TO THE REV. WILLIAM AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG, D.D., The Founder OF THE FIRST SCHOOL IN THE CHURCH IN AMERICA, For the Christian Education of her Youth, THESE PAGES ARE INSCRIBED BY THE WRITER AS A TOKEN OF THE AFFECTIONATE REGARD FOR THE PASTOR AND GUIDE OF HIS EARLY DAYS And the Counsellor OF HIS MATURER YEARS.
As their dates will show, these Addresses were delivered in three successive years. They were not at all designed for the press; but are now published by the Trustees of the College, at the suggestion, and by the request of the Bishop of Maryland. The request was made and is acceded to, in the hope that the publication may serve the interests of the College of St. James, by making its history and principles better known.
The order of the Addresses is here changed, so as to bring the one of 1847 first before the reader, as containing a brief history of the College.
COLLEGE OF ST. JAMES,
ADDRESS AT The Junior Exhibition, THURSDAY, JULY 29, 1847.
WE are now engaged for the second time in the annual public exercises of our young college. It is a young college; and yet in our young country there are, out of one hundred and nine such institutions, at least six younger than this. Compared with the great schools of Europe, the oldest American colleges are yet in their youth; though among us, a youth of two hundred and nine years, the age of Harvard University; or of one hundred and fifty-four years, the age of William and Mary College; or of one hundred and forty-seven years, that of Yale College, sounds like a good old age. Place even these, however, alongside of European schools, and their American old age becomes comparative youth. For, "before the time of Charlemagne, (i.e. before the middle of the eighth century,) monastic and cathedral schools existed in Italy and in England; after his time they were established on the continent north of the [5/6] Alps. These schools were intended for the cultivation of higher learning; and such extent and importance did they attain, as to be called places of General Study, Literary Universities, or Academies." [Huber's History of the English Universities, vol. 1, pp. 3, 13, 43, &c.] This quotation not only gives the date of the rise of higher schools in Europe, but also shows (what is now too much forgotten) that at first such schools owed their birth and gave their allegiance not to the state but to the Church. The Church created and controlled the institutions in which her sons were trained. This she did not only because the requisite learning was then to be found almost exclusively in her service, but because she realized and men acknowledged the truth, that human knowledge cannot be thoroughly and safely communicated to the young save when united and subordinated to Divine Truth, and under a system controlled by an authority of higher than human origin. It is a curious fact, that the chief exceptions to this rule as to the Ecclesiastical origin of schools, existed in Italy. North of the Alps the Universities sprang almost without exception from the Church.
The University of Paris attained to high academical rank earlier than the two great Universities of England. Of the latter, Oxford is the elder; and an origin is claimed for it as far back as the reign of Alfred in the latter part of the ninth century; but its full University character was not attained until two centuries later. The University of Cambridge appears to date its birth in the beginning of the twelfth century, and to have reached its full rank in the course of the thirteenth. Thus, whilst our oldest colleges look back at most but a century and a half or two centuries, those of the motherland count seven hundred to one thousand years. Are any colleges of our land destined to last so long? Especially, will any of those, which, like our own college, are but of yesterday's growth, reach such a hoary [6/7] old age? Few out of the very numerous schools of our land can be very long lived; their very number must work against them. And yet each school hopes for itself more than an ephemeral existence. We have presumed to do so, and we labor on in the faith that many later generations may prosecute the work which is here just beginning. Infancy is a perilous part of human life. Our infancy, measuring even by the age of American colleges, is not yet past. But we hope that it is not blindness to our own difficulties which leads us to think that our prospects for longer life are fair. We now complete our fifth academical year. The full arrangement of our college classes during our fourth year furnished two candidates for the lower degree in the arts in July last; but did not allow any others then in the college to seek the same degree until our Commencement in 1848. Then, and regularly in each succeeding year, we believe we shall have a graduating class.
As we have this year no such class, it has been suggested that in the absence of a Baccalaureate Address, the present audience would be interested in a brief notice of our college thus far--its progress and its plans--the points in which the constitution, government and aims of the college are peculiar--the advantages of these peculiarities, and the objections which they have suggested to some, if these topics seem more egotistical than others of a more abstract nature would be, the only apology I have to offer is that there is no call now for the usual Baccalaureate; and that we suppose that those who honor the college by their attendance on these occasions, will feel interested in any elucidation of its character and aims.
I have said that the college is now concluding its fifth academical year. It was opened under its humbler title of "ST. JAMES'S HALL," on Monday, October 3d. 1842, [7/8] by the Bishop of the Diocese. The present main building, and then the only one on the grounds, was begun as a private residence in the year 1792, but not completed until after 1800. After several times changing owners, the house and, the adjoining twenty acres of land were purchased in the spring of 1841 for five thousand dollars, by the joint subscription of Churchmen in this (Washington) county, and devoted by them to the use of a Church School. As the house was then greatly out of repair, and required some alterations and enlargements, as well as a full outfit of suitable furniture, the Bishop and Diocese of Maryland expended about eight thousand dollars for these purposes before the school could be ready for its intended work. It would not have been easy to find any other private residence which could have been arranged to suit so nearly the needs of a school; but the perfect adaptation td these ends of any edifice not originally designed for them, is impossible. A new school of young boys may go on very well in a large private residence; but a school long enough in existence to be expected to afford full facilities in every way, and receiving pupils of the advanced age and standing of many of our present students, requires not only more room than this building can afford, but different arrangements from any that we can as yet make here. This need we hope to see supplied at no distant period.
But the opportunity which the offer of this property to the Church presented in 1841, was not the first movement towards the establishment of a Church School in this Diocese. In 1836 and 1837 the Convention of Maryland took a very open and decided stand, proclaiming the urgent need of schools, avowedly and exclusively controlled by the Church. A Committee of two of the most eminent of her Clergy reported favorably [8/9] and strongly, and in terms which make it surprising that nothing was accomplished earlier. [Rev. Drs. Wyatt and J. Johns.] For five years that report served chiefly as a witness of the Diocese against herself. She felt and acknowledged her need of schools of her own, yet continued to send her children to institutions where either religion was, in theory, not taught at all, or where it was presented in forms which are condemned as radically defective or corrupt. The enterprise of Churchmen in this county, called into being chiefly by the energy of the Rector of St. John's Parish, proved the means of some definite and successful action, as I have stated, in the early part of 1841. [Rev. T. B. Lyman.] But buildings alone do not make a school; nor, is a crowd of scholars all that is needed. The first effort of the Bishop, therefore, before promising the arrangements which the subscribers to the purchase reasonably asked, was to secure such a management of the Institution as he could commend to the confidence of the Diocese. This led him to visit St. Paul's College in February, 1841, and to apply to the then Rector of that College, the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, for his aid in the scheme. From this application resulted a proposal to me to assume the charge of the new school, with the promised aid and advice of the friend just named;--one, whose faithful care of the early, days of many now living virtuous and useful lives, richly entitles him to the regard and reverence which they cherish towards him, and whose precepts and example of wisdom and piety, many join with me in saying, follow us still, deepening their influence, and only more clearly proving to us their worth as our years and responsibilities increase.
The Institution has been, we think, a disinterested work of faith from its first inception until now, and we thankfully acknowledge the very evident favor of Providence far beyond the faith of any who have shared in [9/10] the work. So sensibly was the want of such schools felt by the Church in this Diocese, that in 1837 the Convention accepted the Report of a Committee which recommended the establishment of five Church Schools in the Diocese--all, however, to be of a preparatory grade. In the Convention of 1841, the Bishop announced that arrangements were well advanced for the opening of one school. The Convention thereupon adopted a suitable report and resolution; and these have since been followed by an interest, which, if not as active and liberal as was anticipated, has still, under the Divine blessing, greatly aided in sustaining and advancing the work. Since 1842 the Convention of the Diocese has not deemed any further legislative action necessary.--Our aim, and hope is to make our course throughout one that will not disappoint the reasonable anticipations of those who aided in founding the College.
St. James's Hall opened in Oct., 1842, under the care of six officers, four of whom are still connected with it, and with fourteen pupils; its first session of ten months closed the following July with 23 pupils. This number was about the half of what I had been led to anticipate; and not quite a fourth of what sanguine friends, little experienced in such matters, had confidently counted on. I need not now recur to what was one of the chief causes of this disappointment--the strange and inexcusable misapprehensions in some quarters of the aims of the Hall. But in spite of these and some other serious obstacles, the school went on, and in its second year nearly doubled its number. During this second year, in February, 1844, a successful effort was made to obtain a College Charter for the Hall, and on the 9th of April in that year the Institution was reorganized under its legal title and character as "the College of St. James." The motives which led to this measure thus early in our history were these. All parties concerned were anxious [10/11] to place the school on a firm basis, and to make it independent of the life or will of any individual. It was necessary, too, that some definite and systematic government should be permanently provided; and various concurring circumstances showed that the property invested ought to be promptly secured under the charge of a perpetual corporation. Besides, our pupils were advancing in years and learning, and if we desired to retain them long enough to complete a sound intellectual and religious training, it was evidently necessary that we should take our place among chartered Universities and be empowered in the usual way to confer academical degrees. Yet we were unwilling to exchange even the uncertain individual trust which then existed, for any corporate powers which might eventually work against the Church for whose service the school had been established. This objection was fully avoided in the very desirable charter given us by the state, while all the required advantages were secured. The Trustees of the College must, by the Charter, be always "members, and attached to the Protestant Episcopal Church." We asked this openly, and the state, with her usual wise and liberal policy to all bodies of Christians, at once granted it. Such is the only honest course for all parties in any such measure. At the same time it ought to be distinctly understood, that such a charter is all that we received from the state. No endowment came with it; none was asked or expected.
