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phenomena of the earth - in situ, until his mind is sufficiently familiar with their appearance to enable him to form a definite and lively picture from a verbal description ; and then in a short time by the aid of books he can learn the outlines of the geology of the earth ; whereas an entire life devoted exclusively to this topic and under the most favorable circumstances, would scarcely suffice for the acquisition of the same knowledge by personal inspection. If it be true, then, that the mere book-worm may be a man without experience or knowledge of the world, it is equally true that both the experience and knowledge of him who is destitute of the information contained in books, will be very limited, and the result of limited experience are usually manifest in his life. „Not having sufficient knowledge of other minds to compare his own with them, and being nearer to himself than any one else, he becomes magnified in his own eyes, thinks himself much larger than others, and becomes self-confident and self-sufficient. Unacquainted with other movements and the causes of their failure, he rashly promotes his own regardless of consequences ; having never travelled beyond his own little garden, he supposes that light exists only there, and that a resistance to any of his notions, however trivial or eccentric, is a resistance to light, and he is accordingly extremely intolerant. Being persuaded that all his own views are exactly as they should be, and having no idea that the rest of the world has the capacity or the right to modify them, he pays no regard to their judgment. He hates the doctrine of expediency, (which, as Johnson defines it, is propriety, fitness, suitableness to an end,) and drives himself forward into all kinds of ultraism. Short, stormy and disastrous, is the career of such a mind, whether it take the extreme of innovation or conservatism, to either of which it is equally liable.. Men of such dispositions, taking different sides, fall into violent, personal, and exterminating controversies, in which truth is entirely lost sight of, and the only object at last comes to be, to trample on each other if possible
4. It leads to bad taste and wrong standards of judgment among the people, which reacts on the profession,
A minister niay have many defects, and yet possess some winning excellencies which endear Irim to his people, and give him great influence among them. People at large are not very discriminating, and associating the defects of the minister with their love of his excellencies, and feeling the beneficial results of his good influence without analyzing the causes which have produced it, they often esteem his bad faults, his bad taste, his ascetical defects, as highly as his yirtues, and no less potent for good. A wrong standard of judgment is formed, and as it is much easier to imitate a fault than to rival an excellence, if the people demand what is faulty, this demand reacts on the profession; and thus all the defects, with but few of the virtues, of a favorite leader, may be entailed on successive generations.
5. It leads to a general unsteadiness and fickleness on the part of both preacher and hearer.
Nothing but truth and real excellence can have a permanent hold on the mind. Error and bad taste, however firmly rooted they may seem to be for a time, must continually change their form in order to retain their hold. Hence, where people have been accustomed to admire faults, there must be variety in the faults to afford some pleasure, and they will heap up to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and the preacher too, having no great stores in his mind, soon runs out, exhausts all his artifices, and must go where he has not been known before in order to run through the same words again.
6. It produces spasmodic leaps back and forth ; instead of a steady, progressive improvement.
A steady, progressive movement in excellence, requires a thorough preparation and complete furnishing of the mind with all the materials of advancement, and it is only those who are thus prepared and furnished that are qualified to take the lead in society. Without this, the adventurous novice may for a time make bold leaps, and seem for a while to be outstripping his-more cautious and surer neighbor ; but his leaps are irregular, sometimes sideways, and sometimes backwards; he jars and loosen's the frame-work of society, and finally leaves it very little in advance of the spoť where he started,—and so disjointed and disordered as to be incapable of steady progress till we have outlived the effect of his ill-advised schemes.
7. It produces habits of indolence in respect to mental culture, and the substitution of bodily exercise for godliness.
Bodily exercise, says the Apostle, profiteth little, but godliness is profitable to all things ; meaning by bodily exercise the physical expressions of religious emotion, and by godliness the devotion of the heart to God.. An undisciplined and unfurnished mind, after it has once tasted the excitement of public life, becomes increasingly averse to habits of close mental application. But something must be done to secure a hearing, and to hide the lack of real thought, tones, gestures, grimaces, and various other sorts of bodily exercise are resorted to, which, as the Apostle says, profit but little. The mere excitement of public life renders this bodily exercise an attainment of easy acquisition.
