Chapter I

PASTORAL THEOLOGY.

CHAPTER I.

DEFINITION OF PASTORAL THEOLOGY,

It is a convenient, and accurate classification, which distinguishes the scientific part of clerical discipline, from the practical. All that side of the clergyman's training, which relates to strictly theoretic branches,—for example, to philology, philosophy, and theology,—falls under the denomination of theological science; while all that part which relates to the public application of this theoretic culture, is practical theology. The subject of Homiletics would therefore be comprehended under this latter, because sermonizing is the popular presentation of theological science. Sacred Rhetoric supposes that the speculative principles of the Christian religion have been previously mastered, by means of studies, and methods, that are more abstract than its own.

Having been made a theologian, by the severer training, and the more fundamental discipline, the clergyman is then to be made an orator, by the more I popular and practical culture of Homiletics.

But, the clergyman bears still another character, and performs still another kind of labor, which likeAvise belongs to the practical side of his profession. He is not only a preacher, whose function it is to impart public instruction before an audience, but he is also a pastor, whose office it is, to give private and personal advice from house to house, and to make his influence felt in the social and domestic life of his congregation. The clergyman is an orator, and therefore needs the homiletical education that corresponds. He is also a pastor, and hence requires the special discipline that qualifies him to watch over the personal religious interests of his flock. It is the object of the department of Pastoral Theology, to prepare him for this part of his work. The formation of clerical character, and the discharge of strictly parish duties, are, then, the principal topics in this branch of inquiry.

We define Pastoral Theology to be, that part of the clerical curriculum which relates to the clergyman's parochial life. It contemplates him in his more retired capacity, as one who has the care of individual souls. The pastor is a curate, and Pas toral Theology relates to the clergyman's curacy These terms, which are not so familiar to the American as to the English ear, if taken in their etymological signification, denote precisely the more private character and duties of the clergyman. They are derived from the Latin curare, to take care of. A curate is one who has the care of souls.1 The apostle Paul speaks of " watching for souls." The pastor, or curate, is a watcher for souls.

Having regard, then, as it does, to this important side of the clerical vocation, and these important aspects of clerical labor, the department of Pastoral Theology deserves very careful study. In its own place, it is as necessary to a complete professional discipline, as the more imposing departments of sacred philology, and dogmatic theology. Imperfect education, in respect to the pastoral and parochial duties of the clergyman, must lead to the neglect of them; and this will seriously impair his influence, and, in the review of his ministry, awaken many poignant regrets. The limits of this treatise do not allow more thari the briefest discussion, of a few cardinal points; but we feel that we shall have accomplished much, even if we should do nothing more than direct attention to the well-known work of Kichard Baxter. The Reformed Pastor of this wonderful and successful minister, should be read through once in each year, by every clergyman. "If," says John Angell James, 'I may, without impropriety, refer to the service which, during fifty-four years, I have been allowed to render to our great Master, I would express my thankfulness in being able, in some small degree, to rejoice that the conversion of sinners has been my aim. I have made, next to the Bible, Baxter's Reformed Pastor my rule, as regards the object of my ministry."1

1 The German Seelsorger expresses the same idea.

1 A valuable collection in one has been published at Oxford, by volume, of tracts and treatises Rivington & Co. pertaining to Pastoral Theology,