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and obtain others. Then the superintend-, aiding them in their toils. And it is not ent, or pastor, if he be present, addresses uncommon to find some of those who hold a few words to the whole school on the the very highest offices in the State or passage which they have learned, and en- General Government, spending a portion deavours to impress upon their minds the of their Sabbaths in giving instruction to importance of the truths which it teaches. a class of young persons in a SundayA hymn is sung, and a prayer offered up, school. I have known several governors and the school closes.
and their ladies, members of Congress, and If there be any children that cannot read, of the Legislatures of the states, judges, they are arranged in classes by themselves, eminent lawyers, mayors of cities, &c., and taught that important acquirement. who were, and who are at the present time, In many of the schools there is a consid- Sabbath-school teachers, and who have able number of such, and persons beyond felt it no degradation to be thus employed. the years of childhood, who have had no The present distinguished Chancellor of opportunities of learning to read before, the University of New-York was the susometimes make the attainment in the perintendent of a Sunday-school, even course of a few months at a Sunday-school. when he held the office of attorney-gen
In all the free states, and in such of the eral of his native State, and afterward, slaveholding ones as permit the slaves to when he was a senator in the Congress of be taught, there are Sunday-schools for the the United States; he is a Sabbath-school coloured people.* In these schools thou- teacher still, and delights to associate himsands and tens of thousands of them have self with the youngest teachers engaged learned to read the sacred Scriptures, and in that heavenly employment. have made much progress in divine knowl The Hon. Benjamin F. Butler was a edge.
Sabbath-school teacher, even while holdThe superintendents of the Sunday-ing the distinguished office of attorneyschools are sometimes elders and deacons general to the United States. The late of the churches; sometimes they are pi- Chief-justice Marshall, and the late Judge ous lawyers, and other intelligent gentle- Washington, both of the Supreme Court men; and in the vicinity of our colleges and of the United States, and the former of theological seminaries they are often stu- whom, it is admitted, was the most distindents of religious character, who may be guished jurist the country has ever proprosecuting their studies with a view to duced, were warm friends and patrons of the ministry. The teachers are, for the Sunday-schools. Both were, in their day, most part, young people of both sexes be- vice-presidents of the American Sabbathlonging to the churches and congregations. school Union. Within five years of his Wherever truly pious persons can be found death, I saw Chief-justice Marshall march willing to be thus employed, they are pre- through the city of Richmond, in Virginia, ferred ; but where this is not the case, se- where he resided, at the head of the Sunriously-disposed and moral persons, who day-schools on the occasion of a celebradesire to be engaged in this benevolent tion. And, finally, the late President Harwork, are taken, and almost invariably it rison, who in his youth had been a rough happens that, in teaching others, they them- and far from religious soldier, but towards selves become instructed out of the “ law the close of his life became interested in of God.”. It is to be regretted that most the things that concerned his everlasting of the ladies, after they become wives and peace, taught for eral years a class of mothers, have too many domestic cares young persons in an humble Sunday-school and duties to allow them to continue as on the banks of the Ohio ; and the Sabteachers in the Sabbath-school. Some, bath before he left his home for Washinghowever, there are who persevere in this ton, there to become his country's Chiet blessed employment, their zeal triumphing Magistrate — and, alas! within a month over every obstacle.
thereafter to die — he met, as usual, his As to gentlemen, many more of them Bible-class. may continue in the work after they have I have dwelt the longer on this subject become heads of families. Hence we oft- because of its great importance. A Saben find men of age and experience among bath-school is so simple an affair that it Sunday-school teachers, encouraging and may be begun wherever two or three per
sons are found disposed to undertake it. I There are Sunday-schools held by some pious have known even a single individual keep slaveholders in Georgia, South Carolina, and per- one himself, and spend several hours every haps some other states, in which portions of Scrip; Sabbath in instructing some dozen or twenture are often repeated to the assembled slaves, and remarked upon until they have committed much of ty poor youth, who came around him to them to memory. Prayer and singing are added to learn to read and understand the Word of these exercises. Such schools no laws can well God. I have known a lady, who, as her hinder, no more than they can the preaching of the health did not permit her to go to a Suncommenced within a few years, and are spreading in day-school, received a class of young ladies several places.