8. It occasions a failure to accomplish the real objects of the ministry ; a consequent loss of respect and influence, and a real deterioration of the profession.
The real object of the ministry is the advancement of society in all intellectual and moral excellence, by a judicious application of
the principles and motives of true religion. It has already been seen that this object cannot be accomplished by an undisciplined and unfurnished mind; and if it is not accomplished, the failure must of course bring the profession into disrepute with the’enlightened portion of the community. If the ministry loves the respect of the community, it needs to have influence; and as few men of real power would love to enter a profession which was so circumstanced, it necessarily deteriorates, and the evil continually
Finally, in consequence of this loss of respect for and deterioration of the ministry, the profession becomes a secondary object with those who engage in it, and the work of ruin is completed.
A man cannot afford to devote his whole time to a profession which has little weight in society, and without entire devotion of mind and heart to a single pursuit, no one can become eminent ôr secure for the pursuit a requisite share of the public confidence. Most of all is this true in respect to the ministry ;. the whole honor of which for good, in the present age, depends on the amount of intellectual and moral strength which it can put forth. Any thing, therefore, which diminishes the intellectual and moral strength of the ministry, especially the giving to it but a half or a third part of a man's time and power, must cause it to deterioratė as fast as its enemies can desire, and lead to a speedy and entire ruin.
Here are some of the most prominent evils, both to the profession and to the public, which must result from crowding the ministry with men incompetent to the discharge of its duties.
These evils have already been experienced to an alarming extent, and they will increase yet more until the cause is removed. I do not say that these eyils are peculiar to the West, they exist in all parts of the nation į nor are they confined to one or two of the several denominations into which christians have divided themselves, for all denominations have participated more or less in the neglect, and are experiencing each their share of the consequences.
I do not here undertake to prescribe any particular method of study, or any definite period of time to be devoted to it, as a · remedy for these evils. All I insist upon is that the real remedy lies in having the ministry stocked with men of well disciplined and well furnished minds, wherever and however this discipline and furniture may be obtained. All the men who have done honor to their profession in any denomination, have been men of this description; and the mischief-makers and the degraders of the profession, have been men of the opposite description. It is
true, indeed, that some who enjoy the advantages of the college and professional seminary, as the poet Burns expresses it,
Gang in stirks and come out asses!"
and that some who are destitute of these advantages are nature's noblemen, by their own energies retrieving all the defects of early want. This, I believe, for the mass of mankind and the
average of the professions, the college and the professional seminary are indispensable requisites to suitable preparation, and consequently to judicious and efficient action.
That is an auspicious day to any country, on which the subject of training the young mind for usefulness and aiding it in developing its mental powers, is made a subject of serious consideration and active effort, and more to be regarded even than the day on which statesmen and patriots meet to devise plans for sustaining our institutions of freedom ; because in a few years those who occupy the highest stations in the gift of a free and enlightened people., must yield them to those who are now mere school-boys. And what nation that was not both enlightened and virtuous, ever long sustained her institutions of freedom? To secure these great objects the mind must be improved ; and this must extend to the great body of the people. It is not enough that we have scattered over our land colleges and other seminaries of learning. Our common schools, the people's colleges, must be well sustained ; and supplied with teachers who are virtuous as well as competent to teach the branches which they undertake, if we would look for good results. For in them the mind usually receives its first impulse, and perhaps its strongest bias.
Behold that little group of children, congregated in some log cabin, where the mental faculties are just beginning to be developed. These are beings that are to live forever. And there is an amount of mind beyond the strongest power of numbers to calculate the value. Minds may be there, whose influence, during the little span of time which they spend in this state of being, may be felt to the remotest corners of the earth, either for good or for evil: