Paul R Dienstberger
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Nation of Christians

by Paul R Dienstberger
Copyright 2000 Paul R. Dienstberger


Table of Contents Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Chapter 6 The Noonday Prayer Revival

  • I. Prologue to Renewal
  • II. Panic of 1857
  • III. And This is the Record
  • IV.Jeremiah Calvin Lanphier
  • V. The Fulton Street Meetings
  • VI.The Other New York Meetings
  • VII.The Awakening Amplified
  • VIII.The Remarkable Results on American Christianity
  • IX. The Awakening to the Uttermost Parts of the World
  • X. The Civil War
  • A. Whose side is God On?
  • B. Ministry to the Soldiers
  • C. Revival in the Camps
  • D. Who's Who on The Lord's Side
  • E. The Presidents: Davis and Lincoln
  • The third great revival in American history began in years 1857-58. Timothy Smith called 1858 Annus Mirabilis or Year Miraculous. The striking characteristic of the event was the emphasis on prayer and especially the prayers of the lay people. Revival historian J. Edwin Orr called it, "the most thorough and most wholesome movement ever known in the Christian Church." The crowds became so overwhelming that the secular press printed daily reports on the "revival news" of the day.

    The revival was attached to the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street in New York City. However, the meetings were held in churches, theaters, shops, and any public building that would handle the crowds. Before the New Year it had spread across the nation. It continued through the Civil War years and afterward. The revival even touched five of the six populated continents five years after it started.

    While scholars debated whether revivals were the sovereign work of God alone or as Finney taught that there were new "means and measures" available for revival, the religious veterans recalled the previous events of the century. Then, they agreed that this awakening was a distinctive outpouring of the Holy Spirit like the Second Great Awakening.

    Moreover, it was not the work of any one great man or great preacher. Many of the early meetings were initiated by laymen and businessmen. Only Jeremiah Lanphier, a neighborhood missionary at the Fulton Street Church, was ascribed much recognition from the movement. Thus it was determined to be clearly a work of grace, and as Beardsley wrote, "This divine visitation, providential in its character, was emphatically a lay-revival."

    Furthermore, the event had none of the emotionalism of earlier awakenings. The physical actions and sounds of the camp meeting days seldom occurred in the United States during this time. The original intent of the prayer meetings was to have a brief time with God, a quiet spiritual respite from the day's work, and a silence to "wait on The Lord." Consequently, order reigned and emotional excesses were strikingly absent.

    Finally, the most unique feature of the noonday prayer revival was the "unsectarian character of the work." Denominational differences were put aside. The demands for pew space and meeting sites were so great that "union" prayer meetings became the norm. The only standard to avoid controversy was the Word of God. It was almost a businesslike procedure. Call the meeting to order, read Scripture, maybe sing, but pray and keep it limited to five minutes, and make it intercessory prayer. Any preaching was secondary. There was a preference to just hear testimonies. In the end the churches gained an estimated at one million converts in a two year period.

    I. Prologue To Renewal

    During the dozen years before the Revival of 1857 the economic conditions did not seem to foreshadow the event. The pride of manifest destiny only wetted the American appetite for territories. The government was willing to spend $10 million dollars for the barren Gadsden Purchase just so a railroad could reach Southern California. The height of vanity was the disgraceful proposal called the Ostend Manifesto which demanded that Spain sell us Cuba lest we take it by force. Even rumors of Americans taking over Nicaragua implied that the obvious goal was a southward extension to gain slave states.

    The 49-ers gold rush added an abundance of money to the prosperous economy. With the rapid material expansion of the 1850's the decade was titled "The Businessman's Peace." Manufacturing almost doubled, farm production did double, and railroad mileage more than tripled. Although the gandydancers were trying to tie the nation together east and west, the slavery issue was threatening to split it apart North and South.

    On the surface the unprecedented financial and commercial prosperity made New York City look like a golden gateway of opportunity. Manhattan grew from 515,000 to 800,000 during the mid-century decade of the 50's. Immigrants were pouring through its portals at a rate of 200,000 annually. It was a world port leaving Boston and Philadelphia in its wake. The assets of their banks were estimated at $200,000,000 in their vaults. Even the commuter flight to uptown was taking form, and the rich began displaying their impressive wealth around the marble-faced Washington Square.

    But, a cancer of filth, crime, disease, and vagrancy was eating at the older downtown neighborhoods and the water front sections. The poor became poorer in the tenement districts. The Lower East side averaged seventeen families per three-story dwelling. By 1850 public officials estimated that three thousand vagrant children lived on the streets, and most were girls who survived through prostitution. The alarming mortality rate of one death for every twenty-nine New Yorkers was double that of London. Infant deaths tolls were sadly high taking seven of every ten immigrant children under age two. Cholera epidemics germinated from the city's pollution in 1849 and again in 1854. Public health services existed nominally through charities.

    The paradigm of New York's urban crime and poverty was in the area known as Five Points within view of the shops of Broadway and a short walk from Wall Street. As early as the 1830's no respectable person could walk through Five Points. It was a paradox that the onetime neighborhood hub was still called Paradise Square. As early as the 1820's over a dozen City Missions operated to minister to the dispossessed of society. By 1850 the best known and most influential was the Five Points House of Industry. It was founded by Louis Pease, their first missionary, and the volunteer work of the praying Methodist women. The mission enrolled 15,593 children in the period 1855-65.

    Similar circumstances prevailed throughout the declining downtown Manhattan area. Business shops and warehouses invaded the once comfortable residential streets. The population shifted from middle-class families to immigrants and submerged classes. The church attendance was only a trace of the former days. It became apparent that the downtown churches faced the dilemma of leaving for better pastures uptown, or shepherding their weaker brothers in the deteriorating neighborhoods. For decades the Christian community had been troubled by the conflict between spending their money to propagate the gospel in foreign places or sending home missionaries to the unchurched in the destitute areas of their own society.

    II. Panic of 1857:

    In the Fall of 1857 the boom period ended with the third panic in American history. After the railroad construction, the land speculation, the manufacturing growth, and the Western wheat growth, a banking panic shocked the public and converged on the New York City financial institutions.

    On August 30th the bubble burst with the failure of the Ohio Life Insurance Co. and their branch bank in New York City. Other banks called in loans and suspended credit. When the New Haven Railroad failed, fear spread throughout the City. By mid-September twenty-nine banks had failed in New York City alone. Interest rates rose to five-percent per month. With money tight factories closed and 10,000 NYC workers lost manufacturing jobs.

    The scenario was repeated in other eastern cities like Philadelphia and Boston. Without credit the crop harvests of the West could not be shipped. Financial ruin spread throughout the nation's business sector. Only the South's cotton industry survived and even prospered since cotton was over one-half of the nation's exports. Their success further antagonized the Northern animosity toward slavery.

