"I tremble for my country…"

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson

Matthias aluded to this quotation in a combox – but he got the wrong guy. It was Thomas Jefferson who said it, not Abraham Lincoln. Apparently the “country” he was speaking of was Virginia, and the injustice over which he trembled was slavery. The application to the current abortion debate is worth remembering, as is Pope Benedict’s reminder in Spe Salvi:

This innocent sufferer has attained the certitude of hope: there is a God, and God can create justice in a way that we cannot conceive, yet we can begin to grasp it through faith. Yes, there is a resurrection of the flesh. There is justice.

And you can buy the T-Shirt!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “"I tremble for my country…"

  1. matthias

    So it was Thomas jefferson and not Abe,well nevertheless it shows that God’s justice will work slowly but surely.
    Thanks Schultz for this .

  2. Past Elder

    Here’s something that is from Abraham Lincoln you might gind useful, in the comparison of trying to both have an evil and not have it, then slavery, now abortion:

    “I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”

    Then the question was that some states outlawed slavery and some didn’t, and new states were hotly contested as to whether they would be free or slave states, in themselves and for the balance of power between the two. Now it’s by at what point it is a human life, and Supreme Court justices.

  3. Past Elder

    More Lincoln:

    “I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lords side.”

    Can’t talk that way now.

  4. Joshua

    Yet more Lincoln (from his Second Inaugural Address):

    ‘ “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” ‘

    While in the context of life issues there is no direct comparison to the Civil War, the other parallels are sobering.

  5. Schütz

    I’ll stick with Jefferson. Pithier and more to the point. And easier to fit on a T-Shirt.

  6. eulogos

    But Jefferson himself, didn’t free his slaves, not even his mistress and their children after his death. He left so much debt that his slaves all had to be sold at auction to pay his debts. Right sentiments, but not the actions to match them.
    Susan Peterson