Page images
PDF
EPUB

for the professor of divinity to agree to, at his inauguration." Yet our author asserts repeatedly,“ that the only declaration required of the professor should be, that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only perfect rule of faith and manners.” pp. 256, 263.

President Quincy supposes that the design of Hollis, in requiring the above declaration, was, that a Baptist might not be excluded from the professor's chair, under the eleventh article of his orders, on the ground that he was not orthodox. But Hollis had effectually provided against an interpretation like this, in the first article of his orders, which makes the Baptist equally eligible to the office, as the Congregationalist, or the Presbyterian. The professor must“ be a Master of Arts, and in communion with some Christian church of one of the three denominations, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, or Baptist.How would it be possible for men, who had proposed this article to Hollis, and adopted it, and bound themselves and their successors to abide by it, afterwards to exclude a man from the office, on the simple ground that he was a Baptist, and that a Baptist was not “ sound and orthodox ?"

At any rate, if this first article would not have prevented the corporation from excluding a Baptist, the declaration in the form of inauguration would have presented no kind of obstacle to such a procedure.

President Quincy thinks that, in examining Mr. Wigglesworth, the first Hollis professor of divinity, on the points of Calvinism, and more especially in regard to his belief of infant baptism, the corporation of the college showed an utter disregard of the wishes of Hollis, and even of his written orders. He is indignant that Mr. Wigglesworth should have been examined at all; and particularly that he should have been examined on such points as those referred to above, p. 255. But what indignity was it, either to the founder of the professorship, or to the candidate for office, that he was required to be examined? According to Mr. Peirce, up to this time and for years afterwards, all the college officers, even the tutors, were examined as to their religious principles ;"* and it would have been strange if the professor of divinity had been excused. And the orders of Hollis, so far from being violated by a formal examination, could not have been intelligently and faithfully fulfilled without it. The professor must be “

a man of * Hist. of Harvard University, p. 788.

solid learning in divinity, and of sound and orthodox principles.” But how should an individual be known to be such a man, until he had first been tested and proved? Whatever meaning may have been attached to the term orthodoxy, how should the electors satisfy themselves that the candidate for office possessed this indispensable qualification, until he had submitted to be examined ?

The points of Calvinism, on which Mr. Wigglesworth was examined, show conclusively what was meant by the term orthodox, in the days of Hollis. No man then could be soundly orthodox who was not soundly Calvinistic. That a Calvinistic Baptist was held to be orthodox is moreover proved, from a comparison of the first of the orders of Hollis with the eleventh. The professor, according to the first order, might be a Baptist. But according to the eleventh, he must be orthodox. Hence, in the judgment of all concerned in the framing or adopting of these orders, the profession of Baptist principles was consistent with orthodoxy. And hence, the examination of Mr. Wigglesworth in regard to his belief of infant baptism could have had no reference to the question of his orthodoxy, or to his qualifications for office according to the rules of Hollis, but must have been for the private satisfaction of some or all of the electors. There was nothing contradictory to the rules of Hollis, in this part of the examination ; since, whether they found the candidate a believer in infant baptism or not, still they had a right, by the rules, to elect him. And as they had perfect liberty to go into such an examination, doubtless some of the electors felt that they should be better satisfied, after an examination had taken place.

President Quincy presumes that Hollis never knew of this examination, from the fact that he made no complaint in regard to it. p. 256. But I see not why he should have complained, if he had known it. He knew almost every thing else that took place, with reference to the college, about this time, and I see no reason to doubt that he was made early and fully acquainted with this.

He certainly would approve of the exami-. nation, on all points, unless it were that of infant baptism. He expected the corporation to examine his professor, and satisfy themselves that he was “sound and orthodox.” He would have blamed them, and with good reason, had they consented to act in the dark, in respect to a matter of so much importance. And with regard to the examination on infant baptism, as it would be a gratification to some of the electors, and as there was

nothing in it inconsistent with his orders, he doubtless was willing that they should do as they pleased. As the examination of Professor Wigglesworth was a public matter, the results of which, after long debates, were entered on the records of the overseers; and as Hollis was certainly knowing to these debates, and found fault with the spirit manifested in them; it is morally certain that he knew of the examination. I see not how it could have been kept from him; or why any one, at that day, should have desired to keep it from him. And as he never uttered a word of complaint in regard to it, the conclusion is, that it met his approbation.

This effort of President Quincy is but one of the many, which have been put forth within the last forty years, to get rid of the eleventh article in the“ rules and orders” of Hollis. Formerly it was said, that Hollis was not a Calvinist, and that he used the phrase “sound and orthodox,” not in the usual Calvinistic

“ A man might be sound and orthodox,' and yet be an Arminian, or a Unitarian.” But it has been often proved, and is now admitted by Unitarians themselves, that Hollis was a Calvinist. “He was educated in a belief of Calvinism,” says the Christian Examiner. “He used the language of a Calvinist, and thought himself one."*

The Christian Register, in 1829, said : Mr. Hollis was “ in speculation, in form, if not in fact, a Calvinist of the old fashioned stamp, retaining the original features of the Genevan image.” And President Quincy says, the letters of Hollis“ bear traces of his belief in those general doctrines, in which all the prevailing sects of Christians, throughout Christendom, at that day concurred.” p. 241. In other words, be was, in belief, a Calvinist.

