Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

borate German work on the English Universities. In the second volume of his critical remarks on the Universities, Professor Huber expresses his conviction, that the real result of the daily compulsory system of attendance at divine service in the college chapels is directly the contrary of what was intended, although that attendance is enforced by a severe college police, exercising constant control over the students, in the support of the literal meaning of the statutes, which ordain the attendance of the members of the college on these religious forms. The most frequent punishments, continues the Professor, which are inflicted in the colleges, were awarded in the last century for the absence of the students from chapel, and for disorderly conduct during service time.

This last source of trouble does not, however, exist, to any material extent, at the present day : it is the fashion for the students to conduct themselves in an orderly manner during the reading of the prayers, and college testimonials would be probably refused to any young men who persisted in disorderly conduct in the chapel; but the attendance of the students is frequently an act of self denial, and in the case of Roman Catholics, Dissenters, and Jews, it is necessarily, in many instances, a mere formality.

Whatever other changes may be effected in the chapel system, those young gentlemen who do not belong to the Church of England ought certainly not to be compelled to attend a service in which they cannot conscientiously join, and which they might even consider as a religious test, if the general system of inattention had not almost secularized this ancient religious service, and converted it into a portion of college discipline, to ascertain whether the students are constantly in residence at Cambridge.

When the celebrated petition of the sixty-three heroic members of the Senate of the University of Cambridge was presented to the House of Lords, in 1834, praying for the abrogation of religious tests on lay degrees, the petitioners declared their belief, as Protestant Christians," that no system of civil or ecclesiastical polity was ever so devised by the wisdom of man, as not to require, from time to time, some modification, from the change of external circumstances, or the progress of opinion.” These words illustrate admirably the plain state of the case; the ancient Universities are still governed by laws which belong to a bygone age; their forms, their oaths, and their declarations are not at all in harmony with the modern institutions of the reign of Queen Victoria, and the want of a thorough reform is the source of serious pecuniary loss to the Universities themselves, as numerous highly respectable Dissenters and Roman Catholics still decline to trust their dearest earthly hopes to be led away from what they regard as a proper respect for the religious faith in which they have been educated.

Some concessions may be easily made on both sides, and as a commencement, perhaps none will be more acceptable than the extension of the degree of Bachelor of Arts, as the wellearned reward of scientific or literary merit at Cambridge; but at this point of academical education, the Church of England may require to be protected, and we should recommend that the provisions of the celebrated act of the 9th Geo. IV. chap. 17, for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, should be nearly followed in the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and that the form of the University test which is thus worded, “I, A. B., do declare, that I am a bona fide member of the Church of England, as it is by law established," should be changed into the following declaration, which is modified in order to admit Professor Sylvester, a Jewish gentleman, who was Second Wrangler in. 1837, to his degree of Bachelor of Arts in Cambridge.

“I, A. B., do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare, that I will never exercise any power, authority, or influence, which I may possess, by virtue of the degree of Bachelor of Arts, to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law esta. blished in England, or to disturb the said Church, or the Bishops and clergy of the said Church, in the possession of any rights or privileges, to which such Church, or the said Bishops and clergy, are, or may be by law entitled.”

At the same time, we should rejoice if the excellent advice formerly offered by the learned Bishop of St. David's, to the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, were adopted into an Act of Parliament, that the daily services of the college chapels should be discontinued, and that in their place, a weekly service should be established, with sermons, so as to afford the opportunity of real religious instruction to the young men who are members of the Church of England in that form to which they are most accustomed at home. In the opinion of the Bishop, the attendance of the students at these services in the college chapels ought to be purely voluntary, and the number present would of course be proportioned to the interest excited by the services there performed, and the sermons there preached.

So great is the desire for listening to sermons, at present, in Cambridge, that it is expected that a preaching room will shortly be built in the fellows' garden, within the walls of Trinity College, for the students who may wish to attend there.

