Sermon from Apr. 16, 1865

Sermon Preached in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

  • Full Title

    Sermon Preached in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

  • Description

    Sermon preached by Rev. Jacob Thomas in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Troy, New York. In this sermon, Rev. Thomas addresses his congregation and praises Lincoln as a true friend of African Americans while discussing what his loss means for the future. Rev. Thomas reflects on the grief of the African American community in regards to the assassination and how this was enhanced by Lincoln's status as a "friend of the oppressed."

  • Transcription

    My friends, we meet at this hour with sad hearts. We have been stricken. The blow has fallen heavily upon us, and a nation mourns to day. Truly a prince and a great man in Israel has fallen. We cannot but weep bitter tears that so great and good a man as Abraham Lincoln, has been cut down in the midst of his usefulness by a death so cruel. At the moment he was about to realize the great results of his four years labor, just as victory had perched upon our banners, he fell a martyr to freedom. We shall never look upon his like again.
    A few days ago joy and gladness filled every heart. All who were loyal to the government rejoiced and gave thanks to Almighty God because of the victory won, the downfall of the rebel capital. This intelligence was too glorious to be unalloyed. Ere our joy had subsided, sorrow overtook us. News reached us from Washington of the bloody deed perpetrated there. We would not believe it. It could not be possible that a creature in the form of man could be found so God-forsaken, as to take the life of the man who had malice for none but charity for all! The hours between the first rumor and the confirmation of the report, were hours of dreadful suspense. But the truth came at last. There was no longer room for doubt. It was too true, that on last Friday evening, whilst enjoying at a place of amusement a few moments of relaxation from toil, accompanied by his wife and a few friends, unconscious of danger near, he was brutally murdered — shot down by the cowardly hand of an assassin. Palsied be the tongue, withered be the arm of the guilty, execrable wretch who committed this, the blackest of all crimes. Yes, our dear President is no more. The beloved of his country, the father and friend of the oppressed, the champion of universal freedom, has fallen a victim to southern malice and revenge. Kind heaven weeps to-day over the bloody spectacle.
    We, as a people, feel more than all others that we are bereaved. We had learned to love Mr. Lincoln as we have never loved man before. We idolized his very name. We looked up to him as our saviour, our deliverer. His name was familiar with our children, and our prayers ascended to God in his behalf. He had taught us to love him. The interest he manifested in behalf of the oppressed, the weak and those who had none to help them, had won for him a large place in our heart. It was something so new to us to see such sentiments manifested by the chief magistrate of the United States that we could not help but love him. Is it to be wondered at that we mourn today? Nay, we have seen old gray-headed men and young maidens weep because of this affliction. Had disease attacked him and he had passed away according to the natural course of nature, we could have consoled ourselves with the thought that it was God's will it should be so. But falling as he did by the hand of the wicked, we derive our consolation only from the assurance that by his uprightness, his honesty and his principles of Christianity, he is now enjoying that rest that remains for the just.
    Our text is a fitting one for the occasion. A great man has fallen. From whatever stand-point we view Mr. Lincoln, we find in him the marks of true greatness. A few years ago this plain, homely lawyer was scarcely known outside of his own state. But how soon did he become the point of attraction. Not only was he the centre of observation in this country, but the civilized world was watching him. He far exceeded the expectations of all men. He became as the ark of safety to his country, the praise and glory of his fellow men. To us as a despised people, he was a second Moses — a second Daniel in wisdom. From a humble position in life he reached the very summit of honor, occupied the highest seat that it was in the power of the American people to give him, and filled that seat as no man ever filled it before him. The mind that conceived and drew up the Proclamation of Emancipation was a great mind. The results of this grand deed are patent to all. He was a philanthropist in the most extensive sense of the word — benevolent, kind, and ever ready to make others happy. One of the most prominent features in the character of our departed friend was his merciful disposition even towards his foes. He was strictly honest; this is admitted by his worst enemies. " Honest Abe," he was familiarly called by all classes. He was honest with his people, honest to himself, honest to his God. This is what God requires of all men, to be honest in heart. The exterior of this great man may have been plain, homely and awkward, but the interior was beautifully finished and furnished with Christian graces. It was his reliance upon God that carried him safely through the storm of four years duration. It was this that has made him blessed in the favor of God, forever.
    Yes, Abraham Lincoln is no more, and we mingle our tears with those of the mourning widow and bereaved friend. We feel that in his loss our punishment is more that we can bear, yet in God is our consolation. Let us hope for the best. An all-wise God has permitted this great grief to come upon us. Let us look to him for deliverance in the time of our distress. We are humbled, we are mortified, we are brought very low. Our trust must be in God. Whilst we mourn, he whose, death we deplore, is enjoying the reward of his labor, happy with his God, mingling with those kindred spirits who went before him. The
    two truest and greatest men that ever lived on earth, John Brown and Abraham Lincoln, have met in glory, and they cease not to give praise and honor to him that liveth forever and ever. The memory of Abraham Lincoln will ever be dear to us. It is engraved upon our hearts. It can never be effaced. He has been our true friend and we never can forget him. We feel as though God had raised him up for a special purpose, and that having accomplished the labor assigned him, he has gone to his rest. May God protect us and keep us from further evils.

  • Source

    A tribute of respect by the citizens of Troy, to the memory of Abraham Lincoln

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain and may be reproduced and used for any purpose, including research, teaching, private study, publication, broadcast or commercial use,with proper citation and attribution.

  • Tags

  • Cite this Item

    Rev. Jacob Thomas. "Sermon Preached in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church". Young & Benson. Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed January 29, 2020. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/1203