Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, June 01, 1878, Page 409, Image 9

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    in mn ! mi inn ii, ,, , mmnmim3SSnmmBmumakz
No. G.
1'noFESsou Louis Agassi.
409
world culls wealth, depending much up
on the government nnd private individu
als to carry on his work, 3'et he might
have been otherwise; for the most lucra
tive positions were open to him. The
business world was anxious to claim his
clear braiu, untiring energy and unswerv
ing integrity.
The people of cither continent would
gladly have listened to the thruths that
fell from his silvery tongue. But to all
these offers and invitation? he replied, " I
have no time to make money." What an
answer! An answer that speaks volumes
concerning his idea of life.
Surrounded by a people whose highest
aim was the accumulation of wealth, he
towers so far above them that their strong
est desires were those that concern him
least. I would not condemn this desire
for wealth, yet I must honor a man
who can rise above this universal passion
and is willing to give his life work to the
cause of science. His generous nature
prevented his interest from being local,
but wherever there was a scientific truth
to be discovered or an inquirer after truth,
there he was interested.
The great mission of his life seemed
ever before him. lie seemed to see the
never ending book of nature spread out
and inviting to read, yet to the world a
scaled book, scaled because written in an
unknown tongue.
Agassis chose the study of this lan
guage as his life work and was permitted
to read a few of the truths which it re
corded. In the stone-cut record of the
Alpine hills he (races back for ages u
part of the world's history, and establish
cs the present glacier theory. The earth
yields up to him her buried treasures,
and from bones, petrcfled wood, and im
pressions upon rocks he reads the world's
history; revealing to us the different stu
ges through which the earth has passed,
and an immense variety of plants and
animals now to us unknown.
The true spirit of the man is strikingly
displayed in the first line of his will. It
begins thus, " Louis Agassiz, teacher."
Here we see America's greatest scientist,
and one upon whom English Universities
have conferred their greatest titles, claim
ing only that of teacher. What a noble
man to head that list! He was indeed the
greatest living teacher, "The Prince of
Teachers."
He was a great revolutionist, strongly
opposing our common methods of study.
Nature furnished his books, and his stud
cuts were brought face to face with the
great truths which they were to study.
He did not say, go and study yonder cliff,
but come with me and vend the works of
nature, and by the aid of his guidance,
and enthusiasm, nature was seen in all
her beauty.
Prof. Agassiz's religious views were
worth' of so great a man. It seems to
be considered by many that science and
religion are incompatible; or when a
man becomes skilled in science, he
outgrows his religion. Hut Agassiz was
a living witness that "Truth is perilous
never to the true, nor wisdom to the wise."
Too often, when by an expanse of mind
man is permitted to grapple with the
great problems of nature, the " ego" in
him to such proportion grows, that he
oversteps his bounds and tries to fathom
God, and with the finite measure infinite-
But Agassiz contrasted the little he
knew with infinity and in the dust adored.
In perhaps the last article that he ever
wrote, and in which he presents some or
the most conclusive arguments against
Darwinism, he says, " It cannot be too
soon understood that science is one, and
that whether we investigate philosophy,
theology, history or physics, we are deal
ing with the same truth culminating in
ourselves."
The world to him was full of beauty
Even the little jelly forms of life which
the world passes without a notice, or
turns from in -disgust, were to him full of
interest, and he says: "These are the
thoughts of the Almighty." If he saw
such beauty in these lowest forms of life,
Pf