    By mid-October unemployment was 40,000 in New York. The number were high in Philadelphia and Boston, too. On Oct 14th the nation's banking system collapsed. The Bank of New York, the city's oldest and strongest bank, failed with 17 other leading banks. The other banks in New York City closed for two months from mid-October to mid-December.

    The mayor of New York began relief measures by purchasing flour and selling it at cost. He hoped that public works projects like grading the streets, the Central Park, and the Reservoir would stimulate the economy. With winter approaching despair set in. Businessmen committed suicide. The middle-class began moving into tenement sections, and the hungry mobs marched on Wall Street to demand that they circulate the millions of dollars they were hoarding their vaults.

    In December the economic experts were saying that the panic was totally unjustified. The banks had enough money on hand to meet any withdrawal run on their deposits. The Secretary of the US Treasury stated that New York banks had never been sounder. Then, what caused the mass hysteria? Why the money crisis? Had rumors lead to ruin?

    Historians and economic analysts always like the boom-to-bust cycle for an explanation. Naturally, over-speculation is another popular accusation to blame. Another cause is the unsound banking practices which had little federal monitoring. Tariffs and limits on money and credit are always criteria for depressions, too. Even the lack of opportunity for the poor is used as a justifiable reason.

    However, our forefathers in earlier generations and not just church leaders had an opinion that the panic had a Divine Hand of retribution because of the idolatry of money. Samuel I. Prime, editor of the New York Observer, wrote that the panic was "a judgment." He, along with other contemporaries, found the cause in a lust for mammon accompanying the Gold Rush and the rapid industrialization. Twenty year later C. L. Thompson wrote "We were becoming a people without God in the world. In His providence the greed of gain was preparing its own remedy. A financial crash that shook all the monetary centers fell upon us." In J. Edwin Orr's posthumous book The Event of the Century, he boldly argued that the panic was not a cause of the prayer revival. The strongest argument to refute the "bank-panic revival" title was the timetable of events. On the day of the crash Oct 14th only about 100 participated in the prayer meeting. There was no dramatic increase in attendance during the crisis which ended on December 15th. But it must be noted that there was a vast multiplication of the Fulton Street meetings during the two month crisis. In January, 1858 excitement had spread across the nation and the press began reporting a "Businessman's Revival."

    III. And This is The Record:

    By the time of the Noonday Prayer Revival America was old enough to have a sense of history. James Smithson had bequeath an endowment to start collecting the antiques of US history in the Capital. Church leaders were aware that this event was an awakening, and they were diligent enough to chronicle the event. Even the secular newspapers provided many reports that still exist today on microfilm.

    One eyewitness report was made by Rev. Dr. Talbot W. Chambers, one of the pastors at the Reformed North Dutch Church on Fulton Street in New York City. He was commissioned by the church board to write any authentic information about the origin and history of "The Noon Prayer Meeting." It was completed November 4, 1858.

    Samuel Irenaeus Prime was the chief editor of the daily New York Observer. He was one of the first to report the revival. He published twenty-five revival sermons by the city's most prominent preachers with the title: The New York Pulpit in the Revival of 1858. In 1859 he summarized the events in The Power of Prayer, Illustrated in the Wonderful Displays of Divine Grace at the Fulton Street and Other Meetings.

    Another contemporary writer was William C. Conant, who detailed the events at the height of the revival. His Narratives of Remarkable Conversions and Revival Incidents was published at the end of April in 1858.

    James Gordon Bennett, a pioneer of yellow press journalism and the head of the New York Herald, began exploiting the revival news in February of 1858. His rival Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, began competing for the awakening news, too. In April Greeley devoted one entire special issue to the movement He even had reporters race on horseback from meeting to meeting for attendance totals. Because of development of the telegraph, the rotary press, and the new unified reporting of the Associated Press in the 1840's newspapers had the ability to report the news nationwide. Most newspapers printed notices of the meetings and the results. Even the telegraph companies allowed "saints" to send free telegrams to their "sinner" friends urging them to be converted. Although the secular press preferred to report the YMCA activities rather than the church news, the nation knew about this "Great Revival."

    Every church denominations had publications that listed the revival news town-by-town and meeting-by-meeting. Even lists of the names of the converts were written in the secular and religious circulation's. Many individuals kept a record of the happening, and even Jeremiah Lanphier had a personal journal of his experiences.

    IV. Jeremiah Calvin Lanphier:

    The noonday prayer revival was clearly more than anything else a revival of the laymen in the church. The most famous name that was connected with the revival was a laymen at the Fulton Street Church Jeremiah Lanphier. He was employed as a lay-missionary by the North Dutch Church. His ministry was to the unchurched of the city and to enlist their attendance.

    He was born at Coxsackie, New York in 1809. He was engaged in the mercantile business in New York City for 20 years. In 1842 he made a public confession of faith in Christ at the Broadway Tabernacle which was built for Finney. He became a member of the Nineteenth Street Presbyterian Church and was taught by Pastor James Waddel Alexander from 1850 until Mr. Lanphier's call to the Fulton Street church.

    Dr. Chambers found an eastern journal that described Lanphier as "tall, with a pleasant face, an affectionate manner, and indomitable energy and perseverance; a good singer, gifted in prayer and exhortation, a welcome guest to any house, shrewd and endowed with much tact and common sense."

    He began his duties on July 1, 1857. His first effort was to canvas the wards in Lower Manhattan, and to use a house-to-house visitation system. He prepared a handout with a brief history of the church, a description of the services, and a salvation tract. He organized boys' clubs and Sunday School classes for the youth, but the poor stayed away from the church with its better dressed congregation. His efforts faced difficulty and discouragement; however, he found great comfort in a daily communion with God in prayer. His prayer was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

    As he observed the business people during their lunch hour, Lanphier became burdened by the uneasy looks of indifference and emptiness. He conceived the idea of a mid-day spiritual refreshment from their daily routine. A church committee approved his prayer meeting during the lunch hour that one could visit for any amount of time for five minutes or up to an hour. Then he solicited the hotels, shops, factories, mercantile establishment, and as well as the residential homes. He prepared this handbill:

    How Often Shall I Pray? As often as the language of prayer is in my heart; as often as I see my need of help; as often as I feel the power of temptation; as often as I am made sensible of any spiritual declension, or feel the aggression of a worldly, earthly spirit...In prayer, we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with men for intercourse with God.

    On the other side of the handout, Jeremiah Lanphier announced his plan:

    A day of Prayer-Meeting is held every Wednesday from 12 to 1 o'clock in the Consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets. This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers and businessmen generally an opportunity to stop and call on God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who find it inconvenient to remain more than 5 or 10 minutes, as well as for those who can spare a whole hour. Necessary interruption will be slight, because anticipated. Those in haste often expediate their business engagements by halting to lift their voices to the throne of grace in humble, grateful prayer. Mr. Lanphier set the very first meeting for noon September 23rd in the lecture room on the third floor of the Consistory Building of the North Reformed Protestant Dutch Church.

