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mouths, and our mouths in the dust, and for the nation, and for ourselves, we are to cry, Unclean, unclean!
Never before in the history of the nation was there a time when, more than now, the spirit of moderation should rule in our hearts, dietate the words of our lips, and guide and conduct our actions.
In the first tidings of such an event as this, if we do not lay a heavy hand upon our hearts, and crush back whatever wrong emotion may swell within us, just so surely will we, by the terrible influence of uncontrolled passion, rush into sin. Hasty, impetuous, inconsiderate words will burn upon our lips, and feuds will be started which generations may not heal. Crimination will do no good. It will not benefit the dead, and will only harm the living. Let us learn from his pale lips, dead, what they would have taught us living, — calmness and moderation. The bitterest accusation cannot restore the dead. He is gone, and nothing is left but the deathless memory of his deeds. He cannot hear our flatteries: he is unmindful, if we traduce him. He is beyond the reach of human praise, outside the pale of human censure. His high destiny is ended, his mission accomplished; and, whether for weal or woe, his name and influence will abide with this nation for ever.
I am here speaking of this great man, not to praise or to blame; to lay neither eulogy nor obloquy, neither flowers nor thorns, upon his coffin. This is neither the time nor the place for this. But, while you gather around his grave, I would have you still the storm within you, and bid all bitterness, and every thought of vengeance, go hide in his grave. I tell you, the highest, noblest tribute you can pay to his memory is to forget how he died, in the fact that he is dead. For, if he be the man we have been told he was; if he was actuated by the simple purpose of his country's good, — then he would have died, willingly died, if,
as he went to his grave, he could have taken from the hearts of the American people the malice and anger and bitterness and vengeance which are there, and left, in their place, calmness and the spirit of brotherly love and forbearance, the spirit of moderation and forgiveness.
Do not, then, let his death increase this evil. Rather let it sound a truce to the long, dark reign of these evil passions; and let the form of the dead President be the commanding presence which shall banish them for ever. While you give your tears to the dead, do not learn the more to hate the living. Remember your country. I appeal from the murdered President to the bleeding land; and, while you pay your duteous honors to the one, do not forget your duty to the other. Be calm; dispassionately consider all things; and, whatever conclusion you may reach, strengthen it by moderation. Do not discuss this sorrowful theme in hasty, angry sentences. Be silent, until reason resumes, her sway, and you are free from the excitement and bias of this first intelligence.
I should not depart from my unvarying custom to introduce this matter here, but that I love you, and would save you from the violence of your own feelings. I am here unimpassioned, whatever I«may be elsewhere, without feeling or purpose, save to try and keep out of your hearts the bitterness which this event is so calculated to excite. Only reflect that it can do no good, and it must do much harm. And, no matter how your execrations may follow the assassin into the dens and caves of the earth, do not let them go beyond him. Let this be their limit. Let human justice be done, and then leave him with his God." Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
When the Saviour of sinners, from the sacred Olivet, ascended to heaven, he spread forth his hands, and this is his benison upon us: "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you!” The
last words, and doubtless the last thoughts, of the President were of peace. God Almighty grant that the blessing he shall leave behind him, as his enduring monument, as his deathless glory, shall be peace to this war-worn nation! If this shall be the fruit of his labors, the priceless value of his life, then o'er his grave will shine a light more glorious than the grandeur of empire, or the pomp of power, — the splendor of his country's power reflected upon his tomb.
Brethren, if you loved the dead; if you still love the living; if you love our country, the land of your birth; if you love and long for the time when Peace shall spread her white wings over us, and under them a united people shall sing the songs of a better day, and mingle in fellowship and brotherly love, - then let the thoughts of your hearts be buried with the dead, and the spirit of calm moderation and kindness guide and control you in this trying hour. Let the memory of your own dead come from the waste of years, and soften your roused hearts, and subdue your complaining spirits. Go, ask of the dark day which marked the committal of your kindred dust unto dust, and ashes to ashes, what was the lesson of death! When we stand by the open grave, it is no time to stir up the resentment of your hearts.
I bid you remember, that through the grave lies the journey to that God who claims vengeance as his own, and bids you avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath. Let this impress you. I bid you remember, that through the grave lies the journey to that bar at which you and I must stand, begging that vengeance may be stayed, and that mercy may uplift her ægis, and shield us from justice. Oh! then, standing by the grave of the great and noble dead, remember that coming hour, and be taught its lesson.
Come to the table of the blessed Lamb. In the high agony of the cross, he prayed a blessing upon his murderers! His
blood. is the reconciliation. Here is the emblem of the greatest suffering and the greatest wrongs, borne with the highest possible patience, and best conceivable meekness and spirit. Come, then, eat this food, drink this blood. It will strengthen you to put under your feet this temptation to sin, and make you more than conquerors in the sublime victory of faith over self.
Daily Union Press, Louisville, Ksy., April 19, 1865.
A SERMON PREACHED ON THE LATE FAST DAY, JUNE 1, 1865, AT THE
CHURCH OF THE ATONEMENT, PHILADELPHIA, PA.;
2 SAM. xxiii. 3, 4: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that
ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.”
TT is befitting that we should meet together this day. Amidst 1 the sublime and terrible events of the day, — events terrible in their sublimity, and sublime in their terribleness, - it is meet that we should stand with uncovered heads, and look up to that heaven where He dwells who sits upon the throne, and judges righteously. It is meet that, turning from all the accidents and phenomena of events, we should recognize and contemplate that Hand which shapeth all things according to its will, and holds in its control the destinies of nations and of men. It is meet that there should be a day consecrated for us — and which will be memorable through all coming time — to the outpouring of a nation's sorrow; to the commemoration of the virtues of him for whom we mourn, and to lay to heart the lessons which Supreme Wisdom and Righteousness is teaching us by his dealings.
Ours are no affected tears of grief. The stroke that fell upon us only a few weeks ago is still too fresh in its smart to allow