IN UNION WITH THE NEW-YORK PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL
SUNDAY SCHOOL SOCIETY
In St. Paul's Chapel, on Wednesday, the 31st Day of December,
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New-York,
and Rector of Trinity Church.
OF THE BOARD OF MANAGERS OF THE
NEW-YORK PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL SUNDAY SCHOOL SOCIETY,
PRINTED AND SOLD BY T. AND J. SWORDS,
No. 160 Pearl-Street,
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.
Train up a child in the way in which he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Worship the Lord thy God, and serve him alone.
For God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but should have everlasting life.
Let us pray.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent, create and make in us new and contrite hearts; that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, send down upon us the healthful spirit of thy grace. Bless, we humbly beseech thee, the means which are used to bring up these children in thy fear and service. May they from the heart believe in thee, the Lord their God, and worship and serve thee, God the Father, who hath made them and all the world;--God the Son, who hath redeemed them and all mankind;--God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth them and all the people of God. Grant them the continual aids of thy grace, that they may renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh, and may keep thy holy will and commandments all the days of their life. Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things, graft in their hearts the love of thy name; increase in them true religion; nourish them with all goodness; and of thy great mercy keep them in the same, that so they may in the end obtain everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favour; and further us with thy continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, And the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
THE scene which is presented to us requires no efforts of mine to render it more impressive and interesting. A number of young children, and some of riper years, are gratuitously taught the elements of human learning, with a view to their instruction in the principles of religious knowledge. They are watched over with the most affectionate care, as to their deportment, their moral habits, and their spiritual interests. They are thus instructed and cherished in learning, piety, and morals, on that holy day which affords to many of them the only leisure and means for obtaining these invaluable benefits. They are brought into the courts of the temple, and taught to unite in its supplications and praises during those sacred hours which otherwise, by many of them, would be spent in the haunts of idleness or profligacy. They are thus exalted in their intellectual and spiritual character and condition by the gratuitous, the unremitting, and the tender services of superintendents and teachers, who devote, some the mature judgment of age, and others the ardent activity [5/6] of youth, to the laborious and difficult duties of instructing the ignorant, reclaiming the disorderly, and training in the knowledge and fear of God, in the principles of that holy faith which is the power of God unto salvation, the poor, the humble, and the destitute. This, Brethren, is the scene exhibiting those bright features of piety and benevolence, the interest and force of which need not to be increased by any embellishments of fancy, or any touches of passion.
It is a scene, indeed, which, while the benevolent feelings repose on it with delight, the understanding may test with the most scrutinizing eye, bringing every object and circumstance in it to the standard of calm and minute investigation.
SUNDAY SCHOOLS, constituted on the system adopted by the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL SOCIETY, in which the elements of learning are taught with a primary reference to the religious and moral improvement of the persons instructed, by the gratuitous services of superintendents and teachers, will be valued and supported in proportion as their beneficial effects are considered on the CHILDREN AND OTHERS INSTRUCTED; on the SUPERINTENDENTS AND TEACHERS WHO HAVE CHARGE OF THE SCHOOLS; on the CHURCH; and on SOCIETY at large.
I. The beneficial effects of Sunday Schools on the CHILDREN AND OTHERS INSTRUCTED IN THEM.
Without designing to arrange the several particulars under this head according to their relative [6/7] importance, I will present them to you as they occur.
1. An obvious advantage of Sunday Schools consists in their rescuing those instructed in them from that enormity, most criminal in itself, and baneful in its consequences--the profanation of the Lord's Day.
A profanation most criminal in itself--For, a day appropriated by the Almighty Creator to the acknowledgment and homage of his power, his goodness, and his sovereignty; consecrated especially to the praises of him who on its joyful morn cast the light of divine truth, and the beams of immortal glory, on the chambers of darkness and corruption, cannot be profaned but with the guilt of ingratitude, insensibility, and rebellion against the Being who claims this day for himself. A profanation most injurious in its consequences--For, leading to almost all the crimes by which God is dishonoured, and man injured and degraded, it aggravates the guilt of these crimes. The sanctity of this sacred day, so calculated to inspire the mind with awe; its holy services tending so powerfully to the improvement and the consolation of the heart, rank in the highest grade of enormity those crimes by which this sanctity is violated, and these services contemned. Hideous in their natural forms as are the vices of profaneness and drunkenness, of gaming and lewdness, they strike us with deeper horror when they stalk forth on the day hallowed to holiness and to God; or when, in the recesses of darkness, they celebrate their obscene orgies [7/8] during those hours in which, in the songs of the temple, is offered the tribute of gratitude to the Author of good, for all the blessings by which the present life is endeared to us, or the future rendered the source of consolation and of hope. This profanation of the Lord's Day it would be an error to ascribe to all of those who avail themselves of the means of religious instruction in Sunday Schools. But is it a trifling benefit of an institution, that it rescues even a small proportion of those under its charge from a crime, cherishing and aggravating every other; which stamps in this life, with the deepest guilt, the human character, and prepares the soul for the most awful horrors of the day of retribution!
2. But Sunday Schools tend not merely to preserve from profanation the day of sacred rest; they secure on the part of the children and those instructed in them, a reverential observance of it.
The exercises of these Schools, consisting of scripture lessons and catechetical instruction, are all of that sacred nature which is congenial with the holy character of the day, and are all calculated to inspire those devout sentiments which on this day should be cherished. The hours of public worship are passed by the scholars in the courts of the temple. You who have beheld them during these sacred hours; who have seen those--many of whom were once ignorant, thoughtless, disorderly--taught and excited by the indefatigable industry of their faithful teachers and kind instructresses, reverently unite in the worship of their [8/9] Maker and Redeemer; and, from hoary age to lisping infancy, respond with you the supplications and praises of the Liturgy; prostrate on their knees, imploring blessings for themselves and for their benefactors--Was not this a scene that excited your liveliest sensibility, and filled your hearts with holy pleasure? If no other advantages resulted from our Sunday Schools, could you doubt their value?
3. It is no inconsiderable benefit arising from these institutions that they promote habits of order, and of voluntary restraint.
Wherever discipline is exerted, restraining the levity of youth, and producing strict attention to the objects that are pursued, there, those habits of order are formed which are essential to success in every undertaking; which constitute the basis of the character of the good citizen; and, destitute of which, the Christian will totally fail in many of his duties, or imperfectly discharge them.
The discipline of Sunday Schools is that discipline which, when it can be carried into effect, is always most beneficial--the discipline of persuasion--the discipline which employs as instruments the ennobling sensibilities to commendation and to reproach, to honour and to shame. The approbation or the censure of their teachers--the distinction of honourable reward or the odium of merited disgrace--these are the incentives by which the children of the Sunday Schools are excited to habits of attention and of order. They are taught the invaluable lesson of voluntary restraint. They [9/10] acquire, in no inconsiderable degree, the inestimable habit which constitutes the only effectual security against temptation, self-government. The discipline of Sunday Schools cannot be compulsory. The superintendents and teachers cannot command the attendance of the pupils; and there are few parents who will persevere in enjoining this attendance in opposition to the repeated and continued aversion of their children. It must be principally their voluntary act. And thus they are led to lay a restraint upon those perverse inclinations which would prefer the idleness, or the levity, or the profligacy of a Sunday spent at home, or in the streets, to the industry, seriousness, and piety of one passed in the courts of the temple. The habit of restraining and governing corrupt nature is invaluable. It is the instrument, under the divine blessing, of holiness and virtue. The institutions are invaluable which tend to produce this habit.
