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Archive for February 12th, 2021

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Intro: Today in The Federalist is an excellent article ( Decades Before The Civil War, Lincoln Saw An Approaching Storm. Every American Should Read His Warning) about a speech Abraham Lincoln gave in 1838: The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838. It is one of the earliest speeches in print by Lincoln and it was prescient then and for today.

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and it is appropriate and necessary that every American should read Lincoln’s speech and/or the article in The Federalist (Note: Lincoln’s speech is written in the good English of 19th century America which makes it difficult for us these days!).

I said to my wife over a year ago that eventually the twitter mobs will become actual mobs and left and right this has occurred. We are in a present danger to our constitutional republic as great as what led to the Civil War. People are even speaking and writing now about a second Civil War. Christians, in particular, must also be again active and good and moral citizens of the United States, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) with our neighbors helping him in every need and yet exposing the works of darkness in the highest and lowest places in our fair and good land the Lord has given us (Ephesians 5:11; Romans 13:12).

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From The Lyceum Address by Abraham Lincoln:

When men take it in their heads to day, to hang gamblers, or burn murderers, they should recollect, that, in the confusion usually attending such transactions, they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is; and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of to-morrow, may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty, fall victims to the ravages of mob law; and thus it goes on, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals, are trodden down, and disregarded. But all this even, is not the full extent of the evil.–By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.–Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation.

Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?–Never! Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.–It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

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