The United States of America is the longest ongoing constitutional republic in the history of the world. In history class, an economic view of America=s past is being taught and religious foundings ignored. The Declaration of Independence listed 27 reasons for separating from Great Britain.
27 of 56 individuals who signed the declaration held seminary degrees. 52 were active members of their church. The single most influential source, based on referenced documents was the Bible. These people looked at Romans 13:1-4
Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
and asked, AWhy has God given a sword to government? What does God intend?@ They looked to the Bible for answers.
For separation of power, they looked to Jer. 17:9
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
For article 4 of the constitution (local leaders), Ex. 18:21,22
Exo 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Exo 18:22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
For three branches of government, Is. 33:22
Isa 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
For tax exemption of churches, Ez. 7:24
Ezra 7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.
Another popular reference was John Locke=s Second Treatise on Civil Government. This book quotes the Bible 1,700 times.
The first session of the Supreme Court began with a four hour communion. The first session of Congress started with a three hour prayer and Bible study in which Psalms 35 was influential.
The Minutemen started with Rev. Jonas Clark and the deacons from his church. Pastor John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg led 300 men out of his church and they became the eighth Virginia brigade. President James Garfield was a pastor prior to taking public office.
What happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.
Thomas Jefferson said, Athe Bible is the cornerstone of American liberty, put it in the schools as a light.@
Patrick Henry, Aour country was founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ.@
James Madison, Awe=ve staked our future on our ability to follow the ten commandments with all our heart.@
George Washington, Ano national morality apart from religious principles@. Also, he stated flatly, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible" (Wm. Federer, America's God & Country, Fame Publishing, 1994, pg. 660).
Noah Webster wrote: "God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God... If the citizens neglect their duty the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made [for] selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws " (ibid., pp. 678-679).
John Adams, in a speech to our country's military forces, said: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (ibid., pg. 11).
This nation was founded as a stewardship nation. Don=t let well-meaning preachers convince you that you are to be a servant. Read John 15:15. God has called us to be stewards and our country will be better off when people recognize responsibility.
Remember: freedom is never free!
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