in her parlour every Sabbath for years,
Why, then, should not Sabbath-schools be attend; a practice feasible only where the established in every city, town, hamlet, and population is compact, and the flock within neighbourhood, where there are only two an easy distance of the place of meeting. or three persons with hearts to love the In country churches, these classes often kingdom of God, and hands to promote it? hold their meetings in church before the Were such a spirit to prevail in all lands regular service commences, or in the interprofessedly Christian, how soon would val between the morning and afternoon they show a very different aspect from services. This is convenient, but is apt to what they do at present ?
produce fatigue. It is impossible to state with accuracy I have known pastors in country churchthe present number of Sunday-schools in es who had no fewer than 500 persons in the United States. They were reckoned one Bible-class, if I can call it so, which seven years ago at 16,000; the teachers at met in the afternoon instead of the regular 130,000 or 140,000 ; and the scholars, com- service; and others, whose Bible-classes prising, it was supposed, 100,000 adults, at included the whole adult part of their 1,000,000! These numbers must be much flocks, and met previous to the forenoon greater now. Who can estimate the amount service, or in the interval between that and of good resulting from 1,000,000 of minds the afternoon service. being brought into contact every Sabbath In conducting these classes, the common with the word of Him who hath said that method is to go through some particular His “word shall not return unto him void ?" book of the sacred volume in course, and Thousands and tens of thousands, both some system of Bible questions is generalteachers and scholars, are known to have ly pursued. Upon this plan, all who have become enlightened and saved, by means of time and inclination for the task, prepare the lessons given and received at Sunday- themselves, by reading and study, for anschools. But a whole volume would not swering the questions to be found in the suffice to unfold all the benefits conferred book of questions that is used.* But it is by this blessed institution, to which may not the practice of any well-informed pasbe emphatically applied the words of the tor to confine himself to the questions concelebrated Adam Smith, in speaking of tained in the book. These he employs as popular education in general, that it is he sees fit; by the questions he puts he the cheap defence of nations.”
assists in sustaining the attention of the people; and he takes occasion to give a great amount of scriptural instruction.
To conduct a Bible-class in a manner at HAPTER XV.
once interesting and profitable requires no little preparation ; and, when well done,
few methods of instruction are more edifyAkin to Sunday-schools are Bible-class- ing, either to the people or to the minister es. Indeed, the former, conducted as at himself. The divine blessing has rested present in America, are little more than an most remarkably upon it. Nor could we assemblage of the latter.
expect that it should be otherwise. What What are commonly called Bible-classes more likely to secure the divine benediction are composed of a comparatively large than to bring the mind to the study of that number of persons, all taught by the pastor which God himself hath spoken ? " The of the church, or some other individual entrance of thy words giveth light; it givwhom he engages to act for him. To pre-eth understanding to the simple.”
“ Sancside over a Bible-class of from twenty to tify them by thy truth ; thy word is truth." some hundreds of persons, the greater number, if not all, of whom are adults, and some of them, perhaps, remarkably intelli. gent and well informed, requires far higher
CHAPTER XVI. qualifications than simply to teach a small class in a Sunday-school.
These Bible-classes are generally con I must not omit, among the means which ducted by the pastors, and so highly are there is reason to believe that God has they valued as a means and occasion of greatly blessed to the advancing of his good, that few settled ministers have not kingdom in the United States, the Maternal one or more among their flocks. In some Societies-institutions that have not been cases, one for each sex is held once in the week—that for gentlemen in the evening, have written systems of Bible Questions, among
* Several excellent clergymen of the United States that for ladies during the day. They meet whom may be mentioned the Rev. Drs. M.Dow. according to circumstances, in the church, ell, Tyng, Bares, Professor Holdich, and the Rev. lecture-room, vestry-room, schoolroom, or Messrs. Covel, J. Longking, and Newcomb. The Bi. in some private house. The pastor some-school Union are good, as are, also, several of those
ble Questions published by the American Sunday. times devotes his Sabbath nights to a Bib- printed by the denominational Sunday-school socielical service, for the benefit of all who canties.
of many years' standing among us, but they ought to be, how different would it which have existed long enough to produce soon become from what we see it now! A much good.
praying, devoted, holy mother! What an These societies are composed of pious interesting being! Such was the mother mothers, who meet in parties, not incon- of Samuel, of Timothy, and of thousands veniently numerous, once in the week, besides, who have been eminently useful fortnight, or month, for the purpose of in the world. conversing on the subject of bringing up I have known Christian fathers who their children for the Lord, listening to the met once a week for years to pray togethreading of valuable remarks and hints on er for their children, and their meetings the best means of discharging this great have been eminently useful and happy. I duty, and mingling their prayers before the have seen another kind of meeting which throne of grace in behalf of themselves I wish were more common-a quarterly and their beloved offspring. These little prayer-meeting specially for parents and meetings prove very precious seasons to children. It was affecting to see parents, many an anxious, perplexed, and disheart- the unconverted as well as the converted, ened mother, by communicating grace, and bringing with them their children, dear to strength, and support, and light, for ena- them as lise itself, into the sanctuary on bling her to fulfil her fearfully responsible such occasions, that they might share in part. God has greatly blessed them. For the earnestly-sought blessing. the benefit of mothers, some excellent periodicals have been published in the United States during several years past. Among these let me mention"The Mother's
CHAPTER XVII. Magazine,” issued in New York, and re. published in London. It appears once a month, is neatly printed, and costs only a One of the most interesting developdollar a year. It has a very extensive cir- ments of the voluntary principle in promoculation, and furnishes much admirable mat. ting religion in the United States, is seen ter for reading at the Maternal Societies' in the Education Societies; institutions of meetings, as well as in the family circle. comparatively recent date, and having for Another valuable periodical is published at their object the granting of assistance to Utica, in the central part of the State of pious youths of promising talents but small New-York, and is read in several thousands means, in preparing for the ministry. of families. It is conducted by a talented One of the first of these was the Amerlady of the Baptist Church. A similar ican Education Society, formed at Boston journal has been commenced at Boston ; | in 1816. Hence it has been in existence while all our religious newspapers contain for twenty-eight years, and rarely has any many articles on the same subject. society been the instrument of more good.
On the other hand, several publications In all denominations of evangelical Chrisappear once a month, or once in two lians in the United States, there are to be months, for the benefit of fathers and of found among those classes of society whose entire families. One such is published in means are too limited to give their sons a the city of New York, and is entitled “The college education, young men of talent, to Christian Family Magazine, or Parents' whom God has been pleased to impart the and Children's Journal.” It is said to have knowledge of his grace, and in whose an extensive circulation. Other journals hearts he implants a strong desire to preach of like character, and having the same ob- the Gospel. Now, before the Education ject, are published in other parts of the Societies appeared upon the field, such country. Moreover, almost all the reli- youths used to find it very difficult, and gious newspapers, now very numerous, sometimes even impossible, to obtain such and some one or more of which are read an education as was required by the rules in almost every Christian family, contain of the church in whose ministry they wishmuch that bears upon the religious educa-ed to place themselves. Some, indeed, tion of children, and the whole economy might succeed by their own exertions ; by of a Christian household.
dint of industry and economy they might The subject is one of vast moment. lay up enough to enable them to comThe world has never yet seen the full results of the Christian education of children. * This society published from the year 1827 to Parents have much to learn in this respect, Quarterly
Register.” It was originated by the late
1843 a valuable periodical, entitled “ The American and need all the helps and appliances possi- Rev. Dr. Cornelius and the Rev. B. B. Edwards, the ble, to enable them rightly to discharge their secretaries of the society at the first-named epoch, important duties. Were all fathers and and continued by the latter gentleman to 1843, aided mothers in a nation such as they ought to for several years by the Rev. Dr. Cogswell, succesbe, how mighty would be the influence of sor of Dr. Cornelius; and afterward by the Rev. Mr.
Riddel, who has taken the place of Dr. Cogswell. the Gospel upon it! Were the fathers and Mr. Edwards is a professor in the theological semimothers in the Church of Christ such as nary at Andover.
mence a course of study at college. By | gagement, 1. To go through a full course interrupting their college studies occasion of collegiate and theological education in ally, in order to recruit their finances by some approved college and seminary; and, teaching a school, they might, after long 2. To refund the sums advanced to aid delays, be able to complete the requisite them, should the providence of God, in afcourse at last; and then, by similar efforts, ter life, give them the means of doing so. carry themselves through the required the Such are, in few words, its principles. ological course at a seminary. Others, A rigid supervision is maintained over more fortunate, might be so far assisted those who accept its patronage. And setby a church or some wealthy and benev- ting out in its admirable career with a few olent patron or friend.* But the greater young men, it has gone on, under the sanumber, in despair of success, were likely vour of God, diffusing its blessings far and to renounce all expectation of being able wide. It has rendered aid to young men to preach the Gospel, and to resign them- belonging to eight different Evangelical selves to the necessity of spending their Churches. At one period, some three or lives in the ordinary pursuits of business, four years ago, the number of persons not in making known the “unsearchable whom it was aiding exceeded 1100! Duriches” of Christ to their fellow-men. ring the year ending May 1st, 1843, the
These remarks, it will be perceived, ap- number aided was 468. These were purply to such youths only as conscientious- suing their education at institutions in difly cleave to those churches which require ferent parts of the country; some in acada college education, as preliminary to a emies and grammar-schools, some in coltheological one, in all aspirants to the sa- leges, and the rest in theological schools. cred ministry. This is the rule, except And the whole number of those who had in very extraordinary cases, with the whole been aided, up to that time, was 3482. of the Presbyterian churches, excepting The receipts for that year were 33,789 dolthe “ Cumberland Presbyterians ;" with lars, and the expenditure 29,290. The the Episcopalians, and with the Congre- amount refunded that year by beneficiaries gationalists. The Baptists and the Meth- who had completed their course of educaodists, as we have seen, are less strict, tion was 2157 dollars. The earnings of and are satisfied with a common English the young men under the patronage of the education, and a competent knowledge of society, chiefly from teaching schools dutheology. But even among these, great ring their vacations, have some years and laudable efforts are now put forth in or- amounted to no less a sum than 20,000 der to give a higher education to as many of dollars. * their candidates for the ministry as possi The sums granted by this society to ble; and it is on this account, as well as those who are admitted to its benefits vary for more general objects, that they have from forty-eight to seventy-five dollars a established so many colleges within the year, the latter sum being rarely exceedlast few years.
God is granting his rich | ed. Its funds have been liberally augblessing to their efforts in this great cause; mented by bequests from devoted Chrisof this every year furnishes cheering evi- tian friends who loved it during life, and dence.
remembered it in death. Its first presiTo meet the demands of the churches for dent gave it 1000 dollars during his lifea vastly-augmented number of ministers of time, and left it a legacy of 5000. Mr. the Gospel, and to help those young men Burr, whom we have already had occasion who desire to respond to this demand, the to speak of, also left it a handsome legacy. American Education Society was formed The late Dr. Porter, for many years a dison the broad basis of rendering its aid to all tinguished professor in the Theological pious young men, of suitable talents, who Seminary at Andover, though far from beappear to be called to preach Christ, and ing a man of much wealth, bequeathed to who belong to any of the evangelical de- lit 15,000 dollars. Many of its friends have nominations. The only conditions imposed given proof of large and enlightened views upon the recipients of its bounty are an en- by the patronage they have given it. It * Several of the colleges possess funds bequeathed able ministers of the Gospel in the course
has assisted a great number of most valuto them for the express purpose of educating poor and pious young men for the ministry. The Rev. of their education, and to these we have Dr. Green, in his historical notices of the College of to add no sewer than sixty of the missionNew Jersey, relates that, more than half a century aries supported in foreign lands by the since, a pious young man of the name of Leslie was American Board of Commissioners for educated at that institution for the ministry of the Gospel; but, fearing to assume the responsibility of Foreign Missions, one of the largest and that office, he devoted himself to teaching a school oldest foreign missionary societies in the of a high order, in which employment he was emi- United States. nently successful. At his death he bequeathed to Of late years, however, the number of the college the sum of 15,000 dollars, the interest of which was to be devoted to the education of poor young men assisted by this Society has young men for the ministry. This fund has already * This society has permanent funds to the amount educated a large number of excellent ministers. of 73,000 dollars.
