President Warren Harding Saw “Divine Intent” in President Abraham Lincoln

On May 30, 1922, President Warren Harding declared at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.:
“In every moment of peril, in every hour of discouragement, whenever the clouds gather, there is the image of Lincoln to rivet our hopes and to renew our faith….Here was the great purpose, here the towering hope, here the supreme faith. He treasured the inheritance handed down by the founding fathers, the ark of the covenant wrought through their heroic sacrifices, and builded in their inspired genius….

“His faith was inspiring, his resolution commanding, his sympathy reassuring, his simplicity enlisting, his patience unfailing. He was Faith, Patience and Courage, with his head above the clouds, unmoved by the storms which raged about his feet….He knew he had freed a race of bondmen and had given to the world the costly proof of the perpetuity of the American union….

“Lincoln came almost as humbly as The Child of Bethlehem. His parents were unlettered, his home was devoid of every element of culture and refinement. He was no infant prodigy, no luxury facilitated or privilege hastened his development, but he had a God-given intellect, a love for work, a willingness to labor and a purpose to succeed….

“His work was so colossal, in the face of such discouragement, that none will dispute that he was
incomparably the greatest of our presidents….Amid it all there was a gentleness, a kindness, a sympathetic sorrow, which suggest a divine intent to blend mercy with power in supreme attainment.”*

President Harding’s remarks regarding Lincoln are a lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read 2 Chron. 5:2-10 and reflect on the ceremony with the elders and “chief fathers” of Israel installing the Ark of the Covenant in the new Temple and compare that with President Harding’s remarks regarding the Founders and Lincoln.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are grateful for Abraham Lincoln, who treasured the inheritance handed down by our Founding Fathers and whose resolve that every person should live in freedom continues to be an inspiration, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: James D. Richardson et al, eds., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 20 vols. (New York: Bureau of National Literature, Inc., 1923), 18:9127-9131.

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