During the third session, that of 1844 and45, things went steadily on, and our increasing numbers proved to us the necessity of enlarged accommodations. It was not, however, until May, 1845. that the Real Estate of the College was deeded to the Trustees. This had to be done in order to secure the funds requisite for the proposed additional edifice, and as well as to make it prudent in the Trustees to erect any new building. The [11/12] deed was not, however, obtained, without the Trustees paying a large balance of the principal and interest due on the original our money as subscribed in this county. This deficiency arose from various causes, and but for providential resources might have seriously retarded our work. That difficulty surmounted, the present Grammar School was erected in the summer of 1845; and in the autumn of the same year all the accommodations were called for. With slight variations our numbers have been steadily maintained since. We close this year with 70 pupils; and our prospect for the next year is very encouraging. [The sixth session closed July 27, 1848, with 89 pupils.] The rapid multiplication of Church Schools must make the progress of any one less striking but if, as it is hoped, the demand increase with the supply, the interests of the Church and her youth will be more effectually promoted. This Institution, however, as a College fully organized in all it departments, proposes to itself a higher work than that aimed at by most of the schools more or less connected with the Church. We recognise, too, a peculiar responsibility as resting upon us in consequence of the action of the Convention in the case of the College alone. This action, however, not only imposes a responsibility which we try to meet faithfully, but also gives this work here a character and claim among Churchmen; these it has been and shall be our effort more fully to justify every year.
A twelvemonth since we graduated our first class--consisting of but two members. A year hence we hope to graduate a second class of double that number. [This expectation has been fulfilled: four were graduated July 27, 1848.] We may, in future years, graduate classes somewhat larger; we shall be well satisfied if the honors of the College should be always conferred on graduates, in whose hands the intellectual and moral character of their Alma Mater will be as safe.
 [Here, among some other remarks appropriate at that time, and specially suited to the audience then assembled, reference was made to a plan for a new College Edifice then and now much needed It seems right here to sly that the plan, though postponed, has not been abandoned. Its prosecution would have been attempted during the past year; but the advice of some earnest friends, well informed in all such matters, led us to delay the effort to procure the donations needed, until an easier state of things prevailed in the commercial world.]
And now let me notice some of the objections made to a college organized as this is, on the model of a vigorously governed Christian family. Some say our discipline is too strict. They do not mean more strict than is necessary to maintain order and morality; but more strict than in most other colleges--more strict than most boys would themselves choose. And against what well-ordered family of your own would not the same objection hold good? Any faithful parent is deemed strict when compared with his careless neighbor; and not one son in twenty but complains of the control of a conscientious father or mother. The great aim of any such parent is to prevent evil by systematic care. So a school-government, to be efficient and safe, must seek to prevent rather than to punish evil. Prevention implies careful rules systematically carried out. These rules imply entire obedience on the part of the pupils. This duty of obedience arises out of the transfer of the parental authority, for the time being, to us; and by this transfer we are not only authorized but obligated to use all that preventive vigilance which a good parent always exercises. Therefore, we are strict, but not severe. Good-natured, kind-hearted pupils, see and declare this now. And though the restless, those boys who most need such care, of course think differently, yet among even these there are very many, who, in maturer years, willing their younger brothers and their own sons to schools disciplined as this is. They will have learned to estimate more justly the inconveniences and the benefits of the yoke, which, they will then say, it was [13/14] good for them to have borne in their youth. But still the objections will be renewed from other sources. So will it be to the end of time. The faults that require the check always object to it. And yet it is quite true that some boys pass years here without any reproof; and not a few go on without one unpleasant event in their whole stay. No human system can be perfect; but excessive strictness is not the fault of ours. Parents send us their sons that they may have here, as far as possible, parental control continued. Our aim is to temper this control as much as we can by parental love. But few parents have seventy sons to govern, and therefore there are not many who can even imagine what are the necessary principles of government in so large a family. It would delight me to give up my place for a month or two to some of our critics; they would criticise no more.
Next, some say, we part with boys too readily; so readily, that there is a risk in sending a boy to us.--There is a risk in sending us a bad boy--no risk in sending us one who is not bad. But parents generally know very little about their sons' real character. If they, or his former teachers through ignorance, (and sometimes not in ignorance,) recommend a boy--and we take none without a recommendation--if that boy prove himself untractable and immoral, what is to be done? Shall we keep him here to overturn order and morality? If we do so, other parents will complain, and very justly. We must, therefore, part with him. We always do this as quietly as we can. But no matter why or how we do it, parents complain, charge us with injustice, and become open foes to the college. Five years experience here has given us one solitary case of a parent, who, under such a trial, remained our friend. In all other cases decided, and often active hostility, has been the result of the removal of a boy. But let me give facts, otherwise it might be inferred that removals by way of discipline had been frequent enough to [14/15] require some defence. We have received here in all, one hundred and twenty boys in five years. Of these, four were not retained beyond their probation of two months. Eight were removed by our act, some in way of discipline, but most of them as sources of moral corruption. Only one has incurred formal expulsion. In all, thirteen only out of one hundred and twenty have been removed by us or at our request--a number surprisingly small, when compared with some stories that have been current. [During the sixth session twenty-five new pupils were received and none dismissed. As the character of an Institution for order and morality becomes more fully established, fewer unworthy pupils will be presented, and consequently the occasion for any extreme discipline will become more rare.] It would be but fair to remember, that ordinary prudence would prevent the needless removal of a boy from a school which depends on the number of its pupils for its support, and that Christian men would be restrained by their own conscience and the fear of God, from the wanton cruelty which may blight the hopes of a youth for both worlds. Common sense will satisfy every one, that if there be any reality in our promises to guard the morals of our pupils, we must sometimes part with boys; and that when this is done, no matter how urgent the necessity nor how kind and considerate the manner of the removal, the boy's friends will complain; and that a candid and prudent man will not base his judgment of the case exclusively on the views and representations of those who imagine themselves aggrieved.
But then, says another, after all your promises, you do not exclude all bad boys and bad deeds from the College; nor do the boys always turn out well. No reflecting person would plead guilty to the folly of expecting that either good result could always be secured. Among so many boys, some who ought not, will enter in spite of all our precautions; And some will grow worse here, do what we may. In some, there are hidden seeds of inherited or other evil which will germinate anywhere. Some [15/16] have a love for sin, which will send them fluttering like an insect from plant to plant in search of little portion of potion to be found. But we promise not to leave a wicked nature to its own workings. We try to arouse a holy influence for good to work against the evil. And the effort is not vain. No better proof of this need be offered than the high and strong tone of virtuous feeling existing in the influential part of our College community. I am glad to be able to say that there is not one youth of them all, whose standing and influence among his companions is at all to be envied, who is not openly and decidedly on the side of virtue and morality. We say that this scheme of education is not impracticable; that here it is, we think, fairly successful. We have never pretended that it could be unfailing in its effects. The fond anxiety of parents sometimes makes them act and talk as though they expected of us the infallible success which they despair of themselves. Sometimes we can not succeed just because parents have already failed. They may have forgotten their duty, or but half discharged it; or may have been thwarted in their efforts; yet some such wonder why the teacher cannot do what the parent has failed to accomplish. There are exceptions to the rule; yet it generally holds true, that the most faithful educator must fail to amend the errors of the unfaithful parent. But we co-operate here with pa rents, most of whom have not neglected their pan;--Thus we can humbly, thankfully and confidently point to good results already attained as proof that a Christian School is not a vain fancy. And we can, besides, only pledge our faith that this school shall never be the home of known and unchecked sin.
We sometimes hear it objected that our course of study is too long and severe. To this we answer, that it is not more so than that of our best Northern Colleges; and that any course of study less complete and thorough [16/17] would be useless as a training of the mind. An education which costs little in the way of time or money is generally worth no more than its cost, and seldom as much. The work is one which can be accomplished neither by teacher nor pupil in a day. It must be allowed its full period. A tree must have time to grow. You cannot force the plant beyond a certain limit. Nor can you make the twig a tree by giving it the name. So with the education of the mind. Academical degrees do not make a scholar. Time and toil are essential to his training.
