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riably found, that children who have been taught to read earlier are no forwarder at seven. The tact she displays in detecting faults, and the variety of methods she adopts in correcting them, show great insight into the human heart. Many valuable hints are scattered up and down the volume.
No CLERGYMAN CAN Do HIS DUTY EFFICIENTLY, WHO DOES NOT CATECHISE.
There are three forms in which we must speak to our people :-in Exhortation—in Admonition—and in Instruction. The pulpit is the scene of the first of these ; the houses of our parishioners must witness the second ; and the parish school, particularly the Sunday school, and the reading desk of our churches should be the place in which we exhibit proofs of the third." To this last topic I now turn.
To those who are acquainted with the present state of the kingdom, there can be little doubt that ignorance is one great source of irreligion : not that mere intelligence will make men christians, but that many persons do not believe in Christianity, because they are practically unacquainted with it, and many more are alienated from the communion of our Church, because they have never imbibed a sufficient stock of knowledge to understand the real nature of those questions on which others differ from us. Therefore the parish school should be the frequent scene of the clergyman's labour. He should try to see that the children really understand that which they professedly learn, and to give a christian tone to everything which is there taught them. I say nothing of the school being the best entrance into the house of every parent; but if the children of the parish have grown up with the habit of regarding their clergyman as an enlightened instructor, and a friendly governor, it will tend more than anything to place him in that position in which he is likely to occupy his proper place among his people. I need not dwell on the good which his visits ought to do the children. We may know many things, and not be the wiser for it; and this is often the case with that species of mechanical instruction which is communicated by unenlightened teachers, who can impart a good deal of information on some branches of knowledge, without opening the minds of the scholars by the process. But if these same scholars were from time to time questioned by an intelligent visiter, the less efficient teacher would perceive his own deficiency, and the children would obtain a key to open stores of mechanical information, which would thus be converted into true knowledge. But it is to the Sunday school* and catechising that I would more directly turn your attention. By catechising, I mean the public teaching in the church, before those of the congregation who desire to listen. The canons and rubric direct that this shall be done after the second lesson in evening service. But the circumstances of the parish, or a change in the habits of the people may render an alteration in the time at which it is performed, advisable; and as in such a question each clergyman ought to be a better judge of the propriety of selecting one time or the other, I leave it to your discretion.—They who neglect to catechise publicly, in connection with the Sunday school, not only omit a most efficient means of doing good, but I must say that they obey neither the law of the land, nor of the church; and after my frequent and earnest requests on this
* Many observations with regard to the management of a Sunday school will be found in a letter on that subject, which I wrote to Mr. Howard, at his request, and which I have printed in the Appendix.
subject, they must answer to God for their neglect. I cannot pretend to enforce my admonitions by temporal penalties, I should effect no real good by doing so ; but I verily believe, that no man can do his duty in his parish efficiently, who does not catechise, and who is not an active promoter of his Sunday school. Of course, the share which he personally takes in carrying it on, must depend on his own powers of body and mind, on which he himself can alone decide; but unless he promote as far as he can the efficiency of his Sunday school, and teach himself publicly in church, at least occasionally, he is undoubtedly giving up one of the greatest means of doing good, in a country parish, with which our Saviour has provided him.
ON THE MANAGEMENT OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
A setter from the Right Rev. Thos. Vowler, Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, to the Rev. Thos. Howard.
MY DEAR SIR,-The good management of the Sunday School is of so great importance to the well being of a parish, that I lose no time in complying with your request, viz., “That I would give you an outline of how it may best be conducted.”
2.—The object to be kept in view in all education ought to be, “To LEAD THE PERSON EDUCATED To HEAVEN.” 3.—We should therefore try to induce our scholars “to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” and to seek, through the influence of the Holy Ghost, for that “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” 4.—“THE DEITY WHOM we worship Is NoT MINERVA, BUT CHRIST.” 5.—Habits therefore of quiet reverential sobriety in our thoughts, words, and actions are of as much real importance as the acquisition of information on religious subjects. Wilfully to neglect going to church, must be regarded as a greater offence than the not being able to say a lesson or to answer a question. And to behave incorrectly when we are assembled in the house of God must be dealt with as if such conduct would appear offensive to Him into whose presence we then seem to be more immediately admitted. 6.—Discipline must be kept up by private admonition, rather than by any attempt at public punishment or reward; and the warnings and rebukes of the clergyman are the best instrument to preserve order and reverence in a place where children are to be trained in the way of godliness. If severity be sometimes necessary, it is generally inflicted with more effect by the parent at home, than by any other hand; and the only method by which we can maintain undisputed authority, is by letting the children see that unless they behave well, we are not anxious that they should attend school. 7.—“THE BEING TAUGHT Is A PRIVILEGE AND FAvou R.” 8.—For these reasons I am not a friend to stimulants in a Sunday school ; such as that of taking places; and we must be very careful that the rewards and prizes which we dispense, do not turn the hearts of the children away from God, while they produce energy in the proceedings of the school.”
