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[OCTOBER, Gospel, they substitute other things for it. Moral philosophy, natural science, human learning take the place of the "word of God.” Men, therefore, of earnest piety, men whose piety has been proved, and they only should be trained for the ministry.
Men also are needed who are called of God.
It does not follow that every young man, because he has real piety, should study theology. Here, too, all missionaries are liable to be in too great haste. Native pastors are needed; the Lord's work languishes because they are not to be found; what more natural than to advise young carpenters, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and farmers to leave their daily toil and enter the service of Christ as preachers of the Gospel ? Very natural, but not always very wise; for men who enter the ministry should be men called of God, meņ moved by a divine impulse, men who have heard the Redeemer's last command addressed especially to themselves, “Go ye, into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.'
Men of good natural ability are needed; even earnest piety will not make up for a want of intellect. It is a great mistake to suppose that Christian converts in heathen and semiheathen lands cannot distinguish between those who are able expounders of God's word and those who are not. Such converts discover the difference as quickly as the most intelligent audiences in America or England. The idea that any young man, if very pious, with a tolerable education, will answer for a missionary, is now pretty thoroughly exploded; it is equally a mistake, often made by good missionaries, to suppose that every young man of particularly earnest piety in their congregations should be encouraged to enter the native ministry. Earnest piety makes up for many defects; but when men are to be selected for native preachers, there is a degree of stupidity which it should not be allowed to cover.
Here an interesting question arises; at what age should men be received into the theological schools in our missions ? Perhaps no definite answer can be given; yet we may say, in general, that if good in other respects, for ordinary native pastors, it matters not if they are somewhat advanced in years. Young men make the best scholars, but they lack
experience in dealing with others, and are more apt to be governed by their feelings than by their sober judgment. It is also true that young men are more pliable than those who have reached mature years, more easily moulded into the right shape; impressioộs made on their minds sink deeper and are more lasting. A man at thirty-five or forty sometimes makes up with wonderful energy under the new impulse given to his mind by the Gospel; if such a man wishes to preach the Gospel and seems truly called of God, who shall hinder him? We have been assured that, at one time, one of the most hopeful men in one of the theological seminaries among the Armenians was the father of eleven children, most of whom were living. If others at the age of sixteen or seventeen give evidence of true piety, have the proper qualifications, and are anxious to preach the Gospel, let them do 80. The churches on missionary ground need good scholars in the ministry as well as those in America and England; and really good scholars, as a rule, can only be made of young men.
Men are needed who are ready to deny themselves. Selfdenial should be one of the foundation stones of every church and of every Christian character; the preachers and pastors shonld be leaders in this respect. Whenever it appears that a man is in the seminary in order to obtain a living, the sooner his connection with it ceases the better.
3. When all other obstacles are removed, and a suitable number of young men are collected to form a theological school, the question then arises, “What shall they study?” This question calls up the whole subject of the proper course of study in a seminary for the training of native pastors and preachers on missionary ground. We are aware that we are here treading on disputed territory, that many of the wisest and best men have differed widely on this subject. Without attempting to defend, in detail, the suggestions we shall make, we shall state what appear to be the most essential things in such a course of study. And, in the first place, we think the young men who are preparing for the native ministry should study thoroughly the language which they are to use as preachers and pastors. The universal corruption of the East
shows itself in nothing more plainly than in the corruption of language; this appears not only in words of an immoral meaning, but in imperfect words, in words whose original form has been changed, in ungrammatical expressions, and in wrong pronunciation. Many Armenians, for example, have not only no knowledge of the Armenian language, but a very imperfect knowledge of the Turkish, which they use. The wrong grammatical forms and the wrong pronunciation, which they learn in childhood, cling to them in after years. What we urge is, that all students of theology should be taught to read, write, and speak correctly the language which they are to use as preachers of the Gospel.
They should study mathematics as a mental discipline. The main question here is, that of the extent to which mathematical studies should be carried. Much will depend on the mental capacity of the students. Algebra and geometry at least should forın part of a four years' course. The importance of natural science, mental and moral philosophy, cannot be disputed; the question of the amount of time that should be given to such studies is the only one on which there can be a great difference of opinion. Students should certainly acquire a knowledge of the general principles of these sciences, yet such studies should not be allowed to exclude the more important study of the Bible and systematic thieology. Natural science and mental and moral philosophy should be studied with special reference to their relations to Christianity. Shall the students study English? We answer, yes ; at least they should learn English well enough to use English text-books in preparing to preach. The study itself is a good mental discipline, while the knowledge acquired, to the extent mentioned, opens to a native preacher a treasurehouse filled with the ripe results of sanctified scholarship. A high authority in such matters has well said: “In the providence of God the English race occupy much the same place now in history which the Romans did in the time of Christ. They are the standard-bearers of the thought of all ages; their flag is in every sea; their influence brought in immediate contact with the life of every people. The English language is the store-house of all the best thought of the
world. This thought is a divinely appointed instrumentality of culture, of intellectual growth and power for the race, steadily accumulating as the fruit of study, prayer, experience, observation. Whether we will or not, this influence will be exerted, in its baser elements or in its better ; it cannot be hindered.” We may add, that whether the missionaries favor the study of English or not, the most active and intelligent of the native pastors and preachers will learn it; they will surmount every obstacle in order to avail themselves of the commentaries and theological treatises found in the English language. And they are right; every young man who has brains enough to go through a course of theological study is able to learn enough English to use English commentaries, and he should not only be permitted but required to do it. The evidences of Christianity, natural, doctrinal, and pastoral theology, are, of course, essential. The impression prevails, that young men in the theological seminaries in our foreign missions cannot grasp these subjects very thoroughly; this impression is probably not correct; from all we can learn on this point, we are inclined to think that such young men compare favorably with the same class in our own country. True they have never studied systems of logic, but they can see the force or weakness of an argument, and can appreciate a systematic and thorough presentation of a subject. Biblical and church history, homiletics and church polity must receive their proper share of attention. Much practical instruction in regard to public speaking, the composition and delivery of sermons, is necessary in order to make good preachers of the ordinary students in the mission theological seminaries. Throughout the whole course, the Bible should be made the most important of all text-books. All other discipline and all other acquisitions should be made to centre, as in a focus, on the Word of God. A sustained interest in the study of the Scriptures can only be secured by earnest and persevering efforts. Oriental minds are fond of speculation; the East is the hot-bed of wild fancies and dreams. Special care, therefore, should be taken to bind the attention of students to the revealed Word. To master thoroughly the divine revelation is the essential thing in pre
paring for the ministry. Just in proportion as native preachers attain this end, will they be able ministers of the New Testament; if they come short here, all their other attainments will be of little value.
Thus much in regard to the course of study; in putting this course to a practical application, of course mental discipline should be made of primary importance rather than the imparting of information.
4. We come now to another important question, viz.: What training shall candidates for a native ministry have, apart from that which they receive through the medium of books ?
We reply, they should be trained to regular habits of study. Such habits are worth more than volumes of information imparted to a student, yet few things are more difficult to secure in dealing with Orientals; they like to spend their time in idle talk; they need to be taught the value of time in reference to mental growth, and the importance of devoting a portion of each day, sacredly, to hard study.
They should also be trained to self-denial, while they are pursuing their studies. How this can be accomplished always may be a difficult question, but it is a matter of the first importance, and should be carefully weighed by those who have the immediate charge of our mission theological schools. Students in such schools are too apt to look upon missionary boards as their nursing mothers, mothers who are only too happy to supply their every want. If the young men in such schools are to become hardy soldiers of the cross, they must begin when in the theological schools. Such students should also be trained to aggressive work for Christ. By this we mean more than the preparation of good sermons, more than the care of a single flock. In the present state of God's work in the Turkish Empire, the evangelical churches should be emphatically aggressive, should be ready to send out their members everywhere preaching the Gospel and compelling men to come to the marriage feast; but the churches will not have this character unless the pastors have it, and if the students do not catch something of this spirit while in the seminaries, the probability is that they will never catch it at all. Christ not only taught his disciples by word of mouth,