Gettysburg Address, world-famous speech delivered by U.S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln at the dedication (November 19, 1863) of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War (July 1–3, 1863).
The main address at the dedication ceremony was a two-hour speech delivered by Edward Everett, the best-known orator of the time. Steeped in the tradition of ancient Greek oratory, Everett’s speech was some 13,000 words long, but he delivered it without notes. It included allusions to the Battle of Marathon and comparisons with the English Civil Wars, the War of the Roses, and wars in German, French, and Italian history, along with a dissection of the Confederate “rebellion” and an exhaustive description of the events leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg and of the battle itself. Everett concluded by saying:
’The whole earth,’ said Pericles, as he stood over the remains of his fellow-citizens, who had fallen in the first year of the Peloponnesian War,-’the whole earth is the sepulchre of illustrious men.’ All time, he might have added, is the millennium of their glory. Surely I would do no injustice to the other noble achievements of the war, which have reflected such honor on both arms of the service, and have entitled the armies and the navy of the United States, their officers and men, to the warmest thanks and the richest rewards which a grateful people can pay. But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country there will be no brighter page than that which relates THE BATTLES OF GETTYSBURG.
In the wake of such a performance, Lincoln’s brief speech (just 272 words long) would hardly seem to have drawn notice. However, despite some criticism from his opposition, it was widely quoted and praised and soon came to be recognized as one of the classic utterances of all time, a masterpiece of prose poetry. On the day following the ceremony, Everett himself wrote to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
The text quoted in full below represents the fifth of five extant copies of the address in Lincoln’s handwriting; it differs slightly from earlier versions and may reflect, in addition to afterthought, interpolations made during the delivery.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
When people hear the phrase, "the body of Christ" some think it refers to the literal body of Jesus like the one he had while on the earth. The term actually refers to the members of his church throughout history. Therefore every Christian is a part of the body of Christ. Just like a human body, the body of Christ is made up of many different parts but all are meant to function together in unity. Limbs, when left alone are useless but when they come together there is movement and purpose. The ultimate purpose of every Christian is to glorify God. Imagine the power that comes from a church that functions as a whole unit with every body part in its place. Sadly, the Corinthian Christians were a bunch of separated limbs. I'm not sure where it was first told, but the story below sums it up well...
A carpenter’s tools were having a conference. Brother Hammer was presiding, but the others informed him that he’d have to leave because he was too noisy. "All right," he said, "I’ll go, but Brother Plane must withdraw too. There’s no depth to his work. It’s always on the surface." Brother Plane responded, "Well, Brother Rule will also have to go too. He’s constantly measuring people as if he were the only one who’s right." Brother Rule then complained about Brother Sandpaper, saying, "He’s rougher than he ought to be. He’s very abrasive and he's always rubbing people the wrong way." Brother Sandpaper was annoyed by Brother Saw, claiming that he had a very sharp and cutting personality. Brother Saw leveled his criticism at Brother Level, saying that he always tends to blame others for being crooked and unbalanced. Brother Level had a major problem with Brother Hand Drill, accusing him of coming along and sticking his long penetrating nose into other people's business. And wouldn't you know it, Brother Hand Drill was really bothered by Brother Clamp because Brother Clamp always seemed so uptight and never seemed relaxed. In the midst of this bitter discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He spoke sternly to all the tools, rebuked them, and told them to hold their peace. He shared with them that everyone of them had a purpose and that they were uniquely made to fulfill that purpose. He told them that everyone of them was important and had a special job to do. The Carpenter told them that He needed every one of them in order to do His work. He then went to His workbench to make a pulpit from which to preach the gospel. He used the hammer, the plane, the rule, the sandpaper, the saw, the level, the hand drill and the clamp. Not one tool was untouched or unused. After the pulpit was finished, Brother Rule arose and said, "I see now that all of us are laborers together with God." There's no such thing as an unemployed Christian in the church. We all have something to contribute and we all need each other to accomplish the work God has for us!
(a) In general, in our relying on the Lord Jesus only for the success of our prayers in heaven. Consider that we are in this matter to rely on Him only for access to God in our prayers (Ephesians 3:12; John 14:6). For acceptance of our prayers (Ephesians 1:6). For the gracious answer of prayer, and consider how we are to eye Christ as the object of this reliance — viz., as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, 16). And here we find the infinite merit of His sacrifice (Romans 3:25), and His never-failing intercession to rely on (Hebrews 7:25).
(b) More particularly, praying in the name of Christ, and for His sake consists in renouncing all merit and worth in ourselves, in point of access, acceptance, and gracious answer (Genesis 32:10); believing that however great the mercies are, and however unworthy we are, yet we may obtain them from God through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15, 16). In seeking in prayer the mercies we need of God for Christ's sake accordingly (John 16:24). In pleading His merit and intercession (Psalm 84:9); in trusting that we shall obtain a gracious answer for His sake (Mark 11:24).
On the first Sunday of the New Year all the members of the mission churches came to the city church for a combined Communion service.
In those mission churches, which were located in the slums of the city, were some outstanding cases of conversions—thieves, burglars, and so on—but all knelt side by side at the Communion.
On one such occasion the pastor saw a former burglar kneeling beside a judge—the same judge who had sent him to jail where he had served seven years. After his release this burglar had been converted and become a Christian worker. Yet, as they knelt there, the judge and the former convict, neither one seemed to be aware of the other.
After the service, the judge was walking home with the pastor and said to the pastor, “Did you notice who was kneeling beside me at the Communion rail this morning?” The pastor replied, “Yes, but I didn’t know that you noticed.” The two walked along in silence for a few more moments, and then the judge said, “What a miracle of grace.” The pastor nodded in agreement. “Yes, what a marvelous miracle of grace.” Then the judge said “But to whom do you refer?” And the pastor said, “Why, to the conversion of that convict.” The judge said, “But I was not referring to him. I was thinking of myself” The pastor, surprised, replied, “You were thinking of yourself? I don’t understand.”
“Yes,” the judge replied, “it did not cost that burglar much to get converted when he came out of jail. He had nothing but a history of crime behind him, and when he saw Jesus as his Savior he knew there was salvation and hope and joy for him. And he knew how much he needed that help.
But look at me. I was taught from earliest infancy to live as a gentleman; that my word was to be my bond; that I was to say my prayers, go to church, take Communion and so on. I went through Oxford, took my degrees, was called to the bar and eventually became a judge. Pastor, nothing but the grace of God could have caused me to admit that I was a sinner on a level with that burglar. It took much more grace to forgive me for all my pride and self-deception, to get me to admit that I was no better in the eyes of God than that convict that I had sent to prison.”
An early Christian document known as the Epistle to Diognetus (c. A.D. 120-200) is believed to have been written by a man named Athenagoras. In one important section the author describes how Christians are alike—and different from others:
The difference between Christians and the rest of mankind is not a matter of nationality, or language, or customs. Christians do not live in separate cities of their own, speak any special dialect, not practice any eccentric way of life. … They pass their lives in whatever township—Greek or foreign—each man's lot has determined; and conform to ordinary local usage in their clothing, diet, and other habits. Nevertheless, the organization of their community does exhibit some features that are remarkable, and even surprising. For instance, though they are residents at home in their own countries, their behavior there is more like transients. … Though destiny has placed them here in the flesh, they do not live after the flesh; their days are passed on earth, but their citizenship is above in the heavens. They obey the prescribed laws, but in their own private lives they transcend the laws. They show love to all men—and all men persecute them. They are misunderstood, and condemned; yet by suffering death they are quickened into life. They are poor, yet making many rich; lacking all things, yet having all things in abundance. … They repay [curses] with blessings, and abuse with courtesy. For the good they do, they suffer stripes as evildoers.
On This Memorial Day Weekend . . .
The Story of John Robert Fox . . .
During the Second World War, countless Allied soldiers put their lives on the line for the good of their country. Others simply offered themselves up in order to save comrades. But still, even in this time of true heroism, the story of John Robert Fox stands out. The artillery officer added his names to the history books – and earned himself a posthumous Medal of Honor – for the sacrifice he made one December day in 1944, when he was thousands of miles from home.
Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in May 1915. By all accounts, he was a smart, diligent young man and he earned a place at Wilberforce University. Here, he signed up for the Reserve Officer Training Corp, meaning he not only finished college with a graduate degree, but with a rank of Second Lieutenant. When war broke out, then, he took his commission and joined the 92nd Infantry Division, a segregated division for African-American soldiers that fought with distinction throughout the conflict.
With his unit, Fox was sent to the European theater of war. In 1944, he found himself fighting the Nazis in Italy. It was here where, in December of that year, he was tasked to stay behind in the small village of Sommocolonia, in Tuscany. The village had been overrun by Nazis, and Americans were in retreat. Fox found a house to hide in and, from the second floor, he used his radio to contact his colleagues. He called for artillery fire to be directed at the village in order to give the US forces time to retreat, regroup and then launch a counter-attack. Fox even specifically ordered a barrage of fire on his exact position. The gunner who received the message pointed this out to him, assuming it must be some mistake. Fox, however, simply said: “Fire it. There’s more of them than there are us”: famous last words of a true American hero.
Fox’s act of sacrifice was not in vain. As he planned, the artillery barrage did indeed give his comrades the chance to regroup and launch a successful counterattack. When the US army entered Sommocolinia, they found Fox’s body surrounded by the bodies of around 100 Germans. It wasn’t until 1997 that his bravery was truly recognized, however. President Bill Clinton awarded Fox the Medal of Honor, with his widow, Arlene, picking it up. The citation noted it was awarded for Fox’s “gallant and courageous actions, at the supreme sacrifice of his own life”. He was a true American hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (monergism.com)
"Now is the Son of God glorified, and God is glorified in Him . . ." John 13:31
The crucifixion brought glory to the FATHER. It glorified His wisdom, faithfulness, holiness, and love. It showed Him wise, in providing a plan whereby He could be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. It showed Him faithful, in keeping His promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. It showed Him holy, in requiring His law's demands to be satisfied by our great Substitute. It showed Him loving, in providing such a Mediator, such a Redeemer, and such a Friend for sinful man as His co-eternal Son.
The crucifixion brought glory to the SON. It glorified His compassion, His patience, and His power. It showed Him most compassionate, in dying for us, suffering in our stead, allowing Himself to be counted sin and a curse for us, and buying our redemption with the price of His own blood. It showed Him most patient, in not dying the common death of most men, but in willingly submitting to such horrors and unknown agonies as no mind can conceive, when with a word he could have summoned His Father's angels, and been set free. It showed Him most powerful, in bearing the weight of all a world's transgressions, and vanquishing Satan and despoiling him of his prey.
Forever let us cling to these thoughts about the crucifixion. Let us remember that painting and sculpture can never tell a tenth part of what took place on the cross. Crucifixes and pictures at best can only show us a human being agonizing in a painful death. But of the length and breadth and depth and height of the work transacted on the cross--of God's law honored, man's sins borne, sin punished in a Substitute, free salvation bought for man--of all this they can tell nothing. Yet all this lies hid under the crucifixion. No wonder Paul cries, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Gal. 6:14.)
A Parable: Saving Lives October 02, 2015 by Pastor Chuck Swindoll
On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat . . . but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. By and by, it became a famous place.
Some of those who had been saved as well as others along the seacoast wanted to become associated with this little station. They were willing to give their time and energy and money in support of its objectives. New boats were purchased. New crews were trained. The station that was once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant began to grow. Some of its members were unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided. Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture. Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded and sophisticated, classy systems were installed. The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, systems, and appointments. By its completion, the life-saving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift. It was now used as sort of a clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings. Saving lives, feeding the hungry, strengthening the fearful, and calming the disturbed rarely occurred by now.
Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work. The original goal of the station wasn't altogether forgotten, however. The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club's decorations. In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely. Others were "different" from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built outside and away from the club so victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members. Most of the people wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims . . . ("it's too unpleasant, it's a hindrance to our social life, it's opening the door to folks who are not our kind"). As you'd expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective—that their only reason for existence was ministering to anyone needing help regardless of their club's beauty or size or decorations. They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast! They did.
As years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes. It evolved into another club . . . and yet another lifesaving station was begun. History continued to repeat itself . . . and if you visit that coast today you'll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.
Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now most of the victims are not saved. Every day they drown at sea, and so few seem to care . . . so very few. Do you?
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.