Stephen H. (Stephen Higginson) Tyng.

Forty years' experience in Sunday-schools online

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Al!D0V1!3»-nARVATm I

JUL 1 6 1913

Divinity School


Entered, according to Act of Gougre£, in the year 1860, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for

the Southern District of New York.

stkeeottped by

Smith & MoDougal,

82 & 84 Beekman-st., N. Y.


79 John-Street, N. Y.

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The importance of the subject of this little vol-
ume none can doubt. There is a familiarity in
treating it, and a desultory method pursued in its
discussion which may be considered inappropriate
for a book. I have only to say, the chapters herein
contained, were so m'any distinct letters addressed to
a friend who was the Superintendent of a Sunday-
school, at his own request. After a publication in
the Independent had given them a very extensive
circulation, their compact publication in the present
form was also solicited. They are the simple lan-
guage of personal experience and observation in the
field of which they treats They may be the instru-
ment of suggesting other and better thoughts and

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experience to other minds. I can not but hope
they will be made useful to many. If they shall
but set Christians and ministers to thinking, in-
quiring, and speaking, even in opposition to some
of the sentiments they contain,* they will do good.
There can be but one result to which conscientious
thought and inquiry must lead, and with that the
end and purpose of the book will be so far attained.
To his brethren in the ministry of the Whole
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to his sym-
pathizing friends, the Sunday-school teachers in all
the Churches, the author gratefully presents his
little work, praying for their countenance, and the
Lord's blessing.


New York, Angast 1, ISMl

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I.— Pebsonal Hmtort.— QuiNOT, Mass.— St. Paul's, Phil-


II.— St. Geobok's, New Yobk.— New Ohubch.— Schools nr
New Chuech.— Exebcises and Plans fob School^.. . . 15

III.— Failube op Teaohebs.— Advajttages op Sundat-


fobts.- Ebvival in St. Paul's.— Fbuits op Tbachino. 26

rv.— Manneb op Teachinq.- Useful Teachers.— John
Fabk.— Young Female Teacheb.— Lotblt Child in
Epiphany School 86

v.— Lateb Results.- Two Dipfebent Cases.- Dying Chil-
dben.— LoTB of Children fob Sunday-school.— Ef-
FSCTSON Families.— Home Teachino 4S

VI. — Eepining. — ^Eletatino InflueiIce. — A Pbopessob in
C0LLEOB.—A Female Pbincipal.— The Poob Childben.


VII.— PuTUBE Benefits.— Pbesbnt Actual Gains.— Obuga-

TiONS OF Pastobs 69

VIII.— AoEycY.— Teachebs. -Value.— Usefulness. — Quali-

Pications — ^Tbue Piety 78

IX.— Teachebs. — Belioious Knowledge. — Sobiptueal
Knowledge.— Special Pbepabation.— Love fob Souls.
—Efforts FOB Saltation 87

X.— Teaohebs. — Thb Best Needed. — Missionaby fbom
Afbica.— Love thb Bulb.- Boys and Gibls Taught
Togetheb.— Foolish Quabbbls. 96

XL— Teachers.— Punctuality. — Ditinb Aid. — Pbayeb. —
Opening^ "Wobship.— Pbayeb fob Children.— Quiet
Attention 105

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TKB.— Intelligence.— EiNDNzss 115

XIII. — Annivxes ABIES. — Ankitebsabt Books. — Mission-

XrV. — Relation to the Chitech.- Gbnebal Scndat-sohool
Cause.— Independence or xhe Sunday-schools. —
Change op pexlino in the Chubch 185

XY.— Relation to the Chubch.— Duty of the Chubch. —

Mission Schools 144

XVL— Duty of the Chubches.— Suitable Buildings. —
Pbovision fob Mission Schoom.— Method of Con-
ducting 154

XVII.— Mission Schooub.- Emigbants.— St. 6eobge's.~Mis-

sioN Chapel.— Plan and Occupation 168

XVIII.— ^Sunday-school Effobt.— Public Schools.— Duty of

THE Chubch to the Cause.— Successful Effobis.. . . 172

XIX— Pastobal Duty.— Influence of Sunday-schools.—
Instances.— The Ministby in belation to this wobk.
— Incident at Jaffa ISl

XX.— The Ministby.— Pastobal Cabe.— Neglect.- Peb-


XXI.— The Ministby.— Supebintxndxncb of Schools. — ^Peb-
SONAL Visiting.— Lectubes fob Tbaohebs and Chil-

DBEN 202

XXII.— Duty of Schools to the Chubch.— Chttbch Teaching.

