Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/369

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University of Madras.

continue to serve their purpose in the midst of generations that are still to come. If thus you act, then, unless the plainest teaching of nature be a lie, you will not lose by it even in the lowest view, while your moral nature will be ennobled, and you will enjoy what must surely be the satisfaction of believing that, so far at least, you are obedient to the law by which all existence is bound together into this one glorious universe. And whatever be the profession you may choose, you may all in the exercise alike of it and of your personal influence, do much to awaken in others that desire for knowledge which this University trusts that she has been the means of awakening in you. If you are in the least worthy of the position in which you stand, you need not me to tell you that by doing so you will confer on them a greater boon than the very greatest that is merely material in its character.

There was a time when the nations of Europe, too ignorant even now, were sunk in ignorance of the very densest kind. It was by the individual effort of those who had been themselves enlightened, that the darkness began in any measure to be rolled away. A story of the age of Charlemagne, related by Dr. Newman in his delightful volume on the Office and Work of Universities, may serve as an illustration of the spirit in which some of them went about this work. "Two wandering Irish students," he says, "were brought by British traders to the coast of France. There, observing the eagerness with which those hawkers of perishable merchandize were surrounded by the populace, they imitated them by crying out, Who wants wisdom? here is wisdom on sale! This is the place for wisdom." It is an example for you—not in the letter but certainly in the spirit. What was genuine and therefore useful in them, might be in others the veriest affectation; yet the need of knowledge is such in India that those who know its grandeur should hesitate at little if only they can arouse in their countrymen a desire to be sharers in its benefits.

In exhorting you thus, gentlemen, to labour for the good of others, I am not unaware that something is tacitly with sons of assumed. If you have no personal perception that the object proposed to you is in itself a noble one, undoubtedly the arguments I have used, or reasoning of any kind, will have but little practical effect. But I believe that some consciousness of its intrinsic grandeur is alive within you; and that the only thing needed is that this consciousness should be fanned into a flame. Suffer me, therefore, only to remind you that this University in doing so much directly for your intel-