Imágenes de páginas

spair" can be reached when Christ, as the Head of humanity, is disowned. Man, as the child of Providence, never appeared to such advantage as now. But, amid this growing splendor, the question forces itself on us, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” "The winds and the sea" do truly "obey him;" nay, all things are beginning to bow down under his lordly rule. Find man where you will, he is girded with power. In the magnificent laboratory of the universe he unlooses new and prodigious forces to do his proud behests. Backed by inventions and discoveries, he has boundless scope for every sort of intelligent energy, so that he has well-nigh correlated himself with the globe he occupies. But, after all, what is he? Look for your answer in the gross worldliness everywhere abounding; in the fearful decay of obedience to authority, of loyalty to love, of fidelity in marriage, of trustworthiness in business, of reverence for God. If you had the making of a man to suit these times--to fight his way to the high places of ambitious success, and win the renown of earthly triumph-you would give him wondrous activity of intellect, its powers compacted in an animal brain, every sense and every nerve disciplined to serve a despotic will. This should be his outfit: the cunning of the fox, the stealthiness of the snake, the eye of the eagle, the spring of the tiger, the strength of the lion; and these the weapons of his organized fatality.

"What manner of man is this"--this representative man of the saddest aspects of the nineteenth century? Study him, probe him, and then say whether art and science are not creating mind and muscle they cannot control; whether government is not liberating a force too audacious and too reckless for it to hold in check; whether the very successes of modern civilization are not arousing appetites and lusts which are too brutal for the puny arm, of its restraint.

Fitly and most worthily were the words "What manner of man is this?" spoken of Jesus Christ. But this ideal Man -tell us of what virgin's heart he has been born; in what manger cradled; in what lowly toil reared; in what Nazareth silently nurtured. What sacramental Jordan baptized him? What wilderness brought him face to face with the tempter? With what woe and wretchedness, sorrow and shame, sin and guilt, has he been in long and weary conflict, bearing burdens not his own, and quickening and inspiring the hopeless spirit of humanity? Where are his Tabor, and Olivet, and Calvary?

But let no man despair-the modern Samson may commit suicide, but he can never throw down the fabric of Christian civilization. It is humiliating to behold the decay of sentiment, to see honor losing even its ancient prestige, and to witness the growth of a debasing materialism in the very heart of our most sacred interests. Notwithstanding all these painful spectacles, the advanced portions of the race have built themselves upon high vantage-ground, and never can they surrender the massive work of bitter centuries. Happily enough, the dangers from outside barbarism are extinct. The womb of the old Gothic forests is childless, and the breast of the Danube gives no nurture. The evils of the age are among ourselves, plain and patent; and, as they are internal and simply domestic, they can be met and managed. Despite of adverse signs, Christianity has been too long in the world, and too severely tested, to be permanently injured by any assault. It has taken hold of the instincts of the race; it has ascended from reasoning into reason itself; and though it may now be approaching another epoch of trial, it can be but an epoch in the eternity of its grandeur.

Is not this an hour of inspiriting hope to your hearts? On yesterday, amid the sanctities of the Sabbath, we dedicated

this temple of learning to God. To-day, under fairest auspices, we inaugurate its work among men. Among the many witnesses to the presence and power of Christian civilization, the VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY this morning takes its place and begins its career. Whether it has "five talents," or less, committed to its keeping, none of us can know. The supreme thing is to acknowledge God in what we have, and put our stewardship to diligent uses. As yet the institution has no history; but yesterday and to-day ought to be prophecies; nor could it write better annals than to fulfill these prefigurations. The last years of this century are hastening to make themselves memorable in endowing institutions of learning. A new era has commenced in this order of beneficence; yet, among the instances of thoughtful bounty, not one has been better timed, nor more considerate of urgent need, nor more gratefully appreciated, nor likely to issue in larger good, than the munificence which has established this University.

If one follows the River Rhone from the Mediterranean to Lyons, from Lyon's up the valley, and thence through the district of the Jura to the rocky gorge of the mountainchain where the turbid stream forces its passage, and still on to the junction of the Arne, and farther yet till he sees it rush in proud swiftness through the Lake of Geneva, and on again to the western side of Mount St. Gothard, among the Swiss Alps, he reaches at last the Valley of the Rhone. There the glaciers lift themselves to the sky; and even on those summits, where winter chills the heavens, huge masses of snow are piled up, sublimity crowning sublimity, and splendor overflashing splendor. Far down underneath those compacted blocks of ice, the River Rhone glides from the solitude of its source, and gathers from frost and snow the impulse of its resistless waters. Like that river, the course of great events has often started in desolate places; like

it, the stream of civilization has taken its rise, at times, among dreary mountains and remote fastnesses, and flowed long and far before its current blessed the world. Not so with the fountain which this day gushes forth in our midst; its waters are full of warmth and fertility, and they roll onward to the swell of their own gladness. And may it ever be, as the river which St. John saw in the vision of Patmos, “clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb!"

After another performance by the Band, the Installation of the Faculties took place.

Bishop McTYEIRE, as President of the Board of Trust, addressed the Faculties, all the members of which stood during his Address, at the close of which he delivered over the keys of the University to L. C. GARLAND, LL.D., Chancellor of the University. The Bishop spoke as follows:


It is with great satisfaction we approach this hour of installation of the Faculties of the University, which, though it be important, will be brief. His Excellency, the Governor, closely outlined the scope of our University. The two speakers who followed him declared the spirit in which we propose to carry on the University. It remains now for us to formally invest those chosen as instructors, teachers, professors. Thus far all is dust-convenient and elegant forms of dust it may be. Now is to be breathed into it the breath of life, that the University may become a living soul. It is to these scientific and literary gentlemen we look to give character to the University. For two years we have been building, piling one stone and one story upon another. Pari passu we have been gathering our Faculties. The Board has been censured by some for delay. The first professor was elected two years ago-the last one, two

weeks ago. All that time the eyes of the Trustees have been going through the land to find men suitable for intrusting this work to. They felt that they could not afford to make a mistake in this matter. The time will come when the fact that any man is connected with the Faculty of the VANDERBILT will give assurance of his ability. Then the institution will make the reputation of its professors; but now the professors must make the reputation of the institution. Our four Faculties are now complete. They are before you, and I proceed now, by the authority and in the name of the Board of Trust, to install them.

Here the Bishop turned to his right, and addressed the gentlemen, who rose and stood:

MR. CHANCELLOR AND GENTLEMEN OF THE FACULTIES:-We congratulate ourselves that we have been able to procure your services. I will say of VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY as the King of Macedon said when his son, Alexander, was born, writing to Aristotle: "We count ourselves happy, for that a son has been born to us at a time when you may be his instructor." We think it providential and fortunate for this University, which has sprung out of a benefaction which we accept and acknowledge with gratitude, that it has come. to us in the South when we may enjoy the benefits of your acknowledged ability as instructors and governors of youth. This high responsibility the Board of Trustees would now devolve upon you, in full confidence of your ability and of your fidelity; and, in token of this, I now commit to you the keys of the University.

Chancellor GARLAND responded as follows:


PRESIDENT MCTYEIRE:-This is a day which day which many of us now present have hoped for, and prayed for, and labored

« AnteriorContinuar »