Historian n. a person who researches, studies, and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. -Wikipedia
The historian's distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual.
― Historian, Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States
This page is presented as a research paper in order to determine the main foundation of belief that led to the settling, independence, formation of government and historic rising of the United States of America.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Words from the first President of the United States.
George Washington's Inaugural Address 1789
"the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained"
I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend. (see Full Transcript)
This opening line from the original Articles of Confederation of 1643 might be the best resource for understanding the purpose and spirit of America's first colonists.
Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace; and whereas in our settling (by a wise providence of God) we are further dispersed upon the sea coasts and rivers than was at first intended. -The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19, 1643
When a nation becomes divided it must first recognize that it made mistakes, then turn back to its roots, its foundation, to determine how to restore peace, justice and domestic tranquility; the original intent of the United States Constitution.
Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NIV)
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
“May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the; desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men.” ― William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647
Mayflower Pilgrims upon departure from Holland: from "Of Plymouth Plantation"
Pastor John Robinson taking his text from the Bible book of Ezra 8:21
“And there at the river, by Ahava, I proclaimed a fast that we might humble ourselves before our God, and seek of Him a right way for us and for our children, and for all our substance.”
The Mayflower Compact
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
"Of Plymouth Plantation"
"Having found a good haven and being brought safely in sight of land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries of it, again to set their feet upon the firm and stable earth, their proper element."
According to the book "Of Plymouth Plantation" there were four main reasons the Pilgrims risked their lives to come to America. Ever since William Tyndale translated the Bible to English (which he was later strangled and burned for) there was a reformation movement in England that rejected many of the distinctive teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of the Bible in English. The Pilgrims wanted to read the scriptures and teach them to their children and did not want to be forced to listen to the Mass in Latin, a language they didn't understand. So they held secret bible studies and many were caught and imprisoned. Fleeing religious persecution, they broke away from the Church of England in 1607 and settled in Leyden, Holland, but there were many hardships there that ultimately led them to America twelve years later. (See Pilgrims History) Here is a brief summary of events.
Why the Pilgrims left England and fled to Leyden, Holland in 1607
"Of Plymouth Plantation": Chapter 1
"First I will unfold the causes that led to the foundations of the New Plymouth Settlement, and the motives of those concerned in it. In order that I may give an accurate account of the project, I must begin at the very root and rise of it; and this I shall endeavour to do in a plain style and with singular regart to the truth,- at least as near as my slender judgment can attain to it. As it is well known, ever since the breaking out of the light of the gospel in England, which was the first country to be thus enlightened after the gross darkness of popery (the Pope) had overspread the Christian world, Satan has maintained various wars against the Saints, from time to time, in differnet ways... he began to sow errors, heresies, and discord amongst the clergy themselves, working upon the pride and ambition and other frailties to which all mortals, and even the Saints themselves in some measure are subject."
The Four Principle Reasons for Leaving Leyden, Holland to travel to America in 1620
IV. Reasons which led the Congregation at Leyden to decide upon Settlement in America.
1. The hardships of the journey would filter the most faithful
2. They were in danger of breaking up due to their living difficulties and hard work in Leyden
3. Their children were being influenced by the promiscuity of the city around them, and they felt their future generations would become corrupt
4. They wanted to advance the gospel of the kingdom of Christ with good foundations
Of the Four, the Principle Reasons for Coming to America, William Bradford Claims is #3 "
"Of Plymouth Plantation"
But still more lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was that many of the children, influenced by these conditions, and the great licentiousness* (promiscuity) of the young people of the country, and the many temptations of the place, were led by evil example into dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks and leaving their parents. Some became soldiers, others embarked upon voyages by sea and others upon worse courses tending to dissoluteness and the danger of their souls, to the great grief of the parents and the dishonor of God. So they saw their posterity (future generations) would be in danger to degenerate and become corrupt.
*licentious- lacking legal or moral restraints; especially : disregarding sexual restraints, marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness
In Bradford's own words he clearly states that they chose this dangerous path, across a vast ocean, to settle in a land inhabited by Indians, and the number one reason for this was that they worried their children would become morally corrupt by the "great licentiousness" of the people of Holland.
John Winthrop (12 January 1587 – 26 March 1649) was an English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England, following Plymouth Colony. Winthrop led the first large wave of immigrants from England in 1630 and served as governor for 12 of the colony's first 20 years. Winthrop's views of the new world can be easily understood through his writings. While onboard the ship "Arbella" while sailing to America, he gave a famous sermon which was later published and entitled "A Model of Christian Charity". In this sermon John saw the new world as "a city on a hill."
For we must consider that we shall be as a "city upon a hill." The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world; we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God's sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.
Winthrop articulates a genuine covenant relationship between the American people and The Lord in their safe passage and possession of this new land. He models this covenant relationship directly with the same spirit as the covenant given by God to Moses. In that, they were expected to perform in the same manor and would expect to receive similar blessing for their obedience and wrath in turning away.
A Model of Christian Charity
"Thus stands the cause between God and us: we are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord has given us leave to draw our own articles; we have professed to enterprise these actions upon these and these ends; we have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then has He ratified this Covenant and sealed our commission, [and] will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it. But if we shall neglect the observation of these articles, which are the ends we have propounded, and dissembling with our God shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, be revenged of such a perjured people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.
First, in regard of the more near bond of marriage between Him and us, wherein He has taken us to be His after a most strict and peculiar manner which will make Him the more jealous of our love and obedience. So He tells the people of Israel: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for your transgressions."
And to shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel (Deut. 30):
But "if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other Gods" — our pleasures and profits — "and serve them," it is propounded unto us this day, "we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over" this vast sea "to possess it." Therefore let us choose life, that we, and our seed, may live; by obeying His voice, and cleaving to Him, for He is our life, and our prosperity.
America, The Covenant Nation
There have been many movies and history books written about the Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers that have grossly watered down the spirit of these people and their covenant relationship with their God. When one searches for truth they will clearly see, that it was this covenant spirit that was directly responsible for the successful growth and prosperity of the nation from its very roots. This covenant spirit that was at the very foundation of the Mayflower Compact, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Articles of Confederation and yes, even the Declaration of Independence.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Here in the Declaration of Independence we see the same spirit of Winthrop that Americans were once spiritually pledged to each other, in a covenant relationship with God for his protection. And in this, we have sealed our commission to obey God's laws. The roots of America grew from a people whose first priority was caring for other people and obeying God's law in the hope and promise revealed through scripture, of Divine protection. Along with a trained and watchful eye against being seduced by pleasures and profits thereby leading to punishment and wrath. The very vices that first divided, then later destroyed ancient Israel and, according to Bradford, led to the civil war in a divided England. These are the warnings of our Founding Fathers, the warning that "history" was supposed to preserve as the great lesson for all nations. But it is these very warnings that our history books and movies are now hiding from our children in order to seduce them towards these very vices by which they profit.
Beware of False Teachers, and False Historians
According to the History Channel film "Desperate Crossing", "hard labor" the main reason for coming to America. The licentiousness nature of the Dutch was not even mentioned. You can watch the actual clip from this link on YouTube. The quote comes at 4:50 on the video timeline. Watch Part 1
According to the movie "The Pilgrims", the main reasons the Pilgrims left Holland was because their children were "becoming Dutch". Here is a quote from the actual transcript of the movie. "Their biggest concern after a decade in this foreign land was that their children were becoming Dutch, and these people had decided to leave England for their religious beliefs, but they were still very proud of their English heritage. And so if we stay in Holland, we will lose the identity that is so essential to who we are. They were also fearful that the Spanish were about to attack again." - Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer see Transcript @ www.pbs.org
The facts get even more distorted in "The Pilgrims" when the movie concludes that near the end of his life, Bradford was lamenting because his people started to disperse into new territories and colonies as more ships started to arrive. Here are some quotes from the film. "They wanted to achieve the ultimate spiritual community on Earth -- and that never happened." - Nathaniel Philbrick, Writer and "I think, for Bradford, the experiment was not a success." -Kathleen Donegan, Literary Critic and "He knew that when the Puritans started to arrive in 1630 -- 15,000 of them -- the market for agricultural goods was going to boom. Which meant more farms, farther out, fresher ground -- that would further dissipate the religious group." -Bernard Bailyn (Historian). Then they show a desolate Bradford reading this poem from On Plymouth Plantation.
A Word to New Plymouth
Oh, poor Plymouth, how dost thou moan! Thy children, all, are from thee gone; And left thou art, in widow's state -- Poor, helpless, sad, and desolate. Some thou hast had, it is well known, Who sought thy good before their own. But times are changed, those days are gone, And therefore art thou left alone. To make others rich, thyself art poor; They are increased out of thy store. But, being rich, they thee forsake, Leaving thee poor and desolate. -William Bradford
They cut the poem short there and talk no more about it, and the irony is that the movie trying to portray Bradford and his New Plymouth colony as "poor and desolate" when the poem is really focused on Plymouth England, the area they left, which is now in the middle of a Revolutionary War. Later in the poem Bradford even mentions the battles and shows he is clearly speaking of Plymouth England that is now "poor and desolate" because the warnings of scripture were hidden from the people and they were seduced by pleasures and profits. Even the book "The Mayflower and Her Passengers" by Caleb Johnson makes the same error. "Throughout Bradford's remaining years, he would struggle to maintain the town of Plymouth, but lament its condition and deterioration over time. About this time, Bradford penned a poem "A Word to New Plymouth," which begins: (same poem as above)" See page 87
The poem continues to talk about leaving England, going to Holland and then to America to find their resting place. So the beginning of the poem is about England where greed began to destroy the country, leaving it "poor and desolate" and so this is a warning to New England (America) not to follow the same path. Here is more of the poem that mentions all the civil war battles by city:
But now God's hand hath them repaid, And all their blood upon them laid. And thou, poor England, hast thy part, Even wounded to the very heart. How many armies didst thou see, Consuming and destroying thee! At Kineton how wast thou beset! And Brentford may we not forget! At Newbury the fight was sore, But greatest was at Marston Moor.. Thine enemies they then went down. New Model they could not withstand. It was not they, but God's own hand.
And here later in the poem it does not sound at all like Bradford is feeling desolate, but rather ecstatic and thankful.
But them a place God did provide, In wilderness, and them did guide Unto the American shore, Where they made way for many more. They broke the ice themselves alone, And so became a stepping-stone For all others who, in like case, Were glad to find a resting place. From hence, as in a place secure, They saw what others did endure, By cruel wars, flowing in blood, Whilst they in peace and safety stood.
Read the Full Poem Here A Word to New Plymouth Any Bible reader would notice Bradford is following in the footsteps of Moses and King David by leaving his new nation with a poem of warning. See 1. The Song of Moses and 2. David's Last Words which both warn the people about keeping right with God, just as Bradford did. Because it is these very behaviors, Pride, Greed, Sexual Immorality, Materialism and ultimately forgetting to teach God's Word, that lead to the destruction of peaceful nations. Bradford was so dedicated to God, he learned Hebrew is his later years so he could read scripture in it's native language and not rely on translators.
Other References: Religion and God references in Acts of the Commissioners of the United Colonies Original Book: The Articles of the Confederation of the United Colonies The Society for propagating the gospel to the Indians incorporated in 1649.
The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original Constitution.
Leviticus 25:10 (NIV)
LEV XXV v X
"Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants."
Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges Oct 28, 1701
28 October 1701
WILLIAM PENN, Proprietary and Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania and Territories thereunto belonging, To all to whom these Presents shall come, sends Greeting.
BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge One almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World; and profess him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion. AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively .
It is obvious that the men responsible for selecting the inscription on the liberty bell actually read the Bible, then they also read this verse from the same chapter of Leviticus.
Leviticus 25:17-19 New International Version (NIV) 17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God. “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.
When a nation becomes divided it must first recognize that it made mistakes, then turn back to its roots, its foundation, to determine how to restore peace, justice and domestic tranquility; the original intent of its constitution.
Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NIV)
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
To understand the original values of forefathers of America let's look at The National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, MA watch video)
So What Happened to Faith and Morality?
Wasn't that the number one reason the Pilgrims risked their lives to come to America?
William Bradford, the governor of the New Plymouth colony, knew what was going to happen over time and put this warning on his tombstone.
it reads: “qua patres difficillime adepti sunt nolite turpiter relinquere”
translation: “What our forefathers with so much difficulty secured, do not basely relinquish.”
So what do many parents do today? They send their children to
college to live in coed dorms, put them on birth control when they are in
high school, and tell them to travel abroad to the very places that Bradford
and company risked their lives to protect them from. They even pay for their trips. Today, our children are graduating college with massive debt, living with their parents longer, many end up with
video game, drinking and drug addictions and there are more children on ADHD medication every year, and less and less are getting married.
So are we on the same path as our forefathers?
Favorite scripture on this topic:
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ -Jeremiah 6:16
When you actually do the research, you will find that all the intelligence of the forefathers comes from the Bible and as the Bible foretold, the path we are following is actually leading us back to oppression, a form of slavery. (but we don't see it)
"keep free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors."
-Benjamin Franklin (from his Autobiography)
Where did Benjamin Franklin get that quote from? Answer: The Bible
"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7
If one studies the beliefs of the Founding Fathers of America it would be clear that they believed in one God ("The Creator") because it was clear to them by what they saw in nature. They were not Atheists, but many were in conflict with the ideas of the church; some didn't understand the Bible and attacked it like Thomas Paine. We can easily understand their reasoning through their books, letters and presidential documents, which led to their ideas of a separation of church and state. Never a disbelief in God, but rather an active search for truth and understanding. Some claimed to be Christian or Deist but none were Atheists. After studing the Bible in great detail, I can see that some like Paine simply didn't have a real understanding of the scriptures which is a common mistake. Others, like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, were able to grasp the biblical message of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity and even write about it.
What is a Deist? Most
deists believed in one God but saw the religions of their day as corruptions of an original, pure religion that was simple and rational. They felt that this original pure religion had become corrupted by "priests" who had manipulated it for personal gain and for the class interests of the priesthood in general.
What is a Christian? A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, due to the long list of Christian denominations (see), apparently Christ's teachings are not easily understood.
George Washington Religion: Episcopal.
Many question Washington's view of religion; was he a Christian or Deist? (see Washington and Religion) One thing is for sure, he was not an Atheist. Washington regarded religion as a protective influence for America's social and political order, and recognized the church's "laudable endeavors to render men sober, honest, and good citizens. Washington wrote 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior when he was 16 years old.
Washington's Inaugural address of 1789
"the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
From a letter written by Nelly Custis-Lewis, Washington's adopted daughter
"No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect." She added: "I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, that they may be seen of men." In closing, Nelly attempted to answer the question of whether General Washington was a Christian. She responded, "Is it necessary that any one should certify, 'General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?' As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, 'Deeds, not Words;' and, 'For God and my Country."- Nelly Custis-Lewis (Washington's adopted daughter)
Washington spoke about the importance of religion and morality to our government in his Farewell Address in 1796
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ’Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric[?] -George Washington Farewell Address Sept 19,1796 (full doc)
Martha Washington Religion: A devout Anglican, she also perused a variety of devotional works and was said to read from the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer almost every day.
Benjamin Franklin Religion: educated as Presbyterian.
He clarified himself as a deist in his 1771 autobiography, although he still considered himself a Christian. Ben Franklin retained a strong faith in a god as the wellspring of morality and goodness in man, wrote his own prayer book, and as a Providential actor in history was responsible for American independence.
The following quotes are from:
Ben Franklin's Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion Nov 20, 1728
"That I may be preserved from Atheism and Infidelity, Impiety and Profaneness, and in my Addresses to Thee carefully avoid Irreverence and Ostentation, Formality and odious Hypocrisy, Help me, O Father"
Thou abhorrest in thy Creatures Treachery and Deceit, Malice, Revenge, [Intemperance] and every other hurtful Vice; but Thou art a Lover of Justice and Sincerity, of Friendship, Benevolence and every Virtue. Thou art my Friend, my Father, and my Benefactor. Praised be thy Name for ever. Amen. -Ben Franklin
"I presume not to ask such Things, but rather Humbly, and with a sincere Heart express my earnest Desires that he would graciously assist my Continual Endeavours and Resolutions of eschewing Vice and embracing Virtue" -Ben Franklin
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right - Isaiah 7:14-15
Ben Franklin's Autobiography The life of Benjamin Franklin
"I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and though some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and governed it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteemed the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, though with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mixed with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, served principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another." -Benjamin Franklin
Here is another example from Franklin's autobiography. from page 226
"Had he been in my opinion a good preacher,
perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had
for the Sunday s leisure in my course of study ; but his discourses
were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explica tions of the
peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry,
uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle
was inculcated or enforced, their aim seeming to be rather
to make us Presbyterians than good citizens. At length he
took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians,
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any
virtue, or any ^praise, think on these things" And I imagin
d, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some
morality. But he confined himself to five points only, as meant by
the apostle, viz.:
i. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all good things ; but, as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before compos d a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), en titled, Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I returned to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blame- able, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it ; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.* It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time.
Moral Benefits of Wisdom
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Thomas Jefferson Religion: Episcopal
Jefferson was a Bible reader and put together this book containing what he felt were the important passages from the New Testament (See Jefferson Bible). Jefferson defined being a Christian as one who followed the simple teachings of Jesus.
In 1803 he asserted, "I am Christian, in the only sense in which [Jesus] wished any one to be." -Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Paine Religion: Deist
Paine was known as the Father of the American Revolution, authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution called "Common Sense" Paine believed in God but felt that the Priests were misrepresenting scripture for their own gain. He called this Priestcraft and wrote about this in his book. (see The Age of Reason). Paine argues that the only reliable, unchanging and universal evidence of God's existence is the natural world and questioned the authority of the Bible. He argues that the Church and the State are a single corrupt institution which does not act in the best interests of the people—both must be radically altered:
"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellowcreatures happy." -Thomas Paine , The Age of Reason
"Soon after I had published the pamphlet "Common Sense," in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion. The adulterous connection of Church and State, wherever it has taken place . . . has so effectually prohibited by pains and penalties every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and priestcraft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more" -Thomas Paine
John Adams Religion: Congregationalist (Puritan).
John Adams, one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the 2nd President of the United States, was both a devout Christian, and an independent thinker. Adams was educated at Harvard as a Lawyer. John Adams was a man of great faith and through his letters to his wife Abigail we can see his complete devotion to the intelligence he found in scripture.
John Adams diary 7,
21 March - 18 October 1761
Every Man has in Politicks as well as Religion, a Right to think and speak and Act for himself. No man either King or Subject, Clergyman or Layman has any Right to dictate to me who the Person I shall choose to for my Legislator and Ruler. I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any Man judge, unless his Mind has been opened and enlarged by Reading. A Man who can read, will find in his Bible, in the common sermon Books that common People have by them and even in the Almanack and News Papers, Rules and observations, that will enlarge his Range of Thought, and enable him the better to judge who has and who has not that Integrity of Heart, and that Compass of Knowledge and Understanding, which form the Statesman.
So here is a lawyer telling us that to him, the Bible is a "compass" to knowledge and understanding. John Adams believed that regular church service was beneficial to a man's moral sense. He spoke out against Paine and his rejection of the Bible.
"The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will" -John Adams
Day Feb 22, 1756 "John Adams diary 1"
, 18 November 1755 - 29 August 1756
"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 and frugality and industry; to justice and kindness and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence towards Almighty God. In this commonwealth, no man would impair his health by gluttony, drunkenness, or lust; no man would sacrifice his most precious time to cards or any other trifling and mean amusement; no man would steal, or lie, or in any way defraud his neighbor, but would live in peace and good will with all men; no man would blaspheme his Maker or profane his worship; but a rational and manly, a sincere and unaffected piety and devotion would reign in all hearts. What a Utopia; what a Paradise would this region be." -John Adams Feb 22, 1756
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
Day 3/2/1756 from John Adams diary 1, 18
November 1755 - 29 August 1756
The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J [Jesus] C [Christ]. Altho' some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices. These therefore could not be made to embrace the true religion, till their attention was roused by some astonishing and miraculous appearances. The reasonings of Phylosophers having nothing surprizing in them, could not overcome the force of Prejudice, Custom, Passion, and Bigotry. But when wise and virtuous men, commisioned from heaven, by miracles awakened mens attention to their Reasonings the force of Truth made its way, with ease to their minds.
But all the Provisions that he has made for the Gratification of our senses, tho very engaging and unmerited Instances of goodness, are much inferior to the Provision, the wonderful Provision that he has made for the gratification of our nobler Powers of Intelligence and Reason. He has given us Reason, to find out the Truth, and the real Design and true [illegible] End of our Existence, and has made all Endeavours to promote them agreable to our minds, and attended with a conscious pleasure and Complacency.
John Adams diary 7, 21 March - 18 October 1761
No Priest nor Pope has any Right to say what I shall believe, and I will not believe one Word they say, if I think it is not founded in Reason and in Revelation. Now how can I judge what My Bible justifies unless I can read my Bible.
Abigail Adams Religion: Unitarian.
The first 2nd Lady and second 1st Lady of the United States, the first women to live in the White House and first to also have her son (John Quincy) become president. Abigail was one of the most respected and influential women of the early revolutionary period of American history. As the closest advisor to her husband, John, and a strong influence on her son, John Quincy, Abigail’s influence at the center of American political power spans a half century or more. Abigail's faith in the Lord's word may have been the greatest contribution to our successful independence. She filled her husband’s heart with God's word as was evident in her letters. She was patient when her husband had to be away on business, was busy at home working the farm and caring for the children. Abigail was the daughter of a minister, William Smith, and his wife Elizabeth Quincy. The family had long roots in Puritan America, and was part of the Congregational church that did not believe in the doctrine of predestination. Arguably, the most important woman of the Revolutionary and Early Republic periods of American history. Her ideas about government and politics and especially religion, helped to shape the policies of her husband. They even battled about the idea of woman's rights, prior to writing the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams,
8 February 1797 (2 months before he became president)
And may it prove an auspicious prelude to each ensuing Season. You have this day to declare Yourself Head of A Nation.
And now O Lord my God thou hast made thy servant Ruler over the people, give unto him an understanding Heart, that he may know how to go out, and come in before this great people, that he may descern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this, thy so great people? Were the Words of a Royal Soverign, and not less applicable to him who is invested with the Chief Majestracy of a Nation, tho he wear not a Crown, or the Robes of Royalty. My Thoughts, and my meditations are with you, tho personally absent, and my petitions to Heaven are that the things which make for Peace, may not be hiden from your Eyes. My feelings are not those of pride, or ostentation upon the occasion. They are solemnized by a sense of the obligations, the important Trusts and Numerous Duties connected with it, that you may be enabled to discharge them with Honour to yourself, with justice and impartiality to your Country, and with satisfaction to this great people shall be
The Daily prayer of your -A Adams
This is perhaps the greatest passage in the Bible to put in any leader's heart. Here is the original full passage from the Book of Kings.
1 Kings 3:7-14 (KJV)
And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
According to this scripture, it appears that John Adams did keep the way of the Lord, because he lived to 90 years old back in 1836 and was the fifth oldest president. John died on July 4, 1826, which happened to also be the fifty year anniversary of America's independence, and just few hours after Thomas Jefferson. John's last words were something like "Jefferson lives". The people said that this coincidence, our two founding fathers and authors of the Declaration of Independence, passing within hours of each other, was "supernatural" (see story). The 50th Year is the Jubliee in the Bible. As for King Solomon, who made the original prayer in the Bible, turned away from the Lord's laws, and had most of the kingdom stripped from him. He was only about 52 when he died.
The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. “In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property"
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams,
10 April 1782
I will not distrust the providential Care of the supreem disposer of events, from whose Hand I have so frequently received distinguished favours.
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 23 December 1782
I feel a pleasure in being able to sacrifice my selfish passions to the general good, and in imitating the example which has taught me to consider myself and family, but as the small dust of the balance when compaired with the great community.
Which comes from..
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams,
31 March - 5 April 1776
I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us.
Which comes from this biblical law that Christ said was the second most important law of humanity.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Abigail is known for her stance on woman's rights, however, as a Bible scholar, I understand the biblical error of her position and so did her husband. What she is really saying here is that the biblical law does not permit men to mistreat their godly wives.
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams,
26 February 1794
but as Reigning and Ruling is so much out of fashion, at the present day. My ambition will extend no further than Reigning in the Heart of my Husband. That is my throne and there I aspire to be absolute.
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March - 5 April 1776
They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. -- I long to hear that you have declared an independency -- and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation. That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness
Many sites only print the first half of this quote (example), hiding the fact that Abigail did understand that it was God's will for her to be under her husbands protection, even if she challenged it. According to scripture, this law is already in place: (love your wives and do not be harsh with them).
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
What Abigail exposes in her letters is the fact that the idea of
Woman's Rights, meaning rights that are separate and
contrary from biblical law, were fully discussed at the time of the
writing of the Constitution.
John Adams response clarifies the Founding Fathers position on the
The Declaration of Independence states that our unity comes from
following God's laws, so who is man to change God's Law? From
the Bible, the Lord's advice in marriage is to seek a partner who
fears the Lord and will follow His law. This law is the same for
both men and women. However, if a
woman chooses to ignore that advice and marry a man who
follows other gods (like money), or an atheiest who follows his own
way, she will likely end up with many hardships. No additional laws are
required. This is explained this in great detail in
Law: Marriage Laws" .
Here is John Adams warning to America about a Womans Rebellion, which is in complete violation to God's Torah Laws, and he warns that it would lead to: Despotism
14 April 1776
But your Letter was the first Intimation that another Tribe more numerous and powerfull than all the rest were grown discontented. -- This is rather too coarse a Compliment but you are so saucy, I wont blot it out. Depend upon it, We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full Force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would compleatly subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat, I hope General Washington, and all our brave Heroes would fight. I am sure every good Politician would plot, as long as he would against Despotism, Empire, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Oligarchy, or Ochlocracy.
NOUN 1.the exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way. A form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy.
Abigail is falling into Eve's trap which John speaks about and clearly is in violation of the biblical law. If we are to be a nation under God's laws, we all need to trust and submit to God's laws. John knows this which is why he says that men are really the subjects. What women and men need to understand is that if we all were united under God's laws, and we all followed them, there wouldn't be a women who wasn't happy. As John said above, we would have Utopia.
Wives, make yourselves accountable to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy
1 Peter 3:1-6
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.
“how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
All opinions aside, if we signed a declaration to be united by the Law's of God, how can we dare change those laws? We would be in violation of our own document. It's time to put our bitterness aside and learn from these two great people, they had a great marriage and helped form a great nation. Eve was tempted but this Adam didn't make the same mistake. He obeyed God's law, and the nation rose high.
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams,
17 April 1777
As to cloathing of any sort for myself or family I think no more of purchaseing any than if they were to live like Adam and Eve in innocence. I seek wool and flax and can work willingly with my Hands, and tho my Household are not cloathed with fine linnen nor scarlet (proverbs 31), they are cloathed with what is perhaps full as Honorary, the plain and decent manufactory of my own family, and tho I do not abound, I am not in want. I have neither poverty nor Riches but food which is convenient for me and a Heart to be thankfull and content that in such perilous times so large a share of the comforts of life are allotted to me. I have a large Share of Health to be thankfull for, not only for myself but for my family.
"When will Mankind be convinced that true Religion is from the Heart, between Man and his creator, and not the imposition of Man or creeds and tests?" Letter January 3, 1818
I acknowledge myself a unitarian – Believing that the Father alone, is the supreme God, and that Jesus Christ derived his Being, and all his powers and honors from the Father ... There is not any reasoning which can convince me, contrary to my senses, that three is one, and one three wikipedia
Abigail had a loving relationship with her husband whom she addressed in her letters to him as "My dearest friend". Through that love, she influenced her husband, and the nation, by supporting him in the way of the Lord with Bible verses. While John was working Abigail was often home alone for months, running the farm and raising their children. But it is what happened to the Abigail and John after John's presidency that was so traumatic that it sent Abigail into depression. Their daughter Nabby was diagnosed with a breast cyst. After seeing many doctors who said not to do anything, Abigail sent a list of her symptoms to an old friend of her fathers called Dr Benjamin Rush from Philadelphia. Dr Rush insisted that she have immediate breast removal surgury. The procedure was performed in their house and was so gruesome that Abigail, who witnessed it, wrote to a friend that she thought that the operation had been a "furnace of affliction". (see Jim Olson's Essay).
The Furnace of Affliction
The "furnace of affliction" comes from the Bible Isaiah 48:10. It's a warning about the expected judgment for rebelling against the Lord. A judgment reserved especially for those who "take oaths in the name of the Lord", like Presidents do before they take office. This is such a powerful understanding because of Abigail's letters, which testify against her, a desire to start a Woman's rebellion. Here's what the scripture says, so judge for yourself what Abigail believes she has done against the Lord. There is only one "furnace of affliction" in the Bible, so this is a powerful statement from Abigail that the Lord by have punished her for being a rebel, hoping to refine her. Here is a shortend version.
You who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness; you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel—the Lord Almighty is his name: I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’ You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;
for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed?
This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.”
Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams,
2 May 1775
God grant that the Furnace of Affliction may refine them. God grant that they may be relieved from their present Distress. It is Arrogance and Presumption in human Sagacity to pretend to penetrate far into the Designs of Heaven.
Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776 Britain has been fill'd with Folly, and America with Wisdom, at least this is my judgment. Time must determine. It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadfull. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, Follies, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonour, and destroy Us. The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming, in every Part, will require a Purification from our Vices, and an Augmentation of our Virtues or they will be no Blessings. The People will have unbounded Power. And the People are extreamly addicted to Corruption and Venality, as well as the Great. I am not without Apprehensions from this Quarter. But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.
Now maybe we can understand why Abigail wanted to burn those letters. Her words testify against her as a rebel. Here are some additional quotes from her letters to show her "irreparable" state of mind.
“She has always been my closest companion.”
— Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, April 10,h 1810
“The wound which has lacerated my Bosom cannot be healed. The broken Heart may be bound up; and religion teach submission and Silence, even under the anguish of the Heart, but it can not cure it. The unbidden sigh will rise. And the bitter tear flow long after the Tomb is closed.” Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, October 22nd 1813
“I fear it will be, to be laid by her Ancestors. Such are her complaints; that I fear I shall have one of the distressing and trying scenes of my Life to go through To heaven I submit, trusting that as my trials are, so will my strength be“ Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, July 14th, 1813
“To me the loss is irreparable” Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, September 13th 1813
“Bitter is the loss of a sweet Infant but now much more increased are the pangs which rent the heart of a Mother, when called to part with the Head of a family, in the midst of her Days, and usefulness? Endorsed by a thousand strong ties?” Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, December 6th 1813
2 Chronicles 36:16
But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.
James Madison Religion: educated as Presbyterian.
"Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man. " -James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance
John Jay Religion: Episcopal.
"He also expressed a belief that the moral precepts of Christianity were necessary for good government, saying, "No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian Religion. Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance, we will then, be surely doomed"-John Jay, A Memorial and Remonstrance
Alexander Hamilton Religion: Presbyterian and Episcopalian
Probably the least religious of all the founding fathers; Hamilton made jokes about God at the Constitutional Convention. At the same time, he never doubted God's existence, embracing Christianity as a system of morality and cosmic justice. He later slandered Aaron Burr secretly in a letter soon after the 1804 gubernatorial election in New York and Burr found out and challenged him to a duel. According to Wikipedia...
The night before the duel, Hamilton wrote a defense of his decision to duel. Hamilton viewed his roles of being a father and husband, putting his creditors at risk, placing his family's welfare in jeopardy and his moral and religious stances as reasons not to duel, but he felt it impossible to avoid due to having made attacks on Burr which he was unable to recant
Perhaps Hamilton's lack of biblical knowledge led to his poor decisions and ultimately his senseless death.
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord"
Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret,
I will put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
I will not tolerate.
After being shot in the duel in Weehawken, New Jersey, a dying Hamilton spoke of his belief in God's mercy, and of his desire to renounce dueling; Bishop Moore administered communion to Hamilton
Hamilton had always had respect for Jews. His birthplace of Charlestown had a large Jewish population with whom Hamilton came into contact on a regular basis. As a boy, he had learned Hebrew and could recite the Ten Commandments in its original language. He believed that Jewish achievement was a result of divine providence and warned that those who discredit the Jews "destroy the Christian religion."
Hamilton was one of the founders of “The Christian Constitutional Society.” Its objectives were to:
1st The support of the Christian Religion.
2nd The support of the Constitution of the United States
Abraham Lincoln Religion: Baptist (but never joined a church)
Lincoln was raised as a Baptist by his parents but later never formally joined a church. Some ministers privately lamented the fact that he had never formally joined a church. Yet, Lincoln had nonetheless became one of America's most theological presidents. (see PBS) Lincoln rejected the belief that the fate of all men and women had been predetermined.
"Fondly do we hope -- fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, ... as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' -Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address
"And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God." - Emancipation Proclamation (full doc)
"I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion. Leaving the higher matter of eternal consequences, between him and his Maker, I still do not think any man has the right thus to insult the feelings, and injure the morals, or the community in which he may live." -A. Lincoln July 31, 1846 from Handbill Replying to Charges of Infidelity
Washington encouraged the Indians to study the teaching of Jesus Christ in a letter he signed: see (SPEECH TO THE DELAWARE CHIEFS)
Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethen of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.
There are many Bible verses that show how the Lord intended to drive out the people who worship other gods and gives the land to those who obey his laws.
Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.
Washington gave the indians a choice but they continued to follow their own false gods.
Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.
You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
This is the key to it all right here, people are natural followers. The brain research show us how our facial expression and mirror neurons work, how people, especially children, will be influenced subconsciously to follow the practices of the people around them (even those they watch on TV). The pilgrims learned this from their twelve year experience in Holland as their children were led into sin by "great licentiousness* (promiscuity) of the young people of the country". So we finally can understand the humanity of this command as it is natural for young people to be lured into following the beliefs of the people around them. America would never have rose up as a great nation without protecting and teaching it's children moral laws. History shows that America did try to covert the Indians, to teach them by Christ's moral example, but they would not let go of their strange gods, animal gods and sun and moon gods..
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
However that could all change if they would just repent the sins of their ancestors and turn to the Lord and follow his laws. The Indians, like ancient Israel at the time of the Exile, have not been destroyed completely; so if you understand the scripture, the Lord may be waiting for them to turn.
When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land”
If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday in the United States until the fall of 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday in November would be a day of national thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving proclamation follows: October 3, 1863 By the President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
More Notes about the Pilgrims from "Of Plymouth Plantation"
Departing Letter from: Pastor John Robinson in Holland to the Pilgrims departing from Southampton for New England:
Loving Christian Friends, I salute you all heartily in the
Lord, as being they with whom I am present in my best affections and
most earnest longings, though I am constrained for a time to be bodily
absent from you. I say constrained, God knowing how willingly, and much
rather than otherwise, I would have borne my part with you in this first
brunt, were I not by strong necessity held back for the present. Think
of me in the meanwhile as of a man divided in himself with great pain,
and (physical limitations set aside) as having his better part with you.
Though I doubt not that in your godly wisdom, you foresee what is
applicable to your present condition, I have thought it but my duty to
add some further spur, even to those who run already,—not because you
need it, but because I owe it in love and duty. First, as we ought daily
to renew our repentance with our God, especially for our sins known, and
generally for our unknown trespasses, so doth the Lord call us in a
singular manner, upon such an occasion of difficulty and danger as lies
before you, both to more narrow search and careful reformation of our
ways in His sight lest He, calling to remembrance of our sins forgotten
by us or unrepented of, take advantage of us, and, as a judgment upon
us, leave us to be swallowed up in one danger or another. Whereas, on
the contrary, sin being taken away by earnest repentance, and the pardon
thereof from the Lord sealed up into a man’s conscience by His spirit,
great shall be his security and peace in all dangers, sweet his comfort
in all distresses, with happy deliverance from all evil, whether in life
or in death. Now next after this heavenly peace with God and our own
conscience, we are carefully to provide for peace with all men so far as
in us lieth especially with our associates; and for that we must be
watchful that we ourselves neither give, nor easily take, offence. Woe
be unto the world for offences; for though it be necessary (considering
the malice of Satan and man’s corruption) that offences come, yet woe
unto the man or woman either, by whom the offence come, saith Christ
(Math. xviii, 7). And if offences arising from unseasonable actions,
innocent in themselves, are more to be feared than death itself, as the
Apostle teacheth (I Cor. ix, 15), how much more when arising from things
simply evil, in which neither honour of God nor love of man is thought
worthy to be regarded. Nor is it sufficient that we keep ourselves by
the grace of God from giving offence, except we be armed also against
taking offence when it is given by others. For how imperfect is the work
of grace in him who lacks the charity that covers a multitude of
offence, as the scripture says. Neither are you exhorted to this grace
only upon the common grounds of Christianity. Persons ready to take
offence, either lack the charity which should cover offences; or the
wisdom duly to weigh human frailty; or lastly, are gross though close
hypocrites, as Christ our Lord teaches (Math. vii, 1, 2, 3). In my own
experience I have found few who are quicker to give offence, than those
who easily take it. They who have nourished this touchy humour have
never proved sound and profitable members in societies. But there are,
besides, many reasons why you, above others, should use special care in
this direction. You are, many of you, strangers to each other and to the
infirmities of one another, and so stand in need of the more
watchfulness, lest when unsuspected qualities appear in men and women,
you be inordinately affected by them. This requires at your hands much
wisdom and charity. Further, the plans for your intended civil community
will furnish continual occasion of offence, and will be as fuel to the
fire, unless you diligently quench it with brotherly forbearance. And if
taking offence causelessly or easily at men’s doings should be so
carefully avoided, how much more is it to be heeded lest we take offence
at God himself,—which we do as often as we murmur at His providen in our
crosses, or bear impatiently such afflictions as He pleases to visit
upon us. Store up, therefore, patience against the evil day, with which
we take offence at the Lord Himself in His holy and just works. A fourth
think is carefully to be provided for, to wit, that with your
employments, which will be common to all, you join affections truly bent
upon the general good, avoiding, as a deadly plague of your comfort, all
retiredness of mind for selfish advantage. Let every one repress within
himself, as so many rebels against the common good, all private
partialities, not consistent with the general convenience and as one is
careful not to have a new house shaken with any violence before it is
well settled and the parts firmly knit, so be you, I beseech you
brethren, much more careful, that the house of God, which you are and
are to be, be not shaken with unnecessary novelties or other oppositions
at the first settling thereof. Lastly, whereas you are to become a body
politic, administering among yourselves civil government, and are
furnished with persons of no special eminence above the rest, from whom
you will elect some to the office of government, let your wisdom and
godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as will entirely
love and promote the common good, but also in yielding them all due
honour and obedience in their lawful administrations; not beholding in
them the ordinariness of their persons, but God’s ordinance for your
good; nor being like the foolish multitude, who honour a gay coat more
than either the virtuous mind of the wearer or the glorious ordinance of
the Lord. But you know better, and understand that the image of the
Lord’s power and authority which the magistrate bears, is honourable, in
how humble persons soever. And this duty you can the more willingly
perform, because you are at present to have only those for your
governors as you yourselves shall choose. Several other things of
importance I could put you in mind of, but I will not so far wrong your
godly minds as to think you heedless of these things, there being many
among you well able both to admonish themselves and others. These few
things, therefore, I do earnestly commend unto your care and conscience,
joining therewith my daily incessant prayers unto the Lord, that He Who
has made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all rivers of waters,
and Whose providence is over all His works, especially over all His dear
children for good, would so guide and guard you in your ways, as
inwardly by His spirit, so outwardly by the hand of His power, that both
you and we also may praise His name all the days of our lives. Fare you
well in Him in Whom you trust, and in Whom I rest. An unfeigned
well-willer of your happy success in this hopeful voyage.
More Letters Showing Religious Beliefs
Thus beseeching the Almighty, Who is all-sufficient to raise us out of this depth of difficulties, and to assist us herein, and to supply means by His providence and fatherly care for us, His poor children and servants, that we may with comfort behold the hand of our God for good towards us in this our enterprise, which we undertake in His name and fear; we take leave and remain,
Yours perplexed, yet hopeful brethren,
SAMUEL FULLER EDWARD WINSLOW WILLIAM BRADFORD ISAAC ALLERTON.
Friend, if ever we establish a colony, God works a miracle; especially considering how scanty our provisions will be and most of all how disunited we are among ourselves, and devoid of good leaders. Violence will break all. Where is the meek and humble spirit of Moses and of Nehemiah, who re-edified the walls of Jerusalem and the state of Israel? Is not the sound of Rehoboam’s bragging daily among us here? Have not the philosophers and all wise men observed, that even in settled commonwealths violent governors bring neither themselves or people or both to ruin? How much more in the building of commonwealths, when the mortar is scarcely hardened which is to bind the walls. If I were to write you everything that foreruns our ruin, I should overcharge my weak head and grieve your tender heart; only this,—prepare for evil tidings of us every day. But pray for us instantly. It may be the Lord may yet be entreated. I see not how in reason we can escape the gasping of hunger-starved persons; but God can do much, and His will be done.
Letter from: Robert Cushman at Dartmouth to Edward Southworth, at Heanage House, Duke’s Place, London.
Our prayer to God is, that your Worship may see the fruit of your endeavours, which on our parts we shall not fail to further. And so praying you, as soon as convenient, to give us knowledge of the success of the business with his majesty’s Privy Council, and accordingly what your further pleasure is, so we rest.
Yours worshipful in all duty
JOHN ROBINSON. WILLIAM BREWSTER.
Said of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrims
Indeed, such was the love and respect that this worthy man, Mr. John Robinson, had to his flock, and his flock to him, that it might be said of them, that it was hard to judge whether he was more delighted in having such a people or they in having such a pastor. His love was great towards them, and his care was always bent to their best good both for soul and body; for, besides his singular ability in divine things (wherein he excelled), he was also very able in directing their civil affairs and foreseeing dangers and troubles; so he was very helpful to their material well-being, and was in every way a common father to them. "Of Plymouth Plantation" chapter III. Settlement at Leyden: 1607–1608.
This section will be posted soon.
“Nevertheless, to keep a good conscience, and walk in such a way as God has prescribed in his word, is a thing which I must prefer before you all, and above life itself.”
― William Bradford
“All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.”
― William Bradford
Do you remember the movie Pinocchio? Even Geppetto was smart enough to warn Pinocchio about Pleasure Island.
Remember this old story: Pleasure Island is a theme park located on an island. The Coachman, who made a fortune from his crooked deeds, is the owner of the park and takes all the boys that Foulfellow and Gideon traps. Apparently, the boys can do whatever they pleased on the island, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, fighting, wrecking the place and other deeds that good children wouldn't do. The boys were also free of the law and any adults who could stop them from being bad. However, unknown to the boys, Pleasure Island in truth actually serves as a trap. Once the boys had enough time being bad, they would turn into donkeys after they made "jackasses" of themselves and become slaves.
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