4. This habit of restraint will be cherished principally by the impression made in these institutions on the minds of the children, of the importance and value of the various objects to which their attention is directed.
This conviction of the importance of these objects habitually operating is the principle that secures their attention. A compulsory would not be so likely as a voluntary attendance to impress on them a sense of the value of the advantages which they are to derive from the school. The purpose of forsaking the school can only be checked [10/11] by presenting to them a lively view of the benefits which they will forfeit; and by this impression is their attendance secured. Thus, by their own reflections, as well as by the observations and counsel of their teachers, will they be induced habitually to regard, as of the highest value, the lessons of instruction, and of religious and moral wisdom, which they derive in the school.
5. These institutions are also admirable schools of moral improvement.
The principal object of education is the formation of character, the improvement of temper and of conduct. For the accomplishment of this, great attention, as well as great kindness, zeal, and perseverance are necessary on the part of those who act as the moral instructors of the young. But where are these qualities so likely to be found as in those who, from compassion for the ignorant or the vicious, from the exalted motives of Christian benevolence, voluntarily assume the office of rescuing them from the darkness of ignorance, and from the deeper shades of moral depravity? In what method are these qualities so likely to be brought into beneficial operation as where the exercise of them, prompted by compassion and benevolence, is not extended to the large number which in common schools divide the attention of the teacher, but is confined to a small class, the objects of the sole and affectionate care of a gratuitous instructor? And even if these means of moral improvement did exist in an equal [11/12] degree in common schools, they are often either neglected by the subjects of Sunday School instruction, or not to be attained by them. The voice too of female persuasion is heard in these schools with a force which seldom fails of making a lasting impression. See that group of little ones surrounding their instructress. With affectionate solicitude and care she endeavours, by repeated and continued exhortations, to correct whatever is amiss in their temper and conduct; she chides and represses the froward and disorderly; she encourages and commends the modest and the good in language suited to their respective capacities, and by methods adapted to their various characters, she exhorts them to correct their evil dispositions, to relinquish every sinful way, and to practise every virtue which will recommend them to the favour of God and man. Surely these lessons will not be in vain--for, delivered in the accents of female kindness, and continued with perseverance and zeal, they are enforced on the minds of her pupils by the sentiments of gratitude and affection.
6. The tendency of Sunday Schools to cherish these dispositions is another important benefit attending them.
Such, under divine grace, is the renovating power of virtue, that the soul is in a degree improved in all its feelings whenever any amiable disposition is indulged. The heart that beats with the impulses of gratitude, and dilates with the emotions of affection, affords a soil the most propitious [12/13] to the successful cultivation of moral excellence. Excite in the young those feelings by which in affectionate gratitude they bless you for your care and kindness to them, and you accomplish not a little in the important work of their moral improvement. However insensible and ungrateful is corrupt nature, where is the Sunday teacher who, in the grateful affection of some one of his pupils, does not find a delightful reward of his labours, and an evidence that in the heart which is thus softened, may be sown the seeds of virtue with a prospect of the most abundant fruit?
7. Nor must I omit to mention as another benefit of Sunday Schools, the patronage which is thus often secured for the children when they enter upon the world.
The care and counsel so faithfully extended to them in the season of childhood, will, probably, in a degree, follow them in their progress through the succeeding stages of life. He who with so much solicitous care sought to enlighten the mind and to cultivate the temper of his youthful pupil, will surely be somewhat regardful of his destiny when mature age has fitted him for the duties, and exposed him to the temptations, of the world. And, perhaps, he who is struggling with the storms of life, or who has sunk a victim to its temptations, may recognise in the friend who patronises him, in the benefactor who relieves him, in the spiritual counsellor who restores him to virtue, the instructor whose lessons of wisdom he received, and [13/14] whose acts of kindness he enjoyed, in the Sunday School.
8. Lastly; under this head of my subject, the religious instruction which Sunday Schools impart, the pious principles and habits which, under the divine blessing, they are instrumental in inspiring and forming, constitute their distinguishing excellence.
Lighter than the dust of the balance are all the concerns of time, when weighed against those of eternity; and human knowledge, when not sanctified and directed by religion, becomes the principle of more enormous and extensive evil. The attainment of religious knowledge, then, as the principle of religious practice, should be the primary object with all persons; but with those of humble station, neither whose time nor occupations admit or require extensive intellectual acquisitions, religious instruction is the one thing needful. To this point tend all the business and labours of the Sunday School. Are its pupils taught to read? It is principally that they may become acquainted with their Bible and their Prayer Book--that they may imbibe the sacred truths of the one, and unite in the holy devotions of the other. Are they required to commit passages to memory? It is that their minds may be stored with those lessons of wisdom, and forms of devotion, in the Bible and the Prayer Book, which will make them wise unto salvation; and by qualifying them for the worship of the earthly, prepare them for joining the praises of the heavenly, sanctuary. Are catechetical lessons assigned them? [14/15] It is that they may be informed of their obligations and privileges as "the members of Christ, the children of God, and the heirs of heaven;" that they may be excited to believe in and to serve "God, the Father, who made them--God, the Son, who redeems them--God, the Holy Ghost, who sanctifies them;"--that they may be impressed with the requisitions of their Christian calling, the renunciation of "the devil, the world, and the flesh;" and, while they "thank their Heavenly Father that he hath called them to this state of salvation," excited to "pray unto him for his grace," that, "dying unto sin, and living unto righteousness," they may "continue in this state of salvation unto their lives end." Under the superintendence of those to whom, as the Ministers of Christ, appertains particularly the care of souls, it is the highest and interesting duty of the Sunday teacher to instruct the ignorant in that knowledge which makes wise unto salvation, and to bring the young and thoughtless in humble penitence and faith to the Saviour, that through him they may be justified, sanctified, and saved.
Rapidly as I have touched upon these interesting topics, the limits of this address compel me still more slightly to notice the benefits of Sunday Schools with respect to the Teachers, to the Church, and to Society at large.
II. With respect to the TEACHERS.
1. The duties of Sunday Schools inure the teachers to self-denial.
And in an evil world, where the passions of corrupt nature find so many excitements, and so many means of indulgence, self-denial is a virtue not more necessary to the spiritual health than to the temporal reputation and welfare of man. But the passions that are rampant in youth will be the tyrants of mature age. Self-denial, then, is the most useful lesson which youth can learn. For the most pious and benevolent purpose they, in no inconsiderable degree, practise this virtue, who forego ease and indulgence, and search for the subjects of ignorance and vice; and then engage in the laborious task of informing their uncultivated minds, and, perhaps, reforming their vicious and perverse tempers.
