Part 21




May 1, 2020


I want to finish up with Daniel Webster today and then move on to a look at Alexander Hamilton.  Yesterday, we finished up his December 1820 speech to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention.  Today, let's take a look at an address he made at Dartmouth. 

This speech must easily have taken an hour or more to deliver, and it would take a week of Coffee Breaks to try and cover the whole thing, so let me rather take some extracts from his address -- and address which clearly denotes his personal convictions and thought processes concerning the Lord and His interaction with mankind.  

Darwin had not yet published his "Origin of the Species," but it is clear that the concept of evolution had already begun to run amuck among atheists.  Webster ridicules the concept and refutes it with his inestimable logic.

Take a look at a small portion of what he had to say:

"It is an account of the good effects upon our own happiness and the welfare of Mankind, that we are commanded to love God with all our powers and affections.  But in order to obey this command, it is indispensably necessary that we should form for ourselves such a character of God as is altogether lovely.

"This character of God we may imperfectly form, from a correct intelligent and enlarged examination and contemplation of his works, as exhibited to our senses on this globe; in which we cannot fail at every glance to discern evidence of his infinite power and wisdom.  Mankind has in every age been struck with the power of these two attributes.  But not so with his goodness, the most important attribute of all and which essentially constitutes his moral character; without which we might indeed fear and revere, but never love him.

"The belief that this globe existed from all eternity, or never had a beginning; never obtained a foothold in any part of the world, or in any age.  Even the infidel writer, of modern times, however, in the pride of argument they may have asserted it but believed or not, for they could not help perceiving that if mankind with their inherently intellectual powers, and natural capacities for improvement, had inhabited this Earth for millions of years, the present inhabitants would not only be vastly more intelligent than we now find them, but there would be vestiges of the former races, to be found in every inhabitable part of the Globe.  Floods and Earthquakes notwithstanding; Unless we adopt Lord Manboddo's supposition that Mankind were originally Monkeys, it is impossible to admit the idea that they could have existed millions of years without making more discoveries & improvements than the early histories of nations warrant us to believe they had done.

"The belief in an uncreated, self existent intelligent first cause, takes possession of our minds whether we will or not, because if Man could not create himself nothing else could; and matter, if it were not external could produce nothing but matter.  It could never produce thought, nor free will, nor consciousness.

"There must have been therefore, a time when this globe and its inhabitants did not exist. The question then arises, what gave it existence?  We answer God, the great first cause of all things. What is God?  We know not.  We know him only through his creation and his revelation.  What do these teach us?  They teach us, first this - incomprehensible power, next his infinite Mind, and lastly his universal benevolence - or Goodness.

These terms express all that can know or believe of him; his omnipresence is included in the Idea of infinite power; his omniscience in that of infinite wisdom, and his justice, Mercy, Holiness and truth in that of infinite benevolence or Love.  The whole of his attributes may therefore be expressed in three words Power, Wisdom and Goodness and these are inherent self existence eternal and unchangeable.

"We can only reason from what we know and believe; our knowledge is extremely limited, and our belief often unsound.  It is therefore with great humility I venture to ask the question, What gave birth to Creation?  Which of the qualities that we ascribe to the Universal father, could have induced this Infinitely Holy and consequently Infinitely happy being, to create any thing?  So this we are forced to answer - Infinite Goodness. Wisdom alone may contrive; Power alone may create but neither, alone, or united, would suggest or prompt to action; because neither can desire, neither can furnish motive for itself.

The first step in Creation was therefore made by infinite benevolence.  Infinite Wisdom next devised the plan to satisfy the wishes of benevolence, and infinite power, executed the work without defect so that the divine mind when contemplating the principles and structure of its glorious work could truly say, - It is Good.

"How shall we cultivate and strengthen this glorious principle of Love?  By endeavoring to obey the first and great commandment.  But do we have no power over our love?  Love is an effect resulting from a cause.  True, but happily for us, Jesus Christ has furnished us with causes in abundance.  The Apostle John says, "We love God, because He first loved us."

This is the only true and natural foundation of love for God - in Man. Love as necessarily begets love, as Hatred begets hatred.  Our task is easy!  Our duty a pleasure!  We have only to look around to scrutinize - to reflect.  The proofs of God's love to us are presented at every glance are inhaled with every breath.  As the Psalmist David says, "His mercies are over all his works."

"But how shall we reconcile contradictory facts? God is good, and yet man is not happy. He is incessantly looking beyond his possessions; forever coveting some unenjoyed good and trampling upon present blessings.

"This difficult problem admits of but one solution but it is a solution which unfolds the greatest and most important truth in nature; a truth that reconciles Man to his maker, and to the world; a truth which solves all mysteries and harmonizes all apparent contradictions.

"This glorious truth may be expressed in three words Man is Immortal!   His body is but his habitation; his undying intellectual is himself and his moral feelings & capacity constitute his essence, and his worth.

"These spiritual qualities in Man, fit him for eternity; every other animal soon arrives at a fixed degree of perfection, of body and mind beyond which it cannot pass; But where can you fix limits to the reasoning power; to the very principle of intelligence? which like gravitation grows stronger and stronger as the material upon which it acts accumulates.

"In this view of human nature, and its intellectual, its moral, its spiritual endowments, we may justly say, If there be no resurrection (through Christ) into life eternal, we of all creatures, are the most miserable.  Our wonderful powers are given us in vain; and our constant endeavors to attain happiness are also vain.

