19th Century Counsel for Students of the Ministry

It was Herman Witsius (Dutch Reformed, 1636-1708) who offered such golden wisdom to students of the ministry in his inaugural oration at Franeker, in 1675, On the Character of a True Theologian. In the 18th century, Cotton Mather (American Congregational, 1663-728), published his famous Manuductio ad Ministerium. Directions for a Candidate of the Ministry (1726). John Brown of Haddington's (Scottish Presbyterian, 1722-1787) Address to Students of Divinity (extracted from his A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, 1782) has often been republished, and remains a treasure to 21st century seminary students. In the 19th century, there have been several great works published on how to prepare for the ministry of the Word, but one that we are highlighting here today is that of George Howe (1802-1883)A Discourse on Theological Education; Delivered on the Bicentenary of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, July, 1843. To Which is Added Advice to a Student Preparing for the Ministry (1844). His concern for the aims of an educated and godly ministry permeates this valuable work, and is worth consideration almost three centuries later. If you are a student of the ministry, or seeking to become so, consider downloading this book, and spend time with it, to learn what this man of God has to say. 

George Howe on the Unity of the Human Race

In 1850, what was the view of Presbyterian pastors on the origin of the various ethnicities, particularly European and African? George Howe, professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, from 1831-1883, gives the representative view, and the view he certainly taught his students at Columbia: 

"It certainly is the teaching of the Bible, that all men are from one original stock. He hath made of one blood all nations of men. By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Adam is represented as the root and federal head of the human race. And the doctrine of original sin, transmitted by ordinary generation to every member of the race from the first man, and the plan of salvation through the second Adam, alike imply the identity and common origin of men."
 -- From Howe's article, "The Unity of the Race," Southern Presbyterian Review Volume 3, Number 1, 124ff.

These are much-needed words in our day, as they help us to view one another rightly, and shed light on our Presbyterian forefathers in the American South. 

Presbyterians in South Carolina, do you know your church's history?

In 1870 and 1883, George Howe (professor at Columbia Theological Seminary from 1831 until his death in 1883) published his two volume opus magnum: The History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina. If you are a Presbyterian living in the Palmetto State, this should at least be a book you peruse (it's over 1500 pages long, so I doubt many will read it in its entirety). Telling the story of God's faithfulness in South Carolina through 1850, Howe performed a great service to the church, and we do well to remember the story, the servant who told it, and the God at the center of it all.