(This list is by no means exhaustive; many other Founders could be included, and even with those who appear below, additional quotes could have been used.)
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1
Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.2
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.3
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. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!4
I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.5
John Quincy Adams
SIXTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; DIPLOMAT; SECRETARY OF STATE; U. S. SENATOR; U. S. REPRESENTATIVE; “OLD MAN ELOQUENT”; “HELL-HOUND OF ABOLITION”
My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . . the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God.6
The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10].7
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.8
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; “FATHER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION”; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
I . . . [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.9
The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe [Proverbs 18:10]. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.10
I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.11
He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . .
- the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind.12
- we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.13
- with true contrition of heart to confess their sins to God and implore forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.14
MILITARY OFFICER; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Called on the people of New Hampshire . . . to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.15
MILITARY OFFICER; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; FEDERAL JUDGE
To the triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – be ascribed all honor and dominion, forevermore – Amen.16
PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; SIGNED THE PEACE TREATY TO END THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; FIRST ATTORNEY ADMITTED TO THE U. S. SUPREME COURT BAR; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; DIRECTOR OF THE U. S. MINT
Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.17
A letter to his daughter:
You have been instructed from your childhood in the knowledge of your lost state by nature – the absolute necessity of a change of heart and an entire renovation of soul to the image of Jesus Christ – of salvation through His meritorious righteousness only – and the indispensable necessity of personal holiness without which no man shall see the Lord [Hebrews 12:14]. You are well acquainted that the most perfect and consummate doctrinal knowledge is of no avail without it operates on and sincerely affects the heart, changes the practice, and totally influences the will – and that without the almighty power of the Spirit of God enlightening your mind, subduing your will, and continually drawing you to Himself, you can do nothing. . . . And may the God of your parents (for many generations past) seal instruction to your soul and lead you to Himself through the blood of His too greatly despised Son, Who notwithstanding, is still reclaiming the world to God through that blood, not imputing to them their sins. To Him be glory forever!18
For nearly half a century have I anxiously and critically studied that invaluable treasure [the Bible]; and I still scarcely ever take it up that I do not find something new – that I do not receive some valuable addition to my stock of knowledge or perceive some instructive fact never observed before. In short, were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix on the Bible as the most instructive both to the wise and ignorant. Were you to ask me for one affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the inquiring mind, I should repeat, it is the Bible; and should you renew the inquiry for the best philosophy or the most interesting history, I should still urge you to look into your Bible. I would make it, in short, the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.19
LEGISLATOR; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION
A letter to his son, James, attending Princeton University:
I flatter myself you will be what I wish, but don’t be so much flatterer as to relax of your application – don’t forget to be a Christian. I have said much to you on this head, and I hope an indelible impression is made.20
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SELECTED AS DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; U. S. SENATOR
On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits, not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.21
Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation and on myself in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th of July 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 2d day of August of the same year and of which I am now the last surviving signer.22
I, Charles Carroll. . . . give and bequeath my soul to God who gave it, my body to the earth, hoping that through and by the merits, sufferings, and mediation of my only Savior and Jesus Christ, I may be admitted into the Kingdom prepared by God for those who love, fear and truly serve Him.23
The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.24
Congress, U. S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854
Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.25
SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA; GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE; GENERAL IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.26
[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness… We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth.27
SOLDIER; JUDGE; SELECTED AS DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; COMPTROLLER OF THE U. S. TREASURY; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
I resign my soul into the hands of the Almighty Who gave it, in humble hopes of His mercy through our Savior Jesus Christ.28
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION; DIPLOMAT; PRINTER; SCIENTIST; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.29
The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.30 (FRANKLIN’S EULOGY THAT HE WROTE FOR HIMSELF)
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; MEMBER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS, GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
He called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . .
- with one heart and voice we may prostrate ourselves at the throne of heavenly grace and present to our Great Benefactor sincere and unfeigned thanks for His infinite goodness and mercy towards us from our birth to the present moment for having above all things illuminated us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, presenting to our view the happy prospect of a blessed immortality.31
- And for our unparalleled ingratitude to that Adorable Being Who has seated us in a land irradiated by the cheering beams of the Gospel of Jesus Christ . . . let us fall prostrate before offended Deity, confess sincerely and penitently our manifold sins and our unworthiness of the least of His Divine favors, fervently implore His pardon through the merits of our mediator.32
- And deeply impressed with a scene of our unparalleled ingratitude, let us contemplate the blessings which have flowed from the unlimited grave and favor of offended Deity, that we are still permitted to enjoy the first of Heaven’s blessings: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 33
REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
Following his duel with Aaron Burr, in those final twenty four hours while life still remained in him, Hamilton called for two ministers, the Rev. J. M. Mason and the Rev. Benjamin Moore, to pray with him and administer Communion to him. Each of those two ministers reported what transpired. The Rev. Mason recounted:
[General Hamilton said] “I went to the field determined not to take his life.” He repeated his disavowal of all intention to hurt Mr. Burr; the anguish of his mind in recollecting what had passed; and his humble hope of forgiveness from his God. I recurred to the topic of the Divine compassion; the freedom of pardon in the Redeemer Jesus to perishing sinners. “That grace, my dear General, which brings salvation, is rich, rich” – “Yes,” interrupted he, “it is rich grace.” “And on that grace,” continued I, “a sinner has the highest encouragement to repose his confidence, because it is tendered to him upon the surest foundation; the Scrip¬ture testifying that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins according to the richness of His grace.” Here the General, letting go my hand, which he had held from the moment I sat down at his bed side, clasped his hands together, and, looking up towards Heaven, said, with emphasis, “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Al¬mighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.” 34
The Rev. Benjamin Moore reported:
[I]mmediately after he was brought from [the field] . . . a mes¬sage was sent informing me of the sad event, accompanied by a request from General Hamilton that I would come to him for the purpose of administering the Holy Communion. I went. . . . I proceeded to converse with him on the subject of his receiving the Communion; and told him that with respect to the qualifications of those who wished to become partakers of that holy ordinance, my inquires could not be made in lan¬guage more expressive than that which was used by our [own] Church. – [I asked], “Do you sincerely repent of your sins past? Have you a lively faith in God’s mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ? And are you disposed to live in love and charity with all men?” He lifted up his hands and said, “With the utmost sincerity of heart I can answer those questions in the affirmative – I have no ill will against Col. Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm – I forgive all that happened.” . . . The Communion was then administered, which he received with great devotion, and his heart afterwards appeared to be perfectly at rest. I saw him again this morning, when, with his last faltering words, he expressed a strong confidence in the mercy of God through the intercession of the Redeemer. I remained with him until 2 o’clock this afternoon, when death closed the awful scene – he expired without a struggle, and almost without a groan. By reflecting on this melancholy event, let the humble believer be encouraged ever to hold fast that precious faith which is the only source of true consolation in the last extremity of nature. [And l]et the infidel be persuaded to abandon his opposition to that Gospel which the strong, inquisitive, and comprehensive mind of a Hamilton embraced.35
One other consequence of Hamilton’s untimely death was that it permanently halted the formation of a religious society Hamilton had proposed. Hamilton suggested that it be named the Christian Constitutional Society, and listed two goals for its formation: first, the support of the Christian religion; and second, the support of the Constitution of the United States. This or¬ganization was to have numerous clubs throughout each state which would meet regularly and work to elect to office those who reflected the goals of the Christian Constitutional Society. 36
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.37
He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”38
He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray . . .
- that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.39
- that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.40
- to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World.41
- to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth.42
- to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.43
- that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men.44
- that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth.45
- that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . . . And finally to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.46
JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION
[T]hanks be given unto Almighty God therefore, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die and after that the judgment [Hebrews 9:27] . . . principally, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner . . . to receive the same again at the general resurrection by the mighty power of God.47
REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; LEGISLATOR; “THE VOICE OF LIBERTY”; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA
Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.48
The Bible… is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.49
Righteousness alone can exalt America as a nation. Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.50
The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.51
This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.52
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT
It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.53
RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NORTH CAROLINA; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON
For my part, I am free and ready enough to declare that I think the Christian religion is a Divine institution; and I pray to God that I may never forget the precepts of His religion or suffer the appearance of an inconsistency in my principles and practice.54
PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; DIPLOMAT; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; ORIGINAL CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U. S. SUPREME COURT; GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK
Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever. 55
Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved Son. . . . Blessed be His holy name.56
Mercy and grace and favor did come by Jesus Christ, and also that truth which verified the promises and predictions concerning Him and which exposed and corrected the various errors which had been imbibed respecting the Supreme Being, His attributes, laws, and dispensations.57
By conveying the Bible to people . . . we certainly do them a most interesting act of kindness. We thereby enable them to learn that man was originally created and placed in a state of happiness, but, becoming disobedient, was subjected to the degradation and evils which he and his posterity have since experienced. The Bible will also inform them that our gracious Creator has provided for us a Redeemer in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed – that this Redeemer has made atonement “for the sins of the whole world,” and thereby reconciling the Divine justice with the Divine mercy, has opened a way for our redemption and salvation; and that these inestimable benefits are of the free gift and grace of God, not of our deserving, nor in our power to deserve. The Bible will also [encourage] them with many explicit and consoling assurances of the Divine mercy to our fallen race, and with repeated invitations to accept the offers of pardon and reconciliation. . . . They, therefore, who enlist in His service, have the highest encouragement to fulfill the du¬ties assigned to their respective stations; for most certain it is, that those of His followers who [participate in] His conquests will also participate in the tran¬scendent glories and blessings of His Triumph.58
