Page images

tablished, many hundreds of the children, who attended them, must have grown up to men and women :-they have families of their own. Is it not likely that amongst the hundreds who were instructed amongst us, many would be disposed to hear the word preached, and attend public worship? We see a great increase of serious hearers, we see a great increase of professors of religion, we see our places of worship too small for those who desire to attend, we see multitudes now paying some regard to the word, the day, the ministers of God, we see religion respected:-and can there be a doubt, my brethren, that under God one great cause of this is, those who once were children in those schools, now form a certain class of the inhabitants, they are disposed to hear, they and their families attend, the word is powerful, they

hear and live.

But fourthly. Whilst you are thus benefiting the place you are residing in, you are serving the church of Christ, that church he purchased with his own blood. If the prosperity of the church consists in the increase of knowledge, holiness and usefulness of its members; your present lahours, (from the considerations already advanced,) are directly calculated to promote that end; I will not, therefore, dwell upon this further than to remind you that probably when you sleep in the dust of the earth, some of those children, who have received their first principles of religious instruction from you, may rise to be ministers of Christ, be called by him to preach the everlasting Gospel, and from this humble labour luminaries may arise "to chace the gloom of hellish night," and spread amongst their fellow creatures the light of the glorious Gospel.

Fifthly. Whilst you are thus disinterestedly serving others, you are profiting yourselves. The benefits you de rive yourselves from this labour of love, are greater than may appear at first sight,-whatever increases your habits of diligence and order, your freedom from the snares which are common to persons in similar situations in life; whatever capacitates you to discharge your duty to your nearest relations must promote your own interest. Your labour in the Sunday Schools, is calculated to answer all these and greater purposes. First, it obliges you to redeem time, you cannot preserve your stations in them without diligence. Secondly, the system of the school leads you to habits of order. Thirdly, it preserves you from the temptations those are under, who find the Lord's day a day of greater misery and corruption to them than any other part of the week but with you "No moment lingers unemployed


away." Fourthly, it produces in your breasts a love to children, a disposition of the greatest importance to yourselves and your connections; as the improvement of children in useful knowledge and true piety connects with it not only the interests of society in general, but of your own posterity in particular. Fifthly, hence whilst every pious and benevolent disposition is promoted in your own breasts, whilst you are redeeming your time, and cultivating habits of diligence and order, you are preparing for the discharge of the parental duties to your own families; what you have felt and done for strangers, will surely be the case in a much higher degree for your own children. Sixthly, you have your reward in that peace which arises in your own minds. Do you not often feel whilst engaged in this labour, a degree of that peace which passeth understanding, that peace which the world cannot give, nor take away. "The souls calm sunshine and heartfelt joy." You have the testimony of a good conscience.

Lastly, you are doing good to future generations. Should you get safe to glory, and could you be permitted, at the expiration of fifty or an hundred years to visit this earth, could you see the families sprung from the children you now watch over, how many would have to say "My parents early taught me to read, to understand the Bible, to love the worship of God, to fear sin, and to seek after the salvation of my soul; I am doing this for my family, now God has given me one, I am teaching, catechising, and praying with my children, as my parents did with me, and I have often heard them say, they never would have been able to do this, (for their parents were ignorant and wicked,) had not some pious people devoted some part of the Sunday to instruct poor children in the principles of religion, and they were among them; and now the third generation is blessed with religious instruction by means of these good people, who were not paid any thing for their labour, though they instructed many hundreds as well as us." Can you tell, my dear hearers, what you would feel could you from heaven witness such scenes as these? If then you regard the welfare of the children, or of the families they belong to, or of the town at large, or of the church of Christ, if you regard your own peace and usefulness, the happiness of your posterity, or succeeding generations, do not faint in this labour of love, but "be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in it, as the work of the Lord, so shall you prove in all these respects, that your labour was not in vain in the Lord."

[merged small][ocr errors]

Sketch of a PLAN, by which a SUNDAY SCHOOL may Support itself.

Sir, THE encouraging statements given in your last number of the establishing of Sunday Schools in private houses, will no doubt lead some in small villages and in poor neighbourhoods to wish to imitate the example set them. Where Sunday Schools have hitherto been unknown, it usually happens that they meet with opposition rather than support from the opulent around, consequently the expence of the school devolves upon a few zealous individuals, and these being often in the humbler walks of life, find the sum which they are called upon to subscribe, though small, a burden which makes the work go on heavily, and not unfrequently, it is to be feared, induces the ultimate giving up of the school.

Reflecting upon these things, I have been led to sketch out a simple plan, by means of which a Sunday School may support itself. This plan is now actually adopted in two schools, and I shall be happy at a future period to lay before you its result.

You will perhaps allow me to enter into the detail of the method adopted, for, as conductors of Sunday Schools well know, it is the detail with which those who are unused to such institutions need especially to be made acquainted.

After preaching at a populous village I invited those persons to stay, who were inclined to assist in teaching a Sunday School. A considerable number of persons came forward, one of whom was appointed to receive the names of such children as might be proposed. Three hundred spelling books were then ordered from London.

Instead of Testaments, by means of a subscriber to the British and Foreign Bible Society, one dozen of the cheapest Testaments in sheets had been previously procured, and one sheet of these, when folded up and covered with stiff paper, supplied the place of the whole book, and cost only three halfpence.

When the books were thus provided, a price was set upon each, sufficient to cover the first cost, and to leave a few shillings in hand for incidental expences. The children being assembled, they were informed that such as behaved well would be allowed to bring one halfpenny per week, in exchange for which, a ticket with the words "good behavior" stamped upon it, would be given at the close of the school, but that on no account would a child that behaved


ill be allowed to have one of these tickets. That when a child had obtained a sufficient number of these tickets, the reading and spelling books used in the school would be given for those tickets; such books would then be their own, their names would be written upon them, and they might take them home and learn lessons in the course of the week, The children were all very eager to obtain these tickets, and two or three, to whom they were refused, on account of ill behaviour, were extremely mortified.

When the children have thus paid for their own books they will be furnished with Catechisms, Bibles and Teslaments by similar means, and perhaps also with a few of the most necessary articles of clothing.

I will only trespass further on your attention while I state the advantages resulting from this plan. 1st. The school is independant of the public, it supports itself, consequently Cadly. A few zealous persons may thus at any time begin a school, without fear of incurring an expence which they cannot defray. 3rdly. Children take more care of such books as are their own than of those furnished them by their teachers. 4thly. The children may learn a weekly task at home. Hence, 5thly. So much time needs not on Sunday be devoted to the mere hearing of lessons, more leisure will be afforded for the great object of Sunday Schoolsreligious instruction. 6thly. Attendance and good behaviour are insured for, when a child has deposited a few pence he will not leave the school till they have been refunded. 7thly. Habits of frugality are induced for the weekly halfpenny will often be saved, which would otherwise have been squandered in gingerbread and sugar plums. Lastly. A system of rewards efficient, yet without expence, is introduced. The actual reward is, that the children obtain books at a far lower price than they could purchase them at the shops, and besides this, the money they pay being advanced by very trifling sums at a time, neither they nor their parents miss it, and the books (or clothes) thus obtained seem to be got so easily, that if presented to them gratuitously, they would scarcely be acquired with less difficulty; it is, to use the phrase of the children's parents, like so much found money to them.

Your's, &c.

T. K.

It is here supposed that the Bibles and Testaments are obtained throug subscribers to the British and Foreign Bible Society, at the reduced prices.




IN your valuable publication, the Sunday School Repository, I find an enquiry respecting a plan, which may be best adapted for a Sunday School, intended to be built at Warrington. I should have been glad had your correspondent signified on what system the same was to be taught, whether on the old, or that commonly adopted by national schools. Having been a constant teacher of a Sunday School upwards of twelve years, I have witnessed much inconvenience from a school of similar proportion to that in view, mentioned by the enquirer twenty yards long by eight wide. A superintendent or monitor has not proper command over the children, the ends of the school being so distant, the aisles which are necessary to give access to every part of the school, take up a greater proportion than is desirable, and the forms cannot well be placed to accommodate the classes in that order which presents the teacher with the class at one view, so that the scholars are less under controul, hence disorder ensues, which prevents improvement to the children and satisfaction and comfort to the teachers.

I conceive that the best plan for the outlines of a school, on any system, is that which comes nearest to a square of equal sides, supposing the width be not greater than that by which light may be sufficiently admitted into the middle; it will accommodate a greater number of scholars in the same quantity of superficial square yards than that of a parallelogram, easy access being obtained to every part, with a less proportion for the aisles. The whole of the school becomes more under the view and command of the superintendent, and appears better adapted for the personal comfort of the teachers.

To be more particular, I will suppose a school to be taught on the old system, by a number of teachers, the scholars divided into classes, each class containing twentyfour children, and that the size of a school be required which contains an equal number of superficial yards with that of twenty yards by eight.

I recommend that the interior of the school be as follows, to have an aisle in the middle, two yards wide from end to end, and that the forms be placed on each side, parallel to the ends or width of the school, and each form thirteen feet six inches long, which will hold twelve children, and

« PreviousContinue »