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The exercises were closed by an address by President Cleveland, which was followed with absorbed interest and elicited unbounded applause. This address is here reproduced in full.
The singing of the national anthem and the benediction by Bishop Satterlee closed the scholastic exercises of one of the most memorable celebrations ever held in the United States.
RELIGION AND THE UNIVERSITY. A sermon preached in Alexander Hall on the occasion of the sesquicentennial celebration, October 20, 1896, by Francis L. Patton, president of the College of New Jersey.
(I Corinthians III, 11. For otber foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.)
The first charter of the College of New Jersey was signed by John Hamilton, president of His Majesty's council
, on the 22d day of October, 1746. A second charter, still more liberal in its provisions, was obtained from Governor Belcher in 1748.
It was surely the day of small things when a little company of Presbyterians in the city of New York and its vicinity interested themselves in establishing a seat of learning in the Province of New Jersey as a means of providing a liberal education for young men intending to enter the ministry. The ineffectual efforts which they had previously made and their ultimate success bear striking testimony to the religions intolerance of the times, the more enlightened policy of President Hamilton and Governor Belcher, and the liberal spirit of the founders of the new institution, who, though Presbyterians by conviction and actuated in the main by zeal for the religious necessities of their own church, accepted without scruple a charter which gave no advantage to any denomination, and beyond a scheme for liberal culture made no specific provisions for the needs of any profession.
The spirit of the founders has been kept alive in their successors. The interests of the college have always been in the hands of religious men, and of men, I may say, belonging as a rule to a particular branch of Protestant Christendom. but it has never been under ecclesiastical control. It has served the church and it has served the state without in any sense being under the authority of either. The founders of the College of New Jersoy did not establish a theological school with a perparatory department in arts; they established a faculty of arts with an embryonio department of theology. There is a great difference between the two methods, and this difference has determined the course of Princeton's subsequent developinent. The establishment at a later date in Princeton of a theological school under ecclesiastical control made it unnecessary and unwise to continue theological instruction in the college, and from that time until now the teaching force of the College of New Jersey has consisted of a single university faculty of arts. Thanks to the liberal policy of her founders, thanks also to the wise Christian spirit of those who have guided her course, Princeton College, though over hospitable to new ideas and erer ready to recognize new truth, bas, throughout her history, been true to the spirit of those who founded her, and has never had reason to feel that in any instance she has violated her charter, or been unfaithful to the moral obligations imposed by the labors and benefactions of the Christian men who have been interested in her welfare.
Considered in respect to nations and periods that are characterized by immobility, the lapse of a hundred and fifty years is not a matter that need call for special commemoration. But in this country the beginning of such a period antedates the national life. Princeton shares with her older sisters, Harvard and Yale, the distinction of a life coeval with our national independence, and she claims for herself a distinction, shared in equal degree by no other institution, of being a large factor in the making of the nation. of the part that Princeton played in the revolutionary struggle; of President Witherspoon, who signed the Declaration of Independence; of the Princeton men, and particularly of Madison and Patterson and Oliver Ellsworth, who helped to make the Constitution of the United States; of the meeting of the Continental Congress in this place and under the roof of Nassau Hall, you will in all probability be told by another speaker on a later occasion. It is enough for me, having mentioned these names in connection with the political history of the country, to add to them the names of Henry and Gusot in science; of Jonathan Edwards and James McCosh in philosophy; of the Alexandlers and Hodges in theology, and then to ask if I am making an empty boast when I say that Princeton has won for herself a conspicuous place in the intellectual history of America.
It has been the aim of those who have governed this institution to make and keep it a Christian college. The mou who have contributed to its endowment ind administered its affairs and taught in its class rooms have been Christian men. They have been men of deep conviction regarding God and his government, and they liavo
the the state. And yet I sometimes wol
son in a general way the offsprit
it far more important that the great body of our graduates should be men of moral o lege founder who required his scho
of some importance that a very kelin science and philosophy befon
the strong men of the weak co
with, however, to ignore the fact
had high ideas respecting their responsibility for the use of time and money. There is in the history of the college, in what she has done and in what she has been saved from doing, in what she has achieved and in what she has escaped, abundant reason for profound gratitude. Filled, then, with these thoughts of the past, and standing upon the throshold of a new period in the history of this institution, let us give thanks to God for the good that has been done in His namo by the men who have served it and the men who have gone out from it; and let us pray that to us upon whom dovolves the responsibility of opening a now era in the educational policy of Princeton there may be granted that wisdom which shall savo us from mistakes, and that grace which shall enable us to use for God's glory the power and influence that are given to us by reason of our place in the organic life of a great institution.
