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

. (page 8 of 13)
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 8 of 13)
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our shores, where freedom to worship God is guaranteed to all, and the


teeming millions, in even geometrical ratio, within the last twenty years,
have been surging across the Atlantic, filling all the thoroughfares of this
new \Yorld, flooding the land, and threatening the entire subversion of all
our God-given institutions. Ignorance in science, corruption in morals,
superstition and infidelity in religion, blast and wither and consume every-
thing valuable, lovely or hopeful. The late war, too, has rocked our con-
tinent like the shock of an earthquake. Established and cherished social
ideas have been uprooted. New and unexampled energies have been started
into life. By one stroke of the pen an entire race has been lifted from slavery
to citizenship, and the end is not yet.

These and kindred causes are equalizing the elements of social, political
and religious power throughout the entire land, so that there will soon be,
literally, no North, no South, no East, no West. Hence the principles that
apply to the building up of the "Higher Institutions of Learning" else-
where apply with equal force in the West It is taken for granted in this
paper that our Western institutions, at the earliest possible moment, should
be made equal to any in the land. That in all their equipments, in buildings
and endowments, laboratories and libraries, chemical and philosophical
apparatus, in thoroughness of study and severity of discipline, in the
character and culture of our professors and presidents, we must present to
young men who seek a liberal education and thorough discipline, attractions
equal to those presented by institutions in the East.

First. While we depend upon the masses for the means to meet other and
necessary expe?iditures for religious purposes, we must rely upon the few for
liberal contributions to build up these institutions of learning: We speak
now exclusively of provisions for buildings, endowments, scholarships,
fellowships, etc. Our other religious enterprises. Home and Foreign Mis-
sions, the Bible and Publication Societies, the erection of church edifices,
and all the necessary church expenses, appeal directly to the consciences
and call out the sympathies of the masses. Hence annual, or semi-annual
appeals for these religious enterprises can be successfully made, because
every one is compelled to acknowledge both their propriety and necessity.

In fact, annual contributions to all our great national societies in per-
petuity, and in increased amounts, are becoming to be regarded as an almost
indispensable condition of discipleship. The call comes to each with
increasing positiveness and power, to make immediate and enlarged pro-
visions for the speedy publication of the Gospel in all lands. Not so in
building up these " Higher Institutions" of learning. These appeals must
be made to, and dependence placed upon, men of larger cultivation, men'
who have themselves enjoyed superior literary advantages, and can properly
appreciate them, men of more enlarged and liberal views, who can clearly
comprehend the immense and undying power exerted by cultivated intellect,
men who recognize the fact, patent in all history, secular and sacred, that
thoroughly disciplined mind in State and Church controls the world and
shapes the destinies of the ages.

Such men, either possessing wealth themselves, or controlling men who do
possess such wealth, must guide it into channels flowing liberally and unin-
terruptedly in the direction of these institutions. Only men of large wealth
and liberal culture can be relied on for those reallj- princely donations that
are absolutely essential, keeping progress with the spirit of the age, for
buildings and endowments, libraries and laboratories, scholarships and fel-
lowships, galleries of science and art, gathering together and preserving in
these great centers the intellectual and religious, the scientific and sesthetic


treasures of the present and the past. Thus, in past ages, all institutions
not under State control have been founded and sustained; thus must they
be built up in the future.

Second. In order to effect this object, the frindpics of Christian stc-Mard-
ship must be more frequently and more clearly presented by representative
men, and more distinctly recognized by all.

In the territorj embraced within the legitimate influence of three or four
of our leading Western colleges, there is wealth enough, owned in fee simple
by our membership, to place at the disposal of each of these colleges, within
a twelvemonth, more than half a million of dollars, and that, too, without
in the least interfering with the legitimate business of our membership, or
taking from their families one article of necessity or even luxury. In Illi-
nois alone there are many Baptist churches which severally own property
worth, in the aggregate, more than half a million of dollars. It is not
uncommon to find men in our churches worth from fifty thousand to two
hundred thousand, or even half a million of dollars. They are men devoted
to Christ, men who love their race and love the church, and who are willing
to meet all the demands of clearly recognized duty. But by far the greater
part of all our membership have yet to learn that in religion and in higher
education money is a power and a necessity. Its power is acknowledged in
politics, in business, in State and National development; but the Gospel,
and everything pertaining to it or growing out of it, must be without money
and without price. To mingle money and religion, as to mingle politics and
religion, is profanation. Every investment made in religious institutions or
higher schools of learning, is regarded as a gift, and the idea of moral obli-
gation is of necessity excluded. The consecration of property is hardly
regarded as a Christian duty. Hence, too often the most reckless extrava-
gance on the part of Christians, and the most hazardous experiments to
acquire property, are witnessed. The most abject and cringing subjection to
the imperious demands of appetite or fashion, in Christian families, annually
consumes its millions. Worldliness, voluptuousness, selfishness, and pride,
are cultivated and developed to the utter destruction, in numberless instances,
of the sons and daughters of the wealthy.

