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  • 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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  • Recommended Reading

Alexander Hamilton On The Evidence For Christianity

Alexander Hamilton

Quoting Alexander Hamilton – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution:

“I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.” (Famous American Statesmen, p. 126)

Benjamin Rush On Teaching Children

Benjamin Rush

Quoting Benjamin Rush – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution:

“I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker.

If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.” (Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798)

John Witherspoon On The Best Friend To American Liberty

John Witherspoon

Quoting John Witherspoon – Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Clergyman, and President of Princeton University:

“While we give praise to God, the Supreme Disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of, an arm of flesh … If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if your conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.

What follows from this? That he is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.

Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country.” (Sermon at Princeton University, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men,” May 17, 1776)

Benjamin Rush On Christianity

Benjamin Rush

Quoting Benjamin Rush – Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations!” (The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, pp. 165-166)

“Christianity is the only true and perfect religion, and that in proportion as mankind adopts its principles and obeys its precepts, they will be wise and happy.” (Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798)

Samuel Adams: Breaking The Rod Of Tyrants

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams – Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is Prince of Peace.” (As Governor of Massachusetts, Proclamation of a Day of Fast, March 20, 1797)

Thomas Jefferson: Liberty Is The Gift Of God

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson – 3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.” (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237)

Benjamin Rush On National Crimes That Will Require National Punishment

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

Remember that national crimes require national punishments, and without declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful. (Source: Benjamin Rush, An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave-Keeping (Boston: John Boyles, 1773), p. 30.)

Benjamin Rush On Education

Benjamin Rush

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism. (Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Printed by Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), pp. 93-94.)

Benjamin Rush On The Republic And Religion

Benjamin Rush, an important proponent of heroi...

Benjamin Rush

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. (Source: Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), p. 8.)

 

Benjamin Rush On Renouncing The Bible

Benjamin Rush

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects. . . . It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published. . . . All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it [the Bible] must perish, and how consoling the thought, it will not only survive the wreck of these systems but the world itself. “The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 1:18] (Source: Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor – Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951, p. 936, to John Adams, January 23, 1807)

July 4th – A festival Of Freedom!

George Bancroft (1800-1891) was one of America’s foremost historians, titled “The Father of American History” for his groundbreaking efforts in that field. Bancroft was also a high-ranking and noted political figure. Significantly, Bancroft delivered the following oration on the 50th anniversary (07/04/1826) of the Declaration of Independence – the day that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died (although public knowledge of these events was not yet known at the time of this oration). The article that follows is made up of excerpts from that speech:

Our act of celebration begins with God. To the eternal Providence – on Which states depend and by Whose infinite mercy they are prospered – the nation brings its homage and the tribute of its gratitude. From the omnipotent Power Who dwells in the unclouded serenity of being without variableness or shadow of change [James 1:17], we proceed as from the Fountain of Good, the Author of Hope, and the Source of Order and Justice, now that we assemble to commemorate the revolution, the independence, and the advancement of our country!

No sentiments should be encouraged on this occasion but those of patriotism and philanthropy. When the names of our venerated fathers were affixed to the instrument which declared our independence, an impulse and confidence were imparted to all efforts at improvement throughout the world. The festival which we keep is the festival of freedom itself – it belongs not to us only but to man. All the nations of the earth have an interest in it, and humanity proclaims it sacred!

In the name of LIBERTY, therefore, I bid you welcome to the celebration of its jubilee 1 ; in the name of our COUNTRY, I bid you welcome to the recollection of its glories and joy in its prosperity; in the name of HUMANITY, I welcome you to a festival which commemorates an improvement in the social condition; in the name of RELIGION, I welcome you to a profession of the principles of public justice which emanate directly from God. . . .

Thought has been active in our times not with speculative questions but in devising means for improving the social condition. Efforts have been made to diffuse Christianity throughout the world. The cannibal of the South Sea forgets his horrid purpose and listens to the instructions of religion; the light of the Sabbath morn is welcomed by the mild inhabitants of the Pacific islands; and Africa and Australia have not remained unvisited. Colonies which were first established on the Guinea coast for the traffic in slaves have been renewed for the more effectual suppression of that accursed trade.

