The Spirit of the State Universities

IN no other form of popular activity does a nation or a state so clearly reveal its ideals or the quality of its civilization as in the system of education which it sets up. The schools of Prussia, the school system of France, the universities and schools of Scotland, epitomize Prussian, French, and Scotch civilization.

The school system is at once the result and the cause of the forces which make for intellectual and moral progress. Sometimes the idealism of the people outruns its expression in the schools; sometimes the school gives a new birth to popular ideals and a new quickening to the popular conscience. The school system of any state is the surest barometer of its intellectual and spiritual atmosphere, and there will always be a constant interaction between the educational system of a commonwealth on the one hand, and the forces of civilization for which education stands on the other.

It is also true that nations, like individuals, are temperamental in their moral and intellectual attitudes. And in no way is the national temperament more clearly shown than in the expression of a nation in its schools. The German people are essentially nationalistic in their temperament; they prefer to do things under definite conventions and by formal organization. The English are essentially individualistic. In what other way are these lasting qualities of national temperament so clearly set forth as in the school systems of the two peoples? The Universities of Berlin and Oxford epitomize the German and English conceptions of civilization in smaller compass than they can be represented in any other way. And in each case the university is at once the effect and the cause of the very influences which it sets forth.

It is an interesting incident of the educational development of the nations that what might be called educational consciousness is a much later growth in some nations than in others, a result depending in large measure on the fact that civilization is a product of national temperament no less than of national thought. By an educational consciousness in a given people, I mean that such a people has come to a stage in civilization in which they conceive of education as a natural and necessary activity of the state itself; they assume the obligation of its support as a natural and necessary part of the cost of progress; and they look upon the schools which represent education, —from the highest to the lowest, — not as isolated or individual enterprises seeking each its own good, but as parts of one related national effort. All stages in the progress toward such an educational consciousness can be noted among the nations of to-day. And however true it may be that there are dangers in pushing this ideal too far, however necessary it is to retain the individualistic point of view, it must be admitted that the attainment of such a national consciousness in the matter of education marks a high plane, not only of intellectual and moral ability, but of efficiency as well. No nation is likely to be educationally efficient until it has grown into some fair possession of a national educational consciousness.

Perhaps in no other nation are there more marked inequalities in the progress toward such an educational consciousness than among the commonwealths of our American Union. Our older New England states began their educational history under the influence of the English traditions, which retained in the attitude of the colleges and academies of the new England all that individualistic idealism which has been at once the strength and the weakness of the old England. Each college and academy was a separate and independent unit, having little or no relation to any other school. Such a school system does not necessarily mean the failure to attain in time to an educational consciousness. In fact, the process of development has usually been through such individualistic schools, which, in a new country at least, form the almost necessary starting-points for any system of education. In New England, however, individualism is strong, and for two hundred years the progress in education has been largely influenced by the conceptions of a college with which their schools began. No one can say what would be the form of the school system of to-day in New England had it started with a Scotch university instead of an English college.

However this may be, it is interesting to note that the stirring of an educational consciousness larger than that of loyalty to a single college is already being felt in the New England states. This is partly the outgrowth of new industrial conditions, which present new problems in civilization; but it indicates also the coming of an educational conception larger than that of any one college, and based on the conviction that all institutions of learning are part of the state’s system of education. Maine has already a state university, and Massachusetts is beginning to demand one. It is not likely that a state university will be set up in the old commonwealth, but its coming will depend in great measure on the wisdom and farsightedness of the existing institutions of higher learning; upon their ability to relate themselves effectively to each other, and to the general school system; and upon their success in meeting the new questions in education opened up by the modern industrial life. A modern democracy will not permanently be satisfied with an educational system into whose higher schools the sons and daughters of the plain people can enter only through payment of burdensome tuition charges, or upon scholarships which at least suggest charity. Education as a charity is essentially foreign to any state whose people have risen to a true educational consciousness. Such a democracy claims the opportunity to enjoy the highest forms of education as a right.

