« VorigeDoorgaan »
there must, therefore be parties in the spiritual theocracy, if we would have a pure, free, and lasting political democracy.*
But it ought still further to be borne in mind that denominational education, at least so far as it regards Presbyterianism, is not sectarian education. The end aimed at, and which we have shown to be absolutely necessary to the best interests of society, is the thorough religious education of the people, in contradistinction to their mere instruction in certain comparatively unimportant branches; and this end, we have seen, cannot be secured by a State education nor by any attempted union of different religious bodies, and must therefore be attained, if attained at all, by the efficient and harmonious effects of some one denomination. As, therefore, by a State education I mean that which is not only patronized by, but is under the direction and regulating control of the State; so by a denominational education, I mean that which is under the efficient control and direction of some religious denomination, to which it looks therefore as the chief source of permanent endowment. The end aimed at, therefore, is not to make sectarianized pupils, but to secure an efficient religious government and discipline, and a course of instruction thoroughly imbued and pervaded by the mild and heavenly influence of religious truth. The basis on which such institutions are to be erected, is not any one ecclesiastical system in all its minute peculiarities, but that truly catholic foundation,-THE BIBLE, THE WHOLE BIBLE,-including which we have all religion, and excluding which we have none. But as this basis itself admits of varying construction, in order to give its influence un broken and undivided effect, it must be exhibited through the interpretation of some one denomination. Now it must be admitted that in this respect the Presbyterian Church stands eminently distinguished among other denominations; and that while she is too commonly believed to be the most narrow, bigoted, and peculiar in her doctrinal views, she is in reality most catholic and liberal, and eminently adapted to be the guardian and patron of a religious education. The Presbyterian Church can endow and govern educational institutions without making them necessarily or essentially seminaries teaching Presbyterianism. The entire standards of our Church, which contain the complete code of our doctrinal views and ecclesiastical polity, are not regarded as necessary terms of general membership and Christian communion, but are only imposed as the necessary terms of ruling and ministerial office-bearing in the Church;t and since therefore our only terms of communion are the fundamental truths of the Gospel and the evidences of personal piety, our basis for
* See Duff on India and India Missions, pp. 534, 539, 573. † See Dr. Janeway's Sermon on the Presbyterian Church, Introduction, and p. 32; Hill's Institutes of the Church of Scotland, p. 150, 153; Dr. Carlisle of Ireland, on the Use and Abuse of Creeds or Confessions, p. 24, &c.; Directory for Wor. ship, ch. iv, p. 499; Bib. Repertory, p. 462, for 1840, and for Oct. of same year; Hodge's Hist. of the Presb. Church, vol. ii, pp. 271, 305, 351, 338; Dunlap's Confessions of Faith of the Church of Scotland, vol. I, p. cxlii, &c., cix, xxxv.
a denominational education is as broad, as free, and as catholic, as that of God's own blessed Word. The wisdom of our fathers is thus stamped, in pre-eminent glory, upon the elementary or school Catechism, which is designed and adapted for the instruction of all the members of our Church, and of the young generally. The school Catechisms of the Episcopal, Romish, and some other Churches, emhody the most peculiar doctrines and ceremonies of those Churches.* To introduce them into schools and colleges is, therefore, to stamp such institutions with a sectarian, and not merely with a religious character, and to shut the door against all other denominations. Our school Catechism however (as is true also of our Larger Catechism and Confession of Faith), is purely doctrinal. “It contains a summary, remarkably lucid in its order, and comprehensive in its statements of Divine truth; but it contains nothing more. It leaves the door open to men of all denominations who hold the great fundamental doctrines of our faith. This is abundantly manifest from the fact that the Shorter Catechism is a class-book in almost every school in Scotland.” And as it regards the doctrines themselves, while they are now commonly denominated Calvinistic, from the able exposition given of them by the immortal Calvin, yet they are not and never can have been peculiar to Presbyterianism, as that term is understood. They were the doctrines of the primitive Churches of Great Britain and Ireland. They were taught by the early fathers, and developed in all their peculiarity by the great Augustine. They have ever been held by the purest, the most learned, and the most pious party in the Romish Church, and by the Waldenses, and all other witnesses who testified to the truth during the middle ages. They were the undoubted and universal creed of the English as well as of all the continental reformers, and the avowed tenets taught till the time of James the II, in the English Universities. They have continued to be the faith of the most burning and shining lights in the English Church until the present hour, and of all who are termed evangelical throughout the world; and they are the views of all the sound portion of the Baptist and Congregational Churches both in England and America. By making these views, therefore, the basis of our teaching, we take that creed which a great part of the pure Church of God, in all ages and countries, and of all denominations, has agreed in receiving as the creed taught by the Holy Scriptures.
