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and most complete interpretation of the “Divine Revelation" and of the “Way of God with Man."



In 1864, I was graduated from College. The theme I chose for the part assigned me at the “Commencement" exercises was quite characteristic of my mood then.


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This oration was only a crudely phrased proclamation of the convictions of a very immature youth. It is not worth reproduction as a whole, now. But, as it indicates well the dominant motive force of my youth; and may, more. over, be regarded as a way-mark for my conduct in the most important movements that have occurred in an unusually eventsul mental and spiritual career, I will quote somewhat from it.

At the outset, I personified Truth and Error as “two elementary, antagonistic Powers, pervading the entire moral creation."

“ Their great field of contention," I declared, “lies in the reason and free-will of man." "To-day the conflict wages fiercely.

- Truth and Error, each mustering mighty armed hosts, are in deadly grapple."

“ The cause of Truth is the cause of Good. cause makes the weak and fainting human heart strong and invincible. A good cause will make a stout heart.

Then I sought to show why this claim is tenable :

1. “A good cause will banish fear," I asserted. long roll of heroes and hero-martyrs who have bra ved even death for Truth's sake shows this."

2. Moreover,” a good cause inspires perfect frankness. Error dwells in the clouds of deceit. Truth presents a

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bold front in the clear light of frankness. In fearlessness there is frankuess ; in frankness there is strength.”

3. Again, “a good cause arouses earnestness." slave of Error may contend with diabolic desperation for his cause, but heroic earnestness is his alone who defends the holy Cause of Truth.”

4. Then, “ from fearlessness, frankness, and earnestness, springs consistency." Let a man be absorbed by a desire to promote a good cause, and his life will be ever onward and unswerving."

5. "Thereby he will be firm." "No gleam of better things may penetrate the gathering gloom of the contest, yet his trust never wavers.

6. And “finally, a good cause makes a stout heart, because it renders its advocate happy. Happiness is an element of strength. Happiness is his only who is conscious of the justice of his cause, and is confident of final success. He looks forward with a joyful heart to the certain time when the victory shall be Truth's.”

I add to these fragmentary excerpts the peroration in full.--

" Let us, then, give our powers to some Good Cause. Let us enlist heartily, strike fearlessly, openly, earnestly, consistently and firmly; battling with happy, hopeful hearts. Error will soon lose its vigor. The fearful looking forward to judgment, the deceit, desperation, wavering and misery of its advocates will lead to its complete overthrow. We may not live till this is accomplished : but we can cheerfully, give our weapons to those who follow us, and leave the field with the assurance that all will yet be well. A good cause is the cause of Truth. Truth is omnipotent. It is the very essence of God. Then, let us live and die with perfect confidence that victorious garlands will one day be wreathed around the calm, wbite brow of Godlike Truth: and in a higher and better life we shall share in the rewards of her victories.”

With this aspiring declaration of an Ideal, as indicative of personal purpose, my career as a College student was closed.


Between College and Seminary.



I spent the summer of that year, 1864, again with the Army of the Potomac, then under command of General Grant, and laying siege to the Confederates at Petersburg. I had volunteered, for evangelistic and hospital work, as a member of the United States Christian Commission.

Much of my time was at first spent in the siege trenches; later, chiefly in hospitals with the wounded and sick. For a while I was assigned to the typhoid hospitals, where I saw much pathetic suffering and many deaths. Then, after the explosion, on the 30th of July, of the nine that had been laid under the Confederate works, and which was so disastrous to our forces, I served some Fifth Corps surgeons, for two days and nights, on the field, in four hundred and more serious operations. For a long time alterwards, I was in attendance in the hospitals, nursing the wounded, besides doing what I could to comfort, and to serve in other ways, those who must die.

Thatsummer's experiences affected my religious life chiefly by deepening my conviction of the personal, the essential importance for every man, of religious faith and hope. Some most impressive happenings, never to be forgotten, occurred during those weeks spent among sick and wounded soldiers.

With the summer's close I left the army, to begin specific study for the ministry, under a vividly aroused sense of the sipremely vital calling to which my life had been consecrated.

in the Northwestern Theological

Seminary. It had been arranged, before my graduation from College, that I should follow the special studies required for the ministry, at the Western Theological Seminary in Allegbany, Pennsylvania. I matriculated there, with the opening of its sessions that autumn.

It so happened, however, that I could not continue as one of its students. Chainbersburg had been burned, at the close of July, by Confederate raiders under General McCausland. As a sequel to that terrible calamity, my parents, who were among those who had suffered from it, removed to Chicago, and made their home, for the time being, with some relatives resident in that city.

In Chicago, an excellent Old School Presbyterian Seminary had been established ; and my mother, still seriously ill, and never having accepted willingly my separation from home, urged me to take my theological course where I might be near her. For almost five years, I had been practically only a vacation visitor to my parents.

In the mid-winter of 1864-65, consequently, I became a member of the Junior Class of the Chicago institution which in after years was renamed “McCormick Theological Semnary." I was a student there until my graduation in 18


AGAIN WITH THE CHRISTIAN COMMISSION. During my first Seminary vacation, I was again with the Union Army; and again I was engaged in evangelistic hospital service. This time I went to the front beyond Nashville, Tennessee, to the soldiers who were under command of Major General George H. Thomas, whom I had known slightly at the “Carlisle Barracks," five years before, when he was "Major Thomas” of the Cavalry. General Thomas in the preceding December had defeated and wholly incapacitated the Confederate forces under General Hood, thereby practically closing all offensive movements in that part of the country, and hastening the culmination, as a whole, of the successful defense of the Union.

The closing events of the war were moving rapidly when I went to Tennessee. Just before I left Chicago, General Lee, at Appomatox, had surrendered the Army of Virginia to General Grant.

A few days later, while crossing the Ohio river at Louisville, I heard of the assassination of President Lincoln, the night before ; and, that day, I witnessed memorable outbursts of popular grief, and some of the vengeful anger which was aroused by that awful tragedy.

Arriving at the front, I got news of repeated defeats, and of surrenders, of the armies of the Confederacy, all along the great lines of battle. Not many days afterwards, we heard of the ignominious death of the President's assassin, Booth ; and the capture and imprisonment of Jefferson Davis, the Chief of the Confederacy.

I worked for some weeks among the hospitals, which were still necessitated at the front. But they were gradually closed.

Before I had returned to Chicago, the American Civil War had come to an end. And the United States, saved from disunion, were entering upon their present marvellous era as a thoroughly federated Nation.

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