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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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 9 of 13)
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trated and exerted in these great centers of intellectual and religious influ-
ence can never die, and falls little short of omnipotence. Very soon, in our
own land, under the purely voluntary system, discarding the proffered aid of
the State, conferred at the expense of unwarrantable taxation, our higher
institutions of learning uniting, in happiest and loveliest wedlock, science
and religion, will demand and receive their millions of invested funds from
enlightened and consecrated Christian benevolence.

Lastly. Kyicourage and seek greater -personal consecration to Christ.
No motive is so legitimate, none possesses such power, as the cross. Stimu-
lus is a necessary condition of active, created intelligence. Great enterprises
have their birth and support in great motives, and demand great sacrifices.
Immense interests imperiled impose intense, prolonged, and perpetual efforts
to save. Man lost becomes man redeemed only through the personal sacri-
fice of Christ. The value of all these interests must be learned at the cross.
At the cross alone can be formed an adequate conception of the future moral
greatness and worth of this valley. The teeming millions that are speedily
to press Western soil can scarcely be properly estimated. Illinois alone,
during the last two decades, has added not far from eight hundred thousand
each ten years to her population. She is within herself already a vast
empire, and her immense possibilities may well appal the stoutest Christian
heart. The unparalleled fertility of Western soil, our inexhaustible mineral
resources, the salubrity and healthfulness of our climate, our central position
on this continent, and our rapidly-increasing facilities for national and inter-
national communication, all present unequaled attractions to native and

The West is an immense loadstone, irresistibly attracting its millions from
all parts of the globe. Already the wealth of our churches is becoming
enormous. Christian men must seek and find channels of investment.
They do not wish, they must not expect, to leave all to dissolute heirs. God
demands their wealth. The cross pleadingly presents its arms to receive it.
The treasury of the Lord upon its knees imploringly asks it. It will not be
withheld. The love of Christ will constrain its consecration. Look at the


two great central Western cities, Chicago and St. Louis — rival cities, made
such by the Deity — great centers of commerce, of wealth, of social and
political and religious power, whose every throb is felt to the very extremities
of our national life. They must be regenerated. This can only be done
through the instrumentality of educated Christian men; hence the absolute
necessity for the most enlarged and liberal provisions for intellectual and
religious culture. Within a radius of one hundred miles of each of these
cities, in a brief period, will be seen a population of ten millions. What
shall be their character .' — what their institutions.'' — what their destiny ?
In all the past the Baptists have been the pioneers, as thej' have been the
supporters, of civil and religious freedom — the true democracy of earth.
Shall they soon fling their banner to the breeze, and inscribe on its folds —
'■'■ Freedotn to Worship God?" Shall social, civil, political, intellectual,
religious freedom be the inalienable inheritance of all, without regard to
nationality or color or previous condition .' These are great problems, whose
solution is in the womb of the future. To aid in their solution is the mission
of cultivated Christian men.

Our propelling and our enduring power must be drawn from the cross of
Him "who though He was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through
His povertj' might be rich." Christians must more generally have His spirit
of consecration; then will every want of our higher institutions of learning
be supplied.

A single thought, in conclusion. Our institutions of learning must be
regarded as the very basis of the prosperity of every religious enterprise ;
hence they must command the first and best energies of the church, and the
largest consecration of property. Every department of Christian enterprise
is emphatically, and without qualification, dependent for success upon men —
Christian men — men of large hearts — men of cultivated intellects —men,
all of whose energies, influence and wealth are consecrated to the cross.
Give us earnest, intelligent, cultivated, pious Christian pastors, and a corre-
spondingly devoted, earnest, and thoroughly disciplined church, and no
combination of the powers of darkness can resist our aggressions. Give us
men (and women, too) and missions, the Bible and Publication cause, and
the various objects of Christian benevolence shall have all the means neces-
sary to speedily fill the world with the knowledge of a crucified and risen

When the Master founded His kingdom He chose not zvealth, but men —
men poor in the goods of this world, but rich in faith — men to whom He
gave personal instruction for more than three years, " speaking as never man
spake," and then sent them forth to found an empire, governed by laws and
replenished with resources directly from God. They founded a spiritual
empire, destined to undermine and destroy every system of oppression and
tyranny on the face of the globe, and lift the nations up into the freedom of
the sons of God — into the very sunlight of Heaven.

The subject of the paper was opened for discussion.

Judge WORDING, of South Carolina, wished to express his most
hearty concurrence in the sentiments of the paper just read, espe-
cially the point that the dependence of the higher institutions of learn-
ing must be upon the men of liberal culture who have wealtli. He
alluded to the warm affection he had always felt for the institution


where he had studied. He believed that such experience ainongthe
alumni of colleges is common, and that it prepares them to feel an
interest in all institutions of higher learning. He also gave his sup-
port to the view taken in the paper that we should sustain our own
institutions; as likewise that regarding the relations of the State to
higher education, dwelling especially upon the influences hostile to
evangelical religion, which so often are seen at work in State univer-
sities and collesres.

The paper upon Colleges and Universities in the West was at this
point referred to the committee to which the subject belongs. The
paper of Dr. Bulkley was referred to the Committee on General and

Ministerial Education.

Further remarks were made upon the paper of Dr. Bulkley by
Rev. J. W. FISH, Dr. L. B. ALLEN, and others.

The following resolution, offered by Dr. WAYLAND, was
adopted :

Resolved, That in recommending the publication of the papers presented
to this Convention, we do not design to commit ourselves to all the senti-
ments therein expressed; but that we regard them as clear presentations of
the views of their several authors upon important subjects demanding the
careful examination of all our people.

The report of the Committee on Delegates was read by the Sec-
retary of the Convention, Rev. Dr. Mitchell. The report was

The report of the Committee on Academies was then read by the
Chairman, Rev. RICHARD M. NOTT, of Illinois:


The Committee on Academies, to which was referred the paper by Prof.
Stearns on this subject, respectfully report:

This paper we regard, both in respect to its line of argument and its con-
clusions, as not only able, and of much interest, but also, in the main, as
sound and convincing.

The question of academies does not appear to your Committee to be en-
tirely free from difficulties. In different States, it is probable, different cir-
cumstances exist, to such an extent that no one rule of policy on this subject
will be found applicable unvaryingly everywhere. But certain principles
of quite general application can, we think, be laid down.

The subject can be most advantageously approached, perhaps, by be-
ginning with the college. The college is recognized as a great existing fact.
Now, in order that colleges may be maintained, students must attend them.
But it is not a question of maintaining colleges for their own sake. If the
•welfare of the community is not highly promoted by their existence, let
them become extinct. But it is of great consequence to society that there
shall be a class of men who have availed themselves of the most complete


advantages which experience can devise or money furnish, for the acquisition
of the broadest and most thorough culture. For this reason, our colleges
and universities should be kept filled with students.

In order that these institutions may constantly and in increasing measure
be thus supplied, two things are necessary; one, that opportunities of
preparation for college shall be furnished for the benefit of those who desire
them ; the other, that a greater and more general interest in liberal education
shall be cultivated among the people. It is believed by your Committee
that to secure these ends, in most, at least, of our States, academies are a
necessity. They are required as schools of preparation for college, and as
secondary centers of scholarly influence to disseminate a taste for and
appreciation of classical learning. Do the preparatory departments con-
nected with many of our colleges suffice for these ends? We think that the
negative answer of Prof. Stearns to this question is well supported.

Equally correct, in our judgment, is Prof. Stearns' estimate of the fitness
of the High-school system to meet the proposed ends. If it is found in any
one of our States, or in any part of a State, that the high-schools are
adequate for these important purposes, then academies will not, for these
objects, be there needed. But is it not ordinarily the case that unless the
principal of the school is himself, not only a liberal!}' educated man, but a
sort of enthusiast for liberal learning, positive encouragement will not be
furnished to any great extent by the high -schools to the prosecution of studies
preparatory to college ? The prevailing sentiment of the community neces-
sarily directs, for the most part, the plans of these schools. Ta.x-payers
often find fault if they have to pay to support, in a public institution, a
a system of advantages of which only a very few will be ever inclined to
avail themselves. Though a department of preparation for college may be
tolerated in these schools, yet they can usually exert but little influence to
mould the public sentiment in favor of the education furnished by colleges.
But an academy, if it is maintained at all, will almost of necessity exercise
such an influence. It is rarely originated that it may be an end to itself as a
school, but that it may occupy a subordinate relation to the system of college
education. Professedly, it is to the college, what the grammar-school is to
the high-school. A pride in the dignity of their institution will of itself be a
motive to the founders and instructors of an academy, to keep the classes
which are in course of preparation for college as full as they can.

Another consideration favorable to academies is, that they furnish
advantages for our agricultural population, which are not accessible to them
by any other means. A prosperous academy, which is situated in one of the
smaller cities of Illinois, derives its patronage, not chiefly from the citizens,
but mostly from the thriving rural districts around. The sons and daughters
of the farmers have no high-schools. They can find cheap board at the
academy, and enjoy there the finest privileges of study. Many a youth who,
after harvest, seeks that seminary with the intention of devoting a single
winter, perhaps, to the study of higher mathematics and natural philosophy,
becomes so influenced by the literary atmosphere of the place, that he
quickly imbibes a desire for liberal learning, and finds himself, after a
twelvemonth or more, in college, where he never would have come, but for
the impulse thus received.

The religious and denominational argument on the side of academies
adds weight to these considerations. Your Committee professes hearty
sympathy with, and love of, our public school system. But it is a fact, that
the public schools can not, in a great number of instances, be controlled, to


the degree that appears desirable, by the spirit of religion. Here, too, it is
the governing sentiment of the community that rules, and that sentiment is
not often in favor of a very active and prominent religious influence in these
schools. If parish-schools, as a substitute — in the hands of the religious
part of the community — for the common schools, are not a desideratum;
and 3'our Committee thinks they are not; yet, why should not a few insti-
tutions, of the grade next lower than colleges, be supported by Christians,
in which their youth may have the benefits of a truly Christian training,
while pursuing the rudiments of a liberal education? It is eas3', compar-
atively, to secure a religious character for an academy. Its founders have
only to keep this steadily in view.

Besides, this Educational Convention consists of Baptists. It is not with
the interests of education in general, so much as with the interests of
education as connected with our duties and our prospects of growth as a
denomination, that we have to do. The colleges which we call upon the
denomination to favor, patronize and build up, are denominational. How
shall we maintain these.? How shall we supply them with students? Where
shall we train the young men who have an inclination to prepare themselves
for our colleges? How shall we most efficiently create an influence which
shall not only generate in the minds of youths who are indifferent, or
averse, to a college education, an inclination towards that course of study,
but which shall also win them into our colleges? Do we not need some
Baptist academies at important centers in our different States? The pupil
is apt to be influenced by his preceptor in his choice of a college. It is no
unheard-of thing for Baptist lads, in Pedobaptist academies, particularly if
converted there, to become Pedobaptists, and even Pedobaptist ministers.
Would not Baptist academies be an important help in the extension of
Baptist influence, and have some effect in aiding us to reply practically to
the question. How shall we keep the ranks of the Baptist ministry recruited?

Your Committee recognizes fully the need of the soundest sagacity and
most cautious discretion in all that pertains to the business of actually
founding an academical system in any part of the country. Questions of
the most appropriate location, of the probable means of endowment, of the
relation which would be sustained to existing systems of schools, whether
public or private, would have to be wisely, candidly and thoroughly pon-
dered. Neither would the Committee be in favor of an attempt to multiply
rapidly the number of our academies. To aim at anything like " an academy
in every county" would be, indeed, an absurdity. Two or tliree well-
endowed, well-manned institutions of this order are infinitely preferable, in
the largest, even, of the States, to a dozen or more of such schools, not
efficiently provided for in money and half-officered. Let our resources,
wherever we begin, be concentrated upon one of these undertakings. Let
one academy be rendered vigorous, strong, solid. Then, if another is
needed, proceed to bring that into the same condition. Possibly, in some
States the work would be best begun if one or two colleges sliould alter
their curriculum of study to an academical scale, and change their titles to
correspond with facts.

[The report thus presented, was recommitted, and afterwards offered
again with the following addition, and then adopted as a whole]

In conclusion, your Committee calls attention once more to the remark
in the introductory part of the report, that in different States circumstances
differ; and a theoretical argument in favor of academies, even if sound
abstractly, may be practically inapplicable in some regions. We add that


in our opinion it would be highly impolitic to attempt the establishment of
Baptist academies in any circumstances in which attention would thus be
diverted injuriously from the work of securing endowments for our
struggling colleges and theological seminaries.

Respectfully submitted,

R. M. NoTT,
A. Owen,
Geo. Kline,
d. h. cooley,
A. S. HurcHixs,
I. N. Carman,
L. B. Allen, D.D.

The report was accepted, and the question of its adoption being
before the Convention,

Dr. GREGORY, of Illinois, expressed the belief that, however it
may be in the East, here in the West there is a tide of public interest
and tendency which is carrying that part of the work of education
which is intermediate between the common school and the college
into the hands of the high schools. He expressed it as his belief
that it is impracticable to establish throughout these States academies
which will do efficiently this work of intermediate education. Even
if the academy is first upon the ground, the high school when it
comes supplants it, while if the academy is founded where the high
school already exists, it is sure to fail. The academy is not in accor-
dance with the genius of our people. Our strong and intelligent and
wealthy citizens prefer the high school.

Dr. SHEPARDSON, of Ohio, dissented from the last speaker.
He instanced the case of Cincinnati, in which it is admitted that the
academical schools in that city have fostered and helped public
schools. Why is it that the Catholics can sustain ecclesiastical
schools of the academical grade, and we not able to do the same .''
We are able.

Dr. CUTTING also dissented from the view taken by Dr. Gregory.
He desired to see the high schools prosper, as well as the State
universities. Yet he did not think that the high school necessarily
supplants the academy, or tends that way. In Massachusetts,
although the high schools are highly prosperous, there never was a
time when the academies were so much so.

The report was recommitted with instructions to modify it so as
that it shall distinguish between States where academies are of much
importance and those where they are not so.

The Convention then listened to a paper by President KENDALL
BROOKS, D.D., of Michigan, upon —



Some things may be taken for granted in the discussion of this subject. ,

1. There must be a ministry. Christ's appointment, no less than the
demands of the church and the world, require that to some men must be
assigned the special duty of preaching the Gospel and serving as Christian
pastors. While every believer must exert his personal influence for the
conversion of sinners, and must in many ways work and sacrifice for the
advancement of the church and the honor of Christ, some men must recog-
nize it as their vocation to preach Christ, to lead in every Christian enter-
prise, to expound and maintain Christian truth, to press the claims of religion
on the notice of men, in private as well as in public, — to be Christian min-

2. It may also be assumed that the Great Head of the Church calls into
the ministry those whom He intends for this service, and that no man, how-
ever gifted, however educated, however zealous, ought to take this work upon
himself without the call of God.

3. But it may also be assumed that the churches, or the Christians com-
posing them, have some responsibility in reference to the supply of min-
isters; that those who are called of God to the service sometimes disregard
the call; that if the church employs suitable means for preparing and intro-
ducing into the ministry those to whom the divine call comes, some will
enter on the work who would otherwise turn to other pursuits, and that the
number and efficiency of ministers will depend in some measure on the
views and efforts and energy of the churches in reference to the increase of
such laborers. If a body of Christians, however numerous and powerful,
hold as an essential doctrine that inasmuch as God will provide His own
ministers, it is an impertinence for men to concern themselves with finding
and encouraging and preparing candidates for the ministry, they will have
but few ready to assume the work, and these few will be poorly equipped for
the warfare. On the other hand, if a body of Christians feel specially called
on to pray for an increase in the number of ministers, to look out from among
their 3'oung men such as give promise of usefulness in this work, to encour-
age them with sympathy, and to provide for their preparatory training, such
a people will be likely to find the ranks of their ministry filling up, and
filling with efiicient workers. More than a generation ago, one of our
churches in the city of Boston had among its members a greater number of
young men preparing for the ministry than all the other Baptist churches of
the city taken together. When the question was asked how this came to
pass, the answer was readily given. The pastor had made special efforts to
find such gifts; he had habitually prayed in public that God would raise up
ministers, and would honor that church as the mother of many ministers;
he had accustomed his people to keep this in view; he had compelled every
young man in his church to consider the question of personal duty in refer-
ence to preaching, and the result was such as might have been expected.
The church, then, has some responsibility in reference to increasing the
number of ministers.

That responsibility begins to be met when we begin to pray the Lord of
the Harvest to send laborers into the harvest. But this is only the begin-
ning ; we fulfill our duty when we work as well as pray.


To discuss all our duty in this matter during the short time allotted to
this paper would be impossible. Let me therefore call attention to one great
duty, the proper performance of which implies or involves all the rest, while
I suggest /Ae kind of education ive need to provide for those who are. to he
the pastors of our churches and preachers of the Gospel. When we clearly
perceive what education our ministers need, we shall of course see our obli-
gation to provide facilities for acquiring such an education, and to aid in
supporting young men while they are acquiring it.

But let us first distinctly recognize the truth, that there is no one standard
of preparation to which all must conform. While personal piety and the call of
God are essential for ever^- minister, these are the only qualifications that are
always, ami everywhere, indispensable. A man in whom these two are found
may be a useful minister of Jesus Christ, even if he has no human learning
and can not spell out God's promises on the sacred page ; and from this least
educated minister, through all the grades of intellectual attainment to the
most thoroughly trained scholar, there are men whom God honors with
success as His servants in the ministry of reconciliation. We may expect
there will be in all the coming ages, as there have been in all the past, men
summoned in mature life from the farm or the forge, from the store or the
■workshop, to serve Christ in the pulpit; and until vastly larger provision is
made for training young men for the ministry, we must continue to pray
that the supply from these sources continue. But do we need any argument
to prove that another class of ministers is also required, and that those whom
God calls in their youth to make preparation for serving Him in the pulpit
are called to a different kind of preparation ? Many to whom the call of God
comes while they are young, disregard it, or fail to make suitable preparation
for the work. He can supply the service which these fail to render, and fur-
nish the supply in such way as to make it apparent that the growth of His
kingdom is not wholly dependent on human learning. But this divine power
and readiness to meet the deficiency can not affect the duty of those who are
called in youth to prepare for service as preachers of Christ and teachers of
the churches. It can not therefore affect the question of the duty of the
Church in reference to the education of these; and it is these whom I wish

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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 9 of 13)