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of his make; and during that time, T saw him for the most part twice a day. When I visited him first after his confinement, I expressed my regret at seeing him so unwell. He said that he was certainly very ill, and that he had some doubts in his own mind, whether he would ever get better; but that he was in good hands, and desired to be resigned to whatever might be the will of God. I asked him what was the state of his mind in the view of death? and he immediately told me, with tears in his eyes, that he knew himself to be indeed a great sinner, deserving nothing from God but his anger for ever; 'but Jesus Christ,' continued he, 'died for such sinners as I am, and in him I hope.' 1 enquired what he hoped for: he answered, 'for the pardon of sin, and for my eternal salvation.' Keeping close hold of that promise, ' Him that comcth unto me I will in no wise cast out,' he added, 'Surely he will not cast me out, when I am willing to come to him.' I mentioned to him the long-suffering of God, and his unwillingness that even the greatest of sinners should perish. 'That/ he rejoined, 'is a
frecious declaration, and my soul has comfort in such truths.' asked him if he would like to get better: he replied. No, unless that God thought fit that he should yet live; that he had not much enjoyment in the world; and that he was anxious to go to a place where he would be happy. Upon my enquiring what that place was, he said, 'O, it is heaven, Sir; it is there only where we can be happy; and I can be happy only where Christ is, when I think what he has done for such a sinner as I have been.' He requested nie, on the last Sabbath of his life, the day before he died, to mention some chapters for his mother to read to him. This I did, by pointing out the fourteenth, and the three following chapters of St. John's Gospel, which his mother afterwards told me pleased him much. When I saw him on that Sabbath, his mind was in a tranquil state, and he seemed to be quietly waiting till his change should come.''
In the Report received from one of the Schools in the country, the following circumstance is narrated. "A girl, who is one of the stated scholars, has of late been apparently awakened to the importance of true piety. She had long been a stranger to serious thought, and quite indifferent about salvation. But now it is otherwise with her: when she retires to the fields to watch a cow committed to her care, her Bible is her companion in her solitude; and she has sometimes been surprised upon her knees, in the presence of Him who seeth in secret, and rewardeth openly."
The teacher of a School in this city gives the interesting ac count which follows of a young woman who lately left it, on her return to her native village in the north of England, a place not enjoying many of the means of grace. "When she came to Edinburgh, although nearly twelve years of age, she could not read, and was very ignorant Having, however, been sent to an evening School during the week, she soon was enabled to read tolerably well. She joined the Sabbath evening School under my care, and became a very diligent Scholar. During tn attendance of nearly five years, she was only three nights absent, and then from unavoidable causes. Her progress iu Te'igious knowledge was rapid, and the instructions which she received were blessed for her spiritual improvement. She betime a decidedly religions character, and has for some time keen considered as such. The family in which she resided, during the whole time of her being in Edinburgh, gives the most honourable testimony to her good conduct, and felt much regret at her departure. She was affected with a corresponding regret, and deeply lamented her leaving the spiritnal advantages, and Christian society, which she here enjoyed. Nothing, indeed, but a sense of duty, in complying with the wishes of her parents, would have induced her to do what was otherwise so repugnant to her feelings. She consoled herself with the thought, that it seemed to be the will of God that she should change her situation; and hoped that he would enable her to be useful, by reading the Scriptures and pious books to her parents and friends. She accordingly received several religious publications for that purpose, and departed, after taking an affectionate leave of her Christian acquaintances, among whom were several of the young persons attending the School. I have since had the satisfaction of being informed, that she has commenced teaching a Sabbath Evening School iu her native ullage; and I have been gratified by receiving a letter, of which the following is a copy, from a persdn much interested in her prosperity. 'It gives me great pleasure iu having it in my power to communicate to you the progress that ——-— is making iu the formation of a Sabbath Evening School in the village of . By a letter received from her a few days ago, I
track-rstaiul that, on the first evening her School was open, there were present only three Scholars, on the following evening five, and at present twelve; and that she expects, in a little time, to have a numerous school. She earnestly begs that her teacher, and her good friends in Edinburgh, will be mindful of her at the throne of grace, that God, iu his adorable providence, miiv bless her feeble endeavours in the extremely barren land where she is at present placed. One of her scholars can rer;at thirteen hymns, several psalms and passages of Scripture, congratulate you upon having taught one, who, to all appearance, bids fair to do more than reward you for all your labours in instructing her. To encourage her, I wish you would lake the trouble of writing to her upon the propriety of lier undertaking; as your doing so might tend to make her still more zealous. She begs that you will have the goodness to send her some of the catechisms that are used in your School, as she wishes to imitate your plan as nearly as circumstances will permit; and should any interesting tracts, or useful little books, be published, calculated to attract the attention of the young, she hopes that you will be mindful of her needy ^scholars."
