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Theology for the Hebrew Bible; 3. Historical and Polemical Theology.
3d year.-1. Systematic Theology; 2. Class of Exegetical do., partly Hebrew and partly Greek; and 3. Historical and Polemical Theology.
4th year.-1. Systematic Theology; and, 2. Class of Exegetical do.
The Report recommends the entire abolition of partial sessions, and suggests that the particular cases to which the Church might think proper to extend indulgence, should be provided for otherwise than by countenancing or sanctioning any longer the fiction of a partial attendance. The returns from Presbyteries generally sanction this recommendation, though two or three express a doubt whether partial sessions should be entirely abolished. A suggestion has been made upon this subject by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, of which the Committee on the whole approve, and which they would recommend to the favourable consideration of the Assembly. But they would strongly urge upon the Assembly rather to abolish partial attendance altogether, than to sanction it unaccompanied with these indispensable conditions. 1st, That permission be obtained from a general board, before whom all applications for exemptions shall come. 2d, That subjects and books for study be presented to those who are exempted, and that they be regularly examined upon them. And, 3d, That two years be required for each one of regular attendance omitted.
The General Assembly will see that these proposals are in substantial accordance with the recommendations of the Report which has been already approved of in general, that they do not involve the appointment of a larger staff of Professors than was then contemplated and provided for, and that the adoption of them will impose no additional expense upon the Church, except the salaries of Hebrew tutors, an expense to be incurred by providing for an object which is manifestly indispensable, and which when obtained, will render it practicable to give to the study of the whole word of God in the original, the place which its paramount importance demands. They cannot venture indeed, in the present state of the funds, to recommend any increase of expense whatever for College purposes, and they
think a good deal may be done in Edinburgh to promote an earlier and fuller acquisition of a knowledge of Hebrew by the existing agency. The Committee do not think it needful to say any thing in the way of urging upon the Church the importance of a fully equipped theological institute, and they do not see that a theological institute adapted to the necessities and demands of the age, can be maintained without some such arrangements as those which have been described.
The report given in to the Assembly of 1846, recommended that the students in the Faculty of Arts attending the University of Edinburgh, should be required to attend the class of Moral Philosophy which had been established in the New College. A majority of the Presbyteries which have sent in returns upon the curriculum, have approved of this recommendation, though a number nearly equal disapprove of attendance upon this class being made imperative. The report of 1846 merely intimated the appointment of a Professor of Logic, but did not contain any formal recommendation as to attendance upon the class. The same principles, however, manifestly apply to both these classes, and the Committee would now recommend that attendance on both of these classes should be required of all students for the ministry of the Free Church whose curriculum of Literature and Philosophy is prosecuted in Edinburgh, it being reserved to the Senatus Academicus to admit into the Hall students who have not attended these classes, when they see cause. It is intended that two hours a day should be devoted to each of these classes as well as the theological ones, so soon as there is accommodation that admits of it. The Committee think it right to state their growing conviction of the importance of these essential departments of study being conducted by men in whose Christian character and soundness of principle the Church has the fullest confidence, and they consider themselves abundantly warranted in saying, that there are already satisfactory evidences, that the Students of the Free Church have derived most important advantages from the establishment of these two chairs.
There are several other important subjects connected with Theological Education, some of them suggested by the returns
sent up by Presbyteries, which the Committee regard as deserving and demanding the serious attention of the Church, but on which they cannot now enlarge, and with respect to which they are not at present prepared to make a specific proposal. They are such subjects as these,—the length of the session-the visitation of the Divinity Hall, and the inspection of its business by the authority of the Church-the extent to which, and the mode in which, the Church can and should afford assistance to young men in the prosecution of their studies for the ministry, viewed especially in connection with the object of securing to them necessary time and leisure for the study of theology in its leading departments-and, lastly, the all-important subject of the provision which the Church ought to make, for satisfying herself that those whom she ordains to the ministry of the Gospel are indeed faithful or believing men, who have experienced the enlightening and regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit. Some of these are subjects of at once great importance and great difficulty, which the Church ought seriously and deliberately to consider, and in the consideration of which she will greatly need that wisdom which is profitable to direct, and which God is ever ready to give, and to give without upbraiding.
COLLEGE COMMITTEE'S SUB-COMMITTEE
THE proceedings of this Sub-Committee during the past year admit of being very briefly related. In their annual adjudication of Scholarships by comparative trial, the Sub-committee followed, at the beginning of last winter session (1847-48), the graduated scale of examination, both literary and theological, on the construction of which great care had originally been bestowed by them, and which the experience of former years has now enabled them to reduce to a regularity and simplicity of form, which they may almost calculate on being as nearly as possible final and permanent. The adjustment, at the same time, of the whole Examination-scheme to the existing curriculum of study in our Universities has been borne prominently in mind in the drawing of it; and its tendency to fix and hold steadily up to public view, a well-marked standard of desirable and practicable attainment on the part of the future ministers of our Church, has formed one of the chief inducements with the Committee for charging themselves with the labour of devising, and carrying out firmly from year to year, so wide a plan. Proceeding then upon this plan in November last, as on former occasions, the Sub-committee, aided by able examiners, awarded, as the result of two days' comparative trial, 18 new Scholarships, of the collective value of £260, to students in the literary and philosophical classes; and 7 new Scholarships, together of value £92, 10s. to 7 theological students. If to
these we add the literary and theological Scholarships of last year, together equal in value to £187, 10s., we shall have, as the whole number of Scholarships gained by public competition, and held or adjudged for this last session, 38, and their aggregate value £540. Of this sum, however, only £487, 10s. have actually been thus expended, three of the Scholarships having been relinquished, owing to the eventual inability of the holders to avail themselves of them, and a fourth having from the same cause been enjoyed only partially.
The scheme of competition is now extremely simple. The Scholarships are to be held for two years: opportunities of competition will consequently be open to students on every alternate year of the curriculum, in other words at the beginning of the first and third years of the literary and theological courses respectively, and at those stages only.
The Sub-Committee are happy to be able to renew the expression of their unabated conviction of the salutary and most important operation of this scheme, not only in affording to really meritorious and valuable young men increased facilities for effectually prosecuting their studies,—and that, too, upon the most honourable and the most perfectly independent footing; but likewise, and even in a still greater degree, in upholding and elevating among candidates for the ministry the general standard of literary, scientific, and philosophical attainment. The same plan, it may not be uninteresting to remark, has recently been adopted, substantially and in its leading features, by other large and influential religious bodies in the country, for the purpose of elevating and fixing the literary qualifications of aspirants to the ministry among them; and some of the Presbyteries of our own Church, the Committee have good reason to believe, have had their attention drawn, by the carefully digested examination papers of this Committee, to the practicability and the advantage of testing, in a similarly definite and exact way, the qualifications of their students, before sending them forward to the Divinity Hall, and afterwards, before proceeding to take them on trials for licence. Were but the same impression to become a general one throughout the Presbyteries, the Sub-Committee would venture to believe that even if no other result had attended their labours, than simply to have helped to shew that an object so exceed