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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1913

The University Christian Social Service League

The University Christian Social Service League.

"If seeing and acknowledging the lies of the world . . . you submit to them without any protest further than a laugh; if plunged yourself in easy sensuality. You allow the whole wretched world to pass groaning by you unmoved; if the fight for the truth is taking place, and all men of honour are on the ground, armed on the one side or the other, and you alone are to lie on your balcony, and smoke your pipe out of the noise and danger, you had better have died or never have been at all, than such a sensual coward."

Thus speaks Thackeray in "The History of Pendennis," and the world is widely awaking to the truth of his words. The easy vagrant way, traditionally associated with University life and its "camp of camaraderie," is a delightful way at proper times and seasons but, steadily pursued, it is a fertile root of the selfishness which is the foundation of our national and social evils. The University conception of individual and corporate life. It stands for individual worth and social responsibility. Its message is the gospel that every child has a right to a "normal page 78 physical, social, mental and spiritual life," and that "every man has the right to reasonable compensation for reasonable service." The League pleads that the admitted failure of civilization to express in an extensive way the spirit of this gospel can be cured by the unselfish lives of individuals and by the application to social and national life of the principles of the teaching of Christ. It claims that the method of the application of these general principles to the ever-varying needs of bodies politic and to the diverse needs of different classes of human being, demands patient study of a high order; that men and women trained in the University are in general best equipped for such work; and that such work is a reasonable service which such men and women should attempt to perform for the sake of the nation to which they belong and the State which trained them.

The present League has already undertaken practical work, the Women's Branch carrying on a settlement on a settlement for girls in Jacob's Place (off Tory Street), and the Men's Branch having charge of the educational and religious work of the Wellington Boys' Institute. In the future, more attention will be paid to the study of the problems which concern the League.

Leagues with like aims are being established in the University Colleges of Australia, and the spirit of the new movement may perhaps be best summarized in the following resolutions carried at a meeting held during the Easter Tournament of some 60 students representing the different Colleges affiliated to our University:—

1.We are in earnest for our country.
2.The strength of our Christian purpose is to be measured by deeds, not words; by the construction of a better state, not by figures on a balance-sheet.
3.We place the prevention of waste in manhood and woman hood as the chief of New Zealand's industries.
4.Evangelizing agencies are incomplete unless opportunities for every-day unselfish service are given each man and each woman according to their strength.
5.We believe in reaching every man and every woman through their interest, not ours.