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I shall know the loved who have gone before,
And joyfully sweet shall the meeting be,
The angel of death shall carry me!
XV.-THE VILLAGE PREACHER.
2. Thus, to relieve the wretched was his pride,
3. Beside the bed where parting life was laid, And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,
The reverend champion stood. At his control,
4. At church, with meek and unaffected grate,
Let the pupil carefully study and explain the last four lines. The simile they contain has been pronounced one of the most beautiful in the language.
XVI.- CHARACTER OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 1. Mr. Lincoln's life is a noble illustration of the adage, Honesty is the best policy.” Not that this adage furnishes a sufficient reason for being honest. The honesty that is induced by a desire to secure some personal advantage is hardly worth the name. There are some kinds of honesty, too, that, in the view of keen-sighted men, are very bad policy. The true reward of personal integrity is not what is usually called personal advantage. But God has so adjusted the laws of human life, that the true good of the individual does follow the strictest honesty. And so it was in the case of Mr. Lincoln. His life was a glorious success.
Few men have ever had their names written in the annals of time, who would not be the gainers by exchanging their fame for that of our martyred chief magistrate.
2. When History is making up her lists, and the noble ones of all time are arranged in a glorious company, what form among them all will shine brighter than his? Bright in a persistent purpose to do the right, as far as he saw it; in his manly simplicity ; in his unshaken trust in God, and faith in man,— trusting even the assassin that was about to slay him, and never failing to confide, to the full, in the people whom he governed; and, above all, bright in the glorious privilege of sacrificing his life for his country and his principles. As an undying possession, as a heritage for all the ages, give me the clear fame of Abraham Lincoln, rather than the most magnificent reputation built up by the proudest conqueror that ever stained his guilty blade in the blood of his fellow man!
3. How many men of transcendent mental powers have sought to be President of the United States ? have gazed on the shining goal with longing, but unsatisfied, eyes? Henry Clay, the silver-tongued, whose fervid eloquence stirred the hearts of his admiring countrymen from sea to sea and from lake to gulf, with a high ambition,—"the last infirmity of noble minds," --strove to clutch the coveted prize; and his last days were darkened by the cloud of a sad disappointment, because he failed to reach it. Daniel Webster, one of the most nobly endowed intellects of all time, who, by his masterly logic and glowing imagination,
guided the thoughts and shaped the opinions of millions of thinking freemen, pursued, through a long and honored life, the same glittering phantom; and, when at last, after lead. ing him through bogs and quagmires of political chicanery, it finally and forever eluded him, he sought his secluded home in Marshfield, and died of a broken heart; while the Atlantic waves, rolling almost at his bedside, seemed, in a sad, monotonous, and majestic dirge, to wail over the crushing of his hopes !
4. Other eminent names rush to the memory, of gifted citizens who have fallen in the same unsatisfying pursuit, after exhausting, by themselves or their friends, every political art that could be brought to bear upon the point. But Abraham Lincoln, with no brilliant accomplishments, no such eloquence as Clay's, no such ponderous intellect as Webster's, with little skill in manipulating parties, far from being a match for Iris rival, Douglas, in managing the public sentiment and in turning it to his own advantage,- indeed, with nothing but his straight-forward honesty to distinguish him from many
other men, - Abraham Lincoln found the presidential mansion opening its doors and inviting him to enter ; the post stood candidate for him. Plain, simple, unadorned, the people's man, he was called by his countrymen to the great office, simply because they believed him an honest
one whose promises could be trusted, -one who would practice no dishonest jugglery or legerdemain. And not only did they call him to the highest office in their gift, but they bestowed upon him their heart treasures,—their esteem, their confidence, and their affection,-more lavishly than upon any other man since Washington! When will our public men learn that the truest and only satisfactory success can be secured in no way but by an honest and sincere devotion to the public weal?
5, May we not hope that, by the terrible experience of the last four years, we have been taught something of the value of principle, as opposed to mere management ? of downright integrity, as opposed to dishonest intrigue? How, during this terrible contest, men have been tried! How great principles have risen in unwonted might, and demanded the allegiance of all men! What a laying aside have we seen of supple-jointed, limber-backed politicians! How the miserable quibbles and intricate nothings of the political arena have been swept out of sight, and men have been compelled to engage in discussing momentous questions that are to influence mankind for ages! And shall this be all in vain? Are our public men to be the same race of pigmy schemers and supple flunkeys that we have sometimes seen? Shall we not have, for a time at least, as a result of this war, a race of stalwart men, honest, straight-forward, trusting in God and the right,-men, in short, after the similitude of Abraham Lincoln ?
6. But, not only was Mr. Lincoln of the people, and honest ; he was also a great man. We do not by this mean that he possessed all kinds of greatness in the highest degree. But we do affirm that he was endowed with an unusually full share of the highest kind of greatness. Dr. Channing, in his admirable and truthful analysis of the character of Napoleon Bonaparte, notes three principal forms of great
And among these, he assigns the highest place to moral greatness,—that which lifts the soul above all things mean and untruthful, and makes it willing to suffer any pain, rather than renounce its allegiance to God and the truth. This is the greatness that has characterized the world's heroes and martyrs, that has lifted them up into a calm and serene abnegation of self, into a lofty and unhesitating devotion to duty, into an unfaltering conviction that, in the hands of the