« PreviousContinue »
localities may work the works of when we find it as carefully shunned, God.
and as coldly frowned upon, by many If we, in any way, identify the vivid
excellent persons, as if a branch of perceptions of the poet and the fresh, the deadly Upas tree lay in their path. healthful feelings of the child, we Yet imagination is an important elemay suppose that there is, or ought ment of our naturema good gift of to be, a good understanding between God we might dream, and adapted to the two beings, whensoever they are His service if used aright. Does it allowed to meet. Those who have not link us in an especial manner entered the school-room, either as with the things unseen? learners, as teachers, or as observers, then, to cast it aside, or to constrain know how rarely the poet is the in- others to cast it aside, as a useless structor of the child; yet he was the and objectionable implement ? instructor of nations in their infancy, Of course, were we to enter the and surely he might in part be trusted habitations of those who have lived with the mental culture of the indivi- through years of penury and neglect, dual. Hymns and poems do certainly and who may be at the moment resound within school-room walls, pinched with hunger, and endeavour but the poetic spirit, as such, rarely to awaken in their bosoms sentiflings a gay and attractive colouring ments that have long slept and still over the lessons of the teacher. Why slumber, never more to revive in this do we marvel, that the many words world, our labour would be lost; but or the many books of the instructor with their children it is otherwise. become indeed a weariness of the The cottage infant beneath its dull, flesh to children who have, in most tangled locks, laughing aloud over a instances, a fount more or less spark- lapful of buttercups and daisies, has ling, of lively fancy within? Why do as clear a perception of the beauty of you marvel that the child, whose keen flowers, as the gently nurtured child sensibilities are every day blunted by of a fairer home, gazing placidly a dry routine of instruction, should through its sunny ringlets on the in after years become a hard-natured, large fragrant bud of the magnolia, worldly-hearted man or woman, seek- or on glowing clusters of the caing coarse or evil excitements, and melia and the geranium. delighting in things that are of the The reader may perhaps think that earth earthy? He or she has long allowing this to be the case, we should ago forgotten the simple language of add but little to the happiness of the the bird and of the fower, and the
young cottager, or to the comfort, of interpretation thereof; has long ago the class above him, were we to forgotten the graceful, or the terrible cherish poetic feeling and an elegant legends of history :--but surely it taste in his lowly bosom. Rugged might have been otherwise, surely it paths he must tread-rugged, unmay for the future be otherwise, and sightly work his hand will assuredly this quite as much with regard to the find to do; this we know, but might poor and the lowly, as with respect not the ruggedness of the way be a to the class above them.
little beguiled were his mind early Are all bright and gay imaginings filled with mild and beautiful images the fruits wherewith the boughs of which he might summon around him the forbidden tree were laden? Was amid the dreary scenes of after life? it of all these that God said, “In the Might not the rugged work become day that ye eat thereof, ye shall surely a little more sightly in the eyes of die”? Are they all apples of Sodom, softly nurtured observers, were the golden and glowing to the eye, yet inner soul of the workman subdued poisonous and bitter ashes to the and refined by his early training, and taste? We might suppose this to be might not a way by this means be the case, when we find everything paved for a larger measure of that essentially poetic excluded from lo- sympathy which, without at all breakcalities where it would certainly prove ing down the distinctions of rank, attractive, and, as in blindness we ought to exist between himself and might imagine, “ good for food;" his more favoured Christian brethren, and frequently does not? So far as Gospel narratives for instance, to the intelligent and the kindly are afford the little hearers some clearer concerned, the coarse habits, gross ideas of the landscape, the costume, tastes, and rude perceptions of the and the manners which really give lowly, are the peculiarities which heap colour to the events, than unassisted up barriers in the way of that sym- they can possibly form ? This is one pathy which should bind together the instance among many, in which the members of the Christian body. Such spirit of Christian poetry might surely tastes, habits, and perceptions cannot render valuable aid. We must not exist in close union with a simple, add gaudy decorations of our own earnest love for the beautiful things devising, to the simple beauty of the which our Maker has scattered so Holy Book, but we are bound to lavishly around us, quite as thickly render the instruction we deduce from in the path of the cottager, as in that it as inviting and graceful as may be. of the noble; those lilies of the field, A limner was once required to depict so lovely to the eye, so eloquent in a cluster of perfectly white flowers. the ear of the poet and the child. But The blossoms were doubtless in thema little cultivation and direction of selves as elegant and spotless as the imagination might render other snowdrops or lilies have ever been subjects besides the lilies of the field from the third day of creation until attractive, as well as important to the now, and seen beneath the sunshine, lowly; subjects, that are generally quivering in the wind, every tongue presented to the young, undisciplined would have praised their loveliness; mind in a singularly dry attenuated but it was no easy task to give interest form. Listen for an hour in a well- and variety to their cold, colourless ordered Sunday-school; the instruc- image. The painter, after a little pertion given is often, we will hope usu- plexity, placed the group in a vase of ally, clear, simple, and evangelical
, purple glass so that many of the pallid but very frequently altogether colour- flowers drooped over its edge, and less and sombre. The sublime poetry caught the beautiful tint; the problem of the Old Testament, and the grace- was solved, and his work was done. ful simplicity of the Gospels, forming We have pure and beautiful truths as they do the groundwork of this in- to set before youthful eyes. Let us struction, might naturally, we think, not reject the purple vase, and choose lead to a different result. Would it the unsightly earthen jar when both not be easy in our comments, on the are at hand.
