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of Christ was beginning to be felt. Mr. Dwight observed to me, “ You ministers sometimes forget the simple rule of the Apostle, that we are to give • as the Lord has prospered us;' now the fact is, we have not been prospered for a few years past, and cannot give to charitable objects as freely as we should like. You don't know how hard it is to get money at the present time for any purpose.” .
I replied, that I knew very well how hard it was to get money, and had no wish to lay down a different rule from the Apostle ; but that as we might have forgotten his rule in our prosperity, it would be well to wipe off old scores, and to adhere to it more closely in the future.
We separated with mutual satisfaction; Mr. Dwight acknowledging that I had the advantage of him in the argument, and I feeling that I had learned from him a useful lesson upon the manner of presenting an object of benevolence to my people.
I believe that Mr. Dwight endeavored conscientiously to follow the Apostle's rule. · From the time of his conversion, he showed it to be his intention to make contributions to benevolent objects a matter of principle. He laid aside yearly the entire profits of one branch of his business for benevolent uses; having more particularly in mind the raising of a fund for the benefit of Yale College. This circumstance being known to some of the friends of the College, by whom the design of establishing a Theological department was entertained, they applied to him for aid in that enterprise, and received from him a very liberal donation for the purpose of founding a professorship of Didactic Theology.
The chief design of the founders of Yale College was to make it a school for the preparation of young men for the Christian ministry. The Professor of Divinity in the College is “ bound by the statutes of his office, not only to act as pastor of the church, and religious teacher of the undergraduates, but likewise to furnish such students in Theology as may have been reared in the College, or may choose to resort to it from abroad, with assistance in the studies preparatory to the ministry. There has, therefore, always been maintained in the College, a strictly Theological School. The Rev. Professors Daggett and Wales, and the Rev. President Dwight in his capacity of Professor of Divinity, have each successively given instruction to students in Theology, and prepared many for the ministerial office, who have been distinguished for their usefulness in the churches.” So long as the only other method of gaining a Theological education was that of studying with pastors, a considerable number of young men, principally graduates of the College, anually placed themselves under the instruction of the Professor of Divinity. Several hundreds of the Alumni who entered the ministry, were thus qualified for their work. But about thirty years ago, the system of Theologi
cal education in this country experienced an entire change. “The labor of instruction in the several branches of Biblical criticism, systematic Theology, and the composition and delivery of sermons, was found too great for any one man to sustain. Institutions exclusively Theological, were therefore established. The duties which formerly devolved upon a single individual were distributed among three or four Professors, each selected with reference to his qualifications for a particular department, and confined to the discharge of its appropriate duties. A much greater extent and perfection were thus given to a course of Theological education than could possibly be attained by the exertions of the most highly gifted individual. It was not surprising, therefore, that the department of Theological instruction in Yale College, (destitute of these advantages,) should be for some years in a languishing state. Indeed, the whole influence of the College was cordially granted for the advancement of other Theological Institutions which needed its aid, though it was foreseen that the measures which were taken to promote their interests would diminish the prosperity of the school at New Haven. In giving this aid, however, it was never contemplated to abandon the course of Theological education which had been so long sustained. On the contrary, the late President Dwight, who took so active a part in favor of the Andover Institution, maintained to the day of death, and bequeathed to his successors the duty of extending the department of Theological instruction in correspondence with its enlargement in other Institutions.”
In the year 1822, the question came definitely before the officers of College, and the Christian public, “Shall the department of Theological instruction be now abandoned, and Yale College become merely a school of philosophy,—or shall an effort be made to extend this department, and to place it on a respectable and permanent foundation ?" Fifteen young men, Alumni of the College, then made application to the Faculty to be received as a Theological class, for the ensuing year. It was felt that the rejection of so many Theological students, under the circumstances, would be a final abandonment of the object. The Faculty, feeling the importance of sustaining this department of instruction in a manner consistent with the dignity of the College and the interests of the Church, and being especially desirous of retaining, as far as possible, the religious character of an institution of learning, founded for pious ends, determined to recommend to the Corporation to establish the Theological department upon an enlarged and permanent basis. But the question now arose, “ where shall the funds requisite for this important object, and without which the Corporation will not sanction it, be obtained ?” The prospect of raising $20,000 for the support of a Professor of systematic Theology, appeared at first view quite discouraging. But just at this crisis, Mr. Dwight came forward and subscribed five thousand dollars toward this fund. He also pledged himself privately to make up any deficiency to the extent of $5,000 more, if the remaining $15,000 could not be obtained in season to secure the action of the Corporation at their next meeting. The sum was secured, however, and a professorship of systematic Theology was endowed under the name of the Dwight Professorship. The Rev. N. W. Taylor, D. D., then pastor of the first church in New Haven, was elected to the office, which he still holds, and entered upon his duties immediately. Had it not been for the timely encouragement given by Mr. Dwight, though there might have been an imperfect arrangement made for the instruction of Theological students by the distribution of the several branches of Theological learning among the Professors of Divinity, Rhetoric, and Languages, in the College, the department probably could not have been placed on its present foundation, at least for many years after.* It was Mr.
* These statements are made chiefly on the authority of Professor Goodrich, to whom the Theological department in Yale College is largely indebted for its present prosperity.
I would here take occasion to recommend the example of Mr. Dwight to gentlemen of property, and to put in a plea in behalf of a professorship of Ecclesiastical History and Polity, for the same institution which he endowed. Recent events have given a special importance to these branches of Theological education; and no minister can be fully qualified for his work without being