Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

a friend, a few days before the election took place, he alluded to the fact that many prominent ministers of the Gospel and professing Christians of his own town intended to vote for the pro-slavery candidates. “I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not so understand this book," he said, as he drew from his bosom a pocket Testament. “These men well know that I am for freedom in the territories, for freedom every-where, as far as the Constitution and laws will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery. They know this, and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage can not live for a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.” With cheeks wet with tears, and a trembling voice, he continued: “I know there is a God, and that he hates slavery and injustice. I see the storm coming, and I know that his hand is in it. If he has a place and work for me, and I believe he has, I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth and justice are every thing. I know that I am right, because I know that liberty is right; for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself can not stand, and Christ

GOD AGAINST SLAVERY.

83

and reason say the same, and they will find it 80. Douglas does not care whether slavery is voted up or down, but God cares, and humanity cares, and I care; and with God's help I shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I shall be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles aright.” Pausing a moment, and walking to and fro across the room in silence, he resumed: "A revelation could not make it plainer to me than that slavery or the Government must be destroyed. The future would be something awful to me but for this rock upon which I stand [holding up the Testament in his hand]. It seems to me that God has borne with this thing [slavery] until the very teachers of religion claim for it a divine sanction and character; and now the cup of iniquity is full and the vials will be poured out.”

In alluding to his secret feeling to this friend, he said: “I think more on these subjects [the providence, protection, and justice of God] than upon all others, and have done so for years.” These years of thoughtful contemplation of the justice, faithfulness, and sovereignty of God were not an hour longer than was needed to

establish his mind and prepare him to look calmly and fearlessly into the black future that lay before him. One ray only lit up the gloomy prospect, but that was the light of God. Lincoln fixed his eyes upon it and stepped forward, “ without fear and with a manly heart.” *

The hoarse roar of treason, falsehood, and rage arose from the Atlantic to the Mississippi ; such, in fact, as we may imagine arises from that congregation of evil ones to which God forever banishes his implacable enemies and the enemies of mankind. The nations awaited with absorbing interest the impending burst of the tempest. In the midst of it he prepared for his departure for Washington, and on the 11th of February bade good-bye to his home and friends, whom he was never again to visit while living. Addressing them, he said: “My friends, not in my position can appreciate the sadness I

* The question whether Mr. Lincoln was truly a converted man at this time has given rise to difference of opinion. His intellectual belief in our Lord Jesus Christ was clear and strong, and his confidence may have been based upon logical conclusions concerning God's attributes and providence, without any experimental knowledge of his saving love. This interesting subject will be more fully discussed in a succeeding chapter.

RELIANCE UPON GOD.

85

feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here have I lived for more than a quarter of a century. Here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. 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 can not succeed without the same divine aid which sustained him, and on the same almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will pray that I may receive that divine assistance without which I can not succeed, but with which success is certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell."

As he progressed in his journey he was received with the grandest displays of affection and honor by a nation who felt that, under God, their lives, and liberties, and national existence were in his hands.

Intense anxiety pervaded the nation to discover the feelings and plans of the new President. He was called upon at almost every

station for a speech; and as he could not prudently divulge any plans he may have entertained, or use expressions which might be construed to inflame to a greater degree the malignant passions of the rising rebels, or otherwise complicate the difficulty, his brief addresses were necessarily tame and unsatisfactory, and calculated to fill the hearts of patriots with anxious forebodings.

At Philadelphia, as he was about to leave the loyal States and take his journey through a part of the country where slavery prevailed, he learned of the discovery of a conspiracy at Baltimore to assassinate him. Taking a train the evening before the day on which he was expected in that city, he passed through in safety.

The aged hero and patriot WINFIELD Scott, then Commander-in-chief of the United States Army, was in Washington during the inauspicious months between Mr. Lincoln's election and his inauguration. He did all he could to induce the weak and traitorous President, James Buchanan, to prepare the country for the impending storm of war, but without avail. On learning the approach of Mr. Lincoln, he gathered the few soldiers stationed at Washington,

« ZurückWeiter »