A few kind words for scholasticism


At a great university one time my wife and I were invited to what must be described as a “grand” dinner and were greatly impressed by being included. While we were standing about waiting for the dinner to begin, a very odd-looking character walked by, and I spoke the following imperishable words: “I wonder who let him in.” Shortly thereafter the aforesaid odd character was sitting at the head table, and shortly thereafter he gave the speech of the occasion. The man they had “let in” was an atomic physicist and a genuine genius. Either Hollywood or the picture magazines have somehow conditioned us to believe that heroes look like heroes, and geniuses like geniuses. It ain’t necessarily so!

“Genius,” said Alfred Noyes, “is exactly the opposite of what the clever people of today think it is. It arises in great simple persons, and masters them, and urges them on to ends that are beyond any that the conscious mind can aim at or attain.” Genius apparently is not something a person tries to put on or even develop. What happens to a genius is that something lays hold of him, and he is obsessed from then on with that something greater than himself from which he can never shake loose.

Some years ago a writer in one of our national magazines was relating interesting experiences in picking up hitchhikers. He said that he tried as far as possible not to pick up college boys, because they were generally such boring company. They tried too hard to be clever, and most of them had read just enough of Dale Carnegie to try using his mechanics to make the conversation just too, too interesting.

We might try all this on the ministry today, especially the young ministers. With all their getting, they ...

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