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have overtaken Germany or France, and to be impending over England, of a hopeless divorce between intellect and faith.
Why should we not look forward to the building-up, on the present foundation, of a Theological Department, as generously endowed and as well sustained as the other departments of the University ? First of all, as a condition to this, it would be necessary to deliver it from the narrow and disappointing theory, that it is simply a professional training-school. It must be distinctly accepted and understood as the apparatus of the highest culture which the Church or the university can give in that direction. To do its work completely, two distinct objects would have to be kept in view,- inspiration, by which we mean the impulse, motive, and general guidance that bring the trained intelligence to bear upou a given class of topics, and which would be imparted mainly through lectures, by the living and fresh enthusiasm of master-minds, devoted each to its own main line of thought or inquiry; and instruction, which can be given only by system, discipline, and method, administered by a sufficient corps of resident teachers, and which is necessary to follow up and turn to account the interest inspired by the former. Any system of education, especially of that highest education we are speaking of, must be lame and insufficient, if either of the two be wanting.
Of the first in particular, it seems desirable that a word should be spoken now. It is understood, that, a few years ago, a plan was proposed, and had the full assent of Mr. Everett, then President of the University, to inaugurate a course of lectures on theology, to be given by eminent men of various denominations, Catholic as well as Protestant, who should be appointed and paid by their respective religious bodies, subject to the sanction of the University Trustees. It was perhaps the noblest proposition ever seriously made, to lift the University above the level of sectarian disputes, and put upon it the stamp of a noble, Christian liberality. Who can estimate the effect which might be had — not merely in the way of impulse to theological study, but as teaching the reality of divine truth, above all sects and forms — of courses given thus, from year to year, by such men
as Bushnell, Park, McClintock, and the many others who would successively represent the very finest culture, the deepest thought, the best philosophy, the most intelligent doctrinal interpretations, which could be furnished, as the contribution of the several Churches of America to its highest school of Christian education ? And we do not think that those who were informed of the proposal were quite content with the reasons of practical difficulty found by the Corporation for declining to assent to it. What practical success can ever be had in any thing, except by dealing with practical difficulties ? And we hope they will not seem so formidable hereafter as they did once. A system of “University lectures" has already been established at Cambridge, including, among other topics, some of close kindred with theology; and this needs only a little enlargement, and assurance of response, to include all that could be desired. The systematic instruction in a department of theology must be given, of course, by resident professors, whose general views and method are in harmony with that of the University government. But not necessarily so with lectureships, which would be on the model of those of the Lowell Institute, including a great variety of men and forms of opinion, and greatly varied from year to year. Nor need they be restricted to our hemisphere. Not long ago, the Lowell Institute was in correspondence with Mr. Martineau, with a view to a course of lectures from him in Boston, - a correspondence broken off, we believe, by circumstances connected with the late war, as well as by his own pressing engagements in London. What an era it would have been in the life of our Cambridge School, and in the development of theological science among us, if that or a similar course could be given here, under the auspices of the oldest university in America! The thought having been once seriously considered, we trust the public will not let it rest, until this department also of our higher education is developed in some proportion to the opportunity and the need.
It is with this understanding of what it means, that we have spoken of the claims of theological learning on the educated and Christian public. We do not attempt to urge in VOL. LXXXIII. -NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. II.
detail what are the present condition and wants of the Cambridge Divinity School. It has its memories of fifty years, dear and honorable in the main. It has its just claims to the magnanimous judgment and generous counsels of its friends. It has its claims to support in the character of the men who have been set to be its instructors, and in the motives and hopes it cherishes among those whom it gathers to their teaching. But its highest and noblest claim must always be in the idea it represents, - the idea of a religious culture and faith in full harmony with the free, robust, enlightened intelligence of the day; and in the office (which it will discharge just in proportion to the confidence and honor given it by the public) of interpreter between the most exalted forms of human thought, the freest search for truth, and the pure graces, affections, motives, and hopes of the religious life.
ART. VII. – REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
WHEN, several years ago, the author of these sermons * had preached the first in this collection, at a convention that met in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the enchanted listeners said to that brave, true soul, to whose dear memory this volume is so fitly dedicated, “Who can preach better than that ?”—“ Collyer can," was the reply. It required a great deal of faith to believe it hen, but the event has proved that Staples knew his man. This volume is a genuine fulfilment of his prophecy. Mr. Collyer has been growing every day from then till now; and, if these sermons had been printed in the order of their delivery, we are quite sure that they would have illustrated the different stages of a process, in the author's mind, akin to that which makes the apple mellow, and turns the hill-side, where the wheat is growing, into a sea of rolling gold.
It is not possible to fairly indicate the power of these discourses in so many words. Genius defies analysis. The whole is greater than
* Nature and Life. Sermons, by ROBERT COLLYER, Pastor of Unity Church Chicago. Boston: Horace B. Fuller, 1867.
the sum of all its parts. Some things are evidently true. But, when we have said all that we can say, we are still certain that the truth has only half been told. What can be said about these sermons is, first and last, that they are marvellously original. They are more unlike any thing else that we know, than even Mr. Conway's « Tracts for to-day;" a book which only needed a more faithful publication to go into a hundred families, where now it stirs and quickens scarcely one. A style which is not borrowed is the expression of the man who uses it; and as Mr. Collyer is decidedly himself, so is his style decidedly his own. Thus it is that readers of these sermons constantly remark how vividly they call to mind the preacher's personality. For they reveal at every step not merely what he thinks, but what he is.
But these sermons are scarcely more remarkable for their originality of manner, than for the absence of originality in the subjects of which they treat. We are not blaming now, but, on the contrary, are about to speak our deepest word of praise. More than any other thing, save one, that we can name, we believe that the power of these sermons consists in this very fact, that they discuss the problems of our every-day experience, the problems that lie manifest enough in every preacher's path, but which nine preachers out of ten will never grapple with. These problems, that lie upon the surface of our life, but whose roots go down into the very heart of things, he has met, and tried to solve for others; as, soon or late, each man must try to solve them for himself. And as the questions are not new, so are not many of the replies. But this, again, is no objection, but another source of joy. Emerson has somewhere said something to the effect, that we are never so well pleased as when a writer tells us what we already know. Certainly there is no greater joy than when a gifted thinker shows us the half-thoughts that we have cherished, made round and beautiful and whole. This is exactly what these sermons do. Treating of questions which almost every one has tried to answer for himself, they offer to us, in exchange for our own dim and shadowy answers, these well-defined, unfaltering replies.
Unfaltering, we say; and yet these problems, to which Mr. Collyer's thought most naturally runs, are almost never such that they admit of being thoroughly unravelled. But, while he is necessarily compelled to leave the mind unsatisfied, he does not kick against the pricks, but is content so long as his own heart is satisfied, and he may hope to make the hearts of those who listen to him equally serene and calm. And we are sure that few who read his book will
hesitate to say, that he has done this for them, and therefore has their bidding to be satisfied with his performance. For, when the true prophet can no longer teach, he can communicate, he can inspire ; and it is in virtue of his ability to do this, that we pronounce our author one of the prophetic order of God-inspired and man-inspiring souls. Gifted with much knowledge, he has the better gift of faith. To use a figure that runs through one of the finest sermons in the book, he sheds much light upon the hidden way; but, when he can illuminate the path no farther, he takes the reader's hand in his, with a strong grasp, and walks through the darkness, with a firm, courageous tread, that echoes with the blessed certainty that God is there as well as in the light, and will not let his trusting children go astray. In the triumphant faith of these sermons in the wisdom and goodness of God, we find the key to Mr. Collyer's eloquence and power. It is not here or there, but it is everywhere. In the last century, the ropes in the English royal navy, from the largest to the smallest, were so twisted, that a scarlet thread ran through them from beginning to end, which could not be extracted without undoing the whole, and by which the smallest piece belonging to the crown could be discovered. So, from the beginning to the end of this volume, runs the bright thread of a sublime and tender faith, giving a royal significance to every part, allying every fragment of it to that crown of life which fadeth not away.
To these main reasons for the power inherent in these words, many of secondary importance might be added. Thus, there are not many pages here that have not some sly bit of humor to enliven them. And the best of this humor is, that it seems so inevitable. It is not lugged in.
It would not be left out. When some of Mr. Beecher's people remonstrated with him for saying so many funny things in the pulpit, the story goes that he replied, “ If you only knew how many I leave out !” But most pulpit wit, instead of being thus spoken out of the abundance of the heart, is evidently like the widow's mite; and it is not charity, when one has so little wit, to give it all away. For the most part, these sallies are a tacit confession, that preaching is a most unsavory affair, and that a little “Attic salt,” even if it has entirely lost its savor, is better than none. But Mr. Collyer's wit is not of this poor sort. It is the bubbling over of a mature that cannot always be restrained. It is never mere padding. It circulates in every fibre of the man.
There is a personal, we might almost say autobiographical, interest