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Title: Abraham Lincoln - The Practical Mystic
Author: Grierson, Francis
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Abraham Lincoln - The Practical Mystic" ***

(This file was produced from images generously made

                            ABRAHAM LINCOLN

                          THE PRACTICAL MYSTIC

                           BY THE SAME AUTHOR


                       ILLUSIONS AND REALITIES OF
                                THE WAR

                        THE INVINCIBLE ALLIANCE
                            AND OTHER ESSAYS

                         THE CELTIC TEMPERAMENT

                          MODERN MYSTICISM AND
                              OTHER ESSAYS

                           PARISIAN PORTRAITS

                       THE HUMOUR OF THE UNDERMAN

                         THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS

                          LA VIE ET LES HOMMES
                             (_in French_)


                            ABRAHAM LINCOLN

                          THE PRACTICAL MYSTIC

                          BY FRANCIS GRIERSON

                     AUTHOR OF "MODERN MYSTICISM,"
                     "THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS," ETC.

                      NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY

                            COPYRIGHT, 1918,
                          BY JOHN LANE COMPANY

                                Press of
                        J. J. Little & Ives Co.
                           New York, U. S. A.



           _The Practical Mysticism of Abraham Lincoln_      9

           _The Divine Will_                                12

           _The Mystical Awakening_                         13

           _The Agnostic and the Mystic_                    17

           _The Logic of the Supernatural_                  19

           _The Mystical Mood_                              21

           "_Going into the Silence_"                       22

           _Invisible Powers_                               24

           _The Fusion of Spirit and Matter_                26

           _His Miraculous Progress_                        28

           _A Prophetic Witness_                            30

           _Lincoln's Simplicity_                           32

           _Lincoln's Clairvoyant Wit_                      34

           _A Prophetic Vision of Hades_                    37

           _Shakespeare and Lincoln_                        40

           _A Prophecy Fulfilled_                           42

           _The Ordinances of Heaven_                       44

           _Lincoln's Face_                                 48

           _The Great Debate_                               49

           _Forecastings and Premonitions_                  52

           _Illumination of the Spirit_                     54

           _Tycho Brahe and Lincoln_                        56

           _Herndon's Analysis and Testimony_               58

           _An Original Mind_                               60

           _The Great Books_                                61

           _Veneration and Truth_                           63

           _The Great Puzzle_                               64

           _Lincoln's Energy and Will_                      65

           _Nature and Prophecy_                            67

           _The Seal of Nature_                             68

           _Law and Authority_                              70

           _Lincoln as Critic_                              73

           _His Style_                                      74

           _Lincoln's Serenity_                             75

           _The Romance of His Character_                   77

           _President by the Grace of God_                  79

           _Science and the Mystical_                       80

           _The Old and the New_                            81

           _Destiny versus Will_                            82

           _James Jacquess--Practical Mystic_               85

           _Images and Dreams_                              89

           _The New Era_                                    92


                            ABRAHAM LINCOLN
                          THE PRACTICAL MYSTIC

              _The Practical Mysticism of Abraham Lincoln_

A knowledge of the influences which ruled the life of Lincoln, the
greatest of practical mystics, is essential now that a new form of
paganism and slavery threatens humanity.

In Lincoln's time the black slaves of America had to be freed; in our
time the white slaves of Europe have to be freed. We have returned to
the conquest. History is being repeated, but on a far vaster scale. The
whole world is groaning under the threats and deeds of tyranny that
seeks to become absolute. What Abraham Lincoln stood for in the middle
of the nineteenth century the English-speaking peoples must stand for at
the beginning of the twentieth. Materialism produced Prussian autocracy.
A spiritual power brought America safely through the ordeals of the
Civil War. But the material and the spiritual cannot both rule at the
same time. One must yield authority to the other. And we cannot succeed
by denying the very thing which caused Lincoln to triumph over all
enemies and obstacles.

In 1862 the Reverend Byron Sutherland went with some friends of the
President to call upon him. On November 15th, 1872, Dr. Sutherland wrote
to the Reverend J. A. Reed:--

"The President began by saying, 'The ways of God are mysterious and
profound beyond all comprehension. "Who, by searching, can find Him
out?" Now, judging after the manner of men, taking counsel of our
sympathies and feelings, if it had been left to us to determine it, we
would have had no war. And, going farther back, to the occasion of it,
we would have had no evil. There is the mystery of the universe which no
man can solve, and it is at that point that human understanding backs
down. There is nothing left but for the heart of man to take up faith
and believe where it cannot reason. Now, I believe we are all agents and
instruments of Divine Providence. On both sides we are working out the
will of God. Yet how strange the spectacle! Here is one half of the
nation prostrated in prayer that God will help to destroy the Union and
build up a government upon the corner-stone of human bondage. And here
is the other half, equally earnest in their prayers and efforts to
defeat a purpose which they regard as so repugnant to their ideas of
human nature and the rights of society, as well as liberty and
independence. They want slavery; we want freedom. They want a servile
class; we want to make equality practicable as far as possible. And they
are Christians and we are Christians. They and we are praying and
fighting for results exactly the opposite. What must God think of such a
posture of affairs? There is but one solution--self-deception. Somewhere
there is a fearful heresy in our religion, and I cannot think it lies in
the love of liberty and in the aspirations of the human soul. I hold
myself in my present position, and with the authority invested in me, as
an instrument of Providence. I have my own views and purposes. I have my
convictions of duty and my ideas of what is right to be done. But I am
conscious every moment that all I am, and all I have, is subject to the
control of a Higher Power. Nevertheless, I am no fatalist. I believe in
the supremacy of the human conscience, and that men are responsible
beings; that God has a right to hold them--and will hold them--to a
strict personal account for the deeds done in the body.... God alone
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 our Republic. The times are dark. The spirits of ruin
are abroad in all their power and the mercy of God alone can save us.'"

                           _The Divine Will_

September 30th, 1862, when everything looked dark and the future of
America was uncertain, Lincoln wrote the following meditation on the
Divine Will:--

"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in
accordance with the will of God. Both may be, one must be, wrong. God
cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the
present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something
different from the purpose of either party; and yet the human
instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation
to affect His purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true:
that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By His
great power on the minds of the contestants he could have either saved
or destroyed the Union without war. Yet the contest began. And, having
begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the
contest proceeds."

                        _The Mystical Awakening_

A mystical epoch is upon us, and like all vital movements it has come
without systematic propaganda and without organised effort.

The world-upheaval did not cause this new movement; it has simply
advanced it by stripping materialism of its illusive trappings and
showing it naked to the civilised world. It is not the work of one man
or any single group, sect, or nation. Its characteristics are
Anglo-American, and its development will prove the only antidote to the
new pagan Kultur, which opposes not only Christian morals but everything
that places the spiritual above the material.

Abraham Lincoln, the greatest practical mystic the world has known for
nineteen hundred years, is the one man whose life and example ought to
be clearly set before the English-speaking peoples at this supreme
climax in the history of civilisation. The thoughts, incidents,
manifestations, which the majority of historians glide over with a
careless touch, or sidetrack because of the lack of moral courage, are
the only things that count in the life of that great seer. His whole
existence was controlled by influences beyond the ken of the most astute
politicians of his time. His genius was superhuman. And since this world
is not governed by chance, a power was at work which fore-ordained him
for his unique mission.

W. H. Herndon has this to say in his biography of the immortal

"Nature had burned into him her holy fire and stamped him with the seal
of her greatness."

In other words, the seal of the practical mystic, which may be taken as
the keynote to the spiritual theme of his marvellous experiences. For it
is futile to continue to harp on Lincoln's political acumen, his
knowledge of law, his understanding of the people, his judgment of
individuals, his poverty, his disregard of the conventional, as causes
of his greatness. The same may be said of thousands of others, yet there
is no other Lincoln. To arrive at a just appreciation of the man and his
achievements I felt it essential to read very carefully all the books
written by those most intimate with the great President--a study which
has required a period of thirty years. The writing of "The Valley of
Shadows" was one of the results of that study, that book being, as far
as I could make it, a depiction of the spiritual atmosphere of the
Lincoln country in Lincoln's time--the atmosphere in which he lived and
moved, thought and worked.

Too long has the materialism of weights and bushel measures dimmed the
light that shines from the example of that incomparable seer. Too long
have politicians used his name to fish for gudgeons in the muddy waters
of sectional politics. Too long has Lincoln been held up in speeches and
electioneering manoeuvres as a politician who arrived because he was
honest. As if Webster, Calhoun, Clay, Sumner, and scores of others were
not equally honest without ever attaining a world-influence. What caused
Lincoln's honesty? His conscience. And what created his conscience? His
innate mystical knowledge of the difference between good and evil,
philosophers and puppets, the solemn dignity of duty and the sham
dignity of ambition. His was the clear vision in the darkest hours while
others were magnifying events through long-distance spectacles, or
minimising them in near-sighted details.

The mystical trend now visible in England and America is not a revival
but a renaissance. It has come in the natural course of events, being
the only thing that responds to the spiritual aspirations and needs of
the dispensation ushered in by the great war.

The renaissance of practical mysticism is now apparent both in and
outside the churches; but its greatest influence is exerted on that
large class which, before the war, had no religious convictions of any
kind. We have arrived at a climax in history. Old methods and systems
are passing, but not the old fundamental truths. Conditions, not
principles, have changed, and our attitude towards things has changed
with conditions. Thousands can now see clearly where once they saw
through a veil of agnosticism. It required a mighty force to lift the
veil, and a vast amount of machinery and metaphysics had to combine to
accomplish such a miracle; but the miracle is here, alive with a vital
flame unknown since the days of the Prophets and the Apostles.

The spiritual renaissance is not a drawing-room fad. It is not founded
on a passing whim. Novelties and opinions shift with the wind, and
people who are influenced by them are influenced by shadows. Mere
notions can never take the place of ideas. Novelties possess no
fundamental basis on which the spirit of man can build, and the
difference between an idea and a notion is the difference between a
university and a lunatic asylum.

The spiritual renaissance is not confined to any particular profession,
and this is why it is making headway among people of such divers views.
The war has crushed the juice out of the orange on the tree of pleasure
and nothing is left but the peel over which materialism is slipping to
its doom.

This stupendous movement was not sprung upon the world in a night. It
has had its slow stages of development. Everything comes and goes in
cycles which are graded in kind and proceed in accordance with immutable
law. This spiritual movement has had its special phases of preparation.
It is not true that the voices of the prophets have been inaudible. What
is true is that every voice that has sounded since the dawn of
historical civilisation has been heard and heeded. Emerson uttered a
great mystical truth when he said: "A book written for three will
gravitate to three," and, similarly, a voice intended for three will be
heard and heeded by three.