And however objectionable some of these doctrines may be to those who either do not understand, or who misunderstand them, it could be shown, if time permitted, that they have commended themselves, as I have elsewhere proved, even to philosophers and freethinkers, as most powerful in giving to a people energy, and virtue, and political honesty, and military daring, and an indomitable thirst for liberty, which led its possessors, either, as freeman to stand, or freeman to fall; and that they have ever produced the most steady,
* This does not include the Methodist Church.
moral, peaceable, and law-sustaining community.* When, therefore, Europe lay buried in darkness, it was from the Presbyterian colleges of Joua and Armagh, where thousands of students could be gratuitously supported at one time, that her scholars, teachers, ministers, and professors were supplied. And when this country was in its period of infancy, it was to the Presbyterian schools and colleges of Scotland, Ireland, and Holland she was indebted for much of her learning, and for many of those ministers, teachers, and literati, whose influence continues to shed a growing radiance over the whole intellectual and social community.
In raising, therefore, a Southern Presbyterian University, under Presbyterian supervision, and upon the basis of Presbyterian doctrines, and the religious influence they are adapted to exert, we enter upon no Utopian or untried experiment, but upon one sustained by the experience of all ages, of all countries, and of all impartial judges. The foundation has been laid broad and deep, amid many difficulties and discouragements, but in trusting faith, unyielding firmness, and buoyant hope. Its progress is slow, but we trust sure. And is not this the law and the evidence of whatever is destined to be great and permanent ? 'The young immortal is left for many long and helpless. years to depend upon the care and guidance of others, while inferior animals arrive at once at comparative maturity and independence; and the oak which is to last for centuries, comes forth in feebleness, rises slowly from the earth, and is only rooted and strengthened by the repeated shocks of the wintry tempest. And has not every great man been born in adversity, nurtured in hardship, and thus taught those lessons of energy, perseverance, and indomitable purpose, which have elevated him to the highest rank of intelligence and fame? Now, as it is with individuals, so is it also with institutions—“whom God loves he chastens, and causes to bear the yoke in their youth.” From our present difficulties, and struggles, and many disappointments, let us, therefore, derive encouragement, and be stimulated to self-denying effort. The young Hercules, though yet in his cradle, has given you to-day, and on similar occasions, some manifestation of his future strength and vigour; and, confident from the history of the past, enduring all things for the present, and hoping all things for the time to come, Oglethorpe University waits but the opportunity of proclaiming her principles and exemplifying her merits, to receive that favour and support, which will secure for her complete success, and place upon her summit the last top-stone, amid the triumphal praises of grateful thousands to Him who has crowned her with glory and honour.
May it be a gem in your future crowns, my young friends, that you were among the first alumni of this honoured University. May it be your pride, while you live, to do her reverence, and your high ambition to reflect honour upon her by lives eminent for patriotism and piety. May it be your highest gratification, according to your ability, in after-life, to add some stone to her rising grandeur, to enlarge the means and instrumentality of her success, and thus to leave her under lasting obligation to cherish your memory, and revere your character. And thus may you enable her to prove to the country and the world, that the voluntary principle—that cardinal element in our free and tolerant institutions--is as powerful and as successful as it regards education, as it is in reference to religion; and that it can give birth to as eminent colleges, well-trained and enlightened students, and able and patriotic citizens, as it can stud the land with beautiful churches, and imbue the minds of its evergrowing population with the pure and life-giving principles of heavenly truth.
