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Sunday School of Columbia, S. C.

Reverend and Respected Sir:—

As a subscriber to your valued periodical, and knowing the lively interest you take in all matters concerning the prosperity of our people, I herewith transmit to you a brief account of the annual examination of the Israelite Sunday School at this place, for publication.

The examination came off on Sunday, the 11th May, at Temperance Hall, before a crowded audience of all denominations, who evinced their usual gratification, and by their frequent applause, truly gratifying and encouraging to the scholars, proved to them that they had well performed their several parts, and that the labours of their indefatigable directress and assistants, who had prepared them for this public demonstration, were properly appreciated.

The exercises of the morning commenced with prayer by the Directress, Mrs. Julia Levin and, after the appropriate hymns having been sung by the scholars, the different classes, consisting of five, were respectively examined in Bible history, from Genesis, Exodus, and the prophets, Pike’s, Cahen’s, and Leeser’s Catechisms, commandments, and creeds and first and second class gave explanations of the different fasts and festivals. The correct and ready replies to all questions astonished many of the visiters, who were unacquainted with the mode of instruction and attention which true Israelites bestow on their offspring.

With regard to the recitations on this occasion, they were all done so well, that, were I to single out those who were deserving of especial notice, I might be charged with the twofold partiality of parent and tutor. Suffice it to say, premiums were awarded to all,—the highest premium in the first class to Miss Frances Jane Levin, and that of the second class to Miss Caroline Polock.

Miss Rachel Lyons, a young lady thirteen years of age, who was about to retire from the school, came forward and delivered the fol­lowing address:—

Address of Miss Rachel Lyons.

Upon taking leave of this institution as a scholar, I have selected the present occasion to express my gratitude for the benefits I have received during the time I have remained here. It is alone owing to the care and unwearied attention of you, my kind preceptress, whose endeavours have <<268>> been directed to lead me aright in the paths of truth, that I have been enabled to attain some knowledge of my Maker and his laws.

Though young, I cannot come forward without saying something in de fence of a religion which you inculcate so earnestly. ‘Tis a faith which many who differ with us blame and strive, but in vain, to change; for we are a proud though oppressed nation. Yet can any members of any sect say that we have ever endeavoured to entice them from their faith? but can we not with truth say efforts are frequently made to estrange our brethren from a faith which all can but acknowledge was handed to the Israelites as the chosen people of God? What religion had Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, King David, Solomon, and other wise men spoken of in Scripture, but that of Israel? Was not that the faith for which Abraham was willing to offer up his son Isaac in obedience to the command of the Almighty? for which Hannah sacrificed her seven sons rather than change the religion of their fathers? I repeat was not that a faith worthy of an adherence? Even at the present time our brethren are suffering dreadful persecution in the East: should we not thank our merciful Father, that through the liberal mind and wise councils of our earthly rulers the flames of persecution cannot reach us here, and that we are allowed to worship Him in peace, and listen to your kind and wise instruction?

My dear preceptress, we are but few in this town. Yet each Sabbath finds us united in singing the praises of our Creator, and I can say, we never enter our house of worship without a prayer for and a thought of the kindness and liberality of our citizens when called upon to assist in its erection.

In conclusion, I tender you, dear lady, my sincere thanks for the unvarying kindness you have shown toward me. I feel I can ill repay the debt I owe you, but trust that your endeavours to impart the word of God to your pupils may receive its just reward here and hereafter, and that you may witness their efforts to increase their knowledge this and each succeeding year.

And now, my fellow-schoolmates, I turn to say a few parting words to you. We have weekly assembled to listen to and receive the words of instruction from the lips of our beloved Directress, and though the bond of school fellowship is broken, may not that of friendship still unite us? And as we are now young, is it not well for us to resolve strictly to follow the path of truth? Let not your early years pass by unheeded; for the Bible says: “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” If such be your course, the God of Israel will bless and prosper you.

On the conclusion of the above she was presented with a handsome copy of the Pocket Bible, with the accompanying reply by Mrs. Julia Levin, Directress.

Reply of Mrs. Julia Levin.

On responding to the remarks just made by you, my dear child, permit <<269>> me to say, that I have listened to them with pride and gratification. And who among the daughters and sons of Judah can suppress those emotions which swell the heart with grateful pride, when they look back and remember that it is but a few short years since the fundamental principles of our holy religion have been systematically taught here. You, my dear child, standing here in all the pride and faith of one of Israel’s daughters, gratify me beyond expression. The words you have uttered show with what intent you commenced your studies, how diligently you have sought the word of truth, and the impression it has made. May the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart be alike acceptable to Israel’s God. And may you instil into the hearts of those who may be placed under your charge a corresponding feeling with that of your own.

Receive, then, this Bible as a token of my love; it is the holy gift of the Creator to his creatures, and as this is the “light of our faith,” so may it be as in days gone by, your pillar of cloud by day, and light by night, remembering that as we are God’s creatures, so are all mankind; and as we are a peculiar people in faith and ceremonies, it is by God’s command; who has promised to those who hold out faithful to the end, his blessing and protection.

May the former be your watchword through life, and the latter your reward, when time with you shall be no more.

On the following Tuesday evening the scholars again met, with smiling countenances and light hearts, to join in the merry dance, given to them as a reward for the very handsome manner in which they had acquitted themselves.

A Subscriber. Columbia, S. C. June 4, 1851.