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be a slander on the Christian reli- to shake the foundations, and pilgion, an impeachment of the Holy lars, and entire superstructure of Ghost, to say, that Divine truth and society, till the wbole mass be transregenerating grace are not compe- formed into that blessed unity, which tent to produce the same character is to characterize the kingdom, and in men at the present age, which reign of Messiah. they actually produced eighteen Such, then, being the premises, hundred years ago. Nor is it suf- the question returns: What are the ficient to account for the difference reasons, that the Christian ministry by a change of circumstances; nor of the present age, and of our own by subtracting that amount of country, is so far below the aposcharacter from the apostles, which tolic character. was superadded by miraculous en- I will not say, that the obstacle dowment. Indeed, I am not dispo- which I at present contemplate, is sed to believe, that the addition to the only one ; nor that it is one of the inherent efficiency of apostolic two, or three. There
may be, character, conferred by the power doubtless there are, many. But i of working miracles, was any thing greatly err if it is not one of the considerable. In strictness, it was chief, and itself chief. Remove a mere co-operation on the part of this, and if you have not removed God,-an exertion of divine power every other, yet that same courage, in concert with their will. Mira- which has prostrated this, will make cles were cotemporary events, but all others bend before it. I mean, strictly formed no part of the char- the defects of academical education, acter of the apostles. Every thing as they apply to the existence and that they were, therefore, as men; growth of piety in students. every thing that they exhibited to I assume it, as a leading princithe world, in their true and proper ple, that the character of the precharacter, as Christian ministers, sent age, the objects of Christianmay fairly be regarded, as altogeth- ity, and the conversion of the world, er independent of the accident of demand a well educated ministry. miracles. Their purity, their dis. Their education should be long interested devotion, their mission- protracted, and thorough, and of ary labours, their toils and perils, the highest order. But the grand and their mighty achievements,- question is, how shall it be conduc- . such as were effected by the joint ted, on what principles, under what influence of their personal charac- superintendence. ter, and of the truths which they I assume, also, as another first preached, -these are attributes that principle, and itself the first of all, may be exhibited, and objects that that a strong and decided characmay be accomplished, in any age, ter of piety should be made an inand by any set of men, who are pos- dispensible qualification in a candigessed of equal natural endowments. date for the ministry, in the very
These are premises, which I shall outset of his education. take the liberty to assume, with no strong and decided. For there is other argument at present, than no earthly vocation, in which the what is involved in these prefatory absence of vigour and decision of observations. And they are to me character, would be a greater misexceedingly dear and precious. I fortune. would maintain them, as a citadel It being admitted, that the can. of truth ; as one of the impregna didate is possessed of a decided ble ramparts of Christianity, from character, that he loves his Saviour, which, well sustained, shall yet pour and feels that he loves him ; that forth an artillery of moral influence, he prefers his service to every other
pursuit, and is ready to sacrifice take not, is exclusively intellectual any thing and every thing to its ob- excellence, as attained and devejects, even life itself; that he is loped in the prescribed course of filled with a holy ardour, and urged study. It is admitted, that the canon by a burning enthusiasm for the didate for academical bonours, must glory of Christ, in the emancipation refrain from outrage on the customs of souls from sin ;-on this founda- of society; that he must preserve tion, from this starting point, the a devout exterior, and support what supreme and unerring object of ed. is commonly called a good moral ucation should be to keep alive this character. But he may be an infifirst love, to cherish and nurture del, a Mahommedan, or a pagan. this original enthusiasm, to reduce He may have no small luxuriance it to order, direct its energies, and of vice about him, only that it has render its aims infallibly certain of not made its appearance in great accomplishing its objects. Not only prominence before the world. If should those first feelings of love to he is not absolutely degraded by Christ, which are strong and ar- such considerations, in the estima. dent, not be permitted to decline, tion of the world, low as may be but they should be invigorated. its standard of character, be may Their growth into maturity, into stand on the very summit of the the highest perfection of charac- temple of Science, and flourish in ter, should be an incessant aim his ribboned livery; while he who For, the preservation and maturity has sought the approbation of his of this character should be counted God, rather than the honours which so dear and so important, that if come from men, who has cultivated this is lost, all is lost. Whatever his heart on the principles of Chriselse is sacrificed, in the progress of tianity, without neglecting his uneducation, this must never be sac- derstanding ;-while he, I say, is rificed. In other words, moral cul- scarcely permitted to enter the vesture, and that on the principles of tibule below. Christianity, should ever take pre- That auch are the conditions of cedence of intellectual.
academical honours, none, acquain. It is the inversion of this order, ted with the subject, will pretend an order which God has establish- to deny. A man, for instance, is a ed, and which can never be viola- great mathematician, but ignorant ted with impunity, which consti- of every other science, and of all tutes the grand misfortune of the the departments of literature. He prevailing methods of education. has any thing but common sense.
