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simply and without affectation, and the reason is that what he aims at is an end in itself, which he follows reverently and with single-minded devotion. I am speaking of men such as I used to observe daily in this University thirty years ago, and I doubt not-nay, I know—that the breed is not extinct, and that my native Scotland sends to-day to the portals of the old walls just such material as she did a generation since.
In no other way of life, not even in those which witness the busy chase after wealth and political power, is such concentration to be found as is required in the way of life of the genuine student. Whether he be professor or undergraduate the same thing is demanded of him. He must train himself away from the idea of spending much time on amusement unconnected with his work. His field of study may be wide; he may find rest in the very variety of what he is constantly exploring. But the level of effort must ever be high if he is to make the most of the short span of existence. Art is long, and Life is short. The night in which no man can work comes quickly enough to us all. The other day I read some reports which had been procured for me of the fashion in which the Japanese Government had provided for the training of the officers who led their countrymen to victory on the plains and in the passes of Manchuria. There were recorded in these dry official reports things that impressed me much. In the first place, the Japanese explicitly base the whole of the training which they give to their officers on a very high code of ethics and of chivalry. To learn to obey is a duty as important as to learn to command. The future officer is taken while he is still young, and in his cadet corps the boy who is a born leader is systematically taught to submit to the command of him who may be feeble and even incompetent, but whom he is forbidden to despise. What is aimed at is to produce the sense that it is the corps as a whole for which the individual must live, and, if necessary, die, and that against this corps no individual claim
ought to be asserted. Self-effacement, the obligation of truthfulness, devotion to the service of his nation, these are the ethical lessons in which the young Japanese officer is instructed with a thoroughness and a courage which, so far as I know, has no parallel in our time. He must rise early, abstain from luxuries, cultivate the habit of being always busy. Amusements, as such, seem to be unknown in the Japanese officers' school. Recreation takes the shape either of exercises of a kind which are useful for military purposes, or of change of studies. Whether any nation can continuously produce generation after generation of officers trained up to this high level I know not. What is certain is that such training has been practised in Japan during this generation. The result is to be found in the descriptions of those who were witnesses of the fashion in which the trenches of the Russians were stormed at Liaoyang and Mukden. I do not quote this case because it illustrates some extreme of the capacity of human nature. On the contrary, this kind of concentration has at all periods of the world's intellectual history been demanded of and freely given by the scholar. We learn from his example that when once the highest motives become operative they prove the most powerful of all. Just as men will die for their religion, so history proves that they will gladly lay their entire lives without reserve on the altar of learning. One sees this much more frequently than is currently realized in the Universities themselves. Youth is the time of idealism, and idealism is the most potent of motives. The student who is conscious that his opportunity has been purchased for him, not merely by his own sacrifices, but by sacrifices on the part of those who are nearest and dearest, has a strong stimulus to that idealism. That is one of the sources of strength in our Scottish Universities, the Universities of which Edinburgh presents a noble type. I have myself witnessed, in days gone by, individual concentration more intense than even that of the Japanese
officer, because it was purely voluntary concentration, and not of action merely, but of spirit. I have known among my personal friends in this University such dedication of life as rivalled the best recorded in the biographies. When the passion for excellence is once in full swing, it knows no limits. It dominates as no baser passion can, for it is the outcome of the faith that can move mountains.
To my mind, the first problem in the organization of a University ought to be how to encourage this kind of spirit. Noble characters are not numerous, but they are more numerous than we are generally aware. walk of life we may observe them if we have eyes to see. Such nobility is the monopoly neither of peer nor of peasant. It belongs to human nature as such, and to that side of it which is Divine. We may seek for it in the University as hopefully as we may seek for it elsewhere. When once found and recognised it is potent by its example. Heroworship is a cult for which the average Scottish student has large capacity. And so it comes that it is not merely lecture-rooms and laboratories and libraries that are important. The places where those who are busy in the pursuit of different kinds of learning meet and observe each other are hardly less so. The union, the debating society, the talk with the fellow-pilgrim on the steep and narrow way, the friendship of those who are struggling to maintain a high level—these things all of them go to the making of the scholar; and we in the North may congratulate ourselves that they are in reality as open to us as is the case in the Universities of England and of the Continent. If the corporate spirit of the University life is not with us made manifest by as notable signs, it is not the less there. Ideas have been as freely interchanged, and ties between scholars as readily created, with us as in other Universities. The spirit needs but little surrounding for its development, and that little it finds as readily in the solitude of the Braid Hills as on the banks of the Isis or the Cam, in the walks round Arthur's Seat as in the gardens of Magdalen or of Trinity. It rests with those immediately concerned whether their intellectual and social surroundings shall suffice them
Certainly in the Scottish University of to-day there is no lack of either opportunity or provision for the formation of the tastes of the scholar and the habits of the worker. A man may go from these surroundings to devote his life yet more completely to literature, or science, or philosophy, or he may go to seek distinction in a profession or success in commerce. Lucretius has described him who chooses the latter, and prefers the current of the world's
, rivalry to the scholar's life, in words which still seem to ring in my ears as I recall the figure of a great scholar—William Young Sellar-declaiming them to me and others, his reverent disciples, from the Chair of Humanity in this University many years since, in days when we were still full of youth, and were borne along on the flood tide of idealism. The Roman poet declares that the lot of the man of affairs must be :
· Errare atque viam palantis quærere vitæ,
Still, it is not the spirit of haughty contempt which moved Lucretius to these burning and stinging words that should
It is not enough to declare with him that the scholar finds nothing so sweet as to look down on those engaged in the battle of life, himself securely entrenched within the serene temple of wisdom, and to watch them struggling. Rather does the University exist to furnish forth a spirit and a learning more noble—the spirit and the learning that are available for the service of the State and the salvation of humanity. The highest is also the most real; and it is at once the calling and the privilege of the
teacher to convince mankind in every walk of life that in seeking the highest of its kind, they are seeking what is also the most real of that kind. Whatever occupation in life the student chooses, be it that of the study or that of the market-place, he is the better the greater has been his contact with the true spirit of the University. At the very least he will have gained much if he has learned—as he can learn from the scholar alone—the intellectual humility that is born of the knowledge that teaches us our own limits and the infinity that lies beyond. He will be the better man should he perchance have caught the significance of the words with which Plato makes Socrates conclude a famous dialogue : * If, Theætetus, you have a wish to have any more embryo thoughts, they will be all the better for the present investigation ; and if you have none, you will be soberer and humbler and gentler to other men, not fancying that you know what you do not know. For the ends of practice as
' for those of theoretical study, for skill in the higgling of the market, for the control of great business organizations, for that swift and almost instinctive grasp of the true point which is of the essence of success at the Bar--for these and countless other situations in everyday life the precept of Socrates is of a value which it is difficult to overrate. It is the want of insight of the narrow mind that is the most common reason why apparently well-laid plans get wrecked. The University training cannot by itself supply capacity; but it can stimulate and fashion talent, and, above all, it can redeem from the danger of contracted views. Thus the University becomes a potent instrument for good to a community, the strength of which is measured by the capacity of the individuals who compose it. The University is the handmaid of the State, of which it is the microcosm-a community in which also there are rulers and ruled, and in which the corporate life is a moulding influence. And so we arrive at the truth, which is becoming yearly more and