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Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2010


"ALMIGHTY GOD, the Fountain of all wisdom, the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, we beseech Thee, regard with Thy favor and visit with Thy blessing this University and all the Colleges and Schools in our land. Assist all who are guardians of their interests. Secure to them the means of their usefulness. Endue all those who are officers and teachers with a serious sense of their charge, and wisdom and strength for its fulfillment. Bless the students with health; make them to be diligent and faithful in study. Carry them safely through all temptations. Teach them how to cleanse their path so as to keep it according to Thy word. Inspire them with high hopes and worthy purposes, and so prepare them to fulfill their course with honor and fidelity and success in this life, that they may attain the glorious destiny to which Thou dost call them in the life to come, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. AMEN."

June 20, 1886.



Joshua said to the captains of the men of war:
"Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings."

Almost five centuries before these words were uttered, Abram had stood alone on the summit of the hill at the east of Bethel--alone with GOD. And a voice had said to him: "Lift up now thine eyes from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever. . . Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." "It was the first appropriation, the first consecration of the Holy Land." (Stanley.)

Over and over again did JEHOVAH repeat that promise, and the future history of Abram's seed was most clearly indicated: "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall oppress them 400 years. . . but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again. . . Unto thy seed have I given this land."

We need not pause to remind you of the frequent repetitions of that promise to Isaac, to Jacob and all the Patriarchs, and to Moses when he led forth the Children of Israel from their captivity in Egypt.

But now, after many wanderings and great vicissitudes, the descendants of that same Abram, stand at the [3/4] threshold of that same land, and demand the absolute fulfillment of the promise. Under the leadership of Joshua they had crossed the Jordan, and had taken Jericho and Ai; and although the confederated kings of the South had arrayed themselves against them, yet the very sun and moon had seemed to fight in behalf of the Chosen People, and the enemy had fled.

Now Joshua encamps with his army round about the cave wherein the fugitives have hid themselves; the five kings are dragged forth in disgrace and terror; and the savage ceremonial is observed whereby is manifested their absolute subjection to the sovereignty of the conquering people.

"Joshua said unto the captains of the men of war, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said unto them, Fear not nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage; for thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight."

Even so comes the exhortation to men of education the world over. Ever since the fiat went forth at the beginning, "Let there be light"--and the light shined out of the darkness and conquered it--has the promise been sure and many times since repeated, that Light, natural, moral, intellectual, shall always be triumphant. It has the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. The Leader of men is called THE LIGHT of the world, and he who shares any part of that light is thereby on the victorious side. To every generation of men born in a civilized land and time and amid multiplied facilities for education, the command is given: "Lift up thine eyes now and look northward [4/5] and southward and eastward and westward; for to thee and to thy seed will I give this land."

Infinite promise is vouchsafed to culture, refinement, enlightenment; and for educated manhood never was prospect fairer than now, never possibilities greater. It is a grand and invigorating time in which to live, in the stir and push of this nineteenth century of grace, amid the manifold developments of human effort and the extended researches of human wit.

Blessed are the eyes which see the things that we see; blessed are the ears which hear the things that we hear. We stand with Abram overlooking the broad plains, teeming with life and wealth, and richer still in possibilities. And GOD'S voice speaks to us in accents clear and unmistakable, "Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for to thee will I give it." It is wonderful to note how rapidly the Psalmist's description of human perfection is approaching realization: "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thine hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet."

As a recent writer has shown, at no time since men have dwelt upon the earth, have their notions about the universe undergone so great a change as in the century of which we are now approaching the end. Never before has knowledge increased so rapidly, never before has philosophical speculation been so actively conducted, or its results so widely diffused. The scientific achievements of the human intellect no longer occur sporadically; they follow one upon another like the organized and systematic conquests of a resistless [5/6] enemy. Each new discovery becomes at once a powerful implement in the hands of innumerable workers, and each year wins over fresh regions of the universe from the unknown to the known. Our own generation has become so accustomed to this unresting march of discovery, that we already take it as a matter of course.

(See "The Idea of GOD," by John Fiske. Chapter II., pp. 49 to 58.)

Let me cite from the same writer as concisely as possible (not always using his exact words) a summary of the conquests which mark this century as thus preeminent.