Dissenters, who have hitherto gone to Cambridge, are described by the Bishop of St. David's, as belonging to that part of the students, “which includes the quiet, the temperate, the thoughtful, the industrious, those who feel the value of their time, and the dignity of their pursuits. Such dissenters,” continues the learned prelate, “we have had, and have now among us“I wish we had more of them: I should think the advantage of their presence cheaply purchased by any share in our endowments, which if all were thrown open to competition, they would be able to obtain."* tutes the first link in the chain which has connected the subsequent course of human affairs with the superhuman and divine in Christ. A medium was needed to bring these two principles, the human and the divine, into contact with each other. Paul's mind and character furnished that medium ; and in this consideration lies the key to the right understanding and just appreciation of his writings. Christ stood far above the humanity of his own age and country, in a relation of fraternal sympathy to the humanity of all ages and all countries. His being a Jew was an unimportant accident in his history. He belonged to the world, and not to Judea. But Paul was altogether the man of his age, and lived in its ideas, its feelings, its necessities, its circumstances. His IIellenistic habits and education placed him on the verge of the Jewish and Gentile worlds, and enabled him to carry Christianity out of one into the other.

At the time when the Bishop wrote these words, he was himself a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and he had then been for several years a tutor of the same college; but his bold declaration of liberal opinions on this subject obliged him to resign his college tutorship, and he has been subsequently rewarded for his moral courage, and his distinguished talents, with the far higher dignity of an episcopal mitre, and a seat in the House of Lords.

J. H.

* Letter on the Admission of Dissenters to Academical Degrees. Cambridge, 1834.


WRITINGS OF PAUL; with an Analysis of his Doctrinal System.

1. There has been a disposition in some portions of the Christian world to depreciate the practical importance of the writings of the Apostle Paul. This has arisen in part from a dislike or indifference to doctrinal considerations, the moral element of Christianity being more clearly and simply announced in the gospels. With these views, however, we must confess, we are unable to sympathize. In every respect the life and writings of this eminent Apostle appear to us entitled to the deepest attention. They are, in the first place, the oldest, and the most undoubtedly authentic, monuments of the Christian faith. Secondly, they exhibit the earliest application of the principles of Christianity to the practical concerns of life and the administration of the Church. They place before us the circumstances of a time, when the facts of Christ's personal ministry and the impression of his life and teachings were still so fresh and vivid in men's minds, that the want of a biographical narrative, as a basis for faith, like that which ultimately called the gospels into existence, was as yet hardly experienced. Lastly, the epistles form an invaluable appendix to the gospels. The one would have been incomplete without the other. Archbishop Whately has observed, that Christ came into the world, not so much to be the medium of a revelation, as the subject of one. On first meeting with this observation we remember being greatly surprised at it. Nevertheless it will be found upon reflection to contain much truth, of which the evidence and the illustration may be discerned in the epistles of Paul. .

In these writings there is little or no reference to the actions of Christ on earth. The Apostle's contemplation of him commences with his death and resurrection, and continually holds him up to view as a perfected and glorified man, dwelling with God in the heavenly state, final union with whom is to be made the object of the believer's aspirations and endeavours. Without the ministry of Paul, of which the epistles are the product and the record, Christ would have vanished from the earth, a beautiful but transitory phenomenon in the land of Palestine.

The characters of Christ and Paul leave a very different impression on the mind, and seem to belong to very different spheres ; yet both filled their place in the great plan of providence, and were essential to its completion. The ministry of Paul consti.

Vol. III. No. 12.-New Series.

[ocr errors]

Under these circumstances, his writings were called forth, and directed in their application. In producing them he had not a thought beyond the immediate necessities of the time. It is Providence, and not the deliberate intention of their author, that has converted them into such fertile sources of instruction for successive generations through thousands of years. Hence are derived their highest excellencies—their evident unconsciousness of ulterior objects—their solemn earnestness—their deep sense of present necessity—their evidence of undoubting conviction. Now, a man thoroughly in earnest to produce a great change in his own time, cannot separate himself from the ideas and feelings of that time; they are the instruments by which he works; they furnish the only access by which he can reach the hearts and minds of his contemporaries. With the single exception of the specific object which he is seeking to attain—which distinguishes him among his contemporaries, which furnishes the great business and interest of his existence,-he is thoroughly one in feeling, opinion and conviction, with those among whom he lives. The popular life of his time thrills through his whole moral being; and his deep religious sympathy with its wants and its miseries, combined with the feeling, that God has given him the power to alleviate them--furnishes his inspiration, and endues him with the courage of a hero. The mind of such a man is not, and cannot be, that of a philosophical analyst. He cannot make the refined distinction of a later day, between the form and the spirit of a doctrine, or resort to the principle devised for him by the ingenuity of posterior theologians, of accommodation to existing prejudices. Every argument employed, every consideration appealed to, is to such a mind a reality, a truth; and it grasps it earnestly, and with deep conviction, as such. Strong

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »