« AnteriorContinuar »
-selves and others, and of the duties resulting from the several relations we bear in life. And the discoveries of natural philosophy, supported and improved by the subsidiary aids of geometry and mathematics, will lead us to a knowledge and admiration of the one supreme Being, in all his works, and enable us to apply our knowledge to the best of all purposes, that of being useful to our fellow-creatures. And our desire to excel in all these branches of profitable learning cannot but receive the highest impulse from the very genius of the place, in which our studies are prosecuted. For, surely, it is impossible for an ingenuous mind to view those venerable shades and structures, where a Newton, an Erasmus, or a Tillotson, explored and fathomed the depths of science, without a concentration of the noblest ideas, and an enthusiastic ardor of attempting a generous, though distant, emulation of their exalted and immortal excellence. ¢ 4
If If such, then, are the signal blessings, which the respective members of this learned Body have freely received from the hand of antient munificence, it is surely a duty incumbent upon them freely to communicate the fruits of them, for the general benefit of mankind. The representing the duty of every man in the blessings he enjoys under the notion of a stewardship, is a favourite allusion with Christ and his apostles; and we know, from the highest authority, that “ it is “ required in stewards, that a man be « found faithful.” And, surely, no trust or stewardship can be more sacred or important than that which is committed to our charge; the forming the minds and manners of those, who are hereafter ta fill every leading department in church and state, to what is decent, virtuous, and praise-worthy. We ought therefore, by every allurement of laudable example, by every effort of constant and diligent instruction, by a vigorous discouragement
of vice, and by a constant and impartial remuneration of real merit, on all occasions, to shew, that we have not lost sight of the great purposes for which we are placed here, and for the discharge of which we professedly receive the emoluments and honours of our several stations and appointments.
And as the duty we owe to our benefactors thus loudly calls upon us to be faithful in our stewardship, so a regard to our own interest likewise no less forcibly demands this at our hands. We are as a candle placed upon an eminence, upon which the eyes of the world are naturally fixed, and in which the smallest decay of light will readily be discerned, and as readily pointed out by the malicious finger of envy, to the observation of those numerous enemies, who would rejoice, that « the name of this our Israel should ço be no more in remembrance," For, surely,' we want not to be told, that the
bigoted Papist would, with singular pleasure, view the extinction of those two glorious luminaries, by whose radiance the dark clouds of papal superstition were dispelled, and life and immortality brought to light, in their native purity and splendor. Nor need we again be told, that the numerous sectaries, whose growing influence in the state is already too perceptible, regard with a malignant eye these learned seminaries, which are the great barriers against their schemes of encroachment and innovation, and the firm bulwarks and supports of that establishment, against which all their arrows of rage and detraction are levelled, ,
And whilst our enemies thus regard us with a malignant jealousy, our best friends cannot but look up to us with the tenderest feelings of anxiety and concern. They know with sorrow,
that malevolent reports are gone abroad in the world. They hear, on every side, that the reins of
discipline are relaxed; that dissipation and unnecessary expence are enormously increasing; that modesty and subordination, the antient and necessary fences of good order, are suffered to be broken down and trampled upon by the younger members of the University; that propriety of character and decency of deportment are little regarded by the higher orders, and those who are in authority; that the pure streams of the Muses are polluted by the turbid influx of political contention; that intestine cabal and foreign influence are suffered to operate, to the great discouragement of merit and industry, and in direct contradiction to the most solemn restrictions of antient statutes, in the disposal of the most important trusts; whilst, on the other hand, the genuine and essential purposes of academical institution; the promotion of learning and piety; the advancing of the honour of God and the benefit of man, are notoriously neglected and disregarded.