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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 1, 1883)
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA.
LINCOLN, NEB., NOVEMBER i, 1883.
"Wo aro shaped nnd fashioned by what wo lovo."
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incl
dcntly. Make it tho object of search and it leads us a
wild gooso chase, and is nover attained. Hawthorne.
Tho present literary fashion among young ladies is
elocution. Many say that tlioy will die happy as soon as
they enn win distinclion in this Held. No doubt this is u
laudable ambition, and could they bo prevailed upon not
to appear in public there would bo no objectiou.
Ohanning says "a man's happiness and success dobs
not depend on what ho has but what ho is." If wo could
all remember this in our struggle after tho phantom of
power more sunlight would bo brought into our lives.
Wo aro prone- to put too much value on circumstances,
and to forget tint its only worth Is the attltudo it causes
us to take.
George Eliott makes tho remark somowhero in one of
her essays that if Dickons had gone deeper not only de
picting traits but also tho motive, he would have been
tho greatest novelist tho world has known. This crit
icism is tho best that has over been nuule. Dickens was
a surface writer. What ho saw with his physical eyo ho
put down with vigor and clearness, back of that ho did
not go. Tho act ho described, tiic causo ho suw not,
honco his novels aro true only for his own day. Another
generation will read them with less interest. Emer
son calls his writings "London tracts," this is somewhat
severe, but perhaps true.
Tho catholic church, which has stood so loug as an
impenetrable bulwark, seems now to bo yielding. A
short timo ago a bishop of a church in St. Louis publicly
declared that the priest has no right to grant absolution.
This may prove tho. beginning which will load to a gen
ernl revolution throughout tho church. At least it is
only a question of time, no institution can stand still for
any great length of timo whilo all other things around it
aro growing, eithor it will bo choked out, or olso stim
ulated to now growth. The former thus fur has been its
fate, whether it will bo-so in tho futuro depends entirely
on it3elf. It stands as a livingexamplo of tho fate of all
institutions, which attempt to resist tho Incorrigible laws
of tho universe. Tho very instruments it used to conquer
its adversaries wero turned against itsolf, and experience
taught tho bitter losson that truo power is not bom of
force. Religion is no exception, it ceases to bo religion
when it is supported by external power. When you at.
tempt to put chains upon it, like tho fubled ProtouB of
old, it has alroady gone. Emerson :aptly says "tho
fuith that stands on authority is not faith. The relianco
on authority measures tho decline of religion, tho with
drawal of tho soul."
All colloges soom to bo affected with tho "society"
mania. It is tho first and tho hist thing one heard. Prob
ably they do soino good, they could hardly be toloratod
if tlioy did not, but many dovolo timo to society work to
tho detriment of their studios. To como to college with
tho avowed purpo 0 of mastering tho course, and thou let
ting it go for such a hobby as socioty supremacy seoms
tho height of folly. Such students seem to forget what
they aro hero for, tho most essential thing is tho habit of
thorough, persistent study formed. Practico public
speaking till doomsday, and you nover would succeed
without this. Another thing is also detrimental and that
is the tendency to work to pleaso tho public. People of
courso liico to bo amused, but it is rather a costly sacrifice
for a student to wasto his timo at tho vory moment whoa
ho is preparing for his lllowork,forsuch a paltry cousld
oration. Tho object ot society work should be simply to
accustom students to bo at homo before an audience, not
to get up tho most llowery orations and hair-raising reci
tations. It's very pleasant of courso to create au impros
slou, but this is hurdiy tho whole end of education. In
many respects it would bo better if tho public wore not
allowed to attend rhetorical exercises.
Tho question is often asked why in tikis ago, celebrated
for tho general diliusion of knowledge, there aro not
more great wrltors? Our difficulty may bo solved by au
illustration from Roman history. In tho reign of Augustas
an ordinance was mado and onforcd that only certain wri
ters should bo road, tho works of these wero put in every
public place, hoping Ihui to makoa nation of scholars.
Tho result was, uota single author of any might was pro
duced after that. All individuality ami originality was
stilled. Tho same troubla affects us, wo liavo been wor
shipers of tho past too much. Wo do not scorn torpalizo
that tho same things exist for us that did for our fathers,
that nature is tho sumo yesterday, today and forever, and
all that is needed is an interpreter. Tho mind that clings
tootiiors for its tono nnd sustonanco will always remain a
parasite. Wo should by no m caus discourago tho study
of tho writers of tho past, but having gotouto their ground
wo should endeavor to see for ourselves, and not continuo
to use their eyes. "Ho who knows that power is inborn,
that ho is weak bocuuso ho has looked for good out of
him aud elsewhere, uud so perceiving throws himself
unhesitatingly ou his thought, instantly rights himself,
stands in tho erect position, commands his limbs, works
miracles: just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger
than a man who stands ou his head,"
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