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schools. And if haply he does enter, what does he behold ?-A goodly sight indeed, but one which will make his heart sink within him: from four to five hundred children, well dressed and well ordered, but whose faces, names, and habits, are equally unknown to him, and must ever remain so-nay, what is worse, to whom he must be unknown also-but through the instrumentality of the school. Now if the clergyman has time to walk through his schools (even that will be of service,) yet he must quickly depart to more pressing, yet we can hardly say more interesting or more important duties. And even if he might remain, what would his single and unaided efforts avail to communicate religious instructions to four or five hundred children, of most different ages, feelings, and capacities? He must therefore call in the assistance, nay, it is too sure and too såd that he must, in most cases, depend entirely upon the assistance, of those pious and charitable persons in his congregation who are willing to undertake this work and labour of love. And happily in these manufacturing towns his call and his dependence are not in vain. Every parish and congregation in Birmingham appears to furnish persons with that one most essential qualificationzeal for the work. Many of the male teachers are superior mechanics and shopkeepers; and motives of no ordinary kind bring them together, after a week of anxiety and fatigue, to engage, on their single day of rest, in a laborious, irksome task, with no prospect of a recompense in this world, save the testimony of an approving conscience and the luxury of doing good.
Now, taking the lowest estimate of Sunday Schools,--the prevention of idleness and crime on God's holy day,-here are nearly fifteen thousand children, at the age when restraint is most difficult, yet most necessary, and where opportunities and temptations abound of every vanity and every sin--here, I say, are fifteen thousand children, at that critical age and in those critical circumstances, prevented, by the agency of Sunday Schools, from following the evil bent of their own inclinations, or the paths of more practised wickedness. Conceive this restraint removed, and fifteen thousand or ten thousand children turned loose in the streets, to see and hear, and, alas! too quickly to practise and increase the evil that is in the world. Let it be remembered, that a very large proportion of these children, maintaining, or nearly maintaining themselves by their own labour (their earnings are from 3s. to 5s. a week), can be little restrained by paternal authority, except so far as they obey for conscience sake. And the pastoral authority must be supposed yet
weaker, where the person, or even existence of the clergyman is hardly known but through the instrumentality of the cburch and school. No person at all acquainted with the manufacturing districts would contemplate the abandonment of Sunday Schools without grief and alarm for the present effects upon the peace and security of the country; while the future consequences, from the inevitable training in idleness and vice which would ensue, would be fearful and horrible to the last degree. These considerations may be useful to persons who ask doubtingly, or scornfully-What is the use of your Sunday Schools ? What do your children learn ? We might in reply ask them to consider what they are prevented from learning-what mischiefs and crimes they are prevented from hearing and seeing, and, by the force of example, doing and delighting in. I apprehend that the benevolent desire to prevent these evils, acknowledged and increasing, first led to the formation of Sunday Schools. Another indirect benefit of the Sunday Schools in Birmingham, and I suppose in other populous towns deficient in Church accommodation and pastoral superintendence, is the effect upon the parents of the scholars. It is to be feared that many are only reminded of the Sabbath, or at least of its holy employments and purposes, by the lessons and other preparations of the children which return at this stated time. Thus a remembrance of religion is kept up; and this, it may be hoped, in many cases, will issue in further and more serious inquiry and concern-in attendance, at last, upon those services and ordinances of which their children bring a pleasant report. However this may be, the Sunday Schools, far more than any thing else, are the means of keeping up, in the poor families of large towns, the remembrance of the Sabbath and its holy use.
To be engaged in such a labour of love with singleness of purpose, cannot but of itself be a benefit and a blessing to the teachers; and that benefit is connected, in these cases, with the formation of self-denying habits, with patience, assiduity, and an improvement in religious knowledge. The male teachers have likewise, in most instances, the further advantage of meeting their clergyman, once during the week, for the purpose of receiving from him special instruction, encouragement, and admonition, which though chiefly intended for the efficient discharge of their office as teachers, may easily be made, and no doubt are made, of essential benefit to themselves, in extending their knowledge, and of enlarging their devotion and charity. Thus, a large number of young men are trained up in immediate and
personal intercourse with the clergyman ; and while his hands are strengthened and his heart comforted by their willing and zealous co-operation, he encourages them to persevere in their work of faith and labour of love. These teachers, also, generally meet together once a month (besides thus assembling with their minister,) for the purposes of mutual instruction and encouragement. Can there be a fairer exemplification of the Apostle's precept ;
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And I beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love, for their work's sake ?”
“WANDERINGS FROM THE WAY."--No. I.
ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS."