"All the advances made in locomotion from the days of Nebuchadnezzar to those of Andrew Jackson, were as nothing compared to the change that has been wrought within a few years by the introduction of railroads. In these times when Puck has fulfilled his boast and put a girdle about the earth in forty minutes, we are not yet perhaps in danger of forgetting that a century has not elapsed since he who caught the lightning upon his kite was laid in the grave. Yet the lesson of these facts, as well as of the grandmother's spinning-wheel that stands by the parlor fireside, is well to bear in mind. The change therein exemplified since Penelope plied her distaff is far less than that which has occurred within the memory of living men. . . In the higher regions of chemistry and molecular physics the progress has been such that no description can do it justice. When we reflect that a fourth generation has barely had time to appear upon the scene since Priestley discovered that there was such a thing as oxygen, we stand awe-struck before the stupendous pile of [6/7] chemical science which has been reared in this brief interval. . . The theory of the conservation of energy, and the discovery that light, heat, electricity and magnetism are differently conditioned modes of undulatory motion transformable each into the other, are not yet fifty years old. In physical astronomy we remained until 1839 confined within the limits of the solar system. . . To-day we not only measure the distances and movements of many stars, but by means of spectrum analysis are able to tell what they are made of. . . Only within thirty years has the nebular hypothesis of Immanuel Kant been generally adopted by astronomers. . . It was in 1830 that Sir Charles Lyell published the book which first placed the study of geology upon a scientific basis. . . But little earlier came Cuvier's classification of past and present forms of animal life. . . The cell doctrine of Schleiden and Schwann, (prior to which modern biology can hardly be said to have existed,) dates from 1839; and it was only ten years before that the scientific treatment of embryology began with Von Baer. . . Thirty years have not elapsed since Darwin published to the world his discovery of natural selection. . . The scientific study of human speech may be said to date from the flash of insight which led Friedrich Schlegel in 1808 to detect the kinship between the Aryan languages. . . The application of the comparative method to the investigation of laws and customs, of political and ecclesiastical and industrial systems, has been carried on scarcely thirty years; yet the results already obtained are obliging us to rewrite the history of mankind in all its stages. . . Nor should we forget the wondrous achievements of archaeologists in these modern days."

[8] So also in metaphysics and philosophy, in the study of logic and psychology, the progress has been great.

"This century, which some have called an age of iron, has been also an age of ideas, an era of seeking and finding, the like of which was never known before. It is an epoch the grandeur of which dwarfs all others that can be named since the beginning of the historic period. . . The men of all future time will no doubt point back to the age just passing away as the opening of a new dispensation, the dawning of an era in which the intellectual development of mankind was raised to a higher plane than that upon which it had hitherto proceeded."

And now another group of men, young, zealous, well-trained, and eager for the fray, appears at the portal of the land which the Creator has promised and is so wondrously opening to the advance of discoverers. In the vigor of budding manhood, in the confidence of conscious ability and disciplined minds, in the ardor of hope and the delightful enthusiasm which only inexperience knows--the young men of our colleges stand over against the world, claiming the territory already won, and demanding sovereignty over all yet to be won, in the name of truth, in the name of all that is human, of all that is truly divine. And we say to them, You are right. This is your high calling and privilege. Bring the world into subjection more and more. The old dictum is true: "Strong is wine, stronger is the king, stronger yet is woman; but above all Truth is mightiest and shall prevail."

One who addresses young men at such a time would fain remind them first of all that Education in these days implies and conveys immense responsibility, [8/9] greater than ever before. In view of the achievements of the past, the tasks to be accomplished now by men of college training are not so much the tasks which simply require research and invention, as those which have to do with moral and social affairs.

Discovery will go on almost by its own momentum. The world will surely make advance in all scientific investigation. Doubtless many of the young men here present will add large contributions to the stock of well-attested knowledge. Over matter and phenomena--the things which can be measured, weighed, analyzed and tabulated--men of learning already have the upper hand. The Jordan is crossed, Jericho and Ai, and many other strongholds have fallen, and the whole land lies open before us. It is human antagonists we have now to overcome. The greatest problems--those furthest from solution--those which still baffle and exasperate the brightest intellects and the deepest wisdom, are those of human interest--those which lie in the department ofsociology and politics and political economy.

