I don't know who my grandfather was, I'm much more concerned to know what his grandson
Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who
accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write
the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded missive to the
president. "What are you going to do with it?" Lincoln inquired. Surprised,
Stanton replied, "Send it." Lincoln shook his head. "You don't want to send
that letter," he said. "Put it in the stove. That's what I do when I have
written a letter while I am angry. It's a good letter and you had a good time writing it
and feel better. Now burn it, and write another."
Today in the Word, February, 1991,
On a plaque marking Abraham Lincoln's birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, is
recorded this scrap of conversation: "Any news down 't the village, Ezry?"
"Well, Squire McLain's gone t' Washington t' see Madison swore in, and ol' Spellman
tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o' Spain. What's new out here,
neighbor?" "Nuthin' nuthin' a'tall, 'cept fer a new baby born t' Tom Lincoln's.
Nothin' ever happens out here." Some events, whether birthdays in Hodgenville (or
Bethlehem) or spiritual rebirth in a person's life, may not create much earthly splash,
but those of lasting importance will eventually get the notice they deserve.
As Abraham Lincoln prepared to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, he took his pen,
moved it to the signature line, paused for a moment, and then dropped the pen. When asked
why, the president replied, "If my name goes into history, it will be for this act,
and if my hand trembles when I sign it, there will be some who will say, 'he
hesitated.'" Lincoln then turned to the table, took up the pen, and boldly signed his
Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 8.
Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his
friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his
life's calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time
he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I
cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not." But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham
Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly
vindicated his bout with discouragement.
Today in the Word, December, 1989, p.
Once, when a stubborn disputer seemed unconvinced, Lincoln said, "Well, let's see
how many legs has a cow?" "Four, of course," came the reply disgustedly.
"That's right," agreed Lincoln. "Now suppose you call the cow's tail a leg;
how many legs would the cow have?" "Why, five, of course," was the
confident reply. "Now, that's where you're wrong," said Lincoln. "Calling a
cow's tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
Bits & Pieces, July, 1991.
Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially
during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of
office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he
once said, "I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the
end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth,
I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me."
Today In The Word, August, 1989, p. 21.
It is said that Abraham Lincoln, when he was President of the U.S., was advised to
include a certain man in his cabinet. When he refused he was asked why he would not accept
him. "I don't like his face," the President replied. "But the poor man
isn't responsible for his face," responded his advocate. "Every man over forty
is responsible for his face" countered Lincoln.
Resource, July/August, 1990.
Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling
power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured
hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime
truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are
blessed whose God is the Lord.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments
and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil
war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our
presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved
these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no
other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in
peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the
deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior
wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too
self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray
to the God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and
gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I
do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those
who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the
last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who
dwelleth in the heavens.
(signed) A. Lincoln October 3, 1863.