Obrázky na stránke

each. At this time Mr. Sleeper had been a Wilbraham trustee nineteen years.

The same faithful three were also closely associated in the financial and general adıninistration of the Boston Theological Serninary, an endowinent for which they were seeking to create. Lee Claflin was the president of its board, Mr. Rich vice-president, Mr. Sleeper treasurer. With such burdens already upon their shoulders, and with a keen solicitude to take no step which should in the least einbarrass or delay the development of these already existing and most important educational institutions of their Church in New England, it was certainly an act of uncommon courage, a proof of magnificent faith, that these three men should have given each other the word which created Boston University. The critical word was spoken, and though Mr. Sleeper was constitutionally the most cautious and conservative of the three, he was ready as soon as his colleagues were ready, and in all the struggling years which followed he never once wavered in his loyalty to the cause.

Twenty years have now passed. Two of those immortal founders were early taken away, Mr. Lee Claflin in 1871, Mr. Rich in 1872. A little younger than either, Mr. Sleeper has been spared to guard the work of all, to lend it his ripest thought, his shaping hand, his benedictions of love and charity. In this sacred service every quality of his noble character has been of signal value. His business sagacity has helped to conserve and increase the endowments which his own generosity helped to create. His never-failing cheerfulness and trust in God were sheet-anchors to the institution in the dark months which succeeded the disasters of the great fire and money panic of 1872. His experience in other institutions was a source of wisdom in the planning and managernent of our

His trained and ripened power of gauging men, his delicate tact in dealing with them, his hospitality to new ideas, his sunshine of spirit and winningness of personal mannersall have contributed to the harmony and beauty and strength of onr results. Amid it all, however, he ever bore himself with a modesty so genuine that at the least allusion to the importance of his services he was liable to blush with an almost maidenly confusion.

All in all, considering his ever flowing generosity, his per


suasive personal influence in developing other patrous of learning, his perpetual encouragements to individual students and teachers, his services to educational interests both within and beyond the frontiers of the Christian world, it may well be questioned whether any other New Englander of business calling has ever rendered to the cause of Christian education a more vital, far-reaching, and enduring service.

Of Mr. Sleeper's strong natural endowments, of the rare perfection of their equipoise, of the secret of their harmonious development, the limits of this paper will not permit me to speak. I here consider him solely with reference to Christian education and his services thereto. In passing, however, I cannot refrain from saying that great Shakespeare, in sketching his higlrest ideal portrait of combined manliness, sincerity, freedom, judgment, generosity, employs no word which here falls short of beautiful embodiment;

“ His heart and hand both open and both free,
For what he has he gives; what thinks he shows;
Yet gives he not till judgment guides his bounty."

The trustees of the University, in attempting an expression of their esteem and love and sense of personal bereavement, have used the following language:

Mr. Sleeper was a man of noblest mold. Both the greatness and the balance of his endowments were remarkable. With kingly energies of will, he was as gentle as a child. Though possessed of exceptional wisdom he was ever in the modest attitude of a learner. Gifted with rare emotional susceptibilities, he was never the slave of passion. An admirable harmony of great powers and resources was the most striking of his personal characteristics.

A nature thus rich and large needed, in order to its full development, a life-aim high and worthy-motives of abiding strength. These came to him as they have come to so many others, in and through that mysterious working of God's Spirit whereby the penitent soul, believing on Jesus Christ, is set in joyous personal communion with the heavenly Father, and lifted to a range of life which is divine in its hatred of evil, and heavenly in its enjoyment of the good. In consequence of this genuine and conscious consecration of himself to the working of God's will each commonest act came to be invested with something of superhuman dignity and worth. His fellowship with the Father of lights environed his very being with that serene and vital atmosphere in which all sweetest graces of character are brought to

blossom. With such an irrepressible interior life it was more than easy for him to find his daily joy in speaking words of kindness and working deeds of love.*

How marvelous the period which this one life has covered ! Born less than tlıree years after the death of Washington, Mr. Sleeper was permitted to see the planting of nearly every educational institution of the country. At his birth there was as yet in the United States not one institution entitled to the name of an organized university.

Not one of the theological seminaries of the country, now numbering one hundred and fifty, had then been chartered. Not one of our fifty law schools had then an existence. Of our one hundred and seventy-five medical and pharmaceutical schools but three were then in being, and those in their feeblest beginnings. Of all our scores of normal, scientific, artistic, commercial, military, agricultural, and technological schools, not one had yet been projected. A few feeble colleges and struggling academies constituted the only equipment of the Republic for the higher education.