                     _The Agnostic and the Mystic_

Herndon's agnosticism left no lasting impression on the mind of Lincoln.
This is remarkable, because Herndon was a man with a powerful
originality and a strong will.

Lincoln was more or less influenced by Herndon at the beginning of their
acquaintance but such influence did not last long.

Another curious thing is that Mr. Herndon, in spite of his probity, his
practical ability, and his talent as a lawyer, never became known beyond
his own state. He never was put forward as a leader. Perhaps he
entertained no particular ambition to lead, being too much of a
philosopher, but the remark is in order that what was lacking in his
temperament was just a spark of that mystical illumination which gave
Lincoln his faith, his conviction, and his power.

No doubt Herndon was singularly fitted for the position he held with
Lincoln for the space of twenty years. Had he been a leader in public
affairs he could not have aided Lincoln as he did.

That the great President never had a mentor is plain to all who have
studied the best biographies. He did sometimes act upon suggestions from
friends in matters of minor importance in his private affairs. When, one
day, after he had become President, Mrs. Lincoln informed him that the
gossips declared he was being ruled by Seward, his reply was: "I may not
rule myself out, certainly Seward shall not. The only ruler is my
conscience--following God in it--and these men will have to learn that
yet." And Seward did learn it, as well as Stanton and Chase, and every
member of the Cabinet, and all others who came within the radius of his
mystical circuit. Indeed, the generals all learnt it, some of them to
their sorrow, long before the war ended.

Lincoln's authority became apparent to all whenever he delivered a
speech on important occasions. Then, as Judge Whitney has said, he was
"as terrible as an army with banners." Col. Henry Watterson, in his
memorable address before the Lincoln Union, in Chicago, puts the
question: "Where did Shakespeare get his genius? Where did Mozart get
his music? Whose hand smote the lyre of the Scottish ploughman? God
alone. And if Lincoln was not inspired of God then there is no such
thing as special Providence or the interposition of Divine Power in the
affairs of men."

                    _The Logic of the Supernatural_

Judge Henry C. Whitney has asked the following questions:--"By what
magic spell was this, the greatest moral transformation in all profane
history, wrought? What Genius sought out this roving child of the
forest, this obscure flatboatman, and placed him on the lonely heights
of immortal fame? Why was this best of men made the chief propitiation
for our national sins? Was his progress causative or fortuitous; was it
logical or supernatural; was the Unseen Power, or he himself, the
architect of his fortune?

"The blunders that were committed by raw and reckless commanders in the
field were sufficient to make angels weep, but they were all mosaics in
the process of Fate to work out the Divine plan. If we could see the
whole scheme of human redemption it would be quite clear to us that not
only Abraham Lincoln, U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, but equally Jefferson
Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Raphael Semmes were
necessary instruments of the great disposer of events--that the bullet
which terminated the glorious career of the President was not more
surely sped by Fate to its mark than was the bullet which ended the life
of Albert Sidney Johnston at Shiloh and which ultimately averted ruin to
the Union forces on that blood-stained field, and that in the sublime
procession of destiny all events, apparent accidents, calamities,
crimes, and blunders were agents of the omnipotent will, now as cause,
then as interlude or eddy, anon as effort, all working, apparently, and
to human comprehension, fortuitously, but in reality all harmoniously to
their Divine appointed end."

                          _The Mystical Mood_

"There was to me," says Henry B. Rankin, in his "Personal Recollections
of Abraham Lincoln," "always an unapproachable grandeur in the man when
he was in this mood of inner solitude. It isolated and--I always
thought--exalted him above his ordinary life. History will discern and
reverently disclose the strength in Lincoln's character and the
executive foresight for which this mood gave him revealings."

And the Reverend Joseph Fort Newton adds to the sentiments of his friend
Rankin these words: "Lincoln was a man whom to know was a kind of
religion. His deep musings on the ways of God, on the souls of men, on
the principles of justice and the laws of liberty bore fruit in exalted
character and exact insight. Hence, a style of speech remarkable for its
lucidity, direction, and forthright power, with no waste of words,
tinged always by a temperament at once elusive and alluring, which Bryce
compares to the weighty eloquence of Cromwell without its haziness."

                       "_Going into the Silence_"

During an important criminal trial Amzi McWilliams said: "Lincoln will
pitch in heavy now for he has hid."

One who knew him declared: "He seemed never to be alone. I have
frequently seen him, in the midst of a Court in session, with his mind
completely withdrawn from the busy scene before his eyes, as completely
abstracted as if he were in absolute solitude."

Judge Whitney wrote: "In religion, Lincoln was in essence a mystic, and
all his adoration was in accordance with the tenets of that order," a
judgment which agrees with that of Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President
of the Southern Confederacy: "With Lincoln, the Union rose to the
sublimity of a religious Mysticism."

The mystical mood cannot be likened to any other mood. People in a hurry
never experience such a mental state. Personal ambition forbids it and
the feeling of vainglory renders such a condition impossible. What
renders the life of Lincoln so instructive is the fact that with him
everything was so natural. He did not experiment; he did not practise
special hours and seasons; he had no fixed times for this or that. He
professed no subtle methods of inducing moods and took no stimulants.
Nature and a mystical Providence arranged and provided.

His moods were between himself and his God. No one ever dared approach
him as to the why or the wherefore of his silence. And it is proper here
to comment on the instinctive good sense of the American people in whose
midst Lincoln passed his whole life--they instinctively knew too much to
presume upon the privacy of his mystical moods. In this their attitude
was wholly admirable. The American people were at that time practical,
democratic seers, without whom the greatest practical mystic could not
have existed.

That Lincoln possessed intuition and illumination without resorting to
human aid is clear and irrefutable. His words were simple and his
actions were simple, like those of the Hebrew seers. He announced and he
pronounced, without subtle explanations or mysterious formulas.

All which proves that practical mysticism can nourish as much under a
Democracy as under any other form of government.

Men do not receive their gifts from those in power. They come into the
world with them. Lincoln was opposed on all sides from the start. He had
to contend with poverty, provincial ignorance, aristocratic prejudice,
academical opposition, and he had against him his homely features, his
awkward bearing, and the lack of influential patronage. He had no family
connections that could be of assistance anywhere at any time. Never had
there been a man of great intellect so absolutely alone in the
intellectual world, so removed from social and political favours of time
and circumstance.

                           _Invisible Powers_

We are compelled to look at all sides of Lincoln's political career in
order to arrive at a just appreciation of his stupendous achievements,
and when that is done we have to dismiss the notion that he succeeded
because of his brilliant intellectual gifts. Others possessed great
intellects without attaining altitudes of commanding power and enduring

Why did the influence of Cæsar, Darius, Alexander, Bonaparte, and
Bismarck cease as soon as they passed away? Because the influence they
exerted was based on material dominion. With the collapse of the
material everything collapses. The material can never go beyond or take
precedence of the spiritual. Marcus Aurelius is read to-day because he
placed spiritual things above all worldly possessions and privileges.

The universe was created by a Supreme Mind and the direction of affairs
is in the hands of this All-Seeing Power, manifesting in all
forms--sometimes personal, sometimes collective. In Lincoln's case it
took a pronounced individual form, isolated and unique, as in Moses. The
ease with which Lincoln overcame opposition amazed those who were near
him. They judged it miraculous. Miracles are manifestations for which
science has no definition, no analysis. Lincoln's intelligence was not
bound by the known rules and laws of science. It requires intuition and
illumination for its realisation. Such intelligence cannot be handled in
detail as chemists handle the elements of matter. In the mystical world
all the elements, forces, and combinations act and develop together as
one manifestation at one time. No mental chemistry can separate them.

                   _The Fusion of Spirit and Matter_

"The existence of a great man," says Victor Cousin, the French
philosopher, "is not the creation of arbitrary choice; he is not a thing
that may, or may not, exist; he is not merely an individual; too much,
or too little, of individuality are equally destructive to the character
of a great man. On the one hand, individuality of itself is an element
of what is pitiful and little, because particularity, the contingent and
the finite, tends unceasingly to division, to dissolution, and to
nothingness. On the other hand, every general tends to absolute unity.
It possesses greatness but it is exposed to the risk of losing itself in
abstractions. The great man is the harmonious combination of what is
particular with what is general. This combination constitutes the
standard value of his greatness, and it involves a two-fold condition:
first, of representing the general spirit of his nation, because it is
in his relation to that general spirit that his greatness consists; and,
secondly, of representing the general spirit which confers upon his
greatness in his own person, in a real form, that is, in a finite,
positive, visible, and determinate form; so that what is general may not
suppress what is particular; and that which is particular may not
dissipate and dissolve what is general--that the infinite and the finite
may be blended together in that proportion which truly constitutes human

All which applies to Lincoln.

"Conceive a great machine," wrote Guizot, the historian, "the design of
which is centred in a single mind, though its various parts are
entrusted to various workmen, separated from, and strangers to, each
other. No one of them understands the work as a whole, nor the general
result which he concerts in producing; but every one executes with
intelligence and freedom, by rational and voluntary acts, the particular
task assigned to him. It is thus that by the hand of man the designs of
Providence are wrought out in the government of the world. It is thus
that the two great facts, which are apparent in the history of
civilisation, come to co-exist. On the one hand, those portions of it
which may be considered as fated, or which happen without the control of
human knowledge or will; on the other hand, the part played in it by the
freedom and intelligence of man and what he contributes to it by means
of his own knowledge and will."

                       _His Miraculous Progress_

One of the most searching biographers of Lincoln maintains that between
the ages of fourteen and twenty-eight he displayed no sign of embryonic
or assured greatness.

If this be true, it means that none of Lincoln's early friends were
intuitive enough to discover his greatness. Even the best writers who
have dealt with this fascinating subject have failed to see all the
facts, all the influences, all the correlated powers, in connection with
what looks to many like a life of miracle. Intelligence and power are
not attained by any mental hocus-pocus or metaphysics. Diamonds in the
rough are still diamonds, or no one would think of having them polished.
The same law works in nature as in human nature. The great man is born,
but he is not born with all his faculties developed, and he, like
others, must pass through stages of progressive development. There is
not one law for genius and another for mere talent.

A distinguished writer says:--

"Lincoln achieved greatness, but can the genesis of the mystery be

Certainly not by the ordinary process of ordinary philosophers and
scientists. What all writers up to the present have failed to see is
that Lincoln's powers were a combination of the normal-practical and the
practical-supernatural. His supernaturalism was positive, mathematical,
and absolute. The only things which Lincoln had to learn as he went were
the modes of application. He had to learn system and method, as was
natural, but the principle came into the world with him. Everything that
is concrete appears simple. The various qualities and elements that
produce what we call mental illumination are hidden from the crowd and
even from those who most profess to understand.

Jesse Dubois wrote to Judge Whitney that "after having been intimately
associated with Lincoln for twenty-five years I now find that I never
knew him."