SCOTTISH THEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY.
The Free Church of Scotland has, there was nothing wonderful in the as many of our readers are aware, attempt of her leaders to establish a established a College at Edinburgh for Divinity Hall for their own students. the purpose of training her candidates But the novel feature in their scheme for the ministry. To carry out her was their determination to establish aim, the Free Church has not merely chairs, under their own control, for appointed Professors of Divinity in moral and mental philosophy, branits various branches, but has also ches of education which have been founded two chairs for teaching Moral hitherto entrusted by the EstablishPhilosophy, and what is termed in ment, as well as the Scottish DisScotland. Logic and Metaphysics. senters, to the professors of the reThese professorships are quite dis- spective Universities. tinct from those already in existence And the justification of their conunder the same titles in the University duct is, we think, to be found in the of Edinburgh.
peculiar nature of the studies pursued In extending the sphere of the New during the first or secular part of the college beyond the mere routine Scottish Divinity student's course. studies of a Divinity Hall, we think And to this point we wish particularly the Free Church authorities have to draw the attention of our readers. acted quite consistently-indeed, from The subject is but little attended to the peculiar nature of the training even in Scotland, except by a few rewhich is demanded from a licentiate flecting men; and in England although for the ministry in Scotland, we do interesting it is wholly neglected. not see how the Free Church could First we may state, that the whole well have acted otherwise than she training of a Scottish Divinity stuhas done.
dent, secular as well as theological, In Scotland, the grand outlines of is under the superintendence of the the education for the ministry exacted presbytery to which the student beby the establishment, and the various longs. Each student is obliged to dissenting bodies, are very much the present himself before his presbytery,
The period which is allotted when required to do so, and to be for the studies of students in Divinity examined on the studies in which, at is about eight years. Of these eight the time, he is engaged. years, four are spent in studies of a At the University of Edinburgh, secular character, while the remaining and we presume the system is much four years are allotted for the prose- the same at the other Scottish unicution of studies strictly ecclesiastical, versities, the Divinity student comand classed under the general name mences his secular studies by reading of the Divinity Hall course.
the classics-and as classical attainDuring the four years devoted to ments in Scotland are rarely of a high secular studies, the students of the order before coming to the University, various Scotch religious communions a great deal of time is usually spent in meet in the same class-rooms, and learning what ought to have been study under the same professors in known before leaving school. In the one or other of the four Scottish uni- second year of his studies, the Divinity versities. But the Divinity Hall in student, in addition to his classical each university is under the exclusive studies, attends the lectures of the control of the Established Church, professor of Logic and Metaphysics, and is therefore attended chiefly by and probably also a mathematical members of the Establishment. Va
In the third year, he prorious dissenting communions in Scot- ceeds to attend the lectures of the land have, from this cause, appointed Moral Philosophy professor, continuDivinity Halls of their own, with ing also his mathematical, and very proper complements of professors. probably his strictly classical studies.
When the Free Church, therefore, The fourth year is chiefly given to separated from the Establishment, Natural Philosophy.
Other branches of education are the Scottish divines, as a class, from often pursued at this stage, but the their Southern neighbours. above form the chief subjects of a But these days have changed. Scottish Divinity student's secular Reid and Beattie, Stewart and Brown, studies—and it is obvious at a glance, are now by no mecans, at Edinburgh, that if thoroughly attended to, they the exclusive genii loci. Later years are quite sufficient to engross the have brought other influences than student's time and energies.
theirs to bear, and that too most We have given the above meagre, powerfully, upon the favourite studies and perhaps not strictly, although of the place. essentially accurate, account of Scot- Some years ago, Sir William Hatish Divinity studies, to shew the ex- milton, a man of profound learning act place in the curriculum which the and extraordinary talents, was aptwo new chairs founded by the Free pointed to the logical chair at EdinChurch are intended to occupy. burgh, then vacant. Enthusiastic in
It is plain that mental and moral the prosecution of his favourite stuphilosophy must engross a large por- dies, he soon communicated his own tion of the student's time, during two ardour to his class; and logic and years; and that, too, at the important metaphysics assumed an importance period, when the mind having been in the studies of the University, enfranchised from the ferule of the which they had not possessed for schoolmaster and grammatical punc- many years. Sir William, not only tilios, is beginning
to think for itself. a master of the antiquities of his We hesitate not to say it fearlessly, science, but deeply versed in the that the usefulness of the future modern German philosophy, began minister to the Church depends greatly soon to awaken an intense interest in upon the influence, whether good or those abstruse speculations which evil, which is brought to bear upon have for many years attracted so his faculties at this most critical much attention in Germany. Conperiod when they are, as it were, pass- temporaneonsly with this movement ing
through their chrysalis state. in the logical class, the late lamented
The character of Scottish Divinity, Dr. Welsh, then professor of Ecclesiand the peculiarities of Scottish astical History, began to excite much preaching, are greatly traceable to interest in the works of the modern the influence exercised by those two German writers on ecclesiastical hischairs.
