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PSALMS LXXXIX: 18.
THE LORD IS OUR DEFENCE, AND THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL IS OUR KING.
MOST welcome truth when the current of events seems sweeping us away. Scarce two short weeks ago, powerful armies were watching each other at the gates of the rebel capital, as a beast of prey watches his victim. The invincible army of Northern Virginia had been assailed in the terrible battles of the Wilderness, had been forced to retreat, day by day, until they were driven within their intrenchments at Richmond, and, for nearly a year, had been held in the mortal grasp of the Federal power. By a constant tension of forces, and a steady pressure of military vigor, our Lieutenant-General had extended his left, threatening the rebel communications, until Petersburg and Richmond became untenable, and the news of their hasty evacuation, leaving behind five hundred guns and vast military stores, filled the whole North with joy and exultation.
Hotly pursued by the cavalry of the eagle-eyed Sheridan, the retreating hosts were harassed on their flank and rear, depleted in numbers, despoiled of their weap
ons and supplies, broken in spirit, and compelled to surrender, as prisoners, an instalment of a half dozen major-generals and thirteen thousand men. It was a prophecy of what a few days more of unflinching purpose would accomplish upon the foe.
Scarcely had the echoes of this triumph died away, when the stillness of our Sabbath evening was broken by the news of final and triumphant victory in the capitulation of the rebel commander, and of all that remained of his traitorous hordes. From within the city of Richmond, our noble President sent despatches to Washington, assuring the country that the rebel stronghold had surrendered, that the boastful army of treason had become a humbled fugitive, and, at length, a subdued and prostrate captive. Joy was unbounded. Gratitude surged in our hearts, like the heavy swell of the sea. Spontaneous assemblies burst forth in praise, rent the air with their acclamations, and pledged anew, everlasting fidelity to country and to God.
But, while the glorious hope of coming peace and of universal freedom was gladdening our dreams, we were aroused by another voice. Our noble President is dead, died suddenly, — died by the hand of the foul assassin, - died surrounded by his friends, and in a public place. Terrible is the revulsion of feeling occasioned by this event. The public heart is paralyzed. We are cast down from the very summit of joy into the deep abyss of grief. Oh, how changed the aspect of the country! Yesterday we were strong in the confidence we reposed in the best of earthly rulers. To-day man seems as nothing; less than a feather borne on