Page images
PDF
EPUB

his angry feelings, and strength for his enfeebled energies: and more especially dangerous to the young mind inquiring for knowledge, is an exclusive devotion to controversy—every thing even in the system of divine love assumes an hostile aspect, every dispensation of divine mercy becomes a subject, not of humbled grateful meditation, but of angry competition, and the prize proposed is “not growth in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ,” but the fame of greater acuteness in maintaining preconceived opinions, and using, too often for human purposes, the weapons taken from the sanctuary of God, or supplied by the learning and piety of antiquity. Disputation becomes the babit of the mind-discussion not the means but the end—the husk of religion is mistaken for the bread of life, the Bible itself is read but to supply materials for unboly warfare, and each life-giving text valued but as it can be degraded down to controversy, and moulded to disputation. In such a spirit do we conceive the Roman Catholic priesthood derive their education; hence, are the Scriptures an unnecessary part of the system, because regarded only with this view; they have been extracted and cut up by previous polemics, whose labours give the dry text of Scripture wrested from its life and its meaning; and hence in all the discussions we have recently witnessed, while the Roman Catholic clergy have perhaps quoted Scripture, though inaccurately, and displayed a tolerable acquaintance with the common places of controversy, they manifested a lamentable unacquaintedness with the spirit and meaning of the very words they quoted, were frequently unable to find out the very places they referred to, and totally unable to meet the passages of divine writ opposed to their opinions.*

The reader who looks over the annexed quotations, and who remembers that the Church of Rome, by elevating tradition to the same rank as the written word, renders the study of the Scriptures of minor importance, will probably agree with us that they bear out all our observations, and that we are justified in ascribing to this system, when connected with the life of service and

ceremony

that the Parish priest must lead, the cause of the indifference, or rather hostility to the sacred volume, and the ignorance displayed in reference to it that mark the Irish Roman Catholic Church :

" Will you bave the goodness to state generally what are your duties as Professor of sacred Scripture and Hebrew ?- I have two classes each week in Scripture, one on Wednesday, and the other on Saturday, an hour each day; after the class of Scripture on Wednesday, it is part of my duty to hear the students giving exhortations on the Gospels or Epistles for the following Sunday; or if I do not employ them in that duty, I generally take up the balf hour myself in giving them an exposition of

*We bave ventured on these observations not more on account of tbeir connexion with the subject, than to warn our young Protestant students against a too exclusive attention to controversy. They ought to devote themselves to it, but in subordination to the higher and nobler objects of their sacred function. So deteriorating is its influence, that to Protestants it is a matter of surprise, if they find in the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood, with wbom controversy is a principal subject, an individual of real spiritual views, while in parts of Ronan Catholic Europe where Protestantism bas no terrors, and education therefore, not exclusively of a disputatious turn, we are not so much astonished at discovering the sublimated characters of a Quesnel and a Fenelon.

[ocr errors]

some passage of Scripture, that may not be sufficiently explained during the hour of class; the class being only two hours in the week, and being obliged to interrogate the students, there is very little time left for my own exposition of the Scripture, and therefore occasionally I use that half hour on Wednesday, for the purpose of a more extensive explanation, I am at liberty to use the half hour after class on Wednesday, either for the exposition of Scripture, or to give an opportunity to the young gentlemen of giving expositions of the Epistles or Gospels that are read in the Church on the Sunday following, in order that they may be trained, when they go out on the mission, to give a just view of the Gospel, and the moral instruction conDected with it, or naturally flowing from it.

" What part of the students attend your class ?--All those at the College that are studying theology attend my class.

They amount at present to nearly 200 ?—They amount at present to about 160 or 170.

Is not that a larger number than you can well instruct ?—The instruction that is given to one is at the same time communicated to every person ; what is really difficult for use is, that I am obliged to interrogate every person in the course of the year, in order to make an estimate of their relative merits; for this I find the time very short. At the latter period of the year, I generally reserve a few days of class in order to give some general idea of the questions connected with the Scriptures generally ; such as of the Hebrew text, of the Greek text, or of the Latin text; or of general subjects, such as the authority on which the Scriptures rest, their genuineness, integrity, &c. ; such questions are discussed generally at that period of the year.

“Do your lectures comprehend both the Old and the New Testament ?-I confine myself principally to the New Testament, but occasionally I discuss some passages of the Old Testament; in a preparatory class, the young men are taught the bistory of the Old Testament.

“ Have you any thing in the nature of disputation upon themes connected with this course of instruction ?- There are exercises once a month in the classes. The Professor gives a written syllabus, as we call it, of the contents of the chapter in the Testament or Bible; the young men are called 'on to argue one against the other, and in this case one will take up a particular point, which he conceives to be the true sense of the passage, and another will object to him.