2. The teachers in Sunday Schools become early accustomed to useful and benevolent employment.
Theirs is the useful and benevolent office of instructing the ignorant, reclaiming the vicious, or confirming the amiable and pious dispositions of the youthful Christian. The powers of the mind, and the affections of the heart, thus early called into useful and benevolent exercise, become prepared for more extensive scenes of usefulness, and labours of benevolence, on the theatre of the world.
3. Affection, sympathy, and kindness are called into exercise by the duties of Sunday Schools.
The superintendents and teachers soon regard, with a degree of parental affection, those of whom they have assumed the charge--they learn to [16/17] sympathize with them in their lowly, and, perhaps, destitute condition--and they seek, by acts of kindness, to contribute to their comfort and happiness. How valuable are the institutions in which are nurtured these exalted virtues!
4. Sunday Schools improve the teachers in the knowledge of human nature.
They cannot, with any degree of success, discharge their duty, but by adapting their instructions and their discipline to the varying dispositions of their pupils. A knowledge of their characters must be obtained by close observation. And thus, while they may early obtain that knowledge so essential in the conduct of life--a knowledge of the principles of human nature, they are early accustomed to an exercise, than which none other more strengthens the mind, penetrating scrutiny into the human character.
5. The teachers may acquire in the exercise of Sunday Schools, that faculty of forming the tempers and improving the minds of the young, which, in their subsequent relations, may be of the greatest importance to them.
When, as parents, as guardians, as the professional instructors of their fellow men, they find the value of the art of moulding and directing the youthful temper and character, they will feel grateful to the institution in which this art was first exercised, and by which it was improved and strengthened.
6. It ought also to advance in our estimation these institutions, that they cherish, among all [17/18] concerned in them, the feelings of mutual kindness and affection.
A community of objects and of duties will lead necessarily to that co-operation of counsel and of labour, to that reciprocation of kind attentions, and civilities calculated, particularly where the common objects and duties are of the most pious and benevolent nature, to call into exercise those feelings of affection and kindness which elevate and improve the human heart, while they afford it some of its most exquisite pleasures.
7. And if the teachers in Sunday Schools are faithful in impressing upon those of whom they have the charge, the lessons of religious wisdom, and the duties and exercises of godliness, they will, in a greater or less degree, through the divine blessing, become improved in their own religious knowledge, and in their own pious sensibilities and habits.
To be constantly advancing their pupils in the knowledge of the great truths and duties of salvation, without making a corresponding progress in this knowledge, essential to their own perfection and happiness--to be inculcating on the ignorant, the thoughtless, or the vicious, a concern for the salvation of their souls; while they are negligent of the one thing needful--to be training these objects of their care in the faith, and fear, and service of God, in reverence of his word and ordinances, in gratitude and love to the Redeemer who died for them, in the practice of all the duties which they owe to themselves and to each other; [18/19] while they remain entire strangers to the power of religion in renovating the heart, and sanctifying the character and conduct--would display an indifference, an inattention, an insensibility, utterly incompatible with those benevolent tempers which prompted them to the lions and arduous work in which they are engaged. This work, indeed, consisting in conveying spiritual instruction, and impressing the principles and rules of faith and duty, is calculated, under the influence of divine grace, to be the instrument of saving their own souls, and the souls of those for whom they thus piously and assiduously labour.
8. In thus contributing to the temporal welfare, and to the eternal felicity of those of whom they have the charge, the superintendents and teachers of Sunday Schools perceive the most exalted effect of their labours.
To be instrumental in bestowing the blessings of knowledge and of piety on those who are in danger of perishing in ignorance and vice; in preparing the young and humble for the faithful discharge of their duties as men and Christians; and thus, under divine grace, in fitting them for the bliss of the kingdom of glory--is a work which elevates the superintendents and teachers of Sunday Schools among the ranks of those who have disinterestedly devoted their time and their talents to the good of mankind. It even makes them coworkers with him whose mission from the bosom of the Godhead was to instruct and save the souls of men, and who, to this work, consecrated the [19/20] painful labours of his life, and the bitter agonies of a death upon the cross.
III. In proceeding from the particular to the general effects of Sunday Schools, we are led first to contemplate their influence on the interests of that portion of the CHURCH to which we belong.
Religious instruction, and the formation of habits of piety, are the ultimate object of all the labours of Sunday Schools. For this purpose the pupils must be instructed in a formulary of Christian faith and duty, and accustomed to attend some particular mode of religious worship. As Churchmen, we are bound to employ the formulary prescribed by our Church; because she has enjoined it; and because it is the most judicious, simple, impressive, and affecting exhibition of the principles, the conditions, the means, the pledges, and the sanctions of the plan of salvation that any age has produced. The worship which we should call the children of our schools to attend would be of course the worship of the Church to which we belong; not solely because it merits and possesses the approbation of our judgments, and the affection of our hearts; but because there could be no responsible charge of the children if, during the hours of divine service, they were removed from their instructors to other places of worship; an arrangement also which would produce disorder and irregularity in the school. Those of us who are Ministers of this Church [20/21] also conceive that to this course we are urged by our obligations at our ordination; which, constituting us the spiritual guardians and instructors of all ranks among the flocks respectively committed to us, and particularly of the young and the ignorant, confines us to religious instruction, in conformity with the doctrines, the discipline, and the worship of the Church whose ministry we solemnly assumed. If, then, the religious instruction, and the religious worship of their Church, be those which Episcopalians are to extend to the children and others whom they educate, it would seem natural and expedient that they should associate among themselves.
It would seem singular that, where a particular system of religious instruction and a particular mode of religious worship are inculcated and observed, any agency or superintendence should be admitted which does not cordially prefer and adopt this system and mode of faith and worship. Since the religious instruction of the Sunday School of any particular congregation is most regularly, naturally, and effectually conveyed under the sole superintendence of the Minister, who is ultimately alone responsible, and of those of the same communion whom he may admit to be associated with him, what necessity can there be for any other superintendence? An admission, indeed, of an agency or superintendence of a different description would not only be unnecessary, but inexpedient. There might result either an indifference to the interesting and important [21/22] peculiarities of our own Church, or an interference subversive of that charity which this union designed to promote. These were the views that decided us in associating among ourselves for the purpose of Sunday School instruction, and in admitting into our schools no foreign agency, and in acknowledging no responsibility to any authority but that of our own Church. In pursuing this course, we strike into no new path. We act on the principles on which all our schools for the education of the poor have been conducted, and the wisdom of which has been sanctioned by long experience.
In this course we are fortified, by the practice and example of the venerable Church to which we trace our origin, who conducts on these principles the numerous schools supported by her bounty; and one of whose distinguished prelates, the Bishop of London, in a sermon preached before the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which principally supports these schools, thus vindicates the system: [* The Right Rev. Dr. Howley, who, in this elaborate and eloquent sermon, shows that the Gospel provides adequate remedies for the renovation of the corrupt nature of man, and that among the most powerful means of applying these remedies is religious education.] "We should carefully guard against the dangerous maxims too often recommended by the specious names of liberality, charity, and love of peace. Indifference to forms of faith is indifference to truth or falsehood." "From our ancestors we have inherited the profession of primitive and genuine Christianity; and in neglecting to secure its transmission, in unabated purity, [22/23] to after ages, we should be guilty of the most unprincipled injustice to our children, the most criminal disregard to the interest of posterity."
