« AnteriorContinuar »
drooping spirit of that dying, yet happy penitent? Can you discover anything humiliating or detrimental to character or station in the performance of such acts ? Surely wealth could not be dignified by nobler deeds, or rank and learning be more surely elevated to their true positions, than by carrying the Word of Life into such dark and benighted neighbourhoods-"lifting the poor out of the dunghill, setting them among the princes of God," and thus becoming fellow-workers with Him who is the Lord of life and Saviour of the world. If this, then, be true—and the Bible says it-most earnestly do we entreat that these schools should not be left, as hitherto, to depend so much upon the contributions of those who are living within the precincts of poverty themselves, and neglected so much by the respectable and wealthy inhabitants of the suburban districts.-ED.
SPEAK GENTLY. "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in beart.”
Matt. xi. 29.
To rule by LOVE than fear;
The good we might do here.
To friends when faults we find;
Affection's voice is kind.
Its love be sure to gain ;
It may not long remain.
Will have enough to bear;
'Tis full of anxious care, Speak gently to THE AGED ONE,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
Let such in peace depart.
Let no harsh tone be heard ;
Without an unkind word.
That thou also art man;
O win them back again.
Whose accents meek and mild,
The gracious, holy Child.
The Family of Heaven;
Forgive as they're forgiven.
Harvest will be, when the rain and the sun
Ragged teachers, “ take right hold,”
“SEED-TIME AND HARVEST.”
Plans and Progress.
AN EVENING IN A RAGGED SCHOOL.
To those in any degree acquainted with our general operations, it will be unnecessary to say, that the greater number of Ragged Schools are open on the Sabbath, with the special view of communicating religious truth-in some cases, in the morning, afternoon, and evening; in others, only afternoon and evening: These classes are generally conducted by a distinct agency from that employed during the week, and all expense connected with their management is defrayed from the ordinary school fund. As we had arranged to spend a Sabbath evening in seeing how schools of this sort were conducted, we found our way to the subject of our present article. When we entered, the superintendent was engaged in opening the school, so we immediately took our seat at the lower end of the room. Near to us sat a 28s of twenty boys; four of them had no jackets, ten had no shoes, and all of them were in rags. The teacher who had charge of them was evidently earnest in his work. The opening exercises of the school being over, and the work of the evening commenced, he began to tell his boys that a fire had taken place during the previous week in the city. He told the story evidently with the view of arresting attention, and illustrating the meaning of the word salvation. Still
, though told with much energy, it failed to secure the desired end. The only one interested seemed to be himself. The scholars talked and trifled as if the whole was repeated for the teacher's instruction, and not theirs. It appeared to us that the cause of this failure lay entirely in the teacher's acting so much, and in his expressing his energy too often by the waving of his hand, the shaking of his head, and in an elevated tone of voice. Such movements might retain for an evening the attention of children, but they will seldom succeed in interesting boys at the age of twelve or sixteen. The next class we entered was composed of men ; some of them appeared as destitute as the boys we had just left. There was something so repulsive and wayward in their looks, that had we given our opinion when we first saw them, we certainly should have said, that they would be the most unmanageable pupils of the school; that ere the day would end, all the instruction given would be forgotten by them; and that even before they had returned to their own homes, the impressions produced in the school would be effaced. A further acquaintance with this class not only showed us that our conjectures were entirely wrong, but led us to contrast its teacher with the one above-mentioned. Though he spoke and acted less than the former, yet his class was most attentive. Every question that he put showed that the whole bearing of the Scripture he was trying to explain had been carefully studied by him. Even the order of the questions appeared to have been previously arranged, for each succeeding one brought forth a higher development of intellect than the one preceding, and yet all were so connected, that by attending to the former the latter were easily understood. It was evident, from the manner in which he conducted the questions and assisted his pupils to return suitable answers, that he had not trusted to the inspiration of the moment for the truths he was to teach, or the form in which they were to be presented, but had come to his class fully prepared for all its duties. Everything he said seemed to be received by them as facts of greatest moment. They seemed to have no time for trifling, or thinking of anything save the words which the teacher uttered.
There was something in the teaching generally of this school which pleased us much. Almost the whole evening was devoted to the communication of religious knowledge. It has always been our opinion, that Sabbath Schools should have nothing to do with the mechanical business of secular education,
AN EVENING IN A RAGGED SCHOOL.