* See the opinions of Sir James Mackintosh, Bancroft, and others, in the author's
“Ecclesiastical Republicanism,” p. 54–61. See, also, the chapter on “The Liberality of Presbytery,” p. 202–254, and Dr. Beecher's Sermons, p. 252254, and the proofs at p. 231.
CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE SCHOOLMASTER'S OFFICE.
BY THE REV. W. B. FLOWER, OF ENGLAND.*
I PROCEED to explain to you, the teachers in this establishment, my view of the nature of your office, and the spirit in which a Christian schoolmaster should labour. And I would say,
I. YOU MUST HAVE A CLEAR AND DISTINCT PERCEPTION OF THE OFFICE YOU HOLD, AND FEEL DEEPLY THE AWFUL RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ATTACH THERETO.-It is no common office, and requires no ordinary qualifications. A lamentable degree of ignorance hath, in bygone days, prevailed upon this most important subject. The word "education” has been misunderstood, its original meaning lost sight of, and its full and solemn import scarcely, or ever, realized. Heretofore, those who could read and write, and cast up accounts, deemed themselves fully competent to undertake the office of schoolmasters; and when children had been taught these things, and that, too, in a strangely unsatisfactory manner, they were sent forth into the world as fitted for the stations they were to fill in after-life. Noble exceptions, of course, there have been many; but I am now speaking of general facts, and more especially of schoolmasters for the children of the poor. Light, however, has been gradually breaking in upon us, and at length a conviction has seized hold of men's minds that education is something far higher and holier than this ; that it is, in a word, the formation of the moral and religious character, the train
* This address was delivered, in 1846, to the teachers of the Church of England Training Schools, at Manchester. Some of the local and denominational allusions are omitted.
ing and discipline of the heart, and not the mere cultivation of the intellectual powers. As these opinions have gained ground (and though the progress of truth be slow, conquer it must) more correct and scriptural views of the schoolmaster's office have been obtained. Too high a view cannot be taken. The making or marring of a nation is in the hands of the instruction of the youth of the land. The strength of a nation consists not in her towers, her fortifications, and her ships, but in the religious character of her people. She is strong and vigourous in proportion as a healthy tone of religious principle and practice prevails. The Divine word hath said that “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. And what the Divine word has said, human experience and the history of nations most amply corroborate. What was it, for instance, that hastened the fall of once mighty and imperious Rome? What, but the dissolute conduct of her abandoned citizens. Where, again, is Tyre, once mistress of the world, and the mart of nations? Her wealth, grandeur, and magnificence, all are lost, and why? The Word of God gives us the answer. “Thus, saith the Lord, Tyrus,
O thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty,-behold, I will cast thee, as profane, out of the mountain of God. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic, therefore will I bring forth a fire out of the midst of thee; it shall devour, and I will bring thee to ashes.” These and other visi
" tations recorded in history, sacred and profane, stand forth, not only as confirmatory of the assertion of Solomon, but as a warning to all that come after. And could we not have appealed to the testimony of former days, the experience of the last few years must have convinced any, however sceptical, that the safety of a nation depends upon the growth of religion and virtue; and that the discontented, the rebellious, and the seditious, are to be sought for not among the ranks of the godly, but among those of the infidel and scorner.
When you are pondering upon these truths, overwhelming as they are, ever bear in mind, that the children of the present will be the men and the women of the next; the fathers and mothers of succeeding generations. Upon them, then, the whole interests of the nation are centred. They must work out the reformation so much needed. The mature judgment of riper age may frame the plans, but the vigour of youth must give them effect. Realize to yourselves, I intreat you, of how vast importance it is, that correct principles be instilled into their youthful minds. Never will you have so golden an opportunity of benefiting your country as that which you now enjoy, when so many children are intrusted to your
Their minds are easily impressible, and their whole future life depends, humanly speaking, upon the instruction they receive within these walls. If this opportunity be lost, it is distressing to contemplate the disastrous consequences that must inevitably ensue. If these children are not taught the vital principles of godliness, the sedition and disloyalty which have perplexed the rulers of the pre