[* The same sentiments are ably advocated in a sermon preached, on a similar occasion, in 1815, by Charles Henry Hall, D. D. Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; from which the following are extracts:
"We believe that the Church to which we belong teaches the genuine doctrines of Christ and his blessed Apostles. The Gospel is open to every one, and every man can judge for himself, whether we are right or wrong. But so long as in our hearts and consciences we believe that we are right, it cannot be a matter of indifference, whether we educate our children in our own faith or not. If we do not do so, we suffer them, with our eyes open, to become the disciples of any false teacher, who may be more industrious, or more persuasive, than we are; we consign them knowingly to error; we desert our duty, and are criminal in the eyes of God: and let me ask, upon what principle it is that we are forbidden to teach, exclusively, the doctrines of the Church to which we belong? What justice is there in the charge of want of liberality and Christian charity, which is so wantonly bestowed upon us? If, indeed, we attempted to compel others to teach our creed, or if we refused them permission to teach their own, then there would be just and reasonable ground for complaint: that would be a tyranny not to be endured. But, when we invariably grant to others the indulgences which we ask ourselves, we do but exercise a right which every sect claims, and which we allow to every sect, however different from ourselves it may be in principle, and however hostile in practice.
"Let me again most earnestly repeat, that it is our sacred duty to implant in the minds of the children whom we undertake to educate, those truths which we believe ourselves, and which can alone secure them from the delusions with which they will hereafter be surrounded.--Never let it be forgotten, that our primary object is to give them religious instruction, and that instruction the religion of Jesus Christ, as taught by the Church of England; for our own sakes let this never be forgotten. Let not either the threats or the sarcasms of modern theorists intimidate or seduce us. We know our duty, and let us perform it. We have to guard from corruption, in our national faith, the pure word of God; to uphold our ancient institutions.--For the accomplishment of all these great and important objects, what better method can be devised than to teach our people to love and revere our national Church, to respect her ordinances, and regularly to frequent her decent and holy services."]
 In pursuing this course, which is thus recommended and sanctioned, temperately and prudently, in no way interfering with our brethren who in religious faith and worship differ from us, but, on the contrary, admiring and emulating their zeal, we cannot, we think, be accused of want of kindness, or of charity. On the contrary, we think we are entitled to their respect for endeavouring to advance, by the powerful instrumentality of education, the system of religious truth and worship which in our consciences we prefer--we think, we should not be entitled to their respect, if, as the price of any civilities, or any praise which they can bestow, we should seem to choose, where religious instruction is an object, an union with them in preference to an union with that Christian family of which we are members, to which we are bound by the strongest ties, and to whose interests we are devoted by the most solemn obligations. But, my Brethren of the Clergy and the Laity, in any result, whether of popularity or of odium, of success or of failure, we shall enjoy the consciousness of having done our duty--our duty to the Church which received either our early vows, or the subsequent preference of our mature judgments--and, through her--our duty, we conscientiously believe, to the great Christian family--to the interests of evangelical truth, order, and worship. And, having done our duty, our divine Master will not leave us without support or without reward.
[* The Sunday Schools of the congregations of the Protestant Episcopal [24/25] Church in the city of Philadelphia are conducted on the principles advocated in this address. They were organized previously to the organization of the Sunday Schools in union with the New-York Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society; and are united in one general Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society. The following extracts from a preface, and sermon, preached at the assembling of the Sunday Schools of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the city and liberties of Philadelphia, will show the sentiments of the venerable Bishop of that Church on this subject.
"Another reason of resort to the medium of the press, was the giving of the greater notoriety to the opinion of the preacher--and, he may add, of his Reverend Brethren, so far as is known to him--that without condemning Sunday Schools in any other form than that preferred by them; and even with the acknowledgment, that in relation to some objects of charitable regard, there may laudably be a departure from that recommended; they wish to inculcate its resting as a duty on their own Church, to provide that the improvement in question, and every other which may be devised, be made subservient to the educating of the children of her poorer members in the doctrines of the Gospel, as they appear in her institutions. Further, it being a matter of notoriety, that a considerable proportion of the poor of the city are detached from the profession of religion in any form; and care of their spiritual interests being a debt lying on professing Christians generally; this Church ought not to be backward to take a reasonable share of it on herself." Pref.
This leads to the mention of a serious contest in the same country [England]: some persons advocating the plan of indifference to the opinions of one Christian denomination or another. The clergy, awake to the tendency of this suggestion, took measures to add the new species of charitable institution, to the immense mass of schools of the old description, which have been for ages the ornaments and nurseries of their Church.
"It has happened that, with the expedient of Sunday Schools, there has crossed to this country the same question as to the conducting of them: and the opinion of your preacher being decidedly in favour of the principle adopted by the English clergy, and acted on in the formation of the schools assembled in our presence, it may be proper in him briefly to assign his reasons.
"There would be a good reason, if no other could be assigned, in the difficulty of acting on the opposite principle with consistency, [25/26] which appears from this, that the prominent favourers of the plan have been found continually swerving from it, either insensibly or by design; and insinuating their particular dogmas under the shelter of a fancied liberality. This is a fact, of which unequivocal evidence might be produced, if it were a proper time and place.
"But it is more important to contend, that the principle cannot be acted on in the work of education, consistently with fidelity to the gospel ministry. Let it not be imagined, that there is here advocated the occupying of the infant mind with the thorny questions of scholastic theology. Our short catechism is as free from this as any composition under the same name; and yet, if it should undergo a purgation, to accommodate it to the whimsical scheme proposed; there is scarcely a doctrine of the Christian revelation which must not give way to the pretended improvement in education.
"It is, therefore, with satisfaction, that your preacher perceives the plan preferred by him, to be acted on by the religious denominations of this city in general. But while he would consider the Church to which he belongs, if she should be inattentive to the crisis, as wanting in an important point of duty; yet, if there be any young persons who would be untaught on the plan preferred; so highly does he conceive of the importance of the elements of reading, as to approve of their being taught on a plan less desirable. On this account he has interested himself, during the last twenty-seven years, in a school of that lower grade of merit; the utility of which has been felt; and, it is to be hoped, will retain the patronage of the public.
"The schools of the opposite description have not only the advantage of more enlarged instruction in religion than can be engaged in by the others, but that of bringing the instructed children to the churches: thus accomplishing one of the best uses of Sunday Schools--the preventing of much disorder, on that day in particular, in the streets.
"Under this view of the subject, your clergy have, from the beginning, encouraged, and will continue to do what is in their power, to promote the object of the zeal of those respectable individuals of both sexes, who have condescended to bestow their gratuitous exertions on this field of labour. For it is in these local associations that the great object is to be accomplished; so that when we patronize a combined society of our communion, it is for the purpose of giving a greater effect to the others, by the exciting of a more general interest; and through that medium, by the creating of such pecuniary resources as are equal to the very moderate demand of this cheapest of all expedients for the improving of the condition of the poor."]
