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AT the last meeting of the General Committee of the National Society for the Education of the Poor, grants were made for the erection, extension, or fitting-up of schoolrooms namely, to Stand, Manchester; Aldridge, Somerset; Kidlington, Oxford; Great Bookham, Surrey; Burnley, Lancashire; Carmarthen, N. W.; and Honiton, Devon. Several conditional grants, previously made, were confirmed. The following schools were received into union with the Society: Withersfield, Suffolk; Keighley, York; Betchworth Castle, near Dorking; Peckham, girls' school; Aldridge, Somerset, girls' school; St. Matthew's District, Manchester; Kidlington, Oxford; Huddersfield, York; Stand, in Manchester; Great Bookham, Surrey; Ringley, Cheshire; Lampeter Pont Stephen, Cardigan; Horsley, Derby, Calmstock, Devon, Lanvreehva, Monmouth; Honiton, Devon.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells, in an interesting discourse, just published, strongly advocates the cause of education, especially as conducted by the National Society. We gladly transcribe the following
"In proceeding to survey the condition of modern Europe, we are immediately struck with the rapid progress that has been made in civilization and power, by the subjects of the great northern potentate. This effect may principally be attributed to the anxiety and care displayed by the late sovereigns of Russia, in the institution of schools, and the improvement of youth, throughout the whole of their extended dominions."
"It was observed by the benevolent Howard, in his visitation of gaols, that there were few crimes committed in Switzerland, and of course but few prisoners. And he accounts for the fact by stating, that uncommon pains were taken by the inhabitants of that country, in affording to their children a religious education. It is upon record also, that, amongst a large society of Lutherans, who were equally attentive to the instruction of their youth, 'not one of the whole number underwent the ignominy of a legal punishment of any kind, in the course of seventeen years.' Believe me, the same effect will always follow, where the same means are adopted. If we wish to empty our own gaols, we must fix early and deep impressions on the ductile minds of youth. We must ingraft on their hearts the knowledge of God, and
we may then hope for good fruit in due
"In adverting, however, to the blessed effects which education has produced among the nations of Europe, we cannot, advantages which it has so abundantly we ought not, to overlook the inestimable conferred on the inhabitants of these favoured isles. Wherever we cast our eyes around us, whether we behold our military and naval establishments, whether we survey our juridical and religious institutions, or whether, lastly, we view the many home comforts enjoyed by the great the British nation may fairly compete with, body of the people; in all these respects, if not claim a superiority over, every other empire on the face of the globe. Now, to what circumstances can this state of elevation fairly be attributed? To what, but to that spread of intelligence, that good sense, and above all that good feeling, which are so generally diffused over the mass of the British population. The many are enlightened, and are taught their duty both to God and man. They know the blessings they enjoy. They are willing to make any sacrifices in order to preserve
"The same truth may also forcibly be brought home to us, by a comparison of the different portions of our empire. In no part of the united kingdom has so great an attention been shewn to the general education of the people, as in the northern districts. In Scotland, by legislative enactments of old, a school-master, with a school-room, a stipend, house, and garden, have been assigned to every parish. And the manners of the people correspond with the tuition they receive. Civil commotions, deeds of violence, and bloodshed, seldom, if ever, disgrace the peaceful inhabitants of Scotia. And, to no other cause, that we know, except to the cultivated intellect, and improved heart of the people, arising out of education, can this superiority, with justice, be attributed.
The same observation may be applied, and with equal truth, to the northern and southern divisions of our sister isle. It is well known and acknowledged, that the northern part of Ireland is more civilized, more tranquil, and, by consequence, more flourishing than its southern neighbour. Here, should it again be asked, to what circumstances can this striking difference be ascribed, we should reply, that it is to be accounted for from the different degree in which the poorer classes are educated in the two districts, and from this cause alone. According to calculations which have been made, the number of children receiving education is greater in
the northern than in the southern division of Ireland, and that in a very large proportion." The Bishop suggests various useful and benevolent measures for the improvement of National Schools. We copy with pleasure the following passages.
"Suffer me then to remind you, that the thing next in importance to a deep sense of religion, is the habit of industry, and a knowledge of some means of practicable useful employment. The one should, if possible, be taught with, and accompany the other. Without religion, man is little better than the beast that perisheth; with out the ability of pursuing some trade, or occupation, he may be turned out into the world, a bane and a burthen to all around him."
Every officiating minister is required by the canons of our church to catechize and examine the children of his parish: he is remunerated also by the legislature, for watching over and improving the morals of the people; and, what is beyond all earthly considerations, he is commanded by the great Shepherd of souls to feed his flock. Surely then it is the duty of the clergy to superintend and direct their own parochial schools. Thus, from their local knowledge, each imperfection, as it arose, might be removed, and national education would be rendered productive of unmixed national good.
