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is no instance of a contrary effect. Thus, an old objection, urged even by some serious persons, that the schools might render parents inattentive to the religious instruction of their* children, is by undeniable facts completely repelled. Among the pupils, many are the children of parents neither jgnorant nor careless; yet even these children, for whom the Schools are not indispensably necessary, feel in them an animation which would be unjelt at home: and, enjoying many domestic advantages along with those of the seminaries, they generally excel the other pupils. Hence, their presence in the Schools is highly beneficial to the other children, to whom they are models and incitements, both by their superior attainments in knowledge, and by their superior propriety of conduct.
It is indeed impossible to know how widely, and in what varied forms, the beneficial effects of these seminaries may extend. They are calculated to improve^the faculties by diversified exercise, to excite a spirit of inquiry, to promote the searching of the Scriptures, and to qualify the pupils for a profitable attendance on the public ordinances of religion. From them young persons have proceeded, and doubtless many will proceed, well prepared to fulfil the duties of life; and, in particular, to diffuse around them the benefits of religious knowledge, and of good example.
Their future families, and their descendants in distant generations, even to the end of time, airJ collateral multitudes in each generation, may feel the beneficial results of the instructions now imparted in these seminaries. Young men destined to the ministry, may, by teaching in them, acquire the habit of communicating instruction in that simple, distinct, and impressive manner which, while it interests all, is indispensable for the edification of the weak, the ignorant, and the young.
The number of children in the Sabbath Evening Schools, amount to 1,874.
EXTRACT FROM THE FIFTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE
GLASGOW SABBATH EVENING SCHOOLS.
THE exalted station which Britain has attained in the scale of intellectual improvement, is assignable, in a very great degree, to its numerous institutions for the instruction of the young. Scotland has long been celebrated for the attention she has shewn, to the education of the lower classes of the community; the practical effects of which cannot be more strikingly illustrated than by the following important facts
stated by the Right Hon. C. Hope, in his address at the conclusion of the assizes in this city, in 1808. "A few days," says he, "before I left home, there was transmitted to me by the secretary of state, a printed list of all the commitments, and prosecutions for criminal offences, in England and Wales, for the last three years; and, horrible to tell! the least number of commitments of any of the three years, was considerably above four thousand; a number nearly equal to the whole of the commitments in Scotland since the union. And where is the case r In my opinion, it is chiefly to be found in our institutions for the education of youth." In Switzerland where similar advantages have been enjoyed, the moral character of the people is such, that " in one of the Protestant Cantons, the executioner was not called upon to perform his hateful office, but once in the long space of twenty years."
The beneficial tendency and practical effects of Sabbath Evening Schools, have been so long before the public as to require no illustration. To Such as regard with pleasure, the reiigious instruction of the rising generation, it will afford no small degree of satisfaction to view the extension and growing viability of such institutions* It is with feelings of the most "ratifying nature, that the committee lay before the subscribers and friends o£ this institution, an account of its proceedings during last year. .
Tie Schools supported by the society at the publication of their annual report for 1813, were twenty in number, at which about eleven hundred children received instruction. Since that period, two of their Schools in' the suburbs, one in Calton and the other in Andersrton, have been relinquished; the room occupied by the former being now used as a place of worship, and the latter as a dwelling house. Three' Schools have been taken under the patronage of the society during last year, containing about one hundred and thirty children; and two new •Schools have been established, attended by upwards of one hundred Scholars. From the eagerness and anxiety displayed by the young people to be admitted into the Schools, the greater proportion of them are crowded and overflowing, so that it has been found necessary that two of them should be divided. There are4 at present upon the establishment twentyfrve Schools, and such has been the astonishing increase of Scholars during last year, that they are now attended by one thousand eight hundred children. One of the teachers, in the kit quarterly report of his School, makes the following remark: «5 rTfi"**** School has always been well attended, but of
lite there has been such an unusual desire for admission, that vow t. ^ N
I had publicly to prohibit (however reluctantly), any others from entering. The desire manifested by the rising generation for religious instruction, is so great, that almost any number might be collected for that purpose."
The irregular attendance of the children at many of the Schools, has long been a subject of regret, and has suggested to some of the members of the committee, the propriety of distributing small tickets, with a text of Scripture upon each, as rewards for good conduct and diligence, a certain number of which, at the termination of a quarter, should entitle the bearer to one of greater value, as an encitement to increasing perseverance. The unexpected success attending the introduction of these tickets, and the highly flattering testimonies from the teachers of their beneficial effects, fully justify any little additional expense incurred by them. The spirit of zeal, emulation, attention, and desire for improvement thus excited among the children, is highly gratifying to the committee. A reformation of conduct has gradually taken place in numbers of the young people; many who upon first entering the Schools, were remarkably careless and unruly, are new distinguished by unremitted application, and uniform consistency of conduct, and bid fair to be useful members of'Society, and to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour by a life and conversation becoming the Gospel.
It became the pleasing duty of the committee to remark, in their last annual report, the happy effects attending the labours of the teachers, in the visible change upon the temper and dispositions of many of the children, and the hopes they entertained respecting the spiritual improvement of others: the committee feel a degree of pleasure, in which they doubt not the friends of the institution will participate, in mentioning that these hopes have been fully realized; that fourteen young_ people during last year have given the most pleasing evidence of early piety, and have testified their love to the Saviour by uniting with his people of various religious connections, in church fellowship. The committee might multiply extracts of the most gratifying nature from the quarterly reports of the teachers, but coutent themselves with the following. "We have left," say they, " no method untried with which we are acquainted, to preserve order, and promote the improvement of the children. Censure, reproof, and admonition, tempered with prudence and affection, are the only weapons we have ventured to employ. The word -of God is the book from which we deliver our instructions, and we have the fullest convictiou that it has proved to many of them quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword. The seed we trust has been sown in a good soil, and the blade has already made its appearance. Delicacy, however, as well as prudence, forbid our bein» more minnte, being rather disposed to look to God for a blessing on our exertions, than rashly to prognosticate their
effects." . t . .
While the committee, in conclusion, sincerely rejoice in the prosperity of this Institution, they would attribute all the suo ces attending their exertions, to the blessings of God alone. The* have used every endeavour to extend the blessings of religious instruction to a still greater number of the rising genention; and if their efforts have been successful in reforming iae morals, in enlightening the judgment, in impressing the heart, or in awakening the conscience, they would ascribe all ■ tk praise, and honour, and glory, and power, to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever." Relying upon the promise of God, that, " his word shall not return unto him void, but shall prosper in the thing whereto he hath sent it," the society will continue to pursue its operations; and uniting with unremitting exertions, fervent supphcatious to the mercy-seat of God, they look forward with joyful anticipation to the happy period, when, in consequence of the unparalleled exertions of the friends of divine truth, " the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord," when "the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings" " to give light to thein that sit in darkness and in the region and shadow of death."
To the above Report we su/join the Address of the Committee to the Teachers.
Dear Brethren, WE have not been Hnconcerned spectators of your benevolent exertions:—we have witnessed you surrounded by your little nocks, sowing the seeds of religious instruction in their hearts, and our silent but fervent supplications have ascended oa your behalf. We have marked with feelings of the most delightful emotion, the blessed effects of your labours upon those under your charge;—we have heard them, while the tear glistened in their eyes, inquiring of you the way to Zion;—and wf have seen them followiug you in the path which conducts to heaven, nobly fighting in the same field and under the same frauner. B"t we know that you have many discouragements » ha h impede your progress, and paralize your exertions. Per autua then, in the spirit of love to suggest to your recollection
3. K 2
those qualities which appear to form the character of a good teacher, and that plan of procedure which, under the Divine blessing, appears to be most calculated to insure success.
When the children are assembled, the exercises commence by singing a few verses of a psalm or hymn, followed by a short prayer from the teacher. The children then repeat the passages of Scripture appointed them on the preceding evening; the number of verses must be regulated according to their age and capacity. The teacher must beware however of hearing them always in the same rotation, and must vary both the order and quantity which each repeats, to prevent them from learning that part of the task only which they know will be required of them. After the teacher has asked such simple questions as may occur tp him from the passagej-^-endeavoured to explain its meaning, and impress the truths it contains upon their minds; the children read the chapter or portion of Scripture, given out on the preceding Sabbath evening, and bring forward such parallel passages as they may hav# selected to explain its meaning and enforce its precepts; the teacher then delivers a short address to the children, from the passage, and concludes the exercises by prayer, and prake.
In all your addresses to the children, study simplicity and brevity. "Nothing is easjer (says the excellent Mr. Cecil,) than to talk to children; but to talk to them as they ought to be talked to, is the very last effort of ability. A man must have a vigorous imagination—he must have extensive knowledge, to call in illustrations from the four corners of the earth; for hp will make but little progress but by illustration. It requires great genius to throw the mind into the habit of children's minds. I aim at this, but I find it the utmost effort of ability. No sermon ever put my mind half so much on the stretch. I am surprised at nothing that Dr. Watts did, but his Hymns for Children. Other men could have written as well as he in his other works, but how he wrote these Hymns I know not." It is of the last importance, that they should both be able to understand what you say, and that their attention should not be wearied out by long addresses. The attention of children is very soon tired, and they become listless and indifferent.
The great end of instruction is impression. Religion is a thing to be felt as weil as known. Keeping this always in view, you will feel it your duty to reflect much upon what you are about to say to.thein; you will not come to the School with the erude, undigested thoughts of the moment, but prepared to speak to thetn by previous study and consideration. Feeling