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timents would be reckoned heretical by one of those bodies and orthodox by another.” (Appeal, p. 69.)
The ingenious Mr. Western, upon seeing three persons engaged in combat, very sagaciously concluded that two of them must be upon one side. But it would be unsafe to draw a similar inference from a discussion in which three or four Universities * were engaged; and the consequence of investing the Universities with the power in question, may therefore be to present us upon a given subject with three or four different infallible rules of faith, each differing from each of the others, and all peradventure in opposition to the sentiments of the Church upon the same subject. But there is another reason why this power to decide upon questions of theology ought not to be possessed by the Universities, and that reason is, that the learned bodies in question so far from being able to decide controverted points in theology, know, in fact, nothing of that science at all; and neither teach nor learn it. The late discussions of several projects for altering the system of education at Cambridge, were founded in a great degree upon the fact that “theology is scarcely, if at all, introduced into the course in that University.” (Times, May 20th, 1841.) In the same document it is asserted that the “ first principle of the system of education adopted in that renowned seminary, is to give every man a liberal education independently of the profession to which he may ultimately turn himself :” and the authority of the Rev. Henry Melvill is adduced in support of the position, that “the best method of becoming ultimately a theologian is to devote one's self in the first instance to the study of the mathematics."
In a review of Dr. Peacock's Observations on the Statutes of the University of Cambridge, in the Times of the 14th April, 1841, the following statement is made upon this subject :
* The grand delinquency of the Universities is confessed to be the slender and inadequate training they afford to students destined for the Christian ministry. Except occasional sernions at St. Mary's, the divinity student hears at Cambridge no theological lectures worth the name.
The Norrisian Professor of Divinity is compelled to read through Pearson on the Creed, in each course of lecturesdition, as Dr. Peacock remarks, which would infallibly clear his lecture room, did not the bishop require from candidates for holy orders his certificate of regular attendance. Butler's Analogy, once lectured upon in the University, has disappeared before the all-absorb
* Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, and Durham.
ing mania for mathematics. Occasionally college lectures are given on the Greek Testament, upon one of the Gospels or the Acts of the Apostles—seldom or never on the Epistles. Paley's Evidences, too, are read. With this slender furniture most of our young clergy set
their arduous task. Of rhetoric as an art-of DIVINITY as a science-of casuistry—of criticism, as applied to the SACRED SCRIPTURES, THEY KNOW NOTHING. All, all has to be learned, amidst the cares and interruptions of parochial labour; for, during the few months which in general intervene between the degree and the bishop's examination, unaided and alone, the student adds but little to his stock of real knowledge."
This is certainly a very flourishing state of affairs. But perhaps the reader will be able to form a more satisfactory notion of the amount of theological instruction which is imparted under the present system, by seeing the programme of that which Dr. Peacock proposes to introduce. This proposal we take from the same paper which we have already quoted, into which it has been copied in the words of Dr. Peacock himself:
“We should be disposed to recommend regular and systematic courses of lectures to be given every year on the following subjects :
“On the doctrines, liturgy, and articles of our Church, by the Norrisian professor.
“On the Hebrew language, by the regius professor of Hebrew. “On biblical criticism, more especially of the language and books of the New Testament, by a professor of biblical criticism, to be hereafter appointed.
“On ecclesiastical history, more particularly of the first four centuries after Christ, by a professor of ecclesiastical history, to be hereafter appointed.
“On the canon of Scripture and the writings and opinions of the early fathers, by the Lady Margaret's professor of divinity.
" On moral philosophy and the principles of moral evidence as affecting the grounds of religious belief, by the professor of moral philosophy."
From this enumeration it would appear that there are at present no lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge upon the DOCTRINES of the Protestant Establishment, or upon its LITURGY, or upon its ARTICLES, or upon biblical criticism, or ecclesiastical history, or the canon of Scripture, or the writings or opinions of the fathers, or even upon moral philosophy or the principles of moral evidence as affecting the grounds of religious belief. The decisions of such a University upon the subject of theology, must be as valuable, as satisfactory, and as conclusive as the decision of Costard in Love's Labours Lost, upon a certain well-known arithmetical problem :
Biron. And three times thrice is nine.
Costard. Not so, sir, under correction, I hope it is not so. I hope, sir, that three times thrice, sir
Biron. Is not nine ?
Costard. Under correction, sir, w know whereunto it doth amount.
Biron. By Jove, I always took three times three for nine.
Costard. Oh Lord, sir, it were a pity you should be obliged to get your living by reckoning.
Biron. How much is it then?
Costard. The parties themselves, sir, will shew whereunto it doth amount. —Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. Scene 2.
With regard to a few items in the above-given “ bill of particulars," it may be mentioned that “all which is required from the divinity student at ordination, is a certificate of attendance upon the Norrisian Professor of Divinity for twenty lectures in one term, * no test whatever being demanded of his information.” That during the delivery of the said lectures, the majority of the divinity(!) students hold in their hands volumes of all sizes, descriptions, and shapes, history, poetry, novels, travels-whilst some think it a good opportunity to prepare for their examination in Paley's Evidences, or rather in a mere selection from it (p. 28); whilst others of the divinity (!) students amuse themselves with a song book or a jest book, and train themselves for the entertainment of a comING SUPPER PARTY”! (Letters, No. 2, pp. 20-21.)
