Page images
PDF
EPUB

nurse, she requested that all the servants might be brought into her room, " that she might take leave of them, and that united prayer might be put up for her speedy deliverance.” We all joined in prayer. She asked us to sing, “ The hour of my departure's come.” Her breathing then became very hard and quick, and drawn with laboured pain; and whilst we were silently praying that our Saviour would ease and receive her the happy spirit fled.”—(From Memorial of the Lord's Goodness.Nisbet & Co.)

A TEACHER'S MUSINGS. " If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more

strength."-Eccles. x, 10. We are accustomed to speak of ourselves as workmen, laborers, teachers, &c. Such terms point to our personal activity, and responsibility, and while looking at these we are apt to grow disheartened because we seem to do so little. But this text shews us our true position, turning our eyes from the insufficiencies which every glance at self reveals, and reminding us of a “workman" whose success no “ bluntness" of the “ iron" can hinder.

It is God who works, and we are only his tools. This is a two-fold thought: for (1st) it takes away all self-reliance and vain-glory; while (2nd) it gives instead, a constant assurance and confidence that the work in which we are employed must be accomplished.

Who among us can help acknowledging that he is “ blunt iron ?" It is our consciousness of this which so often hinders faith; we feel our inadequacy for the task, and think it therefore an impossible one.

Whose “edge" does not need to be “whetted?" And surely we are bound to seek constant sharpening from the hand of Him who wields

Yet it may be, God will withhold what we desire for awhile, just to shew how great things He can accomplish with tools “ blunt,” and apparently useless, merely by Himself “putting to more strength.” For it is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." And our Master may be working most effectually when we are most conscious of failure. Let us then be ever strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Norwich.

P. S. s. THREE MEN AND THREE QUESTIONS. There are three questions which men ask themselves, according to their education. He who has been brought up with a strong conviction of the importance of conforming to the usages of society and the customs of the world, inquires, What do others expect of me? He who has been taught self-respect and to esteem his own actions, asks, What do I expect from myself? The third, who has been educated in Christian godliness, exclaims davily. What does God expect of me? The first makes a man of the world ; the second, the mere moralist ; the last alone the Christian.

us.

SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION ANNIVERSARY, 1859.

ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING.

THE Annual Meeting of members, and adjourned special meeting, took place in the Lecture Hall of the Jubilee Memorial Building, 56, Old Bailey, on Friday evening, April 29, at six o'clock.

Mr. G. W. BURGE presided. After which prayer was offered by Mr. STARLING. Mr. Watson then read the following

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE. In looking forward to the Fifty-sixth Anniversary of the SUNDAY SCHOOT. UNION, the Committee are thankful that they can address their fellow. laborers in the language of encouragement and hope. Although their proceedings have not been characterized by novelty, and do not therefore afford materials for much variety in the statement about to be submitted, yet on every hand will be found evidence of progress, and that the labors of the Committee have been instrumental in aiding that progress.

From various parts of the world information has been communicated to the Committee of the extension of the Sunday school system, and assistance sought towards that object has been cheerfully rendered. The period for holding the annual meeting of the Paris Sunday School Society being fixed for the same day as that on which the public meeting of the Union will be held, the Committee are unable to include the details of the last year's proceedings of that society. As Mr. Cook, their treasurer, attended the last anniversary of the Union, the members present had the pleasure of hearing his statement of their progress. It then appeared that 57 new schools had been added to their list, making the total number of Sunday schools, known to exist in France, 474. The Committee had sold in the year 7,000 copies of the hymn book prepared by them, and a third edition of 4,000 copies was in preparation : they had also commenced the publication of a series of works, under the general title of a Sunday School Library. In compliance with the request of Mr Cook, the Committee cheerfully made a grant, both of their own publications, and of such works adapted for young people, as might assist French writers in preparing works adapted for circulation amongst the Sunday scholars of that country.

A small grant has been made to Miss Diboll, proceeding to the West Coast of Africa, to teach in the schools connected with the Baptist mission there.

