Project Canterbury A Few Days at Nashotah
by Bishop William Ingraham Kip
[Albany, NY: J. Munsell, 1849. 31 pp pamphlet.]
Eighteen months have passed since the foregoing letters were written, and the Nashotah Mission has therefore been subjected to a still further test of time. Its course, however, has been onward, each month has demonstrated more conclusively the stability of the principles on which it is founded, and enabled it to exert a wider influence for the Church, through all the North West. It will be well, therefore, to mark its progress, and state the points in which changes have taken place.
The principal of these is, the Incorporation of the Mission by Act of the Legislature of Wisconsin. This is a charter full satisfactory in every particular to the friends of the House. It is endowed with University powers, and every right is secured to it which is necessary for the entire preservation of those distinctive Church principles, to advance which it was established. The Trustees, who can not exceed seven in number or be less than five, have been appointed, and the whole property of the House has been transferred to their keeping. The Mission itself, in all its departments, is governed by a Faculty, composed of the Bishop and Clerical Members of the House.
The Charter recognizes the following departments connected with the Mission, viz.: 1. The Divinity School. 2. The College. 3. The Academical Department. 4. The Parish School.
Of these, the Divinity School, which was the earliest established, is always to be the first and controlling in its influence. To it is committed the entire internal arrangement of the whole community at Nashotah. To its students the Faculty are to look, as those most deeply interested both in the spiritual and temporal affairs of the whole Mission, It is not to be, as in most institutions, first the College, and second the Divinity Department, but the latter is to stand first. The principle on which every thing is founded is, that the whole Institution is to have no existence apart from the Brotherhood of the Theological Department. When that perishes, it is felt that all the Church can prize at Nashotah, must likewise perish. With the students of this alone, there is manual labor, and a constant home. The members of the other three departments are excused from labor, and are pay scholars. With these, when vacation comes, Nashotah ceases to be a home; but with the first department, its members remain and pursue their labor the more closely, because studies are for a time suspended. It is to be separate too, not only as a department, but in its location. To it will always be attached the Chapel of the House and the Library, and thus all arrangements will tend to show that this is regarded as the most important feature of the Mission. The present number of students is about thirty.
The College will not probably be opened for several years, but the Academical and Primary Schools are already in operation. The latter was begun upon the Mission premises, December 1, 1847. In the first year it averaged forty scholars, and we believe the present number is about sixty. Of these, sixteen are from the lake towns. They board in families living on the Mission premises, and are entirely under the supervision and control of the Faculty. This is looked upon as the nucleus of the Academical Department. The students are under the charge of four of the Lay-brothers, who each spend three or four hours a day in the school, while the professor of languages gives it also his personal oversight. The Rev. President visits it also once a day, remaining an hour for the purpose of teaching the catechism. There are several classes in the school in different grades of religious instruction, the teaching of which is confined entirely to the clerical members of the Institution. So great has been the progress of the scholars in secular learning, that many through the surrounding country who differ from us in faith, send their children, and even submit to the religious teaching.
During the past year the Faculty has been strengthened by the addition of another clerical professor, who will probably devote his life to the interests of the Mission. Of him, it is only necessary to say, that his thorough scholarship enables him to take the oversight of the department of languages, including the Hebrew; his aid is also rendered in several branches of the theological studies, and particularly in that spiritual training of the students which is to give life and vitality to every thing they require.
The course or preparation for the candidateship is intended to be made thoroughly adequate to the mental necessities of one entering upon the study of theology in its various departments; namely, as furnishing the requisite amount of mental discipline, a radical knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages, the primary mathematics, belles-lettres, history, mental and ethical philosophy. The course in this department although limited when compared with the paper course of ordinary colleges, will be adhered to strictly, will be enlarged from time to time, and embraces the most thorough tuition as far as it goes. Every thing has a direct reference to the missionary life.
