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when their religious services were over, engaged in conversation and appropriate amusements. They seemed cheerful, refreshed, elastic, and happy. ... There was an entire, remarkable abstinence ... from all boisterous mirth, - profaneness, intemperance, and excesses of every kind. ... I noticed the same peculiarity all over France, Italy, and Switzerland. May not this extraordinary decorum be ascribed to the fact, that the whole sabbath is not, as with us, devoted to religious services, but a part of it is employed in useful recreations? ... From the bottom of my heart, I commiserate the narrow soul who can look upon such forms of relaxation as dishonoring God or his ordinances." *
It should not be understood, from the doubt Dr. Bellows expresses, -—“whether all the wisdom on this subject is on the Protestant side,” – that these views are by any means confined to Catholics. Protestant as well as Catholic Christians, generally, on the continent of Europe, adopt them, both in theory and practice. Yet Dr. Clarke, in speaking of Sunday observance, in his “Hour which cometh,” says, “I believe in the Catholic view of it, not the Puritanic;" meaning, unquestionably, the Continental or festival view. But let it not be forgotten, that the ascetic and sabbatarian view of Sunday originated in the Catholic Church, and that some of her ecclesiastics at this day are great sticklers for its rigid observance. The only periodical known to be devoted to the advocacy of the strict sabbatic observance of Sunday is (or was recently) published by some Romish bishops and priests of Paris, under the special patronage of the Pope. It is called “ L'Observateur du Dimanche.” At the laying of the corner-stone of St. Francis de Sales' Church, on Bunker Hill, a few years since, the Most Rev. Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, delivered an address, in which he denounced the Continental manner of observing Sunday, and invoked the legal suppression of amusements, and particularly dancing and dancing music, which he stigmatized as possessed of “the most lascivious character !"
The ascetic and sabbatic elements, in fact, pervade both the
* Autobiography, chap. xv.
Catholic and Protestant Churches to a greater or less extent: but the large majority of both already reject them, it is believed; and this majority - notwithstanding the efforts of the Paris Catholic “Lord's-day Society," and the New-York Protestant “Sabbath Committee" - is continually growing larger. That occasional abuses will attend the rapidly increasing freedom in the use of Sunday, must be expected. As Dr. Channing, in closing his “Remarks” on this subject, says, “We know no truth, no privilege, no power, no blessing, no right, which is not abused. But is liberty to be denied to men because they often turn it into licentiousness ?" Certainly not. The aim should be to avoid all extremes,— that of Sunday dissipation no less than that of Sunday-asceticism and gloom.
ART. VI.—THE CAMBRIDGE DIVINITY SCHOOL.
Commemorative Discourse, delivered at the Fifty-first Annual Visitation of the
Theological School at Cambridge. By Ezra Stiles GANNÉTT, D.D.*
DR. GANNETT's admirable half-century discourse appears at a time which gives a special interest and emphasis to all its words. As an address of commemoration, it is singularly eloquent, felicitous, and well-timed. The Divinity School at Cambridge has been identified, year by year, with the halfcentury's existence of American Unitarianism. Till within a brief period, literally every man of eminence among us, as theologian or preacher, had been either among the founders or pupils of that School, or (as in one or two instances that occur to us) had been trained within the immediate circle of its influence. Its instructors, so fitly characterized in the fine and discriminating eulogy of this discourse, have been eminently the chosen and trusted men of the Unitarian body. Its association of alumni have confirmed, year by year, the old bond of loyalty and affection which makes its memories dear; and
* See Monthly Religious Magazine for September, 1867.
it is a body which, till recently, was almost exactly co-extensive with the Unitarian ministry in this country. The generous terms of admission, the liberal quality of its instruction, and the large sympathies of its directors, have drawn into it, and received with unstinting hospitality, all the forms of independent and earnest thought that have grown out of the great theological debate of our era, and have claimed special affinity with ourselves. Elsewhere there may have been prejudices and bigotries and theological hates or fears; but never once, we believe, in the discipline and administration of that School. And so it has come to be recognized, in a peculiar sense, as a representative institution, — representative, that is, in the best way, as reflecting, not any particular order of opinions, or any one type of character; but all that freedom, force, and variety of mind, which have made the life of the Unitarian movement.