—Chubch Relations.— Value of them to Childben. 212

XXIII.— Duty of Teaohebs. — Categhishs.— The Bible the

Book fob Sunday-school Tbaching 222

XXIV.— Teachbbs. — Bible Teaching. — Pbbpabation. —

Pbayeb. -Illustbation Simplicity in Teaching... 282

• XXV.— TBACHEBS.—MANNEBa.— Actual Wobk.— Blessed Eb-

suLts.— Joy in Final Success 242

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^Y Dear Friend : You ask for some
notes of my personal experience in
connection with Sunday-schools, and
some of the results of that experience.
I shall be glad to gratify you in a
very simple and desultory way, having no time
to arrange any thing in a more methodical or
didactic shape. The proposal will lead me
first to a few reminiscences of .my own con-
nection with these interesting nurseries of the
Church of Christ.

In the year 1819, when a candidate for the
ministry, I was first sent forth by Bishop Gris-
wold, as a young laborer in the Gospel, under
the title of what we call in the Episcopal
Church a Lay Eeader, which included, in those
days, the utmost range of personal exhortation

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and preaching. I was directed by him to the
temporary charge of a small, vacant Episcopal
church in Quincy, Mass. A few scattered fam-
ilies and individuals made up the congregation,
of whom two ladies, still living and useful in
the church, agreed to unite with me in the
opening of a Sunday-school. Such an enter-
prise had never been undertaken or seen by
either of us ; nor had there ever been a Sun-
day-school in the town. But the zeal and
love of young Christians, earnest in the Lord's
service, will furnish both the model and the
accomplishment of what they are prompted to
undertake for him. We scoured the town
among the families to whom we had access,
and among whom we could circulate our noti-
ces, to invite children of all kinds to our school
on the appointed Sabbath. To our amaze-
ment, when the morning arrived, we found per-
haps fifty children assembled, a larger number
than our whole congregation had ever been be-
fore. Our youthful hearts rejoiced, and our in-
experienced hands were full. There were four
teachers besides myself — the two* young ladies,

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and two young men whose family attended the
church. We knew but little of the work we
had undertaken^ but we^had hearts that desired
to work, and a love for the enterprise with
which the Lord had so remarkably honored us.
We labored on with a happy spirit and suc-
cessful results. The first boy whose name I
took at the opening of that school, has been
for more than twenty years a distinguished
minister of the Episcopal Church. One of the
two male teachers gave his life to the Foreign
Missionary work, and died in Ceylon. The
other was taken away while iij his course of
theological study, and the two ladies are still
living, active and useful in the Lord's work.
Little as I knew then, this first Sunday-
school was a very exciting and stirring event of
my life. It had the effect of an entire enlist-
ment of my affections and efforts in this work.
But my subsequent early ministry was for sev-
eral years in a very scattered and wide-spread
coimtry, where the gathering of large Sunday-
schools was impossible. And yet I. have but
the last week received a letter from the Sunday

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school missionary laboring in that region of the
South, informing me that thirty public prima-
ry school-rooms in the county are now offered
for Sunday-school occupation, and asking my
co-operation in furnishing means for libraries
for their use. So remarkablf haa the work
progressed and enlarged in our day.

In the spring of 1829, I was called to St.
Paul's church, in the city of Philadelphia,
where there had been Sunday-schools, very com-
plete and well arranged, from 1816. There
were in those schools perhaps four hundred
children. They made a very effective arrange-
ment in both sexes, from adult Bible-classes
down to infant schools. The best and most
intelligent members of the church were en-
gaged in them. Many of the most influential
of the officers of the church were also occu-
pied in them. They were wisely, intelligently,
and efficiently conducted. They made the very
field of labor for which I had longed, and which
I ardently and instantly embraced. I organized
a weekly lecture on the lesson for the teachers,
and had beside a weekly Bible-class of ladies,

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including the female teachers. I spent every
Sabbath morning in a personal visitation of all
the schools, examining the classes and aiding to
the utmost of my power in the work of teach-
ing, often having the opportunity to take some
vacant class, and thus come into direct contact
with the children themselves. I gave every
Sunday afternoon, when our public service was
in the evening, to a personal address to all the
schools combined.

