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in the rejoicing when the topmost stone is placed on the building. We have confidence in its promoters. The committee of the Sundayschool Union has done much to merit public confidence, and not less have the gentlemen who act as secretaries, who have always given their services gratuitously, working early and late in promoting the objects of the society. Residing some distance from the city, and the cares of business notwithstanding, they may be found, we believe, in the offices in Paternoster-row by half-past seven two or three mornings every week (in addition to holding evening meetings), to transact the affairs of the Union. This self-sacrifice is not only praiseworthy, it is exemplary and appropriate in those who are, as it were, at the head of the Sunday-school movement; a movement so eminently characterised by voluntaryism. We have every reason, therefore, to hope that the large sum to be raised will not be squandered in mere display.
We approve of the purposes to which the new building is to be appropriated. Lecture and class rooms, library and reading rooms, may be devoted to uses eminently conducive to the improvement and training of teachers. They may be made sufficiently attractive, also, to retain under continuous instruction a large proportion of the senior scholars, who are now so soon lost sight of in the vortex of London society, and carried away by counter attractions and evil associations far beyond the influence of teachers and christian friends. The committee must take large views of their responsibilities in relation to this matter. There is little doubt that an opportunity will be given them of conferring an immense benefit on thousands of our metropolitan teachers and elder scholars, and through them of communicating a great impetus to the Sunday-school cause generally. They have already, with limited means, attempted and done much, but that much is little indeed, compared with what they may yet accomplish. The new building must be an educational institution in the highest and best sense. Facilities must be afforded Sunday-school teachers for acquiring the greatest possible amount, at the cheapest possible rate, of such knowledge as will best fit them for the most efficient exercise of their ministry.' Ministers of the Established sect in London, are giving, gratuitously, a portion of their time to the instruction of young Churchmen in a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. They also hold classes for biblical and secular instruction of other kinds, calculated to aid in the study of the Scriptures. This they do at late hours on week evenings, when the young men are released from the shop and the warehouse. The Committee of the Union might seek similar co-operation from Dissenting ministers, and others qualified to impart a like benefit to the teachers and other biblical students who will crowd to the new lecture and class rooms, as soon as the opportunity is afforded them. We hope, too, to see the new building become a centre of free, but hallowed thought and consecrated action. There will be conferences for the mutual interchange of opinion and friendly counsel, undisturbed, we trust, by the exhibition of sectarian bigotry or bitterness. The past history of the Union shows it to be, as Mr. W. H. Watson, one of the secretaries, has felicitously termed it, a living practical evangelical alliance.' An association of Christian men of various creeds—not for the purpose of saying to the world • we love one another,' but for the purpose of doing together a great practical work, and proving by the unbroken harmony with which it is carried on for many years, that being engaged in their Master's business, they do love one another, and are content to leave it to others to quarrel over the dry bones of controversy. We cannot doubt that such men will be ready at all times to adopt and recommend any plan for promoting the speedier and better progress of the great cause, which, after full explanation and fair discussion, shall commend itself to their judgment. We trust that they will reject no suggestions' merely because they are new, nor from any slavish dread of innovation. If the idea which originated the Union be their guide, their course must be one of progress. It was illustrated in the following manner, by Mr. W. B. Gurney, the president and founder of the society, when addressing the meeting recently held at Surrey Chapel — In communications which I had with several friends, and in particular with my excellent friend, Mr. William Marriott, who was in a school at Friar's-mount, Shoreditch, and which I visited, I found that he had introduced great improvements in that school. I was astonished at the number and amount of these improvements, and I said to him, “ We ought to improve all our schools. Your school is better than ours, and you tell me there are schools better than yours; and why should not we get Sunday-school teachers together, and try to improve, if possible, our plan of instruction, and stimulate others to open new schools in London?” And that suggestion was the origin, I believe, of this Union.'
Notwithstanding the progress made since the period above referred to, the present system is confessedly deficient, and the teachers are deficient—the committee readily admits the fact, and the teachers everywhere feel it. There is, however, an incipient struggle after improvement, which augurs well for the future. The men at the centre of influence and direction may do much to encourage and guide it. When the new building is erected, they will have extended means at command. Being 'laymen' of the most practical order, they will be anxious to turn their increased advantages to the best account; and we may hope to see in a few years—if not a new—at all events, a greatly improved class of teachers. “Practical' men constitute the committee of the Union, and we would kindly warn them that there is a tendency to which they are liable, and of which we have seen indications, that may obstruct their attainment of the good we desiderate. Their very practicalness exposes them to the danger of attaching more than a just importance to the mere machinery of Sunday-school operations. This is an evil. Our whole Sunday-school system is affected by it. Thus it comes, that instead of being regarded as all-important that the teachers should possess certain high qualifications for their ministry,' without which the work cannot be successfully attempted—there is given an approved mechanism, which is to go like clock-work, and the teachers are only the weights and
springs needed to set it in motion. We look to the committee of the Union, not only to guard against encouraging this very mischievous tendency, but to use every proper means for counteracting it. spirit must be evoked. It matters comparatively little whether Sundayschools are connected with particular congregations or are entirely independent, if they do not fulfil their purpose. This they never can fulfil, if the children are allowed, as at present, to slip away from the influence of their teachers, at an age so tender as to preclude the possibility of their characters having been formed by religious principles, and when contact with the world must almost of necessity efface even their religious impressions. Young people after a certain age, are not likely to be retained long under Sunday-school influence, unless the aim of teachers generally be of a higher and more enlarged order than it has ever yet been, and for this they must, as a body, have higher qualifications than they now possess. To aid in furnishing the necessary qualifications, and in calling forth those who possess them, is the work of the future which lies before the committee of the Sundayschool Union. There is something in the past to show that with such objects yet in view, they may confidently appeal for help to carry out their new project, and to such purposes we trust they will consecrate the Jubilee building.
