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Page 9 text:
Doctrine " in two volumes. He was too sagacious not to foresee and
forestall the criticism which his work would encounter in that " it be-
tokens subjective qualities unduly for a historical production." Under
the same impression, the reviewer, with caustic twang, says the work is
not so exactly Dr. Shedd's History of Doctrine as the " History of Dr.
Shedd's Doctrine." The remark may be meant for stigma, it may be
taken as compliment, for, if a sincere man set out to compose an ac-
count of the Christian Doctrine, excluding in his preface " the latitudi-
narian drift of thoughtf' what could he exhibit but that which he believed
to be true ?
Great was the surprise when the successful Andover professor accepted
a call to the pulpit of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York city
in the throes of the Civil War, the year 1862. The pastorate was as
brief as that earlier service in the quiet Vermont village, yet it was help-
ful to his advancement. With the opening of the academic year, 1863,
Dr. Shedd took the chair of New Testament Greek in Union Theological
Seminary. Still was he often in the pulpits of New York, and whenever
he was announced, a bevy of eager students and other thoughtful folk
might be found in attendance. And after sermon we would stroll in the
parks or up and down the avenues,-talking about Dr. Sheddl
Nor was our great scholar even yet in his place, we felt and said.
But eleven years of Biblical Exegesis would enhance his already various
qualifications. To edit the volume on the Gospel of Mark for Lange's
Commentary was an incident of the period: his own Commentary on
Romans is a better exponent. Then the volume of " Sermons to the
Natural Man," 1871, greeted those who had hung so fondly on the
grave but stirring and kindling preaching of their revered teacher.
Dr. Shedcl assumed the chair of Systematic Theology in Union Sem-
inary in 1874. At last he was in his appropriate sphere. All his fore-
going studies, from the day when he sat down to read and teach English
Literature in Burlington in 1845, through nearly thirty years, had been
contributing to his Htness for the position of commanding influence.
The materials of his subject were already tto use one of his expressionsj
"fused in his own mind." He appears to have written his course of
lectures currently and orderly as a regulated stream out of a copious
fountain. One will notice upon comparison, the correspondence be-
tween the plan of his Systematic Theology and the arrangement of the
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Living at one of the choicest sites in Burlington, amid scenes of in-
comparable natural beauty , absorbed in the books of his mother tongue
which he fervently believed to contain the most vigorous and healthful
literature in the modern languages, contemplating at the same time the
writings and examples of the classical ages, Prof. Shedd was also in a
keen atmosphere of philosophy. The spirit of Pres. Nlarsh Cfwhose
premature deceasej' says he, " is the greatest loss American philosophy
has yet been called to meet,"D still prevailed in the University and was
honored widely in the country. Coleridge was the vogue, and Kant was
a name with which to divine. The professor of English Literature
revelled in this field of high thinking. He surely was no slavish follower
of Coleridge, for he saw clearly that the aphoristic style was fatal to the
construction of a system, albeit wondrously stimulating. He regarded
Coleridge as useful rather for suggestion and enterprise in speculation.
'f No one,'t says he, " who has once mastered this author can possibly
stop with him, but is urged on to the study of the greatest and choicest
philosophical systems themselves."
The occupations of Prof. Shedd's mind, when at the age of thirty-two
he was required to leave Burlington for a career in theology, may be
inferred from the productions of his pen about 1851-52. There is the
Amherst address on the " True Nature of the Beautiful and its Relation
to Culture " 3 the introduction on " Coleridge as a Philosopher and
Theologian "5 an essay on " Original Sin " in the Christian Review, and
the inaugural at Auburn on the "Characteristics and importance of a
The professorship at Auburn Seminary lasted scarcely two years. The
lectures prepared for his department of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology
were "thrown aside," he says, when he went to Andover in another
capacity, yet when he was persuaded to gather them up for a book ten
years later, they constituted the most popular of his many volumes.
Prof. Shedd took the chair of Ecclesiastical History in Andover Sem-
inary in 1854. It cannot be claimed that he was a specialist. He was
rather a theologian traversingthe domain of history. He was effective,
however, and fruitful. He sent to the press Guericke's Church History,
"translated or rather transfused into English," as Dr. Schaff said. He
brought before the public Augustine's Confessions in new dress 5 and he
wound up his ten years in the department with the " History of Christian
Page 10 text:
History of Christian Doctrine. Now reappears his preference for the
ancients over the men of the hour, still more Hrmly grounded on the
" conviction that there were some minds in the former ages of Chris-
tianity who were called by Providence to do a work that will never be
outgrown and left behind by the Christian Churchf' He goes to
Athanasius for theology proper, to Augustine for anthropology, and to
Anselm 'for soteriology. To a mind like that of Dr. Shedd there must
have been deep congeniality in the learned Alexandrian so often exiled in
the West, in the Latin rhetorician converted and raised to be Bishop of
Hippo, and in the Abbot of Bec exalted to the archbishopric of Canter-
bury. lt would be difhcult to name three souls in the Christian era to
whom he would be more likely to fasten through aflinity than Athanasius
ponderingthe problem of the Trinity, Augustine sounding the dark depths
of Sin, and Anselm answering the question, " Cur Deus Homo ? " Dr.
Shedd lectured on Systematic Theology from 1874 till 1890, and put
forth as his Magnum Opus the volumes hearing the title, " Dogmatic
Theology? He became Professor emeritus and spent his last years in
studious retirement revising his latest works. A volume of "Theological
Essayst' had appeared in 18775 " Literary Essays " in 1878 5 "Sermons
to the Spiritual Man " in 1884, and a treatise on " Eternal Punishment "
in 1886. It is noticeable that when a 10th edition of his " Homiletics "
was called for in 1891, he t' seized the opportunity to add an appendix
in order to illustrate the rhetorical theory which pervades the work,
namely, that eloquence in its essential nature is ethical, not aesthetic," re-
curring to the thought that inspired the outset of his career. A third
volume supplementary to the " Dogmatic Theology 4' went to the press
shortly before his death. He died at his home in New York city, Nov.
It is not necessary to coincide with Dr. Shedd in all regards in order to
admire his splendid attainrnents and masterly ability. "These are my
views," he would say, and there was an end of urging. But there was
in him a certain quality to fertilize other minds, a voice to awake
slumbering intellect, through calm lectures or through printed books, a
certain vision and expression which went to the degree of mental fasci-
nation or magnetism. He had limits in one direction and another. He
himself recognized the fact that non omnia posszmzzifs omizes. But in his
own way he rose alongside his comrades in learning and attained an alti-
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