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were as much exposed as ever to its deleterious influences. Believing scholars felt that their reasonings and arguments fell utterly powerless on the minds of those whose whole mode of thinking, whose Anschauungsweise, was toto colo different from their own. To their schools of logic, then, to the universities, they directed their view and their efforts, and much indeed was written on university education, and on the state of morals and discipline among the students. But all their discussions and investigations only convinced them more and more that they had not yet found the root of the evil. Now they turned to the gymnasia ; and it is certainly true that it is from these that really proceeds the spirit that pervades and rules the life of society in Germany; for from these proceed all the ministers of Church and State, the royal officers as well as the representatives of the people, their judges as well as their teachers. And in what hands were these gynınasia ?
In 1848, when Radicalism, leaning on the “ glorious Marchdays," raised its head with unprecedented boldness, there was held at Berlin a large convention of teachers of gymnasia, in which it was moved to banish the Bible from the school, to cease teaching that the moral law is represented by the decalogue, to discontinue, thenceforth, requiring pupils to commit the Creed, and to prevent clergymen from giving religious instruction in the gymnasia.
But we are too hasty. How, it may be asked, came such a spirit of antichrist into institutions established by the Church, and required by the law of the State to instruct in the doctrines of the Christian religion? It cannot be denied that it had been engendered, fostered, and promoted, not by the classics, but by the mode pursued in studying and teaching them. When Grecian taste and refinement, Roman patriotism and heroism, the solemn dignity and wisdom of a Socrates, the self-denial and sobriety of a Stoic, the patience and perseverance of a Demosthenes, not to speak of the splendid images of epic and dramatic poetry, and of mythology; when all these were placed before the eyes of pleasure-loving youth in all their attractiveness, when the teacher studiously concealed their dark sides, or exhibited them only as necessary and pardonable evils, when the light of the Word of God was never placed in contrast with the delusive, lurid fires of pagan poesy, the religious feelings were stifled, the sense of sin blunted, and the need of redemption was hardly ever experienced.
And such was the treatment of the classics for years and years. The whole race of modern philologists, who constitute the most important portion of the teachers in the gymnasia, proceed from a school in which the different elements of anti
pathy to Christianity, as they appeared respectively in Rousseau, Lessing, and F. A. Wolf, are mixed. The Darstellung der Alterthumswissenschaft of the latter became the foundation of the classical philology of the present day. In this book Wolf utters the sentiment, that the study of antiquity “ constitutes the basis of the character of a perfect man;” in the dedication (to Goethe) he calls it a “ serious thought to enter into the whole worship of the inspired gods.” Another coryphæus of the same school, Heyne, says,—“ With sorrow I must confess that if I have not become altogether abandoned, I owe it more to the heathens than to the Christians." G. Hermann warns his readers against " the impious piety of those bats that talk as if man was wicked and could only obtain divine grace by believing."*
The disciples of such masters, of course, carried their own coldness and repugnance to the gospel into the gymnasium; they could not show to their pupils, that the law written in the hearts of the heathen was also a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ, and that with all their joound view of life, with all their manly vigour, the very essence of their existence was a melancholy longing, a bitter resignation, a need of salvation without a power to save. Their visible efforts in groping after the truth, if haply they might find it, which, when pointed out by the Christian teacher, might themselves fill the soul with the preciousness of a Saviour, were never mentioned by those philologists. Even Epicurus had said, Initium est salutis notitia peccati; and if it was Anselin's dictum, Credo ut intelligam, Aristotle had said before him, δεν πιστεύειν τον μανθάνοντα. Plato says, that real goodness is neither natural to man, nor acquired, but that it is a gift of God, (εί δε νύν ημείς εν παντί τω λόγω τούτω καλώς έζητήσαμεν τε και ελέγομεν, αρετή αν είη ούτε φύσει ούτε διδακτόν, αλλά θεία μοίρα παραγιγνομένη άνευ νου, οίς αν παραγίγνηται.-Meno, § 42.) + In the Republic (i. 5), he describes a Grecian deathbed." After a man,” says he, “begins to think that he is soon to die, he becomes inspired with a fear and concern about things that had not entered his head before, for those so-called myths about a future state, which tell us that a man who has been wicked here must be punished hereafter, though he laughed at them formerly, then torment his soul with apprehensions that they may be true.” In another remarkable passage, he speaks of the two classes of men-the godly as most blessed, and the ungodly as most miserable, ToŨ rèv Jciou südarfoveoTáTOU, TOū &dcov dehurátov;* a former generation he believed to have been better and in closer community with the Deity, (οι μεν παλαιοί κρείττονες nghãv nai syyurépw Deāv oizoûytes); † the knowledge of a just and benevolent God he taught to be wisdom and true virtue, the want of it folly and unmistakable depravity. I Sometimes the ancients are quite “ orthodox.” Cicero says, In libidine esse, peccatum est, etiam sine effectu. Plato teaches eternal punishment: Gorg. p. 525; Phæd. p. 113. But such, and an hundred like instances, never occurred in the teaching of those learned men.
* "Impia pietas tenebrionum, hominem malu messe nec nisi credendo impetrare gratiam divinam, dictantium."
+ What a contrast between this sublime humility of the truth-seeking spirit of the Greek, and the loathsome pride of the Roman : "Propter virtutem enim jure laudamur, et in virtute recte gloriamur; quod non contingeret, si id donum a deo, non a nobis, haberemus /"-(Cic. Nat. Deor. iii. 36.)