On every hand there rise philosophical, ethical and social theories, ruling like despots over thought and action--an antagonistic, certainly a disturbing element in the midst of the progressive civilization of which we are a part. In these days every man of sober thought can but feel that no supremacy is worth attaining or will be long abiding, which has not a moral element in it.

And so my discourse needs not to deal with the scientific researches which you may hereafter make, nor yet with the high position you may hereafter occupy in the world; but with the moral side of an educated manhood.

[10] Manhood means the same thing everywhere; and let us thank GOD that it means something within the reach of all--of the humblest as well as of the highest, of the unlettered as well as of the cultured. It always means the same thing in every age, in the time of Joshua, of Christ, of ourselves. It means SELF-RESPECT MANIFESTED IN CONDUCT. Therefore it means Purity, Honesty, Unselfishness and Self Control. If it means these things, it means also conquest; because it is on the side of moral truth. All true men must fight the battle of the right, and all true men the world over shall surely be victorious.

But Educated Manhood is not of the rank and file. You must not only fight but be also leaders in the fight. You are to be the "Captains of the men of war."

Educated Manhood busies itself to think as well as to do; to plan, originate and guide, and always for the good of men. It has no heart for mere self-aggrandizement. It is not content with its own Self-hood. It calculates and observes and experiments and expounds, never for itself alone, always for others' profit; and its victories are for the race, not for its own enjoyment. And the motive for all its working and for all its thinking is to overcome the evil and to bring in more and more the kingdom which is full of benediction for the world.

Hence, the world and the Church alike look to the educated men of our country for help in the speedy conquest of the evils which oppose the progress of our boasted civilization. "Come near and put your feet upon the neck of this evil and of that," we cry. "Tell us your well-thought-out plan for the adjustment of difficulties. Help us in the solving of the many problems [10/11] of life and of society. Be not so engrossed with material things that you have no time and no interest for the brotherhood of man. Crush out the evils in society. Make all your life to minister to the general welfare of humanity, and help bring in the "thousand years of peace."

I am not one of those who think that the Church, as the Church, can cope successfully with these foes. The Church has no new response to give to the social and political inquiries of our time. Her answer was given long ago; it is an answer of principles, not of methods.

Would that time would permit to speak even briefly of the many directions in which intelligent and far-seeing men might well turn their thoughts and efforts for the helping of the truth; as for example the problems of Social Purity, of Marriage and Divorce, of Temperance, of the Betterment of the Poor, &c., &c.

We take but one example: the pressing question of the relations of Capital and Labor. What can the Church say concerning this that She has not been saying since the beginning? It seems of the nature of platitude to assert over and over that there are wrongs on both sides, and that the principles of Christianity are the solvent for all these ills. And yet we are persuaded that when men shall have an attentive ear and a docile heart for the words of the Master Workman and His inspired Apostles, all the elaborate schemes of these modern days will melt away before the perfect simplicity of the truths HE taught. The parables of Dives and The Discontented Laborers tell us exactly where all the trouble lies, namely, in the uncontrolled selfishness of men. And the Church can say no more and no less than is found in the New Testament, and [11/12] which covers the whole subject. Standing before Capitalist and Workingman alike, She has but one message for them both: "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." "Let no man seek only his own but every man another's weal." "Look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others." "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal." "Servants, be obedient. . . in singleness of your heart. . . not with eye service, but as the servants of Christ." "Bear ye one another's burdens." "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do it heartily, do it in the name of the Lord." "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, think on these things."

A thorough conversion of heart, thorough enough to reach the pocket, the hand, the judgment, the passions of men--this alone will bring peace amidst the turmoil, this will restore to self-seeking monopolist and self-seeking workingman alike, the crown of their well nigh forgotten manhood.

Platitudes? Yes; but nevertheless the truth. The Church's duty it is to enunciate principles which bear the stamp of GOD'S approval. Statesman and Capitalist and Workman must effect their practical application. As when our Blessed Lord declared to politicians of His day, "Render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's," and left to successive generations the privilege of discovering how best to apply the principle in widely varying circumstances. The Church can only repeat with earnest and loving iteration: "This we know and are assured of; that GOD'S thoughts towards humanity are thoughts of good and not of evil. The [12/13] song of the Nativity still waits its realization, but in GOD'S good time it will surely come. It is our privilege and duty to hasten its fulfillment by telling men of every grade and station more and more clearly about that peace which is promised to all 'the men of good will.'''