So, too, is expense: a cheap education is a very dear purchase, as most cheap things are. We offer education at a fair price. [The annual charge for each pupil is two hundred and twenty-five dollars, covering all expenses, domestic and academical.] We cannot give it for less; and they who sometimes advise that we should do so, talk with out sober calculation. We have no endowments on which to support Professors. We have no resource to meet academical domestic expenses but the yearly earnings of the College. The cost of teaching and boarding our pupils is by no means all that we must meet. A large part of our outlay must go to secure that constant and careful supervision which we believe to be the only safeguard of any school from the disorder and vice which so generally mark communities of the young. Therefore, we know that the College gives the full worth of what it receives; and moreover, we know from careful inquiry, that the sum total of expenses here does not at all exceed the amount incurred at neighboring Colleges--one great recommendation of which is their cheap ness. But even were it otherwise, it is true economy, though the cost in money be somewhat higher, to seek an education where it can be had with proper safe-guards for morality.
But my remarks have already extended beyond the [17/18] limit I proposed to myself. I turn, then, to you my young friends, who are students in the College, and with especial pleasure and confidence to you who have this morning received testimonials of merit, and I ask that in you, in your present and future course of life, the history of your college may be honorably written and widely read. [Annually distributed to those who earn them.] You are almost as deeply interested in its success as we are. Its high standing, fixed by your scholarship and character, will reflect honor back on you. You are to build up the reputation of your Alma Mater, and then cherish an honest pride in being her sons. You are to be youths and men of such real worth and solid attainments, that we will be able to point confidently to you as the living proof of the reality of our system--the irresistible answer to every objection. You here begin your part in building up St. James's. You need not wait for future years. Yet we look to the future of many among you with high anticipation. We believe not only that your life will be more useful, honored, and happy from your education here, but, besides, that you will then point with affectionate pride to the scholastic home of your early days. Only bear in mind the motto of your College, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." From no other source may you hope to obtain such gifts. To no other end should you use them but the Glory of the Father of Lights.
INSTITUTIONS, like individuals, have in their history days of very special interest--days long anticipated and long remembered. As such, we cannot but regard the present. We are now closing the fourth year of our academical being. We have just conferred on our first graduates that literary rank which we think they have earned by laying well the foundation of moral and intellectual worth. Very small indeed their number, yet sound, as we believe, in head, and heart, we send them forth not only with our best wishes and prayers, but with confident hopes that their future life will prove that their four years of academical and religious culture have, by God's grace, stamped upon their whole nature a permanent, character for good. As years roll on, we trust that days like this may often again present to us classes, increased indeed in number, and, in proportion to our growing facilities, more advanced in all the good that we here seek to confer, but still, disciples of the same true system of faith and morals, and ardent aspirants after the same noble end which has thus far been kept before their view.
[NOTE. Upon reading over this address after so interval of two tears it seems to the writer proper to say, that the topic of the address was at that time specially urged upon his thoughts by a friendly discussion with a very excellent parent, who (with most honest purposes) insisted upon controlling his son's religious course by the rules which the address attempts to refute. Such cases had occurred before, and have occurred since. This will explain the writer's choice of his subject, and the earnestness of expression sometimes adopted. The address itself will sufficiently show that the principles advocated regard the training of the young; not, as here defined, the investigation of truth by the well-prepared adult. It might be said that the discussion is needless; that it would be enough for us to say to any objectors, "We are ministers and teachers of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and of her Schools, end therefore, no other system could be honestly adopted by us." But is not more than this our duty?--Would not this be to disregard the difficulties of some conscientious parents? Ought we not for their own sake, and still more for their children's sake, to remove their diff if we can? The merchant may, if he please do no more than exhibit his wares, and leave men to purchase or not, according to their tastes. In the merchandize of wisdom, charity imposes a different rule. She enjoins upon she minister of Truth to recommend it by every true argument, and to remove, to the utmost f his power, every doubt which might hinder the reception of the truth. Such are the feelings and Views of duty suggested by the request which is sometimes made by very worthy parents;--that we would accept the care of their sons, and train them well in morals and in the generally received doctrines of religion, but avoid giving them any bias, which, in maturer years, might influence their choice among the various religious communions and creeds of the day. To meet cases like this, was the motive which prompted the writing of these pages.]
 To one marked feature in our system of religious training our own minds now naturally revert. "Our system I say;--not because it is out invention, nor even our selection, but because the Church-of God first made it our duty; and then experience and reflection have since made it to us a high and joyful privilege. To that feature in our system of training here, let me now direct the attention of those present. It is, I believe, generally customary on these occasions for the Principal of the College to address his remarks more directly and practically to his students. This duty of parting advice has, however, been already discharged; and, therefore, I may be allowed, without impropriety, to give another turn to the thoughts of the audience.
I would define, then, the feature in our training refer red to, as "the principle of definite and authoritative teaching in the religious education of the young." My proposition is that is right--that in the education of the young as religious being the teacher inculcate doctrines clearly defined; that he speak as with an authority from above; and that thus he may expect and claim for the truth he teaches, an immediate entrance into the mind of his disciple; so that that mind may be [20/21] pre-occupied by the truth to the effectual and permanent exclusion of error.--If this proposition be admitted, then the teacher of religion and morals speaks as from God, and the disciple listens as to the messenger of God. Then there can be no call upon the young to postpone adopting a doctrine or obeying a precept with a view to future investigation; compliance, not investigation, is the first duty. Then no doctrine or precept may be declined as less important, or as unessential; for all alike are to be regarded, for the present at least, as from above. The young disciple is told not to wait for more years and more knowledge, that he may judge and choose for himself, but to give himself up undoubtingly, head and heart, to the system to which God has subjected him; to believe implicitly and to practise confidently; to plant the heel of faith on the neck of his self-sufficiency, and to feel that the nobleness of his nature is proven, not by doubting whether his God has ever met him, or then and how, but by trusting his God as He has deigned to meet him. Now this, though not an excessive, is a strong statement of the proposition. But I make it so, not without design. Stated less distinctly, it would sound like a mere truism. To say merely, that on the whole the young should trust their guides, would be only repeating what men say every day, and what none would openly dispute. I choose the stronger mode of expression, because any other might fail to startle up the error I would refute. Now, the fashionable theory of the day on this point is, to speak plainly, Infidel. The practice, to be sure, is far better, but still sadly deficient--for no practice can be sound if the theory on which it is based, or by which it is explained, be false; as undoubtedly the prevalent theory of the religious education of the young is radically false. It must, therefore, corrupt the practice. And, though the most of those with whom we are concerned would reject the naked theory, yet some of them do accept it, and [21/22] few can escape its influence. That influence has, in some cases, impeded us in our efforts to fix in the minds of our pupils dear and operative principles of truth. We have had to deal with those who adopt the fancy that it is a wrong and an injustice to the young to mould their hearts and shape their creed after an very definite model; that though Christianity is very valuable as an element of good in the, individual and in the community, yet it is quite possible to communicate it without giving it any very, marked character, leaving it to be to each one pretty much, what he would have it to be; and in fact, that to do otherwise--to aim at a decided influence over the young conscience, and to stamp deeply, and, if we can, indelibly upon the heart and mind the definite lineaments of religious doctrine and principle, is a gross and unpardonable violation of the rights of conscience as ascertained in our favored age.
This is the false theory I would reject. Nor is it presented as a man of straw, to be set up and beaten down for our amusement. It is and has been to us here a painful reality. The avowed denominational character of the College secures us, though not wholly, from sharing the work of education with parents who consciously hold and openly avow this theory. But nothing can free us from the practical hindrances arising from the influence of this false principle over the minds of parents. Not a few who would make no active opposition, would hence at least give us n active sympathy in our efforts to mould and fix their sons religious character. They have not themselves settled the principle one way or other. They will not quite reject our theory, but they doubt the expediency of practising upon it so systematically, and not uncommonly end their difficulty, by saying, that it is a point which fathers may innocently leave to be settled by the mothers and the ministers. And yet I would not be misunderstood. We have great and yearly increasing reason to thank God for the kind of parents who send us [22/23] their sons We are often repaid ten-fold for all our care, by the gushing gratitude of fathers as well as mothers hearts. Yet the theme before us may not be useless, if only some aid be given to those who feel and act aright, hi developing and defending their own right principle; and if but a word be said to make those reflect, whom we believe to be mistaken.
