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part in the work of public culture at large. Indeed, it was by doing their duty in this respect, by putting forth their activities, and awakening a new interest among themselves, in the general cause of classical and scientific learning, that they hoped to advance their own intellectual condition. For, to this end, it is unquestionable that the most direct, and perhaps the only efficient means, is, some movement that may bring the whole mass of them into combined effort for the cause; and the more such a united action is extended through any community of persons, the more will they themselves share in the benefits which they are laboring to provide for others. The enterprise itself, in which they are engaged, and in which they generously "provoke each other to emulation," animates them with a new spirit, turns their thoughts in a new direction, and opens their minds to influences that played around them before, but never thoroughly penetrated them. This is the way the matter works. It is so in all other enterprises. If we wish, for instance, to promote the cause of religion, or, say, of_temperance, among any people, set them to act in it. Do not attempt to make them mere passive recipients of it. Give them something to do for it; and when they begin to exert themselves in combined effort, the cause is felt to be their own, and they are alive with an interest in it, that comes on no other conditions.
It is on this ground, we say, that a College exerts a special force with the particular body of people who call it theirs, and who feel themselves responsible for it, as parents of the child. I mean that it operates among them with greater power than any where else, by virtue of their peculiar sympathies with it; and that it naturally tends to raise the whole mass of them,-not here and there an individual only, but the body of them,to a higher degree of culture, than they would ever attain without such an institution of their own, as the phrase is commonly used. Let me observe distinctly, that it affects their condition far more intrinsically and vitally, than simply by increasing the number of liberally educated persons among them, and by supplying them with wellprepared candidates, who will reflect honor on them in the several professions, or by giving them a share of the social distinction which their scholars will command for
them. These are, perhaps, about all the advantages often contemplated; and they are by no means small, or unworthy of regard. But I do not in the least disparage them unjustly, when I say that all these partial advantages sink into insignificance, if compared with that elevation of the general tone, that general improvement in intellect and taste, which a College has always been found to work among the people by whom it is created, and sustained, and watched over as a nursling of their affections. It becomes an object of their habitual thought; its busi ness grows to be a matter of interest with them; they acquire some familiarity with its pursuits; they are put in sympathetic communication with it as they never were before; in this way, its light gradually spreads out over the whole extent of their connection, as the reflection from a city on the hill-top, fills the immediate horizon around.
If it were needful to verify the position which we have thus illustrated, I should have only to refer to the experience of every distinct class of people, in this country, who have engaged in the establishing and maintaining of collegiate institutions. I would appeal to the facts as they stand up in the respective histories of our several Denominations of Christians, in relation to this matter,-were it not that such an appeal might be too delicate a one to manage, without incurring the suspicion of an invidiousness that I do not feel. Suffice it to say, that if you retrace the experience, or history, of any of these bodies, you will find that, so long as they took no part in the labor, and expense, and responsibility, of furnishing the means of liberal education, but rested idly on the sacrifices that others were making for the purpose, they fell behind in the general march of intellectual progress, as it was just that they should do. They may not have absolutely retrograded, in this respect; they may even have advanced beyond the stage at which they began, dragged sluggishly onward by the set of the universal tide; but, relatively, they receded, by not keeping pace with those around them. The distance between them and others, grew greater and more noticeable, and more remarked upon. While their numbers, perhaps, multiplied, and their means accumulated, and the de
mands, which both God and the world made upon them, increased with their increasing capabilities, they still seemed to be losing their hold on the more cultivated classes, and to be sinking down in the scale of mental power. Nor was this the worst fruit of their inertness. Evils of a moral nature sprang up. For in such a case as theirs, a multitude of consequences would come in to irritate them, and make them jealous. Their inexcusable backwardness in the cause of sound learning could not but alienate those among them who strove for the higher walks of science and literature, and who found no congenial tastes prevailing where they were brought up. Somehow, there seemed to be an enormous sieve steadily at work among them, screening out their more gifted young men, and their more aspiring families; and human patience could hardly endure this. It was natural that they should grow fretful; it was natural that they should give way to decrying the attainments and advantages which they lacked, more vulpis apud uvas. Such, in brief, is the history of all those bodies, up to the periods when they began to do their long neglected duty to themselves and the world. The favorable change which has invariably taken place among them, as, one after another, they reached that transition-point, is too well known to need recapitulation.
