, and aid it in carrying forward its benevolent work. And what is the aid you are asked for ? Really nothing in a pecuniary point of view. A subscription of even 4s. per annum entitles a whole school to all the benefits of the Union. You are not called upon for a personal subscription, although, of course, that would be gladly received; but you are merely asked for the moral support of your adhesion. The funds, for the large benefits conferred by the Union, are not furnished by the teachers, nor mainly by the general subscriptions, the whole amount of which is but small, but by the Trade operations, sustained by the labours of the Committee. One material aid which you can render, is to promote the circulation of the periodicals and other publications, which although sold to you as Sunday school teachers at three fourths of the published price, do yet of course yield a profit.
At the outset, I undertook to shew, that the Union offers as much as it asks for, and I hope I shall be allowed to have redeemed my word. All the benefits conferred by the Union are available by every connected school and every teacher of such school.
Your school may be well off-it may not need pecuniary aid, or help towards furnishing its library, but still there are many advantages held out, which I have set forth, which no one should be above receiving. The Library alone is worth joining for. Then it must be a good thing to feel we are working with others and not alone. You can send your representatives to the district and auxiliary committees, and so keep constantly informed of the progress the Sunday school cause is making; and at all events you have the satisfaction of feeling, that you are not standing aloof from an agency established to aid, however feebly, in promoting the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom on earth.
A SHORT MEMORIAL OF CHARLOTTE LYou are aware that our beloved Charlotte had been in the babit of spending her long school vacations at our kind friends', Mrs. D's. and Lady C's., to whose houses she went alternately ; last August, however, she wrote to Lady C., entreating in the most earnest and pressing language to be permitted to come to us. Though the distance was so great, yet we were induced to accede to her anxious desire, and Sir W. D. brought her to us.
Often have we since felt that a wise and most gracious providence was specially and wonderfully manifested in all that related to that dear girl, for both she and we were remarkably influenced at that period, and many seemingly serious objections to her return were combated and finally overruled. There was a rather striking coincidence of circumstances (though but trifling when compared with the greater object to be attained in her arrival; for my mother and self met her in the same room, and at the precise hour in which she had been born fourteen years before. We had not seen her for three years, and were prepared to find much, both mental and