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CHURCH: supports Duane, Strong, compares Episcopal clergy to other denominations; KC: questions need for longer range of study, WP, Bohlen
letter, McIlvaine, Stevens, church, Kenyon College
McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, "Letter to Rev. Stevens" (1855). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 4.
To Rev. D Stevens
Dayton April 3, 1855
Rev. + dear Sir-
I received here, this [morning] your very kind letter, concerning Mr. D[uane], + am glad to receive so high a testimony in regard to him + to perceive, from Mr [?], that he is p[robably] the man we need. Thank you also, most truly, for what you say concerning my Sermon. I trust the Lord will [honor them] in making them the means of good, among our clergy, as well as laity. In these days of [enquiry] as to what should be done for the improvement of the working of our church, which much needs indeed to be improved. I fear an undue attention will be given to the machinery, + too little to the power. The best rail-road is of little use without steam. Our great want is not merely in the number, but the earnest, devoted, simple, [gifted], zeal of our clergy. We need a renewal of scriptural [purity] in the rank of our really pious men, very much.
But alas how many have we who seem merely perfunctory [—] Zealous [indeed] perhaps in their way [—] but zealous for the function in its [various] departments, who never get above the [?] of the church in their zeal. How little direct, pointed stirring, undiluted [setting?] fault of Christ + the work of the spirit. Little I mean when it is considered how much more there should be [:] Oh! for a revival among our clergy. But I do not think we are worse off in this respect than Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists [&c]. On the contrary, I fully believe that our evangelical men, as a body do much excell all Clergy, in the land, in the purity, simplicity + faithfulness of their Gospel preaching, + that our defective men as a body are not more defective, or more [impious?], or more numerous, [?], strictly, than their[s]. The difference is one of distinction + [?], arising out of differences of [visible] institutions. I think the decline of really [evan-gelical], religion + knowledge + preaching among Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists [&c.] as they are seen away from the large towns where their best men are formed, is very [damning???], + the men they have what they call “Revivals” the worse it becomes because the stimulus so much exceeds the nourishment.
I note your remark concerning Kenyon College as needing a larger range of study + a more able body of Professors. I think your idea of the state of the case must have reference to the condition of things when Capt. [Coppic?] invited Gambier. Then the Math Dept. had only a [?] [?] + that of Chemistry + Nat. Phil. was vacant. Since then, the chair of Mathematics has been filled by a Professor whose attainment + abilities in that line can hardly be exceeded in the U.S. Prof S[?] who has the best Cam-bridge (Engld) mathematical train-ing, having [secured honors there] for Mathematics. The only difficulty with him is that he does not succeed, as we wish, in teaching our lads. He leaps too fast, + does not give time for learners to follow]. I think he will resign at the end of this year, + then we hope Capt. C[?] may be M[?]d, or some other W.P. man. For some years we had R[ufus], the best Math. teacher they ever had at W. Point; + then our teaching in that dept. was not exceeded in quality or ext[?]ness ^ in the U.S. ^ any where except at W.P. Since Capt. C. was at Gambier, the other vacancy has been supplied by a Prof. whose science, diligence + zeal + practical adaptations leave something to be desired.
In Classics we have a Professor trained at Dublin + — being a trainer for Dublin University — an admirable [?] man of great [weakness?], + most acc[urate] attainments, equally competent in the highest + [bravest?] instruction in his branch. [Now] what we most want + deeply want is the Pastor - not only a Prof. of Past. D[?] but that which scarcely any Theol. Sem. has or college but all ought to have, a Pastor whose great work shall be the Pastoral care of Theol. Students, [Beneficence] of all grades, students in general, + them [?] of th[ose] purple. The number of students is more than double, perhaps treble what it was when Capt. C[?] was there. I do not know [in what?] the Eastern Colleges have a larger [course?] required for graduation than we have. [Mr., would] I send my son, who s[?] goes to Kenyon, to any Eastern College [?] preference - except [?] that be would in [some] of them [?] with students generally of his own bringing up in pursuit of manners [&c.] whereas many of ours are from more remote origins. But when I consider their things, I prefer his going there. I question whether any college can speak of more [?] men in [comparison] with its members ? who have become positive characters under its influence.
I hope indeed that Mr. Duane is the man for us. This age is ?? [bysection]. I want a man [who] gives to the place + with its d[?]. I hope we should get Capt. C[?]. A Western College will always, of necessity, be supported, in the East [?] the [?] to the College of [?] States, though it will not always be [?]. I have [an] high idea of Princeton, Yale or Harvard + should hesitate [long] before I would venture a [?] in either, taking the [?] + the intellectual together. [Shall] our Western rich people will send the children to the East just because they are rich, + it gives a sort of name to the q[?] Distance lends enchantment [?]
M[y] hope is it that I have [something] much, [long] better. I hope you will be patient with it. Most probably I will lay the matter before Mr. Duane, + I hope, considering the [?] of the whole church in our efforts, you will [?] + help [him] to a favorable answer.
Mr. [Bohler] used to send [me] help sometimes for a ??, What if you should suggest to him the M[?] about what I wrote before.
Yours very affectionately
Chas. P. McIlvaine