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All science is subsidiary to theology. And at the present day the votaries of science are pushing forward with ardor and success in all the departments of human knowledge. The present is a most auspicious time to advance theological science. Many things conspire to elucidate the Bible. Pure truth yet lies hidden in the exhaustless mine of revelation, and facilities for bringing it forth to light multiply around us. Mental science is improved, and the laws of the human mind are better understood. The philosophy of language, and principles of interpretation-the manners and customs, geography and natural history of the nations of the Bible, are better known. The discovery and examination of ancient monuments, cities and sepulchres, with all their inscriptions, sculptures and hieroglyphics—the more attentive study of dogmatic history bringing out and comparing former religious opinions—and especially the application of the truth and its results by missionary efforts, in the case of great numbers and wide varieties of the heathen—are all pouring their converging rays upon the sacred record, and throwing a light upon every page, unknown since the Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to write it.

Theological Seminaries are required to avail themselves of all these advantages for better understanding the Bible, and apply the whole diligently to the extension of theological science. It is essential to the training of the most efficient ministry for the world. An improved philosophy is subjecting the world of matter to man; and a clearer and more comprehensive knowledge of the system of divine truth is also to bring the heart and conscience under the power of the preacher. Any fact, however minute, which places one text of Scripture in a clearer light, is invaluable to the world. No finite mind can predict its ultimate results. It is by this increased knowledge of divine truth, that the church of God in the latter day can afford to dispense with all the “mighty signs and wonders” of the primitive age.

winds, he says — “Brethren, we now quickly part. Whether I see your faces on enrth again the God of heaven only knows. Follow me no further than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If God reveal any thing to you by any other instrument of his, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry: for I am verily persuaded, I am confident the Lord hath more truth yet to break forth out of his holy word. For my part I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion ; and will go at present no further than the instruments of their first reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther said : whatever part of his will our good God has imparted and revealed unto Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it; and the Calvinists you see stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented, for though they were burning and shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God, but were they now living they would be as willing to embrace further light, as that which they at first received. Remember it—it is an article of your church covenant—"Be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known unto you from the written word of God." Mather's Magnalia, Vol. I. pp. 59, 60.

II. To secure a thorough and specific mental discipline.

An academical course of study is designed for the general development of all the faculties. The process of discipline in all colleges should be adapted to call forth the energies of the whole mind. Nor is there at present any probability that a more efficacious course will be found, than the long tried and approved system of thorough classical and mathematical training. But when the mind is brought under the influence of the theological seminary, though it should be allowed to relax none of its energies, yet henceforth its training is no longer to be general but specific. The object now is not merely a strong mind, but an able minister - not generally, the capacity to strike hard, but specifically, to know what to strike, and how to hit. It is the want of this specific discipline, which leaves too many to spend their lives in doing little else than “ beating the air."

There must therefore be a course of discipline pursued with specific reference to the peculiar object. It is a standing law of dynamics, that all moving forces must be applied in the direct line of their natural tendencies. You can accomplish nothing by working against nature. The water-wheel may be mechanically perfect, but it will not move against the streamthe machine will never reverse the direction of the power which propels it. No skill of the mechanic can accomplish any thing, in violation of this law of nature. Indeed all skill is found in the most exact observance of it. But the laws of mind are as constant as the laws of matter, and all successful action upon mind must accord with them. Divine truth has its own nature --that which gives to it its specific identity — and mind has its own nature; and nothing will be gained by applying the one to the other contrary to nature. God's Spirit does not subvert his own laws in either the mind or the truth, when he renews and sanctifies the mind through the truth. Man is no further a successful instrument, or an effectual co-worker with God in the salvation of sinners, than he exerts his agency in conforinity with these unchanging laws. No power of intellect or fertility of genius can avail any thing in opposition. He must know the nature of the material on which he works, and of the instrument by which he works, and thus select with wisdom and apply with skill, or he will “ labor in vain and spend his strength for nought."

It has been assumed, that the best way of gaining this practical wisdom in the ministry is by a process of instruction under the direction of some wise and experienced pastor. The success of such men as Hooker, Porter and others, has been adduced in confirmation. But while it is admitted that there must be wisdom and experience in all the departments of theological instruction, and that on this account it will be found a matter of constant necessity, to supply theological seminaries to a great extent from the pastors of the churches, yet there are many considerations which go to prove, that the seminary, and not the study of the private pastor, is the place to provide the most efficient ministry for the world.