Nor is the Norrisian professor at all singular in his inutility. Indeed he is very much exceeded in this negative line by some other individuals of the same class; for we find that the Lady Margaret's professor of divinity, in the course of twentyeight years, up to 1836, had acquitted his conscience by delivering at the rate of about a lecture and a half per annum, in the form of sesquiplicate sermons, which he spoke from the pulpit of St. Mary's Church. The author of the Letters appears to think that “these great defects may be supplied by an extension of the professorship of casuistry.” (No. 2, p. 44.) How this “extension” is to be effected, or what the meaning or nature of the proposed extension can be, we are unable to conjecture, as the writer himself had informed us in the preceding page, that the learned professor of casuistry, a certain Dr. Barnes by name, had, from the date of his appointment in 1813 up to 1837, a period of nearly a quarter of
“ Letters on the condition of the English Universities, considered as nurseries of the Established Church, by a Graduate of Cambridge ;” No. 2, pp. 10-11.
a century, actually delivered no lecture at all! The author of the Letters takes upon him to assert that the said Dr. Barnes, at the time of his election, was too old to be competent to perform the duties of any professorship. He possessed, however, the advantage of being able to give in his own favour two of the five votes which were necessary to his election. The letter-writer observes, “ that the worthy professor must have exercised the utmost efforts of his art to quiet his own conscience as to the manner of his election :" and we may add—as to the manner in which he conducted himself during the continuance of his office. A man whose casuistical capacity was adequate to the tranquillising of his own conscience in such circumstances must have been a master in his art; and the extraordinary evidence of his ability, furnished by the fact of his having never delivered a lecture, affords an additional and perhaps the strongest reason for lamenting that so great a genius should not have given his thoughts to the world upon a subject so important in itself, and to which his abilities appear to have been so peculiarly adapted. In the University of Cambridge there is no professor of moral philosophy at all.* (Letter, No. 1, p. 44.)
It is unnecessary to enter into any details about the University of Oxford. The Graduate of Cambridge informs us (No. 2, p. 28, note), that the preparation for the examination for a degree, including the DIVINITY, “is usually made in a very few days," by the well-known process of cramming; and that, in fact, there is no substantial difference between these two “nurseries for the Established Church,” in the extent and character of the theological knowledge which they confer upon the clergy of the establishment. “That the clergy of the Church of England, when considered in the persons of the majority, and not through the medium of a few bright examples, are at present grossly ignorant;” and “ that, in particular, the country clergy are generally ignorant of the very foundations of their faith” (Letter, No. 2, pp. 14-24), is a consequence which the Graduate of Cambridge very confidently deduces from the facts already mentioned. Of the value of a decision by such persons upon a theological subject there can be no doubt, if we consider their adjudication merely in the aspect of reasoning and information. How far “the Church” would in any sense defer to a decision by a convocation of such persons in the case of the University of * One has, we believe, been appointed since the publication of the “Letter.”
Oxford, we know not; as the most eminent individuals in the establishment observe a complete silence upon the subject.
Neither the archbishop of Canterbury, nor even the bishop of Oxford, nor indeed any other ecclesiastical “authority, appears to have considered it any part of his or their duty to take any public notice of such a state of affairs, or to give so much as an authentic public manifestation of their opinions upon any of the subjects in question. As the matter stands, we have the regius professor of theology declared heterodox by a “ tumultuous assembly” of divines possessing no ecclesiastical judicial authority, and scarcely any acquaintance with theology: which assembly was convened by other divines in the University, which other divines are condemned as heretical by the hebdomadal board of the same University; which board has as little authority over the subject matter as the conveners against whom they pronounced sentence of condemnation; which condemnation of the board would be condemned by the convocation, if they were only summoned together for the purpose : whilst the persons who are colloquially called the heads of the Church, appear to have either no authority or no inclination to interfere, even to the smallest extent, in such extraordinary proceedings. The gentleman who is the avowed author of the Tract No. 90, which the board condemned, affirms (Times, 17th March), “ that [notwithstanding the resolution of the board] his opinion remains unchanged, as well of the truth and honesty of the doctrine maintained in the Tract, as well as of the necessity of putting it forth.” Whilst Mr. Sewell, the professor of moral philosophy in the same University, affirms, in the postscript to his letter to Dr. Pusey, that Mr. Newman is “entitled to the gratitude of the Church for having revired many most important truths” which “ the Church
had, as we suppose, allowed to go altogether to sleep. Another of the Tracts, which have proceeded from the same quarter, has the following passage : "Let the Church [i.e. the Church of England go on teaching with the stammering lips of ambiguous formularies and inconsistent precedents." (Letter of a Protestant, in the Times of Tuesday, March 9.) In the same letter it is stated that Mr. Froude hated the Reformers, liked Bonner, and thought Bishop Jewel an irreverent dissenter; and that Mr. Newman said that “he looked upon the communion service with grief and impatient sorrow ; ” and such or similar must be taken to be the sentiments of the members of the