« FöregåendeFortsätt »
and repaired or altered 280 others. During the year, 44 girls have been admitted into the school, and 37 have left.
With the view of increasing the present very limited accommodation, the Committee have determined on removing the school from the present premises to a large house in the vicinity of St. James's Park, where it is intended on the admission of candidates to give preference to those who are homeless and in extreme destitution, without any reference to a particular locality. The institution will thus lose its local character, and assume a more general one. It will become a temporary Refuge for those scholars who are recommended for Emigration from other schools in connection with the Ragged School Union; and although this will involve an additional expenditure, yet it will form a most invaluable auxiliary to the operations of the other schools.
LINES TO COMMEMORATE THE OPENING OF
By a Friend unable to attend.
SUCCESS to the mansion which Beaufoy has built;
And which Ashley has open'd to-day;
For the children of sorrow, privation, and guilt,
In strength and in beauty, it lifts up its head,
'Tis a school for the living, a tomb for the dead,
And may we not hope, while we heave a sad sigh,
Too much of the prison, the court, and the cell,
Borne up through the regions of joy :
With Ashley, and Beaufoy, and all the strong bands
Of teachers, who labour'd in love,
To dwell in the "house" that is "not made with
"All's for the best," he meekly said,
A storm arose, and quenched the light
Awoke, he found himself alone,
But God was with him still.
Calmly he waited till the morn
He looked-the gates were open wide,
With grateful heart, and eyes upraised,
""Tis thus the morning will explain
And human purposes are crossed,
ARE YOU A SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHER?
IF you are, you are engaged in a good work. Yes, it is good, both as acceptable to God, and as profitable to men. It is good in its direct operation, and good in its reflex action. It is not merely teaching the young idea how to shoot, but, what is still more important, it is teaching the young and tender affection what to fix upon, and where to entwine itself. Nothing hallows the Sabbath more than the benevolent employment of the Sabbath School teacher. It is more than lawful to do such good on the Sabbath-day.
It has great reward. Continue to be a Sabbath School teacher. Be not weary in this well-doing. Do not think you have served long enough in the capacity of teacher, until you have served life out, or until there shall be no need of one saying to another, "Know the Lord.' What if it be laborious? It is the labour of love, in the very fatigue of which the soul finds refresh
But perhaps you are not a Sabbath School teacher? No, I am not," methinks I hear one say. "I am not a professor of religion. You cannot expect me to be a teacher." You ought to be both, and your not being the first is but a poor apology for declining to be the other. The neglect of one obligation is a poor excuse for the neglect of another. You seem to admit that if you professed religion, it would be your duty to teach in the Sabbath School. Now, whose fault is it that you do not profess religion?
But you are "not good enough," you say. Then you need so much the more the reaction of such an occupation to make you better. The way to get good is to do it. "But I am not a young person." "And what if you are not? You need not be very young in order to be a useful Sabbath School teacher. We don't want mere novices in the Sabbath School. If you are not young, then you have so much more experience to assist you in the work. Do Sabbath School teachers become superannuated so much earlier in life than any other class of benefactors—so much sooner than ministers and parents? There is a prevailing mistake on this subject.
But you are married, you say. And what if you are? Because you have married a wife or husband, is that any reason why you should not come into the Sabbath School? Many people think that as soon as they are married, they are released from the obligation of assisting in the Sabbath School. But I do not understand this to be one of the immunities of matrimony. As well might they plead that in discharge of the obligation to every species of good-doing. Such might, at least, postpone that apology till the cares of a family have come upon them. And even then, I wonder how many hours of the Sabbath are devoted to the instruction of their children, by those parents who make the necessity of attending to the religious culture of their families an apology for not entering the Sabbath School; and I wonder if their children could not be attended to in other hours than those usually occupied in Sabbath School instruction; and thus, while they are not neglected, other children, who have no parents that care for their souls, receive a portion of their attention. I think this not impossible.
But perhaps you say, "There are enough others to teach in the Sabbath School." There would not be enough—there would not be any, if all were like you. But it is a mistake; there are not enough others. You are wanted. Some five or six children of whom Christ has said, Suffer them to come to me," will grow up without either learning or religion, unless you become a teacher. Åre all the children in the place where you live gathered into the Sabbath School? Are there none that still wander on the Lord's-day, illiterate and irreligious? Is there a competent number of teachers in the existing schools, so that more would rather be in the way than otherwise? I do not know how it is where you live, but where I live, there are boys and girls enough, aye, too many, who go to no Sabbath School. It is only for a teacher to go out on the Sabbath, and he readily collects a class of children willing to attend; and where I reside, there are not teachers enough for the scholars already collected. Some classes are without a teacher; and presently the children stay away, because, they say, they come to the school, and there is no one to attend to them. He who said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not," knows this; and He knows who of "his sacramental host" might take charge of these children, and do not. They say every communion season, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and the Lord replies, "Suffer little children to come unto me.' And there the matter ends.
