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man being now admitted to the corporation by a mere subscription or donation, but only by election. This form of organization seems to us as safe against perversion, and at the same time as open to the influence of the public opinion to which it must look for support, as any that could be devised.
The only objection to this organization, which we have heard, is founded on the idea that for some reason, such an institution ought to be controlled directly and formally by ecclesiastical influence. Thus it has sometimes been said, "We don't like to see so great a movement under the control of any corporation or body of men, independent of the churches. It is not consistent with Congregationalism. Some of us are jure divino Congregationalists; and we would have such a business to be directed by the churches, acting through representatives chosen by themselves for the purpose." This idea may be good Presbyterianism-though we have doubts on that point; but we are sure there is no relish of Congregationalism in it. Congregationalism is utterly opposed to all permanent bodies professing to represent the churches and to act by their authority, even for purposes strictly ecclesiastical and spiritual. The tendency of all other systems is to aggregation-to those ideas and arrangements in which the feeling of individual power and individual responsibility, is merged in the feeling of the power and responsibility of a great and extended community; hence their provincial and national churches, their synods, their conventions, their great legis. lative assemblies. The tendency of Congregationalism, on the contrary, is to develope and direct the very feeling which other systems, in various degrees, counteract-the feeling of individual power and responsibility; hence its recognition of no church, other than the partic
ular congregation of believers, inde pendent, self-governed, a brotherhood over which there is no dominion but that of light and love, and in which each brother has hist voice and his vote. Accordingly, while other systems employ ecclesiastical agencies for almost all sorts of purposes, and have their theological seminaries, their colleges, their book concerns, managed by ecclesiastical functionaries, Congregationalism has nothing to do with such things. Where simple Congregationalism has had the forming of institutions, there is as much religious influence as elsewhere, though it does not appear in the form of ecclesiastical power or government. The business of the church is, by communion in worship and ordinances, by instruction, and by mutual influence, to incite its members to love and all good works; and it concerns itself as little as possible with the details of those things which can be better done by individuals, or by specific associations of individuals. So far do the Congregational churches carry their disposition to be clear of secular affairs, that they have ordinarily no property except their records and their sacramental vessels, and no treasury except to receive and disburse the little monthly contribution which supplies the elements for the communion table, and expresses to needy and suffering members, the sympathy of the spiritual body to which they belong. One of the beauties of Congregationalism-perhaps the greatest advantage which it has over other ecclesiastical systems, is, that the church, as a body, exists for purely spiritual purposes, and has almost nothing to do with any secular affairs.
The church-the spiritual body, including those who recognize each other as members of Christ-undertakes, in that capacity, no secular enterprise, enters into no civil contract, makes no ap
pearance in courts of justice, to sue or to be sued, to plead or to be impleaded. To build and to hold a house of worship, to provide for the support of the ministry, whether by permanent funds, or by taxes, or by voluntary annual subscriptions, the members of the church as individuals, unite with other individuals and form a voluntary civil and secular association, called "the parish," or "the ecclesiastical society." What Congregationalist would subvert this simple and equitable arrangement, which is every way so beneficial? The self same tendency of Congregationalism, which leads to the formation of parishes, or voluntary ccclesiastical societies, distinct from churches, leads also to the formation of voluntary societies for missions, and for other objects of Christian enterprise, at home and abroad.
Besides, what reason or equity would there be in the scheme of a convention of delegates from churches, assembled to regulate the appropriation of such a charity. According to the Congregational principle of the equality of churches, every church must have in such a convention, as many representatives as any other church. But in respect to the number of members able to appreciate such a charity as this, and able to contribute largely to its advancement, churches are obviously unequal. One church has many members able to render effectual assistance, and able to enter fully into the embarrassments of young men pursuing a college course in the face of pov erty; and by the members of that church, a thousand or two thousand dollars annually are given for this object. Another church is less favorably situated, and its members give annually for the same object, perhaps ten dollars, perhaps nothing. Is there either justice or reason, in the idea of allowing these two churches an equal voice in the
management of affairs in which their interest is so unequal? The directors of such an undertaking as that of the Education Society, ought to make their report, not to those who do not contribute, but to those who do contribute.
The American Board of Foreign Missions holds a yearly convention of its members, corporate and honcrary, at which all its proceedings are reviewed and all its interests discussed with perfect freedom. No man could look at that assembly at Norwich last September, and doubt whether the churches were sufficiently represented there. If the American Home Missionary Society, and the American Education Society-institutions so closely related and so mutually dependent as to be almost one-would unite in holding a similar convention from year to year, for the purpose of deliberating on the evangelization of America; the gathering of ministers and others, from all parts of the country, would soon be such that no one would think of inquiring whether the churches were duly represented.