The contrast in the rapidity with which this spirit has been developed in the older states, and in our Central and Western states, is one of the most interesting and suggestive phenomena of our national progress. The states of the Central West almost simultaneously adopted state systems of education, beginning with the elementary school and culminating in a university. No such exhibition of well-formed and definite educational consciousness was ever before seen in the organization of new states or provinces. The ideal for which the people of Michigan and Wisconsin and Missouri and Iowa and California aimed in the establishment of these systems of education rested upon definite convictions — that ideal stood for a conscious duty of the state to open the door of education to every citizen, an education free of every political and ecclesiastical control. The men of these new states represented a stage in democracy which was a halfcentury in advance of that of our forefathers of the Revolution. The democracy of that early day was intensely individualistic and morbidly suspicious. It feared to delegate authority to any agency. The fathers would have looked upon a state university which crowned a compulsory public-school system as an autocrat dangerous to liberty. The men of that day believed that freedom could be preserved only by infinite division of power, to such a degree that no one authority could be dangerous.

To-day, in education, as in every other field of national activity, democracy must deal with the perplexing problem of preserving the spirit and the right of the individual, while at the same time creating agencies with the power to do the work of civilized life efficiently. The democracy of 1786 met this question by seeking to reduce all agencies to a harmless inefficiency. The democracy of 1850 had reached another step in the evolution of the government of the people by the people. As men of common sense, they saw that the business of civilization could be done effectively only by agencies which had the power to do this work. They therefore went ahead to create such agencies, realizing that in democracy public opinion was in the last analysis the controlling force. The state university became thus an educational trust, but one governed by and responsible to the people. Harvard University is also a trust,—perhaps the largest trust in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,— but it is not the creature of the commonwealth, nor related directly to the educational system of its state. As it is engaged, however, in large measure in interstate commerce, it may be that, if President Taft’s recommendations are carried out, it will take out a federal license and be subject to the scrutiny of the Interstate Commerce Commission, like other trusts!

The outcome of a half-century of growth under this new conception of democracy shows still a striking difference between the educational status of these Western states and the status of those of the Eastern seaboard. Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, California, Minnesota, represent a different stage of educational consciousness from that which one sees in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Pennsylvania, for example, is one of the oldest and richest of the states of the Union. It has no debt, and an enormous income. In no other state has the individualistic conception of education lingered longer. As a whole, the state has never come into a conception of education from the standpoint of the whole people. As a consequence its public-school system is still in the rudimentary stage; its normal schools are private enterprises whose stock is in the hands of individuals, and the normal schools and many of its colleges are engaged in the work of secondary education. The only evidence of a state-wide interest in education is to be seen in a series of appropriations to private institutions, — colleges, hospitals, and charitable concerns,—which makes education in that old and rich state a part of the politics in which Pennsylvania has achieved so bad an eminence.

No one can estimate the consequences of the educational movement begun in the Southern states, but first put in motion about the middle of the last century in the great commonwealths of the Central West. Here for the first time on new soil was inaugurated a series of schools reaching from the highest to the lowest, created by the conscious act of the whole people and responsible to them.

Of the school system thus inaugurated the state university which crowned it was the most striking achievement, and remains to-day the best evidence that we have in our democracy of the ability of the people to create and conduct the agencies which they need for their own development. In no other nation of the world, at any time in its history, have institutions of the higher learning so essentially democratic, and on the whole serving so well the needs of a democracy as do the best of our state universities, been developed so quickly. If our American democracy were today called to give proof of its constructive ability, the state university and the public-school system which it crowns would be the strongest evidence of its fitness which it could offer.

This does not mean that the path of the tax-supported university has been always amid the green pastures, or that it has always lain within the straight and narrow way. For many years even the best of these institutions led a precarious existence, and to-day only a few have risen to the independence and the dignity of true university life.

The state university of fifty years ago was launched upon the uncertain sea of politics. It has been a part of the work of every state university to educate the people of its state to the conception that partisan politics could not be mixed into the administration of a university without poisoning the very spirit for which it stood. It took years for this lesson to be learned. There are many states in which a public opinion capable of supporting and nurturing a true university is still in the making. The regents of the University of Oklahoma, the political experiment station of our Union, began their administration two years ago by turning out a competent president and some of the best teachers, and appointing in their places personal selections of the board. This body of trustees still conducts the institution on the theory that the trustees are to administer as well as to govern.

In the University of Florida last year an able president was forced to resign, against the wishes of his own board of trustees, by the use of political pressure and in deference to the cry for numbers. The fine old Commonwealth of Kentucky — the state of brave men and fair women — is educationally near the bottom of our list of states. The president of its state university has recently resigned. In no other state is educational leadership more needed at this moment than in Kentucky. It was a situation in which the trustees had the opportunity to do a great service to their state by finding such a leader and calling him to the presidency. They responded to this opportunity by choosing a politician who was entirely out of touch with educational methods, and who has given no promise whatsoever of educational leadership.

