Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/385

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of this kind is painful^ and this fact in some degree accounts for its being so little practised. But I believe there is something in our system which tends to encourage this kind of mental indolence. It has the defect of having been framed for an earlier stage of education. Our schools have gradually developed into colleges and as was natural enough, the system remained unaltered. The schoolboy was under instruction for six hours a day, and the student to the last day of his course attends his professors for the same number. For all these hours, he is listening to instruction and is left without sufficient time for preparation or subsequent reflection. We are now beginning to find our mistake, and the question has attracted the attention of the highest authority. What in fact is the lesson taught by this system ? Is it not that the student^s chief business is the passive one of receiving and not the active one of finding. We act as if his brain were an empty hull into which each professor in his turn was to tumble a science. By this system of overteaching, we deprive our students of the pleasures of search and leave them none of the spontaneity in the pursuit of their studies which springs from being left to themselves. I remember an apologue quoted by a distinguished literary man, at once novelist and orator, whom we have recently lost. A certain Greek writer tells us of some man who to save his bees a troublesome flight to Hymettus cut their wings and placed before them the finest flowers he could select. The poor bees made no honey. I think that by our system we imitate this foolish man. We cut the wings of our students and give them the flowers they should find for themselves.

Let me conclude by urging you to make use of the advan- tages which a knowledge of English offers you. It is the most valuable of your acquisitions. It opens to you a great literature. It places you in communication with modern thought. The treasures of a foreign tongue are guarded by difficulties as hard to be passed as the dragons of ancient story. You have made your way through them, and you are now within hearing of the great poets and sages whose writings adorn our tongue. These are now your inheritance. I wonder when I hear the strange limitation sometimes placed upon the moral power of what is called secular education. We have in our service that vast literature of power whose influence on the character by acting on the emotions none can measure. Who has not felt it ?

A new current given to the thoughts, a new purpose implanted. It is often, as it was with the Anthony of our great