Ill.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : Ch.

Proceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 online

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most minds an agreeable relief from the profounder attention required by
mathematics and philosophy, and give a change and a new spring to the
jaded mental powers. Thirdly, they connect the observation of facts with
the laws of thought, and in the hands of a skillful instructor may become
instruments of the most exact logical method and of the widest philosophical
generalization; and in this application they must be allowed to be of the
greatest value as a means of intellectual discipline. Fourthly, science and
metaphysics mutually supplement each other. The world of thought and
the world of matter are in correspondence; and the student of nature is
enabled often to make real and clear, to give actualization to the reflections
of the philosopher. Science seeks ///e //(^w of things, philosophy thevihy;
but there is some point where these must meet and agree; the a priori
method will come down with its empty form of thought, the a posteriori wil 1
carry up the material which is to fill and realize the form ; and thus the great
circle of knowledge will be made complete. Fifthly, the relations of the
sciences have brought them into special prominence. Scientific reflection
has been pushed to the border-land of metaphysics and theology, and is
weeping to cross over and conquer these worlds. Science lies at the basis of
almost every living question between mere materialism and the Christian
faith. Its progress will undoubtedly affect the traditional interpretation of
portions of the Holy Scriptures; natural theology, also, though it will in the
end be placed upon a firmer basis, will need to be somewhat re-cast. The
Christian educator can not be silent on these questions in the class-room, the
minister in the pulpit can not altogether ignore them ; and neither can afford
to have but a superficial acquaintance with them.

We now pass to the second division of our subject — the position to be
assigned to scientific studies in the college system of education. Do the
tendencies of the times indicate that the elementary education of youth in


this country is likely to be more special in its nature — practical, as it is
called — or to be more universal, so that, so far as it goes, it shall fit the
student for all spheres of activity? It is probable that other schools for
special purposes will be multiplied; but will the college hold fast its profes-
sion of liberal training in the arts and sciences, or will it be modified by the
special schools and become more like them ? That it will remain substantially
the same as it is now we have no doubt. The education which the college
is to furnish must be of such a nature that it will not decide beforehand for
the student what his course of life must be, but will rather give him the key
to his capabilities, and enable him to choose freely his own vocation and
decide his own destiny. It is precisely this grand purpose of education which
the special and so-called practical schools never can accomplish, and hence
they are really less practical than the liberal system.

If, now, this is the primary object of the college, to open the gates of
knowledge in all directions and prepare the student for all spheres of life,
what changes, if any, in the present course of studies is required, and, in
particular, how large a place must be given to the natural sciences.'' As to
the so-called demands of the times and the spirit of the age, to which many
confidently appeal for the settlement of this question, we dismiss them from
consideration, for the reason that the times and the age are an exceedingly
doubtful and variable standard, and the methods of education must not be
submitted to the popular vote, but determined by the widest and soundest
principles. Let education be for the higher ideas, the higher faculties, and
the higher modes of thought, or give up all things that are high ! The ques-
tion then is — What are the comparative values in a system of education, in
their relation to the unfolding, the reforming, and the training of the mind;
of scientific, linguistic, mathematical, and philosophical studies ? To give
the mind development and a right direction is more than to store it with
facts; hence every study in any scheme of education must be pursued in a
strictly scientific manner — that is, with reference to principles and system,
rather than details.

What, now, is the power of language-study in education.? This will prop-
erly include in it the departments of rhetoric and literature, so far as these
are conducted on the basis of language-study. The formation of language
exhibits the stages by which pure intellect becomes object to itself In words
the secret processes of thought are exposed ; hence it is the most potent
discipline of the whole course. The profound analysis and superior grasp
of thought which this study gives have long been noted by educators. It is
emphatically a culture-study. As a preparation also for the whole circle of
metaphysical studies, its value is unequaled ; hence the study of language
must always form the principal basis of a college education. But why not
study the modern languages, as German and French, instead of the so-called
dead languages.? We have no space for argument, and can only meagerly
suggest. If the chief purpose of education is the development, discipline,
and elevation of the mental powers, then the question whether we shall
employ the ancient or the modern languages is not pertinent. What lan-
guages are best for that result.-' We hold that no modern languages are
equal to the Latin and Greek as culture-studies. They belonged to the flow-
ering period of human thought. The Greek is the classic for all time. As
an instrument of education, let its scientific structure, its marvelous creations
and its aesthetic influence on mind and heart, bear witness. So long as it
can boast a Homer, a Plato, and a Gospel, more need not be urged against
its exclusion from any course worthy of the term liberal. If the modern




college can dispense with all that, in the interest of mere material investiga-
tion, then must the tendencies of modern life be simply to the surface and
to the outside of things, or the modern college is doomed to short life.

As to the Latin, mo>it of the tongues of modern Europe are only modifica-
tions of Latin, and can best be learned through Latin. Even our own
English can better be approached from some of its sides through the same
medium. Greek and Latin strike their roots into the very heart of English.
From them we draw our terms for exact science, law, theology and medicine.
If it be true that whoever speaks to the popular heart, draws his vocabulary
from the old Anglo-Saxon bed, it is equally as true that whoever gives expres-
sion to high thought and reflection, resorts to Latin root-words. Grammar
can not be learned from English, which has to so great an extent laid aside
grammatical forms. It is to be remembered, moreover, that the study of
Greek and Latin is the study of ancient history, of rhetoric and literature, in
a word, is the study of humanity. But we must forbear. When one was
asked what he got from all his Greek and Latin at Eton, he replied, "The
power to get whatever else I like." The average classical scholar will, in a
short time, overtake and pass the average specialist even in his own depart-
ment. There need be no fear that the ancient classics will be unable to hold
their place in the best colleges of this country.

The mathematics must be taught in college. As an instrument of educa-
tion the mathematics, by almost universal consent, hold an important place.
They involve attention and abstraction, the two processes which lie at the
basis of all intellectual cultivation. They also set before us the most per-
fect type of deductive reasoning. We do not think, however, that exclusive
attention to mathematics exerts so favorable an intellectual influence as the
exclusive study of language and philosophy. The sphere of mathematics is
the hard, dry forces of the intellect, not the organized system of human
society and the powers of the human soul, not the humanities, not man in
his completeness. And yet the college can not well dispense with any por-
tion of the usual mat lematical course. It can not, at least, well stop short
of the calculus, which, as conducting the mind on from definite quantity to
indefinite process, forms the proper transition from the material to the
mental ; and it should also include applied mathematics so far as to natural
philosophy and astronomy, as examples of the application of the exact
method to facts of observation.

The various mental sciences, such as logic, psychology, morals, phil-
osophy, etc., constitute a necessary part of every liberal education. They
lead to thoughlfulness and the awakening of the free activity of the
mind. By means of these the individual passes out from the partial to the
universal, from dependence to internal freedom and self-possession, which
alone give true insight and practicalness to the intelligence. These studies,
when sufficiently long pursued, are not only a training but a regeneration of
the mjnd. Huxley, indeed, in his "Lecture on a Piece of Chalk" affirms
that "the man who shall know the true history of a bit of chalk, if he will
think his knowledge out to its ultimate results, is likely to have a truer and,
therefore, a better conception of this wonderful universe and of man's rela-
tion to it, than the most learned student, who is deep read in the records of
humanity and ignorant of those of nature." But we still think that the
lecturer himself was a vastly more interesting subject of, study than the
piece of chalk he held in his hand, or, indeed than the whole cretaceous
period ; and we think there are depths in humanity profounder than physical
science has line to measure. It is these introspective studies which give a


peculiar balance to the faculties, which elevate the sentiments of men and
enable them to know themselves. They correct the tendencies of the world,
and, leading man into the interior sanctuary of his own nature, prevent a one-
sided development in the direction of materialism and utilitarianism. We
do not see how that education is complete for its purposes which assigns to
these subjects an inferior place.

