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Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Booklyn, New York during the Civil War era. He was one of many in the North who believed that God had punished the United States because of the sin of slavery, and preached and wrote against the practice throughout the 1850s. After the war, he was selected to preach at the funeral of President Abraham Lincoln.

In his funeral sermon he stated “Republican institutions have been vindicated in this experience as they never were before . . . God, I think, has said, by the voice of this event to all the nations of the earth, ‘Republican liberty, based upon true Christianity, is firm as the foundation of the globe.”

Beecher was not praising the Republican Party. He was, rather, pointing to the republican ideals as enshrined in the Constitution and other documents of America’s founders, which he believed had been given to them by God.

Do we have a sense of God’s work in the world and how we can be a part of it?

Beecher as quoted in Mark A. Noll, America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002): 422.

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