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overthrow a government instituted by God and which was the hope of humanity. God designs they shall be punished, not for the purpose of retaliation, but to deter others; not to gratify feelings of revenge, but to save posterity. Clemency and magnanimity are virtues in some circumstances, in others they are but. weakness. Clemency to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent, and sad will it be for the nation, if our treatment of the leading traitors proclaims that treason is not esteemed a crime.
This event will exert another important influence. In this war we have demonstrated, to the confusion of European statesmen, that a government may be free and liberal in its character, and yet possess strength to maintain itself. And now, we are proving that this strength is not in its elected head, but in the body of its people. The President dies but the people live, and hence the power abides. Abraham Lincoln expires, and in a few hours, his successor is quietly inducted, and to-day the government is moving on as if nothing had occurred. There will be no shock, the armies will not be turned from their course, financial and commercial interests will not be disturbed, and even governmental securities will scarcely be affected.
But especially are we admonished to trust in the Lord. We are prone to rely upon the human instrument. We relied on Lincoln and God took him. We have been distrustful of his successor. Then should we look beyond him to God.
carry out his
In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. He
This event, calamitous as it is, can be overruled for the nation's good.' The history of the world evinces this. When Christ was crucified, his enemies felt they had fully triumphed. The disciples were in despair. That Saturday he lay in the grave was to them much like the yesterday to us. But that event, apparently so calamitous, became the corner stone of the Christian system. When James was slain, Stephen stoned, Peter and John thrown into prison, and the disciples driven from Jerusalem, all appeared dark and gloomy: but a new impetus was given to the work.
A few years since, our church sent its first missionary to Liberia.
The church was enthusiastic. A few months passed and tidings came that our devoted missionary was sleeping in the sands of the African coast. Depression followed and we felt that the African mission was buried in the grave of Cox. But his dying cry “Let a thousand fall rather than Africa be given up,” roused the church, and the mission lives and prospers. “God buries his workmen but carries on his work."
The early part of the struggle for freedom in Holland was mostly sustained by the personal efforts and influence of William, Prince of Orange. Others faltered and failed; he stood firm. Others despaired; he was confident, and by his zeal and perseverance he conducted the nation through long years of conflict, until the hope of Holland's freedom became bright and cheering. Yet, when the dagger of the assassin struck his heart, as it las now reached the heart of our President, it seemed the knell of every hope. The feeling of Holland has been paralleled only by ours. But God raised up other agents to complete the work he had so nobly prosecuted, and, although he lived not to see it, Holland was free.
So will it be in our case. The Lord Jehovah liveth and will provide other agents in the place of him who has fallen. The officers of our army failed, but God raised up Grant and Sherman and Sheridan. He can as easily provide statesmen.
Then let us trust in the Lord, for in him is ererlasting strength. Enemies may strike down princes, but cannot palsy the arm Divine. The late President shall not see it, but God will carry the nation through.
“All things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Hath not God chosen this nation, and will he desert it now? Is it not a Christian country, doing more for men than any other on the earth, and will he suffer it to be destroyed ? Never! But this our fair republic, under the protection of Heaven, shall long remain, a blessing to mankind and a model for the world.*
* The sermon of which the above is a sketch, was in the main extemporaneous. In a note to the editor, the writer says :-“Many of the thoughts were suggested by the excitement of the hour, and cannot now be recalled. I have, therefore, simply copied the brief supplying such additions and explanations only, as were necessary to make it intelligible.”
SERMON PREACHED IN THE AFRICAN METHODIST
EPISCOPAL ZION CHURCH.
BY REV. JACOB THOMAS.
Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel ? 2 SANUEL, iii, 38.
My friends, we meet at this hour with sad hearts. We have been stricken. The blow has fallen heavily upon us, and a nation mourns to day. Truly a prince and a great man in Israel has fallen. We cannot but weep bitter tears that so great and good a man as Abraham Lincoln, has been cut down in the midst of his usefulness by a death so cruel. At the moment he was about to realize the great results of his four years labor, just as victory had perched upon our banners, he fell a martyr to freedom. We shall never look upon his like again.
A few days ago joy and gladness filled every heart. All who were loyal to the government rejoiced and gave thanks to Almighty God because of the victory won, the downfall of the rebel oapital. This intelligence was too glorious to be unalloyed. Ere our joy had subsided, sorrow overtook us. News reached us from Washington of the bloody deed perpetrated there. We would not believe it. It could not be
possible that a creature in the form of man could be found so God-forsaken, as to take the life of the man who had malice for none but charity for all ! The hours between the first rumor and the confirmation of the report, were hours of dreadful suspense. But the truth came at last. There was no longer room for doubt. It was too true, that on last Friday evening, whilst enjoying at a place of amusement a few moments of relaxation from toil, accompanied by his wife and a few friends, unconscious of danger near, he was brutally murdered— shot down by the cowardly hand of an assassin. Palsied be the tongue, withered be the arm of the guilty, execrable wretch who committed this, the blackest of all crimes. Yes, our dear President is no more. The beloved of his country, the father and friend of the oppressed, the champion of universal freedom, has fallen a victim to southern malice and revenge. Kind heaven weeps to-day over the bloody spectacle.
We, as a people, feel more than all others that we are bereaved. We had learned to love Mr. Lincoln as we have never loved man before. We idolized his very name. We looked up to him as our saviour, our deliverer. His name was familiar with our children, and our prayers ascended to God in his behalf. He had taught us to love him. The interest he manifested in behalf of the oppressed, the weak and those who had none to help them, had won for him a large place in our heart. It was something so new to us to