"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." President Abraham Lincoln is famous for his honesty across the ages, a quality our fellow Americans appreciate more and more as we find it less and less in today's situational politics. As such, he proved himself less a politician and more a statesman.
Once, a store owner, Mr. Offut, hired the young Lincoln to serve as clerk in his country store in New Salem, Illinois. The tall 6'4" young man was a good salesman, and the customers liked him. Mr. Offut bragged his clerk knew more than anyone else, and that he could outrun and out-wrestle any man in the county.
People nicked name him "Honest Abe" because he set an example of integrity. As a store clerk, Lincoln overcharged one lady customer six cents and walked three miles to settle the debt. Another time, he left a small weight on the scale while pricing tea and again walked a distance next morning to return the right amount of tea. Several stories of his honesty followed him through his legal and political career.
"No man ever had fewer advantages than Abraham Lincoln," wrote author James Baldwin. "As a boy, he was the poorest of the poor. No rich friend held out a helping hand. But see what he had already accomplished by pluck, perseverance, and honesty! He was very awkward and far from handsome, but he was so modest, so unselfish and kind, that every one who knew him liked him. He was a true gentleman at heart, if not in outside polish."
("The Story of Abraham Lincoln/In the Legislature," Wikisource, The Free Library , accessed February 4, 2011.)
Lincoln began his political career when he was elected to the Illinois State Legislature at the age of 22. Two years later, the people re-elected him for a second term.
He was ultimately sworn in as president on March 4, 1861, and fought four years against an onslaught of counter-mixing opinions to preserve the nation against all odds. He met the humane purpose of the war head-on with the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves.
On November 19, 1863, Lincoln delivered a most eloquent speech, the Gettysburg Address, over a terrain littered with thousands of Civil War dead from both sides.
"He had not had access to many books, but he knew books better than most men of his age. He knew the Bible by heart; he was familiar with Shakespeare; he could repeat nearly all the poems of Burns; he knew much about physics and mechanics; he had mastered the elements of law." Lincoln avidly read his Bible and kept it with him.
"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book" (Baltimore, 1864).
"Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration which it has already attained," he commented on the Civil War. "Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
"Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God, and each invokes His against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes" (Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865).
Bill Hunt dedicated his marriage to discovering God's 100 million miracles in life. As a Christian Writer, administrator, and career educator, he writes true miracle stories and Christian teachings on FaithWriters and CornerRetreat.blogspot.com.
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