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jurists and statesmen. It is a rich boon from Heaven that such powers for forty years were devoted to his country. The wreck of such an intellect by disease—the perishing of such powers— the fall of such a statesman-is one of the saddest tokens of man's frailty, and one of the proudest of death's triumphs.
“The first mourner to-day
His countrymen had learned to lean upon him in hours of peril, and hence a wail for him has been heard from all parties and from every part of our land. Many have been disposed to say,
“ Hadst thou but lived, though stripped of power,
A watchman on the lonely tower,
The warder silent on the hill." This is not the time nor place for eulogy on the character of Webster. We set him forth as no model of Christian piety. Tried by the high claims of God's law, he was, like all of us, an erring and sinful man. Moreover, we must express our fears that on the giddy height which he trod in the highest circles of social and political life, he was sometimes swept from the paths of moral rectitude by temptations of appetite and evil example. The city of Washington, to many is a Potter's-field, in which politicians bury their moral virtues. We have no evidence to impeach Mr. Webster's morality; but in some respects he may have been no better than his cotemporaries. But truth will allow us to affirm here, that in the admiration of virtue he never wavered. His principles were drawn from the Bible. They were lofty, pure, immutable. His moral judgment was sound, elevated and evangelical. If you search the entire records of
his eloquence where will you find an immoral maxim, a corrupt sentiment, or an impious expression ? Where will you fail to find the highest reverence for truth, for duty and for God ? His moral aims were upward. Like the oak of the forest, sometimes bent by the tempest, but its boughs still reaching towards the sky; like the mighty river, sometimes turned aside by jutting rocks or rising bluffs, yet forcing its way to the sea ; like the eagle swept aside by the tornado, yet still rising with eye fixed on the sun; so the aims and endeavors of Daniel Webster, with all his imperfections, seem to have been towards truth, duty and eternal life.
Webster united with the Orthodox Congregational Church, in Salisbury, N. H., at about twenty years of age. For nine years, he was a regular communicant and consistent member of the church of Portsmouth, N. H. In 1816, on his removal to Boston, he worshipped in Brattle street (Unitarian) Church, in winter, and in Rev. Dr. Codman's (Orthodox) Church at Dorchester, in summer. His alliance with a Unitarian church, that body then embracing the wealth, literature and fashionable aristocracy of Boston, we regard as one great mistake of his life. It promoted his popularity, but diluted his piety. It elevated his social position, but unsettled his religious life; and it appears to be a kind of retribution, that Theodore Parker, a semi-Unitarian, should invade his grave to gloat on the moral weaknesses which seem to have resulted from Webster's want of fidelity to the principles of his fathers.
When, at Dorchester, he first united with Dr. Codman's church, he said to the pastor, “I am come to be one of your parishioners; not one of your fashionable ones, but you will find me in my seat both in the morning and in the afternoon.” IIe was as good as his word. At Washington he has recently worshipped in the Rev. Dr. Butler's (Episcopal) Church, the pastor of which is alike eminent for evangelical doctrine, fervent piety and ministerial fidelity.
Webster always vindicated the truthfulness and Divine authority of the Bible. He read it through, it is said, once a year. He profoundly revered its truth, and admired its literary treasures. While some half-educated literary fops supnose they display unusual originality by doubting and sneering at God's word, the great intellect of Daniel Webster found truth, interest and instruction on the sacred page. He studied the Bible daily. He studied it as a critic, a scholar, a philosopher. Like a lawyer, he collated facts and weighed testimony, and was about to write a work on its truthfulness when he fell by death. He found in the Bible a Calvinistic Theology. He attended various churches, but nothing ever shook his faith in the evangelical creed of the Church of his fathers.
As to his personal interest in religion, we must rely on the testimony of others. The world, no more than the church, will allow that any human life is complete without the evidence of piety. Hence the eagerness with which testimony is sought that a great man has died in hope. That the Rev. Mr. Alden, an Orthodox clergyman, could make the following statement in presence of thousands at Webster's grave, is a source of satisfaction to the great statesman's friends, as well as to the friends of Christ:
“ Vividly impressed upon the memory of the speaker is the instruction once received as to the fitting way of presenting divine truth from the sacred desk. Would that its force might be felt by those who are called to minister in divine things. Mr. Webster said, “When I attend upon the preaching of the Gospel, I wish to have it made a personal matter, a personal matter, A PERSONAL MATTER.' It is to present him as enforcing these divine lessons of wisdom and consolation, that we have recalled to your minds these precious recollections.
“I am bound to say, that in the course of my life I never met with an individual, in any profession or condition, who always spoke and always thought with such awful reverence of the power and presence of God. No irreverence, no lightness, even no too familiar allusion to God and IIis attributes ever escaped his lips. The very notion of a Supreme Being was, with him, made up of awe and solemnity. It filled the whole of his great mind with the strongest emotions.
“And if these tender remembrances only cause our tears to flow more freely, it may not be improper for us to present the example of the father, when his great heart was rent by the lass of a daughter whom he most dearly loved. Those present on that occasion 'well remember when the struggle of mortal agony was over, retiring from the presence of the dead, bowing together before the presence of God, and joining with the afflicted father as he poured forth his soul, pleading for grace and strength from on high. As upon the morning of his death we conversed upon the evident fact that for the last few weeks his mind had been engaged in preparation for an exchange of worlds, one who knew him well remarked, His whole life has been that preparation. The people of this rural neighborhood, among whom he spent the last twenty years of his life, among whom he died, and with whom he is to rest, have been accustomed to regard him with mingled veneration and love. Those who knew him best, can the most truly appreciate the lessons both from his lips and example teaching the sustaining power of the Gospel.
“His last words, “I STILL LIVE,' we may interpret in a higher sense than that in which they are usually regarded. He has taught us how to attain the life of faith and the life to come. And we need utter no apology. Indeed, we should be inexcusable in letting the present opportunity pass without unveiling the inner sanctuary of the life of the foremost man of all this world; for his most intimate friends are well aware that he had it in mind to prepare a work upon the internal evidences of Christianity, as a testimony of his heartfelt conviction of the divine reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But finding himself rapidly approaching those august scenes of immortality into which he had so often looked, he dictated the most important part of his epitaph. And so long as the rock shall guard his rest, and the ocean sound his dirge,' the world shall read upon his monument, not only
"One of the few, the immortal names,
but also that Daniel Webster lived and died in the Christian faith.”
Who does not rejoice that this could be said—truly said, by his pastor ? Taught to pray by a Puritan father and mother, Webster has prayed in his family; he has prayed by the dying bed of a friend in Washington ; he has prayed in his home circles Heaven's mauritan faith—with Pone was born in New En
as death was striking down his kindred; and almost his last breath was a prayer that “God for Christ's sake would forgive his sins.” Extemporary prayer-heart-felt, pertinent, Puritanbore to Heaven the lisping wants of his childhood and the agonized supplications of his dying hour. With the simple forms familiar to his infancy, a Puritan minister laid him in his final sepulchre. He revered the memory of the Pilgrims of Plymouth rock, and taxed his eloquence to do them honor. Of a Puritan parentage, (originally Scottish, though he was born in New England,) and Puritan faith—with Puritan prayers he besought Heaven's mercy; with Puritan simplicity he gave his dying counsel to his friends and kindred, and requested that with Puritan services he might be laid down to mingle with Puritan dust. May his soul have found mercy at the hands of his father's God.
He needs no marble for his monument. Men like Demosthenes, Cicero and Webster, become themselves the monuments by which dead empires are remembered. The old Ocean which frets the rock-bound coast of the State he served so long and so well, the Ocean,
“ With its wild, profound, eternal bass,” will oft thunder his dirge in the ears of pilgrims to his sepulchre.
His last words were, “I still live." Yes, he still lives, an evidence, doubtless, that great men are morally weak, and have need “to watch and pray that they enter not into temptation.” He still lives in the deep, warm affections of the home circle whom he made so happy. He still lives in the records of his surpassing wisdom, in our courts of justice and halls of legislation. He still lives in the gratitude of the great nation whose principles he vindicated and whose prosperity he advanced. He still lives in the hearts of down-trodden nations whose tyrants he rebuked.
He will live in human memories as a monument of intellectual power, to excite the admiration and aspirations of his race. He will live as a perpetual rebuke of all demagogues, who prefer a temporary popularity, gained by flattering the people, to enduring honor grounded on real ability and honest patriotism.