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the defence is undertaken at hap-hazard. The country clergyman, long a stranger to Alma Mater, and, it may be, not one of her distinguished children, comes up in his turn, and perhaps delivers his testimony in the place of argument, -or discusses some phase of the question out of which it has long since passed in the course of its numerous transitions. If, notwithstanding all these grounds of alarm, you still decide to send your son to Oxford, send him with trembling. Watch and guard and help him, as best you can. And when you are praying, Lead us not into temptation, often remember the infected atmosphere in which he needs must breathe.

But our object in writing this paper is not simply to mourn, to complain, or to warn. We wish respectfully and solemnly to urge that the whole system by which the university sermons are provided, both at Oxford and Cambridge, needs to be carefully revised, and, we must add, revolutionized. No pains ought to be spared, and no discouragement allowed to prevail, until these sermons shall become regularly such as may minister grace to the hearers. Conversion and edification ought to be their noble aim. Nor need they only have respect to the junior members of the university; they ought not to be delivered without a distinct recollection of the highly intellectual character of an important section of the congregation. But still the conversion of sinners, or the edifi. cation of believers, ought to be their purpose; only it should be sought by such means as, with God's blessing, would be most likely to influence such an audience. Through the influence of such preaching, we may hope that the university would more frequently raise up missionaries for Christ's great work in foreign lands, -and that, instead of its pulpit and tone being the means of indisposing some of her most able sons from taking holy orders, she would be the honoured means of inducing many who entered her time-hallowed walls with other objects in view, to devote themselves to the sacred ministry of the word, at home or abroad.

be questioned, whether the Hulsean and the Bampton Lectures do not raise more difficulties than they allay; and whether they do not educe and keep alive that very tone of mind which the founders of these lectures desired to correct. If, then, it is found, after fair consideration, that these lectures are not doing the work which they were designed to effect, nor otherwise operating beneficially, let them be dropped, and let the endowment, if necessary, be relinquished. But a milder and perhaps more proper course would be to transfer the delivery of these lectures exclusively to a week-day; against which arrangement there appears to be no objection raised by the terms of either bequest. This change would clear the ground to a certain extent.

In the next place, let the custom of calling upon the Masters of Arts to preach in a certain order, be at once abandoned. It leaves no room for the consideration of the preacher's qualifications, and

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seems to contemplate a certain civility to him, instead of regarding the spiritual benefit of the members of the university, which ought to be the first object of concern.

Further, let the connection between the pulpit and the dignified members of the university undergo a complete revision. There are, doubtless, offices which ought to entitle the holder of them to stand up in the pulpit and to preach with all authority. But let the right, as a mere matter of privilege, succumb to the one great object of having useful and edifying sermons, from preachers selected on account of their fitness to render that service. This need not exclude heads of houses, professors, tutors, members of chapters, or country clergymen; it would only require a previous consideration of their qualifications for this particular function.

An exception having been made in the case of certain special days and persons, it might be best to commit this important work generally to a body of select preachers, each serving, as at present at Oxford, for two years, or some longer but limited period. If ten or twelve in number, they might each have his four sermons to preach, some in the morning, and some in the afternoon. This is already the case with regard to the select preachers at Cambridge. The preachers might be sought in and out of the university, but it would be desirable always to appoint several of the college tutors, as being the persons best acquainted with university life, provided only that they be preachers who would command attention, and preach faithful, and scriptural, and profitable sermons.

Then let it be understood that missions, and other parts of the work of the church, should have their proper place assigned to them in the course of each year; and that the sermons should be, to a great extent, practical and edifying, calculated to awaken slumbering consciences, to instruct those whose learning is but slender in divine truth, and to encourage and help such as are already in the enjoyment of the real blessings of the gospel. The university will then have done its best to make the pulpit an efficient auxiliary to the cause of Christ's gospel.

It may be pleaded, even by those who distinctly see the faults of the present system, that, in addition to the difficulty of finding the right men for this weighty office, it will be almost impossible to bring the university authorities to an agreement in the selection of preachers. But this only leads to the suggestion that the responsibility of that selection might be laid upon a very limited number ; and that, at whatever cost, the difficulty ought to be met and conquered. At all events, (we write the words with reluctance and pain,) it would be preferable to abandon the present system, and to put a stop to the university sermons altogether, rather than leave the pulpit, as now, to work mischief and confusion more than it promotes piety and truth.

There is one fact, which ought not to be overlooked ; it qualifies and diminishes the danger to which we have chiefly referred, though in a manner which it is humiliating and distressing to contemplate. It is not the fashion with the young men, at Oxford at least, to attend the university sermons. Com pulsion is to be deprecated under any circumstances, but considering what the university sermons are, it would be specially undesirable to have recourse to it at the present time. So it is, however, that the number of absentees is great, even when there is the most popular and attractive preacher; and that a preacher unknown, or whose attractiveness is slight, has to address himself to an empty gallery. We think that too much liberty is now given for the exercise of fancy or prejudice, by means of that weekly slip of paper which announces in each college the preachers of the following Sunday. It would appear to ns to be better not to invite a previous decision whether the appointed preacher be worthy of a hearing or no. Under a better system, it might possibly be desirable for the selected preacher, and his subject, to be regularly announced.

