Friday, October 05, 2007

When a US President called our nation to repentance

Abraham Lincoln was probably our greatest president, according to many historians and many ordinary Americans. He led the US during a time of unprecedented division and bloodshed. He was not afraid to take unpopular stands, and he held to his convictions, which were often based upon the Bible.

During the Civil War, Lincoln wrote a speech that was just as important as the Gettysburg Address. It was a speech written for a national fast-day, a day which Lincoln designated and set apart for the nation. Here are the words of this speech on April 30, 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 only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

“The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
“It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

What do you think of Lincoln's speech? How do his words compare to political speeches today?