Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wed. 02/12/03 07:20:58 AM

Abraham Lincoln

Born 194 years ago today, February 12, 1809.

"The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance."

Here is the letter from Eliza P. Gurney (wife of a prominent Quaker active in anti-slavery and anti-war efforts) to President Lincoln, with his reply.

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Earlham Lodge
8th mo 18 1863

To The President of the United States
Esteemed friend
Abraham Lincoln

Many times, since I was privileged to have an interview with thee, nearly a year ago, my mind has turned towards thee with feelings of sincere and Christian interest, and, as our kind friend Isaac Newton offers to be the bearer of a paper messenger, I feel inclined to give thee the assurance of my continued hearty sympathy in all thy heavy burthens and responsibilities and to express, not only my own earnest prayer, but I believe the prayer of many thousands whose hearts thou hast gladdened by thy praiseworthy and successful effort to "burst the hands of wickedness, and let the oppressed go free," that the Almighty Ruler of the Universe may strengthen thee to accomplish all the blessed purposes, which, in the unerring counsel of his will and wisdom, I do assuredly believe he did design to make thee instrumental in accomplishing, when he appointed thee thy present post of vast responsibility, as the Chief Magistrate of this great Nation. — Many are the trials incident to such positions and I believe thy conflicts and anxieties have not been few — "May the Lord hear thee, in the day of trouble — the name of the God of Jacob defend thee — send thee help from his sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion — the Lord fulfill all thy petitions that are put up in the name of the Prince of Peace, of the increase of whose government and of whose Peace, he has himself declared, there shall never be an end."

I can hardly refrain from expressing my cordial approval of thy late excellent proclamation appointing a day of thanksgiving for the sparing and preserving mercies, which in the tender loving kindness of our God and Saviour, have been so bountifully showered upon us — for though, (as a religious people) we do not set apart especial seasons for returning thanks either for spiritual or temporal blessings, yet as I humbly trust, our hearts are filled with gratitude to our Almighty Father that his delivering arm of love and power has been so manifestly tossed about us, and I rejoice in the decided recognition of an all-wise and superintending Providence which is so marked a feature in the aforesaid document as well as the immediate influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, which perhaps never, in any previous state paper, has been so fully recompensed before — especially did my inmost heart respond to the decision that the anger which has so long sustained this needless and cruel rebellion, may be subdued, the hearts of the insurgents changed, and the whole Nation be led, through paths of repentence and submission to the Divine will, back to the perfect enjoyment of Union and fraternal peace.

May the Lord, in his infinite compassion, hasten the day. I will not occupy thy time unduly, but in a feeling of true Christian sympathy and gospel love, commend thee and thy wife, and your two dear sons to the preserving care of the unslumbering Shepherd who in his matchless mercy gave his life for the sheep — who is alone able to keep us from falling, and finally, when done with the fast fleeting things of mutability, to give us an everlasting inheritance among all them that are sanctified through the eternal Spirit of our God.

Respectfully and sincerely
Thy assured friend
Eliza P. Gurney

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Executive Mansion,
Washington, September 4. 1864.

Eliza P. Gurney.
My esteemed friend.

I have not forgotten — probably never shall forget — the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am very much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.

Your people — the Friends — have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our Father in Heaven.

Your sincere friend
A. Lincoln.

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(Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, ed. Harold Holzer, pp. 130ff.)

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 02/12/03 07:20:58 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary & Most Notable.


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