In these and many other states the coming of the university into its true place must wait upon the development of a virile and sensitive public opinion which will hold trustees to a strict account. There is no more concrete test of the stage of civilization of an American state than a state university controlled by the state, but free of partisan politics; and there is no surer mark of a high order of civic efficiency in a state than its ability to produce a competent board of trustees for a great university.

The nearness of the state university to the political life of the people is at once its danger and its opportunity. The older colleges of the Eastern states — Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth — started as quasi state instilutions. They threw off the connection later, partly on account of denominational influence, but mainly because of their distrust of any government directly from the people,— a phenomenon not uncommon in a democracy. It is the great glory of the stronger state universities that they have met this issue and won. Every decade has seen a growing public opinion in every state which holds the university above partisan politics and still keeps it in close relation to the whole body of the people. Every decade sees these universities stronger forces in democratic leadership. And notwithstanding such disappointments as those to which I have referred, the stronger state universities are to-day independent of partisan political pressure, and in every state — it may be slowly and with discouragement — the state university is finding its way to a leadership of the intellectual and moral forces of the state. In no section of our country has this progress been so marked in the last decade as in the Southern states. To-day in all these states the state university and the system of public schools are going forward at an astonishing pace. There is no more inspiring movement in our nation than this educational renascence throughout the South.

During its fifty years of history the state university has also suffered, as to its standards and ideals, from the same causes which have affected other universities — the prevailing American superficiality and the rage for numbers. Very slowly are we coming to admit, whether in tax-supported colleges or in those on private foundation, that bigness and greatness are not synonymous terms. Success has not yet come to be a function of educational righteousness in the mind of the people.

In this matter the state institutions have sometimes found themselves under stronger temptations than even the privately endowed colleges. The strongest appeal to the legislator has hitherto been on the score of numbers. When the member of the legislature has been told that the state university, or the state school of agriculture and mechanic arts, was overcrowded by the hundreds of students who thronged its halls, he has not generally given any thought to the methods by which these students were brought there; still less has he appreciated that in many cases they were obtained by the rankest advertising and by openly robbing the high schools. For the purpose of impressing the legislature, a student is a student, whether he happens to be studying elementary arithmetic in the sub-freshman classes, or scientific agriculture in the college. The registration-lists of students in some of these colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts remind one of the inventory of the Kansas farmer, who, in advertisement of an auction sale, announced thirty-two head of stock. When the stock came to be sold, the thirty-two head were found to embrace two horses, one mule, one cow, and twenty-eight hens. No institution which approaches a legislature with such an argument can reasonably object when the politicians seek to play the same game with the college.

The most serious result of this unlimited competition for students has been that in many states the state university has been led into a betrayal of its duty to the secondary-school system. There is no obligation which in a statesupported university is more clear and more important than that of nurturing and developing the secondary schools. The only method by which the state university can do this is to maintain for itself honest and reasonable standards of admission, and to respect the field of the high school, not to trench upon it. The state university which itself undertakes to conduct secondaryschool work — unless as a temporary measure in a period of educational adjustment— is hindering the development of a true secondary-school system. The university helps the secondary school best when it sets up fair standards and enforces them; when it holds the high schools responsible for good results, — not when it undertakes to do the high schools’ work for them; when it gives the secondary-school system a wise, fair, and sympathetic scrutiny, and leads it to increasing thoroughness and efficiency. One decent high school at a county seat is worth more to that county in the way of intellectual stimulus than a few scattered students sent up to a secondary school maintained by a weak-kneed university.

