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At Appleton Chapel last night Professor Henry Drummond, of Glasgow, said that he wished to talk (primarily) to the "outsider" to the man who had not learned to throw in his lot with his fellow men.
In the universities of Scotland, all Christian work has been arranged with reference to this outsider; and the first principle of all such work is the avoidance of cant, in any form whatever. More than this, it is a settled thing that no religious man shall interfere with the college amusements or with the college work. On the contrary, they try to interest the busiest men, with the feeling that these can do their work and yet find time to help their fellows. They never interfere with a student's creed; what they want in his life; and they have thus widened a door which might have shut out many.
The first obstacle they have to contend with is the revolt of strong minds against a weak religion. Men often find themselves unable, after a few weeks of college life, to believe as they used to; but there is no harm in this. A man should be encouraged to think of Christianity; for it is not worth thinking of, it can be but a poor thing. Again, many think Christianity dull; but this is not true in fact or in theory. Not only is it most interesting in itself, but theoretically its chief end is to cure dullness. It is the lack of Christianity which makes a life dull.
But neither of these obstacles is so great as the thought that it is unscientific to indorse Christianity. this will be found an entire mistake. "Science is not Christian or anti-Christian, but extra-Christian," and it is a fact that almost all great scientists, even if they did not openly profess Christianity, yet respected it wherever it appeared.
Professor Drummond went on to speak of the theory of evolution. Everything in this life is kept up by the death of things around it, and it is to this function of reproduction in nature that all happiness in the world is due. The fruits of the earth are the fruits of reproduction, all beauty in the world comes along the line of reproduction. We live by what this function has done for us.
Professor Drummond closed his sermon with a personal appeal to the students of the university. He asked them earnestly to save their lives, their college days; to yield to the generous side of their natures and stretch out their hands to help the man who is down. To do this will need but little profession of Christianity, for it will be making a great practice of it. There is little or no reason why nine-tenths of us should be alive; but the man who does good in the world, lifting up care and lightening the burdens of others, his life will not be wasted. There are doubtless many men in the college who thus seek the kingdom of God, but seek it second. For them there is in store a miserable life, a miserable death. In no other way can man fulfil his destiny but by seeking first the kingdom of God.
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