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phy; this sum of the law, and the Prophets, and the gospel ; this rational criterion, by which we measure our hopes of the young, our esteem for those in maturer life, and our reverence for the aged ; these virtues must surely constitute the primary qualification of him, whose office it is to set forth continually their religious obligation, to unfold their intrinsic reason, loveliness, and utility, and so recommend them to the understanding and affections of mankind. If the truths upon which these duties are founded have not obtained the full assent of your own understanding ; if they have made no impression upon your own aflections ; above all, if they have not influenced your practice ; wave, for the present at least, all thoughts of a profession, which will enhance your prior, unsatisfied obligations, and will render your failings more painful and dishonourable to yourself, and more displeasing and pernicious to the world. Wait for the more happy season, when viva voce instruction, reading, meditation and example, shall have better formed your principles, and regulated your life. Become a faithful servant of God, and a true disciple of Christ; and then you may aspire, with comfort and confidence, to be a minister of religion, and a preacher of the gospel.
The second preparation for holy orders is the acquisition of an adequate portion of learning ; first, elementary and general, such as is. expected in every educated person ; which has been hitherto, and will for some time continue to be, the object of your pursuit ; second. ly, special or professional, such as will be requisite for the performance of your office ; which is the subject of our present enquiry.
Upon this head, the first question which arises is, at what age, or at what standing in the university, I would advise you to turn aside. out of the wider path of general learning, into the line of study which leads directly to the knowledge of your intended profession. This is a point which deserves the well-advised consideration of every scholar who designs himself for a particular calling. Here are two extremes to be avoided. On the one hand, he may suffer greatly by entering too early on his professional study: which can never be advantageously pursued without previous application to general literature, philological and philosophical. Without some knowledge of the learned languages, and an acquaintance with a few of the best classical writers, his means of information will be limited, and his manner of communicating his sentiments will be ungraceful. The study of the sciences strengthens the understanding, habituates it to -calm and orderly discussion, and furnishes it with topics of argu. ment, illustration and ornament, upon every subject. On the other hand, these preliminary acquirements, however generally necessary, and always desirable, must not be suffered to encroach too far upon the only time which the shortness of human life, and the exigency of particular situations, allow to the attainment of the substantial knowledge of the profession itself. I have known many a young academic destined to the bar fall into the first error ; and lose much of an enlarged education by his impatience to engage in Blackstone's Commentaries, when, after the example of this author himself, (as we may fairly infer from his work, and have other reasons to believe) he ought to have been applying himself to logic, ethies
and metaphysics, forming his taste by Longinus, Cicero and Quinctilian, and accustoming his mind to sound argument, demonstrative or probable, by a book of Euclid, and a prelection of Sanderson. But the student designed for the Church more frequently commits the second ; and (if it be not very speedily and industriously remedied) the more pernicious pistake. He improves and amuses himself, more or less, according to his talents, industry, and opportunities, in the pursuit of general learning, till the eve of his expected ordination. He then suddenly undertakes to write for the pulpit, upon the strength of a few successful efforts in a poem, essay or declamation : he depends upon his mathematical knowledge for an intuitive comprehension of the reasoning of St. Paul ; and expects that his intimacy with Sophocles or Demosthenes shall compensate for the want of even a superficial acquaintance with the sacred his. torians, the Prophets and the Evangelists. A partial ground, and palliation of this his error may be, that the statutable regulations, I believe, of both our universities, very rationally suppose the first four years to be spent in the cultivation of such introductory and general learning, as is necessary, useful or ornamental to every pro. fession, to every course of mature study, and to every active, or even retired situation in life. And it is most happy when a scholar de. signed for a profession is enabled by family circumstances, or the assistance of a foundation, to form himself entirely upon this eligible plan. It is particularly desirable for students who are to be candidates for the ministry ; because while others, after they leave the university, usually pass to some second scene of professional education, these remove precipitately to the immediate employments of the profession itself.