greatly diminished; partly owing to the of the Reformed Dutch Church supported very difficult times through which the twenty-four last year. A Methodist Educountry has passed; partly because of cation Society has also been formed at higher requirements in the department of Boston. preliminary studies; and partly from most These statements will give the reader of the evangelical communions having now some idea of our Education Societies. education societies of their own. Thus Though of recent origin, they are exercithe “Old School” Presbyterians have a sing an immense influence in training up Board of Education under the direction of a more thoroughly-educated ministry. In their General Assembly, which prosecutes the absence of precise information, the its work most wisely and efficiently. It young men now receiving assistance from had 350 beneficiaries during the year end them may be moderately estimated at ing 1st May, 1843, and had assisted 1330 1600 in all, and of these at least 250 annuyoung men in all. Its receipts for that ally finish their studies, and enter on the year amounted to 30,000 dollars.*
work of preaching the Gospel. A number of devoted clergymen and laymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church, having met at Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, for the purpose of laying the
CHAPTER XVIII. foundation stone of an Episcopal church, were providentially led to talk of the im. portance of having a plan for aiding pious institutions, in their several gradations,
I HAVE spoken of the various literary but indigent youths, of suitable talents, in preparing for the ministry. The result through which our youth may pass in prewas the formation, in 1818, of the Protest- paring for the professional course with ant Episcopal Education Society. It has have noticed also the education societies
which they usually close their studies. I proved a great blessing to the church and for assisting poor but pious young men, of to the world. It may be said to have suitable capacity, in their preparations for originated the Episcopal theological school near Alexandria, in the District of Colum- of the theological schools, in which a very
the ministry. And I now come to speak bia; and nearly a tenth part of the clergy of the church to which it belongs have been large number of our candidates for the more or less assisted by it. A sixth part cred office.
ministry complete their studies for the saof the present clergy in Ohio, an eighth of those in Pennsylvania, a fifth of those in
Formerly the young men who sought to Maryland, and a large proportion of those
enter the ministry among the denominain Virginia, have been aided from its funds; their pulpits, a college and theological ed
tions which require, in those who occupy and it is now assisting a seventh of all the ucation I use the term in a technical students in the several theological schools of that church in the United States. I do
sense, and mean nothing invidious-were not know the precise number of its pres- immediately under some individual pas
compelled to study theology, more or less ent beneficiaries, but believe it exceeds eighty.
tor, and it was common for six or eight of There are also several Education Soci- them to place themselves under this, and eties among the Baptists, which have aid a few under that other, distinguished divine. ed a large number of young men. That They often resided in the house of their
spiritual teacher; sometimes they boarded
in families near his house ; they availed * The American churches have long been im- themselves of his library, and were directpressed with the importance of having a competent ed by him in their studies. and sufficiently numerous ministry. The friends of the American Education Society observe the last
Bút this was obviously a very imperfect Thursday of February yearly as a day of special method. Few pastors could afford time to prayer for colleges, academies, and other institutions do their pupils justice; fewer still possessof learning, that God may be pleased to pour out his ed such a range of learning as to fit them saving knowledge of his Gospel, and incline their for conducting others to the acquisitions, hearts to preach it. The General Assembly of the in various branches of knowledge, required "Old School” Presbyterian Church recommended in order to a competent preparation for the last year, to all the churches under their care, to ob ministry. serve the first Sabbath of November as a day of spe.
To the late Rev. Dr. John M. Mason, of cial prayer to the Lord of the harvest, “that he would send more labourers into his harvest.” They New-York, one of the most eminent divines recominended the subject also to the daily intercessions of Christians, in view of the vast demand for ring the eight years from 1831 to 1839 it had aided ministers of the Gospel.
279 young men in preparing for the ministry, and Dr. Hawks's “ History of the Episcopal Church supported 134 in 1810. It was mainly owing to its in Virginia," p. 261.
ctforts that the Baptist Theological Seminary at In particular, "The Northern Baptist Education Newton was founded in 1827. The latter society Society," and " The Baptist Education Society of was founded in 1817, and has maintained many stuNew-York.” The former of these was instituted in dents at the Hamilton Literary and Theological In. 1814, and has the seat of its operations in Boston. Du-stitution, founded in 1820.