Our history, as I can not help believing, is also a prophecy; There has been ample time in that history for the line of tendency along which we are likely to develop to reveal itself, for there is an analogy between the history of an institution and the growth of an organism, and growth is recalcitrant to interference from without. You may shapo your block of marble as you will, but you must bo content to see the process of self-realization go on in the organism according to the logic of its inner life. There are universities that are made in obodionce to the wills of their founders and with no tradition to conserve. They are free to shape their policy in nnhampered independence of the past. But it is not so with us. We have come to be what we are through the slow growth of a hundred and fifty years.
We have our own ideas of education, which are in part the result of our experience and in part perhaps an expression of our conservatism. We give largo place in our curriculum to contemporaneous knowledge, but we are unwilling to part with our heritage of Hellenic culture. We believe in specialization, but we also believe that the student makes a mistake when in his haste to win his spurs in some narrow field of inquiry he foregoes the advantage of a broad goneral education, Intellectual discipline is good, but it is not so important as high manhood; and eager though we may be to turn out from year to year a few men of high intellectual attainment, we deem courago and religious convictions, public spirited, patriotic, and possessed of clear, balanced, and discriminating judgment in regard to public questions,
Princeton has a great work to do in scienco, philosophy, and literature. I have no doubt that she will do it well. I hope she will continue to do it in Christian rubrics without any loss of moral initiative or religious faith.
I confess that I am not without my anxieties when I think of the future of our American institutions in relation to their religion. I see no reason why I should not feel anxiety in regard to Princeton, for wo can not lopo to escape aliogether from the operation of tbe forces that are potent elsewhere.
I feel inclined to-day, speaking not to Princeton men alone, nor in regard to Princeton specifically, to employ the time allotted to mo in considering the relation of religion to the university. I do not know of any subject that could more properly be considered in a sermon addressed to an academic audience, nor do I know of a time when this theme could be more seasonably treated than that whicb is given mo in connection with these religious services with which we begin our sesquicentennial celebration that is designed to commemorate the history of the College of New Jersey and to inaugurate Princeton University.
preciate the deep mystery
Itt lessons in philosophy in
I fink, that the religious training use them the metaphysical people mean what a particular type of it has aftred men to think. It has made lo Latiš informed in regard to religion Tiedäcial expounders of Christianit as part in the hands of the clergy, imke best use of them; for it must n prissions that require quite as inue ai vu the only profession that requis ed, it be remembered that Christiani
gibə daties of citizenship, we shall to be such, it enters as a constituti y. The stages of university histor
tut press the idea of chronological seg
stolars and masters devoting them alastie divinity as in Paris, and li sitbode. Then came the period of end tral to take William of Wyckeham as a
ir be, says Mr. Rushdall, smaylı Sad go to chapel daily." kan the New World, came the colleges ile Lafayette, like a multitudo besides Sitäirect outgrowth of Christian philan wrzed purpose of giving a liberal educ Rate the state universities, and, last
in the lavish use of wealth on the part Ina Com-ll, and John D. Rockefeller institutions or the establishment a a attending the establishment ol Stet cases, and though the religious na recent universities by private bene
de universities under control of the 5 set of those which are more directly ide sler denomination of Christians, I am d el Ibare not yet known of a State uni egarded as a desirable quality in a pre Ane btate university where a sympatheti la an essential qualification
for a tea sa in that goodly fellowship of Americ
I cannot better begin what I have to say on this subject than by remindicg you of the fact that religion, and by that I mean, of course, the Christian religion, is the genetic antecedent of the university. It is true that we cannot impute a distinctively religious origin tho universities of Salerno and Bologna, and it we are looking for an explanation that will apply equally to all the mediæval universities, we must pay for our comprehensiveness by being correspondingly vague; and then we can do no better than say with Mr. Rashdall that the rise of the university is due to the spirit of association that spread over Europe duriog the middle ages, and that the universities were simply guilds of learning. Even then, however, it might be worth while to ask whether theso guilds as illustrating the fellowship of kindred minds, did not receive a new impetus from Christianity, which itself was an expansion of the idea of higher kinship as expounded by the Saviour when he said, "Whosoever doeth the will of my Father in Ileaven, the same is my mother and sister and brother." But whatever be the origin of the Southern universities, those of the North (and they are the prototypes of our American colleges and universities) were undoubtedly the outgrowth of Christianity. The religion of Christ gave man new ideals. It turned them from the quest of pleasure and the love of plunder to a life of contemplation and the pursuit of knowledge. It made them thoughtful, serious and reverent. Thinking is also religion, I believe Hegel somewhere says, and whether he is right or not, it is certain that the man who takes a serious view of life and has
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and revealed religio ar both of these positions ....dowledge of the actua
rã of religion in the mi Mother it can be adequat z?tith ondergraduate lite sila it, and who, moreover elations with the reli;
(and Princeton is one of them) that may be regarded as distinctly Christian institutions, yet they are Christian rather in the conditions of their origin than in the contents of their curricula. Their object is not so much to teach religion as to teach science in a religious spirit. It is more in the way they teach than in what they teach that they deserve to be called Christian schools. Hence a Christian college is not to be judged by the amount of religion that it teaches, or the place it assigns to the Scriptures in its curriculum. In the colleges and universities of which I speak, Christianity underlies, informs, unities, and is the unexpressed postulate of all instruction. And this Christian spirit that practically affects teaching without announcing itself, which presupposes Christianity without any irritating selfassertion, is on the whole the most effective. Not that it is to be expected that a Christian university should be reticent in regard to the truths of religion. Indeed, as I shall at present be at pains to show, it can not be. And so it has come to pass that the university has had its share of religious controversy: Very naturally; for when religion plants a seat of learning and installs the faculty it clearly says that religion is ready to be tried by rational tests. The child of the Christian consciousness, the university by and by becomes its critic. Born of Christianity, the time comes when it attains its majority and refuses to remain in ecclesiastical leading strings. This may seem ungrateful, but it can not bo helped. The necessary consequence of the alliance between religion and the university is the rationalizing of religion. It is easy to see that the extremes of tendency are superstition on the one band and infidelity on the other. Ecclesiasticism pure and simple may easily run to the one extreme; intellectualism pure and simple may as easily run to the other. How to be saved from either may be difficult; but we may be sure that the religion which in the last analysis will not bear examination must go down. Credo quia impossibile” is not the basis of a sound apologetic, and whether it be Tertullian or Mr. Kidd who would have us think so, it can never be rational to believe in an irrational religion.
The rationalizing process may go wrong, but that is no reason why men should stop thinking; and a university is a very dead place if the men in it do not think. When, therefore, the masters of the University of Paris told the Pope that on a certain matter of dogmatic theology they were more competent to speak than he was, they were doing exactly what they might have been expected to do, and in doing this were the precursors of that movement which put so many of the universities of northern Europe on the side of Protestanism and made them the embodiments of the spirit of religious independence. When I say that the criticism of religion in the university is inevitable, I am not saying that it is the essence of the university that its teachings should be absolutely free. I have nothing to say here by way of objection to those universities where absolute freedom of teaching is the rule. There are universities I know where that absolute freedom would not be allowed. So far as Princeton is concerned, I find myself in very agreeable harmony with what one of my younger colleagnies has said in a recent periodical. “Princeton," says Professor Daniels, “is definitely and irrevocably committed to Christian ideals. It has therefore, with reference to certain primary problems, already taken a definite position. It stands for a theistic metaphysic. Nor does it claim or desire any reputation for impartiality or open-mindedness which is to be purchased by a sacrifice of this, its traditional philosophic attitude.” Princeton then, as we are told, “stands for a theistic metaphysic." The critic ght say, if he were so disposed, that with equal reason it might be made to stand for something less; or might be made to stand for something more; and that there is something arbitrary about the boundary line that separates the kingdom of fixed belief from that of free discussion. Now, I venture to say that the weight of the sentence that I have thought sufficiently significant to quote lies not so much in what Princeton is said to stand for as in the fact that she is said to stand for something; and I can easily believe that the exact quantum of belief for which Princeton stands may be something about which individuals may now differ and may vary from age to age. What Princeton stands for really depends upon those who govern her. No matter what our origin was; what was believed 150 years ago; what Christian symbol or legend we put on the university seal; what moral obligations are imposed by gifts of generous benefactors, the exact amount of religious belief that this university will stand for can be determined only by the amount of belief that the trustees hare the moral courage to enunciato in the form of a resolution. That will depend upon the state of public opinion; the degree of sensitiveness to public opinion on the part of men who hold the places of responsibility, and the amount of strong conviction ready for expression at any given time by the governing boily:
This only shows how solemn the responsibility is which rests upon the twentyseven men who control Princeton University. They have power to vote in the election of their colleagnies, but no power to direct their votes after they take office. We have received this institution from a past generation and we holil it with absolute power of tradition to the next. We can not bind our successors.
