Under the powers of the Cambridge University Act, the ancient liberties of the University have been restored, all Academical oaths have been abolished, and a solemn declaration has been substituted in certain cases where oaths were formerly required.

The University of Cambridge has, under the New Statutes, the power of conferring the Degrees of Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts; of Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws, and Doctor of Laws; of Bachelor of Medicine, and Doctor of Medicine; of Master in Surgery; and of Bachelor of Music, and Doctor of Music, on all persons who have performed the conditions and exercises prescribed by the Statutes for the respective degrees, independently of every other consideration. The Cambridge University Act withholds the privilege of voting in the Senate from all Masters and Doctors who are not Members of the United Church of England and Ireland.

The University has also the power of conferring Honorary Degrees for distinction in literature and science, not only on British subjects, but also on the subjects of all Nations.

The degrees of Bachelor of Divinity, and Doctor of Divinity, are conferred only on persons who have been admitted to Holy Orders in the United Church of England and Ireland.

Among the many great and important alterations effected by recent legislation in the University, it should be no cause for surprise, if mistakes have been made : if the changes made in some foundations should be found to be, at least, of doubtful expediency. As one instance, may be adduced the suppression of the office of Christian Advocate, and the diversion of eighttenths of the income from Mr. Hulse's benefaction, to found a Professorship of Divinity. Mr. Hulse had read and understood the History of the past, and he foresaw that cavils and objections against Revealed Religion would from time to time be raised by perverse ingenuity, and maintained with much shew of argument. He designed that there never should be wanting in the University of Cambridge, a succession of advocates, well qualified and able to deal with the cavils and objections peculiar to their own times, against Revealed Religion. Perhaps it may not be too much to affirm, that there never was a time when the services of a Christian Advocate were more urgently needed than at the present day, when the very foundations of Revealed Religion are violently assailed, not by unbelievers, but by professed believers, by Clergymen, and one of them in the highest rank of the Church of England.

In the Report of the Royal Commission (p. 69.) it is stated : that—"Objections have been justly made, both to the name and to the office of Christian Advocate; for if the Christian Religion requires defence, such defence should be a spontaneous act, not a hired service.” If this be alleged as the argument for the suppression of the office, it may be replied, that the daily life of every real Christian, is a spontaneous defence of Christianity; but Mr. Hulse well knew that not every

[ocr errors]

real Christian was able to answer and refute cavils and objections, and bring out the argumentative evidence for the truth of Christianity in a clear and convincing form. If such an argument be admissible, it seems equally valid against all endowments for the maintenance of men for the defence of truth against error, whether in secular or sacred subjects, and is as effective against the maintenance of a Professor of Divinity as against that of a Christian Advocate.

If the day should ever dawn when the suppression of the office of Christian Advocate may be deemed a mistake by a majority of the Resident Members of the Senate, the men of that day will find that the Cambridge University Act offers an easy mode of amending that, and any other mistakes which may have been made under the authority of its provisions.

The proposal to institute Public Lecturers in the University, and to impose a tax of five pounds in the hundred, on the revenues of all the Colleges for the payment of these officers, and for other University purposes, has not commended itself to the approval of the majority of the Colleges. They naturally consider themselves quite competent to administer all their revenues for the purposes for which they were devised, and to carry into execution the designs and objects of their founders. And further it may be remarked, that to lessen the income of one corporation by taxation, for augmenting the income of another, is not generally regarded as a right principle in dealing with endowments left for definite and lawful


In the Revised Statutes of the Colleges, several very important changes have been made, but it may be doubted how far the designs of founders and benefactors have been promoted by secularizing so largely those Colleges, where “it was the intention of the founders to appropriaté their endowments to the maintenance of à succession of men who should devote themselves to the service of God in the ministry of the Church.” The larger emoluments, the fellowships at such Colleges, are now in general regarded merely as rewards for successful Academical distinction. It cannot be denied, that there is a constant demand increasing every year, for sober-minded and well-educated men for the service of the Church both at home and in the Colonies. If some portion of the revenues of the Colleges designed for Theology had been reserved and appropriated to assist Divinity Students in their special preparation for the work of the Christian Ministry; (in cases where such aid is needed) those Colleges would have been in a more favourable position to carry out the designs of their founders in supplying the wants of the Church.

In several of the Colleges the obligation of Fellows to enter into Holy Orders has been considerably relaxed. With respect to the rule of the Celibacy of Fellows; in some Colleges it is retained, in others it is modified, and in some few it has been entirely abolished. It is also relaxed in the case of a Fellow holding a Professorship, or the office of Public Orator, Registrary, or Librarian of the University.

The Cambridge University Act has decreed, that all persons eligible to Foundation Fellowships at any College shall be members of the United Church of England and Ireland. The necessity and reasonableness of this regulation must be evident, as the Colleges are places of Education, Learning and Religion. It has long been the high character of the University of Cambridge to maintain only what is true and pure

in Religion; and there never has been a period in the History of the University, when it regarded "all religions as equally true.” Whatever amount of truth may be admitted to exist in any debased or corrupted form of Christianity, or in any other religion, it has, since the Reformation, only maintained that form of Christianity which founds its claims to universal acceptance on such evidences as are sufficient to satisfy the judgment of reasonable men. However great therefore may be the sincerity of the devotees of Brahma, the followers of Mahomet, the Jews, or the believers in any form of Christianity debased or corrupted by idolatry or superstition-all are disqualified for holding Fellowships in any College in Cambridge. There scarcely could be uniformity of principle and practice in a place of “Sound Learning and Religious Education," where the Tutor was of the circumcision, the Dean of the uncircumcision, and the Master of neither. It must therefore of necessity be obvious, that if truth and consistency are to be held of any account in Colleges, the legislature has determined wisely, by requiring that all persons eligible to Foundation Fellow

« ForrigeFortsett »