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tell what he knows. This clearness of thought and precision of
expression is best acquired in the class room, in the literary
societies, and in the classes devoted especially to the study of
expression.

The intellectual aim of a college should be not only to awaken and
develop independent thinking power as an abiding impulse which will
prompt to effective intellectual work, but withal the will, the
imagination, and emotive nature should be so trained that the student
will have a mental taste and moral appreciation for the best and
noblest thought. Mental discipline and the dull routine of study will
become cold and insipid unless the student is inducted into those
fields of science and literature where he will find the richest
sources of refined and elevating pleasures, and through them be
incited to noble action. It is on these lines of study that the
student acquires that spirit of study which becomes spontaneous,
attractive, and joyous. He loves culture for culture's sake, and does
not abandon its acquisition on leaving college.

A symmetrically developed manhood or womanhood involves _physical
culture_. The ascetic idea of college life no longer prevails. The
body, as well as the mind, is trained. The value to a student of good
health and an alert and vigorous body cannot be overestimated.
Educators are coming to realize more fully than in the past that the
physical and psychical factors of life are inseparable. The body and
mind are mutually related and affected. Systematic exercise
stimulates quickness of mental processes and promotes brain power.

The leading American colleges are conducted on better physiological
and hygienic principles than in the past. The student, on entering
college, is subject to a careful physical examination by a competent
physician, and a course of systematic physical training is prescribed.
Any organic defect or incipient disease is discovered, and, if
possible, corrected. Physical training has become an integral part of
a good college course. Exercise is largely compulsory, because
studious and ambitious students are likely to sacrifice physical for
intellectual training.

A well-equipped gymnasium is essential for the most thorough physical
culture. Bath-rooms, with facilities for plunge and shower baths, are
an important adjunct in promoting that healthy condition of the skin
which follows from frequent bathing. An athletic field for outdoor
sports is, likewise, a valuable accessory to develop a lithe and
active body.

The master of the gymnasium is generally a vigorous and enthusiastic
instructor, who is able to conduct skillfully daily gymnastic class
work, and relieve monotony and evoke interest by introducing a variety
of exercises for the different college classes. He is also the
hygienic adviser in all matters relating to study and recreation. The
students are taught that regular exercise, sufficient sleep, personal
cleanliness, and proper diet will correct most of the so-called
pernicious effects of over-study.

Outdoor sports, under proper restrictions, promote health and foster
mental qualities. Foot-ball and base-ball have gained an undue
prominence in some colleges. It is questionable whether they are the
most desirable forms of exercise for physical development, since only
a very small portion of the students at any one time can engage in
them.

The evil features of inter-collegiate games, especially as practiced,
offset their advantages. The undue excitement and spirit of rivalry
fostered is foreign to the true idea of an earnest student life. The
college is no monastery to make the student a recluse, but it should
be a place of solitude, a modern cloister, where the student may be
kept in partial isolation and away from the turbulent stream of public
life and distracting social influences. The student may keep in the
midst of the current of actual modern thought and life without
sacrificing the quiet seclusion which is an essential requirement for
the best scholarship.

These inter-collegiate games have been attended with temptations
perilous to character. Abundant testimony is not wanting to show that
their tendency has been toward rowdyism, gambling, debauchery, and
other disgraceful conduct. Some of the games scarcely rise above the
brutality of the prize fight. They have no elevating tendency, and no
apology can be made for their roughness and bad moral effects.

The fine natural instincts of the majority of American people are
repelled at such physical prowess. It is not necessary to introduce
the element of pugilism in order to give vent to the superabundance of
youthful animal spirits.

The abuse of these outdoor sports should not make us blind to the fact
that they have a legitimate use. It is wiser to control and direct
them than to curb the exuberance of good feeling which they call
forth, and which might find expression in less appropriate channels.
It should be borne in mind that all physical training is a failure
unless the aim is to maintain and develop health, to make the student
symmetrical, strong, graceful and better fitted for the duties of
living.

A symmetrical development involves, likewise, _the cultivation of the
moral and spiritual nature_.

The Christian religion affords the broadest educational basis,
because it presents the most exalted notion of personality and its
development. It takes account of the deepest facts of our nature, and
teaches philosophical principles that are true for all created
intelligences. Hence it is that Christianity is essential to the best
educational system. It precedes and governs true education. A narrow
and false conception of man leads to building only one side of his
nature. The will, the conscience, the emotional and spiritual natures
demand a share in the broadest culture. We cannot divide these
essential elements against themselves. The religious sentiment is so
interwoven with our being that it cannot be eliminated or dethroned.
It takes no subordinate place, because it is supreme. There is no true
theory of life without the spiritual element. All theories of
education and principles of action that do not recognize the relations
of the human soul to the supernatural are out of harmony with the laws
governing human life.

