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what has been the practical working of the system ?- what qualifications the Board has shown for the office which it has assumed ? Now, it must be admitted, that the Board is not the body which we should have recommended for such functions. It is reasonable to require that a body which claims to represent the whole University, should be deeply imbued with its character and temper; that its members should be so selected as to represent the different interests, the different schools of opinion, the different studies and pursuits, of the whole. As far as possible, we should desire to secure the presence of members who are used to mingle in the society of the best and wisest among every class of the University, whose habits of daily life enable them to descry the first approach of any danger-any relaxation of discipline, any neglect of study, any corruption of doctrine.
Now the Heads of Houses are unquestionably a body, for good or evil, sui generis, in Oxford. It so happens that the statutes of most colleges, while they obviously suppose the whole society, fellows, head, and all, remaining unmarried, do not make express application of the point to the heads particularly. The ordinary, and no doubt true, explanation of this apparent anomaly, is, that the idea of a married Head did not happen to occur to the founders, in an age when celibacy was enforced upon the clergy; and when all the professions being practically exercised by clerks, the legal and medical, no less than the theological, fellowships, were never probably held for many years by any who contemplated marriage. Čertain it is, that the statutes of Protestant Elizabethan, and even later foundations, do not permit the heads to marry: and that the founders of Wadham College, who lived since the Reformation, e.g. made the wardenship no less than the fellowships of their college untenable by a married man; although parliament, in the exercise of that supreme authority over conscience, in which, (to judge by the conduct of many sound Protestants,) it has succeeded the Papal See, has seen fit to dispense with the solemn oath by which every member of the college voluntarily binds himself to observe their statutes, as the condition of his enjoying their bounty; and has enabled the Wardens of Wadham to receive, with a safe conscience, the revenues of good Nicholas Wadham and Dorothy his wife, while they consign their statutes to oblivion. Parliament had no doubt weighty reasons for thus setting aside the provisions of the founders: what those reasons were we know not; but the fact that the Heads of colleges are generally married men, is known by all who are acquainted with the University, to be attended with much practical evil. They are usually highly respectable clergymen; in some instances, men of considerable talents and learning; they are very much such men as twenty-four senior fellows, taken pretty nearly by rotation, might naturally be expected to be; varying much from each other, as might be anticipated in a university where the fellows differ so very widely among themselves. But, with all these differences, in one point the mass of the Heads are alike; they are almost absolutely unconnected with the rest of the University; their connexion with it is often scarcely any, beyond the fact of their residence in the midst of it. They are men removed, by standing in most cases, by daily habits of life in almost all, from its society, and from almost every object in which its members are interested. Their knowledge of them hardly extends beyond dining-acquaintance; of the wishes and feelings of the University, events have shown that they have not even the most glimmering perception. Their unacquaintance even with the members of their own colleges, is often so entire, as to be scarcely conceivable in men who live within a few yards. A Head, himself of unquestioned strictness and piety, has been known to offer the curacy of a parish of which he was incumbent, as title for orders, to a member of his own college ; to whom, when he applied for the usual college testimonials before his ordination, the fellows were obliged to refuse them on account of his notorious habits of intemperance,-notorious, that is, to every member of the College except its (nominal) Head. Such occurrences vex many, but surprise few.
In this state, with a good deal of formal and routine business thrown upon their hands, and forming a society more wholly unacademical, probably, than any other of the same size in Oxford, live those who consider themselves the governors of the University, and who have in a great degree in practice, if not in law,) attained that function. Our readers will easily believe that, like other persons similarly circumstanced, they are in part, and believe themselves to be wholly, overwhelmed with business ; which the body of the University strongly suspect their office to be something very nearly approaching to a sinecure. Whatever may be the degree of business thrown upon these dignitaries, it is certainly not of a kind calculated to foster that high and saintly character to which the Church would willingly leave the administration of her chief nursery. Not among these rulers of the University have arisen, in general, the great lights of theology, the high and gifted divines, the solemn and awakening preachers of the age. Neither are they employed in offices strictly pastoral; for even when a parish is annexed to a headship, its duties are in every case performed by deputy. Even the University which they profess to rule, receives little light from their teaching. By statute, the University sermon, every Sunday morning in term, is to be preached by the Heads of Colleges in rotation ; in practice, a man may often look back at the close of his academical residence without being able to remember more than one or two out of the twenty-four who have ever discharged the duty. A stronger proof could hardly, we think, be given of the total want of the higher qualifications needed for the rule and direction of a great theological university, whose Heads must discriminate between true and false doctrines, must sit in judgment upon books and upon preachers, must stand on the watch, (while the great body of the Clergy are employed, each man in the detail of his own parochial engagements,) to give the first signal of danger, and rear the standard against the first irruption of the enemy. The example of one who was intrusted with the education of boys has lately been brought before us. We saw in him much to regret, indeed, but among many admirable qualities, who could fail to admire the simple reality with which he made the pulpit of Rugby chapel one main instrument in directing and ruling the hearts and consciences of his scholars ? Dr. Arnold applied for the appointment of chaplain, because he felt that the performance of its duties was a necessary part of his own parental relation towards his pupils; every year does the duty of fulfilling the same office devolve on the Head of every college in Oxford, and most rare is the example of one who does not delegate it to another. This, indeed, is nothing more than every one would desire. Who could wish to see the pulpit of the University occupied by any except one or two of the Heads ? They judge wisely when they decline it; only they confess, that theirs, after all, is not the province of moulding the hearts, and directing the faith of the rising generation of the English Church ; that they are not, whatever they may be called, the real directors of the University.
