At first Lincoln, who suffered from depression and had a pretty rough life, was not a believer and was angry and bitter towards God, in fact he would scoff at the Bible and ridicule it. One day he saw slaves being sold with families being broken up and sold to different buyers. He vowed to God that if He ever gave him a position that would enable him to do something about slavery, he would do it.
In 1857 the Supreme Court Dred Scott case, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney decided that slaves were not persons or citizens, but were the property of the owner, the same as their body, horse, cattle, etc., and the owner had the freedom of choice, to decide what they wanted to do with their own property. In his Inaugural address on March 4, 1861 spoke of his disagreement with the Court.
On September 22, 1862, after the massive confederate army was defeated at the battle of Antietam by Union troops, Lincoln spoke to his cabinet. He said:
“I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee were driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves”. Later that day the President, in total disregard to the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision issued the EMANCIPATION PROCLAIMATION, upholding the right to life, freedom and citizenship to everyone.
Lincoln was becoming more and more aware of God’s hand in the affairs of men. In December, 1862 he said: “The ways of God are mysterious and profound beyond all comprehension—“Who by searching can find Him out?” God only knows the issue of this business. He has destroyed nations from the map of history for their sins. Nevertheless, my hopes prevail generally above my fears for the republic. The times are dark, the spirits of ruin are abroad in all their power, and the mercy of God alone can save us”.
Still in 1862 Lincoln’s son, Willie died at 12 years. That seemed to be the final straw in his fighting God. He spent much more time reading his Bible and in prayer and attended church on Sundays and Wednesday until his tragic death three years later.
Lincoln’s pastor at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Dr. Phineas Gurley affirmed “The death Willie Lincoln in 1862 and the visit to the Gettysburg battlefield in 1863 finally led Lincoln to personal faith in Christ”.
The last act of Congress ever signed by Lincoln was that the motto, “In God we trust” should be inscribed on our coins.