    V. The Fulton Street Meetings:

    On the first Wednesday at noon Jeremiah Lanphier prayed alone for the first half hour. At 12:30 he was joined by the first attendant and by the end of the first hour six men had attended the prayer meeting. The following week twenty prayed together, and by the third week almost 40 attended. They decided to pray daily at the Fulton Street Church.

    The following rules were posted by Mr. Lanphier: BE PROMPT. Commencing precisely at Twelve O'clock. The Leader is not expected to exceed ten minutes in opening the meeting 1st. Open the meeting by reading and singing 3-5 verses of a hymn. 2nd. Prayer. 3rd. Read a portion of the Scripture. 4th. Say the meeting is now open for prayers and exhortations, observing particularly the rules overhear inviting brethren from abroad to take part in the services 5th. Read but one of two requests at a time-REQUIRING a prayer to follow- such prayer to have special reference to the same. 6th. In case of any suggestions or propositions by any person, say this is simply a Prayer Meeting, and that they are out of order, and call on some brother to pray. 7th. Give out the closing hymn five minutes before one o'clock. Request the Benediction from a Clergyman, if one be present.

    The mode of worship was the same in all meetings. Lanphier's rules prevailed. The leader sounded a bell, and the meeting began in a serious, solemn businesslike manner. If anyone prayed or testified more than five minutes another bell rang. It was mostly impromptu, spontaneous, or what is called in church circles a moving of the Holy Spirit. The participants ranged from businessmen to clerks and from the young to gray-haired. Distinctions between sects and between clergymen and laymen were ignored. No controversial subjects like water baptism or slavery were to be discussed. As the size of the daily meetings grew week by week, all classes of people began to participate. At first only men attended but after several weeks women began showing up for prayer, too.

    By the second month a second lecture room in the Consistory Building had to be opened. By the mid-January the Fulton Street meetings had to use all three of the lecture rooms in the building. By February the jam packed meetings at Fulton Street had a daily attendance of around seven hundred. It should be noted that on the day of the Bank Crash October 14th only about 100 attended the prayer meeting. Their zenith in the spring supports Orr's Panic-Revival conclusions.

    A notable and unanticipated result of the Prayer Meetings was the conversions to faith in Christ. As a fervent increase in intercessory prayer took place, the requests, and needs, and burdens led to the salvation issue. Suddenly laymen began sharing their faith on the streets and in the door-to-door visitations. Then the written and oral requests at the prayer meetings included the names of unsaved friends and relatives. Joyfully the testimonies of conversions followed.

    VI. The New York Meetings Expand:

    While the Fulton Street Church was the original prayer meeting, many others duplicated the pattern. At about the same time the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn started a daily prayer meeting. By the next spring New York had twenty such meetings and Brooklyn had about a dozen. The other Dutch Reform churches, the Presbyterian, the Congregational, and the Methodist Episcopal churches opened their doors to the crowds in the hundreds.

    When overflow crowds created such a demand for space, prayer meetings were held in stores, fire and police departments, the YMCA, the Free Academy, Music Hall, and even theaters. Burton's Theater on Chambers Street in the heart of the commercial district had the largest crowds. On March 17, 1858 Rev. Henry Ward Beecher preached to a crowd of 3,000 at Burton's. A corp of fifty prominent clergymen including Beecher, Theodore Cuyler, and Robert M. Hatfield were available for stirring sermons at any time and place. Every church and public hall was filled by the Springtime.

    Finally, everything shutdown from 11 to 2 over the noon hour because of the lack of business with so many attending the prayer meetings. Also, the times had to be expanded with church bells ringing at 8 AM, 12, and again at 6 PM. Prayer was in vogue. Religion was the topic of conversation everywhere. During the spring months estimates placed the daily attendance at 10,000. As usually happens in revivals, famous people profess conversion to faith in Christ. In March during the Lenten season a famous prize-fighter Orville Gardner announced his conversion. His notoriety in the ring had earned him the title "Awful Gardner." After his conversion at a Methodist prayer meeting, he left the city to convert his brother. When he returned, he gave his testimony at several meeting and the city was buzzing about this famous transformation. He was training three fighters at the time, and he vowed to meet all them again for a spiritual reason. At the height of the revival it was estimated the conversions were running 50,000 a week throughout the city.

    Although the awakening was emphatically a lay-movement, about a hundred evangelical clergymen met to discuss Sabbath-breaking. The chairman was Dr. Gardner Spring, who was the pastor at the Brick Presbyterian Church for 63 years. They met at Spingler Institute and called for enforcement of the statutes on Sunday observances. The targets were such Sunday businesses as saloons, German amusements of music and beer drinking, and risqué sporting events. There were reports that three to four thousand would show up to view and to bet on the Sunday afternoon trotting races on Harlem Lane.

    By the Easter season the meetings were six months old and the event was now being called "The Great Revival." Even the secular press recognized the extra-ordinary moving of the Holy Spirit. The New York Times called this "the most remarkable movement since the Reformation" especially since no revival machinery or revival-preacher was connected to the religious excitement. But, the best was yet to come for the awakening was not limited to New York.

    VII The Awakening Amplified:

    The only American city comparable to New York with a port for immigrants, and over a half million population, and with almost 300 churches was Philadelphia. The revival quickly spread to America's second city, and it followed the same pattern.

    John Bliss, a young member of the YMCA, attended the Fulton Street meetings. When he returned, he purposed that they do the same in Philadelphia. On November 23, 1857, a noonday prayer rally was inaugurated at the Union Methodist Episcopal Church. During the winter, the eminent Methodist revivalist Rev. James Caughey conducted as series of meetings and more than 500 persons were converted. By the March Jayne's Hall, a theater on Chestnut and in the heart of the business district, was drawing crowds of over 3,000. When a meeting overflowed to nearby buildings, Philadelphia claimed the "world's largest prayer meeting."

    One of the most powerful and prominent speakers at Jayne's Hall was Rev. Dudley A. Tyng, a young Episcopalian minister. His untimely death in April resulted in many conversions. On his deathbed he inspired a friend Rev. George Duffield to write a song about the standing room only crowds, when he said, "Tell the men to stand up for Jesus."

    Early in May a big tent was purchased for two thousand dollars. The next four months of tent services drew a total audience of 150,000 people; and the city of Philadelphia reaped a harvest of ten thousand conversions.

    Everywhere reports were the same. A moving in the fall, excitement during the winter, and by March an explosion of religious activity. At first it was only for prayers, then the conversions followed. The stirring in the hearts of people was clearly and without a doubt providential in origin. The Baptists were on fire so much during the winter that they cut holes in the frozen Mohawk River and they baptized the converts in the cold water.

    The divine influence touched cities and villages. It was hard to find a place that was not moved by God's grace. William C. Conant's computations revealed revival in 88 towns in Maine, 40 in New Hampshire, 39 in Vermont, and 147 in Massachusetts. It was said that there were entire New England towns in which scarcely an unconverted person could be found. Even Boston was awakened with large crowds, intense prayer, and fruitful conversions.

    The best view of the widespread movement of the Spirit on the nation was at a Charles Finney meeting in Boston. A gentleman testified, "I am from Omaha, in Nebraska. On my journey East I have found a continuous Prayer meeting all the way. We call it two thousand miles from Omaha to Boston; and here was a prayer meeting about two thousand miles in extent."

    In Pittsburgh the Presbyterians set aside the first Sabbath of the new year for revival preaching, and the first Thursday as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Cincinnati did the same. In Chicago the Metropolitan Theater was crowded daily with two thousand people for prayer. By May of 1858 most of the businesses simply closed for "the Hour of Prayer" because of the lack of customers. Methodist Bishop McIlvaine at the Ohio Convention said, "I have no doubt 'whence it cometh' is 'the Lord's doing." Timothy Smith recorded that "There were numerous revivals in schools, the most spectacular being in Cleveland, where all but two boys (in the Cleveland public schools) experienced conversion." The awakening in the Northern states was the same with a long list of cities and towns with conversions and a growth in church memberships.

    The only place not powerfully touched by the revival in the early years was the South. Although a two year drought and epidemics hit Southern California, when the evangelists came the seats were empty, and the church bells did not toll. The revival did not touch the South until the Civil War with the exception of the slave population. Reports came along the Underground Railroad of the revival among the "colored" in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. The estimates were that the black Methodists tripled during the revival years.

    One glorious movement was in Charlestown, South Carolina under the preaching of Presbyterian Pastor Dr. John L. Girardeau. His congregation was mainly what he called "brothers in black." After special prayer meetings he preached to overflow crowds of 1,500 to 2,000 blacks and whites in the nightly audiences even past midnight. The eight-week period was in his words, "the greatest event of his ministry."

    Another phenomenal outpouring was among the youth in the YMCA movement and the college campuses. The Young Men's Christian Association first appeared in the US in Boston in 1851 and spread to other large cities. It had an evangelical goal to win young men to Christ. During the Awakening of 1858 the YMCA did a great work in visiting 20,000 persons. Also, the organization spread nationwide to over 50 college campuses.

    Historians have failed to mention the awakening on the college campuses. J. Edwin Orr said that nearly every Protestant college in every part of the nation was moved by the revival. It was a result of the special "days of prayer" at the colleges. No visiting evangelist or visiting clergyman initiated the campus movement. From the prayer meetings there was a manifestation of repentance, confession, and restitution. College historian Frederick Rudolph noticed the college awakenings in the north, south, and west in 1858.

    VIII. The Remarkable Results on American Christianity:

    The most remarkable result of the Awakening of 1858 was the tremendous influence and practice of prayer. E.M. Bounds, who wrote eight books on prayer, said, "The great movements of God have their origin and energy in and were shaped by prayers of men. Prayer has directly to deal with God." The revival was started by prayers, grew because of prayers, and more than anything else it was glorified by common Christians praising and interceding with God. No wonder this is called the purest and simplest revival in history.

    The second major impact was the spiritual refreshment of the laity and not just their prayers, but their aggressive witnessing. W.A. Candler said it best, "The revival of 1858 inaugurated in some sense the era of lay work in American Christianity...the layman's day fully dawned on all the churches. No new doctrine was brought forward, but a new agency was brought to bear in spreading the old truth through the efforts of men who, if they could not interpret the Scriptures with precision or train souls to perfection, could at least help inquiring sinners to find the Lord by relating how they themselves had found Him."

    Candler, also, continued, "Since Christianity is a religion of experience, this lay element was a power in the 1st Century church...but it dropped out of the church when Christianity, ceasing to be an experience, was practiced only as a pompous system of priest-craft or taught as an abtuse philosophy of religion. It now returned in the regeneration of a nation."

    The laymen found themselves useful not only in evangelism, but in service, too. The two movements that provided opportunities for the laity were the YMCA and the Sunday School. The YMCA became a wing of the church that provided recreational and religious functions for the members. The Sunday School movement many lay people a chance to practice discipleship. The two young Sunday School teachers, who became famous were Dwight L. Moody in Chicago and John Wanamaker in Philadelphia. In the 1860's the laity, also, had an opportunity to serve in the US Christian Commission and the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. There were many other opportunities like: missions and philanthropic agencies to the poor, needy, and helpless. The greatest lesson of the revival was that the work of the church was not committed to the clergy alone.

    The immediate impact on the church was the growth in new members. The standard estimate by church historians was one million over the two years of the revival. The mainstream denominations such as the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and German congregations all reported increases around 20 percent between 1855-65.

    The church was, also, impacted by the spirit of fellowship in the "union" prayer meetings. Unlike other revivals there were no splits or denominational schisms in this awakening. At the Anniversary Service of the Fulton Street meeting in 1858 there was a unanimous agreement that "unity in evangelism had routed sectarian controversy." From this time forward the unique spirit of cooperation grew in the revivalism campaigns and in the social action activities.

    The meetings were not just inspired by the fervent prayers, but singing was an important part of their worship, too. Many new songs were added to the hymnals. Anna Warner wrote "Jesus Loves Me, this I know" in 1858. The Charlotte Elliott hymn of contrition "Just As I Am" was written in 1836, but it became popular during this era. The great song writer Fanny Crosby began writing hymns during this awakening. A Negro Spiritual "Let us break bread together on our knees," became part of communion during this time. Other new hymns included: "What a friend we have in Jesus," and "He leadth me! O blessed thought," and Duffield's "Stand Up, stand up for Jesus.

    While calm and control reigned in the awakening, the emotion and sincerity was deep. It lasted for more than a generation. Forty years later L. W. Bacon wrote, "Looking backward, it is for us to raise the question how the church could have passed through the decade of the sixties without the spiritual reinforcement that came to it amid the pentecostal scenes of the 1857 and 1858."

    IX. The Awakening to the Uttermost parts of the World:

    This awakening had the most immediate worldwide impact of any religious event to that date in history. Every continent was in some way touched by the movement. The pattern of earnest prayer reached heretofore little known areas, and their reports returned with praise and rejoicing of how the Holy Spirit was moving around the globe. When the news of the Great Revival in America was heard, many secluded places met for special prayer to intercede with The Almighty for a similar blessing in their region. With the expansion of the press and the short-lived Atlantic cable of 1858, the formative capacity for a world watch carried information back to the church and their missionary headquarters. Consequently, the body of Christ was encouraged with every bit of information. Nevertheless, historians did not fully realize the revival's widespread influence until the 20th Century.

    Almost simultaneous to the Fulton Street meetings, Canada experienced a revival in 1857. Methodist evangelists Walter and Phoebe Palmer reported a number of extraordinary conversions in Hamilton which is now Ontario. Originally the movement occurred in the Methodist Episcopal Church and at their camp meetings, but by 1858 "union" prayer meetings with large crowds attracted intercessors across denominational lines.

