ABRAHAM LINCOLN, sixteenth President of the United States, was born in 1809. A well-known writer said of him ‘The world-wide interest in President Lincoln, from the time he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, to take the presidential chair at Washington in 1861, and the universal and real sorrow for his untimely death on April 15, 1865, were very remarkable. Even to this present day there exists amongst the different nationalities of the earth a great interest in this wise and benevolent ruler. President Lincoln had endeared himself to the hearts of millions by his human sympathy, great wisdom, and kindly acts alike toward friend and foe in the most critical and difficult period of the history of the United States, and after his death this was more fully realized and appreciated by all.’
When Lincoln left Springfield, in 1861, on his way to Washington to take the Presidency of the United States, to which he was elected, he made the following farewell address: “My friends, no one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. Here I have lived for a quarter of a century, here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. A duty devolves upon me which is greater perhaps than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine Aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support. Again I bid you all an affectionate farewell.’
These simple words, addressed to his friends and neighbours, plainly show a reliance upon God, and indicate a work of God in his soul at that time.
A friend, during an interview with Mr. Lincoln, long after he had been inaugurated President, asked him if he loved Jesus. The President buried his face in his handkerchief, and wept, and sobbed. He then said amid his tears,
`When I left home to take the chair of the State I was not then a Christian. When my son died-the severest trial of my life- I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and looked upon the graves of our dead who had fallen in the defence of their country, I then and there committed myself to Christ. I do love Jesus. The spectacle of that crucified One which is before my eyes is more than sublime-it is divine.’
A gentleman having an appointment to meet President Lincoln at five o’clock in the morning went a quarter of an hour before the time appointed. While waiting for the appointed time he heard in the next room a voice as if in grave conversation, and asked an attendant standing by, ‘Who is talking in the next room?’ ‘It is the President, sir,’ replied the attendant. ‘Is anybody with him?’ the gentleman enquired. ‘No; he is reading the Bible.’ ‘Is that his habit so early in the morning?’ ‘Yes, sir, he spends every morning from four o’clock to five in reading the Scriptures and praying.’
Article Written By: Henry Pickering’s “Twice-Born Men”