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ditions of the Divine economy of life, or enable one to keep pace with the intellectual movements of our generation. That complete view of religion and life, of history and science, of Scripture interpretation and Christian ethics, which is in harmony with our first principles of belief, can not be got at by random and desultory thinking; nor should it be left to the chances of extravagant speculation. It can only be slowly matured, as the ripe fruit of our very highest and most enlightened culture. It can only be taught by the deliberation, method, and patient fidelity which belong to a true school of divinity, such as we wish to see fostered here.*
In particular, there is something meant by the demand, so urgently enforced two or three generations ago, for“ a learned ministry." Not that secular scholarship or critical erudition are the most essential outfit for undertaking "the cure of souls.” But it has been dimly felt, – just as the most deliberate analysis will always show, – that our religious faith is an element in the life of humanity at large, and is part of our great inheritance from the past. The higher, interior, hidden life of man, is not, like the discoveries of science or the theories of philosophy, to be won by the effort of solitary think ers, or wrought into shape by each generation for itself. It is what, with peculiar suggestiveness of phrase, we call the Christian “tradition," that we have received. It is what identifies us most nearly with the generations of the remoter past; and so the right exposition of it includes a wise interpretation of that past. It requires that the channel of that tradition should be kept clear and deep. It needs the apparatus of scholars and universities and books. Even if (which is alike impossible and undesirable) the Bible were utterly set aside, as having any peculiar sanction or authority ; even if the early Christian records could be reduced to the same rank, and judged by the same canons, as all secular writings,
* In a letter addressed to Dr. Bellows and Rev. E. E. Hale, a copy of which is in the hands of the Trustees of the University, Professor Noyes has forcibly urged his view of what a sufficient outfit of the School would require, - viz., 1. A department of the Literature and Interpretation of the Old Testament; 2. of the Literature and Interpretation of the New Testament; 3. of Homiletics and Pastoral Care; 4. of Philosophical and Systematic Theology; 5. of Church History. The first two and the last two being respectively merged in one, there would still remain three full professorships, essential to a tolerable completeness of endowment. As at present organized, the department of Church History is simply a lectureship, on an insufficient foundation, requiring but two hours' instruction, twice a week, the existing appointment having only four years more to run.
- even then the offices of erudition would be hardly less important in the interpretation of religious truth. For still there would remain the great “Bible of Humanity." Still history and literature and philosophy would have their religious lessons to teach, and would require their divine interpretation. Still, as long as the religious spirit survives in any form, it must remain a matter of supreme interest, to enter into and comprehend the deeper life of the past, the energy of its conviction, the glory of its aspiration, the heroism of its faith. The consecrated learning of devout and faithful men must still be, for us, the interpreter and the key to all that is noblest in our Christian inheritance.
Whatever motive, then, we have for giving classical scholarship an equal place in all our colleges, side by side with scien. tific studies and training for the practical arts of life, avails to maintain theology in its place, in that circle of maturer studies which completes our scheme of university education. It is naturally the culmination of a course of study in the “humanities," – that is, in the world's best literature and finest forms of thought, — just as the “ Celestial Mechanics" are the culmination of a course of scientific study. Our theory of education would be as imperfect without the one as without the other. It will be a day of evil omen for the Church, when it ceases to demand, somewhere in the body of its instructors, the very largest and completest education that the university can give; and for the University, when it seeks no longer to supply, in equal and generous proportion, what is needful to ripen and train the intellect on the side of aspiration and faith, while equipping it with all the enginery of modern sciences, to do the tasks of the “ life that perisheth.” It will be a day of evil omen for America, if that calamity should ever befall us here, which has so often been said to
have overtaken Germany or France, and to be impending over England, of a hopeless divorce between intellect and faith.
Why should we not look forward to the building-up, on the present foundation, of a Theological Department, as generously endowed and as well sustained as the other departments of the University ? First of all, as a condition to this, it would be necessary to deliver it from the narrow and disappointing theory, that it is simply a professional training-school. It must be distinctly accepted and understood as the apparatus of the highest culture which the Church or the university can give in that direction. To do its work completely, two distinct objects would have to be kept in view,- inspiration, by which we mean the impulse, motive, and general guidance that bring the trained intelligence to bear upon a given class of topics, and which would be imparted mainly through lectures, by the living and fresh enthusiasm of master-minds, devoted each to its own main line of thought or inquiry; and instruction, which can be given only by system, discipline, and method, administered by a sufficient corps of resident teachers, and which is necessary to follow up and turn to account the interest inspired by the former. Any system of education, especially of that highest education we are speaking of, must be lame and insufficient, if either of the two be wanting.
