OUR FOREFATHERS’ COVENANTS
May 15, 2020
As has already been noted, Alexander Hamilton was a man of faith, a man with an implicit trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The tragedy today is that the truths surrounding all of our nation’s founding fathers has been scrubbed from our educational system, beginning in the first grade of grammar school and continuing on into our colleges and universities.
Before we move on to discuss the life of Benjamin Rush, let me wrap up our discussions on Alexander Hamilton and then deviate for a little bit to talk about the Liberty Bell, and the significance it played in our nation’s founding.
Alexander Hamilton’s last letter on politics, written two days before his death, illustrates the two sides of his thinking already emphasized; in this letter he warns his New England friends against dismemberment of the union as "a clear sacrifice of great positive advantages, without any counterbalancing good; administering no relief to our real disease, which is democracy, the poison of which, by a subdivision, will only be more concentrated in each part, and consequently the more virulent."
No judgment of Hamilton is more justly measured than James Madison’s written in 1831.
"That he possessed intellectual powers of the first order, and the moral qualities of integrity and honor in a captivating degree, has been awarded him by a suffrage now universal. If his theory of government deviated from the republican standard he had the candour to avow it, and the greater merit of co-operating faithfully in maturing and supporting a system which was not his choice."
Alexander Hamilton's Covenant Theology -- as noted yesterday -- was, more than anything else, the force that directed his thought processes. More visionary than practical at times, he looked prophetically into the future to a day when the rule of Jesus Christ would govern all societies. His visionary perspective sometimes overruled the practical when it came to implementing covenant concepts for government. He saw the formation of the United States not just as the putting together of a set of unified states under a constitution, but as a people who entered into a blood covenant with each other in the Biblical sense.
In our previous discussions on Covenant and its principles, I noted that covenant is not something folks enter into as a contract or an agreement which can be broken or dissolved because of some disagreement. Covenant envisions disagreement. Covenant sees differences. But covenant ONLY works in a practical sense when you have a people committed to the Lord who understand the sacredness of it.
Alexander Hamilton and a large majority of our nation's founding fathers all understood covenant. They gave themselves to one another, to the death. They all understood that no real covenant can function and be operative without entering into it under God. God the Father gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on the Cross in order that we could receive and participate in that same covenant He originally made with Abraham. It was a covenant of blessing. It was a covenant of God's mercy. It was a covenant made in agape/kheseed.
Agape,(the Greek word) of course, is who God is. Agapeis a love that knows no bounds. Kheseedis the Hebrew equivalent (the "k" sound is almost silent), and the Old Testament abounds with literally hundreds of uses of this word describing, mercy, faithfulness, a love that chases after, lovingkindness, tender mercies -- and much, much more.
Hamilton, Madison, Washington, Adams, Sherman, Henry -- and even Jefferson, as he approached the end of his life -- understood covenant within a framework of which our current society seems completely oblivious. Though they called themselves Whigs, Federalists, New Republicans, and numerous other things which denoted their concepts of how the government should be assembled and how our Constitution should be framed, each of them understood that they were implementing a society and a governance for that society such as the world had never seen. With perhaps a couple of exceptions, virtually every single one of those men we refer to as our "founding fathers" revered God and worshiped Him, understood that Christianity was the only practical way to achieve a self-governing society in which peace, prosperity and true liberty would last.
They were right. Throughout the centuries, nations have risen and fallen. Societies have come and gone. Governments have been formed and dissolved. America is the ONLY nation on the face of the earth ever formed as "one nation under God," and it has lasted longer than any society in history.
I noted yesterday that Alexander Hamilton was a master of reading the hearts and intents of people, (in truth, he had the ability to function with that Gift of the Spirit we know as "the discerning of spirits.") and when he saw questionable methods or tactics being applied by his fellow-founders, he wasted no time in letting them know that he wouldn't stand for anything less than above-board truthfulness and integrity. When his arguments appeared to fall on deaf ears, he would go around the individual in question and inform others of those actions he considered ill-advised.
It is quite likely that he never understood that he was functioning with a prophetic gift of the Holy Spirit, and the concept of modern-day prophets was something totally missing from his era. Patrick Henry was another of our founding fathers who easily operated in a prophetic realm, and most likely never understood it as such.
Yesterday, I said that Alexander Hamilton's personal faith in Jesus Christ was the guiding force that governed his life. His personal sense of covenant and the deep commitment that comes in covenant relationship drove him. For Hamilton, covenant was the essential means by which government could and must operate. Through Federalism he saw the opportunity to help bring about a "nation under God, indivisible, and with justice for all."
