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THE RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF PRESIDENT
[The following is taken from the funeral address delivered on the occasion of the obsequies of President Lincoln, April 19th, 1866, by the Rev. P. D. Gurley, D. D., who was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Washington, which Mr. Lincoln attended.]
PROBABLY no man since the days of Washington was ever so deeply enshrined in the hearts of the American people as Abraham Lincoln. Nor was it a mistaken confidence and love. He deserved it all. He deserved it by his character, by the whole tenor, tone, and spirit of his life. He was simple, sincere, plain, honest, truthful, just, benevolent and kind. His perceptions were quick and clear, his judgments calm and accurate, purposes good and pure beyond all question. Always and everywhere he aimed both to be right and to do right. His integrity was all-prevading, all-controlling, and incorruptible. As the chief magistrate of a great and inperilled people, he rose to the dignity and momentousness of the occasion. He saw his duty, and he determined to do his whole duty, seeking the guidance and leaning upon the arm of Him of whom it is written, "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”
I speak what I know when I affirm that His guidance was the prop on which he humbly and habitually leaned. It was the best hope he had for himself and his country. When he was leaving his home in Illinois, and coming to this city to take his seat in the executive chair of a disturbed and troubled nation, he said to the old and tried friends who gathered tearfully around him and bade him farewell, “I leave you with this request,-pray for me.' They did pray for him, and millions of others prayed for him. Nor did they pray in vain. Their prayers were heard. The answer shines forth with a heavenly radiance in the whole course and tenor of his administration, from its commencement to its close.
RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF LINCOLN.
God raised him up for a great and glorious mission. He furnished him for his work and aided him in its accomplishment. He gave him strength of mind, honesty of heart, and purity and pertinacity of purpose. In addition to these He gave him also a calm and abiding confidence in an overruling Providence, and in the ultimate triumph of truth and righteousness through the power and blessing of God. This confidence strengthened him in his hours of anxiety and toil, and inspired him with a calm and cheerful hope when others were despondent.
Never shall I forget the emphasis and the deep emotion with which, in this very room he said to a company of clergymen, who had called to pay him their respects, in the darkest hour 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. Even now, when the events seem most threatening, and the prospects dark, I still hope that in some way which man cannot see, all will be well in the end, and that as our cause is just, God is on our side."
Such was his sublime and holy faith. It was an anchor to his soul both sure and steadfast. It made him firm and strong. It emboldened him in the rugged and perilous pathway of duty. It made him valiant for the right, for the cause of God and humanity. It held him in steady, patient, and unswerving adherence to a policy which he thought, and which we all now think, both God and humanity required him to adopt.
We admired his child-like simplicity, his freedom from guile and deceit, his staunch and sterling integrity, his kind and forgiving temper, and his persistent, self-sacrificing devotion to all the duties of his eminent position. We admired his readiness to hear and consider the cause of the poor, the humble, the suffering, and the oppressed, and his readiness to spend and be spent for the attainment of that great triumph, the blessed fruits of which shall be as wide spreading as the earth, and as enduring as the sun.
All these things commanded the admiration of the world, and stamped upon his life and character the unmistakable impress of true greatness. More sublime than all these, more holy and beautiful, was his abiding confidence in God, and in the final triumph of truth and righteousness through him and for his sake. The friends of liberty and the Union will repair to his consecrated grave, through ages yet to come, to pronounce the memory of its occupant blessed, and to gather from his ashes and the rehearsal of his virtues fresh incentives to patriotism, and there renew their vows of fidelity to their country and their God.
EDGAR A. POE.
ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purp'e curtain,
Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer,
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before. 'Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window-lattice; Let me see then what there at is, and this mystery explore,Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore ;'Tis the wind, and nothing more."
Open then I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door,— Perch'd upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door,— Perch'd, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Though thy crest be shorne and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore, Tell me what thy lordly name is on the night's Plutonian shore ? " Quoth the raven, "Nevermore ! "
Much I marvel'd this ungainly fowl to here discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Startled at the stiilness, broken by reply so aptly spoken,
But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
Swung by seraphim, whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.