    When the cable news of the North American revivals reached the United Kingdom, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland sent a delegation to observe the Fulton Street meetings. When a revival broke out in Ulster in 1859, it duplicated some of the physical manifestations of the Kentucky events earlier in the century. Prostration's, the jerks, and mass conversions took place during prayer and preaching meetings. By the time the revival spread throughout the country 100,000 converts were added to St. Patrick's lands.

    The religious news from America started a similar awakening in Wales. By 1860 the revival spread to Scotland and England. Every place experienced crowded prayer meetings, the conviction of sin and repentance, and a noticeable decrease in crime and vice. Evangelists like the Palmers were invited in the British Isles. William and Catherine Booth of Salvation Army fame began their ministry. Britain's most popular evangelist Henry Grattan Guinness preached to 20,000 from the top of a cab in Ulster. The United Kingdom had an estimated one million converts during the Awakening of 1859-60.

    On the continent of Europe the Ulster and American revivals attracted interest particularly in the evangelical Protestant churches. Strong vibrations took place in Scandanavian countries and occasional outbreaks were experienced in Germany and Russia. However, the oldest Christian churches, such as the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox bodies, maintained their traditional ways and experienced little influence from the revivals.

    The Revival's most immediate impact around the world was the rejuvenation the missionary stations and mission boards. As prayer increased, missionaries hoped for a movement of the Holy Spirit. In South Africa it happened with the Zula and Banta tribesmen. The Dutch Reformed Church, which was already an evangelical body, prayed that they would experience what had happened at Fulton Street. The chapels at mission stations were crowded. Outbreaks even occurred among the Xhosa speaking people and the Methodist groups.

    The smallest continent Australia had a mid-century gold rush at Victoria, and the population increased to a million people by 1860. Victoria and New South Wales experienced the same revival as New York and America. When reports came from Ulster and the United Kingdom, the awakening spread to Melbourne and other locations around the country. Similar outbreaks spread to Tasmania and New Zealand. Prayers, conversions, and church growth took place throughout the region.

    The revival flowed around the Pacific. In the1860's Hawaii, Tonga, and Fiji all beheld revivals in religion and prayer. The most stirring reports came from Ponape where the remarkable presence of the Holy Spirit moved in all night prayer meetings. Miraculously, a pioneer Christian work took place in the Muslim strongholds of the East Indies' islands.

    In Asia the Prayer Awakening sent a new impetus to mission fields that continued through the next two decades. India was blessed with some of the greatest missionaries of the century like George Bowen, William Taylor, J.M. Thoburn, John Clough, and others. Although small in proportion to the population, where the converts were in tens they became hundreds and where they were in hundreds they became thousands. In China the great work of J. Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission was founded during this time. For the small pockets of Christians throughout the continent this was a refreshing period of grace. Only Japan and Korea were not reached during the awakening.

    The continent least impacted by the awakening was South America. An inaugural Protestant missions work was introduced in Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Columbia, Chile, and Panama. A most phenomenal revival did break out in Jamaica. Some of the manifestations included prostration's and tremblings. The prayer, conviction of sin, and repentance resulted in a decrease in drunkenness and couples living in sin. The only other revival in the region was among the recently freed slaves of the British West Indies.

    The 1857-58 movement continued its influence for 40 years to the end of the century. It opened a door for the large scale evangelists, the most notable being Dwight L. Moody. It resulted in missionaries on every continent. All the churches were strengthened. While there was no cleavage among the Christian denominations, it was said that a spirit of reunion appeared for the first time since the Reformation. Laymen and volunteers were given a chance to serve in organizations like the YMCA, the Civil War commissions, and the postwar social reform societies.

    J. Edwin Orr called his book of the revival The Event of the Century. Most of the writers have used every word in the thesaurus to describe this amazing, wonderful, glorious work of God. In the final analyst there was an agreement that the revival was a sovereign and mysterious increase from God.

    X. The Civil War:

    The American Civil War is the most detailed in US history, and was the first photographed war in the history of the world. Abraham Lincoln has kindled more biographies than any other US President, and some say the most since Shakespeare and Jesus. The era has been interpreted and revised, and re-interpreted by each succeeding generation.

    The first popular viewpoint was that the South's secession was a states right issue over the question of nullifying the Constitution. The Lincoln response was clearly to save the Union. Initially, the opponents considered the struggle as a battle between the armies of rebellion and the armies of invasion. But when it was over, both sides ended up seeing Lincoln as the martyr and savior of the Union.

    A second opinion for the War between the States was the slavery question. Although abolition did not seem to be an original purpose, free soil and the containment of slavery was clearly a Republican goal. After emancipation occurred, President Lincoln and the abolitionists, particularly the Boston voices of Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and the Unitarians, all received the major accolades for the manumission.

    By the 1880's the memoirs of the soldiers and politicians began appearing. The mutual respect on each side resulted in biographies and battle plans that glorified their generals, and particularly the Lee-Jackson team and the President. This second generation of historians developed what was called the "nationalist" tradition. Their conciliatory approach said that both sides were right. And that neither side could give in and they remained true to their causes.

    In the early 20th Century historians like Charles Beard viewed the war as a collision of two different ways of life. The economic factors of the industrial North against the agricultural South were used to explain the difference. The war was regarded as an enviable, sectional conflict between two different ways of life. This approach was called the "Second American Revolution."

    By the time a second World War broke out and a lasting peace had failed, historians came up with the revision that blamed blundering leaders for needless wars. Consequently, the abolitionists were perceived as religious fanatics, and the slaveholders were jealous aristocrats, who refused to adjust their way of life.

    Another revision that took place in the 1930's recognized the less regarded abolitionists. The evangelical wing of the Tappans and the Finney followers like Weld and the Grimke sisters were given their just praise for their emancipation efforts.

    The civil rights movement of the 1960's changed some other opinions about the period. The contribution of nearly 200,000 former slaves to the Northern cause was finally well documented, and they given some of their well deserved glory. However, on the other side of the revision, Lincoln was not viewed as a hero. Since his Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single, Union or border state slave, he was discredited for using the document as a means to keep the cotton-buying British out of the war, and to recruit slaves from the Confederacy.

    Lately, another criticism of the textbooks and one Civil War presentation, is the de-emphasis on Christianity during the war. Kevin A. Miller, the editor of Christian History, said of the Ken Burns series The Civil War which was viewed by over 12 million on PBS, "As great as that series was, however, it often overlooked one of the most significant aspects of the war. Religion."

    A. Whose side is God On?

    When the war broke out both sides sought to justify how their position was in "the will of God." Pulpits on each side announced, "God is with us." Each found biblical support for their holy and righteous cause. They petitioned the same God for His divine blessing on their efforts. Clearly godly men with sincere convictions fought on each side of the war. While Lincoln called slavery "a national sin," General Robert E. Lee, who had freed his slaves, fought for the South. At the same time General Stonewall Jackson, who kept his slaves, financed and taught the Negro Sunday School class in Lexington, Virginia.