It is true, the law requires religious instruction to be given in every class of the gymnasium at least twice a-week, and the course pursued (with considerable variations) is that the lower classes are made acquainted with Biblical history, whilst the chief articles of faith are explained, and portions of Scripture and hymns are committed to memory. In the middle classes the life of Christ and the history of the Church under the apostles form the subject of instruction. The highest classes read the New Testament in the original, in connection with Exegesis, Introduction, an Exposition of the principal doctrines, or Church history. Romanists and Jews are neither required nor expected to attend these recitations; the former are taught separately by some priest of the Romish Church, who is compensated by the gymnasium, and where the Jews are numerous, a Jewish rabbi is generally employed by the gymnasium to teach these. |
But it needs no demonstration to affirm that the character of such religious instruction depends, after all, upon the person of the teacher, or else it would be inconceivable how these gymnasia could have acquired their antichristian tendencies. If we look at some of their text-books and catechisms, the case will be very plain to us. A change of heart is not even spoken of in some of the catechisms in use among them. The doctrine of a Redeemer is treated for the most part historically, and only so that he is shown to be the Messiah of the Jews. The Holy Spirit is a spirit engendered by enlightenment and instruction, a sort of mental development and a communication of clear ideas. A knowledge of self is insisted on, but not in the Christian sense, not a knowledge of one's sinfulness and dependence, but rather in the sense of Plato, a knowledge of how great our intellectual wants and capacities are.
And how is it with religious exercises? These vary indefinitely, as every thing else connected with these institutions, not only in the different gymnasia, but also in the same one at different periods under different directors. In most of them the teacher who teaches the first lesson in the morning reads a hymn, more rarely a short prayer in prose, sometimes he repeats it from memory. The pupils nearly always consist of a mixture of Lutherans, Reformed, Roman Catholics, “German Catholics,” Jews (in some institutions the latter form nearly one-half of the pupils), here and there a stray Baptist or Methodist also. But there is seldom a word heard in these prayers that could offend any one of them; the name of Christ is rarely mentioned. Sometimes, in a Protestant gymnasium, it happens that the teacher who instructs during the first hour of the day in a certain class is a Roman Catholic. Under such circumstances we have known instances where the teacher would bring some Protestant prayer-book with him, and hand it to one of the pupils to read a prayer. The variety of prayerbooks, also, is very great; every shade, from sound doctrine to the merest moralism, may frequently be found in the same gymnasium.
* Themtetus, $ 86.
+ Phil. 16. Cf. Polit, 271. Theæt. $ 85.
§ De finibus, iii, 9. In the Romanist gymnasia, the remarks made in regard to Romanists will of course apply, mutatis mutandis, to the Protestant pupils.
At the beginning of a term, the exercises of the gymnasium are introduced by all the pupils assembling in the “ Hall,” and singing one of those celebrated German hymns, after which the director delivers a short hortatory address. In a few gymnasia it is customary for the teachers and all the pupils of their denomination to unite in the celebration of the Lord's Supper once or twice a-year. In some the morning worship is common, that is, all the pupils assemble daily, or at least on certain days of the week in the “Hall," and sing a hymn, after which one of the teachers pronounces a prayer. In addition to these exercises a very few have a religious address at the beginning of every week.
The only other religious influenco which some may expect to find is that of the singing lessons, where those great German choräle and oratorios are practised and performed. But in these the whole attention of the pupil is so much absorbed by the music and the mere mechanical execution, that the words make no impression upon him. We can really assert that in a number of gymnasia the name of Christ is not heard so as to make any impression or awaken any thought, except, perhaps, in the two hours specially devoted to religious instruction. Even in history, when the enormous change is to be spoken of, which marks its page shortly after the commencement of the Christian era, the professor will endeavour to show the cause to have been the migration of nations, or the downfall of the Roman einpire, any thing rather than the true cause, so that one who should not attend the hours of religious instruction might be a pupil of gymnasium for years, and remain
utterly ignorant (for all that the gymnasium does to the contrary) of the great motive power of the civilised world, and the only true hope for a blessed hereafter. In fact, we could mention the case of a Jewish boy, not below ordinary capacity, and rather fond of reading, who had been in a Protestant gymnasium for five years, and being once prevented by a cold from singing in the usual singing lesson, was sitting still whilst the class were singing Paul Gerhardt's glorious hymn, O Haupt coll Blut und Wunden. He followed the words as they were sung, and the long-drawn notes gave him time for reflection. But he soon found that he understood nothing of the hymn.
..“ Haupt, zum Spott gebunden
Mit einer Dornenkron'!' suggested to him many a painting and engraving he had seen; but the next lines,
“O Haupt sonst schön gezieret
Mit höchster Ehr' und Zier," were utterly unintelligible to him. He would doubtless have fallen upon a train of thinking which might have proved highly profitable, had not the last word of the next line, “schimpfiret," which is obsolete, and seems to present an anomalous formation, given his thoughts a different direction.
As an index of the religious influence of the gymnasia, and its estimation among Christians in Germany, we would refer to the establishment of the Christian Gymnasium at Gütersloh, in 1851, in consequence of an action of the Convention of German Evangelical churches (Kirchentag), which met in Stuttgart in 1850. Such a convention is a voluntary meeting of men from all parts of Germany, who are interested in the Church, and are endeavouring to find ways and means to stop the decrease of evangelical religion and true piety among them, and to further and aid schemes for the extension of Christ's kingdom. The School, as being the nursery of the Church, and entrusted with the intellectual and spiritual interests of the rising generation, her hope, could not fail to claim and receive a considerable share of their attention. It was generally conceded that the School was not doing its duty, that 80 far from being an ally to the Church, it was to be feared that in inany instances the latter was injured by the School. Especially was this charged upon the gymnasia; and this feeling called forth the establishment of the above-named institution, and of a similar one in Stuttgart, in both of which the prime consideration is the education of their pupils for the Church and true Christianity.
According to the prospectus, the Christian Gymnasium at Gütersloh considers an education for the kingdom of God the