Having spoken of the cessation of university sermons as possibly more desirable than their continuance on the present plan, it seems right that we should mention a system which is making progress in both universities; it is probably due to the shortcomings and misdoings of the present system, and threatens to subvert it, if not speedily reformed. We refer to the college chapel sermons, which are preached every Sunday in some of the colleges in both universities. If these are good of their kind, and the university sermon is failing to effect any useful purpose, and rather proving itself to be a dangerous weapon, they are to be hailed and encouraged ; but of course their value depends on the fitness of the preachers for that particular office. We can con. ceive the case in which the evils already pointed out would re-appear in the college chapel with additional strength and bold. ness. But at least the practice witnesses either to the dissatis. faction felt towards the university sermons, or to the fact that if the undergraduates generally are expected to hear sermons, they must be assembled in a place where the attendance is not purely voluntary. Either of these explanations is significant, and both of them may require to be considered in order to a right understanding of the case.

We have written on a subject the importance of which cannot easily be overstated. It was our intention to express our thoughts freely upon it, and to say comparatively little on the few specimens of university and college sermons whose titles stand at the head of this article. But we cannot leave them altogether without notice; and with regard to Mr. Morse's, at least, we should be most reluctant to do so. These are just the kind of sermons which ought to be substituted for the speculative and scriptureless disquisitions which are now doing mischief where they are preached, and indirectly injuring the whole church and nation. They are practical, yet they rest on the foundation of evangelical truth. They enter into the experience of the daily life of undergraduates, and urge upon them the duties which they ought to fulfil, by an appeal to the high motives by which every Christian ought to be actuated. Were university sermons usually of this character, this paper of ours, if written at all, would have been written in a different tone. We do not here review them ; we could not do them justice without making them our principal subject; but we commend them to the careful study of university preachers, of parents, and of undergraduates.

We shall quote only two passages, the one in aid of the object we have thus far sought to promote, - the other for its own usefulness, and as a pattern of the way in which young men ought to be addressed from the university pulpit. Mr. Morse speaks of a Christian university as resembling a city set upon a hill, and then he proceeds on this wise :

“ To teach sound learning, to impart a religious education, to send forth men to occupy the most important positions in this kingdom, and there to shine as lights in the world, is the express work of such a society. This place is indeed a centre of light and influence. The opinions held and taught by those who are in authority here will tell upon those who will carry them hence into all the ends of the world. The character of those whose minds, from their power, arrest attention here, will operate for good or for evil upon those who are going hence to serve God in church and state, and who, as members of parliament, as clergymen, as magistrates, as country gentlemen, as the leaders in every profession, will give the tone to the religion of their people. What a fearful responsibility rests upon you who guide opinion and give the standard of character here! You are, indeed, as cities set on a hill. You are seen, your influence is felt, your example is followed. If you are indeed men of God, your influence is mighty for good; if not, your example will tell even more mightily for evil." (p. 36.)

We break off reluctantly; but we say, let the sermons be remembered in this light, by those who “bear office” in the university, and likewise their own responsibility in providing the preachers who are to stand up in the university pulpit. The other extract we give as an instance of the way in which a university preacher may seize upon a great opportunity, and with a desire

giving further circulation to a well-timed appeal :

“Of the many assembled in this university there is not one, whether his powers be of a higher or an humbler order, who las not now, and who will not hereafter, have an influence upon some around him. Whether this influence shall be more or less, is very much in your own power. The world is lying in darkness around you, and the voice of Christ, in the persons of his neglected people, is calling loudly for help. In our large towns, where there are seventeen, twenty, thirty thousand

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of people in one parish, under one clergyman, there are many positions which men, ambitious of giving God glory, might long to fill; there are streets after streets of artisans, who, with thoughtful minds and open hearts, are ready to receive any one who comes with an honest desire to do them good; there are continual opportunities of imparting to willing hearers any amount of knowledge in science and literature which the most industrious here may have obtained; there are daily means of studying the human heart in all its phases, and human error in all its varieties; of correcting the latter, and leading the former to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And yet it is humbling to know, that few young men of the highest ability are willing to accept these posts ; few men who have taken high honours at the university are found in our town curacies.” (p. 40.)

We would willingly quote more; but being constrained to stop, we are bold to suggest that if the university pulpit were more faithful and outspoken after this fashion, there would be less reason for any such lamentation as the preacher here utters. The second volume on our list contains four pompous and turgid sermons, of which it is difficult to say why they should have been published. We are certainly sorry that they were ever preached; for they so treat of conformity to the world, as rather to encourage it than to recommend a transformation of the mind, and we fear that they betray a sad want of knowledge of the true character and power of Christ's religion when it has taken hold of the heart.

The remaining sermons, by the Rev. W. E. Blore, are the addresses of one who knows the ways and feelings of the persons to whom he is speaking, and who sympathises with them. They are honest and hearty ; we could wish they had set up the standard of true religion higher, but we cannot doubt that they held the attention of the hearers, and led some of them to profitable thought. We are persuaded that simple, thoughtful, practical sermons, such as these, if only conceived with a bigher appreciation of the work of grace in the heart, are such as are required for the university pulpit, or, if not found there, for the college chapel.

Our intention, however, in this paper, has not been that of reviewing these or any sermons, but of calling attention to the whole subject of preaching in the universities. The pulpit, in those seats of learning, might become one of God's greatest instruments for leavening society with true religion, and for sending men into the ministry of Christ's church full of faith, devotedness, and holy zeal. It might secure to the universities the retention of their proper office of training theological students, and of imparting all the knowledge which they require preparatory to ordination. We have often deprecated the establishment of separate theological colleges. But let the speculative extravagances which the university pulpit expresses and promotes continue much longer, and we shall turn with alarm from the places which cherish them, and yield a reluctant consent to the removal of our candidates for

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