-7 that in the early year
att favorably with the
of inquiry, and concerne of the Dielnge. It is other Brat change in regard to *** Every subject is cons 19 the genetic method.
en is forced into promines mareen and the theory of
of a separate and endur ay be construed according to notes theologians to attempt, a **I; but it is just as idle to cesteia; tbeology is philos
i de relation of God to the
Then, therefore, the stud
Fitting his religious fa ali bi the chair of philosopli
orng inan who finds him tapebie to his religious beli
and natural religion, i
alf, of what is known in Liztory. We should be
install tbem with due solemnity of precatory phrase, but we can not predict or control their action. The sacred interests of Princeton are in our keeping. We have but a simple duty respecting their transfer to the next generation. St. Paul bas expressed that duty in his own words to Timothy: “ The things which thou hast heard of me, the same commit thou to the faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
There is another phase of the subject with which we are dealing. It concerns the inquiry as to the extent to which religion, and particularly the Christian religion, shonli enter into the curriculum of the university. There are two extreme positions sometimes taken by those who express themselves upon this qnestion. There are some who seem to suppose that it is proper and possible to exclude all reference to religion and confine the work of university instruction to strictly secular themes. Others, again, seem not to realize the changed conditions of university life and suppose that it is easy to carry on through the entire undergraduato curriculum a scheme of enforced religious instruction based upon an accepted type of thought in respect to the Bible and revealed religion. I am confident that a more careful study will show that both of these positions are wrong, and that nothing requires more wisdom, tact, and knowledge of the actual conditions of thought in the learned world than the problem of religion in the university. It is a very large subject, and I question whether it can be adequately dealt with by anyone who is not in actual contact with undergraduate lite, and who is not aware of the ins and outs of thought in it, and who, moreover, is not by reason of professional study brought into close relations with the religious problems of the present day. For myself, I believe that in the early years of undergraduate life a course of elementary biblical instruction adapted to the needs of young men who are no longer schoolboys, on the one hand, and are not yet students of philosophy, on the other, is a most important part of the curricnlum; but I would not carry biblical instruction into the upper years of the curriculum, unless in point of scientific thoroughness it could compare favorably with the work done in other departments; and then, of course, I would not make it compulsory, though I firmly believe that advanced students in philosophy and literature should have the opportunity of seeing how the problems of literature and philosophy bear npon the Bible and Christianity. For if secular themes are to be discussed in a Christian university in a religious spirit and under Christian conceptions, it is no less true that religions themes must be discussed in a scientific spirit and acccording to scientific principles. It is impossible for a university to discharge its functions without declaring itself upon the great question of religion. The subject no longer lies within the easy possibilities of definition which existed half a century ago. Then the student of Reid or Dugald Stewart debated the question of mediate or immediate perception, or accepted the easy account of the mental powers as they were mapped out for him in the psychology of introspection, and seldom went any deeper. His religious faith was buttressed by a course of lectures on the evidences which treated as postulates what have since become some of the most serious problems of our times. There were religious difficulties to be dealt with, but they lay for the most part in a remote corner of the field of inquiry, and concernod questions like the days of Genesis and the extent of the Deluge. It is otherwise now, for the doctrine of evolution has made a great change in regard to the place of religion in the studies of the universities. Every subject is considered from the historical point of view and according to the genetic method. And whether we approve it or not, the religious problem is forced into prominence. A man can not study genetic psychology and metaphysics and the theory of knowledge at the present day without facing the problem of a separate and enduring self hood and without asking whether the world is to be construed according to a theistic or a pantheistic metaphysic. It is idle for the theologians to attempt, as the Ritschlians do, to exclude metaphysics from theology; but it is just as idle for the philosopher to talk of excluding theology from metaphysics; theology is philosophy and philosophy is theology, so far as the question of the relation of God to the world is concerned. All problems in philosophy go back to two questions: whether God exists separate from the world and whether we exist separate from God. The fate of religion lies in the answer to these questions. When, therefore, the student is wrestling with the problems of metaphysics, he is putting his religious faith on trial. It is easy then to see the vital relations which the chair of philosophy sustains to practical Christianity, and the responsibility that one assumes when he undertakes to be guide, philosopher, and friend to the young inan who finds himself obliged to seek for himself a fresh orientation in reference to his religious belief. Now, if one-half of our religion, or what is commonly called natural religion, is necessarily involved in the stuity of philos. ophy, the other half, or what is known as revealed religion, is as necessarily involved in the study of history. We should hardly think of excluding the luistory of civil