Excerpt from University of Arkansas Bulletin, Vol. 3: September, 1909
Man may be regarded from two standpoints - that of the material and that of the spiritual. Whether from the one or the other depends on whether he is seen through the eyes of the scientist or those of the metaphysician.
Through the eyes of the scientist, he is seen as a product - the product of a plan that has been working through the ages. For all evidence goes to show that after our planet came into existence as such, millions of years passed before it could support even the lowest forms of life. And after these appeared, many other millions elapsed before man was reached by Nature in working out her "increasing purpose." So viewed as the culminating product of ages of unceasing effort by the forces of creation, man is truly great.
Viewed from the standpoint of metaphysics, man is pre-eminently the greatest of God's creatures. He is great in his conceptions and great in his executions. Ranked with other living beings, his mind is almost as the infinite compared with the finite.
But no matter how great the race may be considered, there always have been individuals who tower above their fellows as the mountain peaks above their lowly neighbors. And such persons always have justly, sooner or later, received the homage and gratitude of the race. Sooner or later a man's contemporaries may show an appreciation of him, but if he is truly great full recognition of his worth follows far in his wake; for it usually takes the masses a long time to reach the point in the journey of progress attained by the leaders of men.
It has been said that the value of a life should be measured by what one is, what he does, and the forces he sets in motion. Using this as a standard the year 1809 ushered into the world an unusually large number of lives that were destined to become great. For these men set the world a moving while they lived and gave it such an impetus that the forces still are vigorously manifesting themselves. It is a remarkable coincidence that two of these men, Darwin and Lincoln, were born on the same day, February 12th, of which this day is the one hundredth anniversary.
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