Must the present course, then, remain unchanged.' There are some who
say, "Yes; let the college go on as heretofore. Let those who want the
new studies go to the special schools for them. The college as it has been
has justified its right to be the college of the future." But this, we think is
an extreme. If college education is to be in the high sense a generous edu-
cation, it must embrace, so far as possible, the whole system of co-ordinated
knowledge. The development of the ph^'sical sciences in our day, and the
extension of intellectual interchange among nations, render necessary a
widening of the circle of studies, in order to completeness in the system.
Hence the physical sciences and the modern languages are entitled to a
larger place than has hitherto been given them in the course. Others say,
"Let us have optional studies. After a certain stage, the sophomore year
perhaps, let the course be elective and let the student choose for himself
what studies he will pursue, according to the bias of his genius and the pur-
pose of his life, without prejudice to his degree." Now, one obvious
difficulty in the way of the elective system is that only the largest colleges
can successfully carry it out. The number of teachers must be correspond-
ingly increased or the quality of the teaching must more than correspond-
ingly deteriorate. It would be the extremest folly for nine-tenths of the
colleges of this country, with their present teaching force, to attempt it.
But further: the principle should first be settled. If the views which have-
now been advanced in this paper as to the requisites of a complete collegiate
education are correct, or approximate correctness, the elective system is an
inferior system, a concession to loose, popular demand, at the expense of"
sound scholarship and a full and symmetrical development of mind. That ii
has some advantages no one will deny. It is well for the student to be
familar with microscopy, but is that an educational equivalent for Demos-
thenes or for Logic' The elective system is, in fact, just at the point where
it begins, the termination of a liberal education and a divergence into pro-
fessional schools; in other words, the attempt to found a university proper
on the basis of the education of a sophomore. Now, we hold that the
student should first acquire the power of mastering special subjects, and
that this power is not to be gained by any limited and special employment
of his faculties, which can be equally and evenly developed only by general
cultivation and discipline. Nor must it be overlooked that in the elective
system the danger is great, lest, in the multitude of studies set before him,
the exact nature of which he may know but little about, the student be
hurried from one thing to another, and do nothing well. If our institutions
generally are compelled by high example to become schools, in great part,.
of mere practical or special education, let it be with the distinct understand-
ing that it will be quite as certain to result in the degradation as in the
popularization of the college system.

But without displacing the old studies, without relinquishing the old
means and methods, the object sought of enlarging the old course so as to
include the new studies, may perhaps be accomplished in another way:
First, the text-books and methods of teaching may be improved. Instead
of making every study complete in itself, let it be completed only in its rela-


tion to the general sj-stem of studies. While the first principles and general
applications of every subject are taught more thoroughly than ever before,
let every excess of details, which only cumber the mind, be avoided.
Secondly, the preparatory course may be extended. Three years of prepar-
ation are short enough for entrance into the Freshman class; but in these
three years some of the Freshman studies of the present course would be
included. This would make room for new studies in the upper classes, and
is probably the practical solution of the problem of modern education to
which we are coming. This is, at any rate, a solution in the right direc-

The cause of education is next in importance to the cause of religion, and
must not be imperilled by unwise experiments. The American college is
peculiar. It is the central idea in our whole system of education. It may
not be already perfect; it does not profess to do everything; it is neither a
professional school nor a university; but the American college has made
the education of our people what it is, and still stands in the van of progress.
E$to ferpetica, with its grand ideal, the place of Hard Work, Severe Disci-
pline and High Culture !

The discussion on this paper was opened by President DODGE, of
Madison University. He was in favor of making our colleges and
imiversities as complete and efficient as possible, and held that the
■capability of interpreting the ancient languages was of immense aid
to ministers. They could, with this aid, go to the root of the Scrip-
lures they taught ; otherwise they would be compelled to accept
knowledge at second hand. There would be no fear of science or
of speculative learning, if the foundations are secure. Collegiate
education should be prized, not alone for its practical use, as is too
much the inclination now-a-days, but for the culture and breadth of
view which it gives.

Dr. MOSS, of Philadelphia, regarded the paper as one of high
•order. He protested against so much stress being laid upon the so-
called practical education of the day. It is coming to be considered
too much of a mere instrumentality for making money. Education
is becoming too materialized. It was not well to run all to utility,
leaving out the higher aims and objects of • intellectual cidture.
There should be a wise blending of both. No system of thought
■could offer higher or truer culture than tliat promoted by the religion
of Christ. Christian educators should never allow themselves to
separate religion and mental culture. Combined, they produced the
highest condition of man.

Prof CLARKE, of Ohio, advocated collegiate education, as con-
ferring the highest benefits upon the student. Without it, full intel-
lectual discipline is impossible. It is of the highest value, even when
not immediately applicable to the every-day concerns of life.

Hon, MARK H. DUNNELL, of Minnesota, advocated the neces-
sity and usefulness of high schools as feeders of the colleges. He


thought them the best thing that could be had in the newly-settled
portions of the West, where denominational academies are impossi-
ble. The classics should be introduced into them as a part of the
regular course of studies. This arrangement would add greatly to
their value, and at the same time constitute them more largely the
supporters of our colleges.

President ANDERSON, of Rochester University, expressed his
gratification at the interest manifested in collegiate education. He
regarded it as a most favorable indication, and its general prevalence
indicated that great progress had been made in this direction. He
had been deeply interested in the discussions to which he had lis-
tened, as well as in the papers read.

The PRESIDENT spoke briefly touching the progress of the edu-
cational interests of the Baptists. They had made such progress
that they would not suffer in a comparison with those of any other
denomination. The great want is a more liberal sui)port of our
higher educational institutions. But we are gradually improving in
this respect, and will continue to improve as the question is dis-
cussed and becomes better understood.

The President of the Convention announced that he should be com-
pelled to leave the city, and would therefore resign his position as
presiding officer. He expressed his gratification at the evidences of
interest in education which this Convention afforded, and his thanks
for the courtesy extended to himself.

His resignation was accepted, and the Hon. MARK H. DUN-
NELL, LL.D., of Minnesota, was elected President in his stead.

The Convention then adjourned, with prayer by Rev. E. E. L.
TAYLOR, D.D., of New York.


The Convention was called to order by the President at half-past
seven o'clock p.m. Prayer was offered by Rev. F. A DOUGLASS,
of Ohio.

On motion of Dr. CUTTING it was voted to publish the minutes
and the papers read in Convention ; and a committee consisting of
Rev. D. H. COOLEY, of Illinois, Prof. A. N. CURRIER, of Iowa,
and Rev. F. A. DOUGLASS, of Ohio, was appointed to raise funds
for the purpose.


After singing a hymn, the Convention listened to a paper by Rev.
J. A. SMITH, D.D., of Illinois, upon


The subject assigned for this paper is, The Colleges and Universiites of
the West, their Present Character and Functions, vjith the Possible Lines
of their Development to meet the Advancinsr Needs of Education.

