Washington (State) Office of commissioner of publi.

The Biblical repository and classical review, Volume 4 online

. (page 50 of 93)
Online LibraryWashington (State) Office of commissioner of publiThe Biblical repository and classical review, Volume 4 → online text (page 50 of 93)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


sound restoration of the physical man, which has soothed an
irritation on the skin and left festerings about the bones or suffu-
sion in the brain. The religious objects and inspirations, which
constantljr and everywhere, present themselves to students in
their inquiries, indicate the same natural alliance of religion with
all education. The whole field of thought, the,whok circle of
subjects for research, is full of the exhibitions of the Divinity,
full of the tokens of His power, of His excellence, of His will.
Every step and inquiry therefore lead directly up to the great
Object of religion. Studies being thus pursued in a vast theatre
which the Almighty fills and occupies, all the mind's labor and
travel are in the presence and under the light of the Divine
attributes. If the student turn to himself and descend into the
depths oi his own moral and intellectual spirit, he finds God
there. If he go out of himself and walk amiu the mysteries and
grandeurs of nature around, above, beneath him, lie finds God
there. The flower at his feet and the starry firmament, speak to
him of God, The minutest phenomena in the world of mind,
and the sublimest plan of Providence, speak to him of God. It
is the most egregious of all absurdities to separate religion from
Colleges, when every mental movement and search, in the proceSf
of an education, brings the pupil full into the presence of the
great Soul and Life and Light of that religion when every
object of the mind's examination, when every art and science
pursued, reveals Jehovah, communicates His instructions,
announces His claims. Says The French Cousin, ^' We must
lay the foundation of moral life in our pupils. We must do it by
placing religious instruction, that is, to speak distinctly, Christian
instruction, in the first rank in the education of our schools*
Leaving to the Curate, pr the Pastor, the care of instilling the
doctrines peculiar to each communion, we ought to impart to our
scholars a clear and precise knowledge of the history, doctrines
and great moral precepts of Christianity. We ought to teach our
youth that religion which civilized our fathers ; that religion
whose liberal spirit created and can alone sustain, all the great
institutions of modern times. The less we desire our schools
ecclesiastical, the more ought they to be Christian ! Religion is,
in my eyes, the best, the only basis of a sound education." — It is
settled. Colleges must be seats of religion, of true, fervent,
intelligent religion. They must be baptized thoroughly into its
faith, its purity, its power.

It remains to contemplate their efficient agency, when thus



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



^06 Influence of Colleges on [J^^Ji

sanctified, in establishing at the West, a Christian Civilization*
There may be an influence of much Talne issuing from these
Institutions airectly. Their intelli^nt religious riews, their elo-
quent defence and exposition of the important truths of Christiani-
ty, Iheir exemplificationof its benevolence and transforming power,
constitute them great moral lights. A circumstance adding
itoportance to them as sources of sacred illuminations, is their
tendency to stability and permanence. Amid all the disturbances
of ecclesiastical discussion and sectarian collision, amid many
Vacillations in forms of doctrine and church government, amid
many fanaticisms and depressions in religious zeal and fidelity,
these Institutions are likely to stand firm in their integrity, consw-
tent in their labors, elevated in their piety. Like stars, above
the clouds and agitations below them, they may be expected to
shine calmly, steadily on, welcoming each successive genera-
tion to their nigh and consecrated influences.

The agency of Western Colleges in the great work of incorpo-
rating Christianity into Western civilization, will be most eflS-
ciently exerted by means of the men whom they educate. These
Institutions being made as they ought to be, as they must be,
seats of pure religion as well as of sound learning, a large portion
of their students will carry out with them into society, the holj
and conservative influences of Christianity. Some of their
alumni will, from lack of talents and enterprise, sink into insig-
fiificatfce. Most of them, however, will occupy high places. (Jn
these positions, religion, embodied in their character, will dissemi-
nate sacred infasions through large communities, and at the same
time, according to its own nature, grow rich by giving, acquire
t^eight by diffusion, ac^mmulate life by communicating vitality.
Who therefore shall set metes and bounds to their moral efficien-
cy ? No more can good men from the Colleges be planted on
the elevations of the community, without insinuating through it
the most bland, and meliorating influences, than suns can be set
up in the heavens, without radiating warmth and life into the
chilled vegetation outspread underneath them* When charged
with pubhc duties, men of religious principle and life from the
Colleges, possess a special power for good, m consequence of the
naturd and almost involuntary respect felt for official station. A
ptiire Christianity, living and breathing in Legislative Halls, in
Courts of Justice, in the offices of executive and other functiona-
ries, will descend upon a wide territory of mind, ditetil itself upon
&at territory like gentle rains, transfuse itself through it like
vital air through the atmosphere, leave with it, as elements of
Christian Civuization, blessed sanctifications and permanent
•neigies of moral life.

Western Colleges may exert a still more decided and powerful
influence, in behalf of such a Civilization, by educating many

Digitized by VjOOQ IC



184S.] Western Education and Civilization. 407

liberal and devout Ohristians for the learned professions. The
grand effect is reached in this case by arming with the power of
Christianity, a large amount of good taste, correct opinion, and
auperior intelligence*

In the practice of the Legal profession, there is induced a habit
of patient research, a quick and keen discernment of character, a
rare power of Sifting truth out from falacies, contradictions and
crafty disguises, an accurate apprehension of human rights and
human wrongs. Gentlemen of the Bar become conservatives in
society, and resist the recklessness of ignorant innovation, the
confidence of partial experiment, the effirontery of unauthorized
dogmas. No blass of men are so identified with the public
interests ; their positions and opinions and political doctrines and
political policy are almost oracular. When their responses are
announced, we have, politically, the faith and policy of the
country. Lawyers are in the habit of public speaking : they
iBiin^le largely and cordially with the people, and catch the
public ear and the public heart on a thousand occasions. When,
by strict conscientiousness and unsullied purity, they become
identified, closely and ardently, with all the religious interests of
society, what of good may they not accomplish among the
ausceptible elefments of Western communities'? Their sound
wisdom, good scholarship, respectable standing, contact and
sympathy with the people, popular influence, practical, ready
eloquence, these, joined to high religious worth, and all appro-
priated actively in aid of great social, moral interests, present
one of the finest examples of human instrumentality ever employed
for the regeneration of the country. So^ many pious lawyers
therefore, as Colleges shall furnish to society, will be truly noble
contributions to the cause of Christian Civilization.

By the education of religious physicians, Western • Literary
Institutions secure still other allies in tlie work of perfecting a
Christian Civilization. Nearly the whole population is in contact
with the Medical profesbion. So much of the true religious spirit,
as is breathed into practitioners of the healing art, during their
College life, may be brought to act on the community, profession-
ally visited by them, in the most interesting and favorable circum-
stances. The Physician comes, not when the spirit is chafed by
the collisions and disappointments of the world, not when the
beart is eaten up with a burning thirst for honor or wealth, not
when the ear is filled with flattery, or the heart surcharged with
worldly pleasure. He comes to men when the premonitions <rf
dissolution are about them ; when earthly hopes are taking leave
of them forever ; when the coflin, the mattock and the grave, are
the images that terrify the heart ; when wealth has no power,
pleasure no zest, worldly elevation no attraction. He comes to
men, when, if they themselves have escaped, death is invading



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



406 Influence of Colleges on [July,

the circle of their friends, and when periuips, though recently
there before, he has returned for another victim. He comet
when sympathies are excited, the ear is open, the heart mellow,
prejudice subsided, conscience aroused* Easily will a great and
useful moral power be exerted in these circumstances, especially
bv one, who is offering his ministrations to remove pain and
dislodge an enemy, lurking about the fountains of life. The
man, who has received the antidote of a physical disease from his
medical adviser, can scarcely refuse to respond to his representa*
tions of the grand infallible remedy, provided by Divine mercy
for deep moral leprosies ! Like the unseen circulations under
ground, which nourish luxuriant vegetation above, the religious
influence of the professors of the healing art — noiseless and unob*
served, causes to spring up from its quiet operations, a refreshing,
delightful scehe of moral life. In furnishing to the community,
physicians who, in addition to talents and learning, are in their
character fair exemplifications of the conscientiousness and trans-
forming power of Christianity, who are impressive advocates of
its Divinity and its sanctions, who are zealous promoters of con-
versions to its faith and hopes. Colleges will perform another
eminent service for Christian Civilization.

Western Colleges open a still mightier influence in favor of a
Christian Civilization by the education of a pious ministry. As
it will be a smaller number every year who will assume the holy
office, without a public liberal education, and as the East wiU
need most of its ministers at home, and superior attractions detain
them there, Western Colleges are to be chiefly depended upon to
supply the ranks of the clergy in the Valley of the Mississippi,
The amount of piety, which in addition to intelligence, these
Institutions shall introduce into Western pulpits, is therefore a
matter of no ordinary importance. These pulpits are commanding
positions. They are like impregnable fortifications, in no danger
of being interrupted and stilled while delivering their volleys of
truth. It does this profession injustice, however, to liken its
action to the modes of worldly warfare ; its weapons are not
carnal. I only allege that it is a decided advaiitage, that the
pulpit is free, and puts forth its holy power, unforbidden and
unsilenced! Partially as the country is now supplied with a
ministry, the whole number of addresses to the people from the
clergy is ten times greater than those heard from all other sources
whatsoever. Were the ranks of the ministry full, and were the
people gathered into congregations of 600 souls each, there would
be not less than 144,000 serious discourses delivered in the
Western Valley every week, seven millions two hundred thou-
sand every year. Many of these would be delivered to docile
childhood, and to susceptible youth ; many to the seriousness and
subdued attention found at the house of death; a large number



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



1848.] Western Education and CwilizaHon. 409

to the reverence and expectation assembled in the sanctuary on
the consecrated Sabbath ; others to a deep and general excitability,
produced by a special heavenly influence. When it is remember-
ed what infinite subjects and interests are involved in these
addresses, when it i^ remembered that whenever, wherever, to
whomsoever God's messenger speaks, he finds an undismayed,
unhushed conscience has spoken before him, has pierced the dull
cold ear of transgression, has arraigned tlie criminsd, has arrai^ed
the witnesses, has given intimations of the awaiting, tremendous
doom, who shall feel himself able to take measurement of the
power of a holy ministry ! True, it is a people dead, thrice dead,
in trespasses and sins, to which the pulpit brings its messages,
but it preaches Him who is himself the resurrection and the life*
It proposes an omnipotent mercy as the agency to create, out of
the bones and dust of a universal ruin, a regenerated and sanctified
population !

There is an additional influence invariably attendant upon the
ministry, which should be included in an estimate of the aggre*

Sate action of the pulpit on Civilization — I mean the power of
^e Bible. The Scnptures and the Ministry are inseparably
associated. As the servants of Christ carry the sacred volume
with them, to be the standing letter of their comlnission, the
record of their instructions, and the treasury of their communica-
tions, they will always actively and widely circulate it among
the people to whonv they minister. They will introduce it to
them as God's unsealed, only statute-book, God's only communi-
cation to the revolted, profienng pardon and^peace, and providing
deliverance from corruption.

While, therefore, the ministry directly unsheathes, in Jehovah's
service, the sword of the Spirit, the same sword, under clerical
supervision, unsheaths itself in the families of a wide population*
The servants of God in jjublic places discuss, out of the Holy
Scriptures, the great doctrines and duties involving the govern-
ment of God and the destiny of man, announce its denunciations
to the hard-hearted, repeat its tones of mercy to the submissive.
The Bible passes forth and more privately opens its lessons of
wisdom, its revelations of God and eternity, to the mechanic in
his shop, to the merchant at his counter, to the professional man
in his office, to the scholar in his study, to the family at the fire-
side, to the sojourner at his resting place. The pulpit and the
Bible are never dissevered ; they multiply their labors, diffuse
their instructions, do all their works of love on the same theatre.
Like the twin stars in our sky, they move and shine always to-
gether. A ministry warmed and ennobled by the deep springs of
an intelligent piety, and attended upon the whole field of its
exertions by Bibles, as ministering spirits to echo and sanction its
teachings and warnings, exercises a power, in supplying the ele-



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



410 Infittence of CMeges on t*^^')'?

ments of a high Christian Civilization, as incalculable as it is
important. From the first institution of the priestly office among
the Jews, there has been no human agency on the earth equal to
that of the evangelical ministry. A few spirits, it is true,
emerging out of revolutions and nurtured in storms, have seemed,
for a time, to possess and exert more power. But it has been
only for a time.- They quickly went down with the subsidence
of the elements, which, in the waxing of the tide, had swept
them up to their high places. And even while their dominion
and miffht remained, their rule seemed to be the result of ^ for-
tuity ot advantages rather than of a personal efficiency, of an
accumulation of ignorant physical force, rather than of an inhe-
rent Omnipotence.

Besides the regular ministry, there is another armv of laborers,
of clerical character, of equal, or even greater innuehce, to be
also chiefly furnished by Colleges. They are the projectors, the
^ents, and the advocates of numerous benevolent enterprises.
They pass over the land like angels of light : they visit every
nook and corner, cabin and village and city. In various modes
they publish Christianity. They wake up its spirit : they apply
its power : they carry abroad the whole encyclopedia of moral
remedies : they sel in operation the active system of practical
religious instrumentalities. These self-sacrificing men, pioneers
of Christian Civilization, church recruiting officers, Jerusa-
lem's city-watch, are wide awake, when others are asleep ; are
pushing the work of salvation, while others are waiting for a
current and a tide to move them forward. These revolving and
itinerant lights, these movers of the under currents of religious
action, t^ese file leaders of refcnmation, iare an efficient, indispen-
sable adjunct to the general power of the pulpit, and therefore to
its special efficiency in behalf of a Christian Civilization. ^

The pulpit, therefore, (and I name it filled
With solemn awe, that hids me well beware
With what intent I touch that holy thing,)
The pulpit, in the sober use
Of its legitimate, peculiar power,
Must stand acknowledged, while the world ^all stand.
The most important and effectual guard.
Support and ornament of virtue's cause.
There stands the messenger of truth : there stands
The Legate of the skies ! His theme divine.
His office sacred, his credentials clear :
By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders : and by him m strains as sweet
As anffels use, the Gospel whispers peace. f

He staolishes the strong, restores the weak,
, Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart.
And around himself in panoply complete
Of heavenly temper, furnishes with arms.
Briffht as his own, and trains by «very nile
Of holy discipline, to glorioQs war,
The sacramental host of God's elect ! J



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



1848.] Western Edacation and CiMization. 411

The entire action and accomplishment of a ministry from th^
Colics, endued with an elevated piety and a high intelligence
befitting the holy calling, no mind but that of the Omniscient One
can comprehend. The influence which this sacred profession
when full) may exert in favor of a Christian Civilization, must be^
both in respect to quality and quantity, all that the most intellir
gent benevolence can desire.

These three services for the West, the creation of eminent
scholarship^ the improvepaent and extension of primary educa*
tion, the establishment of a superior and Christian Civilization,
constitute the grand design and efibrt of Western Colleges. The
population 6f the Valley of the Mississippi consists of ten mil-
lions, of which two millions are between the a^es of 6 and 15»
The fulfilment, therefore, on the part of these institutions, of their
large, noble purpose, in respect to superior scholanhip, popular
instruction, and the amelioration of society, would even, at the
present time, swell into an accomplishment worthy the efibrt&of
the most distinguished and philanthropic minds. But these
Colleges have a work to do, {)ossessing a magnificence and im-
portance greatly surpassing this. It is the fulfilment of the same
purpose, the introduction into the whole country of hi^h intelli-
gence, excellent primary schools, and the best Civilization, when
our entire people instead of 10, shall have grown to 20,000,000,
40,000,000, 80,000,000, and our present 2,000,000 of children
shall have become 4, 8, 16,000,000. These last number 80,000,000
of population in the whole, and 16,000,000 for our schools, this
wide West will contain within 60 years ! As these multitudes
are to dwell on a soil, whose productiveness has never yet been
overstated, and is not elsewhere upon the earth surpassed, they
will eventually possess sources'^of wealth and aggrandizement
which will turn hither the eyes of other nations, as well as con-
centrate here the grand vitalities and developments and energies
of our own countr;^. In arming this immense and growing popu-
lation, therefore, with superior intelligence and a pure Christianity,
Western Colleges will have subjected to their influence materials
and elements of incalculable capabilities^ and assisted to establish
a power, such as has rarely risen up in our world. Their mission
is a great and a holy one ! The actual sum and value of their
beneficial influence upon the susceptible millions settled, settling,
and hereafter to be settled here, are too vast to be estimated and
set down in specific statement. Who can foot up the amounts
and measures of light and heat and air and electncity, of alka-
lies and acids, and oils and nutritious earths, which are employed
in the evolution and uprearing of the whole, gorgeous, luxuriant,
immense vegetation, living and growing, in summer months, on
the face of uiis broad Valley 1 Arithmetic is baffled : conjecture
is confounded ! These incalculable and almost illimitable ingre-



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



412 Review ofFinriey^s Theology. fJ^ly?

dients and agencies- are a fit and fair image to us of the elements
and influences which Western Colleges are to aid in furnishing
to the multitudes of intelligences, which shall struggle and grow,
and thrill and rise and lahor, upon this vast intellectual and moral
theatre. It were better that our lakes were emptied into the sea,
our railroads torn up, our rivers and canals left dry, our prairies
turned to sterility, our bland clime changed into Northern rigors,
than that our Colleges should be either extinguished or neglected.
Our beautiful land, reposing between grand mountain ranges,
would become as the valley of the shadow of death! The
adversary would spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things.
The Lord cover her with a cloud ; in his anger cast down to the
earth her beauty, and make her altars desolate.

Western Institutions of- learning should enlaige and enrich
themselves, for influence and accomplishment, with an energy
and enthusiasm commensurate with the greatness and value of
the service allotted to them. The West should cherish liberallv
her Colleges, as noble sources of her life, her honor, her usefuf-
ttess. May she ever have those which are worthy of her con-
^ence and her love !



ARTICLE II.

REVIEW OF FINNEY'S THEOLOGY.

Bj ReT. Oboiob DnrriKLp, D. D^ Pastor of FInt PretbjUrian Chureli of Detroit, Mich.

Lectures on Systematic Theology, embracing Lectures on Moral
Government^ together with Atonement, Moral and Physical
Depravity y kegeneration^i^ Philosophical Theories, and Evidences
of regeneration. By Rev. C. G. Finney, Professor of Theolo-
gy in the Oberlin Collegiate Institute.

The proper office of philosophy is to explain facts. In matters
of religion, its functions have sometimes been deemed both legiti-
mate and necessary. Its influence and bearing upon the great
cardinal doctrines of Revelation, as matter of history, is a subject
of great interest. To examine and trace them, is an exercise
attended with much profit But it would require an entire life
spent in study, by one of keen discrimination, and under circum-
stances propitious to investigation, to do the subject justice.



Digitized by VjOOQ IC



1848.] Review ofFirmey^s Theology. 413

Amid the incessant cares and labors of active pastoral vocations,
we feel almost afraid to make an effort for the purpose of exposing
the difference between faith and philosophy. Yet is it essential
to a faithful review of the two volumes already published, of the
work whose title is given in the caption of this article.

In a former article, this subject has been adverted to, and a
radical distinction has been taken between the facts revealed in
the Bible as matters of faith, and the doctrines of Theology
founded on or inferred from them. ^ We have oflen wished, that
some learned master Theologian, imbued with the spirit of faith,
would unfold the manner in which metaphysical noti<>ns, defini-
tions, and philosophical explanations, of the great cardinal facts
of the gospel of the grace of God, have in difierent ages affected
men's minds, in apprehending and exhibiting them. With the
bearing of the Gnostic philosophy on Christianity, and its influence
in the early ages of the Chnstian church, in developing the
germs of popery, till expanded in the great anti-christian apostasy,
those who have studied history and consulted the patristic writings
cannot be ignorant. The controversies between Augustine and
Pela^ius, and between Calvinists and Artnenians, furnish us
striking illustrations of the manners in which the mind may be
beguiled from the simplicity of faith. We fear that the author
of the work on Systematic Theology, now under review, will be
fouiid, unintentionally and unconsciously to have " erred from the
faith," through the influence of a favorite philosophy, assumed as



Online LibraryWashington (State) Office of commissioner of publiThe Biblical repository and classical review, Volume 4 → online text (page 50 of 93)