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Abraham Lincoln online

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1^6^-] To our Readers.

weU to observe in passing, that we shall strive to make the
above quahfications essential in e^erj ea^e ; so that the 3lao-a-
zine shall be the organ of no person or class of/ persons, or'of
any less general body than the Convention, under who/e aus-
pices it is piii^lished.

It is the chaVacteristic of the present age, that kerv one should
be allowed freed>»m of thought and freedom of action, so far as
they can be exercised without manifest injury to others. Xo
man is absolute master of all truth. Xo one can ri-htlv claim
infallibility of judgment. It is, therefore, becoming" in* all to
make mutual concessioas, to give kindly attention to the views
of others, and to admit the possibility of being themselves in
error. Li the full remembrance of these principles, we think
that a New Church magazine should be conducted. Surely
we may have faith, with the poet, that

" Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again,

The eternal years of God are hers ;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,

And dies among his worshippers."

It has often been a matter of wonder that the periodical
literature of the Xew Church should not be more intere^tino-
than It has sometimes proved. But of one thing we mav be
certain : the fault cannot be in the materials wlJch are kven
us to work with. These are, beyond question, the richer" the
most comprehensive, the most attractive, the most intimately
connected with all the sciences and the whole field of philoso-
phy and art, which have ever been comprised in anv reii<rious
system. Xot to expatiate on this point, we will smiplv'say
that if the periodicals of the church are not readable and'inter-
esting, as well as instructive, the fault must be ^vith the edi
tors or with those who contribute, or neglect to contribute to
their pages.

Lest, therefore, we should by some means fail of communi-
cating with them personaUy, we invite all our X'ew Church
friends in every part of the country to give us the needed sup-
port of their influence, their purses, and their pens. We



110 Abraham Lincoln. [Aug.

cannot but tlvnk that tlie need of a first-class New Church
monthly will be evident to all ; and such we desire to make the
Magazine. We hope and believe that our efforts will be sec-
onded by the public.

One source of embarassment from which we suffer at present
is our free list, whicli, we learn from the publishers, is out of
all proportion to the number of our subscribers. It is larger
than the Magazine can well afford. Accordingly, if we find it
necessary to curtail it, we take this way of informing the minis-,
ters and others to whom the Magazine has heretofore been
sent free of expense, that there is good reason for its discontin-

Our former readers need not be surprised if, from tune to
time, they miss the sermon which has long stood at the head of
onr table of contents. There seems to be no good reason why
a sermon should always be inserted as a matter of course, es-
pecially as our weekly contemporary, "The New Jerusalem
Messenger," contains a sermon in each issue. We shall, there-
fore, place sermons on the same footing with other contribu-
tions, and publish them or not, according as their own merits,
and the wants of our readers, may seem to direct.

Boston, July 15, 1865.


A Discourse delivered on The :^ational Fast Day, June 1, 1865.
By Thomas Worcester.

"Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and saith of him,
Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile ! Nathaniel
saith unto Him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered
and said unto him. Before that Philip called thee, when thou
wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathaniel answered and
saith unto Him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God ; thou art
the Kino- of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him. Be-

^ 1865.] Abraham Lincoln. m

C^cause I said I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou?.
;^ thou Shalt see greater things than these. And He saith unto
I him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man."

Five years ago, when Abraham Lincoln was chosen President
of the United States, he might well have shrunk back in aston-
ishment; and, from what we have since known of him, we
may believe that he did shrink back, and say within himself,
How do they know me? and how can they suppose that I
have the proper qualifications for that high office ? It is true
that they did not know him, or know that he had those qualifi-
cations. But there was One among them who did know ; One
who had been with them from the beginning, and who had led
and guided them hitherto. This same One had been with him
from the beginning, and needed not that any should testify
concerning him, because He knew what was in him. And
from what we all know now, we feel assured that this One could
say unto him. Whilst thou wast in obscurity, I knew thee.
Before others knew thee, I knew thee. It is true that thou
hast not the qualifications for that office, which are desirable in
ordinary times. But those qualifications would be impedinients
now, for a new work is to be done ; a work that no human
wisdom or power can do. I know thee to be an Israelite
indeed, In whom is no guile. I know that thou wilt look up
unto me, and suffer me to lead thee, and that tjiou wilt be hon-
est and faithful to thy duty. Thou art the man whom I now
desira to be In that office ; go forward, enter into it, and I will
be with thee. Thou canst not see beforehand what thou art to
do, but information will be given thee when it is needed.

In these days the Lord does not speak unto men with an
audible voice, for He has already uttered His Word, and He
now explains it, fills it with His Spirit, and tlius enables those
who are willing to be led by Him, to understand Him.

In the history of creation we learn that men were created in
the image and likeness of God; and in the explanation of
Scripture which the Lord now gives, at His second coming.

112 Abraham Lincoln. [-^ug.

, we learn that there is an influx of Love and Wisdom from
Him, as of heat and light from the sun : for in Him is Infinite
Love ; and the nature of this love is such, that He desires to
give unto others the things which are His own ; to give not
only the outward worldly things which He has created, and
which are therefore His, but the internal things, — the Love and
Wisdom fi'om which He created the outward things. From
this love of communicating His Love and Wisdom, He pro-
duces men to receive them. And as men are recipients of the
things which are in Him, thej are in His image and likeness ;
and they have a desire to communicate unto others the things
which are in themselves.

But there are various kinds of good things. There are some
things which our natural loves regard as good, because they
are good for the body, and contribute to our worldly happi-
ness ; and there are other things which spiritual loves regard
as good, because they are good for the soul, in its relation to
the Lord and heaven. All kinds are from the Lord, and He
desires that we should receive them all ; but Pie regards nat-
ural things as subordinate to spiritual, and He desires us to
regard them so. But while men are in a natural state of mind,
they receive and appreciate merely natural things. They desire
chiefly things which they regard as good for themselves ; but
they also do good to others, for the sake of themselves. But
spiritual men regard spiritual things as most important. They
are disposed to do and to communicate both spiritual and nat-
ural good to their neighbors ; but as they value the spiritual
for its own sake, and value the natural for the sake of the
spiritual, they of course desire their neighbors to do the same.

But all kinds of jrood are from the Lord : and while men
are doing them, they are acting from the Lord, whether they
are sensible of it or not, and they may therefore be regarded as
representatives of Him. It is natural to think of them as act-
iug of themselves ; but this is a very superficial, sensual, and
incorrect way of thinking of them ; for they never act of them-
selves, and it is impossible fi)r them to do so. AVhen they do
evil, they act under the influence of evil spirits ; but when they

1865.J AhraJiam Lincoln. 113

do good, thev are tmder the influence of good spirits and of
the Lord.

When we regard all good men as acting from the Lord, our
knowledge of Him is continually increasing : for all the varie-
ties of goodness thai we see in them, are friDm Him ; and when
we see their good works, we gloriiy their Father, who is in
the heavens : that is, w^e love Him more, and believe in Him

One of the greatest blessings that a people can enjov, is
that of having rulers who are in the image and likeness of the
Lord : not only because they are for that reason better rulers,
but because their example and influence have a tendency to
bring all the people into the same image. This blessing we
have enjoyed for four years, in our chief magistrate.

The great attributes of the Lord are His Love and HIq Wis-
dom. His Love is the love of doing g«x)d, and communi-
cating good unto men ; and His Wisdom is the wisdom of
that Love. It is the Wisdom by which He does and commu-
nicates good imto men. In our President we saw an image
of these attributes. It was very manifest that His ruling love
was love towards others. Xo one who was acquainted with
him imagrinpd that he was governed ty a love of dominion, a
love of popularity or fame, or of wealth ; but all could see
that he appeared to be filled with kindness and love towards
others. One of the strongest evidences of the ptuity of any
one's love is. that he does not love merely those who love him,
and that he does not haie those who hate, and is not angry and
revengeful towards those who revile and injure him. These
are test questions, which are given us by the Lord Himself,
that we mav trv our feelings by them, and ascertain whether
thev are from Him, and therefore like His, or from an opposite
quarter. Will not ^Ir. Lincoln's feelings bear this examina-
tion? Did he love merely those who loved him. or did he
love the whole coimiry, and thus love those who hated him?
Did he manifest hatred, anger, and revenge toward those
who manifested those feelings towards him? or was he meroinil.
forcrivinii. and, in a measure, like unto our heavenly Father, —

114 Abraham Lincoln. [Aug.

ofood unto all, even to the unthankful and tlie evil? What do
our memories testify ? AVhat has been liis conduct for four
years past? It is all before you. Xo life was ever more
public: no character was ever more transparent. Some of
Tou have seen him ''^nd conversed with him. All of us have
read his inaugurals, his messages, his speeches, his conversa-
tions, and his letters. Of all these things we are witnesses ;
and what do we testify? Has there been any man on this
earth, who^ upon bemg ill-treated as he has been, has mani-
fested less anger, hatred, and vindictiveness, or more forgive-
ness and good-will, than Mr. Lincoln has? Is he not, then, a
remarkable image of the Lord as to his noblest attribute, His
Divine Love ?

And then as to wisdom. The Divine Wisdom is that by
which the Lord does good unto angels and men. Mr. Lincoln
had obtained some knowledge of this Wisdom, and he had
great respect for it. He was a humble man, and was willing
to receive assistance from his fellow-men ; but he had a work
to do, which neither he nor they knew how to do. He there-
fore became more sensible of the need of looking to the Lord,
and of beincr led bv His Providence, than he ever was before.
He also saw, that if he would be led by the Lord, he must
C3nform to the Divine Laws ; and he believed that if he did so,
the Lord would lead him through the great work which was
before him. He saw that he must do justly, love mercy, and
walk humbly with his God. He constantly had it in his mind,
that the Lord teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves,
and to do unto them as we would have them do unto us.
These precepts he regarded as the principles of true wisdom ;
and these principles he was disposed to follow, as far as the
Constitution and laws of his country would dlow. Here he
met with great difficulty in carrying out the Divine principles
by which he wished to be guided : for our Constitution and
laws were not, in all respects, founded on those principles.
Slavery was in our country at the time when our Constitution
was formed ; and in forming it, the Divine principles Avhich
have been referred to were set aside, so as to allow of the

1^65.] Abraham Lincoln.


existence of that institution. Consequently, the Constitution
did not allow the government to meddle with slarerv in ordi-
nar\- times, and when it was used for ordinarv purp: ses.

But slavery, being in its very essence and nature agsressive,
brought on rebellion and war. And during rebellion and war,
the Constitution gives extraordinary powers to the President.
It puts all the forces of the country into his hands, and re.|uires
him to use them. It requires him to cany on the war, and to
put down the rebellion, by all means that are lawful and Expe-
dient ; and one of the proper means of carrving on war is. to
deprive the enemies of the means by which thev cany it on.
Now ir so happened in our case, that our enemies were slave-
holders, and that their slaves were an important means of
canying on the war against us. Consequently, the Consti-
tution required the President to deprive them of their slaves, if
he regarded that as the best means of opposing them. He did
so regard it, and he did act in that manner.

Xow let us look upon the result at which we have arrived.
The Consritution of the United States, which is by manv almost
worshipped as the perfection of political wisdom, has. in order
to save its own lite, been obliged to bow to the simple princi-
ples of Divine justice, which are revealed in the Word of God ;
and has been obliged to cast out of itself the base, incx>niiTuous,
and unjust elements that entered into it from beneath. There
was a conflict between our Constitution and Divine justice.
This conflict was carried on over the whole countrv, but espe-
cially in the mind of the President ; because in him the two
things met ; because he felt bound to conform to them k»th :
and because he was, therefore, bound to reconcile them, if he
possibly could. And we have been allowed to see the process by
which the work was done ; for he was so honest, so inirenuous,
so tnmsparent. he was as if his whole outer man were made of
glass ; we could plainly see the operations of his inner man.
How often have we heard him say, •• I am as much opposed to
davery as any of you ; and if it depended upon me as a man,
it would soon come to an end : but I am the President of the
Uniied states ; I have taken an oath to support the Constitu-


