Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ality will not depart at our bidding. Abraham Lincoln is dead. Gone from a nation's burdens and a nation's love. Stricken down in the fore front of the battle ; his great work done, yet with his armor on, in the high noon of a noble, successful, God-fearing manhood. And by that sterling worth, that simple piety, that kindness and tenderness, that never faltering faith in God and humanity, he, being dead, yet speaketh. Aye, speaketh. I hear his voice come down to us from the tranquil heights of his eternal rest bidding us be true to ourselves, true to our national idea, true to freedom, true to God, daring to be just though the heavens fall. I hear him saying to the nation : “ Away with these idle tears, these vain regrets; ye have no time now for lamentation ;

* The day of the Lord is at hand, at hand,

Its storms roll up the sky,' and the meekest of saints may find stern work to do. Up and be doing !"

We hear thee beloved leader, and here, beside thy tomb, we put off our sackcloth and ashes and take our armor to ourselves again. We turn our faces to the future, and from under the shadow of this dispensation we go forth with girded loins and trimmed lamps and in God's strength to work out our destiny. We leave thee with God on thy mount of vision, and press on at the beck of our new leader to that promised land which thou sawest from afar, but wert not permitted to enter; press on, bearing the inspiration of thy courage into battles yet to come. And thou shalt be gloriously avenged one day. Thou shalt be avenged when our Union, the object of thy dearest desire, shall stand cemented anew, now and forever, one and inseparable.” Thou shalt be avenged in every look which down-trodden humanity shall send across the sea to our land, then, as never before, the home of the oppressed. Thou shalt be avenged when one heart and one mind shall animate the people; when Americans shall know no north, no south, and one starry flag, the dear old banner which was the joy of thine eyes, covers with its ample folds the children of those who now thirst for each others blood. Thou shalt be avenged when the echo of war shall have died out from our hillsides, and the war desolated land be blossoming like a paradise beneath the willing hand of free industry. Thou shalt be avenged when, beneath the palmetto's shade, Africa's sons shall teach their children to lisp thy name, and bedew thine immortal charter with their grateful tears. Oh! even amid the grand realities which ere this have dawned upon thy vision, thou shalt not surely be so far removed from sympathy with the land thou lovedst and diedst for, that thou wilt not follow her career with thy spirit gaze, and smile with heavenly joy, when thou shalt see peace within her walls and prosperity within her palaces. And so, till our work be done, and we follow thee into the silence, we bid thee farewell. Sleep !·beloved ruler! Rest! great, tender, careworn heart! Sleep sweetly in the bosom of the West, while the gratitude of the down-trodden and the love of the nation gather like clustering vines round thy tomb, and thy monument points through the years to heaven, telling the oppressed of a liberator and the tyrant of an avenger.

Uplifted high in heart and hope are we,
Until we doubt not that, for one so true
There must be other, nobler work to do,
And victor he must ever be.
For tho' the giant ages heave the hill,
And break the shore, and evermore
Make and break and work their will;
Tho' worlds on worlds in myriad myriads roll
Round us, each with different powers,
And other forms of life than ours,
What know we greater than the soul?
On God and godlike men we build our trust.
Hush! The dead-march wails in the people's ears :
The dark crowd moves, and there are sobs and tears;
The black earth yawns; the mortal disappears;
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust :
He is gone who seemed so great,
Gone, but nothing can bereave him
Of the force he made his own
Being here, and we believe him
Something far advanced in state
And that he wears a truer crown
Than

any

wreath that man can weave him.
But speak no more of his renown,
Lay your earthly fancies down
And in the vast cathedral leave him ;
God accept him — Christ receive hiin.”

THE NATION'S SORROW. - SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON

PREACHED IN THE STATE STREET METIIODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

BY REV. ERASTUS WENTWORTH, D.D.

And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.-Acts, viii, 2.

Rendering funeral honors to the dead is an imme. morial custom as widespread as the human race. The oldest records, poetic and historical, throw abundant light upon the burial usages of the ancients. In Homer's Iliad an entire book is devoted to the description of the rites and games celebrated by the Greeks in honor of the slain Patroclus. The funeral panegyrics of Pericles and Demosthenes were gems of eloquence and ranked with the most admired compositions of classical antiquity.

The honors paid by Abraham to the remains of Sarah, are chronicled in the book of Genesis, in an account as minute, and almost as long as that of the creation by the same author.

Jacob, when led by his treacherous sons to believe that Joseph was dead, rent his clothes, put sackcloth upon his loins, mourned for his son many days and said, “I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning."

When this patriarch died at a great age in Egypt, he was embalmed with care, mourned by the Egyptians seventy days, escorted to Canaan with a grand funeral procession and there bewailed with such sore lamentation, that the wondering Canaanites said “this is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians," and the place of their seven days’ weeping was thenceforward popularly designated as the “Egyptians' Mourning.”

The bones of Joseph accompanied the Israelites as a sacred deposit during all their forty years' wandering. “The children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days.” “Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah.”

David pronounced eulogies full of pathos and beauty over the murdered Abner and the slaughtered Jonathan and Saul, though the latter was a suicide, who would have been condemned in our days to “maim-ed rites," and “ground unsanctified,” “without requiem” and the “bringing home of bell and burial.”

In honor of the dead, the ancient Jews rent their clothes, dressed in sackcloth and black, put ashes and dust on their heads, shaved their heads, removed their ornaments, diminished their temple offerings, went half naked, wept, wailed and fasted, beat their breasts, lay on the ground, and employed hired mourners. Customs like these are common throughout Asia at the present day, and in modified forms they exist throughout the world. They were not condemned by the great Author of Christianity., On the eve of his betrayal, when, in the house of Simon of Beth

« ZurückWeiter »