Former President Abraham Lincoln’s faith or lack thereof has long been a topic of debate, but now the surfacing of a Bible he once owned is shedding new light on his religious beliefs.
A Bible once belonging to President Abraham Lincoln gifted to his neighbor, has now been donated by the owners so it can be viewed by the public.
This Thursday, the Bible will go on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
America’s 16th president was given the Bible on June 16, 1864, while he was making a rare wartime trip to Philadelphia to raise money for wounded soldiers.
At the event, Lincoln donated 48 signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation which were sold to raise funds. There, he was also given a beautifully gilded King James Bible, weighing in at 18 pounds, that was decorated with the words: “Faith, hope and charity” by a hospital that treated soldiers during the Civil War.
On the cover of the holy book, it reads: “Presented to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by the Ladies of the Citizens Volunteer Hospital of Philadelphia.”
Six months later, Lincoln received another copy of the Bible is a gift. In that book, the president wrote: “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”
After Lincoln was assassinated, his widow Mary, gave the Bible to a neighbor who lived across the street, the Reverend Noyes W. Miner, a Baptist minister. On the back of the holy book, the first lady wrote: “Mrs. Abraham Lincoln to N.W. Miner, D.D., Oct. 15, 1872.”
Miner’s family passed the Bible down through generations and has now donated the book so that it can be displayed to the public for the very first time.
While some historians claim that Abraham Lincoln was known as the “village atheist” as a young man, that seems not to be the case as he grew older.
In fact, during his second inaugural address, he gave one of the most explicitly religious speeches ever given by a US president. And now, with the discovery of a Bible once belonging to Lincoln, it seems to indicate that his faith had grown strong in his later years.
Rev. Miner once wrote that President Lincoln “believed not only in the overwhelming Providence of God, but in the divinity of the Sacred Scriptures.”
Miner also wrote that Mrs. Lincoln told him at Ford’s Theater that the president was planning a post-White House visit to Jerusalem to “see the places hallowed by the footsteps of the Saviour.”