In the Latin language the studies are these: in addition to a thorough acquaintance with the Grammar, (which is furnished the student in manuscript by the professor in this department, and is illustrated and explained at the black board,) and with the more primary books there are; 1. Cornelius Nepos, entire, rendered into English, and imitations from him in English, rendered into Latin on alternate days. 2. Three books of Caesar, and the History of Cataline, by Sallust, or in lieu of the latter, the four Catalinarian Orations of Cicero, with frequent translations of English into Latin. 3. In Latin prosody, the Latin Rules of Alvarez committed accurately to memory, and applied in reading three books of Virgil,s Eneid. 4. Livy, the first four books, (about two-thirds of the edition commonly used,) analyzed with reference to the construction of Latin sentences, and the use of tenses, and translated at the same time with severe accuracy, and a due attention to the foundation of an English style, which it is believed may be better promoted in this was than any other. The Satires of Horace, entire, with some of the odes, in which particular attention is paid to the metres and scanning. Alvarez,s Prosody is continued through this year. Added to this, there are occasional exercises in the writing of original compositions in the Latin language, and once in every month the class spend several hours in the presence of the Professor, when they are furnished with a piece of difficult Latin from one of the old authors, which they are required to translate into English in writing, without any other assistance than a Lexicon, in the way the examination tests are conducted in the English Universities.
In the Greek language the course is equally thorough. The student is required to recite a synopsis of the Grammar, embracing all the usual forms, from beginning to end, at one recitation, before he is allowed to begin translation at all. Then follow, Jacob,s Greek Reader, two-thirds, the Cyropedia and Anabasis of Xenophon, six books of the Iliad, and a play of one of the tragic poets. The Greek course, however, is not yet considered as full.
The mathematics are pursued through Euclid, and in English studies, attention is paid to English Grammar and Rhetoric, the Analysis of Pope,s Essay on Man, composition of original essays, elocution and extemporaneous speaking. In the natural sciences, natural philosophy and chemistry, with the use of such apparatus as they may be able to procure. In history, Taylor,s Manual, with lectures, and in mental and moral science, the excellent Treatises of Abercrombie.
This comprises the preparatory course at present, and considering that every thing here laid down is exacted, it may be regarded as already not much inferior to that of ordinary colleges. The scheme of study thus described, is in actual operation at present, and not merely what is proposed to be done in the future.
Having sustained a satisfactory examination in these studies, the student is prepared to become a candidate for Holy Orders, and to enter upon the study of the various branches of theology.
The course of theological study embraces four years, and is mainly that laid down by the House of Bishops.
In the first year, the student reads Prideaux, Horne,s Introduction, and the whole of the Greek Testament critically with Bloomfield,s Annotations. Hebrew is begun this year, the grammar mastered with Stuart,s Chrestomathy. The Hebrew course, as recently prescribed by the Faculty, embraces three years. The first is devoted to historical prose, with Exegesis; the second to the Messianic Psalms, with Christology; the third to selections from the four great prophets, with lectures on Hebrew poetry and sacred hermeneutics.
The second and third years are principally given to dogmatic theology. The usual topics, both didactic and controversial, are discussed by lecture, and in the use of the standard text books. Special attention is aid to the Calvinistic and Romish controversies, and the student is prepared as far as possible, not only to unfold the doctrines of Christianity from the pulpit, but to meet and repel the various heresies which flourish no where in wilder and ranker luxuriance than in the West. Especially in moral theology, and what may be called "subjective divinity, is pains taken to ground the student in Catholic doctrine. The doctrines of the fall, of original sin, of the grace of the Holy Spirit, of the need of an atonement, and of salvation only by Christ,s merits, and the further doctrines of conscience and the will, the affections, or those that in general concern man,s nature, are largely dwelt upon in the teaching of this year.
The fourth year is devoted to Church history. In the composition and delivery of sermons, there are weekly exercises of all the students throughout the whole course.