Abraham Lincoln. [Auf

tion ; I could not have entered on that office without taking that
oath; I must not, therefore, use the po^yers of that office as a
means of carrying out my private sentiments, let those senti-
ments he ever so^good, if they are not in accordance with the
Constitution." Thus for a long while did Mr. Lincoln labor,
internally and externally, to overcome the rebellion, and at the
same time to preserve the Constitution, with all its imperfec-
tions. But at length the Constitution itself told him that it
was his duty to emancipate the slaves, as a means of putting
down the rebellion, and defending the country. Then he felt
at liberty to act from the good things which were treasured up
in his own heart ; and he did act from them.

This conflict between the Constitution and justice was at the
same time going on in the minds of many others. But there
were very many who could not hold their minds in suspense,
but immediately took one side or the other. They had no con-
flict in their own minds, but they had it between one another.
It belonged to Mr. Lincoln, on account of his high position, to
see when the Constitution surrendered, and to determine when
the conflict should cease. It was then his duty to bring forth
the dictates of wisdom which had been suppressed, and to
establish the ordinances of justice as the law of the land.

He was honest ; he was faithful ; he desired to be led ; and
while he was carefully feeling his way, we believe that the
Lord did lead him. lie had received from the Divine Love
the love of doing good; and then from the Divine Wisdom,
he received the wisdom for doing it ; so that we see in him nn
image of both those Divine attributes. And a very great
blesling it is' to any people, to be able to see this in their ruler,
for it 1ms a powerful tendency to bring them into such a state

as he is in.

As all good feelings and true thoughts are from Divine Love
and AYisdom, and are images of them, so all good works are
from Divine works, and are images of them. And as some
Divine works are apparently greater and more conspicuous
than others, so it is with human works. In ordinary times,
when Divine works consist in creating men and preparing

1865.] Abraham Lincoln. 117

them for heaven, they are so much embodied in human works,
that they are scarcely visible. ^len may then be sensible
of the internal presence and influence of the Lord, and their
affairs may go on smoothly and happily. But men decline.
Imperfections, shortcomings, and fardts are permitted, and
become common ; then positive evils and falsities creep in,
and all these things increase and accumulate from generation
to veneration : until the heavens are darkened : until the inter-
nal presence and influence of the Lord cease to be manifest ;
and all correct ideas of Him, and of the way to Him, are lost ;
then it becomes necessary that He should come down to re-
move these obstructions, and open the way of salvation. And
with the obstructions, it is necessary that He should remove all
those who obstinately adhere to them, and will not be sepa-
rated from them. This is what is meant by a coming of the
Lord, and by a judgment. These works are, of course, more
conspicuous, and seem to be greater than His oi-dinary works.

Such a work the Lord did in the spiritual world at His first
coming, and the effects of it gradually came down into this
world, and were manifested In the form and operations of the
first Christian church. And when that church came to an end,
He came again, and performed another similar work in the
spiritual world : and the effects of it are coming down into the
natural world, and are to appear in the form of a Xew Church
and its operations.

When a church is declining, and coming to an end, the evil
influences from hell in their operation upon men overpower the
good influences from heaven, and thus deprive them of spirit-
ual fi-eedom. The primary effort of Divine and heavenly influ-
ences is to make men free ; for the Lord and His angels love
them, and desire to bestow upon them all good things what-
ever, both sjiiritual and natural.

But thev know that men cannot properly receive and use
anv good thing whatever, unless they are free. Hence it is,
that in all thev do for men they have a primary regard for their
freedom. On the other hand, evil spirits do not love men, do
not desire to communicate anv ijood thin2:s to them, and there-

118 Abraham Lincoln. [-^"o*

fore do not desire that they should be free ; but they love them-
selves only; they desire that men should serve them, that they
should have no freedom but the freedom of serving them, and
no pleasure but that of serving them.

This is the influence that men come under at the end of a
church ; and it is to deliver them from this bondage, and bring
them into spiritual freedom, that the Lord comes down, reveals
Himself and the principles of His government, executes a
judgment, performs the work of redemption, and establishes a
New Church.

The principal part of the work that He does at such times is
in the spiritual world ; for there do the sources of evil influ-
ences exist in the greatest abundance. There, too, the work is
done in the shortest time ; for those upon whom a judgment is
to be executed are ripe, their characters are already formed ;
but they are living in fantasies, deceiving themselves and one

When, therefore, the Lord manifests Himself to them. He
manifests them to themselves, and to one another; for when
goodness and truth are plainly revealed, the evil and the false
can no longer be mistaken for them, but are plainly seen to be
opposite to them. So, when the Lord reveals Himself, good
spirits, who have been in obscurity on account of the influence
of evil spirits upon them, then come forth, draw near unto
Him, and are raised up into heaven ; but evil spirits flee away
to their own abodes in outer darkness.

In this world the effects of the Lord's coming are in some
respects similar, but in others different. A sudden manifesta-
tion of the Lord causes a judgment, in which the righteous are
raised up into heaven, and the wicked sink down into hell. To
those who are in the spiritual world, and whose characters are
already formed, this is not injurious. To the righteous it is a
great blessincj, and to the wicked it is as orreat a bles^inof as
they are prepared to receive.

But to people in this world, whose characters are not formed,
the effect of a sudden manifestation would be injurious ; for
under so irreat a lis^ht thev could not be reformed and rei^ene-

1805.] Abraham Lincoln. 119

rated in freedom, and therefore not at all. Therefore in this
world the Lord reveals Himself slowly and gradually. To
those who are opposed to Him He dees not make His presence,
or even Kis existence manifest. But to those who are willing
to receive Him, He reveals Himself obscui'ely at first, and after-
wards more clearly, as they become able to receive and rejoice
in His light.

In the literal sense of the Scriptures there is but little re-
vealed concerning these general judgments, but in the spiritual
sense there is much. In the spiritual sense of the deliverance
of the Israelites from bondage and servitude in Egypt, of their
travels in the wilderness, and of their introduction into the
Promised Land, we have a description of the judgment wliich
the Lord performed when He came the first time ; and in the
spiritual sense of the Apocalypse we have a description of the
work which He performed at His second coming. The eliiects
of that work may be seen in the great changes in all forms of
religion, and in the great improvements which have been made
during the last hundred years ; and particularly what has been
done towards the abolition of slavery, and the increase of free-
dom among men.

In this work ^Ii*. Lincoln has been very conspicuous. As
the Lord has been delivering men from spiritual slavery, so
Mr. Lincoln, actmg from Him, and from and according to His
principles, has been delivering men from natural slavery, and
at the same time overcoming the slaveholders. Xeither of
these works had he any thought of doing when he entered upon
his office. As to liberating the slaves, he did not imagine that
he had any right to do it : and as to attacking their masters,
he had no disposition to do it. He merely intended to perform
the duties of his office, and to have nothing to do witli slavery,
except to prevent its extension. But the slaveholders atti-cked
him, and endeavored to destroy his government. This made
it necessary for him to defend himself: and for this purpose he
regardetl it as riglit and expedient to liberate the slaves, for
without their services at home their masters would not be able
to make war. So here, as in all condicts between good and

120 Abraham Lincoln. [Aug.

evil, evil made the attack, and good only defended itself, and
thus evil brought on its own destruction.

But Mr. Lincoln's course was sviddenly brought to an end in
a most unexpected manner. It Avas unexpected to us who
knew him, for how should we be led to think that any one
would desire to kill him who loved every body, and hated no-

In the war Avhich had been going on, every one knew, or
might have known, that he acted from ill-will to no one, and
that he was only performing the duties of his office in defend-
ing his country. And, besides, the war was virtually at an end,
and nothing more was to be expected from him that even the
rebels would regard as evil.

As soon as the murder was committed, it was seen that the


Online LibraryThomas WorcesterAbraham Lincoln → online text (page 1 of 2)