I recommend a general and public return of praise and thanksgiving to Him from whose goodness these blessings descend. The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the source from which they flow.59
The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.60
[T]he evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds… they who undertake that task will derive advantages.61
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.62
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; DIPLOMAT; GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA; SECRETARY OF STATE; THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.63
The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.64
I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.65
I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.66
William Samuel Johnson
JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; PRESIDENT OF COLUMBIA COLLEGE; U. S. SENATOR
[I] . . . am endeavoring . . . to attend to my own duty only as a Christian. . . . let us take care that our Christianity, though put to the test . . . be not shaken, and that our love for things really good wax not cold.67
In an address to graduates:
You this day. . . . have, by the favor of Providence and the at¬tention of friends, received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country. You have this day invited this au¬dience to witness the progress you have made. . . . Thus you assume the character of scholars, of men, and of citizens. . . . Go, then, . . . and exercise them with diligence, fidelity, and zeal. . . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct. Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God, and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and its [practice] is everlasting [happiness] . . . . Reflect deeply and often upon [your] relations [with God]. Remember that it is in God you live and move and have your being, – that, in the language of David, He is about your bed and about your path and spieth out all your ways – that there is not a thought in your hearts, nor a word upon your tongues, but lo! He knoweth them altogether, and that He will one day call you to a strict account for all your conduct in this mortal life. Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and your Judge. Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances. . . . [G]o forth into the world firmly resolved neither to be allured by its vanities nor contaminated by its vices, but to run with patience and perseverance, with firmness and [cheerfulness], the glorious career of religion, honor, and virtue. . . . Finally, . . . in the elegant and expressive language are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” – and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you, to whose most gracious protection I now commend you, humbly imploring Almighty Goodness that He will be your guardian and your guide, your protector and the rock of your defense, your Savior and your God.68
JUDGE; LAW PROFESSOR; “FATHER OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE”
My children, I wish to talk to you. During my early and middle life I was, perhaps, rather skeptical with regard to some of the truths of Christianity. Not that I did not have the utmost respect for religion and always read my Bible, but the doctrine of the atonement was one I never could understand, and I felt inclined to consider as impossible to be received in the way Divines taught it. I believe I was rather inclined to Unitarianism; but of late years my views have altered. I believe in the doctrines of the prayer books as I understand them, and hope to be saved through the merits of Jesus Christ. . . . My object in telling you this is that if anything happens to me, you might know, and perhaps it would console you to remember, that on this point my mind is clear: I rest my hopes of salvation on the Lord Jesus Christ.69
Francis Scott Key
U. S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AUTHOR OF THE “STAR SPANGLED BANNER”
[M]ay I always hear that you are following the guidance of that blessed Spirit that will lead you into all truth, leaning on that Almighty arm that has been extended to deliver you, trusting only in the only Savior, and going on in your way to Him rejoicing.70
SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECRETARY OF STATE; FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.71
I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.72
MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; PRESIDENT OF BROWN UNIVERSITY
I rejoice that the religion of Jesus prevails in your parts; I can tell you the same agreeable news from this quarter. Yesterday I returned from Piscataway in East Jersey, where was held a Baptist annual meeting (I think the largest I ever saw) but much more remarkable still for the Divine influences which God was pleased to grant. Fifteen were baptized; a number during the three days professed to experience a change of heart. Christians were remarkably quickened; multitudes appeared.73
MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; ATTORNEY GENERAL OF RHODE ISLAND; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; FEDERAL JUDGE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON
And may God grant that His grace may really affect your heart with suitable impressions of His goodness. Remember that God made you, that God keeps you alive and preserves you from all harm, and gives you all the powers and the capacity whereby you are able to read of Him and of Jesus Christ, your Savior and Redeemer, and to do every other needful business of life. And while you look around you and see the great privileges and advantages you have above what other children have (of learning to read and write, of being taught the meaning of the great truths of the Bible), you must remember not to be proud on that account but to bless God and be thankful and endeavor in your turn to assist others with the knowledge you may gain.74(to his daughter)
DELEGATE AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; “FATHER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS”
I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God that gave it me, hoping that through the meritorious death and passion of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive absolution and remission for all my sins.75
My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator, Whose tender mercies are all over His works. . humbly hoping from His unbounded mercy and benevolence, through the merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins.76
REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER PRESIDENTS GEORGE WASHINGTON AND JOHN ADAMS
[P]ublic utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. Without the Bible, in vain do we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions.77
Bibles are strong protections. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.78
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA; GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE
In the case Respublica v. John Roberts,79 John Roberts was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of treason. Chief Justice McKean then told him:
You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity, it be¬hooves you to improve the time that may be allowed you in this world: it behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your past conduct; to repent of your evil deeds; to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins; to teach you to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer, and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow – those doleful shades where peace and rest can never dwell, where even hope cannot enter. It behooves you to seek the [fellowship], advice, and prayers of pious and good men; to be [persistent] at the Throne of Grace, and to learn the way that leadeth to happiness. May you, reflecting upon these things, and pursuing the will of the great Father of light and life, be received into [the] company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect; and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of Heaven – joys unspeakable and full of glory!80
REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; “PENMAN OF THE CONSTITUTION”; DIPLOMAT; U. S. SENATOR
There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society is disjointed and its members perish… [T]he most important of all lessons is the denunciation of ruin to every state that rejects the precepts of religion.81
