A Bible that once belonged to President Abraham Lincoln resurfaced 150 years after his death, pointing to the faith he clung to at a pivotal moment in American history and when he was growing more overtly religious.
Lincoln's faith has long been debated over the years. He was known as the "village atheist" as a young man but he gave one of the most explicitly religious speeches ever by a president during his second inaugural address. Scholars say the new discovery helps solidify his faith in his later years.
On Thursday, the Bible will go on display for the first time at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.
The 16th president was given the Holy Book on June 16, 1864, during a rare wartime trip to Philadelphia raising money for wounded soldiers, where Lincoln donated 48 signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation that were sold for fundraising. He was gifted the 18-pound, gilted Bible decorated with the words "faith," "hope," and "charity" by the hospital that treated wounded and ill soldiers during the Civil War.
The cover of the Bible reads: “Presented to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by the Ladies of the Citizens Volunteer Hospital of Philadelphia.”
A few months later, upon receiving another copy of the Bible as a gift, Lincoln wrote, "In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it."
Abraham Lincoln Bible surfaces, offers clues to his religious beliefs