William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

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must climb if he would drink, and where breezes of playfulness ruffled
the surface of the calm deep mind. These all died in faith, seeing from
afar the promise, and confessing that they were but pilgrims on the earth,
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should
not be made perfect

Yet it is not alone the voices of teachers which are still heard in
Divinity Hall. This modest dormitory has sheltered a long succession of
young men, who, in tlie seclusion of their rooms, have not only dreamt
the dreams of youth, but have heard the word of the Lord as it was
spoken to Habakkuk, saying r '* Write the vision and make it plain, so
that he who runs may read it." Much attention has been called of late
to the interesting fact that the only marked strain of lyrical expression in
America which has found a permanent place in the literature of hymn-
ology has proceeded from the Liberal Movement; but it should be
added that, with the exception of Whittier and Holmes, almost all these
hymns of the emancipated spirit were written by graduates of this School,
and a large proportion of them written within these walls. Edmund
Sears, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Longfellow, Frederic Hosmer, William
Gannett, and that Arthur Hugh Clough of American poets, Edward
Rowland Sill, — all were residents in Divinity Hall when they gave the
first proof of lyric power which has insured them a permanent place in
Christian worship.

Among these witnesses of the spirit, the most involved in turbulent
emotions was Theodore Parker. He lived in Room 29 during 1834, hav-
ing already taught school with so fruitful an experience that, among his
many revolutionary propositions, he advised the school committee of
Roxbuiy '' that corporeal punishment should not be inflicted without some

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466 The Spiritual History of Divinity Hall. [Mai'cb,

ostensible reason." His cbaracter, even while in the School, was, to use
the expression of Dr. Bartol, *' exuberant," — a quality which led him to
speak with moderate consideration of '^ Old Paul " ; to write in his diary
that *' prayers are performed at morning of each day " ; and to record
of his last service in this Chapel on May 8, 1836, '* Hereafter I hope to
preach to real live men and women." Restless and untiring, however, as
was the energy of his extraordinary mind, it did not overpower the
natural piety of his heart ; and the same Parker who alarmed his elders
by irreverent audacity backed by enormous erodition found tranquil re-
creation in the composition of religious sonnets of rare distinction. The
most famous of these, —

*' O Thon great friend of all the sons of men," —

was not written until 1846 ; but another, which dates from the year of
his graduation, 1836, strikes the same note of reverence for the person
of Jesus. It begins :

and ends:

*' Jesns, there is no dearer name than Thine,
Which time has blazoned on her mighty aoroll *

'* Once on the earth wert Thou a living shrine,
Where dwelt the €}ood, the Loyely, the Divine.'*

Such are a few of the many voices which still echo through the
shadowy spaces of Divinity Hall, recalling to us its spiritual history.
** Many shall commend their understanding," says the Apocryphal book
of such lives, ^* and their memory shall not depart The nations shall show
forth tbeir wisdom and the congregation shall declare their praise." In
this catalogue of names and events, however, which might without ex-
cessive praise be much prolonged, there remain two which represent,
not occurrences of local or institutional concern alone, but incidents of
universal religion, epochs in the spiritaal history of the modem world.
The first is Channing*s Sermon at the Dedication of Divinity Hall ; the
second is Emerson's Divinity School Address.

Channing was in 1826 at the height of his powers. In 1812 he had
been appointed Dexter Lecturer in Harvard University ; for 13 years
from 1813 he had been a member of the Corporation, and in 1816 had
published his *' Tract on Increasing the Means of Theological Educa-
tion." " The present course of training," he there wrote, in words which
seem as if uttered yesterday, ** is too technical. ... It does not com-
municate a living spirit . . . The first lesson to the students should be
that in order to communicate they must receive and be filled with the
spirit of Christianity. . . . The attention of theological students should
be turned more on the state of the world, less on abstract subjects. . . .

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1916.] The Spiritual History of Divinity Hall 467

The miseries of the mass of men, their toils, ignorance, sufferings, tempta-
tions, should touch them. • . . Their minds should he guided by the
faith that a great change is practicable." Deeply stirred by this concep-
tion of the ministry, which like so much else in Channing anticipates by
a century the movement of thought, his choice of a theme for the Dedica-
tion Sermon was inevitable. There are two general views of religion
which reappear throughout the histoiy of Christian theology, and be-
tween the two runs a distinct line of cleavage. The first may be loosely
defined as the static, the second as the dynamic view. The two are not
mutually exclusive. In theology as in physics, there is a science of statics
not less than a science of dynamics. The distinction in theology is one of
emphasis. According to the firet view religious truth is best studied
while at rest According to the second view religion is noimally in mo-
tion. The one view considers a fixed fact, the other a spiritual motive.
On the one hand is conformity to a creed, on the other is consecration of
character. Of this dynamic view of religion Channing's Dedication Ser-
mon was one of the earliest and most classic illustrations. In a series of
majestic paragraphs he unfolded the implications of the great saying:
*' His word was with power." The function of the ministry is to commu-
nicate power, to move both the intellect and the emotions. *'^o free
inquiry we dedicate these walls." <^ Here let the heart muse till the fire
burns." *^ To preach with power a man must feel Christianity to be worthy
of the blood it has cost." *' We consecrate this Institution to the spirit of
martyrdom, of disinterested attachment to the Christian cause, through
which it first triumphed and for want of which its triumphs are now slow."
No preacher should let a year go by without a f I'esh reading of these
burning words wliich pledge him to a dynamic ministry.

When we proceed from the year 1826 to the year 1838 and consider
the second great event in the spiritual history of Divinity Hall, we are met
by the same dynamic view of religion applied in a new form to a new
end. The language of modem business speaks of " Power and Light
Corporations," operating through their whirling d3mamos to transmit
either motion or illumination to the world. If we may apply the same
distinctions to the operations of the spirit it may be said that in Chan-
ning the religious dynamic took the form of power, and in Emerson the
form of light. Channing*s genius was utilized to give momentum, energy,
propulsion, to rational thought. Emerson's tranquil mysticism fulfilled
itself in the radiation and penetration of spiritual light Emerson could
not argrae or demonstrate. "I do not know," he wrote to Henry Ware,
''what arguments mean in reference to any expression of thought; I
delight in telling what I think, but if you ask how I dare say so, or
why it is so, I am the most helpless of men." Emerson is not, then,

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468 The Spiritual History of Divinity HalL [March,

to be reckoned, like Channing, among those who have convinced the
reason, but among those who have illuminated the soul ; ^' the friend and
aider/' as Matthew Arnold called him, '*of those who would live in
tlie spirit." Divinity Hall, it may be happily remembered, claims Emer-
son, not as teacher only, but as occupant. In 1824 he began his studies
in the Divinity School, recording in his journal : *^ I deliberately dedi-
cate my time, my talents, and my hopes to the Church '' ; and after a
considerable absence, due to affection of his eyes, he returned in 1827
and, though not registering' as a member of the School, occupied for a
year Room 14 in the newly constructed Divinity Hall. *' Notliing," as
his biographer justly concludes, '' was farther from his intention than
to unsettle Christian belief." " I believe," he wrote at this time, '' the
Christian religion to be profoundly true, — true to an extent that they
who are styled its most Orthodox defenders have never, or but in rarest
glimpses once or twice in a lifetime, reached. . . . They reckon me un-
believing, I with better reason them. ... He is shallow wlio rails at men
and their controversies, and does not see Divinity behind all their insti-
tutions and all their fetches, even such as are odious and paltry. ... It
were worth while to show the reality and infinite depth of spiritual laws,
— that all the maxims of Christ are true to the core of the world."

When, therefore, on July 15, 18^, he was called to address the
Senior Class in Divinity Chapel, it was with no desire to depreciate the
significance of the ministry, or to shock the guardians of faith. What he
described in a letter to Carlyle as the *' storm in our wash-bowl," took
him completely by surprise. A Princeton professor wrote of the Address :
^' We want words with which to express our sense of the nonsense and
impiety which pervades it. It is a rhapsody, obviously in imitation of Car-
lyle, but without his genius." The Christian Examiner described the
Address as ''neither good divinity nor good sense"; and the Boston
Advertiser remarked: ''Silly men and silly women have been drawn
away from their faith, if not divorced from all that can properly be
called religion." The impression made on the Methodist sailor-preacher.
Father Taylor, was more confused, but perhaps more representative of
the general feeling. " Mr. Emerson," said Taylor, " is one of the sweetest
characters that God ever made. He must go to heaven when he dies ; for
if he went to hell the Devil would not know what to do with him. But
he knows no more of the religion of the New Testament than Balaam's
ass did of the principles of Hebrew grammar." When one turns to the
Address which appeared so reprehensible, his attention is first of all
arrested by the exquisite beauty of phrase, which leaves a still pervasive
fragrance. The gentle Henry Ware, Jr., though he felt bound to express
warm dissent from the teaching of the Address, could not refrain from

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1916.] The Spiritual History of Divinity Hall. 469

uttering his delight in its diction. ^^ That I appreciate/' he wrote the
next day, *' and rejoice in the beantif al images of spiritual life which you
throw out, and which stir so many souls, is what gives me a great deal
more pleasure to say." How vividly and permanently these aphorisms
linger in the memory as jewels of literature, — the lovely exordium :
^' In this refulgent summer it has been a luxury to draw the breath of
life " ; the classification of miracle as '^ One with the blowing clover and
the falling rain " ; the definition of the prophet : ^^ The man on whom
the soul descends alone can teach " ; and the peroration which is fitly
selected to stand in stone as a memorial of the event : " Yourself, a new-
born bard of the Holy Ghost, cast behind you all conformity and ac-
quaint men at first hand with Deity ! " As one recovers from the daz-
zling effect of these electrifying phrases he finds that the Address is in
substance very simple and definite in aim. It is devoted to the* announce-
ment of one great principle which was the permanent suppoii; and inspi-
ration of Emerson's faith, — the principle of an immediate revelation,
the doctrine of the immanence of Grod. In its negative statement the
doctrine is expressed in words which gave deep offense. '^Tlie soul,"
Emerson says, " knows no peraons." Some critics were quick to perceive
in the phrase a denial of the personality of God, and others read in it an
indifference to the personality of Jesus. The first criticism Emerson was
prompt to repel. '^ I deny personality to God," he wrote, ^' because it has
too little, not too much life ; personal life is faint and cold to the energy
of Gk>d." The second cnticism is sufficiently met by some of the noblest
words of the Address itself. ^* Jesus Christ," Emerson says, '^ belonged to
the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul.
Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it and
had his being there. Alone in all history he estimated the greatness of
man. One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God in-
carnates Himself in man, and ever goes forth anew to take possession
of His world." In a word, the place of Emerson in the history of religion
must be found in that long procession of spiritual seers whom we call the
Mystics, and who are content to be witnesses of the life of Grod in the
soul of man. The mystic does not argue, or prove ; he sees, he experi-
ences, he knows ; and the word of Gt>d comes to him while he listens, as
the song of birds came to the listening Emerson in the Walden woods.
^ It is a blessed thing," said Phillips Brooks, ** that in all times there have
been men to whom religion has not presented itself as a system of doc-
trine, but as an elemental life in which the soul of man comes into direct
and close communion with the soul of Grod." That is the blessing which
multitudes of readers have received through Emerson. ^^ Within man,"
he says, " is the soul of the Whole, the wise Silence, the universal Heart,

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470 The Spiritual HiBtory of Divinity Hall. [March,

the eternal One/' That was tlie teaching to which the little group of
Divinity students breathlessly listened on that refulgent July day of 1838,
and which has come to command a great audience in all parts of the

In these two historic incidents, then, the Sermon of Channing and the
Address of Emerson, the spiritual history of Divinity Hall is sufficiently
summed up. Few buildings in America can claim so rich a heritage. The
18ih century bequeathed to this country only one name which has left
a permanent impression upon religious thought : — that of Jonathan Ed-
wards. The 19th century saw New England theology rationalized
by Bushnell; American preaching revived by Beecher and Brooks ; and
religion directed to social reform by Parker ; but none of these great
teachers of his own age has left behind him writings which are likely to
find a permanent place in the religious literature of the world. It is quite
otherwise with the two names which represent the spiritual history of
Divinity Hall. Channing remains as sane a counsellor and as timely a
preacher as he was a century ago. If any one wishes sound instruction
today concerning temperance, education, industrialism, or war — not to
speak of rational religion — let him turn, not to the last utterances of
agitators or reformers, but to the calm and searching discriminations of
Channing. The timelessness of Emerson was more gradually secured.
Channing*s leadership was unquestioned during his life, and more could
not be achieved than to maintain permanently the place at once con-
ceded to him. Emerson, on the other hand, encountered immediate dift-
trust and hostility, and the passing of the years has brought to his name
a tardy but constantly expanding authority. Men of affairs and secluded
students ; young people with their early idealisms and old people with
their philosophies of life ; — all alike still nourish their souls on Emerson ;
and when, twenty-five years after his death. Harvard University erected
a building devoted to philosophy, the intellectual ideals of America seemed
most adequately symbolized by giving it the title of Emerson Hall.

It is idle to consider which of these teachers was the greater. It is like
debating the merits of Greek and Grothic architecture. Channing is classic,
symmetrical, convincing ; and it is appropriate tliat Divinity Hall in its
graceful and classic architecture should reproduce the restrained refine-
ment and substantial simplicity of Channing's teaching. Yet tempera-
ments there must always be, and rapturous instincts in the most temper-
ate of minds, which respond to the Gothic ideal ; the daring, high-vaulted,
imaginative reach of the mystic toward the EtemaL ^' The Grecian,"
said Lowell in his Cathedraly —

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1916.] The Associated Harvard Cluhs. 471

** . . . gluts me with its perf eetnees,
Unanswerable as Enolid, self-oootained,
The one thing perfect in this hasty world . • •
But ah I this other, this that neyer ends.
Still climbing, Iniing fancy still to climb . . .
Imagination's very self in stone I
With one long sigh of infinite release . . .
1 looked, and owned myself a happy Qoth."

Such is the influence of Emerson. Thei richness of each fragmentary
thought, the setting of ideas in such beauty that they become imagina-
tion's very self in literature, even the dimness of language, like the dim
vista of a Gothic aisle, — these climbing and luring qualities have made
many a young dreamer in Divinity Hall — and many more in many
lands — turn to Emerson as a helper and friend in the life of the spiiit
One enters the dark sentences as one enters a dim cathedral, not perhaps
surrendering the reason to their doctrine, yet exalted by their art, yield-
ing to their suggestiveness, glad to come from the glare of argument into
the shadow of mysticism, and with a sigh of infinite release to own one's
self — for a peaceful hour at least — a happy Goth.

C. BARD, '01.

In the Graduates' Magazine of March, 1907, Rome G. Brown, '84,
then President of the Associated Harvard Clubs, contributed an article
on the organization and the first ten years' development of the Associated
Harvard Clubs.

The Association has steadily gained in strength because of the increased
number of graduates settling west of the Allegheny Mountains. Until
recently the vast proportion of Harvard men were drawn from New Eng-
land and remained in New England after graduation ; but since 1890
there has been a decided change. An examination of the home addresses
of undergraduates and the addresses of these men ten or fifteen years
later shows a striking number of changes. To offset the adventurous
type, who, after graduation, leave New England, there is, of course, a
considerable body of men who remain in New England ; but the fact is
evident that the men who come from outside and settle in New England
are to a great extent those who took up only graduate work in Harvard.
Most of these go into so-called learned professions, especially teaching.
On the other hand, most of the New England men who go West enter
business as opposed to the professions. Indee<l the most casual examina-
tion of occupations of men in recent classes shows a remarkable shift of

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472 ITie Associated Harvard Clubs. [March,

vocation when compared with the record of twenty or more years ago.
Formerly the vast proportion of Harvard graduates became ministers,
lawyers, doctors, and teachers, — only a few chose a mercantile career.
Now the reverse is trae.

This change of profession has been a potent caase of the formation and
development of the Associated Harvard Clubs. Its inception was due to
the inherent insurgency which has always been a marked characteristic
of Western life. It was a revolt against exclusive New England control
of graduate activities, but it must hastily be added that this revolt had
no animosity. It was, on the contrary, the result of heartfelt interest in
Harvard affairs issuing in earnest endeavor to be of real practical assist-
ance. Until the organization of the Associated Harvard Clubs, Harvard
University was hardly even a New England institution; it was rather a
local Massachusetts college which was just beginning to feel tlie leaven of
outside graduate influence. The effort to develop into a national univer-
sity became evident in the early nineties ; the Associated Harvard Clubs
was organized in 1897.

After the first burst of insurgency had passed, the Association was
granted the privilege of nominating an Overseer of the University. Imme-
diately after that its activities were for some years academic. Wonder-
fully efficient investigations were made by the different committees of tlie
Association ; reports of decided value were written, so valuable that even
after a lapse of years there are calls from various investigators for copies.
In the last five years, on the contrary, there has been less theory and
more practical work, due in part, possibly, to the type of presidents of
the Associated Clubs, for in recent years the majority of presidents have
been men in active business life. Concurrently, committee work has also
been done in a more businesslike manner.

From the wealth of committee work during the past ten years it is
rather embarrassing to select special items which stand out in relief. The
franchise has been repeatedly discussed (almost perpetually) ; an able in-
vestigation was made of the three-year course ; a meritorious examination
of the secondary schools was extended over a period of several years, and
with this topic was studied the correlated phase of how to induce students
to go to Harvard ; and there also was a most interesting discussion on
the ways and means of advertising the University in a dignified manner.
Lately the most constructive work has been the development in scholar-
ships. The committee in charge has been wonderfully successful, almost
too successful, because the rank and file of graduates complacently as-
sume that the work has become so effective that they need make little
effort to give material assistance. Under the direction of F. W. Burling-
ham, *91, of Chicago, however, this committee has brought it about Uiat

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1916.] The, Associated Harvard Clubs. 473

scholarships are offered broadcast, so that now worthy boys in every
State in the Union can consider Harvard, regardless of their financial
circumstances. In addition, a score of new clubs have been organized,
club activity in general stimulated, and the number of constituent Har-
vard Clubs in the Association has been greatly increased, — in fact trebled
during the last four years. This alone would more Uian justify the exiert-
ence of the Associated Harvard Clubs.

In Mr. Brown's article attention was called to a possible result of the
work of the Associated Harvard Clubs, — that is to say, the increased
number of students in Harvard from points outside of New £ngland; but
he hesitated, at that time, to claim that the increase was due to the Associa-
tion. After ten more years an examination of statistics is decidedly inter-
esting and instructive. The Index for 1897-98 (when the Associated
Harvard Clubs organized) shows an enrollment of 3388, while the Index
for 1914-15 shows 4407, a gain of 33.2 per cent. Unfortunately, in the
figures of the 1914-15 Index, 336 men were listed as not giving their
residence, but even giving this entire 336 to New England as place of
residence the total New England enrollment is only 2572 against 2328
in 1896-97. In other words, in 1914-15 only 58.4 per cent of the en-
rollment, against 68.7 per cent in 1897-98, came from New England. A
slight gain was made in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which
have been grouped together, 16.6 against 13.3 per cent The remainder of
the country and foreign enrollment shows 26 i^inst 18 per cent, the great-
est increase being in the South and West, where most of the activity of the
Associated Harvard Clubs has been centred. Certain gains are to be ex-
pected and are due to natural causes, — the wider distribution of Harvard
graduates and the resulting influence ; greater wealth in all communities ;
the craving for specialized instruction ; and the growth and influence of
the University. Nevertheless, the definite work of the Associated Harvard
Clubs contributed largely to this result.

With the increased development of the organization, the Associated
Harvard Clubs has expanded and been standardized. In addition to the
president, secretary, and treasurer, there are now eight sectional vice-
presidents, including one for Europe, all of whom are elected annually.

Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 64 of 103)