When will our churches be filled with John P. Crozers, who, while living,
invest with princely munificence in the cause of sanctified education, and
•whose sons, stimulated by parental precept and example, by ///e/r munificent
benefactions stud the diadem of the Redeemer with imperishable jewels.

Third. We should patronize our own schools.

I have no means of determining how large a proportion of our sons and
daughters are educated in our own institutions of learning. I believe no
other body of professed Christians in the West possess so little adhesive
denominational power in education as the Baptists. A very large percentage,
especially of our daughters, finds its way into Catholic schools, at the immi-
nent risk, not only of their loss to evangelical Christianity, but also at the
risk of their bitter antagonism to the truth. The idea of moral and financial
support to our own institutions of learning, is often allowed very little weight
in determining where son or daughter shall be educated. Even when our
own institutions possess superior facilities for the most extensive and thor-
ough mtellectual discipline, and the moral and religious influences are of the
highest and purest character. Christian parents deliberately permit the
slighest considerations to determine the choice of son or daughter in the
selection of a place of study, often placing them under the control of schools



far inferior to our own, and where the danger of shipwreck to faith is immi-
nent and alarming.

A large number of students is a necessary element in the f resent pros-
ferity of our higher institutions, and the prospective prosperity of these
institutions, through the students as Alumni, is absolutely immeasurable.
We need every eletnent of Baptist strength. True, possible contingencies
may justify a parent in sending to other institutions under evangelical con-
trol, in preference to our own, but such contingencies, we believe, are rare
indeed. I would greatly prefer that my own children should be entirely
deprived of intellectual discipline, and their knowledge confined to the merest
rudiments, rather than that they should be subjected to the influence of
Catholic schools, where faith in evangelical Christianity may be not only
rudely shaken, but ruthlessly uprooted.

Should it be said that our own institutions are inferior to others, we
should either demand the proof or meet the assertion with a positive denial.
Were it proved beyond the possibility of a doubt, that we are behind others
in the extent of our provisions for intellectual culture and discipline, this
would simply impose upon us the imperative obligation of sending to our
own schools, and of making them, at the earliest possible moment, equal to
any in the land, and everyway worthy our position, our numbers, our wealth,
our principles, our prestige, and our history.

Fourth. We should seek a sharper definition of the hou7idaries of State
authority in tnatters of higher education, and adhere -with rigid inflexibility
to the time-honored and cherished Baptist idea of an entire separation of
Church and State.

I have no disposition to find fault with that noble band of Baptists in our
great metropolis, whose recent acceptance of a lease from the city is con-
sidered by inany a crime of such magnitude as almost to exclude them from
the sympathy and confidence of the great Baptist brotherhood. My own
opinion is, that in a great variety of ways our churches are charitable insti-
tutions, and our institutions of learning, in desiring exemption from taxa-
tion, and in seeking kindred advantages, ask and receive direct aid from the
State, without thereby in the least acknowledging the right of the State to
control them — aid received, too, in methods universally approved, and differ-
ing very little from the principle involved in the action in New York, by
so many condemned.

But there is, we think, another and a legitimate field of investigation. _./
The State universally assumes the right, and it is generally conceded, to tax
her citizens to any assignable limit to support higher institutions of learning,
under State control. Against this assumed right, we enter our solemn
protest, though we may stand alone. Christians of different denominations
are compelled, by the law of self-preservation, by their fidelity to their
children, by fealty to Christ, to exert their utmost endeavors to educate
their own sons and daughters, at very great expense in their own institutions
Wf learning. Now, in addition to all this necessary expense, often pressed to
the very verge of possibility, requiring the most rigid economy, and the
severest industry, what right has the State to compel us to pay a large annual
tax, to enable her to afford free tuition, not only to the children of the
indigent, but also to the sons of the wealthy in these higher institutions
under State control? True, the State has the right, nay, it is made her duty
to provide the best possible facilities for the education of all her subjects to
a limited extent. But we respectfully ask^if that limit is not reached long
before you arrive at these higher institutions?


The State has also the right, and it is made her duty, to provide most
liberally for her unfortunate classes — the blind, the insane, the feeble-minded,
— but has the State the right to establish and support, by direct taxation,
Normal schools. Agricultural colleges, and higher institutions of learning
where tuition is comparatively gratuitous? By this gratuitous tuition they
are brought in direct competition with denominational institutions, where
the student must pay his own tuition. We believe such an assumption of
power is a direct and palpable violation, by the State, of the rights of the
governed. Besides, does not the experience of the past few j'ears, and do
not the indications in the immediate future show conclusively' that the most
insidious and plausible principles of infidelity, entrench themselves under
the guise of Liberal Christianit}', in these State institutions? And are they
not widely disseminated by scientific lecturers and travelers, who are sup-
ported by State funds, wrung by the stern hand of the law from the pockets
of our reluctant yeomanry, who, in scores of instances are thereby rendered
unable to aid their own institutions, or even afford the means of liberal
culture to their own children ?

True, many of our noblest Christian instructors are engaged in teaching
in State institutions. While this assumed right of the government is claimed
and enforced, it must be the duty of the Church to do all in her power to
counteract the teachings of infidelity, by encouraging our best men to aspire
to the very first places on boards of instruction in State institutions. Am
I asked how far the State should go in providing by law, for the education
of her subjects? We believe she should provide the most liberal facilities
for the education of all classes, perhaps so far as her high schools. But we
think she should stop there, and not aSsume the right to compel all by taxa-
tion to pay for the labors of those scientific lecturers, who fill the minds of
the inexperienced and unwary with skepticism, and thus undermine the very
foundations of our religion. Tuition in all higher institutions should per-
haps be gratuitous, but the voluntary principle alone should be relied on for
all funds necessary to establish and support them. The voluntary principle
and that alone, we regard as in consistence with the genius of our political
institutions, and in harmony with the inalienable rights of man. I may
differ in judgment with every member of this Convention, but I sincerely
protest against the unjustifiable assumption of power on the part of the
State. Its evils, present and prospective, are such as to call for earnest effort
to check it.

Permit all evangelical and unevangelical denominations, calling them-
selves Christians, all Catholics and Jews, Mohammedans and Infidels,
Atheists and Pagans, to employ their means and men with unrestricted
freedom in building up their own higher institutions of learning, but compel
none by tax, to support in institutions higher than the high school, teachers
or lecturers, whose instructions and moral privileges they can not oppose.
, Can the State in justice compel me to pay for the dissemination of principles
1 that I despise? If so, upon what principles of equity is the demand based?

\ - Fifth. Let us culth'ate a kindlier feelitiff between different and apparently

rival schools.

In the early settlement of a country, large-hearted and conscientious men,
governed by no motives of worldly policy or gain, controlled solely by a
desire to widely extend the blessing of sanctified learning, may establish a
college or found a Theological school, at a point, which, in the development
of the resources of a country, and in the progress of population, may be
found at a distance from a great center of wealth and population, of com-


mercial and social power. Large property is secured, remunerative invest-
ments made, buildings erected, endowments obtained, friends gathered,
alumni increased, and the roots of the institution thrown hundreds of
fathoms deep into human hearts and human sympathies; shall we ruthlessly
uproot them ?

Brethren in New York once tried the experiment on Hamilton, founded
in prayers and sacrifices. The only result, aside from ill-feeling engendered,
was to make the Institution throw its roots the deeper, and extend its boughs
the wider. Hamilton lives, and will live as long as our Government shall
exist, and possibly a great deal longer. Higher institutions are not easily
removed or destroyed. Their vitality is proverbial. Lessons of adversity
often give them increased activity and power.

As in the vegetable world, the storms of winter and the darkness of night
are as essential to health and development as the sunshine of summer and
the light of day; so seasons of peril call forth friends, develop new resources,
and gather round an institution elements of power. These elements of
power are, however, too often procured at the expense of Christian fellow-
ship and brotherly love, and hence their cost may greatly exceed their value.

Is there not a better way?

When conflicting interests exist, should they not, as far as possible, be
harmoniously adjusted in the spirit of the religion of Christ.'' Should not
prayers and sympathies, efforts and material aid, vigorously combine to
make our several institutions all that the future of this great government,
and the church of Christ, demand. Instead of turning our guns, France-
like, against each other, do not reason and religion unite in urging to a more
thorough combination of all our resources to give the widest possible effi-
ciency to all in the contest with an unequal foe.''

Institutions of learning, long established and partially endowed, resist
with wonderful energy, and almost certain success, every effort to remove or
destroy them, by whomsoever made. Said Abram to Lot, " Let there be no
strife, I pray thee, between thee and me, and between my herdsmen and thy
herdsmen, for we are brethren." Moreover the difficulties in the way of build-
ing up our Western institutions do not exist so much in the fact that we have
too many such institutions, as in the fact that the number of students bears
no adequate proportion to the number of our membership. The Baptists in
Illinois number 57,594. How far we may have imbibed the unchristian
spirit of the age in regarding children as a calamity rather than a blessing,
it is not my province to determine. We suppose the number of children in
Baptist families will compare favorably with others, and yet we query
whether one thousand pupils of both sexes, from Baptist families in Illinois,
can be found in our higher institutions at home and abroad. The fact is
painful as it is true, that our neglect of higher culture is almost universal.

The principal reasons for this neglect are four: financial inability; the
want of a proper appreciation of the nature and value of intellectual culture;
the lack of proper parental authority in requiring children to pursue a course
of study; and covetousness. -

The first needs no remark. Financial inability effectually excludes thou-
sands from intellectual culture who otherwise would secure it. In regard to
the second, permit me to say that thousands of Christian parents suppose
that six months or a year's study in a commercial college will thoroughly
qualify their promising boy to enter immediately the highway to mercantile
or professional success, placing him, in the briefest possible period, on the
same plane with Drew or Vanderbilt, Astor or Stewart. Nay, if he does not


become a gubernatorial, or even presidential possibility, as soon as the
period of constitutional eligibility is reached, the parents are disappointed.
If Rail-splitters and Tanners can become Presidents, much more those who
have been graduated from a commercial college. Tens of thousands of sons
and daughters are ruined for time, if not for eternity, by this false system of
education, that, in violation of all the established laws of God, would, in a
single year, metamorphose a little child into an intellectual giant.

In regard to the third point, it is sufficient to remark that, in numberless
instances, parents possess the financial ability and the earnest desire to
thoroughly educate their children ; but their entire system of family govern-
ment is so wretchedly defective, that to keep a child for a series of years at
hard work in a higher institution of learning, subject to the severest drill of
which it is capable, is an impossibility.

In the fourth instance, the love of money, or pure covetousnoss, effectually
excludes from our halls of learning large numbers of the noblest youth of
our land, every element of whose being palpitates with desire to thoroughly
explore the fields of scientific investigation. In the esteem of covetousness,
a few paltry dollars are permitted to outweigh all the advantages arising
from thorough culture. True, in subsequent years, the child, under favor-
able influences, may partially repair the injury sustained, and become
respectably intelligent, useful, and happy. But in numerous instances he
must go through life, ignorant and painfully conscious of his inferiority ;
gazing upon all the beauties of God's glorious universe with no taste or
ability to enjoy them. But for covetousness he might have been the peer of
the ablest and noblest men of the land, walking, as John B. Gough expresses
it, " with his foot upon the daisy, and his head among the stars."

Instead, then, of laboring to restrict the influence of institutions already
established, let us unitedly and earnestly labor to correct those false and
destructive ideas of education, and fill all our colleges to repletion with the
sons and daughters of our common brotherhood. This I regard as the most
eifectual method of building up Western institutions in the shortest practica-
ble period. It is fundamental to our growth and development.

Six///. Ejicourage concentration of gifts to the largest possible extent
upon our institutions of leartiing.

No more suicidal policy was ever adopted by a pastor, than that policy
that would either discourage, or fail to encourage, the very largest possible
benefactions, on the part of the wealthy, fearing that his own salary, or his
own church, would suffer to the full amount of all contributions to benevo-
lent objects outside of his own immediate field of labor. The most success-
ful method of drying up all Christian sympathy, and eff"ectually closing all
channels of home benevolence, is to confine your gifts to your own field.
Teach your people that everything is demanded for home consumption, and
you will soon have nothing to consume. * But open wide as possible the
channels of benevolence for foreign fields, and every necessity of the church
at home will be liberally and cheerfully provided for. It is hardly possible,
save in \Q.ry extreme cases, to secure too large benefactions to ihe church, or
to the cause of sanctified education. Hence, one of the very best methods
of building up our higher institutions of learning, in harmony with the
enlarged demands for money for other religious purposes, is to encourage,
not only the most liberal benefactions for home and foreign demands, but to
equally encourage the wealthy to concentrate largely upon institutions of
learning. The more liberally the wealthy can be induced to give to increase
the eflSciency and power of our institutions of learning, the more willingly


and liberally will they give to meet every other demand of Christian benevo-
lence. It is the stagnant pool that fills the atmosphere with malaria and
death. It is the flowing stream, leaping and dancing on its joyous errand to
the ocean, that is always full, and that spreads verdure, and beauty, and life,
and bliss, around the habitations that skirt its borders.

Hence I have very little sympathy with those who so bitterly condemn
the action of our city churches in the erection of these magnificent temples
to the worship of the living God, at such immense expense. When will our
brethren learn the true philosophy of Christian beneficence.'' When will
they learn that these large-hearted brethren, who give their tens of thousands
to the erection of these grand temples, are by these very gifts prepared to
honor the largest possible drafts that the cause of Christ may make upon
them.-* Encourage Christian men who are enlightened by the prayerful study
of God's Word, and who are directed by the promptings of God's Spirit to
give to such causes, and in such amounts as judgment may dictate or ability
justify. We need not have the shadow of a fear that the particular cause in
which we are so deeply interested will sutler loss by the most enlarged bene-
factions to other religious purposes.

No investment exerts an influence so extensive and imperishable; none
tells with such wonderful power upon the destinies of our race as these large
investments made to our colleges and universities. The power thus concen-

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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 8 of 13)