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Charlestown. From ladies in Rev. Mr. Budington's church, per Mrs Ste-
Chelsea, Vt.-Independence Offering, from the Sabbath school in Rev. B.
East Bridgwater.-From the Ladies Association in Rev. B. Sanford's Soc., 10 00
East Douglas.-From Mrs. A. E. Rogerson's Infant Class,
Greenfield.--A Family Offering, per Wm. Elliot,
From a Sabbath school class, per Wm. Elliot,
Halifax. From the Sabbath school in Rev. Mr. Howland's Society,
Hopkinton.-From the Sabbath school in Rev. Mr. Webster's Society, 10 00
Hopkinton, N. H.–From the Ladies' Circle of Industry per Rev. Moses
Littleton.-From the Sabbath school in Rev. Mr. Bryant's Society,
Medford-From the Sab. school in Rev. Mr. Baker's Soc. per E. W. Fay, 2000
Manchester, N. H.-From the Sab. school in Rev. Mr. Dexter's Society, 10 00
Middleton.-From the Sabbath school,
[Continued on third page of cover.]
NO. 1....JANUARY, 1846..... VOL. III.
THE NEW YEAR.
“GRACE be unto you, and peace from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
With this apostolic and most Christian salutation, Paul commences all his epistles to the churches; and with the same wish, respecting our fellow-laborers, we commence another
of our labors in behalf of Sabbath schools. It is a wish which relates to the highest and most enduring good, a good, without which, all the blessings of earth would be worthless, with which the hardest labor, and the heaviest afflictions that fall to the lot of man, all would be a light yoke and an easy burden. He who enjoys the peace and favor of God, has all that he needs. He can look back upon the past, characterized as it may have been by errors and mistakes, and failings, and despondency, with the assurance that a free and gracious pardon has cancelled every sin, and that divine wisdom will bring good even out of the evil that has embittered his labor. He can look forward to the future, with a calm reliance upon a providence that watches with sleepless vigilance over the field of duty and of trial, that will not suffer a sparrow to fall to the ground unnecessarily, that will not permit a good seed to perish, nor a work done for
the glory of God, to fail of its due reward. And whatever time, in its rapid fight, and unlooked for changes, may bring, he can safely regard as designed for his personal benefit, and destined to work for his good. It was to Paul, exhausted by labor, and oppressed by suffering, that Christ said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” That all who watch for souls, who go forth from Sabbath to Sabbath, bearing precious seed, who are laboring together in the hope of the gospel, for the extension of God's kingdom in the world,-may enjoy the grace that was so necessary and so sufficient for the apostle, and the divine peace which is able to keep the mind and the heart through Jesus Christ, is our own continual and earnest desire, in behalf of all our patrons and co-laborers.
With respect to the present volume, we have not much to say. Grateful for the evidence which we have, that our past labors have been, in some measure, acceptable to our patrons, and that they have not been altogether fruitless, we commence the present year with fresh hope and zeal. We are aware of the serious responsibility that rests upon us.
The magnitude and importance of the Sabbath school cause seem to us greater than ever; and we shall spare no pains to render the present volume as worthy as possible of the cause of which it is an advocate. The arrangements that have been made with respect to the coming year, justify the expectation and the hope that our subscribers will feel increasing confidence in the Visiter as an auxiliary in their work. There has been, we believe, some diminution in the number of subscribers since the commencement of the Visiter; but this, as we have reason to believe, has been occasioned, not by any want of ability, or interest in the matter of which it has been composed, but merely by the great number of religious periodicals, all of which have more or less that is adapted to Sabbath schools, and which have tended to limit and restrict the circulation of each other as well as this. Our present patronage, however, is very respectable. And when we 1846.]
The New Year.
consider that the Congregational Visiter is the only periodical devoted to the Sabbath school cause, in our denomination in New England, that it is the offspring and the exponent of Congregationalism,—that it is perfectly free to speak for the interests of the denomination that supports it,—and that its place could not be supplied by any other Sabbath school publication now in existence, we are confident in the belief that all our lost ground will be regained, that our denomination, realizing their need of this instrumentality, will give it a more efficient support, and that a more extended circulation and greater usefulness await the Visiter.
We need not relate the principles upon which this periodical is conducted, nor give any new assurance to our readers that, to the extent of our ability, we will be faithful to their interests. The various classes for which the Visiter was designed, will not be neglected. Errors and abuses in Sabbath schools will be pointed out. Salutary reforms will be suggested. The best method of conducting schools will be sought for. All the light that wisdom and experience throw upon the great subject of education, will, as far as possible, find a place in our pages. We shall continue to persuade teachers to aim at excellence in all their efforts; to cherish a love of order, to prepare themselves thoroughly to give instruction, to realize more and more the value of the immortal souls committed for a while to their influence,-to consecrate all their powers of mind and heart to the great work in which they are engaged.
With these remarks, we commend the forthcoming volume of the Visiter to the friends of the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, praying that “he who ministereth seed to the sower, may both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work, being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”
THE SABBATH SCHOOL CONCERT.
THE SABBATH SCHOOL AS IT USED TO BE, AND NOW IS.
BY MRS. H. C. KNIGHT.
In the centre of our village, twenty-five years ago, stood a one story school-house, with two rooms, one for the boys and the other and smaller for the girls. There were holden schools during the week, and here were assembled at the ringing of the first bell, every Lord's day morning, children and teachers from the three congregations of our village. The superintendent, a tall, spare man, stood in the master's desk, in the double dignity of the superintendent of the Sabbath school and of the very master himself, who had wielded his authority with resistless power, during the days of the week. A chapter was read, and a hymn was sung, but no prayer was offered, unless one happened in, accustomed to lead public devotions. The superintendent was not a pious man and refused to engage in the exercise. The girls then passed to their own room, and arranged themselves in their respective classes. Recitations commenced: they were verses or chapters from the Bible. The length of the lesson was the standard of good scholarship, and she received a
ticket,” who recited most perfectly the greatest number of verses. Ah, do I not remember Betsey, the prodigy, the admiration, the envy of our class! Verse after verse, yea, chapter after chapter, did she recite in rapid succession, until the wonder grew,
" where and when she would end." Two, three, four chapters did she sometimes commit to memory, and " get through," and receive a ticket, for, of course, none of us dared to cope with her. The next came, feebly, fearfully reciting, attaching no distinct meaning to the verses and caring only to remember the words. The next and next, perhaps twisting her kerchief, or biting her linen mitts, in the fear of missing an important copulative.
By this time, the church bells rung and the school was