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value, they are entirely at your learned Minister, a preparation for service.
entering our colleges which, in I can by no means coincide in my opinion, ought in very rare the statements as to the present instances indeed to be dispensed condition of the Dissenting Minis- with, would afford a sufficient try, contained in an article in the opportunity for diligent and conEclectic Review for last month. scientious young men, not indeed The tone throughout that article to become profoundly learned, appears to me greatly too com- but to acquire a considerable furplaining and gloomy. Education, niture of useful knowledge, and eloquence, efficiency, are not at the to attain that point in the acquisilow ebb among us, which that tion of learning, at which their writer represents; and the state future progress would become easy of our academies, though they cer- and well directed that is on the taivly admit of and require im- supposition of their possessing provement, by no means warrants competent abilities. And most his strictures.
assuredly, kindness to the candi. As to the number of Ministers dates for the sacred office themeducated in our theological semi- selves, as well as every wise care naries, I think the remarks of your for the cause of religion and the correspondents, Messrs. Ward and welfare of our churches, requires P., have shown, that it is not ex- the conductors of our seminaries cessive; but, if it were, the remedy to make the possession of respecseems to me exceedingly simple, table talent an indispensable qualiand to afford a cure not for that fication for admission to our colevil only, but for many others. leges. Yet, let me express an Let all our colleges, with the ex- earnest hope and prayer, that those ception perhaps of Homerton, im- in whom this most important trust mediately add a year to the term is lodged, will never cease to make of studies pursued within their the piety of the youths, soliciting walls, without increasing their their patronage, the subject of their numbers, and of course diminish- first and most strict inquiry-nor ing their admissions proportion- ever be seduced, by the most ally. But this is an improvement splendid talents, to admit their that ought forthwith to be made, possessor, while destitute of seriwhether the number of students be ous piety, into an office where he at present excessive or not. If must be a mischief and curse, just the number of students be so inade- in proportion to the power and quate as not to allow of their fascination of his genius. No; course of study being lengthened let talents, when unconnected with by an additional year, let an in- piety, seek some other field of excrease be immediately sought. In ercise and distinction, than the that rising and most important in- Christian ministry, or remain buried stitution, Highbury College, five in the deepest obscurity, rather years at least of assiduous study than involve their owner in all the ought pot merely to be allowed, guilt, and the church in all the but imperatively required. No mischief, arising from the exercise student should be considered as of them in an irreligious ministry. proceeding into the ministry, the But, when I speak of five years legitimate “ alumnus" of that in- in our colleges, with a previous stitution, who had not passed his year of private preparation under full term of five years within its the superintendence of a Minister walls. This period of study, after of wisdom and learning, as a suffispending a previous year under cient course of education for the the private care of a wise and generality of our Ministers, I by N.S. No. 31.
no means wish to be understood best qualified to become a man of as implying, that such a term sound and extensive learning; and would, in all cases, afford all the let the students so selected be sent advantages that could be wished. to Glasgow, and be maintained I am of a widely different opinion; there for four sessions at leastand, indeed, should not mention thus, there would be arising in a such a course as generally ade. constant succession, on an average quate, were it not for the extraor- of something more than one in dinary facilities for the acquisi. every year, those men to whose tion of theological learning, which learning, talents, and piety our the various publications of the last denomination could look as the half century, on biblical criticism ornaments and defence of our and kindred subjects, have pro- cause. We cannot do in these vided for our studious youth times without men of sound learnfacilities these that should never ing-and such men cannot be be overlooked, when estimating obtained unless their talents be the term of study necessary, in or- sought out and cultivated. I wish dinary cases, to qualify a young to see our Ministers of learning man for the efficient and respec. adorned with the real honour of table exercise of the Christian mi- a Master of Arts degree, earned by nistry; but which the writer in the actual study and residence in an Eclectic, alluded to above, seems university, rather than by a diplonot to have duly considered, when ma of Doctor of Divinity, conferred speaking not without some mix with dubious propriety on those ture of contempt of the inade- who never entered one of those quacy of the term of study now venerable seats of learning. I am generally allowed--a term not in. not insensible, that to accomplish deed so extended as it ought to be, the plan there proposed, difficulties nor, on the other hand, so extremely must be surmounted; but feel fully insufficient as he would represent. persuaded no difficulty or expense Yet it seems to me, on the sup- could arise of importance comparaposition that a course of study, of ble to those attending the advansix years duration, would fit young tages to be derived from it. men of respectable talents for the Another