Ou ' Suggestions Regarding Sunday-schools.'
To the Editor of the Monthly Christian Spectator. SIR-I have watched with the utmost interest the description in your pages of the failings and the wants of Sunday-schools. Had the question been one of smaller importance, less subject to damage from the intrusion of acrid feeling, less needing to be guarded with holy jealousy from the usual attendants of controversy, I should long since have begged your permission to mention my experience in relation to the points before your readers.
For above twelve years, I was concerned in a Sunday-school, which included nearly all the children in the country town in which I reside, and employed as teachers all the young persons in a large congregation. The organization and mechanical management of the school were held to be models of completeness, and it was generally believed to be a most successful institution.
Looking back, as I often do, upon those years of real labour, by a large number of conscientious persons, I have been constrained to feel, reluctantly but inevitably, that the labour was not wisely applied, and that the results were wholly incommensurate with it.
The • Suggestions of your correspondent exactly coincide with my own conclusions. The system in general use now does not reach the
minds of the children; the drilling is complete, but their attention is not fixed; punctuality has been secu)
cured, the Bible has been read, hymns learned, and even a sermon in the form of an · address' occasionally delivered, but the hearts of the scholars have not been affected with a loving desire to learn more, and to come nearer, the character of God's children in this world.
My position enabled me to watch closely the proceedings of teachers as well as children ; and I got to see, what the very principles of our nature imply, that for the communication of knowledge, and of the wisdom which is better than knowledge, the great element is, a special fitness in the teacher. I have seen persons conscientiously, and with prayer, striving from week to week, preparing themselves by study, adopting all the suggestions of systems and system-makers, painfully distilling the results of their labour, and yet failing signally in their effects upon the children.
I pondered these things for years ; very patiently I endeavoured to ascertain what was the element of failure in the great majority of cases; and what the secret of success in the small remainder. And at length I satisfied myself, by many approximations, that the one grert essential is a special fitness in the teacher-a certain natural quality, or assemblage of qualities, which may doubtless be aided by wellconsidered appliances-method, system, materials, &c.—but in the absence of which, all these things, like limbs without life, are utterly powerless.
It is this one point to which I have for a long time been endeavouring to direct attention, and I was proportionally pleased when I saw it so justly and prominently stated by your correspondent. It needs to be confirmed, illustrated, and taken to the careful consideration of all who desire, in this direction, to improve our social and spiritual condition; and when it comes to be generally recognised, it will effect far greater changes, and a larger amount of good, than are at first sight apparent. The very rarity of the talent will compel the adoption of collective teaching. For it affords a striking instance of providential adaptation, that for one man so qualified by nature there will always be found a whole community of children needing his help; and that, in addition to the advantage of his own special gift of communicating knowledge, this mode of instruction calls into exercise the best qualities in the learners' minds.
I am, Sir,
Yours very faithfully, August 18, 1852.
Mr. Calamy in Dewgate.
To the Editor of the Monthly Christian Spectator, DEAR SIR,-At the end of an old volume, entitled, 'A compleat Collection of farewell Sermons,' by the ejected ministers,' to which is added their several prayers,' printed in the year 1663,' there occurs the following piece of quaint and Christian humour. One really loves to think that the Nonconformist divines of that day didn't mind a quiet joke over their troubles, and as the book is rare, and I have never seen the lines elsewhere, I send them you, if suitable for your pages.
I remain, dear Sir, yours truly, Royston, June 9, 1852.
W. G. BARRETT. A POEM UPON THE IMPRISONMENT OF MR. CALAMY IN
This page I send you, sir, your Newgate fate
He made the stable so, and sepulchre. * Calamy, in his account of the ministers, lecturers, masters and fellows of colleges, and schoolmasters who were ejeeted or silenced after the Restauration in 1660,' thus speaks of Dr. Robert Wild : He was a witty man, and very pleasant in conversation. His performances in poetry are well known. He was excellently qualified unto his ministerial work. None more melted and melting in prayer, nor more serious and fervent in preaching Christ. He dy'd at Oundle, ann. 1679.'