Dr. Edward Everett Hale took for his sermon: Ephesians iv: 13, "Till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man." Following is a synopsis of the sermon:
Our use of the word "Commencement" means the end of one life and the beginning of another and broader one. University graduates are to be leaders in the state and so servants of it: and this public service is the highest aim which the students can have. Such service may be of many kinds, but along it, whatever it may be, are to come the highest prizes in life. The true leader, the true servant of the public, must be finally a full-grown man, and no man is full-grown into whose life Christianity has not entered. Though Christianity has not achieved its highest privileges its great principle of service is universally recognized.
In the larger college of life each man must govern his own action, each man is his own master, each man must lay out his own life by his determination for right or wrong. Here the benefits of university education is apparent, for by teaching a man how to control all his powers, it furnishes a basis for any occupation. And in any occupation success demands that a man be full-grown. Why should not this success be easy of attainment, since we, the sons of God, are heirs of almighty power? Religion is a law of life, an infinite purpose, commanding in the end an infinite success. To be a religious man one may be a thelogian or not, but if he control flesh and spirit he needs no ritual or dogma. The University offers a field for the training of a man in this control of flesh and spirit. We develope our bodies enough but perhaps pay too little attention to the exercise of our spiritual natures. Any exercise which enlarges faith, hope or love, is a spiritual exercise.
Addressing himself then especially to the seniors, Dr. Hale said that success was the goal of the highest ambition. Success, the greatest success, comes from infinite power, and infinite power comes from living in God, in being a part of Him.
In Bible times one hundred and twenty men, having an absolute faith and trust in God, set out to subvert and did subvert, the thought of the world. It is impossible then, in this enlightened age, to conceive of the influence which three hundred educated men, if they so chose, might have upon the life of their time. The condition, then, of success is that one should put himself in harmony with the infinite Will of God.