If therefore you have the command of your time, you cannot do better than to follow the usages of your university. You will pursue the general stated course of education for four academical years, or three civil years complete at the least ; and then devote the three years following to your particular preparation for orders ; adding to each of these periods so appropriated, as much time as your plan of life will allow. But if your circumstances do not admit of this dis tribution ; if you foresee that you are doomed to be a candidate for deacon's orders, or even to aspire to the sole care of a parish, immediately upon taking your first degree, you will remedy the evil of your situation as well as you can. You are obliged to compress the main business of six or seven years into something less than four. To effect this object in any satisfactory degree, the only means, I conceive, are ; first, to use extraordinary diligence ; secondly, to abridge discreetly your academical or general studies ; thirdly, so to select and arrange them, that a considerable part of them may bear a direct and immediate reference to your professional studies; and fourthly, to begin your preparation for orders, concurrently with your other employments, at the opening of your second year.
Whichever of these may be your situation, whether you are likely to be a candidate for orders at four, or five, or six years standing, or later, the following hints may be useful to you..
From this your first residence in the university, have your professios constantly in your view. Besides that this foresight will have a hapa py influence upon your sentiments and manners, it will also (which is the immediate subject of our present consideration) give a reasonable bias to the train of your literary thoughts and general studies.
Attend with alacrity and spirit to the usual academical courses of logic, ethics and metaphysics. These studies are more easy, useful, and even necessary than they who slight them are apt to imagine. A small portion of time and industry will suffice for them. They will have a considerable effect, through your whole life, upon the clearness of your thoughts, and the precision of your language. The technical terms and distinctions belonging to them are frequently commodious in learned discussions; and they occur so familiarly in the writers of the last century, and in some who lived in the be. ginning of the present, that you would do well to acquire them, were it only as you learn dead or foreign languages, for the sake of conversing freely with those who use them.
Learn the elements of the Hebrew language without delay, You never will have more time for this undertaking, or better relish, or more ready ability. Your future progress in this tongue (or other kindred ones) will depend upon circumstances, which you cannot now foresee, nor need to consider. You may be assured that even a superficial knowledge of it will be useful and agreeable to you ; and without an improved acquaintance with it you will not be a complete divine.
Whatever may be your present or future acquirements in Grea cian learning, secure to yourself a knowledge of the language and phraseology of the New Testament. This book is to be your manual and your guide through life; the authentic oracle to which you are constantly to resort, for doctrine and for precept, in order to the edification of yourself and others. Your early proficiency in it will be your passport into the sanctuary : your further progress will be very much the measure, and the mean, of your worthy administration there. You may have heard concerning an eloquent father of the Eastern Church,* that he was accustomed, I suppose in his younger days, to have Aristophanes always under his pillow ; and of a venerable English Bishop,t that he had read Tully's Offices twenty times over, and in his old age had the book by heart : But as it is evident from the writings of both these divines, that they were perfectly conversant with a volume of higher order and origin, so I hope that you will at no time suffer it to be driven from your table by any classic author, ancient or modern, however entertaining or improving. I wish you indeed, at a convenient season, and the sooner the better, to be acquainted with the ancient poets, orators and philosophers : But how preposterous would it be to offer yourself for the ministry of the gospel, better informed in the ethics of a Grecian school, the moral sayings of a tragedian, or the dying conversations of the Athenian martyr, than with the sermons, and parables, and last injunctions of our blessed Saviour? I will add, how * Chrysostom.
unscholarlike and disgraceful, after some years residence in a university, to know little or nothing of either? The phraseology of the Septuagint (I speak not here of the other uses of this version) is a natural comment on the language of the New Testament. You will have a ready opportunity (and without any expence of time) of carrying on your acquaintance with both together, by reading them, as is usual, with the lessons in your college chapel. The lasting benefit of four years PERSEVERANCE in this easy task is scarcely to be calculated.
Whatever book of any kind you are about to read, acquaint yourself with the life of the author, and the principal incidents of his times. His sentiments usually take some degree of tincture from these circumstances, and his writings naturally allude to them : This knowledge, consequently, will enable you to accompany him with greater facility and advantage. For this reason, after the usual application to some sketch of ancient and modern history, I wish you to be particularly conversant with the transactions of England, and and of other nations so far as relates to learning and religion, and with the lives of eminent men, from the beginning of the sixteenth century down to the present time. This knowledge is easily and pleasantly attained, while your curiosity is active, and your memory vigorous.
Among your classics, be careful not to omit Cicero. In his ethical and theological compilations and researches, you have the result or compendium of all which philosophy, with such assistance as it may have had from primitive traditions or later communications with the Jews, could do in morality and religion. Its excellencies will shew you the folly of depreciating reason; and its defects will convince you of the fatuity of rejecting revelation. And when you turn to his arguments and declamations in active life, you will perceive how unsteadily the divine meditations of his closet affected his practical sentiments; or, it may be, only his public professions. Besides these more solid advantages to be derived from reading the works of Cicero, I just mention another, which may happen to be useful to you, a fuency and correctness in writing or speaking Latin.
After the ethical books of Cicero, particularly his Offices, let me advise you to read the prelections of Bishop Sanderson. I propose them to you on two grounds. The first, as I would recommend the criticisms of Aristotle or Longinus, not only for the general justness of his decisions upon the cases before him, but also for his manner of stating and resolving, and for the habit of method and precision which you will in all probability learn from him : as the performances of great masters in every art, not only instruct or entertain you, but inspire you with a relish for the art itself, improve your taste and judgment in it, and (if you advance so far) facilitate and heighten your execution. And you will agree with me in thinking that few arts or sciences are of more importance, especially to a professed divine or moralist, than casuistry, or the apa plication of law to particular cases, in order to guide the conscience of yourself and others in all situations and circumstances. My sec
ond reason for recommending to you these prelections is, that the plan of them (as became the chair whence they were given) is to determine every question by the joint authority of scripture and reason; that is, by the Word of God, explained, or, if occasion be, supplied, by the reason of the thing. This is to refer the conscience at once to its “ proper and adequate rule.”* Any decision proceeding upon narrower grounds, is a mere hypothetical prolusion, applicable to no existing case ; as if an English counsellor (I believe I borrow the allusion from a living author of great merit) should give an opinion founded solely on the common law, without regard to the statute law, or on the letter of the statute simply interpreted, without any respect to the principles and spirit of the common law. Many passages in these prelections allude to the history of the times near which they were written,t and refer to questions, ecclesiastical and civil, fiercely agitated in those days : You are not concerned in the accuracy of every phrase and statement on these topics.
Accustom yourself early to composition in English and Latin, and even, occasionally, and in small portions, in Greek. Do not imagine that the time you shall spend in cultivating the syntax and elegances of a classical language will turn to no account towards your facility or correctness in writing and speaking in your own. Consider any such suggestion as an ignorant plea of indolence. You will find the fact quite opposite ; and the reasons may easily be given. However, after a season, incline most to English composition, and exercise yourself constantly in some kind of it or other, original, abridgment or translation. Whatever extracts you make from any writings, wherein the matter, and not the style, is the object of your notice, digest the sense, and set it down nearly in your own words. Read, at the same time, some of our best English prose writers, such as Mr. Dryden, Dr. Swift, and Mr. Addison, and our higher poets. After essays on other subjects, such as your studies or inclination may suggest, you will naturally turn your thoughts to the kind of composition, which will hereafter demand your prin. cipal attention. And as your preparation for orders approaches, you will do well to write upon some moral or theological subject, with which you are competently acquainted ; sometimes from your own fund entirely, at others with the assistance of some good author.
Lastly, have always in use some treatise of morals and practical divinity, for the employment of Sundays, and occasional hours on other days. This is a point of spiritual prudence in every man ; it particularly becomes a scholar; and still more a scholar with your views. This habit will keep your attention alive to every duty, and will preserve your mind in a proper tone, for the life which you are to lead, and for the particular studies in which you are soon to be engaged.
[To be continued.]