    Both governments appointed chaplains. Even though the Confederate constitution had more religious references that the US Constitution, both Presidents set aside days for fasting and humiliation and prayer. Many lay at peace on their deathbed trusting in their Savior for their eternal reward. The "Fighting Presbyterian" General Jackson calmly told his wife, "I always wanted to die on a Sunday." The flamboyant cavalry officer JEB Stuart with Jefferson Davis by his deathbed wanted someone to sing "Rock of Ages, cleft for me."

    In the final analysis the best words may have been spoken in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address when he said, "Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other...The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own still it must be said, 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous." It is still a paradox of efforts today, and perhaps William J. Wolf's title "The Almost Chosen People" is after all the best description of our nation.

    B. Ministry to the Soldiers.

    During the four bloody years of the war two philanthropic organizations made efforts for the temporal and spiritual care of the soldiers. The US Sanitary Commission began in the Summer of 1861 under the inspiration of a Unitarian minister Henry W. Bellows. The US Christian Commission began at a YMCA meeting in November of 1861 with Philadelphia banker George H. Stuart as the chairman. It was said that he financed the "ambassadors for Jesus."

    The Sanitary Commission with its hundreds of advisory agents dealt with the problems of sanitation, drainage, preventative medicine, diet, rest, and hospital management. They were primarily concerned with the health, comfort, and morale of the troops. The commission spent nearly five million dollars for the humane care of the soldiers. Henry Commager called the organization - a combination of the YMCA, Red Cross, and the USO. Nevertheless, the death rate from wounds and sickness was four to one compared to deaths on the battlefields. After the war they united their efforts with Clara Barton's campaign to form the American Red Cross.

    When the war broke out, Henry Ward Beecher warned that the military camps were full of carelessness and rudeness, of idleness and intemperance. The Christian Commission was formed as an evangelistic-social service agency to serve the Union soldiers in the camps, on the battlefields, and in the hospitals. Their efforts were aimed at winning souls through practical social compassion.

    The USCC had 4,859 volunteers or "delegates." They helped the military chaplains especially with the distribution of spiritual reading materials. The agents passed out 1,466,748 Scriptures, 1,370,953 hymnbooks, over 8 million books, 18 million newspapers, and 30 million religious tracts. They held 136,650 religious services. They wrote over 90,000 letters to relatives of the soldiers. Countless men and women referred to their work as "the experience of a lifetime." The Commission's entire work was organized by executive secretary William E. Boardman, a Presbyterian minister and a famous devotional writer.

    The War Departments of the Union and Confederate governments authorized one ordained and denominationally certified chaplain per regiment with the rank of a private. More than thirteen hundred ministers and clergymen served in the camps. The Methodist churches provide the most chaplains with nearly 500 in the North and over a hundred in the South. The major activity was the evening prayer service which was usually held in a tent. The Christian Commission tried to hold a meeting at every post every night of the week during the winter and summer. After a delegate gave a short testimony an informal hour of exhortation, testimonies, and prayer concluded the service. Usually overflow crowds attended in all kinds of weather. The 1858 Revival practice of cold water baptisms continued during the war.

    The concern for the soldiers increased the charitable efforts of the older organizations. The American Bible and Tract society published fifty million pages during the war, and so did the Evangelical Tract Society of Petersburg, Virginia. The YMCA raised funds for their ministry to the troops. Many Northern cities founded the Freedman relief societies to aid the former slaves. Every denomination and church experienced a dramatic rise in charitable giving. The war produced a philantrophic revolution through the nation. In early 1864 Linus P. Brockett published an estimate that all the wartime giving to date totaled $212 million in the North alone. A new era of social concern and public participation was born in these times.

    C. Revival in the Camps:

    Any early optimism of a quick settlement by the Fall or Christmas was dispelled with the Confederate victory at First Manassas or the First Battle of Bull Run. The usual military camp life of boredom, homesickness, and irreligious practices prevailed. Profanity, gambling, drunkenness, sexual licentiousness, and petty thievery tempted every soldier. Sunday worship was only nominally practiced. However, that was the reality of most armies in history with some exceptions like Cromwell's New Model army and the camp of George Washington.

    Each year the war dragged on and the death rates mounted from the modern firepower of the new weapons. Also, the discouragement grew. In 1862 casualties rates were almost 25,000 at Shiloh, and over 25,000 at Antietam. It became a war of attrition. The North could not win it, and the South refused to lose it. The decisive battles at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga in 1863 only heightened the resolve on each side. However, hope and help was found in both camps because of the most prominent religious revival in the world's military history.

    Over the winter of 1863-64 The Union Army of the Potomac experienced great religious excitement. One reporter thought that their piety might "win the whole nation to Christ." Meanwhile the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was moved by the "Great Revival." It was estimated the 7,000 soldiers or about 10 percent of Lee's army was converted to Christ. Throughout the South army chapels were built by every brigade. Morning and evening prayer meetings were held. If evangelical speakers were not present, soldiers got up and testified about "Peace with God." The plea was not Blue against Gray, but "Who is on The Lord's side?"

    Although Grant's offensive in 1864 interrupted the revival, conversions reached a peak by the next summer, and they continued until Appomattox. The chaplain of the Army of Northern Virginia J. William Jones, a Baptist minister, estimated that 150,000 were converted in Lee's Army alone. His renowned eyewitness account Christ in the Camp, or Religion in Lee's Army was published in 1888. It began with the revivals during the war and then, chronicled the postwar growth in the churches.

    William W. Bennett, author of A Narrative of the Great Revival Which Prevailed in the Southern Armies, estimated that one-third of all soldiers in the field were men of prayer and members of some Christian Church. F.G. Beardsley quoted a chaplain who said, "modern history presents no example of an army so nearly converted."

    The impression was that the revival was more fervent in the Confederate armies. Even President Lincoln was quoted as saying, "The rebel soldiers are praying with a great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own troops, are expecting God to favor their side." However, steadfast US Christian Commission reports of conversions in the hundreds flowed from many Federal camps as many evangelists like D.L. Moody preached to the Union troops. The best estimates of conversions in the Union forces place the figure between 100,000 and 200,000 men - about 5-10 percent of all individuals engaged in the conflict. In the final analysis the most common figure is 300,000 conversions in both armies during the Civil War.

    D. Who's Who on The Lord's Side:

    No war in American history has so many famous people, who were also notable Christians. Politicians, generals, and of course chaplains earned a reputation for their religion. Several great works by chaplains still remain famous today. E.M. Bounds was a Methodist Episcopal pastor, who served as a Confederate chaplain under J.B.Hood. His eight books on prayer were not published until the 20th Century, but still he leads the bestseller's list of Christian books today.

    The classic reports on the Civil War revivals in the military were by J. William Jones on Lee's army and William W. Bennett, who headed the Methodist Soldier's Tract Association. Bennett surmised that the willingness for revival in the Confederate armies was due to their cultural homogeneity. Many who served together were boyhood friends, and their regiments had a hometown and neighborhood atmosphere. Prayer meetings were just like being home, only the war created greater spiritual needs.