In the effort to maintain such standards, and to lead the high schools to uniform and reasonable standards, the state universities of many states have been embarrassed by the pressure of a large number of weak colleges which, while bearing the name college, are in effect secondary schools, and in many cases very poor secondary schools. It is no exaggeration to say that in many cases the entire educational progress of a state is delayed by the overmultiplication of weak colleges — set in motion by state, denominational, or personal initiative. Particularly is this true in the South, where some of the weakest and most demoralizing educational ventures, with high-sounding names, are maintained by the help of sympathetic givers in New England and New York, who have given no thought to the educational effect of the enterprise they are supporting. There is a singular fallacy current that all colleges are desirable agents in civilization, and should be helped; that all colleges are good colleges; and that the men who conduct them are in some mysterious way altruistic and unselfish beyond the ordinary standard of intelligent men in other vocations.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The standards of morals vary between the best and the worst colleges as widely as between the best and the worst business enterprises. A very large number of the so-called colleges are in fact business enterprises, started without reference to educational needs and possibilities. Even when a large measure of devotion goes into the enterprise, it is in many cases accompanied by no real study as to what the institution can and ought to attempt. To give money indiscriminately to such agencies is comparable to that form of personal charity which would stand on the street-corner and give gold-pieces to any passer-by who was willing to ask for them.

It would be far from my purpose to give the impression that the state university is the only institution whose academic virtue is virile. Human nature is not materially different in state, denominational, or independent colleges. In some states a strong college has forced the state university to some sort of decent standards; in others, the colleges have been led by the state university; in still others, the state university and a small group of strong colleges working together have brought up simultaneously the standards of the colleges and of the secondary schools; for no college and no university can maintain such standards without first developing to a reasonable status the secondary-school system.

The state university, being the visible head of the public-school system, has generally felt more distinctly its obligation to the secondary schools than have the colleges on private foundation. There is, however a growing recognition on the part of all the better colleges and universities on private foundation that they are public institutions. There are no private colleges, and the endowed college, no less than the tax-supported college, is under obligation to respect the integrity of the high school and to relate itself intelligently to it.

As might have been anticipated, the greatest weaknesses in the maintenance of good standards by the state universities have been exhibited in those states where the state institutions of higher learning are conducted in two or more colleges instead of being united into a single institution. In such cases it has almost inevitably happened that an unwise competition has sprung up, demoralizing alike to the institutions themselves and to the public-school system. Generally, the rivalry appears in the form of a competition between the state university and the state school of agriculture and mechanic arts. Duplicate courses are established at the two institutions, and low standards of admission, and log-rolling with the legislature, are the natural outcome.

For example, in states like Kansas, Washington, and Oregon, the state university and the competing colleges of agriculture conduct rival schools of engineering. In each of these cases the college of agriculture obtains numbers by conducting a large secondary school, a practical lowering of college standards. Pupils are thus brought from the high schools and enrolled as ' students ’ in the state college. In Oregon, for example, a considerable number of highschool pupils leave the well-equipped high schools of Portland to attend the secondary school of the State College of Agriculture at Corvallis. This whole process of competition between state colleges is demoralizing. It means low standards, political log-rolling, and waste of the state’s money. Could anything be more unjustifiable, for example, than two schools of mines, in a sparsely settled state like Oregon, in two state-supported institutions thirtyfive miles apart. The common sense and patriotism of those who direct the state governments, and of those who direct education in the state, should join to do away with such a situation.

From this temptation the University of California is happily delivered. When the law-makers of 1868 provided for a state institution to crown its public-school system, they wisely made the school of agriculture and the school of mines parts of a single institution. It may be that California virtue is so high that it might have dealt successfully with a divided university. But if the history of other states points any moral, one may suspect, at least, that, had the wise law-makers of that period established a state university at Berkeley and a college of agriculture and mechanic arts at Los Angeles, the state would by this time have upon its hands two weak competing institutions instead of a single strong university which stands to-day in the very first rank of American institutions of the higher learning.

Perhaps there is no other state in the Union in which the unlimited competition between denominational, state, and local institutions has so fully done its perfect work as Ohio. Ohio is said to have the most fertile soil for statesmen to be found in the Union. All forms of politics and of religion abound within its borders. There is a tradition that any twig of doctrine transplanted to the Western Reserve will flourish like a green bay tree. However that may be, it is certainly true that Ohio is the most becolleged state in the Union. Over fifty institutions have been chartered by that generous commonwealth with the power to confer the learned and professional degrees; and I am told that a man may get more kinds of college degrees in Ohio for less money than in any other region, unless it be in Chicago, Illinois, or Washington, D. C. The state itself helps along in this matter by sustaining three state universities, which carry on a three-cornered campaign for students and for appropriations. Under such conditions it is not to be wondered at that the publicschool system of the state is inferior to that of nearby states, and the facilities for the training of public-school teachers are inadequate.

