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[19] of men went forth mid dust and smoke and thunder to learn the lessons and the language of the dead. For three days their solemn exodus lasted along the paths of mystery.

What salute or countersign these soldiers exchanged; what conference or controversy they set up; or with what awe and curiosity they moved along to meet their destiny, we may not say, we do not know.

These, my countrymen, untimely dead, be soldiers all who did their duty. At call of magistrate, they took up arms; these to quell insurrection, these to repel invasion—all obediently and with courage. Thy judgments, O God, are true and righteous altogether. Let it be unto Thy servants according to the sincerity of their purpose, the courage of their endeavor, the multitude of Thy compassions and the bounty of Thy grace. The judgment of God has not yet been published.

Can we rise to this sublime height, the colorless empyrean from which this great thinker looks down upon the great struggle; or shall we publish our feeble, partial judgment, while the Omniscient ‘Judge of all the earth’ withholds His?

One protest must be entered.

This man was victor; I was vanished. This man, or the regiment whose deeds he commemorates, was invader; I was invaded. As he himself says: ‘At call of magistrate they took up arms—these to quell insurrection, these to repel invasion.’

Halt! ‘Invasion?’ Yes. ‘Insurrection?’ How? Against what?

These to quell insurrection—these to repel invasion.’

Mr. Beecher probably intended by these phrases merely to indicate the conflicting views of the combatants; yet it is none the less important to note that the first phrase proclaims a theory, as to which men may honestly differ — the second recites a fact, which no man can honestly question.

These to quell insurrection

Can our ‘book-keeper’ intend to discredit the ‘items’ entered by his own hand upon his ‘balance-sheet.’ ‘Free and independent States, * * proposing, * * establishing, * * ratifying * * a more perfect union, * forming or coming into this Union freely, voluntarily * * proposing to go out by the same door, * * ’

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Thomas K. Beecher (1)
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