Page images

dence strengthened him in all his hours of anxiety and toil, and inspired him with calm and cheering hope when others were inclining to despondency and gloom. Never shall I forget the emphasis and the deep emotion with which he said, in this very room, to a company of clergymen and others who called to pay him their respects in the darkest days of our civil conflict, "Gentlemen, my hope of success in this great and terrible struggle rests on that immutable foundation, the justice and goodness of God. And when events are very threatening and prospects very dark, I still hope that, in some way which man cannot see, all will be well in the end, because our cause is just and God is on our side."

Such was his sublime and holy faith, and it was an anchor to his soul both sure and steadfast. It made him firm and strong. It emboldened him in the pathway of duty, however rugged and perilous it might be. It made him valiant for the right for the cause of God and humanity; and it held him in steady, patient, and unswerving adherence to a policy of administration which he thought, and which we all now think, both God and humanity required him to adopt. We admired and loved him on many accounts-for strong and various reasons: we admired his childlike simplicity; his freedom from guile and deceit; his staunch and sterling integrity; his kind and forgiving temper; his industry and patience; his persistent selfsacrificing devotion to all the duties of his eminent position, from the least to the greatest; his readiness to hear and consider the cause of the poor and humble, the suffering and the oppressed; his charity towards those who questioned the correctness of his opinions and the wisdom of his policy; his wonderful skill in reconciling differences among the friends of the Union, leading them away from abstractions, and inducing them to work together and harmoniously for the common weal; his true and enlarged philanthropy, that knew no distinction of color or race, but regarded all men as brethren and endowed alike by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" his inflexible purpose that what freedom had gained in our terrible civil strife should never be lost, and that the end of the war should be the end of slavery, and, as a consequence, of rebellion; his readiness to spend and be spent for the attainment of such a triumph, a triumph the blessed fruits of which should be as wide-spreading as the earth and as enduring as the sun;-all these things commanded and fixed our admiration and the admiration of the world, and stamped upon his character and life the unmistakable impress of greatness. But more sublime than any or all of these, more holy and influential, more beautiful, and strong, and sustaining, was his abid

ing confidence in God, and in the final triumph of truth and righteousness through Him and for His sake. This was his noblest virtue, his grandest principle, the secret alike of his strength, his patience, and his success. And this, it seems to me, after being near him steadily and with him often for more than four years, is the principle by which, more than by any other, "he, being dead, yet speaketh." Yes; by his steady enduring confidence in God, and in the complete ultimate success of the cause of God, which is the cause of humanity, more than in any other way, does he now speak to us and to the nation he loved and served so well. By this he speaks to his successor in office, and charges him to have faith in God. By this he speaks to the members of his Cabinet, the men with whom he counselled so often and was associated so long, and he charges them to have faith in God. By this he speaks to all who occupy positions of influence and authority in these sad and troublous times, and he charges them all to have faith in God. By this he speaks to this great people as they sit in sackcloth to-day, and weep for him with a bitter wailing, and refuse to be comforted, and he charges them to have faith in God. And by this he will speak through the ages and to all rulers and peoples in every land, and his message to them will be, "Cling to liberty and right; battle for them; bleed for them; die for them, if need be; and have confdence in God.' Oh that the voice of this testimony may sink down into our hearts to-day and every day, and into the heart of the nation, and exert its appropriate influence upon our feelings, our faith, our patience, and our devotion to the cause now dearer to us than ever before, because consecrated by the blood of its most conspicuous defender, its wisest and most fondly-trusted friend!

He is dead; but the God in whom he trusted lives, and He can guide and strengthen his successor as He guided and strengthened him. He is dead; but the memory of his virtues, of his wise and patriotic counsels and labors, of his calm and steady faith in God, lives, is precious, and will be a power for good in the country quite down to the end of time. He is dead; but the cause he so ardently loved, so ably, patiently, faithfully represented and defended, not for himself only, not for us only, but for all people in all their coming generations till time shall be no more-that cause survives his fall, and will survive it. The light of its brightening prospects flashes cheeringly to-day athwart the gloom occasioned by his death, and the language of God's united providences is telling us, that though the friends of liberty die, liberty itself is immortal. There is no assassin strong enough and no weapon deadly enough to quench its inextinguishable life, or arrest its onward march to the

conquest and empire of the world. This is our confidence and this is our consolation as we weep and mourn to day. Though our beloved President is slain, our beloved country is saved. And so we sing of mercy as well as of judgment. Tears of gratitude mingle with those of sorrow. While there is darkness, there is also the dawning of a brighter, happier day upon our stricken and weary land. God be praised, that our fallen Chief lived long enough to see the day dawn, and the day-star of joy and peace rise upon the nation. He saw it, and he was glad. Alas! alas! he only saw the dawn. When the sun has risen full-orbed and glorious, and a happy re-united people are rejoicing in its light, it will shine upon his grave. But that grave will be a precious and a consecrated spot. The friends of Liberty and of the Union will repair to it in years and ages to come, to pronounce the memory of its occupant blessed, and gathering from his very ashes and from the rehearsal of his deeds and virtues fresh incentives to patriotism, they will there renew their vows of fidelity to their country and their God.


