« AnteriorContinuar »
wants of the Institution. The means of affording pecuniary assistance to its students are comparatively very small; and the theological department of the library of the University, as well as every other department of it, requires great additions. In the building to be erected, there should likewise be a Library Room, and a separate library containing copies of books, most in use and most wanted for frequent reference. We think also that it should contain a refectory for the students. We see no object to be gained by limiting public liberality; and, as every one knows, a very much larger sum than that mentioned is necessary to place the Institution at Cambridge on the same foundation with that at Andover; or, what is much more to the purpose, is necessary to its producing all the good which it might be the means of effecting. We have known repeated instances in which students have left the Institution at Cambridge, or been deterred from joining it, on account of the expenses of residence in that place, and the want of funds to grant them the assistance required. It is we believe the principal cause which prevents the growth of the school, and believing this, we are solicitous that means for assisting a more considerable number of students should be immediately provided.
At the same time, however, that we wish to see the charitable fund increased, we think it in the highest degree important that the present expenses of residence should be diminished. This is desirable, not merely that the advantages of the Institution may be much more widely extended; but, also, because far the greater number of students at this, or at any other theological school, will hereafter be placed in circumstances, in which economy and frugality will be necessary virtues; and their education should be so conducted as to form those habits. The present price of board as provided by the College, for graduates and undergraduates, is $2,50 per week; and not long since, it was very considerably higher. Respecting the expense at other institutions we find the following statements in a late article of the Boston Recorder.
"At Amherst, the Trustees offer to furnish the students, tuition, board, and lodging, for $1 per week, that is for $39, per year during term time."
"At Williams College, board can be obtained in respectable families for $1 per week."
"The price of board at Yale College has been as low as $1,50 per week, and the term-bills about $40 per year. The estimate of the necessary expenses, per year, without including apparel and pocket-money, as stated in the Connecticut Register, for 1820, is $180."
"At Union College, board is $1,50 to $2 per week."
We desire to see the expenses of a Theological education at Cam
bridge diminished; and sufficient charitable means provided to defray a considerable proportion at least of what may then be the necessary expenses of those who may need its assistance. The erection of a building for their residence, in which there shall be a separate hall for meals, will, under proper management, contribute essentially to these important objects.
In order that the Institution may flourish, we think it likewise of fundamental importance, that its concerns should not be blended as they are at present with those of the College. The management of the Institution is now principally under the controul of the gentlemen, who constitute the Corporation, as is that of the College. The concerns of the latter, should it flourish, as we most earnestly desire it may, will be continually increasing in importance, and extending their relations, and consequently demanding more time and care in order to their proper regulation. We are convinced, that it is a serious evil to the College, that its legislative body, and that which exercises controul over all its concerns, should consist with the sole exception of the President of the University,* of gentlemen, who are not resident in Cambridge, not officers of instruction, nor of the Immediate Government, who are liable, individually, to little public responsibility for the state of the College, who have, by personal experience, no intimate knowledge of its interests, who are drawn away from attending to them by other pressing concerns of a public and private nature, and who with the best intentions and the best abilities, must often want not merely time for giving them due attention, but what is, if possible, of still more importance, that thorough acquaintance with the existing state of things, which is necessary to form a correct judgment respecting different measures which may be, or which ought to be adopted. We do not know why the time and attention of this body should be still further occupied by the interests of the Theological Institution; and we cannot help fearing that the latter may be postponed to those of the College, as only a secondary concern. We see no reason why they should not, with the exception of what relates to pecuniary transactions, be confided to the immediate officers of the school, to those who in public estimation will be solely regarded as responsible for its character. If any new and better arrangements are to be adopted, it seems now a proper time to call the public attention to the subject.
