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3. Theological Seminaries. There is no doubt that one of the chief sources of the repugnance to re-union which remained to the last, if it does not still linger, in some parts of the church, is to be found in the attitude in which it places the theological seminaries of the respective branches of the church. The fact that it invests the branch lately New School with a full share in the legal control of the seminaries of the other branch, because these are all by their charters placed under Assembly supervision, while it leaves those of the other body entirely independent of the Assembly, and of all supervision by any portion of the late 0. S. church, except such as they may please to elect into their Boards of direction, involves an inequality which has been more deeply felt than expressed, especially by some of the principal donors to the funds of Princeton and other Old School seminaries. This is so serious a matter, that the importance of some provision to meet it has been felt by right-minded men on all sides. It has found utterance in the following among the “concurrent declarations” adopted, with nearly complete unanimity, by both branches of the church.
"Art. 9. In order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision, those theological seminaries that are now under Assembly control may, if their Boards of direction so elect, be transferred to the watch and care of one or more of the adjacent Syuods; and the other seminaries are advised to introduce, as far as may be, into their constitutions, the principle of synodical or assembly supervision; in which case they shall be entitled to an official recognition or approbation on the part of the General Assembly.”
This contemplates a “uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision" of our theological seminaries as desirable, and what we ought to seek, and it indicates the way to its attainment. In this we cordially agree. We think this unification can and ought to be accomplished. The process seems to us very simple-substantially as follows:
Let the Assembly confide the supervision and control of the seminaries now under its control to their respective Boards of direction, as now, with simply these alterations : 1. That these Boards shall nominate persons to fill their own vacancies to the Assembly for confirmation; 2. That they shall arrange the professorships, and appoint the professors, subject to ratification by the Assembly. Thus this body by its veto power, will retain control sufficiently to keep out all unsound and unsuitable persons from these important posts, while the active duty of finding suitable nominees will devolve on the body most conversant with their wants—a body far better qualified for the task, we hazard nothing in saying, than a large assembly, gathered for a few days from the whole boundless continent,” can be. We prefer this to mere synodical supervision, 1. Because a considerable portion of the funds of Princeton Seminary are vested legally in the Assembly, and might be imperilled if this should give up all supervision and control. 2. For the purpose of uniformity, the Assembly is more adequate than Synods. The Synods may happen to be larger or smaller, of greater or less weight and fitness for such a trust; more or less narrow and provincial, or broad and catholic, in their sympathies with the whole church. One Synod may be poor. Another may mass in itself much of the surplus wealth of the church, which ought to help nourish and endow all her seminaries, instead of being the peculium of any one. 3. It being only in case of manifest unfitness that the reto power of the church should interfere, and candidates being liable to be found in all parts of the church, the Assembly is the best body for that sort of supervision. This would suffice for unification so far as the seminaries heretofore of the Old School branch are concerned.
It seems to us that it cannot be difficult for the seminaries of the other branch to reach substantially the same platform. They, of course, can report annually to the Assemblies. Without knowing all the details of their present charters, we presume there is no insuperable obstacle to their making the simple by-law that all their elections to fill vacancies in the Board or Boards of oversight and direction, also of professors, shall be submitted to the Assembly for approval before they are finally ratified. If the charters now forbid such an arrangement, doubtless alterations could easily be obtained which would admit of it, or something equivalent.
This, of course, must rest with the managers of these seminaries themselves. They have full legal power to prevent it, if they please. We have no doubt they can substantially
accompl ish it, if they please. And they will, of course, act their own pleasure. But from their known fairness of character, the prominent part they have taken in promoting reunion upon the avowed basis of perfect equality on both sides, the vast importance of the complete unification of the church in this great department of ministerial training, second in moment to no other; its bearing on the promotion of complete mutual confidence, the suppression of jealousies and fears of undue advantage given to or taken by one side as against another, we cannot but think those who have the power and responsibility will be ready to do their utmost “in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision" of these institutions. If we have not indicated the best way, they will be quick to find and adopt a “more excellent way.” Sure we are, that they will not set up any mere legal technicality as a barrier to so momentous a result. We cannot donbt their will to put all the seminaries on a substantial equality in the premises. And doubtless the result will prove, that “where there is a will there is a way," and that thus all our seminaries “ shall be entitled to an official recognition or approbation on the part of the General Assembly."
