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How conducive must the faithful observance of such rules have been to “ faithfulness in that which is little," as well as in greater matters; to spiritual, as well as temporal comfort and prosperity! Only thus was it possible for him successfully to attend to so many comprehensive employments in private, without suffering them to interrupt his pressing official engagements ; not to mention his correspondence, which obliged him to write about twelve hundred letters annually.
The solemn dedication of the new Institution, and its commencement of labour, took place early in the following December. On the seventh of that month, the prelate, John Frederic Hochstetter, delivered his inauguration speech as its president; on the eighth, in the forenoon, Andrew Christopher Zeller, as senior tutor, did the same; and Bengel, in the afternoon, as junior tutor. His subject, which was one of peculiar interest, was luminously invested with his own manner of thinking. It was De certissima ad veram eruditionem perveniendi ratione per studium pietatis, (The diligent pursuit of piety is the surest method of attaining sound learning.) He began by remarking, how much it was to the honour of government that it had established this seminary at the present crisis, while the country was so menaced by hostile armies ; † as it might be inferred, that Würtemberg regarded as real bulwarks her institutions of learning and piety, and considered it necessary to increase their number in the same proportion as her other bulwarks fell away. He then addressed the young persons who were to be received into this new nursery of theological learning, and showed what a privilege they ought to consider it to be placed at the most eligible season of life in a situation which afforded facilities for devoting all their time and strength to the noblest branches of learning. Hence it became them, as persons of integrity and prudence, to make the most diligent use of such providential advantages ; for doing which, it was first and foremost indispensably necessary to be well aware what is that true centre of all valuable knowledge and exertion, around which alone every study and pursuit can beneficially revolve, and maintain such unity and consistency as are necessary to make them a real and permanent blessing. That this central and main
* The greater part of this speech is found printed in “ Pregizeri Suevia et Wirtembergia Sacra,” pp. 353–56.
+ The French had lately taken Landau and Freiburg; so that Würtemberg was then in great peril.
matter had been ever one and the same for all undertakings in general, and for that of the sacred ministry in particular ; in a word, that piety must be their focus, both primary and secondary. This was what had ever fashioned and governed the course of all the most truly learned and estimable characters; and if we admit Aristotle's position, that natural abilities, instruction, and application, are the three principal requisites for sound learning, then just so is fervent, practical piety, under the Divine blessing, the very life and soul of these requisites.
First, as to natural abilities. None but the practically pious man can develop these with that strength and that regularity which are needed for raising them to the highest improvement. For, the activity and efficacy of that grace of God which is bestowed upon the pious man, tends much more directly than the best natural tact, to help him with respect to all zeal and regular progress in science. And who can avoid seeing that there is no preservative like this against the many seductive allurements to which students, especially, are liable, and which have, in too many instances, blighted every hope and prospect of their attaining sound learning ? Again, what is there like true piety to overcome our natural indolence, and to preserve the mind from disturbing passions ; or that can impart to it that liveliness, force, and clearness, by which even a person of ordinary abilities, in search of the most recondite truths, will often outstrip the best gifted and most favourably circumstanced, who remain strangers to communion with God? What these can hardly learn, with all their diligence, and with the best assistances, will often present itself, as by a kind of intuition, to understandings no longer darkened with the exhalation of native corruptions and hereditary prejudices. Secondly, with respect to instruction.
a favourite maxim, even of heathen philosophers, that true wisdom begins in the knowledge of ourselves. Who, then, is so likely to possess this knowledge as the person that is always obliged to converse with himself in order to commune with his God? Self-knowledge is a constant attribute of true piety. Besides, it is only the pious person
who will have free access at every season to the prime repository of all genuine knowledge. That repository is the sacred volume ; and I say that it is freely opened to the pious alone, for none but they will faithfully follow its instructions, and consequently possess the clew to those unsearchable treasures of wisdom and knowledge which it contains. And this
clew they possess for the benefit of others as well as for themselves; for whoever maintains real communion with God will be the better qualified upon every occasion to speak wisely and suitably to his fellow-men.
Thirdly, with respect to application. Surely it is only he who fears God that can find real content and satisfaction in his pursuits. Others may run after such satisfaction, but all their toil to overtake it in the fields of science will be in vain ; and its phantom rather allures them on towards the most perilous abysses. Whereas, science itself, to those who love God, will be among the “ all things that work together for their
He concluded with expressing it as his fervent and devout wish, that every pupil of the Institution would seriously address himself to God, imploring of Him that renewal of the heart and mind which is indispensable to real piety, and thus insure a prosperous and rapid advancement in all necessary and useful knowledge.
Bengel and his colleagues were now to enter upon the business of the Theological Seminary. The pupils were admissible from fourteen to sixteen years of age : their knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, previously acquired at elementary schools, was here to be completed; and they were to be carried forward into the higher departments of classical and sacred literature. They were also to receive instruction in religion, in the elements of philosophy, and other necessary matters of general knowledge. In compliance with these requirements, Bengel, under the sanction of his colleagues, drew up a plan raisonné of study, for the use of the pupils rather than of the teachers, and entitled it, “ The Denkendorf · Dic cur hic?'” or, “ Limites et Methodus Studiorum Alumni Denkendorfini ;” i.e.“ A Rationale of Study for the Theological Seminary at Denkendorf, containing the reasons for each branch of study, the limits prescribed to them, and the method to be pursued.” This plan was not a mere dry catalogue of various scientific objects, but it furnished appropriate introductions to the attainment of each, and specified the advantages to be expected by the method it recommended. Another design of it was to preserve the pupils from remissness and its attendant discouragements; or else to restrain them from that youthful presumption which at first setting out, especially in scientific pursuits, is apt to prompt the notion of having attained every thing at once.
Hence he detailed with brevity,
but sufficient particularity, the proper routine of the several studies, together with
1. What in each distinct branch was indispensable, what useful, and what merely agreeable. Thus the student of humblest abilities would be enabled to perceive, amidst the great mass of scientific matter before him, what was most requisite for himself.
2. How to profit from public lectures by diligent preparation in private, as well as by recollections of them; and what method of preparation, attention, and recollection, each department of study required.
3. Special directions how to apply the leisure time of every week-day to the best advantage. For the Lord's day, besides attendance at public worship, diligent reading of the Scriptures and of suitable pious books was recommended. Those weekdays in which but few hours were thus vacant, were to be employed in preparation for lecture, and in reconsidering and reviewing what had been learnt; but those in which there was more leisure from public lectures, were to be given to more extensive private study. It was specially enjoined, that a full hour of every week-day should be spent in personal recreation, and this out of doors when the weather permitted; but that the rest of their recreation should consist of lighter reading, as in poetry, geography, history, &c.
4. Of languages, it was observed that, for present requirements, Latin demanded most attention; and then Greek and Hebrew; but the Oriental dialects, as proving of real use to scarcely more than one in a hundred, were to be studied only by pupils of best abilities, especially as acquaintance with modern languages was found to be more generally useful.
5. In order fully to answer the ends of classical literature, it was recommended to read diligently such Greek and Latin authors as flourished nearly at the same period; and the reading of Latin works, not reputed classical, was to be deferred till the student had acquired a pure Latin style of his own. Plautus, Terence, Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, were also to be reserved for a time of further advancement.
6. The relative benefits of each particular study; as, for instance, what advantage the knowledge of languages, logic, the science of the human mind, history, geography, &c. affords to the interpretation of writers, sacred and profane.
7. From special regard to the requirements of the Denkendorf Theological Institution, the preference among philosophical sciences was to be given to logic; which, however, was to be kept as clear as possible of all trifling subtilties of the schoolmen.
8. Preparatory to the study of divinity, the Scriptures were to be carefully studied in the original languages as well as in the vernacular translation; and scripture passages proving every principal doctrine were to be recited and rendered familiar to the memory.
Finally, attention was recommended to a few general rules :1. Live piously, uprightly, wisely. 2. Beware of slackening in piety and diligent study.
3. Let your ONE OBJECT and endeavour in Every thing be, the glory of God, a good conscience, and sincerity about becoming instrumental to the good of the public.
4. Be careful to keep an accurate diary and memorandumbook.
5. Make appropriate extracts, and refer to them frequently.
6. Examine yourself from time to time, and especially at the close of each week, what progress you have made in every thing.
7. Avoid bad companions as you would avoid death.
8. But cultivate, as much as possible, the society of those who are pious, studious, and learned ; seeking with all care to profit by whatever they say and do; and never value yourself upon your learning or piety.
Bengel's own earnest endeavours to promote the design of the Institution are further perceptible, from a passage written by him in the year 1740 (March 7th), which also shows that he set out with this general principle, that “ the main business with a pupil is not merely to furnish him with a certain quantum of the various branches of knowledge, but to put him in the way of attaining a good state of thinking and feeling ;"—rather to form than to inform him.
“ 1. With every new set of pupils I go cursorily through Cornelius Nepos, in order to accustom them to my method; though most of them may have read this author elsewhere.
“ 2. I then read with them Cicero's Epistles, those which are prescribed in the official publication, entitled 'the (Würtemberg) Ecclesiastical Directory.' In the course of the lecture each epistle is particularly explained and illustrated, and every pupil has afterwards to make a written translation of it.
“ 3. In lecturing upon Cicero's Epistles, I sometimes give