Few such men as those above referred to can be found; and if they were far more common in the churches, the vast accumulation of ministerial labors upon settled pastors at the present day would utterly forbid their assuming this additional burden. The number of young men now preparing for the sacred office, and the prospective demand of the world for many more, destroy all rational hope of supply from such a source. Besides, the seminary is the best place for ministerial training. A broader system is pursued and more helps are at hand - the stimulus of numbers is felt, and opportunities of discussion and friendly mental collision are afforded — and in the surrounding region, especially among the new churches of the West, the

calls for biblical, catechetical, and Sabbath school instruction, and all the facilities for social exhortation and prayer, and every practical preparation for the ministry are far more abundant than any single pastor's time, or library or parish can afford. It is the design to accumulate these facilities for thorough and specific discipline in theological seminaries, that they may apply them to the great purpose of providing for the world, the most efficient ministry which can be made out of fallen men.

III. To cultivate a spirit of warm, devotional piety. Talent, learning, eloquence, orthodoxy, can never be made substitutes for piety. If the minister is not a holy man, all other attainments are but so much power for evil. And if he is really a converted man, while his piety is greatly alloyed by sloth and idleness on the one hand, or rashness and blind zeal on the other, he had better betake himself to any other calling than the sacred ministry. The man who ministers from God to dying men must be deeply imbued with the spirit of Jesus Christ. There must be habitual communion with God, a strong love for souls, for the closet, for the Bible. This world of sensuality and infidelity and idolatry is not to be brought back in allegiance to God without a ministry whose piety is deep, decided and ardent. Their lives as well as their lips must preach the gospel.

There is danger, that in acquiring other qualifications, this essential one should be too much neglected. The awakened energy of mind and ardor of investigation may restain the affections of the heart, and wither the christian graces. Every seminary is bound to watch and pray against consequences so destructive, and exert a direct influence upon the precious youth within its walls to keep them near to God and ripe for heaven. Piety will not advance without exercise. The heart as well as the intellect must be cultivated. No matter with what firmness of sinew and fulness of muscle the dry bones may be clothed, if the warmth and vigor of the vital spirits are not there, it is a lifeless organization mere dead matter for the sepulchre. A ministry for the church of God and the world of sinners must glow with spiritual life and strength, or it is good for nothing for either.

But besides this general method of answering the question how shall theological seminaries secure their object ? — there is an opportunity for a more particular consideration, by following out some deductions from the main principle.

If it is the object of theological seminaries to furnish the most efficient ministry for the world, then

1. They must be allowed the free investigation of the Bible.

Free inquiry is the natural right of the human mind. There is no general principle within the range of human thought, which the mind may not examine freely and fearlessly. The Bible is as open to investigation as the book of nature. There is a sacredness and solemnity in all truth wherever found, and Vol. XI. No. 29.


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especially in the truths of revelation ; but there is nothing there too sacred or too awful for human examination. A reverent and humble spirit may fix its gaze on the holiest mystery which the Spirit of God has put upon the sacred pages. Let the man

put his shoes from off his feet,” and he may stand erect before the burning bush while the great “I am” declares his awful message.

Yea it is not only the right, but the duty of the human mind to examine the Bible. God has bid us“ search the Scriptures," and the obligation applies to all which the Scriptures contain. Especially is this the duty of theological seminaries. Minds are there trained who are to be " set for the defence of the Gospel,” and they cannot defend it, if they do not understand it. Mere authority in this age is good for nothing. Ecclesiastical decisions can carry with thein no force, any further than they embody truth. No article of any creed can stand any further than it will bear the most rigid examination. Nothing which belongs to religion is to be kept in darkness, or attempted to be sustained but by the power of truth. The opinions of the fathers, the writings of the wise and good of former days should be diligently consulted and carefully pondered. It is but the arrogance of ignorance and folly which affects to despise them as out of date and behind the age. But they are to be regarded as teachers, not tyrants. It is the truth which they contain, and not their age merely, which makes them venerable. Whatever there may be in them which will not bear examination, is as worthless and as determinately to be rejected as the errors of yesterday.

The ministry of the present age is called to meet every form of specious delusion and sophistry and cavilling skepticism. The votaries of sensuality and the worshippers of mammon have a thousand deceitful hiding places. The heathen nations have their long-used superstitions, and in many cases the most subtle and elaborate systems of error; while the Roman beast and the false prophet have been deluding the nations for ages, and bound the human mind with fetters of iron. The men who are to meet all this hostile array and subdue or annihilate it, must not only be permitted, but trained to examine every thing that belongs to it. Not only the substantial doctrines of religion and their common arguments of defence, but the whole system of theology must be understood, with its modern objections and evasions and perversions, and all that philosophy or

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