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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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God gave us Life and Liberty

In the words of 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)

Christianity and American Independence

John Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Tyranny Over The Mind

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

The Duty Of Parents

James Wilson

Quoting James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence; he was one of the six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.”

The Influence Of Christianity Upon Our Government

Jedidiah Morse standing with globe

Jedidiah Morse

Quoting Jedediah Morse (Patriot and “Father of American Geography”):

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them. (Source: Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1799), p. 9.)

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)

John Adams: Hero Of Liberty And Man Of Faith

FLAG OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

John Adams (October 30, 1735-July 4, 1826), was the 2nd President of the United States, 1797-1801, being the first president to live in the White House; established the Library of Congress and the Department of the Navy; Vice-President under George Washington, 1789-97; a member of the First and Second Continental Congress, 1774, 1775; a signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1776; distinguished for having personally urged Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration, as well as for having recommended George Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army; authored the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780; U.S. Minister to France, 1783, having signed the Treaty of

John Adams

Paris, along with John Jay and Benjamin Franklin, which officially ended the Revolutionary War; U.S. Minister to Great Britain, 1784-88, during which time he greatly influenced the American states to ratify the Constitution by writing a three-volume work entitled, A Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the United States.

On February 22, 1756, John Adams made the entry in his diary, his idea of a “Utopian Nation”:

Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.

On October 11, 1798, President John Adams stated in a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

On June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams wrote:

The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite….And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.

Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.

You can view the source of this article and read more about the Founding Fathers here. . . .

Liberty Is A Gift From God

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

“Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?

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.)

Will America Renounce Christianity As The Source of Its Prosperity?

Despite opinions to the contrary, Christianity and its cultural influence are still alive in our country. The new FamilyFacts.org reports that over 60 percent of American adults firmly believe that God exists even though some believe in their own “idea” of god rather than the God of the Bible. Still, Americans act on their Christian faith in personal and public ways. Three in five adults say they pray daily. 40 percent of Americans attend religious services at least once a week. True Christian faith and practice has a deeply positive effect on civil society by protecting against a host of social problems. Benjamin Rush (A Founding Father and signer of the Declaration of Independence) wrote:

“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)

The Christian faith has long been associated with strong families, well-adjusted adolescents, and even better health. Families that regularly practice their faith tend to have better marital stability, fewer instances of domestic violence, and greater conflict resolution. Teenagers who practice the Christian faith are less likely to use drugs and alcohol or experience teen pregnancy. Individuals who regularly practice their faith are also less likely to die from cancer and tend to have lower stress levels than people who do not attend worship. Is it any wonder then that Noah Webster (Founding Educator) said:

“The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. . . . The moral principles and precepts found in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation. . . . All the evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. . . . For instruction then in social, religious and civil duties resort to the scriptures for the best precepts.”

In light of the Christian faith’s beneficial effects on America, every effort should be made to protect our religious freedom. As US Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story commented:

“Indeed, the right of a society or government to [participate] in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state and indispensable to the administrations of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion—the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them.”

As Christians, we must be determined that America and our descendents do not reject religious instruction and authority. There is no doubt in my mind that to violate the great principles of the Bible and deny God His rightful rule over our lives will lead to the reckless destruction of America’s Constitution and the fall of this nation into slavery.

Congress And Our Money

The Black Hole of Government Theft Through Taxes

The Declaration of Independence, particularly the second sentence, provides us with a sweeping statement of individual human rights:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The implication here is that God is the source of the rights of men and thus it is wrong to violate a human being’s self-ownership. This would include forcibly taking the fruits of one man’s labor to be used by another (which makes the first man a slave to the latter). Walter E. Williams explains further:

Do farmers and businessmen have a right to congressional handouts? Does a person have a right to congressional handouts for housing, food and medical care?

First, let’s ask: Where does Congress get handout money? One thing for sure, it’s not from the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus nor is it congressmen reaching into their own pockets. The only way for Congress to give one American one dollar is to first, through the tax code, take that dollar from some other American. It must forcibly use one American to serve another American. Forcibly using one person to serve another is one way to describe slavery. As such, it violates self-ownership. . . .

Some might argue that Congress forcing us to help one another and forcing us to take care of ourselves are good ideas. But my question to you is: When congressmen and presidents take their oaths of office, is that oath to uphold and defend good ideas or the U.S. Constitution?

When the principles of self-ownership are taken into account, two-thirds to three-quarters of what Congress does violate those principles to one degree or another as well as the Constitution to which they’ve sworn to uphold and defend. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees, James Madison, the father of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Did James Madison miss something in the Constitution?

You might answer, “He forgot the general welfare clause.” No, he had that covered, saying, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one.”

Continue reading. . . .

Where Do Our Rights Come From?

Many people have wrongly come to believe that judges have the power to determine our Rights. According to such thinking, our Rights are no longer unalienable because we hold them at the pleasure of the Supreme Court. Federal judges, therefore, claim the power to regulate our political speech and religious speech. They seek to determine & regulate our property rights and the fruits of our own labors. But if our rights are not determined by the judicial branch, what is their source and authority? Publius Huldah explains that human rights come from God:

Let us begin with what is True: Our Declaration of Independence says our Rights come from God. Our rights thus pre-date & pre-exist the U.S. Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

So these, then, are the foundational principles of our Constitutional Republic:

• Our Rights are unalienable and come from God;

• The purpose of civil government is to protect our God-given Rights;

• Civil government is legitimate only when it operates with our consent; &

• Since the US Constitution is the formal expression of the Will of the People, the federal government operates with our consent only when it obeys the Constitution.

Because the Declaration of Independence identifies The Creator as Grantor of Rights, we look to The Bible – or the Natural Law – to see what those rights are. The Bible – or the Natural Law – reveals many rights, such as the rights to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness; to inherit, earn, and keep property; the right of self-defense; the right and duty to demand that the civil authorities obey the Law; the right to speak; the right to live our lives free from interference from civil government; the rights of parents to raise their children free from interference from civil government; the right to worship God; etc.

The distinguishing characteristics of all God-given or Natural Rights are:

• Each one may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any other person; and

• We can look them up for ourselves! They are not subject to someone else’s interpretations.

Continue reading. . . .

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.”

Thomas Jefferson On The Welfare State

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

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