But thanks be to God, whose nature is love, Whose wisdom is infinite, who saw before creation the end & operation of His work, with whom nothing is uncertain, nothing contingent, He, has given us assurances both internal and external, that we shall all pass through those states or processes of purification which are necessary, to fit us, for the full enjoyment of the perfectly happy existence He originally designed for us, whose pain or sorrow shall be known no man for ever.  Where discontent shall be swallowed up in Bliss."

Webster's thought processes are clearly a product of logic -- and his logic IS fascinating -- but what interests me the most in his commentary is the fact that this is a man who invested his life in the defense of a Constitution for these United States, who labored long and hard to establish right principles and foundations upon which future generations could build.  We are blessed to have had this man among our nation's founding fathers.

 Let's talk for a bit about Alexander Hamilton.  For a man who had such a short life with such questionable beginnings, Hamilton used his life to literally change the world of his day and influence the world economy even to the present.

Born on the island of Nevis in the British West Indies on January 11, 1755 of a union between James Hamilton (a Scottish merchant) and Rachael Fawcette Levine (of French Huguenot descent), the Law saw his birth as illegitimate.  Rachael had been married to a Danish businessman at a very early age; and for reasons unknown, the court ordered her divorce from him.  Under Danish Law, Rachael was forbidden to remarry; and her union with James Hamilton could never be legalized.

Before Alexander turned 13 years of age, his mother died.  His father had gone bankrupt, and Alexander was compelled to go to work as a clerk and apprentice at the counting house of Nicholas Cruger and David Beekman.  It may have been tragic circumstances that compelled him to go to work at such a young age, but it was a Godsend in disguise.  When Alexander was age 15, Cruger found it necessary to leave on other business and left him in charge.

It had only been a year since Alexander Hamilton (now age 14) had written a note to a friend by the name of Edward Stevens, in which he said, "my ambition is prevalent, so that I contemn the groveling condition of a clerk or the like … and would willingly risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station."

Without having to do either, he found the opportunity thrust upon him.  Growing up in near-poverty, educational opportunities had been scarce, but his mother's French upbringing made it possible for him to learn the language; and indeed he learned it well.  The devastating hurricane of August 30, 1772 that struck the islands and all but wiped out the city of Christiansted provided an opportunity for Alexander that changed his life forever.

Despite his youth, he had become very articulate in expressing himself.  Following the hurricane event, he wrote a complete description of the devastation for the Royal Danish-American Gazette.  Family friends were extremely impressed with his writing and decided to fund the opportunity for him to be educated at a grammar school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey where he enrolled in the fall of 1772.  He graduated one year later and immediately entered King's College in New York City.  Again, he graduated college after only one year with his Bachelor of Arts degree.

The War of Independence was just beginning and Alexander Hamilton felt a very keen loyalty to the colonists.  It was on the morning of July 6, 1774 at a mass meeting in the fields of New York City that he made an absolutely sensational speech attacking British policies.  At the same time he began writing a series of letters for John Holt's New York Journal

While at King's College, he had joined a patriot volunteer band known as "the Corsicans."  Every morning before classes began, they would drill.  These exercises fueled Alexander's military ambitions and desires.  Thus, one August morning in 1775, the "Corsicans" participated in a raid to seize the cannon from the local Battery.   On March 14, 1776, less than 90 days before the Declaration of Independence was set forth, he was commissioned captain of a company of artillery set up by the New York Providential Congress.

In August of that year, his company participated in the Battle of Long Island; and in October his battery guarded Chatterton's Hill while protecting the withdrawal of General William Smallwood's militia.  His military feats continued eventually bringing him to the attention of General Nathaniel Greene; and subsequently to George Washington.  Just prior to his 22nd birthday, in March of 1777, he joined Washington's personal staff and was commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Here was a man whose lifespan totaled only 49 years between his birth and his death from a pistol shot while dueling Aaron Burr, who was serving as Vice-President under Thomas Jefferson.  Yet his life, the decisions and choices he made, still play a huge part in our nation's economy and system today more than two hundred years after his death.

If you recall, we were talkingabout the young Alexander Hamilton and his appointment to General George Washington's staff in March of 1777.  Hamilton had a natural affinity for the military, but his humble and meager beginnings caused him to thirst for recognition.  He was an ambitious man, and the military was a likely place for his God-given analytical and mathematical genius.  The Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 afforded him an opportunity to show his leadership skills and personal bravery.

He distinguished himself in battle in the eyes of his commanding general in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.  Alexander felt such a strong affection and attachment to George Washington that when GW reprimanded him slightly for his hotheaded ness in a quarrel with General Charles Lee in February of 1781, he became concerned over how his actions might affect the general's reputation and resigned as Washington's Aide-de-Camp.  Washington wasn't about to lose the services of someone whose personal integrity and valor he valued; and he gave Hamilton a field command.

Again, Hamilton distinguished himself in the Battle of Yorktown during September and October of 1781, where he led the final assault against the British works, winning handily.  Alexander Hamilton was a restless individual, and as the need for his military skills began to wane, he sought political life.  He had married Elizabeth Schuyler on December 14, 1780.  Being that she was the daughter of General Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's marriage to her opened doors into the political arena in which he gladly engaged.

Domestic life definitely agreed with him, and he and Elizabeth had eight children together.

We will conclude our discussion on Alexander Hamilton next week.

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

Temple, Texas 76502

Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com


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