Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/326
Orations at Unveiling of Stonewall Jackson's Statue. 325
had perilled all, and so kindled them with his own magnetic fire as to fuse them into one articulated body-one heart throbbing through all the members, one spirit animating the entire frame that heart, that spirit, his own. It was his sublime indifference to personal danger, to personal comfort and personal aggrandizement, that gave him such power over the armies he commanded, and such a place in the hearts of the people of the Confederate States.
The true test of attachment to any cause is what one is willing to suffer for its advancement, and it is the spectacle of disinterested devotion to the right and true at the cost of toil, and travail, and blood, if need be, that captivates the popular heart and calls forth its admiration and sweetest affection. He who exhibits most of this spirit is the man who unconsciously wins for himself enduring fame. When he passes from earth to a higher and diviner sphere his influ- ence does not perish. It is not the transient brilliance of the meteor, but the calm radiance of a star, whose light, undimmed and undimin- ished, comes down to kindle all true and brave souls through im- measurable time. Exalted by the disinterested works he has wrought, by his example he elevates others, and thus becomes the trellis, strong and high, on which other souls may stretch themselves in the pursuit of whatsoever is excellent in human character and achievement. Such a man was Jackson. Such is the recognition of him beyond the sea of which this statue is a token. Such is our appreciation of his claim upon our gratitude, upon our undying love, in testimony of which we gather around this statue to-day, and crown it with the laurel, first moistened by our tears.
3. But this universal sentiment of regard for his memory rests upon foundations which lie still deeper in the human heart. At the mention of his name, another idea inseparably associated with it invariably asserts its place in the mental portraiture which all men acquainted with his history have formed of him; and so I announce as the third and last explanation of the homage awarded him, the sincerity, the purity, and the elevation of his character as a servant of the Most High God.
No one acquainted with the moral history of the world can for a moment doubt that religious veneration is at once the profoundest and most universal of human instincts; and however individual men may chafe at the restraints which piety imposes, or be indifferent to its obligations, yet there is a sentiment in the popular heart which compels its homage for those whose character and lives most faith- fully reflect the beauty of the Divine Image.