The relations between the state universities and the privately endowed colleges for years involved a certain amount of uncomfortable rivalry. It was not easy for the older college, dependent on tuitions, to admit the presence of a state-supported institution offering free tuition. The adjustment between the two groups of institutions of higher learning has now been in many states well effected. Where the state university is strong, and the system of public schools well developed, the colleges find their greatest opportunity. The feeling between the privately endowed college and the tax-supported university arises in almost every case from the desire for numbers, and the failure of one or the other, in the search for students, to maintain decent standards and to respect the integrity of the public school.

In this respect once more the great State of California has had a singular good fortune. The privately endowed institutions of this state are led by a strong university with high ideals and abundant facilities. The relations between the state university and its rich and vigorous neighbor have been conducted upon a high plane, above the petty form of rivalry which has characterized this stage of education elsewhere. It is the chief function of a university, whether supported by taxation or by endowment, to set before the eyes of the people right standards,— not only standards of scholarship, but standards of intellectual sincerity, of civic honesty, of spiritual aspiration. It is the good fortune of this young and rich commonwealth that in its educational firmament glow two stars of the first magnitude.

It must be clear to any student of American education that the debt which the country owes to the detached colleges is beyond estimate. They were the pioneers. They served their day with full faith and devotion. They were founded generally under the individualistic conception of education. To-day they find themselves confronted with a conception of education as the duty of the state. If they are to live, they must intelligently relate themselves to the state system of schools. They cannot much longer cut below the standards set up by the state system of education. For many of the older, weakly endowed colleges which served education in an older generation, one cannot but feel a sincere sympathy. It is clear, however, that the duty of such institutions is to meet the issue squarely. There is only one honest course, and that is to do sincerely the work which is feasible. If that is the work of a secondary school, then the institution should frankly call itself by the right name. The people of this country are rapidly learning to estimate at their real value the colleges which affect to be universities, and the academies which pretend to be colleges.

I visited not very long ago an institution whose total income was less than twenty thousand dollars a year. After meeting the Dean of the College, and the Dean of the Scientific School, I was introduced in rapid succession to the Dean of the School of Education, and finally to the Dean of the Graduate School. With some hesitation I inquired of this last functionary what the duties of Dean of the Graduate School in such an institution might be. The Dean spoke up like a man. He said that he taught elementary Latin to those beginning that study. The next morning, as I took leave of a hardheaded member of the Board of Trade of that fair city, he said to me, ‘Colonel ’ (it was in a latitude where the conferring of a military title was merely a mark of confidence and affection), ‘ Colonel,’ said he, ‘how much of the stock of our university is on a dividend basis, and how much of it is water?’

That is not a bad question to put to any university.

I have ventured to allude in some detail to the weaknesses and the difficulties in which our state universities are at present involved, for the reason that the picture of the state university of to-day which does not include these problems of its environment, is no true picture; and because, in addition, the great and immediate need is to face courageously these difficulties. That man is the best friend of the state university who, believing sincerely in its mission and in its future, insists that the weaknesses of the present shall be dealt with frankly,—not covered up. And those who direct the purpose of these great enterprises of the democracy cannot be too often reminded that the highest function of a university is to furnish standards for a democracy, and that the standards which a democracy most needs are not merely the intellectual tests which govern the entrance to college. A democracy demands first of all of its university standards of honesty, simplicity, sincerity, and thoroughness.

Notwithstanding the failings which all students of education admit; notwithstanding the lack of a virile public opinion in many states, without which a true university cannot exist; notwithstanding the fact that a governor and a board of trustees now and again play politics with a state university, it is still true that the rise of these great universities is the most epoch-making feature of our American civilization, and they are to become more and more the leaders, and the makers of our civilization. They are of the people. When a state university has gained solid ground, it means that the people of a whole state have turned their faces toward the light, it means that the whole system of state schools has been welded into an effective agent for civilization. The rise of a great college on private foundation means for its state the growth of institutional loyalty. The rise of a great state university, of the people and by the people and for the people, means the birth of an educational patriotism.

The American people have accepted this view of the mission of the state university. They believe in it as they believe in themselves. There is to-day only one serious note of question concerning the ultimate achievement of the American state university, and this has to do with its spiritual and religious life. I do not refer to that crude criticism of twenty years ago which called those universities godless institutions, nor do I refer to the occasional expressions of some denominational schools. The great body of Christian people of all denominations have risen above such appeals. They send their sons and daughters in increasing numbers to the state university. The expression to which I refer comes from a very different group of men, and it is directed rather against the modern American conception of a university than against any group of institutions — against Harvard and Chicago no less than against Wisconsin and California.

