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[212] should simultaneously sleep in death, marks this as an epoch in our career, when a new leaf must be turned in the nation's record, and a new history must be written on a clean page. When great men die they and their achievements are consigned to history, beyond the vain applause which vexes the ears of mortal men. For be assured, long before the final tribunal at which all actions are uncovered in the presence of an unerring Judge, there is a human court, the solemn Tribunal of History, whose verdict, purged of prejudice and passion, will render at least a proximate vindication of justice and of truth. The time for vapid oratory has ceased, when the pallid shades appear before the Rhadamanthus and the Minos, who decree to the true Immortals the prize of eternal fame. I trust that I construe your purpose aright, when I decline to re-open the issues of the past, leaving them to the adjudication of that day when the record shall be purged of calumny and error, and every false judgment shall be revised in the final verdict of mankind. In these obsequies of the past let us learn from the Supreme Ruler the lesson which He intends to teach.

For this purpose I read to you the words of the Prophet Daniel, after the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream had been disclosed in a vision by night: ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are His; and He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings and setteth up kings; He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding; He revealeth the deep and secret things; He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.’ The leading thought here is the divine supremacy over the affairs of men; the same truth announced afterward to Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel, in declaring the downfall of his greatness: ‘This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones, to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.’ Daniel IV., 17. But a deeper truth lies covered here than simple superintendence of human fortunes. It is the divine purpose running throughout history, the secret thread around which all events crystalize. The Supreme Ruler renders His own thought in the free actions of intelligent and responsible agents; who, in accomplishing their designs, at the same time execute His infinite and eternal purpose. Thus, He who is the author of history, must also be its interpreter—disclosing a continuous

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Junius Daniel (1)
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