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try, and adapted to meet permanent wants of our social condition. If this be true, we cannot be surprised at the extensive adoption of the principle, even in spite of the imperfections in the mode of application, and the repeated failures which have attended it. The report on Friendly Societies in Scotland, by the Highland Society, when stating instances of the desire to set up new and improved associations, by persons who had suffered by the failure of old societies, mentions one of a seaman, who had been in three, all of which had failed, and was instrumental in establishing a fourth, offering less apparent advantages, but based on sounder calculations. The period seems now to have arrived, when a mutual benefit association confined to schoolmasters, might be successfully and usefully attempted. Had such endeavours been made some years back, they would have proved vain. It is not till lately that the office of schoolmaster for the middle and lower orders, has been looked upon in its proper light. Formerly, the person entrusted with the most important duty of forming the minds of the rising generation, of any but the upper classes, was not expected to be superior, either in attainments or feelings, to those whom he had to train up. Thus, almost any one was deemed qualified for the office; and thus also, by a principle of action and re-action, the office was lowered by the character and condition of those who filled it. But now it is far otherwise. Pains are taken in selecting candidates in the first instance, and then a time of preparation and probation is imposed on them, under the superintendence of able, refined, and religious minded men. The mutual intercourse which, during such a period of training, takes place, produces, as one important consequence, a spirit of union and sympathy. This spirit has been further extended by such associations as that of church schoolmasters, over which you, Sir, have so successfully presided, and whose example has been followed in many parts of the country. The object advocated in this letter, is to take advantage of this spirit of union and sympathy, and to carry it one step further, whilst conferring essential benefits on the schoolmaster's honourable profession. Besides its being desirable to foster among schoolmasters a spirit of mutual sympathy, there are peculiar advantages in confining benefit associations to particular classes of individuals. The success of such societies depends on the accuracy of the calculations with which their tables are drawn up. Where the individuals, of which any one of them consists, are all similarly circumstanced, much more accuracy must needs be attainable than when no connection in habits or callings exists between them. In the next place, the wants and requirements of persons in one class of life, differ from those in another, and an association suited to the one may be of little service to the other. Thus a schoolmaster, placed in a country village, might be little benefited by joining a friendly society adapted to the large proportion of his humble neighbours. Again, if a mutual benefit association is confined to a particular order of members, it will elicit the sympathy and assistance of wealthy individuals, who happen to be peculiarly interested in them, and who might not feel a like interest in a society indiscriminately formed from all trades and professions. As a proof of this may be quoted an instance referred to in Mr. Chadwick's report on the Sanatory Condition of the Labouring Clatses. He states, that an individual who has realized a large fortune as a tailor, and is well known by his liberality to his own country, “has subscribed £795 in money; is a yearly contributor of 25 guineas; has made a present to the Benevolent Institution for the Relief of Infirm Tailors, of ground worth £1,000; and has undertaken to build thereon six houses for the reception of twenty poor pensioners. The subscriptions to that institution by individual masters, amount to upwards of £11,000.” Similar instances of liberality might be quoted in the case of other benefit associations, established expressly for members of particular and like callings. It is, however, often impossible to confine mutual benefit institutions to persons distinguished by similarity of trade and profession. It is seldom feasible any where but in large towns; and the society formed in a place where individuals of a particular calling abound, will not be able to admit others similarly circumstanced, but living at a distance. This arises from the difficulty of adapting any system of management which will prevent fraud and misapplication of funds. But in the case of schoolmasters such obstacles could most readily be got over. Through the co-operation of the local clergy, the real circumstances of a distant applicant, for entrance or relief, might be as well ascertained by the managing body, as if he were on the spot; so that, what is an insurmountable impediment in other cases, here not only might be overcome, but would create an additional tie by which the schoolmaster would be bound more closely to his church; an end, in itself, truly desirable.
