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PRESIDENT MCMASTER JUDGED BY HIS PEERS.
I cannot wholly agree with those of my friends who think that polemic and doctrinal articles should be excluded from the Western Messenger. It is sometimes as necessary to deny, as to assert, to expose falsehood, to unmask sophistry, and by the force of undeniable facts and unanswerable reasoning, to show the unchristian nature of a certain course of conduct,
Most of our readers are aware that the writer of this article was elected last September, by some Literary Societies in Hanover College, Ia., to deliver an anniversary oration at that place, and that the President of the College interposed his veto on the ground that a Unitarian was too great a heretic to be permitted to speak within the walls of that orthodox institution, even on matters of literature and science.of the discussion which followed, I have nothing now to say. But to show that Pres. McMaster has, in this instance, gone beyond the sentiment of his brethren, I will publish the following correspondence with four Presidents of different Western Colleges. The first three are members of the Presbyterian church; the fourth is a Methodist, and presides over a Methodist institution. I addressed the following letter to the four gentlemen, and also to Dr. Lewis F. Marshall, President of Transylvania University. From him I have received no answer to this day; whether from a non-committal principle, or from some other cause I do not know. The other gentle men replied immediately, and with great courtesy to the following letter:
Louisville, Jan. 8th, 1840. SIR :- I take the liberty of addressing you in order to beg the favor of an answer to the following questions:
1. Is it the practice in your University, and is it the custom, in Western Colleges, so far as you are informed, for the Faculty to exercise a control over the College Societies in their choice of an Anniversary Speaker?
2. Should you consider it proper in your case, to refuse a person who had come to the Institution at the request of the Sociсties, permission to address them on any subject, because of his supposed religious heresies?
My object, Sir, in addressing you these inquiries, is to make use of your answers before the public, if I find it necessary. I have addressed with the same purpose the Heads of other Literary Institutions in the West. Differing from you, and probably very widely, in opinion on religious matters, you can have no motive te answer me except that supplied by the love of truth, and a wish for impartial justice. Cofinding in the strength of that motive, I remain
Very respectfully, yours,
JAS. F. CLARKE.
The first answer received was from Dr. A. Wylie, President of the State University, Bloomington, la., and was dated Jan. 12th, 1840. After reciting my questions contained in the above letter he says:
“ To both these enquiries my answer is in the negative."
The letter which follows from President Lindsley, I print entire. It is manly, frank, and quite to the point.
UNIVERSITY OF NASHVILLE, January 17th, 1840. Rev. and Dear Sir:-Your letter of the 81h inst, has been received. I answer ihe two "questions,” put to me in the negative.-So far, at least, as this institution is concerned. Of the customs of other Western Colleges, I know nothing.
The above is, perhaps, all the answer that you expect or desire. I will take the liberiy, however, to add a remark or two in explanation of our system and to prevent misapprehension.
1. This college belongs to no sect or party whatever. Its charter guaranties equal rights and privileges to all religious denominations. The religious creed, therefore, of a candidate has never influenced any election or ppointment made by either trustces or students. Every adult individual, connected with the institution, is allowed to think, believe and worship according to the dictates of his own judginent and conscience. Young persons (minors) are required to attend public worship at such churches in the city as their parents designate and direct. No college officer is permitted 10 inculcate sectarian peculiarities among the students. [See Laws. ch. 10, page 13.)
2. The Literary Societies are subject to the control of the Faculty and 'Trustees. [See Laws, page 26.] No objection, however, has hitherto been made to any speaker chosen by them. Nor do I suppose that any objection would be made, under any circumstances, to a respectable individual, whatever might be his religious or political opinions. Still it would always be taken for granted that the selected orator, for a literary occasion, would abstain from party politics and religious dogmatism. Wcre he to act otherwise, and to appear as the champion of any sect or of any ism, he would be regarded as a very unworthy citizen of the great Republic of Letters: and so far from gaining proselytes among us, he would, most probably, expose both himself and his orthodox or heterodox hobby to the pily or contempt of his hearers.
As I am utterly ignorant of the precise object of your inquiries, I may have failed to give you all the information sought or expected. The accompanying copy of our college laws may possibly supply the deficiency. If not, I shall be happy to receive your commands, and try again. I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Your must obed't serv't.,
The next letter from President McGuffy is equally explicit.
OAIO UNIVERSITY, Feb. 26th, 1840.
Dear Sir: I was absent from home when your letter of the 8th of January arrived, and it was inadvertently mislaid with other papers, and did not come under my notice until the present moment.
I fear it may now be too late for my reply to subserve your purpose-but in hope that it still may not be out of tire, I hasten to forward it.
To your first enquiry I beg leave to reply—that it has not, so far as I know, been the custom in the Ohio University, nor in any other Western College, to control the Literary Societies in the choice of anniversary speakers.
To your second enquiry, my answer is--that in no case, would I consider it proper to prevent a person invited by the Societies from addressing them, on account of
any supposed heresies, literary or theological. The way to oppose heresy is by refutation, not by prohibition. I will only add further-that in a college, I have always thought, the doings of the “Societies” should be held subject to the supervision and control of the Faculty, so far as to prevent collision with the settled rege ulations of the institution.
The "imperium in imperio” requires that nothing unconstitutional be attempted by the former, nor any thing oppressive by the latter.
Yours, respectfully, &c. Rev. J. F. CLARKE.
WM. H. McGUFFEY.
Mr. Tomlinson's answer, which follows, though more cautious, says, in fact, more than I asked, and more strongly condemns Mr. McMaster than the others. Mr. T. says that if a man's sentiments are not only heretical but also obviously detrimental to the interests of Christian morality, and if also they had reason to believe that he intended to preach these doctrines, he thinks he would feel authorised to interpose so far as to advise a different selection. Now,
1. Unitarian sentiments are not supposed to be detrimental to morality by any one. We are, on the contrary, accused of being too moral in our teachings.
2. Pres. McMaster had no reason to believe that I meant to preach Unitarianism.
3. Instead of advising he prohibited my speaking altogether.
Augusta College, Feb. 6th, 1840. Rev. Mr. Clarke,-Dear Sir:-I take the opportunity to respond to your letter of the 8th ult., in which you request answers to the following interrogatories:
1. "Is it the practice in your College, and is it the custom in Western Colleges so far as you are informed, for the Faculty to exercise a control over the College Societies in their choice of an anniversary speaker?”
2. “Should you consider it proper in your own case, to refuse to a person who had come to the institution at the request of the societies, permission to address them on any subject, because of his supposed heresies ?"
To the first question I reply, that we have no regulation expressly giving to the Faculiy, a controlling influence over the Societies in the relation of an anniversary speaker; it is customary, however, for leading members of the Societies to confer with the Faculty, either officially or otherwise, on the subject, before the selection is made. Of the prevalent custom in other Western Colleges, in relation to this matter, I am not sufficiently informed to be able to speak detinitely.
Difficult as I feel it to be to respond, advisedly and properly, to your second interrogatory, I will nevertheless observe,--that should the Societies select an individual for the purpose named, whose religious sentiments were, in our opinion, of a heretical character, and obviously detrimental to the interests of Christian morality; and had we reason to believe, that he would probably avail himself of the occasion, to inculcate his peculiar olijectionable doctrines, I think we would feel ourselves authorised to interpose, and, at least, to adrise a different selection. At the same time we would wish it distinctly understood, that as far as we have any thing to say in the premises, we not only tolerate, but encourage our Literary Societies, in selecting distinguished gentlemen of other religious denominations, to address them at their anniversary celebrations.
Very respectfully, yours,
J. S. TOMLINSON, Pres. Augusta College. P. S. It is proper to add, that in the views and statements here submitted, my respected colleagues of the Faculty unanimously concur.
TO A BUNCH OF FLOWERS.
Little firstlings of the year!
you come my room to cheer ?
For lovely woman you were meant
Let the rich with heart elate
Lest the thief break through to steal.
Ye are playthings for the child,
Though your life is but a day
fade so soon,
J. F. C.
ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT.-No. 2.
Having in a former number, shown that the popular doctrine of the atonement is not supported by the texts alledged in proof of it, I shall now endeavor to prove that the doctrine is in direct opposition to the plainest declarations of scripture, and the clearest dictates of reason.
That doctrine rests on the assumption that God either cannot or will not forgive sin unless an adequate degree of punishment be inflicted either on the sinner himself, or his substitute.
Now if there be any one truth which in the sacred pages stands out in bold relief above the rest, it is God's willingness