There is now a fearful error abroad, confounding the restoration of those who, after Baptism, have fallen into sin, with the new birth which first unites us to Christ. In fact, Regeneration is made to mean anything and every thing but what the Church defines it; and then, with this creature of their own imaginings before them, men deny the plain words of Scripture, and the concurrent teaching of all professing christians for fifteen hundred years, and say that there is not remission of sins in Baptism: that the Atonement is not then applied ; that we do not then put on Christ. Beware of looking for the new Birth in ecstasies and fervours. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” To tell which way the breeze is setting, whence its current comes, we must see or feel its action. In its sound it gives no indication of its course. But if it impel us in one direction and retard us in another, then we can determine something about it. If we see it filling the full sails, and carrying the ship which hoists them quickly into the desired haven, then we speak with some confidence of its whence and whither. And so Regeneration is not to be known or understood save by the holiness and devotedness of life, which indicate that the work which the Holy Spirit has begun, is being carried on, by His gracious co-operation, to perfection.
SERMONS BY THE REV. A. Watson.
THE DAILY SERVICE.
We extract the following chapter on the duty of attending the Daily Service of the Church, from an excellent and graceful work in one volume, bearing the title of "CHOLLERTON, OR A TALE OF OUR OWN TIMES;” by a lady. As its price is too high to place it within the reach of most Sunday School Teachers, we shall from time to time recur to it, and cull some of its best portions for our earnest readers. It will be necessary, however, to explain who are the characters, figuring in the chapter now before us. Mr. and Mrs. Fosdyke are the reigning powers of Fosdyke-Lodge, Arthur and Charlotte are their only children, both grown up; Miss Marsden is cousin to Arthur and Charlotte, and the Rev. Mr. Dampierre, is the New Rector of the Parish. With this introduction we will extract the chapter and leave them severally to speak for themselves.
“Prayers every morning in the church at eight o'clock," exclaimed Mrs. Fosdyke in a tone of something like horror, as she approached the luncheon-table on her return from church the following Sunday," and service on all the Church Festivals, as he called them! Well! that's declaring himself openly enough, I hope, and will put an end to all speculation about him: nobody now will ask what sort of opinions Mr. Dampierre holds. Poor Chollerton,” added she with a sigh, " it will be a sad change for Chollerton, Mr. Fosdyke !"
“I suspect," answered he, “that this style of thing will not make as much difference to Chollerton as you fear or Mr. Dampierre hopes. He will be the topic of conversation at the next half-dozen dinner parties at which he is not present; he will find his church empty and cold at his morning prayers and Saint day's services, and then they will be discontinued with less fuss even than they are begun."
"Nay, sir,” observed Arthur, “I can scarcely think a man, pressing himself as Mr. Dampierre did this morning upon the duty of offering daily prayer and of commemorating the festivals of the Church according to Her appointment, would easily be brought to neglect the practice in his own parish.”
“But Arthur,” said Charlotte, “if papa is right, as you cannot doubt, in saying that Mr. Dampierre will find himself alone in the church morning after morning, he must see there is no use in going on with it.”
“ Supposing his efforts should be so ill seconded, Lotte,” returned her brother, " I still do not think Mr. Dampierre will give it up. If it be his duty as a parish priest to read the service of the Church, it cannot cease to be so because his people neglect the duty of joining their prayers to his. But I do not believe our Rector will be placed in so painful a solitude as my father and you contemplate. In every parish where the daily service has been restored of late, some persons have been found who Lave eagerly and thankfully accepted the opportunity offered to them of publicly joining in the prayers of the Church; and doubtless so zealous a clergyman as Mr. Dampierre appears to be, will not content himself with merely enabling his parishioners to offer with one accord their daily prayers and praises to the Almighty, he will endeavour to make them feel the doing so to be no less a privilege than a duty; and with God's assistance be will doubtless succeed with some.”
“ I supposed your mother's and my observation would draw you forth as a champion for this new sect," said his father, “I never say much to you about it, as you are young and enthusiastic, and it will all rub off with a little practical acquaintance with the world; but I confess I look upon the sort of thing very differently when I find it in a man of Mr. Dampierre's age and position. Speculative imaginings do little harm to a young man of two and twenty, but when acted upon by a forty years' old rector of a parish like Chollerton it becomes worse than contemptible.”
“ The little that I have seen of Mr. Dampierre,” observed Mrs. Fosdyke, “ impressed me with the idea of his being a very sensible, rational, well-bred man, not likely to be betrayed into any eccentric absurdities.”
“Exactly so, my dear,” replied her husband ; "and his sermon this morning astonished me proportionably. If, however, he is the rational man he appears to be, he will soon perceive that this style of things does not take at Chollerton, and then he will drop it. Or if he persist in leaving his bed while it's half light to read a set of prayers in church to his wife and the clerk, instead of doing it in his own dining-room, like the rest of his profession, it will do us no harm.”
Mr. Fosdyke then decidedly turned the conversation into its more ordinary channel, and the party soon dispersed.