"A Saturday afternoon, devoted to & viva voce inquiry into the progress made by the children in religious knowledge, would be a truly Christian employment of that time. It might duly prepare the scholars for the approaching Sabbath. It would enable the minister to ascertain, whether the children really comprehended what they were taught; or whether they merely learnt and answered by rote, without being made, either wiser, or better. Thus might the Christian minister lead the youth of his parish from the school-room to the church, and enable them, under the Divine blessing, to pass through the grave to those mansions which are not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
"We must allow, and we do so with regret, that crimes, and particularly juvenile delinquencies, have increased, of late, to a very alarming degree.” .The cause may justly, as we think, be accounted for, by the large increase of our population; and, partly, by those difficulties and bereavements to which our manufacturers have been of late exposed. But be the amount of crime, and the causes of it, what they may, still the fact undeniably holds out to us a most impressive admonition and warning. It calls upon us, by every motive which ought to influence the heart of man, to afford education to the young-to ground that education on a knowledge of the word of God-and to give a proper impulse to that important
engine, the direction of which is yet in our hands.
"We allow, that the most secure, and the most effective method of affording instruction to youth, is by domestic educa tion. No other mode can fully supply the loss of paternal authority, and maternal affection. But the poor are, of necessity, engaged in manual occupations; and must by daily labour earn their daily bread. Surely then it is a Christian duty, incumbent upon all, to do that for the children of the poor which the poor are unable to do of themselves; to take care that their offspring learn, that there is a God, and will be an hereafter."
CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY, The Committee have communicated to the friends of the Society, the following statement, relative to its funds.
At the termination of the first half of the current year, the income of the Society had fallen short, by a very considerable sum, of the corresponding half of the preceding year, Though new Associations have been formed, the returns from them have not been of such an amount as to supply the deficiencies of the old Associations. Society nearly expends from year to year its whole income; and as its exertions are enlarged, there will be an increasing expenditure in each mission. The funded property of the Society is at present considerably less than the amount of halfa-year's expenditure. If the deficiency in the income of the Society is not retrieved, some of those plans which God has hitherto blessed must be abandoned; and it would become necessary to reduce within much narrower limits, if not altogether to withdraw, some of those missions, the extension of which the state of the world loudly and powerfully claims from British Christians.
Though various concurrent causes have probably contributed to this deficiency, the Committee state their conviction, that one principal cause has been their incompetency to meet the wishes of the Associa tions that more persons might visit them at their anniversaries, and for a longer period of time. Instead of the arrangement by which it was provided that four visitors of Associations should be appointed in the place of a third secretary, it is intended to appoint two official visitors of Associations, who shall be devoted to the service of the Society. The Committee cherish the hope that other clergymen will not fail gratuitously to render them that aid in visiting Associations which will still be absolutely requisite, and which has been one principal
means of raising the missionary spirit throughout the country, and of gathering together the funds of former years.
Never had the society more ample fields of labour open before them, and more general encouragement to proceed. And never have its claims been publicly made known, without producing an increase to its resources. The Committee therefore address their appeal to the whole body of the Society's supporters, with the utmost confidence that the case needs only to be known, in order to produce active and zealous exertions. There are yet many large towns and parishes in which little or nothing has been done in support of the Society; and if its various friends would undertake to ascertain what openings there are in their respective neighbourhoods, and in what places it is probable that Associations might be formed, and at the same time endeavour to revive those which are languishing, there can be little doubt, from past experience, but that such efforts would tend to a large increase in the resources of the Society.
IRISH SOCIETY OF DUBLIN. We hail with joy every succeeding indication of the diminishing sway of the corrupt Church of Rome over its votaries. The number of persons in Ireland who have renounced the errors of Popery is very large; but we augur less from individual instances of conversion, though now so numerous, than from the circumstance that scriptural education is widely on the increase; that the Scriptures themselves are extensively in circulation; and that the people at large, as these conversions powerfully indicate, are beginning to assert their right to read and think for themselves. Our readers will not have forgotten the memorable resolutions of 490 Roman-Catholic teachers and scholars connected with the Irish Society, asserting the right and benefit of reading the Scriptures. Another general meeting of the Irish masters, connected with the same Society, has recently been held, at which 125 masters were present, when the following resolutions were passed:
"It is now nearly five years since the Irish Society established its first schools in the Kingscourt district: during that period some of us have been connected with the institution; many of us have jealously and minutely observed its operations; and, from our practical knowledge of its beneficent effects, are now unanimously of opinion that it is one among
the many education establishments of Ireland, for which the Irish peasantry have reason ever to be grateful; by it the sacred Scriptures, in our native language, have been supplied-in the most destitute parts of the country, Irish schools planted; and, in those schools, not merely the young, but the middle-aged and the old, have been taught to read, in their own language, of the wonderful works of God.
"We do not consider the Irish a proselyting society-nothing connected either with its nature, laws, or operations warrants the charge of proselytism-during the period of our connection with that so ciety, no Protestant connected with the institution has ever interfered with our church or religious opinions-from our teachers being Roman Catholics and our inspectors Roman Catholics, the society cannot reasonably be termed a proselyting, society; unless it be admitted that scriptural knowledge conduces to proselytism; a conclusion which, we presume, our pastors will not readily admit; for if the Scriptures be the word of God, and the Roman-Catholic Church be founded on that word, the reading of the Scriptures must rather tend to attach us to than draw us from that church.
"Ever since our connexion with the Irish Society, we have been most anxiously endeavouring to obtain scriptural knowledge; also to ascertain whether or not by the reading of the Scriptures we violate the ancient laws or councils of the churchwe have, connected with the district, Irish teachers of intelligence and understanding, men classically educated, who have recourse to church history, are intimately acquainted with the history of the church, and can read the writings of the fathers in their original language-the result of their investigation and inquiry has been, that, instead of the reading of the Scriptures being forbidden, it is most strenuously enjoined by fathers, popes, and councils of the Roman-Catholic Church.
"For the benefit of those who are ignorant, and may not have access to books, the following authorities, out of many, for the right of the laity to read the Scriptures, are printed and circulated:
"First century-St. Clemens, called Romanus, says, 'Look diligently into the Scriptures, the true oracles of the Holy Spirit.' (Ad Corinth. i. 5.)
"Third century-Origen: In the two Testaments every word that appertaineth unto God may be found out and discussed; and all knowledge of things out of them may be understood; but if any thing do
remain, which the holy Scriptures do not determine,no other kind of Scripture ought to be received.' (In Levit. Hom. V.) "Fourth century- Believe all things that are written: the things that are not written, neither think, upon nor inquire after. (Answer by Euseb. Pamphyli, in the name of 318 fathers at the first Council of Nice; A. D. 325.)
"Sixth century-Pope St. Gregory the Great: What is the sacred Scripture but an epistle of the omnipotent God to his creatures? The Governor of heaven, the Lord of men and angels, hath sent you letters affecting your life; and yet you neglect to read anxiously those epistles! I beseech you, therefore, study and meditate daily on the words of your Creator,' (Epist. Lib. iv. Indict. 12. Ep. 31. Ed. Par. 1705.)
"Eleventh century-Theophylact: 'Say not the Bible is for clergymen only; it is designed for every Christian.'
"We most heartily accord with and unanimously adopt the sentiments, contained in a resolution passed at a meeting of our fellow-Catholics in the chapel of St. Nicholas, in Galway, on the 19th day of August last That freedom of conscience is the natural and inherent right of all mankind; and is, in its nature, incapable of being surrendered without a crime; or taken away by force, without oppression.' On the above self-evident principles, we do consider, that, as our inherent right, we should enjoy freedom of conscience in religious matters; and that any attempt, either to wrest the Scriptures from us, or to deprive us of religious rites for reading them, is not only criminal and oppressive, but equally a violation of our rights as human beings, and of our privilege as Roman Catholics. On the above authorities of fathers, councils, and popes, we are humbly of opinion, that our right, even as Roman Catholics, to read the Scriptures, is incontrovertibly established. When the Scriptures are in Greek, Latin, French, Italian, &c. there is no just cause why they should not also be in Irish-and since the Lord Jesus Christ has said search the Scriptures,' no creature or assemblage of creatures has a right to say search them not.'"
We shall give some account in another Number of the Society's proceedings, from their last Report and other documents.
The Society for providing free Daily and Sunday Instruction for the poor of New
foundland, have occupied, as our readers are aware, several important stations in the colony-namely, St. John's, with Quidi Vidi, Petty Harbour, Harbour Grace, Carbonnierre, Trinity, and Bonavista: at which stations twelve teachers are employed, who have given instruction to at least 2000 scholars. The conductors state that they have met with great encouragement; and that the people acknowledge the value of the services of the Society, by cheerfully contributing what they can towards the support and erection of the schools. A desire for obtaining instruction has been strongly excited in the colony; and many thousands of persons are demanding this boon at the hands of the Society, who cannot impart it for want of sufficient funds. From St. John's to Bonavista, the whole line of coast is deeply indented with numerous bays, inhabited by isolated portions of the population of the island, which averages 100,000. In Conception Bay alone, the population is esti mated at 19,000. The communication between the inhabitants of these separate districts is almost exclusively by water: so that the children are stationary; and unless instruction is carried to their doors, they must remain destitute of its blessings. Under these circumstances, twenty schools would afford but a scanty provision. To erect and support these, the Newfoundland School Society looks with confidence to the friends of Christian education in the mother country; and they press their claim the more urgently, as their funds are at present totally inadequate to the demands upon their Christian benevolence.