We trust, then, we may be permitted to view, as a subject of congratulation, the beneficial effects of Sunday Schools on the interests of the Church of which we are members. Through their [26/27] instrumentality many are made acquainted with the principles of our Church, who would otherwise remain ignorant of them--many are taught to offer an enlightened and reasonable service, and to exhibit the beauty and force of our Liturgy by their reverent postures and audible responses, who would otherwise have been careless and irreverent spectators in the house of God--and, through their instrumentality, many are trained to that devout, that fervent, yet that decent, orderly, and rational religion which the services of our Church are calculated to inspire, who would otherwise have remained in almost heathenish ignorance and insensibility, or been aroused to religious feelings, and led to embrace religious principles we think not so correct, so orderly, and so permanent. Their mature reason in after life will confirm the sound principles and habits which early education inspired and formed; and thus they are likely to continue in their respective stations the advocates and supporters of that Church with whose tenets they first became acquainted, or in which they first became established, and for which their first attachment was excited, in her Sunday Schools.
IV. The beneficial effects of Sunday Schools, with respect to the interests of SOCIETY at large, are so obvious, that on this point I shall not long detain you.
Sunday Schools, improving the religious and [27/28] moral condition of those who are instructed in them, and exerting a benign influence on the characters even of those who are occupied in the labours of pious benevolence which are necessary in conducting those schools, must obviously exalt the religious and moral condition of the community, so large a portion of which are of that class to whose instruction these institutions are devoted. The connexion of morals with religion, and of both with the interests of civil society, is so intimate, that the disruption has always produced disorder, profligacy, and crime, and defaced the virtues, and blasted the enjoyments of social life. Religious education, then, is the engine that is to preserve and advance social order, peace, and happiness. The extraordinary attention which, in Sunday Schools, is paid to religious instruction, constitutes one of the most powerful means of ameliorating the religious and moral condition of a numerous class of the community, and thus of advancing and securing its order and prosperity.
Behold, then, Brethren, in the beneficial effects of our Sunday Schools on those who are instructed in them--on those who are concerned in their instruction and government--on the interests of our own Church--and on the welfare of the community at large, the powerful claims which they have on your patronage and bounty. Your patronage is to be exerted in commending them, and, where necessary, explaining and vindicating, the principles on which they are founded, and in freely and cheerfully giving them, when required, as managers [28/29] or directors, your counsel and support--and your bounty, as on this occasion, to defray the editions of the elementary and other books of instruction and devotion which are published for the use of the school, and other incidental expenses.
Behold, Managers and Directors of these institutions, and particularly Superintendents and Teachers, in the beneficial effects of the institutions to which you devote so much time and attention, the reward of your labours, and the incentive to persevere in them. Superintendents and Teachers--you have the task of the greatest solicitude and labour; but yours is the honour, and the consolation of the almost incalculable good which, in reference to your pupils, to yourselves, to the Church, and to society at large, is the result of your toils. In your private intercourse with Heaven, commit yourselves and these interesting objects of your care to that God who alone can be your and their refuge and salvation. When, in the supplications of the Litany, you pray for "young children," bear with peculiar solicitude to the throne of your Father in Heaven, the "young children" whom, for their religious and moral instruction, his Providence has placed under your charge. When, in the prayers of the Liturgy, you beseech the "Creator and Preserver of all mankind" to "make his ways known to all sorts and conditions of men," embrace with peculiar ardour in the supplication, the unenlightened and uninstructed objects of your attention and care. [29/30] When uniting with them in humble and hearty thanks to the "Father of all mercies," for his "goodness and loving-kindness to you and to all men," pray especially that, under the guidance and inspiration of God's Spirit, both you and they may "show forth his praise not only with your lips but in your lives, by giving up yourselves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your lives." Then, at that great tribunal where you and they must appear; you for your works of piety and benevolence, inspired and regulated by Christian faith and love; and they for their improvement, through divine grace, of the religious instruction and cultivation which you bestowed upon them, will receive a sentence infinitely more to be valued than the applauses of worlds--a sentence which will be followed by the bliss of eternity, and which will be pronounced by that Redeemer who will be your everlasting portion--"Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord."
This, Children, is the sentence at which you should aim--this is the commendation which you should seek to obtain: and through the mercy and grace of your God and Saviour you may obtain it, by faithfully discharging your duty to God, to your neighbour, and to yourselves, as set forth in the Catechism of the Church. Practise, by "God's help," which you must call for by diligent prayer, your Christian duty, as there enjoined--[30/31] and your life, whether it be long or short, whether it be terminated in childhood, in youth, in manhood, or in old age, will conduct you to the joy of your Lord.
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT
BOARD OF MANAGERS
NEW-YORK PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL SUNDAY
AT this holy season, when the hearts of the members of the Church are made glad by the solemnities she consecrates to the memory of the Saviour's birth, the Managers of this Society are reminded of the debt of gratitude they owe for the instrumentality with which they have been honoured, in diffusing the temporal and spiritual blessings flowing from Christ's advent in the flesh. They are confident that the pious reflections, suggested by those solemnities, on the infinite love of God, who withheld not his only begotten Son, but gave him for our eternal good, warming the hearts to a practical reception of the apostolic precept, "If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another," will secure, in this Christian audience, a deep interest in the account now to be rendered of transactions bearing the character of the most comprehensive and purest benevolence that can be exercised towards fellow creatures. They are confident that there will not be wanting a disposition to hear, with Christian gratitude and joy, of exertions humbly designed as means, and calculated, through the divine blessing, to be most effectual means of promoting "glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men."
 "The plan of this Institution was first proposed to the several congregations of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this city, in the month of February, 1817. It met with most encouraging approbation. Schools, in accordance with this plan, were immediately formed in Trinity Church, and St. Paul's and St. John's Chapels, in Grace Church, and in St. Mark's Church. Of these Schools the Board of Managers proceed now to report such particulars as have been furnished them by their respective Superintendents and Teachers, through the Board of Direction, of the several Schools.
The School attached to St. John's Chapel, being the most numerous one in this union, naturally claims the first notice.
At the opening of this School one hundred and twenty scholars, of both sexes, attended; and these were collected, through the diligence of Committees appointed for that purpose, in the short space of three days.
From the report of the Superintendent and Teachers of the male department of this School, made to the Board of Directors at their meeting in July last, it appeared that the number of scholars, then registered, was 241, of whom 20 were blacks; and that of the whole number, there were generally at the School an average of 100 scholars.
From the same report we present the following extract:--"We regret to state that we have been compelled to dismiss a few from the School, on account of the unruliness of their behaviour. Every exertion to reform and retain them had failed, and we found ourselves compelled to adopt one of two alternatives, either to give up all idea of order and regularity, or dismiss those foremost in causing the disorder; the last of which, being the least of two evils, was accordingly adopted."
