Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

than from any disposition for, or delight in, the intoxication itself.

We might have called our readers' notice to more amiable traits in our social intercourse, to finer and more accordant tones in the constant music of society, to the high sentiment of moral purity, which pervades it; to the reprehension and disgrace, which attend even the suspicion of departure from the chastity and honor of the sex; to its hospitality, its liberality, its noble and almost inexhaustible spirit of benevolence and charity. We might have exhibited splendid exceptions to the cases we have noticed, and portrayed, from living originals, bright pictures of its elegance, refinement, intellectual culture, and tender sensibility. But it is well, sometimes, to see the shades on the canvass. It is expedient, occasionally, to look at home with the severity with which strangers scrutinize us. We do not feel the less kindness for endeavouring to point out the means of being worthier of regard. With the philosophic poet we say, then,

'Thee I account still happy, and the chief
Among the nations, seeing thou art free,
My native nook of earth! Thy clime is rude,
Thine unadulterate manners are less soft
And plausible than social life requires,
And thou hast need of discipline and art,
To give thee what politer France receives
From nature's bounties - that humane address

And sweetness, without which no pleasure is
In converse, either starved by cold reserve,
Or flush'd with fierce dispute.


[For the Christian Examiner.]

The following Address, by Professor PALFREY, of Cambridge, though composed for a particular occasion, appeared to the Editors of this work to contain so much that was of general and permanent importance and interest, that they requested a copy for publication; which request was kindly complied with by the author. The form in which it was delivered has been retained, as it was believed that much of its spirit might be lost in giving it another shape. THE EDITORS.


ART. V. An Address delivered before the Society for Promoting Theological Education, June 5, 1831. By JOHN G. PALFREY, Professor of Biblical Literature in Harvard University.

You have assembled, my friends, at the invitation of the Society for promoting Theological Education, to attend to some exposition of its supposed claims to the favor and patronage of the community. These, without text or preface, I proceed to attempt to lay before you, not intending, as I go on, to avoid any details which may help to put you in better possession of the subject, and altogether passing over some topics forcibly presenting themselves, which might have more of general or of popular interest, than what I shall discuss, since I am mainly solicitous to make suggestions to meet the present object.


From the early part of the last century, Harvard College had possessed a professorship in theology; and, in the beginning of the present, by the bounty of a distinguished individual, a lectureship in the same department had been established. The College also held funds for relieving the expenses of students preparing for the ministry. But the means of obtaining a suitable education for the sacred office being manifestly quite inadequate, the government of that institution, in a circular letter, addressed, in the year 1815, to some of its leading friends in different parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere, called the attention of the community to the subject. Subscriptions were in consequence obtained to the amount of nearly thirty thousand dollars, and the contributors

*The Honorable Samuel Dexter.

formed themselves into a Society for the Promotion,


was its title, of Theological Education in Harvard University, under an agreement with the College that the fund should be in trust with the President and Fellows of that corporation, jointly with five individuals, chosen from year to year by the Society. A new professorship, that of Biblical Literature, was soon instituted, upon the basis of the lectureship previously existing, and the Divinity School assumed a form,

and under the able care of the eminent men who filled its offices of instruction, its usefulness and importance rapidly increased. In the year 1824, a change took place in the relation of the Society of which I speak, to the College, by means of an agreement that the Directors of that Society should exercise an immediate control over the Divinity School, prescribing its course of study, and originating rules for its discipline, subject to the revision of the College government in all cases in which the constitution of the College should so require. Under this administration, the number of students was considerably enlarged; the foundation of a separate library was laid; and Divinity Hall was erected for the accommodation of students, with apartments for their different exercises and for lodging, and a third professorship, that of Pulpit Eloquence and the Pastoral Care, was established, by means of new funds, obtained by the Directors from some of this community's numerous enlightened friends of piety and learning.

