Since I enjoyed it so much I left this comment.
Here is a link to the funeral address => http://beck.library.emory.edu/lincoln/sermon.php?id=simpson.001.
Although he wrote a superb eulogy, I doubt Rev. Matthew Simpson approached Lincoln’s mastery as an orator. Certainly, his eulogy lacks the brevity of the Gettysburg Address. Yet we must remember that a longer speech, two hours, preceded Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. When a nation’s heart is wounded, even though they may be beautifully appropriate, 271 words are not enough. We need more time to grieve, and we need someone to remind us that this is not all that there is. We need someone to tell us the story of the man: from whence he came, the character he exhibited, and of his final end.
Yet that is not all that Rev. Matthew Simpson did. As strange as it may sound to our ears — generations without a living memory of that awful war — in addition to honoring Lincoln, Simpson spoke of vengeance.
And now, my friends, in the words of the departed, “with malice toward none,” free from all feelings of personal vengeance, yet believing that the sword must not be borne in vain, let us go forward even in painful duty. Let every man who was a senator or representative in Congress, and who aided in beginning this rebellion, and thus led to the slaughter of our sons and daughters, be brought to speedy and to certain punishment. Let every officer educated at the public expense, and who, having been advanced to high position, perjured himself and turned his sword against the vitals of his country, be doomed to a traitor’s death. This, I believe, is the will of the American people. Men may attempt to compromise, and to restore these traitors and murderers to society again. Vainly may they talk of the fancied honor or chivalry of these murderers of our sons–these starvers of our prisoners–these officers who mined their prisons and placed kegs of powder to destroy our captive officers. But the American people will rise in their majesty and sweep all such compromises and compromisers away, and will declare that there shall be no safety for rebel leaders. But to the deluded masses we will extend the arms of forgiveness. We will take them to our hearts, and walk with them side by side, as we go forward to work out a glorious destiny. (from here)
Fortunately, the leaders of our government did not entirely share Simpson’s passion for punishment. Yet before we deride Simpson, let us reconsider. Do you know the number of funerals where Simpson spoke the words of the eulogy for a soldier who did not return home? Do you know of the grief he saw and felt? I don’t either, but I expect many fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters asked Simpson to speak at a funeral. I suspect Simpson spoke at more than just one funeral.
John 14:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”