The School may have failed to gain precisely a popular reputation, or to win a wide, popular sympathy. Nay, by its unconscious, unintended influences, - never, surely, by intention of its instructors, - it may have educated some minds in a direction away from popular sympathies, into styles of opin . ion, study, and taste, that have proved a real embarrassment in some spheres of practical work. The professional education it has given, taken as broadly and fairly as we will, has lacked, by general acknowledgment, something that was wanted to make liberal Christianity an effective force in American society. Yet what it lacked was precisely that which, if predominant in it, would have prevented the real service it has done as a pioneer in the way of theological advance, and as a representative of the actual tendencies of thought in the more active minds among us.
It has honestly attempted the problem of a culture of Christian thought, and a training for Christian work, which should be in full harmony with the science, the.criticism, the literature, and the moral ideas characteristic of our time; and, where it has failed to win the full popular confidence and support it would have prized so highly, the fault lay in the nature of the endeavor, and in circumstances which were utterly beyond its control.
VOL. LXXXIII. — NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. II.
We speak as if there were this one point, - and that a vital one, involving, possibly, the function and very existence of the School itself, — in wbich it is acknowledged to have failed. At least, as we are frequently told, the failure or success of the School itself is staked on the experiment, which has never been proved successful yet, of no exclusion for opinion's sake. This principle, we are told, makes it impossible that it should secure the confidence of a community which prizes positive religious convictions, or fit men for a work which eminently requires and supposes a Christian faith. The circumstance, that at this very anniversary, so full of interest in the history of the School, – at a time, too, when the lack of men for this very work is urged in every variety of emphasis, -it sends into the world a class of two; while from a class of nearly one hundred, graduating in Cambridge this year, only two are designated as selecting the study of theology, - seems certainly to confirm this apprehension in a way we may well call ominous. Among those who listened to Dr. Gannett's discourse, it was evident, that the strongest interest was wakened by his generous and noble vindication of the principles of religious liberty, on which the School is founded; and by what was well understood to be an implied defence of it against charges which have been recently made in public, challenging its claim to be regarded as a place of Christian influences, or of fit training for the gospel ministry at all.
These charges have been sufficiently explicit in details; yet it is only implicitly and by insinuation that they have been publicly connected with the Cambridge School.* As their bearing, however, is sufficiently understood, and as they have been made openly and by name, in the presence of considerable numbers of the friends of the School, we are justified in taking this brief notice of them. We do not propose to recite the charges, even in the general and vague form in which they appeared in the public prints; or to repeat the very careful, earnest, and detailed reply made by both the resident
* See Christian Register for July 6 and 13 of the present year.
professors, in vindication of the character of their charge. That reply we must consider, for the present, to be authentic and final. It is very explicit in testifying to an amount of earnestness, devoutness, intellectual activity, definiteness and breadth of aim, among the present members of the School, at least equal to the average of any period within the wide experience of the professors; and in asserting, that all imputations to the contrary, publicly or privately made, have grown either from honest misunderstanding, or from unwarrantable perversions and exaggerations of things said or done in the freedom of confidential intercourse, and the frank discussion of controverted points. It is very easy to twist the shape, without altering the substance. Some blame there is, no doubt. But where is the society, the family, the body of men anywhere, all whose intercourse could bear the inquisition of irritated opponents or unfriendly critics? At the same time, that reply admits as frankly, that debate within the School has been active and warm -- as might have been expected — on the matters held in controversy in the theological world at large, or broached by the current philosophy of the day; that the personal temper of that controversy in the world about has been to some extent reflected here; and, further, that the weight of rationalistic or "radical” opinion in the School outweighs, or at least equally balances, the other.
This will be considered by many a very serious admission. Probably those who have been most forward in making charges against the School will regard it as conceding their most essential point. Petty scandal as to this or that phrase used in private conversation or in the warmth of debate, as to here and there an indiscretion or impropriety in the formal exercises held among a score of young men, is not matter for serious discussion before an intelligent and indulgent public. It is only as these phrases and indiscretions grow out of an altered habit of thought, and are symptoms of a revolution in ideas that has penetrated even that sanctuary, that they could ever have been thought worthy a moment's attention or a second hearing. The friends of the School do most wisely by admitting the charge that is really meant by