Wednesday, February 09, 2005

 

Lincoln and His God

Friends,

I will dwell on the writings of Lincoln for a time I think. (Thanks, Ethel, its a gift that keeps on giving!)

I have a small book that I think we bought at Williamsburg, or Gettysburg, I can't remember, "The Words Lincoln Lived By, by Gene Griessman. I saw a quote, and realized I had read it recently, so I scrambled to my book of "Readings From Lincoln," Edited by Alfred A. Wright, Hartford Public High School, published by Henry Holt & Co., 1927. (It amazes me that such studies were an essential part of secondary school education as little as 50 years ago, and this is college material now.)

From Lincoln's Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862:

"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable
alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose
the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The
way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world
will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

Griessman attributes Lincoln's attitudes to Thomas Paine, and quotes from "The Age of Reason,"

"I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist
in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures
happy."

Lincoln speaks to the very foundation of our Republic and the values enshrined in our history. From Lincoln's Second Inaugural:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as
God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to
bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle,
and for his widow, and for his orphan -- to do all which may achieve and cherish
a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

It may be hoped, and fervently prayed, that we as citizens of this great and historic and God blessed Republic may someday soon reflect on the struggles of today, set aside one-time differences, and say that we were able to work against an evil that was real and an ever present danger.




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