I shall first attempt to establish So perfectly absorbed is be in his the fact of such inversion of the favourite study, that he can hardly proper and natural order of educa- walk the streets, without describing tion, as characterizes all our aca- in his track almost every descripdemical institutions. The charge tion of geometrical lines and anI bring, is this : (which I confess is gles. He lives and dies without of no trivial character,) viz. That knowing what is meant by the sointellectual culture uniformly takes cial and benevolent affections of precedence of moral culture ; and the heart. And yet he is honourthat moral culture is rarely, if ever ed; while the name of him, who, in undertaken systematically, on the the same walks, has endeavoured to principles of Christianity.
qualify himself for the noblest ob. The first proposition in this charge jects of man's existence here bemay be settled by a single appeal, low, doing good to his fellow-crea• and that is, to the condition of aca. tures, is excluded from the regis. demical honours. Which, if I mis- tries of academic fame.
Respecting the degree of atten. But the special charge of the heart, tion, which moral culture, on evan- falls not within the limits of our gelical principles, is accustomed to profession. It is our duty to guard receive, at the common places of the interests of literature and scieducation, I am not aware, that it is ence!' ever undertaken systematically, ex- This is honest, and probably not cept so far as the exhibitions of the far from the truth. And I now pulpit may be of this character. proceed to show the effects of such But if moral culture be carried oo education on the existence and farther than the pulpit, it can never, growth of piety in students. against all the disadvantages of a And, however bold it may seem, college life, preserve the character I do not hesitate to say, that such a of the most ardently pious from re- course is unfavourable to the very lapse. And I maintain it as a prin- existence of piety. Piety may exciple, that a relapsed Christian can ist; but it struggles along, and never fulfil the destiny of a minis- maintains its existence under great ter of the gospel. The principles disadvantages and conflicts. of Christianity, in my view, and in Even a revival of religion may their application to human nature, occur in a college. And there are demand, that the hearts of pious officers and students in some of our students, destined for the ministry, colleges, who constantly desire and in the whole course of their educa. pray for it. But such a work lation, should be constantly attended bours under the greatest disadvanto,-constantly and principally cul- tages, on account of the inflexible, tivated, and that by the offices of unyielding round of college busithe most skilful, experienced, and
It would seem as if a single zealous men of God, that can be recitation in human science might found in all the church. A loss, not be suspended, for the converor suspension of a lesson in math- sion of a soul; nor the least change ematics, or any of the sciences, allowed in the general system, for should be regarded as of no impor- the continuance, or extension of so tance, compared with a steady' ad. blessed a work. Hence the sudden vance in holiness, a growing matu- arrests of revivals of religion, the rity of the best and purest affec- instantaneous disappearance of all tions, a constant increase of that symptons of divine influence, becharacter, which is so indispensible fore such intellectual occupancy a preparation for the high office and absorption. contemplated. This object being The pious student, in the ordinasecured, and uniformly secured, all ry state of a college, looks around scientific and literary accomplish- for that communion and fellowship, ments will be attained with far great which he instinctively desires, and er facility and delight.
which is so essential to keep alive I anticipate it will be said, in re- the wasting embers of grace, and to ply to the charge of making intel- kindle up its ardour. But he soon lectual culture a supreme object in discovers, that the academic groves academical education, “That such are not the place for such communis the very essence of the system, ion. There may be other kindred and such the professed object of spirits in the same walks, but how academic laurels, to secure and shall he find them, since every one crown intellectual excellence. We of this character is diffident and sus. have no objection, it will be said, to picious in such a place, and all is moral culture. We approve of vir- bustle and strife after science and tue and religion, in their purest as- intellectual culture ? And if he pirations, and highest attainments. does find them, such are the inces. sant occupations of intellect, com- cannot do it for weeks, for months, mon to all, that the feelings of none and for years. There is no youthful are prepared to respond to the pure mind sufficiently firm to brave such and heavenly sympathy of Christian a contest. The trial is unequal. fellowship
This trial, I believe, is sometimes The pious student looks up for conscientiously undertaken The patronage. He sees those in au- state of the religious affections is thority, who profess religion, and found to interfere with college exwho are probably good men. He ercises. Certain studies demanded hears religion from the pulpit, and are not congenial, or they are inopfrom that place it would seem to portune. T'he pious student prespeak well. But all this is so dis- fers conscientiously to sacrifice a tant, and maintains such distance, it degree of reputation, as a scholar, is nothing to him. He realizes no that he may attend to his heart, as protection, it brings to him no en- a Christian. And this he might couragement.
