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Abraham Lincoln: President of “This Nation, Under God”

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for that day.” These are not words coming from some helpless beggar or an uneducated man with no one to counsel him. These are the words of the sixteenth President of the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln is considered by some to be the greatest President of the greatest nation in the world, yet he reveals that all his security, intelligence, and strength rest on his Almighty God.

Born in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln grew up to be a lawyer and House Representative of Illinois, as he strongly fought for abolition in many ways prior to his presidency. Elected to be the President of the United States on November 6, 1860, Lincoln defeated Stephen A. Douglas (among others) just two years after losing the senate election against Douglas, an election that followed the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

Only a month after his March 4, 1861 inauguration, the Civil War began. Throughout the Civil War, President Lincoln turned to the Lord. He had no other choice, for even the President of the United States could not have the wisdom or ability to guide a nation through such a self-division as the Civil War.

He made many historic decisions in this four-year period. On January 1, 1863 he freed the slaves of the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation. In November of that same year he delivered his short, famous Gettysburg Address. The following year, as the war turned in favor of the North, he was elected to a second term of presidency, a term his life did not see much of. Just five days after Robert E. Lee surrendered, Lincoln was shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth, and left this earth the next day.

It is a great responsibility to lead a nation, especially to lead a nation rightly. To accomplish such a task seems too daunting for any human being to face. But reliance on the Lord, Who caused the universe to be, can aid a man through any peril. Lincoln said, “Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance on God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.”

Lincoln not only proclaimed the God of the Bible, but insisted that the nation he presided over should turn to Him. In the middle of the Civil War, Lincoln declared that a day should be set aside for prayer and fasting: “…We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own….It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins…”

Even the holiday of Thanksgiving was declared by Lincoln. It was to be a “day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” So many of Lincoln’s actions and decisions as President were rooted in following the Lord. Obviously Lincoln was given significant gift and position in life. But, he met that with a full heart, to serve our nation and our God.

 

References:

Toby Mac, and Michael Tait. Under God. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2004. Print.

http://www.alplm.org/home.html

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/faithquotes.htm

 

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