The great man had unconsciously deceived his friends because of his
outward simplicity. And this outward freedom was backed by his
simplicity of speech and direct logic. It was all too simple. They were
fooled by the outward material because the inward mystical took that
form. His friends liked the man and worked to elect him principally for
that reason, and this is why they were astonished later on when the
practical mystic rose clear above all systems of politics and all the
accepted philosophies, and accomplished the miraculous. The impossible
happened. The President had to go more than half way through the Civil
War before the real Lincoln became manifest to observing critics.

                         _A Prophetic Witness_

In his book, "Life on the Circuit with Lincoln," Judge Whitney

"As early as 1856, independent of all contemporary opinion, I conceived
the idea that Mr. Lincoln was a prodigy of intellectual and moral force.
Others associated with us deemed him superlatively great, but still
human. I went farther; my view was definite and pronounced, that Lincoln
was ordained for a greater than a merely human mission, and I avowed
this belief as early as that time.

"His character as a lawyer was controlled and moulded by his character
as a man. He understood human nature thoroughly and was an expert in the
cross-examination of witnesses. If a witness told the truth without
evasion Lincoln was respectful and patronising to him, but he would
score a perjured witness unmercifully. He took no notes but remembered
everything quite as well as those who did so. I remember once we all,
Court and lawyers, except Lincoln, insisted that a witness had sworn
so-and-so, but it turned out that Lincoln was correct and that he
recollected better than the united bench and bar. But with all his
candour, there was a method and shrewdness which Leonard Swett well
understood and which he has thus forcibly expressed: 'As the trial
progressed, where most lawyers object, he would say he "reckoned" it
would be fair to admit this in, or that; and sometimes when his
adversary could not quite prove what Lincoln knew to be the truth, he
would say he "reckoned" it would be fair to admit the truth to be
so-and-so. When he did object to the Court, when he heard his objections
answered, he would often say, "Well, I reckon I must be wrong."'

"He was wise as a serpent in the trial of a case, but I have got too
many scars from his blows to certify that he was harmless as a dove.
When the whole thing is unravelled the adversary begins to see that what
he was so blandly giving away was simply what he couldn't get and keep.
By giving away six points and carrying the seventh he carried his case,
and, the whole case hanging on the seventh, he traded everything which
would give him the least aid in carrying that. Any one who took Lincoln
for a simple-minded man would very soon wake up on his back, in a

                         _Lincoln's Simplicity_

There are two kinds of simplicity--one is without reason or
discrimination, that believes all that is seen and heard if presented
under the guise of honesty; the other is the kind that penetrates
beneath manner, dress, verbiage, and meets all subterfuge, artifice, and
sophistry with statements and facts at once logical and irrefutable.
Lincoln was the most simple man in dress, in speech, in manners, in
looks, that ever stood before the world in so great a rôle, but his
intellect was anything but simple. He was never deceived by cunning
devices and cunning manoeuvres. Bacon has an essay showing the difference
between cunning and wisdom, and it may be said that Lincoln's knowledge
took the form of wisdom as distinguished from cunning. His management of
a law case was that of a seer. The points he made were not made for
personal gratification but for love of truth and justice. Not only he
did not want to risk being deceived, he took every precaution to insure
against deception. Here is where his welding of reason and logic
produced in his marvellous intellect a kind of clairvoyance which his
friends at the bar felt but could not analyse. The combination was
unheard of! The lawyers and the judges could only reason from their own
experience, they could only cite examples in their own lives, and this
man Lincoln was unlike all that had been and all that was.

Lincoln's simplicity seemed to the casual observer of a character so
trusting and so naïf that it deceived all the members of his Cabinet
during the first two years of the war. They were used to smart men,
clever men, academical men. They called for the routine of
respectability and official dignity. To their minds the President seemed
pliable and willing, and they set about instructing him in the a, b, c
of high politics and the first principles of statesmanship. The
President was in no way frustrated. He understood them in advance,
having weighed them in the balance of his own judgment. He had found
them honest but inexperienced, sincere but saucy. He knew they were
living in an atmosphere of low visibility. At the proper moment he would
turn on the searchlights and give them their bearings. Some of them
expected to act as the President's pilot, while others expected to be
captain of the ship-of-state with the President as pilot.

It took them more than two years to find out that this pioneer of the
West was captain, pilot, and master of charts on a political sea the
like of which they little dreamed existed. In one sense, he wore out
their obstinacy by his patience. In another, he awaited opportunities to
attest their errors and show his judgment, but matters proceeded with
such calm that they could not understand with what power he acted, with
what prescience he divined.

What mystified them was the combination of the practical with the
spiritual, the clear vision with the maxims of ordinary business
affairs, the penetration of the future while working in seeming

                      _Lincoln's Clairvoyant Wit_

Lincoln was not deceived by an outward show of religion. A Southern
woman begged the President to have her husband released from a Northern
prison, "for," she said, "although he is a Rebel he is a very religious
man." Lincoln replied: "I am glad to hear that, because any man who
wants to disrupt this Union needs all the religion in sight to save

He treated with indifference people who commandeered. A haughty woman
came to Lincoln and demanded a colonel's commission for her son. "I
demand it," she said, "not as a favour but as a right. Sir, my
grandfather fought at Lexington, my father fought at New Orleans, and my
husband was killed at Monterey."

"I guess, Madam," was Lincoln's reply, "your family has done enough for
the country. It is time to give some one else a chance."

When Hugh McCullough, Secretary of the Treasury in Lincoln's second
term, presented a delegation of New York bankers at the White House,
McCullough said: "These gentlemen of New York have come on to see the
Secretary of the Treasury about our new loan. As bankers, they are
obliged to hold our national securities. I can vouch for their
patriotism and loyalty, for, as the good Book says, 'Where the treasure
is there will the heart be also.'"

To which Lincoln replied: "There is another text, Mr. McCullough, I
remember, that might equally apply, 'Where the carcass is there will the
eagles be gathered together.'"

Lincoln condemned as tedious a certain Greek history. When a diplomat
present said: "The author of that history, Mr. President, is one of the
profoundest scholars of the age; no one has plunged more deeply into the
sacred fount of learning."

"Yes," replied Lincoln, "or come up drier."

When in Chicago in 1860, the mayor, John Wentworth, asked Lincoln why he
did not get some astute politician to _run_ him, Lincoln replied that
"events and not a man's own exertions made presidents."

To Henry C. Whitney, Lincoln remarked: "Judd and Ray and those fellows
think I don't see anything, but I see all around them. I see better what
they want to do with me than they do themselves."

They were deceived, not by Lincoln, who never cared what individuals
thought, but by Nature, which often sets a trap for people who live in a
world of their own illusions. Nature, the medium through which the
Divine mind manifests, is, so to speak, a mask through which egoists
cannot penetrate and by which the cunning are led to destruction.
Lincoln let them talk and even act, knowing that they themselves were
the tools for their own undoing. While the ward politicians and others,
who thought themselves far superior, laid their plans, schemed, and
intrigued, the man of clear vision awaited unperturbed the events which
he knew would put them all in their proper places. Little did they dream
that they were mere incidents among the million of incidents that go to
the making of one epoch-making event.

The practical mystic is little concerned with incidents. The multitude
do not know in what direction they are going, moved and influenced as
they are by the incidental, the accidental, the shifting illusions in
which they live, but the man who knows why they are influenced also
knows why he is influenced.

Lincoln was patient with the men who considered him a sort of political
accident. He understood their point of view. He did not entertain
feelings of revenge. Hundreds of men, like John Wentworth, are only
mentioned to-day because of some passing incident which connected them
with the man whom they regarded as a failure in politics.

                     _A Prophetic Vision of Hades_

That William Blake was a mystic of the practical kind there can be no
question. In art and in poetry he had that illumination which Lincoln
had in statesmanship.

The New York _Times_ says:--

"That a century has failed to heap the dust of oblivion over England's
'Greatest Mystic,' William Blake, is exemplified by the reproduction in
a recent issue of _Country Life_ of one of Blake's engravings for
Dante's _Inferno_, in which four fiends with cruel faces are torturing a
soul in Hell."

The face of the chief devil, who is not actually engaged in the torture,
but is an eager and interested spectator, might easily be taken for a
portrait of the German Emperor. As suggested by W. F. Boudillon, the
familiar, upturned moustachios must have puzzled Blake in his vision. He
represented them as tusks growing from the corners of the mouth--it is
to be noted that this fiend alone among the four has the tusks.

It is recorded of Blake, as a lad, that his father would have
apprenticed him to Rylands, the Court Engraver--a man much liked and in
great prosperity at the time--but Blake objected, saying: "Father, I do
not like his face; he looks as if he would live to be hanged." Twelve
years later Rylands committed forgery, and the prophecy came true.

Blake's visions, startling though they be, are not more startling than
many prophecies made by Lincoln, as, for instance, his prophecy of
prohibition, woman's rights, and the end of slavery, not to mention his
visions concerning himself. The practical mystic sees _through_, the
scientific materialist sees only, the surface. Eternity is the
everlasting now. Blake drew a faithful portrait of the Kaiser Wilhelm II
of Germany long before the Kaiser was born, and Tycho Brahe predicted
the birth of a Swedish conqueror and what he would accomplish.

In these things there is no place for chance, nor is it true that the
practical mystic is limited to poetry, or to art, or to music, or to
religion, politics, and philosophy. Neither is the practical mystic
confined to any particular social class or any creed.

Abraham Lincoln could not have directed affairs had he been a recluse.
Before he became an adept in the direction of material affairs he had to
be familiar with the practical ways of the world, and as a lawyer he
passed through a school that left no place for vague theories or vain
illusions. He frequently stripped others of their illusions, but being
free of illusions himself he had none to lose. This made him
invulnerable. His enemies were swayed by theories; nothing short of
knowledge sufficed for this man, who reduced his adversaries to the
position where they were kept constantly on the alert to know what
manoeuvre to employ next. They moved in a region of guess-work where
there was no law except that of their own confusion and discomfiture.

                       _Shakespeare and Lincoln_

"Lincoln," says Judge Whitney, "was one of the most heterogeneous
characters that ever played a part in the great drama of history, and it
was for this reason that he was so greatly misjudged and misunderstood;
that he was, on the one hand, described as a mere humourist--a sort of
Artemus Ward or Mark Twain--that it was thought that, by some 'irony of
Fate,' a low comedian had got into the Presidential chair, and that the
nation was being delivered over to conflagration, while this modern Nero
fiddled upon its ruins.