endure, and come off triumphant, if As a necessary consequence of it were to continue but a day. But such a state and course of things, when it drags along for months, though piety exist, it cannot grow and years, he becomes embarrasand Nourish; it must unavoidably sed, perplexed, and oppressed in decline. And such, we observe, is the conflict. And ultimately he uniformly the fact. If a student forfeits much of his character, as a enters college with all the ardour scholar, and loses bis object, as a and enthusiasm of a young convert, Christian; when, under a proper or if by the grace of God he is pos- moral regimen, he might and would sessed of this character during his have been the first in the registry collegiate course, it is morally im- of academic honours, and Chris . possible that he should retain it tian attainments. And finally he long. There are too many influen- is compelled by the misfortune and ces against him. The distant re- necessity of his circumstances, to serve of professors of religion, who leave the place of his education, have themselves been chilled by with a Christian character reduced the necessity of their circumstan- to the common level. The origices, begins to exercise its chilling nal enthusiasm of his espousals to influence on him by the same ne- Christ, has been literally worn and cessity. The unbending and un- beat out of him, notwithstanding all accommodating character of col- his endeavours to retain it. And lege duties, which forces all minds, he, perhaps, has adopted the opinhowever dissimilar in their intel- ion, that this is the best that any lectual structure and moral tastes, Christian can do, and will never to do the same things at the same strive to rise again. time, under penalty of disgrace; And such are the materials, honand thus requiring a physical im- est to be sure, but miserably weak possibility under a penal sanction; and inefficient, of which the Christhis circumstance not unfrequently tian ininistry is to be composed. operates to the great prejudice of And so low is this character, that piety. The leading and governing dishonest and unregenerate men principle is : Do the things re- may enter the ministry, by supportquired, whatever may become of ing a devout exterior, and be equal your religion.' And religion can in respectability and influence to never struggle with success against those, who have better hearts, but such domination, in such circum- no burning zeal. stances. It might maintain its Such is the unfortunate influence ground for a day or two. But it of the present system of academic
education on religion :-it discour. spectacle over which heaven itself ages the scholar, if pious, and tends should weep,—that the sons of the to disqualify him for that high church, who are to be the miniscourse of zealous and energetic ac- ters of the church, should be dragtion, which is demanded and so ged reluctant victims, through a much needed in the Christian min- long course, and their principal istry. And this effect leads to the course of education, every grade of erroneous conclusion, that religion which is infallibly certain to detract and science are opposed to each from the force of their religious other. Whereas, the best and sur- character, and so far to unfit them est way of promoting the interests for that great work, to which they of science, is to promote religion are destined. For, I assume as on evangelical principles. Make first principle,-and I pray God I a youth happy in religion, and keep may never abandon this ground him happy by maintaining his reli- while I breathe,-that, unless the gious enthusiasm, and he is never original enthusiasm of first love to so well prepared to profit in those Christ can be retained in all its branches of science and literature, primitive ardour, and invigorated to which he is naturally most inclin. by habitual culture, the true and ed. Yes, make religion, or moral proper character of the Christian culture, the supreme object in ed- ministry is forever lost. Without ucation ; raise and preserve the re- this, the world can never be conligious affections at the highest and verted, nor one inch of ground acholiest condition, and there will be quired on the territories of sin. vastly more science in the same With this, nothing is impossible. number of students, and higher ac- This character is absolutely irrecomplishments in the wide range of sistible. Nothing in the heart of the republic of letters. And this man can stand before it. doctrine is founded on the fact, that Give this character to the entire religious sensibility, in its best and Christian ministry of our land this highest culture, imparts the great- day,and the sun in his annual course est possible ardour of feeling. And shall not have come to his present the more intense the feeling, the place in the heavens again, before greater the force of intellect, the the whole community of these Unimore free and powerful the mind in ted States will be a Christian comall its movements, and the more vi- munity. Give this character to the vid the imagination in all its con- entire Christian ministry throughceptions. But, to attempt intellec. out the world, and let all those tual culture first and principally, as coming into this office be possessed is the common character of aca- of the same spirit, and it shall not demical education, to the neglect of be half a generation, before the the moral and religious affections, whole world will be reduced in is, as before remarked, an inversion willing subjection to the King of of the order of nature. And such zion. a system of education can never And is it indeed true, that the prosper in its career, nor be happy present candidates for the ministry, in its results,
are in a course of education, that is But, I will not quarrel with the sure to strip them of this character, men of this world. If they are sat- so far as they possess it; and that isfied with intellectual culture alone so effectually that there is little for their sons, they have a right, hope it will ever be recovered ? though it is a subject of the deep- And is there no remedy? Yes, est regret. But it is a pity, it is there is a remedy. And there is a cruel, it is unreasonable,-it is a load and solemn demand for the