The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929
Another Appeal (Published by Arrangement.)
Another Appeal (Published by Arrangement.)
Dear Fellow Student,
—When you come to the University, you have reached the stage in your life when your education in its widest sense falls into your own hands. Where, hitherto, the influences that are to surround you in your daily life have been chosen for you, you must now choose for yourself. You study at the University to better fit yourself for your calling in life, the calling which is to earn for you your livelihood. You choose some from the many available means at hand for giving expression to the higher impulses within you. Music, outdoor sports and games of various kinds appeal to you, or you feel attracted to public-speaking, writing, art, and indoor amusements of which dancing is one of the most prominent. You do not and, indeed, cannot afford to neglect all of these means of expressing yourself.
You see to it that you have enough bodily exercise, so that you may be physically fit to carry on your life's work. You take your part in some or all of the social activities that belong to the social group of which you are a member, so that you can feel that you are an active and useful member of that group. In doing all these things you are living to the best of your ability, and, incidentally, preparing yourself for a still more useful life in a still larger group.
What is missing from this account of University life? Surely it is religion. You would not give up your home life or your University life, because you know that they are influences in your life that bring out the best that is in you. Can you afford to neglect the influence that religion can play in your life? Have you never thought that there are hundreds and thousands who, though several years younger than you, will never know what a home is like—let alone a University? Religion to these young men and women is something that they clutch at as a drowning man clutches at a straw. It becomes a guide to lead them to a higher and useful citizenship, lives that might so easily become dominated by vicious and destructive habits. I suggest to you that you will not always have with you the University; and, further, that you will not always have a home to shelter you from the evil aspects of the world. I suggest to you that, even while you do have these advantages, if you have not religion, you are missing something that can make you happier—make you feel ready to burst with the joy of living a life that seems really worth while. Until you have felt religion you cannot know what it is to be fully and truly alive. If you do not seek it, you are missing one of the best things that life has to offer you, one of the higher blessings that man has discovered in the long history of his development on earth.
"How am I to seek religion?" you say. "I do not like the idea of church. My friends might laugh at me when they see me going to church." Do you not know that religion has been recognised by men since the very page 31 earliest of records of them? Do you not know that religion is one of the highest cultural developments of the human race? Do you not know that religion has occupied the minds of some of our greatest thinkers from the beginning of higher thought? Do you not know that it has been the inspiration of men on whose memory time has set the hall-mark of true greatness? Can you be so blind as not to see that social life of to-day is as full as it ever was of opportunities for religion, which some seize and some let slip? Have you never heard of a bible-class, of a study-circle, of the Y.M.C.A., of the Wellington City Mission, which gives to children from the worst homes in Wellington the religious opportunities that the young men and women from some of the best homes seem to value so lightly?
In the last issue of "Spike" someone wrote an appeal to students to support the Students' Christian Movement, which forms one of the largest unions of young men and women in the world. I reiterate this appeal with emphasis on what the Movement has to give You and not so much on what you can do to help It. If it helps you, the work of the Movement! is done and its purpose fulfilled. But if the Movement does not appeal to you, seek Some field of religious activity. Do not think that this letter is written to make copy for "Spike," and do not read it through without thinking at the end what in it seems reasonable and what not. Be sure of one thing—that you do what You think is best and not what others think or do Merely Because They Think or do it.
"It is easy to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
[This correspondence is now closed.—Editor]