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he went to Balliol about 1825-"the tone of young men, whether they came from Winchester, Eton, Rugby, Harrow, or wherever else, was universally irreligious."
I find another saying, "The 'religious teaching in my school days was not a strong point either in or outside our Chapel." Another, "It cannot be said that our religious training was sufficiently attended to. All that my Tutor did for me at Confirmation was to ask whether I could say the Catechism, to which I said 'Yes.' In no case was Confirmation followed up by the Holy Communion; in short, as regards the school, it was, I fear, a thing unknown." This was in 1824. Yet again another witness, At my school we were literally without religious guidance"; and yet another, "I received no religious instruction whatever of any kind "; and yet another, "In my day not only no boys took the Lord's Supper, but no one dreamed of it."
We know, my friends, that charges of this kind would not be made against the great schools now. Can we, then, fairly "locate" the beginning of a change, and can we connect the change with one or more names? I think we can.
It was in the year 1827, "the year that classic Canning died," and that saw the publication of Keble's Christian Year, that Thomas Arnold was elected Head Master of Rugby. He was thirty-two years of age. His friends expected much from him, and perhaps feared something. One of the "prophecies" which "went before" upon him was from his lifelong friend, Edward Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, who predicted that "if Mr Arnold were elected, he would change the face of education all through the public schools of England."
Such a testimonial, if now given to a candidate, might probably blast all his hopes. But seventy years ago the twelve noblemen and gentlemen of Warwickshire were, it would seem, men of stout heart, and prepared to stomach even a Luther. Arnold was elected in December 1827, and met his boys in the following August.
What, then, was the "aspect of Christian work" which presented itself to his eager gaze? What was his own conception of it? Had he before him any clearly cut design? Could he have said what Edward Thring said, when asked whether the structural and other ideas of Uppingham had grown upon him as he advanced in his work,-"No, among my papers I can show you the sketch, almost in detail, of everything I proposed to do, and which you now see here, just as I made it in the very first years of my mastership"?
I doubt if Arnold, on leaving his private Tutorship at Laleham, had any such working model in his study or in his brain. At the same time, he had doubtless a clear conviction that there was a real Christian work to be done at Rugby, and that he, with God's help, could do it. Writing to an intimate friend just before the election, he says, "If I do get it, I feel as if I could set to work very heartily, and, with God's blessing, I should like to try whether my notions of Christian education are really impracticable; whether our system of public schools has not in it some noble elements which, under the blessing of the Spirit of all holiness and wisdom, might produce fruit even to life eternal."
And yet again, some two months after the election, "With regard to reforms at Rugby, give me credit, I must beg of you, for a most sincere desire to make it a place of Christian education. At the same time, my object will be, if possible, to form Christian men; for Christian boys I can scarcely hope to make."
Now, my friends, so far as I can judge, this is a new voice in the English world. The hour has come, and a man has arisen who is equal to the demand of the hour.
As to his first "throw off," there is but little evidence. I do not gather, nor is it at all likely, that he made any speech or issued any kind of manifesto on first taking office. Even his earliest published sermons do not cover just this interval of space. According to Stanley, during his first half year he confined
himself to delivering short addresses, of about five minutes' length, to the boys of his own house. But from the second half year he began to preach frequently; and from the autumn of 1831, when he took the Chaplaincy, he preached almost every Sunday to the end of his life, i.e. for thirteen years.
It is of course impossible in a lecture like this to give any adequate account of these sermons, once so famous and so potent for good. If we were to call witnesses, they would be the boys who heard them, and the readers who have loved them the boys as painted in Tom Brown, and the readers, some of whom have become in their turn preachers. Hastily but very carefully written, they are not so much writing as talk-grave, very grave talk, heart to heart, soul to soul; talk from a grown-up man to boys of various ages to whom he is affectionately drawn not only by his office but by "all that is within him," and "for whose everlasting good, as Christian men," he feels profoundly responsible to God.
Such talk from a schoolmaster to schoolboys had not, to the best of my knowledge, been heard for centuries. For the last fifty years it has been heard, with more or less of likeness, and of course with very different degrees of power, in almost every boarding-school all over England.
Many new schools have come into being; some absolutely new, like Wellington, Haileybury, Clifton, Fettes, the Leys, Cheltenham; others virtually re-founded, like Sherborne, Sedbergh, Marlborough, Uppingham. Week by week a succession of Head Masters, many of them once Rugby boys or Rugby Assistant Masters, have striven hard to hold up before schoolboys not only lessons of honour and manliness and good fellowship, but lessons directly Christian; faith in Christ, brotherhood in Christ, consecration to Christ, forgiveness for Christ's sake, prayer in Christ's Name, Missions at home and abroad in Christ's Name, reverence for the poor in Christ's Name, love of Christ's Church, of Christ's Sacraments, above all of Christ's Person.
This is, surely, one "aspect of Christian work." Many grateful testimonies have been borne to the part played in it by one most faithful and true Pastor. One of these, almost too sacred to quote publicly, is in the well-known poem of his brilliant son, Rugby Chapel. It gives, surely, and only as poets can give, the very ideal of a Christian teacher.
There are those who have questioned both the depth and the extent of Arnold's influence. A few years ago a brilliant and not unkindly writer startled many of his readers with the following sentence: "Dr Arnold unquestionably made a deep impression on those boys who were brought into close communication with himself, but I cannot find that his influence over the school survived longer than that of any subsequent Head Master; while upon other schools, so far as I have been able to ascertain, he produced-I believe it is not too much to say---no effect whatever."
I hope I am not quite unable to enjoy a daring paradox or a delicate stroke of irony, but I must confess that this last clause produces on me much the same effect as the famous discovery years ago that "Shakespeare is a vastly overrated man.”
"No effect whatever on other schools!"
We shall hear shortly the testimony of Moberly as to Winchester, Moberly, who differed so widely from Arnold as a churchman and a theologian. But what would be the witness of Prince Lee, who went from Rugby to Birmingham, after being from 1830 to 1838 an assistant of Arnold; of Cotton and Bradley, who both went from Rugby to re-found and reinspire Marlborough; of Charles Evans, Percival, and Wilson, who all went from. Rugby to found Clifton; of Benson, who went from Birmingham and Rugby to found Wellington; of Arthur Butler, who went from Rugby to found Haileybury; of Bradby, Rugbeian of Rugbeians, and of James Robertson, who succeeded Butler there; of Jex-Blake, who went from Rugby to preside over Cheltenham, and then returned to his old school, bent on renewing and deepening its old Arnoldian traditions?
No, paradox is paradox, and truth is truth. The prophecy of Provost Hawkins has been more than fulfilled. The young man who was selected by the Rugby Trustees at the end of 1827 has, under God, and by his quickening influence on minds very different both from his own and from one another, "changed the face of education all through the public schools of England."
But here let us guard against an obvious error. It is not of course my object to claim for Arnold that he alone originated efforts for Christianizing life and work at schools; or that the lines on which he worked were the only true lines; or that but for him nothing would have been done.
Let us pass for a few moments from Rugby to Winchester, not forgetting that Arnold himself was a loyal son of that oldest of all old foundations. Winchester has always had both her Cathedral and her school Chapel, long of course before the Reformation. Her traditions are not religious only but ecclesiastical. More than two hundred years ago, in the bad times of Charles II., we find the saintly Ken thus addressing his young imaginary schoolfellow: "O Philotheus, you cannot enough