    Dr. John L. Girardeau of Charlestown's Black revival fame was evenmore endeared after serving as a South Carolina chaplain. At the end of the war he was released from a prisoner of-war camp. When he returned home, his Black parishioners hoisted him on their shoulders and paraded him through the streets.

    Sidney Ahlstrom wrote in a wonderful description that "Chaplains performed heroic duties in many circumstances, in battle and behind the lines, and won countless tributes for their services to the sick, the wounded, and the dying. As in no other American war, they also carried on their preaching ministries with astounding success, as their great revivals won many converts even among the highest ranking officers. In these revivals as well as their pastoral work and many other tasks, the chaplains were often joined by clergy of the locality."

    Of the Civil War generals none was a more respected Christian than Robert E. Lee. He was an Episcopalian all his life. He was called "the ultimate gentleman." He graduated second in his class at West Point, and he was Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union Army of the Potomac. He was a daily Bible reader and a man of prayer, who disliked tobacco and hated whiskey. He was praised by many even beyond his lifetime, but his description of self was "nothing but a sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation." After the war he was President of Washington (and Lee) College in Lexington, Virginia until his death in 1870.

    Lee's great right arm was Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson known as the "Fighting Presbyterian." He was converted to Christianity during the Mexican War and baptized at age 25 as an Episcopalian. The VMI professor was also a teacher of the Negro Sunday School in Lexington, Virginia. His military prowess was even studied by 20th Century general, but he ordered his chaplains to hold thanksgiving services after every victory. He was accidentally shot by his own men at the battle of Chancellorsville, and he died Sunday May 10, 1963.

    Lee's chief artillery officer was William Pendleton. At the first battle of Bull Run he named his four guns: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His orders were "While we will kill their bodies, may the Lord have mercy on their sinful souls- FIRE!" He served throughout the entire war. After the war he served as pastor of Lee's church Grace Church in Lexington, Virginia.

    A Confederate major-general Leondias Polk was a West Point classmate of Jefferson Davis, and the first Episcopal bishop of Louisiana. During the campaign around Chattanooga he was called to General Hood's headquarters. He baptized the one-legged general with water from horse bucket in a midnight ceremony. He, also, baptized General's Hardee and Joseph E. Johnston. The "bishop-general" was killed by a cannonball in 1864.

    William Rosecrans was a devout Catholic. Although he was known for drinking and much swearing, he attended Mass everyday. He refused to have his army fight on Sunday, and it cost him a decisive victory at Murfreesboro

    Manytimes the officers like Lee and Jackson were leaders at the prayer meetings. The Confederate camps were called "a school for Christ." Braxton Bragg, R. H. Anderson, Ewell, Baylor, Paxton, Pender, Rodes, E. Kirby Smith, and many others were known for their faith, too. Stonewall Jackson's chief of staff R.L. Dabney was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

    However, the Union side was not without its Christian officers. The first Commander-in-chief of the Union troops was George McClellan was a new convert to Christianity just before the war. He ordered that the Sabbath be observed throughout the Union Army. However, he was removed after four month because of his overcautious command decisions.

    The Union commander at Fort Sumter Robert Anderson wrote a clergyman, "Were it not for my firm reliance and trust in our Heavenly Father, I could not but be disheartened, but I feel that I am here in the performance of a solemn duty, and am assured that He, who has shielded me when Death claimed his victims all around me, will not desert me now. Pray for me and my little band-I feel assured that the prayer will be heard."

    When Anderson surrender the Federal Arsenal at Charlestown, he wrote his wife, "Praise be to God for His merciful kindness to us. I think that the whole country North and South should thank Him for this step." Little did he foresee the coming bloodshed.

    The most widely known Christian soldier on the Union side was Oliver Otis Howard. The general was called "Old Prayer Book" by his troops. He never smoked, drank, or swore, and he spoke at many chapel services. When he spoke of his love for The Savior at Cleveland, Tennessee before the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, eighty-three inquirers came forward. Christian commission members and soldiers spoke of General Howard's impressive faith.

    After the war he was the head of the Freedman's Bureau, and the Black university in Washington DC bears his name. He was chairman of the American Tract society and Superintendent of West Point. In 1869 he started the practice of giving every incoming cadet a Bible. The tradition still continues today.

    Another Union general Lew Wallace is better known as a postwar author. While he was writing an argument against the religion, he converted to Christianity. The work resulted in his famous book Ben Hur.

    One of the memorable phrases of the war came from the Secretary of the US Treasury Salmon Portland Chase. He selected the motto "In God We Trust" which was first minted on the 2-cent coin in 1864.

    He was raised by his uncle, who was the Episcopal bishop of Ohio. In his diary almost every entry refers to a Bible verse and his prayers. When he joined the church in 1830 he wrote, "By conviction I am a Christian.....I think cordially and gratefully assents to the plan of salvation through free grace in Christ Jesus." His strong faith enabled him to persevere through the deaths of three wives and four children.

    E. The Presidents: Davis and Lincoln

    The Civil War produced many parallels and comparisons between the men and the battles, but one match that is always scrutinized is the two Presidents: Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln.

    Jefferson Davis' life like Lincoln was influenced by a Kentucky childhood. Davis was born a year early in Fairview, Kentucky and less than a hundred miles from Lincoln's birthplace. The Davis residence was a double log cabin only slightly better than Lincoln's home. Although he was raised on a Mississippi cotton plantation, his Baptist father decided to send the eight-year old Jefferson to a Dominican Catholic school near Bardstown, Kentucky. During this time he nearly professed a Catholic faith, and he maintained a lifetime respect for the Roman Catholic Church. His college days were spent at Transylvania (Kentucky), the most prestigious college west of the Appalachians. By his own admission Jefferson like his namesake, the third President, developed a critical attitude on religion, and he displayed a quiet thoughtful approach to faith.

    In 1824 Jefferson entered the Military Academy at West Point, and Leonidas Polk was one of his best friends. Both were influenced by the Episcopal Chaplain Charles McIlvaine. While Polk came to faith in Christ, Davis recorded numerous demerits for his absence from the chapel services and remained unconverted. Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church remained an influence. His two wives were both Episcopal members. His first wife was Zachary Taylor's daughter, who died of malaria three months after their marriage. Davis' mother, also, joined the Episcopal church after age eighty.

    Jefferson Davis did not become a church member, although he attended regularly with his second wife Varina. One letter revealed that she admonished him for his profanity, but he developed into an aloft, honorable, aristocratic gentlemen. He, also, became a successful planter with slaves on an a 800-acre plantation called Brierfield. Unlike many planters, he did not promote religion among his slaves.

    After a military career that included the Black Hawk and Mexican Wars, he engaged in politics as a congressman and an influential cabinet official under Franklin Pierce. Although he spoke against disunion as a US Senator, he was chosen as the first and only President of the Confederate States of America. .