The Committee have maintained a correspondence with their fellow. laborers in the Australian Colonies. A large number of the publications of the Union are yearly sent thither, partly by way of grant, but more generally by sale, our brethren there being both able and willing to support liberally their religious institutions. It will be remembered that at the last anniver, sary the Union was favored with the company of the Honourable George Fife Angas, the President of the South Australian Sunday School Teachers' Union. He was the bearer of a letter from the Committee, giving the particulars of the rise and progress of that Institution, which was formed at the close of the year 1855, and which appears to be zealously carrying out

S

its efforts for the benefit of the rising generation. In Mr. Angas, that Union has had the advantage of the presidency of a gentleman whose zeal for Sunday schools, and interest in unions of the teachers, has been largely displayed in his native country; having originated, and, for several years 'actively aided, in carrying on the large and important Union at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The progress of Sunday schools in South Australia, although hindered by the wide scattering of the population, has yet been gratifying. In 1816 there were in the colony 24 schools, with 1,140 scholars; in 1856 that num. ber had increased to 130 schools, and 7,622 scholars. The Union had obtained returns for 1857 from 87 of those schools, which showed an average attendance in them of 744 teachers, and 5,494 scholars.

The teachers are in general faithful to their trust; alternate teaching being a rare exception; but the migratory nature of the population occasions frequent removals, and the attendance of the scholars is much affected by the early age at which they are withdrawn from parental control. In addition to other efforts for the encouragement and instruction of the teachers, the Committee of the South Australian Union have commenced a Quarterly Magazine, the only religious serial published in the colony. :. In the neighboring colony of Victoria, also, efforts have been made to establish a Union, but hitherto without success. From the supplies of books, however, sent by the Committee to Melbourne, its Capital, and to Sydney, the Capital of New South Wales, they have full confidence that the religious instruction of the young is making progress; and they have no doubt that ere long the teachers will feel the importance of uniting their efforts, both for their own encouragement and improvement, and that they may be enabled to extend the benefits of the system to the rapidly increasing population. The Committee were much gratified by a communication from the officers and teachers of the Surrey Hills Wesleyan Sunday School, Sydney, inclosing the liberal donation of six guineas to the Jubilee Fund, from teachers and scholars, “ regretting that it is not more commensurate to the great benefits received from such an Institution." The secretary adds, “ I am happy to bear evidence of the great practical good, even in this part of the world, resulting from the publications issuing from month to month from the Sunday School Union,” and to which he mainly attributes the efficiency of their school of 400 scholars. In a letter received from Sydney, from an agent of the Union there, is the following earnest appeal :—"Sunday schools in many parts of the colony are the only means of grace. Small communities are scattered over the country, too small to support any minister, and too far to be reached by lay preachers. Now, if a pious family exists in such a place, they open their kitchen or hut on the Lord's day, and collect in the children from the neighbourhood, and teach them by aid of the Union books. But here comes the pinch,- they get some one who is coming up to Sydney to come to me for books, and when they come, perhaps, I have none for them, You cannot think how much you are spreading the gospel here in keeping me well supplied with books. In fact, the Sunday schools in the outer small districts are the only things to prevent many places relapsing into barbarism, and to carry these out, books are needed, and to you we must look for them."

The Fifteenth Report of the Tasmanian Sunday School Union has reached the Committee, and contains a return of 26 schools, containing 221 teachers; and 1,936 scholars. The "Quarterly Sunday School Teachers' Magazine," which has the sanction of the Union, although not published by it, is about to be issued monthly. It appears that the “ List of Scripture Lessons" prepared by the London Union has again been adopted, and printed for the use of the schools in Hobart Town and its neighbourhood; and a supply of the Notes on those Lessons had also been obtained for the assistance of teachers, who are judiciously reminded that these notes are not intended to supersede preparation, but to act as auxiliary to it.

The Committee have made a small grant of books in aid of a Maori Sunday school at the Kohanga Native Institution, Waikato, New Zealand.