tory. From these and other causes, The chair of logic is by no means German literature has of late years devoted exclusively to the teaching acquired a prominence at Edinourgh, that venerable science on which Ox- which must make it eventually tell ford lays so much stress. In former most powerfully upon the minds of days logic occupied but a very subor- the rising clergy dinate place in the logical professor's We do not, therefore, in this state lectures, which were mainly devoted of matters, at all wonder at the conto the expounding the psychological duct of the Free Church in appointtheories of Reid, Stewart, and Brown. ing persons on whom they can deAnd the lectures of the ethical pro- pend, to fill the two important chairs fessor extended also over a very wide of mental and moral philosophy. field besides his own proper domain For it can be shown to a demonof moral philosophy.
stration, that ethics and metaphysics, At the time we speak of, the stand- as studied in Germany, must tell, as ard writers in vogue on such subjects they have done, upon divinity. And at Edinburgh, if not religious in their
we quite sympathize with the Free tone, contained in their works at least Church in their desire that none but very little of a directly irreligious cha- truly Christian men, in whose hearts racter. The effect in those days of as well as understandings they have metaphysical and ethical studies was reliance, shall fill those chairs. the production of that somewhat One of these newly appointed prosubtle and dialectical, though evan, fessors, the Rev. A, C. Fraser, to gelical preaching, which distinguishes whom the chair of Logic and Metaphysics has been assigned, has pub- practical understanding of his neighlished his inaugural lecture by par- bour across the border. ticular request, and we are sincerely And this metaphysical tendency of rejoiced that Mr. Fraser has thought the Scotch requires to be carefully fiť to accede to his friends' entreaty: watched over by their Church. UseThe inaugural lecture so published ful in preserving a perpetual mental is characterized by great depth of activity, it may also be converted into thought, combined with manly elo- an exceedingly dangerous weapon, if quence and extreme modesty. The dis-associated from the strong religious professor's avowed object is to chris- principle and devout family piety tianize philosophy, as the Germans with which it has been hitherto conterm what we somewhat loosely call joined. metaphysics. We quote his own em- A metaphysical mind undirected by phatic and eloquent language. religion, will always manifest a strong
“I shall not speak more of my own tendency to scepticism. Faith, after emotions, with which I commence all, is the real anchor of the soul. If our work to-day, and find myself faith be removed, the soul will soon called to take part in this rising aca- begin to drift down the channel into demical institution in the cultivation the dangerous ocean of infidelity. of such fields as those at which we Of this we have a melancholy inhave been glancing, and that in cir- stance in the recent history of German cumstances of the public mind, to a and French philosophy. Discarding, few of which I have referred, which as unworthy of notice, the submissive invest with a profound interest the faith of the Holy Scriptures, and somewhat novel experiment of a daringly attempting to search into Christian Church, thus to connect mysteries, which ought to be reckoned the Christian ideas and spirit with among the deep things of Godthe movements of the thinking world, philosophy, during the last century, and to have at work in the bosom of unfurled both in Germany and France Scottish society an academical insti- the standard of open rebellion against tution, meant to give a right direc- Christianity. At length wearied with tion to the higher thought of the the excesses which unbounded licence country, and to train our youth in introduced, finding a climax in the the habit of vigorous, chastened, and French Revolution, the modern phifruitful thought; associated with a losophers of France and Germany living faith, resting on that rock of
pursue a course somewhat different revealed, positive truth of inspired in appearance, but identical in reality Scripture, enduring as 'the everlast- with that of their predecessors. They ing hills,' amid the surging fluctua- simulate a certain reverence for relitions of the mighty waters of human gion, while, at the same time, they opinions and human systems, and accommodate divine truth to their whose teaching philosophy may illus- vain theories, and really use Christitrate, but can never subvert nor anity only as a transition stage to insupersede.” *
fidelity. We wish Professor Fraser every Hegel, a celebrated recent German success in his undertaking. May he philosopher, attempted to evaporate be directed by the almighty grace of the adorable mystery of the blessed God to save the minds of his students Trinity into abstract logical formule! from error, and to “ inform” them in And bold, ursanctified speculators, the truth.
of a similar kind, are tainting, at this The Scotch are naturally a meta- moment, like a moral pestilence, the physical people. You cannot talk philosophical atmosphere of France with a peasant on any subject in re- and Germany. ligion, without seeing that he views May God, who has so often shielded it through the medium of subtle dis- Great Britain from danger, avert this tinctions, intensely irksome to the evil omen also, and protect us from
all assaults of a philosophy "falsely * Inaugural Lecture, p. 16. Lowe,
so called.” Edinburgh,
There is every reason to believe