Document: Abraham Kuyper, Sphere Sovereignty, trans. George Kamps (The Free University, 1880).

Excerpt: The men upon whom rests the administration of this Institution assigned to me the honor of inaugurating their school for higher education by introducing it to the authorities and the people. In so doing, I ask that you grant me an unstinted measure of benevolent listening and charitable judgement. A request, the earnestness of which will be evident if you consider that I am not to deliver an inaugural oration nor a rectoral discourse, but that, barred from the quiet hiding-place of scientific research, the nature of my- task drives me to that treacherous terrain of public life, where nettles and thorns on all hedges burn and wound at every step. Indeed, we cannot conceal, nor would any of us disguise the fact that we were not urged to this task, like Maecenases, because of love for the abstract sciences; the urge to this risky, if not presumptuous endeavor was the deep-grained sense of duty, which impressed upon us that what we were doing must be done, for Christ’s sake, for the Lord’s Name, because of a high and holy importance for our people and our land. Thus our action was not at all ingenious; we are thoroughly convinced that the interest which, amid favorable and adverse rumors, anticipated this Institution’s founding and now attends it at its opening, is not in any sense related to our persons, but proceeded exclusively from the public’s impression that the Netherlands were witnessing an event that might well leave its traces in the future of the nation. For, if a higher criterion could have induced us to acquiesce in the existing conditions, why would we have undertaken this task?

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Sphere Sovereignty – A. Kuyper.pdf