The High Function of Biography
By James Sterling Rogers, 1948
Dr. Albert Henry Newman, world-renowned Baptist historian wrote:"I do not hesitate to affirm that biography is the most inspiring of all literature. It stimulates to exertion as can nothing else. What youth that has read biographies of Niebuhr and Bunsen, of Edwards and Stuart, has not felt within him a quickening of all his energies? 'What these men have done, under great difficulties for the most part, surely I too can do, if I will only work as they worked. Could they live in the world without stooping to vice or dishonesty, maintain within themselves the integrity which was their birthright? So can I, if I will but conduct myself as they conducted themselves. By patient and long continued study did they arrive at eminence and usefulness. Nothing hinders me from pursuing the same course, with the same result.' Such is the influence of the stories of good men's lives upon boys and men, — upon all who are capable of being aroused to exertion."And Dr. Frederick Eby, professor of History and Philosophy of Education in the University of Texas, wrote:"Essays on the forming of human personality are by all means the most fascinating and informative of all literature and science; and when an individual has won marked distinction in any field, it is of inestimable value to mankind to analyze his personality, to measure the difficulties he faced, and finally to evaluate the influence he exerted upon his generation."
[From: James Sterling Rogers, History of Arkansas Baptists, 1948, chapter 7, p. 178; via on-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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