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for the article demanded, such a price as shall remunerate the cost of production. The only way in which the demand causes the supply, is by offering such a price as induces a sufficient number of men to withdraw their skill, their capital, and their labor, from other forms of industry, and to engage in the production of the article demanded. The notion, then, that the demand for an educated Christian ministry, may be safely relied on to work out its own supply, assumes-in the face of notorious and stubborn facts to the contrary-that the people of this country, and of every part of it, are both able and willing to pay for the services of Christian pastors, such a compensation as is necessary to induce a sufficient number of able and educated men to withdraw from secular employments and devote themselves to the preaching of the Gospel. Without this assumption, so utterly at variance with known facts, the notion of demand producing a supply, is no better logic than if, from the naked statement that ten or twenty years ago a given district was in a condition bordering on heathenism, some economist should undoubtingly infer that now it is well supplied with a Christian ministry; for surely, if it is an unfailing law, that demand, in the sense of mere destitution, produces a supply, that law must manifest itself in the phenomena of the present and of the past, as well as in the phenomena of the future.
Some arrangements then ought to be made, to secure the education of a suitable number of such men, properly qualified in other respects, as are willing to devote themselves to the work of the Christian minis. try. What arrangements and ef forts for such a purpose are the wisest? What system of measures for such a purpose, is likely to bring forward the best men, at the least expense to the Christian pub lic, and in the requisite numbers?
Before attempting any answer to this inquiry, we need to form some just idea of the number of men whom it is desirable to introduce into the Christian ministry, or at least of the principle by which the requisite number is to be determined. It has been common to say that in such a country as ours, there ought to be at least one well educated minister of the Gospel for every thousand souls; and it has been taken for granted, that till the educated evangelical clergy in the United States number as many thousands, as there are millions of population in the census, there is no danger that the ministry will become too numerous. In one sense, this is right. If the people of the United States were all members of Protestant Christian congregations, and if every congregation were to be supplied with an educated pastor, there would be needed at this moment, not less than eighteen thousand such ministers; and in less than fifty years from this time, if the same state of things be supposed to exist then, there would be needed fifty thousand. Christian patriotism, planning for the religious welfare of the country, has for its ultimate aim, nothing less than to place every family and every soul under the care of an able and faithful pastor; and of course when we calculate how to provide an adequate supply of such pastors, we ought to desire nothing less than one for every thousand souls. Yet it is true that there may be more ministers in the country than can find employment-and therefore, in an important sense, more than are needed-while yet the number falls far short of such a ratio. Ministers of the Gospel must not only be educated and licensed to preach; they must be put to work in their vocation, and they must be supported in their work. Ministers who for any reason cannot find em. ployment, and cannot live in their
ministry, are not needed. The work then of providing ministers, cannot go forward faster than the work of employing them when provided. And if the Christian people of this country do not intend to employ an increasing number of ministers, at home and abroad; and, particularly, if they do not intend to prosecute the home missionary work on a scale corresponding with the greatness of our territory, and the increase and dispersion of our population; there is little occasion for any very strenuous and extended effort to multiply the number of candidates for the ministry. But if, on the other hand, the work of evangelizing our whole country is to be prosecuted with increasing energy-if, particularly, the contributions to the American Home Missionary Society, and to other institutions aiming at the same object, are to be doubled within five years, and to be doubled again within five years more then we need to have in a course of training, at this moment, the young men who in five years, or in ten years from this time, will be called for, to bear their part, as pastors and evangelists, in the work of filling our whole territory, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the influence of pure Christianity. No man needs to be told that a minister of the word of God, is not ordinarily fitted for his work in a day, or in a year. No man needs to be told that if a thousand ministers of the Gospel in addition to the number now in the field, are to be called for in this country ten years hence, the thousand must be put to school immediately. If then we would act as wise men, with forecast and with a due economy of effort, our plans in this department, must be formed and prosecuted not with reference merely to the opportunities and means of giving employment to ministers, which happen to exist today-nor with reference merely to
the number of ministers that might be employed, if the whole country were already fully evangelizedbut with reference to the probable progress and success of other departments of evangelical enterprise. Find out how many ministers the American churches may be expect ed to employ, at home and abroad, ten years hence, more than are now in the field; and that is the number of the young men who ought to be coming forward, in addition to those who will be needed to fill up all the vacancies which time will make in the present supply.
