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Excerpt from The Lincoln Family Magazine, Vol. 2: Genealogical, Historical and Biographical; January, 1917
The following incident, however, sets forth Mr. Lin coln's views upon the question of vital godliness, in the very strongest light: Several months before his ever-to be-lamented death a gentleman called upon him on busi ness. After the business was closed and they were about to part the gentleman said to the President, On leaving home a friend requested me to ask Mr. Lincoln whether he loved Jesus. The gentleman makes the following re port: The President buried his face in his handkerchief, turned away and wept. He then turned and said, When I left home to take the chair of state I requested my coun trymen to pray for me. 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 heroes who had fallen in de fense of their country, I then and there consecrated my self to Christ. I do love Jesus! This simple and touch ing confession needs no comment. It opens to the world the heart and religious experience of the good man. The people felt that he was honest in all his dealings with them, and so he was equally honest with himself and God. These few simple utterances, welling up from the depths of his heart, and accompanied with tears, will ever be cherishedby Christians of every name and sect as the most precious sayings of his life. They touch the tenderest chord in the Christian's heart. Christians of every name will ever te gard him as a brother beloved, but departed, and when thinking of him as departed the language of the burial ser vice will not be inappropriate: It hath pleased Al mighty God, in His wise providence to take out of this world the soul of our deceased Brother!
Think, not, my hearers, that I have brought forward these facts and incidents in the life of our lamented Presi dent because I think it requires an argument in the style of special pleading to prove his adherence to the principles of Christianity and the doctrines of the New Testament. No; his Christian, as well as his public and political character, is known and read of all men. With him there was no reserve or concealment. His character was per fectly transparent. His faults as Well as his virtues were equally apparent.
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