Изображения страниц

these graces which adorned them, and return, to their parent's shame, without modesty, without nice sensibility to truth-without tenderness and sympathy-coarse, false, and unfeeling." This is the natural result of departing in the first instance from the spirit of rigid propriety. Proficere in pejus is the law of degradation. When the general feeling of fitness is shocked or rudely disregarded, a man has taken a step towards the corruption of his principles as well as his manners. The sentiment of honour is weakened by every blow which is inflicted on the sense of propriety. He that becomes accustomed to what is unseemly and unbecoming and out of all proportion in lighter matters, will soon lose the perception of the beautiful in the weightier matters of the law. This is the reason why it is so important that the amusements of the young should be made to harmonize with their condition and relations. In these amusements a moral discipline is going on, a moral influence exerted, which will tell upon

their future character-unconsciously but surely they are shaping their destiny.

Many of these inconsistencies, my young friends, I rejoice to say cannot be imputed to you. They are of a character to make you scorn them. But be not satisfied with present attainments. Let it be your ambition to have a college, in which the deportment of every member shall reflect the refinement of the gentleman, the dignity of the scholar, and the integrity of the Christian. We can make this a delightful place-we can turn these groves into hallowed ground, and these cloistered halls we can render worthy of the illustrious immortals who linger among them in their works. Is not this an object worthy of your ambition? Here we are permitted to converse, from day to day, with the sages, poets, and heroes of antiquity; "the blind old man of Scio's rocky isle," that prodigy of genius, whose birth-place was Stagira, whose empire has been the world; that other prodigy of common sense who brought wisdom from the skies-the Divine Plato; the masters

of the Porch, Academy, and Lyceum, are all here. Here, too, we can listen to the rapt visions of the prophets, hold converse with apostles and martyrs, and above all, sit at the feet of Him who spake as never man spake. Here, in a single word, we are "let into that great communion of scholars, throughout all ages and all nations-like that more awful communion of saints in the Holy Church Universal-and feel a sympathy with departed genius, and with the enlightened and the gifted minds of other countries, as they appear before us, in the transports of a sort of beatific vision, bowing down at the same shrines and glowing with the same holy love of whatever is most pure, and fair, and exalted, and Divine in human nature." Is there nothing in such society and such influences to stimulate our minds to a lofty pitch? Catch the spirit of the place, imbibe its noble associations, and you cannot descend to the little, the trifling, the silly, or the coarse. Every fibre of your hearts would cry out against it. When Bonaparte animated his troops in Egypt, it was

enough to point to the pyramids, beneath whose shadows they stood, and remind them that "from yonder heights forty generations look down upon them." That thought was enough. The same great motive may be applied to you. The general assembly of all the great, and good, and learned, and glorious, of all ages and of all climes, look down upon you, and exhort you to walk worthy of your exalted calling. Quit yourselves like men—and make this venerable seat of learning a joy and a praise in all the earth. Let TRUTH be inscribed on its walls, TRUTH worshipped in its sanctuary, and the LOVE OF TRUTH the inspiration of every heart.


[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »