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1862 A.D.:  Abraham Lincoln Makes A Deal

  In 1862 the leader of the United States Armed Forces, that being the President of the United States, that being Abraham Lincoln, was not building up a very good record as leader of the United States Armed Forces.  The American Civil War was on going, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee was trouncing the Yankees.  Bull Run, Shiloh, Wilson's Creek had all been big wins for the Confederacy.  The South was riding high, and the North's confidence was under assault.  There were many who wondered if the North was ever going to win a battle.  Lee was able to maneuver his army effectively nearly anywhere he wanted to, even relatively near to the White House, and the North just hadn't been able to stop him. 

  Abraham Lincoln was keenly aware that there was a growing lack of confidence in the Northern Generals and in the Presidency.  And the question was on people's minds in the North:  since both sides prayed to the same God, whose cause was God favoring?

  There had been many issues escalating up to the instigation of armed conflict.  In truth, the individual states' rights to ignore the Federal Government was probably chief among them.  But in order to put a better light on things, the North spoke much of the wrongness of slavery.  True, some people in the North felt very deeply that slavery must end.  But, for many others in the North, other issues were far more important.  But those other issues did not confer the mantle of 'Moral Superiority' to the Northern cause the way that opposition to slavery did.  So, in the North, the war was often characterized as a war against slavery.  It sounded like a pretty just cause.  It gave people something solid to rally around - a stronger moral justification for war against their fellow Americans.

  But, therein lay some of the guilt Lincoln wrestled with in his mind.  He felt that having Africans held in bondage was an evil, and that it had probably been a chief factor in bringing God's wrath upon the United States.  But he also knew that some Northerners had slaves.  Some Western states were very mixed in their feelings about slavery as well.  And, Lincoln wrote and said some certain things that made it pretty clear that he didn't view African slaves as being quite equal in all ways to the European type American.  It was a widely held opinion among whites in that day - it undeniably was.  So, he didn't believe in the institution of slavery, but he was hesitant for many reasons, public opinion chief among them, to take too strong of action against it.  It was more politically expedient to tip-toe around the actual fact that slavery still remained...well, legal-ish.   

  But....he had a sneaking suspicion, as did many men and women in America, that the issue of slavery had somehow been the reason that God Almighty had allowed this terrible civil war, or perhaps even brought it about.  Blood drawn by the sword would continue until it equalled the blood shed by the slaver's whip.  Something like that.  And Lincoln's armies were losing battle after battle.  

  So, full of fear for the prospects of the Union, it is a matter of record that Abraham Lincoln made a deal with God. 

  Abraham Lincoln, not a terribly religious man, not one to officially join a church it is said, never the less believed in the Almighty and in Christ, and so he told the Lord that if he could have victory, if Lee could be driven out of Maryland, he would free the slaves in return.  He made a Presidential - but also very human - promise to God! 

  And, having made this deal in prayer to the Lord, he soon received word that one of America's most terrible battles, the Battle of Antietem (or 'the Battle of Sharpstown') in Maryland, on Oct 17, 1862, had been a victory for the Northern troops.  Lee's forces had been driven back, at the terrible cost of about 23,000 casualties total, by Union troops under the command of the Northern General McClellan.

  The Northern victory was badly needed news, and Lincoln was extremely encouraged and relieved to receive it.  But, he knew that he had made a vow to God.  And if you do that, you better take it seriously.  And so he kept it. 

  A few days later, on Sept 22, 1862, at a meeting with his Presidential Cabinet, Lincoln explained to them his issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the North and the South.  Both Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells are said to have recounted Lincoln's remarks in about the same way.  According to them, Lincoln told the cabinet members:

  "When the Rebel Army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation.  I said nothing to anyone at the time, but I made a promise to myself, and to my Maker."

  He said, concerning the Emancipation Proclamation, that since he had made a promise to God, the matter was firmly decided. 

  "The Rebel Army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfill that promise."

  So, despite its incomplete popularity even in the North, the Proclamation of Emancipation was made.  The issue of slavery had now been brought to the front and center of the American consciousness and conscience in one fell swoop.  The war was officially about slavery (more or less) and God, who grants all victories, went on to grant the North eventual victory in the American Civil War.  The sons and daughters of kidnapped black Africans were officially released from slavery by Federal decree.  Though their recognition as full equals of other citizens would be a long time coming in nearly all states of the reconfirmed Union, North and South, it seemed that there could be no real doubt that God had sided against the bondage of one man by another.

  God, who gave us free will despite knowing the very high cost that came with it, is no forceful enslaver of men.  And if even God will not enslave puny sinful men....not even for their own good....by what pretext can men ever claim that it is right to enslave each other?

  So, God taught us an important lesson.  We are not to place each other in bondage unless, for some now unseen reason, it should be His clearly expressed will.  (True, thousands of years earlier through a prophecy uttered by Noah, the Lord had once specified that the sons of Canaan would be slaves to the descendents of Noah's other sons.  But not all Africans are sons of Canaan.  Who even knows which people on this Earth today are actually descendents of Canaan?  I know of no one, and have read of no one who says they know with certainty.)

  And what is bondage?  It can be of several types.  It can be the physical bondage of the master over the slave.  It could be the financial bondage of the lender over the borrower.  And, it can be the bondage of the supplier over the consumer.  And finally, it can be the bondage of any pledge taken by one man to serve another man or group such that it brings the man giving his pledge into a position of being at cross purposes to God's will.....it is wrong to demand a pledge from any man to honor a person or a group with loyalty in excess of or at cross purposes to that owed to our common Maker and His given King and Son, Jesus of Nazareth. 

  We will one day be pressured and compelled by powerful forces, needs, and means to take the 'Mark of the Beast'.  We will not be able to buy and sell without it.  We and our families may die of hunger, or be branded as outlaws for refusing to take this presently mysterious 'mark'.  But, Jesus and the Holy Father caused us to be clearly warned that we should under no circumstances be induced to accept this sign of voluntarily given fealty and bondage to the anti-Christ.  It will cost us our soul.  We must love God more greatly than our own lives, or even the lives of those that we hold dear.  Wasn't Abraham willing to sacrifice his very own son Isaac at God's command?  And wonderful blessings were placed on Abraham, who had this spirit of 'obedience no matter how costly'. 

   God has shown us His thoughts on enslaving each other.  He has modeled it in His behavior towards us.  He has shown us which side of the issue He favors when we are contesting about that issue in war.  God is no enslaver, and from that fact stems all of human history.       

   He could have had made Adam and Eve to be His slaves in the Garden of Eden.  But in His decency, in His integrity, His kindness, and His wisdom He would not have it be so.  And so mankind struggles and fails its way through the years and towards our Maker, who allows us to learn at our own speed and in our own way, each individually, what a wonderful thing it is to be a servant when the one you serve is God.  How very many sadnesses we would avoid if we only took that course from our earliest days until our last!

  This lesson, which recently came again through Abraham Lincoln in a sense, was worth a pretty penny.  A pretty penny indeed.

 

Hello,

    I personally believe that realizing how many great deeds of God have actually occurred through out history will lead some people to be saved giving their life to Christ.  If you agree, then please, take the time to be a 'missionary', to love your neighbor enough to care about their soul.  Please mention and recommend visiting the Deeds of God website on any social media sites that you belong to.  Tell a favorite account to your friends or family, and tell them where you read it.  To know God is to stand in awe of Him, but too few people know Him today.  Accounts like these are yet another way to come to know Jesus and the Holy Father, and the Spirit of Truth that helps us understand.  Thank you.  Dan Curry

 

 

 

     

   

   

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