The devotional services of the House remain as they were two years ago, with some little addition. Every Sunday evening there is a spiritual conference on some subject in practical divinity, which is made altogether a devotional exercise, to promote in some measure that growth in grace, and the wisdom that cometh from above, without which, the brethren of Nashotah feel that their labor were vain and their hopes vain, and which it is the primary object of their lives to acquire. A subject (for example, "humility or "self-denial,) is assigned to the students at one conference, to be mad a subject of meditation during the week, and they are to be prepared, when called upon, to declare the result of their reflections. The Professor then sums up, and concludes with prayers. The Rev. President and the professor of languages alternate every Sunday in the Chapel pulpit, and also preach extemporaneously after prayers every Wednesday and Friday evenings during Advent and Lent. Their sermons pursue a regular system of the practical catholic life, discussing those subjects which are most appropriate to the season of the year.
We have thus placed before our readers as complete a view as possible of the Nashotah Mission. There seems to be no limit to the usefulness of the Institution, if its friends at the East would furnish means for its expansion. It might occupy the whole diocese for the Church, not only moulding the minds of the rising generation by its primary and academical departments, but yearly sending out men from the theological school who are trained to hardness and adapted to the labors of the West. But at present this influence is narrowed by the impossibility of supplying accommodations for the students who apply. In a letter from the Rev. President, (dated June 20th, 1848,) he says: "We are crowded with students, and have now converted into rooms for the Lay-brothers, all our buildings that will admit of such transformation. I have refused three or more students this spring, and must refuse all that apply for the present. This is bad, I confess, but we have no means whereby to accommodate more, and no means to build. We have now thirty divinity students, and several more are expected whom I had engaged to take. What shall be done? Bishop Kemper wishes for clergy, and those suitable for the West. In a letter of May 20th, written at Burlington, Iowa, he says: You inform me you see not how you can take another student at Nashotah, for want of room. This is deplorable, when I see immense districts settling throughout the North West"Congregational preachers and Romish priests crowding into them"and no one appearing even to tell of the Church. If we are right, we ought to accomplish much more than we do. I ought to have at least a dozen clergymen every year to locate. There is a place not more than twelve miles from Galena, where without moving a step, only turning around, six Romish Chapels can be counted., And in a letter to the writer of this pamphlet, (dated Feb. 6, 1849,) the Bishop says: "Buildings are now exceedingly needed. The determination of the Trustees and of the Faculty, and particularly of our indomitably persevering President, to keep out of debt, may greatly delay the growth of Nashotah, but must afford satisfaction to every friend of our glorious cause, that there will be no waste of funds and no breaking up of the Institution. Oh! if the Church at the East would only give us means, Zion in Wisconsin would soon be flourishing, glorious, and powerful.
Let the fact be known to the Church, that young men looking forward to Holy Orders, are prevented from entering on their studies, because they can not be accommodated at Nashotah. But ought these things so to be? Shall the golden opportunity for the West pass by, and the field be occupied by others, and laborers be asked for in vain, while they themselves are standing ready, saying: "Here am I, send me?
We would propose then an effort in which all can take an interest. Dr. Muhlenberg has procured the plan, (referred to in one of the former letters,) which admits of additions to any extent. In accordance with it, one permanent building could be erected, consisting in itself, but partly only of a whole, for the sum of one thousand dollars. This will answer for the theological department, while at any time a similar one can be erected for the academical students. Are there not then one hundred individuals who will contribute ten dollars each, so that this plan can be carried out during the coming spring? Supply merely the means for a building, (and building can be done at a cheap rate, since brick is manufactured on the spot,) and in a few years Nashotah will have a hundred young men training for the ministry, instead of thirty. Will not every clergyman who reads this statement, procure one or more such subscribers among his parishioners? Are there not ten rich men who can themselves each give a hundred dollars, and who will not regret the offering "in the hour of death and in the day of judgment?
We commend it then to the Church. There are those who in suffering and toil are laying deep the foundations of our faith in the mighty West; shall we uphold them? or shall we let them struggle on, and a whole generation pass away in ignorance, while we will do nothing that the desolate may stretch out their hands to God, and "Christ,s sheep that are dispersed abroad, and His children who are in the midst of this naughty world, may be saved through Him forever?
Any donations for Nashotah can be forwarded to WILLIAM H. ASPINWALL, Esq., New York, by whom they will be acknowledged in our Church papers.