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At the special Chapel service for Freshmen held last evening, the advantages and the meaning of morning service in Appleton were made clear by President Lowell, Professor Palmer, and Dr. Fitch, each emphasizing what to him is most significant in a College man's religion. President Lowell put the stress on the infinity of purpose, influence are responsibility, and what these things should mean to the man who seeking the firmest foundation. Just as the captain of a vessel is responsible for the lives of others and is distrusted if he admits incompetency, so are all men responsible for the lives of others, not only in their own generation but in an unknown and infinite posterity.
It is the full realization of this debt which is strongest in all the wisest and foresighted. A man must know the end for which he strives, must realize that a life cannot have a complete object with in itself but is bound up in what is best known as the infinite purpose of life. The individual is the single link, the most important part of this endless chain of causation and effect.
The Function of Morning Chapel.
Professor Palmer spoke of the essential religious quality in all men and the difficulties of its expression in the College community. The place for the manifestation of the innermost feelings is the Chapel and there are arguments both for and against compulsory attendance. Between the years of 18 and 22, the natural course for a young man to take is that of doubt in his religion. Make Chapel attendance voluntary and he holds back but make it compulsory and he attends, clearing his doubts and returning refreshed. It is necessary that this doubt should exist and men come forth from it strengthened.
The need of religion is universal and is deeply planted in both the individual and the nation. He who seems without it is not the person to whom we turn for support, but he is a real sustaining force who treats his religion as a precious inheritance, a tradition that has been established by the ages of civilization. We should seek competent guidance to settle our misgivings; we should not intrude our deepest emotions on others; and, with the aid of education, we should learn to stand modestly but firmly on our own feet. And there is no place better fitted to give assistance, strength, and quiet confidence than morning chapel.
Dr. Fitch spoke briefly on the fundamental naturalness of religion and the tradition of the freedom of worship in this University which the Freshmen should carry on.
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