ONE NATION UNDER GOD !
by: Rus Walton
Our laws and our institutions must
necessarily be based upon and embody the
teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It
is impossible that it should be otherwise;
and in this sense and to this extent our
civilization and our institutions are
emphatically Christian.. .This is a religious
people. This is historically true. From the
discovery of this continent to the present
hour, there is a single voice making this
affirmation.. .we find everywhere a clear
recognition of the same truth.. These, and
many other matters which might be
noticed, add a volume of unofficial
declarations to the mass of organic
utterances that this is a Christian nation.
SUPREME COURT DECISION,1892
CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY VS. UNITED STATES.
Our very political superstructures stand upon
the critical bedrock of cherished biblical principles.
In the beginning......
At the point in God’s good time when the Constitutional Convention had completed its work.. The lady sidled up to old Ben Franklin. “Well, Dr. Franklin. What have you given us?” “You have a republic, madame. If you can keep it.”
There had been other governments before that had gone by that description that word, “republic.” But those were different. Different in origin. Different in nature. Different in structure. The best of that past was incorporated into this new and true
republic. The rest the evil, the excess was rejected.
So this new creation stood unique. A system of self-government. By the consent of the governed. And, with union. A constitutional republic with individual liberty, elected representatives and limited government. A government with its powers nailed down; fastened and confined to the proper defense of the individual to his pursuits of life, liberty, property and happiness, those inalienable rights endowed by The Creator. A republic in which the power to govern was checked and balanced by devices designed to stop the tyrant in his tracks.
The sons of liberty joined to erect four fences around their government, so it could not get out of hand or out of bounds: The Executive, the legislative, the Judicial, and the Individual. Each was to be a check, or balance, on the other.
After God, the individual came first. Only by his consent could government govern—and then, only to protect his life, liberty and property. Not just his, but all men—equally.
The New Nation: A republic, not a democracy.
And so the founding fathers created a republic. A democracy? Where half plus one
can squash the rest? Where a fanatical majority can deprive the individual of his rights, his life, his property? Not for these men. They knew democracy with its excesses, its leveling-down process, its inherent seeds of destruction. They knew Plato’s warning that unrestricted democracy must result in a dictatorship. The very essence of democracy rests in the absolute sovereignty of the majority. Our found-ing fathers could never accept such tyranny. They recognized only one rightful sovereign over men and nations------ not the state------not the majority.
“Each religion has a form of government, and Christianity astonished the world by establishing self-government.,----- the foundation stone of the United States of America.’’ But our founding fathers realized the impossibility of maintaining freedom unless those who are “at liberty” are able to exercise self-restraint. And they gave to this government just enough power to serve. Just enough and no more.
And even then, with all the checks and balances and fences of that constitutional document, it was not until the Bill of Rights was tacked on that the states consented
to the union and ratified the federation.
A New Ideal: Freedom of Religion, Not from Religion.
Christ died and rose to make men free. All men, all nations. Through Christ we are freed from the wages and the death of sin. Eternal freedom. Free from the ravages of appetite. Internal freedom. If we choose to he. Free from the savagery of dema- gogues and kings. External freedom. if we choose to be.
Just as Christ brought us internal freedom (and a rebirth into a new life through Him) so He brought us a new direction for our external freedom (and a new purpose for our civil government). If Christ would die for men, where did Caesar r get off forcing men to live and die for him?
There! There was the spark, the flame, the beacon light of the American idea. The power of the great American republic. The sense of the Constitution of these United States. “The concept of a secular state was virtually non-existent in 1776 as
well as in 1787, when the Constitution was written, and no less so when the Bill of Rights was adopted. To read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically. The constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order.”
Why then is there, in the main, an absence of any reference to Christianity in the Constitution? Because the framers of the Constitution did not believe that this was an area of jurisdiction for the federal government. It would not have occurred to them to attempt to re-establish that which the colonists had fought against, namely, religious control and establishment by the central government. “The freedom of the first amendment from federal interference is not from religion but for religion in the constituent states.”
Separation of church and state? Absolutely!
Divorcement of God from government? Not so!
The American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.. .a nation founded upon the rock of religion and rooted in the love of man. In 1851, when Daniel Webster was reviewing the history of “this Great American family,” he reaffirmed the need and role of God in government: “Let the religious element in man’s nature he neglected, let him he influenced by no higher motives than low self-interest, and subjected to no stronger restraint than the limits of civil authority, and he becomes the creature of selfish passion or blind fanaticism. “On the other hand the cultivation the religious sentiment represses licentious- ness......inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric, at the same time that it conducts the human soul upward to the Author of its being.”