Your good morals in the army give me sincere pleasure as it hath long been my fixed opinion that virtue and religion are the great sources of human happiness. More especially is it necessary in your profession firmly to rely upon the God of Battles for His guardianship and protection in the dreadful hour of trial. But of all these things you will and I hope in the merciful Lord.82
HISTORIAN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; EDUCATOR; “FATHER OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY”; APPOINTED BY SECRETARY OF STATE TO DOCUMENT CONDITION OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. All efforts made to destroy the foundations of our Holy Religion ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation… in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom… Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government – and all the blessings which flow from them – must fall with them. 83
LEGISLATOR; JUDGE; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION
With an awful reverence to the Great Almighty God, Creator of all mankind, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory, thanks be given to Almighty God for the same.84
LEADER OF THE SONS OF LIBERTY; ATTORNEY & JURIST; MENTOR OF JOHN HANCOCK AND SAMUEL ADAMS
Has [government] any solid foundation? Any chief cornerstone?… I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of God… The sum of my argument is that civil government is of God.85
Robert Treat Paine
MILITARY CHAPLAIN; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS; JUDGE
I desire to bless and praise the name of God most high for appointing me my birth in a land of Gospel Light where the glorious tidings of a Savior and of pardon and salvation through Him have been continually sounding in mine ears.86
I am constrained to express my adoration of the Supreme Being, the Author of my existence, in full belief of His Providential goodness and His forgiving mercy revealed to the world through Jesus Christ, through whom I hope for never ending happiness in a future state.87
I believe the Bible to be the written word of God and to contain in it the whole rule of faith and manners.88
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; U. S. SENATOR; GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. [invoking Proverbs 29:2 to instruct a grand jury].89
REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; JUDGE; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON; SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER PRESIDENTS GEORGE WASHINGTON AND JOHN ADAMS; SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS
Pardon, we beseech Thee, all our offences of omission and commission; and grant that in all our thoughts, words, and actions, we may conform to Thy known will manifested in our consciences and in the revelations of Jesus Christ, our Savior.90
[W]e do not grieve as those who have no… resurrection to a life immortal. Here the believers in Christianity manifest their superior advantages, for life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel of Jesus Christ [II Timothy 1:10]. Prior to that revelation even the wisest and best of mankind were involved in doubt and they hoped, rather than believed, that the soul was immortal.91
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; LEGISLATOR; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; DIPLOMAT
To the eternal and only true God be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen!92
John Randolph of Roanoke
CONGRESSMAN UNDER PRESIDENTS JOHN ADAMS, THOMAS JEFFERSON, JAMES MADISON, JAMES MONROE, JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, ANDREW JACKSON; U. S. SENATOR; DIPLOMAT
I have thrown myself, reeking with sin, on the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ His blessed Son and our (yes, my friend, our) precious Redeemer; and I have assurances as strong as that I now owe nothing to your rank that the debt is paid and now I love God – and with reason. I once hated him – and with reason, too, for I knew not Christ. The only cause why I should love God is His goodness and mercy to me through Christ.93
I am at last reconciled to my God and have assurance of His pardon through faith in Christ, against which the very gates of hell cannot prevail. Fear hath been driven out by perfect love.94
[I] have looked to the Lord Jesus Christ, and hope I have obtained pardon.95
[I] still cling to the cross of my Redeemer, and with God’s aid firmly resolve to lead a life less unworthy of one who calls himself the humble follower of Jesus Christ.96
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SURGEON GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; “FATHER OF AMERICAN MEDICINE”; TREASURER OF THE U. S. MINT; “FATHER OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . . My only hope of salvation is in the infinite tran¬scendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Noth¬ing but His blood will wash away my sins [Acts 22:16]. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly! [Revelation 22:20]97
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.98
By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects… It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published.99
[T]he greatest discoveries in science have been made by Christian philosophers and . . . there is the most knowledge in those countries where there is the most Christianity.100
[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.101
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.102
[C]hristianity is the only true and perfect religion; and… in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts, they will be wise and happy.103
The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.104
The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life… [T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.105
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; “MASTER BUILDER OF THE CONSTITUTION”; JUDGE; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; U. S. SENATOR
I believe that there is one only liv¬ing and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him. . . . That He made man at first perfectly holy; that the first man sinned, and as he was the public head of his posterity, they all became sinners in consequence of his first transgression, are wholly indisposed to that which is good and inclined to evil, and on account of sin are liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever. I believe that God . . . did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind, so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer. . . . I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him, joined by the bond of the covenant. . . . I believe that the sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. . . . I believe that the souls of believers are at their death made perfectly holy, and immediately taken to glory: that at the end of this world there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a final judgment of all mankind, when the righteous shall be publicly acquitted by Christ the Judge and admitted to everlasting life and glory, and the wicked be sentenced to everlasting punishment.106
God commands all men everywhere to repent. He also commands them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and has assured us that all who do repent and believe shall be saved… [G]od… has absolutely promised to bestow them on all these who are willing to accept them on the terms of the Gospel – that is, in a way of free grace through the atonement. “Ask and ye shall receive [John 16:24]. Whosoever will, let him come and take of the waters of life freely [Revelation 22:17]. Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out” [John 6:37].107
[I]t is the duty of all to acknowledge that the Divine Law which requires us to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves, on pain of eternal damnation, is Holy, just, and good. . . . The revealed law of God is the rule of our duty.108
True Christians are assured that no temptation (or trial) shall happen to them but what they shall be enabled to bear; and that the grace of Christ shall be sufficient for them.109
“The volume which he consulted more than any other was the Bible. It was his custom, at the commencement of every session of Congress, to purchase a copy of the Scriptures, to peruse it daily, and to present it to one of his children on his return.”110
JUDGE; SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
[A]s my children will have frequent occasion of perusing this instrument, and may probably be particularly impressed with the last words of their father, I think it proper here not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion, such as the being of God; the universal defection and depravity of human nature; the Divinity of the person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior; the necessity of the operations of the Divine Spirit; of Divine faith accompanied with an habitual virtuous life; and the universality of the Divine Providence: but also, in the bowels of a father’s affection, to exhort and charge [my children] that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, that the way of life held up in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state, [and] that all occasions of vice and immorality is injurious either immediately or consequentially – even in this life.111
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; SELECTED AS A DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Shun all giddy, loose, and wicked company; they will corrupt and lead you into vice and bring you to ruin. Seek the company of sober, virtuous and good people… which will lead [you] to solid happiness.112
U. S. CONGRESSMAN; “FATHER OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE”; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON
One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations.113
I verily believe that Christianity is necessary to support a civil society and shall ever attend to its institutions and acknowledge its precepts as the pure and natural sources of private and social happiness.114
DELEGATE AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO FRAME THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; RATIFIER OF THE CONSTITUTION; U. S. SENATOR; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS
He called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . . all nations may know and be obedient to that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ.115
U. S. CONGRESSMAN; DIPLOMAT; JUDGE; AUTHOR OF AMERICA’S FIRST LEGAL TEXT (1795)
Jesus Christ has in the clearest manner inculcated those duties which are productive of the highest moral felicity and consistent with all the innocent enjoyments, to which we are impelled by the dictates of nature. Religion, when fairly considered in its genuine simplicity and uncorrupted state, is the source of endless rapture and delight.116
SECRETARY OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; DESIGNER OF THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES; ALONG WITH JOHN HANCOCK, THOMSON WAS ONE OF ONLY TWO FOUNDERS TO SIGN THE INITIAL DRAFT OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE APPROVED BY CONGRESS
I am a Christian. I believe only in the Scriptures, and in Jesus Christ my Savior.117
JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT; CONFIDANT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON AND CALLED “BROTHER JONATHAN” BY HIM
The examples of holy men teach us that we should seek Him with fasting and prayer, with penitent confession of our sins, and hope in His mercy through Jesus Christ the Great Redeemer.118
Principally and first of all, I bequeath my soul to God the Creator and giver thereof, and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial, in firm belief that I shall receive the same again at the general resurrection through the power of Almighty God, and hope of eternal life and happiness through the merits of my dear Redeemer Jesus Christ.119
He called on the State of Connecticut to pray that . . .
God would graciously pour out His Spirit upon us and make the blessed Gospel in His hand effectual to a thorough reformation and general revival of the holy and peaceful religion of Jesus Christ.120
JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; “FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”
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.121
While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.122
The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.123
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would… most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion.124
U. S. SENATOR; SECRETARY OF STATE; “DEFENDER OF THE CONSTITUTION”
[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.125
Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.126
[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible… men [are] much indebted for right views of civil liberty.127
The Bible is a book… which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.128
REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER; JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; EDUCATOR; “SCHOOLMASTER TO AMERICA”
[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.129
The moral principles and precepts found in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.130
All the… evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.131
[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.132
[T]he Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.133
The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society – the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men.134
[T]he Christian religion… is the basis, or rather the source, of all genuine freedom in government… I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.135
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON
[C]hrist Jesus – the promise of old made unto the fathers, the hope of Israel [Acts 28:20], the light of the world [John 8:12], and the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth [Romans 10:4] – is the only Savior of sinners, in opposition to all false religions and every uninstituted rite; as He Himself says (John 14:6): “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”136
[N]o man, whatever be his character or whatever be his hope, shall enter into rest unless he be reconciled to God though Jesus Christ.137
[T]here is no salvation in any other than in Jesus Christ of Nazareth.138
I shall now conclude my discourse by preaching this Savior to all who hear me, and entreating you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ; for “there is no salvation in any other” [Acts 4:12].139
It is very evident that both the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New are at great pains to give us a view of the glory and dignity of the person of Christ. With what magnificent titles is He adorned! What glorious attributes are ascribed to him!… All these conspire to teach us that He is truly and properly God – God over all, blessed forever!140
[I]f you are not rec¬onciled to God through Jesus Christ – if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness – you must forever perish.141
[H]e is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.142
SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; MILITARY GENERAL; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT
Through various scenes of life, God has sustained me. May He ever be my unfailing friend; may His love cherish my soul; may my heart with gratitude acknowledge His goodness; and may my desires be to Him and to the remembrance of His name….May we then turn our eyes to the bright objects above, and may God give us strength to travel the upward road. May the Divine Redeemer conduct us to that seat of bliss which He himself has prepared for His friends; at the approach of which every sorrow shall vanish from the human heart and endless scenes of glory open upon the enraptured eye. There our love to God and each other will grow stronger, and our pleasures never be dampened by the fear of future separation. How indifferent will it then be to us whether we obtained felicity by travailing the thorny or the agreeable paths of life – whether we arrived at our rest by passing through the envied and unfragrant road of greatness or sustained hardship and unmerited reproach in our journey. God’s Providence and support through the perilous perplexing labyrinths of human life will then forever excite our astonishment and love. May a happiness be granted to those I most tenderly love, which shall continue and increase through an endless existence. Your cares and burdens must be many and great, but put your trust in that God Who has hitherto supported you and me; He will not fail to take care of those who put their trust in Him….It is most evident that this land is under the protection of the Almighty, and that we shall be saved not by our wisdom nor by our might, but by the Lord of Host Who is wonderful in counsel and Almighty in all His operations.143
I have as much to be thankful for as any man that ever lived. But today I am gripped, stunned and collapsing beneath a weight of gratitude. I am thunderstruck with thankfulness over this one thing: God’s mercy on America. Seven times in our history when we would have been destroyed, and by all accounts should have been destroyed, God intervened. Read on.
