Devotion for Week of August 23rd, 2010 - An Open Letter From President Lincoln


Exodus 20:8, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Exodus 20:10-11, “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

President Abraham Lincoln wrote the following letter, dated November 15, 1862, to his army commanders:
    The President, Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy desires, and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service.  The importance, for man and beast, of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of the Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine will, demands that Sunday labor in the army and navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.

The discipline and character of the national forces should not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperiled by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High.

At this time of public distress, adopting the words of Washington in 1776; “Men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.”  The first general order issued, by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence, indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded, and should ever be defended.  “The general hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.”


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