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function can be exercised by persons of incompetent learning. It is forgotten how essential a portion of ordinary academical study consists in theology; so considerable, that very few of the liberally educated laity, who have not had the advantage of university education, can at all compete on this subject with university men. The examination before the Bishop, moreover, insures competency somewhere attained ; and many Bishops lay down plans of reading for their candidates, which also afford guidance and secure method. Sufficient preparation is by these means provided for. Yet it does not follow hence that a great specific plan of theological study, under the immediate conduct of our Universities, would not be highly beneficial, not only in neutralising a hostile objection, but in really advancing the spiritual interests of Christ's mystical body.
There can be no doubt that the present practice of passing almost immediately from the B. A. degree to Deacon's orders is a violation of the ancient principle, which provided for such an initiatory course as that contended for by Dr. Adams. We cannot, without unjust violence to the usages of modern society, insist on fourteen or fifteen years as the maximum age for matriculation : but we can do what shall answer the same purpose; we can require that, after the regular proceedings to the B. A. degree, an express discipline shall be passed by theological students, before their admission to the Bishop's examination. What shall be the extent of this probationary residence, what the character of the studies, &c. are questions not at all affecting the main principle in view. We shall quote at length Dr. Adams's plan, leaving all those considerations to our readers, among whom there will, probably, be many opinions. The Doctor has been wisely jealous of the mathematical examination, a point which must always be treated with respect and delicacy in a Cambridge auditory. He would not augment the sum even of theological study, until this has been passed. He would not grant an honour to a divinity student whose name had not appeared on the mathematical tripos. Indeed, whatever opinions may exist on the merit of the Doctor's plan, there can be but one on the moderate, humble, and truly Christian spirit in which he endeavours to conciliate all prepossessions, while he modestly presents his sentiments to the learned body on whose decision the realization of his scheme depends.
The suggestions of our author are as follow :
I. That the Previous Examination be made more important by a division of the names into three or more classes.
II. That the time of passing the Previous Examination, and also that of passing the Examination for the
B. A. Degree, be both altered. III. That, calling the Michaelmas Term, in which a student commences residence, his first term, and assuming that he proceeds regularly, he shall pass the Previous Examination at the end of his sixth, the Examination for his B. A. degree at the beginning of his tenth, and, if he intend to enter the Church, a new Divinity Examination at the end of his twelfth term.
IV. That all Bye-Term Examinations for the B. A. Degree be discontinued.
V. That the standing of a candidate for the second and third Examinations be reckoned, not from his entrance, but from the time of his passing the first and second Examinations, respectively; and that therefore any student, who cannot pass
either of the Examinations at the appointed time, must necessarily degrade a year.
VI. That the Examination for the B. A. Degree take place in each year, between the first and tenth days of October; and that the Examinations for Dr. Smith's Prizes, the Classical Tripos, and the Classical Medals, take place immediately afterwards.
VII. That those students who do not intend to enter into Orders, be then allowed to leave College, and return to be admitted “ad respondendum quæstioni,” at any Congregation after they are of sufficient standing.
VIII. That those students, who do intend to enter into the Church, be then obliged to declare that intention to the Regius Professor of Divinity.
IX. That these Divinity Students shall wear a peculiar gown, and be obliged to reside another winter of three full terms. X. That these Divinity Students shall
, during their fourth winter, pursue an uninterrupted course of professional studies, and pass an Examination just before the following Commencement.
XI. That at this Examination those students, who pass with credit, (provided their names appear on the Mathematical Tripos at the preceding Examination for the B. A. Degree,) be arranged in classes of honour, according to the order of merit.
XII. That these Divinity Students shall attend the public lectures, if any are read by the Regius Professor of Divinity, the Margaret Professor, the Norrisian Professor, or the Hulsean Lecturer: and that the subjects of these lectures shall form part of the subjects of their future Examination.
XIII. That the proposed Divinity Examination be conducted by the abovementioned officers, together with the Professors of Hebrew, Greek and Arabic, the Margaret Preacher, and the Christian Advocate.