The message is old, but it is ever welcome to hearts which know their own need. Others will not listen, and thus they lose the Master's benediction.

Our honored poet, Whittier, has thus proclaimed the principle for which the Church stands pledged.

            THE PROBLEM.
            Not without envy Wealth at times must look
            On their brown strength who wield the reaping hook
            And scythe, or at the forge-fire shape the plough,
            Or the steel harness of the steeds of steam;
            All who by skill and patience, anyhow
            Make service noble, and the earth redeem
            From savageness. By kingly accolade
            Than theirs was never worthier knighthood made.
            Well for them, if, while demagogues their vain
            And evil counsels proffer, they maintain
            Their honest manhood unseduced, and wage
            No war with Labor's right to Labor's gain
            Of sweet home comfort, rest of hand and brain,
            And softer pillow for the head of age.
            And well for Gain if it ungrudging yields
            Labor its just demand; and well for Ease
            If in the uses of its own it sees
            No wrong to him who tills its pleasant fields
            And spreads the table of its luxuries.
            The interests of the rich man and the poor
            Are one and same, inseparable evermore;
            And when scant wage or labor fail to give
            Food, shelter, raiment, wherewithal to live,
            Need has its rights, necessity its claim,
            Yea, even self-wrought misery and shame
            Test well the charity, suffering long and kind.
            The home-pressed question of the age can find
            No answer in the catch-words of the blind
            Leaders of the blind. Solution there is none
            Save in the Golden Rule of Christ alone.

[13/14] And here, I take it, the Church's mission ends, and Educated Manhood (I will not say, outside the Church, but both within and without) must originate and guide the practical methods whereby the principles of the Church's message may be brought to bear upon the problems of the time.

This one instance will serve to illustrate and emphasize my meaning when I say, that two great evils overtopping all the rest, must be destroyed if men of culture would fulfill their task. Narrowmindedness and Selfishness, each encouraging the other, are the kings which bear despotic sway among the masses of our people. Upon the necks of these kings Educated Manhood must put its foot. And with regard to them men of education particularly need to be exhorted.

The needs of the age require specialists, and specialists there are in every department of science and of operative industry. The best definition of a truly educated man in these times is, that "he knows something about everything and everything about something." He has and must have his specialty. Charles Kingsley says that men of boundless knowledge, like Humboldt, must have once had their specialty, their pet subject. But specialism is intrinsically narrowing in its tendency, and every student should therefore seek to have an [14/15] eye, a heart, a good wish and a helping hand for every other specialty; looking over the barriers which separate him from his neighbors, to gain some knowledge and develope some sympathy for other workers, to whom their peculiar interest is as engrossing and as dear as that which he himself affects.

This would be to interpret and exemplify the principle of Christianity: "Look not every man only on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

The theologian often has reason to complain that the scientist takes no interest in the department wherein the truths of the invisible world are inculcated. As a specialist he speaks with ill-disguised or even open sneer of the things which engross the thought and lifework of the priest. On the other hand the scientific man often has too great reason to complain that the theologian ignorantly and unsympathetically criticizes his researches and deductions, and needlessly and unjustly condemns that which rightly he should commend. In like manner the Capitalist and the Wageworker, each one thoughtless of the circumstances, the necessities, the future benefit of the other, array themselves against each other in mutual discontent and hate, whereas the same Father provides for both, the same Brotherhood should hold them both within its loving embrace.

As an instance of the result of the selfish spirit on one side of this controversy, a writer in the current number of the Century magazine thus speaks, in words which are kindly because so entirely true:

"It is not an unheard-of thing that an employer who has kept his wheels running at a loss for months solely for the sake of furnishing his men with a livelihood, will [15/16] be rewarded by a strike as soon as business brightens up a little, and long before his shrunken capital is restored. By such a procedure good-will in the breasts of employers is cruelly put to death, and many a kindhearted man who had studied the welfare of his employees has been turned into a cynic.

