Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Sketches of Virginia
Chapter XXXI. - Dr. Rice - His Entrance on the Work of the Professorship

When Dr. Rice left Richmond, in the fall of 1823, to enter upon the duties of the Professorship, he went with hopes and fears, providential warnings and encouragements, intermingled. In the eleven and a half years of useful and pleasant occupation in Richmond, he had seen great changes in the constituent parts of Hanover Presbytery. Death had been busy with the ministry. The venerated Hoge, the lovely Legrand, the noble-hearted Lacy, the amiable Blair, and the ardent Robinson, after years of service, had passed away; all, and Robinson peculiarly so, with some degree of suddenness in the final call; and young Kennon, after having given earnest of extensive usefulness, had fallen with his harness on. Changes were taking place from age and infirmity; and Mitchel and Turner were growing old in Bedford, time w^orn and time honored ; Logan had paused from his labors, waiting the event of providence, whether his impaired health should sink in death, or be refreshed for more labor. Turner the younger, in feeble health, was occupying Hanover—and Lyle, in full strength, was at his post in Briery and Buffalo; Read, putting forth his energies in Cub Creek; Reid, teaching school in Lynchburg, and extending the borders of the church; Paxton, at the College, ministering to that part of the Cumberland Congregation south of the Appomattox; Russell, was in Norfolk; and Petersburg was nourishing a church under ministry of his brother Benjamin; and Lee, Armstead, and Davidson, from the Republican Methodists, held their congregations in Lunenburg and Charlotte. Of the Alumni of the College and Theological School, under the teaching of his venerated predecessor, Dr. Hoge, John B. Hoge had lately removed from Winchester Presbytery to the Church on Shokoe Hill, the successor of Mr. Blair; Kirkpatrick had been removed from Manchester to be pastor of Cumberland, north of the Appomattox; Kilpatrick, at Boydton; and Caldwell, in Nelson County; and Taylor, from New England, was gathering a church in Halifax. In addition to these were the missionaries, John M. Fulton, in Buckingham County; Silliman, in Leaksville; Brookes, in Fluvanna; Curtis,, in Brunswick; and Cochran at large, under the direction of the Young Men’s Missionary Society; and James G. Hamner, was supplying the pulpit he had himself just vacated. The position of his Presbytery seemed to say to him — work while the day lasts; work in hope; but remember, also, the night cometh.

When he looked at the College, the place of his happy labor in his youth, there were changes both to sadden and to cheer him. Mr. Jonathan P. Cushing had succeeded his friend Hoge, in the Presidency. The trustees had wisely determined that, in the present state of literature and science, the President should not be encumbered with care, foreign from the College duties. For the accommodation of students that were now flocking to the College, the present spacious buildings had taken the place of the old wooden chapel, endeared by a thousand recollections; and the contracted brick walls of the old College, over which some tears were shed, were torn down ; and preparations were making for better accommodations for the Professors in comfortable dwellings near the College. Mr. Cushing's powers, as a teacher and administrator of College, shone still brighter in the President than in the admired Professor. His feeble health, contracting somewhat his sphere of usefulness, made that sphere more resplendent^ and excited the enquiry in men’s minds, what degree of excellence he would attain with firm health. Able associates were actively engaged—and the College was rising in usefulness, and influence, and fame. All this seemed to say, work in hope, but remember the night cometh.

When he turned to contemplate his own prospects as professor, he saw much to try his faith. He found himself houseless. Accommodations had been “voted” by Presbytery, but not a trace of the buildings were to be seen. Where the seminary now stands was the native forest in the possession of one not supposed to be friendly to the cause. Nothing had been done for the accommodation of students. There were no preparations made for his library, or for the assemblage, for prayers and for recitation, of those disposed to profit by his teachings and experience. Funds to some amount had been raised, but inadequate to the object designed. The committee appointed to superintend the erection of proper buildings had not agreed upon any plan, and were preparing to act -upon a very small scale, and through efforts at economy were hazarding the whole enterprise. Mr. Cushing entered fully into the situation and views of Dr. Rice, encouraged him to act on a large scale, and offered him every assistance in his power.

A person well acquainted with the sayings and doings at that time, thus relates the passing events of the day. “No arrangements had been made for his accommodation. The committee had supposed that the Doctor and his wife could reside at her father’s at Willington, and the Doctor could ride up to college and attend to his classes, as they had no children, and servants were not thought of. They supposed the few students could find some place to live, and a recitation room could be found about college. But Dr. Rice was obliged to have a room for his books, and to live where they were. And of course Mrs. Rice must live where he did; and their servants with them. Their good friend, Mr. Cushing, who had been appointed President a year or two before, and lived in the President’s old house, which is now burnt down, and kept bachelor’s hall with Professor Marsh, finding the Doctor’s situation, very kindly invited him to share with him, and acted as if it were the Doctor’s house, and he and Mr. Marsh were boarders. The house had one room, a large passage, and two very small rooms down stairs; and two attics. These two in the roof were small at least the one that had the fire-place, and the other had always been used as the College Library, shelved for the purpose and without a fireplace. Mr. Marsh had the small room with a fire-place up stairs; and Mr. Cushing the large one below, and his health at the time was such that he often had to hear his classes there; and much of the chemical apparatus was also there. The larger of the small rooms down stairs was used for a dining room and parlor. Harriet Minor, now Mrs. Bowman, the Doctor’s niece and protege had the small room without a fire-place. Professor Marsh still used his room as a study, but gave it up at bed-time to the Doctor and his wife for a lodging room, and he slept with Mr. Cushing ; his room was prepared for him before breakfast. The servants were fixed in the loft of the kitchen to sleep; and their room adjoining the kitchen was fitted up for the library, study for Dr. Rice, and recitation room. In this room he commenced with three students, Thomas P. Hunt, Jesse S. Armstead, and Robert Burwell.”

“It was long a favorite plan with the committee to lay out as little as possible in building; either rent a house, or build a very small one for a shelter, with three rooms, one for a study, recitation room, and library, one for a chamber, and the other a dining-room. That it would be well to have no place to incur the expense of entertaining company, as the Doctor’s family were thought to be too much given to hospitality. One gentleman very strenuous for this plan, said he would take the company. Mr. Cushing so ridiculed this scheme as to seem to fix the idea that a three-roomed house was obliged to be a three-cornered one. He, in a very quiet, pleasant way, helped the Doctor more than I can tell, constantly saying he had nothing to do with it; but unless made an ornament to the college it must be put out of sight. He called on Martin Sailors, an old bachelor, and induced him to give the five acres where the seminary now stands, and then with much adroitness had the building commenced very much as Mr. Rice wished. It was first built with four rooms on a floor. The Doctor moved into it when only the lower story, above the basement, could be occupied, and that unfinished, not plastered. So it was built over his head. He' took possession, the fall of 1825, getting eight new students from the senior class of college that year, besides a few others. White, Hart, Royal, Bartlett, and Barksdale were among them; Henry Smith came the year before. Mr. Cushing had a house added for himself and Mr. Marsh, as soon as it could be done after the Doctor came. The college was then filled with students; the new college-building was finished before the Doctor came.”

The house commenced for the accommodation of Dr. Rice, and the students, forms a part of the east wing of the seminary. It was constructed in anticipation of the main building and the west wing, which now offer accommodations for a hundred students. The committee commenced a brick building of 40 feet by 38, two stories high, with a basement. The Presbytery, in Charlottesville, July 17th, 1824, “Resolved, that the building committee of the Theological Seminary be authorized to enlarge the plan of the professors’ house, twelve feet in length and one story in height; and that the Board of Trustees be instructed to make the necessary appropriations of money for this purpose.” The house was finished fifty feet by forty, three stories with the basement, architecturally arranged to be the east wing of some future building.

The inauguration of Dr. Rice took place on the 1st day of January, 1824. He took for his text Paul’s words to Timothy, 2d Epistle, 3d: 16, 17 — “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” His first position was — The sacred Scriptures are the source from which the preacher of the gospel is to derive all that doctrine which has authority to hind the conscience and regulate the conduct of man. Under this head he observes : — Among us, thanks to God for it, the principles of religious liberty, and the rights of conscience, are so well understood, and so fully recognized, that to attempt to establish them by argument, or by the authority of Scripture, is to undertake a quite needless labor. "We all know that God is the only Lord of conscience. To prevent any misunderstanding of our views and feelings, I take this opportunity publicly and solemnly to declare, for myself, and for those under whose direction I act, that the principles of religious liberty, recognized by the Constitution of the United States, in the Bill of Rights and Constitution of Virginia, and in the act establishing religious freedom, meet the most cordial and entire approbation of all wrho are concerned in this theological institution.

His second position was — That the Scriptures afford the only information on which we can rely, in answer to the all-important question — “What must we do to be saved?' This question, he says, most manifestly involves the determination of God on the case under inquiry. It is only God who can answer it. For how do the wisest know what the Holy One has determined to do, in the case of rebellion against the divine government?

His third position was — That the Scriptures contain the most perfect system of morals that has ever been presented to the understanding, or urged on the conscience of man. In making this observation, he says — I mean to say, 1st, that the precepts of the Bible reach to all the relations which man sustains, and to all the duties which grow out of them; 2d, that the gospel accompanies its precepts with the most urgent motives that ever made their way to the human heart; 3d, for the accomplishment of this object, the address made by the gospel is the most plain and direct that can be imagined. The inference drawn from these various remarks is — that he who receives the office of a teacher of Christianity, must go to the Bible for all that has authority to bind the conscience. Again, we infer that he is the best theologian who is most intimately acquainted with the Scriptures. And from this it follows, that the great duty of a professor of theology is to imbue the minds of his pupils as thoroughly as possible with the knowledge of revealed truth. The Bible ought to be the great text-book. The sentiments of this third position drew from an eminent theological professor, Dr. Woods, great and peculiar praise, that the Bible, as the text-book, was set forth in a bold and clear manner, a thing aimed at by all protestants, but avowed by Dr. Rice with a clearness and simplicity that was unequalled. The same sentiment was expressed by President Graham, on his visit to New England. In answer to the question — “From what, then, do the Virginia clergy obtain their divinity?” he replied— “From the Bible.”

The Doctor then argued the question—Is a public or private theological education to be preferred ? Admitting the fact that many most valuable men had been raised up under private instruction, he goes on to say — 1st. In this country the want of such seminaries (theological institutions) has been so felt, and their value so appreciated, that almost all denominations of Christians have made, or are making, vigorous efforts to establish them. 2d. No need of referring to Europe for examples. 3d. As soon as Christianity had gained sufficient foothold in the world, miraculous gifts ceased; and very shortly afterwards, it was thought expedient to erect Theological Seminaries. None of these schools or academies were of more note than that which was established at Alexandria, commonly called the catechetical school. The library at Coesarea, about the year of our Lord 300, contained thirty thousand volumes. 4th. Among the Jews, it is said there were seminaries for the instruction of religious teachers, established at an early period. After the destruction of the first temple, we hear nothing of schools, of the prophets; but academies or seminaries for instruction in the law of Moses were established in various parts. It appears that from a very early age to the present time, the judgment of great and good men has been decidedly in favor of theological seminaries ; and that, after the experience of ages, that judgment is unchanged. To detail the reasons by which this long standing opinion is supported, would require too much time. It is sufficient to say, that at such institutions, when well endowed and properly conducted, there is an accumulation of means of excitement and improvement which cannot be procured in any other way.

To the objection, that there are seminaries already established, and that it would be better to make use of the' advantages offered by them, than to attempt a new experiment, the Doctor replies — 1st. That the institutions already established do not afford anything like an adequate supply for the wants of the country. 2d. It is not desirable that theological seminaries should be frequented by great numbers of students. The history of European institutions affords much instruction on this topic. 3d. If this were not so, it is easy to see, that where an institution depends for its support on the interest excited and kept up in the public mind, it ought not to be very remote from the people. 4th. A suitable number of seminaries, placed at convenient distances, are, on the whole, cheaper to the church than one great central establishment. Again, there is so wide a difference in climate, habits and manners, in different parts of the country, that it is on every account desirable, yea, necessary, that we should have native preachers in the Eastern, Middle and Southern divisions of our territory. The conclusion of the whole argument is, that theological seminaries are the best places for theological education; and that such an institution is most urgently needed for the Southern country.

The Doctor then proceeded to urge the necessity of a competent number of theological instructors; that the work was too great for any one man. And also the necessity of cultivating piety in the theological students. He says—“The age calls for men who, in the fervor of their devotion to the cause of the Redeemer, and love to the souls of men, can forget self and its petty interests, and make any sacrifice, submit to any privation, and undergo any labor, if they may but fulfil the ministry which they receive of the Lord; it calls for men of enlarged views and comprehensive religious benevolence ; men who, notwithstanding, every way can rejoice that Christ is' preached; men who are willing that God should send by whom he will send, and whose great desire is that He may be glorified and sinners saved; men who can delight in the usefulness and success of others, though they themselves should be nothing. He is in truth the best theologian who has brought his whole nature, moral and intellectual, most completely under the influence of that Scripture, which was given by inspiration of God.”

Rev. Matthew Lyle, the old friend and ministerial neighbor of Dr. Rice, then administered the oath of office. The Rev. Clement Read delivered a characteristic charge. He has long since passed to his reward. He usually committed but little of the process of his thoughts and their results to paper, and of that little a very small portion was given to the public through the press. This charge will remain a fine specimen of his manner of thought and his spirit. Frank, open, fair, kind, evangelical, always Calvinistic in creed, for a time a Whitfield Methodist, but at last a sincere Presbyterian, tender in his feelings, and decided in his creed, his influence extended as far as his acquaintance — the influence of love. He charges the professor to remember his office — “ that the professor is accountable for the improper ministerial acts of every preacher whose theological education was committed to his care, and which arose either from his negligent or defective instruction.” He says, a ministry to be useful — 1st, it is important that it be learned; 2d, it should be plain and simple; 3d, should be orthodox as well as learned; 4th, pious as well as orthodox. He encourages the professor to stand out against that greatest of discouragements, “ the lukewarm7iess of friends.”

Under the head of orthodoxy, he says — “It is only by the influence of truth that the church can be sustained. This is the rock on which it is built. The opinion that it is immaterial, as it relates to his moral or religions character, what a man believes, is contrary to reason and Scripture. As every action of a man’s life is under the influence of his faith, his religious creed becomes a matter of great importance. What that system of doctrine is, which is taught in the Holy Scriptures, is indeed a subject of controversy. This controversy has divided the church into various and distinct parties, and each party has its own articles of religion as a standard of faith. The Presbyterian Church has adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith as its standard of orthodoxy. It is, therefore, from this Confession that we Jmow what our Church receives as true, and what it condemns as heretical. A Theological Seminary, professedly erected under the patronage of the Presbyterian Church, should teach no doctrines but such as are agreeable to this standard. The consideration that the Confession contains the doctrines of the Reformation, and that it presents the most correct, lucid and systematic view of the doctrines of the Scriptures that can be found in any language; and moreover, that a departure from it would endanger the peace and purity of the Church, gives additional force to this charge. Guard against innovations in this system, under any pretence whatever. And in explaining the doctrines of the Confession, it will be of importance to follow the method, and even to use the terms employed by the standard writers of the Church. This will not only give uniformity to the religious opinions of the Church, but will shut the door against much wild and mischievous speculation. It will be your duty not only to see that the main pillars in the building of that system of faith, which has been reared by the piety and sealed by the blood of our ancestors, be not overturned, but that not a single stone in the edifice be removed out of its place. The least departure from truth is dangerous. Error, like the breach in a dam, though small at first, becomes wider and wider, until one general ruin is presented to view.”

Dr. Rice commenced his labors as Professor on the day of his inauguration, meeting his class in his kitchen—library—study—recitation-room. Looking at him, as he is engaged in arraigning the studies of Hunt, Burwell, and Armstead, in his humble seminary— one is ready to say—“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord, shall Jacob arise, for he is small.”

In the April succeeding the inauguration, Dr. Rice was authorized by the Presbytery—“to employ Mr. Marsh as a temporary assistant teacher in the Theological Seminary: provided that his support can be derived from individuals who contribute expressly for that object, and not from any of the funds of the Seminary.” This gentleman, Mr. James Marsh, was Professor of Languages in Hampden Sidney College. To encourage the students of divinity, he made translations from the German for their improvement. One of these, Herder’s Introductory Dialogue on the Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, was published in the third number of the Biblical Repository for 1826. He assisted in the Seminary about two years, with great popularity.

Returning to Vermont, he became President of the University of that State..

In September, of the same year, by report to Presbytery, the funds of the Seminary were,—in Bank Stock, $2550—in bonds, bearing interest, $7437 35—in money, yet uninvested, $2477 99. Of this last sum, by order of Presbytery, $1000 was appropriated—“for building the Theological Seminary”—as the professor’s house was called. The permanent fund of $11,665 29, was for the support of the Professor. The deficiency of about $500 of his yearly salary was to be supplied by donations.

In the month of May, 1825, Messrs. Rice, Lyle, and Paxton, were a committee of Presbytery—“ to prepare and send, in the name of this body, a circular letter to the Presbyterians in North and South Carolina and Georgia, containing a brief history of this Seminary, a statement of its object, a sketch of its resources and wants, and an earnest invitation to them to unite and cordially co-operate with us in building up this important institution.” The board was directed to send a delegate to the Presbyteries at their fall meeting; and to appoint a general agent to present the cause of the Seminary where-ever there was a prospect of success. A great Southern Seminary was now the grand idea, and professed object of Dr. Rice. To build and endow a Seminary worthy of that name, he devoted all his powers. The magnitude of the enterprise gave him strength; the grandeur of the work inflamed his heart more and more; and to his earnest contemplation the work appeared more and more grand and beautiful.

In 1820, he wrote to Dr. Alexander—“While it is my wish that the whole Church should give Princeton full support, I do think that a good Seminary under orthodox men, I mean true General Assembly Presbyterians, established in the South, would have a happy effect. My work has long been to keep up a kind of nucleus here, around which a great Seminary might be gathered. I am ready to do, to the utmost of my abilities, what shall be thought best by a majority of brethren. I acknowledge, very readily, that there are wiser heads than mine, but none have warmer hearts for the prosperity of good old Presbyterianism. I learn there has been a meeting of the Board of Trustees of H. S. College, and that you were unanimously chosen to succeed Dr. Hoge. O, if you would!—but I check myself.” Dr. Alexander would not accept; and he himself was now attempting what required wise heads and warm hearts to assist him in performing. A Seminary fit for the patronage and wants of all the South was the very thing to supply the wants of any part of the South. For counsel and advice he now turns himself to his old friend, busily and happily employed in Princeton, but loving Virginia with all his heart—and on the 18th of March, 1825, writes to him, under that discouragement, which magnificent schemes with small means will occasionally throw over an ardent heart, that is restless in its poverty and confinement:—“ The Elder brethren of Hanover Presbytery have kept themselves so isolated, and are so far behind the progress of things in this country, and the general state of the world, that they think of nothing beyond the old plans and fashions, which prevailed seventy years ago. In fact, there is nothing like united, entire exertion to build up this institution, and I often fear the effort will fail. Had I known what I know now, I certainly would not have accepted the office which I hold. But now I have put my hand to the plough, and am not accustomed to look back. There is, however, a sea before me, the depth of which I cannot fathom, and the width such that I cannot see over it.” Referring to some reports that the Seminary was hostile to Princeton, he adds — “if I thought it was so, I, would resign to-morrow.” He further adds—“I have given you this dismal account of Virginia, to convince you that you must come to our State during your next vacation. All love you with unabated affection, and regard you with peculiar reverence. Your presence would awaken a new set of feelings. A few sermons from you would do more, at this time, for the good of the Church here, than any human means I can think of. And I am sure that you would hear and see little, if anything, of the complaints and troubles that exist; for the. people would be ashamed to let you know how they feel. I do deliberately and conscientiously believe that it is your duty to come.” Dr. Rice’s earnest entreaty, strongly seconded by his friend’s desire to revisit the scenes of his former enjoyments and labors, prevailed; and Dr. Alexander made a journey in June, 1825, to his native State, such as can occur in the lives of few men, and but once in theirs. Welcomed to the residence he had occupied as President of Hampden Sidney College, he looked around with intense excitement on men and things. Some of his old friends and admirers were gone; but others were filling up their places, ready to give him as warm a place in their hearts. The small brick building that had served as the college, from the days of the Smiths to those of Cushing, had given place to a sightly building, that surpassed Nassau Hall, and, by the celebrity of the young President whose energy and popularity had erected it, was filled with students. Near by, on grounds familiar, and sacred in association, he saw arising the Theological Seminary, simple in its elegance as a single building, and fitting the more extensive fabric of which it was destined to be a part. And here was an old associate fully engaged in working out, as practical problems, the dreams and visions of their former years, the erecting and endowing a seminary for the supply of ministers for the southern churches. He saw the difficulties in the way of his friend Rice. To any other man he would have said, “you cannot accomplish the splendid design.” Such was his influence over the surrounding community, and over his friend, a discouraging word would, in all probability, have prostrated the hopes of Rice, and crushed the Union Seminary in its embryo. Not daring to discourage his friend, or shut out one ray of a hope already clouded, yet far from sanguine, lie sat out on a preaching excursion through Charlotte, Prince Edward, and Cumberland, among the congregations to which he once ministered. Dr. Rice accompanied, deeply sensible that the reception, and effects of that visit would in all probability be decisive, and his hopes be realized, or the seminary fade from his view for ever. The congregations that crowded to hear, insisted that both should preach; and declared they had never preached so well; and when the visit was over, and the enthusiasm of Alexander’s welcome found expression, the people in recalling the sayings, and doings, and preachings of that exciting time, were unable to determine which of their old preachers they most loved and admired, Rice or Alexander. The visit was an epoch. For a long time it was common to hear the expression—It took place about the time of Dr. Alexander s visit. And, what was better, the churches determined to endow the seminary.