And, first, let it be remarked that, theorize as men may, on this matter, yet all agree in teaching positively, and on many points, definitely. All men have doctrines, whether true or false, which they hold as doctrines. They have, on some points, decided belief; and on these it is not in human nature to spun decidedly. The very theory we are combating becomes to most who hold it, a reality. They have no doubt of its correctness. They speak confidently and are as ready as any, nay, the most ready of all, to denounce those who deny their belief. Like the old sceptical school of Philosophy, they confidently deny the certainty of anything, and fairly expose themselves to the same charge of gross inconsistency in, declaring that it is certain that nothing is certain. Men will disclaim any such inconsistency, and, I gladly allow that, to some extent, they do reject it in their practice. My desire is, to array their practice against their own theory and in favor of ours. W believe that there can be no effectual teaching that is not at once definite and confident; that does not avow its right and purpose to pre-occupy the whole spiritual and moral nature from childhood onwards. They charge such a scheme with being bigoted, illiberal, and hostile to the freedom of the conscience and intellect; they declare that the child must be left uninfluenced, and they invoke the sternest opposition against our theory. And yet, who knows not, that in the very same hour they turn to their own children, and pupils, and dependents, and zealously strive to imbue their minds with very decided opinions on religion, as well as on every other topic; that they even [23/24] make an absolute essential of their very doctrine of indifferency, and teach that it is essential that a man should hold that nothing is essential; or, to make the mildest possible statement of this inconsistency, good men talk, in this wild, unnatural way of every one, even the young, choosing independently and without bias; and yet, just because they are good men, they teach most clearly add authoritatively what they believe to be truth. They have chosen some side in religion, and with the very breath in which they declare that all should be left free to think and determine for themselves, they labor also to fix the young Arminian or Calvinist immoveably in their own peculiar dogma. And they do but their duty, not as well as they might, nor by the best way, but still they act out their duty; they only talk against it. An honest man ought to teach, and will teach what he honestly believes, in spite of any and all his theories to the contrary--we are glad that he does so. He enforces submission to authority, and this is the great saving principle of the soul. He does the work, however he may fancy--or make others fancy--that it is not so. We thus ma as a strong presumption in favor of the sounder theory, that even its opponents practise upon it; that must be the true philosophy which nature compels all men equally to adopt.
But the question arises--is not that abstinence from definite teaching, which most seem to prefer, practicable, though it be not in fact practised? We might reply--that were it practicable, men would exhibit as well as recommend it. But the reply may be more direct. The system of indefinite teaching is essentially an impossible one. The shrewdest teacher of religion might safely be challenged name, a doctrine or precept which he can teach effectively to the young, unless he secure a hearty reception of it, as a necessary pre-requisite to its profitable trial. He must convince, i.e., as the word really means--he must conquer the understanding; he [24/25] must, to use the plain and right words, prejudice the mind and imbue the conscience, before any good spiritual effect can follow. Nor can he enforce any one doctrine without involving in it many others beside. None can stand disjointed from the analogy of the faith. Or if he could find some one such doctrine, all powerful, to reach the heart through the head, as the rationalism of the day proposes, would it be possible for him even then, to teach with earnestness, even this one doctrine, without violating those sacred principles of mental and moral freedom? Are there not any who deny that very doctrine? Does not their denial imply its doubtfulness? Is it not at least a reason why the young disciple should not yet be too earnestly urged to receive the doctrine? Is it right and fair to prejudice him, and so probably fix him on a point, which, if left unbiassed, he might never adopt? The favorite theory can return but one reply to such queries. And yet we are told, to teach "the great and leading truths of Christianity," as though in these you might consistently fix the young mind, and only leave it free in minor matters; as though there were any way of knowing what these choice truths are, save from the old creeds, which are yet to be allowed no authority, and which must tumble into unmeaning fragments if one article be denied; and as though great and leading truths could possess the mind without irresistibly carrying it on to the reception of the whole system, of which, as their very name implies, these truths are the chief part. The thing is impossible. One doctrine rightly inculcated, prejudices the mind. Teach but one truth as truth, and you are guilty of the pretended injustice. Let the boy receive but one article of the creed, as the profoundest of youthful philosophers must always receive it, on sheer authority, and his slavery is begun. But it is too awful a subject to dwell lightly upon. Such slavery of the proud and wayward intellect we reject not. It is slavery to God, but it is freedom for man.--[25/26] As the Church teaches its to say, "whose service is perfect freedom;" or in the more forcible language of the original of that prayer, "cui servire est regnare." But there are besides, men who would be willing to have us omit all doctrines, and teach only morality. We are to enjoin individual and social duties,--but to have nothing to do with creeds. Now, not to speak of the great, immeasurable distance between one system of morals and another; of the fact, that what one man deem a right or pronounces a duty, another stamps as a sin; not to dwell on the notorious contradictions in regard to the morals of every day life; assuming that all men agree in what is morality; tell me by what motives or sanctions I may be allowed to urge the disciple to do his duty? If I tell him that the penalty of sin is future and eternal death; if I speak of the worm that never dies--of the fire that is never quenched, are there not in our land thousands ready to rise up and forbid my putting so gloomy a tenet into the young mind, for they have discarded it? Or if I do no more than point out to my pupil the vengeance of Heaven against sin, as seen in the history of nations and individuals around us, there are yet many who would warn me not to be too presumptuous in asserting or interpreting so special a providence. And so, as in truth it is, faith and morals must perish together. Both must be taught in all their fullness, clearness and authority, or there is no effectual teaching. But I mistake; there is effectual teaching. The human mind is trustful. It will seek a teacher to follow and a faith to receive. Give it but an hour with a single fellow-mind, and it grasps the lesson it craves, no matter what, right or wrong, true or false; this fills the void. Keep away the true teacher, or let him fail to do his whole duty to the boy, and the world all around him, and his "fleshly nature and the devil never absent, will be busy and successful. Teach nothing or teach but little, and every breath around. will bring [26/27] something to fill up the void, and the worst training will go on vigorously under the mistaken idea that all training is suspended and the boy will arrive at manhood with opinions which he calls doctrines, and fancies that he deems truths, tenacious and bold enough, but without the modesty which the true discipline would have given him.
What then--and the question is naturally and rightly put to us--what do we propose? What is the training which parents are to seek for their children? And where is it to be found? We answer, that we deem the true theory to be, that the young are to submit undoubtingly to their superiors; that parents are, of course, their first and most authoritative guides; and that next come those whom their parents may select as the educators of their children, and to whom they may delegate their authority. Parents are, or ought to be, under the active ii of some system of faith. They were either trained in it, and afterwards enlightened and confirmed in it, or else they have been, or they ought to have been, led to adopt it by the course of God's providence and the power of His spiritual guidance. Parents have acquired, or ought to have acquired, by prayer and such study as their circumstances and attainments have allowed, an intelligent conviction that they are members of that body, and recipients of that faith which God has appoints. I need hardly say, that for parents who are careless of all religious truth and duty--neither these nor any sound rules can be of any use. I speak of those who care for the souls of their offspring, because they have cherished some care for their own souls. Such parents are bound to put their children under the active, authoritative influence of their own well-defined principles of faith and duty. The whole weight of parental love and authority ought to be heartily given in favor of that system. The teacher should be one whom parents can trust and work with; and the child should feel that the parent does thus fully co-operate with the teacher. [27/28] He should see and feel that to him the voice of authority comes and clear from parents, ministers and teachers, and, that thus he may recognize it, and it only, as to him the voice of God, to be heeded implicitly and gladly as the voice from heaven itself.
Is it so, then, it may be asked, that truth is whatever parents think it to be? By no means--we believe religious truth to be what our creeds define it to be. But, as it concerns the guidance of the young, we do say, that even in this late century parents are likely to know better than their children, or ought to know better; that if parents do not assert their own authority, the children will not be likely to choose any that is safer; and that almost any one system is to be preferred to the rejection of all systems; or, in other words, the most deficient system is better than infidelity. But would we thus speak in. counselling a parent who did not adhere to the church and the faith we love? Undoubtedly,--were he to ask what, with his present light, is his duty, we should lay down this very rule; while, of course, if he would allow ft, we would try to give him more light. If he came here and asked us to educate his son, in all else as we thought right, but in religion as he thought right, the task would be declined. We could not, as honest then--as responsible to God, undertake what we could not and would not do. But when the parent is careless on the subject, we regard ourselves as in this matter the friends whom Providence provides to fulfil the parent's part. For the most part, however, only the sons of churchmen pre sent themselves--and then the path is clear before us. We teach with authority--seek to inspire confidence in ourselves indeed--but still more, in the Church and her Lord whose commission we bear. We proclaim that this is our system--that we repudiate the false, delusive theory opposed to it--that we educate the conscience and soul with the confidence of men, who rest their own faith [28/29] on firmer grounds than their, own private uncontrolled judgment. Not in self-confidence, but in self-submission to the authority above us, we promise to "teach that we do know and testify that we have seen."
Such a course of duty seems to me too evidently right to need much direct defence. As I have said, all men give it the support of their practice, and oppose it only by their fancies. I had, however, designed to dwell here, had I time, upon thoughts like these; that the young are poisoned by the infidelity of doubtful, teaching, and feel, though they cannot define it, a deep distrust of that revelation which they are told is, after all, but half-revealed; that if you would fix faith as an elemental, vivifying principle in the soul, you must teach the very child with all the earnest confidence of the prophet--if you do otherwise he may never, as a believer, attain the great blessing of an assurance incapable of doubt; that the active influence of positive truth must be the only safeguard against the no less active influence of direct falsehood--that the, heart and mind are never neutral ground; and that a belief of the whole creed can result only from early training in every part of it. I had prepared to press these points at length, as being all of them of great interest and importance to my subject, but I find that by doing so I shall occupy too much time. It is, however, but due to ourselves here to add, that though the great foundation principle of Christian education has not been here urged, the church's doctrine of regeneration in baptism, yet we never forget it. On the present occasion I have thought it well to advance only such arguments as all men alike must admit; but it is, when we look upon, the young as the members of Christ and the children of God--as having their character and allegiance unalterably fixed by Him who commits them to us, to be trained for Himself; it is then that we feel most bound and most fully authorized so to instruct our [29/30] pupils; that, like Timothy of old, each of them may ever "continue in the things has learned, and has been assured of, knowing of whom he has learned them; and that from a child he has known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make him wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ."
