Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ministrations of duly qualified schoolmasters as deacons, and occasionally licensed preachers, would undoubtedly be most valuable in our densely populated districts—more so, it appears to me (from some experience both of town and country), in urban than in rural populations. The vast mass of our people know but of one order of clergy : theoretically we are three ; practically we are but one. Once, triennially, a bishop makes his appearance in the midst of a circuit of many miles in the country, and of very many thousands of souls in towns, at a visitation or a confirmation. On the latter occasion a few hundreds of the young are confirmed, and a few hundreds of the elder go to witness it. But however great is the moral effect of this duty, it is not one-tenth of what it ought to be. Out of more than 60,000 souls (I state one fact by way of illustration), less than 600 are confirmed, once in three years ! Were the church system carried out among our population, they would be nearer thousands than hundreds. These 600 perhaps, in some way or other, influence a circle of 10 each; so that about 6,000 may be affected by the confirmation having been held. What do the remaining 54,000 know of, or care for, a bishop, except as an abstraction? Of deacons, too, they know as little-perhaps less. Now and then the appearance of a “young parson” in church attracts attention, and the more thoughtful ask why the absolution is not read; but though they know he is not in “ full orders,” they have no idea of his being of a different order in the church.

What we want, then, to realize the church to the bulk of our popula. lation is, an increase of bishops and deacons; but without entering upon the delicate question of increasing the highest order, the increase of the latter seems properly, and in the main wholesomely, contemplated by your correspondent. The qualified schoolmaster would, in many instances, be a most useful deacon to his parish priest; and, if thought fit, after a five or ten years' faithful diaconate, might perhaps “purchase to himself the good degree of the priesthood. My own idea, however, is, that such an order should, as a rule, be restrained from “ seeking the priesthood also.” Were this encouraged, it might have the ultimate effect of lowering the standard of the ministry generally; while the distinctness of their diaconate would elevate an useful and laborious class of men in the social scale, and would increase the efficiency of church ministrations, without lowering the dignity of her offices.

In conclusion I would remark, that I fully sympathize with your correspondent in his desire to encourage the earnest minded and deep piety that from time to time we find developed among our sunday school teachers and many others of the rising generation; but my conviction is, that wherever God gives the inward call, He gives the means of receiving the outward call also. An impatience of restraint, or a discontent at the economy of God's providence, may lead the fickle church. man into the ranks of dissent; but this will only happen where faith is unsound, or humility deficient.

I am, Sir, your faithful servant, London, Sep. 18th, 1843.

H. Mo K.

OBJECTIONS TO THE ORDINATION OF SCHOOLMASTERS

FROM ONE OF THEMSELVES. Rev. Sir, — As a schoolmaster and subscriber, permit me a short space in your next number in reply to the arguments of Presbyter Oxoniensis.

The questions raised by your correspondent are in themselves of the highest importance, and deserve the gravest consideration; but they appear to me to raise still more important questions-questions which must be satisfactorily answered before the plan proposed can be with any prospect of success acted upon. Leaving your correspondent's suggestions as I find them, I beg to propose for consideration some queries which present themselves to my mind, upon the perusal of his • Plea.'

Firstly, then-Are the present race of teachers qualified to take upon themselves the office of preachers ?

Secondly_Are the men he would propose to ordain, men whose “ friends and companions” are to be found in “ the middle and lower ranks of society ?”

Thirdly-Have not schoolmasters already more devolving upon them than they can well and satisfactorily discharge ? Are not the duties of schoolmasters in our parochial and national schools far too heavy ?

Fourthly-Is it proposed to create a fund to offer the schoolmaster a larger amount of income, and a more honourable sphere of labour? or, in what way is it intended to offer inducements “ to many, to undertake the office of schoolmaster : ” particularly those“ who are in every way most fitted for it?”

As one of that class for whom he especially pleads, and, consequently, with every desire to encourage any rational and christian scheme calcu. lated to advance its interests, permit me dispassionately to offer a few observations in explanation of the queries already proposed.

I ask first, Are the present race of schoolmasters qualified for the higher office of the ministry ? and, I think, that it must be admitted they are not : the almost universal cry amongst the clergy, and others entrusted with the management of schools is, that they are unable to find suitable men to undertake the management of the teaching; and in testimony of this fact we need only refer to the National Society's report. It appears to me, that our schoolmasters are for the most part miserably unfit for the important duty of training the young, and that before they can with advantage be employed in advancing the spiritual interests of their fellow christians, or strengthening our church, they must be elevated in character and sentiment; more fixed in the integrity of religion as established by the reformers and maintained in our liturgy; possessing a degree of intelligence, and a moral character, rather removed above the “ middle and lower classes,” and in no degree inferior, except in the office, to the ministers of our church themselves. Shall it be said that men without these qualifications are fit to be the teachers of the children of the most religious, the most civilized, and exalted nation in the world ? Are the schoolmasters of this country, as a body, thus qualified ? If the answer be, Yes, this objection falls to the ground ; if No, then I hesitate not to say, it would be unwise, nay, actually mischievous. We may perhaps ask, How is it we have not a more intellectual class of schoolmasters ? a question which it is proposed to answer at another time.

Secondly, is it proposed to ordain men whose habits and feelings and sentiments are identified with the middle and lower classes, without a refined and educated intelligence to direct and govern them? Can the former qualifications be made available to the end Presbyter has so much at heart, unless incorporated with the latter ? Evidently this combination is not intended, when he speaks of a “class of clergymen" of “ humble rank and inferior education.” Do I mistake in understanding this part of the plan to be, That a class of men of humble rank and inferior education be ordained to aid the clergy in the reading of prayers, occasional preaching, in the celebration of the sacraments, visiting the sick, and superintending the schools ? As I wait to be informed if this be a correct view of this part of the plan, I forbear enlarging upon it, only observing, that if it be, I am at issue in particulars, and not in principle.

My next question relates to the inability of schoolmasters to undertake any additional duties, without injuring themselves or the schools under their charge. There cannot, I think, be two opinions upon this point. Does Presbyter propose to create a new class ? If he does, Is it intended to form this class “ of inferior clergy,” by inducing schoolmasters to leave one sphere of usefulness to join another? I think not, because he says, “ the promise of future ordination would lead many to undertake the office of schoolmaster.” In what way then can the schoolmaster be benefited ? or the church ? seeing that if funds are to be raised, there is at least a sufficiency for some years to come of regularly ordained clergy idle, whose hearts are yearning for the holy work of the ministry. With an apology for the rudeness of this communication,

I am, Rev. Sir, your obedient servant, Sep. 5, 1843.

DROITWICH.

A COLLEGE EDUCATION LESS EXPENSIVE THAN IS

COMMONLY SUPPOSED. Sir,— I thought that the subject of collegiate institutions, belonging to the higher department of education, is one which would not require an apology for its introduction into your pages, and therefore I have ventured to address you in this letter.

A recent fact, connected with this subject, is well worthy of your notice, and must needs bring great satisfaction to your earnest readers, I allude to the system, the operation of which is very shortly to commence at St. Bartholomew's Hospital; through which, about thirty medical students will receive board and lodging within the Hospital

buildings, subject to a certain rule of living. One scarcely knows which most to commend in the matter of this new institution, the true liberality of the governors, or their excellent purpose and judgment; which last quality is further amply supported by the choice they have made for a warden of their college, if we may speak by anticipation. The importance of this step of theirs to the character of the medical profession, and to the welfare of the student, cannot, I think, easily be well over estimated. The propriety of establishing such institutions was ably advocated, not long since, in a series of communications to the British Magazine, made by Dr. Todd ; and it must be very gratifying to the advocate, and to those whom his arguments convinced and interested in the question, to see the opening harvest from the seed which was then scattered ; and that harvest is likely to be abundant, since there seems a fair and reasonable prospect that the other large hospitals will, ere long, adopt the like arrangements.

