Sunday, March 29, 2015

The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln (part 14)

Abraham Lincoln had a well-honed talent for plainly expressing so many deeply intuitive and elegantly sophisticated insights into human nature, our motivations, our culture and our communally shared experiences.

Often Lincoln would tell a folksy, pithy story to make his point. William Herndon, Lincoln’s long-time and perhaps long-suffering law partner, recalled that Old Abe responded to a question about his religion by comparing it to that of an old-timer named Glenn back in Indiana. The president said the old gent spoke at a church meeting, declaring “When I do good I feel good; when I do bad I feel bad; and that’s my religion.”

Our story-telling philosopher president packed a lot of ethics and theology and natural morality into that one.

Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher, eds., Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), 245.

Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008), 31.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015

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