XIV. That for the oi modo in the proposed examination certain subjects should be yearly fixed, so completely within the range of three terms' reading, that every student might be fully prepared in every part of them.
XV. That for those Divinity Students who are candidates for honours, a more extended course of reading should be prescribed, but yet so restricted as to require a few books thoroughly read, rather than a great variety read in a superficial manner.—Pp. 25—28.
These articles are followed up by a catalogue of books, which we subjoin, intended as the course to be pursued : those marked (A) to be universally required; those marked (B) to be required of candidates for honours only.
Class I. Evidences.
For the Divinity Examination, --(A) Paley's Natural Theology. (Parts)Paley's Evidences—Paley's Horæ Paulinæ - Butler's Analogy. (B) Stillingfleet's Origines Sacræ.
Class II. Introduction to the Bible. (A) Tomline's Elements of Theology, Parts I. and II.—Beausobre’s Introduction to the New Testament. (B) Gray's Key to the Old TestamentMarsh's Michaelis.
CLASS III. Scripture. For the Previous Examination, one. Gospel. For the Divinity Examination, 1. Greek. (A) One other Gospel—The Acts of the Apostles—The Epistles to Timothy and Titus. (B) The remainder of the New Testament. 2, Hebrew. (A) The Grammar, and a few easy chapters, or passages selected. (B) Hebrew somewhat more extended, but still confined to specified subjects.
Class IV. Scripture History. (A) Watts's Scripture History—The Historical parts of the English Bible. (B) Bishop Newton on the Prophecies-Josephi Opera.
Class V. Systematic Divinity. (A) Pearson on the Creed (the text only). (B) Pearson on the Creed, with the Notes.
Class VI. Didactic. (A) Reading the Lessons in Chapel, confined to Students of this standing, Compositions, viz. (1) Analyses of some of our best Sermons. (2) Original Skeletons on a given text. (B) Prizes for the best Exercises, regard being had both to the composition and the delivery.
Class VII. Historical and Controversial. (A) Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, (Parts)—Burnet on the Articles of the Church of England—Wheatly on the Common Prayer. (B) MosheimBingham's Origines Ecclesiasticæ-Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.
Class VIII. Miscellaneous. (B) Turton's Tractatus ex Operibus Patrum Excerpti.—Pp. 29–31.
The fourth of these articles has our most unqualified applause. We always regarded bye-term examinations as an infraction of university principle. The rest, taken in the main, afford a rational and feasible improvement on the present state of Cambridge education. To say that we think them perfect, might be going too far; but their imperfections are not by any means essential to the plan. We have little room for discussion ; else we might dilate on our own doubts, how far the Doctor's List of Books can be “thoroughly read” in three terms. The Hebrew language is absolutely to be learned in that time. The introduction of Hebrew is not only an improvement, but it is an article, the absence of which is a stain on the present system of episcopal examination. But still, Hebrew, with all this mass of other reading, will never be " thoroughly" acquired in three terms.
We would suggest that the third and fourth volumes of Horne's Introduction, or some parts of that work, be introduced. Indeed, considering the great and solid merit of that valuable book, we do not think the whole of it would be too much to require from a candidate for divinity honours : and the omission of all notice of it in a list of this kind is quite unaccountable. The analysis and synthesis of sermons are very desirable objects ; and ecclesiastical history, neglected and defied in an age of measureless pretension, should certainly be required from the Clergy.
The atheist, the scoffer, the professed unbeliever, the notorious profligate, openly oppose the cause of Christ; they are his avowed enemies; and it is said of all such, “ Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” But there are others who may be said to betray him; namely, those who call themselves his disciples, while they “crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” There are many ways in which persons may do this in a greater or less degree. They may do it by false doctrines, or by an unholy and inconsistent life. Suppose that, professing to believe the Divine mission, the spotless character, and the perfect doctrines and precepts of Christ, we should deny his claim to be equal with the Father, as touching the Godhead, though inferior to him as touching his manhood; should we not, while calling ourselves his disciples, rob him of his highest honour, and take part with those who thought it blasphemous that he made himself equal with God? Again, if acknowledging his Divinity, we virtually set aside his atonement, by a proud trust in our own merits, are we not undermining the foundations of the religion we profess, and reducing the Divine Saviour to the level of a mere teacher and example, instead of a sacrifice, the only sacrifice, for the sins of the world? Again, if professing to trust alone in his atonement, and perhaps vaunting loudly of the efficacy of faith, we slight. either in word or practice the obligations of his law, are we not betraying him under the pretence of friendship, setting his commands at variance with his promises, and virtually maintaining that his Gospel leads to that most unscriptural conclusion, “ Let us sin that grace may abound?”—Pp. 74–76.
