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for a longer period, and the plans adopted in connection with the libra ries was decidedly more effective. Their week evening classes meet oftener, and are better attended, and in many places it has become quite the fashion to attend the Sunday-school, while in the metropolis it is quite the contrary. Then, as to branch schools, large churches in the country have two or three such in connection with them, and they are worked most efficiently; but in London they were more isolated. Cer tainly in town there were more difficulties to contend with, but because of this are we to have less zeal? On the contrary, the obstacles ve meet should tend to sharpen our powers, and lead us to bring every ex ertion to bear with the greatest energy. He was sure that the Com mittee of the Union were for an onward movement, and it was only for that meeting to say how they should move, and there were men at the helm fully prepared to come forward and carry out their views to the utmost. The Committee believed that many of their fellow-teachers were pursuing their work with zeal, and intelligence, and activity:
The CHAIRMAN then called upon the delegates from the various auxiliaries to read their reports of the state of schools in their respective localities.
Mr. W. S. GOVER presented the report of the South London Auxiliary. It stated the number of schools to be 107, containing 2,170 teachers, and 21,177 scholars, with an average attendance of 14,342. The following summary of facts was also contained in the statement read: One-third of the schools are nearly full-in some few instances they are not half full. Canvassing for scholars has been pretty generally adopted. There were numerous complaints of the great paucity of teachers. The method of instruction pursued is chiefly on the collective system. The publications of the Union are much in use, and most of the schools have libraries-but some have none. The schools generally report that the interest of their libraries is well kept up. Absentee children are said to be regularly visited. Very few have meetings for the improvement of the teachers. The proportion of teachers who were formerly scholars is very large-probably more than half-and from half to two-thirds are reported as church members. A great variety of reasons are assigned for the short attendance of children at the morning school. Numbers of children in the immediate neighbourhood of some of the schools are totally uninstructed. To the short supply of teachers this and other evils are attributed.
Mr. GAUDELIER, from the East Auxiliary, presented by far the most complete report of the evening, evincing a great amount of research and pains-taking. This Union is divided into thirteen districts; three of which, from their extent, are called branches. The number of schools is 97, containing 2,011 teachers, and 19,627 scholars. The number of reported Church schools (not included) is 21, with 480 teachers, and 5,000 children; but as this does not embrace all the schools in the Establishment, it is difficult to obtain the exact proportion of scholars in all the districts, to the inhabitants. The number of persons under twenty years of age in four districts, is 186,677, being 86,667 more than the number of children in the schools of the four London auxiliaries. The condition of the schools, from some of the reports, show the following facts. There is a great want of teachers, many now engaged are very
young; a want of visitation; school accommodation required; some schools very feebly conducted, some expiring for want of agency. The proportion of Church members (judging from 48 schools, containing 1,128 teachers, of whom 802 are in fellowship, 589 having formerly been scholars) would appear thus-that out of 2,000 teachers, 1,600 are Church members, and 1778 were formerly scholars. The prominent wants are-male teachers, and a system for keeping the elder scholars. The general grounds of hope are the proportion of Church members, auguring stability of character; number of teachers once scholars, therefore they know their work; and the persuasion that when the Church is made acquainted with the position of our Sabbath Schools, she will arise to a just appreciation of her duty to home as well as to foreign missions.
Mr. WILLIAMS from the West Auxiliary stated there were in connexion with that union 114 schools, containing 2216 teachers, and 28,086 scholars, with an average attendance of 13,131. Number of subscribing schools, 69, with 1594 teachers, and 15,490 scholars; average attendance, 8566;-non-subscribing schools from which reports received, (not including Church schools) is 45, with 172 teachers, and 6596 children; average attendance, 465. In the Hammersmith and West Drayton branches, there are 14 schools, containing 2640 children, and the average attendance is 2016. There are 54 country schools in the Union, with 510 teachers, 5432 scholars; average attendance, 4040; making a total of 196 schools, 3022 teachers, and 29,928 scholars; average attendance, 19,691. From the visitors the following facts elicited-state of schools low-want of zeal on the part of teachersaverage attendance of scholars proportionably small-some schools have libraries, but most of them in an unsatisfactory state, the books not being suitable-the complaints of the manner in which the books are distributed. In the north-east districts, the schools pretty well attended; several scholars have been received into church fellowship. Some schools have week evening classes for the study of the lessons, and the district prayer-meetings are well kept up. The lessons of the Union are found in one-half of the schools; in one one-fourth of the schools, the teachers, instead of studying the lessons at home, take the notes to their classes, and have them in their Bibles to refer to and ask questions from: this had a bad effect, as the children think they get everything second hand.
Mr. HOLMES reported from the North Auxiliary, and spoke of progress. Comparing the thirtieth with the thirty-third report of that Union, it appeared as follows:
the present average attendance is 21,817, a number nearly equal to the total number of scholars in thirtieth report. Three schools have been recently opened. Besides these schools there were thirty-seven schools, two years ago, employing paid agents. Of these there are no returns. Out of 1848 teachers, 1424 were church members, and in 77 out of 79
schools, containing 17,367 children, 123 were added to the church during the past year. Two branches have been added to this auxiliary, t one at Enfield, and the other at Tottenham. In 57 schools where provision was made for 14,897 scholars, the attendance was but 8957. Two teachers' classes have been recently formed.
Mr. CHILD, from the North Auxiliary, concurred with a remark M made by Mr. Holmes as to one great cause of depression, viz., the want of teachers who were Church members. The most efficient Auxiliary was that in which the greatest number of members was found. He believed that the fault of there being so many children not brought under religious teaching rested not wholly with teachers, but with the Church in general-upon them rests the duty of doing more than hitherto. He thought it was the duty of the Church, and not of teachers, to canvass for scholars, to bring forward the raw material upon which the teacher may lay his hand. Now, we want something to go home with to our Churches, to our pastors, deacons, and elder members-our wise men, our grey-headed men-to tell them that something more must be done; that they must no longer look down upon Sunday-schools as things to be patronized; they must bring their wisdom and experience to bear upon the work. As to the intellectual condition of teachers, he would say, let us have the highest intellects which our churches cana present in our schools, and let our teachers labour with all their might to acquire intellectual qualification; but something more and better is wanted than mere intellect, there must be high moral and spiritual competency, and therefore his heart was set to see the Sunday-school Union recommend to all the schools in the kingdom to have no teachers M but such as are Church members. He called upon the meeting to consider whether inattention to this subject was not the cause of the present low and unsatisfactory condition of the work. Much had been done, but much more might be effected if full justice were done to this principle. Why should a lower standard be asked for a Sabbath-school, teacher than for a preacher? We should never place a man in the pulpit who had not taken upon him Christ's yoke, and he would ask the friends, therefore, to consider whether the time had not arrived when they should take a higher position, and admit no teacher into their schools who was not openly pledged to Christ's service? In conclusion, he observed that he feared they were too content to take their children from the lowest classes of the population. This was not right, nor should they rest satisfied till they had the children of the whole congregation. He would by no means desire to see the duty of parents to educate their children dispensed with; but if this plan were adopted, all would be benefited, and the character of the schools would be raised.
MR. PARKINS, from the East Auxiliary, said the question for con sideration had a two-fold aspect, first, how to get, and secondly, how to retain the children in our schools. He particularly urged the import ance of endeavours to interest the parents on their children's behalf, as highly calculated to advance the success of the second and most important point. The inefficiency of teachers was a matter of serious concern; they had not kept pace with the times. There was a manifest want of piety, zeal, and perseverance amongst them; and a want acknowledgment of the great importance and solemn responsibility of
the work in which they are engaged. There was a lack of earnestness about them, ill becoming those who are engaged in the noble undertaking of training the young for usefulness in this world, and for glory and immortality in that which is to come. Truth is presented with too much apathy.
MR. TUDOR, of the West Auxiliary, thought, that the principle of the Union, without which nothing could be effectually done, had not been sufficiently recognized. Individuals were in some cases called to take the superintendence of schools who knew nothing whatever of the operations of the Union. One great want of our schools he believed to be, a system of constant and regular visitation. He thought too, that more frequent Conferences would be highly beneficial; they brought out many questions of importance, which, if taken up and discussed, could not fail to be very serviceable. We do not want so much new matter as a revival of old things.
MR. JOHNSON, of the North Auxiliary, in a very valuable speech, dwelt at some length on the importance of personal piety in the teachers. Their duty was to communicate religious knowledge, to teach the truth doctrinally and experimentally. This called for decision of character, without which the teacher presented a most inconsistent example to his charge. Prayer was necessary to the success of their labours, how important then, nay, how absolutely essential that the teacher should "have power with God." He was persuaded that he who had most power with God, would have most power with the representatives of God in man, the conscience, and the heart.
Mr. OAKEY, of the West London Auxiliary, said he felt somewhat ashamed of his Union. He then adduced several facts in addition to those mentioned by Mr. Williams, to show that the Churches had not risen to a just appreciation of the Sabbath School as an instrumentality from God, and an integral part of the Church. Money was given for missions to the neglect of the Sabbath School. After speaking to the importance of visitation, he suggested that at the close of the Conference, similar meetings should be held for humiliation and prayer, and a deputation from the parent Committee should visit the Churches to explain and enforce the principles of the Sabbath School system.
Mr. ALTHANS moved, and Mr. GROSER seconded a resolution, that the Conference adjourn to that day fortnight, which was agreed to.
Mr. GROSER said, the facts elicited from the reports presented, are these:-That we have much spare room in our London schools-that the average attendance of children in the morning is not more than one-third, and in the afternoon two-thirds of the whole number in the school-that the teaching is feeble in many instances, and generally that there is great room for improvement.
The CHAIRMAN said it was a matter for serious consideration, that the average attendance in the London schools was so lamentably low, and also that it was comparatively a rare thing to report the opening of a new school.
The Conference was then adjourned.
ELEVATION OF CHILDHOOD BY CHRISTIANITY.
BY THE REV. W. H. RULE.
(Concluded from page 196.)
In this review of the comparative condition of childhood, other facts await our attention, showing that a struggle took place between the Spirit of Christianity and the obduracy of multitudes whose conversion being only nominal, or little better, retained the customs of their forefathers, and the frost of pagan misanthropy, which the fervour of experimental piety alone could have melted away. The ministers of Christ in the first century, therefore, found it necessary to dehort their newly gathered flocks from the grossest practices of heathenism, and especially from infanticide! Barnabas, for example, in his catholic epistles, addresses his readers in language which would now be repelled with indignation by members of any commonly respectable society, and then proceeds to admonish them not to withdraw their hand from their sons, nor from their daughters, (by exposition or desertion,) but to teach them from childhood the fear of the Lord. The pseudo-apostolical constitutions contain similar passages, all written in the presumption that some members of the church would desert, or even destroy their children, unless rigidly forbidden. Their humane efforts were, under God, successful, and the influence of even an imperfectly developed Christianity gradually overcame this abomination, and gave a distinguishing character of humanity to the millions who had renounced idolatry.
Then the church of God became gloriously distinguished by the sanctities of domestic life; and so early as the second century the defenders of our faith could confidently exhibit this change in proof of the Divine power of the gospel. "But we," said Justin Martyr, "that we may not injure nor do wrong to any, have been taught that to expose new-born babes is wicked, **** and also, be cause if any one of the exposed infants should be found and put to death, we should be the murderers. But, to sum up the whole at once, either we marry, only for the sake of bringing up children, or we abstain from marriage altogether." An alternative, by the way, which afterwards favoured some anti-scriptural corruptions of the church of Rome, and consequent demoralization of nominally Christian countries. Tertullian denounces with vehement indignation the atrocities already mentioned, and boldly accuses the " governors" and official persecutors, men high in rank, in power, having murdered their own children, and declares that Christians sacredly cherished and guarded the lives and morals of theirs. His contemporaries did the same.
But the intelligence and piety of those days were insufficient to