But I hear one say, "I was once a teacher." And do you not blush to own
that you became weary in this species of well-doing? "But I think I taught long enough." How long did you teach? Till there were no more to learn? Till you could teach no longer? Are you dead? If not, you are resting from your labours rather prematurely. This excuse resembles one which I heard of, as from a lady of wealth, who, having for several years been a subscriber to the Bible Society, at length ordered her name to be struck off, alleging that she thought she had done her part towards disseminating the Bible! The world was not supplied-oh, no, not even the country; and her means were not exhausted. But she had done her part! Had she done what she could? But one says, "I want the Sabbath for myself-for rest and for improvement." And who does not ? Are you busily employed all the week? So are some of our most faithful teachers. You ought to be "diligent in business" during the days of the week. "Six days shalt thou labour." But is there any rest in Sabbath School teaching ?" The soul finds some of its sweetest rest in the works of mercy, and often its richest improvement in the care to improve others.
But perhaps you say, though with some diffidence you express this objection, that you belong to a circle in society whose members are not accustomed to teach in the Sabbath School. Do you mean that you are above the business? You must be exceedingly elevated in life to be above the business of gratuitously communicating the knowledge of God to the young and ignorant. You must be exalted above the very throne of God itself, if you are above caring for poor children. "But I should have to mingle with those beneath me in rank." Ah! I supposed that Christianity had destroyed the distinction of rank; not indeed by depressing any, but by elevating all. Should Christians, all cleansed by the same blood and Spirit, treat other Christians as common?
"But I am not qualified to teach." If you are not in reality, you should undertake teaching for the sake of learning. The best way to learn anything is to teach it. If you really think yourself not qualified, your very humility goes far towards qualifying you.
Oh, it is too laborious: there is so much self-denial in it." And do I hear a disciple of Christ complaining of labour and self-denial, when these are among the very conditions of discipleship? Is the disciple above his Master? Can you follow Christ without going where he went? And went he not about doing good? Pleased he himself?
Ah! I know what is the reason of this deficiency of Sabbath School teachers, and I will speak it out. It is owing to a deplorable want of Christian benevolence in them who profess to be Christ's followers. They lack the love that is necessary to engage one in this labour of love. They have no heart for the work.-Nevins.
Plans and Progress.
RAGGED SCHOOL ADDRESSES.-No. I.
VERILY it is not every one that can plan the building of a steam-ship or of a crystal palace, and another capability possessed by very few is that of giving a suitable address to a crowded Ragged School. It will not do merely to enumerate the requisites of such an address, for they are well understood by everyone who is alive to the importance of the duty, and who has even once endeavoured to discharge it rightly. Nor will it be sufficient to give more minute directions for framing any particular address, since the qualifications necessary to its proper delivery are at least as intuitive or constitutional as those required for effective oratory on a grander scale.
Still, if we remember that probably more than one hundred of such addresses are spoken weekly in our schools, that those who listen to them must be numbered by thousands, and that of those thus speaking to the young few have given due attention or proper study to the subject, it will be acknowledged that although the art itself is
one which can be acquired only to a limited extent from the experience of others, any assistance will be valuable which may serve even as a hint to those who are willing to adopt it.
I propose, then, in succeeding numbers of the Magazine, to give the skeletons of a few addresses, in which the bones and sinews will be supplied, while it must be left to the judgment of others to knit them into that consistency which may adapt them to the various circumstances of each case. This may appear an ambitious undertaking, and it is undoubtedly far more difficult thus to sketch the mere outline of an address than if it were to be written in a complete form prepared for immediate delivery. But to carry out the latter course would require more space than can be claimed in these pages, and besides the presumption of attempting it, words so put into the mouths of others are never spoken with full fervour from the heart.*
It might be supposed that the numerous excellent sermons which are published would serve as references or guides in the present subject, but the qualities of sermons and of Ragged School addresses are very greatly dissimilar, and for many obvious reasons. There are, however, two essentials of a good sermon which belong also to a suitable school address; and these are, 1st, to secure and retain the attention of the hearers; 2nd, to direct their attention to the proper object, some vital Scriptural truth.
Many are naturally gifted with the power of doing the first, and the second may be well done by all who know the Bible, and desire to impress its truths upon the hearts of others; but it is the combination of these abilities which we look for so anxiously and find so rarely.
How often is the time of a Sunday Evening School frittered away in listening to some pointless story? How often, again, are young minds-wearied by the duties of the day-fed only by dry doctrines, presented to them in the least attractive form? Reserving, then, for future numbers, the short summaries which I have promised, it may be as well to state briefly some of the main requisites of an address to a Ragged School, even although such descriptions are now somewhat hacknied, and have often been written by abler pens than mine.
I shall endeavour to frame these proposed summaries consistently with the following rules:
I.-Regulate the length of your address by that of the time it may be expected to receive attention. Teachers almost invariably disregard this rule, and coming prepared with some forcible commencement, they trust to the ideas of the moment for matter to fill up additional time; the effective part of their appeal is soon exhausted-they are not content to leave the matter there-what follows is weak and rambling, spoiling the former part, and displacing it from the minds of the children; the refreshing wine is drowned, not mixed, with water, and the whole becomes vague, insipid, and cheerless. II. Declare at least one cardinal life-giving Bible doctrine; do this however briefly you speak. Be sure that some of your hearers have never heard Christ preached, are waiting to hear of him now, and may never again come within reach of the Gospel.
