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for a day on which we should see inaugurated, under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, an institution where, in its halls and academic groves, we might see Learning and Religion walk hand in hand, the one shedding its enlightening, and the other its benign, influences over the length and breadth of the land; and where our sons might receive the largest intellectual culture without detriment to their moral habits and religious sympathies; and where full provision should be made for professional as well as academic studies, so that in no part of their training should our sons pass from under the fostering care of the Church.
You know, sir, on that cold and dismal winter day of January, 1872, in the basement of the Second - street Church in Memphis, where you and I, and others, were assembled in convention for devising the ways and means of establishing such an institution, how gloomy was the prospect of success. How hopeless did it appear to make an appeal to a down-trodden and impoverished people for the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, which was declared to be the least sum necessary for the incipiency of the measure, and how absolutely chimerical to expect from. the same source the million of dollars requisite to crown it with success! But, sir, there was in our midst one spirit which did not quail, one breast which hope did not forsake; and if there be any man whose portrait deserves to hang on these walls by the side of that which has just been unveiled, it is that of the wise, the prudent, the brave, the gentle, and the now sainted, A. L. P. Green. Without him, we should have postponed, probably to an indefinite period, the matter in hand; but he encouraged us by undertaking, with the assistance of an agent within the bounds of each patronizing Conference, to raise the minimum sum referred to. If mortal man could have succeeded in this business,
he would so have done; but the result proved how utterly hopeless was the task-how inadequate our resources for such an enterprise. Yet, God's favor was upon the work. He was devising means, of which we knew not, for its accomplishment; and, when all other resources failed, He put it into the heart of our noble patron, whose name the institution bears, to come to our relief, and to do for our afflicted people what they were not able to do for themselves. But for his timely aid, none of us present on that wintry day would have lived to see what our eyes this day behold.
Were our munificent benefactor present, I would tell him how by this act he has implanted himself in the affections of more than a million of grateful people, and how from their hearts go up daily supplications that the blessings of God may rest upon him—that he may be preserved in health and happiness long to live, that his last days may be his brightest and his best, and that when he shall be called to pay that last debt which we all owe to nature, he may, through the infinite merit of Christ, be admitted to an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away, in heaven. But, sir, this magnificent donation lays peculiar responsibilities upon a variety of persons-responsibilities upon you, the Board of Trust, of which it is not proper that I should speak; responsibilities upon the community in the midst of which this institution is located, of which I shall not speak now, as you have expressed the wish that I should do so more at large on some other occasion; responsibilities upon these young men who have come to enjoy the first fruits of this liberality, and of which I shall have many opportunities of speaking in the future; and, lastly, responsibilities upon the several Faculties of this University, which you have just now in form imposed, by the delivery to them of the usual symbols of authority. So
late, however, is the hour, and so wearied are the audience, that I will speak no farther of these responsibilities than to say that we are all fully aware of the difficulty and delicacy of the task imposed upon us. But, with your forbearance toward our infirmities, with the sympathy and good-will of the public, and, above all, with the aid of Almighty God,. without whose blessing nothing great or good can be accomplished, we enter upon our duties hopefully and cheerfully, promising fidelity to the trusts committed to us, and pledging our best exertions to make this University all that its founder and friends desire it to be.
After the Installation, a part of the following Inauguration Ode, composed for the occasion by the Rev. A. A. LIPSCOMB, D.D., was sung by the Choir, in Old Hundred:
Beneath the temple's stately height,
Midst pomp of gold-midst pearls of light,
Now vocal breathes with praise and prayer,
The heavenward Alps, sublime and lone,
Echo but faint the thunder's tone;
The mighty sea but rolls to shore
The dying cadence of its roar;
But priests and people blessings share
Hath not this house been reared by Thee?
Thy hand did seal its corner-stone,
O Earth, thou footstool of the Throne,
Not like the stones which Jesus taught
Of laws proclaimed, O Lord, by thee.
Here arts and sciences shall meet,
Her diadem of grandeur wear;
Here Truth, a pilgrim wandering far,
And Beauty touch with sandaled feet
The turf with Sharon's fragrance sweet.
We bless thee to thy toiling hours
To barren sands and arid wastes:
Then wreathe around the cross thy crown.
O Alma Mater of the years
Beyond our day of toil and tears;
Whose future glows with largest grace,
Battle forever for the right,
And dare to do and dare to be
Whate'er is great, majestic, free!
At the conclusion of the Ode, this dispatch from Commodore VANDERBILT was read:
NEW YORK, Oct. 4.-To Bishop H. N. McTYEIRE: We send greeting to you all. May your institution be ever blessed by the great Governor of all things. C. VANDERBILT.
The dispatch was received by the audience with great enthusiasm.
AT a meeting of the Trustees and Faculties, held immediately after the Inauguration exercises, Bishop McTYEIRE presided, and the Rev. ROBERT A. YOUNG, D.D., acted as Secretary.
On motion of the Rev. C. D. OLIVER, D.D., seconded by T. A. ATCHISON, M.D., it was resolved that the entire proceedings of Sunday and Monday be published in book-form, embracing the Sermons of Bishops DOGGETT and WIGHTMAN, the Addresses of Drs. DEEMS and LIPSCOMB, the Speeches of Bishop MOTYEIRE and Dr. GARLAND, the original Odes, etc.