The most impressive object within the range of human vision is humanity, and a truly great man is certainly the most impressive thing in the world. The all-inspiring influence of the Master becomes quite explicable when we remember that as none other he not only defined man, made him appear, but showed how his stature may be fashioned day by day at the hands of all who are humbly aspiring; and the purport of Christian Science might be epitomized in the statement that it is effecting man's reappearance. The contribution which all truly great men have made to this disclosure has been the proof of their impelling, though often ill-understood greatness, and this fact is illustrated when we think of him whose natal day has just been celebrated in all the states, and whose memory is honored in all the world.

An interesting aftermath of whatever may be said in praise of Washington's honesty and integrity of character, his dignity and kindliness of bearing, his conscience and command as a leader, is this, that while many men have given prominence to the worth of some special endowment, such as the patriotism of a Mazzini, the statesmanship of a Pitt, the humanitarianism of a Wilberforce, so that a given distinguishing quality or character is always associated with the given name, Washington has done much to lead the world to think of that to which all these virtues pertain, namely, man. He did his greatest deed when he brought, not only to the American colonies, but to all the nations, a new and inspiring sense of man's native largeness and worth, gave it place and dominion in the thought of mankind. He has helped us all to think of man as capable of doing any and every noble thing, and that by virtue of the completness of his true, God-given selfhood. As President-elect Wilson has recently said of another distinguished American, "He was great and peculiar, not in some distinctive characteristic, but in his breadth as the representative of a vast movement." Though a slaveholder, Washington was a splendid embodiment of the eternal assertion of democracy, of the sovereignty of man.

The indomitable heroism of Captain Scott and his comrades makes moving appeal to the heart of all humanity; as one has said, The spirit with which these men met their fate "has such nobility as to become a sublime inspiration." Their record speaks for daring and brave uncomplaining endurance, and thus we who in the spirituality and compass of our living bring to our fellow men a clearer sense of manliness, may direct the human gaze to him who said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

March 1, 1913

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.