Quotes Historical

God and Covenant

“There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor; our success has staggered our enemies, and almost given faith to infidels; so that we may truly say it is not our own arm which has saved us. The hand of heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great providential dispensation which is completing.”

— Samuel Adams (1722–1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman

“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [The Constitution] a finger of that almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

— James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States

Charles Thompson was asked by Dr. Benjamin Rush to write a history of the revolution. He replied ..”No, I ought not , for I should contradict all the histories of the great events of the Revolution , and shew by my account of men , motives and measures , that we are wholly indebted to the agency of Providence [God] for its [the Constitution] successful issue.”

— Charles Thompson (1730-1824) Secretary to the First and Second Continental Congress

Judge John Jay’s Charge [words of wisdom to future generations]

“A revolution which, in the whole course of its rise and progress, is distinguished by so many marks of Divine favor and interposition, that no doubt can remain of its being finally accomplished. It was begun, and has been supported, in a manner so singular, and I say miraculous, that when future ages shall read its history, they will be tempted to consider great part of it fabulous. …But, however incredible these things may in the future appear, we know them to be true, and we should always remember, that the many remarkable and unexpected means and events, by which our wants have been supplied, and our enemies repelled or restrained, are such strong and striking proofs of the interposition of heaven, that our having hitherto delivered from the threatened bondage of Britain, ought, like the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude, and to be forever ascribed to its true cause, and instead of swelling our breasts with arrogant ideas of our prowess and importances, kindle in them a flame of gratitude and piety, which may consume all remains of vice and irreligion [want of religion, or contempt of it; impiety]. Blessed be to God! …

The Americans are the first people whom heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing the forms of government under which they should live; —all other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances, …Your life, your liberties, your property, will be at the disposal of your Creator and yourselves. You will know no power but such as you will create; no authority unless derived from your grant; no laws, but such as acquired all their obligations from your consent. …Adequate security is also given to the rights of conscience and private judgment. They are, by nature, subject to no control but that of the Deity and in that free situation they are now left. Every man is permitted to consider, to adore and to worship his creator in the manner most agreeable to his conscience. No opinions are dictated; no rules of faith prescribed; no preference given to one sect [of Christianity over] to the prejudice of others.

The constitution, however, has wisely declared, that the “liberty of conscience thereby granted shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State.” In a word, the convention by whom that constitution was formed were of opinion that the gospel of Christ, like the ark of God, would not fall, though unsupported by the arm of flesh; and happy would it be for mankind if that opinion prevailed more generally. …from the people it must receive its spirit, and by them be quickened, Let virtue, honor, the love of liberty and of science be, and remain, the soul of this constitution, and it will become the source of great and extensive happiness to this and future generations. Vice, ignorance, and want of vigilance, will be the only enemies able to destroy it. Against these provide, and, of these, be forever jealous. Every member of the state, ought diligently to read and study the constitution of his country, and teach the rising generation to be free. By knowing their rights [God given], they [you the voter] will sooner perceive when they are violated, and be the better prepared to defend and assert them.”

— John Jay (1745-1829), Founding Father, Patriot, Statesman and First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Providence

“I believe the fact to be, that except the Bible, there is not a true history in the world.”

— John Jay (1745-1829), Founding Father, Patriot, Statesman and First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

“The prosperous smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained.”

— George Washington (1732-1799) Father of the Country, 1st President of the United States

“History is God’s providence in human affairs.”

— Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Author, Lawyer and Patriot

“That there is one God, who made all things. That he governs the world by his providence. That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving. But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man. That the soul is immortal. And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter.”

— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Statesman, Scientist, Inventor, Printer and Philosopher

“The Supreme Governor of the World rewards or punishes nations and civil communities only in this life…. Political bodies are but the creatures of time. They have no existence as such but in the present State; consequently, are incapable of punishments or rewards in a future. We can conceive no way in which the Divine Being shall therefore manifest the purity of His nature. … toward such societies but by rewarding or punishing them here, according to their public conduct.”

— Chandler Robbins Sermon before John Hancock and the Massachusetts Legislature

“You will notice that while the oppressors have carried out their plans and had things their own way, there were other forces silently at work which in time undermined their plans – as if a Divine hand were directing the counter-plan. Whoever peruses the story of liberty without recognizing this feature will fail of fully comprehending the meaning of history. There must be a meaning to history or else existence is an incomprehensible enigma.”

— Charles Carleton Coffin (1823-1896) Journalist, Army Correspondent, Historian & Author

Liberty

“But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.”

— James 1:25, 2:12 RSV

“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.  The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies.”

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom [liberty]”

— 2 Corinthians 3:17 RSV

“The origin of government has in all ages no less perplexed the heads of lawyers and politicians than the origin of evil has embarrassed divines and philosophers … To those who lay the foundation of government in force and mere brutal power it is objected that their system destroys all distinction between right and wrong; that it overturns all morality, and leaves it to every man to do what is right in his own eyes; that it leads directly to skepticism, and ends in atheism. When a man’s will and pleasure is his only rule and guide, what safety can there be either for him or against him, but in the point of a sword?

Has it [government] any solid foundation, any chief cornerstone but what accident, chance, or confusion may lay one moment and destroy the next? I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of GOD, the author of nature, whose laws never vary. … Government is therefore most evidently founded on the necessities of our nature. It is by no means an arbitrary

The end of government being the good of mankind points out its great duties: it is above all things to provide for the security, the quiet, and happy enjoyment of life, liberty, and property. …Government is founded immediately on the necessities of human nature and ultimately on the will of God, the author of nature … The sum of my argument is: that civil government is of God.”

— James Otis (1725-1783) Early American Patriot, and Lawyer

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?”

— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third President of the United States

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” “The spirit of liberty is the spirit of him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned … .”

— Learned Hand (1872–1961) United States District Court Judge

Biblical Basis of Law

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were … the general princilpes of Christianity … Now I will avow that I then, and now believe, that those principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

— John Adams (1797-1801) Second President of the United States and Patriot

“For the LORD is our judge [Judicial], the LORD is our ruler [Legislative], the LORD is our king [Executive]; he will save us..”

— Isaiah 33:22 RSV

** The three branches of government, a reflection the divine words spoke by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. “For the LORD is our judge [judicial]; the LORD is our lawgiver [legislative]; the LORD is our king [executive].”

“I sat next to John Adams in Congress, and upon my whispering to him and asking him if he thought we should succeed in our struggle with Great Britain. He answered me, ‘Yes—if we fear God and repent of our sins.’” (The reason Dr. Benjamin Rush said he wrote the book of anecdotes was “To prevent my children being deceived by the histories of this day.”)

— Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founding Father& signer of the Declaration of Independence

“You may indeed set as king over you him whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.”

— Deuteronomy 17:15 RSV

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.”

— United States Constitution: Article II, Section 1:4.

“Moreover choose able men from all the people, such as fear God, men who are trustworthy and who hate a bribe; and place such men over the people as rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.”

— Exodus 18:21 RSV

** Representative government, reflective of the early Republic of Israel (united tribes of Israel)

“The government of God is the only government which will hold society against depravity within and temptation without.”

— Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) Miniser, educator and anti-slavery activist

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