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PSALMS XLVI. 10.
BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
ON Sunday, the 2d instant, our army was exultingly chasing the main army of the rebels from Richmond. On Sunday, the 9th, the Commander-in-chief of the rebellious forces capitulated to General Grant. On Sunday, the 16th, the voice of song has died in our streets. The triumphant banner of the Republic wears the weeds of widowhood. A word can start the tear in every eye. Arrangements for rejoicing are suspended. A nation is making preparations for a funeral; the greatest funeral but one it ever attended; yes, the greatest: for, the people never buried such a President at such a time,murdered President.
Which way shall we look? what shall we do? What becomes a people so afflicted, so great a nation under so great a calamity? If we should catch and execute a thousand vile assassins, or their viler employers, would it bring back our lost? would it place our practised pilot at the helm again? Where are we? We had
fondly hoped the experience of four such years as we have passed would give us guaranty for the four years to
But our hopes are blighted, our plans are frustrated We are stunned by the suddenness of the blow; confounded by the awful wickedness of the deed. Murder is abroad; murder, that seeks the highest mark; that dashes down one of the noblest of our race; that blots out the brightest star in our heavens; that strikes at the wisest, kindest, gentlest of us all; that strikes at the life of the nation in the man to whom the nation has intrusted that life.
We are sad, we are sick at heart. We feel as if our globe had lost its course, and were drifting down toward the Botany Bay of the Universe. The reign of Justice, of Law, of Order, seems to be past.
We seem to be struggling like drowning men, - the black, chill waters are blinding our eyes, stiffening our limbs, stifling our breath.
What shall we do? Shall we fill the air with our clamors? Shall we put forth our strength in some mighty deeds of vengeance?
What is the work and duty of the hour, holy Sabbath?
- of this
Thanks be to God! a voice sounds from behind the black cloud; a voice from the upper throne; a voice from the world where no assassin lifts his hand; where treason and murder never are known. "Be still, and know that I am God." That is just what our oppressed, aching hearts rejoice to hear. It is, in the Psalm, as really addressed to our enemies in their vain exultations,
as to us in our sorrow. But we need now to hear it for ourselves.
This, fellow-citizens, is the great lesson of the day in which we live; of the horrid tragedy that makes a nation mourn; of the whole bloody plot of which this is the culmination. What is the lesson?
I. Suppress or modify all natural impulses by the controlling power of religious feeling.
1. Distress must not be allowed complete control.· Nature quivers in agony under such a blow. Who is this thus brutally murdered? The man who had won our love and gratitude beyond any of the living. Around him, the tenderest cords of our hearts were bound. We had placed in his hands the most sacred of earthly trusts. He had led us so wisely, so firmly, so kindly, through such a wilderness, and brought us out as God's minister into so large a place and so great a deliverance. We had seen in him so much of magnanimity, of sound judgment, of gentle kindness, of robust manliness, of tender sympathy, of lofty principle, we could not but love him, strongly, tenderly. We have slept securely, we have dismissed anxiety and fear, because our father was at the helm. But he is gone, — dead; murdered; basely assassinated; with no last words, no time to tell us where his hope was anchored, and whither he was going.
Our hearts are weary with the dull pain of repeating to ourselves he is gone, gone from us forever. Hark, suffering hearts! a voice from the upper world, —