Theological Education -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 038:152 (Oct 1881)
Article: Theological Education
Author: Anonymous


Theological Education

No. VIII.—Advantages Of Private Instruction

In the April number of the Bibliotheca we traced in a brief and rapid way the history of ministerial education in New England, from the founding of Harvard College in 1638 down to the establishment of theological seminaries in the early years of the present century. It was shown that the college itself for a long period from the beginning was regarded and used more as a theological seminary than as a college, according to our modern understanding of these names. The daily drill consisted largely of biblical exercises and a close study of the ancient languages in which the Bible was first written. In those early years it was considered that the work of preparation for the ministry was chiefly accomplished when the candidate had reached his graduating-day. Whatever studies might intervene between the end of the college course and the day of his ordination for the ministry were regarded rather as miscellaneous and optional than prescribed. Sometimes the young graduate remained a

year or two longer about the college, pursuing post-graduate studies under the general supervision of the president and fellows. Sometimes he entered upon a course of reading and study under the guidance of his parish minister. Still more frequently, as we judge from the records which have come down to us, he studied and read according to his own taste and pleasure. There was no fixed and digested plan of training laid down by custom or public opinion to cover the period between the close of the college course and the public work of the ministry.

It was shown also in our former Article that about the middle of the last century, when Harvard College was more than a hundred years old, and Yale about fifty, there began to grow up in New England private schools of theological instruction. The first of these of any considerable note was that of Dr. Joseph Bellamy of Bethlem, Conn. Soon after they were established in various parts of New England, and became popular. They were places of resort for almost all candidates for the ministry after they had ended their college course. These private schools held their place for some seventy or eighty years of our New England history, until they were superseded by our theological seminaries. After the founding of Andover Seminary, in 1808, these private schools for some years divided with the seminary the work of theological education. For example, Dr. Jacob Ide of West Medway was not settled in the ministry until 1814, six years after Andover had begun its work. By his location at West Medway, and by his marriage, as also by his dignity and wisdom, he inherited in some good degree the traditions of his father-in-law, the famous Dr. Emmons of Franklin...

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