I should give a false impression of this very interesting man, who is so sincere and so steadfast, if I did not mention the significant fact of his happiness. He has always struck me, in spite of his formidable intellect and a somewhat pedagogic front and the occasional accent of an ancient and scholarly ecclesiasticism, as one of the happiest and most boy-like of men—a man whose centre must be cloudlessly serene, and who finds life definitely good. His laughter indeed, is a noble witness to the truth of a rational and moral existence. His strength is as the strength of ten, not only because his heart is pure, but because he has formulated an intelligent thesis of existence.
He has pointed out that the Pickwick Papers could not have been produced in any but a Christian country. “Satire you may get to perfection in pagan countries. But only in those countries where the morality of Christ has penetrated deeply do you get the spirit that loves the thing it laughs at.”
SELBIE, Rev. WM. BOOTHBY, M.A.; Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, since 1909; b. Chesterfield, 24 Dec., 1862; e.s. of late Rev. R.W. Selbie, B.A. of Salford; m. Mildred Mary, 2d d. of late Joseph Thompson, J.P., LL.D., of Wilmslow, Cheshire; two s. one d. Educ.: Manchester Grammar School; Brasenose and Mansfield Colleges, Oxford; incorporated M.A., at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 1904; Hon. D.D. Glasgow, 1911. Lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament at Mansfield College, Oxford, 1889-90; Minister Highgate Congregational Church, London, 1890-1902; Emmanuel Congregational Church, Cambridge, 1902-1909; Editor of the British Congregationalist, 1899-1909; Lecture in Pastoral Theology at Cheshunt College, Cambridge, 1907-1909; Chairman of Congregational Union, 1914-1915; President of National Free Church Council, 1917.
[Illustration: PRINCIPAL W.B. SELBIE]
PRINCIPAL W.B. SELBIE
I make not therefore
my head a grave, but a treasure of knowledge;
I intend no Monopoly, but a community in learning; I study not for
my own sake only, but for theirs that study not for themselves.
I envy no man that knows more than my self, but pity them that know less. I instruct no man as an exercise of my knowledge, or with an intent rather to nourish and keep it alive in mine own head, then beget and propagate it in his; and in the midst of all my endeavour, there is but one thought that dejects me, that my acquired parts must perish with my self, nor can be Legacied among my honoured Friends_.—SIR THOMAS BROWNE.
Mansfield College, Oxford, has been happy in its Principals. Dr. Fairbairn created respect for Nonconformity in the very citadel of High Anglicanism; Dr. Selbie has converted that respect into friendship. There is no man of note or power at Oxford who does not speak with real affection of this devoted scholar, who has been dubbed up there “an inspired mouse.”