The Sanitary Commission An Answer To Lincoln's Prayer
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN my study at Buffalo, the officers of the church, after the business of an evening had been transacted, fell into an informal discussion of the subject of Lincoln's religion. One claimed that Lincoln was a rank atheist. Another said he was inclined to think him an unbeliever, especially since he had read what Lincoln's old law partner had said on the subject. Most of those present held the opinion that he was a man of faith and prayer, a true Christian. I suggested that the difference of opinion on the subject grew out of the fact that early in life Lincoln, like many others, had a period of unbelief, when he said and wrote some things unfriendly to Christianity, but that when he came up to the tremendous responsibilities of leadership that were laid upon him, he leaned hard upon the Divine arm, and sought and found the Divine guidance, and that in character and life he proved himself to be a true Christian. Dr. Hill, a trustee, who had been silent up to this time said : " Brethren, I think I can settle the question and put at rest any doubt of the great President's faith. During the war there was a reception given at the White House to the members of the Sanitary Commission. I was present. During the evening I took the opportunity to compliment President Lincoln on the wonderful success of the Commission. He said, ` Doctor, would you like to know how this institution was started?' ` I certainly would, Mr. President,' said I. He continued, ` One rainy night I could not sleep ; the wounds of the soldiers and sailors distressed me; their pains pierced my heart, and I asked God to show me how they could have better relief. After wrestling some time in prayer, he put the plans of the Sanitary Commission in my mind, and they have been carried out pretty much as God gave them to me that night. Doctor, thank our kind Heavenly rather and not me for the Sanitary Commission.' Do you think," said Dr. Hill, " that a man that would do or talk that way could be anything but a true believer. Gentlemen, if those of us who are leaders in the church shall have as much real religion as President Lincoln had we will have very little difficulty in getting to heaven."
After Dr. Hill had spoken there was nothing more to be said on the subject, but to agree unanimously that Lincoln was a true believer in God and in his holy religion.