And now I know not that I can more appropriately conclude this discourse, which is but a sincere and simple utterance of the heart, than by addressing to our departed President, with some slight modification, the language which Tacitus, in his Life of Agricola, addresses to his venerable and departed father-in-law:- With you we may now congratulate: you are blessed, not only because your life was a career of glory, but because you were released when, your country safe, it was happiness to die. We have lost a parent, and, in our distress, it is now an addition to our heartfelt sorrow that we had it not in our power to commune with you on the bed of languishing, and receive your last embrace. Your dying words would have been ever dear to us: your commands we should have treasured up, and graved them on our hearts. This sad comfort we have lost, and the wound, for that reason, pierces deeper. From the world of spirits behold your disconsolate family and people: exalt our minds from fond regret and unavailing grief to the contemplation of your vir tues. Those we must not lament; it were impiety to sully them with a tear. To cherish their memory, to embalm them with our praises, and, so far as we can, to emulate your bright example, will be the truest mark of our respect, the best tribute we can offer. Your wife will thus preserve the memory of the best of husbands, and thus your children will prove their filial piety. By dwelling constantly on your words and actions, they will have an illustrious character before their eyes, and, not content with one bare image of your mortal frame, they will have, what is more valuable, the form and features of your mind. Busts and statues, like their origi

nals, are frail and perishable. The soul is formed of finer elements, and its inward form is not to be expressed by the hand of an artist with unconscious matter: our manners and our morals may in some degree trace the resemblance. All of you that gained our love, and raised our admiration, still subsists, and will ever subsist, preserved in the minds of men, the register of ages and the records of fame. Others, who figured on the stage of life, and were the worthies of a former day, will sink, for want of a faithful historian, into the common lot of oblivion, inglorious and unremembered; but you, our lamented friend and head, delineated with truth, and fairly consigned to posterity, will survive yourself, and triumph over the injuries of time."

At the conclusion of the sermon, after a brief silence, Dr. Gray, chaplain of the United States Senate, offered the following prayer.

O Lord God of Hosts, behold a nation prostrate before Thy throne, clothed in sackcloth, who stand around all that now remains of our illustrious and beloved chief. We thank Thee that Thou hast given to us such a patriot, and the country such valor, and to the world such a noble specimen of manhood. We bless Thee that Thou hast raised him to the highest position of trust and power in the nation, and that Thou hast spared him so long to guide and direct the affairs of government in its hour of peril and conflict. We trusted it would be he who should deliver Israel, that he would have been retained to us while the nation was passing through its baptism of blood; but in an evil hour, in an unexpected moment, when joy and rejoicing filled our souls and was thrilling the hearts of the nation, he fell. O God, give grace to sustain us under this dark and mysterious providence; help us to look up unto Thee and say, Not our will, but Thine, O God, be done. We commend to Thy merciful regard and tender compassion the afflicted family of the deceased. Thou seest how their hearts are stricken with sorrow and wrung with agony. Oh help them as they are now passing through a dark valley and shadow of death, to fear no evil, but to lean upon Thy staff for support. Oh help them to cast their burden upon the great Burden-bearer and find relief. Help them to look beyond human agencies and human means, and recognize Thy hand, O God, in this providence, and say, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth good in His sight; and as they proceed slowly and sadly on their way with the remains of a husband and father, to consign them to their last resting-place, may they look beyond the grave to

the morning of resurrection, when that which they now sow in weakness shall be raised in strength; what they now sow a mortal body, shall be raised a spiritual body; what they now sow in corruption shall be raised in incorruption, and shall be fashioned like unto Christ's most glorious body. O God of the bereaved, comfort and sustain this mourning family.

Bless the new Chief Magistrate. Let the mantle of his predecessor fall upon him. Bless the Secretary of State in his family. O God, if possible according to Thy will, spare their lives, that they may render still important service to the country. Bless all the members of the Cabinet; endow them with wisdom from above. Bless the commanders of our army and navy and all the brave defenders of the country, and give them continued success. Bless the ambassadors from foreign countries, and give us peace with the nations of the earth. O God, let treason that has deluged our land with blood, and devastated our country, and bereaved our homes, and filled them with widows and orphans, and has at length culminated in the assassination of the nation's great ruler, God of justice and avenger of the nation's wrong! let the work of treason cease, and let the guilty author of this horrible crime be arrested and brought to justice. Oh hear the cry and prayer, and see the tears now arising from a nation's crushed and smitten heart; and deliver us from the power of all our enemies, and send speedy peace unto all of our borders: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The hearse arrived shortly before the conclusion of the services in the White House. It was built expressly by G. R. Hall. The lower base of the hearse is fourteen feet long and seven feet wide, and eight feet from the ground. The upper base, upon which the coffin rests, is eleven feet long, and is five feet below the top of the canopy. The canopy is surmounted by a gilt eagle, covered with crape. The whole hearse is covered with cloth, velvet, crape, and alpaca. The seat is covered with hammer-cloth, and on each side is a splendid black lamp. The hearse is fifteen feet high, and the coffin is so placed as to afford a full view to all spectators. It was drawn by six gray horses.

The funeral cortege started with military precision at two o'clock. The avenue was cleared the whole length from the Presidential mansion to the Capitol. Every window, housetop, balcony, and every inch of the sidewalks on either side was densely crowded with a living throng to witness the pro

« PreviousContinue »