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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/704

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of Nature. The movements of the clouds, the fall of rain, the flow of brook and river, the changes of the seasons, the succession of calm and storm, do not pass before your eyes now as they once did. While they minister to the joy of life, they speak to you of that all-embracing system of process and law that governs the world. The wayside flower is no longer to your eyes merely a thing of beauty. You have found it to be that and far moreā€”an exquisite organism in which the several parts are admirably designed to promote the growth of the plant and to perpetuate the life of the species. Every insect and bird is now to you an embodiment of the mystery of life. The forces of [Nature, once so dark and so dreaded, are now seen by you to be intelligible, orderly, and capable of adaptation to the purposes of man. In the physical and chemical laboratories you have been brought into personal contact with these forces, and have learned to direct their operations, as you have watched the manifold effects of energy on the infinite varieties of matter.

When you have completed your course of study and leave this college, crowned, I hope, with academic distinction, there will be your future career in life to choose and follow. A small number among you may, perhaps, be so circumstanced as to be able to devote yourselves entirely to original scientific research, selecting such branches of inquiry as may have specially interested you here, and giving up your whole time and energy to investigation. A much larger number will, no doubt, enter professions where a scientific training can be turned to practical account, and you may become engineers, chemists, or medical men. But in the struggle for existence, which every year grows keener among us, these professions are more and more crowded, so that a large proportion of your ranks may not succeed in finding places there, and may in the end be pushed into walks in life where there may be little or no opportunity for making much practical use of the knowledge in science which you have gained here. To those who may ultimately be thus situated it will always be of advantage to have had the mental training given in this institution, and it will probably be your own fault if, even under unfavorable conditions, you do not find, from time to time, chances of turning your scientific acquirements to account. Your indebtedness to your professors demands that you shall make the effort, and, for the credit of the college, you are bound to do your best.

Among the mental habits which your education in science has helped to foster, there are a few which I would specially commend to your attention as worthy of your most sedulous care all through life.

In the first place, I would put accuracy. You have learned in