Wisdom of Life

Abraham Lincoln: On the Wisdom of Life and Liberty

“Life is hard but so very beautiful.”

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. Nothing in this world is impossible to a willing heart.

Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing. You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry. It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.

If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it. To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all — but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing.

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

The best way to predict your future is to create it. The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.

I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God. I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal“. We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes“. When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics“. When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power. … But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.

Here in my heart, my happiness, my house.
Here inside the lighted window is my love, my hope, my life.
Peace is my companion on the pathway winding to the threshold.
Inside this portal dwells new strength in the security, serenity, and radiance of those I love above life itself.
Here two will build new dreams–dreams that tomorrow will come true.
The world over, these are the thoughts at eventide when footsteps turn ever homeward.
In the haven of the hearthside is rest and peace and comfort.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works

***

~Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War.

Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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