and now, since the plea of necessity is being removed by an extension of our Week-day and Evening Schools, we hope that there will be still less of such secular work carried on in our Sabbath Schools. We feel confident that those will best fulfil their mission who seek to keep holy that time which God has sanctified to Himself. The more they spend their strength in teaching those truths of God's word which are likely “ to purify and harmonize the affections, to refine the moral sense, to qualify and strengthen for every function in life, to sustain under the pressure of affliction, to afford consolation in sickness, and to enable to triumph in death,” the more are they likely to influence that higher life which is to regulate present conduct and form their future being. No doubt, a portion of time must necessarily be occupied in reading, but then care should be taken that this be not considerable, and that the passages read be of such a character as are likely to secure the higher and more noble end of religious information. When it is remembered, that most of the scholars attending such schools receive no religious teaching except that communicated on the Sabbath, it must be evident that every effort should be made to make the Sabbatic instruction tell upon the heart of the child—that the passages
read should at all times contain the truth that saves—and that they should be rendered so familiar to the minds of the scholars as that scarcely, even were they so disposed, they shall never be able to displace them from their memories. In thus acting, the teacher not only brings salvation near to the scholar, but puts him in possession of the means
which God generally employs for the salvation of men. The proper end of the teacher's labours is not secured unless he thus succeeds in making them acquainted with the Gospel. Whatever be the extent of knowledge he may communicate, still, as nothing but that pertaining to God is fitted to affect the heart and regulate the affections, so no other instruction can yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Though there were but twenty-five teachers and four hundred and fifty scholars, yet the whole business of the school was conducted with comparative quietness. Much of this was owing to the efficiency of the teachers, but more to the excellent management of the superintendent. Everything he said was 80 expressed, that those hearing felt that he meant all he said; and this determination to have full compliance with all his demands seemed to go a long way in persuading the boys to acquiesce.
Before leaving the school, we ventured to go to the upper end of the room, to see what is called the mothers' class. We were afraid our presence might disturb them, else we would have gone sooner and waited longer; as it was, we saw and heard enough to convince us that much good was likely to result from this movement. The fact of thirty mothers, belonging to the less favoured class of society, attending a Sabbath School, is of itself a token of much good. That Ragged School teachers should direct their attention to the outcast and neglected children was to be expected, but that they should attempt to qualify parents for discharging their duties, that they should seek to awaken them to a sense of their obligations, in short, that they should not only watch the evil, but deal with the root of it, was something we were not prepared for. When we reflect on the matter, however, it appears evident that this is the proper course to pursue in our efforts to benefit the children, for the parents being the source of the evils we deplore, we should seek to bring them back to a sense of their duty and obligations to God.
We were also pleased to find that the teachers were as punctual in attending to the time for closing as they were at opening the school. We know some friends who study much exactness as to the time when the business of the school should commence, but who are not so careful as to the hour of dismissing. Now we think the one is as important as the other. A sense of confinement creeps over the youth when he is detained beyond the usual time, which tends much to destroy the good done by previous instruction. The mere fact of the teachers having something to communicate which they conceive to be of importance, is no reason why the children should be detained longer than they had previously counted upon.
There is already quite
sufficient enmity in the mind of the child to the truth, at least to warrant caution on our part as to the time we occupy in our religious services. As it is only by slow gradations that the human body expands to its full proportions, so the teacher should rest satisfied with a similar rate of advancement in the minds of his pupils. It is of more importance that one or two facts or duties be strongly impressed on their minds, than by presenting more they all should be forgotten.
We think it would be of great moment were those engaged in the management of such schools to spend some time in seeing how similar schools are conducted. Were superintendents especially to do this before they enter on their duties, they would, in all likelihood, be better able to understand what they are. Many evenings have we spent where there were less than half of the scholars present in this school, and at least thirty teachers, and yet, from the commencement till the close, the whole was confusion, and the reason was, that the superintendent knew not how to rule; so to speak, he was not what we heard a boy call the superintendent of the school now under notice,
an old soldier." Šo indispensable do we reckon this qualification to be for a superintendent, that we would dissuade any person from entering on the office who did not to a considerable extent possess it. Such a man may find scope for his talents and zeal in some other department of scholastic work, but if he attempt to discharge the duties of an office for which his physical and mental constitution have not fitted him, he will not only injure the scholars, but perplex and dispirit the colleagues with whom he is associated. Instead of being what he might have been had he continued to act merely in the capacity of teacher, a zealous fellow-labourer, he will prove a hindrance to the prosperity of the school, and the source of much anxiety and mortification to his fellow-teachers. Specially is it their duty, when electing such an office-bearer, to see that he possesses the requisite qualifications—that he be a man of much hope, solid reflections, and perseverance. It is of immense moment that the superintendent be the last man who will fret because success did not accord with his expectations, or be annoyed because of disappointmentthat he always hopes for the best whilst prepared for the worst—that whatever difficulties may threaten to destroy the usefulness of the school, he neither abandons it nor grows faint-hearted, but be prepared to put into action something by which they may be overcome. Were teachers but to act prudently in this matter, we hesitate not to say, that they would have less cause to complain of the noise which generally exists in their schools. There are several things connected with this school which, had our space permitted, we would gladly have noticed, such as the teachers' monthly prayer meeting and quarterly conference. These we were told were well attended, and helped much to keep alive in their minds the great purpose and importance of the work in which they were engaged.
SHOE-BLACK SOCIETY. In pursuance of an advertisement, a meeting of this newly formed Society took place on Wednesday, January 22nd, at the Field Lane School. Amongst those present were Captain Trotter, Mr. Macgregor, Mr. Snape, Mr. Fowler, Mr. Reilly, W. J. Maxwell, Esq., Mr. Anderson, Mr. Mountstephen, Mr. Oliphant, Mr. Tawell, Dr. Chapman, Captain H. Trotter, Captain Dyer, Mr. V. Bridges, Mr. P. Locke, Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Silver, and many other gentlemen, as well as several ladies. Captain Trotter was called to the chair. The meeting having been opened with prayer, the chairman invited Mr. Macgregor to explain the objects of the Society.
Mr. Macgregor said that the Society had originated in the ideas suggested to himself and two other friends, by the observations of Dr. Smith at the meeting of delegates held two months ago, and was therefore, to use Lord Ashley's expression, “ born at the delegates' meeting."
Street shoe-blacks had already been tried in London, but unsuccessfully, because the habits of Englishmen rendered them unnecessary; and it was only in consequence of
FAREWELL MEETING OF EMIGRANTS.
the influx of foreigners expected in London, that this new trade could hope for success. A lithograph circular was shown, with a sketch of the proposed "shoe-black” upon it, and copies of this hung up in the rooms of friends, etc., had already induced many contributions. An offer of £20 worth of blacking had been made on certain conditions. Brushes had also been contributed, and the materials for the uniform of the shoeblack were to be supplied at cost price. A short notice of the Society was read from the Morning Chronicle, in which the boys were styled the “polishing brigade ;” and one of them was now brought forward, dressed in red, with black apron and armlets, and excited considerable interest when he proceeded to brush a gentleman's boots, making use of the stand and other materials produced at the meeting. The Commissioners of Police had kindly given their sanction to the scheme, and the stations for shoe-blacks would be chosen with their approval.
Mr. Macgregor then appealed to the ladies interested in Ragged Schools to assist the shoe-black with their needles, and the suggestion was immediately complied with, by an offer to make up several dozen of the red woollen jerseys and other articles composing the uniform of the brigade.” Amongst the claims for support of this Society, Mr. Macgregor mentioned that when once established it would undoubtedly support itself; that the boys were to be under constant surveillance, having a central depôt and a paid inspector; that the Ragged Schools would be thus brought prominently before the inhabitants of London, strangers from the country and foreign visitors ; and that a wholesome emulation would be produced amongst the elder boys of the schools, and their employment as shoe-blacks would give an excellent opportunity of judging of their character and fitness for more permanent situations. Mr. Macgregor then proposed that the first ten gentlemen above-named should be appointed a Committee, with power to add to their number, and that Mr. Snape, ii, Serle Street, Lincoln's Inn, should be the Secretary. This Resolution was seconded and carried.
Mr. Snape then stated that funds sufficient to start the Society had already been received, and invited contributions of money, shoe-brushes, and clothes-brushes, old or new—as well as left-off garments for the boys. He mentioned also several points of detail in the proposed plans of management upon which advice was desired, but which could be determined only after anxious consideration by the Committee.
Mr. P. Locke gave a collecting-box to the Society, the work of Ragged School boys in Scotland. After some observations from Messrs. Reilly, Mountstephen, and Anderson, the Chairman said that he was glad to see the prayerful Christian spirit in which the plan had been commenced, and he looked forward with sanguine hopes of its success; feeling sure that God would bless what was intended to promote the spiritual as well as the temporal welfare of his creatures. The meeting, in which every person seemed to agree as to the feasibility and desirable objects of the Society, after singing the doxology, adjourned to February 19th, much pleased with the proceedings of the evening.
FAREWELL MEETING OF EMIGRANTS. THERE are few in this changing world who know not the meaning of that strange, lingering word, Farewell! Scarcely another word in the English language has emerged more frequently from the deep well-springs of pure affection, or been oftener wrung from quivering and unwilling lips, followed by the most heartfelt prayer they ever uttered. You may learn its meaning as it sighs over the dying pillow, when the only glimmering ray of hope has fled, and the hand of death is severing that invisible cord that bound loving hearts together. You may read it any day at the London Docks, in the mournful looks of that family group, who could not utter the word at home, but have travelled many miles to breathe it after the youthful emigrant, in more congenial circumstances--echoing it in sighs and waving handkerchiefs, until the mother's straining eye closes at last on the onward vessel that bears him out of sight. These farewells are borne from the homesteads and harbours of our land upon every breeze; and many of the poor ragged boys have had theirs too. The poor and almost orphan child, who stood at the dying couch of his only parent, had reason to know the living language of that sad word, for to him it had a manifold meaning. He bade farewell to his protector and only friend, and also to happiness and home. It proved the gateway to a sea of degradation and misery through which he had to pass -the commencement of a dreadful and downward career, intercepted only by the Ragged Sehool, where he met with new and faithful friends, whose kindness kindled up new