Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

with reference to those now existing at Herborn, Loccum, and Wittenberg, and the establishment of a similar one in the Grand Duchy of Baden. By Th. W. Dittenberger, &c., &c.] 4. Geschichte der geistlichen Bildungsanstalten. Mit einem Vorworte, enthaltend: Acht Tage im Seminar von St. Euseb. in Rom. Von Dr. Augustin Theiner. Mainz 1835. [see next work.]

5. Histoire des Institutions d'Education Ecclesiastique. Par Augustin Theiner, traduit de l’Allemand par Jean Cohen, Bibliothécaire à St. Geneviève, Paris, 1841. [In two volumes.] 6, 7. Assemblée Générale de la Société Evangélique de Genève. 5ième anniversaire. Genève, 1836. 6*me anniversaire. Genève, 1837. 8. Outline of the Course of Study pursued by the Students of the Theological Seminary, Andover, in the department of Christian Theology, with references to the principal books in the library, pertaining to that department, for the use of the Students. Andover, 1830. 9. Laws of the Cincinnati Law Seminary. Cincinnati. [No date.]

10. Plan of the New York Theological Seminary, founded on the 18th of Jan. A.D. 1836. New York, 1837.

11. Laws for the government of the Protestant Dissenting College, at Homerton. Hackney, 1831.

12. Circular of the College Committee, appointed by the Commission of Synod of the Presbyterian Churches in England (professing the principles of the Free Church of Scotland) for the establishment of a Theological Seminary in London. London, 1844.

13. Congregational Magazine for Dec. 1844. [Document relating to the Congregational Theological Colleges of England and Wales, presented to the Congregational Union of England and Wales, at their 6th autumnal session, held at Norwich, Oct. 15th and 16th, 1844, and ordered to be printed.]

THE array of books and documents here enumerated, the dates of some of them, and the nature of others, will already have suggested to many of our readers that the object of this article is not so much to draw attention to their literary character, as to make use of them in connection with the present movement of the Congregational Union respecting their theological schools. That there is such a movement we are devoutly thankful to Him who has the hearts of all men in his hands; and we shall look, with no small interest, for some effect from it upon our Baptist brethren, believing that the moral strength and influence of both denominations, and, consequently, the cause of that “one faith” which we believe in common, would be considerably advanced by a judicious advance in this direction. That our colleges have hitherto received far less attention than they require or deserve, is a proposition which, though it will probably be questioned by some, can be satisfactorily proved. It arises, partly, from causes which may be considered accidental; but is probably still more the result of wilful ignorance and prejudice. The first and most obvious cause of this neglect (accidental, perhaps, as respects the ordinary members of our body, but not so as respects those whose duty it has been to urge the claims of our colleges upon our people), has been the want of any regular and efficient advocacy of their object, necessity and claims. The other hindrances are still more painful to mention. Of these the first and greatest, doubtless has been, the wilful ignorance which has existed among our people on the subject. That such ignorance receives any countenance from the principles of Congregationalism, in the larger acceptation of the term, we cannot for a moment admit. That these principles recognize the utter worthlessness of human learning without the teaching of the divine Spirit is indeed true; it is also true that they recognize the sufficiency of that teaching to qualify for some of the most essential relative duties of believers to each other: but they by no means recognize the sufficiency of the Spirit's teaching, as it is imparted to private individuals to discover to them the way of salvation, and as it is distinguished from the teaching granted, in the first age of the church, for public purposes, to qualify for all the duties of the cliristian ministry: neither do they take for granted, that there are such promises of official grace, in the form of special spiritual gift, as will justify pastors, teachers, or evangelists, in relying on the Spirit's teaching only without private diligence and study. It is also well known by those who have any knowledge on the subject, that the restorers of primitive independency were many of them among the most diligent and successful students of the very literature which it is the object of our colleges to promote; that the scholarship of Ainsworth, in the commencement of the seventeenth century, was worthily followed up by that of Owen, Goodwin, Caryl, Clarkson, Howe, and others, towards the close of it; and that the learning as well as the ability of the dissenting brethren (as the Independents were called) in the Westminster Synod, was the admiration of the whole assembly. The distrust of literature, which we sorrowfully admit has since appeared, here and there, in the Congregational body, is neither the consistent result of Congregational principles, nor the reproach of its more influential or useful ministers. It is in part the natural consequence of those difficulties which the laws of our country put in the way of nonconformist learning, by excluding dissenters from the national universities; and, for a time, forbidding them even to teach in any public or private school. On this subject, the document read at the Norwich meeting gives some curious information;

