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natural qualifications under guidance. Those guides are the selected ones of the people who represent them in these Chambers. If they should fail, the country would be the sufferer. The men whom we honor here today carried on and made their contribution to the success of Government. Such leadership entitles them to all praise that we can bestow upon them. In behalf of the Members of Congress, it is my privilege to share in expressing our appreciation of them in these all-too-insufficient words.
Among the great compensations enjoyed by Members of Congress are the precious friendships formed here. These friendships grow up without regard to party affiliation, and in some instances closely rival the brotherly affection of Damon and Pythias and other comrades of legend.
Friendship—how sweet is this wonderful boon of earth! It involves so many things, but above all, the power of going out of oneself and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.
Looking back upon our associations with our late lamented brethren, we can conjure up many happy recollections. As we who are left behind continue along life's pathway, our journey will be made more pleasant as these recollections spring to mind.
Grant but memory to usSaid the poet Whittier
And we can lose nothing by death. Longfellow wrote:
The grave itself is nothing but a covered bridge
Leading from light to light through a brief darkness. Unfortunately, it is only after these associations have been severed by the Grim Reaper that there comes to us a full realization of how much we treasured them. It is, therefore, fitting that we should pause in our deliberations for this brief period, that we may pay to their memories a final and affectionate tribute.
To live in hearts we leave behind
We whose services here extend over a period of years have seen many faces come and go. The procession is endless. Those of us who have witnessed the procession the longest naturally have made the most friends, but as we look about and reflect upon the number who have gone before", a strange loneliness comes over us.
Men drop so fast, ere life's midstage we tread,
Few know so many friends alive, as dead. While we “ await alike the inevitable hour", and though death is as natural as birth, yet we cannot but feel that the passing of our late colleagues in each instance was hastened by the strain and stress of the times.
The work of a conscientious Member of Congress at any time is exacting, but perhaps at no time in the history of our country has it been more strenuous than during the past few years.
What achievements have been wrought within the historic walls of these Chambers! If on every spot where some noble servant has struggled to bring this land into a harvest of promise, if on every grave of every hero of this Capitol there should spring up some vine, some fruitful tree, some spray of flowers, our whole land would be a beautiful garden and the air would be filled with fragrance.
Our departed colleagues had devoted varying periods of time to the public service, ranging from 2 years to a third of a century. Some had attained positions of high honor in their States before coming to the National Legislature. Being gifted beyond the lot of most men, they forged their way to the top of the ladder of success by their ability.
Our country grows as the years roll on; its mighty structure is builded of the living stones that marshal themselves to forms of ceaseless labor amid the responses of a free and intelligent people; and, may I add, there is only one way to have good public servants, and that is for our fellow citizens to be worthy of being well served.
Plutarch said that the measure of a man's life is the well spending of it and not the length. Our late colleagues could well afford to have their lives judged by this standard. Those dear ones who are left behind them can be justly proud of their records of service and achievement.
The passing of these distinguished men is a loss not alone to their families, but to the Nation. Skilled in statecraft, trained in lawmaking, and experienced in public affairs, their services are no longer at the call of a Nation which today stands sorely in need of all the leadership it can secure. Yet of necessity others must rise to take their places; and because these men lived, the course of those who succeed them will be made the more smooth.
With the passing of these illustrious men, we again come face to face with the age-old question, is death the end? If this question need be answered in the affirmative, our heads might well be bowed today in grief and sorrow, and we should bid a long farewell to all that is good and great in the being of man. If the soul of man returns to dust along with his flesh, there would be occasion indeed for lamentation and despair.
There is no unbelief;
Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
Trusts in God. Job asked, “If a man die, shall he live again?” Philosophers have debated this question for centuries, but it has never been answered by any definite proof. We know that men have dreamed of immortality, and we know that the desire for everlasting life is universal. Yet we cannot prove immortality. In spite of this, men have persisted in the belief that “Death is but the beginning and not the end." There are so many spiritual capacities in man which he cannot develop in this life that they point to a better and more harmonious future.
We are taught to believe that the Savior's mission on earth was to bring immortality to light, yet even He did not try to prove its existence. Neither did He argue the question, nor go into details as to what the future life would be.
In my Father's house are many mansions
Said the Lord If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place
Our faith accepts this assurance. We would be questioning our own beliefs if we expected to be told of the particular mansion a man would occupy. Enough for us mortals to realize that a place has been prepared for those of us who are worthy of being received in the Father's house.
Thus our belief in immortality is based upon faith, which, we are told in Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, is
The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
We firmly believe that we shall meet our departed colleagues again in that,
House not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
To that unknown and silent shore. Life is like the march of an army; it is attended by tremendous hardships and losses. How unjust, how incomplete, and how pathetic life would be without immortality.
Man is a biworld creature. The testimony of reason and experience teaches that life is too short for his unfoldings; threescore and ten years are not sufficient. St. Paul recalled his career of sufferings during which he had been mobbed, stoned, and flogged; and he said that were there no hope beyond the grave, he would be of all men the most miserable. If this world ends all, what a tragedy of injustice it all is, and nothing has been so cheap as man.
What initiative and aspirations stir in his heart. The heart will smother unless it finds breathing room in a larger world. In the London Tower Sir Walter Raleigh could pace only twice his length. How his soul cried out against the limits of his dungeon life bounded by four walls. So man rebels against those walls called the cradle and the grave. He asks all the air there is between his soul and God's throne. He wants the sweep of the eternities.
Our lives are but marches to the grave. Death is no stranger to us, but is continually in our presence. The very moment we were born we began to die, yet because we have faith in the hereafter we are not afraid. We realize that death is only the way to a fuller life.
Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil.
Sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, We are prepared to approach our grave
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. The grave is like the gate in the old temple, iron on one side but beaten gold on the other. Dying is transportation, home-going, happiness, and a satisfied heart forever.
As I stand here today participating in these memorial services, my mind wanders back to a somewhat similar seryice held within these four walls a number of years ago when there lay here, still in death, all that was mortal of the illustrious and beloved former Speaker, the late lamented Champ Clark. On that occasion the then senior Senator from Missouri, the Hon. James A. Reed, delivered what to my mind was one of the most beautiful and eloquent funeral orations ever uttered. His words were so inspiring and touching, and so far beyond my power of expression, that I want to repeat now one or two passages that especially appealed to me. He said:
A wonderful stream is the river of life. A slender thread emerging from the mysterious realm of birth, it laughs and dances through the wonderland of childhood. Its broadening currents sweep between the flower-decked banks of youth, romance, and hope. A mighty torrent, it rushes over the rapids of manhood and breaks in form upon the rocks of opposition and defeat, then glides away across the barren, sterile fields of age until it is engulfed and lost within the waters of the eternal sea. There queenly robes, the beggar's rags, the rich man's gold, the pauper's copper pence, the jeweled diadem of princes, and the