Of institutions bearing the name of " College," or "University," within
the territory contemplated here, and connected with the Baptist denomina-
tion, there are eleven, viz.: Kalamazoo College, at Kalamazoo, Mich.;
Denison University, at Granville, Ohio; Franklin College, at Franklin,
Ind.; Shurtleff College, at Upper Alton, III.; William Jewell College, at
Liberty, Mo, ; Ottawa University, at Ottawa, Kansas; Burlington College,
at Burlington, Iowa; DesMoines University, at DesMoines, Iowa; Central
University, at Pella, Iowa; Wayland University, at Beaver Dam, Wis.; and
the University of Chicago. It is proper to add that at Hastings, Minn., an
institution was founded by the Baptist State Convention, some years ago,
under the style of a University. Unexpected difficulties were met in the
development of the undertaking, and it was finally decided to defer, for
the present, the establishment of a school of that grade There is, however,
now a corporation, bearing the title of " The Minnesota Central University,"
to which, upon the abandonment of the enterprise at Hastings, the fund up
to that time secured for this purpose, with the attendant responsibilities, was
passed over. The fund alluded to now amounts to some $6,000 or $S,oco,
and is to continue invested while tiie undertaking remains in suspense, and
the developments of the future are awaited. In the meantime, a school of
the higher academical grade is conducted at Waseoga, by Rev. L. B. Allen,
D.D. The grounds belonging to this school, ten acres in extent, were
secured several years since bj the Freewill Baptists, and a commodious stone
building erected By the failure of their plans the property reverted to the
town, and the town authorities tendering it to the Baptists upon the con-
dition of maintaining there an Academv, the offer was accepted. Under Dr.
Allen's charge a prosperous school is in progress, with classical, literary and
scientific departments. There is also a partial course in theology, for the
benefit of such brethren contemplating the ministry as are unable to seek a
more extended one elsewhere.

It should also be mentioned that the Baptist State Convention of Wiscon-
sin, in view of the obstacles to a present or speedy consummation of the
plan for building up a university at Beaver Dam, has entered into an arrange-
ment with the University of Chicago, by which Wayland University is put
in connection with the Preparatory Department of that institution. Mean-
while, in Wisconsin as in Minnesota, the enterprise of founding a school of
the university or college grade, though not abandoned, remains in abeyance,
awaiting what the future may bring.

Of those schools upon our list which have already reached the college
grade there are six: Kalamazoo College, Denison University, Shurtleff
College, Franklin College, William Jewell College, and the University of
Chicago. The name "University," adopted by the others, indicates rather
what is aimed at, for the future, than what is claimed in the present. One
of them, the Ottawa University, in Kansas, is certainly warranted by its
large endowments in land in anticipating a time not distant, when its
faculty of instruction and its course of study may realize a development well


toward the measure of the original design. At all of them excellent educa-
tional work is done, and both those now in care of them whether as teachers
or as trustees, as well as those into whose labors these have entered, should
be mentioned with all honor as sharing nobly in the work of promoting the
intellectual and moral culture of the Great West.

It will be noticed that in the enuineration made, three institutions, with
the title of " University" or " College " are located in Iowa. Of these, the
one at DesMoines is most recent in date. It has already had experience of
the difficulties of a new enterprise, yet as a school enjoys an excellent repu-
tation. It receives both ladies and gentlemen; numbering, at the present
time, fifty-one in the former department, thirty-five in the latter; eighty-six
in all. Its property is valued at $45,000.

Central University, at Pella, was opened in 1854. Students in it are con-
ducted in classical study as far as to the Freshman or Sophomore class in
college, and are then advised to go elsewhere to complete their course, a
large proportion of tliem entering the State University at Iowa City. There
is a more extended scientific course for such as desire it. This school also
includes both ladies and gentlemen, of whom an aggregate of twenty-three
hundred have been in attendance from the beginning; the aggregate for the
current 3'ear being one hundred and ninety-four. The property, in buildings,
grounds, library, etc., is estimated at $25,000, besides which a sum of $10,000,
as the beginning of an endowment, has recently been secured. Young men
study in that school preparatory to the ministry, to the law, and for the pro-
fession of teachers.

Burlington College, located at Burlington, ma}' be classed among the
earlier educational undertakings in the West. The hope of its founders has
always been that it would in due time become in fact what it is in name, and
its course of study, arranged in six schools, manifestly provides for this. Its

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Online LibraryIll.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : ChProceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 → online text (page 5 of 13)