The Quality Of Mercy





There is an old saying, Like king, like people, which means that the

king is usually not very different from the people whose executive he

is. If this is true of kings, it surely must be true of American

presidents. With this in mind, contrast the German Kaiser, William II,

with Abraham Lincoln. The first constantly talked of himself and God

as ruling the world. Boastfully declaring that he was the greatest of

all men and that he ruled by divine right, the former German emperor

brought upon the world the greatest evil that has ever befallen it

through selfish ambition for himself, his family, and for the German

autocracy; the other claiming to be a common man, a servant of men,

seeking no riches, no throne, no personal power, entirely unselfish,

gave his life at last to save a united democracy. Shall we not say

that Lincoln served by the right of the divine qualities in him, while

the Kaiser turned the world into a hell because of the selfish aims of

his nature--aims that are just the opposite of divine?



During the American Civil War, Mrs. Bixby, a Massachusetts mother, lost

five sons. President Lincoln wrote her the following letter:--



I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of

the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five

sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak

and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile

you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain

from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks

of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may

assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the

cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must

be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.





During the World War, Frau Meter, a German mother, lost nine sons.

Kaiser William wrote her the following letter:--



His Majesty the Kaiser hears that you have sacrificed nine sons in

defense of the Fatherland in the present war. His Majesty is immensely

gratified at the fact, and in recognition is pleased to send you his

photograph, with frame and autograph signature.





Is it necessary to add a word to make one who reads the two letters

understand the difference between the two rulers and the two ideals

they represent? God is man's highest ideal of good. Which represents

this ideal, Lincoln or the Kaiser? The United States or Germany?



A poet says of the Kaiser's letter:--



What bit of writing plainer tells

That neither love nor mercy dwells

Within his heart? What picture grim

Could better paint the soul of him?





The Kaiser was reported to have said that no family in Germany had

escaped loss. Perhaps he was gratified at this as he was at the fact

that Frau Meter had lost nine sons. One family in Germany lost neither

father nor any one of the six adult sons,--the family of Kaiser William

II. Certainly no other family in Germany of such a size escaped loss.

Would the Kaiser have felt equally gratified if his six sons had

given up their lives in fighting Germany's war of plunder and conquest?



In the last days of the war, American soldiers found upon a German

prisoner a postal card with a picture of Quentin Roosevelt lying dead

beside his airplane. Below was printed in German the statement that

America was so short of fliers, that she had to use her presidents'

sons. Germans could not understand that in America the presidents'

sons would be the first to offer their services and for work of the

most dangerous kind. The sons of the Kaiser were carefully kept out of

danger.





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