From their report to the Directors, at the meeting held the beginning of this month, we present the following extracts as throwing light on the present situation of the School:--"We still have the satisfaction of finding our classes full, regular in their attendance, and punctual to the hours of opening: in their deportment while in School, and during divine service, it is with pleasure we are enabled to say that they have far exceeded our expectations.
"Since our last report, with the sanction of the Vestry [34/35] of Trinity Church, we have caused stages to be erected on each side of the organ-loft, where, by placing all the children under the immediate view of the Teacher to whose care they are committed, it is rendered much less difficult to secure their reverent deportment during divine service. All who read are taught to join audibly, and with propriety, in the responses.
"The School at present consists of twelve Teachers, including the Superintendent and Secretary, and about 100 attending scholars, of whom 20 are coloured.
"At the distribution of rewards, by order of the Board of Directors at their last meeting, we experienced considerable difficulty in ascertaining the merits of each individual, and in rewarding the most deserving. Those whom we considered unworthy were dissatisfied. For the prevention of these difficulties in future, we have found it expedient to adopt a system of temporary premiums, with tickets redeemable in books, under the following regulations: To every scholar present at the performance of the office of devotion appointed to be used at the opening of the School, we give a blue ticket; for committing perfectly any given lesson, the same; for being head of class, the same; and for good behaviour during school and divine service, the same. Ten of these entitle the holder to one red ticket, ten of which are valued at a Bible, five to a Prayer Book, Testament, or some other book of the same value. From the adoption of this system we have found the most beneficial results, by increasing the attention, diligence, and good deportment of the children.
From the report of the female department of the School of St. John's Chapel, in July, it appeared that 144 scholars had been admitted; 26 were coloured, and 110 attended regularly.
From the same report the following extracts are made: "No girl has been dismissed from the School, though several have been withdrawn by their parents, on account of removal to a distant part of the city, or because their services were indispensable at home. A few have been removed from other Sunday Schools to St. John's, at the request of parents who belonged to the Episcopal Church, and had placed their children elsewhere at a period previous [35/36] to the establishment of that School. The transfers have been regularly made by deputation."
"Of the coloured females, some who are more than 60 years of age, and who, on their first entrance, knew not a single letter, can now spell pretty accurately; and are looking forward to the happy period when they shall be able to read that blessed Gospel to which they have listened, with pious attention, for so many years.
"The greatest difficulty the Superintendent and Teachers have had to contend with, was the unruly conduct of the children during the service of the Church: this has been happily surmounted by such arrangements as they hoped would have a tendency to give them, in the persons and conduct of their Teachers, examples of that reverent and decent deportment which the sanctity of the place, and solemnity of the service ought always to inspire; this, united to affectionate and gentle admonition, has succeeded beyond their most sanguine expectations. The conduct of the children is generally so praise-worthy that it would be difficult to make particular exceptions. The Superintendent and Teachers have thought proper, however, to distribute occasional rewards to those most diligent, most correct in their deportment during worship, and most respectful to their Instructresses."
From the report of the same School, dated the 5th of the present month, it appears that 260 have been admitted, of whom 29 are coloured; and that 160 attend regularly.
The Superintendent of this department, in her report to the Directors of the School, expresses herself in the following very encouraging terms:--"The increase of this School, the improvement of the children in piety and learning, and their general good conduct, are such as to afford the highest gratification to the Superintendent, and merit her warmest acknowledgments to the ladies associated with her, as to their persevering zeal and attention, under the blessing of heaven, is to be ascribed the flourishing state of the School. Of 20 ladies two only have relinquished their charge, in a lapse of eight months.
"The real increase of the School since the last report is 51, all whites excepting three. There are 12 regular [36/37] classes of white children; and the coloured are taught by the Teachers and their assistants, in succession." Next to the male and female Schools of St. John's Chapel, in point of numbers, rank those of St. Mark's Church. Agreeably to the report of the male School, in July last, there had been admitted 125 scholars, of whom between 50 and 60 regularly attended. Of these five were coloured.. There were 25 who read in the Prayer Book; 10 in the Spelling Book; and the remainder used primers and cards. The number of Teachers was 10.
The report of the same School, in the present month, stated the number of scholars that had been admitted into it from its commencement, to be 150; sixty of whom attend regularly. Thirty-five read with correctness and fluency; fifteen spell words of two syllables. Their improvement in behaviour, during divine worship, is represented as very encouraging.
From the report, in July, of the female School of the same Church, it appeared that there had been admitted 100 scholars; between 70 and 80 attended regularly, and were under the care of 12 Teachers.
"The coloured class consists of 12; three of them read. One that entered the 4th of May, and could spell only words of one syllable, at that time (July) could read in the Prayer Book, and knew all the Commandments, and a great part of the Church Catechism."
The recent report of the same School states that 140 Scholars have been received, 80 now belong to the School, and 60 attend regularly; some, living at a distance, have left School for the winter, and others have removed into the country. The Superintendent of this School reports as follows:--"The children have generally improved, both in behaviour and learning, beyond expectation. Several, from a mere knowledge of the alphabet, can now read, and learn the Catechism and Hymns. The diligence and correct behaviour of the highest class, is particularly gratifying. Many, when the Church is open during the week, are regular in their attendance, and several times on Sundays, when informed that it stormed too violently for the Teachers to attend in the afternoon, have eagerly asked if they might not come to Church."
"The coloured class consists of 12, only five of whom are regular in their attendance. These behave well, and show [37/38] an anxiety to improve, although their progress is slow. They have a Teacher entirely to themselves."
Next in order ranks the School of St. Paul's Chapel. It was commenced on the 10th of March, 1817, when, about 120 scholars, of both sexes, attended; but it was not completely organized until the 6th of April, being Easter-Day. The report of the male department in July last, states that there were then usually from forty to seventy scholars attending, but more than 100 were on the books.
From the Superintendent's report, in July, the following extract is made:--"I have not found it necessary, except in one instance, to proceed to an extremity, and this was in the case of one of the elder boys, whom, for disobedient and disorderly conduct, I deemed it expedient to dismiss. He immediately became penitent, and with many tears, and promises of amendment, begged to be tried only once more. He was, of course, restored to his place; and his conduct since has been such as to promise great good from the experiment.
"I have much pleasure in stating, that the Teachers are punctual and diligent in the discharge of their duties, and that their zeal in the very meritorious task they have undertaken, rather increases than abates. None appear desirous of discontinuing their services; and a very gratifying reflection arises from the circumstance, that there are many other young gentlemen ready and willing to become Instructors, whenever they may be wanted."
The recent report from the same, states that "there are now attached to this department, from 70 to 80 scholars, of whom, during the summer months, from 50 to 60 usually attended. But since the commencement of winter the number has considerably diminished, about 40 attending regularly."
The Superintendent observes:--"Among the scholars who have been regular in their attendance, there are many instances of great and rapid improvement. Their conduct, with a few exceptions, has become orderly; and many of them go through the responses, and follow the other parts of the service, in a manner creditable to themselves and satisfactory to their Teachers."
