God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
HOLY CROSS COLLEGE
JUNE 25, 1919
To come from the press of public affairs, where the practical side of life is at its flood, into these calm and classic surroundings, where ideals are cherished for their own sake, is an intense relief and satisfaction. Even in the full flow of Commencement exercises it is apparent that here abide the truth and the servants of the truth. Here appears the fulfillment of the past in the grand company of alumni, recalling a history already so thick with laurels. Here is the hope of the future, brighter yet in the young men to-day sent forth.
“The unarmed youth of
heaven. But o’er their heads
Celestial armory, shield, helm and spear,
Hung bright, with diamond flaming and with gold.”
In them the dead past lives. They represent the college. They are the college. It is not in the campus with its imposing halls and temples, nor in the silent lore of the vast library or the scientific instruments of well-equipped laboratories, but in the men who are the incarnation of all these, that your college lives. It is not enough that there be knowledge, history and poetry, eloquence and art, science and mathematics, philosophy and ethics, ideas and ideals. They must be vitalized. They must be fashioned into life. To send forth men who live all these is to be a college. This temple of learning must be translated into human form if it is to exercise any influence over the affairs of mankind, or if its alumni are to wield the power of education.
A great thinker and master of the expression of thought has told us:
“It was before Deity, embodied in a human form, walking among men, partaking of their infirmities, leaning on their bosoms, weeping over their graves, slumbering in the manger, bleeding on the cross, that the prejudices of the Synagogue, and the doubts of the Academy, and the pride of the Portico, and the fasces of the Lictor, and the swords of thirty Legions, were humbled in the dust.”
If college-bred men are to exercise the influence over the progress of the world which ought to be their portion, they must exhibit in their lives a knowledge and a learning which is marked with candor, humility, and the honest mind.
The present is ever influenced mightily by the past. Patrick Henry spoke with great wisdom when he declared to the Continental Congress, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience.” Mankind is finite. It has the limits of all things finite. The processes of government are subject to the same limitations, and, lacking imperfections, would be something more than human. It is always easy to discover flaws, and, pointing them out, to criticize. It is not so easy to suggest substantial remedies or propose