point of considerable exercise of the Christian ministry importance in the inquiry into the under ordinary circumstances, still most proper and efficient method we can never suppose, unless a of conducting the education of our proper proportion of our Ministers young Ministers, is the question, obtain superior advantages, that whether or not they should be emwe can number in our ranks so ployed in preaching during their many truly learned men as the term of preparatory study. This honour of our denomination, the practice, the writer of the article cause of our common Christianity, in the Eclectic already alluded to, and the providing tutors and pre- condemns in strong and decided sidents for our seminaries, render terms. Yet I am not convinced, absolutely necessary. It is for by his remarks, that all the reasons this reason that I would submit, to be assigned for pursuing this whether some such plan as the plan, to a certain extent, are, as he following ought not to be adopted. terms them, “ specious." I think Let five at least of our most con- there are solid reasons for allow. siderable colleges always select, ing theological students to preach from every race of students, the occasionally, and more particuindividual whose power, applica- larly towards the close of their tion, previous advantages, and academic term ; while I can neverpersonal wishes, point him out as theless concur with him in the opinion, that it has been pushed to requires so much both of public a very injudicious and hurtful ex. labour, and real resource, to discess. All acquainted with the charge its duties with honour and subject will, I think, agree in success. saying, that students ought never One word on the subject of to have been taught to depeod Ministers recommending young upon preaching as a source of men to the committees of our colemolument to the extent they have leges, and I will conclude. From been-while yet it is more easy to whatever causes it may havearisen, deplore than to remedy the evil. certainly there have been many During the vacations throughout most injudicious recommendations the course of their academic ca- given; these cannot always so reer, I think students may be easily be corrected by the revision beneficially employed in preach- of committees. Even if the uning; but I cannot but give my suitable candidate be rejected, decided opinion, that this employ- the effect of the recommendation ment should be limited to the is injurious to him-he has been vacations, until the last two years unsettled and disappointed, and of the five they should spend in may think trimself either injured the college. But within these, or or disgraced by the decision of other sober limits, it seems to the committee. Let Ministers asme highly desirable they should sociate the church with them, in preach, both to keep up in their judging of a young man's fitness minds the spirit of anxious solici- for the ministry—and let the Minitude to be actively engaged in ster and the church jointly obtain labouring for the good of souls, the fullest satisfaction, not merely and to afford them some insight of the candidate's piety and tainto the practical service of public lents, but that the whole characspeaking, and to give them some ter of the youth is adapted for the preparation for it, that they may sacred office--that his powers and not, on entering upon the pastoral his piety, his temper and his haoffice, find themselves entirely des- bits, are suited to the sacred entitute of confidence and composure gagement. Adaptation is every in the pulpit, which, as it seems thing here. And it is the question to me, must be the almost ne- of adaptation that is at once most cessary consequence of five or six necessary and most difficult to be years spent in the seclusion of a solved. A pious youth may pos. college life, and private studies, sess good mental powers, and yet without any opportunity of en- not be suited for the ministry. In gaging in that service for which it a word, in this preliminary step ought to be the end and ten- of recommending a youth to an dencies of all their previous pur- academy, the utmost exercise of suits to prepare them. This is wise and conscientious care is one of those cases continually necessary. And it is one mateoccurring in practical affairs, where rial advantage arising from sendit is excess only that is injurious ing young men for a year or more -the thing is wise and good within to the private care of a competent proper limits. Surely the acquisi- Minister, that it subjects the case tion of knowledge by study, and to additional examination and the use of it in preaching, should scrutiny, and that one more check both be attended to, should be is provided to secure our semiinterwoven with a wise care, in naries against the reception of unthe training of a young man for suitable persons. the public ministry of the Gospel in these times, when that ministry
ON THE CHARACTER AND IN. enterprize has not been sufficient.
PLUence of the LITERATURE ly exerted in lessening it. The OF THE DAY.
moral and spiritual state of Britain
has not been viewed so much as it No. III.
ought to have been, in connexion (To the Editors.)
with the exertions of Christians
for the benefit of all classes in GENTLEMEN-Having in my last foreign lands. The vast mapaper stated some of the evil effects chinery which is now at work, resulting from the influence of the may seem to militate against this literature of the day, I now pro- view of the subject; but upon exceed, as proposed, to mention some amination, I apprehend it will be of the means by which these evils found correct. While' destitute may be restrained and lessened in villages at home have been supfuture. A complete cure cannot plied with occasional or stated he expected, till human hearts are preaching, and our various religenerally, if not universally, re- gious institutions have extended newed.