The first meeting of the female School of St. Paul's Chapel was held on Sunday, 30th of March, 1817. The number of scholars who attended, amounted to 92. The majority of [38/39] these were entirely ignorant of the alphabet; some could spell tolerably well in words of two or three syllables; but very few could read, with any degree of correctness or fluency. In the number above mentioned, are to be included 30 coloured females; principally very young, and deplorably ignorant. There were others, however, much more advanced in years, who had made some progress, previously to their joining the School. It was found very difficult, at first, to obtain from the scholars, particularly the younger of them, an orderly and correct deportment. To accomplish this, rewards were proposed for good behaviour, and with a very speedy and happy effect on the minds of many of them. Others who still continued wayward and negligent, were repeatedly and gently admonished, and generally with success. The elder members, however, both of the white and coloured classes, have always been distinguished for correctness of deportment; and have, on every occasion, manifested the greatest eagerness for instruction, and respect for their Instructresses. The number of scholars regularly attending was reported in July last, to be between 60 and 70; they were divided into eight classes.
Extract from the report of the Secretary of the Board of Teachers of the same School, dated in the present month:--"The number of regular scholars at present fluctuates between 70 and 80. They are under the direction and tuition of a Directress; and about 19 or 20 Instructresses. The majority, when they joined the School, were altogether ignorant of the alphabet. They now read with a considerable degree of correctness; many, indeed, with remarkable fluency. It is thought proper, also, to state, that three of our scholars have been lately transferred to the Episcopal Charity School."
Extract from the report of the Superintendent of the united male Schools of Trinity Church, and Grace Church, dated in the present month:--"The male Schools of Trinity and Grace Churches have, from a variety of causes, experienced less increase and general prosperity than the other Schools connected with this establishment. The Directors of said Schools have thought the interests of both would be promoted by an union; and have therefore formed that union. A suitable apartment in Trinity Church has been appropriated, by the Vestry of that Church, for [39/40] the accommodation of the School, and renewed efforts are making for increasing its numbers. The number of names on the Register is about 160; but those who regularly attend amount to no more than about 35. It must not be concealed, that additional aid from the respective Congregations will be necessary to place this School on a footing with others in this union. This aid is required for the three-fold purpose of procuring scholars, of superintending their instruction, and of promoting their good conduct during divine service. Many whose time and, domestic engagements will not allow them to contribute to the first of these purposes, may essentially subserve the interests of this charity, by contributing to the two last. In other congregations, the encouraging spectacle is exhibited, of gentlemen taking in turn their seats with the scholars, for the purpose of inducing correct deportment during service. It is ardently to be desired that similar care will be taken of the scholars in this School.
The following report of the Superintendent of the late male School of Grace Church, has afforded to the Board of Managers very pleasing evidence that the failure of that School, as a separate establishment, is no proof of the want of exertion on the part of the few members of that congregation who have interested themselves in this invaluable charity.
"When, in the Month of February last, it was proposed to form a Sunday School Society for the Episcopal Churches in this city, a few members of Grace Church came forward with great alacrity; and in less than a week after the first notice of such a design, a School was organized. Sixteen gentlemen of the congregation volunteered as Teachers; and the School was opened in Grace Church with about twenty Males, of whom eight were coloured boys and adults. On the Sunday following, the number of scholars had increased to about thirty-five; and from this time gradual accessions were made, till more than eighty names were entered on the register. From this beginning, as well as from the experience of some of the Teachers on a former occasion, there was reason to hope for greater success than has attended their labours. Without entering minutely into the causes to which the decline of this School may be traced, we shall mention, that in the part of the city where [40/41] it was established, very few, comparatively speaking, can be found, who are in need, or will accept, of gratuitous instruction; and of these, almost all were previously connected with other Schools: that of the Teachers who had been from the first most interested in its success, three were obliged to be absent from the city during the summer: that in August, the Church was closed for a fortnight; and no other place being provided, the boys were dismissed, with directions to return at the expiration of the appointed time. The Church, however, continued closed for a longer period; and when again opened, it was too great an undertaking for the Teachers who remained in the city to reassemble the School. In fact, no efforts were made for this purpose till the month of October, when the absent Teachers had returned. Deeply interested in the institution, from a conviction of its importance, they would not suffer themselves to be discouraged by the failure of past attempts. It appearing probable that more subjects of this charity could be found in the upper part of the city, they resolved immediately to locate themselves there. It was not without great difficulty, and often disappointed efforts, that they at last obtained a suitable room in Rose-street. They scarcely had commenced their School, however, before they were informed of a circumstance with which all their inquiries had not availed to acquaint them. There was already a School established in the building they occupied, and there were many others in the immediate neighbourhood. But, unwilling to make another change before they were fully satisfied that no other School could be permanently instituted there, they devoted an hour and a half every Sunday morning in searching for scholars, and all the interval between morning and evening service in teaching them. With these exertions, they collected about twenty children, fourteen or fifteen of whom regularly attended. At such a distance, however, from the Church, it was found the scholars could not be induced to attend divine service, and this appearing to be not the least important object of the institution, it was finally proposed to unite with the School in Trinity Church, where sufficient accommodation for a large number of scholars was offered. This union has accordingly been effected, and, we trust, will result to the advantage of both Schools.
The Superintendent feels it due to the Teachers of the [41/42] Grace Church Sunday School, to add, in conclusion of this report, that it is hardly possible to have been more active or more devoted than they have been in this great work."
The Superintendent of the Female School of Trinity Church, in her report, in July, states as follows:--"From the commencement of the School, sixty-one scholars have been admitted: ten have since left the School; two having removed from the city; the others to such a distant part of it, that their attendance is impracticable. Of the fifty-one remaining, eleven are adults, and forty children. Of the whole, twenty-nine are coloured. Except a few in the first class, who could read tolerably well, and have made considerable improvement since, they were all extremely young, and extremely ignorant, some not knowing the alphabet. During divine service they behave generally much better than at first. If the most heartfelt solicitude joined to an unwearied attention on the part of those engaged in this interesting employment, will conduce to its prosperity, they fondly flatter themselves, that this little branch of the Sunday Schools will not disgrace its Parent Stock."
In her report, dated in the present month, she observes:--"The School at present consists of sixty-four. Their general improvement has exceeded our expectations; not merely in their studies, but in their deportment during divine service. Some of them who had scarcely seen a Prayer Book, and could with difficulty read, can now go through the Church forms with a correctness and attention that is not only astonishing but affecting."
The Superintendent of the Female School of Grace Church reports as follows:--Since the commencement of this School 102 pupils have been admitted; 37 of whom have left it from various causes. It consists at present of 65 scholars; though not more than half that number attend regularly. The improvement of many has been rapid; that of all, quite as much so as could be expected, from the small portion of time devoted to their instruction each week. Several children who had never been in the habit of committing to memory, previously to their admission into the School, now learn and repeat whole chapters from the Bible without missing a word. The Instructresses, who have been, in every instance, ladies from the congregation of Grace Church, have been very assiduous [42/43] in the discharge of their duties, and have constantly endeavoured to inculcate and explain the great and important truths of their religion."