No institution, it is urged, can in the long run touch the imaginations and fulfill the aspirations of a great people which does not nurture faith, as well as science and art and literature. A university, it is said, is a great piece of machinery. It can accomplish much, but it does not warm the heart and touch the emotions and kindle the imagination. Therefore, it will not lead the civilizalion of the democracy. That can be done only by inspiring the youth of the democracy with a true, vibrant, living faith. Only in the fellowship of such a faith do art and poetry and religion live; and these make civilization.

I believe that there will be no difference of opinion as to the part which faith plays in human progress. We speak sometimes of the age of faith. All ages which are creative are ages of faith. Faith always will be the motive-spring of our best humanity, for the substance of things hoped for is always fairer than that of the things attained, the evidence of things not seen is always more inviting than the evidence of those things which we hold in our hands. It has always been so. If by faith the men of old subdued kingdoms, quenched the violence of fire, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, by faith no less Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, and gave to women their dead raised to life again. To-day, as always, faith leads men on, and the university which is without such a living faith is dead. I believe the American university to be the home of a living, triumphant faith, a faith which in the largest and truest sense is also a Christian faith. I venture to give the grounds for this belief.

The last generation has seen an epoch-making change in the attitude of men, not toward faith itself, but toward the traditional forms of faith. It has seen a transformation in the social and industrial relations of mankind such as the world has never experienced before in a thousand years. Coincident with this, the intellectual processes of civilized men have been changed. Their point of view with respect to the past is new. They only to-day, after the lapse of a generation, are orienting themselves with respect to it. The new conception of truth at first puzzled and confused more than it helped. Old landmarks and old standards in science, history, and religious faith, were swept away. Faith was not lost, but it was puzzled and confused, and knew not whither to look.

Perhaps no other epoch in the world’s history has presented in so short a period such remarkable changes in men’s ideals, unless it be that which came in with Julius Cæsar. The old religions of the Roman world were dead, and the very principles upon which human society had been constructed were dead also. A new industrial civilization and a new faith had to grow up together. In the interval of uncertainty there remained in the world only a minimum of moral and spiritual conviction. Civilization concerned itself with little else for a time except the meagre provisions under which wealth and luxury, and the right to work, were offered to men’s ambitions. In time, faith again rose to triumph over the commonplace.

In the last generation, notwithstanding our marvelous progress in material advances, the world has passed through another period of the commonplace. The faith of humanity has hesitated and wavered, not altogether sure of the past, not yet confident of the future. To-day, faith is once more assuming its rightful place in human consciousness, and with it appears the dawn of a broader, richer, and nobler civilization. That faith is the faith of science; it is a Christian faith, and its home is in the university.

What is science, and what is the faith of science?

To-day, science is a word to conjure with, and yet there is perhaps no other subject of men’s talk over which there is more confusion, or concerning which there is more credulity; for, as Lecky has well pointed out, scientific credulity is quite as common among men as religious credulity.

The common misconception is that which confuses the term ‘ scientific ’ with the term ‘technical,’ notwithstanding the brilliant efforts of Clifford and Huxley to state in simple terms the distinction.

A bright boy was recently asked, ‘Who won the battle of New Orleans?’

‘Corbett,’ answered the well-informed youth.

‘ Why did he win?’

‘Because he had more science.’

This sounds crude enough, and yet it is not much more crude than the conception of scientific research which one sees in many of our colleges and universities. We Americans have shown great technical proficiency; we have been almost pitifully deficient in true scientific work.

The science which has remade our philosophy of life, and which is rekindling the faith of men, is not a process of technical skill, but it is rather an attitude and process of the mind with respect to all truth. It is no new way, but the old way by which mankind has always found whatever truth it has gained. Our age is scientific, only because the attitude and the method of science have become the attitude and method of mankind; for truth and the ways of seeking truth, as the leaders of mankind know them, inevitably permeate the great mass of mankind. The mass of men to-day unconsciously view the universe from the standpoint of science.

