Sanguine et Purpure
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|Carter Ashton Jenkens, the 18 year old son of a minister,
had been a student at Rutgers University, New Jersey, where he had joined
Chi Phi Fraternity. When he transferred to Richmond College in the Fall of
1900, he sought companions to take the place of the Chi Phi brothers he
had left behind at Rutgers. During the course of the term, he found 5 of
them who had already been drawn into an informal fellowship, and he urged
them to joining him in applying for a chapter of Chi Phi at Richmond
College. They agreed, and the request for charter was forwarded to Chi Phi
only to meet with refusal because Chi Phi felt that Richmond College with
less than 300 students, was too small for the establishment of a chapter.
Wanting to maintain their fellowship, the 6 men, Jenkens, William
Carter, Thomas Wright, William Phillips, Benjamin Gaw, and William
Wallace, decided to form their own local fraternity.
Of the six, Jenkens was the only one who really knew what a fraternity
was, so the task of drawing the plan for the new fraternity fell to him.
Early manuals described young Jenkens' search for a philosophy upon which
to build a new college fraternity. He discovered in the Bible what he
called "The greatest truth the world has ever known."
As he so often told the story of the founding, the following passage
became known as "The Jenkens Lesson."
Brother Jenkens was sitting at his desk one evening, studying a passage
of Greek for the next day. He fell asleep and dreamed. "I dreamed
that I saw a great black cloud over this University, " he said,
"and I saw lightnings, and heard the reverberations of the thunder. I
saw a nation at war, I saw homes destroyed; I saw ten hundred thousand
monuments to the newly dead soldiers of the earth. And as I asked the
Recording Angel, who stood by my side, what meant such a scene in the
University of God. And he answered me quietly saying, 'Men have failed to
understand the simple teachings of the Prince of the Earth.' I woke and I
bowed my head and when I slept the Angel returned and showed me a world in
which the cloud had broken. I saw children, neatly clad, wending their way
to school. I saw workmen singing for joy at their work. I saw the churches
filled, institutions of learning crowded, and the nations of the earth
were at peace, every nation with its brother nation. And I asked the Angel
of God what had brought about this change in the old universe. And he
pointed to a passage of Scripture ... 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is
the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Thus the name of Sigma Phi Epsilon
was born. ... This is the principle on which our Fraternity was
adapted from Sigma Phi
Epsilon Guide to Brotherhood, 1986
I'd rather see a sermon;
Than hear one any day;
I'd rather one would walk with
Than merely show the way.
The eye's the better pupil,
And more willing than the ear;
Fine Counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear.
An the best of all the
Are the men who live their
For to see good put in action
Is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it,
If you'll let me see it done;
I can see your hands in
But your tongue too fast may
And the lecture your deliver
May be very fine and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson
By observing what you do.
For I may understand you
And the high advice you give,
But there's no
How you act and how you live