"The labor unions will do well to remember that this warfare that they are waging concerns not merely themselves and their employers, but the whole community. The comfort, the safety, the welfare of the entire population are seriously affected by those violent interruptions of the industrial order which they are able to bring about. . . The great middle class is ready to endure not a little discomfort and annoyance in the interest of justice and humanity. If the workingmen have a real grievance, and if there is a fair chance of getting their wrongs righted by their united resistance, the popular sympathy will sustain them, and millions who are not of their class will cheerfully bear their burdens with them. But this sympathy may easily be over-taxed."

The lesson brought thus to light has equal application for both parties in the contest. Let them both broaden their horizon, and think of others than themselves.

"Strive," says Bulwer, "while improving your one talent, to enrich your whole capital as a man. It is in this way that you escape the wretched narrowmindedness which is the characteristic of everyone who cultivates his specialty alone."

Educated men, see to it that you have broad sympathies, a wide outlook, a ready mind to hear all sides, a well-trained eye to take note of others' position and [16/17] circumstances, as well as of your own. Recognize the hateful influence of narrowmindedness and selfishness, and put your feet upon the neck of these kings. They are the baneful tyrants which hinder the entrance of the truth. To change the figure, they are the solid barriers which keep back the light from the dark places of the earth.

"Whatever nomenclature we use, whether we are contented with those old terms, good-heartedness, brotherly-kindness, charity, humanity, benevolence, beneficence, generosity, which sufficed for the writers and speakers of the New Testament, and were not found lacking by Chaucer and Shakespeare; or whether we must coin for ourselves the not very beautiful word altruism, we all practically agree that the man who fervently and disinterestedly works for the benefit of his brother men is the good man." (London Spectator.)

To you, then, my dear young brethren just pausing on the border of the promised land of duty and of conquest, my exhortation is, simply, to take your stand in the strength and glory of your early manhood as sovereigns over these evil things of which we have been speaking. Set yourselves to conquer and destroy every foe which opposes itself to the progress of truth and right.

And in so doing, remember this: that he who would rule must be himself a freeman! No fetters of evil habit or of sinful indulgence must bind his manhood. He who would set his foot upon the neck of hydra-headed evils, must be no craven in his own heart. He who would stand supreme before the world, must be supreme in the citadel of character within. The true Joshua, the great leader of his brethren, bids us [17/18] understand that the supremacy of truth means individual supremacy first. His warning is, "Take heed that the light that is in thee be not darkness," because beginning and ending in perishable things, because beginning and ending in self; having no regard to the true ennoblement of men.

How clearsighted and broadhearted, and pure and above reproach must you then be in your inmost manhood, if you would accomplish in the world anything worthy of remembrance. How constantly should you listen for the voice of that great Captain, who never leads to defeat, and who demands that all his Helpers shall be like Him, "faithful, true and brave."

Whatever other hope fails, Oh, lose not your confidence in Him. Be not "credulous of doubts," as so many otherwise consistent and intelligent men have confessed themselves to be; but be valiant soldiers in your hearts, that you may triumph over evil in the world, with and for your brethren.

And then, finally, remember that the work before you is not to do things entitled great in speech of men; but simply day by day, whate'er betide, to stand on the conquering side--the side of right, of truth, of GOD. The Leader Himself has overcome the world. He asks you to share His victory, by contributing to His triumph your daily conquests of evil, one by one. Clear and invigorating ring out His words to you to-day: "Fear not nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage. For thus shall the Lord do to all your enemies against whom ye fight."

            Great deeds are trumpeted; loud bells are rung,
            And men turn round to see
            The high peaks echo to the paeans sung
            O'er some great victory.
            And yet great deeds are few. The mightiest men
            Find opportunities but now and then.
            Shall one sit idle through long days of peace,
            Waiting for walls to scale?
            Or lie in port until some "Golden Fleece"
            Lures him to face the gale?
            There's work enough; why idly, then, delay?
            His work counts most who labors every day.
            The bravest lives are those to duty wed,
            Whose deeds, both great and small,
            Are close-knit strands of one unbroken thread,
            Where love ennobles all.
            The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells,
            The Book of Life the shining record tells.

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