Proceeding from the question of the organization of the Education Society, to examine the rules by which it acts, we find among the friends of the cause a more considerable variety of opinions than on any other topic. That the present system may be advantageously reformed, to some extent, is generally conceded; but to what extent, and in what way, is not so easily determined.
Some have suggested the idea of a place of education to be founded and managed by the Society itself, where all its beneficiaries may be educated, apart from others, by one body of teachers, in the same course of studies, and under the same discipline. It is supposed that such a method would be cheaper and better than the present system, which allows each beneficiary to
pursue his studies at whatever college or seminary may be most convenient or agreeable to himself cheaper, because the standard of expense being fixed without any reference to the factitious wants of the more affluent, might be brought down so low as to include only the coarsest fare and clothing, and the meanest accommodations, consistent with bodily health-and better, because the student would not be subject to the ordinary temptations of a college life, nor to the depressing mortification of juxtaposition with associates, who can wear better clothing and enjoy more indulgences than he can; and because all the influences of such a place would be in harmony with the design of educating young men in habits of devotion and self-denial.
It may be worth the while to look at this proposal for a moment. And first, without reference to its expensiveness or cheapness, let us look
at the value of this kind of education. Is it better, at the same cost, than the education which the young men, aided by the Society, are now enabled to acquire? We answer, without hesitation, No. The ministers wanted in such a country and such an age as this-the ministers wanted for the work in which the churches of this country ought to employ all the ministers they can obtain, cannot be educated in this way. What sort of ministers do we want, to preach the Gospel in city and country, in the states of the Atlantic and on the prairies of the Mississippi? What sort of ministers do we want, to go forth in our behalf to India and to China, to Persia and to Syria, as well as to Africa and Polynesia? We want ministers whose training has made them acquainted with men, who have looked upon the world not merely as it might be seen from the loopholes of a great secluded charity school, and who are on the same footing in respect to education, with
the most enlightened and influential men in other professions. At the preparatory school and at the col lege, those who are by and by to speak from the pulpit, occupy the same halls, study the same books, listen to the same instructors, sit in the recitation room on the same benches, with those who are by and by to rise to eminence in other professions. As fellow students with those who are to enter into other professions, and who in a few years will be found in all places of honor and of influence, they not only help to form their character, but they connect themselves by ties of mu tual respect and often of mutual affection, with those who are to adorn the legal and medical professions, with those who are to be distinguished in the walks of litera ture, with those who are to preside in the tribunal of justice, with those whose eloquence is to thunder in the Capitol, or whose diplomacy is to sway the destinies of nations. Young men at school and at college educate each other; and to the young aspirant for the sacred ministry, beginning his classical studies late, and pursuing them under many embarrassments, it is not the least of his advantages at college, that he is brought into competition and friendly collision with those who have enjoyed from childhood the best means and methods of intel lectual culture. As for the tempt. ations of a college life, he needs them all both for probation and for discipline. If he cannot withstand and overcome them, let him fall; he is not the man that we want for the ministry. If he overcomes them, he is the better for having encountered them. And as to the mortification of being poor and dependent, in the midst of associates and competitors who have enough, we say-experto crede-there is nothing killing in it. The great body of college students, every where in this country, and we dare
say, in other countries too, are men who regard a classmate with none the less of respect and affection, because he happens to be poor. The brainless, heartless fop, who does not honor the very poverty of a fellow student, struggling to maintain himself, is not worth regarding. But what would be the depressing influence of an education in the cloisters of a great alms-house.
Then as to the cheapness of such a system-would it be on the whole cheaper than the course now pursued. The idea is preposterous. With ever so many colleges around us, every one affording education to all comers at much less than cost, it is proposed to set up a new charity college, for the sake of getting an education still cheaper, not to the pupil, but to those who are at the expense of founding and sustaining the new institution.