    During the Civil War times in Richmond he sat under the preaching of Dr. Charles Minnegerode, the rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Varina Davis confided to the pastor that her husband was thinking about church membership. After some discussion Jefferson Davis was baptized in a home ceremony on a Sunday in May of 1862. He was confirmed and joined the church. His wife observed that "a peace which passed understanding" had seemed to settle in her husband's heart. On one occasion she discovered him in his study on his knees in prayer.

    In an effort to prevent Catholic immigrants from joining the Union forces Davis dispatched a diplomat to Pope Pius IX. He hope that The Pontiff could intervene for peace. The Pope sent a personal letter in his own handwriting addressed to "The Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America." The letter resulted in a claim that The Pope was the only foreign sovereign to recognize The Confederacy and its President. As for the immigrant enlistment's, they did slightly decline.

    As President of the Confederacy Davis declared days of fasting and prayer. In his speeches he made some reference to Providence and God's guidance. He was criticized for putting the first Jew, the brains of The Confederacy, Judah P. Benjamin in a major government post. By comparison he did not deal with people as well as Lincoln. In the end he was blamed for losing the "cause" by fighting mainly a defensive war.

    After the war he was imprisoned for two years in Fort Monroe for treason. During that period it was said that his main consolations were reading the Bible and smoking his pipe. After he was released on bail he traveled abroad, served as President of a life insurance company, and wrote his version of the Confederate government. He died of bronchitis in 1889, and J. William Jones wrote that "He never ceased trying to come up to his baptismal vows and to lead a Christian life." Unfortunately for Jefferson Davis, his evaluation is pale when he is measured against Abraham Lincoln, but most of the US Presidents are, too. However, for Lincoln, he has the widest range of admirers and critics. The single most confusing issue about the beloved and berated President is his religion. He is called everything from a "biblical Christian" by William J. Wolf to an "unbeliever" and an "infidel" by his junior law partner William Herndon.

    After his birth in 1809 he lived in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, and he was influenced by the Baptists and Methodists during the Second Great Awakening. His parents were married by a circuit-riding Methodist preacher, and they joined a Baptist church where his dad was a moderator and trustee in the church. Abraham grew up in the frontier fundamentalist faith. His education came from reading the Bible, John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress, and Aesop's Fables. He read them over and over, especially the Bible.

    Although he attended many churches, he never joined one. The critics are quick to point out that Lincoln is the only US President, who did not have a church membership. He was never baptized either, but many religious groups from the Catholics and Friends to the Universalists and Spiritualists claimed him as one of their own. President Lincoln's Pastor Dr. Phineas Gurley said that Lincoln was going to make a public confession of faith in Christ and be baptized at the Presbyterian Church on Easter Sunday 1865. However, the martyred President died on that Saturday.

    One widely reported event on Lincoln's religion was during the 1846 Congressional campaign against his opponent the Methodist evangelist Peter Cartwright. The preacher ask "all who do not wish to go to hell will stand." Everyone stood except Abraham Lincoln. Then Cartwright said, "May I inquire of you, Mr. Lincoln, where you are going?"

    Lincoln replied, "I came here as a respectful listener. I did not know that I was to be singled out by Brother Cartwright. I believe in treating religious matters with due solemnity. I admit that the questions propounded by Brother Cartwright are of great difference. I did not feel called upon to answer as the rest did. Brother Cartwright asks me directly where I am going. I desire to reply with equal directness: I am going to Congress." His prophesy was correct, but his single term as a Whig Congressman was ended by the "spot fever" over the initial invasion of the Mexican War.

    Lincoln's religious reputation was fostered by his Bible expertise as evidenced in his speeches, letters, and quotations. Most speeches contain some reference to God or His will. William J. Wolf counted thirty-three different ways that Lincoln referred to God, however he rarely used the name Jesus. He, also, alluded to many places in the Bible which proved his wide knowledge of the Old and New Testaments. In his Second Inaugural Address he included verses from Genesis, Psalms, and the Gospel of Matthew. He continually used a favorite phrase from Psalm 19:9 "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous."

    Secondly, his daily practice of kneeling for morning prayers in the White House was verified by clergymen and associates. His conviction and praise for an answered prayer resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation. Treasury Secretary Chase repeated Lincoln's pledge concerning the Battle of Antietam, "I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves."

    Not only did he pray but, he, also, called the nation to prayer with proclamations in every year of his Presidency. His first of four national Fast day was August 12, 1861. He, also, called for a day of Thanksgiving on April 10, 1862. Our modern Thanksgiving come from President Lincoln's proclamation to set aside the last Thursday of November as a day for prayer to "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union." On the day of Lee's surrender, President Lincoln even invited his cabinet to kneel in an hour of a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

    No American President faced the trials and deaths as did President Lincoln. During the Civil War his country suffered through 600,000 deaths. In his personal life his mother Nancy Hanks died when he was nine. His 19 year-old girl friend Anne Rutledge died during their courtship. His sister Sarah died shortly after his marriage to Mary Todd. Then two of their sons died: Edward in 1850 and Willie in 1862. Fuller and Green, the authors of God in The White House, said of President Lincoln, "he ripened through the whole course of his life into the profoundest religious spirit that ever occupied the White House."

    Dr. James Smith, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, handled little Eddie's funeral service. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln continued to regularly attend Rev. Smith's church for the next eight years. When he became President, Lincoln respected Dr. Smith enough to appoint him as consul to Scotland. Rev. Smith called Lincoln a "converted Christian."

    William J. Wolf, who wrote one of the best books on Lincoln's religion, gave this summary, "Lincoln won his way to ever deeper levels of faith in response to family suffering and national tragedy. His religion was not static, but dynamic in its development."

    Shortly before his death an Illinois clergyman asked Lincoln, "Do you love Jesus?" President Lincoln replied: "When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love. Jesus."

    The bibliography on Lincoln literature runs into the thousands. Was he a Christian? His Pastors like: Smith, Gurley, and Father Chiniquy say, "Yes!" Biographers like: Wolf, Johnston, and many others say, "Yes!" Many friends and associates join the chorus to say, "Yes!"

    However, if the words of his mouth come from the meditations of his heart, we can only agree that there is no greater proof of his faith when he calls for a post-war nation "with malice toward none; with charity for all; firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.....let us bind up the nation's wounds." No better words for Christian conduct were ever spoken by a US President.

    While numerous Christians have held influential positions and been involved in important decisions and directions for this country, Rev. William E. Barton has made one of the most phenomenal claims. There is no doubt about the family relationships of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. They were even born in the same county. Dr. Barton claimed that Lincoln's mother Nancy Hanks was the grand-daughter of Lucy (Nancy) Lee of Virginia, thus making Lincoln and Lee distant cousins. It may well be that the same family (the Lee's) produced all three of these great Christian Americans.

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