That standpoint and that attitude are nothing more than this: Truth is the property of no party, of no creed, of no source of authority; it is to be seen only by him who looks at it with the open mind; it is to be reached only by squarely facing all the facts and following patiently whithersoever the facts lead. There has never been any other way to truth than this of the open mind, and the patient, reverent, and persistent search. The revolution in the way we look at the universe which has come with this generation is due, not to the newness of the conception, but to the fact that it has become the general possession of mankind.

The first effect of the general adoption of the scientific method upon the faith of the last generation was to raise up, not faith, but doubt. It has taken us a generation to realize that doubt was the vestibule to a sure faith, and to understand the profound significance of the philosophy contained in Tennyson’s lines: —

Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt,
And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Faith!

Humanity had grown to believe that the forms of faith were faith itself. Slowly the minds of men have grown accustomed to the new light, and the science which a generation ago was called the destroyer of faith is to-day the inspirer of a new faith which is filling the hearts and the minds of men.

And what does science offer to inspire a true human faith?

Science standing before the mystery of human life pretends to no other knowledge than can be gained by way of the open mind and the patient search. Whence fife came, and whither it goes, science knows not; and frankly admits a mystery which it does not understand, and which perhaps it can never understand.

Looking clear-eyed upon the universe, science sees, however, the working of universal law. The stone which falls to the earth, the planet revolving about the sun, the stellar systems so distant that the light-beams from them consume years in coming to our eyes, move in obedience to the same universal, simple laws.

When we search with our spectroscopes the most distant stars, we find exactly the same physical elements as those which exist upon our earth and in our sun, and no others. The physical unity of the universe, and its obedience to universal law, points science inevitably to the faith that back of all matter and of all force stands an omnipresent power, in whom we live and move and have our being. Faith in God, not as a magnified human being, but as the maker of the universe, is a part of the faith of science.

Looking back over the history of our race under the governance of the laws which its author has set up, science shows a sure and continuing progress upward. Man rising out of his brute inheritance has, in the slow passing of the ages, gone steadily forward in the development of social, intellectual, and spiritual powers. Notwithstanding the presence of brute qualities, notwithstanding the crime, the selfishness, the inertia of the human inheritance, science points ever hopefully to the fact that progress of the great mass of mankind has been steadily upward. Slowly, century by century, the common people have come into a larger share in the general prosperity of the earth, a larger opportunity in its intellectual and spiritual attainments. The great function of science is not in the inventions which the physical sciences have contributed, not even in the mastery over disease and suffering which its study has developed. The great service of science to humanity is to search out the laws of the universe, and to point men to the consequences of their disobedience; to deliver men from fear, and to bring mankind into a larger and clearer faith.

That faith finds its highest inspiration in the contemplation of the finest of human lives. The general progress of the race gives us belief that all is well, for the world grows better; but when that hope is illumined by the devotion, the courage, the wisdom, of the best exemplars of mankind, it glows with the fervor of a living faith and the inspiration of a divine call to the service of God and of humanity. More than all else, science has quickened the faith of men by uncovering once more to their eyes the simple figure and the simple words of Jesus Christ. The men of our day know him and his words as they have not been known since that first generation of Christians passed away, who had talked with him face to face. For nearly two thousand years his face and his words have been obscured by the traditions of credulous humanity, and by the dogmas of rival organizations. It is by way of the open mind and the honest search that science has taught us in these last decades to look upon the real Christ, to understand that he formulated no creed, that he founded no system of theology, that he organized no church, but that the Christianity he taught was summed up in love of God and service to man.

It is from this simple figure that the faith of science catches its warmest glow and its highest convictions. To this faith the words and the life of Jesus are their own best evidence. The Sermon on the Mount has for it more significance than the story of the virgin birth, or the account of the miraculous transfiguration. In these words, and exemplified in this life, science finds that typical man who is the hope of the world, our elder brother, conquering the weaknesses of humanity and leading it to the highest plane of service and of devotion. It is this figure to which the faith of science turns lovingly to-day, a faith broad enough to welcome alike Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, bond and free, wherever the light of truth shines into the hearts of men.

The American university is to-day the home of that faith. It is a faith which is real and vital, which takes hold upon the emotions as well as upon the minds of men, which stirs their hearts and their imagination. It is the faith of humanity and in humanity. Under its inspiration great works are to be done. Science and art and literature shall become alive. And the American university, which embodies the intellectual aspirations of a free people, is becoming day by day the representative of their spiritual aspirations as well.