"One of his peculiarities was his inequality of conduct, his dignity,
interspersed with freaks of frivolity and inanity; his high aspiration
and achievement, and his descent into the most primitive vales of

In the chief drawer of his cabinet table all the current joke books of
the time were in juxtaposition with official commissions, lacking only
the final signature, applications for pardons from death penalties, laws
awaiting executive action, and orders which, when launched, would
control the fate of a million men and the destinies of unborn
generations. "Hence it was that superficial persons, who expected great
achievements to be ushered in with a prologue, could not understand or
appreciate that this great man's administration was a succession of acts
of grand and heroic statesmanship, or that he was a prodigy of intellect
and moral force."

The mystic Shakespeare and the mystic Lincoln have a connecting link in
their wit and humour. Had Shakespeare left us only two dramas--_Macbeth_
and _Othello_--no one would have dreamed of a creation like Falstaff
emanating from the same mind, yet it is because of the union of the
tragic and the humorous that Shakespeare is universally human, worldly
wise as well as spiritual and metaphysical.

Shakespeare makes of the gravedigger in _Hamlet_ a sort of clown with a
spade, and throughout all his dramas wit and humour, pathos and tragedy,
go hand in hand. Without his humour Shakespeare would have been little
more than an English Racine. With Lincoln, humour was made to serve a
high, psychic purpose. By its means he created a new atmosphere and new
conditions through which he could all the more freely work and act. He
brought humour into play for his own good as well as that of others. He
was not a theorist, or a dreamer of dreams; he was a practical mystic.

                         _A Prophecy Fulfilled_

In a letter written from Springfield, Illinois, August 15th, 1855, to
the Hon. George Robertson, of Lexington, Kentucky, Lincoln said:--

"The Autocrat of all the Russias will proclaim his subjects free sooner
than will our American Masters voluntarily give up their slaves."

On the day before Lincoln's first inauguration as President of the
United States the "Autocrat of all the Russias," Alexander the Second,
by Imperial decree emancipated his serfs, while six weeks after the
inauguration the "American Masters," headed by Jefferson Davis, began
the great war of secession to perpetuate and spread the institution of
slavery. This is only one of Lincoln's prophecies which proved true. In
stating them he did not pass into an abnormal state. He spoke as one
would speak of the coming weather. He did not consult the stars, nor any
person, before making a prophetic statement. Seeing clearly was as
natural to him as eating or sleeping. He was not a psychic machine,
uttering thoughts which seemed strange and enigmatical to himself,
because his intellectual and spiritual powers were part of himself.

Men of genius are not instruments in the vulgar meaning of the word.
They do not act in ignorance of what they are doing and saying. Lincoln,
more than any other, could give deliberate reasons for what he did and
said, and it is exceedingly difficult to name another in history who was
under such logical and commanding control of all the moral and
intellectual faculties. When he seemed to the superficial observer to be
dreaming, he was reasoning, calculating, comparing, analysing, weighing,
turning things upside down and inside out, until he satisfied the
dictates of his conscience and his sense of moral responsibility.

He placed no reliance on halfway measures and palliatives, no faith in
the workings of chance. He therefore was not, and could never have been,
a passive instrument in the hands of some unknown power. When it was
said of a certain musician that he composed his operas under the direct
influence of Mozart, the answer was: "Then who influenced Mozart?"

Great originality belongs to the mystical unity of the Supreme
Intelligence. Had Lincoln imitated Henry Clay, whom he so much admired
as a statesman and thinker, what would have become of Lincoln and the
country he governed?

He who originates is authoritative, and, as Carlyle said, "All authority
is mystical in its origin." In no single thing of importance did Lincoln
copy any one's methods or systems. His trend of thought was at variance
with the prevailing trend, even of those who were supposed to know the

                       _The Ordinances of Heaven_

"Canst thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades, or loose the bands of
Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou
guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of

Phenomena that arrive with the days, months, seasons, centuries, are
accompanied by events of corresponding significance in the human world,
for everything is related to everything else.

In 1858 a new party came into being, headed by the prophet from the
wilderness, who was as much a phenomenon in the human world as the comet
of that year was in the starry heavens--an apparition first observed by
the Florentine astronomer, Donati. Some scientific authorities give
Donati's comet an orbit of two thousand, others three thousand years.
Its advent was as unexpected as was the advent of Lincoln. Its immense
orbit, the splendour of its train, its seeming close proximity to the
earth, the presentiments which it inspired in millions of the people,
corresponded with the sentiments and sensations inspired by the
phenomenal progress of Lincoln, the avatar of democratic freedom and
justice. The following description is taken from "The Valley of

"After a long period of cloudy weather the sky cleared, and when
darkness closed in the night came with a revelation. Never had such a
night been witnessed by living man, for a great comet hung suspended in
the shimmering vault like an immense silver arrow dominating the world
and all the constellations. An unparalleled radiance illumined the
prairie, the atmosphere vibrated with a strange, mysterious glow, and as
the eye looked upward it seemed as if the earth was moving slowly
towards the stars.

"The sky resembled a phantasmagoria seen from the summit of some far and
fabulous Eden. The Milky Way spread across the zenith like a confluence
of celestial altars flecked with myriads of gleaming tapers, and
countless orbs rose out of the luminous veil like fleecy spires tipped
with the blaze of opal and sapphire.

"The great stellar clusters appeared as beacons on the shores of
infinite worlds, and night was the window from which the soul looked out
on eternity."

Such was the celestial apparition that ushered in the new party which
was to support Abraham Lincoln and send him to the White House.

In all vital phenomena there is periodicity. The barometer comes to its
minimum height for the day between four and five in the evening; again,
it is at its maximum height between eight and ten in the morning and
between eight and ten in the evening. The two first of these periods is
when the electric tension is at its minimum; at its maximum during the
two latter periods. The basic unit of the lunar day is twelve hours. An
ordinary or solar day is two days, and an ordinary week is two weeks.
This hebdomadal or heptal cycle governs, either in its multiple or
submultiple, an immense number of phenomena in animal life in which the
number seven has a prominent place. A Mr. Hay, of Edinburgh, writing
some sixty years ago, says:

"There is harmony of numbers in all nature--in the force of gravity, in
the planetary movements, in the laws of heat, light, electricity and
chemical affinity, in the forms of animals and plants, in the
perceptions of the mind. Indeed, the direction of natural and physical
science is towards a generalisation which shall express the fundamental
laws of all by one simple numerical ratio. The mysticism of Pythagoras
was vague only to the unlettered. It was a system of philosophy founded
on existing mathematics which comprised more of the philosophy of
numbers than our present."

Philosophical students of human nature have taken note of the danger
professional and business men encounter when they extend their mental
activities beyond the hour of four p.m. (by the sun). Thousands fail
because of their ignorance of the fundamental laws governing all things
physical. The morning hours up to ten a.m. are just as dangerous for
many who are highly susceptible to the electric tension which occurs up
to that hour. The feeling that prevails from four to eight in the
afternoon is one of mental or physical fatigue, that in the morning one
of irritability.

Lincoln was not immune from natural law. On one occasion, at five p.m.,
he was suddenly informed of the defeat of the Northern Forces, and it
was feared by those who were present that he would fall to the ground.
Mr. C. C. Coffin sprang forward to assist the President, who, however,
succeeded in returning to the White House unaided.

Nature creates the natural, man the unnatural. Solomon declared: "To
everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose."

                            _Lincoln's Face_

Knowledge, conviction, and certainty gave to Lincoln's face that
penetrating power which could not have been assumed on occasion even by
the most versatile and gifted actor.

The two following quotations from "The Valley of Shadows" describe
Lincoln's personal appearance and the emotions produced by the
expression of his features:--

"'The sperrit air more in the eye than it air in the tongue,' said Elihu
Gest, rising from his seat; 'if Abe Lincoln looked at the wust
slave-driver long enough Satan would give up every time.'

"'I see right away the difference a-twixt Lincoln en Douglas warn't so
much in Lincoln bein' a good ways over six foot en Douglas a good ways
under, ez it war in their eyes. The Jedge looked like he war speakin'
agin time, but Abe Lincoln looked plumb through the meetin' into the
everlastin'--the way Moses must hev looked when he see Canaan ahead--en
I kin tell ye I never did see a man look that a-way.'"

                           _The Great Debate_

The hour had struck for the supreme test between the forces of slavery,
on one hand, and the forces of freedom, on the other. A vast throng
gathered at Alton from every section of the country to hear the last
public discussion between the two antagonists, Lincoln and Douglas, and
from the surging sea of faces thousands of anxious eyes gazed upward at
the group of politicians on the balcony like wrecked mariners scanning
the horizon for the smallest sign of a white sail of hope.

"This final debate resembled a duel between two men-of-war, the pick of
a great fleet, all but these two sunk or abandoned in other waters,
facing each other in the open, Douglas, the Little Giant, hurling at his
opponent from his flagship of slavery his deadliest missiles, Lincoln
calmly waiting to sink his antagonist by one single broadsider.

"Regarded in the light of spiritual reality, Lincoln and Douglas were
predestined to meet side by side in this discussion, and it is hardly
possible to give an adequate idea of the startling difference between
the two temperaments: Douglas--short, plump, and petulant;
Lincoln--long, gaunt, and self-possessed; the one white-haired and
florid, the other black-haired and swarthy; the one educated and
polished, the other unlettered and primitive.

"Judge Douglas opened the debate in a sonorous voice plainly heard by
all, and with a look of mingled defiance and confidence he marshalled
his facts and deduced his arguments. To the vigour of his attack there
was added the prestige of the Senate Chamber, and it looked as if he
would carry the majority with him. When, after a brilliant oratorical
effort, he brought his speech to a close, it was amidst the shouts and
yells of thousands of admirers.

"And now, Abraham Lincoln, the man who in 1830 undertook to split for
Mrs. Nancy Miller four hundred rails for every yard of jean dyed with
walnut bark that would be required to make him a pair of trousers, the
flat-boatman, local stump-orator, and country lawyer, rose from his
seat, stretched his long bony limbs upward, as if to get them in working
order, and stood like some solitary pine on a lonely summit, very tall,
very dark, very gaunt, and very rugged, his swarthy features stamped
with a sad serenity, and the instant he began to speak the mouth lost
its heaviness, the eyes attained a wondrous illumination, and the people
stood bewildered and breathless under the natural magic of the most
original personality known to the English-speaking world since Robert

"Every movement of his long muscular frame denoted inflexible
earnestness, and a something issued forth, elemental and mystical, that
told what the man had been, what he was, and what he would do in the
future. Every look of the deep-set eyes, every movement of the prominent
jaw, every wave of the brawny hand produced an impression, and before he
had spoken twenty minutes the conviction took possession of thousands
that here was the prophetic man of the present and the political saviour
of the future."

Thus we see how Lincoln influenced persons, groups, crowds, whether he
was sitting or standing, arguing or talking, rendering an opinion or
listening to counsel.

                     _Forecasting and Premonitions_

Nothing great comes into the world unattended. Abraham Lincoln was
surrounded by men and women who were predestined to their task without
being fully aware of what they were doing. One of the most memorable
mystical demonstrations ever recorded in any epoch occurred in the
little town of Salem, Illinois, in August, 1837, when Lincoln was only
twenty-three years of age, long before he had cut any figure in the
political world. Accompanied by six lawyers and two doctors, Lincoln
went from Springfield to Salem in a band-wagon to attend a camp-meeting.
On the way Lincoln cracked jokes about the horses, the wagon, the
lawyers, and many other things. When they arrived at the camp they found
Doctor Peter Akers, one of the greatest Methodist preachers of the time,
was about to preach a sermon on "The Dominion of Christ." The famous
preacher declared that the Dominion of Christ could not come in America
until slavery was destroyed. His sermon lasted three hours and he showed
that a great civil war would put an end to human bondage.

"I am not a prophet," he said, "but a student of the Prophets; American
slavery will come to an end in some near decade, I think in the
sixties." These words caused a profound sensation. In their excitement
thousands surged about the preacher, but when at last he cried out: "Who
can tell but that the man who shall lead us through this strife may be
standing in this presence," a solemn stillness fell over the assembly.
There, not more than thirty feet away, stood the lank figure of Lincoln,
with his pensive face, a prophet as yet uninspired, a leader as yet
unannounced. The preacher's words had fallen like a mystical baptism on
the head of this obscure pioneer, as yet unanointed by the sacrificial
fire of the coming national tragedy.

When they returned to Springfield Lincoln remained silent for a long
time. At last one of his friends asked him what he thought of the sermon
and he replied that he "little dreamed that such power could be given to
mortal man, for those words were from beyond the speaker. Peter Akers
has convinced me that American slavery will go down with the crash of
civil war." Then he added: "Gentlemen, you may be surprised and think it
strange, but when the preacher was describing the civil war I distinctly
saw myself, as in second sight, bearing an important part in that

The next morning Mr. Lincoln came very late to his office, and Mr.
Herndon, glancing at his haggard face, exclaimed: "Why, Lincoln, what's
the matter?" Then Lincoln told him about the great sermon and said: "I
am utterly unable to shake myself free from the conviction that I shall
be involved in that terrible war."

                      _Illumination of the Spirit_

When Lincoln, young and unknown, visited New Orleans as a flat-boatman
and saw men and women being sold at auction in the public mart, he said
to the friend who was with him: "If ever I get a chance to hit that
thing I'll hit it hard."

Who was this young man, whose clothes were in tatters, who was without
patrons, to suggest such a thing as a chance to strike even a feeble
blow at the institution of slavery? Dr. Gregg, commenting on this
memorable incident, asks:

"Why did Lincoln utter these words? Was it an illumination of the Spirit
forecasting the Civil War? Was it a whisper by a divine messenger that
he was to be the chosen one to wipe the thing from the earth and give
deliverance to millions of his fellow men?"

Few, if any, of Lincoln's biographers have touched on his early life
with more than a superficial notion of its significance. Judge Whitney,
in spite of his great knowledge and his deep insight, divides Lincoln's
life into two parts, the first being uninspired, the second
supernaturally wonderful. The truth is that the first part of his life
contained a clear forecast of the second. Lincoln at the age of
fifty-five was the same man, unchanged, excepting by experience. Only in
fairy stories are people changed from fools into philosophers.

As a boy Lincoln was unlike any other boy, always unique, self-centred
in the best and highest sense, the like of whom did not exist in his or
any other country. All through his early life there could be seen the
signs and symbols of his coming power. How such a being came into the
world science fails to explain. Back of the mystery there are other
mysteries, and not in a thousand years of experiment will eugenics
produce another such mortal, not in ten thousand years will science
create anything spiritual or mystical. Science can never get beyond the
material. If it ever controls the psychic intelligence, mediocrity will
be the order of the day. The higher intelligence does not need control
but development. This freedom Lincoln had, but back of that apparent
freedom the mystical conditions existed, fixed and foreordained. The
very men and women who assisted him had to be where he found them. To
have been anywhere else they would have been out of their proper
element. In the human world there are no misfits, only grades of

                       _Tycho Brahe and Lincoln_

When Hugh Miller, the noted geologist, faced the inexplicable he
committed suicide. But Tycho Brahe, the Danish astronomer, the greatest
practical mystic the world of science has known, experienced a sense of
joy and exhilaration every time he viewed the starry heavens through his
telescope. He considered astronomy something "divine." His was the
joyful pride of the seer who revels in the unexplained mysteries of the
universe, and from time to time obtained clairvoyant glimpses of the
working of the miracle. Brahe, like Abraham Lincoln, had moments when he
perceived the inevitable with unalloyed vision.

After carefully studying the comet of 1577 he declared that it announced
the birth of a prince in Finland who should lay waste Germany and vanish
in 1632. Gustave Adolphus was born in Finland, overran Germany, and died
in 1632.

Brahe was the forerunner of the true scientist, Lincoln the forerunner
of the true statesman. It is not a fact that science and intuition are
antagonistic. The antagonism exists only in the imagination of
second-rate thinkers. The great discoverers always put the spiritual and
the mystical above learning. Brahe and Newton, as scientists, were
unequalled in their age and have not been surpassed in this. The Kultur
of modern Germany has but emphasised the danger of pseudo science in all
walks of life and made it plain that no nation can prosper under such an
illusion. The Prussians have forced many to revert back to a
consideration of the gifts of such men as Tycho Brahe, Newton, Lincoln,
and the difference between their science and that of Kultur is a
difference that strikes the normal thinker with amazement.

The true scientist is a seer who discloses new facts and discovers
hidden laws. The true scientific mystic creates, but the votaries of
Kultur destroy without creating. Yet, they will be destroyed by their
own weapons. Modern materialism will go down under the weight of the
material. The denial of the mystical forces of the universe is the
vulnerable spot in the scientific armour of Krupp-Kultur. Let any one
who wishes to be convinced by crude facts alone read the history of
Frederick, the so-called Great, and then read a history of Lincoln. Then
let the student ask which is the greater nation to-day--Prussia, headed
by Frederick's descendant, or America, represented by Woodrow Wilson,
the legitimate outcome of Washington the inspired patriot, and Lincoln
the inspired emancipator?

                   _Herndon's Analysis and Testimony_

W. H. Herndon, for more than twenty years the law partner of Mr.
Lincoln, delivered an address in Springfield, Illinois, upon the life
and character of the lamented President, which for subtle analysis has
few equals in biographical literature. The following are excerpts:

"Mr. Lincoln's perceptions were slow, cold, and exact. Everything came
to him in its precise shape and colour. To some men the world of matter
and of man comes ornamented with beauty, life, and action, and hence
more or less false and inexact. No lurking illusion or other error,
false in itself, and clad for the moment in robes of splendour, ever
passed undetected or unchallenged over the threshold of his mind--that
point that divides vision from the realm and home of thought."

"Names to him were nothing, and titles naught--assumption always
standing back abashed at his cold, intellectual glare. Neither his
perceptions nor intellectual vision were perverted, distorted, or
diseased. He saw all things through a perfect, mental lens. There was no
diffraction or refraction there. He was not impulsive, fanciful, or
imaginative, but calm and precise. He threw his whole mental light
around the object, and, in time, substance and quality stood apart; form
and colour took their appropriate places, and all was clear and exact in
his mind. In his mental view he crushed the unreal, the inexact, the
hollow, and the sham.... To some minds the world is all life, a soul
beneath the material; but to Mr. Lincoln no life was individual or
universal that did not manifest itself to him. His mind was his
standard. His perceptions were cool, persistent, pitiless in pursuit of
the truth. No error went undetected and no falsehood unexposed if he
once was aroused in search of truth.

                           _An Original Mind_

"Mr. Lincoln saw philosophy in a story and a schoolmaster in a joke. No
man saw nature, fact, thing, from his standpoint. His was a new and
original position, which was always suggesting, hinting something to
him. Nature, insinuations, hints, and suggestions were new, fresh,
original, and odd to him. The world, fact, man, principle, all had their
powers of suggestion to his susceptible soul. They continually put him
in mind of something known or unknown. Hence his power and tenacity of
what is called association of ideas. His susceptibilities to all
suggestions and hints enabled him at will to call up readily the
associated and classified fact and idea.

"Mr. Lincoln was often at a loss for a word and hence was compelled to
resort to stories, and maxims, and jokes to embody his idea, that it
might be comprehended. So true was this peculiar mental vision of his,
that though mankind has been gathering, arranging, and classifying facts
for thousands of years, Lincoln's peculiar standpoint could give him no
advantage of other men's labour. Hence he tore up to the deep
foundations all arrangements of facts, and coined and arranged new plans
to govern himself. His labour was great, continuous, patient, and

                           _The Great Books_

"The truth about the whole matter is that Mr. Lincoln read _less_ and
thought _more_ than any man in his sphere in America. When young he read
the Bible, and when of age he read Shakespeare. The latter book was
scarcely ever out of his mind. Mr. Lincoln is acknowledged to have been
a great man, but the question is, what made him great? I repeat, that he
read less and thought more than any man of his standing in America, if
not in the world. He possessed originality and power of thought in an
eminent degree. He was cautious, cool, patient, and enduring. These are
some of the grounds of his wonderful success. Not only was nature, man,
fact, and principle suggestive to Mr. Lincoln, not only had he accurate
and exact perceptions, but he was causative, i. e., his mind ran back
behind all facts, things, and principles to their origin, history, and
first cause--to that point where forces act at once as effect and cause.
He would stop and pause in the street and analyse a machine. He would
whittle things to a point and then count the numberless inclined planes,
and their pitch, making the point. Mastering and defining this, he would
then cut that point back, and get a broad transverse section of his pine
stick, and peel and define that. Clocks, omnibuses, language,
paddle-wheels, and idioms never escaped his observation and analysis.
Before he could form any idea of anything, before he would express his
opinion on any subject, he must know its origin and history, in
substance and quality, in magnitude and gravity. He must know his
subject inside and outside, upside and downside.

"He searched his own mind and nature thoroughly, as I have often heard
him say. He must analyse a sensation, an idea, and words, and run them
back to their origin, history, purpose, and destiny. He was most
emphatically a merciless analyser of facts, things, and principles. When
all these processes had been well and thoroughly gone through, he could
form an opinion and express it, but no sooner. Hence when he did speak
his utterances rang out gold-like, quick, keen, and current upon the
counters of the understanding. He reasoned logically, through analogy
and comparison. All opponents dreaded him in his originality of idea,
condensation, definition, and force of expression, and wo be to the man
who hugged to his bosom a secret error if Mr. Lincoln got on the chase
of it. I say, wo to him! Time could hide the error in no nook or corner
of space in which he would not detect and expose it.

