Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/366

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75
1871.—Rev.William Miller.

But to all of you, gentlemen, I would say:—be students while you live. It is a duty that you owe to yourselves, in order that your intellectual being may be no stunted and miserable thing, but the noble growth that it will be developed into by your faithfully following out the path on which you have creditably entered. Be students of books, as you have been hitherto. In the busiest life you will find some time for this. Draw in and make your own the fruit of the minds of others, and thus keep yourselves ever moving with the stream of human thought that has flowed on, and shall flow on through all the ages. Yet even more, be students of men and of the facts of life. It is in no dreamland of fancy, and in no retirement of studious seclusion, that man's mind and character are fitted to arrive at their due expansion. The men that you meet with in all their variety of intellectual and moral nature, the political and social forces at work around you, the tendencies and aims of current speculation, will furnish to the well-trained mind, food for constant thought—for such thought as may elevate and brace the whole inner life by keeping it in perpetual contact with what is real and enduring beneath the shows of the fleeting hour. And on all such subjects, while you do not despise or neglect the words of others, dare to form an opinion of your own. Only venturing to think your own thoughts and to acknowledge no authority but that of truth, can you ennoble your minds upon the one hand, or discharge your moral responsibility on the other. And be not dismayed though thinking which thus aims only at the true, should lead you often into perplexity and doubt. That is but part of the discipline of life. Some of you know the quaint old saying adopted as a motto by one of the leading minds of the present century:

"Truth like a torch, the more it's shook it shines."

These perplexities and doubts are but the shaking which makes truth beam forth more clearly before long. Meet them manfully. Labour on till certainty is reached. Be sure of this, that a fuller insight into any fact whether great or small, but most of all if it be into one of the eternities of human speculation, is by itself a rich return for all the toil and danger of the search, at least to those in whom the sacred thirst for truth has been once effectually awakened.

And though my theme at present be mainly that intellectual character, the growth of which a University must always make its first concern, I may be permitted to point out before passing on, one noble result of a different kind which will have a tendency 10