From these reports it appears that the whole number of scholars, at present enjoying the benefits of instruction, under the auspices of this Society, is 225 white males, 356 white females, 20 coloured males, 100 coloured females. Total, 701. The number of scholars who have been attached to these Schools from their commencement, is 1250. The reduction of this number is owing principally to removals out of the city, or to parts of it too remote from any of these Schools to admit of their attendance; deaths; detention by parents or employers; and other causes not within the control of the Directors.
For the use of these Schools there have been published, by the Board of Managers, 8000 Cards of Instruction, from the alphabet to the reading of words of one syllable; 2000 copies of the Spelling Book, being that compiled at the request of the London Sunday School Union; 2000 Scripture Lessons, being an abstract of Bishop Gastrell's Christian Institutes, containing a Complete System of the Doctrines and Precepts of the Gospel, in a connected Series of Scripture Texts, arranged under appropriate heads. There have been purchased for the use of the Schools, 167 Prayer Books; 817 Catechisms; 740 Primers; and various small books for premiums, to the amount of $47 93. To the liberality of the Auxiliary New-York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society we are indebted for 37 Bibles and 132 Prayer Books.
The subjoined report of the Treasurer will show the state of the funds.
 Dr. The Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society in account with Benjamin W. Rogers, Treasurer. Cr.
To cash paid, being the amount of a donation to the first Superintendent of Trinity Church School--25 00
To cash paid amount of Sundry expenditures on account of Grace Church School--18 18
To cash paid W. Chardavoyne's bill for carpenter's work at the different School rooms--59 42
To cash paid at three different times to the order of the Superintendent of Grace Church School--17 00
To cash paid to the order of the Superintendent of St. Mark's School, in favour of William B. Gilley--5 62
To cash, paid W. Chardavoyne's second bill for carpenter's work--58 54
To cash paid to the order of the Superintendent of St Mark's School, in favour of J. Thomson for Bibles--5 25
Balance in the Treasurer's hands--630 61
By amount of donations from a number of gentlemen belonging to the different Episcopal Churches, assembled at the first meeting held in Trinity Church Vestry-Room--209 00
By amount collected by the Committee of Grace Church, and paid by Mr. D. Austen--106 00
By amount collected by the Committee of St. Mark's Church, and paid at different times by Mr. William Tripler--107 07
By amount collected by the Committee of- Trinity Church, and paid at different times by Messrs. Joshua Jones and M. Clarkson, jun.--231 00
By amount collected from the Committee of St. John's Church, and paid by Col. Platt--73 00
By amount collected from the Committee of St Paul's Church, and paid at different times by Messrs. H. M'Farlan and R. Kingsland--93 50
Total $ 819 57
BENJAMIN W. ROGERS,
Treasurer, New-York, December 26, 1817.
 The Treasurer of the Episcopal Sunday School Society, in presenting a statement of his account current, informs the Board of Managers, that although there is in his hands the amount of $630 61, yet there is due to Messrs. T. & J. Swords, and others, upwards of $ 700. He has informed those who have claims on the Society that their accounts shall be paid on being presented; and to enable him to do this, the Board of Managers will please to adopt such measures to increase the amount of their funds, as they may deem necessary.
Which is respectfully submitted,
By their obedient servant,
B. W. ROGERS.
New-York, December 26, 1817.
The foregoing report, it is presumed, will afford matter of very pleasing reflection. It adds to the strength of evidence, long since felt to be conclusive, of the immense importance of Sunday Schools, and the intimate connexion of their establishment and good conduct with the best interests of society and the Church, and the temporal and eternal good of men. It is presumed no purer object can offer its claim to public patronage and support. Were the Board of Managers to avail themselves of every circumstance in their institution which should establish this claim, they would be in danger of offending the modesty of that truly Christian spirit in which the interest of this charity is promoted by the Superintendents and Teachers of the respective Schools. Nor are they unaware of the suspicions of adulation which might lurk in the breasts of those who have not taken a lively interest in their concerns, were they to attempt to do even common justice to particular merit. In the sweet consciousness of doing good; in the certain approbation of the Father of all, and of the blessed Saviour who commanded the little children to be brought to him; and in the hope inspired by the promise of Heaven, "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever;" they have their reward. In the blest fulfilment of this promise, if theirs are the faith and piety they inculcate, they will have it to all eternity.
The Board cannot, however, refrain from noticing the strong and affectionate tie that very generally subsists [45/46] between the Teachers and their respective pupils, and the faithfulness and perseverance with which the former continue, from choice, in the exercise of their trust. These facts illustrate the claims which these Teachers have on the respect, the gratitude, and the encouragement of all who love the exhibition of the Christian character, or are interested in the diffusion of Christian principles and practice. In regard to many of the female Teachers in particular, the fact should be recorded, that not unfrequently they remain in the sanctuary for eight successive hours, constantly engaged in the duties either of the school, of the temple, or of the altar; and, in so doing, find greater pleasure than can possibly be afforded in those circles of worldly enjoyment where they can both experience and confer delight.
To the Superintendents of the respective Schools, every praise is due for the fidelity, the perseverance, and the patience with which their arduous stations are filled.
To the Superintendents and Teachers of all, and the Directors of some, of the Schools, the devout members of the Church are under weighty obligations, for the care they take to secure the good conduct of the scholars during divine service. In their turns, they are willing to sacrifice the pleasure of remaining with their families, in their accustomed places, for the greater good of being with the scholars, to set them an example of correct and reverent deportment, and to prevent indecorum on their part.
For these exertions, as well as for the pious endeavours of the Superintendents and Teachers, to promote the religious instruction of their charge, we are confident the members of the Church must feel an obligation: as by these means, the delightful spectacle is presented of so many who would otherwise be but profane violators of the sanctity of God's holy day, bearing their part in the solemn, impressive, and edifying services of the sanctuary; and encouraging the delightful hope that the seeds of grace now sown in their hearts, brought to maturity by God's blessing on the means to which they are directed, will produce fruit unto eternal life. In the blessed hope of meeting at an approving judgment many whom they are instrumental in turning from sin to holiness, and uniting with them in the eternal song before the throne, we would that our fellow Christians should see encouragement to patronize [46/47] our Institution, and the zealous agents in this charity, to persevere in their work and labour of love. And on all who love God, and feel for the interests of the Church of Christ, we call for their prayers, that he from whom all good counsels, and all just works do proceed, may be with us and bless us.
By order of the Board,
JONATHAN GOODHUE, Secretary.
New-York, Dec. 26, 1817.
At a meeting of the Board of Managers of the Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society, held in Trinity Church, on the evening of the 26th inst. after the reports from the Superintendents of the respective Schools had been read, the following resolutions were adopted.
Resolved, That the Board receive with great satisfaction, the reports of the several Schools connected with the New-York Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society.
Resolved, That the thanks of the Board be returned to the Superintendents and Teachers of the several Schools for their zealous and faithful services.
Resolved, That the beneficial effects which have already resulted from the Institution of the New-York Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Society, ought to encourage and animate the Society, in dependance on the Divine blessing, to prosecute the charitable object for which they have associated, with augmented zeal.
Extract from the minutes,
JONATHAN GOODHUE, Secretary.