Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

three or four months. A favourable estimate of the value of these institutions will be drawn from the fact, that of teachers and scholars, about 100 have given evidence of a change of heart, and been united to the Christian church since they entered the schools.

The Trustees will here present a few short extracts from the record books, that they deem interesting :

“One scholar, about 50 years of age, said he would give one thousand dollars, if he could learn to read.” This scholar, who was admitted in Jan. 1818, still continues a regular attendant, and is now able to read. It is a duty enjoined on the scholars, to inform the superintendents when they are taken sick, and they, or one of the teachers, immediately visit them.

“M-S was taken sick and visited. On being asked if he was prepared to die, he replied, 'I am a very great sinner, and fearful of going to hell, and I do not know where to apply for relief.' He was directed to Jesus Christ, the Friend of sinners.

“ The following Sunday he was visited again, and when asked how he felt, said, I am a wretched man; I have been trying to pray.' His convictions became stronger, and the Saviour was pleased to manifest himself to this poor man; and he was brought, it is confidently hoped, to be a true disciple.”.

"

JS- has become a follower of Christ since he joined the school: he was very thankful for the instruction he had received. The condescending love of the Saviour, and the inte. rest he trusted he had in his precious atonement, and his desire to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, were the constant themes of his conversation. He died in full faith of a glorious resurrection."

“I visited NC-, and found him very low: he is about 70 years of age. When he entered the school he could not spell, but can now read fluently in the Bible. He praises God that he had ever been permitted to attend a Sunday School. It would do your hearts good," says the visiter, "10 hear this old saint speak of his religious experience."

" A Bible was presented to L Hon his leaving the school for a voyage to Lisbon. During the passage, he read the Bible through, and commenced it again. He frequently read to the officers and seamen; and, on his return, gave the Bible to a shipmate."

"

RP on leaving the school to go to sea, said, “'Tis very grievous for me to leave it I hope you will remember me in your prayers. I have learned to read the Bible since I came to school, and it shall be my pilot and my treasure, while tossing on the great sea. He was very much affected, and with copious tears expressed his sorrow at parting."

Several of the pupils in No, 34, went with the colony to Afri

The Trustees will here transcribe a letter addressed by one of these, to his teacher. (See C. H. Vol. VII. p. 127.)

Some of the scholars in this school, when absent from home, have attended Sunday schools in foreign ports.

On the recommendation of the teachers, the scholars have held prayer meetings at their own houses. The Trustees have no doubt these meetings, if properly conducted, will be the means of promoting the spiritual interest of a great many of our coloured people, especially if they should become general.

We hope that it will not be thought improper, to present the following extract of a letter, addressed to one of our teachers, when our obligations to do all in our power for the moral improvement of the blacks is considered.

Dated at Alexandria, Dis. Columbia. “Dear Sir-Knowing that you will (as well as all Christians) sympathize with me for that much neglected part of God's creatures called negroes, induces me to write you this, to acquaint you that a few of us have commenced a Sunday school exclusively for their benefit. Our first attempt was three sabbaths back, when we had but twelve ; the second sabbath we had one hundred and fifty, and on the third two hundred; and will no doubt continue to increase. The opposition here being so great to our undertaking, that I should despair of success, was I not certain that the hand of God is able to support us.”

Some of the scholars have deposited in the “Bank for Savings"? from 25 to 125 dollars.

One scholar, residing at the distance of eight miles, has been a regular attendant at school, and many scholars have manifested their attachment to the schools, by coming without waiting for their ordinary meals.

“On conversing with one of our pupils,” says the Superintendent of school No. 6, “on the privileges she enjoyed as a Sunday scholar, she replied, 'I do think it a privilege now, but have not thought so always. I never knew any thing of a Saviour, (as our minister told us on New-Year's day,) until I learned it here. The same child, on hearing one of her classmates say, she had not learnt her lesson, replied, “your teacher wishes you to learn for your own good—it is not for her you are to learn.''

The following extract is from the same book :

“With feelings of much pleasure, we notice a circumstance which illustrates the attention paid to the study of the Scriptures in our school. A child was found guilty of swearing; and immediately on the Superintendent asking whether some scholar present would not prove to her from Scripture, the sinfulness of swearing, several of them repeated very appropriate sentences from the Bible: this scholar melted into tears, and on being asked the reason, she said, “Because I am so wicked.""

Notwithstanding there are many more interesting and animat

this report:

ness."

ing facts recorded on the journals of these schools, we must pass them over, as further extracts would surpass

the

proper limits of The principle laid down by the Parent Societies is, “ that the word of God constitutes the foundation on which the whole system is constructed.” In perfect accordance with this position, the teachers in these schools have laboured to impart a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, as the essential means, with God's blessing, to improve their hearts and lives, and bring them to an acquaintance with their own characters as sinners, and teach them to feel their need of a Saviour.

More than five hundred thousand verses of Scripture have been committed to memory by the pupils in these schools, besides catechisms, hymns, and their ordinary lessons. The amount of Scripture recited by some, is truly astonishing: one scholar repeated the whole of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, in four lessons.

