James Smithson was born in 1765 in France. He was an illegitimate son of a famous English duke and a direct descendant of King Henry VII through his mother. As an illegitimate son, James was denied British citizenship and the rich inheritance of his natural father.
When James, as a youth, felt this rejection, he put all his effort into succeeding in life. He became a leading English scientist and a member of the Royal Society when he was only 22 years old.
James died in 1829 without getting married and he left great wealth to his nephew. In his will, James had made a provision in the case of his nephew dying without heirs.
The English scientific community had believed that James left them large bequests in his will. The reading of the will, however, shocked everyone. James had written, “Just as England has rejected me, so have I rejected England.” Around this time, England had fought two fierce wars with its rebellious American colonies. Therefore, to declare his contempt for those who had mistreated him, James bequeathed all he possessed to the United States Government to establish a scientific institute. This institute eventually gained international renown.
England had been very mistaken in scorning this young man because he was illegitimate. England had believed that she had no need of him and in the process lost much.(9)
Let us not disdain anyone regardless of his capabilities or position.
How splendid the expression I would hear from the departed Father Pishoy Kamel, “The church is in need of the fingernail of each child.” He so appreciated every soul and never disdained a child.
As St John Chrysostom said, “If any of the hairs of our eyelashes and eyebrows is plucked out, they are good for nothing but to be thrown in a rubbish basket. Despite this, the whole body generally, and the eyes specifically, need this hair. Without eyelashes or eyebrows, the body loses its beauty and the eye is endangered. So, if you are an eye, do not despise the eyelashes that give you protection and the eyebrows that lends you beauty.”
(9) Green, Michael P. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching Baker Book House. 69.
The Richest Man in the Valley
Will Die Tomorrow
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