236 Rules for the Hollis Professorship of Divinity

    [August 19 1721]

    Rules and orders proposed relating to a Divinity Professor in Harvard College in Cambridg in New England

    1. 1. That the Professor be a Master of Arts, and in Communion with some Christian Church of one of the three Denominations, Congregational Presbiterian or Baptist.
    2. 2. That his Province be to instruct the Students in the several parts of Theology, by reading a system of Positive and a Course of Controversial Divinity begining allways with a short Prayer.
    3. 3. That the said Professor read his Private Lectures of Positive and Controversial Divinity so many times in the Week, as shall finish both courses within the Term of one Year.
    4. 4. That the Professor read Publickly twice a week in the Hall on Church History, Jewish Antiquities, Cases of Conscience or Critical Exposition of Scriptures &c. as he shall judg proper; times of Vacation always excepted.
    5. 5. That the Professor set a part two or three hours one afternoon in the Week to answer such Questions of the Students who shall apply to Him, as refer to the System or Controversies of Religion or Cases of Conscience or the seeming Contradictions in Scripture.
    6. 6. That the Professor of Divinity (while in that office) shall not be a Tutor in any other Science, or obliged to any other Attendance in the College then the abovementioned Publick and Private Lectures.
    7. 7. That the Professor read his private Lectures to such only, as are at least of two years standing in the College.
    8. 8. That an honorable Salary being provided for the Professor it is expected that he require no fee from any of the Students for their Instruction.
    9. 9. That the said Professor be chosen every Five Years by the Reverend President and Fellows of the College for the time being, and be presented by them when chosen to the Honorable and Reverend Overseers to be by them approved and confirmed in his Place.
    10. 10. That the said Professor be at all times under the Inspection of the Reverend the President and Fellows with the Honorable and Rever end the Overseers for the time being to be by them displaced for any just and valuable Cause.
    11. 11. That it be recommended to the Electors that at every Choice they prefer a man of solid Learning in Divinity, of sound or orthodox Principles, One who is well gifted to teach, of a sober and pious Life, and of a grave Conversation.

    Signed by me

    Thomas Hollis.

    a Plan of a Form for the Professor of Divinity to agree to at his Inauguration.

    That he repeat his Oaths to the Civil Government.

    That he declare it as his beleif that the Bible is the onely and most perfect Rule of Faith and Manners, and that he Promise to explain and open the Scriptures to his Pupils with integrity and faithfulnes according to the best Light that God shall give him.

    That he promise to promote true Piety and Godlines by his Example and Instruction.

    That he consult the good of the College and the Peace of the Churches on all Occasions, and

    That he Religiously observe the Statutes of his Founder.

    signed by me

    Thomas Hollis.

    Hollis-Leverett mss, Houghton Library. The first part of this document consists of a slightiy different version of Hollis’s Orders; for these see No. 223. The Rules are those recommended to Hollis by the seven London Divines. They are printed, with additional comments by the ministers, in Quincy, History, i. 534–537 (App. XLVI). Another copy of the Rules, dated August 22, 1722, and minus paragraph 11, is in College Papers (No. 130). The Form for Inauguration, added by Hollis, is in Quincy, op. cit., pp. 537–538 (App. XLVII). Enclosed in letter of August 31 (No. 238).

    For comments by the Corporation on some of the rules and orders proposed by Hollis see CSM Publications, xvi. 459–460; minutes of a meeting of June 21, 1721. The College authorities changed the Rules still further, in a version adopted on January 10, 1722/23 (College Papers, No. 252). To avoid duplication, the changes are in substance as follows. Paragraph 4: the Professor is to read once a week on Divinity and as often on the other subjects listed as the Corporation and Overseers shall judge fit. Paragraph 9: the limitation to terms of five years was dropped. Changes were also made in the Form for Inauguration. Hollis’s requirement that the Professor state his belief in the Bible was changed to belief “that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the only perfect rule of faith and manners”. The later version directs that the incumbent observe not only the statutes of the founder, but also “such other Statutes and orders as shall be made by the College not repugnant thereunto”.

    The 1723 version, which Hollis signed, was witnessed by four of the London ministers (Daniel Neal, William Harris, Jeremiah Hunt, and Edward Wallin), and also by John Hollis, Joshua Winslow, and John Osborn. For accounts of how the College governing bodies interpreted Hollis’s Orders and Rules see Quincy, History, i. 232–264, and Hoffmann, Commonwealth College, pp. 507–521.