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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 för 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 was, 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.

CHAPTER III.

PREPARATION FOR HIS WORK.

"Walk

Boldly and wisely in that light thou hast:
There is a hand above will help thee on."

BAILEY'S Festus.

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate 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 to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”—ST. PAUL (Eph. vi. 14–17).

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 he prepared him for it, not by giving him wealthy friends, inherited honors, 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 home of ease send not forth the arms that move the world. He who is driven aloft by the force of circumstances becomes the noblest soul and the mighti

* Rev. Augustine Caldwell.

est power. Call we a humble home, a scanty board, and threadbare coat, but a blight or curse? Ah!

'God, in cursing,

Gives us better gifts than men in blessing;'

and those humble ones who have struggled upward with nothing but a stern will and a consciousness of right to uphold them have proved the world's richest friends."

that

men, and

The his

The Lord Jesus teaches, in his pertinent question concerning the falling sparrow and the numbered hairs, God exercises a constant watchfulness over all continually guides them in the affairs of life. tory of our late President's career, and of the times in which he lived, everywhere shows the guiding hand of a divine providence.

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Many are willing to acknowledge a general providence, who do not believe in a universal or particular one. But there cannot be a general providence without a particular one. That would be utterly impossible; for all generals are made up of particulars. Could a man cultivate a farm in general, without ploughing any particular field, or casting into the earth any particular seeds? Could a watchmaker make watches in general, without making any particular wheels and springs, and giving to every wheel its special form and size and place, finishing the minutest parts in the nicest manner? Could a merchant sell things in general, and nothing in particular, having no particular store, or particular goods, or special price? Or if we look at the material creation, where we can see the divine method of working, does the Lord make a tree in general, without any particular branches, twigs, leaves, bark, fibre, and cells? No: on the contrary, the whole tree is built up by the action of the pores and cells in their least parts. This is the universal method of the divine

operations. . . . It is impossible that there can be a general providence without a special one. If there is a general providence, it is the result of a universal or particular one.”*

The great work of Abraham Lincoln was to guide the American Ship of State during the storm of rebellion, and, as an indissoluble duty, to emancipate the oppressed millions in our land, whose unrighteous bondage made our glorious banner too long a “flaunting lie,” and our "Independent days" ostentatious cheats. We have seen how his childhood and early manhood were the precursors of a useful maturity; and still may we trace the guiding hand of God in his further steps, preparing him for the Presidency of the United States, and to be Commander-in-Chief of the Union Army.

Before the death of his mother, the future director of the greatest army the world ever saw was taught the use of fire-arms; and it is worthy of note that the mother of Lincoln-brave pioneer woman that she was ! — herself loaded the rifle with which he then shot his first game, a large wild turkey. He became very expert in the use of the rifle; and, as has been already intimated, was able thus to add to the family larder, and also to procure furs, which were then in great demand.

One of his biographers says, "There is no doubt that the culture he received by the use of the rifle had its influence in developing his physical energies, as he was ever distinguished for his strength and powers of endurance; and that it indirectly served to inspire his heart with courage, promptness, and decision, for which his whole life has been eminent." +

The same biographer relates a circumstance which happened during the time when Abraham attended Mr. "Pioneer Boy," p. 11.

*Rev. Chauncy Giles.

Crawford's school, that illustrates the growing capacity of the lad, and foreshadows his future labors as a public speaker. The scholars were talking, one Monday morning before the hour for school to commence, about the sermon to which they had listened the day before. Abraham declared himself able to repeat a large part of the sermon; and, when the boys doubted it, he proved his retentive memory, close attention, and speech-making powers, by mounting a stump and rehearsing the sermon. The young orator was overheard by his teacher, and won his admiration and applause as well as that of his fellow-pupils. Little did any of them think how he would address large audiences in the future just unfolding before him, swaying their minds and influencing their hearts by a forcible and earnest presentation of high truths intimately connected with the safety and happiness of the nation.

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He, of whom one of his early associates says, "We seldom went hunting together; Abe was not a noted hunter, as the time spent by other boys in such amusements was improved by him in the perusal of some good book," did not fail to grow in knowledge ever after he left his father's roof, and sought to carve his own way to fame and fortune, wholly ignorant of the lofty niche assigned him in the temple of renown.

Mr. Lincoln, for so he should be called since he was twenty-one and had an indisputable right to wear the toga virilis, sought employment among those who need ed a strong arm, and exemplified in his own efforts the sensible words which he uttered thirty years later in reference to hired labor:

"My understanding of the hired laborer is this: A young man finds himself of an age to be dismissed from parental control; he has for his capital nothing save

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