But inconveniences not anticipated manifested themselves under this system. The Directors found, that all the attention they could give to their trust, would but partially compensate the disadvantages under which they labored, in having other cares, to which precedency was due, living apart from the institution, and so wanting that opportunity for personal observation of its state, and acquaintance with its pupils, which were needful to the best administration of its concerns. Their representation to this effect was approved by the Society, who accordingly, last autumn, made a proposal to the government of the College, which was acceded to on its part, that the Society's connexion with the Divinity School, both in respect to right of superintendence through the Directors, and to obligation to contribute to its support, should be dissolved. The present object of the Society is expressed in its altered name. Its relation to the University having ceased, it sub

sists as the Society for Promoting Theological Education, being now at liberty to use its discretion, in applying, in any quarter whatever, the means which may be entrusted to it for that purpose. The College government then proceeded to commit to the Theological Faculty, consisting of the President and three Professors, the same trust in the immediate management of the institution, which had hitherto been exercised by the Directors of the Society.

But, while this Society is now under no obligation to give to its funds one direction rather than another, except that, in the words of its Constitution, they must be appropriated for advancing the interests of pure Christianity, and promoting a liberal study of the Scriptures,' and 'so as that every encouragement shall be given to the serious, impartial, and unbiassed investigation of Christian truth,' and 'that no assent to the peculiarities of any denomination of Christians shall ever be required,' while, I say, it is no longer restricted, in the terms of its Constitution, as to the destination which its funds must take, it is my duty to add, that whatever means are at its disposal, until altered circumstances shall alter its apparent duty, will, in fact, be applied to the support of indigent and meritorious students of the Divinity School in Harvard University. Of the Divinity School, I say, in Harvard University, because I have reason to know that it is to that institution that the views of the government of the Society are, for the present, exclusively directed; and to the support of indigent and meritorious students of that school, because provision for this specific object is now its great want. Thanks to munificent benefactors, we have already a suitable building for them to lodge, and worship together, and be taught in. No further accommodation is needed, or likely to be immediately needed, of this kind. All departments of instruction belonging to a complete course of theological study, in its various branches, are likewise provided for, and the establishment of any new office is not at present desired, though the foundations for those which exist need to be enlarged, to place them on a sufficiently permanent footing. Lastly, the Faculty have recently been so fortunate as to effect an arrangement for relieving students from the heavy expense hitherto attendant upon the purchase of books, by furnishing to each, hereafter, at a small annual charge, the use, through his course, of a copy of every book necessary in pursuing the studies of

his class, with the exception, only, of the Old and New Testaments in the original tongues, which every student is required to possess. Having, then, the place for them to be instructed in, the teachers for them to be instructed by, and the books for them to be instructed from, all that we further want is, that they may have the means of living where this apparatus is prepared, in order that they may receive instruction; and this, in its bare simplicity, is the case which we have to bring before you.

Those who would know whether our application is a reasonable one, may wish to be satisfied upon the points proposed in the four following questions.

Why should ministers be educated at all?

If educated, why at a public institution?

If at a public institution, why at Harvard University, rather than at any other? and,

If at Harvard University, why at the public expense?

1. Why should ministers be educated men, as this Society would have them?


Because, without careful education, they will be incompetent to administer their office to the best satisfaction and edification of the churches. He who would communicate truth, must, of course, himself have become possessed of it; and he who would produce an effect on other minds, must be instructed in the proper arts of influencing them. The ministry are set for the defence of the Gospel, and it must be defended against learned opponents with learning, against ingenious opponents with logical power. It belongs to them to interpret it; and it is only abundant study, which can make them competent to the nicer investigations into its sense. is their office to enforce its doctrines, laws, and sanctions; and this needs to be done by methods, for which, if right feeling and good sense may supply the materials, it is only application and practice that can mature the skill. Certainly; let those, who understand the Gospel, preach the Gospel. But it is one thing to understand it sufficiently for our own government as a rule of life, and another to be prepared to maintain its heavenly authority against all objections, to show its consistency against all misapprehensions, and to exhibit those most impressive and discriminating views of it, which have the freest and most powerful access to men's minds. I appeal to you, my friends, and I well know how will answer the

[ocr errors]


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »