OUR FOREFATHERS’ COVENANTS
March 13, 2020
I was just reading from a collection of comments made by some of our Supreme Court justices throughout the years and stumbled on one that deserves repeating within the framework of this series of discussions.
We've already talked about Thomas Jefferson and some of his contributions to our nation's founding. What some folks may not know or remember is that he appointed John Marshall to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1801. John Marshall served this nation as Chief Justice for 34 years. In a letter dated May 9, 1833 to Jasper Adams, addressing the question of our nation's foundations and liberties, he wrote,
"The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it."
And now it is supposedly illegal for our various institutions of government, and people within those institutions to name the name of Jesus Christ, or to worship the Lord publicly and acknowledge Him as Lord, or THE final authority in this nation? Right.
Now you know why I'm doing this series. Americans -- and especially Christians -- need to wake up and realize that the left is systematically robbing us blind and stealing our heritage as a Christian nation. When Christians stand by and do nothing, stay out of the political process treating it as though it has "cooties", the leftist liberals who hate our heritage, hate God, and hate everything this nation was founded upon, progressively encroach on our freedoms, rewriting history to suit their agenda, re-shaping our society so as to eliminate our memories of how our founding fathers covenanted with the Lord and each other in order to build a free and prosperous society.
In Matthew 25:33-34, 41, we read: "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.......Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...."
And what determined the difference between those "on the right" and those "on the left?" Those on the right exemplified agape love -- the love of the Lord Jesus Christ -- whereas those on the left did not.
Those on the right exemplified agape love -- the love of the Lord Jesus Christ -- whereas those on the left did not.
Today, we have idiots on the left claiming that socialism is how you exemplify the love of the Lord. What they totally ignore is the fact that Jesus places the responsibility on the individual, NOT on the government. Using government to deal with social needs and ills is a safe and secure cop-out for those who want to ignore their own personal and individual responsibility -- AND ANSWERABILITY -- to the Lord. They attempt to make bigger and bigger government (at the financial expense of every individual) the solution to every problem. Instead of solving the problem, big government only exacerbates it.
Hence, Jesus accurately and appropriately puts these people in the category of "goats" on the left whose ultimate end is "everlasting fire." And that's exactly where the "left" belongs!
OK. Now that I've lit a few firebrands myself a la Patrick Henry, I'll come down off my perch. Grab your cup, pull up a chair and let's talk about George Washington.
Born in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia to parents who were part of "the Virginia Gentry," and descended from English Gentry, George Washington's upbringing could be referred to as a mix of Anglicanism and Quakerism. From his Anglican heritage, he developed the inclination to withhold his personal convictions concerning his relationship with the Lord, choosing rather to refer to the Lord as "Providence," From his Quaker heritage and surroundings, he despised war and everything associated with it.
His life, therefore, was a striking contrast to one who so hated war. A pragmatist, he took Patrick Henry's view as enunciated before the Continental Congress thus, " As individuals professing a holy religion, it is our bounden duty to forgive injuries done us as individuals. But when the character of Christian you add the character of patriot, you are in a different situation. Our mild and holy system of religion inculcates an admirable maxim of forbearance. If your enemy smite one cheek, turn the other to him. But you must stop there. You cannot apply this to your country. As members of a social community, this maxim does not apply to you. When you consider injuries done to your country your political duty tells you of vengeance. Forgive as a private man, but never forgive public injuries. Observations of this nature are exceedingly unpleasant, but it is my duty to use them."
Highly intolerant towards the bickering that went on between the various denominational groups, Washington refused to associate himself with any specific church. As Commander-in-Chief of the military forces, he banned a practice referred to as "Guying", referring to Guy Fawkes, and the New England celebration of "Pope's Day." It was a practice which ridiculed Roman Catholics, and George Washington took the sensitivities of his Catholic soldiers to heart by ordering that the festivity forever be cancelled among the military.
Attending a church service with his wife, Martha, the minister called for the serving of communion. When Martha participated in the communion and he chose not to, the minister preached a sermon pointedly directed at Washington's non-participation. That the minister would use his pulpit to exercise personal condemnation on the President was so offensive to Washington that he refused to set foot in a church -- any church -- from that day forward.
That said, those who knew him and walked with him as close friends and confidantes saw him as a man of deep personal faith and conviction. Despite the fact that he rarely demonstrated his faith in a public arena, John Adams (who succeeded Washington as President) wrote to his wife in 1774 that at the First Continental Congress, "Washington was kneeling, and Henry, and Randolph and Rutledge, and Lee and Jay...."
In contrast to the public kneeling question, there is considerable documentation from eyewitnesses to show that George Washington did pray on his knees in private. His step-grandson and step-granddaughter and other relatives reported seeing Washington on his knees in prayer in the library at Mount Vernon. His aides-de-camp recalled discovering him on his knees in prayer in his office in military headquarters buildings during the war years. His presidential personal secretaries told of coming upon Washington 'lost in reverent prayer' before he had to make a major policy decision. Isaac Potts, a Quaker, told his wife -- and later many others -- of seeing Commander in Chief George Washington in a solitary, reverent, kneeling prayer in the snow at Valley Forge. Potts thought Washington was 'upon his knees praying for his army.'" (Commentary, compliments of Paul Bessel)
In 1827, Robert Lewis, a nephew of George Washington and private secretary during the first part of Washington's presidency, wrote that he had plenty of opportunity "for observing his private devotions in his library both morning and evening; that on those occasions [Lewis had seen him] in a kneeling posture with a Bible open before him, and believed such to have been his daily practice."
There are many historians who have pooh-poohed George Washington's faith, just as there are many revisionists who have sought to portray America as something other than a Christian nation. Earlier, I quoted from Chief Justice John Marshall's statement concerning America as being Christian. Listen to what Washington said in his farewell speech when he left office as President.
"For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same Religion, Manners, Habits & Political Principles. You have in a common cause fought & triumphed together. The independence & liberty you possess are the work of joint councils, and joint efforts--of common dangers, sufferings and successes."
I have underlined Washington's comment here to illustrate. Despite obviously and observed doctrinal differences between Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Anglicans, etc., George Washington saw them as "slight shades of difference," with faith in God and Jesus Christ as being the central and binding factor.
He continued his farewell address and on page 20 & 22 of a 32-page prepared address to the nation, he said (and this is perhaps the most widely quoted portion of his speech among Christians):
"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 & citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect & to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private & 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 & 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............"
".......Observe good faith & justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace & harmony with all -- Religion & morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice & benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human Nature."
Although we find few mentions of the name of Jesus Christ among his writings or quotes, it was clear that Washington's life revolved about his faith in the Lord, and that he made few, if any, decisions of import without first taking things to the Lord. He viewed his faith -- and that of his fellow-Americans -- as woven into the very fabric of our existence.
Perhaps no leader in the history of this nation has been so revered, so iconized, and so remembered. Much less outspoken in public about his faith in God than perhaps Patrick Henry or John Adams, there is still a wealth of documentation -- particularly among his personal writings -- to demonstrate where he stood.
Let's wrap up today with two -- make that three -- quotes from Washington.
This first comes from an address to the Continental Army on July 9, 1776. "The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country."
Our second quotation comes from a letter he wrote to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson on August 20, 1778, "The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations."
Lastly, we find this from his prayer at Valley Forge as witnessed by one of his officers, "Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great Creator of heaven and earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from heaven in pity and compassion upon me Thy servant, who humbly prostrates myself before Thee."
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Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
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