C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the Nations wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphanto do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
I know there is a God, and that He hates the injustice of slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and a work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything. I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God.
The life of Lincoln should never be passed by in silence by young or old. He touched the log cabin and it became the palace in which greatness was nurtured. He touched the forest and it became to him a church in which the purest and noblest worship of God was observed. His occupation has become associated in our minds with the integrity of the life he lived. In Lincoln there was always some quality that fastened him to the people and taught them to keep time to the music of his heart.
Not thine the sorrow, but ours, sainted soul! Thou hast indeed entered into the promised land, while we are yet on the march. To us remain the rocking of the deep, the storm upon the land, days of duty and nights of watching; but thou are sphered high above all darkness and fear, beyond all sorrow and weariness. Rest, oh, weary heart!
Men will imitate and admire his unmoved firmness, his inflexible conscience for the right; and yet his gentleness, as tender as a womans, his moderation of spirit, which not all the heat of party could inflame, nor all the jars and disturbances of this country shake out of its place: I swear you to an emulation of his justice, his moderation, and his mercy.
He was compassionate. With what joy he brought liberty to the enslaved. He was forgiving. In this respect he was strikingly suggestive of the Saviour. He was great. Time will but augment the greatness of his name and fame. Perhaps a greater man never ruled in this or any other nation. He was good and pure and incorruptible. He was a patriot; he loved his country; he poured out his soul unto death for it. He was human, and thus touched the chord that makes the world akin.
Next to Washington, Lincoln stands forth as the grandest patriot in our American life. Washington was the Father of his Country; Lincoln was her most loyal son; Washington brought the United States of America into being; Lincoln made that being immortal; Washington unfurled a new flag among the nations of the world; Lincoln made that flag a mighty power among those nations. Dead, they yet speak. The good they did will last through time and on through eternity. And so our Nation has most rightly and fittingly made the birthdays of these, her illustrious sons, legal holidays, to inspire us to a purer, nobler, holier manhood.
Abraham Lincoln was a man of profound faith. He believed in God. He believed in Christ. He believed in the Bible. He believed in men. His faith made him great. His life is a beautiful commentary on the words, This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. There was a time in Lincolns experience when his faith faltered, as there was a time when his reason tottered; but these sad experiences were temporary, and Abraham Lincoln was neither an infidel nor a lunatic. It is easy to trace in the life of this colossal character a steady growth of faith. This grace in him increased steadily in breadth and in strength with the passing years, until it came to pass that his last public utterances show forth the confidence and the fire of an ancient Hebrew prophet.
The beauty of Lincolns immortal character has thrown in the shade the splendors of his intellect. The time will be when the severest critics of mental philosophy and mental development will sit in judgment and admiration upon the splendid brain of that great man. He was a logician by nature. His terse and beautiful rhetoric rivals the utterances of the greatest orators of the past and present. He was truly great.
Through all the pressure and the measureless responsibility Abraham Lincoln stood like a giant girt with the strength of God. The memorial of Abraham Lincoln is in the millions of the Afro-American race, now free. It is in the reverence and love of the freest, greatest, and most progressive nation on the earth. It is in the amended constitution of these United States, which constitution has at last become the formula of freedom and indissoluble bond of union.
We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men who struggled here have consecrated it far beyond our power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain: and this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Who shall recount our martyrs sufferings for this people? Since the November of 1860, his horizon has been black with storms. By day and by night he trod a way of danger and darkness. On his shoulders rested a government dearer to him than his own life. At its integrity millions of men at home were striking; upon it foreign eyes lowered. It stood like a lone island in a sea full of storms; and every tide and wave seemed eager to devour it. Upon thousands of hearts great sorrows and anxieties have rested, but not on one such, and in such measure, as upon that simple, truthful, noble soul, our faithful and sainted Lincoln.
If I have any purpose, it is to strengthen the belief in a Divine Providence; and if I have any further purpose in this time of wars and rumors of wars, it is to show that God Almighty has made nations for higher purposes than mere money making. I am to speak of Abraham Lincoln, the simplest, serenest, sublimest character of the age. Seventy millions of people join in commemorating his greatness. It is not my purpose to review his life; that is too much a part of history. That history should be taught in every public American school and preached from every Christian pulpit. The story of Abraham Lincoln, citizen, President, liberator and martyr, should be in the heart of every American child.
The shepherd of the people! that old name that the best rulers ever craved. What ruler ever won it like this dead President of ours? He fed us faithfully and truly. He fed us with counsel when we were in doubt, with inspiration when we sometimes faltered, with caution when we would be rash, with calm, clear, trustful cheerfulness through many an hour, when our hearts were dark. He fed hungry souls all over the country with sympathy and consolation. He spread before the whole land feasts of great duty and devotion and patriotism, on which the land grew strong. He fed us with solemn, solid truths. He taught us the sacredness of government, the wickedness of treason. He made our souls glad and vigorous with the love of liberty that was in his. He showed us how to love truth and yet be charitablehow to hate wrong and all oppression, and yet not treasure one personal injury or insult. He fed all his people, from the highest to the lowest, from the most privileged down to the most enslaved. Best of all, he fed us with a reverent and genuine religion. He spread before us the love and fear of God just in that shape in which we need them most, and out of his faithful service of a higher Master, who of us has not taken and eaten and grown strong? He fed them with a faithful and true heart. Yes, till the last. For at the last, behold him standing with hand reached out to feed the South with mercy, and the North with charity, and the whole land with peace, when the Lord who had sent him called him, and his work was done!