America and Christianity — Part 3
There has never been any evidence brought forth that has proven beyond a doubt that the Founders demanded or required that the Christian principles they lived by being completely separated from government. This is because there is no evidence to end. There is evidence in abundance that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they did comingle their Christian principles with the establishment and the operation of the State, local and federal government. In this study we have seen quote after quote from the Founders calling upon the people of America and the people of individual States to days of prayer and fasting, calling them to repentance and ask God to guide them and direct them as they built this great nation.
Today’s courts and a few uninformed, foolish people have attempted to remove all vestiges of our religious heritage even making it illegal to teach our true history because there is so much Christianity involved. We will look at more of the comments by the Founders concerning their opinions involving their Christian principles and the need for them to be part of our governmental process.
Patrick Henry – Revolutionary General, member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, member of the Continental Congress, lawyer, called “The Voice of Liberty”, Ratifier of the Constitution and Governor of Virginia. All through his life, he was one to always be very pointed in his speech. He would not ‘beat around the bush’ as we would say today and was a strong supporter of States rights over federal rights.
There were those that did not believe that Henry was a Christian. This may have been because of his fiery character and refusal to put up with any overreach by Britain. His comments concerning his faith are plain.
Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.1
He lived by the Bible in all he did and thought that the precepts of scripture should be the foundation of every society.
The Bible… is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.2
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.3
He believed that what he instilled in his family, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was the most valuable thing he could leave them.
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.4
James Iredell – Ratifier of the Constitution, Attorney General of North Carolina, U.S. Supreme Court Justice. His grandfather was an Anglican clergy and Iredell himself was a devout Anglican whose own personal writings showed a foundation of spiritual learning and belief that one’s life should exhibit their faith.
“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.”5
John Jay – United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs, United States Minister to Spain, President of the Continental Congress, Delegate to the First and second Continental Congress, Governor of New York and First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
He was not shy about his belief in the principle and concepts of Christianity. He was vocal about it in private and in public even in the Supreme Court.
“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 duties 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 transcendent glories and blessings of His Triumph.”6
He was not bashful to call for a public display of praise and thanksgiving and at a meeting with Committee of the Corporation of the City of New York
“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.”7
Jay called for using the Bible to direct your life in a direct that would be beneficial to not just the person him/herself but for the betterment of a prosperous and proper society.
“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.”8
Jay believed that if one took the teachings of scripture to heart it would produce a lifestyle that was controlled and righteous.
“[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.”9
Chief Justice Jay was adamant about the character of the person that the Christian nation should have a place in authority over them.
“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.”10
We will see as we continue that there was never opposition to bringing the Christian faith into the workings of government. It was what made America the greatest nation in the world and to save this nation; we need to return to that foundation.
- A. G. Arnold, The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia (Auburn and Buffalo: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1854), p. 250. (Return)
2. William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: James Webster, 1818), p. 402; see also George Morgan, Patrick Henry (Philadelphia & London: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1929), p. 403. (Return)
3. Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. II, p. 592, to Archibald Blair on January 8, 1799.
- Will of Patrick Henry, attested November 20, 1798.
- James Iredell, The Papers of James Iredell, Don Higginbotham, editor (Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1976), Vol. I, p. 11 from his 1768 essay on religion.
- John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: Burt Franklin, 1890), Vol. IV, pp. 494, 498, from his “Address at the Annual Meeting of the American Bible Society,” May 13, 1824.
- William Jay, The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. I, pp. 457-458, to the Committee of the Corporation of the City of New York on June 29, 1826.
8. John Jay, John Jay: The Winning of the Peace. Unpublished Papers 1780-1784, Richard B. Morris, editor (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1980), Vol. II, p. 709, to Peter Augustus Jay on April 8, 1784.
9. William Jay, The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. II, p. 266, to the Rev. Uzal Ogden on February 14, 1796.
10. William Jay, The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. II, p. 376, to John Murray Jr. on October 12, 1816
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