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Lincoln’s Compassion

I am reminded of a story from the Civil War about a young man who had been tried by court-martial and ordered to be shot. The hearts of his father and mother were broken when they heard the news. But the young man’s sister had read the life story of Abraham Lincoln. She said, “If Abraham Lincoln knew how much my father and mother loved their son, he would not let my brother be shot.” She wanted her father to go to Washington to plead for his son. But the father said: “No, there is no use; the law must take its course. They have refused to pardon one or two who have been sentenced by that court-martial, and an order has gone forth that the President is not going to interfere again. If a man has been sentenced by court-martial he must suffer the consequences.” That father and mother did not have faith to believe that their boy might be pardoned.

But the young lady was strong in hope. She got on the train in Vermont and started off to Washington. When she reached the White House the soldiers refused to let her in. But she told her pitiful story, and they allowed her to pass. When she got to the secretary’s room, where the President’s private secretary was, he refused to allow her to enter the private office of the President. But she told her story again, and it touched the heart of the private secretary, so he passed her in. As she went into Abraham Lincoln’s room, there were United States senators, generals, governors and leading politicians, who were there discussing the war. The President happened to see her standing at his door. He inquired of her what she wanted, and she went right to him and told her story in her own heart-felt words. He was a father, and great tears trickled down Abraham Lincoln’s cheeks. At once, he wrote a dispatch and sent it to the army to have the young man sent to Washington at once. When he arrived, the President pardoned him, gave him thirty days furlough, and sent him home with his sister to cheer the hearts of the father and mother.

Do you want to know how to go to Christ? Go just as that young lady went to Abraham Lincoln. It may be possible that you have a dark story to tell. Tell it all out; keep nothing back. If Abraham Lincoln had compassion on that young lady, heard her petition and answered it, do you think the Lord Jesus will not hear your prayer? Do you think that Abraham Lincoln, or any man that ever lived on earth, had as much compassion as Christ? No! The heart of Christ will be touched when no other will. He will have mercy when no one else will. He will have pity when no one else will. If you will go directly to Him, confessing your sin and your need, He will save you.

—From The Way to God and How to Find It by D. L. Moody