Lincoln and Trust in God

In some ways few presidents would have had better cause to doubt God than Abraham Lincoln.  Losing his mother at nine, he would endure the deaths of both his infant brother and his beloved elder sister who died in childbirth.   Two of his sons died before his eyes and he presided as President over a nation which was convulsed by a civil war which remains the bloodiest conflict this nation has ever fought.  Instead during the Civil War Lincoln grew to have an immense trust in God.  This is shown strikingly in a letter he wrote to Quaker Eliza P.  Gurney:

Executive Mansion, Washington, September 4, 1864.

Eliza P. Gurney. My esteemed friend.

I have not forgotten–probably never shall forget–the very  impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a  Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written  nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been  your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much  indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their  constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more  than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and  must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately  perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this  terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled  otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own  error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light  He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great  ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this  mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal  could stay.

Your people–the Friends–have had, and are having, a very  great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and  oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war.  In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn, and some the  other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have  done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience,  under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not;  and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself,  your earnest prayers to our Father in heaven.

Your sincere friend A. Lincoln.

Our wisest statesman have always remembered that behind the trappings of power of this World that God is ultimately the one who has charge of the fate of nations as well as individuals.

Published in: on December 16, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. While I am (unfortunately) not of your belief, the depth and compassion of this great American is clear in his letter.

  2. Lincoln was not just a great statesman Mustang, he also was a very good man, and that makes a powerful combination.


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