Take a look as we conclude today's discussion at some of what Hamilton had to say about Christianity and government, and the formation of our American Constitution.
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests."
"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."
In a letter written to James Bayard two years before his death, Hamilton wrote,
"In my opinion, the present constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banner bona fide must we combat our political foes, rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provided for amendments. By these general views of the subject have my reflections been guided.
"I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated "The Christian Constitutional Society," its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. second: The support of the United States."
Hamilton's dying words to the minister who attended him following his being shot by Aaron Burr were:
"I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me."
As Americans, we are blessed beyond measure to have had people such as Alexander Hamilton involved in the formation and defense of this nation, its Constitution and governance. There is no doubt in my mind -- and I totally agree with Alexander Hamilton -- that America came together under "the finger of God" with specific purpose for the spreading of the Gospel, for the creation of a society which would ultimately become an example to the world of just mankind can prosper, live in peace and know true liberty so long as they honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
For 240+ years, we have done just that despite the efforts of God-haters, liberals and leftists who have expended every effort possible to destroy our nation's Christian foundations.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank the Lord for being born in this nation.
I do want
to deal with another of our founding fathers today -- Benjamin Rush -- but
there's a quote I find eminently appropriate for our all of our
celebrations. It comes from
In looking for the name of the individual(s) who commissioned the making of this bell, I was trying to find out who called for the inscribing of the Scripture verse. It appears that our history has omitted the name of the person who actually proposed this, but the order for the casting of the original bell with scripture verse intact came from an order of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania for the State House in Philadelphia (also known as Independence Hall) in 1751. Although we have no concrete evidence to back it up, it would appear that the commissioning of the bell was to commemorate William Penn's Charter of Privileges written 50 years before.
We covered that in more depth back in a previous Coffee Break, but just to put the quote from Leviticus in context, here is the first paragraph of William Penn's preamble to that Charter of Privileges:
"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 professes 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."
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London cast the very first Liberty Bell, but its metal composition was so brittle that the very first time the bell struck, it cracked. John Pass and John Stow, who were local Philadelphia founders, offered to melt and recast the bell and strengthen its composition. The new bell was completed and hung in March, 1753. The first time it rang, however, the city fathers didn't like its tone, so Pass and Stow recast it a third time. They completed the work in short order, and in June, 1753, the bell was re-hung. Although some of the city fathers still didn't like the tone of the new bell, the majority of citizens agreed that it was a good sounding bell, and this time the bell stayed.
That bell cracked almost a hundred years later, although the date of its initial crack is in question. That crack, however grew in proportion on February 22, 1789 in honor of George Washington's Presidency when it tolled for several hours. An attempt to repair the crack some 57 years later resulted in only extending the flaw, and the bell has not been rung publicly since. The bell was recast and a replacement donated by Henry Seybert in 1876 at the Centennial Anniversary Celebration.
The name, "Liberty Bell," however, was not the name the bell was known by until 1835. In fact, the bell had no name per se until R. G. Williams published Volume 1, No. 2 of The Anti-Slavery Record in February of 1835. His comment is worth reprinting here:
"The Liberty Bell. Being in Philadelphia a few days since, I was invited after viewing the room in which the Declaration of Independence was signed, to ascend the tower of the State House, to take a view of the city. The view was delightful. On our ascent, we did not fail to examine the celebrated Bell. It weighs 2300 pounds, and was cast 23 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. On that occasion it was rung, and has been run every 22d February and 4th of July since.
It is remarkable that the following inscription was on the bell when it was cast. It was considered a sort of prophecy:"PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND, AND TO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF."May not the emancipationists in Philadelphia, hope to live to hear the same bell rung, when liberty shall in fact be proclaimed to all the inhabitants of this favored land? Hitherto, the bell has not obeyed the inscription; and its peals have been a mockery, while one sixth of "all inhabitants" are in abject slavery."
In fact, Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation almost 29 years later fulfilled the prophecy, and the Liberty Bell became a prophetic symbol of the freedoms we enjoy in Christ as Americans. It commemorated to a certain degree the words of those Mayflower settlers whose compact and covenant began,"In the name of God…Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith… "announcing the fact that this nation's very beginnings were undertaken"for the Glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith."
The signs and symbols, the Scripture references that abound in our founding fathers' commentaries, and their labors of love and covenant to establish this great nation make abundantly clear that they purposed to have "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video usingZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-onlycall, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
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