Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/11

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8
The Romanes Lecture 1892

though they may be isolated, may be found not altogether void either of interest or of freshness.

First, I would name that for which I have already laid the ground. The Christian idea, taking possession of man at the centre and summit of his being, could not leave the rest of it a desert, but evidently contemplated its perfection in all its parts. I appeal to those great and comprehensive words of Saint Paul, which may have been a prophecy not less than a precept, and which enjoin us[1] to lay hold on 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.' It is here conveyed to us that in the Christian religion there lay, from the very first, the certain seed of all human culture. But as, before the advent of that religion, the great preparation of mankind to receive it was conducted, within the boundaries of our civilisation, through several races in their several seats, so, after it had come into action, the entire scope of its office was not at once made visible from any single point of view, any more than the spectacle from Mount Pisgah[2] could command all Palestine. Its work was developed in successive efforts. The great spiritual power was the first to claim possession of the field. In its own time, there sprang up the grand and comprehensive conception of the University.

But only by degrees. We learn that the name, now stereotyped among us, had elder sisters. In particular

  1. Phil. iv. 8.
  2. Deut. xxxiv. 1.