There is, however, one objection which a thoughtful mind might make to this scheme of religious training. If this be a sound rule for all, and if all adopt it, will not the parent, who honestly holds a wrong creed, fix his child in his own error? How can one taught from the first to believe confidingly, ever arrive at the conviction that he has been wrong? I reply, by using his own judgment, when it has become fully prepared for its proper exercise, by being well chastened and guided and fully enlightened and informed, so as to know the real worth of arguments and the sacredness of long-established authority. By no other discipline can the judgment ever be prepared to guide its possessor. The able general had to begin by being the obedient subordinate. The spirit of faith is essential to the prosecution of the truth. No might of intellect, no mass of knowledge, will do any thing without humble faith. But such faith will do much, almost by itself. If the early creed be truth, faith will only learn it and love it better day by day. If the early need he not truth, an humble faith will be led by God, to Whom, and not to self; that faith bows down, by paths unsought, to know Him more truly as He is. Or if He see fit not thus to shed the light of full knowledge on the humble soul in her present state of being, who can doubt that His mercy will the more richly reward her trust there where only the full rewards of our probation are to be given? A sound faith can be the blessing of none but a believing spirit; and a believing spirit must be a thoroughly submissive one. Even were it possible for the proud and [30/31] self-sufficient mind to apprehend intellectually every doctrine, it would gain but little. The truth, to work out its full blessing, must first possess the heart, and through that sanctify the head. Such were the wise teachings of Plato of old, whose words we will adopt and Christianize. "Wait patiently," he said to his disciple, "learning from others, most of all from the Law giver,"--the one NomoqethV provided for us all; adding this most important injunction of personal piety as requisite to the attainment of truth--"during all the time dare not one act or thought of impiety towards God." [Prof. Lewis's "Plato contra Atheos," pp. 12 and 116.]
But how are we to regard the professions of parents and teachers who undertake to teach religion and train up Christians in a way which will satisfy every one? Do we charge such professions with being insincere? By no means;--men do thus delude, themselves. But their promises are none the less mere fiction. The late excellent Dr. Arnold, of England, strikingly illustrated this. He had a great and, no doubt, an honest dread of his boys adopting opinions on his authority, and yet on the very page on which his admiring biographer tells us this, he also unwittingly adds, that his boys would persist in trusting and following their good teacher in spite of all his warnings. So it must always be. Any man worthy to be an educator will impress himself upon the minds and hearts of his best pupils. "No sectarianism" is a very popular cry, but like many others, it is delusive. It must end in unbelief, or in concealed (and often unconscious) dogmatism. Either Christianity is never named, or it presents itself in the form of the teacher's opinions, all the worse for being but half-disclosed. If a good man ever make such professions, he is always sure to violate them; their fulfilment is an impossibility. The mere re to the outward ear of the words of the Bible, will not renew and instruct the sinful child of [31/32] Adam. Faith comes not by such hearing. The child will ask and learn something of their meaning from his teacher, and the fist slight comment is "sectarian." Let the representatives of any dozen of our many denominations listen for an hour to the Bible-class exercise of one of these impartial teachers; and if he taught at all, one half would be offended by doctrines they reject. Our higher Institutions and Colleges generally make some such professions. They teach religion and have religious worship, but all creeds are welcome and all are safe in their walls. Most of our states by their laws forbid any other profession, and deny corporate and academical powers to any denominational College. And yet what is the fact? It would be hard to point out a College in our land where a sectarian character is not as well defined as if it were painted upon its walls. I can speak from accurate knowledge of the Colleges of New-York. That great state will not charter a College for anything more definite than "Education," it forbids the insertion of the wide word "Christian," and yet every College in that state is as openly and effectually controlled by some, one denomination as if its charter had fixed its creed. Nay more--every one knows beforehand that this is to be so;--that the Trustees are to be mostly (not all--that would be too open) of one denomination; they are to be tied up to the choice of officers of that creed by conditional donations of property; and everything is to be so arranged that the preponderance of the chosen faith may be secured, though the statute-book scouts any such scheme as subversive of all freedom of conscience. The same facts are, to a great extent, true of Pennsylvania. Our own state, we rejoice to say, is more honest and more Christian. She favors no one form of faith than another, but she leaves all free. She does not force good men who seek to train her youth, to do so by a course which is not dishonest, only because it is open. We have thus been enabled to [32/33] act out our part and design openly from the first. We are chartered as a College of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and as such we have always proclaimed our selves. We receive the young of every faith if parents will send them. But we teach but one faith. We do indeed, in this matter, only what all others are doing; but we give full notice of our design. We are very far from telling our pupils that all piety and virtue is restricted to the members of our own communion; but we inculcate upon them the duty of deriving all their lessons of truth and duty from, the Church which we train them to love and to trust confidingly as long as they live. And now, could my voice reach the parents of all our pupils, present and future, I would earnestly press upon them the duty of training the spirits of their children on the sacred principle of earnest, authoritative, teaching. I would beg them to commit their children to our care only when fully satisfied that we are qualified and authorized to continue the same sound system of training--and then to commit them to us confidingly, as the sworn servants of Christ's Holy Church. We have--we desire no license in our own belief--we dare not, on our responsibility to lawful authority, on earth and in heaven--we dare not use any license in our teaching. We must answer to a present tribunal; we must answer to that Great Tribunal, from whose decision there can, forever, be no appeal.
And to you, beloved youths, who have now received our formal and public approval,--and to you all, who are yet to labor for the same honor, let me recommend with all fervor this truth--that you must first believe before you can know. You must believe confidingly, if you would know the truth to any good and saving purpose. You will meet disguised as well as open scepticism--in early youth as well as in later life. You will meet those who will tempt your pride by bidding you [33/34] believe only that, whose proofs you can now weigh, and whose meaning you can now fully comprehend. But ever remember that such a principle is the essence of infidelity. Tell the scoffer that you have been too highly blessed to need such lessons--that you are too wise to regard them. Tell him that you now believe because you have never doubted--that you glory in the thought that your faith began from the lessons of your infancy, taught by the lips of parental love and piety--that you will not shut your eyes on the light of heaven, whose first gleam shone on your soul's safe path, farther back than your memory can carry you, whose brightness shall illumine your spirit with daily growing clearness on her heavenward way, upward and onward, until faith itself shall be lost in eternal vision! Engrave indelibly upon your hearts the motto of your College--Pasa dosiV agaqh kai pan dorhma teleion anwqen esti--"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,"--and cometh down from the Father of Lights--with whom is no variableness--no shadow of turning. [See the Seal on the title page and the appendix to this pamphlet.]
THE class which we have now graduated is the second which has been prepared for their academical degrees in the College. Two years since, our first class of two members completed their undergraduate course; this year four young gentlemen have in your presence received their first, degree in arts. We do not anticipate the graduation here of classes much larger than this--certainly not at any very early period. There are various reasons which will tend to make the number of our graduates not so large as that in similar Institutions; but they are at the same time reasons which must create a strong and just presumption, that the few who graduate have formed a solid and permanent character as students, and as upright men. Certainly it is our high privilege now, as two years since, to say that our satisfaction in conferring academical degrees is not marred by any doubt that the intellectual attainments to which we have contributed, and to which we now certify, will be devoted to the good of mankind and to the service of the Church and nation. To believe that we are adding good men to the ranks of the educated, must always be a satisfaction of the purest and rarest kind.
But a custom, common though not universal in Colleges, and into which, it seems, we are here falling, calls [35/36] upon me now to take a further share in the duties of the day. On former occasions, liberty was, taken in the address of the Rector to engage the thoughts of the audience with the principles and history of the Institution. Let me now offer some remarks which may be of use chiefly to the new graduates and their recent companions in the College classes. Where constant moral and religious instruction is one chief aim and duty, not in the pulpit only, but in the class-room and in the familiar intercourse of every day, few novel topics can remain specially appropriate to occasions like this. One such has, however, occurred to me.