Of the first in particular, it seems desirable that a word should be spoken now. It is understood, that, a few years ago, a plan was proposed, and had the full assent of Mr. Everett, then President of the University, to inaugurate a course of lectures on theology, to be given by eminent men of various denominations, Catholic as well as Protestant, who should be appointed and paid by their respective religious bodies, subject to the sanction of the University Trustees. It was perhaps the noblest proposition ever seriously made, to lift the University above the level of sectarian disputes, and put upon it the stamp of a noble, Christian liberality. Who can estimate the effect which might be had — not merely in the way of impulse to theological study, but as teaching the reality of divine truth, above all sects and forms — of courses given thus, from year to year, by such men as Bushnell, Park, McClintock, and the many others who would successively represent the very finest culture, the deepest thought, the best philosophy, the most intelligent doctrinal interpretations, which could be furnished, as the contribution of the several Churches of America to its highest school of Christian education ? And we do not think that those who were informed of the proposal were quite content with the reasons of practical difficulty found by the Corporation for declining to assent to it. What practical success can ever be had in any thing, except by dealing with practical difficulties? And we hope they will not seem so formidable hereafter as they did once. A system of “University lectures” has already been established at Cambridge, including, among other topics, some of close kindred with theology; and this needs only a little enlargement, and assurance of response, to include all that could be desired. The systematic instruction in a department of theology must be given, of course, by resident professors, whose general views and method are in harmony with that of the University government. But not necessarily so with lectureships, which would be on the model of those of the Lowell Institute, including a great variety of men and forms of opinion, and greatly varied from year to year. Nor need they be restricted to our hemisphere. Not long ago, the Lowell Institute was in correspondence with Mr. Martineau, with a view to a course of lectures from him in Boston, - a correspondence broken off, we believe, by circumstances connected with the late war, as well as by his own pressing engagements in London. What an era it would have been in the life of our Cambridge School, and in the development of theological science among us, if that or a similar course could be given here, under the auspices of the oldest university in America! The thought having been once seriously considered, we trust the public will not let it rest, until this department also of our higher education is developed in some proportion to the opportunity and the need.
It is with this understanding of what it means, that we have spoken of the claims of theological learning on the educated and Christian public. We do not attempt to urge in
VOL. LXXXIII. — NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. II.
detail what are the present condition and wants of the Cambridge Divinity School. It has its memories of fifty years, dear and honorable in the main. It has its just claims to the magnanimous judgment and generous counsels of its friends. It has its claims to support in the character of the men who have been set to be its instructors, and in the motives and hopes it cherishes among those whom it gathers to their teaching. But its highest and noblest claim must always be in the idea it represents, – the idea of a religious culture and faith in full harmony with the free, robust, enlightened intelligence of the day; and in the office (which it will discharge just in proportion to the confidence and honor given it by the public) of interpreter between the most exalted forms of human thought, the freest search for truth, and the pure graces, affections, motives, and hopes of the religious life.
Art. VII.- REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
WHEN, several years ago, the author of these sermons * had preached the first in this collection, at a convention that met in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the enchanted listeners said to that brave, true soul, to whose dear memory this volume is so fitly dedicated, “ Who can preach better than that ? ” — “ Collyer can,” was the reply. It required a great deal of faith to believe it then, but the event has proved that Staples knew his man. This volume is a genuine fulfilment of his prophecy. Mr. Collyer has been growing every day from then till now; and, if these sermons had been printed in the order of their delivery, we are quite sure that they would have illustrated the different stages of a process, in the author's mind, akin to that which makes the apple mellow, and turns the hill-side, where the wheat is growing, into a sea of rolling gold.
It is not possible to fairly indicate the power of these discourses in so many words. Genius defies analysis. The whole is greater than
* Nature and Life. Sermons, by ROBERT COLLYER, Pastor of Unity Church Chicago. Boston: Horace B. Fuller, 1867.