Seven Miracles that Saved America
“In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. … I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs the affairs of men!”
—Benjamin Franklin, 1787
“There is no overwhelming proof, but deep inside we know. And to those who believe, it also seems clear that these events took place with the direction and purpose. Despite our weaknesses, which are many, and our failings, which have existed since our inception, God has been willing to intervene so that this nation might survive.”
– Chris and Ted Stewart, 2009
The Founding Fathers regularly wrote that they considered themselves to be doing God’s work in establishing the United States. This habit was not just confined to the conspicuously devout, such as Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams but also to such secular saints as Jefferson and Franklin, the so-called Deists. More to the point, they fervently believed — and often asserted — that God in his Providence actively intervened in events to make their efforts successful.
Today, we often dismiss such rhetoric as “just the way people talked back then” and explain how politicians of a certain era used it to rally an overwhelmingly religious populace behind them.
In their terrific new book, Seven Miracles that Saved America: Why they Matter, Why We Should Have Hope, former Air Force officer Chris Stewart and his brother, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart, argue forcefully that the Founders not only meant what they said, but they were right.
The Stewarts look at seven instances in which overwhelming odds had to be beaten for the United States to exist in its current form. While some might argue over their meaning or the significance of some of their “miracles,” the unlikely circumstances that saved the day in several cases will have even a hardcore secularist taking a second look:
- The extraordinary unlikelihood that America was colonized due to the efforts of an ambitious navigator with humble beginnings – rather than perhaps the greatest fleet ever assembled for just such a purpose– which “discovered” North America about 70 years before Columbus.
- The million-to-one odds that saved the English colonization of America as a fleet crossing the Atlantic arrives in Jamestown minutes before it was to be abandoned.
- The fortuitous fog that saved Washington’s army that was as well-timed — and accurate — as any artillery smokescreen.
- The discovery of the Japanese fleet heading toward Midway in the vastness of the Pacific during World War II by an American reconnaissance airplane extending its search well beyond its operational range.
While this book makes a theological and political point, the emphasis in Seven Miracles that Saved America is on storytelling. The Stewarts employ an unusual device — novelizing part of each chapter, much like the Shaaras or Alan Eckert — while sticking to known facts and actual quotes. This makes for an extremely engaging, if rather quirky, narrative.
The authors open with the fascinating — and not well known account — of how America should have been colonized by the Chinese, rather than by Western Europeans. Even if the Chinese did not discover the American continents, though it seems likely they should have, with their massive fleet and more advanced technology.
However, the glorious fleet that was sent on a mission of discovery, returned to a China that had changed and become inward-focused and xenophobic. The records of the exploration were burned, and the fabled fleet was left to rot, along with China’s expansionist ambitions. (For more on this, check out last year’s interesting, if flawed, book, 1421.)
The next chapter, The Miracle at Jamestown, continues the discussion of the religious and cultural nature of those who colonized America and why it was important. While the Stewarts propose the obvious, that those who followed Columbus were culturally very different than the navy of Zheng He, the authors assert it was also very important that a Protestant presence be established in America. They contend the competition among Christian sects led to the religious diversity and tolerance that formed the basis of the United States.
Their story of how close Jamestown came to failure and abandonment is gripping reading. How it was saved is one of the more convincing cases for the word “miracle” in the book—along with the “mysterious fog” that saved Washington’s army in New York in the Revolutionary War, allowing him to pull off a Dunkirk-like evacuation and live to fight another day.
Many might put the circumstances of extraordinary events down to the American character that results from free men, for the first time in history, being allowed to operate on principles of liberty. It’s not unusual, for instance, to hear the term “the miracle of the Constitution.” It’s just unusual — today, at least — for it to be meant as literally as the Stewarts’ assert.
This is particularly true in the chapters in which the authors see the hand of God in the timing of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan assuming the presidency in times of crisis.
Easily the most controversial chapter — and the most likely to raise the ire of some country club Republicans, much less Democrats — is the chapter saying that Ronald Reagan not only won the Cold War but also saved America.
The Stewarts, however, point out that George H.W. Bush, while a good man, did call the Reagan economic agenda “voodoo economics” during the Republican primaries. Even if Bush 41 truly was aboard, he would not have had the political oomph to push it through a Democrat-controlled Congress.
More importantly, Bush was from the “realist” foreign policy tradition, which would have looked for “stability” and détente over real change. The most persuasive point the authors make here is to remind us that, after all of Reagan’s successes in putting the USSR on the ropes, Bush ordered a “reassessment” of U.S. relations with the Soviets upon taking office.