Immediately after this visit, the Trustees appointed Mr. Robert Roy, from New Jersey, sometime a missionary in Nottoway, to act as agent in conjunction with Dr. Rice. Of the success of their first visits, Dr. Rice thus writes to Dr. Woods of Andover, August -6th, 1825: “The Directors of our institution wanted me to go on again to the North, and solicit aid. But I said I could not go again, unless I could say and show that our own people had taken hold of the thing in good earnest. If they would adopt a plan for putting the institution into full organization, send out agents, and make full trial of the southern people, then I would go to the North, and ask the brethren there to help us. Accordingly a promising agent has set out, and made a very good beginning. I went with him two days, and obtained about four thousand dollars. This, however, was among my particular friends, and in the best part of our State. How the whole plan will succeed I do not know. Pray for us.”

Having taken possession of the basement and lower story of the seminary-building, he writes under the same date, August 6th, to Dr. Alexander — “We are at length in occupancy of a part of our new building. We find it a very pleasant, comfortable house, thus far, and I think when all things are fixed about us, that it will make a very desirable residence. It appears to me too, that there has been a good stirring up of the people in behalf of our seminary; and they are more than ever resolved to build it up, and place it on a respectable foundation. Mr. Roy is engaged as our agent, and I hope that he will be efficient. He has not had a fair trial yet, but I. think he has the talent for the work.” Speaking of the visit lately made, he says — “I do believe that if you could make such an one every year, it would prolong your life, and extend your usefulness.” The Doctor did not consider that while his friend might visit Virginia and find — “the stimulus which good, hearty, old-fashioned Virginian friendship would give, would be a better tonic and cordial than wine could furnish” — that such a visit as had just passed could never be made again; and Dr. Alexander, though often entreated, wisely refused the attempt.

Rice’s friends in New York city had not forgotten the earnest plea he had made for the incipient Southern Seminary springing as a germ from the college, and in June of 1825, Mr. Knowles Taylor, a merchant in that city, horn on the banks of the Connecticut, sent hint word that a mutual friend had determined to endow a scholarship in his seminary, and that he might therefore take in another indigent pious student of theology. “I was,” says Dr. Rice in reply, “ casting about for ways and means by which to enable them to do this ” —i. e., three or four young men to enter the seminary in the fall — “ when your favor came to hand. And now permit me to say that I know two young men of considerable promise, whose circumstances are such that if the $175 mentioned by you could be divided between them, I think they both might be enabled to enter the seminary the beginning of next term.” This news, received about the time of Dr. Alexander’s visit, added to the growing interest in favor of the seminary.

In August, Dr. Rice received the papers from the donor, Jonathan P. Little, confirming the donation, and under date of Sept. 1st, writes —"Surely, my dear sir, it was God who put it into your heart to remember us in this way, and at this very time, and to him we will give the glory. My friend Mr. Taylor gave me intimation of this matter at a time when the difficulties of establishing this seminary seemed, to be increasing, and many of its warmest friends were desponding. I began to feel as though I were alone in this great work. But when it was found that the Lord had put it in the heart of a brother in a remote place to found a scholarship in the seminary, it gave an impulse which has been generally felt; our languid friends were aroused, and more has actually been done in six weeks than in the previous twelve months. On the whole I can confidently say that I have never known the giving the same sum in any instance productive of so much good in so short a time.”

Under the same date he wrote to Mr. Knowles Taylor, under the influence of this donation, and of Dr. Alexander’s visit—"The truth is, while all acknowledged the necessity of our institution to supply the wants of the Southern country, most thought that it was an impracticable scheme. So few they said here cared for these things, ^that it is hopeless to undertake by them to raise so great a structure as a theological seminary; and it is in vain to expect that Northern people will do this work while engaged in so many others. And really I began to fear that I should have to labor at the foundation all my life. But now I have good hope that this temple of the -Lord will go up in my day.” He then goes on and details Mr. Roy’s agency, the object of which was to get ultimately enough funds to establish two professorships, and erect the seminary buildings— "I hope our Presbytery will raise enough to establish one professorship. I have the pleasure to add that I have just returned from a trip to North Carolina, the object of which was to convince the brethren of that State of the importance and necessity of building up a Southern institution. In this it pleased the Lord to make me successful beyond my expectations, and that I have good hopes of seeing the Presbyterians of that State taking hold of this great object in company with us. I bless the Lord, and take courage. And now if I can just engage the brethren to the North to take hold of this thing •with a strong hand, and help us, the work will go on prosperously.”

The Presbytery on the 1st of October, 1825, continued Mr. Roy’s agency. He had secured $14,000 in Charlotte and Prince Edward. The committee appointed to attend the Synod of North Carolina reported to Presbytery on the 28th of the month that they had been kindly received by the Synod at their meeting in Greens-borough, a<nd that a committee had been appointed by the Synod with full powers to confer with a similar committee of this Presbytery, and adjust the principles on which the Seminary shall be conducted. The committee of North Carolina were Messrs. McPheeters, Witherspoon and Graham ; that appointed by Presbytery of Hanover, Messrs. Dr. Rice, Paxton and Taylor.

Application was made in May, 1826, by a committee, Dr. Rice, and Messrs. W. J. Armstrong, and Wm. Maxwell, elder, respecting the transfer of the seminary funds to the trustees of the Assembly for safe-keeping, and also to ask that body “to extend its patronage to our seminary,” offering “such negative control” as may be necessary to secure the exercise of proper Presbyterian principles. Rev. Dr. Alexander, Dr. Laurie, Dr. Janeway, Mr. Sabine and Mr. Gildersleeve were the committee appointed by the Assembly on this request. On May 31st, the. thirteenth day of the session, they made report of the following resolutions, which were adopted:

“Resolved, 1st. That the General Assembly will agree to take the Theological Seminary of the Presbytery of Hanover under their care and control. The plan of the seminary has been examined by the committee, who are of opinion that it is such as merits the approbation of the General Assembly.

“2d. That the General Assembly will receive by their trustees, and manage the permanent funds of the Theological Seminary of the Presbytery of Hanover, which may be put into their hands; which funds shall be kept entirely distinct from all others belonging to the General Assembly. But the General Assembly will not be responsible for any loss or diminution of said funds, which may occur from the change of stocks, or from any other unavoidable cause.

“3d. That the General Assembly will agree to permit the Presbytery of Hanover to draw annually, or quarter yearly, the avails of their funds, and will give direction to their trustees to pay any warrants for the same, which may be drawn by the President of the Board of Trustees of the Theological Seminary of the Presbytery of Hanover, or by any other person named by the Presbytery.

“4th. That the General Assembly do also agree, that they will permit the Presbytery of Hanover to draw out, in part or in whole., the funds deposited in the hands of the Trustees of the General Assembly: Provided, however, That the proposal to withdraw shall lie before the Presbytery at least one year previously to its being acted upon. The General Assembly shall also be at liberty to resign all charge and superintendence of the said Theological Seminary, whenever they shall judge the interests of the Presbyterian Church to require it; in which case, the General Assembly will direct their trustees to return to the Presbytery of Hanover all their funds which may have been deposited in the hands of said trustees, or convey them in trust to such individuals as may be named trustees by the' Presbytery of Hanover.

“5th. That the General Assembly shall have the right to exercise a general control over the Theological Seminary of the Presbytery of Hanover that is, they shall have a negative on all appointments to the offices of professors and trustees in said Seminary, and on all general laws or rules adopted by the Presbytery for its government.

“6th. That therefore the Presbytery of Hanover shall annually send up to the General Assembly a detailed report of all their transactions, relating to said Theological Seminary; on which report, a vote of approbation or disapprobation shall be taken by the General Assembly; and all appointments or enactments of said Presbytery, or of the Board of Trustees acting under their authority, which may be rejected by the General Assembly, shall be null and void. But the authority of the General Assembly over the seminary shall be merely negative; they shall not originate any measure, or give any special directions for the government of the institution.

“7th. That if it shall appear to the General Assembly that doctrines contrary to the standards of the Presbyterian Church are inculcated in the said seminary, or that in any other respect it is so managed as to be injurious to the interests of truth, piety and good order, the General Assembly may appoint visitors to examine into the state of the said seminary, and to make a full report to them thereon.

“8th. That if the General Assembly shall be convinced that any professor in said seminary inculcates doctrines repugnant to the Word of God, and to our Confession of Faith, they shall require the Presbytery of Hanover to dismiss such professor, and to appoint another in his place; and if said Presbytery neglect or refuse tc comply with such requisition, the General Assembly will withdraw their patronage and superintendence from the seminary, and will take such other steps as may be necessary in the case.

9th. That if the Presbytery of Hanover accede to these terms, then the Theological Seminary at Hampden Sidney College shall be denominated the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, under the care of the Presbytery of Hanover, and the aforesaid articles and conditions shall go into effect.”

These resolutions of the Assembly were laid before the Presbytery of Hanover in October. Before acting decisively on them, another project was laid before Presbytery by Dr. Rice, and Messrs. Benjamin H. Rice and William S. Reid, were appointed a committee to wait on the Synod of Virginia, at its approaching meeting. From a paper presented by these gentlemen to the Synod, it appears that the Hanover Presbytery “have erected a building which cost between seven and eight thousand dollars, have procured a library of the value of about seven thousand five hundred dollars, and a subscription amounting to about twenty-five thousand dollars, and there will probably be twelve or fourteen students at the institution the next term. The Presbytery of Hanover proposes then, that the Synod of Virginia should take the institution under her care precisely as it stands, with its principles and its present engagements; and in case the proposed connexion with the General Assembly and the Synod of North Carolina be carried into effect, that thereafter the seminary shall be, and be denominated, The Union Seminary of the General Assembly, under the care of the Synods of Virginia and North Carolina”

“After discussion, the Synod of Virginia, believing it to be eminently desirable that the Theological Seminary heretofore confided to the care of the Hanover Presbytery, should be enlarged and established on a more liberal foundation, and placed, with the countenance and favor of the General Assembly, under the immediate care and management of the Synods of Virginia and North Carolina, agreeably to the arrangements that are now in progress for the purpose, so as to make it a proper institution for the education of pious youth, candidates for the gospel ministry, for the supply of all the churches within the bounds of these Synods and elsewhere, in the southern and western parts of our country, Resolved, unanimously, That the said proposition of the Hanover Presbytery be, and the same is, hereby accepted, and that Synod will cordially unite with the Presbytery of Hanover and the Synod of North Carolina, in any further measures which shall be necessary and proper to complete the said arrangement, and to secure to the Union Seminary, as far as possible, the entire undivided aid and patronage of all the churches within their bounds.”

On the 3d of November, 1826, Dr. Rice and Rev. Jesse II. Turner met the Synod of North Carolina, in Fayetteville, and laid before that venerable body the articles of agreement prepared by the joint committee, with the reasons therefor at length, and the proceedings of the Synod of Virginia, in agreeing to take the place of the Presbytery of Hanover, in relation to the seminary, and urged upon the Synod the final adoption of the plan of union. The subject was under discussion two days, and was argued with great^ ability. The leader of the opposition was Dr. Joseph Caldwell, President ol the University of North Carolina, whose history is interwoven with the rise and fame of that institution. He had projected a theological seminary to be located in North Carolina, and was moving on in the matter as fast as the duties of his office permitted. Dr. Rice had gotten the advantage, by being wholly devoted to the subject, and having put his machinery in successful operation in a place much beloved by many Carolinians. Dr. Caldwell had much experience and influence with men; able in debate, and sustained by the 26 local attachments of his brethren, he entered into the discussion manfully, and contended for a seminary in the old North State, as the Virginians had one in Prince Edward, and as the South Carolina brethren had projected one in their mountains; that North Carolina had men and money for the enterprise, were the Synod aroused to the importance of the work, and he called on them to awake to their responsibilities.

Dr. Rice argued that the work of founding and cherishing a Seminary was too great for one Synod, in the present position of Christian effort and self-denial: that the Presbytery of Hanover had, in her own bounds and elsewhere, raised funds to build a house, to procure a library, and had subscriptions for the support of* Professors, in all, to more than fifty thousand dollars; and that, while little more could be raised in Virginia now, this sum was not more than half enough to complete the proper arrangement of buildings, fill the library, and support competent Professors: that all that could be raised immediately in North Carolina would not make up this deficiency—and that instead of two Seminaries, the two Synods would find a difficulty in founding and sustaining one. In the second place, he argued—that one Synod, in the present state of things, did not embrace a sufficiently large Presbyterian population, to afford a sufficient number of students. The great expense of a Seminary is justified only by a goodly number of students, except when only a small number can possibly be obtained; and in the South a great area must be traversed to gather these students. And as Carolina had, hitherto, been united with Virginia in the expenses and benefits of the theological school in Prince Edward, he besought the Synod to continue that union, and make it closer by becoming a constituent part of its government and support.

The discussion closed on Saturday evening, under great excitement. The Synod had never heard such a debate. The whole subject of Theological Seminaries lay before the brethren in all its extent; and the Synod was called on to decide upon its course, for an indefinite length of time, and for incalculable interests. In the midst of their beloved Carolina, the brethren contemplated the whole church, and compared the advantages of one well endowed Seminary with those of two or more with limited endowments and opportunities of instruction. The records of Synod say, that—“ after a very full discussion, and a prayer for divine direction, the following resolution, with but two dissenting voices, was adopted, viz.: Resolved —That the Synod will agree to support the Theological Seminary in Prince Edward County, Virginia; and that the articles reported by the committee on that subject, be, and they hereby are adopted.” All private local feelings were merged in the general cause. Dr. Rice, on his return to Virginia, writes to Dr. Alexander — “Dr. Caldwell, who has more influence than any other man in the State, had set his heart very much on having a Seminary in North Carolina. He is a very able opponent. The subject was debated for days, at length the Doctor yielded. Mr. Roy can tell you all about it: but I mention the subject for the sake of observing that when Dr. Caldwell found that the majority was against him, and felt that he was totally defeated, instead of showing offended pride, he yielded with all the grace of a gentleman and a Christian. He certainly raised himself very much in my estimation and affection.”

The Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, at their next meeting, May, 1827, approved and ratified the arrangements made by the Presbytery and the Synods, and recommended that the permanent funds be continued, in whole, or in part, in the State in which they had been raised, in such manner as may be safe and proper.

Before the consummation of the union by the Assembly, one of the co-laborers in building up the Seminary was removed by death, Matthew Lyle, who had been more than thirty-two years pastor of Briery and Buffalo, expired March 22d, 1827; son of James Lyle and Hannah Alexander, an aunt of Dr. A. Alexander, and born in the year 1767, he was reared in the Congregation of Timber Ridge, Rockbridge County. The circumstances of his early youth and education were similar to those of his cousin Alexander, first at the fireside, then the old field-school, and then the College under Graham. He was one of the theological class or school organized by Mr. Graham, after the great revival in his charge in 1789. Though five years older than his cousin, he was not so far advanced in his studies preparatory to the ministry. At Hall’s Meeting House, now New Monmouth, April 29th, 1791, he, together with Thomas Poage of Augusta, a youth eminent for piety, but of short continuance on earth, and Benjamin Grigsby, that gathered the church in Norfolk, were proposed to Presbytery, as candidates for the ministry, of good moral character, in full communion with the church, and of a liberal education. “ Presbytery having received of them a detail of their evidences of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance toward God, and their call and motives to the gospel ministry, together with a specimen of their ability to solve cases of conscience, maturely considered the same, and agreed to receive them as candidates.” Parts of trial were then assigned to all. At Augusta Church, Sept., 1791, Mr. Lyle read a homily on the subject—Can they who have attained to a living faith and evangelical repentance, finally fall from a state of grace; and also an Exegesis on the question—An originale peccatum detur ? With his companions he was examined in the languages by Messrs. W. Wilson and Montgomery. Messrs. Scott, Crawford, and Erwin examined them on the sciences. April, 1792, in Lexington, Mr. Lyle delivered a popular sermon, 1st John 3 : 8, latter clause; and read a lecture on John 2d: 1st to 12th verse inclusive. Together with Messrs. Poage and Grigsby, he was examined on divinity, criticism, moral philosophy, and geography. On Saturday morning, the 28th, the three candidates were licensed to preach the gospel. This was a joyful time to the church in Lexington; four young men, fruits of the revival, were now licensed to preach the gospel, and two more were at this time received on trial.

Mr. Alexander, licensed in the preceding fall, had passed the winter in Jefferson and Berkeley Counties. At this meeting of Presbytery, he and Messrs. Lyle and Grigsby were recommended to the Commission as missionaries. In the fall succeeding, a call from Providence, in Abingdon Presbytery, was sent in for Mr. Lyle; but owing to some informality, it was not approved by Presbytery. At the Cove, in Albemarle, October, 1794, Mr. Lyle presented his credentials, and was received under the care of Hanover Presbytery. A call was at the same time presented by the united congregations of Briery and Buffalo, among whom he had been preaching as a missionary of Synod, asking for his labors as pastor. On the 2d Friday of February, (13th day) 1795, the Presbytery met at Buffalo — Messrs. Alexander, M’Robert, Mahon and Lacy, with Elders John Morton and William Womac — and having heard Mr. Lyle preach from 2d Cor. 4: 13th, proceeded to his ordination and installation. Mr. Alexander preached from Titus 2d: 13, and Mr. Lacy presided and gave the charge. To these two congregations Mr. Lyle continued to preach till his Master called him away. For a time Mr. Alexander was united with him, and Dr. Hoge also for a number of years.

