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THE NEW CONGREGATIONAL COLLEGE. We have the satisfaction of announcing that a most eligible site has been obtained for the new Congregational College which is to take the place of the three separate institutions at Homerton, Highbury, and in Torrington-square. The ground, for which E2,800 has been given, is situated in the Avenue- road, St. John's Wood—a situation conveniently accessible and particularly salubrious. All the preliminary difficulties being now over, this spirited and important undertaking will be proceeded with, we feel assured, without any unnecessary delay. In fact, ten architects have been invited to send in plans for the adjudication of the committee on or before the 1st of July. In a former article, we adverted to the circumstances which have long rendered a consolidation of the smaller theological institutions desirable, with a view to those improvements in the system of academic training which could be effected only in a college upon a larger scale. Hitherto, too much has been attempted in these institutions, and too little ;—that is to say, too much instruction of a rudimental or preparatory nature has been found necessary and this has left too little time for a proper academic curriculum. At a time when even our ancient Universities, slowly yielding to the spirit of reform, are ex- tending the range of study, and requiring a higher standard of proficiency in Biblical and theological literature, it would, indeed, be a disgrace to the Protestant Dissenters of this coun- try had they made no effort to place the theological and secular education of candidates for the ministry upon a level with the advanced state of general knowledge and with the acquirements of the times. It can no longer be disputed, that the standard of ministerial qualification must be raised, in order to retain a hold upon the educated mind of the country. The champion of evangelical truth, the Biblical teacher, has, in the social ele- ments around him, that to compete with, on the one hand, and to contend against, on the other, which may task and worthily engage the highest scholarship, the acutest intellect, and the most strenuous exertion of all the mental powers. Actual progress, it has been remarked, will not save us from serious relative decline and not to advance will be, to be left behind. We are not among the number of those who, with an excess of candour which runs into detraction, concede that the Dissent- ing ministry has declined in respectability and efficiency: we believe the fact to be far otherwise. But we are not the less deeply persuaded, that there is a very urgent necessity for ren- dering the Nonconformist pulpit an organ of greater power, as an instrument of popular impression and of sound instruction. Xo academic training can either impart the requisite native gifts, or atone for the absence of them but natural talent in the present day asks for aid and appliances without which it will be foiled and discouraged in its best efforts to cope with the errors and adverse tendencies of the age. What arrangements are in contemplation in reference to the plan and course of study, the number of tutors, the conditions of matriculation, &o., we are not able to state. Indeed, we have reason to believe, that not a single appointment has yet been determined upon. It may be assumed, that one object which has been kept in view in this important movement has been, the obtaining of a larger and more complete staff of Pro- fessors, as well as an extension of the academic curriculum. Each Professor, instead of having to superintend the studies of some ten or twenty young men of different grades of attain- ment in two or three distinct branches, will have his proper department, with classes of sufficient extent to call forth and repay the utmost pains and assiduity. Lecturing will become, under such circumstances, a very different thing from the mere formality into which it is apt to degenerate, when without a stimulus that may be brought to bear upon both tutor and pupils. In the choice of Professors, regard must be had less to personal respectability, or even to reputed attainments, than to aptitude for the specific business of teaching, including the power of interesting and influencing the mind and heart of the student. In connexion with the College, there is to be a Congrega- tional place of worship, which is much needed in that rapidly increasing neighbourhood. The whole cost of the proposed building, exclusive of the purchase of the site, is estimated at about £ 10,000. The students are not to reside in the Institu- tion, but in the families of approved persons, as at Glasgow, and in the instance of the University College classes. This part of the plan has not been decided upon without mature con- sideration and we believe that all experience goes to prove, that the collegiate system is unfavourable to morals and piety. The housekeeping has ever been the bane and plague of our Academies and the domestic superintendence supposed to be secured upon the present system, consists too much in rules which tempt evasion, prohibitions which stir up resistance, and forms which become irksome, without the essential comfort and softening influence of domestication in a family. We con- gratulate the Congregational Body upon this advanced move- ment, from which we cannot but anticipate the best results and which will furnish an emphatic reply to the absurd mis- representations so" industriously circulated as to the decline of Dissent.—Patriot..


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