A still more important part of the plan is, giving out questions relative to Christian duties, to be answered by the pupils from the Scriptures. This exercise familiarizes them with the contents of the Bible, and will fix many particular passages in their remembrance, which will be "profitable” in after life, “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteous

Several of the boys who entered the school five years ago, are still found in them as pupils, or assistant teachers ; several have been able to procure good places as apprentices in various trades. Of the boys who formed a class of seven, at an early stage of the schools, one is in the country with his father, a promising lad; one is in a grocery store, with a liberal compensation ; one is an apprentice to a tinman; one to a saddler; and one to a brass founder: one a clerk in a hardware store, and the seventh a member of Trinity Church Charity School.

In walking along our wharves and slips, we not unfrequently see our older scholars, during their hours of leisure, attentively perusing their books.

It is with pain we record the fact that four of the pupils (two coloured men and two coloured boys) have been convicted of theft; these are, however, the only instances recorded of any scholars in the five schools having been convicted of crime.

At the commencement of the first school, the teachers held a weekly prayer meeting, which in the course of a year and a half became a more general meeting, in which the congregation unite every Friday evening. This meeting is attended by our pastor, who usually delivers a lecture. Since this change took place in the character of the first prayer meeting for teachers, they have organized another, which is still continued. We have abundant VOL. VIT.

4 Z

reason to hope that from these meetings much good has been derived, to both teachers and learners.

In one year after the opening of the first school, the corporation of the church, convinced that this institution would become a powerful auxiliary to the church of Christ, came forward with a promptitude and liberality of no ordinary character, and at a large expense erected a building for the accommodation of these schools. They have also granted annually a free supply of fuel. In this building three of the schools are taught, viz. white boys, girls, and coloured women; the other two schools are held in the Řose-street Academy, which, by the kindness of the consistory of the Dutch Reformed Church, we have had the present year free of expense.

In January, 1818, the teachers were of opinion that more sta. bility might be given to their exertions, by uniting the male and female schools in a mutual participation of all the benefits resulting from an interchange of experience, and that by this means they would cement more closely the bond of Christian love and affection, which unites those seeking the same great object. It was also deemed necessary to establish a fund to supply various demands of the several schools, independent of the parent insti. tutions; hence the “Teachers' Union of St. George's Church” was formed. The formation of this sub union, it is hoped, will draw still closer the cords which bound us together in our first essay in the Sunday school cause.

The business of the Teachers' Union is conducted by a Board of Trustees, consisting of delegates from each of the five school Committees : they have the management of the funds, and conduct the concerns of the library.

As the propriety of our holding a separate fund from the parent societies has been questioned, under the apprehension that it might tend to unhappy consequences, we shall here express what we believe to be the unanimous opinion of the teachers that they ever have, and still do, disclaim the most distant idea of a separation from those excellent institutions which fostered their early efforts, and aided them in rescuing the ignorant and wretched from the grasp of impending ruin, which threatened the safety of our civil and religious institutions.

How far the congregation have discharged their duty in contributing to the general union societies, does not become us to inquire, but we have no doubt they have released us from the obligation to pay to the parent societies any part of the funds received into our treasury, so long as we have need of them. Whatever opinions have been felt or expressed on this head, the liberality of the congregation has never been questioned, when called upon to supply our pecuniary wants.

The establishment of a library, for the use of the teachers and

scholars, early engaged the attention of this Union. There are now four hundred and fifty select volumes on the shelves of the library, contributed principally by members of the congregation. The entire success of this undertaking, and the general favourable opinion which now happily prevails, renders it unnecessary to repeat those arguments in its support which the Trustees have offered on a former occasion.

There are nearly 200 loan accounts opened with teachers and scholars, (principally with the latter) and we have the testimony of the librarian, that the books are read with attention and profit.

Since the organization of the Teachers' Union, there have been two collections taken up in the church, amounting to $330; $190 have been received from donations, and the annual subscriptions of the teachers, making a total of $520. Of this sum, $241 have been paid out for rents, class-books, and other contingent expenses of the schools. Many of these bills were such as are or. dinarily paid by the parent societies. Seventy dollars were paid for the book case in the Lecture Room. The centre part only of the original design is completed; $72 were paid for printing a second edition of 2000 copies of Dr. Milnor's address to the schools, delivered at the opening of the new school rooms in 1817 ; $28 were paid for printing an address delivered before the Birmingham Sunday Schools, by the Rev. Mr. James. These addresses have been distributed gratuitously in this city, and whenever a proper opportunity offered for sending them abroad.

The amount expended in purchasing and repairing books, is $75, which leaves a balance in the treasury of $56. To this sum máy be added, upwards of $100 expended by the teachers, before the formation of the Teachers' Union.

Our beloved pastor, not satisfied with aiding our humble efforts by his ardent prayers, by the word of exhortation, by his counsel and advice, by the gratuitous distribution of books and tracts among the scholars, by his personal attendance in the several schools, has erected, at his own expense, two large and convenient galleries in the church, for the accommodation of our pupils. °If this were the proper place to express those acknowledgments for his zealand perseverance in promoting the objects of this institution, to which we are bound by every consideration, our fonly ings would be most easily read in the countenance of this assen

To the Officers, Managers, and Visiting Committees ni parent societies, we feel under obligations for their frie; sistance and parental care, and humbly trust our continu tions in the same work, will ensure their further patroti support. “We are all members of one body, and nons I have no need of thee."

The Bible is the foundation on which we build, an' structure will not be complete in all its parts, until ev man, and woman, and child, in our city, can read apk the motto on its base, “ HOLINESS TO THE LORD."

« AnteriorContinuar »