Summary: The men who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and who framed our nation's Constitution, did not work in a moral vacuum. Here are some important observations they made.
And Now a Few Words From Our Founders
Pastor Eric J. Hanson. July 2, 2017
Proverbs 14:34: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.
Proverbs 29:2: When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.
1 Timothy 2:1-2: Therefore, I exhort, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Psalm 9:17: The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Dan Celia writes:
On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to approve a “Resolution of Independence” that would legally separate the 13 colonies from Great Britain.
On that same date, founding father—and future President—John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that said, in part, “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty…”
Adams’ prediction was off by two days, but one thing was certain: our nation’s formation was surely a solemn act of God that should be held up with great devotion, even to this day. Still, I can’t help but wonder how many of us will take the time to think about the intervention of God on this Fourth of July holiday that we will observe across this great land.
Surely, we can see the hand of God, not only in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, but in the Revolutionary War that followed.
One thing hasn’t changed much since that time—but hopefully is as apparent today as it was back then—the hand of God is still on this nation. We know that the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence were surely written by men submitted to God.
Words from Our Nation’s Founders on God and Government
Jerry Newcombe writes
Barely a week goes by without some challenge to our nation’s Judeo-Christian roots in the name of the separation of church and state. But as another Fourth of July is upon us, it’s interesting to note what the founders said in their own words. Consider the following sampling:
Thomas Jefferson, author of the first draft of the Declaration, said, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time” (Virginia delegates to Congress, August 1774) and “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just” (Notes on Virginia, 1782).
Samuel Adams, the lightning rod of the American Revolution, signed the Declaration in the summer of ‘76: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."
John Adams, Samuel’s distant cousin, wrote, “The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite....And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.” (Letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813).
When General George Washington first received a copy of the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776, he made an order to hire chaplains in every regiment. These were to be “persons of good Characters and exemplary lives.” Washington said, “The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
Congress regularly called for days of fasting and prayer throughout the war. For example, they declared one on May 17, 1776, as a "day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer…[to] confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his [God's] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness." (Source: Library of Congress website, loc.gov).
John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress which declared independence and adopted the Declaration, later served as the governor of Massachusetts. On October 5, 1791, he declared a day of thanksgiving to God for many blessings, including “the great and most important Blessing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “And together with our cordial acknowledgments, I do earnestly recommend, that we may join the penitent confession of our Sins, and implore the further continuance of the Divine Protection, and Blessings of Heaven upon this People…that all may bow to the Scepter of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and the whole Earth be filled with his Glory” [emphasis his].