Our extracts are numerous, but under all circumstances, it is perhaps as well they should be so. From these our readers will be best enabled to collect the general character of the work. assure them that the above are specimens as fair as they are favourable.
The want of “ Family Sermons” is often deplored. Few sermons composed for the pulpit, are wholly applicable to family reading. The want is now supplied, and supplied well. The writer has our thanks, and if our recommendation can be of advantage to him, it accompanies our best wishes for his success. He will be satisfied that our opening remarks have proceeded from no spirit unbecoming the Christian name, which he and ourselves bear in common.
But we must repeat that the Christian Observer has no title to be identified with the sermons which have adorned its pages.
Let us offer one more friendly observation to the worthy author. If he should be disposed, in another edition, to republish his dedication, let him expunge the quotation from Quintilian. If the Right Rev. Prelates therein addressed are not disgusted with that extravagant piece of heathen flattery, it is only because they smile at it. We read, a short time since, an article in the Observer, reprobating all classical quotations. The rule is not less extraordinary than the present violation. Were all classical allusions as unfortunate as this, we might perhaps be tempted to think with the worthy writer of that
Art. II. - A Sermon preached before the King's Most Excellent
Majesty, in the Chapel Royal at St. James's, on Sunday, July 4, 1830. By CHARLES JAMES, Lord Bishop of London, Dean of his Majesty's Chapels Royal. Published by his Majesty's Command. London: B. Fellowes, Ludgate Street. 4to. 1830. Price 2s.
The learned and eloquent author of this excellent Sermon has performed a delicate task with admirable propriety. Looking to the solemn occasion on which it was preached, when His Majesty, " for the first time as Sovereign of these Realms, partook in the most holy ordinance of our Religion in presence of the Chief Pastors of that Reformed Church, of which He is the Chief Governor upon earth, and to whose doctrine and discipline His Majesty," we are here authoritatively told, * “ was pleased to declare his firm and cordial attachment; '-we are persuaded that the office of Preacher could not have been assigned to any man more able and willing to do the work of an Evangelist than the Dean of His Majesty's Chapels Royal. The text is taken from 1 Cor. x. 16, and the Sermon is an orthodox, plain, and very appropriate exposition of the nature, the benefits, and the obligation of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The Bishop's style is remarkable for its simplicity, its perspicuity, and its earnest
The child may understand, the man must feel, the weight of his arguments, and the efficacy of his persuasive eloquence; and we are willing to hope that the effect of his pious address upon the heart of Him, whom the Almighty has called to the throne of these Realms, may be manifested by his steady and uncompromising support of the interests of that Church, the consolations of which he wisely sought so early an opportunity to enjoy.
Has the Bishop of London, then, said any thing new upon the familiar topic under his discussion ? No, indeed ; and we like his Sermon the better on that account. We hate novelties in religion, and we despise the vanity of an author who is perpetually striving to dazzle us by what is nen, rather than to instruct us to walk in the old paths, as much as we pity the itching ears of those unstable and gaping dupes, who mistake paradox for piety, and sound for sense, and who are taught to prefer “ the lean and flashy songs,” which pulpit declaimers, with their “scrannel pipes of wretched straw," palm upon their fond admirers as the sacred effusions of the Great Spirit of Wisdom, to the words of soberness and truth.
Our excellent author has taken occasion to reprobate the notion of Bishop Hoadley, that the Eucharist is simply a commemorative rite : and we beg leave to adorn our pages with an extract from that part of his Sermon.
* Dedication to the King.