To what extent, then, is an increased number of educated Christian ministers likely to be called for, by the Congregational and Presbyterian churches and missionary institutions, within eight or ten years to come? Let this question be considered for a moment, and it will be found to resolve itself into that other question, whether the Congregational and Presbyterian churches of this country are to be faithful or recreant in respect to the trust committed to them. As our population spreads out farther and farther towards the Pacific-as our population grows more crowded in the commercial cities and busy villages of the older states-what is to be the character of these increasing millions? Are they to keep the Sabbath holy, sitting under the ministry of enlightened Christian teachers? Is the work of evangelization in this country to go on, expanding itself from year to year, as the field to be occupied opens more widely and more invitingly? Is the whole empire of this Union, from ocean to ocean, and from the tropic to the wintry north, to be filled with the light of the Bible, and with the influences of simple, spiritual Christianity? so, then a thousand ministers more than are now employed, must be called for within ten years from this time, to supply churches that are not yet formed, and a population
that is not yet counted in the census. At the end of ten years from this time, there will be full five millions of people in our country, more than there are now; and if no more than one fifth of that increase is to be gathered into Christian congregations, and is to enjoy the labors of an enlightened and faithful ministry, there will be employment and support for a thousand ministers more than are employed to-day.
Returning now to the inquiry as to the system of arrangements and efforts by which the best men may be brought forward to the Christian ministry, in the requisite numbers, and at the least expense to the Christian public, we find first the proposal that this whole work be left to the spontaneous, unorganized be neficence of individuals and of congregations. It is proposed that men. of wealth, who are willing to cooperate in multiplying the number of educated ministers, be left to select, each one for himself, the young man whom he will aid at school and at college, and that each patron shall bestow upon his own individual beneficiary, just that amount and kind of assistance which he may judge necessary and proper. In the same way it is proposed that a particular church, finding in its communion a young man of promising character and talents, whose circumstances are such that he cannot be educated without charitable aid, shall encourage him to leave the farm or the workshop, and shall render him all the necessary aid in obtaining an education for the ministry. We would not say one word to discourage this kind of spontaneous beneficence. We have known more than one instance, in which a church has made one of its members its own beneficiary, and has been happy in its selection of the object, and in its administration of the charity. And we have known many instances, in which benevolent individuals have sought out in col. Vol. I.
leges or other institutions, the individual young men to whose support and advancement they found it a happiness to contribute. We would be far from discouraging any such beneficence on the part of churches or of individuals. But who can expect that this occasional, unassociated, unconnected beneficence-however amiable and pleasant it may be in particular instances-will be adequate to the exigency? How many young men would such beneficence alone call forth from circumstances of depression? Who would seek out those gifted and sanctified minds, which might be found in the obscurer walks of life, and which ought to be fitted to serve their country and their race in the work of the Gos pel? Who would bring such minds to the notice of the affluent and beneficent? Who would impress upon each church the duty of selecting, from among its sons, one or more to be the objects of its fraternal aid ? And where a church has its little offering to bestow, and has no member in its communion to whom that little offering would be a sufficient help, shall it do nothing? We do not believe that any man, having any just idea of the number of educated ministers whose labors must be called for within a few years to come, can seriously entertain the expectation that any isolated and unsystematized efforts of wealthy individuals, or of particular churches, will be sufficient.
In other quarters, it has been suggested, that this work of affording gratuitous aid to indigent and meritorious young men in their preparation for the ministry, may be left entirely with those who manage the affairs of colleges and other institutions for instruction. If a college is to provide gratuitous instruction and the means of support for indigent pupils, the provision must be made in one of two ways. Either the institution must obtain permanent endowments, the income of which
shall be adequate to such an annual expenditure; or by some continued agency it must collect, year after year, from the charitably disposed, whatever may be necessary for the instruction and support of its own beneficiaries. Suppose the former method to be attempted. To support two hundred and fifty such pupils in the various colleges of New England, at an average annual expense of no more than eighty dollars each, (which is the amount now allowed to beneficiaries by the rules of the American Education Society,) would require an aggregate of permanent endowments amounting to not less than the third part of a million of dollars. Admitting the desirableness of such endowments, is it probable that the requisite amount can be obtained? Admitting that endowments so magnificent could be obtained, would it be wise to obtain them for this specific purpose? It is well to endow colleges munificently, to furnish them with libraries, with apparatus in every department, and with the means of affording a partial support to professors; and thus to bring down the price of liberal education, so that not the rich only but those in humbler circumstances, shall be able to approach the fountains of universal knowledge. It may be well to endow colleges with the ability to afford gratuitous instruction to a selected portion of their pupils. It may be well to provide them with the means of encouraging eminent scholarship, in rare instances, by such rewards as shall enable him who wins them, to withdraw himself for a season from other toils, and to indulge that burning thirst for knowledge which distinguishes the gifted mind. But would it be entirely wise to endow the colleges with permanent funds sufficient to provide not only instruction, but lodgings, and diet, and clothing, for so great a host of dependent pupils? Abandoning, then, the idea of permanent
endowments for such uses, suppose the other method to be preferred, and that each college undertakes to collect, in charitable donations from its friends and from the public at large, two thousand, five thousand, or ten thousand dollars annually, according to the number and the wants of its beneficiary students. Who shall mark out, for each col lege, the province within which its agents shall operate for such a purpose?