While the first Bush administration was “reassessing,” communism collapsed, and 41 was too surprised to even celebrate the Berlin Wall coming down, as Reagan had predicted.
Of course, such pivotal battles as Gettysburg and Midway had hundreds of little moments that one could argue “changed the course of history.” In the case of Midway, for example, the authors are persuasive in their argument that nearly every one of those moments miraculously went the Americans’ way.
In the case of Gettysburg, for instance, they could easily have titled the chapter, “The Miracle of Friendly Fire.” Had Stonewall Jackson, the South’s best tactician and Lee’s greatest commander been with him at Gettysburg … who knows? Jackson was easily the most important figure in American military history to be mistakenly shot by his own troops.
Those of a determinedly secular mindset may be apt to dismiss this book too quickly. Even if you reject the premise out of hand and prefer to think of it as “Seven Statistically Wildly Improbable Coincidences that Saved America,”this book is worth your time.
In each case, the Stewarts do a masterful job of setting the stage of not only why the odds were stacked against the outcome we take for granted but also in reminding us of what was at stake. Each chapter, it could be argued, is as good a one-chapter treatment of a momentous time as you are likely to find anywhere—particularly setting the stage for the Civil War, and demolishing the notion that slavery was a side issue.
Which brings us to the authors’ ultimate point. As bad as things seem now, America has been much closer to the precipice in its history. The Stewarts write that if God did not let the nation fail, or fall to its enemies then, there is no reason to suppose he is done with America yet.
The end may not be near after all.
P.S. I am gripped by hope but equally sobered by the fact that today is unique in our history. This is the first time that America has been led by God haters. That hatred extends to every vestige of Christian influence on America. Our leaders are, in fact, shaking their fists at God.
We are in desperate need of a new mercy, a mercy unlike any that we have ever known. Today I am stunned by the fact that we will be shown mercy. It will not be easy, it will be costly and we can certainly expect that God will even allow crisis that will, in the end, save the Republic. It begins today with hearts full of gratitude for past mercy and a new passion to repent and pray. Your prayers are powerful. We must cease with lukewarm intercession and graduate into prevailing prayer for America. MM
They had money, education and prestige so why would they sign a letter that promised to turn them into hunted animals for the rest of their lives? Five of them were captured and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the war; another two had sons captured. Nine died from wounds in battle.
I am talking about the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They signed it because, while they valued their homes, their businesses and their prestige, they valued liberty even more. But did you know that nearly half of the pastors in America today would not have supported the Declaration of Independence? Think of it, if it had rested with these modern preachers there would be no United States today. Wait until you hear why.
This letter has two burning goals. The first is to clear the air about why I speak out against our president and our congress and the second is to call for a general resistance by the preachers in America to the policies that are destroying the nation.
These 56 were godly, successful, and wise men were driven to an inescapable conclusion and it is urgent that we realize that history is repeating itself. “When in the Course of human events” The word WHEN is the key word in the opening phrase of the Declaration of Independence. The entire document rests on that single word. It means that something changed so drastically that they broke with deep connections and long standing traditions. It means that after agonizing prayer and deliberation their course of action became undeniable and inescapable.
The Church in America has just had her WHEN moment:
-When the president becomes lawless and the Congress becomes clueless, when unstoppable crime and poverty are the direct result of government gridlock, when the church and law-abiding citizens are targeted by the FBI, the IRS and the NSA for their religious or political beliefs.
-When Americans owe 60 trillion dollars in personal debt which means we are literally living on borrowed time. When the middle class is 25% of what it was in the 1950s, and about to vanish. When even youth, Obama’s last bastion of support have awakened to him and rejected him.
-When they are calling him out for his disastrous plunge into socialism and removing their medical rights, violating their privacy and stealing their future.
-When our borders are broken down and when the world has become dangerous because our foreign policy is in shambles and when the destruction of the Republic is at hand, then it is time for the Church to intervene and stand with the Bible first and then the Constitution.
Listen to further words from the Declaration: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
This is exactly where we are right now. Half of all of our pastors would not have supported the Declaration of Independence? How is this possible? It is possible because a noxious wind of doctrine is blowing through the church that cheapens words like Grace, Honor and Love and engenders complacency. Many leaders even now openly teach that repentance is unnecessary and that confronting government is never right.
We have seen this all before. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the great German pastor and theologian was asked in 1943 how it was possible for the church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power. His answer was very direct; he said “it was the teaching of cheap grace.”
Is it just a coincidence that the same spiritual emphasis that lulled Lutherans to sleep has reappeared at the time when our freedom is in mortal danger? No it is not a coincidence, it is Satan. For the devil, this doctrine of passivity could not have come at a better time.
Consider what a satanic masterstroke it is to prevent us from doing two things:
1. Provoke us to silence at the very moment that the nation needs to hear righteous voices.
2. Downplay the need for repentance when repentance is most urgently required.
When asked why pastors don’t speak out Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said, “I think one reason is a lot of Christian leaders have the wrong idea about Jesus,” Jeffress replied “They see Jesus as this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial. The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth — and he ended up being crucified because of it.” “I believe it’s time for pastors to say, you know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.”
