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[414]

I could wish to say something of the tenderness of affection with which he loved his friends, and to quote something from those words which were a last precious legacy to the friend to whom they were sent, and to whom he says that he understands him so well that ‘I don't know how, it seems as if I were you somehow.’ But over that part of his loving nature and his true, manly heart we will drop the veil.

In the short year of his military life he lived a lifetime. Experience shows that the war has made men go upward fast or downward fast; but the progress was fast. Stanley grew into maturity. His letters read like those of a man of middle age; and with this growth came a child-like simplicity and gentle trustfulness which it is now inexpressibly pleasant to recall.

In the middle of August his valise came home. It contains one unfinished letter to that friend to whom his heart had always been open. Although written some months before his death, it contains his last words; and none could be more touching. He thus quietly speaks of his religious faith, that ‘point which had been settled long ago’:—

When the lesson of submission has been so completely learned that regretful thoughts never steal into our hearts, why should we live longer? Is not our appointed work accomplished then? Yes, I think I believe that now. I think I understand that submission is the only real virtue. I have often puzzled my head to get at some unselfish motive for being good, and now I am quite sure that I recognize what religion taught——long ago. I have not got to the point from which——started long years ago by the same road that led——thither. Mine has been longer and dustier and more perplexing. I have groped thither through Heaven only knows how much of darkness and doubt, and scepticism almost. But I am quite certain that we are journeying now upon the same track,—— hundreds of miles ahead and yet wonderfully near me too.——is Great Heart, I think, who has come back to show me the way. . . . . We must remember the beautiful saying of Massillon: “On n'est pas digne d'aimer la verite quand on peut aimer quelque chose plus qu'elle.”


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