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RIDGESHIRE SUNDAY School Union, IT is with unfeigned pleasure we announce to our readers the establishment of a Sunday School Union in the town and county of Cambridge. It appears from accounts we have received, that some of the teachers of those schools having been deeply impressed with the importance of Unions, from reading this Magazine, have felt a desire to have one formed. They therefore called a meeting of the managers of the different schools in the immediate vicinity, and consulted upon the best mode of carrying their views into effect. Several subsequent meetings having been held, and a circular address printed and circulated, a public meeting was called on Tuesday the 14th of May last. On that day a very numerous and highly respectable meeting of the teachers and friends of Sunday schools was beld in the Independent cbapel, Downing.street, Cambridge. The interest excited was great, and numbers flocked from all parts of the county. The business commenced by the Rev. Mr. Miles, of foulmire, reading part of the 78th Psalm, and prayer; after which, John Audley, Esq. was called to the chair, and in a very impressive speech stated the object of the meeting, and dwelt on the good that was likely to result from the establishment of so desirable an institution. The blessed results arising from Sunday school instruction, and the advantages to be expected from the combined efforts of those engaged, was admirably pourtrayed in the excellent addresses of the Rev. Messrs. Harris and Edmonds, of Cambridge: Mole, of Barnwell; Dobson, of Chishill; Miles, of Foulmire; Hopkins, of Linton; Bull, of Bassingbourn; Golding, of Eversden, &c. &c. in moving and seconding the various resolutions, and the meeting separated highly gratified with the proceedings of the day.
Fourteen schools have already joined, in which are nearly or quite 1000 children *.
DERBY SENDAY SCHOOL UNION. TO the christian who surveys the world with a mind enlightened by the discoveries of the divine word, is presented a wide and dreary field of darkness and distress. This painful view, while it demands our pity, calls also for our best exertions to lessen the immense mass of human misery. True benevolence, which divine grace always infuses into the heart that enjoys its influence, has given birth to many institutions calculated to promote this great design. And among the most efficient of those institutions formed to spread divine knowledge in our native land, are Sunday Schools. These, even in their present state, have through the divine blessing, been productive of incalculable good. Nor are they yet perfect; for as progressive improvement is characteristic of the most important human inventions, so it has been with the system of Sunday School education. To increase the extent of the operation of this system, and to insure more of its advantages, the friends of the rising generation have formed Sunday School Unions in a variety of places; one of the earliest of these exists in a neighbouring county town, where a considerable number of schools are united, and have, it is believed derived much advantage from that connexion.
* We should be obliged to the Secretaries for more particular information.
Sevei al friends of Sunday Schools have for some time entertained a wish to see a similar institution formed in Derby; and thougla when the subject was first started, some difficulties appeared, yet a meeting was called which led to the formation of a Sunday School Union in Derby the 17th May 1816. The resolutions which passed at that meeting were as follow:
lot, The objects of the Union shall be, to promote the increase of Sunday Schools by introducing them into those places where there are none, and of increasing their number where they are not proportioned to the population of the place.
2nd, To suggest improved methods of instructing and governing the children.
3rd, To increase each other's zeal, and direct it to proper objects.
4th, To assist each other, and further the work by mutual prayer.
5th, There shall be two general meetings of this Union in the year: the first, or annual meeting, to be held on Easter Monday, when a sermon shall be preached, and a collection made to defray the expences of the Union; the second on the Tuesday in the week when the Derby Races are held, when a sermon shall be preached, but no collection made.
6th, The managers of Sunday Schools in connexion with this Union, shall furnish the committee with a statement of the number of children in their respective schools, and of the Teachers actually engaged; the same to be reported to the general meeting
7th, At each general meeting the members shall communicate to the Union any improved methods of governing Sunday Schools or imparting instruction, especially religious instruction.
8th, The teachers of the Sunday Schools shall be requested to communicate in writing to the secretary, at least seven days before each general meeting, a report of the state of the schools, to gether with any remarkable instance of success in instruction, especially religious instruction; the same shall be communicated to the general meeting if the committee shall think proper.
At the same time a committee was appointed to carry into execution the views and resolutions of this society.
The present state of the Derby Sunday School Union.
Girls Male Female Independents, Derby
91 143 18 15 Ditto, Findern....
4 Ditto, Alraston
0 General Baptists, Derby
4 Particular Baptists, Ditto..
36 43 12 9 Indepeudents, Ashburn.
56 54 15
REPORT of the COMMITTEE of the SOCIETY for the Support
and Encouragement of SUNDAY SCHOOLs throughout the British Dominions. THE circumstances under which the Society assembles, at this its thirtieth anniversary, demands some explanation: it having proceeded hitherto, without that general observation which more modern societies have thought proper to excite by regular anniversary sermons and public meetings,-the general meetings of the society having heretofore been confined to its own members.
Among the objects, therefore, which have particularly engaged the attention of your Committee, there were none which appeared to them of greater moment, than to make the institution of this society more extensively known; in the confidence that the simplicity, purity, and importance of its designs would entitle it to general approbation and support; and that its means of becoming still more beneficial, would then be proportionably increased.
