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lips foul with falsehood and odorous from the carousal; but we know that from him they were the outburst of emotion from a sincerely-thankful heart.
When the great battle of Stone River was in progress, Mr. Lincoln was informed of it, and became so anxious that he could not eat. A lady friend told him that he must trust in God, and at least could pray. “Yes," he said, “I can," and, taking up his Bible, left the room. The news of the rout of Bragg soon followed, and Lincoln came in, exclaiming, “Good news! Good news! The victory is ours, and God is good.”. Nothing like praying,” said the lady. “ Yes, there is,” said Lincoln—“ PRAISE—prayer, and praise.”
In February, 1862, he lost a little son, in whose life his affections were bound up by the tenderest ties of parental love-little WILLIE. His loss afflicted Mr. Lincoln deeply. A Christian lady told him the people were praying for him. “I am glad to hear that,” he said; “I want them to pray for me; I need their prayers;' and added, “I will try to go to God with my sorrows." Afterward he said: “I think I can trust in God; I wish I had that childlike faith
A RELIGIOUS REDEL.
you speak of, and I think God will give it to me.”
What language could be more childlike in faith than this?
We select illustrations without regard to chronological order. A few members of the Christian Commission, in whose labors he took unflagging interest, in conversing with him one day, referred to the trust they could repose in God's providence. Mr. Lincoln replied: “If it were not for my firm belief in an overruling Providence, it would be difficult for me, in such a complication of affairs, to keep my reason on its seat. But I am confident that the Almighty has his plans and will work them out. * * I have always taken counsel of him, and referred to him my plans, and have never adopted a course of proceeding without being assured, as far as I could be, of his approbation.”
Mr. Lincoln had a supreme contempt for hypocrisy in religion, and many were the times, in his professional career as a lawyer and a politician, that he subjected it to his merciless ridicule. Of this we give a single illustration. The wife of a rebel officer, imprisoned on Johnson's Island, beset him for his release, alledging that her husband was a “very religious man!” Mr.
Lincoln could not but be touched with the ridiculous nature of this appeal, and said: “Tell him that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to fight and rebel against their Government because, as they think, that Government does not sufficiently help them to eat their bread in the sweat of other men's faces, is not the sort of religion upon which men can get to heaven.”
We may further trace the religious tendencies and character of Lincoln's mind by his literary preferences. In a conversation with Mr. F. B. Carpenter,* the artist, he remarked : “ There are some quaint, queer verses, written, I think, by Oliver W. Holmes, entitled. The Last Leaf,' one of which is to me inexpressibly touching; it is this:
“The mossy marbles rest
In their bloom,
On the tomb!"
* Mr. Carpenter was employed, for a period of six months, in producing his great picture, “ The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation,” during which time he was on intimate relations with Lincoln. He has since produced a book of extraordinary interest, “Six Months at the White House,” to which we are indebted for the above, and also for some incidents hereinafter related.
HIS FAVORITE POEM.
“For pure pathos," said he, “there is nothing finer than these six lines in the English language.”
His “favorite poem,” now so widely known, he clipped from the columns of a newspaper while a young man, and by frequent readings came to know it by heart. It was written by William Knox, a young man who died in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1825. This poem Mr. Lincoln recited to friends at various times. It is as follows:
WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE PROUD?
O, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
from life to his rest in his grave.
And the inemory of those who loved her and praised Are alike from the minds of the living erased.
The hand of the king that the scepter hath borne,
For we are the same that our fathers have been;
The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think; From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would
shrink; To the life we are clinging, they also would cling, But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.