Abraham Lincoln, the clergy, elections, and reading Bible aright

Some things are worth repeating.

During the time Abraham Lincoln was running for President of the United States he stayed in Springfield IL (it was not the norm for the presidential candidate to canvass the country for votes; this was done by his supporters). One day in October of that year (1860) Lincoln desired to survey all the voters (all males) in Springfield. He was particularly interested in the votes of the clergy. A book was given him, he looked at it, closed the book, and turned to his friend.

“Here are twenty-three ministers of different denominations, and all of them are against me but three; and here are a great many prominent members of the churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian – God knows I would be one – but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not understand this book.”  Taking a copy of his New Testament out of his pocket, he continued.

“These men well know that I am for freedom in the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and laws will permit, and my opponents are for slavery. They know this; and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.”

Mr. Lincoln paused, rose to his feet, and walked up and down the room with his head bowed. When he raised his face it was wet with tears.

“I know there is a God,” he said, “and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see a storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me – and I think He has – I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but the truth is everything. I know I am right because I know liberty is right, for Christ teaches it and Christ is God … with God’s help I shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I will be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles aright.”

(The Humorous Mr. Lincoln, Keith Johnson, The Country Press, 1988, p. 66)

#bible, #lincoln, #preachers, #slavery, #votes