These truths have been impressed on the noblest minds. "The greatest
thought," said Daniel Webster, "that ever entered my mind, is the
thought of my personal accountability to God." And Channing says that
"man's relation to God is the great quickening truth, throwing all
other truths into insignificance, and a truth which, however obscured
and paralyzed by the many errors which ignorance and fraud have
hitherto linked with it, has ever been a chief spring of human
improvement. We look to it as the true life of the intellect. No man
can be just to himself, can comprehend his own existence, can put
forth all his powers with an heroic confidence, can deserve to be the
guide and inspirer of other minds, till he has risen to communion with
the Supreme Mind; till he feels his filial connection with the
Universal Parent; till he regards himself as the recipient and
minister of the Infinite Spirit; till he feels his consecration to the
ends which religion unfolds; till he rises above human opinion, and
is moved by a higher impulse than fame."

The Christian religion is in harmony with intellectual activity,
because it favors application to study, and enjoins the duty of
seeking truth, as well as awakens and intensifies the love of the good
and beautiful. In fact, the human intellect owes its greatest triumphs
to Christianity. From the beginning, the Christian religion has
assimilated and employed human learning, and has become a great
formative force in modern intellectual movements. It favors a broad
catholic spirit, and is the counterpoise and remedy of a narrow range
of intellectual activity. History teaches that it has been a strong
incentive in the search after truth, and the chief factor in training
the race to a higher civilized life. The changes in the progress in
modern civilization are stimulated and guided by Christian knowledge.
The whole trend of modern thought and instruction in the higher
intellectual circles is to apply Christian principles to the problems
of life. In every age it has stimulated and invigorated the human
mind. It has introduced nobler and better ideas of life, given impetus
to self-development, and has produced the highest types of manhood and
of womanhood. The inspiration and encouragement in advancing general
intelligence and founding the higher institutions of learning is
principally due to the Christian religion.

"From the days of the Apologists onwards," says Prof. John De Witt,
"learning has always advanced under the fostering care of our
religion. In the schools of Antioch and of Alexandria, in Carthage and
Hippo, in the old Rome on the Tiber, and in the new Rome on the
Bosphorus, throughout the period of the ancient church, religion is
the great inspiration of intellectual labor. How true this is of the
Middle Age I need not stop to say. Religion in Anselm assimilates the
philosophy of Plato. In the Anglican doctor it employs the dialectic
and metaphysics of Aristotle. And the true father of the inductive
philosophy, who anticipated the Organon and the very Idola of his
great namesake, is Roger Bacon, the Franciscan brother. It was to this
wonderful and unique power of Christianity to assimilate and employ
all the triumphs of the human intellect, that the Western World is
indebted for the universities by which, most of all, learning was
increased and transmitted from generation to generation. Bologna and
Naples, the school of Egbert at York, the schools of Charlemagne in
the New Christian Empire, with Alcuin as minister of education; the
later universities, with their tens of thousands of eager
students - Paris, Cologne, and Oxford - sprang into being obedient,
indeed, to a thirst for knowledge, but a thirst for knowledge which,
in turn, owed its existence and intensity to the unique fact that
Christianity alone among religions can assimilate and employ all the
truths of human philosophy, of science, and of literature."

The importance of promoting religious culture in our colleges cannot
be overestimated. Dr. Thomas Arnold has spoken words that should be
preserved in letters of gold. "Consider," he says, "what a religious
education, in the true sense of the word, is: It is no other than a
training our children to life eternal; no other than the making them
know and love God, know and abhor evil; no other than the fashioning
all the parts of our nature for the very ends which God designed for
them; the teaching our understandings to know the highest truth; the
teaching our affections to _love_ the highest good!" One of the
greatest teachers, Mark Hopkins, on the fiftieth anniversary of his
connection with Williams College, said: "Christianity is the greatest
civilizing, molding, uplifting power on this globe, and it is a sad
defect in any institution of higher learning if it does not bring
those under its care into the closest possible relation to it." The
profound French philosopher, Victor Cousin, declares that "any system
of school training which sharpens and strengthens the intellectual
powers without supplying moral culture and religious principle is a
curse rather than a blessing." And President M. E. Gates says: "In
place of the fermenting despair of nihilism, the reckless immoralities
of atheism, and the suicidal negations of agnosticism which have
cursed liberally-educated Europe, if we are to have here in America an
influence strong, binding and beneficient in our social system, as the
result of collegiate education, it must be, it can be only by
retaining in that system a clear faith in God, and by making
prominent, as the highest aim of life, the service of God in serving
the best interests of one's fellow-men."

