Two Sermons of April, 1865 (Classic Reprint)

Two Sermons of April, 1865 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Two Sermons of April, 1865

At the period to which these words refer, they were having about such a time in the land of Canaan as we are having in our own country now. It was the clearing ofi' after a storm. The person regularly appointed to admin ister the government had been rejected by a portion of the people. Providence had employed the scourge of war to bring them to terms. A victorious battle produced a political reaction in the hearts of the disaffected. An impassioned loyalty, in the most sudden manner, as if by a miracle, seized possession of every heart. They repaired to Gilgal and renewed the kingdom, amid religious sacri fices, and fervent public rejoicings. It is our privilege to participate in a similar scene on a far larger scale. We had heard of such things in history, - thc wild frenzy ofdelight in Philadelphia when, in the dark night, the watch man's cry rang through the silent streets, announcing that Cornwallis had surrendered; the bell-ringing and bonfires and cannonades in England, at the tidings that Wellington had conquered Bonaparte at Waterloo; the midnight rapture in Boston, in 1816, when it became known that a vessel had just arrived from Europe announcing the declaration of peace. Our hearts had bounded at the reading of those things; but who supposed that we should live to see such a day, - that in our life-time and land there would occur one of the greatest wars of the world, and that our ears would be thrilled with the rumor of its mighty and awful battles, and that it would be ours to raise the shout of triumph at the tidings of the last battle, crowning our soldiers with victory, and our nation with deliverance It is a cup that can be partaken of only once or twice in a century. It is a great privilege to have been permitted to live until the ushering in of such a day.

What are the preper feelings to be cherished by us to-day, in view of these circumstances?

It should be a day of thanksgiving. The things essential to a thanksgiving are that one be joyful, and that he acknowledge God as the author of his joy. We have abundant occasion at this time for the fulfilment of both of these conditions. We cannot expect ever to have so much public occasmn for it again. It is a time when devout joy should fill the heart of every man and woman and childin the land. There are some who appear to feel that they and their chosen associates have a monopoly of the joy, and are entitled to turn it all into a secular and partisan channel; and when they meet persons not of their own clique, there is a look in their eye, or an utterance from their lips, whichsays, What! Are you glad too? What right have you to participate in this gladness? Such feelings evince very great narrowness and illiberality of feeling, and ignorance of human nature. Some of the most joyful hearts today are those whom the Pharisees of loyalty and patriotism would shut out of their synagogue; it is the very fervor of their yearning for such a day of peace as this, which has given them hesitancy in approving of some of the measures which, under the good providence of God, have ripened into this auspicious consummation; and he is a cur of the kennel, and a foul ?y in the ointment, who mars the jubilant harmony of the hour by obtruding such objections. Let the men of every shade of Opinion, in oblivion of the past, come freely forward upon the broad national platform, and join us in making the welkin ring with exultant shouts. Who can have it in his heart to think of private feuds? All who occupy that platform hold out to every one accepting it the hand of welcome.

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