[Extracts from the address made at the funeral of Arthur Orcutt Jameson, first scholar of the class of '81, who died at his father's house in East Medway, the last day of September.]
THERE is no need that I should dwell upon the aggravations of this strange providence, or call attention to the proportions of this great sorrow. Rather let me gather up that which remains to us and for our comfort: the precious memories of Arthur's earthly life the hopes and expectations respecting his immortal life that we are permitted to cherish.
He was born on the morning of the 25th day of November, 1859, in East Concord, N. H. In 1873 he was admitted to the Roxbury Latin School to pursue his studies preparatory to his admission to college, where, by his superb scholarship, his modest and considerate deportment, and his thorough goodness of heart, he won the esteem and affection of his teachers and fellow-students; his sharpest rivals, although at last outstripped by him, becoming his warmest friends.
In 1877 he entered Harvard University, receiving honors on his examination for entrance, in the classics and mathematics; and after maintaining a high standard for scholarship during his course, he received the highest final honors in the classics, graduated the first scholar in a class of 182, and added his name to the list of those who in the past have attained like distinction, an honor of which any one might be proud. Subsequently he received appointment as head assistant in the Arnold Classical School in New York City, and a congenial and promising future seemed open before him.
And then our Heavenly Father saw fit in His infinite wisdom to permit a sickness to fasten on him that prepared the way for death to make an easy conquest. And now the joyous song that had been singing so continuously all through his life is hushed and almost smothered by the sobs of this great sorrow, while "all that are about him bemoan him; all that know his name say now is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod." At this interruption of his earthly life we reverently pause and ask, What virtues has it made emphatic? What lessons has it taught us?
Most conspicuous among his virtues we would mention his faithfulness; duty was his king. And next we mention modesty, that made him win and wear his honors with consummate grace. And then a native kindliness that made his friendships deep and tender, and filled his soul with charity "that thinketh no evil." And then purity of thought and deed that stamped its credentials on his clear, honest face; and over all an unobtrusive piety that graced and softened his whole being. He has taught us all how to put value into our living, and hope into our death.
He has taught his college friends especially, that it is possible to live amongst temptation and conquer it. He has emphasized the fact that scholarship and politeness suit well together, and that culture and piety have no antagonisms. He has refuted the too commonly accepted college opinion that religion and stupidity are boon helpmeets, by coupling the most brilliant scholarship with a sincere piety. Is not this a most worthy record? Has not his life done something for the world?
When we think of the enlargement of his life in its service and usefulness which this transfer has brought, we can but justify the wisdom of God's methods. I have no patience with the thought that in God's great universe there is no room for service except on this narrow and inconspicuous earth where mortals dwell. I have no patience with the thought that careful preparation for service here counts for nothing when one goes beyond these narrow limits. We believe that this splendid preparation that has been made by our young friend for usefulness here is equally a splendid preparation for usefulness in that larger world to which he has gone. The literary and scholastic training that resulted in such superb scholarship was, after all, but the scaffold by the help of which he was to lay the walls of a brilliant and successful life. It had developed his mind, strengthened his intellect, given capacity and grasp and method and direction to his mental action. Does all this give a pledge for usefulness in this world only? Does it offer no prophecy of extended usefulness in the world to come? Is there not a significance in the terms of the reward granted to great faithfulness, - "I will make thee a ruler over many things"? May we not interpret God's call to our young friend as a summons to something higher and better? May we not believe that his faithfulness in these earthly relations and duties as a son, a brother, a student, a disciple, have laid the basis for promotion to a more dignified and influential service?