The goal of all education is fulness of stature of men and women in
Christ. Art and science are a vain show without this aim. A man may
have a brain as keen as a Damascus scimiter, and yet he is wanting
without piety. This moral and religious equipment is necessary for
right conduct which, Matthew Arnold says, is three-fourths of life.
Other things being equal, the student that is touched and saturated
with the religious life will be under the strongest motives and attain
the highest culture and efficiency in life. A pure heart and a clear
brain are closely related. "Our education will never be perfect
unless, like the ancient temples, it is lighted from above." Martin
Luther said: "To have prayed well is to have studied well," which
accords with the idea of the best scholars in former days at
Cambridge: _Bene orasse est bene studisse_.

The Christian spirit is eminently favorable to culture and to the
promotion of literary productivity. It helps to make brilliant and
earnest teachers, and lends zest to professional ambition. "Other
things being equal," says Noah Porter, "that institution of learning
which is earnestly religious is certain to make the largest and most
valuable achievements in science and learning, as well as in literary
tastes and capacities."

President Gates forcibly expresses the thought in these words: "Man is
not, and was not meant to be, pure disembodied intellect. True
philosophy, as well as common sense, teaches that the heart and the
will have their rightful domain in every man's life. If the
understanding becomes arrogant and spurns the aid of the other powers
of the mind, not only does the man become an incomplete man, but his
intellect itself inevitably loses poise and clearness. The man ceases
to be a man, and becomes a calculating machine, and his intellect
becomes subject to those sudden reversals of legitimate processes and
results which the law of construction for calculating machines renders
inevitable in them, but from which _life_ saves the living man, the
feeling, worshiping soul."

There is nothing more important to equip the complete scholar and
gentleman than the Christian religion. Tennyson's poetic
interpretation of this truth is thus beautifully expressed:

"Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell,
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music, as before,
But vaster."

The _methods of promoting religious life in college_ are widely
varied. One of the most effective means is the positive Christian
faith and the personal religious influence of the college professors.
The student enters college at a vital and perilous period of life. The
judgment is often immature and the life principles unsettled. In this
speculative period the student may be blindly endeavoring to adjust
his faith to his reason. Especially at this time he needs professors
of superior reason, strength of faith and spiritual discernment to
unveil the divine mysteries and aid in dispelling doubt. Ex-President
Seelye, of Amherst, once said: "We should no more think of appointing
to a post of instruction here an irreligious man than we should an
immoral man, or one ignorant of the topics he would have to teach." It
is certainly no narrow bigotry that leads the Christian public to
demand that the colleges select professors loyal to the truth and the
Christian Church. United with their scientific culture and
professional ability as teachers they should embody Christian
earnestness and purity of life, and aim to send out students with a
positive and rational faith.

The parent who realizes that the moral character of his children will
be fixed, in a large measure, while in college, believes that it would
be moral suicide to permit them to come under the influence of a
professor whose religious indifference, or unfavorable remarks about
Christianity, might infuse the poison of skepticism, doubt, or
indifference, and perhaps unsettle their early religious convictions,
and "send them forth confused and adrift on the endless sea of
conflicting notions."

The courses of study in college should be arranged so as to favor the
study of the essential facts and truths of the Christian religion, and
through them promote practical piety. There is no valid reason why the
Christian religion, which is the chief energy and force in all
intellectual culture, should not be distinctly and permanently
recognized in the college curriculum. The well-established and
accepted facts of the Christian religion should be gathered and
studied with as much painstaking care, freedom of spirit, and loyalty
to truth as the scientist studies his facts and constructs his
theories. This method implies that the teacher and pupil hold in
abeyance all those probable theories, speculations, and conjectures
which are not established, as irrelevant to the work in hand. When
this scientific spirit is more effectively introduced into the study
of the Christian religion in our colleges, it will prepare the way
for the restatement of doctrine so as to commend it with increasing
force to every intelligent student. Christian truth is capable of
being built up into a system as scientific as any other. The
professor, in leading the earnest student in search of spiritual
truth, will exercise tolerance and tact, so that he will not awaken
suspicions of being actuated by a narrow bigotry, or appear as a lover
of dogmatic teachings.

Again, it is better to select text-books that have been written by
capable men who are in sympathy with the Christian religion. The
student with an immature mind, who seeks to build his faith and
theories of life on the teachings of those whose predilections are
away from Christianity, will find it fatal to his lofty ideals and
aspirations, while instruction based on Christian theism tends to lift
the mind upward, and to foster a hopeful and earnest moral and
intellectual life.

We grant that Christian character can only be incidentally produced
through the subjects studied. The same study may be taught in
different ways, and with entirely different results. The intellectual
processes involved in study do not necessarily exert a spiritual
influence. The aim and spirit of the professor and student will
determine whether the study pursued shall contribute to the
cultivation of greater reverence and exaltation of the soul. The charm
of scientific study may so occupy the student's attention as to
exclude all thoughts of the spiritual and eternal, or he may "look
through nature up to nature's God." The student may be so absorbed
with the human events and material conditions of history as to
overlook the light of God's presence and guiding hand in it all.

