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Provision for the support of indigent young men in their preparation for the Christian ministry is not a modern invention. Among the public institutions which were established in the universities of Europe, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, were the colleges, buildings in which students, especially poor ones, might live together under superintendence, without paying for their lodging.

In some cases, they also received their board gratuitously, or had still further allowances. The first and most distinguished of these colleges were at Paris. In German universities, something similar was introduced, called bursae, or charitable establishments, in which students could live for a very low rent. Most of the students on these foundations were destined for the church. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, in England, have had, from the earliest times, classes of students supported in part by the funds of the colleges, and called postmasters and scholars, exhibitioners and servitors. The last named are young men who wait on the others at table, and have board and instruction gratuitously for four years. The fellowships in the English colleges are charitable establishments, intended in part to furnish facilities for the education of indigent young men for the church.

In the middle of the seventeenth century, almost two hundred years ago, an education society was formed in England. Among its patrons and trustees, were Matthew Poole, Richard Baxter, William Bates, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Manton, Ralph Cudworth, and John Stillingfleet, a constellation of names such as rarely has adorned the church of Christ since the apostolic days. The plan of this education society contains the outlines of a system which was well matured, and adapted to efficient and permanent action.

In 1648, no less than forty-four students were under its patronage the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The reasons for the establishment of this association, Richard Baxter gives with his usual quaint good sense. “1. There is so much difficulty in every good work, even in giving so as to make the best of it, that we should be thankful to those who will help to facilitate it. 2. Great works must have many hands. 3. Conjunction engageth and encourageth, and draws on those in the company that else would lag behind. What need we else associate for our ministerial works of instruction, discipline, &c. and not leave every minister to himself. In company, we go more cheerfully, easily, regularly, and prevalently."

A Baptist education society was formed at Bristol, England, in 1686, by the donation of Mr. Edward Terrill. Previously to 1710, students were placed under the care of different ministers in various places. Five or six years since, this society had assisted in educating one hundred and twenty men for the ministry. Most of the dissenting academies in England are, in a certain sense, education societies. Distinguished families, like those of

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the Thorntons and Grants, have done nobly in giving and loaning money to candidates for the sacred office.

A principal design of the colleges which were first established in this country, was to furnish the means, through various charitable foundations, of preparing indigent young men for the Christian ministry. This was a main object of Thomas Hollis in founding the professorship of divinity at Harvard college. The same excellent man also made provision for an annual bounty of ten pounds sterling “apiece, to several pious young students devoted to the work of the ministry." The preamble to the charter, which was granted to the college of William and Mary, Virginia, by the assembly of the colony, in 1662, has the following language: “ The want of able and faithful ministers in this country, deprives us of those great blessings and mercies, that always attend on the service of God,” &c. In 1698, a number of individuals in the colony of Connecticut, on count of an increasing demand for educated and pious ministers, formed a design of establishing a college. Various advantages have been long enjoyed in the institution which they founded for assisting the class of young men in question. The Presbyterian synod of New York, desiring to remove the necessity of introducing individuals into the ministry without the necessary intellectual attainments, resolved to take measures to establish a college in New Jersey. Similar motives influenced many of the founders of Williams, Middlebury, and other colleges. In 1807, the theological seminary at Andover was founded. Important pecuniary assistance, in many ways, has been furnished by the patrons of this institution, in preparing young men to become preachers of the gospel. - The same remark is applicable to the Princeton, Auburn and other theological seminaries. In 1807, an education society was formed in the vicinity of Dorset, Vermont, and in


1813, an association for a similar object in the southern counties of Massachusetts. The last named adopted the principle of loaning money to young men, without interest. In 1814, the Massachusetts Baptist education society was formed,

In the summer of 1815, a few individuals in Boston, having become convinced of the necessity of a great increase of the number of well-qualified ministers of the gospel, determined to make an immediate and general effort for the accomplishment of their purpose. A meeting was accordingly held in the last week in July, at which the subject was fully discussed. On the 29th of August, a constitution was reported and adopted. The society was not, however, organized till the 7th of December. William Phillips, lieutenant governor of the State, was chosen president. On the 4th of March, 1816, four young men were admitted to the patronage of the society.

The causes which led to the establishment of this institution were various. The close of the war with Great Britain furnished good men a favorable opportunity for calm inquiry into the religious condition of the country, and for devising comprehensive plans for its benefit. The increase of theological seminaries naturally suggested to their patrons and trustees the necessity of adopting measures for augmenting the number of theological students. Those who looked abroad upon the unevangelized nations, were sensible that an extraordinary demand would be made for missionaries and missionary agents. The general spirit of the age was also highly auspicious in respect to the formation of such an institution. In addition to the general philanthropy which was awakened, and the power of associated effort, which was put forth, it became apparent to the most intelligent Christians, that a great amount of educated talent must be provided, that other

wise, the incessant demand which would be made for laborers on the outworks of Christianity would exhaust the internal supplies. The world was not only to be evangelized, but educated. Permanent Christian communities were to be formed over all the earth. The united' and invincible power of knowledge and holiness were, therefore, to be brought into extensive operation. It was seen that education societies would form a sort of intellectual magazine where the constant waste of benevolent energies could be repaired. They would make a kind of substratum, in every portion of the country, on which the most sure dependence might be placed.

But the principal argument for their establishment was, unquestionably, the want of preachers of the gospel in the United States. The supposed deficiency of religious instruction was amply corroborated by the results of the most laborious investigations. It was estimated that the number of clergymen of all denominations, who had been educated at college, was one thousand and six hundred ; and that the number of competent ministers, who had not received a public education, was nine hundred ; making a total of two thousand five hundred, for the supply of eight or nine millions of inhabitants. A circumstance, which rendered the destitution more affecting, was the singular inequality in the distribution of ministers. In three States and four territories, with a population of three hundred and fifty thousand, there were but seventeen stated preachers of the gospel. Another very gloomy feature in the picture, was the rapid decrease in the number of ministers, compared with the population. Seventy years before, New England was supplied with one liberally-educated minister for every six hundred and twenty-eight souls, while in 1816, in the United States, there was not one such minister to six thousand souls. The ratio of ministerial supply had been for a long time

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