Those who live among the young, see human nature free from many of its usual disguises. Not undisguised indeed, for the "apron of fig leaves" was assumed by man once for all. Neither young nor old ever abandon it. But self-control and long habit are essential to the disguise which, most maintain in later life, and which we all agree to call prudence and a proper reserve. The young, especially when thrown together in a community, act themselves out. Nor must any of them smile at such an assertion. I do not mean that they tell us all they think or do; or that we pretend to know all in its details. And yet I repeat it--the young act themselves out. Ordinary acuteness and some experience make any man able to read the young with whom he has close associations much better than men read each other. And when it is one's duty in these, circumstances to train these youths, to awaken and enlighten their consciences and form their habits and tastes, and the aim is ever in sight to make honest, true, real men of them, there is a thought which often intrudes itself; most often in those cases where many noble elements of character are seen, and yet the result in the way of fixed principle is very, doubtful. The thought I allude to is this--that Reality is the great thing needed to make [36/37] the character which education aims at; and that want of reality is the great defect in not a few who are forever exciting and disappointing hopes which they might fulfil, if they valued reality within them as much as they value show, and seeming, and reputation. The resolve to be, not to seem, would be the making of many a one who comes to little at last. The fault is visible as well in adults. How rare a thing is a real man! How attractive and influential is such an one, even in spite of some faults I am not contrasting truth with falsehood, nor honesty with fraud, nor sincerity with hypocrisy, but am paying that among true, honest, sincere people, such as most may be, there may be found more vanity, more unreality of character, than we are in the habit of allowing. It is certainly true of the young, that the first and chief thing they generally need is this conviction of the danger of seeming to be what they are not--of thinking themselves to be something they are not--of aiming at name and character--of conforming to hollow, fictitious rules satisfying themselves with embodying the fiction which false rules and false society call excellence and right; the danger of not being what they would seem--of not knowing what they are--of not scouting the falsehood of show and fashion, and scorning a name held at the cost of the reality.
I repeat that this is probably quite as true of adults. A community of boys, at all well-ordered, is as good as a community of men. Boys are not behind men in virtue as they are in intellect. The average of virtue among boys is probably no less, and the average of faults no greater, than among men. The difference is, that faults and virtues come out in youth irregularly and freely, without the disguise for the one or the moulding for the other, which maturer reflection gives. Faults seem greater and virtues seem less in youth than in age, while the reverse is often the fact. The aim of education is to [37/38] furnish to the young those helps which the adult is supposed to be able to furnish, to himself; to correct the vice and strengthen the virtue in the only period in which it can be done well.
Now, one want in our nature, which, in working for the young; we are made to feel most deeply, is the want of reality. They live too much in a mist about their real character. If you scatter the mist they will gather it anew around them. Vanity is written upon too much of what they regard as principle. Duty is too often a fiction. Knowledge of duty they think they have, because they can debate about it. Moral strength they exhibit by their boasts of it; truthfulness by the energy with which they protest against the idea that they could violate truth. It is to be assumed, as a matter of course, that they are they claim to be. If facts to the contrary ungraciously obtrude themselves, why such facts must be explained away into fictions, so that their fictions may be received as facts. Either such and such a fault could not, and therefore was not committed by them; or if it has been, then must have been, and therefore there were some peculiar circumstances which changed its usual character, or some excuses and palliations which render the fault quite pardonable, or even amiable. Nay, it is common to see this illusion in young people, (perhaps not exclusively in them,) that though certain things, deeds, words, and the like, do most certainly prove moral wrong in others, yet not so in me, says the one involved. In me they somehow change their nature and character; they do not taint me; I purify them. Or, though I do a vicious thing, yet it is no vice of mine. Once done it does not belong to me, as I grant it would and does to others. No matter what my acts, I am still true, and honorable, and virtuous, and trustworthy as ever! Now this may sound extravagant--but it is the naked truth of our daily experience. An experience, [38/39] remember, not among those, whom, by the common measure, we would decide to be false and deceitful, but an experience had to some extent among ill, and to the full extent of my language, among some whom we hope yet to see side by side with the foremost in moral worth. I am not speaking at all of wilful hypocrites--of those whose professions spring from a conscious purpose to deceive--whose assertions of honesty, like all sounds from hollow vessels, ring the loudest. I refer now to others--to those who are unreal, not wilfully deceitful; and to these, the greatest number of youth any where, do I desire now to say--open your eyes to the fact that you do lack truthful reality, and try to acquire it.
I say truthful reality; and though I know that I am not chasing a phantom, yet I feel the difficulty of defining in positive terms the thing I commend. I have to use some negatives. I do not mean mere truth, the hatred and avoidance of falsehood. This is a part of this reality, not all of it. Truthfulness comes nearer the idea. Yet, if any have not the most sensitive scrupulousness about truth-telling and truth-acting, they must get it before they can hope that reality is begun in them. The youth or man is not often found who is as scrupulous as he ought to be about truth. Besides mistakes and involuntary errors, there are hundreds of ways in which truth may be violated by those who think themselves honest. There are many mistakes in narrative, and many hindrances to the fulfilment of promises, which a thorough scrupulousness would avoid. There is often needless acquiescence in the secrecy of others, or a culpable silence when facts are misapprehended. And this is true of those who are ranked among the "honest." But truth and truthfulness, sensitive to a degree which knowing ones will laugh at, is the first element in sound, real character. It is the only centre around which [39/40] everything may revolve in due and safe order. It is in the young the token and promise of virtue--a token never to be dispensed with and one which, one may almost say, never fails of its fulfilment. In the adult, such truthfulness is a test you are never safe in neglecting, and never unsafe in trusting. Such truthfulness will never commit the slightest error designedly, and will never allow an involuntary error to remain uncorrected. It will not only shun every mode of deceiving, but will have no rest while any mistaken impression remains uncorrected; truth not merely as the law which restrains our communications with one another, but as the principle of the inner man, the element pervading and imbuing the whole man--this is truth. It is the to alhqeuien of the best of Greek philosophers; and the sense in which Divine Philosophy speaks of truth in the inward parts; not the mere utterance of truth--but truth subjective, within us, that of the soul, the feeling, rather than truth of expression or of science. [Vide Professor Lewis's Plato, p. 97.] A philosopher may define and enunciate truth, who has no truth in his soul; another may feel and hold the truth--its life--within him, who has not science to exhibit the doctrine. In this sense the highest and purest truth may exist in the child or the peasant, while the sage has no truth in him. Now, such inward truthfulness is the only spring from whence can flow reality of character; that reality which brings the m boy into real contact with those around him, and makes all feel that they are listening to and dealing with the man himself and not with his mask It is this alone which makes the ruler, or teacher, or parent, or friend, really influential for good. Even a deficient practice will not make the precept powerless, if the hearer knows that the heart of the man utters what that heart believes, and means, and strives to fulfil, But through lack of this only reality, truthfulness of the soul, words are lifeless seeds, and the hearts they fall [40/41] upon are barren. To this effect is the language of Wordsworth. He asks--
Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round
Of smooth and solemnized complacencies,
By which in christian [men] from age to age
Profession mocks performance. Earth is sick,
And heaven is weary of hollow words.
[Excurs. bk. 5:7.]
My meaning may be further illustrated by alluding to the characters we actually bear among others. We all pass for somewhat different from what we are. In many points friends do us more than justice. They perhaps believe us to be what we are not. We know they do so; we see their over-estimate, and possibly do not dislike it or object to it. Or our disclaimer is faintly made and wins us still more repute for modesty. Or that denial is earnestly made; but we detect ourselves taking some satisfaction in the thought that it is not wholly credited. At any rate we may have a good name; a better one, we are sure, than we would have if all within us were known. It may be not more beyond our due than our neighbor's good name is beyond his due. Still it is more than our due. Yet we mean to be and are honest. Our honesty, however, is perilled by circumstances around us. To young or old--in public or in private, this may prove a snare. We are taken to be in any point more or better than we are, and we submit to the erroneous estimate, perhaps, as a necessity. We smile at the mistaken complacency with which others take the high place which some circumstance or partiality gives them in their own little circle, while we may acquiesce in some similar mistake regarding ourselves. To place ourselves before others in a true light, to receive no more than we believe to be honestly our due, may not always be possible; but we ought always desire and aim to do it and to feel uneasy in being favorably mistaken. Nor is any station, or calling, or age exempt from the snare alluded [41/42] to. A man may think himself very honest, and yet too readily appropriate to himself, what a little reflection would show him was given in mistake, or at any rate was a compliment to his place or duties. Self-knowledge may go far to spoil the gratification, but self-deceit will still accept its portion of unmerited praise. In this way the circle of partial friends may attribute more learning or wisdom, or moral excellence or liberality, or benevolence or self-sacrifice than is at all due; and the flattering opinion be too feebly corrected by us. The good name offered is perhaps no more than we think our circumstances need; otherwise duty could not be done. Or if we deserve less credit, so does our neighbor. Is it not possible thus to become less sensitive as to the reality of our character, and more careful of its appearance than is safe? So that the loss of good name, or the shame of exposure, or even the charge of inconsistency, is worse to us than the secret sense of error? We become unreal, almost in spite of ourselves. Against this we must struggle; or else with the reality of character will also perish the efficiency which at first proved its worth. Speak well of us whoever may, we must see the truth. If many praise, the more reason then to heed the words of the few who condemn. Slander usually exaggerates, but does not invent. It gives useful hints to an honest man.
