Page 4152

4152 HISTORIC DOCUMENTS

or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an

easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each

invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any

men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their

bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not,

that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty

has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses;

for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by

whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American

slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God,

must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both

North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom

the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those

divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe

to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this

mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills

that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two

hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until

every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another

drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so

still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether".

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in

the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish

the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him

who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,

to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace

among ourselves and with all nations.