J. Grant Swank, Jr.
President George Washington wrote a prayer addressed to “O most glorious God, in Jesus Christ” and ended it with this: “Let me live according to those holy rules which thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word. Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Bless O Lord all the people of this land.”
President Thomas Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And 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? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
President James Madison: “Religion is the basis and foundation of government. We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
President Andrew Jackson: “I nightly offer up my prayers to the throne of grace for the health and safety of you all, and that we ought all to rely with confidence on the promise of our dear Redeemer, and give Him our hearts. This is all He requires and all that we can do, and if we sincerely do this, we are sure of salvation through His atonement.”
Patrick Henry: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, property, and freedom of worship here.”
President Abraham Lincoln: “The ways of God are mysterious and profound beyond all comprehension. ‘Who by searching can find Him out?’ God only knows the issue of this business. He has destroyed nations from the map of history for their sins. Nevertheless, my hopes prevail generally above my fears for our Republic. The times are dark, the spirits of ruin are abroad in all their power, and the mercy of God alone can save us.”
President Grover Cleveland: “All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purist patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.”
President Woodrow Wilson: “America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scriptures.”
President Dwight Eisenhower: “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Begin is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus With God’s help, it will continue to be.”
Further, America’s start was God-grounded. Children went to school to learn their three R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic. Embossing that learning was the Christian faith.
For instance, read from “The NEW ENGLAND PRIMER IMPROVED, For the More Easy Attaining of English, Adorned with Cuts, To Which Is Added ‘The Assembly of the Divines’ CATHECISM (Albany, Whiting, Backus and Whiting) And Sold Retail At Their Store.”
That is what reads on the front cover of The NEW ENGLAND PRIMER IMPROVED.
On Page One of that Primer was the following:
A Divine Song of Praise to God, for a Child
By the Rev. Dr. Watts.
How glorious is our heav’nly King
Who reigns above the sky!
How shall a child presume to sing
His dreaded Majesty?
How great His power is, none can tell,
Nor think how large His grace,
Nor men below, nor saints that dwell
On high before His face,
Nor angels that stand round the Lord,
Can search His secret will;
But they perform His heav’nly Word
And sing His praises still.
Then let me join his holy train,
And my first off’rings bring,
Th’ Eternal God will not disdain
To hear an infant sing.
My heart resolves, my tongue obeys,
And angels shall rejoice,
To hear their Mighty Maker’s praise
Sound from a feeble voice.
The content of instruction in colonial schools was primarily Christian.
Here is an alphabetic listing of statements containing religious and moral maxims that the student was required to memorize:
A: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his Mother”
B: “Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith”
C: “Come into Christ all ye that labor and are heavy handed and He will give you rest”
The alphabet guide to spelling was followed by this statement: “Now the child being entered in his letters and spelling, let him learn, these and such sentences by heart, whereby he will be both instructed in his duty and encouraged in his learning:
Q: What is the end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to Glorify God and to enjoy him forever
Q: What rule hath God given to direct us
A: The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Genuine allegiance to this nation has to be based on a biblical conviction. That is the loyalty that has enlivened Americans since the start.
Belief in the biblical God has brought to the country’s fore the most committed citizenry known to the planet. It is that faith base that provides the oil for the nation’s machinery. Generation after generation has willingly prayed for this nation, sacrificed for its existence, and treasured its freedoms.
Those prayers continue from the souls of both old and young. This is not a “graying nation,” that is, a Republic supported chiefly by the older persons. There are countless numbers of young Americans who believe in God, pray for the United States and believe that its destiny is governed by a divine wisdom and mercy.
True patriotism is not atheism based. It is not buttressed with a secular agnosticism. True patriotism that lasts and goes deeply to the heart has its endurable foundation when resting on trust in the God of all history.
Atheism believes there is nothing but the material. Therefore, how can such “faith” sustain a penetrating patriotism toward America? A matter-based philosophy is fundamentally a self-centered existence; therefore, though it may mouth patriotism, it is only patriotic when serving the self’s existence.
Agnosticism has no base certainty therefore it is just as bankrupt regarding genuine patriotism as atheism.
The biblical believer as citizen of this remarkable country yearns daily for a God-fearing populace. That believer intercedes for this nation, its leaders, its future. That believer researches Scripture for divine wisdom in how to better serve America.
Numberless organizations and committees are now operating for the good of America’s citizens solely on the drive of a biblical faith. How many do-gooder conclaves reach out daily to the needy, homeless, hungry and forsaken because of serving the God of Scripture? They compose a commendable list.
What is so encouraging is that all of this dates back to our founding patriots. They read the Bible. They prayed to the Lord of the Word. They worshiped that God. They taught their children the precepts of that Word. They molded the laws and institutions of America on the biblical ethic. They dreamed of this country’s future years being blessed by the God of holy writ.
What a heritage the present-day patriot has. What a treasure we have alongside us to counsel our decisions in this complicated time.
Yes, America’s true patriotism is God-based for it is totally reliant on His provisions for our liberties to continue.
For more, read from the NEW ENGLAND PRIMER at http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/his341/nep1805contents.html