their branches to every part of the All your readers are aware, land; while Sunday Schools have that the Christians of Britain, provided wholesome instruction when united in the cause of bene- for multitudes of the young, and volence, form a very large and Bibles and Tracts have been cirinfluential body. This has been culated in millions; it must be well seen and felt in the remotest coun- known, that all this does not tries, in the noble enterprizes of reach or affect the middle classes Bible, Missionary, and Tract So- of society, not to speak of the cieties. It has been seen at home, bigher grades of the community. wben the different sections of that The very class of persons most large community have, even sepa- under the influence of the injurious rately, engaged in works of chris- portion of our modern literature, tian philanthropy. The ignorance is very little, if at all, benefited by of their own countrymen, and the the operation of all this moral miseries and dangers of the hea- machinery. That it is highly de. then, have drawn forth their sym- sirable to attempt to do good to pathy and zeal. It is plain, I such individuals, no Christian can hope, from what I have said, that refuse to believe. How to do so I view what has been done, as most is the question. The circulation important for the interests of man- of tracts cannot do it. A few kind. But at the same time, I cases may be on record, and many may be allowed to state my con- more of which we may never hear, viction, that the half of our moral in which these publications have and benevolent strength has not been blessed to their salvation: but been exerted. Christians have not, the mass is not penetrated; their atindeed, viewed too strongly the tention cannot be arrested by such huge masses of guilt presented in treatises. The preaching of evanheathen lauds; but many have gelical ministers, both within and kept their eyes so intent upon without the endowed church, and these, that they have not suf- the addition of home missionaries ficiently marked the accumuluting to the field of labour, though inheaps in their own country. They creased ten-fold, cannot reach the have not adverted, as they should evil to which we have again and have done, to the moral condition again referred. I will not say of all the classes of society in their that religion is not on the increase own land; or if this has not been in our country; I hope it is; but unseen, yet the vigour of christian it is chiefly to be found among those who have neither had time under God, upon the concentrated nor inclination to read the more influence of Christians, exercised trifling literature of the day. The in a multitude of ways through conversion of such individuals has the medium of the press, that we in general been accomplished in- must look for a preventive to the strumentally, by the regular mie evils which would otherwise connistration of divine ordinances. tinue to result from the worst That this will ever be found to be parts of our modern literature. the chief mode by which Jehovah The lower orders have much done communicates spiritual blessings for them, and more will still reto men, I firmly believe. But are quire to be done. Numerous and there no auxiliary modes to be excellent as are many of the pubemployed ? Are no means to be lications intended for the young, used to place right views of divine and others more advanced, the truth before those who will not go number must increase, or among to hear it in the house of God? the readers will be found, very Surely it appears desirable to soon, works of a very questionthink of some method by which able tendency. Christian benethey can be shown that human volence gives the power to read beings should have bigher pursuits it must do more. The work must than mere amusement, and obtain not be considered as done—it is more correct views of spiritual and only commencing; and month eternal things, than they now pos- after month wholesome food must sess. Should not the whole chris. be prepared for the hundreds of tian community feel interested in thousands, nay millions, that will this matter, especially that part of be desiring food of some kind. it which possesses influence and The market should be overtalent? Every one who marks the stocked, rather than otherwise, operations of our day, as they re- with these useful publications ; spect religious institutions, must for if there is an opening, a hope be aware that multitudes have of gain by issuing publications of never yet been brought within the an opposite tendency, there would circle of christian activity. Shall soon be a serious and a dangerous I say many are shut ont, in con- competition. The spirit of infidesequence of the want of co-opera- lity, which led one of our daily tion on the part of Christians, journals to say, that the religious and because their peculiar circum- tracts written for the poor were stances are not sufficiently con- now far beneath their notice, besidered, and the means of doing cause the lower orders had inthem good which Christians pos- creased in knowledge, will lead sess are not exerted.
many to circulate among the We all readily admit, that the young and the poor, not the elepress must be an engine of im- ments of science, but the elements mense, of incalculable evil, if it of evil. is to be left under the controul of It inay be said with truth, that worldly wisdom or human pas- the plan now acted upon, if consions. To preserve any country tinued and extended according to from ruin where the press is free, circumstances, will act as a strong there must be the counteracting preservative against the spread of influence of the press, under the infidel and irreligious publications direction of enlightened principles among the young, and adults of a and the fear of God. This must certain class. But why is it that especially be the case in a nation the influence of Christians has not of readers, which this country is been as much exerted in attending dow becoming. It depends, then, to the necessities of a higher class,