Mr. Lyle taught a school part of the time for the education and maintenance of his family. He was a firm friend of the College; and took an active part in establishing a Theological School, and building up the Seminary, the prosperity of which cheered him in his last days. His. life was fully occupied in the duties of his station. He was happy in his domestic relations, happy in his pastoral office, happy in his Presbytery, and blessed in his communion with his God. The troubles that came upon him God gave him grace so to bear that few knew them to be troubles. Without any startling events in his life, which was too even and happy to have any, his history was interwoven with that of the Seminary and his Presbytery. In all the good that was doing he had a part. Without seeking prominence, he rejoiced in the work of his master in any form. Firm in principle and in friendship, he had many friends. Orthodox in his preaching, classic in his style, and earnest in the ministry, he left in his congregations evidences of his labors that Remain. Dr. Rice was with him in his last hours, and thus writes to Dr. Alexander — “Mr. Lyle’s, March 22d, 1827. — I am here in a scene of affliction. You will be afflicted, too, when you learn that this is a fatherless family, and that Mrs. Lyle is a widow. It pleased an all-wise Providence this day to remove our excellent friend and brother .from this world, as we assuredly believe, to a better. He died this evening a little after sunset. His disease was a disorder of the stomach and liver. During a considerable part of the last summer he appeared to be in rather infirm health, and I persuaded him most earnestly to cease preaching, and go to the springs, but could not succeed. As the winter came on, his health declined still more; but nothing could persuade him to quit his work, or disuse his favorite beverage, coffee. But it is useless to pursue the detail of causes which conspired to produce the event which we now deplore. Mr. Lyle’s last hours were not such as to permit him to communicate anything of his feelings or views. His voice failed him, so that it was with great difficulty that he could say anything. And although never delirious, yet he was for some time in a comatose state; and generally the brain seemed to perform its functions very laboriously. This was so much the case, that his afflicted wife and children have to refer to his life for evidence of his being prepared for death. We are all thankful that here we have evidence enough. You know there never was a man of more absolute sincerity, never one who was more what he professed to be. And though he gave no dying testimony, his living one was sufficient for the purpose.

"Mrs. Lyle affords the greatest pattern of calm, firm, steady resignation, that I have ever seen. She says that more than a thousand times she has prayed that God might order her lot for her; and as he has done this, she has no right to murmur or repine, and does hope that he will not leave her comfortless. Her fortitude seems to sustain the whole family; and there really seems to be something of the presence of God about the house. She is no common woman. Mr. Lyle’s children, that are grown, are all very respectable. I fully expect that God will make the children great blessings to their mother. I do not know any particulars of the worldly circumstances of the family. But there are, you know, ten children, of whom seven yet live with their mother, and several are yet to be educated. I wish to make arrangements to have Mr. Lyle’s pulpit supplied during the year; so as to continue his salary from the congregation until Christmas; or at any rate as long as the people will rest satisfied without a pastor. 1 hope this can be done; and I have no doubt it will be a convenience to the family. The people in general were greatly attached to Mr. Lyle, and they appear sincerely to deplore his loss. It will be felt through this whole. section of the church, for his influence was great. This has turned my thoughts and feelings very strongly to you. May it please the head of the church to spare you for many years to come, and to give you health to labor in building up his kingdom of righteousness.”

To return to Dr. Rice. He commenced an article in the Evangelical and Literary Magazine for November, 1824, thus—“In the whole conduct of our work from the beginning to the present time, we have endeavored to study the things that make for peace. It has been our wish and effort to keep out of sight the divisions of Christians, to put down the spirit of jealousy, and promote fraternal love. We know 'well what is the standing reproach of Christianity, and it has long been our prayer that it may be wiped away. We know that men in many respects truly excellent, have been prevented from entering the Church of Christ by the stumbling-blocks cast in their way by Christians, and it has long been our earnest wish that they might be removed. In a country, too, where the best efforts of all sincere Christians will not furnish a competent supply of religious instruction, we do desire that all who agree in fundamental doctrines may unite, as far as possible, in diffusing the influences of the gospel. We have no taste for angry polemics. Controversies which gender wrath and strife are our utter aversion. Every man, and of course every Christian minister, has a right to state his honest convictions to all who may choose to hear him, and none ought to complain. But if in doing this, he makes severe reflections on others, he thereby throws the fire-brand of discord into society, awakens angry feelings, and kindles a spirit of contention which does mol*e harm than even error respecting mere matters of form and outward observance can easily do. We are, verily, persuaded that a few more such sermons as these two, would do greater injury to the cause of Christianity in the Southern country, than twenty of the ablest preachers can do of good in their whole ministerial life. We say this not in anger, but in sorrow.”

He then proceeds to review two discourses lately issued from the press, from the pen of John S. Ravenscroft, Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina. These sermons contained much that is cordially received by all Christians; but they also claimed for Diocesan Episcopacy the sole agency of God’s covenanted mercy, thus denying the right and name of Church members to all professors of religion not within the pale of the Episcopal Church. These principles more or less openly avowed in the pulpit, for some preceding years in Virginia, now first appeared from the press. In the year 1814, in a letter to Dr. Alexander, Mr. Rice says — “I am, indeed, apprehensive that we shall have a controversy in this State between Episcopalians and Presbyterians; but I hope, if this should be the case, that we shall act entirely on the defensive.” The next year he says to Mr. Maxwell, speaking of a meeting of Episcopal ministers in Richmond — “ My congregation pretty generally attended. They were pleased too with most things in the ministers; but disapproved the keen spirit of proselytism manifested by them. This is active and ardent enough beyond all doubt, and you will very probably see a sample of it before long. This spirit will produce irritation and offence, which, I fear, will ripen into controversy.” Mr. Rice had declined making any attack on Episcopacy in his Magazine, or to do anything by which he could be considered the aggressor. At length, to satisfy the public desire, he published his Irenicum in a pamphlet form, in which, in an exegetical manner, the passages of Scripture relating to Church Government and forms, were considered with much ability and a kind temper. In the review of the Bishop’s sermon, with the same kindness and ability, he contests the High Church notions openly avowed, and shows succinctly that they were founded on error.

In the same month, December, 1824, in which the latter part of this review appeared in the Magazine, Bishop Ravenscroft preached by request, before the Bible Society of North Carolina, the annual sermon. In this he endeavored to show that it was dangerous to the best interests of the Church and the souls of men generally to circulate the word of God without some accredited expounder accompanying. This sermon Dr. Rice reviewed, in his Magazine for April and May, 1825, endeavoring to show that the Bishop’s arguments were fallacious, and his fears of evil to be wrought by the free circulation of the word of God without note or comment, were groundless.

In the month of March, 1825, the Bishop preached in Raleigh a sermon on the study and interpretation of the Scriptures. A copy of this sermon, published by the vestry of his church, was sent to Dr. Rice, with a communication, containing the following sentence — “I forward by this mail, a printed copy of a sermon, preached to my congregation here, on the study and interpretation of Scripture— in which you will see my views on that subject — which you may refute if-you can; and by which I am willing to test the soundness of those doctrines I have preached, and shall continue to preach to the good people of North Carolina, until shown to be erroneous by better and higher authority than that of the Editor or Editors of the Evangelical Magazine.” This challenge was accepted by Dr. Rice, and a review of thirty-one pages, in the Magazine for the July following, gave greater evidence of the power of his pen as a polemic than any preceding production. His view of the Bishop is thus expressed at the outset — “He is a firm and fearless man. Doubtless he is sincere. He is persuaded that out of what he calls the church, there is no assurance of salvation: he does believe that it is ruinous to distribute the Bible ‘without note or comment;’ and therefore regardless of consequences, he is continually throwing himself on ground from which many a bold and able combatant has been beaten in times past.”