I now leave to your own consideration the field which the College occupies in the general interests of human society; together with the special influence it exerts on the particular community that is the most forward to sustain it. I submit the whole, without any further practical application; believing that the facts we have aimed to present, will, of themselves, speak to all hearts with a stronger emphasis than that of words. May they be sanctified to all, and particularly to those who are engaged in the enterprise this day publicly consecrated.
On such an occasion as the present, it may be expected that something will be said respecting the internal economy of this College,-the methods of instruction that will be pursued here, and the objects that will be aimed at. But, in these respects, there is nothing peculiar to be noted; and the topic at large would open so wide a field that it
is necessary to decline entering upon it at this late hour. I will only mention three things, by way simply of specification:
First; we are sensible that one of the prime requisites to excellence in any branch of learning to which we shall attend, is thoroughness; thoroughness in the elements, thoroughness in every successive stage, as far as the study shall be carried. And this, not only for the sake of sound scholarship as distinguished from smattering, but for the sake also of the mental habits in general, that are to be formed by the discipline. We cannot lay too great a stress on this point. Where" thoroughness" ceases to be practicable, let the study be dropped.
Secondly; we are persuaded that all scholastic instruction ought to be conducted with a reverent eye to the methods which our Creator has instituted, in Nature and Providence, for the education of our race. For, the whole business of life from the cradle to the grave may be expressed in one word,-Education. It begins with the first breath; it is suspended only with the access of utter insensibility. This world, if we consider it attentively, is found to be but a vast seminary, with infinite apparatus of natural objects above and below,-with unnumbered problems of doubt to be solved,-with difficulties on the one hand, facilities on the other, dangers, calamities, successes, joys and sorrows, as our Schoolmasters; and with thousandfold influences that try us in every possible direction, to draw forth our capabilities, and to form us into a self-governed organism of regulated forces.. And the processes of a more artificial kind, which we follow out in Schools, should evidently be but the sequel to the natural course. The principles on which they are conducted should be the same; and the results obtained should be rectified from their subtle aberrations, by constantly comparing them with the facts of the existing world, and with the judgments of common sense. In this way, we save the scholar from the flightiness and extravagances, to which the unguided speculation of our age is so prone.
Thirdly, Religious Influences. There does not seem to be any room for doubt, whether these should pervade a College, and indeed all places of Education. If we
have a Father in heaven, on whom we are dependent, it is plain that our natural or normal sphere is one of filial subordination to Him,-like that of children in a family. And our characters, intellectual as well as moral, cannot be properly formed, but under the habitual sense of the sacred relation in which we exist. If we are not selfexistent, if we are created beings, living under the dominion of a Supreme Lawgiver and Judge, whose authority presses upon us, and shuts us in on every side, there cannot be, in the nature of things, any healthful discipline, or any development fitted to our state, without the moral consciousness of this pressure; just as the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere is necessary to our physical wellbeing. It is what we must have in both cases. And the absurdity, I mean the natural absurdity,-of thinking to succeed by placing us under an exhausted receiver as it were, is as gross in the one case as in the other. To the full extent that the student values even a well-developed intellect, let him cherish a sense of that Omnipresence "in whom he lives, moves, and has his being." Above all things, as he values the moral integrity of his character, let him see to it that he does not "live without God in the world." And let all who take the responsible office of instructors remember how much depends on their example and personal influence, in this respect.
And now, at the close of these public solemnities, in the fear and love of God, we consecrate this New College to his glorious service, in the educating and harmonious unfolding of the noblest powers he has bestowed upon his creatures. We humbly look to Him for his acceptance of this College, and for his blessing upon it to these ends. We consecrate it to the work of instruction in sound learning and science, under the influence of Christian principles. We dedicate it and its appurtenances to the service of you, Young Gentlemen, who have entered here to begin your collegiate course, with the beginning of the Institution itself,-including with you your successors in all time to come. We have honored it with the name of its noble and generous Founder, whom we have the happiness to see among us to-day, but who is shut out from the sound of our voices. May it bear his memory down,