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efficiently training the main body of the English clergy for their ordinary duties. That body consists of about twenty-three thousand persons, and requires a yearly supply of at least six hundred to fill vacancies and new charges. It is not to be expected that more than a very small minority of these will ever dream of competing for honours in theology, or aim at more than passing the compulsory exaninations with the least possible effort. So far as they are directly concerned, therefore, this improvement, valuable in itself, is inoperative. Next, a very weighty fact, more than likely to escape the attention of enthusiastic educationists, has to be steadily borne in mind, namely, that a taste and capacity for the higher forms of theology are quite as rare as for abstruse mathematics or for philological discovery. The number of men in the clerical profession—not necessarily dull or ignorant—who have absolutely no mental faculty whatever for so much as comprehending, not to say assimilating, purely theological ideas at all is very large, and by no means confined to the humbler stations of the Church, for some of them are to be found even in the most exalted positions. This is no new fact; it is akin to colourblindness and to the lack of musical ear; it always has been so, and probably always will be so, and the inference is that the teaching to be imparted to this class must be adapted to their receptive powers. Thirdly, although it is true that there is no kind of knowledge which may not be pressed into the service of religion, and be useful at one time or another to a clergyman, and while theoretically every branch of divinity ought to be familiar to those who undertake the office of religious teaching, yet there are certain departments of theology which, on the one hand, are useless if no more than a mere superficial smattering be attained, and on the other, have only a very indirect bearing on the ordinary routine work of a parochial clergyman. Such, for example, are Hebrew and the textual criticism of the Old and New Testament. I am not to be understood as depreciating the importance of these studies, or as desiring aught than that all who show any capacity for pursuing them with success should do so to the full. But the mere rudiments, if not serving as a starting-point for additional study, are of the very blenderest value,-in truth, as regards Hebrew, more misleading than entire ignorance, as too many uncritical and worthless volumes are estant to warn us, and contribute nothing to the mental development or the general utility of a teacher; while the time occupied in communicating these rudiments is a very appreciable fraction of the whole much too brief available period of training, and the effect of too discursive a range of subjects is far from advantageous to minds of small literary capacity. Hence it is necessary to draw more definitely than is now usual a line between compulsory and optional subjects in courses of reading, doing all that can reasonably or feasibly be carried out for the encouragement of the latter.
Yet again, not merely are theologians rare, but even the very taste
for reading at all, the literary bent itself, is by no means universally diffused amongst the clergy. They do not differ, it is true, in this respect from any equally large number of men selected from the socalled educated classes, nor even from the other learned professions. I believe that the proportion of medical practitioners who make no attempt to keep abreast of the advances of medical science, and of barristers and solicitors who would be anything but safe as legal advisers, is quite as large as that of the unintelligent residuum amongst the clergy. But there is this very serious difference in the cases, that the incompetent lawyer or doctor is likely, nay, almost certain, to be very seriously injured in pocket when his deficiencies are once discovered. He may buy the goodwill of a lucrative practice, or be started by friendly patrons in a promising career, but he cannot keep it long without personal diligence and merit, nor prevent rival competition from carrying off his best clients. But in the clerical profession the incompetent pastor is secure from this kind of danger. So long as his inefficiency is decent and respectable, he is secure in his incumbency, whether it be the gift of a patron or a matter of bargain and sale ; and what is even more serious, distinction, nay, eminence, in theological learning and pastoral efficiency is no title whatever to preferment, especially in the higher grades of the ministry, nor is the presence of the very opposite qualities the slightest bar to advancement. No doubt, there are every now and then in the medical and legal ranks obscure Harveys, Hunters, and Jenners; Cokes, Mansfields, and Lyndhursts, who for lack of golden opportunity, or from a shy and retiring temper, have never become known, but live and die in neglect and poverty. And contrariwise, second and third-rate men not infrequently come to the front, though they rarely obtain the very highest prizes of their professions. But when a lawyer or doctor once does become known as a sound and careful adviser, as learned and capable in his calling, his fortunes are for the most part secure, and wealth, if not rank and influence, are within his grasp ; nor does he run any risk of being neglected by clients or patients. This rule does not hold good in the smallest degree of the clerical calling, wherein acknowledged eminence is usually less prosperous than colourless mediocrity. In the Rev. Dr. Cazenove's essay on "Some Aspects of the Reformation,” there are a few striking extracts from the Chronicle of Jacob Wimpheling, a Roman theologian who lived from 1450 to 1520, and who vainly endeavoured to promote those reforms in the Latin Church which would have prevented Luther's revolt. Amongst Wimpheling's complaints of abuses, is that theological knowledge in his day was not only no recommendation for preferment, but was a positive obstacle to obtaining it, especially in the case of canonries, a statement confirmed by Eck, Luther's famous adversary, whose words are: “Haud facile theologis ad præbendas patet ascensus.”