If you are limited to only one minute, and are unprepared with illustration or anecdote, the precious seed may be cast widely in this short time if it is condensed into language such as this: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." "And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." "These are the words of the true and living God speaking to you, listen to them with attention, and believe them. Pray that they may reach your hearts. Think on them every day, and strive to live so that you may show you feel them truth." Man's guilt, salvation by faith in Christ, and comfort by the Holy Spirit, are all contained here, and if these words are spoken with impressive earnestness, there is scarcely time for the attention to wander before they are concluded. Rather give such an address than none, when the teacher whose turn it is to give one has disappointed you.
III. You may secure attention by the use of anecdotes or illustrations, by striking applications of incidents lately occurring in the school, or of public events, or by allusions to a map or a picture on the wall, or by something brought specially for the purpose, as a diamond, a curiosity, or a book. But beware of estimating the value of
* I shall be obliged for suggestions on this matter from the teachers and friends of our Schools, who may send them for me, directed to the care of the Editor.
your address by the circumstantial interest thus imparted to it. Those who are not gifted naturally with the power of using such aids, should be careful how they force them into their service; but it is well, when speaking to the ignorant, to remember that verse in the 4th chapter of Mark, "Without a parable spake he not unto them.” The difficulty here lies, not in fixing the attention, but in transferring it from the object so introduced to the spiritual teaching.
Let your stories be cheerful if you will, but never laughable; avoid vulgar illustrations, however forcible they may appear, and endeavour so to deal with an anecdote or a material object as to prevent the minds of the children from continuing to dwell on these merely, while you are proceeding to apply them. To give the tale first and then the moral, is to insure failure. At every stage of a simile, dilate on the thing signified. A bit of silver tied to the end of a long piece of coarse cloth is not very attractive, but let it be spun out into fine thread, and woven through the cloth in a pattern, and a beautiful fabric may be produced. Yet I am well aware that it is the cloth without the ornament which is the real substance, and many an effective address, blessed to the souls of the young, has no such extraneous attractions; these illustrations are like pictures in a useful book.
IV. Every care bestowed on composition will be rewarded; and this applies both to arrangement and words. The mind of a thoughtless boy may often be caught by a lucid division of your subject-not that it should be laid bare by announcing heads 1, 2, 3, etc., but it should always be determined in your own mind. A clever child, sooner than any one, detects a rambling style; and, without being at all able to arrange his own ideas, he is immediately sensible (and will make you so) of there being something wrong in the address.
Saxon words are the best and most difficult to employ. You are speaking to the children, not the teachers-and remind yourself of this ten times during every address. Reserve your emphasis for important sentences; to use it always is like printing a whole page in italics.
V-As to the substance, let your address be serious, but not a mere glowing harangue. Speak of sin with horror, and reprove it; but light up the picture by "the glad tidings," and the brightness of a Christian's happiness. To charge all your hearers with being unbelievers, is to quench the smoking flax of some, and to strengthen their conviction that their feeble faith is of no use; and in proportion as they feel their sin, will be their despair. There may be a few who want comfort, and not merely a frown upon their guilt. Show clearly that the same door of safety is open to the children which the teachers have entered by, but do not let this beguile you into giving “personal experiences." Speak, think, and act with the earnestness of a converted mind; but details of your own conversion are dangerous topics; those who can best handle them prudently, generally avoid them altogether. If you wish to intersperse occasional questions, let each be such as admits of only one proper answer. Interruptions from your hearers may often be turned to good account. When a majority are restless or heedless, you should leave that part of your address, or at least instantly change your mode of dealing with it; but never let this cause you to drop the thread of your argument, otherwise you are throwing yourself upon extempore resources just at the most critical and confusing moment. If you have the presence of mind to observe it, the attention of your audience is a never-failing test of the general perspicuity of your words.. The most noisy, troublesome, ignorant, quarrelsome rabble, once seated, can be persuaded to listen for a much longer time than might appear possible without a trial..
(To be continued.)
FOSTER STREET SCHOOLS.
A VERY interesting meeting of the teachers and friends of these schools was held in the New Broad Street School Rooms, on the evening of the 6th of February last, Henry Bateman, Esq., in the chair. Addresses were delivered by the Revs. Messrs. Hinton, Galloway, Wilkins, and Branch; also by Messrs. Althans, Green, Burge, and Anderson. From the Report read, it was gratifying to find that much good was being done-through hard and persevering labour-upon a class of children, many of whom are destitute and degraded in the extreme. Their gratitude for the kindness shown them received a practical manifestation in the shape of a pair of tastefully made slippers, the work of the industrial class, which were presented to Mr. Green, their warm-hearted