William Rainey Harper.

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cians. Without its clinics the theological school is a
school for the study of language and history and
philosophy, and is not a place for the training of
preachers or Christian workers.

The old-fashioned method of training ministers,
the method employed before the organization of the
theological seminary, because it has some certain
advantages over modern methods, deserves at least
a partial reinstatement in the period of preparation.

Every theological curriculum should include a
certain time set apart for work in a church under the
direction of a pastor, the pastor during this period
serving as the instructor of the student. The time
spent should be long enough to give the student a
real experience of practical church work. It should
not be less than three months, or one-ninth of the
whole time given to the preparation. In no other
way may actual experience be gained so easily, and
in this way the inevitable mistakes of the first years


of the pastorate would be largely avoided. Just as
every law student should spend a portion of his time in
a law office, and every medical student in a hospital,
so the student for the ministry should spend a portion
of his time in actual touch with real church work,
under the guidance of the leader. It is true that
ministers might not be willing to accept this respon-
sibility in addition to their regular work, but it may
be suggested that arrangements could be made by
which the minister should receive compensation, of
more than one kind, in return for this service granted
the seminary.

Reference has been made more than once to the
means by which the student should come into direct
contact with practical life. For this reason it has
been suggested that the best place for the location
of the seminary is in the city. Essential as this is,
it remains true that the student whose life-work is to
be that of spreading Christianity needs, as his Master
before him needed, opportunity for seasons of prayer
and meditation. These seasons, moreover, should
be sometimes long continued, extending, it may be,
over days, and possibly weeks. The curriculum of
work intended to prepare a man to preach the gospel
of Jesus Christ should include provision for retire-
ment from the world of groups of men, selected with
great care, under the leadership of a congenial per-
sonahty; a retirement during which effort should be
made to separate the mind and soul from contact
with the outer world and to bring them into closest


touch with God himself. It is not enough to say that
one should always be in a prayerful mood. It is not
enough to say that God is in the world, and that con-
tact with the world is therefore contact with God.
We are human, and therefore weak, and we need at
times to take advantage of impulses and circum-
stances which will cultivate within us the calm,
peaceful spirit of meditation, the strong and urgent
spirit of longing for a higher inspiration, the exalting
and ennobhng spirit which comes from communion
with God. A season of such life, away from the
cares and distractions of ordinary living, in which
ghmpses may be caught of a higher spiritual life,
would seem to be an important element in the train-
ing of him who is to guide others into that higher

And now, at the risk of repetition, I desire to
present by way of summary a few specific recom-
mendations for the improvement of the theological
curriculum. These suggestions are intended to em-
body in the main the points indicated above.

1. That an opportunity be given to those who
may so desire to spend four years in the seminary
instead of three, and that the stronger men be en-
couraged to take the longer period. It is understood,
of course, that the work is arranged for students who
have taken a college degree. It would scarcely be
wise to require four years' preparation of all men.

2. That the work of the first year be prescribed
and carried on in common by all students, whatever


may be their special predilection. This work should
include :

a) A general course covering the field of Old
Testament history, literature, and theology; a general
course covering the field of New Testament history,
Hterature, and theology; a course giving in outline a
survey of the field of ecclesiastical history, and a
course giving in outline the ground to be covered in
systematic theology. These courses should be intro-
ductory or general in their character, and, though
restricted to three or four hours a week, may be pre-
sented fairly well in a year of thirty-six weeks. In
the conduct of this course the lecture method and
text-book method should prevail. There would be
no place in this work for the seminar method.

b) One or two lectures a week throughout the
year in sociology, the aim and purpose of which
should be to present to the student as forcibly as
possible the more important characteristics of the
special environment in which he is to take a place.

c) Regular theme work for the cultivation of
proper expression. This work, while under the
direction of a specially appointed instructor, should
be conducted in close connection with the general
courses of instruction indicated above. A certain
number of brief papers should be prepared by the
student during the year, each of which should be
thoroughly criticised from the point of view of the
EngHsh as well as that of the contents.

3. That immediately upon finishing the general


courses in Old Testament, New Testament, church
history, and systematic theology, the student be ex-
pected to make choice of certain fields of work and of
special subjects in these fields, and that after this
choice has been made the details be worked out under
the direction of the professor in whose department
he shall undertake to do his particular work. It is
understood that, as soon as the prescribed curricu-
lum is abandoned, the student will need the special
counsel of an adviser.

4. That at this point the students be allowed to
group themselves according to the work which they
propose to do. In this way there will come to be a
group of those who perhaps are planning to preach
or teach; another group of those who desire to become
pastors, administrators, or general workers; a third
group for musical workers ; and a fourth, if necessary,
for medical workers.

5. That in each case the student be expected to
select a particular department in which he shall do
his principal work. This will be one of the six de-
partments ordinarily organized in connection with a
divinity school; namely. Old Testament, New Testa-
ment, church history, systematic theology, sociology,
homiletics. It will be to his advantage also to select
a second department in which he shall do secondary

6. That the study of Hebrew be required of those
only who make the Old or New Testament the prin-
cipal subject, and that a knowledge of Greek be re-


quired of those only who are to be preachers or

7. That every student who is preparing to teach
or preach be encouraged to give a liberal portion of
his time to work in natural science, psychology, and
EngHsh hterature, unless in his college course he has
made such progress in these subjects as would war-
rant his omission of them at this stage of his work.

8. That in the group made up of those who are
to be pastors, administrators, and general workers,
the English Bible be made the principal subject, and
that the secondary subjects be psychology, peda-
gogy, and sociology. Of these, neither Hebrew nor
Greek should be required.

9. That for musical and medical workers courses
be laid out along lines of special adaptation, an effort
being made to correlate the work of the seminary
with that of some special institutions in which music
and medicine are the sole subjects of study.

10. That to as large an extent as possible the
work of the student be directed to the study and
investigation of great problems.

11. That "chnics" be organized in connection
with various departments of the seminary; for ex-
ample, in Sunday-school work, with the bibHcal and
pedagogical departments; in visitation work, with
the sociological department; in preaching and church
administration, with the department of homiletics.

12. That a certain number of weeks be set aside
in the course of each student during which he shall


work under the direction of a pastor in active service,
the results of this work to be formulated by the
student, criticised by the pastor, and reported to the
faculty of the seminary.

13. That arrangements be provided whereby
students in small groups, with an instructor of their
own choice, may be enabled to retire from the active
work of the institution, and live together in quiet
and solitude for special seasons.

14. That, in so far as possible, the theological
curriculum be organized in connection with a uni-
versity, in order that the facihties afforded by the
university may be at the service of the student, and
his individuaHsm thereby be given opportunity to
develop; and in order, further, that there may be
gained the greater breadth which is secured by
mingHng with men who have other points of view.
To this same end intermigration between theological
seminaries of the same denomination and of different
denominations should be encouraged.

15. That in all cases tuition fees be charged, and
that all money to be used for the aid of students be
distributed in the form of scholarships on the plan
adopted in colleges and universities, in return for
which the student shall render actual service of one
kind or another to the seminary.

16. That, inasmuch as each seminary cannot
make provision for all the specialties in Christian
work, an agreement be reached among seminaries
located in a given district in accordance \^dth which


the students of all the institutions in that district who
wish to work in a given specialty be advised to go to
the seminary in which this specialty may be culti-

17. That the scope of the theological seminary
be broadened and if necessary the name be changed
in order that it may include instruction for Christian
workers of all classes.



It is desirable to make a distinction, though
probably an ill-founded one, between the phrases
"business life" and "business career." The former
would naturally include the latter; but it seems to
me that the phrase "business career" is too dignified
a term to be applied to a large proportion of the lives
which may legitimately be said to be devoted to

A certain number of men who go into business
have careers. The number may be small relatively;
it is, however, large absolutely. Here belong those
men, and women, who prove to be leaders ; who are
heads of departments or superintendents ; who direct
the work of others; who, in a word, are successful
in life, not perhaps in the sense that they become
wealthy, nor in the sense that they alone experience
the real enjoyment of life, but in the sense that they
occupy positions of responsibility and have oppor-
tunity to develop their own methods of work, and
may claim credit for results achieved. It is this
class of men one naturally has in mind when he
speaks of university training for a business Hfe or

It goes without saying, perhaps, that, so far as


the business side of life is concerned, one would not
recommend a university training for a man who is
to be a shipping clerk, or an ordinary bank clerk, or
a clerk in a railroad auditor's office. I do not mean
to say that such a training would not be of infinite
value to men in these positions, from the point of
view of life in general. It is necessary, however, to
distinguish between the responsibilities and oppor-
tunities connected directly with a business career
itself, or with a man's development in business, on
the one side, and, on the other, with that higher life
which every man is entitled to enjoy to the utmost.

Within a decade or so two points have come to be
realized; one of these in the business world, the other
in the university world. No man who is acquainted
with the facts will deny that today special oppor-X
tunities of the highest rank, in business, are opening \
to men of college training. College men are being 1
sought out in practically every kind of business for I
positions of responsibility. Experience has shown i
that the college man, although he may not have the 1
technical training for the particular business upon /
which he enters after leaving college, requires no
long period of time in which to overtake the non-
college man who started in the same business years
before ; and to overtake means, of course, to outstrip.

Here and there may be found a business man of
large success who, himself a non-college man, clings
to the old idea that a college training does not help
a man to prepare for business. Such men, however,


are few, and the. almost uniform success which col-
lege men have achieved furnishes evidence enough
that this old-fashioned position may no longer be
maintained. Great business concerns on every side
are calling for men whose minds have been trained,
and they are willing to give such men ample oppor-
tunity to learn the technique of the business which
they are to enter, strongly confident that in the end
these men will excel.

All agree that a man injures his chances for suc-
cess in a particular profession or line of business if
he enters upon that work at too late a period in his
life. Care must be taken that the college man,
unless his circumstances are of a special character,
shall not postpone too long the taking up of his life-

But it is even more clear that great risk is run in
beginning one's life specialty at too early a period.
The danger here lies in the fact that one's habits
become fixed in a certain routine. Only a small
proportion of those who begin their life-work at an
early date are strong enough to push forward into
the higher ranks of business. We read now and
then of a railway president who has come up from
the position of conductor or train dispatcher; but
what proportion of conductors or train dispatchers
ever get beyond these positions when they have once
been fully installed in them? The advantage of
college training lies in the fact that the man thus
trained is not ordinarily satisfied to remain in a


lower position ; and that, conscious of his abihty, he
presses forward by legitimate means to something
better and higher.

The fact which has come to be recognized in the
college and university world is that a new kind of
training is possible for men who contemplate a busi-
ness career. This new training, which has already
been introduced into many of our institutions, does
not differ in method or spirit from the older training.
It consists in substituting for certain subjects that
formed the larger part of the curriculum of years
gone by certain other subjects which have in recent
times come into prominence. In making these sub-
stitutions the college recognizes that training is no
longer to be restricted to the employment of a few
subjects; and that all subjects perhaps may contrib-
ute legitimately to the purpose of discipline and cul-
ture. The word ''training" has come to be used
in a larger sense. The word ''culture" has likewise
been greatly broadened.

In the field of scientific study, as well as in those
of history and political economy, great possibilities
have been opened. The former leads naturally
toward those fines of business for which a scientific
or technical training will be found useful; the latter,
in the direction of banking, railway management,
insurance, joumaHsm, and other closely related
professions. Provision is now made in nearly all
the larger institutions for courses deafing with the
principles underlying these important calfings, and


the young man who has already made choice of his
special field in business may secure an intellectual
training which will be of great service to him in the
future, and, at the same time, a broad and compre-
hensive acquaintance with the facts and principles
that relate to the particular business which he desires
to follow.

These two great modifications of opinion, one in
the business world and the other in the college world,
have come within recent years. They have come side
by side, each helping the other to gain ground in the
territory of the enemy, if the word ** enemy" is not
too strong a one with which to describe those who
frequently scoff at the idea that such subjects are used
to advantage in the college curriculum; or, on the
other hand, those who ridicule the proposition that a
college training is of real advantage to a man who
proposes for himself a business Hfe.

What is it in general that the college does for the
young man entering into business? Is it perhaps
true that in more recent times the college has actually
degraded itself in order to attract him ? The pur-
pose of the college method is clear. It is intended
primarily to develop in the man systematic habits;
to give him control of his intellectual powers; to fit
him in such a manner that he may be able to direct
those powers successfully in any special direction.

It is important to observe that the training is of a
general character. Special training looking toward
a particular profession or line of work is not the


province of the college. Such training is to a greater
or less extent an apprenticeship. The difference
between the general training and the special training
consists in this: the former renders a man able to
take hold of any kind of work; the latter fits him only
for a particular thing. The man with special train-
ing finds himself unable easily to be transferred from
one kind of work to another, or, except in rare in-
stances, as suggested above, to advance from one
division of the field to another. The college man
will, of course, require in each case a given time in
which to adjust himself to the new situation, but this
technique, or the amount of it necessary for his ad-
vancement, he will easily master. All this may be
said of the old-fashioned curriculum; in other words,
the curriculum by which the college men were trained
who occupy high positions in the world today.