So we may turn to our use the appearance we are somehow made, to assume. Whatever virtues are by any attributed to us, we may conclude are felt to be needed in our place and circumstances. These, then, we should cultivate. To disclaim them is not all of our duty. We must not strive to guard appearances; nor talk as though less should be looked for: we should try to bring ourselves up to the mark--to become what we seem, or ought to seem to be; and what our social relations or official obligations induce and entitle men to believe us to be.
 It need hardly be said, that to be real, a virtue is needed for which, it is said, the ancients had no name, because the precise idea was not of human devising virtue of humility. It will aid us in doubting the good, and regarding the evil that men tell of us. It will detect a large admixture of evil in what has met unmingled praise, and will extract from the venom of slander some wholesome medicine for hidden moral disease. Pride does just the contrary. It believes all that adulation or partiality says and thinks the half not told; while it so earnestly resents the imputation of evil, that it ends in claiming a double share of the opposing virtue.
And yet, reality of character requires what sometimes seems the opposite of humility--a quality much boasted but little possessed--independence. Real virtue must come from within; mock virtue may spring from love of praise or fear of blame. To such motives we cannot--ought not to be wholly indifferent; but we may be too much governed by them. To be careless of what others may think or say of us, is wrong. No man has a right to disregard his reputation. In this, others as well as himself have an interest and a property. No one stands alone. Nor has any one the power to fix the rule by which others must judge. No one, therefore, has the right to disregard appearances. When, therefore, merely our pleasures or tastes are concerned, we ought to submit to ask, what will people say of this or that? It is obstinacy and self-will to say, I will do as I please; and accordingly you will find that they alone talk thus whose resolution suffices only for the pursuit of their own pleasures, and fails them when the discharge of duty involves a painful struggle. So far we are to avoid the very appearance of evil. But beyond this, it is otherwise. What is right is to be determined by a higher law than the opinions of others. The motive power must be more real than the desire of approbation; the sustaining power [43/44] must be more stable than the continuance of approbation. All this requires practice and experience and their good fruits--calmness and prudence. It does not fall within my purpose to show how the lack of true independence is the source of the errors of many who do not see or allow their own weakness. Instances of this we all see daily. Known duty quite neglected, or but half-done, or done in secret, through a weak fear of what others may think or say of it; good principles secretly loved--but openly laughed at, because others laugh at them! O, it is a sad and frequent sight--a youth, capable of high acts of duty--yet driven by mere fear, to smother his best feelings and sin against, his preceptors, his parents, his own conscience and his God, because he cannot defy the sneer of some whom he secretly despises.
But I care rather to point out the more subtle influence of an excessive regard to appearances--an influence which works deeply against real principle in the hearts of the virtuous. They live among the virtuous and rightly desire their esteem. But the desire may be too strong, too exclusive, too nearly the sole or chief support of virtue. It may rightly serve, like the staff, to steady feeble footsteps; it must not be the strength to move by. Nor is it a staff to be too heavily leaned on. How much of any good deed has sprung from love of praise, or how far it would have been changed if no such reward had been in view, is not an easy thing for any one to decide. How far virtue carries us, and where love of praise takes us up, would often be a wholesome inquiry. Here is peril--all the greater from the fact, that it is right to desire the regards of the virtuous. God implants the desire in us as a help to duty: but it must not be the motive or the measure of duty. Conscience must be cultivated so as to be able to decide, and impel without any such aid. Otherwise our virtue will become less real--more hollow every day. We will allow ourselves to [44/45] receive more credit than is our due. We will gradually forget how little our due is. Weakening principle and growing vanity will be the result. A most subtle selfish ness and cowardice will grow up. Appearances will be maintained, but reality will die out. An exterior, felt by us to be unfair, will be more carefully regarded than that honest reality of principle within, which only can make us good men, useful men, and true men. The remedy is this. Let God and your own consciences be the judges to which you make your hourly appeals. Keep all other appeals in the background. Try yourselves more by your private life--that which no one else knows, than by that which others judge by. Bishop Jeremy Taylor says, truly--"He that does as well in private, between God and his own soul, as in public, in pulpits, in theatres and market-places, hath given himself a good testimony that his purposes are full of honesty, nobleness, and integrity." "The breath of the people," he adds, "is but air, and that not often wholesome." Nor is it real virtue stifles and grows faint if it breathe it too much. It may exhilarate for a time, but it leaves afterwards the sickening sense of a hollow hypocrisy, for which the honest man will loathe himself in secret. Live, then, before your conscience. Let conscience people your area of action with the spectators whose applause you seek. The great philosopher as well as orator of Rome, may have felt the truth of his words all the more because of his own vanity, when he wrote "Nullum theatram virtuti conscientia majus est"--"Virtue can have no theatre greater than conscience." [Cicero Tusc. Quaest., 2: 26.] I may add, that there is no theatre besides in which our deeds and words will not become too much the acting of a player's part.
There is but one thought more which I will dwell upon. It seems like a mere truism, when Bishop Butler [44/45] writes, "Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences them will be what they will be; why then should we wish to be deceived?" [Sermon on the Character of Balaam.] But this is a truism often denied. All deny it--the young certainly do. We often hear them say, almost in so many words, "Things and actions ace not what they are, and the consequences of them will not be what they will be." This illusion has already been spoken of--that though "things and actions are what they are" in any one else yet not so in my case, says the youth very often. There is perhaps not one fault or misdemeanor which a young man may commit, which some will not find a way of excusing in themselves and calling by names so harmonious, that ere they are done the fault has changed into something very like a virtue, in the youth who is arguing. The thing may be wrong even in him; but--and then follows such cogent logic of excuses and circumstances and innocent meanings, that you are quite ready to hear the next plea prove the thing quite meritorious! I speak in most sober earnestness. We deal with such cases daily--those who can see right and wrong clearly enough in others; who claim very earnestly the character of all or most that youth should be; who make the claim sincerely too; while their daily life furnishes facts to the contrary. But facts against ourselves are apt not to be stubborn things. Each case is explained away most satisfactorily. It could not be made more clear than it is, that this or that wrong thing was the merest result of circumstances, and that there is no fear of its recurrence; that it is not the genuine fruit of the inner character nor any index to it. And so it is that this illusion blinds the young (nor them alone) to the want within them of truth or integrity, or honor or kindness, or fidelity. Here the seeming may not be in the eyes of others, but it is the more vain and perilous false [46/47] show before our own eyes. More effort is made to mystify oneself and to refute the conviction which friendly advice is striving to produce, than would amply suffice to remove the fault. In all ages, especially in youth, there is a tendency to put away from oneself the conviction of inward grave deficiency, of which facts ought to leave no doubt. Self paints its own likeness, and insists that it is and must be correct, no matter how many proofs to the contrary. The remedy is this--learn to believe that you have serious faults, and that they are the unerring indications of what is within. Call your own acts and words and habits by true and plain names; such as you allow are fairly applied the cases of your neighbors. "Things and actions are what they are;" and learn to know that the seeds of youth, small as they seem, contain the germ of all that follows. You may devise a false system of morals, but you cannot effect a false system of consequences. Gentle names will not prevent harsh results, nor will they correct wrong principles within. One may amuse and deceive himself, but the sin will bear its own fruit notwithstanding. Reality, then, in this particular,--seeing your own faults, calling them by plain names, recognising in them true signs of what you are, and that these faults, so far as they go, are the same as the errors and crimes which you see are destroying so many around--this truthfulness with yourself is indispensible in making your character real. And such reality, believe me, will be the surest guaranty of a life virtuous, not in seeming only, but in fact.
I know not how I can better conclude this address to you all, young gentlemen--especially to you who have now ceased to be our pupils, than by proposing as its title one of the most expressive words with which your Greek studies have familiarized you. I tried to think of some one word in our own language which would express [47/48] my idea, but none occurred to me. I wished to impress the thought of virtue beautiful because of its reality; lovely in appearance because real in its nature. Kalokagaqia--beauty and goodness inseparably united; springing each from the other--the moral state and appearance of the upright man. Kalokagaqia seems to me the very word needed. He who exhibits virtue in a graceless form, belies her scarcely less than he who puts show in the place of reality. Goodness and loveliness belong together; neither can exist apart from the other. Moral goodness must always be beautiful. Moral beauty can never clothe anything but moral goodness. Bend your efforts to the reality, and the loveliness which belongs to it will appear of itself. Desire to exhibit the loveliness of goodness, not for your own or praise, but for the sake of virtue and of her One Fountain, and you will avoid needless offences. But feel it to be a degradation to wish to appear, or, to consent to appear, in any matter better than you are. Yet rebel not against the exactions of your place and circumstances. They require high virtue and its good name! Concentrate your thoughts upon the former; the latter, the good name, will not fail to come with it. Make yourself KalokagaqoV--kaloV kai agaqoV. Seek what I now earnestly commend to you all--Kalokagaqia--and do it, in the only true and sure way, by seeking till you find that which has so often been commended to you in a place and on occasions more sacred than this, and in the words of Divine origin--"The Beauty of Holiness!"