Auburn Seminary is now under the supervision of several adjacent Synods, and of course falls within this class, so “entitled to official recognition or approbation.” We presume that if all the other seminaries shall come upon one and the same footing, her guardians will cheerfully consider the question whether any further steps are necessary on their part "in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision.”
ART. VIII.--Recent Publications on the School Question.
1. History of the Public School Society of the City of New
York, with Portraits of the Presidents of the Society. By Wu. OLAND BOURNE, A. M. New York: Wm. Wood & Co., 61 Walker Street.
2. The Relation of the State to Religious Education ; John
D. Minor et al. versus the Board of Education of the City of Cincinnati et al.; Argument for the Defence. By STAN
LEY MATTHEWS. Cincinnati : Robert Clark & Co. 1870. 3. The School Question, from the Christian World for Febrn
ary, 1870. 4. Bible Gems; or, Manual of Scripture Lessons, specially
designed for Public Schools, but equally adapted to Sunday Schools and Families. By R. E. KREMER. - Philadelphia :
J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1870. These are a portion of the contributions to the Public School controversy with which the press now teems, and which show how profoundly it agitates the public mind. The first is a heavy octavo of nearly 800 pages, compactly printed. It recites the history of the Public School Society of New York City during the whole of its beneficent career, from its first attempt to do well and thoroughly what the religious charity schools had before done partially, until its functions were assumed by the State Board of supervision. It is a volume of great value. It is, in fact, a thesaurus of the literature, the arguments, the controversies in reference to the organization, basis, and conduct of cominon schools in the metropolis of the country. Here, where the Romanists came first, at least in the Northern States, into a position to display their attitude and claims in respect to common schools and the public school moneys, they have shown what their precise demands, arguments, and pretensions are. This volume contains the grand arguments of the Romanists, as exhibited in their public documents, the great speeches of Bishop Hughes, the debates before the Common Council, between him and the distinguished representatives of the Public School Society. Any careful examination of it will show, beyond the sbadow of a doubt, what they insist on, and what alone will satisfy thein,
The second of these publications is the great argument of Judge Matthews, a leading Ohio lawyer, and Presbyterian elder, in defence of the recent action of the School Board of Ed. ucation of Cincinnati, prohibiting the reading of the Bible in public schools. It, in substance, maintains that the Protestant version of the Bible is a “sectarian book," and thus far agrees with Bishop Hughes and the Romanists, as well as indifferentists, sceptics, and non-religionists generally, including some Protestant Christians, who, like the judge himself, are coming to the same ground. We are very far from agreeing with him in some of his main positions. But his argument is exceedingly able, adroit, and learned. What he has left unsaid on that side is hardly worth saying.
The third is a pamphlet reprint of an article in the February number of the Christian World, showing, by a copious collection and comparison of the declarations (inostly recent) of Romanists, different classes of Protestants, and various secular journals and persons, the grounds now taken by the chief parties involved, with regard to the preservation of our commion schools, and the moral and religious teaching to be maintained in them. It is quite timely and helpful to those seeking light on the question.
The fourth is a little manual prepared by an experienced and successful teacher, for the purpose of aiding the giving of really biblical and really unsectarian instruction in the public as well as other schools, and in families. It is in the form of question and answer. It gives only unquestioned statements and facts of Scripture. It collides with no denomination or denominational scruples, but presents only what is gladly accepted by all denominations. It has already received warm encomiums from leading clergymen of several principal Christian bodies. It has also received the cordial approval of the heads of the public school department of Pennsylvania. If the school controversy could be settled by the introduction of such a manual as this for study in our common schools, we should rejoice in the consummation.
We have been looking into this contest over common schools, and the Bible in schools, which has been looming up so largely of late, and find ourselves surcharged with interest enough to write, off-hand, scores of pages, instead of the few left at our command. We are persuaded that the parties are forming and marshalling for a contest on this subject, which for depth and earnestness has seldom been paralleled in the history of the nation. The Romanists insist on the appropriation of the public VOL, XLII.-NO. II.