Collegiate Education—Mathematical And Classical Study -- By: B. B. Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:29 (Jan 1851)
Article: Collegiate Education—Mathematical And Classical Study
Author: B. B. Edwards

Collegiate Education—Mathematical And
Classical Study

B. B. Edwards

The subject of collegiate education in the United States is intimately related to the prosperity of Theological Seminaries and to the usefulness of the Christian Ministry, Hence we have opened our pages, not unfrequently, to classical criticism, and to topics of a more general nature, bearing on the studies, libraries, revenues, etc. of the colleges of our country. The seminaries are fed from the colleges. If the latter are flourishing, the former will not be likely to languish. If pursuits of a commercial, mechanical or business character, present irresistible attractions to the select youth of our land, then not only will the college hall be vacant, but the churches will mourn, and heathen lands continue to sit in darkness, because none will come to them with the messages of truth.

The basis of theological training, in all the departments, is an adequate knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. A system of divinity has value just in proportion as it is founded on the grammatical interpretation of biblical texts. Beautiful dogmatic systems have often been formed by the adoption of the current explanations of the proof passages, without subjecting them to a sifting examination, by detaching a verse from its context, by building on mere verbal resemblances, or by framing the materials independently of biblical truth, recourse being had to the written revelation in order to save appearances, or as a kind of buttress to the walls. A thorough, life-long.

grammatical study of the original scriptures, pursued in the Seminary, is essential for all who would be able theologians, or who would magnify their office as expounders of Divine truth. But this study will not be prosecuted with energy unless a foundation is laid in the college. It is the accurate classical scholar who will become the able biblical interpreter. He only who is grounded in Demosthenes and Tacitus, will be likely to relish the words of Paul and Isaiah, as they are found in their original source. There is an universal grammar. The principles of all languages are to a great extent alike. He, who has mastered any single language, has the best preparation to commence any other. He, who has come to the classic page in college as a task, who does not find a kind of going out of the heart to those old masters of thought and speech, will be likely to sell his Hebrew Lexicon at the earliest opportunity, and content himself with king James’s version. Hence, the systematic, patient genial study of Latin and Greek in the colleges, is of unspeakable value in its bearings on theological study, and on the success of the Christian ministry. Hence the reason why so many clergymen fail to become ...

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