Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/251

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University of Bombay.

not in the stifling atmosphere of preparation for examination, but in the cooler, calmer air of academic contemplation, our stu- dents should pursue a higher aim.

Youth should be awed, religiously possessed
With a conviction of the power that waits
On knowledge, when sincerely sought and prized
For its own sake: on glory and on praise
If but by labour won, and fit to endure
The passing day.

Another evil inherent in any such system of study is the destruction of independent original thinking. In an overcrowded curriculum the aim of the student is apt to be reduced simply to the mastering of a given number of ideas and opinions in the most convenient manner and the briefest possible time. What teacher of our youth has not felt this, has not seen it in the apathy which suddenly falls upon a class when he is led to enter into what may often be the most interesting and most fruitful parts of a subject, the secret of which is only revealed when he learns that tradition has settled that such lines of inquiry do not lie within the area of profitable study? I look forward hopefully to the relief which is now promised from some of these depressing influences, and I anticipate among its results a higher mode of study, the awakening of truer aims, and the deepening of the intellectual culture which is associated with this University. For what are we to understand by the general culture which it is the aim of the University to impart? It does not mean that a student should go forth merely with a set of opinions or ideas, quickly accumulated, upon a large variety of questions. He cannot hope to master all the problems of human knowledge in a three years' course, nor in one of four; but this at least we are entitled to expect that he shall have learned what many of those problems are, that he shall have learned to look at them from many sides, and shall have some grasp of the principles which must be applied for their solution as they present themselves amid the varied experiences of after-life. The University has simply introduced him to fields of study which it will be his life-work to cultivate. In the principles which it has inculcated and in the habit of mind which it has engendered it has placed in his hands the instruments, but the work in great part lies before him. If he goes forth simply with a set of ideas rapidly and imperfectly assimilated his afterlife will be unfruitful; but if he enters life with a mind trained to think, to examine, to realize the mutual bearings of the many objects of his thinking, then the foundations of a University culture have been well and truly laid. To use the words of one who was himself so thoroughly imbued with the University spirit:—"A habit of mind is formed which