The applications made to the Committee for assistance to schools, established in various parts of the West Indies, have been numerous, and have been cheerfully granted and gratefully acknowledged. The Com. mittee do not think it desirable to give, where the scholars are able to purchase, the books required for their school use, as they think a proper spirit of self-dependence would be cultivated, and the books themselves have a higher value in the eyes of those who had made some little effort to obtain them. But the general testimony to the poverty of the laboring classes in the West Indies, and the deep impression the Committee feel of the importance of sound religious instruction to remove the evils which ages of slavery have deeply imprinted on the native character, have caused them to respond readily to the appeals made to them.' It would be tedious to refer to these communications in detail, but a few extracts from the one forwarded by the Rev. Walter Dendy, of Salter's Hill, Jamaica, will be read with interest The schools under Mr. Dendy's care at Salter's Hill and Maldon, contain 501 scholars. These schools meet in the morning, and in addition "several Sunday evening schools are in operation in different parts of the district, as the scholars cannot be assembled a second time in their school.rooms at Salter's Hill and Maldon, the distance being too great. We have 13 of these schools in connection. During the past year 8 teachers have made a public profession of attachment to the Saviour, and 5 of the scholars. Several of the scholars have become inquirers. I have found the back numbers of the "Bible Class Magazine" very useful, not only as furnishing valuable reading to the Sunday scholars, but several were given to the more advanced day scholars, who committed to memory the poetical pieces for recitation at the examination of the day schools. The back numbers of the “Scripture Notes," also given by your valuable Union, are used in the Sunday schools at Salter's Hill and Maldon; also at the church members' meeting, held once a month for instruction and prayer; by a large class of inquirers at Salter's Hill, and by a similar class at Maldon, Previous to public service on Sunday mornings, both at Salter's Hill and Maldon, after the school closes, many of the scholars assemble in the chapel in front of the platform, and repeat the appointed portion of scripture, as arranged by the Committee of the Sunday School Union. This plan has been adopted by me for some years ; it has the effect of interesting the congregation in the Sunday school, as well as inducing the scholars to commit the passages more correctly to memory

than they probably would. While the scholars are being questioned, the congregation at the same time are also receiving instruction.”

The Committee have maintained a friendly intercourse with their fellowlaborers in the United States of America. They, have received a report of the proceedings at a convention of the ministers and teachers of Sunday schools in the State of Connecticut, held at Newhaven, on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd days of June last. It affords a strong evidence of the value which our American brethren set upon these institutions, that the teachers with their pastors should be willing to travel considerable distances, and to spend three whole days in receiving intelligence as to the progress of the schools during the year, and in discussing questions connected with their extension and improvement. It appeared that the Governor of the State attended, and took a part in the proceedings of the convention, and addressed one of the assemblages of scholars at Newhaven, that were held in connection with it. So much important information was laid before the convention, that the Committee thought it would be pleasant and profitable to English teachers to be made acquainted with some of the details, and in the first four numbers of the “ Union Magazine " for the present year, articles will be found groping together the principal facts communicated to the convention. It is, therefore, innecessary to repeat them here ; but the general result should be stated that the 566 schools, from which reports had been received, contained 59,019 scholars, of whom 11,202, or 1 in 64, were over 18 years of age; and 5,182, or 1 in 12, had been converted to Christ during the year. Such a statement will excite feelings of gratitude that God should have so blessed the labours of their teachers, and will lead to more earnest prayer that the Holy Spirit may be poured out in equal abun. dance on our schools in England ; that so America and Britain may, in this respect, rejoice together.

On the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th February last, a national convention of Sunday school teachers was held at Philadelphia, of which a former Governor of the State of Pennsylvania was elected President, and at which much information was communicated, many stirring appeals addressed to the teachers, and some important resolutions adopted relative to the future prosecution of the work.

The secretary of the New York Sunday School Union, in acknowledging the receipt of specimens of the recent publications, says: -“ Unless you knew precisely our exigencies, it would be difficult to comprehend how completely adapted all those various articles were to just meet our present wants. The large book, the “ Union Magazine,” is a fountain of knowledge. I read it over and over again with renewed gratification."

The missionary operations of the American Sunday School Union are still carried on with great energy. Their missionaries have been successful in organizing during the last year 1,200 new Sunday schools in as many different neighbourhoods previously destitute.

A Sunday school convention has also been held at Guelph, in Upper Canada, for the counties of Wellington, Waterloo, and Grey, and which resulted in the formation of the Wellington and Waterloo Sunday School Union. · Amongst the resolutions adopted at the convention, was the

« PreviousContinue »