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Religious Life at Harvard.


The absurdly exaggerated and, in many respects, absolutely untruthful, articles concerning the tendencies of life at Harvard, which have recently appeared in magazines and newspapers, have been productive of one good result. Under the leadership of Rev. Frank B. Vrooman, a committee of students, who have formerly been members of other colleges, has been investigating the tendencies of religious life here. Mr. Vrooman, in an interview with a reporter of the Boston Post, speaks of the work of the committee and some of its results. The gentleman, besides being a student in the philosophical department of the University, is the pastor of a leading Congregationalist church in Kansas City, Mo., and speaks from an Orthodox standpoint. He says:

"I came to Harvard with the suspicion that it was a poor place for a religious man to come to. My Orthodox friends, both in the East and in the West, warned me of its moral atmosphere. But, after I had spent a half year at Harvard, during which time I made its moral and religious tone a study, I concluded that the fears of my friends were unfounded, and, furthermore, that their ideas had been distorted by such articles as the one written by Quest for the North American Review. Unwilling, however, to rest the matter on my own experience, I interviewed several graduate divinity students, all of whom I found agreed with me. Among the students in the philosophical department, I met Mr. Delabarre, who, independently of me, had been looking into this subject. He also reached the conclusion that Harvard had been wronged. Then, after working together for a while, we called a meeting of the graduate and under-graduate students here from other colleges. As some of these men had attended more than one college, either in the New or the Old World, we had represented there, I should say, 100 institutions. The views expressed at this meeting showed that Harvard had been unfairly treated; but as we all desired to go further into the matter, we appointed a committee to investigate. This committee has sent a circular containing ten questions to all men here from other colleges. It is not time for all answers to be in, but those that have come to hand bear out the opinion that great injustice has been done to the University. Generally speaking, the article by Quest in the North American Review is shown to contain untrue statements. Our information also shows it was an extremely sensational article and that the class of men which it describes is very much smaller than a person from reading it would infer. At Harvard, on every hand, may be found abundance of brain, talent, moral and intellectual earnestness. And the nature of the instruction given is calculated rather to draw men out rather than to 'cram' knowledge into them.

"There is here also, unusual vigor of religious life. The students are interested in the chapel services and every day on the campus, in the street and at Memorial Hall they may be heard speaking of the helpful words of the Rev. Phillips Brooks, the Rev. Dr. Gordon and other preachers of the University. I have just seen a graduate of a well-known theological seminary. In the divinity department at Harvard, he says that the tone of the conversations and the general bearing of the students are cleaner and more elevated than has been the case at seminaries where he previously studied. I believe this fact to be significant, and I am fully convinced that when we get all the facts we shall be able to show that Harvard has been much misrepresented."

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