Here are the two portions of scripture that are often misused to silence the church:
1. Matthew 7: 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
2. Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not terrors to good works, but to evil.”
The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew the Bible better than 90% of our ordained ministers today. They grappled with the same issues we face today and asked the same questions we ask today. Twenty four of them were lawyers and jurists and almost half had been to Bible school or seminary. In the process, they must have confronted those two portions of scripture. They also prayed fervently and believed that they had heard from God. Years later Benjamin Franklin when they were working on the Constitution reminded them of their daily prayer for wisdom on the Declaration: “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.”
This is what I believe they concluded:
1. Matthew 7: 1 When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). … What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another’s eye – which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted.
2. Romans 13:1-2 Many Christians interpret this passage of Scripture to mean that we should offer unquestioning obedience to government, even if it’s an evil and corrupt government. This is simply not true. Most people fail to consider verse 3, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Clearly, God is speaking about GOOD government in Romans 13… Because they are a terror to evil works, i.e., crimes.
But these 56 men are also proof of the power of God to help us right now! I am speaking out because I know that we still have time for a miracle. Here is my 5 declarations to you:
1. We must rise up as an outspoken unified, cross denominational firewall against the destruction of America. Whether you believe in tongues or not; whether you believe in total immersion baptism or spot removing, regardless of your view of how the world will end we must find common ground at the foot of the Cross. When it comes to the preservation of our liberty our doctrinal nuances must take a backseat to unified action.
2. We must not think that telling the truth is unloving. Paul said, “Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.” We must sacrifice short-term acceptance for long-term results. In the long run, when the nation is spared the masses will see that repentance and prayer saved the day… and that my friend is real love. Politicians must feel the force of our convictions. We must, in no uncertain terms, remind the denizens on both sides of the aisle of the Washington swamp that they work for us or we will fire them.
3. Let your convictions rule you and not theological trends. Find your assignment and vow to execute it. Listen to me! Servant of God:your best friend is your destiny and your mortal enemy is the intoxication of prevailing opinion.
4. Preach Bible truth from the pulpit. Let me put it to you plainly: It all starts with the preaching. If American preaching returns to the Bible and our sermons are thundered from burning hearts full of the Holy Spirit we have more than a good chance to save America. If preaching stays as is, there is no chance…period. Pastors were dispensing new age goobly gook when they should have been training the people in biblical morality. This is one big reason that 6 million Christians voted for their pocketbooks instead their convictions. Remember the words of Dr. Jeffress “I’m going to lose church members; I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.”
5. Let us pray! Call that fellow minister that you haven’t spoken to in 20 years. Meet for prayer, not mystical prayer, not tepid prayer, and not complicated prayer just heart felt prayer. Pray like those 56 men prayed in Independence Hall. Pray Psalm 119:126 “It is time for You oh God to act for they have nullified Your law.”
We will never speak out against the government unless the Holy Spirit prompts us. And it will never be something we do instead of the Gospel but because of it. Those who believe we should remain silent will get a lot more silence than they bargained for if we lose our freedom of speech. To say that will never happen is to forget all of the things that have happened in 6 years that we never thought could happen. Moreover, we’ve always had a prophetic calling to warn the nation.
It only seems like we have changed but it is the White House that has changed. It actively opposes the Gospel. One of the campaign officials even boasted that in winning the election, “we defeated Christianity.” Let me ask you one final question: If not now, at what point will it feel right for the ministers of America to drop their petty disagreements and provide a unified opposition to the destruction of our Constitution, our Judeo Christian traditions, marriage and the future of our children? Many ministers lash out at those who out speak against the president.
This is so strange! No pastors ever questioned us when were outspoken about the damage that heroin, crack cocaine or gang violence did to inner city neighborhoods. But now that the government has become the most dangerous gang in the hood and government dependency has become the most addictive drug we supposed to remain silent? However, I am overcome by hope for America and here is why:
It was 1972. I stood in the rain outside Pauley Ballroom on the Berkeley Campus. Inside, Jane Fonda led a loud chorus of obscenities. A thousand students were cursing God and America. Instinctively, I raised my Bible it pointed it at the hall. I confessed that one day I would lead a bigger and louder crowd in shouts of praise to God and blessing to America. That miracle came to pass in vivid detail in less than three years. 1,200 students raised a deafening shout of praise to God and blessing to America and as a part of the larger Jesus Movement it changed the mood of the nation.
I stand in awe of the towering miracle that is the Declaration of Independence. I weep because I know that I am not worthy of its courage and truth. It haunts me. It stalks me. It exposes me, and it comforts me. It is the quintessential moral compass of a nation that has lost its way. I feel my knees buckling beneath me in prayer for I feel that evil has touched something precious to Jesus. This grand document proves God’s amazing ways and that He is waiting in the wings to answer prayer and heal the land. Admit it! We don’t know what to do but we know who does know what to do. If they could, those 56 men would say it with all of their strength: A MIRACLE IS COMING IF WE PRAY AND THEN OBEY.
It would be a thrill for me to hear from those of you who are taking a stand with us against the demise of our nation and believe ministers should not be silent as America is destroyed. I value your comments and support.