Nor is the individual just mentioned the omy instance of scholars having become teachers. Some of the Schools are now entirely under the direction of young men, who, not many years ago, were themselves receiving instruction at other Schools of the society, but whom the committee have found well qualified for the office to which they have been appointed. Indeed the want of teachers, which two years ago was complained of, although not entirely supplied, is now less felt; and it would be a most pleasing circumstance, if the society could support itself, by cherishing in its own bosom those little ones, who, at" a future period, would arrive at .such intellectual vigour and spiritual strength, as would fit them for maintaining its usefulness, and spreading its influence, when its present supporters, having spent their little hour, shall have resigned their office, and retired into the obscurity of the tomb.
Besides the examples which have been gi\en of early religion, other cases have been laid before the committee; but these it is unnecessary to quote. ■ It ought, however, to be added, that some of the teachers having been instrumental in procuring situations as apprentices for several of the boys under their care, these individuals have, upon the whole, given their employers much satisfaction; and in different cases, indeed, a preference has been shewn by those requiring apprentices, to the youths attending the Sabbath Evening Schools.—How extensive, then, pre the blessings which may result from the society's labours! If there be but one religious youth in every School, and if his example may be sanctified for the advantage of his future family, and thus become the means of conveying the benefit of the society's exertions to a generation unborn; how great must be the sum of good, arising from the influence not of one, but of many in each School, reaching not merely to their descendants, but to their children's children, accumulating in an'incalculable ratio through successive generations to the end of time! But their influence is not confined to the families with which they may be connected; it extends more or less to all with whom they associate. They go into the world, carrying in their conduct an irresistible argument in favour of early piety; they exhibit the practical effects of the gospel; they represent Christianity embodied; they become an epistle known and read of all men; they constitute, so to speak, the society's edition of the Bible, illustrated by the universally approved comments of living faith and active holiness.
The funds have never been abundant; but, if they have sometimes failed, they have been speedily replenished by the generosity of the public. This is all that the committee can desire; and they entertain no apprehension as to the want of pecuniary means, trusting always for a seasonable supply to the goodness of Providence, to the exertions of the ministers of the eospel in publicly pleading the society's cause, and to the liberality of their fellow Christians, who can so well appreciate the claim which is made to their support. They will only state, that, in all their expenditure, the greatest economy continues to be observed. The case indeed sneaks for itself; for that religious instruction should be communicated, although only on the Sabbath evenings, to upwards of three thousand children,— .that they should be supplied with catechisms, and receive premiums,—that fuel and lights should be provided for fifty-five School-rooms, and rent paid for almost the whole of them,— at the annual expence of no more than one hundred and ninety pounds, or at the rate of about fifteen pence for each individual, are facts which constitute almosta noveltyin the history of education.
Id the conclusion of their Report, and in the review of the good which, under the blessing of God, has been done by the Society's Teachers, even in cases where perhaps it was least «pec ted, the Committee solicit permission affectionately to address each of them in the language of the sacred philosopher: "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."
a O Lord, we beseech thee send now prosperity. 'Let thy work appear uuto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children."
ACCOUNT OP TUB
ABERDEEN SABBATH EVENING SCHOOLS.
THE Aberdeen Gratis Sabbath Evening School Society, was instituted 1^1797^ for the sole purpose of instructing children in th« principles of the Christian religion.
vol. 1. 3 M
The members consist of various denominations of Christians, holding, it is hoped, the truth as it is in Jesus, though differing among themselves in non-essentials.
The Society at present contains twenty Schools, employing about forty teachers, and attended by upwards of nine hundred and fifty Scholars, whose religious education cost the society last year, about one shilling and a half-penny each. Of these Schools, thirteen are wholly supported by the society, five are rent free, and the remaining two are rent and light-free, being attached to extensive neighbouring manufactories, and supported by their proprietors. The sphere of the society's usefulness extends to about three miles round the city.
The Schools open and close with prayer and praise; or,.at least, with prayer. The Scholars recite a question from the Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism, along with the common Scripture proofs, and also, what additional proofs they themselves can furnish; the teacher illustrating and improving the whole, both as they proceed and afterwards. The very young children are sometimes taught Brown's Catechism for Young Children, or Willison's Mothers Catechism; as being more level with their tender capacities, and merely initiatory of the Assembly's Catechism. Besides this, the children, both voluntarily and by desire of the teacher, commit to memory, large portions of scripture and spiritual poetry. In many of the schools, there is (instead of the Catechism for that day) a monthly task, illustrative of some leading scripture doctrine; and, in some, the children repeat, eacli sabbath, the texts they have heard in church that day. The teacher cross-examines the children, and endeavours to make them fully understand both the question from the Catechism, and the Scriptures that have been quoted.—The Schools meet at six o'clock in the evening, and are dismissed about eight o'clock.
The Society has occasionally a Sermon preached for their funds, having all along been patronized by many respectable clergymen, particularly those in the city establishment.—Their chief difficulty lies in procuring teachers at once able and willing to undertake a task so arduous; and their chief defect seems to be in the want of a proper system for regularly visiting the Schools. Yet, blessed be God, the Schools are still in a flourishing condition, though less numerously attended than occasionally heretofore. Through the means of these Schools, it is believed, that many have been called from a state of darkless into a state of gospel light; some that once were scholars are now become teachers; and many have blessed the institu