Behold the changes effected in a single life-time! Those few and feeble colleges are become to-day three hundred and fifty in number, and among these are at least a half dozen any one of which has greater endowments and a larger student

* The following biographical data will be prized and should go on record. Mr. Sleeper was born in Newcastle, Me., November 21, 1802. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, he was placed under the care of an uncle at Belfast. Here, under the ministry of the late Gershom F. Cox, he was led to enter upon the Christian life. In 1825 he came to Boston, at first for surgical treatment; but soon engaging in business he made that city his permanent home. He was an influential member and the last surviving original corporator of the Wesleyan Associationa body formed for the maintenance of a New England Methodist newspaper, and eventually erecting a building for denominational head-quarters at an expense of $300,000. He was chief benefactor of the New England Methodist Historical Society, and gave $20,000 for the endowment of the Wesleyan Home for Orphans and Destitute Children. Eleven thousand he gave to the New England Conserv. atory of Music. He was one of the most generous benefactors of the People's Church and of the Boston Young Men's Christian Association. The number of churches he helped to build or to relieve from debt no one can tell. It is estimated that his contributions toward the establishment and endowment of Boston University amounted to little less than $400,000. No good cause appealed to him in vain, and he was one of the men who invited appeal from persons of judgment and character. During the war he was one of Governor Andrew's council, and rendered the commonwealth and country precious services. In 1884 he was a delegate to the General Conference of the Church. His peaceful demise occurred March 31, 1839.


body than had the total number of American colleges at the date of Mr. Sleeper's birth. Moreover, at present, each passing year the educational capital of the country is increased by millions, and greater gifts are coming than any that have

Whence this munificent and ever-auginenting tribute ? Whence these multiplying institutions established to instruct and refine humanity? The answer is not far to seek. It is given in the deeds and consecrated lives of just such men as we here honor.

On the monument to Isaac Rich in Mount Auburn stands cut in marble the word of Christ to Peter: “That take and give, for Me and for thee.” In one obvious sense this language applies to Mr. Rich with a fitness peculiar to a single calling, but in its deepest and truest significance it would equally apply to his friend. Happily for us, and happily for the world, Mr. Sleeper came early to the insight that all giving, in order to be truly Christian, must be an expression of personal fellowship with our loving Lord—must be done, not for him alone, nor for ourselves alone, but even as he himself so touchingly voices it, “for Me and for thee.

Graciously did the heavenly Father order the circumstances of his closing hours. It was given himn to leave each of the institutions he had loved and helped in a condition of greater prosperity than they ever before had known. It was a fitting time to say, “Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

For a little the coveted translation seemed to linger, but it was only that for a little he might further receive a reverence which earthly children alone could tender, and might further enjoy the ministries of an affection as yet unmatched. At length, in perfect serenity, his long bright day of earthly life was ended, and in the solemn quiet of a holy Sabbath evening he was summoned to the joy of his Lord.

“ The great Intelligences fair

That range above our mortal state,

In circle round the blessed gate,
Received and gave him welcome there."

William F. Warren


Every race and age, if not every nation, has its poets and prophets. Whether they are sent of God directly, or are the product of the highest forces and best tendencies of a people, matters not. In either case, if their mission is not one of blessing, it is because the people will not receive their message.

Like the potencies of nature which are ever struggling for higher and clearer expression, and find it in flower, fruitage, odor, forin, beauty, so genius and goodness seem to be like products of the mental and spiritual potencies of a people, modified, of course, by environment, and differentiated by the relative persistency of the different forces struggling within them for mastery and expression.

The name of John Ruskin has been before the literary public for more than forty years, and commands as much interest to-day as ever. He is the expression of the broadest and highest culture of the Anglo-Saxon race, and of the English tongue, along the lines of sociology, art, and polite literature. Known best as the literary exponent of art, he is by no means a specialist, but is equally at home in sociology and economics, and occupies no mean place in scientific and theological studies. A tireless student, highly gifted by nature, having had every advantage of scholastic training in youth and manhood, inheriting an ample fortune, he has had the gifts, taste, time, means, and opportunities, to pursue lines of investigation and study open to but the favored few; that he has faithfully improved them, his various and voluminous works—comprising almost half a hundred volumes--attest.

His influence in the departments of study to which he has devoted his life is, perhaps, unequaled by any other writer in the English language. Not that his theories are all accepted by artists, or political economists, or Churchmen; the æsthetic, economic, or religious world; but, like the subtle influence of the sunlight when poured upon the earth, or the fragrance of a flower when breathed into the air, mankind are influenced by him and his teachings, while they declare his sunrays to be full of dust, and his perfune to be mingled with offensive odors. Part of this influence is due to the originality


« PredošláPokračovať »