We regret that the Circular Letter itself was not sent out in
* Besides the President, the Corporation consists of six other gentlemen, three clergymen and three laymen, chosen from the community at large. It fills its own vacancies.
the name of the Trustees of the "Society for promoting Theological Education in the University at Cambridge," rather than in that of the Corporation. This Society was formed sometime since; and we think it would contribute essentially to the progress of theological knowledge and true religion, if it would afford not merely pecuniary aid, as it already has done; but likewise give its countenance and encouragement to the School, by manifesting a constant interest in all its concerns. Members are admitted for life upon paying a subscription of fifty dollars. Yearly subscribers to the amount of five dollars if laymen, and two dollars if clergymen, are likewise members during the continuance of their subscription. The subscription now proposed should, we conceive, hold out the same privileges of membership in that Society.
Several articles of Intelligence are necessarily deferred. See the second page of the covers.
NEW SERIES-No. 21.
May and June, 1822.
THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY AT THE PRESENT PERIOD.-AN ADDRESS DELIVERED TO THE MINISTERS ASSEMBLED IN BERRY STREET, MAY 29, 1822.*
THE subject given for our consideration at this time is, the difficulties of the Christian ministry at the present period.
Every age has its distinctive character; and the ministry of every time has had its distinctive facilities and difficulties. It was from the opposing circumstances in the state and character of the time, that arose the peculiar difficulties of the ministry of our Lord and of his apostles. Their ministry was a struggle of light against darkness; of truth, in all the divine simplicity in which it could be taught, against error in almost every variety of form, entrenched by mystery, and defended by all the skill of the learned, and the authority of the pow. erful. It was reason opposed to sordid interests, and to triumphant vicious passions. In Judea, it was a contest for the precedence of true love to God, and love to man, of spiritual worship and of moral obedience, over ritual observances, beyond which no one looked for the conditions and means of acceptance. And throughout the Gentile world, the apostles were called to warfare, not alone against idolatry, and vices too gross even to be named among christians, which were sanctioned by the examples of the gods that were worshipped, but with a proud and contemptuous philosophy, as ready even as the most arrogant sectarian of Judea to inquire, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? But as our religion became corrupted, the facilities of its ministry were increased; * See Intelligence.
- and for centuries, in proportion to the advance that was made in mystical interpretations of the language of Christ and his apostles; in proportion as men could be persuaded that doctrines were important, in the degree in which they were mysterious; and that faith was efficacious, to the extent to which it implied the sacrifice of reason; for centuries, while the priesthood was considered as the depository of sacred truth, and men were restrained, not alone from unbelief, but from inquiry, by fear of the anathemas of their spiritual guides; the ministry, if so this horrible perversion of the sacred office must be called, was a service as easy, as it was itself debased. And were not the difficulties of the reformation, emphatically, the difficulties of delivering christendom from the spell of mystery, and the bondage of fear, in which the papal power so long had holden it? Much indeed was done, by the transfer of the scriptures from the cells of monks, to the hands of the people. But in the prevailing ignorance of the age, and in the habit, that was universal, of submission to superiors in all the matters of religion, mystery, if it was not still the very soul of religion, was yet felt to be absolutely essential to its existence; and fear was the right arm with which it wielded its sanctions, and enforced its laws. The light that broke out from God's word, in the first interpretations that were given of it, was thought to be all the light that it was designed to impart to man. The people received the dogmas that were taught in catechisms, or were inculcated from the pulpit, without examination, and without doubt; or if doubt was felt and expressed, the united power of great names, and of the civil arin in enforcing conformity, secured the paramount influence of the clergy. Very different therefore are the circumstances of the ministry at the present-period; and to a brief view of them I would respectfully ask your attention.
With the eighteenth century began a new era in protestant christendom. Mills' collations were published in 1707; and since that time, every manuscript and version of the New Testament has been examined and compared with the most scrupulous exactness; and the means of judging for himself, concerning the true text of the evangelists and apostles, have been extended to every one, both of the clergy and laity, who can read the Greek Testament. The spell in which the minds of men were long bound, has thus been broken. All the subjects of christian theology have been freely discussed; rules of scripture criticism and interpretation have been established; the exact import of scripture language, on topics once thought to be too mysterious for the investigation of man, has been brought within the reach