This act of an important corporation, like the governors of St. Bartholomew's, is a new decisive testimony, exhibited in a most important sphere of practical life, to the value of the collegiate principle; and I think it a safe assertion, that the system embodying this principle cannot fail to produce the best effects, except by the fault, either of judgment or of energy, on the part of its administrators. It is by such deficiences that persons who have influence in the conduct of our colleges, are the worst enemies of the system, which they ought by every exercise of ability to defend; and they are so, by furnishing to those who want handles, the only solid objections to be found against our system, in the ill effects of neglect and laxity, or of false principles and ill-framed rules.

The point, however, which I proposed to urge in this communication is, the incorrectness of the popular notion respecting the cost of university education. Popular errors are very difficult to correct; people cling to them with all the pertinacity of old attachment and familiar association; they will not give up an article of their creed, in which they have, once and again, delighted and boasted. “ Nec mihi hunc errorem, quo delector, dum vivo, extorqueri volo,” is the fond feeling of each deluded holder. One is really afraid often to assert the whole truth, respecting some matters, for it would be at once set down as an attempt to mislead. In the last number of the Edinburgh Review, the charge against the university system, as a costly process, was made for the thousandth time, but quite incidentally, as an "obiter dictum," and as a well-established truth; and this too, with all the positive mischievousness of an authoritative statement.

On seeing this statement, I began to think upon the way of disapproving the misapprehension. Presently, the subject I have above described was brought to my knowledge ; and the terms of the provision made for the medical student, were discussed in a conversation ensu. ing. I determined, then, to compare these terms accurately with the corresponding amount of expenditure incurred in our university system; and now that the calculation has been made, and that the result was, as I found, something unexpected to several who were familiar with the university, I thought it might be well to make the fact more widely

[ocr errors]

known, especially to those who take an interest in education ; and I would hope thus to vindicate the character of the university, in the eyes of many, from a charge as unjust, as it is serious; and while this statement may serve to diminish the apprehensions of some parents and guardians, and to facilitate and improve arrangement in other cases ; it may likewise have the effect of increasing the advantages of some, who now are students, as well as of extending, perhaps, the advantage to a few others, who might, through ill-formed apprehensions, be prevented from enjoying it, in spite of possessing full qualifications in every part, except, as supposed, of the purse. I submit the following table as comprehending all the necessary expenses properly belonging to the college system, and provided for in it. The period for which it is calculated, is the full year.

£. 3. d.
Tuition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 0 0
Public funds . . · · · · · · · · · · ·.
Expenses of rooms . . . . . . . . . . . 15 0 0
Table expenses-breakfast, dinner, and tea . . . . 50 5 2
Attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 10 6
Washing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 0 0
Coals and Candles . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 10 0
Miscellaneous, (letters, stationary, books), , 5 0 0

£105 4 8 It is to be observed that this estimate does not include such expences as clothing and journeys, which are not peculiar to the college system. Nor does it include private tuition, which I believe to be, in the greater number of cases positively injurious, in many of doubtful advantage, in very few requisite, and those are either cases in which school exercise has been suspended through circumstances, or where it has been, as is too often found, ineffectively done. This is a subject on which much could be written, but I may not here enlarge upon it. Only this may be stated in answer to the assertion, that it cannot be dispensed with, namely, that there are cases where it has been dispensed with, and notwithstanding ample success has followed ; i.e., in cases where confidence and perseverance have been sufficiently developed. In answer to, or in depreciation of, the inference to be drawn from this estimate of university expenses-some will say that it is the minimum; and they will talk of appearances, of meanness, attaching to the lowest possible scale of expenditure, or of the great difficulty of exercising the degree of prudence and controul required to secure this standard.

As to the first point, I have to observe, that the estimate given, contains little more than ordinary regulated charges, and such as all students do actually pay; and, except in a few points, all that is spent more than is there given, is extra, i.e., beyond the rule of the college, and at the option of the student to expend, or to abstain from expending. This constitutes, in fact, one of the characteristic points of the college system ; that, in the mode of life, no class distinctions be recognised ; that every class should be subject to the same important moral discipline. Upon this principle, the great mass of the students bear one name,“ pensioners,” whether their means are great or small; and in the like manner they make the same regulated payments.

« ElőzőTovább »