• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Americans Must Never Forget The Divine Author Of Our Independance

Never forget that this country was discovered by a man who said:

“It was the Lord who put into my mind… the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies… There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit… It is merely the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied… No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service… the fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time – this is what convinces me.” (Dairy of Christopher Columbus)

Never forget that the Virginia Company, which sponsored the Jamestown expedition in 1607, stated that the first purpose for the plantation was:

“To preach and baptize into (the) Christian religion, and by propagation of the Gospel, to recover out of the arms of the devil a number of … souls wrapped up into death.”

Never forget that this country was colonized not by humanists, but by men who said that they undertook their voyage to plant their colony:

“… for the Glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.” (Mayflower Compact)

Never forget that the first written constitution in America, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, recognized in 1639 that:

“The Word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such people, there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God.”

Never forget that the New England Confederation of May 19, 1643 recognized that the common bond between its signers was not the philosophy of secular humanism, but the desire to:

“…advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace.”

Never forget that the Rhode Island Charter of 1683 began with these words:

“We submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given to us in His Holy Word.”

Never forget that the Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges of 1701 required the following affirmation from all prospective Colonial officers:

“… all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, shall be capable … to serve this government in any capacity…”

Never forget that on July 2, 1776, when the vote to declare independence was taken, Samuel Adams declared the sentiment of the day, not in terms of humanistic rhetoric, but by saying:

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and … from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”

Never forget the John Quincy Adam’s speech commemorating the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1837 clearly acknowledged our Christian heritage when he said:

“… the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission. …it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity …”

Never forget that one of the rallying cries of the American Revolution was:

“No King but King Jesus.”

Never forget that General Washington issued the following general order to the Continental Army the day after he took command on July 3, 1775:

“The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles … which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner, he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine services to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.”

Never forget that the pledge taken by the Minutemen Militia included these words:

“Let us be … altogether solicitous that no disorderly behavior, nothing unbecoming our characters as Americans … and Christians, be justly chargeable against us.”

Never forget that concerning the Revolutionary War itself, President John Quincy Adams noted in 1821 that:

“The highest and greatest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

Never forget that even in his zeal for liberty Patrick Henry remembered the source of true freedom when he said,

“It cannot be emphasized to strongly or to often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

Never forget that in 1828, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story acknowledged that:

“…at the time of the adoption of the Constitution and of the First Amendment to it,… the general if not the universal sentiment in America was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement by the state so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to level all religions (that is, to make Christianity simply one of many religions) and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation if not universal indignation…”

Never forget that the volume of evidence which points towards the Biblical underpinnings of our constitution is so overwhelming that even purely secular historians such as H.G. Wells were forced to admit that the Constitution is:

“indubitably Christian.”

Never forget that this country was organized not by secularists, but by men who said such things as:

“No people can be found to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States… We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a Nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right Heaven itself ordained.” (Inaugural Address of George Washington, April 30, 1789)

Never forget that Washington’s first official act after being sworn in as the first President of the United States was to join with all the members of the House and Senate in a two hour worship service.

Never forget that America’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation, given by George Washington on October 3, 1789, declared that:

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Never forget that the constitutions of the original states, as late as 1876, contained statements such as those of Delaware’s, which recognized

“the duty of all men frequently to assemble together for the public worship of the Author of the Universe.”

Never forget that in 1892, in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, the Supreme Court acknowledged that:

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian… This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation… We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth… These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

Never forget that former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren made the following observation when he was Governor of California:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses… Whether we look to the First Charter of Virginia… or to the Charter of New England… or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay… the same objective is present; a Christian land governed by Christian perspectives.”

Never forget that the phrase “separation of Church and State” is not found in the Constitution of the United States, but rather that it is found in the ‘Constitution’ of the former Soviet Union.

Never forget that the authors of the First Amendment never intended for it to be interpreted so as to deny Christians access to either the government or America’s schools. As noted by Associate Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1851,

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance Mahometanism, or Judaism or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but … to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”

Never forget Abraham Lincoln’s observation that

“It is the duty of nations … to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed, whose God is the Lord.”

Never forget the Presidential proclamation appointing a National Fast Day, issued by Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863:

“We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserves us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; as 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. It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended power to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Never forget that our forefathers had no difficulty realizing that atheism could never serve as the foundation for a system of moral values which requires absolutes. Daniel Webster noted that:

“…our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any foundation other than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits… Let the religious element in man’s nature be neglected, let him be influenced by no higher motives than low self interest, and subjected to no stronger restraint than the limits of civil authority and he becomes the creature of selfish passion and blind fanaticism… On the other hand, the cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness… inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric at the same time that it conducts the human soul upward to the Author of its being.”

(From The Sermon, We Must Never Forget”)

What July Fourth Means to Me By Ronald Reagan

For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.

I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.

No later than the third of July – sometimes earlier – Dad would bring home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We’d count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.

I’m afraid we didn’t give too much thought to the meaning of the day. And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless handling of the fireworks. I’m sure we’re better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals. Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a giant “cracker” – giant meaning it was about 4 inches long. But enough of nostalgia.

Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.

There is a legend about the day of our nation’s birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words “treason, the gallows, the headsman’s axe,” and the issue remained in doubt.

The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, “They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever.”

He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.

Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.

What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.

John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.

Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.

But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.

It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.

Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.

Happy Fourth of July,

Ronald Reagan President of the United States

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