Dr. Rice combats the Bishop’s rule, viz. — “That interpretation of Scripture is to be followed and relied upon as the true sense and meaning, which has invariably been held and acted upon by the one Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ:” and shows that there has been no such interpretation or explanation preserved; that of the interpretation or explanation which the Church held for the first three hundred years only a few passages have been preserved; and that if the Bishop u by interpretation of every doctrine,” has reference to the ancient creeds, he shows there is no certainty that any creed, however short, claims origin higher than the second or third century. He brings forward Bishop Hooker in defence of the clergy of his day against the charge of not preaching enough, as saying — The word of life hath always been a treasure, though precious, yet easy as well to attain as to find; lest any man desirous of life should perish through the difficulty of the way ; and though the clergy did not preach they read the word of God publicly, and that was enough. After calling up the testimony of Bishop Horsley, that there is no need to a plain man for a church to interpret Scripture: and of Bishop Hurd, that the great principle of tlie Reformation is, that the Scripture is the sole rule of faith — that Daille, On the right use of the Fathers, opened the eyes of intelligent inquirers, and led Chillingworth to establish for ever the old principle, that the Bible, and that only interpreted by our best reason, is the religion of Protestants — he sets in a clear light the truth that we cannot be governed by authority in our explanation of Scripture, further than that authority is derived from the Scripture itself.

He brings the review to a close with such remarks as. these:'— “Bishop Ravenscroft, in two sermons with which our readers are somewhat acquainted, set up the highest pretensions of High Church, and denounced all preachers who have not received Episcopal ordination, as intruders into the sacred office, and as ministers of Satan. He also begs pardon for having in times past yielded to the pretension, of a spurious modern charity, and promises hereafter to discard all false tenderness from his bosom. True to his purpose, on being requested to preach the annual sermon of the Bible Society of North Carolina, he delivered a discourse directly against the Institution, and all others of similar organization in the world. The great object of that effort of the preacher was to prove the insufficiency of the Scriptures as a guide to heaven. This is followed by a fourth sermon, in which he fills up his system, and tries to persuade us that we must acknowledge the Church as the authorized interpreter of the Bible. We have been made to understand that the Episcopal clergy of North Carolina follow their Diocesan. We know that sentiments of a similar character are boldly advanced in New York by a man of learning and talents; and that the wealth of the richest Church in the United States is pledged for their support. We have satisfactory evidence too, that influence from abroad is made to bear on the religious character of our population. In a word exertions are made to extend opinions among us, which we do conscientiously believe to be injurious, both to Church and to society. We therefore felt it to be our imperious duty to point out, plainly and frankly, the errors held by these brethren, and show as well as we could to what they tend. We have not for one moment, ever thought of laying any thing to their charge but bad reasoning, and mistaken apprehension of Scripture. If we have in any instance misapprehended the meaning of Bishop R., it has been our misfortune, not our fault. In conclusion, we cannot help saying we have heard that Bishop R. has been sick. We pray God to have mercy on him, restore his health, prolong his days, and make him a blessing to the Church over which he is called to preside. We hope yet to hear of his taking the lead in the glorious work of charity in which Christians in this latter day are engaged. He thus ended the review, believing with "the ingenious Bishop Hurd” that when any branch of the Protestant Church left the sure ground that “the Scripture is the sole rule of Faith” and took in its place the Scriptures as interpreted by the Fathers, the mismanagement was fatal— that the discussion would be in a dark and remote scene, and no certain sense could be affixed to their doctrines ; and any thing or every thing might, with some plausibility, be proved from them.

Bishop Ravenscroft felt himself called on to notice this review of Dr. Rice, and sent forth a pamphlet with the following title — The Doctrine of the Church vindicated from the misrepresentations of Dr. John Rice; and the Integrity of Revealed Religion defended against the no-comment principle of promiscuous Bible Societies. By the Right Reverend John S. Ravenscroft D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, 8vo. pp. 166. Raleigh, printed by J. Gales $ Son, 1826. .

Dr. Rice commenced his review in the Magazine for July, 1826, thus, — “This is probably the most polemic title page that has been printed for the last hundred years.” He then states succinctly the relative position of the two churches, the Episcopal and the Presbyterian ; the beginning of the controversy on church order; that it was at the time when “there was not courage to avow exclusive claims and pretensions, there was a secret agency, the object of which was to spread the opinion, that the Presbyterian Church is not a Church of Christ. It was not difficult for those who chose it to trace this underground work to the very commencement;” and that was, as we learn from a letter to Dr. Alexander, soon after his removal to Richmond. In carrying on the review he says — “But we wish it to be distinctly understood, that we design to pursue the uniform policy of that Church, of which we have the honor to be members. We make no attack on Episcopalians — under the full conviction that the Episcopal Church may be fairly separated from High Church pretensions. If, however, we have mistaken the case; and this thing cannot be; there we are prepared to maintain that the prevalence of that Church in this country is far, very far from being desirable.”

He then enters on the subject at large, and goes over the whole ground of the Episcopal controversy, with as much minuteness as could be compatible with the space afforded in twelve numbers of the Magazine. At the close of the fourth number, which appeared in the Magazine for October, he says, “it is due to ourselves and readers to state the reason why this review lies under the disadvantage of appearing in fragments—at long intervals. The truth is simply this: the writer’s daily avocations are fully sufficient to occupy the time and attention of at least three men of his calibre. He is therefore obliged to write in ends and corners of time, by sentences and half sentences, otherwise he must neglect much more urgent duties. For his own sake and that of his readers he wishes the case were otherwise. But as he was called on to notice the Bishop’s book, he thought it better to write in these unpropitious circumstances, than not at all.” This statement of the Doctor is true as it respects his great pressure of business. Yet his reply to the Bishop is one of unusual ability and power and research. He goes over the whole ground of controversy between the Bishop and the Bible Society; and the Bishop, as a diocesan of the strictest sort, and the Presbyterian Church; and also that between the Bishop and himself. The whole production is a masterpiece of polemics. The

Bishop was an open, fearless man—a high churchman. He wrote strongly but unguardedly. The Doctor showed himself far his superior in Theological literature, and caution, and the suavity of controversy. He shows from history, and fair deduction of argument, founded at last on history, that the High Church notions of the Bishop are inimical to the advancement of true piety, and even the existence of godliness, and are opposed to civil liberty; and will either govern the State as Pope, or be allied as an Establishment; and that they are all founded on error in the interpretation of Scripture, and the misconstruction of historical facts and the opinions of the Fathers.

Return to our Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus