In preparing my sermons my custom was, after taking some rest on Monday, to get into my study early on Tuesday morning. To every student the best hours of the day are those before the sun has reached the meridian. Then the mind is the most clear and vigorous. I have never in my life prepared sermons a dozen times after my supper. Severe mental work in the evening is apt to destroy sound sleep; thousands of brain workers are wrecked by insomnia. To secure freedom from needless interruption I pinned on my study door "Very Busy." This had the wholesome effect of shutting out all time-killers, and of shortening necessary calls of those who had some important errand. Instead of leaving the selection of my topic to the risk of any contingency, I usually chose my text on Tuesday morning, and laid the keel of the sermon. I kept a large note-book in which I could enter any passage of Scripture that would furnish a good theme for pulpit consumption. I also found it a good practice to jot down thoughts that occurred to me on any important topic that I could use when I came to prepare my sermons. By this method I had a treasury of texts from which I could draw every week. Let my readers be careful to notice that word "Text." I have known men to prepare an elaborate essay, theological, ethical or sociological, and then to perch a text from the Bible on top of it.
"Preach my word" does not signify the clapping of a few syllables as a figure-head on a long treatise spun out of a preacher's brain. The best discourses are not manufactured, they are a growth. God's inspired and infallible Book must furnish the text. The connection between every good sermon and its text is just as vital as the connection between a peach-tree and its root. Sometimes an indolent minister tries to palm off an old sermon for a pretended new one by changing the text, but this shallow device ought to expose itself as if he should decapitate a dog and undertake to clap on the head of some other animal. Intelligent audiences see through such tricks and despise them. "Be sure your sin will find you out." When a passage from the Holy Scripture has been planted as a root and well watered with prayer, the sermon should spring naturally from it. The central thought of the text being the central thought of the sermon and all argument, all instruction and exhortation are only the boughs branching off from the central trunk, giving unity, vigor and spiritual beauty to the whole organic production. The unity and spiritual power of a discourse usually depend upon the adherence to the great divine truth contained in the inspired Book. The Bible text is God's part of our sermon; and the more thoroughly we get the text into our own souls, the more will we get it into the sermon, and into the consciences of our hearers. To keep out of a rut I studied the infinite variety of Sacred Scripture; its narratives and matchless biographies, its jubilant Psalms, its profound doctrines, its tender pathos, its rolling thunder of Sinai, and its sweet melodies of Calvary's redeeming love. I laid hold of the great themes, and I found a half hour of earnest prayer was more helpful than two or three hours of study. It sometimes let a flash from the Throne flame over the page I was writing.
To me, when preparing my Sabbath messages, God's Holy Word was the sum of all knowledge, and a "Thus saith the Lord" was my invariable guide. I found that in theology the true things were not new, and most of the new things were not true. I remember how a visitor in New Haven was looking for a certain house, and found himself in front of the residence of Professor Olmstead, the eminent astronomer, whose stoves were then very popular. The visitor inquired of an Irishman, who was working in front of the house, "Who lives here?" The very Hibernian answer was, "Shure, sur, 'tis Profissor Olmstead, a very great man; he invents comets, and has discovered a new stove." In searching the Scriptures I used the very best spiritual telescopes in my possession, and gladly availed myself of all discoveries of divine truths made by profounder intellects and keener visions than my own; but I leave this self-styled "advanced age" to invent its own comets, and follow its own meteors.
In one respect I have not followed the practice of many of my brethren, for I never have wasted a single moment in defending God's Word in my pulpit. I have always held that the Bible is a self-evidencing book; God will take care of His Word if we ministers only take care to preach it. We are no more called upon to defend the Bible than we are to defend the law of gravitation. My beloved friend, Dr. McLaren, of Manchester, has well said that if ministers, "instead of trying to prop the Cross of Christ, would simply point men to that Cross, more souls would be saved." The vast proportion of volumes of "Apologetics" are a waste of ink and paper. If they could all be kindled into a huge bonfire, they would shed more light than they ever did before. It is not our business to answer every sceptic who shies a stone at the solid fortress of truth in which God places His ambassadors. If Tobiah and Sanballat are challenging us to come down into the plain, and meet them on their level, our answer must ever be: "I am God's messenger, preaching God's word and doing God's work. I cannot stop to go down and prove that your swords are made of lath."
To my younger brethren I would say: "Preach the Word, preach it with all your soul, preach it in the strength of Jehovah's Spirit, and He will give it the victory."
I found the effectiveness of my sermons increased by the use of every good illustration I could get hold of, but I tried to be careful that they illustrated something. Where such are lugged into the sermon merely for the sake of ornament, they are as much out of place as a bouquet would be tied fast to a plough-handle. The Divine Teacher set us the example of making vital truths intelligible by illustrations, when he spoke so often in parables, and sometimes recalled historical incidents. All congregations relish incidents and stories, when they are "pat" to the purpose, and serious enough for God's house, and help to drive the truth into the hearts of the audience During my early ministry I delivered a discourse to young men at Saratoga Springs, and closed it with a solemn story of a man who died of remorse at the exposure of his crime. The Hon. John McLean, a judge of the United States Supreme Court and a prominent man in the Methodist Church, was in the congregation, and the next day I called at the United States Hotel to pay my respects to him. He said to me, "My young friend I was very much interested in that story last evening; it clinched the sermon. Our ministers in Cincinnati used to introduce illustrative anecdotes, but it seems to have gone out of fashion and I am sorry for it." I replied to him, "Well Judge, I am glad to have the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in favor of telling a story or a personal incident in the pulpit." There is one principle that covers all cases. It is this: Whatever makes the Gospel or Jesus Christ more clear to the understanding, more effective in arousing sinners, in converting souls, in edifying believers and in promoting pure honest living is never out of place in the pulpit. When we are preaching for souls we may use any and every weapon of truth within our reach.
Those who have sat before my pulpit will testify that I never spared my lungs or their ears in the delivery of my discourses. The preaching of the Gospel is spiritual gunnery, and many a well-loaded cartridge has failed to reach its mark from lack of powder to propel it. The prime duty of God's ambassador is to arouse the attention of souls before his pulpit; to stir those who are indifferent; to awaken those who are impenitent; to cheer the sorrow-stricken; to strengthen the weak, and edify believers An advocate in a criminal trial puts his grip on every juryman's ear So must every herald of Gospel-truth demand and command a hearing, cost what it may: but that hearing he never will secure while he addresses an audience in a cold, formal, perfunctory manner. Certainly the great apostle at Ephesus aimed at the emotions and the conscience as well as the reason of his hearers when he "ceased not to warn them night and day with tears." I cannot impress it too strongly on every young minister that the delivery of his sermon is half the battle. Why load your gun at all if you cannot send your charge to the mark? Many a discourse containing much valuable thought has fallen dead on drowsy ears when it might have produced great effect if the preacher had only had inspiration and perspiration. A sermon that is but ordinary as a production may have an extraordinary effect by direct and fervid delivery. The minister who never warms himself will never warm up his congregation. I once asked Albert Barnes, of Philadelphia, "Who is the greatest preacher you have ever heard?" Mr. Barnes, who was a very clear-headed thinker, replied: "I cannot answer your question exactly, but the greatest specimen of preaching I ever heard was by the Rev. Edward N. Kirk before my congregation during a revival; it produced a tremendous effect." Those of us that knew Kirk knew that he was not a man of genius or profound scholarship; but he was a true orator with a superb voice and a sweet persuasiveness, and his whole soul was on fire with the love of Jesus and the love of souls.
It is not easy to define what that subtle something is which we call pulpit magnetism. As near as I can come to a definition I would say it is the quality or faculty in the speaker that arouses the attention and strengthens the interest of his auditors and which, when aided by the Holy Spirit, produces conviction in their minds by the truth that is in Jesus. The heart in the speaker's voice sends that voice into the hearts of his hearers. It is an undoubted fact that pulpit fervor has been a characteristic of almost all the preachers of a soul-winning Gospel. The fire was kindled in the pulpit that kindled the pews. The discourses of Frederick W. Robertson, of Brighton, were masterpieces of fresh thought, but the crowds were drawn to his church because they were delivered with a fiery glow. The king of living sermon-makers is Dr. McLaren, of Manchester. His vigorous thought is put into vigorous language and then vigorously spoken. He commits his grand sermons to memory, and then looks his audience in the eyes, and sends his strong voice to the furthest gallery. Last year after I had thanked him for his powerful "Address on Preaching" to a thousand ministers in London, he wrote to me: "It was an effort; for I could not trust myself to do without a manuscript, and I am so unaccustomed to reading what I have to say that it was like dancing a hornpipe in fetters," Yet manuscripts are not always fetters; for Dr. Chalmers read every line of his sermons with thrilling and tremendous effect. So did Dr. Charles Wadsworth in Philadelphia, and so did Phillips Brooks in Boston. In my own experience I have as often found spiritual results from the discourses partly or mainly written out as from those spoken extemporaneously. While much may depend upon the conditions in the congregation and much aid may be drawn from the intercessory prayers of our people, the main thing is to have a baptism of fire in our own hearts. Sometimes a sermon may produce but little impression, yet the same sermon at another time and place may deeply move an audience, and yield rich spiritual results. Physical condition may have some influence on a minister's delivery; but the chief element in the eloquence that awakens and converts sinners and strengthens Christians is the unction of the Holy Spirit. Our best power is the power from on high.
I would say to young ministers—look at your auditors as bound to the judgment seat and see the light of eternity flash into their faces. Then the more fervor of soul you put into your preaching the more souls you will win to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
As I look back over the last sixty years I think I discover some very marked changes in the methods of the American pulpit since the days of my youth. In the first place the average preacher in those days was more doctrinal than at the present time. The masters in Israel evidently held with Phillips Brooks that "no exhortation to a good life that does not put behind it some great truth, as deep as eternity, can seize and hold the conscience," Therefore they pushed to the front such deep and mighty themes as the Attributes of God, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Nature and Desert of Sin, the Atonement, Regeneration, Faith, Resurrection, and Judgment to come, with Heaven and Hell as tremendous realities. They emphasized the heinousness and the desert of sin as a great argument for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A lapse from that style of preaching is to be deplored; for as Gladstone truly remarked, the decline or decay of a sense of sin against God is one of the most serious symptoms of these times.
Charles G. Finney, who was at the zenith of his power sixty years ago, bombarded the consciences of sinners with a prodigious broadside of pulpit doctrine; and many acute lawyers and eminent merchants were converted under his discourses. No two finer examples of doctrinal preaching—once so prevalent—could be cited than Dr. Lyman Beecher and Dr. Horace Bushnell. The celebrated sermon by the former of these two giants on the "Moral Government of God" was characterized by Thomas H. Skinner as the mightiest discourse he had ever heard. Henry Ward Beecher hardly exaggerated when he once said to me, "Put all of his children together and we do not equal my father at his best." Dr. Bushnell's masterly discourses with all their exquisite poetry and insight into human hearts were largely bottomed and built on a theological basis. To those two great doctrinal preachers I might add the names of my beloved instructors, Dr. Archibald Alexander and Dr. Charles Hodge, of Princeton, Albert Barnes and Professor Park, Dr. Thornwell, Dr. Bethune, Dr. John Todd, Dr. G.T. Bedell, Bishop Simpson and President Stephen Olin.
Has the American pulpit grown in spiritual power since those days? Have the churches thriven whose pastors have become more invertebrate in their theology?
Another characteristic of the average preacher sixty years ago was that sermons were generally aimed at awakening the impenitent, and bringing them to Jesus Christ. The evil of sin was emphasized; the way of salvation explained; the claims of Christianity were presented; and people were urged to immediate decision. Nowadays a large portion of sermons are addressed to professing Christians; many others are addressed to nobody in particular, but there is less of faithful, fervid, loving and persuasive discourses to the unconverted. This is one of the reasons for the lamentable decrease in the number of conversions. If ministers are set to be watchmen of souls, how shall they escape if they neglect the salvation of souls?
I think, too, that we cannot be mistaken in saying that there has been a decline in impassioned pulpit eloquence. There is a change in the fashions of preaching. Students are now taught to be calm and colloquial; to aim at producing epigrammatical essays; to discuss sociological problems and address the intellects of their auditors rather in the style of the lecture platform or college class room. The great Dr. Chalmers "making the rafters roar" is as much a bygone tradition in many quarters as faith in the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. I have often wished that the young Edward N. Kirk, who melted to tears the professors and students of Yale during the revival there, could come back to us and teach candidates for the ministry how to preach. There was no stentorian shouting or rhetorical exhortation; but there was an intense, solemn, white-heat earnestness that made his auditors feel not only that life was worth living, but that the soul was worth saving and Jesus Christ was worth serving, and Heaven was worth securing, and that for all these things "God will bring us into judgment." If Lyman Beecher and Dr. Edward Dorr Griffin and Finney did not possess all of Kirk's grace of delivery, they possessed his fire, and they made the Gospel doctrines glow with a living heat that burned into the hearts and consciences of their auditors.
May God send into our churches not only a revival of pure and undefiled religion, but also a revival of old-fashioned soul-inspiring pulpit eloquence!
It is rather a delicate subject to touch upon, but I am happy to say that in my early ministry the preachers of God's Word were not hamstrung by any doubt of the divine inspiration or infallibility of the Book that lay before them on their pulpits. The questions, "Have we got any Bible?" and "If any Bible, how much?" had not been hatched. When I was in Princeton Seminary, our profoundly learned Hebrew Professor, Dr. J. Addison Alexander no more disturbed us with the much-vaunted conjectural Biblical criticisms than he disturbed us with Joe Smith's "golden plates" at Nauvoo. For this fact I feel deeply thankful; and I comfort myself with the reflection that the great British preachers of the last dozen years—Dr. McLaren, Charles H. Spurgeon, Newman Hall, Canon Liddon, Dr. Dale and Dr. Joseph Parker—have suffered no more from the virulent attacks of the radical and revolutionary higher criticism than I have, during my long and happy ministry.
Ministers had some advantages sixty or seventy years ago over their successors of our day. They had a more uninterrupted opportunity for the preparation of their sermons and for thorough personal visitation of their flocks. They were not importuned so often to serve on committees and to be participants in all sorts of social schemes of charity. Every pastor ought to keep abreast of reformatory movements as long as they do not trench upon the vital and imperative duties of his high calling. "This one thing I do," said single-hearted Paul; and if Paul were a pastor now in New York or Boston or Chicago, he would make short work of many an intrusive rap of a time-killer at his study door.
I have noted frankly a few of the changes that I have observed in the methods of our American pulpit during my long life, but not, I trust, in a pessimistic or censorious spirit God forbid that I should disparage the noble, conscientious, self-denying and Heaven-blessed labors of thousands of Christ's ministers in our broad land! They have greater difficulties to encounter than I had when I began my work. They are surrounded with an atmosphere of intense materialism. The ambition for the "seen things" increasingly blinds men to the "things that are unseen and eternal." Wealth and worldliness unspiritualize thousands of professed Christians. The present artificial arrangements of society antagonize devotional meetings and special efforts to promote revivals. On Sabbath mornings many a minister has to shovel out scores of his congregation from under the drifts (not very clean snow either) of the mammoth Sunday newspapers.
The zealous pastor of to-day has to contend with the lowered popular faith in the authority of God's Word; with the lowered reverence for God's day and a diminished habit of attending upon God's worship. Do these increased difficulties demand a new Gospel? No; but rather a mightier faith in the one we have. Do they demand new doctrines? No; but more power in preaching the truths that have outlived nineteen centuries. Do we need a new revelation of Jesus Christ? Yes, yes, in the fuller manifestation of Him; in the more loving, courageous and consecrated lives of His followers. Do we need a new Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Verily we do need it; and then our pulpits will be clothed with power, and our preachers will have tongues of fire, and every change will be a change for the better advancement and enlargement of the Kingdom of our adorable Lord.
MY EXPERIENCE IN REVIVALS.
I have always counted it a matter for thankfulness that I made my preparation for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. The period that I spent there, from September, 1843, to May, 1846, was a golden period in its history. The venerable Archibald Alexander, wonderfully endowed with sagacity and spiritual insight, instructed us in the duties of the preacher and the pastor. Dr. Charles Hodge, the king of Presbyterian theologians, was in the prime of his power. His teachings have since been embodied in his masterful volume on "Systematic Theology." Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander, who, Dr. Hodge said, was, taking him all in all, "the most gifted man with whom I was ever personally acquainted," was in the chair of Hebrew and Old Testament literature. Urbane, old Dr. Samuel Miller, was the Professor of Ecclesiastical History. Those wise men taught us not only to think, but to believe. All education is atmospheric, and the atmosphere of Princeton Seminary was deeply and sweetly Evangelical. At five o'clock on the morning after I received my diploma, I was off for Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, the Arcadian spot made famous in the volume of Campbell's "Gertrude of Wyoming." I spent five months there supplying the pulpit of the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, who was absent to recruit his health. In the Autumn I received an invitation to take charge of the Presbyterian Church of Burlington, N.J., founded by the princely and philanthropic Dr. Cortland Van Rensellaer, son of the Patroon at Albany. It was the very place for a young preacher to begin his work. The congregation was small, and, therefore, I obtained an opportunity to study individual character. It was a very difficult field of labor, and it is good for a minister to bear the yoke in his youth. My work at first was attended with many discouragements. I preached as pungently as I was able, but no visible results seemed to follow. One day the wife of one of my two church elders came to me in my study, and told me that her son had been awakened by the faithful talk of a young Christian girl, who had brought some work to her husband's shoe store. I said to the elder's wife: "The Holy Spirit is evidently working on one soul—let us have a prayer meeting at your house to-night." We spent the afternoon in gathering our small congregation together, and when I got to her house it was packed to the door. I have attended thousands of prayer meetings since then, but never one that had a more distinct resemblance to the Pentecostal gathering in "the upper room" at Jerusalem. The atmosphere seemed to be charged with a divine electricity that affected almost every one in the house. Three times over I closed the meeting with a benediction, but it began again, and the people lingered until a very late hour, melted together by "a baptism of fire." That wonderful meeting was followed by special services every night, and the Holy Spirit descended with great power. My little church was doubled in numbers, and I learned more practical theology in a month than any seminary could teach me in a year.
That revival was an illustration of the truth that a good work of grace often begins with the personal effort of one or two individuals. The Burlington awakening began with the little girl and the elder's wife. We ministers must never despise or neglect "the day of small things."
Every pastor ought to be constantly on the watch, with open eye and ear, for the first signs of an especial manifestation of the Spirit's presence. Elijah, on Carmel, did not only pray; he kept his eyes open to see the rising cloud. The moment that there is a manifestation of the Spirit's presence, it must be followed up promptly. For example, during my pastorate in the Market Street Church, New York, (from 1853 to 1860), I was out one afternoon making calls, and I discovered that in two or three families there were anxious seekers for salvation. I immediately called together the officers of the church, stated to them my observations, instituted a series of meetings for almost every evening, followed them with conversation with enquirers, and a large ingathering of souls rewarded our efforts and prayers. I have no doubt that very often a spark of divine influence is allowed to die for want of being fanned by prayer and prompt labors, whereas, it is sometimes dashed out, as by a bucket of cold water thrown on by inconsistent or quarrelsome church members. It was to Christians that St. Paul sent the message, "Quench not the Spirit."
In 1858 there began a marvelous work of grace, which extended not only throughout the churches in New York, but throughout the whole country. The flame was kindled at the beginning of the year in a noon-day prayer meeting, instituted by that single-eyed servant of Christ, Jeremiah C. Lamphier, who had once been a singer in the choir of my church. The flame thus kindled in that meeting soon extended to my church in Market Street, and presently spread over the whole city. The special feature of the revival of 1858 was the noon-day prayer meeting. It was my privilege to conduct the first noon meeting in Burton's old theatre in Chambers Street, and in a few days after, a similar one in the Collegiate Church in Ninth Street, and also the first prayer meeting in a warehouse at the lower end of Broadway. It is not too much to say that often there were not less than 8,000 to 10,000 of God's people, who came together at the noon-tide hour with the spirit of supplication and prayer. The flame, having spread over the city, then leaped to Philadelphia, and Jayne's Hall, on Chestnut Street, was thronged by an immense number of people, led by George H. Stuart. And so it went on from town to town, and from city to city, over the length and breadth of our land. The revival crossed the ocean and extended to Ireland. On a visit to Belfast I saw handbills on the streets calling the people to noon-day gatherings.
I began my ministry in Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, as its first pastor, in April, 1860. From the start I struck for souls; and when our new edifice was dedicated we were under a refreshing shower of the Divine Spirit. Six years after my installation as pastor, God blessed us with an extraordinary downpour. The first drops were followed by an abundance of rain. That revival began where revivals often begin,—in the prayer meeting. It was on the evening of the 8th of January, the first evening of the "week of prayer," which is generally observed over the land. The meeting was held under the direction of our Young People's Association,—that same body of young Christian workers which gave the Rev Francis E. Clark both the inspiration and practical hints for the formation of his first society of Christian Endeavor. What a fearful bitter night was that 8th of January! Through that stinging Arctic atmosphere came a goodly number with hearts on fire with the love of Jesus. The prayers that night were well aimed; and a man, who afterwards became a useful officer of the church, was converted on the spot. On the Friday evening of that week our lecture-room was packed, and when the elder requested that any who desired special prayer should rise, two very prominent men in this community were on their feet in an instant. The meeting was electrified; every one saw that God was with us. There was no extraordinary excitement; the feeling was too deep for that. We felt as the ancient Hebrew prophet felt when he heard the "still small voice from heaven," and went out ready for action. I felt at once that a great work for Christ had commenced. I called our officers together at once, and, to use the naval phrase, we "cleared the decks for action." As the good work had begun in our own church, without any external assistance, we determined to carry on the work ourselves; and during the next five months, I never had any pulpit help except on two evenings during the week, when two fervid, discreet neighboring pastors preached for me. Commonly, every church should do its own spiritual harvesting—just as much as every pair of young lovers should do their own love-making, and wise parents their own family training. Looking outside is a temptation to shirk responsibility. If a preacher can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully, and the Lord God is with him, why rob him of the joy of the harvest by sending away for any stranger?
My plan of action was this. Twice on each Sabbath, and on two evenings in the week, I preached as clearly and pungently as I could; sometimes to awakened souls, sometimes to backsliders, sometimes to the impenitent, sometimes to souls who were seeking salvation. I spoke of the great central truths:—personal guilt, Christ's atoning work, the offices of the Spirit, redemption, the claims of the Saviour, the necessity of immediate repentance, immediate acceptance of Christ and the joy and power of an useful Christian life. During a revival, sermons make themselves; they grow spontaneously. On the Monday evening of each week our young people had the field with their regular gatherings, and new converts were encouraged to narrate their experiences. On three other evenings of the week the whole church had a service for prayer and exhortation, conducted by our laymen. The praying women met on one afternoon; the girls by themselves on another afternoon, and the boys on another. During each week, from eleven to twelve, different meetings were held, and in so large a congregation, these sub-divisions were necessary. After every public service I held an inquiry meeting. I invited people to converse with me in the study during the day, and I made as much pastoral visitation from house to house as possible.
"So built we the walls ... for the people had a mind to work." For five months that blessed work went forward, and as a result a very great number were added to the church, of whom about one hundred were heads of families. Our sacramental Sabbaths were holy, joyous feasts, and the sheaves were brought in with singing. Some of the new converts banded themselves in a new organization, and to perpetuate the memory of that glorious spiritual outpouring, they called it the "Memorial Presbyterian Church." It now worships in the beautiful edifice on Seventh Avenue, and is one of the most flourishing churches in Brooklyn. The effect of that work of grace reached on into eternity. One of its first effects, on the writer of these lines, was to confirm him in the opinion that the living Gospel, sent by the Holy Spirit, is the one only way to save sinners; that a church must back up a minister by its personal efforts, and when preacher and people work together only for God's glory, He is as sure to answer prayer as the morrow's sun is to rise in the heavens.
It has not been my practice to invite the labors of an evangelist; but in January, 1872, Mr. Dwight L. Moody, with whom I had as yet but a slight acquaintance, but whom I since have honored and loved with my whole heart, said to the superintendent of our Mission Chapel: "What a nice place this is to hold some meetings in." He was cordially invited; and at the end of a week about twenty persons had been mustered together on the sharp winter evenings. "This seems slow work," I said to him. "Very true," replied my sagacious brother. "It is slow, but if you want to kindle a fire, you collect a handful of sticks, light them with a match, and keep on blowing till they blaze. Then you may heap on the wood. I am working here with a handful of Christians, endeavoring to warm them up with love for Christ; and, if they keep well kindled, a general revival will come, and outside sinners will be converted." He was right; the revival did come. It spread into the parent church, and over one hundred converts made their public confession of Christ before our communion table. It was in those little chapel meetings that my beloved brother, Moody, prepared his first "Bible Readings," which afterward became so celebrated in this country and in Great Britain. A few months afterward I met Mr. Moody in London. Coming one day into my room, he said to me: "They wish me to come over here and preach in England." I urged him at once to do so; "for," I said, "these English people are the best people to preach to in the world." Moody then said, "I will go home,—secure somebody to sing, and come over and make the experiment." He did come home,—he secured my neighbor, Mr. Sankey,—returned to England, and commenced the most extraordinary revival campaign that had been known in Great Britain since the days of Whitefield. I cannot dismiss this heaven-honored name without a word of honest, loving tribute to the man and his magnificent work. D.L. Moody was by far the most extraordinary proclaimer of the Gospel that America has produced during the last century, as Spurgeon was the most extraordinary in Great Britain. Those two heralds of salvation led the column. They reached millions by their eloquent tongues, and their printed words went out to the ends of the earth. The single aim of both was to point to the cross of Christ, and to save souls; all their educational and benevolent enterprises were subordinate to this one great sovereign purpose. Neither one of them ever entered a college or theological seminary; yet they commanded the ear of Christendom. The simple reason was—they were both God-made preachers, and were both endowed with immense common sense, and executive ability.
Printers' ink stained my fingers in my boyhood; for, at the age of fifteen, I ventured into a controversy on the slavery question, in the columns of our county newspaper; and, in the same paper, published a series of letters from Europe, in 1842. During my course of study in the Princeton Theological Seminary, I was a contributor to several papers, to Godey's Magazine in Philadelphia, and to the "New Englander," a literary and theological review published at New Haven. I wrote the first article for the first number of the "Nassau Monthly," a Princeton College publication, which still exists under another name. Up to the year 1847 all my contributions had been to secular periodicals, but in that year I ventured to send from Burlington, N.J., where I was then preaching, a short article to the "New York Observer," signed by my initials. This was followed by several others which, falling under the eye of my beloved friend, the Rev. Dr. Cortland Van Rensellaer, led him to say to me: "You are on the right track now; work on that as long as you live," and I have obeyed his injunction. Within a year or two I began to write for the "Presbyterian" at Philadelphia. Its proprietor urged me to accept an editorial position, but I declined his proposal, as I have declined several other requests to assume editorial positions since. I would always rather write when I choose than write when I must, and I have never felt at liberty to hold any other position while I was a pastor of a church. My contributions to the press never hindered my work as a minister, for writing for the press promotes perspicuity in preparing for the pulpit.
In the summer of 1853 I was called from the Third Presbyterian Church of Trenton to the Market Street Reformed Church of New York City. As a loyal Dutchman, I began to write at once for the "Christian Intelligencer," and have continued in its clean hospitable columns to this day. At the urgent request of Mr. Henry C. Bowen I began to write for his "Independent," and sent to its columns over six hundred articles; but of all my associate contributors in those days, not a solitary one survives. In May, 1860, My first article appeared in the New York Evangelist, and during these forty-two years I have tested the patience of its readers by imposing on them more than eighteen hundred of my lubrications. As I was preparing one of my earliest articles, I happened to spy the blossoms of the catalpa tree before my window, and for want of a title I headed it "Under the Catalpa." The tree flourishes still, and bids fair to blossom after the hand that pens these lines has turned to dust. I need not recapitulate the names of all the many journals to which I have sent contributions,—many of which have been republished in Great Britain, Australia and other parts of the civilized world. I once gave to my friend, Mr. Arthur B. Cook, the eminent stenographer, some statistics of the number of my articles, and the various journals in which they had appeared in this and other countries. He made an estimate of the extent of their publication, and then said to me: "It would be within bounds to say that your four thousand articles have been printed in at least two hundred millions of copies." The production of these articles involved no small labor, but has brought its own reward. To enter a multitude of homes week after week; to converse with the inmates about many of the most vital questions in morals and religion; to speak words of guidance to the perplexed; of comfort to the troubled, and of exhortation to the saints and to the sinful—all these involved a solemn responsibility. That this life-work with the pen has not been without fruit I gratefully acknowledge. When a group of railway employees, at a station in England, gathered around me to tender their thanks for spiritual help afforded them by my articles, I felt repaid for hours of extra labor spent in preaching through the press.
