Billeder på siden

serve perfunctorily; if the service, as a whole, or is dead or uninteresting falls short of the highest excellence in any degree,- by so much are the college authorities missing their privileges. To the chapel service should the students confidently come for help. They should receive what they need, and no pains are too great for architect, trustees, president, organist, choir, and congregation to take.

Two of the most important elements of service-enrichment are the organ and the choir. In the consideration of music's help in the student's religious life, music must be subordinated to the end in view. After the service has been mapped out, its unification accomplished, and the part to be allotted to music determined, the manner in which the latter is to be carried out becomes of much importance. The modern organ has become an expressive, flexible instrument, capable of an immense range in power and color. The organist has a great opportunity. He must not abuse his opportunity by attracting attention to himself, by obtruding his instrument, or by indulging in sentimentalism. Discreetly used, his position is of great usefulness.

But while in the organ the student finds vicarious expression, in the choir he may offer up directly to God his prayer and praise and adoration. If the choir be devout in manner and musically effective, it cannot fail, either, to carry with it the religious feeling of the congregation. Let the college find a choir-master who can train a choir so that it shall be reverent, flexible in its response to service needs, and joyous in its work. This is a very difficult thing to manage, but if managed, it pays a hundred-fold. A congregation can be led, melted, encouraged, by a choir made up from the student body, when the finest professional choir would leave them untouched.

To put all this in a somewhat different way, the most gracious service that music can render to the religious life in worship is the service of carrying the climax reached in sermon, address, or prayer on and higher. This music can do through hymn or anthem or organ. To render this service with the least loss of power, there must be absolute co-ordination in every respect between minister, choir, congregation, and organist. An ideal? Yes, an ideal; a wise ideal; a practicable ideal. Whatever the theme, however adequately or wisely presented, music, if allowed to try, will take it up and carry it higher. In this sense music begins where words leave off.

Whether we consider the direct liturgical bearings of music or its essential nature, may we not conclude that it may help the religious life of the student by aiding him in the expression of his aspirations and by giving him a beautiful and forcible illustration of divine immanence and divine law?





One is glad to find that several seminaries, which hitherto have not insisted upon the college degree for entrance, have begun to do so. Several report additions to their faculty. At Union Theological Seminary they are adding a graduate chair of Theological Encyclopaedics and Symbolics for men pursuing advance courses, a graduate chair of preaching for "ministers who desire further training in this department," an assistant has been added to the work of the Homiletic Department, and a chair of Applied Christianity has also been established. New Brunswick Theological Seminary has added the teaching of cognate languages in the Old Testament field, is making arrangements with New York University with regard to studies for the doctor's degree, and is also "steadily increasing facilities for the study of comparative religion." At Auburn a new chair has been established in Apologetics and Theism, and the President wishes to arrange for the teaching of religious pedagogy. Andover has added an instructor in the History of Religion. At Oberlin the college degree is demanded for entrance and " genuinely post-graduate work of a severe order is now being done, involving the abandonment of the lecture system, and the adoption of something like seminar work." Rochester has introduced new requirements for admission, and now demands the college degree, or ability to do the work of degree of B. D. Two new professorships have been added, one for English Bible and one for assistance in the work of New Testament interpretation. Rochester has, moreover, adopted the elective system, adding the number of courses under this head to the fixed curriculum. General Theological Seminary of New York has also adopted the elective system in an experimental manner, and is extending the seminar system of class-work. An instructor in Ethics has been added to the faculty, and the Dean reports that the library has been "substantially remade."

The Elective System. One cannot look over the catalogues of theological seminaries and the letters which have come from them without remarking the steady spread of the elective system. Even seminaries

whose equipment is small are yet trying, by imposing additional classroom labor upon their staff; to meet with the demand for this feature in a theological curriculum. The old system recognized five main departments of study: Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, Church History, and Homiletics. The characteristic of that system was that the students could concentrate for prolonged periods upon each discipline, giving it full justice. The result was that men went out masters in some real measure of the great instruments with which investigation in every direction could afterwards be carried


This modern demand has arisen everywhere from two main sources. First, through the growth of investigation in the nineteenth century there has been a great increase of departments and sub-departments in the vast field of Christian scholarship. Subjects which seemed to be unified in a simple fashion, fifty years ago, have been broken up and their several portions have grown into independent fields of research and systematic thought. Let me merely name to you the rise of the science of comparative religion out of the extraordinary labors of innumerable scholars upon all the religions of the world. Out of this science there has arisen a wider demand for a study of the philosophy of religion, and the latter has brought problems in metaphysics in a fresh way, and from a new quarter, into the field of theological investigation. Christian ethics during the last fifty years became detached definitely from dogmatics, and demands separate treatment, both in method and in end. Closely connected with this there has arisen the science of sociology. Yet again, out of the modern methods of psychological investigation have arisen various efforts to understand the nature and laws of religious experience. This threatens, under our very eyes, to become a new department. On the practical side, we are now familiar with the phrase "religious pedagogy," and are aware that not only do many seminaries try to give it a subordinate place in their scheme, but separate institutions have been created to give full training in the science and art of Christian education. One must only refer to the greater breadth and depth which has been given to the older fields of Old and New Testament scholarship by modern discoverers in the field of Semitic languages and literature, and by the great extension of knowledge in the already vast field of early Christian history and literature.

Second. We must note the more frank recognition which we all give to the diversities of interests and gifts among students. Enthusiastic teachers desire to help men to find out what they can do best, and in

what department they can work with most hope of making it a life inter


The dangers of the Elective System may be put in the following manner: First, the danger of superficial work all round. This must arise if the student goes forth with no one subject mastered, and therefore with no real mental discipline. Second, a danger of the opposite kind, which arises when a student specializes too soon and confines his hard work to a field which is too narrow. He may lay there the foundation of a real life interest and within it become a scholar; but he will find later that his favorite and only department is organically connected with all others, and that he is unfitted to pass into them or receive their aid from the fact that he neglected those classes which are necessary for scholarship in these related portions of the whole system.

If these be the dangers, by what methods can we obviate them? I will try to answer this question by referring to the plans adopted by several of our best-known theological schools.

(1) In the first place, let me refer to the plan adopted by the Divinity School of Harvard University. Here the utmost freedom of election is allowed to all, excepting those who enter for the degree of B.D. From these a total of fourteen courses in three years is demanded. Two of these may be chosen from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As to the remainder, it is said, "Candidates for the degree are not allowed to neglect entirely any one of the following departments: Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, Theology, Homiletics."

(2) Another plan may be called the "Grouping System." Under this the whole number of courses offered in the institution is divided up under various heads, some being generally classed as required or prescribed, and others as elective. Under each group, which practically becomes a curriculum for the student choosing it, it is sought to secure three ends. First, each student is compelled to do some work in all of the main departments. Second, under each group subject a list of courses is given, which belong to it or are most nearly connected with it. These become prescribed for the particular student. Third, a margin of hours is usually left, which each student can fill up from all the other electives offered, with absolute freedom. In working out this plan, each student must consider the professor in whose group he enrolls himself as his personal adviser in all matters concerning his course. The professor is bound to take the special oversight over all students in his group, keep as close to them as he can from one term to another, and report on their progress to the faculty as a whole.

(3) Another and most interesting plan is that which is being carried

out by Princeton Theological Seminary. First, Princeton offers a fixed regular curriculum on the old lines, without electives, which leads to a certificate of graduation at the end of three years. Second, a number of what are called extra-curriculum courses are offered in each department, and in certain fields outside the regular curriculum. From these courses no student may choose more than four hours during each of his three years of undergraduate study. These four hours do not seem to count in any way towards his grade on graduation. It is most interesting, and for the friends of the elective system most encouraging to find that last year at Princeton there were no fewer than 157 entries (counting the repetition of names) made by undergraduates for these elective courses. Third, Princeton adds a fourth year of work, all of which must be done to the extent of no less than twelve hours in the extracurriculum courses. These courses are in the five regular departments, with Semitic philology added as a sixth department. The student who comes up for a fourth year chooses one of these groups, and in it he must spend at least two thirds of his time, the remaining one third being left as elective. In addition, he has a thesis, and when the thesis and examinations on his year's work are through, he receives the degree of B. D. Under this arrangement last year, no fewer than nineteen men received their degree.

The Fourth Year.-The pressure of the elective system has thus brought us face to face with the question whether the time has come or theological seminaries to insist on a fourth year of study. The great extension of the field of theological learning to which we have alluded, as well as the example of medical schools which have prolonged their courses to four and even five years, have combined to raise this question in many minds. Within the last five years another movement has emphasized the problem for us. I refer to the tendency of colleges and universities to admit studies preparative to a theological course into the curriculum for the B.A. degree. Students who have included in their arts course classes in Hebrew, Christian Ethics, Apologetics, New Testament, Greek, Sociology, and perhaps Church History, expect to receive credit for this work when they come to a seminary, and sometimes wish to finish their theological course in two instead of three years. The value of a fourth year need not be discussed.

Undoubtedly any seminary which took this step would have to be content for a considerable time with a small enrollment in its fourth year. And yet here the experience of Princeton is most encouraging. I find that this seminary, last year, had altogether 34 graduate students.

« ForrigeFortsæt »