* The whole question relating to rewards is attended with much difficulty. When the general discipline of the school is well kept up, the distribution of rewards will not be likely to produce any injurious effect, even though it is injudiciously made ; but the ordinary process is, that persons who are not able to preserve their due authority, endeavour to bribe their scholars into good conduct by means of prizes and rewards. The great rule, with regard to rewards, is to distribute them as gifts—as a present from the superintendent or teacher—not as a price of good conduct. There often exist rival schools in the same neighbourhood, and the conductors of them, in their anxiety to obtain a large number of scholars, endeavour to secure the attendance and favour of the children, by a profuse distribution of rewards, which are thus con
THE OFFICERS BY WHOM THE SUNDAY SCHOOL SHOULD BE CONDUCTED.
11–It may not perhaps be absolutely necessary, but it is better that “THE CoNDUCTORs SHOULD BE ALI, VoI.UNTARY AGENTs.” 12–There must be a suPERINTENDENT, who is to manage the whole school; not one of the teachers, but an independent person, who has offices of his own, yet who may on occasion supply the place of an absent teacher, or assist a less experienced one. 13.—The superintendent should always be present, either in person or by deputy ; it is better that one class should for a season be without a teacher, than that the whole school should be left without order, and a governing power. 14.—There should, if possible, be a TEACHER to about every seven children.* 15.--Whether “the classes shall be numbered, first, second, and third, &c.,” and the children be gradually advanced from “teacher to teacher, as they get on in knowledge;” or whether “each individual teacher shall have a class of children whom they may, as far as possible, educate from their first entrance into the school to the time of their leaving it,” is in itself perhaps a question of no great importance, and each plan may be preferable according to circumStanceS. 16.-If the teachers are all educated persons, equally able to teach a first as well as a seventh class, the latter scheme is probably the best. This will usually be the case in large towns, where the teachers belong to the upper orders of society, and the children are apt to remain only a short period in the school. For by this method, the teachers become better acquainted with, and more interested in their scholars, and are frequently induced to visit them at home, and
verted into a species of retaining-fee, at which the presence of the child is to be purchased; and they who do this, barter the well-being of the school, for the idle hope of seeing a large number of scholars, who are not likely to be benefited by their belonging to the school. It is very advantageous to the well-being and activity of the school, that presents should be occasionally made, and of course it is desirable that the presents so given, should be bestowed on deserving objects; but a few books thus well distributed will produce much more effect than a larger number. When many are bestowed, every child learns to expect a present, and the only real effect produced, is the excitement of angry selfish feelings. Books or other presents given for a certain number of tickets or marks, are almost always injurious. The markbook or ticket-bag becomes an idol to the child. If they are allowed to law up money weekly, for the purchase of clothes or books, a regular addition may be made to the sum so deposited without danger, for this assumes the form of a kindness bestowed on those who are ready to help themselves, which is a very sound principle. The great object is to make the children regard what is given them as a gift, as something freely bestowed. God's servants will try to regulate their gifts upon the principles on which our heavenly Father bestows his blessings. He grants more than we deserve freely; but there is no proportion between the worldly state of the individual, and the regularity of his obedience. There is nothing analogous to the ticket system.
* Cases often occur in which the teachers in the school are so few, that to allow to each only seven acholars would leave a large number without any teacher at all, If more teachers cannot be provided, it will probably be best to make the upper classes as large as we can, with a due reference to the attainments of the children (see 17). It is useless to attempt impossibilities. Children whose attainments are very different cannot be taught together, and it is better to teach a few well, than to teach none really. Sometimes voluntary teachers may be selected for the lower classes from the more efficient children of the first class ; these may teach the children to read, and one one of the most efficient adult teachers may go from class to class among the lower classes, and try to impart religious instruction. Many little children may be taught simultaneously by an efficient teacher ; but after all, it is better to sacrifice the efficacy of the lower department, and to give good religious instruction to the elder children, who are most likely to profit by it.
to influence and improve their domestic habits. When the teachers themselves are not all equally efficient, and the children are permanently resident, and likely to attend the school, the former system seems preferable. This is usually the case in country parishes. 17.—The first duty of the superintendent is to provide, that the children placed under each teacher, shall be equally advanced in reading and intelligence. And if they are not, to remove those who are not so, into some other class, e.g., if six can read fluently, and one is learning to read, either the one who is backward must be sacrificed to the others, and so not be taught, or the six must be wearied by hearing their companion exercised in that which would be better learnt among a class of others, who were in the same state as to attainments. If two in a class be conversant with the history of the Old Testament, and the rest know little about it, the questions which will instruct these two will be unintelligible to the rest, and one must be sacrificed to the other. 18.—The teachers are of course the best judges as to the details of these points, but it is necessary to bring them frequently before their notice; for teachers, like other people, are apt to be selfish, and will sometimes sacrifice the real good of the scholars to the vanity of having proficients in their class, The best way to obviate this evil, is to have stated, perhaps quarterly, meetings for the purpose of re-arranging the classes ; when each teacher will state, who among their scholars have in attainments advanced far beyond, or fallen much below, the rest of their companions; and these will be removed into more suitable classes by the superintendent. 19.-All this implies that the superintendent should have a thorough knowledge of the whole school, as well as of the details of each class, and possess judgment for managing these matters. Thus if in a given class, containing eight children, two be found inconveniently superior to the rest, and one much below them, these three children will be removed into such classes as they are individually best fit for, and the superintendent may place a fresh child, for trial, in the diminished class, thus leaving its number at six ; or may supply . o from some other classes, where the same process is forced to be adopted. 20–Unless, then, great confidence is reposed in the superintendent, jealousies are too apt to arise among the teachers; and it is generally well if the clergyman can be present at such meetings; for it must be confessed that even when we are trying to serve God, and to promote his kingdom, earthly feelings often find their way into our hearts; and the great enemy, when he cannot turn us aside from trying to advance the cause of our Saviour, contrives to place a snare in the very zeal which creates emulations. 21–The same teacher should, as far as possible, every Sunday take care of the same class. The having two teachers, who succeed each other alternately, produces confusion. It may be better to have alternating teachers, than none, but such a plan will never produce a good school. If it be necessary to have recourse to such imperfect aid, it is better to constitute those who can come regularly, “teachers,” with one or two “assistants” each, who will attend occasionally. The teacher will then have a large class, say fourteen, and the assistants will take a portion of this class, when they are present. The management of the whole will be in the hands of the teacher; while the instruction of a part, is, for convenience, made over, for a time, to another. 22–These arrangements, and matters of this sort, form the task of the superintendent, who must communicate freely with the clergyman, if indeed the clergyman himself be not able, or prefer not to take the office upon himself. If perhaps he can find an efficient person, he will more wisely give himself to
other Sunday duties, but unless there be an efficient superintendent, there will never be a well conducted school.
23.-Perhaps the importance of having a superintendent, and the duties which belong to the office, may be illustrated by reference to what you would expect from me in this diocese, where a bishop is able to perform those portions of his duty which the size of many dioceses prevents. 24.—The bishop, as overseer of the whole, is to have his eye fixed on what takes place, not in one part of his diocese more than another. If there be anything wrong, he must endeavour to correct it If there be any part inefficiently managed, he must point out the defect, and assist the local officer in remedying the evil. If any of the clergy be over tasked, or weary, or sick, he must try to assist them, and the circumstance, that he has no cure of his own, enables him to render all these services to his brethren. 25.-The bishop should see that every one who serves in the church is by his attainments equal to the task imposed upon him, and if he observe that any one is not so, he must do his utmost to provide such means of self improvement as the circumstances of the case require. He will encourage the active, by letting them perceive that he appreciates their zeal :—will strengthen the hands of the feeble, by assisting them in their hour of need:—will teach those who are ignorant, and guide those who know not the way:-and lastly, he may be obliged to reprove those who neglect to perform their duty. 26.—These services he may attempt, because he has no cure of his own ; but it is obvious that he will never succeed in them, unless he be well trained to the work by experience, and blessed by the favourable eye of our Great Master. 27—These in the Sunday school, are the duties and difficulties of the superintendent, and all must see, that no one should undertake such a task rashly, and that every allowance should be made for any errors committed by a superintendent, when discovered by the teachers of the school. They should all try to support the authority of the superintendent, by a ready and willing compliance with what is enjoined; and enforce obedience on the scholars, by themselves obeying the rules of the school. - - (To be continued.)
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SUNDAY SCHOOL INSTITUTE. FOR THE YEAR 1844.
The first report of a society is naturally looked to with interest, as a compendium of information on three points: first, the circumstances which render such a society necessary or desirable ; second, the progress which has been made in the attainment of its objects; and thirdly, what hope there is of further success. The Committee of the Church of England Sunday School Institute, appointed at the public meeting in April last, and now called upon by the rules of the institute to resign their office, beg to lay before the members of this society a few remarks on each of the points alluded to above.
Though much which they had proposed to themselves to undertake remains yet to be commenced, their short tenure of office has been marked by many sources of encouragement; and they commit to the care of their successors a work which they firmly believe to have received not only the sympathy and prayers of many of the people of God, but also the blessing of Him who has promised to be with His disciples to the end of the world.
First, as to the utility of forming such a society. The demand for education is daily becoming more universal. The words of holy writ present a striking picture of the present day, in the prediction, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” The highest efforts of genius, and the latest