xt7qjq0stw34_3309 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474.dao.xml unknown archival material 1997ms474 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. W. Hugh Peal manuscript collection After Thirty Years, printed pamhplet by Professor Robert William Rogers text 43.94 Cubic Feet 86 boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 22 items Poor-Good Peal accession no. 11453. After Thirty Years, printed pamhplet by Professor Robert William Rogers 2017 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qjq0stw34/data/1997ms474/Box_32/Folder_71/Multipage11438.pdf 1924 1924 1924 section false xt7qjq0stw34_3309 xt7qjq0stw34  

\\'ith the close of the academic year 1932— ‘). Professor Rogers
completed thirty years of notable service a, Professor of Hebrew
and Old Testament E egesis in Drew Theological Seminary.
A reverent and (listing shed Bililical scholar, of international
reputation. a teacher of unusual gifts and power, a writer of im-
portant hooks and a Christian gentleman of wide culture, he has
made large contributions to the Church in America and through-
out the world by trainingr and inspiring hundreds of ministers,
and by his writings, and it was eminently fitting that Oxford
University should give him, as was done. June 19 1925, the
honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. The picture above shows
him in his Oxford gown.


OR full thirty academic years have I

been teaching the Old Testament in

Drew Theological Seminary, and if .[
had my life to lead again I should wish to do
this same thing! So little imagination have I,
or sense of the change of time and thought!
Yet am I sure in my own mind that in naught
else could I have been so useful or so happy.
I said “happy" and meant it, though I have
not always suffered the indifferent gladly, or
viewed the morning from a mountain top
either of achievement or of assured result.
The past is at least secure and a cheerful in—
heritance has enabled me to forget the trials
and remember the joys. As I look back some
few rambling remarks leap willing to the pen,
and here they are, however small be either
their interest or value.

I came to my task in a time of sore trial
and anxiety, for it was in the day that the
massive structure of the splendid Presbyterian
Church trembled beneath the embattled forces
arrayed for or against Professor Charles
Augustus Briggs, and the Methodist Episcopal
Church was already preparing for a similar
tragedy in the sacrifice of poor l‘Iinckley Gil—
bert Mitchell. I was under suspicion at once
and needed stout defenders like James Monroe
Buckley to keep my footing in perilous places.
By a sort of instinct rather than by preternat—
ural youthful wisdom I focused attention on
the great essential messages of the Old Testa—
ment and thus prepared the minds of nco~
phytes to deal with critical problems a little
at a time. Many of those earlier classes had
far more instruction in these problems than
ever they dreamed, and ten years after grad—
uation must have found themselves strangely
able to meet problems that arose in preach-
ing or teaching without knowing whence the
attitude was derived. 0 507er simplicitas/

From the beginning I was ever putting em—
phasis on scholarship. I had been trained as


a scholar and loved the ways that were both
lordly and humble. Nor did ever a class pass
out into the big world without hearing the
glories of learning extolled, and its value in
and for itself, apart altogether from any prac—
tical use or end. There are echoes of those
passionate and ringing words still resounding
in far distant lands and in dark places nearer

It has always been difficult to keep men at
the hard things, and scholarship is a stern mis—
tress and keeps ever the hard things before
her gleaming eyes. \\"hen I am asked, as
often I have been, how the students of today
compare with those of yesteryear the answer
is always the same, that different though they
be, they are yet the same. There were giants
in the early days, and there is an occasional
surviving example in these days, but the mass
are as before still human, and not averse to
finding an easy way and a light burden. This
innocent search has been much encouraged in
American education by the elective system.
which began in the colleges, and was later to
spread its languorous vapors over the high
schools in one direction, and the theological
seminarics in the other. If faculties do not
know, or have not made up their minds, what
students ought to study, it is not easy to see
any valid reason for demanding such a deci—
sion from youth. Whatever the rights may be.
there can be no doubt that students do not
know, and that their decisions commonly fol—
low the lines of least resistance.

In the theological seminaries there has been
an enormous invasion of electives, and often
in very skillful hands. Some of them are
easy, and that attracts students, if no other
quality were present, but when there is added
to this even the seeming assurance that some—
thing would be securcd that might be imme—
diately available in pulpit 0r pastoral work the
appeal becomes irresistible. These electives
draw students from subjects which seem to
make a heavier demand on time for prepara—
tion and the results are depleted classes. No—
body has suffered so much from this as have
I, for Hebrew has long had the evil reputation
of being “hard,” and many have been the ex»
pressions of desire somehow to escape its toils.
Here natural inclinations and apparently su—
pcrior attractions have united and disaster im—


pends. I have no trouble in finding students
to attend courses of lectures on history, ar—
chaeology and palmography, but the classes that
face the forms and syntax and the exegesis of
passages in Hebrew are steadily dwindling and
must, it would seem, soon reach the point of
being quite negligible.

This is a personal tragedy for me, and l
make no secret of my pangs of pain. This
matters nothing, of course, if others hear or
see and care not. I am but an individual cog
in a big machine, and my personal predilec—
tions cannot be weighed or counted and ought
not be. But somebody who has no such in—
terest as mine ought soon to consider what is
going on, and face squarely the issue. Let
me- state it, not directly, but indirectly, coming
round by fields, or the deserts if you please,
and not by the direct road.


The Bible is still our only basis. I say it
boldly, for there is no alternative offered that
deserves a moment's serious consideration.
The great preachers have all been preachers
whose message was squarely founded on or
sprang directly from Holy \Vrit. Where is
there an exception? I have yet to hear his
name. It is true that sciolists appear from
time to time and gather a following for a
season, but their influence is weak, their en-
durance brief, and to predicate greatness of
them were laughable. From Chrysostom to
Cadman the great preachers have thundered
Sinai and pleaded Calvary. It is absurd as
well as silly to seek another way, and they who
do are goats and not sheep, not feeding in
sweet meadows on lush grass, but picking at
wild hedges or poisoned cacti. The Bible has
the story, the whole satisfying story of God's
revelations to men, and they who know it and
preach it shall not want hearers, or their
hearers comfort in their sorrows and guidance
in their doubtings. But the Bible is a very big

_ book and they who have really begun to know

it have spent a long life time upon its riches.

There is no short cut to the knowledge of

God’s ways with man as Holy Scripture makes

it known. Vast libraries have been written to

explain its every word and many more are yet

to be composed. The gleaming in these is a


 man's task. and they who do become preachers
of wealth untold. The others may attempt to
feed their diminished souls on the last novel,
the newest speculation, but the search is vain
and the result a trifle.

Grant this, and the case for Hebrew and
Greek is won. They are the places for be—
ginning, and there are no others. I say it
challengingly, let him dispute it who dares.
But, says someone who has not yet thought the
case through, "\V hat use are these studies, if
a man forget them and use them not at all,
as many say they do ? Bless your innocent
heart and its untrained thinking! Nobody
ever learned the beginnings of Hebrew and of
Greek and so completely ceased their use as
to have no profit of them. They find use in
remote and almost unseen ways as a man reads
commentaries or big books which have
grappled with the intense questions, the press—
ing issues. But even though it were conceiv—
able that men should not make even this highly
practical use of them, their early acquisition
would nevertheless have left a precious re—
siduum in the mind. and added color to the
thought, a figure of speech, a flower fragrant
and beautiful for the diction. Precious be—
yond all measure are the rewards of those
who have applied themselves to the toil of
winning for later years an inheritance pleasant
and comely of a little learning.

EM 1'11 .\s1s ON THE BIBLE

What is to be done in this crisis? Let me
state it with a certain daring simplicity. The
Bible needs a new emphasis in the theological
seminary. A seminary so large as Drew now
is needs more of its staff to teach the Bible in
Greek, Hebrew and English. There are not
enough men now to do it as it needs doing.
It is a stupid waste for me to be teaching even
so much English Bible as I now do, and very
few men in like positions elsewhere do so
little as I. I should be doing nothing but
Hebrew. Let those who will not take I-Iebrew
go without whatever of enthusiasm, life or
learning I have to impart. But to do this
would mean more endowments for the Bible,
the Bible alone and only, the Bible first and
last. Who wants biblical preaching, let him
see to it that the preachers of tomorrow are


today filled, saturated, steeped in the Bible.
They will preach it as no others need be ex—
pected to do.

What will these departments of biblical
learning require besides the men to man them?
Very little indeed will be their demands.
They will not demand great laboratories and
elaborate apparatus, as do the professors of
chemistry and physics in the great universities.
They will indeed need a far better library than
now is theirs, but as every other subject has
the same need there is naught of special re—
quirement in this demand of biblical learning.
Give us this new strengthening of the biblical
forces, and I care not the least what happens
to all the rest. Say not this is sadly selfish,
but the rather hear my reason.

I have seen and known more or less inti-
mately the theological difficulties, controversies
and readjustments of my time. In my child—
hood it was geology, in my youth evolution, in
the earliest days of ripening maturity it was
higher criticism. I have survived them all
with a smile.‘ I have made my acceptances of
the newer thinking without a qualm, found
ways of reconciliation, taught them eagerly,
saved men's faith many a time and oft, as
they have gladly witnessed, and here I am
looking backward as well as forward, and the
Bible is more precious and more sure than
ever. I believe its priceless revelation of God
to men, and this I desire the churches to hear
and to believe. But how shall they hear with-
out a preacher? And the preacher must be
trained for this and to this. The theological
seminary is the Church’s instrument for this
high purpose. There is no other worth com—
parison. Strengthen the Bible there and my
cause is won.






Professor Robert William Rogers
Lilt.D., Dublin; Litt.D., Oxford

Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegcsis

Drew Theological Seminary.

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