My first attempt at book-making was during my ministry at Trenton, New Jersey, when I published a small volume entitled "Stray Arrows." This was followed at different times by several volumes of an experimental and devotional character. In the spring of 1867 one of our beautiful twin boys, at the age of four and a half years, was taken from us by a very brief and violent attack of scarlet fever. We received a large number of tender letters of condolence, which gave us so much comfort that my wife suggested that they should be printed with the hope that they might be equally comforting to other people in affliction. I accordingly selected a number of them, added the simple story of our precious child's short career, and handed the package to my beloved friend and publisher, the late Mr. Peter Carter, with the request that they be printed for private distribution. He urged, after reading them, that I should allow him to publish them, which he did under the title of "The Empty Crib, a Book of Consolation." That simple story of a sweet child's life has travelled widely over the world and made our little "Georgie" known in many a home. Mrs. Gladstone told me that when she and her husband had read it, it recalled their own loss of a child under similar circumstances. Dean Stanley read it aloud to Lady Augusta Stanley in the Deanery of Westminster; and when I took him to our own unrivalled Greenwood Cemetery he asked to be driven to the spot where the dust of our dear boy is slumbering. Many thousands have visited that grave and gazed with tender admiration on the exquisite marble medallion of the childface,—by the sculptor, Charles Calverley,—which adorns the monument.
Fourteen years afterwards, in the autumn of 1881, "the four corners of my house were smitten" again with a heart-breaking bereavement in the death, by typhoid fever, of our second daughter, Louise Ledyard Cuyler, at the age of twenty-two, who possessed a most inexpressible beauty of person and character. Her playful humor, her fascinating charm of manner, and her many noble qualities drew to her the admiration of a large circle of friends, as well as the pride of our parental hearts. After her departure I wrote, through many tears, a small volume entitled "God's Light on Dark Clouds," with the hope that it might bring some rays of comfort into those homes that were shadowed in grief. Judging from the numberless letters that have come to me I cannot but believe that, of all the volumes which I have written, this one has been the most honored of God as a message-bearer to that largest of all households—the household of the sorrowing. Let me add that I have published a single volume of sermons, entitled "The Eagle's Nest," and a volume of foreign travel, "From the Nile to Norway"; but all the remainder of my score of volumes have been of a practical and devotional character. Of the twenty-two volumes that I have written, six have been translated into Swedish, and two into the language of my Dutch ancestors. Thanks be to God for the precious privilege of preaching His glorious Gospel with the types that out-reach ten thousand tongues! And thanks also to a number of friends, whose faces I never saw, but whose kind words have cheered me through more than a half century of happy labors. I cannot conclude this brief chapter without expressing my deep obligations to that noble organization, the "American Tract Society," which has given a wide circulation to many of my books—including "Heart-Life," "Newly Enlisted; or, Counsels to Young Converts"—and "Beulah-Land," a volume of good cheer to aged pilgrims on their journey heavenward.
SOME FAMOUS PEOPLE ABROAD.
Gladstone.—Dr. Brown.—Dean Stanley.—Shaftesbury, etc.
In a former chapter of this volume I gave my reminiscences of some celebrities in Great Britain sixty years ago. In the present chapter I group together several distinguished persons whom I met during subsequent visits. The first time I ever saw Mr. Gladstone was in August, 1857, when Lord Kinnaird kindly took me into the House of Commons, and pointed out to me from a side gallery the most prominent celebrities. A tall, finely formed man, in a clear resonant voice, addressed the House for a few moments. "That is Gladstone," whispered Lord Kinnaird. Mr. Gladstone had already won fame as a great financier in the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer; but was at this time out of office, occupying an independent position. He was already beginning to break loose from Toryism, and ere long became the most brilliant and powerful leader that the British Liberal party has ever followed. As an orator he is ranked next to Bright; as a party manager, he was always a match for Disraeli, and as a statesman he has won the foremost place in British annals during the last half century.
In June, 1872, I happened to be in London at the time of the great excitement over the famous "Alabama difficulty." The Court of Arbitration was sitting at Geneva; things were not going smoothly, and there was danger of a rupture with the United States. At an anniversary meeting at Exeter Hall I had made a speech in which I spoke of the cordial feeling of my countrymen, and their desire to avoid a conflict with the mother country. It was suggested to me that I should call on Mr. Gladstone, who was then Premier; and my friend, Dr. Newman Hall,—who had always had a warm personal attachment to Gladstone,—accompanied me. The Premier then occupied a stately mansion in Carlton House Terrace, next to the Duke of York's column. We found him in his private sitting room with a cup of coffee before him and a morning newspaper in his hand. Fifteen years had made a great change in his appearance. He had become stouter and broader shouldered. His thin hair was turned gray, and his large eyes and magnificent brow reminded me of Daniel Webster. He received me cordially, and we spent half an hour in conversation about the difficulties that seemed to be obstructing an amicable settlement of the Alabama controversy. Mr. Gladstone appeared to be puzzled about a recent belligerent speech delivered by Mr. Charles Sumner in our Senate chamber, and I was glad to give him a hint or two in regard to some of our eloquent Senator's idiosyncrasies. What impressed me most in Gladstone's free, earnest talk was its solemn and thoroughly Christian tone—he was longing for peace on principle. On my telling him playfully that the time which belonged to the British Empire was too precious for further talk, he said: "Come and breakfast with me to-morrow morning, and we will finish our conversation." The next morning Dr. Hall and myself presented ourselves at ten o'clock in Mr. Gladstone's parlor. We had a very pleasant chat with Mrs. Gladstone (a tall, slender lady, whose only claim to beauty was her benevolent countenance), about the schemes of charity in which she was deeply interested. At the breakfast table opposite to us were the venerable Dean Ramsey, of Edinburgh, and Professor Talbot, of Oxford University. The Premier indulged in some jocose remarks which encouraged me to tell him stories about our Southern negroes, in whom he seemed to be much interested. He laughed over the story of the eloquent colored brother who, when asked how he came to preach so well, said: "Well, Boss, I takes de text fust; I splains it; den I spounds it, and den I puts in de rousements." Gladstone was quite delighted with this, and said it was about the best description of real parliamentary eloquence. He told us that one secret of his own marvelous health was his talent for sound, unbroken sleep. "I lock all my public cares outside my chamber door," said he, "and nothing ever disturbs my slumbers." While we were at breakfast a package of dispatches was brought in and laid beside Mr. Gladstone's plate. He left them quietly alone until the meal was over and then, taking them to a corner of the parlor, perused them intently. I saw that his face was lighted up with a pleasant smile. Beckoning me to come to him he said, with much enthusiasm: "Doctor, here is good news from the arbitrators at Geneva. The worst is over. I do not pretend to know the purposes of Providence, but I am sure that no earthly power can now prevent an honorable peace between your country and mine." It has always been a matter of thankfulness that I should have been with the greatest of living Englishmen when his warm heart was relieved of the apprehension of the danger of a conflict with America. After entering our names in the autograph book on the parlor table, we withdrew, and at the door we met the Duke of Argyll, a member of the Premier's Cabinet, who was calling on official business.
My next meeting with Gladstone was a very brief one, in the summer of 1885. He had lately resigned his third Premiership; his health was badly impaired, his splendid voice was apparently ruined by an attack of bronchitis, and the world supposed that his public career was ended. I called at his house in Whitehall Terrace, and the servant informed me at the door that the physicians had forbidden Mr. Gladstone to see any one. I handed in my card, and said to the servant: "I leave for America to-morrow, and only called to say good-bye to Mr. Gladstone." He overheard my voice (not one of the feeblest), and, coming out into the hall, greeted me most warmly, but in a voice almost inaudible from hoarseness. I told him: "Do not attempt to speak, Mr. Gladstone; the future of the British Empire depends upon your throat." He hoarsely whispered, "No, no, my friend, it does not," and with a very hearty handshake we parted. My prediction came true. Within a year the marvelous old man had recovered his voice, recovered his popularity, resumed the Liberal leadership, and for the fourth time was Prime Minister of Great Britain.
I supposed that I should never see the veteran statesman again, but four years afterward, in July, 1889, he kindly invited me to come and see him, and to bring my wife. It was the week before the celebration of his golden wedding. He was occupying, temporarily, a house near Buckingham Palace. Mrs. Gladstone, the good angel of his long life and happy home, received us warmly, and, bringing out a lot of photographs of her children and grandchildren, gave us a family talk. When her husband came in, I was startled to observe how much thinner he had become and how loosely his clothes hung upon him. But as soon as he began to talk, the old fire flamed up, and he discoursed eloquently about Irish Home-Rule, the divorce question, (one of his hobbies), and the dangers that threatened America from plutocracy and laxity of wedlock, and the facilities of divorce that sap the sanctities of domestic life. It was during that conversation that Gladstone tittered the sentence that I have often had occasion to quote. He said: "Amid all the pressure of public cares and duties, I thank God for the Sabbath with its rest for the body and the soul." One reason for his wonderful longevity was that he had never robbed his brain of the benefits of God's appointed day of rest. After our delightful talk was ended, the Grand Old Man went off in pursuit of an imperial photograph, which he kindly signed with his autograph, and gave to my wife, and it now graces the walls of the room in which I am writing.
Many men have been great in some direction: William Ewart Gladstone was great in nearly all directions. Born in the same year with our Lincoln, he was a great muscular man and horseman; a great orator, a great political strategist, a great scholar, a great writer, great statesman and a great Christian. The crowning glory of his character was a stalwart faith in God's Word, and in the cross of Jesus Christ. He honored his Lord, and his Lord honored him. Wordsworth drew a truthful picture of Gladstone when he portrayed
"The man who lifted high Conspicuous object in a nation's eye, Who, with a toward or untoward lot, Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not, Plays in the many games of life, that one Where what he most doth value must be won; Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, Nor thought of tender happiness betray; And while the mortal mist is gathering, draws His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause."
Who has not wept over the brilliant and beloved Dr. John Brown's unrivalled story, "Rab and His Friends," and been charmed with his picture of "Pet Marjorie"? What student of style will deny that his "Monograph" of his father is the finest specimen of condensed and vivid biography in our language? When his "Spare Hours" appeared in America I published an article in the "Independent" entitled, "The Last of the John Browns," several copies of which had been forwarded to him by his friends in this country. On my arrival in Edinburgh, July, 1862, he called on me at the Waverly Hotel and invited me to breakfast with him. He had the fair Saxon features of Scotland, with a smile like a Summer morning. Not tall in stature, his head was somewhat bald, and he bore a striking resemblance to our ex-President, Van Buren. He showed me in his house some choice literary treasures; among them a little Greek Testament, given to his great-grandfather, the famous John Brown, of Haddington, the eminent commentator. Its history was curious: Brown of, Haddington, was a poor shepherd boy, and once he walked twenty miles through the night to St. Andrews to get a copy of the Greek Testament. The book-seller at first laughed at him and said: "Boy, if you can read a verse in this book, you may have it." Forthwith the lad read the verse off glibly, and was permitted to carry off the Testament in triumph. You may well suppose that the little volume is a sacred heirloom in the Brown family, which for four generations has been famous. Of course, the author of "Rab and His Friends" had several pictures of the illustrious dog that figured in his beautiful story, and I noticed a pet spaniel lying on the sofa in the drawing room. A day or two after, Dr. Brown called on me, and kindly took me on a drive with him through Edinburgh; and it was pleasant to see how the people on the sidewalk had cheery salutes for the author of "Rab" as he rode by. We went up to Calton Hill and made a call on Sir George Harvey, the famous artist, whom we found in his studio, with brush in hand, and working on an Highland landscape. Sir George was a hearty old fellow, and the two friends had a merry "crack" together. When I asked Harvey if he had seen any of our best American paintings, he replied "No, I have not; the best American productions I have ever seen have been some of your missionaries. I met some of them; they were noble characters." On our return from the drive Dr. Brown gave me an elegant edition of "Rab," with Harvey's portrait of the immortal dog, whose body was thickset like a little bull, and who had "fought his way to absolute supremacy,—like Julius Caesar or the Duke of Wellington."
When in Edinburgh ten years afterwards, as a delegate to the General Assemblies, I was so constantly occupied that I was able to see but little of my genial friend, Dr. Brown. I sent him a copy of the little book, "The Empty Crib," which had been recently published, and received from him the following characteristic reply:
25 RUTLAND STREET, EDINBURGH, May 25, 1872.
My Dear Dr. Cuyler
Very many thanks for your kind note, and the little book. It will be my own fault if I am not the better for reading it. I have seen nothing lovelier or more touching than the pictures of those twin heads "like unto the angels"; even there Georgie looks nearer the better world than his brother. There is something perilous about his eyes with their wistful beauty. With him "it is far better" now, and may it be meet for Theodore to be long with you here. I hoped to leave with you a book of my father's on the same subject, entitled, "Comfortable Words," but it is out of print. If I can get a copy, I will send it you. There are some letters of Bengel's which, if you do not know, you will enjoy.
I send you a note of introduction to John Ruskin, and I hope to hear you to-morrow in Mr. Candlish's church.
With much regret and best thanks, yours very truly,
P.S. I was in Glen-Garry the other week, and quite felt that look of nakedness, and as if it just came from the Maker's hand; it was very impressive
During the closing years of the Doctor's life he was often shadowed by fits of deep melancholy. One day he was walking with a lady, who was also subject to depression of spirits, and he said to her: "Tell me why I am like a Jew?" She could not answer and he replied: "Because I am sad-you-see" Tears and mirth dwelt very closely together in his keen, fervid, sensitive spirit. It is remarkable that one who devoted himself so assiduously to his exacting profession should have been able to master such an immense amount of miscellaneous reading, and to have won such a splendid name in literature. It is the attribute of true genius that it can do great things easily, and can accomplish its feats in an incredibly short time. He affirms that the immortal story of "Rab" was written in a few hours! The precious relics of my friend that I now possess are portraits of his father and of Dr. Chalmers, and of Hugh Miller, which he presented to me, and which now adorn my study walls.
While I have always dissented from some of his theological views and utterances, I have always had an intense admiration for Dean Stanley, in whose character was blended the gentleness of a sweet girl with occasional display of the courage of a lion. Froude once said to me: "I wish that Stanley was a little better hater." My reply was: "It is not in Stanley to hate anybody but the devil." My acquaintance with the Dean of Westminster dates from the summer of 1872. The Rev. Samuel Minton, a very broad Church of England clergyman, was in the habit of inviting ministers of the Established church and non-conformists to meet at lunch parties with a view of bringing them to a better understanding. One day I was invited by Mr. Minton to attend one of these lunch parties, and I found that day at his table, Dr. Donald Frazer, Dr. Newman Hall, Dr. Joseph Parker, Dean Stanley and Dr. Howard Wilkinson, afterwards Bishop of Truro. Stanley felt perfectly at home among these "dissenters" and asked me to give the company some account of a remarkable discourse, which, he was told, Bishop McIlvaine, of Ohio, had recently delivered in my Lafayette Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, on "Christian Unity." In the discourse, Bishop McIlvaine had said: "The only difference between the Presbyterian denomination, and Episcopal denomination, is their difference as to the orders of the ministry." The Dean was delighted with my account, and said: "Just imagine the Bishop of London preaching such a sermon in Newman Hall's or Spurgeon's pulpit; it would rock the old dome of St. Paul's." In all of his intercourse with his dissenting brethren the Dean never put on any airs of patronage, for though a loyal Episcopalian, he recognized their equally divine ordination as ministers of Jesus Christ.
A few days afterwards I went up to get a look at Holly Lodge, the residence of Lord Macaulay, in a side street just off Campden Hill. I met the Dean just coming out of the gate. He had been attending a garden party given by Lord Airlie, who then occupied the lodge. It was a pleasant coincidence to meet the most brilliant ecclesiastical historian at the door of the most brilliant civil historian of England. The Dean stopped and chatted about Macaulay, of whom he was very fond, and then said: "Just beyond is Holland House." We went a few paces and got a glimpse of the famous mansion in which Lord Holland had entertained the celebrities of America and Europe. One of the best hours I ever spent with Stanley was at his own table in the Deanery. He was the most delightful of hosts. Lady Augusta Stanley, daughter of the Earl of Elgin, had been a favorite Maid of Honor to the Queen, and the Dean had accompanied the Prince of Wales on his tour to the Orient. The Queen quite frequently slipped away from the palace for a quiet chat at the Deanery with this pair whom she so loved. A marble bust of Victoria, by her daughter, the Princess Louise, stood in the parlor, a gift of the Queen. If the Dean was very broad in his theology, his cultured wife was as decidedly evangelical in hers and her religious influence was very tonic in all respects. After lunch that day the Dean very kindly took me into the famous Jerusalem chamber and showed me where the Westminster Assembly had sat for six years to give birth to our Presbyterian Confession of Faith and Catechism. I was surprised at the small size of the room that had held seventy or eighty commissioners.
As I was very desirous of hearing the Dean preach in the Abbey, he sent me a very kind invitation to come on the next Sabbath to the Deanery before the service, and on account of my deafness Lady Augusta would take me into a seat close to his pulpit. Accordingly she stowed me in a small box-pew, which was close against the pulpit, and within arms' length of the Dean. His sermon was a beautiful essay on Solomon and great men, and in the course of it he said: "Such was the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ." I felt so pained by what he did not say that I ventured to write him a most frank and loving note, in which I expressed my deep regret that when he referred to the "greatness" of our Saviour he had so entirely ignored what was infinitely His most sublime work,—that of our human redemption by His atoning death on Calvary. The dear Dean, instead of taking offense, accepted the frank letter in the same spirit in which it was written. A day or two after he sent me a characteristic note, whose peculiar hieroglyphics, after much labor, I was able to decipher; for it has been often said that the only reason why he was never made a bishop was that no clergyman in his diocese would ever have been able to read his letters.
THE DEANERY OF WESTMINSTER,
July 22, 1872
Dear Doctor—-Pray accept my sincere thanks for your very kind note. I quite appreciate your candor in mentioning what you thought a defect in my sermon. It arose from a fixed conviction which I have long formed, that the only chance there is of my sermons doing any good is by taking one topic at a time. The effect and the nature of the death of Jesus Christ, I quite agree with you in thinking to be a most important part of the Christian doctrine, and Christian history. But as my sermon was on a different subject—that of the right use of greatness—I felt that I could not speak, even by way of allusion, to the other great doctrine on which I had often preached before.
I sincerely wish that I could come to America. Every year that passes increases the number of my kind friends in the New World, and my desire to see the United States.
Farewell; and may all the blessings of our State and Church follow you westward
When Dean Stanley visited America in the autumn of 1878, I met him several times, and he was especially cordial, and all the more so because of my out-spoken letter. The first time I met him was at the meeting of ministers of New York to give him a reception, and hear him deliver a discourse on Dr. Robinson, the Oriental geographer. He recognized me in the audience, came forward to the front of the platform, beckoned me up, and gave me a hearty grasp of the hand. I arranged to take him to Greenwood Cemetery on the morning before he sailed for home, and after breakfasting with him at Cyrus W. Field's we started for the cemetery. Dr. Phillip Schaff and Dr. Henry M. Field met us at the ferry, and accompanied us. When we entered the elevated railroad car, Stanley exclaimed: "This is like the chariots on the walls of Babylon." With his keen interest in history he inquired when we reached the lower part of the Bowery, near the junction of Chatham Square "Was it not near here that Nathan Hale, the martyr, was executed?" and he showed then a more accurate knowledge of our local history than one New Yorker in ten thousand can boast! That was probably the exact locality, and Dean Stanley had never been there before. Before entering the Greenwood Cemetery he requested me to drive him to the spot where my little child was buried, whose photograph in "The Empty Crib" I have referred to in a previous chapter. When we reached the burial lot he got out of the carriage, and in the driving wind, of a raw November morning, spent some time in examining the marble medallion of the child, and in talking with my wife most sweetly about him. I could have hugged the man on the spot. It was so like Stanley. I do not wonder that everybody loved him. We then drove to the tomb of Dr. Edward Robinson and the Dean said to us: "In all my travels in Palestine I carried Dr. Robinson's volume, 'Biblical Researches,' with me on horseback or on my camel; it was my constant guide book."
Three years afterward, on my arrival in London, from Palestine I learned that Stanley was dangerously ill. On the door of the Deanery a bulletin was posted: "The Dean is sinking." That night the good, great man, died. On the 25th of July the august funeral service took place in Westminster Abbey. Outside the Abbey thousands of people were assembled, for the Dean was loved by all London. From a small gallery over the "Poets' Corner" I looked down on the group, which contained Gladstone, Shaftesbury, Matthew Arnold, and scores of England's mightiest and best. After the "Dead March," began a long procession headed by Stanley's lifelong friend, Archbishop Tait, of Canterbury, and the Prince of Wales (his pupil), and followed by Browning, Tyndall, and a long line of bishops, and poets and scholars moved slowly along under the lofty arches to the tomb in Henry VII.'s Chapel. A fresh wreath of flowers from the Queen was laid on the coffin. Many a tear was shed on that sad day beside the tomb in which the Church of England laid her most fearless and yet her best beloved son. I never have visited the Abbey since, without halting for a few moments beside the chapel in which the Dean and his beloved wife are slumbering. Greater than all his books or literary achievements was Arthur Penryn Stanley, the modest, true-hearted, unselfish, childlike, Christian man.
Soon after I had begun my pastorate in New York, I became a member of the Young Men's Christian Association, which was one of the first that was organized in this country. Since that time I have delivered more than one hundred addresses, in behalf of this institution, in my own country and abroad. In June, 1857, the New York organization honored me with what was then a novelty in America—a public breakfast, and commissioned me as a delegate to the original parent association in London. I there met that remarkable Christian merchant, Mr. George Williams, who was the founder of the Association, and who had got much of his first spiritual inspiration from reading the writings of our American, Charles G. Finney. He is now Sir George Williams, my much loved friend, and I do not hesitate to say that there is not another man living who has accomplished such a world-wide work for the glory of God and the welfare of young men. The President of that first organized London Association was the celebrated philanthropist, the Earl of Shaftesbury, a man whom I had long desired to meet. My acquaintance with him began in Exeter Hall, at a Sabbath service held to reach the non-church going classes. With one or two others we knelt together in a small side room to invoke a blessing on the service in the great hall, and he prayed most fervently. The Earl of Shaftesbury was not only the author of great reformatory legislation in Parliament, and the acknowledged leader of the Low Church Party in the Established Church. He was also a leader of city missions, ragged schools, shoe-black brigades, and other organizations to benefit the submerged classes in London. He once invited all the thieves in London to meet him privately in a certain hall, and there pleaded with them to abandon their wretched occupation, and promised to aid those who desired to reform. He was fond of telling the story of how, when his watch was stolen, the thieves themselves compelled the rascal to come and return it, because he had been the benefactor of the "long-fingered fraternity." The last time that I saw the venerable philanthropist was just before his death (at the age of eighty-four years). He was presiding at a convention of the Young Men's Christian Association in Exeter Hall. In my speech I said: "To-day I have seen Milton's Mulberry Tree at Cambridge University, and the historic old tree is kept alive by being banked around with earth clear to its boughs; and so is all Christendom banking around our honored President to-night to keep him warm and hale, and strong, amid the frosts of advancing age," The grand old man rewarded me with a bow and a gracious smile, and the audience responded with a shout of appreciation.
SOME FAMOUS PEOPLE AT HOME.
Washington Irving has fairly earned the title of the "Father of our American Literature." The profound philosophical and spiritual treatises of our great President Edwards had secured a reading by theologians and deep thinkers abroad; but the American who first caught the popular ear was the man who wrote "The Sketch Book," and made the name of "Knickerbocker" almost as familiar as Sir Walter Scott made the name of "Waverly." During the summer of 1856 I received a cordial invitation from the people of Tarry town to come up to join them in an annual "outing," with their children, on board of a steamer on the Tappan-Zee. I accepted the invitation, and on arrival found the boat already filled with the good people, and two or three hundreds of scholars from the Sabbath schools.
To my surprise and delight I found Washington Irving on board the steamer. The veteran author had laid aside the fourth volume of the "Life of Washington," which he was just preparing, to come away for a bit of rest and recreation. I had never seen him before, but found him precisely the type of man that I had expected. He was short, rather stout, and attired in an old fashioned black summer dress, with "pumps" and white stockings, and a broad Panama hat. As he was no novelty to his neighbors I was able to secure more of his time; and, like the apostle of old, I was exceedingly "filled with his company." He took me to the upper deck of the steamer, and pointed out a glimpse of his own home—"Sunnyside"—which he told me was the original of Baltus Van Tassel's homestead in the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." He pointed out the route of poor Ichabod Crane on his memorable night ride up the valley, and so on to the Kakout, where his horse should have gone to reach "Sleepy Hollow." Instead of that, obstinate Gunpowder plunged down over that bridge where poor Ichabod encountered his fatal and final catastrophe. The good old man's face was full of fun as he told me the story. Irving was so exceedingly shy that he never could face any public ovation, and yet he had a great deal of quiet enjoyment of his own popularity. For example, one day when he was going with a young relative up Broadway, which was thronged with omnibuses, he pointed out one of the old "Knickerbocker" line of stages to the lad and said: "Billy, you see how many coaches I own in this city, and you may take as many rides in them as you like."
After refreshments had been served to all the guests on board, we gathered on the deck for the inevitable American practice of speech making. In the course of my speech I gave an account of what was being done for poor children in the slums of New York, and then introduced as many Dutch stories as I could recollect for the special edification of old "Geoffrey Crayon." As I watched his countenance, and heard his hearty laughter and saw sometimes the peculiar quizzical expression of his mouth, I fancied that I knew precisely how he looked when he drew the inimitable pictures of Ichabod Crane, and Rip Van Winkle. When the excursion ended, and we drew up to the shore, I bade him a very grateful and affectionate farewell, and my readers, I hope, will pardon me if I say to them that dear old Irving whispered quietly in my ear, "I should like to be one of your parishioners." Three years afterwards, Irving was borne by his neighbors at Tarrytown to his final resting place in the old Dutch churchyard at the entrance of Sleepy Hollow.
Twenty years afterwards my dear friend, Mr. William E. Dodge, drove me up from his summer house at Tarrytown to see the simple tomb of the good old Geoffrey Crayon, whose genius has gladdened innumerable admirers, and whose writings are as pure as the rivulet which now flows by his resting place.
The pleasant little town of Burlington, N.J., in which I spent my earliest ministry, was the headquarters of orthodox Quakers. I was thrown much into the society of their most eminent people, and very delightful society I found it. The venerable Stephen Grellet, their apostle, who had held many interviews with the crowned heads of Europe, resided a little way from me up the street; and I saw the good old man with broad brimmed hat and straight coat pass my window every day. Richard Mott lived but a little way from the town, and on the other side resided the widow of the celebrated Joseph John Gurney. The wittiest Quaker in the town was my neighbor, William J. Allinson, the editor of the "Friends Review," and an intimate friend of John G. Whittier. One afternoon he ran over to my room, and said: "Friend Theodore, John G. Whittier is at my house, and wants to see thee; he leaves early in the morning." I hastened across the street and, in the modest parlor of Friend Allinson, I saw, standing before the fire, a tall, slender man in Quaker dress, with a very lofty brow, and the finest eye I have ever seen in any American, unless it were the deep ox-like eye of Abraham Lincoln. We had a pleasant chat about the anti-slavery, temperance and other moral reforms; and I went home with something of the feeling that Walter Scott says he had after seeing "Rabbie Burns," Whittier was a retiring, home-keeping man. He never crossed the ocean and seldom went even outside of his native home in Massachusetts. During the summer of 1870 he ventured down to Brooklyn on a visit to his friend, Colonel Julian Allen. On coming home one day, my servant said to me, "There was a tall Quaker gentleman called here, and left his name on this piece of paper." I was quite dumb-founded to read the name of "John G. Whittier," and I lost no time in making my way up to the house where he was staying. When I inquired how he had come to do me the honor of a call, he said: "Well, yesterday, when I arrived and my friend Allen drove me up here, we passed a meeting house with a tall steeple, and when I heard it was thine, I determined to run down to thy house and see thee." As I was to have the "Chi Alpha," the oldest and the most celebrated clerical association of New York at my house the next afternoon, I invited him to come and sup with them. He cordially consented, and it may be supposed that the "Chi Alpha" was very glad to put aside for that evening all other matters, and listen to the fresh, racy and humorous talk of the great poet. Underneath his grave and shy sobriety, flowed a most gentle humor. He could tell a good story, and when he was describing the usages of the Quakers in regard to "Speaking in Meetings," he told us that sometimes the voluntary remarks were not quite to the edification of the meeting. It once happened that a certain George C—— grew rather wearisome in his exhortations, and his prudent brethren, after solemn consultation, passed the following resolution: "It is the sense of this meeting that George C.—— be advised to remain silent, until such time as the Lord shall speak through him more to our satisfaction and profit." A resolution of that kind would not be out of place in some ecclesiastical assemblies, nor in certain prayer gatherings that I wot of. After the circle broke up I told him that in addition to the kind and characteristic letters he had written to me I wanted a scrap of his poetry to add to those which Bryant and others had contributed to my collection of autographs. "What shall it be?" he said. I told him that, while some of his hymns and devoutly spiritual pieces, like "My soul and I," were very dear to me, and while "Snow Bound" was his acknowledged masterpiece, yet none of his verses did I oftener quote than this one, in his poem on Massachusetts, He smiled at the selection, and accordingly sat down and wrote:
"She heeds no skeptic's puny hands, While near the school the church-spire stands, Nor fears the bigot's blinded rule, While near the church-spire stands the school."
