and said: ‘Doctor, there is a good old book which I read, and you preach from, which says: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which dispitefully use you.” Do you think your remarks this evening were quite in the spirit of that teaching?’ And he added: ‘I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South her dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.’ Soon after the passage of those harsh acts of Congress, disfranchising Confederates for participating in the war, and while every Southern breast was filled with indignation, some friends in General Lee's presence expressed themselves with great bitterness. The General turned to the table near him, where lay the manuscript of his father's life, which he was then editing, and read these lines:
Learn from yon Orient shell to love thy foe,‘These lines,’ said he, ‘were written in Arabia, and by a Mahomedan, the Poet of Shiraz, the immortal Hafiz; and ought not we, who profess to be governed by the principles of Christianity, to rise at least to the standard of this Mahomedan poet, and learn to forgive our enemies?’ In the rush of this age, a character so simply meek and so proudly, grandly strong, is scarce comprehensible to the eager, restless competitors for wealth and place and power. And the ‘practical man,’ as he is called, who ever keeps a keen eye to the main chance, and is esteemed happy just in proportion as fortune favors his schemes of ambition or profit, is apt to attribute weakness to one so void of self-seeking and resentment, and so amiable and gentle in his feelings and conduct towards his fellow-men. But could he have seen with what patient attention to detail this ceaseless worker dispatched business and brought great results from small materials—with what quick, strong comprehensive grasp he solved difficulties and conquered dangers—what good cheer he gave the toiling; what hope he gave the despondent; what comfort he gave the afflicted. Aye!
And store with pearls the hand that brings thee woe;
Free like yon rock, from base, vindictive pride,
Emblaze with gems the wrist that rends thy side.
Mark where yon tree rewards the stony shower,
With fruit nectarious or the balmy flower;
All Nature cries aloud: shall men do less
Than love the smiter, and the railer bless?