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geniously observed, that the ministers of religion are much in the same situation with those builders, who in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, whilst they worked with one hand, were, on account of their enemies from whom they were continually in danger, obliged to hold a weapon with the other.
Let it here be remarked, that these two last branches, the christian system and polemic divinity, though perfectly distinct in their nature, are almost universally and very commodiously joined together in the course of study. The consideration of every separate article of religion is aptly accompanied with the consideration of its evidence; and the consideration of its evidence necessarily requires the consideration of those objections, which arise from a different representation of the doctrine. Thus the great branches of the theoretic part of this profession, though properly four in their nature, are in regard to the manner in which they may be most conveniently learnt, justly reducible to three, namely Scripture Criticism, Sacred History, and Theological Controversy. These are sufficient to complete the character of the theologian, as the word is commonly understood; who is precisely what our Lord has denominated “a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, who can, like a provident householder, bring out of his treasure, new things and old.”
But even what is sufficient to constitute an able divine, is, though a most essential part, yet not all that is necessary to make a useful pastor. The furniture has been pointed out, but not the application. In the former, we may say, lies the knowledge of the profession, but in the latter, the skill. This second part I intend to make the subject of another discourse.
* But before I conclude the present, I shall beg leave briefly to observe to you, that when first I'set about composing these lectures, I was in some doubt, whether I should use the Latin language or the Eng. lish. I weighed impartially the arguments on both sides, and did at last, I think with reason, determine in favour of the latter. On the one side some appearance of dignity pleaded ; on the other, real utility. It may be said to draw more respect to the profession as a literary study, that the tongue employed be unknown to the vulgar. On the other hand it is no reflection on the proficiency in learning which you my hearers may have heretofore made, to suppose, that not being so much accustomed to the use of Latin as of your mother-tongue, ye should not with the same quickness and facility, apprehend what is conveyed in the one, as what is delivered in the other. It is not barely knowing the words and the construction of a language, that will make us apprehend it with perfect readiness, when spoken. For this purpose long practice is necessary even to the best proficient. For so powerful is the influence of habit on association, that even when a person has made so great progress in the language, as that he can hardly ever be at a loss, when sufficiently attentive, for explaining a term or analysing a sentence, yet if his opportunities of hearing it read or spoken have not been frequent, it will be difficult to him, for any continuance, to give the necessary attention. A man is said to understand a tongue, when there is an associa. tion or mutual attraction established in his mind be. tween the words both single and combined, and the ideas they are intended to signify. But though this connection may be soon established, it is practice only that can quicken the attraction, and as it were smooth the passage from the one to the other. Wherever this is not done, attention requires too much effort to be long supported. Public speakers, even when their language and style are perfectly familiar and perspicuous to their hearers, find considerable difficulty to command an attentive hearing for half an hour, especially to matters of speculation ; they have little need then, if I may be allowed the metaphor, to lay an additional tax on attention, a commodity of so great consequence to them, and at the same time so scarce. Were it indeed the custom, that in all the previous parts of education which our students pass through before they enter this hall, the lessons were given in Latin, it would be reasonable that the practice should be continued here. As the hearers would by habit be perfectly prepared, it would be even laudable to contribute, by continuing this usage, to familiarize them to a language, with which every man of science ought to be thoroughly acquainted. But as the case is different, I should think it unpardonable to sacrifice the profit of the students to the parade of learning; or to waste more time in composing, to no other end, I may say, but to render the composition less useful. The words of Doctor Burton, both in relation to the manner of conduct. ing the theological study, and to the language proper to be employed, are so much to my purpose, that I shall conclude this lecture with them. The passage is in Latin, but there is a great difference between at. tending for three minutes and attending for thirty.
Desideratur specialis aliqua institutio, quæ prophe. tarum filios ad officium pastorale obeundum aliquanto instructiores faciat. Disciplina scilicet primitus instituta, pro temporum superiorum ratione, figuræ et coloris ut plurimum scholastici, ad subtilis cujusdam artificii ostentationem potiu squam ad usus communes comparata, exolevit. Hinc fit ut discipuli nostri ad operosa systematum disciplina usque adeo abhorreant, ut extra ordinem sine duce vagari et errare malint, quam ex præscripto sapere, et theologiæ synopsin aliquam prælibare ; adeoque sine institutione debita, sine disciplina, sine exercitatione prævia, uno quasi impetu facto, ad officia momenti longe gravissimi administranda accinguntur. Præceptorem idoneum quærimus, catecheticum et popularem, qui quicquid est præceptionum, de historia universa biblica, evangelicis dogmatibus fidei, proceptis mæralibus, sive ethica christiana, et de iis quæcunque demum in genere homini theologo sunt scitu maxime necessaria, sermone non Latino, sed vernaculo proferat, plenius atque distinctius a catechumeno percipiendum.
Of the Practical part of the Theological Profession, or the Duties of the
In the former lecture, on the nature and extent of the theological profession, I observed, that when consider. ed in respect of the end it was intended to answer, it might properly be divided into two parts, the theoretic and the practical. The one supplies us with what is called the science of theology, the other instructs us how, by a proper discharge of the duties of the holy ministry, to employ the acquisitions we have made in that science, for the benefit of the christian people. The first
part I have already briefly considered, subdividing it into three branches, biblical criticism, sacred history, and systematic or polemic divinity. I should now proceed to the consideration of the second part, the practical, which regards the pastoral office in particular.
But before I enter on this, permit me only further to observe, in relation to what was the subject of the preceding discourse, that though the different branches of the province of theology have not perhaps been formally distinguished and enumerated as above, yet a sense of the necessity of all of them seems to have influenced our church-rulers in this northern part of