Subscriptions are received by Messrs. Whitmore, bankers, 24 Lombard-street; Messrs. Hatchard and Son, Piccadilly ; and at the Society's Office, 13 Salisburysquare, Fleet-street.
COMMITTEE FOR IMPROVEMENT OF THE GYPSIES. A Committee has been formed at Southampton for the general improvement of the condition of the Gypsies. The Committee state, that a deep feeling of interest has been excited, in the minds of some benevolent persons in that town, in behalf of this long-neglected, ignorant, and immoral people; and various correspondents have at different times addressed us on the subject from other parts of the kingdom. The committee have issued the following que ries, to which they request the replies of persons conversant with the subject:
1. What has been done, within your knowledge, for the moral, religious, and
general improvement of the Gypsies in
2. In the case of a failure in any plan
3. What do you recommend, from your own experience, as the best means to adopt for the religious instruction and general improvement of the Gypsies, bearing in mind their wandering habits?
4. Could you refer the Committee to any persons who may have it in their power to afford them information on the subject in question?
The correspondents who have addressed us on the subject, do not appear to be aware that numerous papers have appeared in our volumes, directed to promote their benevolent object. See Christian Observer for 1808, pp. 91, 496, 712; for 1809, pp. 286, 767; for 1810, pp. 82, 554; for 1815. pp. 23, 141, 590; and 1821, p. 159.
INFANT SCHOOL SOCIETY. We extract from the Report read at the last annual meeting of this society, the following statements. It would be highly beneficial to the public if this society were more widely known, and more largely supplied with funds to prosecute its truly interesting and important plans of enlightened benevolence.
"We are far from denying," say the conductors, "that much may be effected in the way of moral reformation, even with an adult population, which has been left to grow up in ignorance and vice. Surely, however, it can never be the true wisdom of the Christian philanthropist to wait the maturity of ignorance and vice before he begins his conflict with them, or to suffer these inveterate enemies of public peace and private happiness to take root, and to gather strength from time and habit, before he sets himself to counteract their influence. Ought he not rather to meet, and combat them in their first approaches; and to prevent their gaining possession of the mind, rather than trust to the uncertain possibility of their future expulsion? Our chief hope of moral improvement, for our own country and the world at large, depends, under the Divine blessing, on the early Christian training of the rising gene ration. We shall be told, indeed, that this is a prevailing sentiment; and that its general prevalence is fully attested by the multitude of both Sunday and weekday schools which cover the land; and by the many hundreds of thousands of our youth who attend them. We admit the CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 311.
fact, and rejoice in it; but still, our dayschools and our Sunday-schools leave a most important period of the life of man wholly unprovided for: They seldom open their doors to children who have not attained the age of seven years; a period young, indeed, for fulfilling any of the useful purposes of life, but not too young to have imbibed much which may mar their capacities for future usefulness: even before that early period, habits of evil may be so far formed as greatly to counteract the influence of the soundest instruction, and the best conducted discipline.
Contemplate, for example, the condition of the children of the poor in the courts and alleys of this vast metropolis; see them immersed in filth and wretchedness, tied down to a chair through their rickety infancy, or lulled to lethargy with deleterious drugs, or ardent spirits; see them dragged about by an elder sister, herself needing maternal care, whilst both their parents are toiling for the bread which is to feed them; and then turned loose, as soon as they can run about, to join in the streets their companions in squalidness and rags, from whom they learn to lisp oaths with their first accents, and by whom they are soon initiated in falsehood, imposture, and crime. Thus do these hapless infants rise to youth and manhood, surrounded by every incitement to evil, without check or counsel, without the lessons of Christian instruction, or the softening influence of Christian sympathy, until they ripen, in process of time, into the maturity of wickedness; a burden to themselves, a disgrace to their families, and a pest to society.
"Now, it is from this state of debasement, and from these wretched results of such a state, that infant schools are intended to rescue our population. their advantages it is not our present purpose to specify: this would be only to repeat what has been said on former occasions. But this much we may remark, in passing, that infant schools possess this advantage, that while they shield the tenderest years of the young from the contamination of vicious example, and from the lessons of profaneness and pollution to be learnt in our streets, substitute the elements of useful, and, above all, of Scriptural knowledge; while they do this, they interfere with no domestic tie, and violate no recognized principle of sound economic policy."
"Being deeply impressed with the advantages of the Infant-School system, the 4 Y