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Oberlin College

King, Henry Churchill."Address of Welcome [to ABCFM meeting in Oberlin]" The Oberlin Review (16 October 1902), pp. 43-44.

Dean H. C. King.

Mr. President, and Members of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions:

The important business of the sessions to follow rightly demands that these preliminary words should be few indeed.

And yet, business that concerns the things of the spirit is always business about persons, and is not hindered, but helped by a thoughtful recognition of the personal relations in the midst of which we are to do our work. And we may never forget that all the sacredness of causes and of places is due to persons who have wrought in them, and to the personal God, whom these persons have served. As you come to Oberlin, you enter, even as you bring, an atmosphere of priceless personal memories and associations. It is fitting that we should take a moment, before we turn to the regular business of these sessions, to remind ourselves of our great personal inheritance, of that for which we severally stand, of the trust divinely committed to us, that the peculiar responsi­bilities of the following hours may be borne with that quiet uplift of spirit that rightfully belongs to those who stand worthily in a great spiritual succession.

It is peculiarly fitting that a missionary Board virtually born in a college town should be welcomed to a college town; that an organization born in the consecration of individuals, should be welcomed to a college and community so founded, for our earliest tradition here in Oberlin concerns Father Shipherd pushing his way into the untouched forest and here on his knees dedicating to God this whole tract of ground with the community and college that was here to be. It is fitting that a Board that has always pressed side by side the work of evangelization and of education should be welcomed to a college and community that have done the same; that a Board whose work exists solely for Christ and the Church should be welcomed by a college upon whose seal and public documents, curiously enough, appear nowhere such words, but upon the very fibers of whose being there was written from the beginning for Christ and His Church. And it is peculiarly fitting that an organization that must constantly lace new situations and follow the present leading of the Spirit of God, should be welcomed to a college that has never thought it necessary to erect artificial defenses of the faith, but has trusted to the continual on‑working of the Spirit of the living God, and so, in the words of one of its presidents, has Proceeded on Paul's simple principle, "The same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others them also."

We welcome you to a college and community that have been, and desire ever to be, a source and center and home of missionaries‑to be­come more than ever a Mecca missionary thought, by reason of the memorial monument, of which you are to lay on its campus the cor­ner stone whose stately beauty shall declare to generations of students who pass beneath its arch‑"If we died with Him, we shell also live with Him." We welcome you to a life into which, with many others, one of the greatest of the world's preachers contributed his best, with his tremendous practical enforcement of the New School interpretation of the doctrine of Kant and of true religion‑"You ought, therefore you can;" to a life in which has wrought the calm, majestic spirit of Fairchild, with your own former president, Mark Hopkins‑the great teacher and living embodiment  of Jonathon Edward's greatest doctrine of benevolence; to a life out of which there has but just passed the man to whom must be attributed a missionary contribution and service  wholly unique, and whose joy it would have been to welcome you on this occasion.

But you bring, even as you enter, priceless personal memories and associations. The list of your past membership and officers, and of the men and women commissioned by you to service in foreign lands, is a long roll of honor, culminating in our martyred dead; but out of which it were invidious to select single names, and for these all, servants of God unforgotten, we welcome you with unfeigned and solemn joy to community and college, to our Churches and our college halls, to our homes and to our hearts, sure that you bring blessing we need and would receive.

We rejoice with you in particular in the extinction of debt; and upon our own part, in the faith in us shown by your willingness to come to us, and are glad that you have thus fairly thrust upon us the too old-fashioned grace of hospitality. We rejoice in your coming most of all because you stand, to an extent, true of very few organizations of men for wholly un­selfish and purely spiritual interests, for the glorious on-coming of the Kingdom of God. And‑suffer the more personal word‑we rejoice in the significance of the individual lives which your coming will put in touch with the life of our homes and with the life of the college. We confidently expect as a result of your coming, especially on the part of our young people‑opened eyes to see the glorious vision of the King In his beauty, of the Kingdom and its hosts; touched lips to respond anew in awe and joy, "Here am I, send me."

This material may be protected by copyright law [Title 17 U.S. code]. These reproductions are copies of documents deposited in the Oberlin College Archives. They have been furnished solely for this special, multi-institutional project and for the purpose of private study, scholarship, or research. Photographs cannot be reproduced for publication without the permission of the Oberlin College Archives.

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