But in modern England, there died between April 30, 1865, and August 7, 1866, three
of the most learned and distinguished clergymen whom the Church of
“Church-ladders are not always mounted best
The parson knows enough who knows a duke.” Nor was his judgment lighter on the Crown patronage and letters missive which conferred the mitres of his day:
“The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on earth
A piece of mere church furniture at best." And then, to show that he did not deny the possibility of exceptions, he adds:
“For Providence, that seems concern'd to exempt
Things have not since altered so conspicuously for the better in this respect that any temporal inducement to study can be honestly held out to the young ecclesiastic, as it may fairly be to the medical or law student, and thus one great spur to exertion is absent. Further, the ordinary conditions of clerical life are for the most part less conducive to intellectual exertion than those of the other learned professions. The physician must earn his living by success in actual battle with disease, and must in the course of his vocation deal nearly as much with men as with women and children. The lawyer has rival lawyers to contend with, not merely in respect of his own interests, but in those of his clients, and unless he keep his wits sharply whetted, he cannot fulfil his obligations to those who employ him. But the parson, who is theoretically the chief literary and intellectual element in each parish, and intended to be its teacher, occupying a higher social and educational level than the schoolmaster, lives too generally, if in the country, wholly apart from his male parishioners, of whom he sees but little, is very often surrounded entirely by small farmers and others of a similar grade, who have no interest whatever in literary pursuits, thus having absolutely no educated neighbours to compare notes with except some clergyman situated just like himself; and so, if he be like the average pass-man of the Universities, the ordinary student of the theological colleges, with no very great hunger for learning, and no formed habits of reading, he is much more likely to come down to the mental level of his flock than to pull it up even the very slightly higher ascent on which he is himself posted; and thus will not do his teaching work nearly so well as the average schoolmaster. And if he be a town clergyman, working as town clergymen are expected to work in the present day wherever Church reform has set in, he has rarely time or strength for independent study after all the claims of daily services, schools, guilds, classes, visitations, and attendance to the calls on his time and attention by a multitude of applicants of every sort, have been satisfied. It is not an uncommon thing for a clergyman of the stamp here indicated to begin his working day at half-past six in the morning, and not be free from the last demands on his leisure till eleven at night, without having had one unbroken hour to himself in the interval.
The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is, that the teaching given to future clergymen during their period of training needs to be terse, incisive, and systematic in its compulsory portions, to make as deep an impression as possible on the memory, and to be so clearly defined as to avoid the vagueness and haziness which are sure to take possession of inactive minds, if made to traverse a wide range of long books with the mere aim of passing somehow through an examination at the end of a certain term, and that in most cases such a brief one as the broken one year or two years which form the usual course of a theological college, according as the students are graduates or literates.
This matter of incisiveness needs to be dwelt upon all the more when the case of literates has to be considered, whether non-university men who have entered as students at theological colleges, or those of the still less cultured class who are sometimes ordained by bishops on personal grounds, without any special test at all save that of satisfying an easier examination than that proposed to other candidates. Experience has made us familiar with the very slender results obtained by primary schools in teaching reading, writing, and the simpler rules of arithmetic, in any thorough and effective fashion to children of the labouring classes within the very short time devoted to their education; and the amount of Greek and Latin which an average pass-man at the Universities has contrived to assimilate after, say, eleven years, since he quitted the care of a governess, and passed through the ascending stages of preparatory school, public school, and college, is not worth taking into account. It is not to be expected, therefore, that such a method of teaching as may passably suffice to supplement the general training in tone, manners, and culture of some kind, superior for social purposes to mere book-learning, to which men who have passed through the Universities have been presumably subjected, will be powerful enough to compensate in any degree for its absence in the case of those who have been less fortunate.
This is a truth which the Roman Church has seized, and to which it owes the professional efficiency of its clergy. It has been its policy-in the long run a most disastrous one, though with much plausible argument in its favour-ever since the counter-Reformation in the seventeenth century, and still more, ever since the French Revolution, to separate the education of its future clergy from that of their fellow-citizens as early and as long as possible. The young divinity students, now recruited, at any rate in France, almost exclusively from the peasant class, are caught when mere boys, scarcely more than children, and are trained for several years (eight, I think, often) in petits séminaires, either wholly apart from lads intended for lay careers, or else in a separate department of the same institution, and on quite a different footing. Thence they are transferred to the grands séminaires, exclusively ecclesiastical, where they have to pass five years more in professional studies, classified as philosophy, moral and dogmatic theology, and Biblical literature. And great pains are taken to use just what we lack, namely, text-books of a very clear and incisive cast-such, for example, as the Catechisms of the Seminary at Mechlin -illustrated by carefully methodical and systematized lectures. The effect, on one side of it, is doubtless bad, in that the ordinary Roman priest has very much the air of a manufactured article turned out to pattern by the hundred, has little or no originality or spontaneity, knows nothing whatever outside the very narrow range of the studies imposed by his superiors, is too “cocksure" of everything, and is altogether unable to sympathize with or even understand the educated