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for so long, the chief was borne to the First Methodist Church, with statesmen, diplomats and representatives of the great nations of the world gathered with the sorrowing members of the family. Ministers of five religious denominations said the simple services.
Troops banked the streets about, but the thousands who had crowded near and stood for five hours, held their places, catching up the broken strains of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
The silence of calm had come; the silence of supreme excitement had passed.
The minister was all but hidden by the mountain of flowers banked upon the pulpit and in the chancel.
“It was not at him that the fatal shot was fired,” he said, “but at the very heart of our government.”
These words brought home with crushing force the warning that the last scenes were passing. Among those who sat with bowed heads was President Roosevelt. The tears came into his eyes as he heard the petitions that God might guide his hands aright.
REV. DR. C. E. MANCHESTER'S SERMON.
Dr. C. E. Manchester, minister of the church in which the last rites were said at Canton, delivered the address. He had known William McKinley as a friend and as a strong man in the life of the church. His address brought the tears, for about him were men who had known this great, gentle man in some way.
Dr. Manchester's sermon was as follows: “Our President is dead.
“'The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is broken at the fountain, the wheel broken at the cistern, the mourners go about the streets.'
“ 'One voice is heard—a wail of sorrow from all the land, for the beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places. How are the mighty fallen! I am distressed for thee, my brother. Very pleasant hast thou been unto me.'
“Our President is dead. We can hardly believe it. We had hoped and prayed, and it seemed that our hopes were to be realized and our prayers answered, when the emotion of joy was changed to one of grave apprehension. Still we waited, for we said: 'It may be that God will be gracious and merciful to us.' It seemed to us that it must be his will to spare the life of one so well beloved and so much needed.
“Thus, alternating between hope and fear, the weary hours passed
on. Then came the tidings of a defeated science, of the failure of love and prayer to hold its object to the earth. We seemed to hear the faintly muttered words: 'Good-by all; good-by. It's God's way. His will be done.' And then, 'Nearer, my God, to Thee.'
PASSES ON TO BE AT REST. “So, nestling near to his God, he passed out into unconsciousness, skirted the dark shores of the sea of death for a time, and then passed on to be at rest. His great heart had ceased to beat.
“Our hearts are heavy with sorrow.
“ 'A voice is heard on earth of kinfolk weeping
The loss of one they love;
A festival above.
"The mourners throng the ways and from the steeple
The funeral bells toll slow;
Are passing to and fro.
“And saying as they meet : 'Rejoice, another,
Long waited for, is come.
Has reached the Father's home.'
“The cause of this universal mourning is to be found in the man himself. The inspired penman's picture of Jonathan, likening him unto the "Beauty of Israel,' could not be more appropriately employed than in chanting the lament of our fallen chieftain. It does no violence to human speech, nor is it fulsome eulogy to speak thus of him, for who that has seen his stately bearing, his grace and manliness of demeanor, his kindliness of aspect but gives assent to this description of him?
LOVED BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM. "It was characteristic of our beloved President that men met him only to love him. They might, indeed, differ from him, but in the presence of such dignity of character and grace of manner none could fail to love the man. The people confided in him, believed in him. It was said of Lincoln that probably no man since the days of Washington was ever so deeply embedded and enshrined in the hearts of the people, but it is true of McKinley in a larger sense. Industrial and social conditions are such that he was, even more than his predecessors, the friend of the whole people.
“A touching scene was enacted in this church last Sunday night. The services had closed. The worshipers were gone to their homes. Only a few lingered to discuss the sad event that brings us together today. Three men of a foreign race and unfamiliar tongue, and clad in working garb, entered the room. They approached the altar, kneeling before it and before the dead man's picture. Their lips moved as if in prayer, while tears furrowed their cheeks. They may have been thinking of their own King Humbert and of his untimely death. Their emotion was eloquent, eloquent beyond speech, and it bore testimony to their appreciation of manly friendship and of honest worth.
SOUL CLEAN AND HANDS UNSULLIED. "It is a glorious thing to be able to say in this presence, with our illustrious dead before us, that he never betrayed the confidence of his countrymen. Not for personal gain or pre-eminence would he mar the beauty of his soul. He kept it clean and white before God and man, and his hands were unsullied by bribes.
“ 'His eyes looked right on, and his eyelids looked straight before him. He was sincere, plain and honest, just, benevolent and kind. He never disappointed those who believed in him, but measured up to every duty and met every responsibility in life grandly and unflinchingly.
“Not only was our President brave, heroic and honest; he was as gallant a knight as ever rode the lists for his lady love in the days when knighthood was in flower. It is but a few weeks since the nation looked on with tear-dimmed eyes as it saw with what tender conjugal devotion he sat at the bedside of his beloved wife, when all feared that a fatal illness was upon her. No public clamor that he might show himself to the populace, no demand of a social function was sufficient to draw the lover from the bedside of his wife. He watched and waited while we all prayed—and she lived.
TENDER STORY OF HIS LOVE. “This sweet and tender story all the world knows, and the world knows that his whole life had run in this one groove of love. It was a strong arm that she leaned upon, and it never failed her. Her smile was more to him than the plaudits of the multitude, and for her greeting his acknowledgments of them must wait. After receiving the fatal wound his first thought was that the terrible news might be broken gently to her. May God in this deep hour of sorrow comfort her. May His grace be greater than her anguish. May the widow's God be her God.
"Another beauty in the character of our President, that was a chaplet of grace about his neck, was that he was a Christian. In the broadest, noblest sense of the word that was true. His confidence in God was strong and unwavering. It held him steady in many a storm where others were driven before the wind and tossed. He believed in the fatherhood of God and in his sovereignty. His faith in the gospel of Christ was deep and abiding. He had no patience with any other theme of pulpit discourse. 'Christ and him crucified' was in his mind the only panacea for the world's disorders. He believed it to be the supreme duty of the Christian minister to preach the word. He said: “We do not look for great business men in the pulpit, but for great preachers.'
EVER A TRUE CHRISTIAN. "It is well known that his godly mother had hoped for him that he would become a minister of the gospel, and that she believed it to be the highest vocation in life. It was not, however, his mother's faith that made him a Christian. He had gained in early life a personal knowledge of Jesus which guided him in the performance of greater duties and vaster than have been the lot of any other American President. He said at one time, while bearing heavy burdens, that he could not discharge the daily duties of his life but for the fact that he had faith in God.
"William McKinley believed in prayer: in the beauty of it, in the potency of it. Its language was not unfamiliar to him, and his public addresses not infrequently evince the fact. It was perfectly consistent with his life-long convictions and his personal experiences that he should say at the first critical moment after the assassination approached : 'Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done,' and that he should declare at the last : 'It is God's way; His will be done.' He lived grandly; it was fitting that he should die grandly. And now that the majesty of death has touched and calmed him we find that in his supreme moment he was still a conqueror.
CRIME PLUNGES WORLD INTO GRIEF. “My friends and countrymen, with what language shall I attempt to give expression to the deep horror of our souls as I speak of the cause of his death? When we consider the magnitude of the crime that has plunged the country and the world into unutterable grief we are not surprised that one nationality after another has hastened to repudiate the dreadful act. This gentle spirit, who hated no one, to whom every man was a brother, was suddenly smitten by the cruel hand of an assassin, and that, too, while in the act of extending a kind and generous greeting to one who approached-him under the sacred guise of friendship.
"Could the assailant have realized how awful was the act he was about to perform, how utterly heartless the deed, methinks he would have staid his hand at the threshold of it. In all the coming years men will seek in vain to fathom the enormity of that crime.
“Had this man who fell been a despot, a tyrant, an oppressor, an insane frenzy to rid the world of him might have sought excuse; but it was the people's friend who fell when William McKinley received the fatal wound. Himself a son of toil, his sympathies were with the toiler. No one who has seen the matchless grace and perfect ease with which he greeted such can ever doubt that his heart was in his open hand. Every heart throb was for his countrymen. That his life should be sacrificed at such a time, just when there was abundant peace, when all the Americas were rejoicing together, is one of the inscrutable mysteries of Providence. Like many others, it must be left for future revelations to explain.
LIVES TO SEE A UNITED NATION. "In the midst of our sorrow. we have much to console us. He lived to see his nation greater than ever before. All sectional lines are blotted out. There is no South, no North, no East, no West. Washington saw the beginning of our national life.
“Lincoln passed through the night of our history and saw the dawn. McKinley beheld his country in the splendor of its noon. Truly, he dies in the fullness of his fame. With Paul he could say, and with equal truthfulness, 'I am now ready to be offered.'
“The work assigned him had been well done. The nation was at peace. We had fairly entered upon an era of unparalleled prosperity. Our revenues were generous. Our standing among the nations was secure. Our President was safely enshrined in the affections of a united people. It was not at him that the fatal shot was fired, but at the life of the government. His offering was vicarious. It was blood poured upon the altar of human liberty. In view of these things we are not surprised to hear, from one who was present when this great soul passed away, that he never before saw a death so peaceful, or a dying man so crowned with grandeur.
LESSONS FROM THE SAD EVENT. "Let us turn now to a brief consideration of some of the lessons that we are to learn from this sad event.
“The first one that will occur to us all is the old, old lesson that 'in the midst of life we are in death. “Man goeth forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.' 'He fleeth as it were a shadow and never continueth in one stay.'
“Our President went forth in the fullness of his strength, in his manly