Several particulars in the rules of the American Education Society, have been objected to with much appearance of reason. We will not go into those details here; but will bring our remarks to a close, with a statement of our own objections to the plan of loaning, instead of giving, aid to beneficiaries. We object first, to the theory which this form of aid assumes, in regard to the lucrativeness of the clerical profession; secondly, to the effect which it naturally produces on the character and habits of the beneficiary while pursuing his studies; and thirdly, to the position in which it places him after he enters the ministry.
that of the home missionary who labors in some particularly unpromising field-in which the beneficia. ry cannot be expected to repay what he has received; but these cases are regarded and treated as exceptions, the rule presumes his ability to pay. But is such a rule founded in fact? Is it true that the young man who enters the ministry can ordinarily be expected to repay, within a few years, the expenses of the eight or ten years which he has employed in educating himself for that profession? No. Where is the parish which expects to do more for its pastor than to enable him to live and support a family, comforta bly and respectably, according to their own average standard of comfort and respectability? Where is the parish which expects its pastor to lay up money out of his salary? Where is the parish which, if it finds that its minister is receiving, in the form of salary, more than enough to live on, is not likely to become uneasy? The salaries of ministers vary from three thousand dollars yearly to three hundred dollars, or less. But if a rich congregation in New York pay their pastor three thousand dollars, it is because they know he cannot live decently, according to their idea of decent living, or in other words, cannot live as they expect him to live, with less than that income. And if another congregation, in some agricultural district remote from the markets, give their minister only three hundred dollars, it is because they think that sum sufficient to provide for his family all the comforts which they enjoy in their own. In neither congregation do the people, when fixing the salary of their minister, take into consideration for one moment the capital which has been absorbed in his education. The only question with them is, What will it cost him to live among us as our families generally live? All those arguments
The theory on which the loaning system proceeds is this-that the profession of the ministry is so far a lucrative profession, that it may be expected not only to support those who enter upon it, but also to reimburse to them the expenses of their education. It is admitted, by those who formed the present system of rules, that there are cases-such as that of the foreign missionary, or
then, which are drawn from the readiness of young merchants and mechanics to begin business with borrowed capital, and their ability to repay that capital and grow rich afterwards, are inconclusive; for the analogy which they presuppose, does not exist. The young man entering into any secular business, expects to realize not merely a liv. ing, but profits to be accumulated; and out of his accumulations he can afford to repay the borrowed capital with which he begins. Not so with the young minister of the Gospel. His education is not a lucrative investment of capital, so long as he continues in the ministry. Let him turn aside to some secular employment; and as soon as his habits shall have been adjusted to his new business, he will show that his education is worth something, in the commercial sense, and can pay for itself. But in the work of the ministry, he can ordinarily be expected to gain no more than a living.
What then is the effect of this loaning system, on the character and habits of the beneficiary? The question is not what might be, in an isolated case, the effect of loaning money to an individual, to be repaid after he has finished his studies; but what must be the effect of such a system of education, on a body of young men so numerous as to constitute perhaps a moiety of all the expectants of the ministry? Why, the very first lesson which you teach them, when they begin to think of preparing themselves to preach the Gospel, is that the ministry is ordinarily a lucrative employment, affording to those who labor in it, not merely food and raiment and a shelter "convenient for them," but a surplus revenue above all necessary expenditures. Instead of teaching them to renounce at the outset all secular views, and to expect that while their associates of the workshop and the counting
house are growing rich, they are to be all their lives long in a condition of comparative dependence, and are never to get more than their living, you compel them to calculate somewhat on the lucrativeness of the clerical profession. Is this necessity of regarding the ministry as an employment which is to yield something more than a living, likely to have a good influence on those whom you thus train for the sacred work of the ministry? Would it not be better to say to them at the outset, You must not expect that the work of preaching the Gospel will enrich you, or will enable you to pay old debts; it is a self-denying work, and we would have you frame all your expectations accordingly.
But it is thought that to loan money to beneficiaries, and to hold them under obligation to repay all that they receive, will make them more frugal and careful than if the aid were bestowed as a simple gratuity. Undoubtedly, if you will open a treasury, and allow every one to put his hand in and help himself to as much as he thinks he ought to have, frugality and the dread of unnecessary expense will be no part of their learning, whatever else they may learn. But if the greatest allowance to a beneficiary be always the least that will enable him, with the utmost frugal. ity and with all reasonable exertion, to live from one appropriation to another, certainly there is no better way of teaching him frugality, than to give him that allowance, with the full understanding on his part, that he must live within those means or abandon his studies. "Owe no man any thing but love," saith the Scripture; and so ought the Education Society to say to all its ben. eficiaries. But instead of this, the whole discipline of the Society now teaches a contrary lesson. Through the whole course of his education, the beneficiary is taught to live up. on the future. Run in debt and