We sincerely trust that no one will suspect us of any disrespect toward the Heads of Colleges. Any one who has passed through the University must retain recollections of kindness and courtesy in many, and of much higher qualifications in some of their board; but it has now become necessary to speak out, and declare that they are not the University of Oxford, nor yet in any degree either authorized or qualified to speak in her name; And, for this reason--that they have in several instances undertaken to do so, and the world at a distance (seeing a body so acting) have assumed without inquiry, that they must act by authority, nay, that in disallowing their claim, the convocation would, in fact, be resisting authority; whereas, in truth, convocation itself is the supreme authority, and those who claim authority over it, are, as we have seen, only a committee of its own members appointed for definite functions, and with delegated and subordinate powers, no part at all of the ancient government of the University, but, on the contrary, the very newest and youngest of all the bodies there existing. These are facts which it might always have been well to bear in mind; but when, as we shall now proceed to show, new and hitherto utterly unheard of encroachments have lately been made upon the supreme authority, and when the purpose for which these usurped powers have been employed is no other than that of denouncing the ancient doctrines of the Church of England, as held and understood by all our great divines, of unjustly oppressing all who dare to profess them, and of fixing upon us by authority a new and spurious system, a hybrid theology engendered between liberalism and (self-styled) evangelicalism, halt Germany and half Geneva ; then, indeed, ií becomes the duty of Oxford to protest, at all risks, and however unwillingly, against power thus unauthorized and thus abused.
Our readers need hardly be informed that, in our opinion, the crisis which we have just described is not hypothetical or possible, but actual and present. But before we proceed to prove this, we would remove an objection which we cannot but foresee will be raised against us—the objection of a priori improbability.
You are speaking,' it may be said, “of no men of a remote age or country, but of Oxford men in our own day. We know what class of men this is; nay, you have yourself borne witness to it; easy, kind-hearted, and amiable, somewhat indulgent towards self, and disinclined to be severe towards others; unwilling even to say anything which can give pain ; neither ambitious to suffer martyrdom, nor yet desirous to inflict it. Such is the character naturally fostered in times of refinement and luxury like ours; and such we know to be the temper natural to a dignitary of the English Church in the present day; and if not the highest character, it has still much to demand our sympathy and respect : above all, it cannot be supposed that men of such a temper would be guilty of injustice or oppression, much less that they would be unjust and oppressive in the peculiar direction of religious persecution, and that the persecution of views held by the recognised authorities of our Church.'
We need not say that this argument has much weight, and it is accordingly earnestly pressed. It is not, however, difficult to exhibit, in reply, several circumstances which do in fact altogether remove the improbability; and if, in explaining our meaning, we are forced to speak of individuals, this is not our fault. When personal character is adduced as a proof that we have nothing to fear, we are forced to inquire what that character is. If any one had argued, a few years ago, that the well-known moderation and goodnature of Lord Melbourne was security enough against any evil that might be feared under his administration, he would have forced us to inquire whether there were no other parts of Lord Melbourne's character which might be mischievous enough, in spite of good humour and moderation. When Madame de Staël declared that the character of the Emperor Alexander was a constitution to his subjects, she appealed in fact, as far as in her lay, to every Russian and Pole to say what sort of constitution that was; and when we hear of the kindness of Dr. Wynter,' and the improbability of oppression in Oxford in our day, we are driven, whether we will or not, to look a little deeper into the security which we derive from these things. Now, we need not inform any one who has observed the course of the world, that, in estimating any body, and especially any small body of men, we must look not at every individual, or even at the majority, but at few, and often at one. There were ten generals with equal powers in the Athenian army at Marathon, but the victory was won by Miltiades. The city of Carthage was for many years but the body, of which the spirit was Hannibal; and, in a body of twenty-four Oxford Heads, the real moving power will perhaps at all times be in one or two active individuals ; in an energetic minority,
First, then, we are met with the fact that one member of the Board is Dr. Hampden.
Dr. Hampden, be it remembered, still says (for he boasts that he has nothing to retract, nothing to qualify, nothing to explain) that several expressions of the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are founded
upon notions both unphilosophical and unscrip: 'tural; but used only to exclude others more obriously (sic) ' injurious to the simplicity of the truth.' He still puts the
Unitarian on the same footing precisely of earnest religious • zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ on which he would
put 'any other Christian,' although he blames him for thcological
dogmatism.' He still teaches that · Christ is emphatically said ' to be our atonement; not that we may attribute to God any
change of purpose towards man by what Christ has done; but * that we may know (sic) that we have passed from the death of sin to the life of righteousness by Him, and that our own hearts may not condemn us.' He still holds that the general belief ' in magic, in the early ages of the Church, may sufficiently account for the ready reception of such a theory of sacramental influence, as that which every true Churchman holds to be a Divine Revelation; and that our Lord accommodated Himself,' to this notion, when He said • Virtue is gone out of Me. He still publicly pronounces the Creeds ' a dogmatic and sententious wisdom;' some of the infinite theories which can be raised on the text of Scripture,' to say nothing of numberless other assertions, some even more offensive than these, only not so short as to be transcribed with equal case.
We have mentioned Dr. Hampden first, because his views are