Our walk to his place of sojourn in the moonlight was very delightful. On the way I told him that not long before, when I quoted a verse of Bryant's to Horace Greeley, Mr. Greeley replied: "Bryant is all very well, but by far the greatest poet this country has produced is John Greenleaf Whittier." "Did our friend Horace say that?" meekly inquired Whittier, and a smile of satisfaction flowed over his Quaker countenance. The man is not born yet who does not like an honest compliment, especially if it comes from a high quarter. In the course of my life I have received several very pleasant letters from my venerable friend, the Quaker poet; but immediately after his eightieth birthday he addressed me the following letter, which, believing it to be his last, I framed and hung on the walls of my library:
OAK KNOLL, 12th month, 17th, 1887. My dear Dr. Cuyler,
I thank thee for thy loving letter to me on my birthday, which I would have answered immediately but for illness; and, my friend, I wish I was more worthy of the kind and good things said of me. But my prayer is, "God be Merciful to me." And I think my prayer will be answered, for His Mercy and His Justice are one. May the Lord bless thee. Thy friend sincerely,
JOHN G. WHITTIER
This note, so redolent of humility, was written a few days after he had received a most superb birthday ovation from the public men of Massachusetts, and from the most eminent literary men in all parts of the nation.
In the days of my boyhood the most colossal figure, physically and intellectually, in American politics, was Daniel Webster. I well remember when I first put eye upon him. It was when I was pursuing my studies in the New York University Grammar School in preparation for Princeton College. I was strolling one day on the Battery, and met a friend who said to me: "Yonder goes Daniel Webster; he has just landed from that man-of-war; go and get a good look at him." I hastened my steps and, as I came near him, I was as much awe-stricken as if I had been gazing on Bunker Hill Monument, He was unquestionably the most majestic specimen of manhood that ever trod this continent. Carlyle called him "The Great Norseman," and said that his eyes were like great anthracite furnaces that needed blowing up. Coal heavers in London stopped to stare at him as he stalked by, and it is well authenticated that Sydney Smith said of him, "That man is a fraud; for it is impossible for any one to be as great as he looks."
Mr. Webster, as I saw him that day, was in the vigor of his splendid prime. When he spoke in the Senate chamber it was his custom to wear the Whig uniform, a blue coat with metal buttons and a buff waistcoat; but that day he was dressed in a claret colored coat and black trousers. His complexion was a swarthy brown. He used to say that while his handsome brother Ezekiel was very fair, he "had all the soot of the family in his face." Such a mountain of a brow I have never seen before or since. I followed behind him until he entered the carriage of Mr. Robert Minturn that was waiting for him, and as he rode away he looked like Jupiter Olympus. Although I saw Mr. Webster several times afterwards, I never heard him speak until the closing year of his life. The Honorable Lewis Condit, of Morristown, N.J., was in Congress at the time when Webster had his historic combat with Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, and was present during the delivery of the most magnificent speech ever delivered in our Senate. He described the historic scene to me minutely.
Before twelve o'clock on the 26th day of January, 1830, the Senate chamber was overflowing into the rotunda, and people were offering prices for a few inches of breathing room in the charmed enclosure. Senator Dixon H. Lewis, from Alabama, who weighed nearly four hundred, became wedged in behind the Vice President's chair, unable to move, and became imbedded in the crowd like a broad-bottomed schooner settled at low tide into the mud. Being unable to see, he drew out his knife and cut a hole through the stained glass screens that flanked the presiding officer's chair. That aperture long remained as a memorial of Lewis's curiosity to witness the greatest of American orators deliver the greatest of American orations. The place was worthy of the hour and of the combatants. It was the old Senate chamber, now occupied by the United States Supreme Court, the same hall which had once resounded to the eloquence of Rufus King, as it afterwards did to the eloquence of Rufus Choate, and which had echoed the bursts of applause that once greeted Henry Clay of Kentucky. On that memorable morning the Vice-President's chair was occupied by that intellectual giant of the South, John C. Calhoun. Before him were Van Buren, Forsyth, Hayne, Clayton, the omniverous Benton, the sturdy John Quincy Adams, and, in the seething crowd, was the gaunt skeleton form of John Randolph of Roanoke. Mr. Condit told me that when Webster exclaimed: "The world knows the history of Massachusetts by heart. There is Lexington, and there is Bunker Hill and there they will remain forever,"—the group of Bostonians seated in the gallery before him, broke down, and wept like little children. Quite as effective as his eulogy of the "Old Bay State," was his sudden and awful assault upon Senator Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire. This representative of Webster's native State had supplied Colonel Hayne with a quantity of party pamphlets and documents to be used as ammunition. Webster knew this fact and determined to punish him. Turning suddenly towards Woodbury, he thundered out in a tone of indignant scorn, as he shook his fist over his head: "I employ no scavengers;" and the poor New Hampshire Senator ducked his bald head as if struck by a bombshell. The closing passage of that memorable speech could not have been extemporized. No mortal man could have thrown off that magnificent piece of Miltonic prose at the heat, without some deep premeditation. It is well known now that Mr. Webster afterwards pruned, amended and decorated it until it is recognized as one of the grandest passages in the English language. I take down my Webster and read it occasionally, and it has in it the majestic "sound of many waters." That great passage is the prelude of the mighty conflict which thirty years afterwards was to be waged on the soil of Gettysburg and Chickamauga. It became the condensed creed, and the battle-cry of the long warfare for the nation's life. Well have there been placed in golden letters on the pedestal of Webster's monument in Central Park the last sublime line of that sentence: "Liberty and Union, now and forever: one and inseparable." Mr. Webster's power in sarcastic invective was terrific. After he had made his angry and ferocious rejoinder to the charges of Mr. Charles J. Ingersoll, of Pennsylvania, the witty Dr. Elder was asked, when he came out of the Senate chamber: "What did you think of that speech?" Elder's reply was: "Thunder and lightning are peaches and cream to such a speech as that." Mighty as Webster was in intellectual power he had some lamentable weaknesses. He was indeed a wonderful mixture of clay and iron. The iron was extraordinarily massive, but the clay was loose and brittle. He had the temptations of very strong animal passions, and sometimes to his intimate friends he attempted to excuse some of his excesses of that kind. There has been much controversy about Mr. Webster's habits in regard to intoxicants. The simple truth is that during his visit to England in 1840 he was so lionized and feted at public dinners that he brought home some convivial habits which rather grew upon him in advancing years. On several public occasions he gave evidence that he was somewhat under the influence of deep potations. I once saw him when his imperial brain was raked with the chain-shot of alcohol. The sight moved me to tears, and made me hate more than ever the accursed drink that, like death, is no "respecter of persons."
I heard the last speech that Mr. Webster ever made. It was a few months before his death in 1852. The speech was delivered at Trenton, N.J., in the celebrated India rubber case, Goodyear vs. Day, in which Webster was the leading counsel for Goodyear, and Rufus Choate headed the list of eloquent advocates in defense of Mr. Day. In that speech Webster was physically feeble, so that after speaking an hour, he was obliged to sit down for a time, while Mr. James T. Brady made a new statement with regard to a portion of the evidence. At that time Webster was broken in health. The most beautiful passage in his speech was his tribute to woman, and at another point he indulged in a very ludicrous description of the character of the first India rubber, which was offered as a marketable article. He said: "When India rubber was first brought to this country we had only the raw material, and they made overshoes and hats of it. A present was sent to me of a complete suit of clothes made of this India rubber, and on a cold winter day I found my rubber overcoat was frozen as rigid as ice. I took it out on my lawn, set it upright, put a broad brim hat on top of it, and there the figure stood erect, and my neighbors, as they passed by thought they saw the old farmer of Marshfield standing out under his trees." Some of his sarcastic attacks upon Mr. Day were very bitter, and when he showed his great, white teeth he looked like an enraged lion.
A few months after that Trenton speech in October, 1852, he went to his Marshfield home to die. His spirits were broken and he was sore from political disappointments. His last few days were spent in a fight by his powerful constitution against the inevitable. The last time he walked feebly from his bed to his window he called out to his servant man: "I want you to moor my yacht down there where I can see it from my window; then I want you to hoist the flag at the mast head, and every night to hang the lamp up in the rigging; when I go down I want to go down with my colors flying and my lamp burning." He told them to put on his monument, "Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief." In the final moment he started up from his pillow long enough to say: "I still live." He does live, and will ever live in the grateful memories of his countrymen.
While no one can deplore more than the writer the weaknesses and mistakes of Daniel Webster, yet when I remember his intellectual prowess and his magnificent services in defense of the Constitution, and the integrity of our national union, I am ready to say: "Let us to all his failings and faults be charitably kind and only remember the glorious services he wrought to the country he loved."
During the summer of 1840, when I was a college student at Princeton, I went with a friend to the office of the Log Cabin, a Whig campaign newspaper then published in Nassau Street, New York. It was during the famous Tippecanoe campaign, which resulted in the election of General Harrison. I was introduced to a singular looking man in rustic dress. He was writing an editorial. His face had a peculiar infantile smoothness, and his long flaxen hair fell down over his shoulders. I little dreamed then that that uncouth man in tow trousers was yet to be the foremost editor in America, and a candidate, unwisely, for President of the United States. Horace Greeley, for it was he, who sat before me, has been often described as a man with the "face of an angel, and the walk of a clod-hopper." Ten years later I became well acquainted with him, and from that time a most cordial friendship existed until his dying day. He visited me as a speaker at our State convention in Trenton, N.Y. I had him at my house at supper when my mother asked him if he would take coffee. His droll reply was: "I hope to drink coffee, madame, in heaven, but I cannot stand it in this world." After supper I informed my guest that it was customary for my good mother and myself (for I was not yet married), to have family worship immediately at the close of that meal and asked him whether he would not join us. He cordially replied that he would be most happy to do so, and it is quite probable that I may be one of the few,—perhaps the only—clergyman in this land who ever had Horace Greeley kneeling beside him in prayer. He attired himself in the famous old white coat, and shambled along with my mother to the place of meeting. He quite captivated her with a most pathetic account of his idolized boy "Pickie," who had died a short time before. Mr. Greeley was one of the most simple-hearted, great men whom I have ever met; without a spark of ordinary vanity he was intensely affectionate in his sympathies and loved a genuine kind word that came from the heart. He relished more a quiet talk with an old friend in his home at Chappaqua than all the glare of public notoriety. "Come up," he often said to me, "and spend a Saturday at the farm. The good boys do come and see me up there sometimes." Probably no man lived a purer life than Horace Greeley. He was the most devoted of husbands to one of the most eccentric of wives. His defenses of the spiritual sanctity of marriage in reply to Dale Owen are among the most powerful productions of his ever powerful pen. It were well that they should be reproduced now at a time when the laxity of wedlock and the wicked facilities for divorce are working such peril to our domestic life.
John Bright once said: "Horace Greeley is the greatest of living editors." He once told me that he had written editorials for a dozen papers at one time. He also told me that while he was preparing his history of the "American Conflict" he was in the habit of writing three columns of editorials every day. His articles were freighted with great power, for he was one of the strongest writers of the English language on this continent. They were always brimful of thought, for Mr. Greeley seldom wrote on any subject which he had not thoroughly mastered. Speaking of a certain popular orator, who afterwards went as our minister to China, he said to me: "Mr. B.—— is a pretty man, a very pretty man, but he does not study, and no man ever can have permanent power in this country unless he studies"
Mr. Greeley prided himself upon his accuracy as an editor, but one day, when writing an editorial, in which he denounced some political misdemeanor in the County of Chatauqua, by a slip of his pen he wrote the name of the adjoining county Cattaraugus. The next morning when he saw it in the paper he went up into the composing room in a perfect rage and called out, "Who put that Cattaraugus?" The printers all gathered around him amused at his anger until one of them pulling down from the hook the original editorial showed him the word "Cattaraugus" "Uncle Horace," when he saw the word, with a most inexpressible meekness, drawled out: "Will some one please to kick me down those stairs?"
He abominated mendicancy and, although his native goodness of heart often led him to give to the hundreds who came to him for pecuniary aid, he one day said to me: "Since I have lived in New York I have given away money enough to set up a merchant in business, and I sometimes doubt whether I have done more good or harm by the operation. I am continually beset by various clubs and societies all over the land to donate to them the Tribune. I always tell them if it is worth reading it is worth paying for. The curse of this country is the deadhead. I pay for my own Tribune every morning."
From my old friend's theology I strongly dissented, but in practical philanthropy he gave me many a lesson and still better stimulant of his own unselfish example. He was always ready to work in the cause of reform without pay and without applause. When temperance meetings were held in my church he very gladly lent his effective services, refusing any compensation, and there was no man in the city whose evening hours were worth more in solid gold than his. It is said that he was once called upon, in the absence of his minister, in a Universalist Church, to go into the pulpit. He did so, and delivered a very pungent sermon on the text, "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." The strongest points made by Mr. Greeley in the best of his printed essays are those which emphasize the authority of God. A letter in his characteristic hieroglyphics, the last one he ever wrote to me, and which now lies before me, was in reply to one of mine, criticising the Tribune for speaking of Dr. Tyng's as a "church" and of Dr. Adams's house of worship as a "meeting house." I told him if one was a church, then the other was equally so. He replied: "I am of Puritan stock, on one side, in America since 1640, and on the other since 1720. My people worshiped God in a meeting house; they gave it the name, not I, and they called the body of believers who met therein 'a church.' Episcopalians speak otherwise. It is a bad sign that we do not seem disposed to hold fast the form of sound words."
I am not aware of any Scriptural authority for calling a steepled house "a church."
The last evening I ever spent with him was at a temperance meeting of plain working people, to which he came several miles through a snow storm. He spoke with great power, and when I told him afterwards it was one of the finest addresses I had ever heard from him he said to me: "I would rather tell some truths to help such plain people as we had to-night than address thousands of the cultured in the Academy of Music." As he bade me good-night at yonder corner of Fulton Street, I said to him: "Uncle Horace, will you not come and spend the night with me?" He said, "No, I have much work to do before morning. I am coming over soon to spend a week in Brooklyn with my brother-in-law, and I will come and have a night with you." Alas, it was not long before he came to spend a night in Brooklyn,—that night that knows no morning. On a chilly November day, towards twilight, I was one of the crowd that followed him to his resting place in Greenwood, and I always, when on my way to my own plot, stop to gaze on the monument that bears the inscription, "Founder of the New York Tribune."
THE CIVIL WAR AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
An enormous quantity of books, historic and reminiscent, have been written about our Civil War, which, both in regard to the number of combatants engaged, and the magnitude of the interests involved, and its far-reaching consequences, was the most colossal conflict of modern times. Before presenting a few of my own personal recollections of the struggle, let me say that when the struggle was over, no one was more eager than myself to bury the tomahawk, and to offer the calumet of peace to our Southern fellow countrymen and fellow Christians. Whenever I have visited them their cordial greeting has warmed the cockles of my heart. I thank God that the great gash has been so thoroughly healed, and that I have lived to see the day when the people of the North feel a national pride in the splendid prowess of Lee, and the heroic Christian character of Stonewall Jackson, and when some of the noblest tributes to Abraham Lincoln have been spoken by such representative Southerners as Mr. Grady, of Georgia, and Mr. Watterson, of Kentucky. I had hoped ere this to see the Northern and Southern wings of our venerable Presbyterian Church reunited; but I am confident that there are plenty of people now living who will yet witness their happy ecclesiastical nuptials. Terrible as was that war in the sacrifice of precious life, and in the destruction of property, it was unquestionably inevitable. Mr. Seward was right when he called the conflict "irrepressible." Abraham Lincoln was a true prophet when he declared, at Springfield, Ill., in June, 1858, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand; I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." When in my early life I spoke to my good mother about some anti-slavery addresses that had been delivered, she said to me, with wonderful foresight, "These speeches will avail but little; slavery will go down in blood." That it has gone down even at the cost of so much blood and treasure is to-day as much a matter for congratulation in the South as it is in the North.
My first glimpse of the long predicted conflict was the sight of the Seventh Regiment,—composed of the flower of New York,—swinging down Broadway in April, 1861, on its way to the protection of Washington,—amid the thundering cheers of the bystanders. Before long I offered my services to the "Christian commission" which had been organized by that noble and godly minded patriot, George H. Stuart, of Philadelphia, and I went on to Washington to preach to our soldiers. I found Washington a huge military encampment; the hills around were white with tents, and Pennsylvania Avenue was filled almost every day with troops of horsemen, or with trains of artillery. While I was in Washington I lodged with my beloved college professor, that eminent Christian philosopher, Joseph Henry,—in the Smithsonian Institution, of which he was the head. One night, after I had been out addressing our boys in blue at one of the camps, and had retired for the night, Professor Henry came into my room and, sitting down by my bed, discussed the aspects of the struggle. His mental eye was as sharp in reading the signs of the times as it had been when at Albany, thirty years before, he made his splendid discovery in electro-magnetism. He said to me: "This war may last several years, but it can have only one result, for it is simply a question of dynamics. The stronger force must pulverize the weaker one, and the North will win the day. When the war is over, the country will not be what it was before; the triumph of the union will leave us a prodigiously centralized government, and the old Calhoun theory of 'State rights' will be dead. We shall have an inflated currency—an enormous debt with a host of tax-gatherers, and huge pension rolls. What is most needed now is wise statesmanship, and the first quality of a statesman is prescience. In my position here, as head of the Smithsonian, I cannot be a partisan! I did not vote the Republican ticket, but I am confident that by a long way the most far-seeing head in this land is on the shoulders of that awkward rail-splitter from Illinois." Every syllable of Professor Henry's prognostication proved true, and nothing more true than his estimate of Lincoln at a time when there was too much disposition to distrust him.