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The Rev. J. MARPLES said a letter had been received from Mr. Mellors, who took charge of the resolution adopted at the former meeting, and who was out of town, in which he hoped that a resolution about to be submitted would be approved.
Mr. Mills had a resolution to move. The questions for the meeting to consider were, “ Are Sunday schools doing all the good they mightand might not that good be rendered more perfect ?" If they could get the children in the schools, and keep them there, then they would accomplish a great work. He did not take a gloomy view of the subject, for he believed that Sunday schools were never more efficient than now. The population of this country was 30 millions, which would give 6 million families of five in each family. Now two-thirds of these would be under 20 years of age, and some six or seven millions between the ages of 5 and 18. What proportion had they in their schools ? Why, about four millions. A large proportion was therefore not brought within the range of instruction. He did not know exactly the population of Nottingham, but he would take it and the neighbourhood at 100,000, which, at five in a family, would give 20,000 families; and this would give 12,000 under 20 years of age. But they had only 8,400 children in the schools of the Union, and, allowing for those in other schools in the town, there were still some 13,000 or 14,000 absent. What were the difficulties with which they had to contend? The ignorance and poverty of
which were opposed to their progress. Now the causes of ignorance and poverty, according to their town missionaries and scripture readers, were the drinking customs of society. He would move the following resolution:
“That this meeting, deeply lamenting the loss of young people Sunday schools and churches by intemperance and other vices, recommends the establishment of a Band of Hope in connection with every Sabbath school in the town and neighbourhood; and would also urge upon young people the importance of attending Working Men's Clubs, Institutes, and Improvement Classes as connected with the different places of worship; and would further advise that teachers and superintendents of schools do all in their power to forward the above efforts.”
Mr. MARSH seconded the resolution.
Mr. Penny enquired whether the elder scholars remained in those schools where Bands of Hope had been established ?
Mr. Mills said Bands of Hope had not been established sufficiently long to test the point put.
Mr. Gill observed that he had taught a class of adults for many months who had forsaken public-houses, but, he was sorry to say, some had again fallen through strong drink. Public-houses and gin-shops were the greatest enemies with which Sunday school teachers had to contend, for these places influenced the young six days, whilst they had charge of them only one day. If they desired to retain the elder scholars, let them form Bands of Hope.
The Rev. J. MARPLES read an extract from the Band of Hope Move ment respecting the formation of a youths' temperance society in Bolton,
which had now 20 districts and 10,000 members, many of whom were Sunday school teachers.
Mr. J. Howett said he had made it a matter of thought and prayer how the elder scholars could best be retained, and he did not believe that teetotalism could do this. Something more powerful than Bands of Hope must be brought to bear upon these scholars, and he believed that if the youthful mind was permeated with the principles of Christianity, the evils of intemperance and other vices complained of would be prevented. There was too much of a desire to get hold of anything new, and the grand principle of faith in the Redeemer was often lost sight of. He was sorry to say that in Nottingham there was much loose feeling as regarded domestic ties. Parents were drawn from home, and the children followed their example. Now, above all, let teachers watch the elder scholars. In proposing the establishment of Bands of Hope, let them not lose sight of the main thing, a return to vital godliness, which, if once planted in the heart, would be sure to spring up and bear fruit.
Mr. H. Hogg was surprised that the resolution did not commend itself to the mind of every Christian, as an adjunct to religion.
Mr. UNDERWOOD thought they should see the scholars during the week, to study the sciences in an evening, for if teachers would not provide intellectual food for the elder scholars, there were others who would take care to furnish that which was of a different cbaracter.
Mr. Bryan said they had a Band of Hope in the school with which he was connected, at Hyson Green, and many children had signed the pledge who were now teachers.
Mr. T. SIMPSON observed that Bands of Hope might be one means, though he did not see eye to eye with teetotallers in all they hoped from them. Probably they should all agree that this was one means, and so go on with the resolution. What they met to consider was, how the thousands who passed through their hands might be saved to the churches and the world? An attempt had been made to show that they wished to interfere with the liberty of the working classes, when they only met to talk about the young persons in their schools. Still, Sunday schools were a great success. Why, only the other day he was conversing with a person from Greenwich, who informed him, that out of 1,600 unfortunate females whom he had visited, only 12 had been in Sunday schools.
A second resolution was read by the CHAIRMAN, recommending some means of relaxation for the elder scholars.
Mr. GILPIN thought it did not meet the case, and Mr. S. N. CROPPER questioned the practicability of establishing such means of relaxation in all schools; besides, he knew of many Bands of Hope that had dropped through because there was not sufficient power to keep them alive.
Mr. SIMPSON considered the great evil of the day was, that young people spent so much time in parading the streets. He wished to know whether the Temperance body did not encourage dancing, and whether they were not connected with the fêtes at the Castle?
Mr. HABDWICKE disclaimed anything of the kind. There was the Christian Band of flope Band and a Temperance Band.
Mr. Evans had been the leader of the Band of Hope Band for ive years, and they had got children out of the streets, collected them together in Barker Gate School, caused them to sign the pledge, and then sent them into the various Sunday-schools. There were seven on the committee, and five were members of Christian churches; and they were not likely, therefore, to encourage dancing. For years not one of the Drum and Fife Band lads had been seen with a pipe in his mouth, or in public houses, or had been guilty of assault. They had taken 4,000 children off the streets, and sent them into the Sunday-schools, and he thought that was a great and good work.
Mr. Gill suggested the appointment of a committee to consider some means of retaining the elder scholars.
Mr. WAINWRIGHT, as a teacher of 38 years' standing, had no faith in the Band of Hope movement. They had tried week-night instruction before Bands of Hope were thought of, and failed. Why? Because when trade was good the warehouses kept open till nine and ten o'clock. What they wanted was a higher class of teachers in their schools. He deprecated the establishment of anything that took the working man from his home. Let them instil the principle into his mind, that home was his place after the labour of the day.
Mr. Longmire did not think much of Bands of Hope.
The resolution was withdrawn, as also was another proposed by Mr. Simpson, and seconded by Mr. Cropper, much to the same effect; and ultimately the following resolution was agreed to, on the motion of Mr. Mills, seconded by Mr. Gill :
“That a committee be appointed to carry out the resolution in harmony with Sunday School teachers, and to form a central organization for the town, and to consider what other means may promote the interest of Sunday schools.”
The following gentlemen were then chosen : Revs. W. R. Stevenson and J. Marples, and Messrs. H. Hogg, R. Mellors, T. Simpson, J. Bayley, B. Wheeler, A. Goodliffe, W. Johnstone, J. Mills, J. Phelps, J. F. Train, J. B. Hardwicke, S. E. Hackett, J. Lawrence, T. Hill, and S. N. Cropper.
After a vote of thanks to the Chairman, and singing the doxology, the meeting separated at ten o'clock.
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BAND OF HOPE RECORD.
THE PLACE OF TOTAL ABSTINENCE.
By SAMUEL BOWLY. We would disclaim to the fullest extent the idea of setting up the Total Astinence system in the place of the Gospel. We would ask those who have been misled by this unjust imputation to consider that Total Abstinence is only a negative principle-it sets up nothing-it simply removes out of the way an element inimical to the social well-being of society ; just as the process of draining removes from the land an element that is injurious to the cultivation of the soil. Draining is not ploughing, or manuring, or sowing ; but, by its powerful negative influence, it ensures to him who ploughs, and sows, and reaps, a far more abundant crop. So Teetotalism is not intellectual cultivation, sanitary improvement, or Gospel ministry - it only drains the social soil of an injurious element, and thus ensures to the schoolmaster, the social reformer, and, wentrust, to the Christian minister, a more abundant return for the labours they bestow.
It is by no means improbable that, as an instrument for preparing the way for the Gospel, Total Abstinence may have been occasionally over-estimated; but, on the other hand, the blessing that has rested upon it as a means of reclamation, and of leading thousands to seek a knowledge of Gospel truth, has been greatly undervalued by many religious people ; otherwise, they never could have been satisfied to despise or neglect, as they have done, a movement marked by so many results of deep religious interest. There may be those who think it is less difficult to effect a change of heart than a change of habit; that it is easier to remove intemperance by preaching the Gospel, than by removing the article which produces the intemperance ; that it is better to try to fortify each individual against the temptations of a dangerous and useless custom, than to endeavour to remove the temptation by banishing the custom itself. Our experience and observation of mankind lead us to entirely opposite conclusions ; for we must bear in mind that preaching the Gospel does not insure its acceptance ; and, if it is not accepted, it neither changes the heart nor fortifies the individual against temptation. So that the ins: fluence of religion in preventing intemperance must of course be confined to that very limited circle in which its vital power
operates on the mind and conduct of its recipients. The masses outside that circle would still be subjected to the fearful temptations of strong drink ; and an immense majority of the intemperate, together with the innocent victims of their vice, would be left in the bitterness of all but hopeless suffering.
THE VOICE OF CHILDHOOD.* This is a little book about little people, but full of great thoughts and great truths. There are many to whom the title will be a sufficient recommendation, for it often happens that people who are indifferent to most things, cannot resist the pleading voice of childhood. It winds itself round about our hearts, and brings with it a pure and holy influence. Mr. De Fraine has entered fully into his subject, and treats in a loving spirit of “the influence, the poetry, and the wrongs of the little ones." That they huve influence, few who know anything of them will feel inclined to deny; but that this is so great as it really is, may not, perhaps, be so generally recognised. Many are the instances on record of hardened men who had successfully resisted every influence that had been brought to bear upon them, but who were melted and won over by the voice of a little child. We think, however, that Mr. De Fraine has given in this part of his book more prominence to the influence we have over the children, than to the influence they possess over us. Not that this is any drawback to the usefulness or the interest of the book; on the contrary, it may be all the more useful, in showing parents to what a great extent it is in their power to form their children's minds for good or evil. We commend the following extract 10 their attention :
“ The world's greatest seminary is the fireside. For good or evil the child's heart is impressed there. Words of platform, and pulpit, and schoolhouse may be forgotten, but even when long years shall have swept over us, the influence of home will cling to us still. Make the home pure, healthy, happy, refined, so shall those who live in it grow up, in some measure, like it. I don't say that this a rule without an exception. I daresay there were cowards in Sparta, but because the Spartan mothers were brave, so also were the Spartan children. There is little hope of a sober nation or a righteous people, I fear, unless the good principles which are to exalt us, and the Godliness which is profitable unto all things,' be taught by the fireside.”
If it were only for these words we could hope to see this book find its way into every home in England. When will fathers and mothers learn the great trnth, that far above the teaching even of Sabbath schools, are the lessons that may be learnt by the fireside at home?
For the second part of his book, Mr. De Fraine has culled some of the sweetest poems in our language; and when we say, that amongst the writers whose works he has laid under contribution, are the names of Tennyson, Jean Ingelow, Lord Houghton, and W. C. Bennett, we have
• "The Voice of Childhood," by John de Fraine. London: Tweedie.