Page images
PDF
EPUB

professional education, originally interrupted; or persons engaged in the actual occupations of business, who expect to derive aid in their pursuits from the new applications of science to the arts; or young men not intended for any of the learned professions, or meaning to go through any regular course of university education, but sent for one or more years to college, in order to carry their education farther than they could prosecute it in the parochial schools, before they are engaged in the pursuits of trade or commerce. And all persons may attend any of the classes, in whatever order or manner it may

suit their convenience. The system of instruction by a course of elaborate lectures on the different branches of science and philosophy, continued daily for a period of six months, is admirably calculated to answer all the objects which such persons may have in view, as well as to afford much useful instruction to regular students.

The remuneration of the professors depends, in the larger universities, mainly, and in Edinburgh, it may be said, entirely, upon the fees paid by the students,

or, in other words, upon the number of students. From the fact that the reputation of the professors must be greatly increased by the number of persons attending upon them, especially those who have just been alluded to, there is danger, that in proportion to the increase of auditors of this description, the important and primary object of the regular education of youth may be overlooked, examinations and exercises being gradually given up, the professor being entirely confined to lecturing. The students in the Scotch universities do not reside within the walls of the college, or in any place subject to the inspection of the university authorities. They reside wherever they choose; and after they leave the class-room, their studies and occupations are not necessarily under the inspection of the professors. In Edinburgh and Glasgow, it may be safely said, that the professors do not generally know much more of the students, (except when in their class-rooms, than of the other youths of these great cities.

There are no endowments or establishments connected with the Scotch universities, such as fellowships for the maintenance of literary men, after their own education is finished, and who do not necessarily take any share in the business of instruction. There is no encouragement, therefore, to prosecute, to any great extent, those branches of literature which do not directly tend to useful objects in life. Without the strongest natural inclination, it is in vain to hope, that many persons will devote themselves to classical literature as their peculiar pursuit, with the zeal exhibited in other countries, when they cannot thereby attain any immediate bonor or future advantage.

The medical department of education in the universities of Scotland is evidently of the greatest importance. During a long period, a large proportion of the persons who have practised medicine throughout the country, and who have occupied the medical stations in the army and navy, have been educated for their profession in one or other of those universities. The medical school of Edinburgh has long possessed high celebrity, and that of Glasgow has, of late years, risen into great eminence; and there is reason to believe that this branch of academical instruction may soon attain an important rank in the university of Aberdeen. Much less attention has been paid to the study of the law. A full course does not seem to have been established at either of the universities, unless that at Edinburgh is an exception. The session for the study of divinity in the university of Aberdeen is three months ; in Št. Andrews, four ; in Edinburgh, though nominally longer, it is not so practically; while in Glasgow it is six months. Divinity is studied almost exclusively by persons intending to become ministers of the established church; and the General Assembly has, by various acts, prescribed the course of study, and the period of attendance at the divinity-hall, which shall be sufficient to qualify candidates for obtaining a license to preach the gospel, as the means of entitling them to hold parochial livings.

* We subjoin, in a note, some more particular information in regard to the universities, as they exist at the present time, 1840. The oldest of the universities is that of St. Andrews, which was founded in May, 1410, by Bishop Henry Wardlaw, and confirmed by a papal bull in 1411. The college of St. Salvator was erected in 1456 ; that of St. Leonard in 1512; and that of St. Mary in 1537; the first two were united by parliamentary statute in 1747. In the united college there is a principal (Sir David Brewster) and 8 professors; in St. Mary's, a principal (Robert Haldane, D. D.) and three professors. In the three colleges there are 29 charitable foundations, called bursaries, of the aggregate value of about £1100 per annum, whose benefits are extended to 92 individuals. The university of Glasgow was founded in 1571, by a papal bull,

We now proceed, in the fourth place, to the main object of this paper. What is the present ecclesiastical condition of Scotland ? What are the prospects of the established church? Why have there been secessions from her ranks? How has the Scottish character been affected by the church policy? What

and its privileges were subsequently confirmed and extended by royal charters and parliamentary statutes. The discipline is administered by a court, consisting of the rector, (now Rt. Hon. Sir J. Graham,) the principal, (Duncan Macfarlane, D.D.,) and the 21 professors. The common business of the college is managed by the principal and 13 professors. The number of charitable foundations is 29, of the average annual value of £1165, and extended to 65 students. The principal and members possess the right of nominating ten students, members of the church of England, to exhibitions in Baliol College, Ox. ford. University and King's College, Aberdeen, was founded by Bishop Wm. Elphinstone. A papal bull was issued for its erection on the 10th of Feb. 1495. The affairs of the college are conducted, and its discipline administered by a Senatus, which consists of the principal, (Wm. Jack, D. D.,) and 9 professors. The fees, in the complete course of instruction, in the faculty of arts, do not exceed £20. The charitable foundations are 32, of the value of £1771 per annum, and extended to 134 students. Marischal College and University of Aberdeen was founded by George, fifth earl of Marischal, by a charter, dated April 2, 1593, and in the same month, it received the sanction of the General Assembly, and in July was ratified by parliament. The number of bursaries is 115, of the aggregate value of about £1160 annually; about 67 are open to public competition. The rector is the Hon. J. C. Colquhoun ; principal, Daniel Dewar, D. D. The whole number of professors is 13. The university of Edinburgh was founded in 1582, by James VI. The principal is John Lee, D.D., one of the ministers of Edinburgh. There is no chancellor nor rector. The number of professors is 32: 4 in law, 3 in divinity, 12 in medicine, and the remainder in arts. Bursaries 34, of the value of £1172 per annum, and extended to 80 students. The whole number of students, at all the Scotch universities in 1837, was above 3,400, of whom Edinburgh had 1580; of the remaining 1820, Glasgow had above two thirds. Edinburgh, in 1822–

are the lessons which are taught by the interesting crisis which the national communion is now passing through ? Our limits will forbid us to answer these questions with that fulness which we could desire. In order to accomplish our object with any degree of satisfaction, we must briefly advert to a few prominent points in the history of the Presbyterian church.

The reformation from Popery began at an early period in Scotland, but made little progress till the time of John Knox. This distinguished reformer was born in 1505. He was educated in the University of St. Andrews, where he took a degree in arts. He was at first a zealous Romanist. About 1544, he renounced that religion and became an equally zealous reform

Soon after the accession of queen Mary, he retired to Geneva, where he remained till 1555, and where he became acquainted with the doctrines and polity of Calvin.* On the 24th of August, 1560, Popery was abolished in Scotland, and the Protestant religion established by act of parliament. The system of ecclesiastical policy, introduced in room of that which was abolished, was embodied in a work, entitled “The First Book of Discipline, or the Policy and the Discipline of the Church.” It was laid before parliament in 1560, as a necessary accompaniment to the legal constitution of the national reformed church; but, though not formally ratified by the legislature, it was subscribed by many of its members. proved, in the same year, by the General Assembly at Edinburgh. Though the parliament did not ratify the first book of discipline, it accepted and confirmed the confession of faith drawn up by the Protestant ministers, the object of which was to abjure Popery; and hence it was called the negative confession. Another confession or national covenant was subscribed in 1580, 1581, and on subsequent occasions. In 1581, the Assembly first divided the country into presbyteries and synods. Three years afterwards, Episcopacy was established by act of parliament, and the Presbyterian ministers were persecuted or banished. In June, 1592, the Presbyterian form of government was restored, and it received, for the first time, the sanction of parliament, as the authorized government of the established national church. Manses (parsonage-houses) and glebes were provided for the ministers. From 1606 to 1638, Episcopacy again prevailed. In 1640, the Presbyterian government received the sanction of Charles I., and of his parliament. At the Restoration in 1660, Episcopacy again attained the ascendency, which it with difficulty maintained, and at the expense of much persecution and martyrdom, till the Revolution in 1688; soon after which it was abolished, and the national church of Scotland declared Presbyterian; a form which it has ever since maintained. By an act of the parliament of Scotland, 1706, it is “provided and declared, that the true Protestant religion, contained in the Confession of Faith, with the form and purity of worship then in use, within the church of Scotland, and its Presbyterian church government and discipline, that is to say, the government of the church by kirk-sessions, presbyteries, provincial synods and general assemblies, shall remain and continue unalterable.”

er.

It was ap

* See the Life of Knox, prefixed to his History of the Reformation of the Church of Scotland, Vol. I. Paisley, 1791.

During the whole period from 1690 to 1712, the most important deliberations in the General Assembly turned on subjects of internal regulation. It was a principal object to provide Presbyterian ministers for the remote districts, which were in -the greatest need ; and, till this could be done effectually, to supply the vacant parishes in the mean time, by individuals sent from the southern counties, who, at intervals, officiated in succession for a limited period.

In 1712, lay-patronage was revived, or the right of nominating to a vacant parish by a lay-patron. The idea of patronage took its rise from the canon law. Neither James VI. nor any of his successors before the Revolution were willing to abolish the right, though it was unquestionably the doctrine of the church, that no minister should be intruded upon any congregation, either by the prince, or any inferior person, without lawful election, and the assent of the people over whom the person is placed. The acts of parliament, while they are authoritative and explicit in enforcing the right at the same time contain clauses of restriction, by which it was evidently intended to be limited. From 1690 to 1712, it was abolished, and the right of presentation was lodged in the landholders of parishes and the members of kirk-sessions. In 1712, patronage was revived, and continued the law of the church, uninterruptedly, till 1834. After a presentation had been sustained by the presbytery, the presentee was appointed to preach in the vacant church for one or more Sabbaths; and a day was fixed posterior to his preaching, on which a call was to be extended to

« PreviousContinue »