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We know the old legend of the great gulf that once opened in the earth in Rome and threatened to destroy the city. The oracle declared that this gulf would never close until the most precious thing in Rome had been thrown into it. So the people brought gold and jewels and beautiful furniture and ornaments of all kinds. But the gulf remained as wide open as ever, and the people were in despair. At last one brave man who loved his country cried out: "The most precious thing in Rome is her manhood!" And he leaped straight down into the gulf, dying for the sake of his country. For immediately it shut together over his head and Rome was saved.
In 1861, more than two thousand years afterward, in our own land of America, a great gulf of disunion opened in the midst of our Republic, and all our efforts at closing it were of no avail, until the most precious possession in our land, or in any land, had leaped into the gulf. Four hundreds of thousands of brave men gave their lives to the closing of this gulf of disunion which would have destroyed the peace and greatness of our land.
The last life to be sacrificed was Abraham Lincoln's. And the gulf closed. For Lincoln was a man whom the North as well as many in the South mourned for as a patriot, a lover and friend of his whole country. He
was, as Stanton said of him, the greatest ruler of men that the world has seen, a ruler by persuading, convincing, leading by his own purity of purpose and great abilities.
Abraham Lincoln was as poor as any poor man ; none has fewer opportunities than he had. But who can bring so much out of so little, because who has his ability and his wonderful industry?
Yet the keynote of his character was not his ability or his industry, remarkable as these were. It was something still higher-it was his purpose. remark that he once made shows how he felt as to all the honors that life could give him. He said one day that some persons were satisfied with being "Governor" or holding some office; but this kind of thing could never satisfy him. This was true. Not what he had, but what he was and what he could do in the world seemed to him worthy of struggle and labor.
The history of his life gives us a faint idea of what his struggle and labor were. It tells us also how his great desire to help the world was gratified in a wonderful way.
In all our land, indeed, in all the world there has been but one Abraham Lincoln. But of those who have his purpose to leave their world in some ways better than they found it, there should be many.
F. C. S.
NEWTON CENTRE, MASS.
Daniel Boone and the Lincoln Pioneers
The Little Boy in the Lonely Woods
What Lincoln Liked Best of All to do
How He Kept Shop; What Came of it
In the Wigwam at Chicago .
Lincoln in New York and New England 162
xxx People who Tried to Advise
General Lee Comes into Maryland
XXXIII The Emancipation Proclamation
How Mr. Lincoln Tried for Peace
How the People Learned to Trust Him
How Grant Fought It Out on That
Lincoln's Walk Through Richmond
The Joy of the Nation in Victory and