It has come to be the opinion of many educators,
as I have said, that the college may take a step for-
ward in this matter, and, while furnishing the general
training just referred to, at the same time provide
the student with a given amount of special knowledge
relating to the subjects that are fundamental in the
hne of business contemplated.

It was argued that modern history could be made
use of as a discipHne with equal advantage as com-
pared with ancient history. Modern languages, if
properly taught, would secure at least a large amount
of that training which a study of the classics develops.
This was the first step toward this more practical


curriculum. It was followed by the recommenda-
tion of courses in chemistry and biology, which would
prepare the way for medicine; by courses in consti-
tutional histor}^ and international law, preparatory'
to the legal profession; and, as already suggested, by
courses connected with the department of poUtical
economy, on commercial geography, colonization,
money, banking, insurance, etc., which pointed in the
direction of business.

Sufficient time has not elapsed to prove conclu-
sively that this poHcy is a good one, from the point
of view of either the college or the student. It has,
however, much in its favor; and if we were to reach
a conclusion on the basis of probabiHties, the case
might be considered as settled. The greatest ad-
vantage connected with the policy is the fact that
the ordinary student, knowing that the subject-
matter will be of real service to him in the future,
takes a deeper interest in the course proposed, and
secures not only this special knowledge, but also a
better training in proportion to the high character
of the work performed.

The extent to which this adaptation of the college
curriculum has taken place is already marked. To
be sure, the smaller colleges of the country have not
been able to make important changes in this direc-
tion. This, Uke all other efforts to make the curricu-
lum a special one, calls for the expenditure of money
in large sums. This has been done by several in-
stitutions, and the experiment, if it may be called


such, is well under way. It is altogether probable ]
that in some cases the idea has been carried too far; I
but that, upon the whole, it will prove successful, /
no one really doubts. /

The whole may be summed up in a few words."^
General training is believed to be superior in most
cases to special training. This general training
can be secured on the basis of a curriculum made
up in part of special subjects — that is, subjects closely
related to the special calling. If the danger involved
in too early specialization can be avoided, the poHcy
is a feasible one. If, however, in the use of special
subjects the teacher or the student fails to secure the
general training, the experiment will prove to be
more or less a failure.

It is a matter that concerns a large constituency.
It is a method which may succeed in one institution
and fail in another. It may succeed Hkewise in the
case of one individual and fail in the case of another.
Everything depends upon the spirit with which the
work is conducted, and this is only saying what must
be said concerning every undertaking of an educa-
tional character.



The endowment of college athletics has been pro-
posed. The authorities of at least three of the largest
universities in the West have given consideration to
the proposition. In fact, it is still being considered.
No one's eyes are blind to the difficulties which it
involves. Further study of it may prove conclusively
that as a practical suggestion it has no value; but
until that decision is reached it is surely deserving
of earnest study, as a possible solution of some of
the difficulties connected with one of the most serious
administrative problems of higher education — that
of intercollegiate athletics.

It may be urged against the proposition that
colleges today stand in greater need of endowment
for other subjects. With the various departments
of science and the humanities crying piteously for
larger resources why should money be diverted to
college athletics ? It is only necessary to study the
subject to appreciate the force of this objection. But
is it not begging the question to use the word ''di-
vert" ? The endowment of athletics will come, if it
comes at all, from men who would never think, per-
haps, of giving money for the endowment of a depart-
ment of science, or one of the departments of arts and



literature. This point should not be overlooked.
Besides, if the department of physical culture, of which
athletics is only a division, is worthy to be one of the
departments in an institution of higher learning, is it
not as deserving of endowment as any other depart-
ment ?

It is suggested, however, that the public is quite
ready to pay the expenses of the athletic teams by the
purchase of tickets at the gate. Why, then, should
they not have this privilege ? It is certainly possible,
in the case of this department, if it is to be reckoned
as one of the university departments, to secure its
support in this way from the masses. The peculiar
advantage of this fact should not be ignored; and
as long as the pubHc is willing to perform this service
should they not be permitted to do so ? The force
of this suggestion, however, is somewhat counter-
balanced by the fact, as will be noted later, that other
points in contention are the uncertainty of this kind
of support, and, still worse, the degradation which it
carries with it. Shall the university depend for the
support of one of its departments upon a crowd, a
large proportion of which treats the game as it would
treat the race-course, and patronizes it because of

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Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe trend in higher education → online text (page 17 of 24)