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The discussion is not as to whether there is lack of uniformity in the curricula of our theological schools. The catalogues, registers, and year-books published by these schools are evidence enough of the wide difference in the selection of studies pursued, and the yet wider difference in the arrangement of their pursuing.

It is a silent comment on the unfortunate separation among the schools in the work, which, after all, is common to them, and it is an explanation, to a certain extent, of the differentiation in the product which these schools turn out a differentiation the effect of which is unfortunate in the work accomplished by the student, and the process of which is unfortunate in the work carried on by the seminary, while it is an explanation, also, to a certain extent, of the restlessness among the students, that sends them drifting among the seminaries for combinations of courses, the cost of which is large to the seminary in the effort at studyadjustment, and to the students themselves in the demoralization which always comes from scattered and unclassified work.

Confessedly, it is only a partial explanation; for both differentiation and restlessness are due to many causes, some of them in the student as well as in the school, and some lying much deeper in both school and student than mere content and arrangement of studies. At this point of curriculum, however, there does lie a very definite cause for both evils, so that we are justified in saying that our question is one which concerns both student and seminary, and merits, on our part, not only a careful consideration, but also as hearty an attempt as is possible to bring it to its best answer.

This best answer, I am convinced, lies in the direction of the appointment of such a committee as is proposed. The reasons for my conviction are:

I. The fact, already noted and patent to us all, of the sweeping differences which now exist among the curricula of the seminaries, and the inevitable separation which these differences cause. Years ago, doubtless, such separation would have been considered the proper

denominational thing. It would not have been thought possible that credal dogmatics could be taught, and a sectarian ministry prepared for, without a relative institutional isolation. In fact, it is largely because of what obtained ecclesiastically a generation ago that we have the present pedagogical situation. But not only has denominationalism lost to a large extent its separating power, we are coming upon an era of widespread thoughtful evangelism in which the common service of the kingdom will emphasize the need, I do not say of an identical preparation for this service, since this would be impracticable and most unwise but of a preparation which shall carry with it as large a sense as possible of community of purpose, and as large a fact as possible of fellowship of process; for these things make the strength of a common service to a common cause.

II. The fact of the student restlessness among the seminaries, and its inevitable annoyance to the institution and demoralization to the man.

I am well aware that there are not a few educators who hold the student to be best prepared who has carried through his preparation on the eclectic principle-a study here and a study there, a teacher here and a teacher there, a seminary here and a seminary there — and many things everywhere, and some things nowhere. I am not disposed to deny the value of this method, especially as I have seen some excellent results which have issued from it men taken out of a narrow environment in which all education had been carried on up to college graduation, and put into a broader contact with men and minds, in order that their preparation might be one which would fit them for a living service in a life work. This is not a bad thing, if it be not carried to a frittering extreme. It is a thing to be encouraged if it can be safeguarded and controlled. But the case must be an urgent one which would justify the study cost to the student and the teaching cost to the seminary which this process now involves. A relative uniformity of curricula would reduce the cost to both parties concerned, would make the process possible in many cases where now it cannot be enjoyed, and would reduce to a minimum the student restlessness which now exists because a seminary rivalry, by strange devices of encylcopædia and stranger arts of schedule, seems to throw discredit on all curricula which are not measured to one local line.

III. The fact, not yet mentioned, and perhaps not wholly manifest to all even when mentioned, but true nevertheless, that what would be aimed at in such a uniformity would be simply a common background on which necessary modifications might be placed without disturbing effect.

To one who gives careful study to the curricula which now exist, it must be clear that the largest evil in them is not the mere fact of their comprehensive variations, but the fact that these variations involve to a great extent an unscientific encyclopædia. Obviously, in the student's preparation for the ministry there is a sequence of studies which is pedagogically right. If he is to study his Bible at first-hand, languages must be given him at the start, as his tools of work. If he is to study his Bible historically, criticism must be given him before his exegesis. If he is to make his theology the product of his Bible study, there must be a certain arrangement in which exegesis, Biblical theology, and Biblical dogmatics will furnish him, in their order, the interpretative materials from which he is to formulate his theological conclusions. Any other arrangement will result, for example, in giving him a poor exegesis because of an imperfect language, or in confusing him with placing the historical foundation of his exegesis on top of it instead of underneath it, or in imposing his theology upon his interpretation instead of drawing it from his interpretation. Unfortunately, the curricula of our schools present no such uniform arrangement. With some, the language work is not completed in the first year, but drags itself along with grammar and lexicon into the later parts of the course. With many, criticism does not come until exegesis is well on its wayin one instance being reserved, in its Old Testament department, until senior year, when it is made a required study. With not a few, theology is begun at once, and, save when delayed, is not prepared for with anything more than a hurried exegesis, the object of which seems to be rather the covering of ground than the drill in interpretative method. Evidently, if nothing more were to be accomplished by the proposed committee than a uniformity of encyclopædia, enough benefit would accrue to the seminaries and their students to more than justify the committee's labor; for it would not only help the work which the individual seminary is trying to do with its own students, but, in case of student transfer from one seminary to another, it would remove the greatest cause of institutional annoyance in adjustment of schedule, and the largest source of student irritation in demoralization of work.

But, on this basis of uniform encyclopædia there would lie before the committee the possibility of proposing an outline content of study, which might be a valuable suggestion to many of the smaller schools and a not altogether unnecessary correction to some of the larger schools. For it is quite evident that the year-books before us show not only that the smaller school curricula could be greatly enriched without cost to the management, or much effort on the part of the faculty, but that the

larger school curricula are, in not a few cases, tending in the direction of such over-specialization of work as threatens that very interrelation of studies which encyclopædia designs to secure. There are such things as fads, even in theological education, and the temptation to develop a passing popular course of study into disproportionate size is great, while the yielding to it is certain to work harm to that cultural spirit of education which should obtain in the preparation of men for the ministry, if it obtains anywhere at all.

The chance which the proposed committee would have to suggest ways for the correcting of the above evils, and the consequent strengthening of the seminaries at the points where they are best doing their work, seems to me to be good reason why the committee should be appointed.




REV. D. A. GOODSELL, D. D., S. T. D., LL. D.,


Christ as a teacher antedated Christ as the Redeemer. The Sermon on the Mount to the multitude, the doctrine of the new birth to Nicodemus, of the spirituality of God and of true worship to the woman at the well, came before the "It is finished" of the cross. Because they came before the death of our Lord they are not separated from it. They lead up to it as nerves to the brain; they are illuminated by it as the path is which leads to the light. Sin has burrowed so deeply into humanity; has so completely infected it, and is so much the great obstacle to the incoming of the Truth, that it is no wonder that the Church has given so much emphasis to the changing of moral conditions, rather than emphasizing the founding of a school by our Lord and pressing religious education as a preparation for regeneration. There is no division among us as to the necessity of education in religion, or as to the teaching duty of the Church or that the Church must be the school of Christ. Because this has been faultily measured, we have such misconceptions of the church among some Christians and among some of those who yield no allegiance to the Church.

It seems certain that the Holy Spirit in many cases, both in Christian and non-Christian lands, anticipates Christian teaching by a vision of personal need and of the relations of the essential, if not the historical, Christ to the soul. In this way were and are built up the souls of whom Peter said: "In every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." That this is God's way for all is not to be believed. Our Master was a tireless teacher. It is a question whether he gave his greatest truths in his sermon, to the multitude or to the single soul. He gave a body of truth to men. He connected it with all things great and small in his material kingdom. The lantern of the virgin, the broom of the sweeper, the search for the penny, the yeast of the housewife, the seed of the sower, the lost sheep, the wayside grain, the lovely flower, the wayward wind, were all allied and all explained. He was the first Christian author on nature and the supernatural, and on natural law in the spiritual world.

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