It is not often that the Vagabond departs from his role of the perennial dilettante in order to become the Serious-minded Student. Nor does it often happen that any considerable space in these columns is devoted entirely to unstinted praise; for the journalist, be he great or small, is rarely permitted either by time or space to indulge in any but the most obvious criticisms and the indication of a few remedies. All this preamble is merely to impress upon whatever readers there may be the sincerity which the Vagabond feels upon this occasion, and to introduce Professor Kirsopp Lake and English 35a, the present objects of this enthusiasm.
English 35a is a course on the Old Testament of the Bible and consists of a rational and unbiased exposition of its meaning and literary merit, in itself a cause deserving of laurels. But the scribes of Israel might well be at a loss for attention if it were not for the genius and personality of their interpreter. Yesterday morning Professor Lake, lecturing before a class of about two hundred, read, as is his custom, two well known fables from the Old Testament, and read them with such a depth of feeling and expression that during the pause of fully ten seconds which followed his words there was a profound and absolute silence; then he spoke, resuming his lecture, and there followed a croaking of chairs, a rustling of books and papers, and the almost audible feeling of relief which is born in an audience after a prolonged emotional reaction.
There are few ministers who can produce such an effect upon their congregations, and there are fewer lecturers who, year after year, can retain enough enthusiasm themselves to cast such a spell upon their hearers. Professor Lake not only can but does, and no greater tribute can be rendered to his ability than that which is given him by his classes.