Although the campaign for president in 1888 was quite heated, the Republican candidate remained remarkably calm throughout the long ordeal. The grandson of a former president, Benjamin Harrison knew only too well the ebb-and-flow of politics and popular opinion, and simply refused to allow the process to disrupt his emotional equilibrium.
On election night his chief interest seemed to be in the polling results of his own state of Indiana. When the numbers there were safely announced in the Republican column, just after ten, he went to bed. The following morning a friend, having called to congratulate him late the night before, asked why he had retired so early. The president-elect explained, "I knew that my staying up would not alter the result if I were defeated, while if I was elected I had a hard day in front of me. So a good night's rest seemed the best course in either event."
Later he added, by way of explanation, "A fellow who fails to take into account the divine is bound to miss a good deal of sleep unnecessarily--it can help but little. Our charge is simply to render our services aright and leave the results to providence."
Harrison could sleep peacefully because he knew that God ordains civil government--it is a sacred institution and an honorable and holy vocational field--and thus those who serve in that arena are ministers under the hand of providence. He knew that he was merely in the service of God's good purposes in the world and so to worry or fret was not only utterly futile, it was utterly faithless.