And what is the cause and the guarantee of our happiness? What but the principles of our Constitution! When our fathers assembled to prepare it, the genius of history admitted them to the secrets of destiny and taught them by the failures of the past to provide for the happiness of future generations. No model was offered them which it seemed safe to imitate; the Constitution established a government on entirely liberal principles [unselfish principles that benefit the general public rather than a few elite] such as the world had never beheld in practice. The sovereignty of the people is the basis of the system. With the people the power resides – both theoretically and practically. The government is a democracy – a determined, uncompromising democracy – administered immediately by the people or by the people’s responsible agents. In all the European treatises on political economy – and even in the state-papers of the Holy Alliance – the welfare of the people is acknowledged to be the object of government. We believe so too. But as each man’s interests are safest in his own keeping, so in like manner the interests of the people can best be guarded by themselves. . . .

We approve of the influence of the religious principle on public not less than on private life, but we hold religion to be an affair between each individual conscience and God, superior to all political institutions and independent of them. Christianity was neither introduced nor reformed by the civil power. And with us the modes of worship are in no wise prescribed by the state. Thus, then, the people governs – and solely; it does not divide its power with a hierarchy, a nobility, or a king. The popular voice is all powerful with us. This is our oracle; this we acknowledge is the voice of God! . . . The interests of the people are the interests of the individuals who compose the people. . . . We give the power to the many [the people] in the hope and to the end that they may use it for their own benefit – that they may always so legislate as to open the fairest career to industry and promote an equality founded on the safe and equitable influence of the laws. We do not fear – we rather invite – the operation of the common motives which influence humanity. . . .

The laws of the land are sacred – they are established by the majority for the general good. Private rights are sacred – the protection of them is the end of law and government. . . .

In possession of complete personal independence, our religious liberty is entire; our press without restrictions; the channels of wealth and honor alike open to all; the cause of intelligence asserted and advanced by the people! In our houses, our churches, our halls of justice, our legislatures – everywhere there is liberty! . . . Soul is breathed into the public administration by the suffrages [votes] of the people, and the aspect of our policy on the world is favorable to universal improvement. . . .

Our service began with God. May we not believe that He Who promises assistance to the humblest of us in our efforts to do His will regards with complacency the advancement of the nation and now from His high abode smiles on us with favoring benignity [kindness]?

Trusting in the Providence of Him, the Universal Father, let the country advance to the glory and prosperity to which – mindful of its exalted privileges – it aspires! Wherever its voice is heard, let it proclaim the message of liberty and speak with the divine energy of truth [and let] the principles of moral goodness [be] consistently followed in its actions! And while the centuries – as they pass – multiply its population and its resources, let it manifest in its whole history a devoted attachment to public virtue, a dear affection for mankind, and the consciousness of its responsibility to the God of nations!

(This oration was taken from David Barton’s book Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches & Sermons. This book is available here.)

Thomas Jefferson On Jesus

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson (Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Third President of the United States):

I concur with the author in considering the moral precepts of Jesus as more pure, correct, and sublime than those of ancient philosophers. (Source: Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1904), Vol. X, pp. 376-377. In a letter to Edward Dowse on April 19, 1803.)

Only A Virtuous People Will Maintain Freedom

Benjamin Franklin

Quoting Benjamin Franklin (Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence):

[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Source: Benjamin Franklin, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787.)

The Best Security For The Republic

Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of ...

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Quoting Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments. (Source: Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers, 1907), p. 475. In a letter from Charles Carroll to James McHenry of November 4, 1800.)

September 17th, A Day To Remember!

Quoting Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner:

“Even America’s bitterest enemies understand why we mark July 4th with parades, speeches and fireworks: to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We’re proud of our nation, and justifiably so. So why do we virtually ignore September 17th? That’s the date, in 1787, when our Founding Fathers signed the Constitution. … Yet today, on many issues, this vital document is frequently ignored, even undermined, by some of the very people who have taken a public oath to uphold it.”

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