A whole generation has since passed away.
The children of that day are now the active
mature workers in our churches. More than
ten of them have become preachers of the
Gospel.. Over one hundred and fifty have
given themselves to the Lord's service in the
lay fellowship and labor of the churches.
How many more of all these clusters of
fruit have been gathered since, from the same
heavenly plant, I have no adequate means
of knowing. Those schools have all been
maintained in 'all their efficiency to the present
time. Never were they so strong and prosper-
ous as under the present rector of St. Paul's,

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who was one of the boys of that day, and who
has proved himself so earnest, and successful
in the Sunday-school work, in his ministry since.
"I imagine these schools may be regarded as a
model of successful effort at the present day.

Five years' ministry at St. Paul's prepai-ed
me with a knowledge and experience which
were brought into operation in the successful*
founding and establishment of the Church
of the Epiphany in the same city. That
church was founded upon the Sunday-school.
Its energy and strength were given to the
school. Previously the Sunday-school had
been considered an appendage to the church,
and by some ministers and members a trouble-
some appendage. We founded this church
with the distinct understanding and plan, that
the Sunday-school should be the main and
promiuent object of regard, and its convenience
and successful operation thoroughly provided
for; and we carried out this principle com-
pletely. These schools in theirgeneral features
were arranged as those at St. Paul's. They/
were opened in December, 1834, with four

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teachers and ten scholars in the male school,
and five teachers and fifteen scholars in the
female school. They were left by me in 1845,
when I removed to New York, with thirty-
eight teachers and three hundred and eighty-
one scholars in the male, and forty-two teach-
ers and four hundred and twenty-three scholars
in the female department. I have never seen
elsewhere, schools at all equal to them in the
whole scheme and elements of successful ope-
ration. They were blessed with many very
precious evidences of the Lord's presence and
grace, and large numbers from them were gath-
ered to the table of the Lord, and already
many young ministers are in the Lord's work,
who have gone forth from them. To these
schools, I continued my habit of a weekly lec-
ture to teachers, a weekly female Bible-class, a
monthly address to the schools, and the giving
of every Sunday morning to a supervision of
the work as it went on. In these I established
also an Anniversary, with the donation of books
to every scholar, as a token of our mutual in-
terest and afiection. And when I survey my

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Philadelphia work of sixteen years, no part of
it seems to me to have been so remunerative
and happy as imy connection with my Sunday-
schools. Incidents and facts of this connec-
tion may come up in some future communica-
tions. But they were happy, useful, and
improving hours which were so occupied.
And God was pleased very largely to add his
blessing to the work. No toil could be more
delightful, or bearing richer fruits.

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^EEHAPS an apology is necessary for en-
tering so largely upon the history of
my own personal relations to Sunday-
schools. But understanding your desire
to be a practical account of my individ-
ual experience and observation of the working
and results of these precious nurseries of our
youth, I saw no way to get at it so simply and
naturally, as by the introduction of a personal
narrative. Do not blame me then in the utter-
ance of stories of personal affection and in-
terest. In 1845, I was most unexpectedly
transferred in my ministry to this city. St.
George's church had always been distinguished
for a lively and active interest in Sunday-
schools, and honored by the labors of a faith-
ful pastor and an earnest body of teachers.

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But our removal of the church to a new field
of labor occurred so soon after my coming into
the pastoral relation here, that I had no oppor- .
tunity in the old church to do more t^^an to
co-operate, as earnestly and actively as I could,
in the limited schools which I found in Beek-
man street. We entered upon our new under-
taking in the autumn of 1847, but did not oc-
cupy our new church until November, 1848,
nor till a year after that, had we any building
apart from the church in which the schools
might be held. Till then we, struggled on in
the gallery of the church, in a very scattered
and unsatisfactory way.

But our new enterprise was in its very foun-
dation and purpose, like the Epiphany, a Sun-
day-school church. Several of the oflSlcers of
the church became engaged in the work. The
Vestry adopted it and provided for it in the
most liberal and effective manner. Appropria-
tions and arrangements for its convenience and
accommodation were made with cheerfulness
and pleasure. A cordial and lively interest in
the work always marked their deliberations

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and plans ; and much of the prosperity of these
schools has depended upon this zeal and gener-
ous interest in them on the part of the Vestry
of this church. We have never needed funds,
or laborers, or affectionate support, which have
not been at once forthcoming and efficient. The
children of our congregation have, as a rule, uni-
formly attended our Sunday-school, and thus
every family in the church, rich and poor, have
felt themselves possessed of a common property
,and a common responsibility in everything
which has concerned the welfare and success
of the undertaking.

We commenced our school in October, 1847,
in the University chapel, with about thirty chil-
dren of all classes, and in the year of our oc-
cupation there, could grow but little. But it
was a living coal, however small, and though
a little matter, kindled for us a great fire. In
the spring of 1850, when we held our first an-
niversary, we had grown to forty- two teachers
and five hundred and five scholars. This was
the first year of our meeting in our new chapel,

and the first spring after the completion of our
• 2*

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church. In two more years, so rapidly had
we grown, that our third anniversary gave us
a total of one thousand and two. Our infant
school, which was commenced in the organ gal-
lery of the church with eleven children in 1849,
had now enlarged to two hundred and eighty-
eight, under the same teacher. The crowds in
our one building, and the multitudes of poor
children still seeking admission, compelled us
after this to engage in the establishment of a
mission school, of which I shall desire to speak
in a separate account. Our sixth anniversary,
the first which included the mission school,
presented ninety-five teachers and one thous-
and five hundred and thirty-six scholars. And
this has remained about our average number
since. Our tenth anniversary, in the spring of
1859, closed with one hundred and six teachers
and one thousand five hundred and sixty-five
scholars. But in these ten years more than
ten different schools had been established by
other churches in the field which we had at
first occupied alone. I had always anticipated
a diminution of our numbers as inevitable, un-

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der a process like this. We have found, how-
ever, no essential difference in our own number,
while there are probably near two thousand
children now gathered in other Sunday-schools
of various kinds, within the limits which were
then our sole domain. It is to me a very
happy and grateful thought that our efforts
have not been without their influence in en-
couraging and fostering these adjuvant efforts,
so that God may have made us a blessing be-
yond our own direct labor and immediate rela-
tions. With the attainment of such a result,
I should have felt no surprise, and I trust no
sorrow, at a necessary lessening of our num-
bers, in the more general spreading of the in-,
fluence and the work around us. If our poor
children may be taught the Saviour's word, and
fed with the Saviour's love, I trust it will be
always our part and purpose only to rejoice,
whoever may be made the blessed instruments
of the glorious result.

In the organization of the schools now un-
der my more immediate notice and care, ex-
cepting for the present all reference to our mis-

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sion Bchools, we have six different rooms for
instruction. One infant school under two
teachers, of three hundred and twenty chil-
dren ; another infant school under one teacher,
of one hundred and thirty-five children ; two
female Bible-classes, one of fifty-seven and an-
other of thirty-nine young ladies, in two sep-
arate rooms, under two female teachers ; a
young men's Bible-class of thirty-three mem-
bers, with one teacher ; and in our main
school, two hundred and seventy-eight girls
and two hundred and forty boys, under fifty-
eight teachers. All these have always been
under the superintendence of one executive
head as superintendent. We have thus means
and arrangements for appropriate teaching for
every age and class from three years old to full
maturity. All these departments are in com-
plete and successful operation, and under the
most harmonious arrangement and control.
For the first seven years of our growth and
establishment here, I was favored with the
aid of two valued and efficient laymen, who
successively had the superintendence of this

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large array of youth. Since their necessary
separation from the work, I have taken the
entire personal superintendence myself. From
the commencement of this school, I have never
failed to go through all these rooms and classes,
and to maintain a personal inspection and
oversight of the whole operation in all its
branches and its practical details. For the last
three years I have given my whole time and
presence to their actual personal management,
during the whole period of the session. If
you should be disposed to ask why I have un-
dertaken this additional labor, I can only say,
because my whole experience of the operation
has so enlarged my sense of its importance,
and my affectionate personal interest therein,
that I have felt it a vast pleasure and enjoy-
ment to be myself personally and constantly
engaged in its duties and its success. I have
around me valued laymen whom I should be
glad to see earnestly at work, and very faithful
teachers who are constantly so. But thus far,
neither the amount of actual toil, nor the im-
portance of keeping the lay power of the

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church engaged, has. "been sufficient to over-
come my own selfish delight in the occupation,
or my unwillingness to relinquish it. Perhaps
in this I have been wrong. But I have seen
some very blessed and valuable results arising
from the labors thus pursued. And in a future
consideration of some general elements and
principles involved and developed in the whole
process, I shall have occasion to speak of this

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Online LibraryStephen H. (Stephen Higginson) TyngForty years' experience in Sunday-schools → online text (page 1 of 11)