Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great Abraham Lincoln Quote

In this day and age of bipartisan politics, here's a nice Lincoln quote which speaks of two parties working together to participate in God's Will:

Lincoln's peculiar vision of the sacred led him to defy the conventions of his day. For centuries settlers in the New World had assured themselves that they were special in God's eyes. They were a "City upon a Hill," in John Winthrop's phrase, decidedly chosen, like the Israelites of old. Lincoln turned this on its head when he said, "I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle." The country, Lincoln said, was almost chosen. Out of that phrase emerged a crucial strain of Lincoln's thinking. As others invoked the favor of God in both the North and the South, Lincoln opened a space between mortal works and divine intention. Among his papers, after his death, his secretaries found this undated statement that has come to be known as the "Meditation on the Divine Will."

The will of God prevails—In great contests
each party claims to act in accordence with
the will of God. Both may be, and one
must be wrong. God can not be for, and
against the same thing at the same time.
In the present civil war it is quite possible
that God's purpose is something different from
the purpose of either party—and yet the human
instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of
the best adaptation to effect this

After this first passage the handwriting grows shakier; the words practically tremble with the thoughts they express. First Lincoln crossed out the last word he had written.

His purpose. I am
almost ready to say this is probably true—that
God wills this contest, and wills that it shall
not end yet—By his mere quiet power, on the minds
of the now contestants, He could have either saved
or destroyed the Union without a human contest—
Yet the contest began—And having begun
He could give the final victory to either side
any day—Yet the contest proceeds—

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