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The discourses contained in the present volume were, with one exception, delivered while the author was President of Dartmouth College. His Inaugural Oration and the Baccalaureate Sermons of fifteen years deal chiefly with topics of permanent interest. They are published, with only minor corrections, just as they were heard by the respective classes, except so far as they were abridged in the delivery. The topics and modes of discussion and illustration, it is scarcely necessary to say, were adopted with special regard to the occasion and the audience.

From his other public discourses of the same period the author has selected three, partly by request and partly by reason of the prominence of the occasions. To these he has added one other, the sermon before the American Board, delivered under the shadow of Yale College, and discussing a theme of sufficient magnitude to complete the series of Anniversary Discourses.

S. C. B. HANOVER, N. Ì., June, 1894





ERTAIN occasions seem to prescribe their own

themes of discourse, and certain themes are endowed with perpetual life. There are problems with which each coming generation and each last man grapples as freshly as the first.


How shall the ripest growth of the ages be imparted to one young soul? Twice, at least, in a lifetime, is this great question wont to rise solemnly before each thoughtful man — when he looks forward in youthful hope, and when he looks back in parental solicitude. It is a question of many forms and multiplying an

Shall there be a long fundamental training, wide and general ? or shall it be closely professional ? Shall it be predominantly classic, or scientific, or æsthetic, or empiric? Many or much ? For accomplishment or for accomplishing ? Shall it fit for the tour of Europe or for the journey of life? Masculine and feminine or vaguely human? Shall it rattle with the drumbeat, bound with gymnastics, court fame by excursive"nines" not known on Helicon, and challenge British Oxford, alas! with its boat crew? Shall the

American college student follow his option or his curriculum ? And shall the college itself be a school for schoolmasters, a collection of debating clubs, a reading room with library attached, an intellectual quarantine for the plague of riches ? or a place of close and protracted drill, of definite methods, of prescribed intellectual work? Shall it fulfill the statement of the Concord sage — “You send your son to the schoolmasters, and the schoolboys educate him”? or shall a strong faculty make and mark the whole tone of the institution ?

In these and other forms is the same fundamental question still thrust sharply before us. I do not propose to move directly on such a line of bristling bayonets, but to make my way by a flank movement across this “Wilderness” of conflict. It will go far toward determining the methods of a liberal education if we first ascertain, as I propose to do,


Obviously the primal condition of all else must be found in a self-prompted activity or wakefulness of intellect. The time when the drifting faculties begin to feel the helm of will, when the youth passes from being merely receptive to become aggressive, marks the advent of the true human era. As in the history of our planet the first remove from the tohu va-vohu was when the Spirit of God brooded on the deep, and, obedient to the command, light shot out from darkness, so in man the microcosm, the brooding spirit and

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