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liverer. God heard those prayers; and slowly to our eyes and to their waiting hearts, but more surely for the fulfilment of his own grand purposes of love and mercy, he prepared the man who should grasp the keys of destiny with a firm hand but a tender heart, and unlock the doors of the prison-house. And so prayer cultured Abraham Lincoln.
But how describe the culture which that great soul received from Nature with her myriad forms of beauty, and from God and the angels? The receptive mind, consciously or unconsciously (and more often the latter), is powerfully impressed with the wonders of the outward world; and Abraham Lincoln was one of those who could not witness that awakening of the spring-time, which Longfellow calls “the great annual miracle of Nature,” without receiving lasting and salutary impressions. So, too, the “soft summer-time,” autumn with its golden glory, and the winter with its crystals of geometric beauty covering the earth with a snowy carpet, - all taught him divinest lessons. There was no Vatican, nor British Museum, nor Astor Library, with their myriad volumes, to aid in his intellectual culture; but he early learned to find —
Tongues in the trees, books in the running brooks,
and his young soul grew more and more.
Angels from the world of light hovered around his pathway, as long ago around his Lord, and as they encamp around all God's dear children. The dream of Doddridge, which showed him an angel-guardian in many a scene of danger through which he had passed, was but a truthful expression of the fact that the “ cloud of witnesses' ever around the immortal but earth-veiled spirit
of the child of God are fulfilling grand purposes of blessing to the soul they guard.
Above all, Abraham Lincoln was taught of God. The " still small voice” was not unheard by him from early infancy. His own prayers mingled with those already mentioned, and the Great Spirit heard and answered. The divine utterance in his own soul was not unheeded; and day by day listening to it, and heeding its requirements, he not only “grew in wisdom and in stature,” but, like the Holy Child, he also “grew in favor with God and man.”
“The man who is complete in that for which the world wants him," as Abraham Lincoln was, "seems not only to be suited for his work, but to have had all circumstances suited to him. He is born in the right age of history. The proper spot of earth waits for him and receives him. The household into which he enters appears best for him amidst all the households of humanity. So perhaps it might not be judged in many a case if we saw the man in the first stages of his nurture; but so we find it when we can see his life in its issues. A similar adaptation may be noticed in any remarkable man's tastes, trials, and pursuits ; in all, indeed, that subserves his training and his experience.”* Abraham Lincoln became just such a remarkable man, after a youth spent in receiving just the culture of heart and mind needed for his place in the world.
The early days of Lincoln, spent in the obscurity of his forest home, have already been traced. His removal to Illinois brought him to new scenes, and under new influences. He was now to be cultured by society in a greater degree than ever before.
* “Ilustrations of Genius," by Rev. Henry Giles.
Having passed his twenty-first birthday, he began in 1831 to labor for himself. He aided to build a flatboat, and then went in it to New Orleans, and so satisfactorily cared for boat and cargo, that his employer took him into his store at New Salem, twenty miles below Spring. field. Here for a twelvemonth he became more familiar with arithmetic; and here he so dealt with his customers, and so conducted himself in all the relations of life, that he began to be known as “Honest Abe," -- an honorable title which will never be taken away; for he never for feited it.
Athletic and active, young Lincoln could not fail to engage in the usual out-door sports of young men in that place, and was usually the acknowledged judge of the games, whose integrity or good judgment was unquestionable.
It cannot be said that the culture of Abraham Lincoln was that which would make him shine in polite society. His uncouth, awkward form and homely visage, his un. polished dress and address, were to be expected from his pioneer life; but his soul was robed in beauty which the angels could discern, and which all high souls, to whom he was known on earth, sooner or later perceived. His culture was such as many a man of humble birth and lowly home may share, and it brought him into sympathy with the people over whom he was to be placed, and clothed him with true humility when he stood on the pinnacle of power and fame. It was a culture which produced simplicity, that child-like charm which won all appreciative hearts to the Martyr-President. “Simplicity adapts itself artlessly to others, because it is full of charity, and therefore desires to make others happy. Its words are the overflow of genial thought and kindly affection; and all hearts that hold aught in common with it open and
expand before its influences, as plants start at the touch of spring. ... There is no affectation, no straining for effect, in simplicity. All is natural and genuine with it. Its wit is never forced, its wisdom is never stilted; nor is either ever dragged in for mere display.”*
This rare simplicity was a special result of the culture which President Lincoln received; and, while the hand of God is plainly to be observed in all his history, nowhere is it more prominently seen than in the circumstances and influences which helped to make Lincoln what he
a man whose culture was not scientific or literary mainly, but just such as would make a man of the people fit to govern the people in righteousness and love.
" Elements of Character," by Mrs. Mary G. Ware.
PREPARATION FOR HIS WORK.
" Walk Boldly and wisely in that light thou hast: There is a hand above will help thee on."
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the Freastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able 2 quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and uc sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – ST. PAUL (Epli. vi. 11-17).
Veil the truth as we may, if indisposed to see it, yet, nevertheless, there will come shining through the mighty fact that God had a work for Abraham Lincoln to perform, and that lie prepared him for it, not by giving liim wcalthy friends, inherited lionors, splendid position, but by permitting him to be inured to toil and hardship and bereavement, and thus to
“Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong."
Day by day, amid the peculiar circumstances of his early days and opening manhood, was he putting on the armor which should be needed in the hours of stern conflict that were approaching. Well has one * said, "Lap of luxury and liome of ease send not forth the arms that move the world. He who is driven aloft by the force of circumgtances becomes the noblest soul and the mighti.
• Rov. Augustino Caldwell.