Without asserting its claims to preference above any existing institution, the Sunday School Society may yet be allowed to challenge the praise of having not a little contributed to the prosperity and usefulness of many :--It was the pioneer which cleared the way when it was obstructed by ignorance and prejudice; and many societies have profited by that effect of its exertions, which prepared the public mind for giving them a welcome reception.
Your committee, therefore, before they report their proceedings during the last year, beg leave to give to this numerous and respectable assembly, a short outline of the constitution of this society.
It was instituted in 1785, by a very respectable body of benevolent men, who considered it the most likely means to effect a reformation of manners among the lower orders of the people, by instilling into the youthful mind the first rudiments of useful knowledge, and the important principles of religion and morality.
In forming the plan of the society, the most liberal and catholic principles were adopted in hopes that christians of all denominations would be induced to unite in carrying it into execution with greater energy Schools connected with the church of England, and with the different denominations of dissenters, are equally objects of the society's notice and relief, provided such schools be under the superintendence of some responsible person.
In order that this fundamental principle may not be infringed, the committee is composed of an equal proportion of meinbers of the established church and dissenters; and no books are issued by them for the schools under their patronage, but spelling books and testaments; and those gratuitously.
These regulations secure the society against any possible imputation of forming a particular interest, and enable it to advance the common cause of Christianity, by furnishing to the children of each denomination the means of acquiring religious knowledge.
After this brief exposition of this invaluable institution, your Committee enter with pleasure upon the duty of reporting to its Friends the proceedings which have taken place since the last general meeting.
By a faithful attention to the numerous applications for as. sistance, in the formation and establishment of Sunday Schools within the last year, your committee have added 279 to the society's list.
Besides which, 42 other schools formerly established by this society, have received repeated assistance within the same time, for which, and the 279 new schools before stated, the committee have distributed 23,821 spelling books, and 3,558 testaments.The total mumber of books given at the society's expence since the commencement of the institution, is 436,297 spelling books, 87,092 testaments, and 8177 bibles, to 4,791 schools, containing upwards of 400,000 scholars. And from the commencement till about the 24th year of the institution, your eommittee were under the necessity of paying small sums for the hire of teachers in many of the sehools under their patronage to the amount of £4179:8:5, as, during that period, they could not be otherwise obtained; but, through the blessing of God, in the towns and villages where these schools have been planted, the happy effects produced by them in the conduct both of children and parents, are so manifest, that individuals now generally volunteer their services as teachers without fee or reward, and with much more effect than by those who were hired, so that for the last six or seven years, your com. mittee have not had a single application for pecuniary aid ; yet, notwithstanding this favourable circumstance, such has been the rapid increase of Sunday Schools, and consequently the demand for books, that the expences of the society have continued to advance from year to year.
Your committee however, cannot suffer their zeal in promoting its operations to be restrained by any apprehension of the paucity of its contributors or the insufficiency of its funds; they have acted on a presumption which they continue to cherish, that the same Providence which points to the extension of the society's
employment, will furnish the means for carrying it into effect; and that the institution will be supported with a liberality proportioned to the degree in which its services are employed for disseminating christian instruction, and thereby promoting the best interests of mankind.
Previous to the establishment of Sunday Schools, the children of the poor were, it is well known, generally brought up in the grossest ignorance, and paid little or no attention to the christian sabbath. The change produced by this institution in the habits of the children, and the general improvement in their appearance is now so obvious, that the most superficial observer cannot fail to remark it, and is abundantly confirmed by numerous testimonies received from time to time by your committee.
If there be one object with which hardly any other can be placed in competition, it is Education; not that which is ornamental, but that which serves to supply principle, to induce active industry, to promote the love of God and of our neighbour, and to prepare us for our duty in our allotted station of life.
This society provides so effectually for educating those whose time is taken up in the days of labour by the calls of their necessary occupations, and also for recovering them from vagrancy, disorder, and irreligion on the sabbath day, and training them ap to a due observance of that holy appointment, that it must ever be regarded as an institution connected most nearly and vitally with the vigour, the improvement, and the stability of the country.
At present, the demands for its aid exceed any thing which has yet been experienced. Its operations are going forward to a great part of the British dominions; and there is reason to believe that, if suitably supported, it will penetrate into those parts which remain unenlightened, and supply the poor generally with the means of understanding and appreciating those Scriptures, which, through the blessing of God, may make them wise uuto "salvation. Letter from a Gentleman at New York, to the SECRETARY of the SUNDAY School Union.
New York, 25th June, 1816. Dear Sir, YOUR acceptable letter, by Mr. D. gave me great pleasure. I am happy to find you so zealously engaged in so good a work 'as Sunday schools.
The institutions formed for their promotion and support, will, I trust, be of eminent service to the moral and religious interests of mankind. The same gracious God who raised them up by his providence, will crown them by his blessing. Missionary, Bible, Tract and Sunday School Societies, will render mutual services to each other, and united service to the cause of the Redeemer, and the good of souls.
Oh to live more in his spirit, and to walk more in' his steps. How immense are the blessings, how abounding the privileges he bas procured for our sinful race !