Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years | Meeting Two
Meeting 2, January 23, 2020, Chapters 7-11
[02:00] ‘The True Rule’ (7 minutes)
Lincoln once said, “The true rule in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good.” Especially later in life, this good understanding of human nature guided and helped him in determining what to do as president in order to save the Union.
[09:00] Lincoln and the Bible (10 minutes)
Lincoln regularly studied the Bible. He loved it! He studied with the intent of learning its indispensable lessons. At the same time, he wasn’t a regular churchgoer because he “couldn’t quite see it.” I believe that much of what he did hear in church did not square with what he read in the Bible. Some criticized him for not joining a church, but he clearly knew the Bible. On one occasion, a woman on her deathbed asked him to read her a few Bible verses. Before someone could bring him a Bible, Lincoln started reciting Psalm 23 from memory.
One of his family Bibles was recently discovered. The high value he placed on God’s Word is illuminated by this statement: “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 Savior 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.”
[19:30] Mary Todd Lincoln (4 minutes)
Mary Todd Lincoln was a strong encouragement in her husband’s life. Though she was known to have a hot temper, she had much love and admiration for Abe. She was an excellent judge of character, promoted her husbands’s career advancement, and remained supportive throughout their marriage, even though she would have loved to have him home more often.
[23:30] Educating Himself (5 minutes)
One man said of Lincoln that “he could ask more questions than a Philadelphia lawyer could answer.” Lincoln was a learner! Predominantly self-taught, he was driven to educate himself. He continued learning his entire life.
[28:00] Open Discussion (15 minutes)