To be liberally educated in Christian America, one should have a
knowledge of the English Bible. It is the fountain and conservator of
pure English and the storehouse of the most inspiring thought. Its
classic beauty and lofty speculations and sublime morality are
essential to a liberal education. "Froude calls the Bible the best of
all literatures. Daniel Webster read the Bible through every year for
its effect upon his mind. Charles Sumner kept the Bible at his elbow
on his desk, and could find any passage without a concordance. Great
men have found the Bible a great inspiration. But not this alone - as a
great and inspiring literature, - but as a source of spiritual life and
power, the Bible is the basis of true collegiate growth."

The study of the English Bible in colleges is important in developing
the will and the conscience, and in evoking religious feelings which
have a practical influence on conduct. It certainly imparts a vigorous
character to education, and brings men face to face with the facts of
sin and its remedy. The presence of Christianity in the intellectual
life of the student is corrective of selfishness and other vices which
enslave the intellect and render life a disastrous failure.

It is encouraging to note that the study of the Bible is finding a
place in the American college curriculum on a level with other
studies, and time is allotted to attain a certain intellectual mastery
of it. The active class instruction is as exacting and exhausting as
any part of the college course. The student is led to trace the
historic movements and to perceive the organic character, the literary
forms and personal factors in its composition. The inductive method
adopted develops original and independent students of the Word. The
intellectual, devotional, and practical ends attained by this study
are a powerful factor in upholding and maintaining the moral and
spiritual character of the students.

Another method is that of _religious worship_. Students living in a
community with a separate intellectual and social life should be
required to meet daily for religious worship and instruction. The
sacred moments spent in the college chapel by the whole college
community are an appropriate recognition of the worth and power of the
Christian religion, and do something to meet the spiritual needs and
aspirations of the human soul. The daily gathering of the academic
body to listen to a brief but suggestive exposition of scripture, and
to unite in praise and prayer, cultivates reverence and devotion in
the student, and will be regarded by many of them in after years as
among the most delightful experiences in college life. If the
religious services are not made perfunctory, but attractive and
inspiring, in college, the students may pass to the university in
their maturer years with devotional habits, and, likely, to avail
themselves of its voluntary system of daily religious exercises.

The colleges should ever keep in view the original aim of the founders
to make them centers of evangelical power. Piety, however, should not
be a substitute for honest scholarly work. They should never permit
their enthusiasm for an intellectual training and the growth of the
sciences to obscure or conceal Him who is the Light and Life of all
men. Their immediate and primary aim should be to promote intellectual
culture, but this in nowise involves a departure from the spirit of
the forefathers who made them agencies for defending and propagating
the gospel, and for leading the youth to remember that "the fear of
the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

It is evident, then, that the function of the college is to unfold the
intellectual, physical, moral, and spiritual life of the young people,
and especially to form character that shall be fully equipped for
carrying out the divine purpose of life.


THE ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE.

Another function of the American college is to extend the objective
field of knowledge. The enlarged range of knowledge in our day is
owing principally to the clear thinking and earnest, original,
productive work done by college professors and students. They have
done more to extend the empire of thought than any other class of
intellectual workers. The college is the home of the arts and
sciences, and it exists to teach and promote them. Professors should
have the ability and the time, more and more, to make investigations,
to extend the domain of truth, and to give philosophical and
scientific guidance to the nation.

The university proper, as now being developed, regards as its special
function the training of men for research and professional work. Its
ample facilities and its methods of work give advanced students rare
privileges in any department of research.

"The modern university," says Professor Josiah Royce, "has its highest
business, to which all else is subordinate, the organization and
advance of learning. Not that the individual minds are now neglected.
They are wisely guarded as the servants of the one great cause. But
the real mind which the university has to train is the mind of the
nation - that concrete social mind whereof we all are ministers and
instruments. The daily business of the university is, therefore, first
of all, the creation and the advance of learning, as the means whereby
the national mind can be trained."

The constructive intellectual spirit so paramount in the university
begins in the college. The more formal methods of disciplinary work at
the beginning of a collegiate course gradually shade off, during the
closing years, into the methods and spirit of original discovery
adopted in university work. In the college there is kindled in the
student the love of new truth and an enthusiasm for the advancement of
learning. He is led to undertake creative work, and become an active,
intellectual producer, with aspirations to widen the horizon of
thought and weave the best results of his discoveries into the warp


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Online LibraryJohn Marshall BarkerColleges in America → online text (page 5 of 10)