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness; neither shadow of turning."
You have just heard these words in the Epistle for the day; and their occurring there suggested the thought of making them the subject of my sermon now. They are, you know, the words which are engraved on the seal of the College as our motto; not merely to fill up the space usually given to a motto--nor yet because they and the device they explain are striking and appropriate; but because they convey the great truth which lies at the bottom of all our efforts here--that God is the one source of all real good, and that we will acknowledge Him here, by our professions, and our practice, as the source from whence alone we seek to derive anything, and as the One to whose glory we strive to devote all of His own gifts;--i. e. all the good and perfect things we may receive. You will remember the device on our seal. On a rock in a wide ocean, Man kneels--his head meekly bent--while his right hand reaches upwards to receive from the hand of God, which is mercifully extended down from the heavens, the bright torch of Light; light of every kind, for soul, and head, and heart, for the whole man; a light which illumines the dark waste around the kneeling suppliant; while encircling this scene are the words, Pasa dosiV agaqh kai pan dorhma teleion anwqen esti--"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above." The remaining words are implied, though the character and space of a seal would not allow them to be written out--katabainon apo tou PatroV twn fwtwnp ar w ouk eni parallagh, h trophV apokiasma--descending from the Father of (the) Lights, with whom is no variableness, no change, nor any shadow, not the slightest sign or indication of any turning or alteration. Those of you who have observed and understood the Greek words of this verse, have noticed that for the word gift--which occurs twice in the English--the Greek has two distinct words, though both of one origin:--every good gift dosiV, and every perfect gift dwrhma. This was hardly mere regard to euphony in the Apostle; and if the conjecture be [49/50] correct that he quoted these words from some poet--for you observe they compose an hexameter line--
Pasa dosiV agaqh kai pan dorhma teleion;
still we may believe that there was some design beyond mere rythm in the change of the word; and if there be some special meaning in the apostle's use of the words, it seems to be this--Every gift that is good in the giving of it--in the process by which it is given, the very receiving of which is a holy and blessed discipline to us; and every perfect gift, every thing given, which, when fully given and received, is perfect, wanting nothing in itself or in its rich fruits--every such giving and every such gift is from above--is from heaven. Earth affords no such gifts. Earth's best and most perfect gifts are yet neither good in the giving nor perfect when we have received them. The acquiring of them is not a holy discipline; and when they are acquired, they are anything but perfect treasures. We do not grow better, but worse, while we seek the gifts of earth, If we gain them, they are never what we anticipated. A thousand things may spoil them to us; or any moment may sweep them away. But the gifts from above are far different. Our very pursuit of them, apart from success, (which is, however, always sure,) our very pursuit of heaven's gifts is a blessed thing to us;--we become better while seeking the gifts which God bestows, and when we gain them, there is no disappointment, no change, no destruction or loss of them. This I think is the spirit of the first part of this verse.
It thus proceeds--Coming down--descending from the Father of (the) Lights--tou patroV twn fwtwn; not the Father of light in general; but the Father of THE LIGHTS, which dispel the gloom which other wise must rest on every soul, on every intellect, and on every heart. The expression is not a mere Hebraism for bright and glorious Father, but it strictly means the Father, not only of us His creatures, but of the clear, and joyful, and holy lights which can come forth from none but God to illumine, and cheer, and sanctify us.
With whom is no variableness, no change, nor any sign of turning, as there is in the brightest of created lights--the Sun. In the sun there is variableness--parallagh--a term, it may be, chosen for its nearness to the astronomical word, parallaxiV which signifies the difference between the real and apparent place of a heavenly body: recognizing the fact that the sun itself or any other heavenly body appear to us to be where science assures us it is not. But the Father of Lights shows himself to us as He is, and where He is; and the eye of faith needs no aid from science to be assured that she sees God as He is; that He will not allow her to be deceived.
And so in the material sun, there are shadows, signs of turning hither and thither, signs of changes already past and of others yet to come. There are none such in the Father of Lights. Brilliant and unchanging--knowing no alteration from all eternity, the Great Creator has made no emblem of Himself perfect. In all His creatures there are traces of imperfection. His glory He has given to no one else. We must judge of Him by nothing we see among His works--they all fall below Him.
 Let us now consider what sort of gifts is meant by the Apostle, His first and chief reference is to higher gifts than those which the use of the words on the College seal would suggest. The apostle, we are sure, included all the gifts of God; and we here would take in all ho meant. He spoke first of spiritual gifts, and from them descended to the lower gifts of light to the mind and heart; and though we begin with these lower, we stop not short of the highest gifts God ever be stows. A worldly and unreflecting person might think only of sanctified science when he looked upon the seal, and its device and motto; but as a whole it means all that St. James meant--that we are here together to invoke and to obtain for ourselves, and for the children of the Church, all the highest and the best gifts which the Father of Lights ever bestows. * * * *
By an academical use of these words it is specially declared, that in all human learning and science it is true that every giving that is good, and every gift given which is perfect, is from God; that it is only from Him that we can, to any real advantage, study or labor to acquire what the Father of lights is giving; and that all our acquirements--all gifts completely ours, are wretched and imperfect if we have not sought them from Him, and if we do not hold them and use them to His glory.
Now to help you to realize this, let me most seriously tell you, that though here in His own house most solemnly, yet not here alone does God meet you and teach you. In every lesson--in each study--in all your classes, God is the great teacher. He is there, ever bestowing on you His good giving, and offering you His perfect gifts. He does this, not merely because by His merciful providence He provides you means and helps for acquiring human knowledge, but because He then and there teaches you His truth. Teachers of sound learning are for that work, God's ministers. He teaches you through them, less solemnly indeed than He here teaches and ministers through us,--yet still, He ministers His truth to you through your daily teachers. And I say His truth--I may almost say--divine truth, because all truth is His, and therefore it is divine. He designs and desires you to receive such truth as His, as from Him, and as to be used to His glory. Do you ever think, in your study of language, from its grammatical elements to its greatest philological niceties, that you are searching into principles and laws which God gave to men, which they never devised for themselves, but which they must follow if they would commune with Him and their fellows? Do you ever reflect that God's Holy Spirit used language, and sanctified its lowest elements in our sight, by adopting them all when he spoke to man? When you study history, do you hear in mind that God is then recounting to you the acts and laws of His providence over your race, and teaching and warning you by His recital of what He has done to those who serve Him and to those who reject Him? When you give your minds to mathematical or natural science, do you pause to think that God is making known to you His eternal principles and laws of numbers and distance and motion? of the proportion and mutual influences of His created agents and instruments? that He is thus teaching you to reverence and adore Him by showing you that from the atom or the insect up to the mightiest system of the universe or to the noblest of His rational creatures, His perfect science created and [51/52] guided, and then changes or brings to an end? When you study the philosophy of your own minds, do you remember that He is thus giving you a glimpse of Himself, in whose image you were made by Him, and to whose likeness you must be wholly conformed, if ever you would attain the bliss He designs for you? And when you study the foundations and principles of His eternal laws of right end wrong, and trace His authority into all the details of your daily life, do you realize Him as the ONE to be supremely feared and obeyed?
And, when you are called to learn more clearly the evidences of the Faith in Jesus Christ, which is your only hope and support; when He sheds upon your minds the fulness of His Heavenly light, so that He makes doubt impossible, can you forbear glorifying the mercy which thus exceedingly anticipates and supplies every need of the soul? And with these views of the sacred and holy character of all that you learn, can you withhold from Him your thanks that you are here taught to mark each step of your daily walk with prayer end praise to Him to sanctify what else would be dry, barren, infidel exercise of the mere mind? to learn, in connection with more secular truth, the whole system of His truth in the redemption and sanctification of your race, the glories and privileges of His Church and kingdom; and to know each hour that all this comes from Him, not from man; comes as His good giving and His perfect gift, making you better by the very way and method in which He bestows it, and perfectly filling and satisfying your immortal spirits with the good ness and perfection of grace from the Father of Lights, through His Only and Ever Blessed Son. * * * * *
Therefore, should your chief aim and end even now be His glory. You should anticipate the time when you will be actively employing the knowledge He is now giving you, in the works of some useful station which will advance His praise, end the present and eternal interests of your fellow-men. And you should never forget that for all these your present opportunities, you will be called to a strict account. If any hour now o by unheeded and unimproved, that hour He will have charged heavily against you in the great account. Or if any of you here gain knowledge--His knowledge--but receive it not and use it not as His; if you pervert God's Truth to Satan's ser vice, and dishonor him, and destroy your fellow-men by that which He gives you to be made the efficient instrument of His glory and your brother's salvation, woe will be to your soul But if you learn of him, and to Him, and in Him, and ever devote all His good and perfect gifts to Him and His service, your reward is sure. All that you now are capable of learning and knowing is but very little; far less in itself, yet far greater in its effects than you will ever be able to conceive, until that blessed hour when (God grant it) you shall hear Him say, in regard to knowledge as well as every other talent--"Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." AMEN.