What shall prevent an im
mediate clashing of the claims of rival institutions? In some instances-as, for example, when a college keeps its agent constantly in the field, soliciting donations for its current expenses-this method might be found practicable. But who would recommend the adoption of such a system by all the colleges? What pastor of a church would like to be visited this week by the agent of Yale College, and next week by the agent of Dartmouth College, and the third week by the agent of Amherst College, and then by the agent of Middlebury College, and so to the end of the chapter?
We cannot avoid, then, the necessity of some general organiza. tion for the purpose of aiding in the education of indigent young men, otherwise qualified, for the Christian ministry. Such an organization we have in the American Education Society; an institution, the useful. ness of which has the most ample attestations in the names of the distinguished men in all parts of this country, and in the various fields of foreign missionary labor, who have been educated by its aid, and who, without such aid, would probably not have been qualified for the service of Christ, as preachers of his Gospel.
In the commercial embarrassment of these times, the Education Society has suffered more, perhaps, than any other of our leading benevolent institutions. It has suffered not only directly, as other institutions have
suffered, in consequence of the diminished resources of its friends, but indirectly, in consequence of the number of ministers who are found in some parts of the country, unemployed, or not employed in their profession. The missionary boards, home and foreign, having been somewhat crippled, and the distresses of the country having operated in various ways to cause a temporary check in the work of evangelization, it has happened that in some districts there are just now a few ministers, men of great worth, men who if employed in the right place might be highly useful, who, to the question" Why stand ye here idle all the day long?" are compelled to answer, "Because no man hath hired us." And from this the impression has gone abroad, to a considerable extent, that the education societies have not only done but overdone their proper work, and that the country is already over-supplied with ministers. We need not stop here to show the fallacy of such an impression. The true remedy for this state of things-the most efficient method of removing, from all minds, so fatal an impressionwould be found in an expansion of the missionary work in every direction. The true remedy for a surplusage of ministers in certain districts, is not to abandon the enter prise of providing an educated ministry for the whole country and for the world, but to send forth to other regions all who are properly qualified, and to put them at work, and keep them at work, where their la bors will be effectual for the advancement of the kingdom of God. As yet this remedy has not been applied. The American Home Missionary Society, if it had the means of expanding its operations in some proportion to the exigencies of the great West, would give instant employment to twice as many enterprising and devoted ministers as can be found unemployed in all the re
gion this side of the Alleghanies. But the Home Missionary Society— strange to say-has not the means for any such movement. And there. fore it is, that young men whom God has called, are discouraged from entering the ministry, and the Christian community is discouraged from attempting to provide that increased number of well educated ministers which must soon be called for, unless the enterprise of evangelizing our whole country is to be abandoned.
At such a crisis, it was a matter of course, that whatever elements of unpopularity might exist either in the structure of the American Education Society, or in the details of its operations, would come to light. The time was favorable for a discussion, and for a revision, and if necessary a reconstruction of the whole system. Accordingly the directors of the society determined, wisely, as we think, to ask the advice of their constituents. They called a meeting of the corporate and honorary members, for the purpose of fully considering the whole subject. In a circular letter to the members, they distinctly expressed the desire that those who had changed their minds respecting the importance of the object, or who had any objections against the policy of the society, would not fail to come and aid in the deliberations of the meeting. We shall give some account of that meeting in another place; we notice it here, only to show with what candor and frankness the directors have invited discussion.
The present organization of the American Education Society, is analogous to that of the American Board of Foreign Missions. Every man who has paid, or in whose be. half others have paid forty dollars in one donation, is an honorary member, with a right to sit and debate in all the meetings of the society. The right of voting be longs to corporate members, no