|A. “I, a believer, look upwards, drinking in the deep-breathed words of the Gods, who unravel mysteries.” B. “And I, denying the Gods, look downwards at the mysteries under my hands and eyes.” C. “Both of you have missed the matter, seeing that the Gods are, in each case, present.”|
Some seats of learning say that they are developing in their sons the spirit that shall take full count and advantage of high faith and cold reason alike. Of that I cannot judge. But of this I am sure—that you hold under your hand unequalled chances for begetting such a spirit in the combined life, thought, and work of the College and the University. For you are stationed here in the heart of a vigorous and many-minded people—in a city opulent, energetic, experienced in the application of means to practical ends, and touching, through a myriad interests and dealings, the ends of all the earth. This is a keen and tense atmosphere rightly reflected in the life of your College. On the other hand, you have within artillery range the ancient University less touched than you by these surroundings or considerations, less impelled than you to the forefront of material strife and inquiry, but maintaining always her secular reserve of accumulated wisdom, which modulates knowledge, and that detachment of view which directs, but does not destroy, human sympathies with all aspects of life. Dundee and St. Andrews are necessary, and, in the present posture of the world’s dislocated thought and action, vitally necessary, to each other. There seems to me, then, an ideal marriage; but, like most marriages, it depends for much of its happiness upon material considerations. Gentlemen of Dundee, makers of the city’s fortune, merchant-princes—they tell me that the bride here is ill-dowered. Is it because she has grown up unnoticed, among you so long that she has to take the world with no full sufficiency of gear to be proud of? The standard of living has risen? The more reason, then, that the standard of thought should rise with it. From what I have seen and felt of the life of the Students’ Union at St. Andrews, it has occurred to me that your city might fitly give to her children here their own lodge of the young men, their own temple of youth, where young men associated together even for childish things, may realise what manner of corporate spirit they serve now, and to what compelling idea they are under obligation in the future. It is not easy to make these things plain in the crowded life and ways of a vast city to busy students coming and going to their homes at the day’s end. But give them their own dining halls and gathering grounds, and that divine spirit of youth, which seeks only an outlet, will create all the rest—lightly, unconsciously, but enduringly.
You and I have seen many men ruined by mere money thrown at them without thought. But independent men who have elected to be bound to hard work till their life’s end take little harm from being given the best equipment, the best thought-out set of working-tools that can fit them for their callings. There is room for such equipment, whether it be instruments, laboratories, halls, or new wings to existing buildings; and since a gift is of no avail unless the giver comes with it, there is room for interest, pride, and care. I agree with you that the present moment, when the key-industry of Great Britain is tax-gathering, is not best chosen for an appeal. You will observe, therefore, that I make no appeal. I merely suggest to you opportunity to advance the honour and interest of your University College. It may also be that the name and line of some of you must now die out for lack of succession. Seeing what great things the dead have done, you may desire to keep that name alive among young men in memory of some son of yours who should have borne it. If so, your road is open.
But it is to the living that we must look, and, though much has been taken away, yet to us who have still the light of the sun and the darkness of earth to deal with, much has been given. And as surely as Science is real and Faith is true, so surely much is required of us.