« PreviousContinue »
3. On the History of more recent Theology. By Dr. Tholuck. Twice.
Third Division.-SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY.
1. On Christian Doctrines.
Two courses: one by Dr. Fritzsche, six times a week, with repetitions and examinations; another by Dr. Tholuck, five times.
2. On Christian Ethics. By Dr. Wegscheider. Five times a week.
Fourth Division.-PRACTICAL THEOLOGY.
1. Catechetics. By Professor Francke. Three times a week, with public catechetical exercises twice a week. Also by Dr. Wagnitz, twice.
2. Liturgics. No course announced.
3. Homiletics. By Dr. Marks. Five times.
4. Pastoral Office. No course on the general subject, but on the special branch of the
Art of teaching the Young in Schools and Families. By Dr. Fritzsche, three times; also by Dr. Niemeyer, twice. Also,
The History of Didactics. By Dr. Niemeyer. Once. 5. Church Law. No Course.
From this list it will appear that there are between thirty and forty courses of lectures, (with the repetitions more than forty,) on various topics of divinity, of which the principal consist of five or even six lectures in each week, thus affording nearly 100 or 120 lectures on a single subject in the course of a single semester. Besides these public lectures, private instructions are also given in almost every branch at their own houses, by professors and a numerous class of young men who have passed their examinations and are qualifying for professorships. It is by them, principally, that the routine of grammar learning, with regard to the oriental dialects, is communicated. The catechetical exercises are held in the church. In addition to the classes opened by particular professors for the sake of repetition and examination upon their own lectures, or those of other teachers, there is a regular and permanent provision made for exercises of every kind, in the royal theological seminary, which is under the direction of the members of the faculty itself. This is distributed into six departments, each one under the superintendence of a professor who has made the department his particular study. Thus, Dr. Gesenius presides in the department of Old Testament Exegesis, Dr. Wegscheider in that of the New Testament; Dr. Thilo directs the historical seminary, Dr. Tholuck that of systematic theology; Dr. Marks and Dr. Fritzsche con
duct the homiletical and catechetical departments. Under the superintendence and correction of these eminent scholars, men, scientifically speaking, among the most distinguished of the age, the students are exercised in the exposition of the Scriptures, in illustrating or discussing topics of historical and systematic divinity, in preaching, and in catechising children.
When it is remembered, that this is the provision for but a single half-year; that the professors make it their business so to arrange and vary their subjects, that the students may have every branch of theological knowledge presented to them in succession; that their time of attendance on the university lectures comprises six such semesters, after which they must continue their studies, either privately or continuing to hear lectures, for another year, before they can be examined for the degree of Candidate in • Theology'; it will be at once perceived, how elaborate is the mechanism whereby the means of a scientific education in divinity are afforded to the young men of Germany *.
We may now more fairly notice the defects which our Author has deemed it necessary to point out, and the methods by which he believes an adequate remedy may be applied to them. The former are, summarily speaking, two. There is absolutely no provision made for any moral or religious oversight of even theological students; this is our Author's first complaint. His second
* It will, of course, be understood that, in our commendation of the machinery of instruction in Germany, we refer to the quantity, variety, and scientific character of its supplies. Beyond this we cannot go. To commend the quality of it as a whole, in either a moral or religious reference, is impossible. But on this subject we need not dwell. In further illustration of the system of lecturing, we may observe, that the exegetical course of Gesenius occupies two years, or four semesters, and comprises Genesis, with parts of the Pentateuch, Job, the Psalms, and Isaiah. Wegscheider, also, on the New Testament, is finished in the same time. Dr. Marks usually takes up Liturgics every winter semester, and Homiletics every summer. Dr. Tholuck, in the preceding semester, had illustrated the two Epistles to the Corinthians, and given a course on Christian Ethics, thus proceeding regularly in the New Testament, and taking one principal branch of the systematic division every session. Through this regularity, students are greatly assisted in laying out their plan of study, and can generally decide both upon the courses they prefer to hear, and the order of hearing them. The course on Theological Eucyclopædia is designed to give a survey of the whole field of study, with advices on the relative importance and proper order of each branch; and that no student who commences his theological career at Halle may be destitute of suitable assistance on this point, it is the custom of Dr. Tholuck to repeat his course upon that subject every session.
is, that the arrangements for practically qualifying them for the work of the ministry are exceedingly meagre and inefficient. Restricted as we are for room, we can say no more in reference to the former charge, than that the evils resulting from the alleged deficiency are very powerfully stated by our Author; and express our regret, founded on personal knowledge of the fact, that the evil remains unremedied until the present hour. The second, however, it is impossible to pass by so lightly, because it includes several particulars deserving of attention in our own theological institutions. Under this head, for instance, are specified, 1st, the undue cultivation of the synthetical form of preaching, to the neglect of other more simple, more impressive, and more useful forms, especially that of practical bible-exposition. 2dly, The neglect of preparation for giving public instruction by catechising, whence catechising itself has fallen into decay even in country parishes, as in the times before Spener. 3dly, The want of any appropriate practical preparation for the cure of souls, especially those of the sick and poor. 4thly, The prevailing ignorance which is permitted as to the constitution of the Church, and the laws of the State in relation to Church matters. 5thly, The neglect of instruction in psalmody. 6thly, That of exercising the students, under professional guidance, in the visitation and inspection of schools. 7thly, The omission of all advice and information, on the part of the professors, as to the character of such practical religious books as are in most extensive circulation, and have the greatest influence, and the indication of such as might be most usefully recommended and circulated in the course of their future ministry. It is obvious that, in these particulars, there are some which have a special reference to the duties of Lutheran and Reformed pastors in Prussia; but, at the same time, there is perhaps not one which does not point out a direction in which an extension of our own practical theological instructions might not be profitably made.
We shall first notice, in justice to Mr. Fliedner, the special reference of these particulars to the duties of the Lutheran and Reformed clergy, now denominated the clergy of the United Evangelical Church. While it may be truly said that, with regard to all of them, the practical deficiency is obviously greater than it is among ourselves, the fifth and sixth have a peculiar reference to the circumstances of the country. It is well known, that in the Prussian dominions there is a considerable mixture of religions, equally established by law, and equally supported by the State. This is owing to the gradual aggrandizement of Prussia by conquest and hereditary succession. In the earliest possessions of the Prussian crown, i. e. the province of Prussia Proper, and the March of Brandenburg, the reformed religion prevailed most extensively, though Lutheranism was at the same
time widely disseminated. In such of its possessions as have at different times been torn from Saxony, it is almost needless to mention, that the principles of the Saxon Reformer were most rigidly and exclusively maintained. Silesia, at the time that it was wrested from Austria by Frederic the Second, was, we believe, wholly Catholic; the majority are still so. And the same may be said with regard to the Rhine-provinces, the last territory, with the exception of what was separated from the kingdom of Saxony by the Congress of Vienna, which has come under the authority of the Prussian King. In all these acquisitions, however, the inviolability of the existing religion has been conceded, as a contrary course would obviously have threatened the loss of them; and thus it has come to pass, that, under one monarchy, the most opposite religions are not merely tolerated, but provided for. To dissent from any one of them, that is, to leave any recognized sect, without going over to one of the others, is punishable by law, though the exchange of any one of them for another is permitted; as it is, also, to belong to any one of them, and, at the same time, to profess infidelity in the most open manner. Happy freedom! where one may roam at large upon the king's highway', from Protestantism to Romanism, and back again; but where, if any religious inquirers imagine that they have found, in the principles and practice of any non-recognized church, something nearer than both of them to the spirit of the Gospel, and act on their convictions, the strong arm of law soon makes them feel that the King does not see as they do, and that if they thus climb "over the wall into the sheep-fold," they must be dealt with as "thieves and robbers."* It is obvious, however, from
* The public, we believe, are not altogether uninformed as to the atrocious exercise of civil power, not only circa sacra, but in sacris, which has been, during the last few years, put forth by the King of Prussia, with regard to those of his subjects who remain attached to the Lutheran religion, according to its original constitution. The King, himself a member of the Reformed Church, therefore, so far as regards the greater portion of his own dominions, a dissenter from the prevailing religion, determines that the Lutheran and Reformed confessions shall be henceforth united in one, and seeks to effect his object, by forcing on the members of both churches, a liturgy offensive to both. The Reformed, contrary to all previous usage, must worship before an altar decorated with a crucifix and lighted candles, and use white wine and wafers in the observance of the Lord's Supper; the Lutherans must consent to see the ordinance stripped of what, in their deep conviction, (however erroneously, is no matter, so far as regards the exercise of outward force in relation to it,) constitutes its essential character as a Christian feast, the recognized real presence of the body and blood of Christ. Thus, because they cannot see as the King sees, not on the point of forsaking one communion for another, but in the
this view of the existing state of things, that the relation in which the different Confessions stand to each other, is one of considerable difficulty; and hence the very great importance of the knowledge of church constitution and the laws, not only in sacris, but circa sacra,' to a clergyman, that he may know what is safe and what is not; for even in passing from one recognized confession to another, there are certain formalities to be observed. The sixth particular is also important, (Prussia being, as is well known, peculiarly distinguished by her schools,) because every pastor is, ex officio, principal director of such as are established in his parish.
As regards ourselves, also, we have said that there is much in these suggestions which is deserving of attention. The duties of the congregational pastor refer themselves to three principal classes, each subordinate to, and dependent on, one of the three great offices of our exalted Mediator; viz. the duties relating to the worship of God; those connected with the instruction of the faithful-to which class is appended, as a necessary preliminary, the preaching of the Gospel for the production of repentance and faith; and the duty of governing the Church. To the first of these classes belongs the fifth particular above mentioned; to the second, the first, second, and seventh; to the third, the remaining three; and the order which they here take appears to us, upon the whole, the best in which we can consider them.
As to the neglect of instruction in Psalmody, as a branch of education for the Christian ministry, our Author acknowledges, that, if this be deferred till the university course, it will, in most cases, come too late. There is no doubt, that the earlier musical studies are entered upon, the better, whether they be vocal or instrumental. Still, as to the former, if a student have a tolerable voice and good ear, it will be by no means difficult to him, without any very great sacrifice of time, to attain such a proficiency in the reading and expression of church music, as will enable him to superintend the psalmody of the congregation in a very creditable and useful manner. We do not mean, of course, that he should lead it, either by instrument or by voice; but it is certainly
sacred matter of adhering to the worship and religion of their forefathers, in which they have been brought up, their assemblies are to be obstructed in their religious services by armed soldiery; pastors are to be forced upon them against their will, to constrain them to a renunciation of their dearest rights; their ministers are to be ejected, imprisoned, and banished; and happy do such account themselves, as, leaving their native land, and all the associations of antiquity, are able to seek (as did two faithful pastors, in the course of this present autumn, with 400 of their parishioners) an asylum for themselves and their religion, in one of the Australian settlements of Great Britain.