or proportion, but natural and flowing.
Others seem to construct, to build; he bears us forward on an unbroken stream.
If we seek a parallel for him as writer, we must turn our backs upon England, and repair to France.
Meditating on the glowing thought of Pascal, the persuasive sweetness of Fenelon, the constant and comprehensive benevolence of the Abbe Saint Pierre, we may be reminded of Channing. . . . His eloquence had not the character and fashion of forensic effort or parliamentary debate; it mounted above these, into an atmosphere unattempted by the applauded orators of the world.
Whenever he spoke or wrote, it was with loftiest purpose, as his works attest,—not for public display, not to advance himself, not on any question of pecuniary interest, not under any worldly temptation, but to promote the love of God and man. Here are untried founts of truest inspiration.
Eloquence has been called action; but it is something more.
It is that divine and ceaseless energy which saves and helps mankind.
It cannot assume its highest form in personal pursuit of dishonest guardians, or selfish contention for a crown,—not in defence of a murderer, or invective hurled at a conspirator.
I would not overstep the proper modesty of this discussion, nor would I disparage the genius of the great masters; but all must join in admitting that no rhetorical skill or oratorical power can elevate these lower earthly things to the natural heights on which Channing stood, when he pleaded for freedom and peace.
His conclusion was as follows—
Thus have I attempted, humbly and affectionately, to bring before you the images of our departed brothers, while I dwelt on the great causes in which their lives were revealed.
Servants of Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, Love, they have ascended to the great Source of Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, Love.
Though dead, they yet speak, informing the understanding, strengthening the sense of justice, refining the tastes, enlarging the sympathies.
The body dies; but the page of the Scholar, the interpretation of the Jurist, the creation of the Artist, the beneficence of the Philanthropist cannot die.
I have dwelt upon their lives and characters, less in grief for what we have lost than in gratitude for what we possessed so long, and still retain, in their precious example.
Proudly recollecting her departed children, Alma Mater may well exclaim, in those touching words of parental grief, that she would not give her dead sons for any living sons in Christendom.
Pickering, Story, Allston, Channing,—a grand quaternion!
Each in his peculiar sphere was foremost in his country.
Each might have said, what the modesty of Demosthenes did not forbid him to boast, that through him his country had been crowned abroad.
Their labors were wide as Scholarship, Jurisprudence, Art, Humanity, and have found acceptance wherever these are recognized.
Their lives, which overflow with instruction, teach one persuasive lesson to all alike, of every calling and pursuit,—not to live for ourselves alone.
They lived for Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, Love.
Turning from the strifes of the world, the allurements of office, and the rage for gain, they consecrated themselves to the pursuit of excellence, and each, in his own sphere, to beneficent labor.
They were all philanthropists; for the labors of all were directed to the welfare and happiness of man.