Education And Religion -- By: Charles Franklin Thwing

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 086:342 (Apr 1929)
Article: Education And Religion
Author: Charles Franklin Thwing


Education And Religion1

Charles Franklin Thwing

II. Education And Religion As Form And Content

In our first lecture, we spoke of education and religion as experience. In the second I wish to speak of education and religion as form and content.

Education and religion embody a certain likeness of form. Each stands for the human element incarnated in the college and in the church. I now refer, in particular, to three items of the human side: (1) Both the church and the college use the fact of assemblage of the body of students, or of the congregation of worshippers, who are to be instructed, interested, and blessed. (2) The human element, also, takes the form as an outward and audible sign of the human voice. The important force, or method, in the propagation is the voice. The preacher speaks his message, the teacher speaks his lesson. It would not be fair to say vox preteria nil,—better vox in the sense of John the Baptist: “Who are you?” “I am a voice.” (3) The church has also its sacred books, its historic manuscripts, its creeds, its written dogmas and doctrines, the enduring results of the past, of light, of leading, of struggle, of triumph. The college also has its texts, its books, its manuscripts, its libraries, its written and printed statements of teachings offered, accepted, transmuted, transmitted. In its very form, therefore, education and religion are, alike, of impressive similarity.

Historically, too, education and religion are bracketed together. For, in the early medieval period, philosophy became theology, rationalism ecclesiasticism. In the darkness of that period, it was the lamp of the ecclesiastic,

kept trimmed and burning, which helped to dispel the universal night. The schools were cathedral schools; learning belonged to the cloister. It was the transfer of the learning of the monks to the secular college that helped to found the University of Paris, and the succeeding universities of that great age of learning and of teaching. The priest became the professor; the bishop of the diocese, the university chancellor, or vice chancellor. In nearer historic times, one does not forget that in certain respects the most outstanding college of Oxford is Christ Church, and the largest college of Cambridge is named Trinity. All Souls, Jesus, Saint John’s, are names of Oxford’s colleges. One likes to recall that the Cambridge college most closely associated with our oldest college, and with American higher education, bears the name of Emmanuel. One remembers, with gratitude, that Temple, headmaster of Rugby, became Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury, that the great Stub...

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