In establishing a schoolmasters' mutual benefit association, there would be many advantages, which might more or less confidently be anticipated. When the great benefits derivable from it were made known, many who are generally interested in the cause of national education, would doubtless, in more ways than one, become contributors to its prosperity. It would also, in all probability, be found that, as in life assurances, an institution confined to the clergy as a body offers peculiar advantages; a benefit association confined to schoolmasters would be likewise peculiarly advantageous. With many classes of persons, the labours in which they are engaged, and the localities in which those labours are exercised, are found to be injurious to health. But this cannot be said of the duties of schoolmasters. They, moreover, would justly reap the benefits of what may be assumed to be a characteristic of their profession, regular and moral habits of life. If, however, no peculiar benefits arising from the average healthiness of the office of a schoolmaster could be depended on, one good result would at all events be obtained, by the fact of attention being called to the subject; namely, that every possible hint which experience could suggest towards improving their condition in a sanatory point of view could be adopted.
If it should be deemed advisable to form one society"embracing the several orders of schoolmasters which might be expected to join it; it would be necessary as these really differ considerably among themselves to distribute its members into classes, where the payments and the benefits should mutually correspond to their means, and their ordi
nary wants and habits. Without such arrangement, it would be impossible to combine, in one association, the different orders of masters, from those suited to a wealthy city, down to those one may expect to find in retired villages. In order also to render a general schoolmaster's benefit association available for the several wants and requirements of the various orders of which it would consist, its proposed objects should be manifold. These objects might be classed as follows:—
. A sick fund.
The two latter funds, not being by their nature open, as a matter of right, to all members indiscriminately when in need of relief, they should not be formed out of their ordinary contributions. They should be derived from benefactions or similar sources. Each member, in joining the association, might enter under one or more of the first four heads; and in each of these, in whatsoever class he deemed suited to his peculiar condition. The management of such an institution might be most efficiently carried on, by a joint committee of honorary and ordinary members annually appointed by the whole society. In all applications from a distance, reference would be had to the local clergy, who would doubtless readily co-operate. It would be out of place on this occasion to enter more particularly into details, much more to give a plan of rules and regulations. Out of the many societies which already exist for similar purposes, experience and valuable hints might be obtained. But in this selection great judgment would be required. Those alone who have studied it can be aware of the difficulties the case presents. Every calculation dependent on probabilities is subject to error. Till the middle of the last century, there was little practical accuracy in life assurances;* and the subject is as yet but imperfectly known. But our knowledge of probabilities connected with health insurance schemes, is of later and much more stunted growth. All that can be said of it is, that now at all events it is properly taken up, and satisfactory results may be anticipated. Still for a time we must be content to walk by twilight. With due caution, advantage might be taken of all that is known, with some degree of accuracy, up to the present time; and a system might be framed, capable of benefiting by every addition which may, from time to time, be made to our knowledge. A just balance between present economy and permanent stability, is the main principle of a properly constituted benefit association. One is only surprised how, after the numberless failures of insurance and benefit societies, and the conse
* Valie Dr. Price on Life Assurance. I
quent misery and suffering inflicted on individuals, their popularity has ever been on the increase.
If the establishment of a schoolmasters' mutual benefit association could be taken up by the National Society, its success would not be doubtful; the object would be wisely effected, and confidence in its permanent efficiency created in the minds of those for whom it was intended. It would, as a matter of course, be connected closely with the church, and this would ensure the indispensable co-operation of the clergy. Perhaps even, after a time, it might be made an essential branch of the National Society's system, and providence and forethought be deemed necessary qualifications of a schoolmaster.
Deeply conscious of the importance of the cause I have strived to advocate,
I remain, dear Sir, yours truly,
Beachampton Rectory, R. No RRIs RUss ELL. March, 1845.
ON the MAN EGEMENT OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
A Letter from the Right Rev. Thos. Vowler, Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, to the Rev. Thos. Howard.
(Continued from page 85.)
31–Our special object must be to make the children understand spiritually the Bible and the services of the Church. 32.—With regard to this, I would observe, that the general understanding of these, is the same as the understanding of any other subject; but that there is a spiritual understanding of these, which differs widely from the understanding of any other subject. We must accomplish the teaching of the one, by human means; and try to lead our scholars to the other, by praying for God's blessing on our exertions. 33.—The tasks may be divided into two heads; 1. “Lessons learnt by heart during the week and repeated on the Sunday,”—2. “The reading of the Scriptures.” 34. — “WHATEVER Is LEARNT BY HEART, SHou LD BE PREPARED on THE PREvious SUNDAY, that the children may understand that which they are committing to memory. 35-It is best, if possible, to select these lessons from the services of the day. Thus, for instance, the lessons for a class may be the collect for the Sunday; the gospel ditto; and a psalm in verse, which is to be sung at church. The method of carrying this into effect will be as follows:—After prayers the children say the collect for the day-then they prepare the collect for the next Sunday. They repeat the gospel for the day,+then they read over and prepare that for next Sunday. Then they repeat the psalm or hymn, and, afterwards prepare that for next Sunday.—If any time remains, they read a portion of the Scriptures. So in the afternoon they may begin with the Church catechism, say the whole or a portion of it, according to circumstances; repeat the texts which they have learnt, in illustration of the portion repeated. Then, the teacher will point out the texts for next Sunday and explain them. Then, they will read a portion of the Scriptures. It is evident, that to preserve this system, the whole class must on each Sunday be learning the same lessons, the same verses of Scripture, the same portions of poetry.
36–It is not, of course, necessary that all these lessons should be selected from the services of the day. The collect is often too hard for any but advanced classes, the gospel may be too long-the psalms sung in church, may not be well suited for the edification of children. This is matter of detail, which must be arranged by the superintendent and teachers, under the guidance of the clergyman. All I contend for is, that it must be thought of and settled. Such matters should never be left to chance, or the caprice of the teacher.
37–Teachers are apt to allow the children to go on without any system. And when in visiting a Sunday school, I have found a class reading chapter after chapter from the book of Job, without even a single question being asked them, I confess that I have not wondered that the scholars did not derive any great spiritual improvement from the exercise.
ON THE METHOD IN WHICH THE TEACHER SHOULD IMPART INSTRUCTION.
41–If a teacher were to explain a difficult passage to children by stating to them what it meant, it is probable that many of them would not understand it; while it would be almost impossible to ascertain who did, and who did not do so. But if the teacher proceeded by asking questions, the answers given by those children who were more conversant with the subject, would convey the idea to the more ignorant; and by gradually increasing the difficulty of the questions, the more advanced would be led on to the full comprehension of a difficulty, which by themselves they would have been unable to answer; and while the same questions, a little varied, were afterwards proposed to the less intelligent scholars, the teacher would not only discover who did, and who did not, receive what was imparted, but would fix the knowledge in the minds of the more advanced, and render it, as far as possible, clear to all. 42.—The teacher must impart knowledge “by questioning it into the class,” and discover whether they have received it “ by questioning it out of the class.” 43.—Skilful teachers will divide their questions, on any subject, into three heads. They will ask, 1st. The meaning of the words. 2nd. The meaning of the sentences. 3rd. The spiritual truth to be derived from the text of Scripture under consideration. e. g., Luke, ch. ii., v. 10, “And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’” 1st. What do you mean by an “angel " What do you mean by the word “tidings 2" 2nd. Who spoke to them To whom did the angel speak 2 What did he say? Why need they not fear? What were the good tidings of great joy 2 To whom was it to be good news 2 3rd. And is it good news to all people? Will all people be benefited by it? Why did our Saviour say, “Woe unto thee Bethsaida,”? &c., &c., Are there none among us who had better never have heard of Jesus Christ? 44.—The character of the questions will vary much, according to the knowledge of the class; and it can only be ascertained by experience, what sort of questions ought to be asked ; the first object of the teachers is to become conversant with the subjects, to understand them themselves; and then to take care that their scholars comprehend them also. 45.—And no lesson should ever be read or repeated, without the teachers convincing themselves, by questioning, that the children perceive and comprehend the general import of that which they are saying. It is indeed difficult with very little children to make them properly understand that which it is quite right that they should learn by heart. Yet still it may be accomplished, in some measure at least. For example, let us suppose that we were attempting to teach the Lord's prayer to very little children. Who is our Father in heaven o' Where is God? Whose Father is he