“Do your lectures comprehend the whole of the New Testament?—No, not the wbole ; the most difficult parts. We see in detail the Gospel of St. Matthew, comparing it with those of St. Mark and St. Luke; afterwards we see pretty much in detail also, the Gospel of St. John. We read in detail the Epistle to the Romans, with reserence to that to the Galatians; we read also in detail the Epistles to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews; also the Epistles to Timothy and to Titus, with some of those of St. Peter ; so upon the whole, we have a tolerably extensive view of the New Testament.

Do you lecture at all upon the book of Revelation ?-No.

“You read the book of Exodus, of course ?-We have never read the book of Exodus in class, but we have bad reference to it occasionally.

“ The commandments are given in the book of Exodus ?- They are.

“ Do you ever go through the commandments ?-I never went through them publicly in class; I might have referred to them occasionally, but I never gave an exposition of them in class.

Do you read the Prophets ?-We bave not read the Prophets.

“ Do you read the Psalms ? -We read some of the Psalms in Hebrew, but we have not bad time for the Prophets or Psalms in the ordinary class.

“Do you read the Maccabees ?-No, we never read the Maccabees.

“ At the end of the year do you begin a new course, or go over the same one again ?— We begin a new course every year.

“Do you take a new set of chapters ?-A new set of chapters.

“ How many of that number are you enabled to interrogate upon the subjectmatter of the lecture in any one day ?--Generally four; sometimes five, sometimes six.

“Do you find the students generally well prepared with the subject-matter of the lecture ?— They are generally tolerably well prepared; they have a great deal of other duties to attend to ; they have also to attend the class of speculative theology and the class of moral theology.

“Will you define exactly the distinction you make between speculative theology and moral theology ?-Speculative theology I understand to refer to the dogmas of faith ; it is sometimes called dogmatic theology ; its objects are the mysteries of religion; moral theology is confined to the duties of man to God, to his neighbour, and to himself.

“ What do you conceive may be the amount of time spent in preparation by the young men, upon an average, for your Scripture lecture ? It is only by conjecture that I am able to answer that question; I imagine two or three bours for each lecture,

“ How many hours in the week do tbe lectures in speculative theology require ?Four for one week, and five for the other.

66 Then are there pipe hours in each week occupied in class by dogmatical and moral theology ?—There are.

“How many hours do you suppose are occupied in each week in preparing for those lectures which occupy nine hours ? — For the morning class there are three hours in the morning ; for the second class, there are two hours in the middle of the day; after the second class, there are three hours in the evening, which they may apply to either study, or to the study of the Scripture.

“ Are those eight bours per day occupied in preparation for the dogmatic and moral theology classes - Yes, that may be the case.

“ Does that amount to forty-eight bours in a week ? - It does; but then they are not bound to give that time exactly to it; they are at liberty to study what they please in theology during those hours. They may study Scripture if they please during those bours, or they may study moral theology at an hour when it migbt naturally be expected that they should study dogmatic theology.

“ But the moral and dogmatic theology occupy, according to the College regulations, about nine hours in class, and about forty-eight hours of preparation in the week ?- I think pretty much in that way. I cannot say exactly that that time is devoted to the study of moral and dogmatical theology; the student may, if he please, give eight or ten bours to the study of Scripture.”-Appen. p. 150, 151, 152.

“ Is there any alteration that you think would be an improvement to the College? I would give fair play to the study of mathematics and of the Scriptures, because the study of the mathematics prepares the mind for the study of disputed subjects, and to understand the merits or demerits of the proofs that are given afterwards... When they enter on the course of divinity, that the Scriptures should be far less attended to than by compilations made by the professors themselves, with a few texts of Scripture in them, and that all the time of the students in the two classes of divinity should be taken up with those compilations, so as not to allow them time to read the Scriptures, or to compare the texts of Scripture they receive in the compilation with the context ;-that all their time should be occupied in that manner, I think is not giving religion fair play.”-Appen. p. 53%.

“Was there any thing in the course of the studies at Maynooth which you thonght capable of improvement, or liable to objection ?-I cannot well suy whether at that time f'did conceive that the studies of the house could be improved, if I except the more particular study of Scripture in the College.

“ Will you explain what you mean by that?-I mean that the study of the Scriptures in the College was rather confined.

“ Are you speaking of that as an opinion that you entertain now, or that you entertained then ?--Both now and then; I was of opinion then, and I have been since, that the study of the Scriptures is a study comparatively neglected in the College, and which might be enlarged.

Will you state what course of study of the Scriptures was pursued by you and the students in the same class with you?-When I entered the College I attended the Scripture class twice a week for the two first years, reading the five books of Moses ; I think that was all that we had read, during the two first years ; then there was an interruption of the Scripture class; in my third year I belonged to a class wbich as far as I recollect did not attend to it, and then I commenced it again in my fourth year, when I was bound to attend a Scripture class twice a week, when the professor called on any individual whom he chose in the class to account for any portion of Scripture that was appointed for that day.

Was it to the New Testament that your attention was directed ?-Yes, it was to the New Testament at that time.

What portion of the New Testament did you go through in those lectures ?-I think during the time I was in, that I only went through the first of Corinthians during the half year.

“ You went through no portion of any one of the Gospels ?--No.

" When you left Maynooth had you read any one of the Gospels ? — Yes I had ; I bad read the Gospel of John.

“ Will you state what portion of the New Testament you had read in Maynooth, including both public and private study ?—I read the Gospel of St. John before I went to the College at all, and I read a portion of the Gospel of Luke, and I read the Epistle to the Romans, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah ; I think those I had read in private, but in public I had read none but the first of Corinthians.”. Appen. p. 362, 363.

It would appear by the evidence given by some of the witnesses, that the possession of a Bible or Testament was not imperative on the students; it would seem that it was generally left to their own choice, and that for the business of class they are in the habit of borrowing one from the other:

“ Did the Old or the New Testament at that time form any part of your study ? Except the extracts used there, the old or New Testament, considered as such, formed no part of the study then, or at any other period.

“What extracts do you refer to ?--Reeves's extracts, and afterwards extracts made by the Scripture Professor.

“Do you mean to say that Reeves's hook consists of extracts from the Scriptures ? - It is a compilation, and I accordingly consider it as consisting of extracts chiefly ; I do not know how to understand it, except that it is an arrangement of extracts from the Scriptures.

“Were you in possession of a Bible at the time :--No. “Had you access to any Bible at the time ?- No.

“Are the Commissioners to understand you as saying, that during the four years you were at Maynooth, you had not a copy of the Scriptures in your possession as your own private property ?-I had not that I can recollect, nor was it required of me that I should have such a book as a class-book.

Was it not required of you, upon entering the College, that you should furnish yourself with one sor your own private use ? - Certainly not that I can recollect,

“ Was there not such a regulation generally adopted in the College ?-It is certainly the first time I ever heard of it.

“Do you mean that you never heard that such a regulation existed till the present moment?—That is what I mean to express,

« Is it your distinct evidence, that at the time when you were in the College, it was not the habit of the young men to have each a copy of the Scriptures in his own private apartment ?-Decidedly, as a general practice.

“Do you mean to say that you knew of none who had it :- I was not required to have a copy of the Scriptures in my possession, nor to have recourse to them; nor did I know of its being the case that many other persons bad.

“ Speaking of that minority, whatever the number may have been, what proportion of them do you conceive, as a matter of fact, had the Scriptures in their private possession in their rooms ? I really did not know of any.

“Do you mean distinctly to state that the majority of the students attending the Scripture lectures did not refer to the original Scriptures, in order to prepare themselves, but rested satisfied with the notes you describe ?-I am perfectly satisfied it was so.

“ While they are preparing in the public balls for the Scripture lectures, wbut number of copies of the Bible may you have seen upon the tables ?-I may have occasionally seen perhaps a few copies of the Douay Testament lying on the desks, but I have not known them to have been laid before a person for regular study.

“Were they ordinarily handed about from one to another, or were they not? Not handed about, but if I chose to ask for one, of the student who was possessed of such a book, and that he chose to lend it to me, I then used it.

“ Does not the bookseller of the College of Maynooth openly sell Testaments to any person who chooses to buy them ? - I suppose so; I never bought one from the bookseller to the College of Maynooth; the only books that the students were obliged to buy are Dr. Delahogue's Treatises upon controversial theology, and also a small treatise that the professor of mathematics published ; the students were obliged to possess themselves of these books, and I have not known them to be obliged to purchase any other books.”—Appen. p. 319–322.

When you were a student at Maynooth, were the Scriptures of either the Old or New Testament read by the students ?-Only occasionally; that class was neglected in a great degree at that time; and all the time that I was there, except the last few months I spent in College.

“Do you remember whether you were in possession of a Bible during the time you were a student at Maynooth 2-1 was not during the whole time I was there, except the last year, wben I got a Latin Bible as a premium.

“ Were many of the students possessed of Bibles ?-No; some of them had a New Testament.

“Then although it was not required, and although you were in no way encouraged to do so, yet you were in no way discouraged from doing so ?-I cannot say that I was discouraged; but the time of the students of divinity is so filled up with the classes of dogmatic theology and moral theology, that they had pot time to study the Scriptures."— Appen. p. 350.

“ Had you a Bible of your own when you were at Maynooth ?-1 had a Latin Bible,

« EelmineJätka »