It has been said again, that though Hollis was a Calvinist, he was not a bigot. He was a catholic, liberal-minded man, and entertained the most charitable feelings towards Christians of other denominations.t-Now we admit that Hollis was a lib

sense.

* Vol. VII.

p.

97. + President Quincy has much to say in praise of the catholic spirit of Hollis; and remarks that, " in the spring of 1719, having watched the course of the college for many years, and satisfied himself that the views of the corporation were catholic and liberal, he resolved to be the executor of his own will, and to have the pleasure of witnessing the results of his own benevolence." p. 232. Yet with strange inconsistency, he says, eral-minded man, embracing in his charity all who seemed to him to be true friends to Christ. The fact that, though himself a decided Baptist, he was a member and an officer of a Presbyterian church, during the greater part of his life; as also the giving of his money for the support of college professors and students, who were not of his own denomination, are sufficient evidence of this. But what does his liberality prove? That he did not mean any thing, by the eleventh article of his “ rules and orders ?" Or that he used the words “ sound and orthodox,without reference to any particular class of religious opinions or doctrines ? Not at all. He certainly could not have so used these words, at least if he expected to be understood. For it may be shown conclusively, from the current language of the English Dissenters in those times, and even from the correspondence of Hollis himself, that these words then had a definite meaning—as definite as any that could well be selected-importing that those to whom they were applied received substantially the Calvinistic doctrines. Indeed, this is admitted by the conductors of the Christian Examiner. They say : “ Doubtless the term in question” (orthodox)" was often used by the Dissenters in Hollis's time, and by Mr. Hollis himself, as synonymous with Calvinistic.Vol. VII. p. 102. And President Quincy virtually admits the same, when he represents the Calvinistic doctrines as those“ in which all the prevailing sects of Christians throughout Christendom, at that day, concurred.p.

241. It was learnedly argued, only a few years ago, that in requiring his professor to be “sound and orthodox,” Hollis only intended that he should be a worthy man- -a man of correct principlesin the judgment of the electors for the time being. * But this pretence was too shallow and futile, to be long satisfactory to any one. It supposes the good Mr. Hollis, after consultation with learned divines in Europe, to direct and bind the corporation of Harvard College never to choose one to be professor of divinity, whom they thought to be a bad man !! Whose principles they regarded as unsound, unscriptural, and of pernicious tendency !!

on the next page: “He selected for the object of his extraordinary bounties, an institution, in which he knew that those of his faith were regarded with dread by some, and with detestation by others, and where he had reason to think, as he averred, that the very portrait of a Baptist, though of a benefactor, would be the subject of insult !!" p. 233. * See Chris. Examiner, Vol. VII. p.

101.

Indeed, we infer, that all these former shifts and glosses, by which to get rid of Hollis's eleventh article, are unsatisfactory (as we should think they would be) to President Quincy: for he sets himself to the work of demolishing the obnoxious article, in a very different way. He would have us believe, that it really has no place in the orders; that Hollis never intended it should be there; that it was crowded in by the New England bigots, in opposition to his original design; and that, because he could not well exclude it, when once it had been introduced, he resolved to nullify it, by a subjoined declaration. Now this is all very plausible, and would be very agreeable, no doubt, to certain interested individuals,-if it were only true. But unfortunately, on examination, there is scarcely a word of truth in it. This eleventh article was part of a "scheme" or draft,” which was transmitted to Mr. Hollis from this country, at his own request. He made not the slightest objection to it, of which we have any knowledge. It was submitted by him to the London divines, and they made no objection. It was sent back to New England, where it passed the ordeal of the corporation and the overseers of the college without objection, except that in the latter body it was slightly modified, so as to increase its binding force. It passes again into the hands of Hollis, and meets his approbation. He signs it, and seals it, and requires a written bond of the corporation that they will fulfil it, and tells them that, if they do so, he shall be pleased. And as to the subsequent declaration, we have seen that it is perfectly consistent with this eleventh article, as it is with every other part of the "rules and orders.” It is a declaration which no

sound and orthodox” man can ever be unwilling to make.

The inquiry naturally arises (and it may as well be solved here as anywhere): Why this multifarious and pertinacious opposition to the eleventh article of Hollis's orders? Why not let it stand, as he left it, and interpret it fairly and consistently, as every one sees that he intended it should be? The curators of the college had no difficulty with this article, during the first eighty years after it was established, and why should they have so much difficulty now? Why is one theory after another advanced and abandoned, in hope that some one may at length be found, which shall serve to gloss over the obnoxious article, or to take it fairly out of the way? An answer to these several

« PreviousContinue »