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dents, he is already destined. Now some branches of knowledge, under this aspect, are much more important to him than others; and as he cannot possibly find time for all, he should obviously be instructed to acquire those of which he can make the most direct use, or which best tend to form and cherish those habits of mind which will be most essential to him. For example, to any one who will probably be a medical man or an engineer, or who is destined to any of those departments of professional life in which a knowledge of external objects, and of their properties and relations, is especially required, a knowledge of chemistry, botany, and physiology, would either be directly serviceable, or would tend to form habits of mind which would be still more valuable than the knowledge itself.
And accordingly, these departments (if any choice. were allowed) such a student would be sure to prefer to anything that could be substituted for them. On the other hand, there can be just as little question that to the man who is intended for the bar, or for the pulpit, or for any other department of exertion in which a knowledge of mind is more important than a knowledge of matter, there are many subjects of study which might be advantageously substituted for chemistry, physiology, and botany; subjects of study equally valuable as a general discipline, more conducive to the habits of mind which it is necessary for him to form, more readily pursued because intimately connected with those branches which must be his great object, and more extensively applicable to the exigencies of his professional life.
Or, if instead of the introduction of any new subject in the B.A. examination, the substitution pleaded for consisted simply in making the examination in logic and moral philosophy more extensive and searching, we do not know but this would be quite sufficient. Indeed, in some respects we should think this the preferable plan; for though the course prescribed by the London University certainly enjoins the study of nothing but what it is most desirable to know, yet it may be doubtful how far it is possible within the given time to attain a really serviceable knowledge of each branch; that is, a knowledge so accurate as shall effectually secure the great end of all education,-intellectual discipline. In our opinion, the great objects of education are far more effectually attained by a thorough and prolonged study of a few subjects than by a more superficial attention to a great many.
When the London University projected its plan of study, it was felt that sufficient attention had not been hitherto paid, in the generality of universities, to several branches of physical science, which have assumed in our day great value and importance.
To determine how far it was desirable to go,-to demand neither too little nor too much,--to exact enough in each department to ensure accurate study and sound discipline, and yet leave no department of importance absolutely untouched, was a point of great difficulty and delicacy; and it is by no means impossible that the senate have included rather too many subjects than too few.
At all events, we again express our conviction that it would be a great improvement to offer students a choice with regard to the subjects so often mentioned; still demanding of all alike the same amount of knowledge in classics, in mathematics, in those branches of physical science to which the mathematics are immediately applicable, in history, in logic, and in moral philosophy. Unless some such change as this be effected, we cannot but think that the number of candidates for degrees from those colleges the specific object of which is theology, will be far more limited than it need be or ought to be.
If these arguments for the proposed modification be thought satisfactory, we should strongly advise the heads of those colleges who have already obtained or who intend to apply for the privilege of granting certificates to students to undergo examination for degrees, to petition the senate to take the matter into their serious and immediate consideration. If, however, the university be not disposed to concede the point in question, we have but one thing to say. It is this. Though we certainly think our colleges ought to possess the privilege of granting the requisite certificates to their students, for the sake of those who, even under all the existing disadvantages, may be disposed to take their degrees, we do trust they will never forget that their great, their ultimate object, is THEOLOGY, and that they will sacrifice it to nothing whatever. In the prosecution of that object, they ought, it is true, to teach, and to teach thoroughly, all those branches of knowledge which are subsidiary to it, and up to the point at which they will effectually subserve it. This, of course, includes all those branches which have hitherto been thought essential to a liberal education, and on which in all universities, with the single exception of that of London, the taking of degrees of arts depends. But further than this they ought not to go, and their students had better magnanimously forego the tempting title of B.A., than infringe on the time or remit the diligence which the successful prosecution of theology so imperatively demands. It is surely impossible to read the following letter, inserted some time since in the Times,' without feeling how possible it is to forget the claims of theology in secular science, and to make what ought to be pursued only as a means to an end, of more importance than the end itself. Let us not fall into this fatal error, from which the Establishment seems just awaking.
"We are now about to approach a branch of the great question of church reform, in dealing with which it will be alike our duty and our inclination to move with a cautious and deliberate step. Our justification for dealing with it at all is found, first, in its manifest and vital importance to the well-being of the church; and, secondly, in its having been already made a subject of public remark by some of the greatest ornaments of the episcopal bench. The subject to which we allude is that of clerical education, and its greatly-needed improvements - not merely by that insensible operation of public opinion and of enlightened conscience, which has already wrought a vast amelioration, but by settled and fixed provisions and requirements, wrought into our university systems, and demanding of all who aspire to that sacred office, that just and necessary preparation which at present only some, and that of their own free will, cheerfully undergo. It is not our object, in the remarks we are now offering, to reflect in the smallest degree upon the clergy of the Established Church. We believe that their acquirements and general fitness are, in the main, far above what might be expected from the system under which they have been trained. Our observations apply solely to the system itself.
Compare that system with the preparation required for an entrance into any other profession. Look at that of medicine, for instance. It is not considered enough to qualify a man to take charge of the bodies of men that he shall have spent three or four years at college, and have taken a creditable degree as bachelor of arts. Far otherwise ; now he would be told his peculiar education for his profession was to begin. For a considerable space of time he must now give himself up to the study of the human frame. He must attend, for month after month, long series of lectures by the very first masters of the medical art on all the various functions of man's animal existence, with their respective derangements and the methods of cure. Next, he must watchfully pore over the actual exemplifications of both disease and cure in a multitude of cases of every kind, as exhibited in our great hospitals ; and, finally, he must prove that he has actually studied all these subjects, by undergoing several severe and scruti. nizing examinations before boards composed of selected judges long skilled both in the practical and theoretical departments of medical science.
Such is the prescribed course, without which no man is permitted by law to offer himself as a guardian of the bodily health, even of the poorest of her Majesty's subjects. We do not plead for similar restrictions in matters of religion ; we are aware that it would be idle to think of preventing a man from building, if he choose, a chapel, and holding forth in it Sunday by Sunday according to his own fancies or notions. But while we have an established church which professes to supply an order of ministers properly qualified, as well as rightfully commissioned, we may fairly look to her at least for some such precantions in sending forth her ministers as are taken by the lawful guardians and superintendents of the analogous, though infinitely inferior, science of medicine.
* Now, what is the course of instruction through which a young
man is required to pass who has come to a determination to devote himself to the ministry of the gospel in the Church of England ?
‘Suppose him to select Cambridge, as offering perhaps the less expensive and the shortest course. He there finds, that if he means to do anything more than barely to pass muster, he must plunge, to adopt Dr. Buchanan's expression, into 'mathematics, pure and mixed, algebra, geometry, fluxions containing the nature of pneumatics, hydraulics, hydrostatics, the doctrine of incommensurables, indivisibles, and infinities, parabolic and hyperbolic logarithms, summation of series, solution of quadratics containing impossible roots, together with the properties of parallelopipeds and dodecahedrons ; not forgetting Sir Isaac Newton, his celebrated corollaries to the paradoxical lemma respecting curvilinear straight lines, together with other particulars too many to be enumerated.'
Since Dr. Buchanan's time, the severity of the mathematical course in this university has been greatly augmented; it clearly leaves any young man who wishes to pass with credit nothing but the shreds and scraps of his time for any other study besides itself.
But where are his professional studies all this time? The recently appointed bishop of St. David's, Dr. Thirlwall, when tutor of Trinity College, the first and largest in Cambridge, thus wrote—' Among all the branches of learning cultivated in this college, there is none which occupies a smaller share of time and attention than theology.' Now, Dr. Thirlwall may have stated the fact too strongly, as the remonstrances of other tutors seemed to prove ; but, admitting that some. thing is done with Butler and Paley, the fact is still indisputable, that amid the ardent and engrossing pursuit of mathematical knowledge, no sufficient time is left, in the university course of three years and a half, to acquire anything like a competent knowledge of theology.
· After taking his degree, the student inquires after a curacy, and then sits down to read for orders.' This reading generally occupies about six months.
Now theology is not a trifling or a narrow subject. Blackstone describes the study of the laws of England as 'requiring the lucubration of twenty years.' But thoroughly to comprehend the divine law, and the nature and character of the gospel, is a much higher and more extensive study. The Bible, indeed, is not a very large book, but to read and understand it thoroughly, in its original languages, is of itself a great attainment. But this is merely the foundation. How is the infidel to be met, how the Socinian, how the Romanist, without a thorough knowledge of all these controversies? And are these things to be picked up in the spare moments of a college life, or during the six months' reading for orders ?
· How is this question dealt with by other churches ? A correspond. ent writing from Jerusalem, states that a young Franciscan priest has lately made his appearance there, whose aim and object seems to be to meet and talk with the English travellers. This is his occupation—this his mission there. And for this work he has undergone a ten years' training at Rome.
• The education prescribed by the Church of Scotland, as requisite
for a student offering himself for holy orders, occupies about four years; most of which time is given, not to general science, but to professional—i. e., theological studies.
• In America the course gone through by a theological student is generally this :-Having completed his general education, he passes under the care of the theological tutors, and spends with them three years—the first, in studying the Scriptures in the original languages; the second, in a course of doctrinal theology; the third, in the composition and delivery of sermons.
No one would propose the adoption, broadly, of either the Scotch or the American plan. But the comparison is a striking one-between their great care and attention, and our singular negligence in this matter.
* We are aware that this subject has already attracted the attention, and is now exercising the thoughts, of those best able to suggest a remedy for these defects. The pressure of other affairs, however, has already postponed the wisest and purest intentions through a space of time far too long to have been lost. It is now several years since his grace the archbishop of Canterbury assured a nobleman who applied to him on the subject, that 'the matter was then under the consideration of the bishops.' And it was in his lordship’s primary charge that the bishop of London uttered the striking sentences with which we shall close this article :
""We are not only authorized, but in my opinion required, to look for a more systematic and laborious preparation for the ministry; and to expect that clerical accomplishments shall be raised with the universally rising qualifications of every other profession. We have, perhaps, some reason for wishing that our universities should do more than, even with the recent improvements in their system, they have hitherto done, towards effecting this desirable result. For my own part, I entertain a very strong opinion as to the necessity of one or more theological seminaries, in which, besides going through a prescribed course of study for one or two years, the candidates for holy orders might be exercised in reading the liturgy of our church, and in the composition and delivery of sermons. The establishment of these, which need not interfere with the accustomed course of academical study, must necessarily be a work of difficulty, requiring much consideration and forethought.
'In the last observation we entirely agree, and have no desire unduly to press a matter of such grave importance. But still we must remember that life is short, and that ten years have already passed away since the above passage was written.'
On this whole subject we do not know that we can do better than quote the following passages from the last Report of Spring Hill College, with every syllable of which, both as regards the desirableness of not encouraging students to proceed farther than the B.A. degree during the term of their college-course, and of generally discouraging the wish to compete for honors, we most heartily concur.