Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/342

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stimulate it, being ignorant of its nature? A man may know the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation; he may know every theological treatise from the day of Augustine to the day of Dr. Taylor; and, if he does not understand human nature, he is not fit to preach.

Suppose a man should undertake to cut off your leg because he had been a tool-maker? He had made lancets, probes, saws, and that sort of thing all his life; but he had never seen a man's leg amputated, and did not know exactly where the arteries or veins lie. Suppose he should think that making surgeons' tools fitted him to be a surgeon—would it? The surgeon must know his tools and how to handle them, but he must know, too, the system on which he is going to use them. And shall a man, charged with the care of the soul, sharpen up his understanding with moral distinctions and learned arguments, and know all about the theories of theology, from Adam down to our day, and yet know nothing of the organism upon which all these instrumentalities are to be used? Shall he know nothing about man himself? The student who goes out to his work with a wide knowledge of theology, and no knowledge of human nature, is not half fitted for his duty. One reason why so many succeed is, that, although they have no formal instruction in human nature, they have learned much in the family and in the school and by other indirect methods, and so have a certain stock—I might say an illegitimate stock—of knowledge, but which was not provided in the system of their studies.

If I might be allowed to criticise the general theological course, or to recommend any thing in relation to it, I should say that one of the prime constituents of the training should be a study of the human soul and body from beginning to end. We must arouse and stimulate men, and seek to bring them into new relations with truth, with ourselves, and with the community.

There is another consideration that we cannot blink, and that is, that we are in danger of having the intelligent part of society go past us. The study of human nature is not going to be left in the hands of the church or the ministry. It is going to be a part of every system of liberal education, and. will be pursued on a scientific basis. There is being now applied among scientists a greater amount of real, searching, discriminating thought, tentative and experimental, to the whole structure and functions of man and the method of the development of mental force, than ever has been expended upon it in the whole history of the world put together. More men are studying it, and they are coming to results, and these results are starting, directly or indirectly, a certain kind of public thought and feeling. In religion, the psychological school of mental philosophers are not going to run in the old grooves of Christian doctrine. They are not going to hold the same generic ideas respecting men; and if ministers do not make their theological systems conform to facts as they are—if they do not recognize what men are studying, the time will not be far dis-