as it does, also, respecting the means employed, after the Revolution, to preserve in our ministry that literary proficiency for which the Independents of the ejectment period were so honourably distinguished. The value of these means, inferior as it must be admitted they were to those at our command now, was evinced in the character and usefulness of the ministers they helped to produce. To such comparatively private academies we are indebted, in part, for Watts, Doddridge, and all the most valuable ministers who adorned the first half of the eighteenth century, and whose number would have been far greater, had not the difficulty of obtaining competent tutors, and the expense of providing for the maintenance of all their different institutions, which dissenters have always had to bear, in addition to the various charges levied on them in common with others, for the support of the national establishment, been too great for the times. Hence the academies, being one step further removed from the sympathies and affections of the people than the existing ministry was, were far too much neglected; and those which have depended upon voluntary contributions, have at times had a very precarious subsistence. To this, however, another cause has, since the rise of methodism, in some degree contributed. It pleased God in that age of revival, to call out, in his providence, from the masses, various individuals who were endowed with remarkable gifts for addressing the multitudes on the great concerns of etermity; and it has required no small amount of experimental proof to convince the bulk of such as received their first impressions of divine things under an uneducated ministry, that the gifts which were adapted to awaken sinners were, in the order of means, insufficient for the permanent and growing edification of the church. Indeed, this is just the lesson those have yet to learn who are opposed to the education of the ministry. They suppose that the modicum of gifts which sufficed for the itinerant ministry of Whitefield’s zealous companions, will carry a man honourably through all the duties of a stationary pastorate; that the knowledge which enabled the methodists of the last century to meet the various prejudices and objections of that shallow age would be found sufficient to meet all the emergencies and demands of this. Preposterous and lamentable delusion | There is, we are sorry to say, one other cause by which the prejudice we have just attempted to expose has for some years past been confirmed. This is the unwarrantable manner in which our academical institutions have been, and still are, spoken of by some who have been invested with the sacred office among us. These persons are for the most part incompetent ministers, who having disgracefully neglected their academical advantages, and being confirmed in indolence by their inability to build upon the poor foundation which they laid at college, have made a shameful failure of it ever since, and strive to hide their shame by charging their incompetency upon the institution whose bread they eat, but whose work they did not do. These men are known by another sign; their jealousy and dread of students. There are too many colleges, forsooth. Why? Because the time is come, when those who are driven from one station for incompetency, find it hard to obtain another. The churches will not have those who have been tried and found wanting, when there is a fresh supply of hopeful students. There are instances, we know, of worthy men who have found the same difficulty of re-settlement, and therefore we earnestly beg that our description may be applied to those only to whom it manifestly belongs; but these 'murmurers, complainers,' as Jude called those who had 'crept in unawares' in his day, may be known by their fruits; and this is their description, they are clouds without water, carried about of winds; trees, whose fruit withereth, without fruit; . . . raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars. But as their occupation goes, their credit will go with it, and we trust that this evil will soon be numbered with the things that have been

The foreign publications we have named above attest the interest which theological seminaries have excited, of late years, throughout Europe and America. The Roman apostasy, the Lutheran and Calvinistic, (or, to adopt their own designations, the Evangelical and Reformed communions), the Presbyterians and Congregationalists of America, are represented in the works enumerated. We must, in this article, content ourselves with those incidental notices of them which our object shall require. The work of Theiner is on the whole the most remarkable; being curious in respect both of the subject and the author. It is the supererogatory quarantine of a Romanist, who had fallen under the censure of the apostolic see, after his return and reconciliation, and who has detailed in a preface extending to several sheets, the successive steps of his conversion. We relinquish that preface now, with the intention to return to it in an early number. The editor's advertisement to the French translation, which informs us that it had previously appeared in Italian, contains, however, a summary of the original work, which will serve at once to inform our readers of the general contents and character of the book, and introduce the matter we shall then wish to lay before them. Without pretending to criticise the work here,' say they,—

"We shall be permitted to say that it will interest and even instruct all who may peruse it. In fact, it abounds in curious details; it relates in succession all the efforts, varying with the exigences of the times, which popes, the holiest bishops, councils, nay, the whole church, have unceasingly made to give a solid and various training to her ministers, at the same time that she was forming them to severity of manners, and a heroic devotion to the christian priesthood.

In this narrative great glory redounds to the African church of the first ages, and to St. Augustine,-to St. Augustine, whose virtues and intelligence now live again in another pontiff * set over the same region.

* But the great Bishop of Hippo is no more ; and soon the African episcopacy, persecuted and broken down by death and exile, sends to Europe several of her members, who seem to escape persecution only to endow us with the holy institutions f which had been first developed in their dioceses. God grant that they may now be restored in flourishing condition to the places where they had their birth!

*The epoch of Charlemagne is also very memorable in the history of ecclesiastical institutions t; a prominent place is therefore given to it in Dr. Theiner's work. We follow with a lively interest Boniface, the great and prodigious Boniface, Boniface and the other apostles who evangelise Germany with him. They are at once masters, missionaries, and confessors of the truth. Disciples flock around them, hear their instructions, and accompany them in their labours. They are walking seminaries, seminaries quite apostolical, schools in which one learns and preaches at the same time, in which one gives himself to prayer, and dies for the faith of Jesus Christ.

* Ecclesiastical seminaries then decline for a season, it is the era in which universities are founded and enlarged; they absorb, so to speak, all education.

• But the Jesuits, St. Charles Borroniceo, the Cardinal of Berulla, St. Vincent de Paul, and the venerable M. Ollier, apply themselves, with the approbation and under the direction of the Roman pontiffs, to revive the ancient institutions for theological education everywhere. The Council of Trent confirms or determines all these holy and glorious efforts.

Dr. Theiner's work appears then to be very complete. He brings down the history of the establishments for ecclesiastical education from the commencement of the church to our own days.

We wish it, however, to be observed, that it seems to us, that in such a book St. Dominick and St. Francis--the institutions which these great men created, and which have exercised so great an influence over

• The newly consecrated prelate of Algeria. It will not escape the notice of the intelligent reader, that in this and the following sentences he is reading the words of a Frenchman, whose vanity is interested in connecting the glories of the Gallicano-Roman hierarchy with the successes of the French arms, and the extension of the French power on the coast of Africa.- Rev.

t i.e., seminaries : this is what is meant, though we have thought right in our translation to adhere to the word in the original.-Rev.

« ZurückWeiter »