                         _Veneration and Truth_

"The predominating elements of Mr. Lincoln's peculiar character, were:
firstly, his great capacity and powers of reason; secondly, his
excellent understanding; thirdly, an exalted idea of the sense of right
and equity; and fourthly, his intense veneration of what was true and
good. His reason ruled all other faculties of his mind.

"His pursuit of truth was indefatigable, terrible. He reasoned from his
well-chosen principles with such clearness, force, and compactness that
the tallest intellects in the land bowed to him in this respect.

"He came down from his throne of logic with irresistible and crushing
force. His printed speeches prove this, but his speeches before the
Supreme Courts of the State and Nation would demonstrate it.

"Mr. Lincoln was an odd and original man; he lived by himself and out of
himself. He was a very sensitive man, unobtrusive and gentlemanly, and
often hid himself in the common mass of men in order to prevent the
discovery of his individuality. He had no insulting egotism and no
pompous pride; no haughtiness. He was not an upstart and had no
insolence. He was a meek, quiet, unobtrusive gentleman.

"Not only were Mr. Lincoln's perceptions good; not only was nature
suggestive to him; not only was he original and strong; not only had he
great reason and understanding; not only did he love the true and good;
not only was he tender and kind--but, in due proportion, he had a
glorious combination of them all.

"He had no avarice in his nature or other like vice. He did not care who
succeeded to the presidency of this or that Christian Association or
Railroad Convention; who made the most money; who was going to
Philadelphia, when and for what, and what were the costs of such a trip.
He could not understand why men struggled for such things as these.

                           _The Great Puzzle_

"One day, at Washington, he made this remark to me: 'If ever this free
people, if this Government itself is ever utterly demoralised, it will
come from this human wriggle and struggle for office--a way to live
without work.'

"It puzzled him at Washington to know and to get at the root of this
dread desire, this contagious disease of national robbery in the
nation's death-struggle.

"This man, this long, bony, wiry, sad man, floated into our country in
1831, in a frail canoe, down the north fork of the Sangamon River,
friendless, penniless, powerless, and alone--begging for work in our
city--ragged, struggling for the common necessities of life. This man,
this peculiar man, left us in 1861, the President of the United States,
backed by friends, power, fame, and all human force."

                      _Lincoln's Energy and Will_

Energy is usually a blind force in the conduct of human affairs and the
greatest with which we have to deal. History is made up of the deeds of
individuals with a surplus of energy, which overflows and damages
governments as floods damage lands.

Will, energy, and ambition are, in most cases, synonymous terms. Without
energy the will breaks down, and without ambition energy and will would
prove innocuous. No one can doubt that misdirected energy was at the
bottom of much that moved the Prussians and that their ambitions were
wholly material, limited to geographical boundaries. Lincoln displayed
physical as well as mental energy in a supernormal degree; his will was
as fixed as a mountain of adamant, while his ambition was not personal,
but national and universal. Only the practical mystic could direct such
forces with wisdom, and as we look still closer into the mystery of his
temperament the question of pride and vanity arises, and their relation
to ambition and will.

In the first place, what causes ambition? Pride, answers the world. But
the world is wrong. Ambition is not the result of pride but of vanity.
Solomon, the wisest and greatest man of his time, was a proud man and a
wise ruler until he began to import apes and peacocks. Then vanity
usurped the place of pride and he came to the end of his temporal

Vanity caused Napoleon to have himself crowned Emperor of the French,
and from that day his power declined. A proper sense of pride would have
led him to stop where he was and refuse all further manifestations and
developments of worldly honour. Pride tends to moral dignity and
intellectual reticence, and that is why Lincoln blushed in the presence
of the institution of slavery. His pride gave him an acute sense of
shame and his honour an acute sense of justice. Only the vain will
consent to live in idleness while others slave for them. Vanity induces
anything from the ridiculous to the criminal, and those controlled by it
are subject to absurd statements and ridiculous actions. They cannot
avoid both. Washington and Lincoln were free from the fetters of
ridicule. They were imbued with a subconscious pride which stood for the
whole nation.

                         _Nature and Prophecy_

Herndon says:--

"I cannot refrain from noting the views Lincoln held in reference to the
great questions of moral and social reforms under which he classed
suffrage for women, temperance, and slavery. 'All such questions, he
observed one day, as we were discussing temperance in the office, 'must
find lodgment with the most enlightened souls who stamp them with their
approval. In God's own time they will be organised into law and woven
into the fabric of all our institutions.'"

As the Divine principle permeates all nature, so Lincoln, being a pure
product of nature, possessed the secret consciousness of natural power,
illumined by mystical intuition and guided by the higher forces of the
spirit. He realised the superiority of mind over matter, of intelligence
over ignorance, of wisdom over learning, of illumination over mere
knowledge. He was another Marcus Aurelius, without the influence of
paganism, free from the trammels of mythology. He inquired into the
mystery of his own being and delved into the darkest corners of
personality and character. Some of his deepest thoughts on the mysteries
of life and death were never voiced by this man who never spoke unless
he deemed it imperative to speak.

Lincoln, indeed, never gossipped about people and books. He was not a
gossip. His jokes were for a purpose, his talk was for a purpose, and
his meditations were fundamental.

                          _The Seal of Nature_

Herndon was right when he said that Lincoln's features were stamped with
the seal of nature. This is the only seal that is beyond imitation. All
else can be mimicked. We have seen how ghastly one or two persons
appeared when they attempted to look like Lincoln. The imitation took on
the appearance of pale, dull putty. The notion that Lincoln's
personality could be imitated with success was quite in keeping with
that other notion that the great President was, in spite of everything,
just one of the common people. But Lincoln as he appears in popular
histories, and Lincoln as he was known to his associates and those who
came into personal contact with him, are two different persons. Perhaps
no one has summed up the matter with such concision and force as Don
Piatt, who knew him well:--

"With all his awkwardness of manner and utter disregard of social
conventionalities that seemed to invite familiarity, there was something
about Abraham Lincoln that enforced respect. No man presumed on the
apparent invitation to be other than respectful. I was told at
Springfield that this accompanied him through life. Among his rough
associates, when young, he was leader, looked up to and obeyed, because
they felt of his muscle and its readiness in use. Among his associates
at the bar it was attributed to his wit, which kept his duller
associates at a distance. But the fact was that this power came from a
sense of reserve force of intellectual ability that no one took account
of save in its results. Through one of those manifestations of nature
that produce a Shakespeare at long intervals, a giant had been born to
the poor whites of Kentucky and the sense of superiority possessed
Lincoln at all times. Seward, Chase, and Stanton, great as they were,
felt their inferiority to their master."

                          _Law and Authority_

We are beginning to feel the reality of that power that lies above
appearance and formula, that power manifested in Job and Isaiah, which
we accept as inspiration in religion, intuition in philosophy, and
illumination in art, producing saints in one age and mystical scientists
in another.

We float through the ether on a revolving miracle called the earth,
returning again and again to attain the same figure on the dial of time.
The things done by human automatons count for nothing in the course of

We think we are wise when we invent a new name for an old truth; and
vanity aims to confine the infinite within the limits of a stopper
bottle or a glass showcase, or attain inspiration by means of a ouija

Can any one conceive what would have happened to this country had
Lincoln made use of such a contrivance to direct the course of his
actions? This scourge of dead agnostics seems like an ironical stroke of
nature to discount their disbelief. Not only does this clumsy instrument
make wits like Mark Twain "talk like poor Pol," but it makes
philosophers reason like first-grade pupils at our common schools.

Immortality is destined to have the last word even though it be
pronounced in the most fantastic manner.

Lincoln believed in law, order, and authority. He believed in the
mission of the churches. He was a regular worshipper in Dr. Gurley's
Presbyterian congregation at the Capital. He was a praying president,
like George Washington, and, while he was not a member of any church, he
was convinced that all the churches were necessary. He was not a
free-thinker, as that term is commonly used. Loose reasoning and vague,
uncertain doctrines he could not abide. He demanded proofs and would not
accept a man's word merely from sentimental motives. No one ever induced
him to "side-track" from the main line of argument and reason. His
attitude in the matter of inspiration and spiritual direction may be
summed up in a few words spoken at the time a delegation of Chicago
ministers came to him, urging him in God's name to free the slaves
without further delay. His reply was that when the Almighty wanted him
to free the slaves He would deal directly with Lincoln himself instead
of indirectly through Chicago.

A vacillating President would have been influenced by such a request at
such a time, but the President had faith in his own illuminations and
awaited orders from a Supreme source. Had he been influenced by advice
given by all sorts of people who called at the White House on all sorts
of missions, possessing no authority themselves, what turmoil and chaos
would have resulted to the army and the Nation!

Practical mystic that he was, he did not seek, nor wish for, advice from
people in matters which concerned his own judgment alone. It is true
that on several occasions he was approached by persons who came with
messages of various kinds assumed to be spiritual, but Lincoln received
them with a neutral politeness, sometimes mingled with a grim humour, as
when Robert Dale Owen read to him a long manuscript presumed to be
highly inspirational and illuminating, and Lincoln replied, "Well, for
those who like that sort of thing that is the thing they would like."

                          _Lincoln as Critic_

Nothing escaped Lincoln's powers of philosophical and metaphysical
analysis. He did not read the Bible and Shakespeare merely for pleasure,
as people read novels. He could give excellent reasons for everything he
did. Even in his most listless moods he never lost his firm grip on
affairs, both general and individual. When he read a book it was because
there was something in it which helped him to penetrate deeper into the
recesses of life and character. He would study a passage or a chapter
until he had assimilated its wisdom and its mystical import.

Lincoln was a natural critic. When Walt Whitman's "Leaves O' Grass" was
first published a copy of the book was read and discussed by several of
his friends in Springfield. Lincoln at once recognised the fact that a
new poetic genius had appeared and he did not permit adverse opinions to
influence his judgment. He cared nothing for the romantic in itself. He
cared only for those phases of literature which induce serious
philosophical or spiritual thought. While his partner read Carlyle, he
read Shakespeare.

In the Spring of 1862 the President spent several days at Fortress
Monroe awaiting military operations upon the Peninsula. As a portion of
the Cabinet were with him, that was temporarily the seat of government,
and he bore with him constantly the burden of public affairs. His
favourite diversion was reading Shakespeare. One day--it chanced to be
the day before the capture of Norfolk--as he sat reading alone, he
called to his side Colonel Le Grand B. Cannon. "You have been writing
long enough, Colonel," he said, "come in here; I want to read you a
passage in _Hamlet_." He read the discussion on ambition between Hamlet
and his courtiers, and the soliloquy in which conscience debates of a
future state.

                              _His Style_

"No criticism of Mr. Lincoln," says the _Spectator_, "can be in any
sense adequate which does not deal with his astonishing power over
words. It is not too much to say of him that he is among the greatest
masters of prose ever produced by the English race. Self-educated, or
rather not educated at all in the ordinary sense, he contrived to obtain
an insight and power in the handling and mechanism of letters such as
has been given to but few men in his, or, indeed, in any age. That the
gift of oratory should be a natural gift is understandable enough, for
the methods of the orator, like those of the poet, are primarily
sensuous and may well be instinctive.... Mr. Lincoln did not get his
ability to handle prose through his gift of speech. It is in his conduct
of the pedestrian portions of composition that Mr. Lincoln's genius for
prose style is exhibited." Lincoln avoided the superfluous in writing as
in speaking, and style came after the matter of his thought, not as a
conscious effort while he was uttering his thoughts. He was not
consciously a literary artist. When, in his famous inaugural address, he
made "pray" rhyme with "away," it sounded like a false note struck in
the movement of a great symphony. That blemish remains like a flaw in a
diamond which cannot be removed, but the miracle remains that this
master of men and moods accomplished in his speeches and letters what no
one else accomplished in his time.

                          _Lincoln's Serenity_

"Lincoln," says the same writer in the _Spectator_, "saw things as a
disillusioned man sees them, and yet, in the bad sense, he never
suffered any disillusionment. For suffusing and combining his other
qualities was a serenity of mind which affected the whole man. He viewed
the world too much as a whole to be greatly troubled or perplexed over
its accidents. To this serenity of mind was due an almost total absence
of indignation in the ordinary sense."

This is true, because, as Walt Whitman says, "The foundations of his
character, more than any man's in history, were mystic and spiritual."

"Lincoln was, before all things, a gentleman," says the _Spectator_,
"and the good taste inseparable from that character made it impossible
for him to be spoiled by power and position. This grace and strength of
character is never better shown than in the letters to his generals,
victorious or defeated. If a general had to be reprimanded he did it as
only the most perfect gentleman could do it."

Nevertheless, the invulnerable President did show his anger or
indignation on some few occasions. And justly so. As a rule he did not
consider it worth his while to permit himself to be moved by the sayings
and doings of any one. The foolish are unworthy of indignation; they
must be dealt with quietly but effectively; while the others must be
managed with gentle firmness backed by the fundamentally drastic. Fuss
and fury were unknown to this pioneer politician, philosophical
statesman, and mystical leader.

No man can be serene who doubts himself. Lincoln, when in doubt as to
the actions of others, did not grope in the darkness, but waited. His
invincible trust in Providence held him aloof from the petty
circumstances and daily routine of intrigue, and his imagination soared
in the empyrean while those around him flattered themselves that he was
being influenced or led by their counsels and their interests.

He treated people who bedevilled him with importunities and all sorts of
advice as the wise parent treats a child who asks for the impossible--he
knew that a little waiting would wear them out and they would end by
forgetting. Often, in place of a flat refusal, he would turn away the
office-seeker by a sudden, adroit stroke of his humour, thus sending the
man and his friends away smiling good-humouredly at Lincoln's inimitable

                     _The Romance of His Character_

There is a "romance of character" that accompanies people of exceptional
achievements, as Emerson has so justly said, and Lincoln possessed it
without being in the slightest degree conscious of the fact. This is one
reason why his life surpasses in interest any book of fiction ever
written. He united all the realism of pioneer life with the romance of
the inexplicable and the fascination of the unexpected.

Those who come to Lincoln in search of the shifting romance of
bohemianism will be disappointed, for the romance of change and
vacillation is the kind that leads to the poorhouse or the hospital.
This romance of character, belonging, as it did, to the temperament of
the man, was hidden from the multitude, but all could readily see the
romance of the progressive events of his life. Lincoln was at times
awed, but not alarmed, by the turn of affairs which placed him at the
head of the nation. He realised the tremendous responsibility without
regrets or fear. He was fully conscious of his mission but quite
unconscious of the romantic elements which enveloped it, for Lincoln's
life included both the "romance of character" and the romance of
experience. Without the first, the second would have unfitted him for
the heavy responsibilities of his high office later on. He did not seek
experience for the sake of experience, like so many in our day who are
under the illusion that truth and wisdom arrive perforce. He forced
nothing. He followed a natural course of events, dealing with each
according to the light of his own judgment, asking for no advice.

Neither the romance of character nor the romance of experience comes to
those who seek them. Self-consciousness dissipates romantic mystery.

                    _President by the Grace of God_

Lincoln lived long enough to become convinced that everything exists for
a purpose. He saw that the Rebellion had to be, and that in the seeming
confusion of sentiments and interests the Divine ruled over all persons
and parties.

Events had to follow as ordained by the spiritual Power that lies behind
appearance. Lincoln worked in the light; Czar Nicholas of Russia lived
in the dark. He could not tell why he occupied the Russian throne.
Lincoln knew why he occupied the White House. The Kaiser was not able to
see why will, energy, and money should not rule the world.

Never were the lessons taught by Lincoln's career so much needed as now,
when a ruthless autocracy is seeking to get rid of all moral
responsibility, while, on the other hand, thousands are awakening to the
necessity of a new order, of fostering the mystical renaissance.

                       _Science and the Mystical_

Quintilian said:--

"No man can become a perfect orator without a knowledge of geometry. It
is not without reason that the greatest men have bestowed extreme
attention on this science."

Locke, the philosopher, gives the reason:--

"Geometry develops the habit of pursuing long trains of ideas which will
remain with the student who will be enabled to pierce through the mazes
of sophism and discover a latent truth, when persons who have not this
habit will never find it."

Lincoln was passionately fond of geometry. His oratory was based on
logic, but his logic came from the mystical absolute, a geometric
science of the soul which he alone could appropriate through his
perception of fundamental principles of universal law. He could perceive
that an idea is a personal conception of a mathematical truth, as
distinguished from mere beliefs, notions, and sentiments. Others turned
politics into the art of influencing crowds through their sentimental
opinions; Lincoln engaged in trying to make them think logically. While
others gave vague reasons for their political views he gave reasons
based on law which he explained with simple force and lucid phraseology.

He never attempted to tell all he knew. The practical mystic never does.
He knew how he acquired his knowledge, but his reticence was as
pronounced as his gift of expression. It was this quality of reticence
that kept him from taking counsel from all sorts of statesmen and
explaining the inexplicable. There was not a man among them that could
have understood. In this, Lincoln was a mystic, full-fledged, initiated,
as by centuries of experience. His innate wisdom told him exactly how
much the people could understand, how much politicians could digest, and
how much statesmen could divine. Not only did he hold the allegiance of
the Whigs, but he gained the allegiance of the Abolitionists. This,
indeed, was intellect illumined.

                         _The Old and the New_

How old yet new are nature's moods and manifestations! How mysteriously
the souvenirs of the past are revived and quickened in new forms, faces,
and phenomena! The seasons come and go with varying moods and seem new,
but they are older than the formulas of civilisation; strangers bring
with them new influences, but we discover in them something familiar
from the vague and shadowy past. Every single thing is related to every
other thing, and illuminated minds are the periods that separate the
cycles, but not the laws, of human progress. The form is new; the
principle remains unchangeable. Solomon was unique in his glory, but
Athens had a Pericles, Rome a Cæsar, Europe a Bonaparte, and the new
world a Lincoln.

Real genius is elemental. It influences humanity as much as heat and
cold, rain and sunshine. People who offer the greatest opposition to it
are those who fall before its onward march. Indeed, it seems to be, from
all historical accounts, a sort of car of Juggernaut to those who
wilfully oppose it. And this is not surprising since it is the greatest
power of which man has any personal knowledge, supported by all the
forces of the material and the spiritual.

                         _Destiny versus Will_

Great men float into power on mystical waves moved by the force of
destiny. The greater the mind the greater the fixture of force behind

Between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Presidents came and went
as figureheads of parties or props to some ephemeral political scaffold.
The majority were stopgaps. They, like the majority of politicians and
many others, put their trust in Will and Desire. They could not
understand that a man is not great because of his will, but because of
his innate knowledge. Washington realised his destiny and understood.
Lincoln realised what he was and what he would become long before his
nomination for the Presidency, but he was wholly unconscious of any Will
to Power. The born statesman is aware of his invincible, hidden
knowledge, and he places Will in the second rank. He knows it counts for
nothing in the fundamental issues.

Lincoln discerned, at an early age, the difference between desire and
destiny. He saw the dangerous illusions under which the
Will-to-Power-politicians and others laboured and how vain were their

Will and Ambition are characteristics of men who mistake the material
for the permanent. Bonaparte and Bismarck exercised their Will for the
possession of the material and both failed. The Hohenzollerns and their
henchmen have failed in the same exercise. This exercise is indulged in
by people who believe that to become intensely individualistic means the
development of powerful personality. They talk of their rights as if
their desires gave them the privilege of robbing their neighbours. And
what some are doing publicly others are doing privately.

The motives for this desire for material domination vary with the
individual. With one, it is to get even with a group; with another, it
is to get even with a party; with others, it is to appear in public, to
be frequently named and sometimes applauded. Compromise and subterfuge
are ingredients inseparable from the illusions of the Will. While
Lincoln often assisted his friends, he refused to hedge or trim in order
to please. Destiny behind him was invulnerable, his own sense of justice
inexorable. While others were working for the good of their city, state,
or section, he was thinking of the good of the whole country, with all
humanity behind it. Destiny created the man and the crisis at the same
time, as always happens. The one could not exist without the other.
Destiny is the collective conscience acting through elective genius. For
this reason Lincoln was not only the man of his time but the man whose
example will exert the greatest influence on future eras.

                   _James Jacquess Practical Mystic_

In the hubbub and confusion created by the upheaval which began in 1914
it is of vital importance for thinking people of the English-speaking
countries to know what went on in the inner circles at Washington during
that year of trial, 1864, when the destiny of the Union seemed to be
hanging in the balance. It is time to know the truth about Lincoln's
supernaturalism. Your favourite historian avoids the subject. He will
not touch on a matter so dangerous to his neutral agnosticism. He avoids
the details of the supernatural events of that wonderful time. He will
discuss anything but that; he knows that once thinking people become
acquainted with the facts they will begin to form their own conclusions.

In Lincoln's day agnosticism had not taken root in the intellectual soil
of this country. The negative writings of Darwin and Spencer were
unknown among politicians and statesmen, and the churches still believed
that "spirit" ruled matter and that Providence was directing the affairs
of the nation.

In Lincoln's time agnostic ministers were unknown. All believed in a
positive religion. The Union was saved from disruption because Lincoln
and his aids were firm believers in a higher Power and a higher destiny.
Doubt, cynicism, and scepticism would have handed the country over to
universal chaos. The downfall of the Union would have meant the end of
the British Empire and to-day Kaiserism would be in supreme command of
the remnant of Anglo-Saxon civilisation.

It is the fashion to read romantic novels, but the story of the Jacquess
peace mission is more fascinating than any novel because it is fact
instead of fiction and because its basic element is the supernatural.

James Jacquess was, himself, a practical mystic of no uncertain power
but whose great gifts were overshadowed by the personality of Lincoln,
his revered chief. Before the Civil War Jacquess was a mathematician, a
Greek and Latin scholar, a college president, and one of the most
forcible Methodist preachers of the age. His field of work was the
country around Springfield, where Lincoln often heard him preach. Long
before Jacquess received the mystical command to undertake his peace
mission to the Rebel headquarters at Richmond, Lincoln knew and
respected him as a sincere and earnest patriot. Jacquess was Colonel of
an Illinois regiment during the war, and had already taken a valiant
part in some of the most terrible battles.

Colonel Jacquess was inspired to act as he did without, at first,
consulting any one. He conceived the idea of going to Richmond,
interviewing the Confederate leaders, and so gaining some definite
information that would eventually lead to peace, through victory, for
the Union. His mission was a secret, known only to a limited circle,
including the President, General Rosecrans, General Garfield (who later
became President), and James R. Gilmore, the friend of Lincoln.

Mr. Gilmore, in his "Personal Recollections of Lincoln," devotes many
pages to this peace mission, with all the details, from its inception by
Colonel Jacquess to its final wonderful results.

General Garfield, writing to Mr. Gilmore from his military headquarters
on June 17th, 1863, said:--

"Colonel Jacquess has gone on his peace mission. The President approved
it, though, of course, he did not make it an official matter. There are
some very curious facts relating to his mission which I hope to tell you
some day. It will be sufficient for me to say that enough of the
mysterious is in it to give me an almost superstitious feeling of faith,
and certainly a great interest, in his work. He is most solemnly in
earnest and has great confidence in his mission."

Colonel Jacquess succeeded in gaining a respectful hearing before the
highest authorities at Richmond without being shot as a spy--more than
one of his friends having predicted such a fate for him.

He returned to the North determined to await patiently for another
opportunity to try again. In 1864, after conferring with Mr. Gilmore and
the President, it was decided that a second mission should be set on
foot, this time in company with his friend Gilmore, whom a special
Providence had chosen to record all the incidents and events of that
unprecedented undertaking.

On this occasion Colonel Jacquess learned all that he had hoped to
learn, and more, from the lips of Jefferson Davis, President of the
Southern Confederacy; and when Jacquess and Gilmore returned Lincoln
requested Mr. Gilmore to prepare a detailed account of the astounding
revelation for the _Atlantic Monthly_.

This vivid recital of the facts was published and it created a sensation
from one end of the country to the other. It turned the tide in favour
of Lincoln's election for a second term and saved the Union. This, in
brief, was the work of Jacquess, the mystic, whose name to-day is only
known to the more serious students of Lincoln's life and work. Had the
President been less a practical mystic than he was he would have
forbidden Colonel Jacquess to undertake a journey full of risks and
peril, and one that ordinary business men would have called an insane

                          _Images and Dreams_

Noah Brooks, in his Life of Lincoln, gives the following account of a
vision which the President described to him:--

"It was just after my nomination in 1860 when the news was coming thick
and fast all day, and there had been a great Hurrah Boys, so that I was
well tired out, and went home to rest and threw myself on a lounge in my
chamber. Opposite where I lay was a bureau with a swinging glass, and
looking in the glass I saw myself reflected, nearly at full length, but
my face, I noticed, had two separate and distinct images, the tip of the
nose of one being about three inches from the tip of the other. I was a
little bothered, perhaps startled, and got up and looked in the glass,
but the illusion vanished. On lying down again I saw it a second time,
plainer, if possible, than before. Then I noticed that one of the faces
was a little paler, say five shades, than the other. I got up and the
thing melted away. I left, and in the excitement of the hour forgot all
about it, nearly but not quite, for the thing would once in a while come
up and give me a little pang, as though something uncomfortable had
happened. Later in the day I told my wife about it, and a few days later
I tried the experiment again, when, sure enough, the thing came again.
My wife thought that it was a sign that I was to be elected to a second
term of office and that the paleness of one of the faces was an omen
that I should not live through the last term."

Not long after his second inauguration he said to a friend in

"I have seen this evening what I saw on the evening of my nomination. As
I stood before a mirror I saw two images of myself--a bright one in
front and one that was pallid, standing behind. It completely unnerved
me. The bright one I know is my past, the pale one my coming life. I do
not think I shall live to see the end of my second term."

In his biography, Morgan relates a dream which Lincoln had. He thought
he was in a vast assembly, and the people drew back to let him pass.
Just then Lincoln heard some one say: "He is a common-looking fellow."
Lincoln, in his dream, turned to the man and said: "Friend, the Lord
prefers common-looking people; that is the reason He makes so many of

Shortly before Lincoln's assassination some friends were talking about
certain dreams recorded in the Bible when the President said:

"About two days ago I retired very late. I could not have been long in
bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream.
There seemed to be a deathlike stillness about me. Then I heard subdued
sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and
wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful
sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no
living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met
me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was
familiar to me, but where were all the people who were grieving as if
their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the
meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things
so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East
Room, which I entered. Before me was a catafalque on which was a form
wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were
acting as guards; there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully
upon the catafalque; others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White
House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers. 'The President,' was the
answer. 'He was killed by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief
from the crowd, which woke me from my dream."

                             _The New Era_

The principles enunciated by Abraham Lincoln are abiding examples, not
only for the English-speaking peoples but for the whole world.

Out of what seems universal confusion, tending towards chaos, there
arises a new era. A material transformation had to occur before the
uprising of the spiritual, and the truth is beginning to dawn in the
minds of thousands that behind all material phenomena there dwells the
divine idea. Before the gates of oblivion closed on civilisation we were
plucked from the gulf in accordance with the Divine purpose.

Amidst the strife of contending factions the thunder of upheaval
reverberates from continent to continent, heralding the close of a
dispensation that has known the trials and triumphs of nearly two
thousand years, from which is emerging the mystical dawn of a new day.

                                THE END

                              THE WORKS OF
                            FRANCIS GRIERSON


                       THE HUMOUR OF THE UNDERMAN

_The London Evening News_:--"'The Humour of the Underman' is a classic.
The work will rank among the great books of the century if only for the
rarity and beauty of its literary expression."

_The London Telegraph_:--"In 'The Humour of the Underman' there is a
delicacy, a skilfullness, an ease of manner, and a consummate sense of
style. Here is the short epigrammatic way of putting things which is
Emerson's way, but the successive sentences are less staccato than in
the work of the Concord Sage; there is added to it something of the
delicacy, the ease, the grace of the French."

                        THE INVINCIBLE ALLIANCE

_Austin Harrison, Editor of The English Review_:--"Mr. Grierson's essays
are masterpieces of lucid expression and condensed though. In 'The
Invincible Alliance' he puts his index finger on the weak places--on
snobbery on politics, on music, on the clergy, on the English point of
view, which is twenty years behind Continental thought.... We believe
him to be absolutely right."

_Dr. Samuel P. Orth, Professor of Political Science at Cornell, in a
page review of the book in the N. Y. Times_:--"In 'The Invincible
Alliance' Mr. Grierson touches prophetic heights. His analytical gift is
a sort of intellectual clairvoyance."


_The New York Sun_:--"Mr. Grierson's volume on the war is the rarest
book of the year."

_The Brooklyn Eagle_:--"A work of marvellous power."

_The Independent_:--"Keen observation, trenchant criticism, and a
conciseness of style combine with unusual force in Mr. Grierson's latest
volume on the great war."

_The Boston Transcript_:--"In 1913 Mr. Grierson wrote a volume of essays
called 'The Invincible Alliance' in which he outlined very clearly the
dangers which lay before the two great English-speaking nations.
Re-reading these essays in the light of the last four years we can see
that Mr. Grierson looked even more deeply into the future and that he
predicted much which has come to pass since the war began."

_The Herald, Washington, D. C._:--"Since the publication of the 'The
Invincible Alliance' nothing has appeared in book form to surpass the
trenchant vigour and illuminating insight of 'Illusions and Realities of
the War.'"

                          LA VIE ET LES HOMMES

_M. Sully Prudhomme, of the French Academy_:--"J'ai trouvé ces
méditations pleines d'aperçus profonds et sagaces. J'ai été frappé de
l'originalité puissante de la pensée de l'auteur."

                            MODERN MYSTICISM

_Maurice Maeterlinck_:--"This volume is full of thoughts of the very
highest order. You have deliciously and profoundly surprised me. You
have said so many things which I should like to have written myself."

_A. B. Walkley, dramatic critic of the London Times_:--"Modern Mysticism
is an original and delectable book."

_The London Telegraph_:--"Mr. Grierson pierces to the heart of his theme
with a keenness that is almost disconcerting. He illumines the most
obscure situation by one of his sudden flashes of insight. The poise of
his sentences has something of Gallic precision about it and it is not
surprising that savants of contemporary French literature have praised
his work with generous emphasis. Such an influence, working like leaven
in the lump, cannot fail to make its presence appreciated."

                         THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS

_Arnold Bennett, in a long review_:--"'The Valley of Shadows' is a noble
book.... Mr. Grierson's descriptions possess a detaching sentiment of
beauty with absolute visual quality."

_The New York Times_:--"Perhaps at last, before oblivion closes over the
ante-bellum days in Illinois, the laureate of the Lincoln Country has
arrived. If there is another book in existence which deals so
graphically and so faithfully with that period we do not know of it."

_The Literary Digest_:--"Grierson's description of Lincoln as he stood
before Douglas at Alton, is more real, more lifelike, than any statue or
picture, and will in future ages take rank with Balzac's description of

_Sir Owen Seaman (Editor of Punch)_:--"There are chapters in 'The Valley
of Shadows' that haunt one afterward like remembered music."

                         THE CELTIC TEMPERAMENT

_Prof. William James_:--"I find this volume full of wisdom. The pages of
'Reflections' have found their mark in me."

_Maeterlinck_:--"'The Celtic Temperament' is one of the most subtle and
substantial books that I know."

                           PARISIAN PORTRAITS

_The London Times_:--"The most remarkable feature of Mr. Grierson's
'Parisian Portraits' is their extraordinary clear and various detail;
they are served up with truth undiluted by sentiment. His insight is
sure and his choice of subject exclusive."

_Leon Bazalgette, in La Phalange, Paris_:--"In his 'Parisian Portraits'
Francis Grierson gives us some chapters of his romantic and marvellous
existence. He conquers us by a very rare quality of evoking and
suggesting a spiritual atmosphere."


                      JOHN LANE COMPANY, NEW YORK

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

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