Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/357

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

actualities of life to comprehend the demands of the day, if they would have their high and honorable degrees to represent realities, not anachronisms.

Daily is it becoming more and more apparent that the position of nations in the scale of civilization depends, mainly, upon their greater or less acquaintance with, and employment of, natural forces as aids to production, and, if this be true, then how deep must be the interest felt by all classes of society in understanding the laws and facts of Physics. The Statesman in Parliament, the Judge on the Bench, the Educationist, the Man of Letters, the Lawyer, the Soldier, the Sailor, the Merchant, the Manufacturer, and the Farmer have, each in his own sphere, a special interest in the momentous questions emerging from or colligated with Physical Science.

Gentlemen, whatever choice of congenial studies you may make, enter on the quest of truth with earnestness and modesty. Truth is ever young ; she ages not though the world gets wrinkled. There are truths of beauty and of grace which grow along the wayside of life ; there are truths bearing richer fruit which grow among the briers and thorns by little frequented paths ; there are truths, the most priceless of all, which grow on slippery and rocky places, whose golden fruit can be plucked by those alone who search for it by sweat and toil. Around you lies an ocean of truth, in which the bravest diver may plunge with the certainty of bringing up goodly pearls.

It is true that this world is full of errors, but it is equally true that it is full of the correctives of error. Modestly, therefore, but firmly and faithfully set out on the holy quest of truth. Use aright the reason which has been given you, and honestly exercise your birthright, the inalienable birthright of every man, to prove all things.

Truth will not always be found on the side of the world's majorities. The sheep principle is strong in humanity, and it is not every combatant who has the courage, even if he have the will, to ally himself with the world's minorities in upholding the good and true. In saying this 1 have no desire to see you angular men, erratic in your opinions, needlessly running counter to the views of all around you, but I do desire that you should shew to the world that you are not merely smooth pebbles of the brook with every angle and prominence flattened down by attrition till all individuality is lost, but that you are men who possess, and desire to maintain a distinct individuality, a