Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/154

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139
1882.—Mr. Justice West.
thought, of taste, and of refinement. Now, do not suppose, young graduates, that I have propounded any Utopian scheme or invited you to a task beyond human capacity. You are called on for no Strive to conquer fate. resignation, no submission to the higher powers, but what some good men and many gentle women practice every day. Nor am I an apostle of mere quietism. The certainty of resources and consolations in reserve ought indeed to give you boldness and pertinacity in action. It is no part of the scheme of Providence that we should feebly bow to fate, whimpering at our ill luck instead of striving to conquer it. Your science, your literature, should be a source then of energy as well as fortitude. They should enrich your action as well as your thought, and everywhere teach you the lesson of modest faith and perseverance, You must all have learned in your several lines of study the immense value of sustained and vivid attention. You must have come to appreciate the task which he undertakes who resolves to be even a faithful learner, much more a teacher of any important branch of human knowledge. You have found that clever as you were in the circle of your relatives, in the class of your school, or the quarter of your town, there were many other boys growing up at the same time at least as clever as yourselves and forming a crowd of competitors compared with the few places of fame and of emolument available as the meed of intellectual distinction. This, too, you must have learned that toil and tenacity of purpose exercised in any field for which you are not unfitted by positive defects achieve in the long run far more than the desultory efforts even of a brilliant ability. Our Maker, as Burke says, has imposed nothing on us as a duty which it is beyond our capacity to do or to know. What is obligatory is feasible, and in the development of every science we find its leading principles reduced by degrees to simple propositions within the grasp of the ordinary intellect, as though to favour the greatest number with an increasing insight into the mysteries of matter and of mind. There is always something great attainable, yet always something as great in reserve. So the education of the human race is planned—the humblest in ability takes his share in it, and, as things are arranged, a sufficient share if he but modestly acknowledges his need and accepts a low place at the banquet to which all are invited. For some of you the words "Friend, come up higher" will in due time sound : be patient and await the summons. Have fortitude even to await it in vain. Your labours are not therefore thrown away. Knowledge and the sense of duty done bear in themselves their own reward; and