Source: David Otis Mears, D.D.: An Autobiography, 1842-1893
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The Albany Pastorate—1895-1910” [chapter 12]
Author(s): Mears, David Otis [autobiography]; Davidson, H. A. [biography]
Editor(s): Davidson, H. A.
Publisher: Pilgrim Press
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1920
Pagination: 182-205 (excerpt below includes only pages 192-93)
|Davidson, H. A. “The Albany Pastorate—1895-1910” [chapter 12]. David Otis Mears, D.D.: An Autobiography, 1842-1893. By David Otis Mears. Ed. H. A. Davidson. Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1920: pp. 182-205.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination (public response); William McKinley (death: public response: Albany, NY); William McKinley (death: religious response); David Otis Mears; McKinley memorial services (Albany, NY); David Otis Mears (public addresses); McKinley assassination (religious interpretation: criticism); McKinley assassination (religious interpretation).|
|William McKinley; David Otis Mears.|
H. A. Davidson serves as the book’s editor. Chapters 1-9 represent the autobiography proper, written by Mears and edited by Davidson. The remaining five chapters, from which the excerpt below is taken, constitute the “memoir” penned by the editor. Davidson is therefore credited herein as both author (of the chapter) and editor (of the book).
From title page: Memoir and Notes by H. A. Davidson.
The Albany Pastorate—1895-1910 [excerpt]
In 1901, the whole nation was profoundly
stirred by the assassination of President McKinley. The people everywhere followed
with intense anxiety the effort to save the life of our chief magistrate. When,
at length, the President’s death was announced, on a Friday, the churches of
Albany united in arranging a memorial service for Sunday evening. An orator
worthy of the solemn occasion was desired. The minds of all turned to one man
entitled by his life-long patriotism and fearless pleas for civic righteousness,
to speak with authority, and he was invited to prepare the memorial address.
Deeply moved by the bereavement of the nation, Dr. Mears arose, after a sleepless
night, at three A. M., on the tolling of the bells announcing the President’s
death, and, before his usual breakfast hour, had composed the address which
he gave by invitation on the following Sabbath at the union service of eight
churches of the city. He led the great audience to serious thought by proclaiming
boldly that the crime was our own because of our remissness in duty. He said:
“What is the use of our praying for our rulers while we leave assassins free
to do their deadly work? Do any say that God has done this? But God is not an
assassin, nor does he appoint assassins. Don’t let any warped and twisted faith,
so-called, lead you to imagine that God is the author of this diabolical crime.
We have no such God. The crime is our own. We 
have heard the ravings of these defiers of God and man and let them rave on.”
Seldom has this nation proffered so united a petition as was sent to the throne of mercy for the life of President McKinley during the days that his life hung in the balance, and when the great decision came and death claimed him, the faith of many was shaken. Then did Dr. Mears, ever mindful of the needs of his flock, choose for his theme the question, “Had we a right to expect the recovery of the President?” He declared that prayers for the recovery of the President were right, but that God worked by law. Human skill depends upon working with nature. So God himself usually works along the lines He Himself has marked out in the creation of man. He pointed out that men had the right to hope for recovery, trusting to such knowledge as the surgeons possessed at the time, but added: “Had those men of science known that gangrene from poison, or from depleted vitality, or what not, was around the entire course of the bullet, there would not have been one ray of hope in any heart in the whole nation.”
In such manner, like a watchman on a tower, or an interpreter of the ways of God with man, Dr. Mears scanned the movements that stirred the nation and taught from them God’s justice and mercy.