More than one hundred years alter Webster, Charles Malik, one-time Ambassador to the United Nations from Lebanon, put it this way: The good (in the United States) would never have come into being without the blessing and the power of
Jesus Christ.. .1 know how embarrassing this matter is to politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and cynics: hut, whatever these honored men think, the irrefutable truth is that the soul of America is at its best and highest, Christian.”
EVIDENCES OF OUR
CHRISTIAN HERITAGEThe moral principles and precepts contained in the
Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil
constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils
which man suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice,
oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their
despising or the precepts contained in the Bible neglecting
There are many evidences that our nation was founded on
a commitment to God and the principles of His Word.
In the summer of 1787, representatives met in Philadelphia to write the Constitut-ion of the United States. After they had struggled for several weeks and had made little or no progress, eighty-one-year-old Benjamin Franklin rose and addressed the troubled and disagreeing convention that was about to adjourn in confusion. “In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of. Danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.. .Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a spar row cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire
can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this
“I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning.”
The very purpose of the Pilgrims in 1620 was to establish a government based on the Bible. The New England Charter, signed by King James I, confirmed this goal: “..... to advance the enlargement of Christian religion, to the glory of God Almighty......”
Governor Bradford, in writing of the Pilgrims’ landing, describes their first act: “being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven...”
CONFIRMED BY THE COLONIES.
The goal of government based on Scripture was further reaffirmed by individual colonies such as Rhode Island Charter of 1683 begins: “We submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given us in His Holy Word.” Those “absolute laws” became the basis of our Declaration of Independence, which includes in its first paragraph an appeal to the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Our national Constitution established a republic upon the “absolute laws” of the Bible, not a democracy based on the changing whims of people.
Reaffirmed by the Presidents.
In his inaugural address to Congress, the first president of our nation stressed God’s role in the birth of this republic: “No people can be hound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential
agency.....We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot he expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order arid right, which heaven itself has ordained.” One of George Washington’s early official acts was the first Thanksgiving Proclamation which reads, “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to he grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore His protection arid favor It goes on to call the nation to thankfulness to Almighty God.
Continuing through the decades of history, we find in the inaugural addresses of all the Presidents, and in the Constitution of all fifty of our states, without exception, references to the Almighty God of the universe, the Author arid Sustainer of our liberty.
Observed by Historians.
The principles of God’s Word guided the decisions on which this nation built its foundation. This was the discovery of Alex De’Tocqueville, the noted French political philosopher of the nineteenth century. He visited America in her infancy to find the secret of her greatness. As he traveled from town to town, he talked with people and asked questions. He examined our young national government, our schools and centers of business, hut could not find in them the reason for our strength. Not until he visited the churches of America and witnessed the pulpits of this land “aflame with righteousness” did he find the secret of our greatness.
Returning to France, he summarized his findings “America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great Throughout our history, our fore-fathers have given eloquent testimony of our commitment to God and His principles:
“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the lord.”
‘The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles.....to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”
The concluding words of our National Anthem summarize the fact that the United States of America was born out of a commitment to God and His principles.
“Blessed with victory and peace, may this Heav’n-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just; And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust!’ And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
WHEN AMERICA CRIED FOR BIBLES
Even the U. S. Congress cleared a printing of Bibles,
and American statesmen helped spread them throughout the land.
The American Revolution was in full swing. The Bible, through more than one hundred fifty years of early settlement in America, remained the base of her people’s religious devotion, her education, her colonial government. These Bibles had been shipped in from England. Now, suddenly the American Revolution cut off this supply, and the stock dwindled.
Here was America in its greatest crisis yet—and without Bibles! Patrick Allison, Chaplain of Congress, placed before that body in 1777 a petition praying for immediate relief It was assigned to a special committee which weighed the matter with great care, and reported: “...that the use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the Committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Congress to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or else-where, into the different parts of the States of the Union.
“Whereupon it was resolved accordingly to direct said Committee to import 20,000 copies of the Bible.” During the session in the fall of 1780 the need arose once more. Robert Aitken, who had set up in Philadelphia as a bookseller and publisher of The Pennsylvania Magazine, saw the need and set about quietly to do something about it. In early 1781 he petitioned Congress and received from them a green light to print the Bibles needed. The Book came off the press late next year, and Congress approved it. So originated the “Bible of the Revolution,” now one of the world’s rarest and most valuable books—the first American printing.
THE INVISIBLE HAND; GOD’S INFLUENCE
IN AMERICA’S HISTORYOur founding fathers, and men like Yale President Ezra Stiles,
seemed to sense the destiny of the young American nation.
George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, to name only a few figures in American history, seemed to see clearly the providence of God behind the events of their day. The nation did not unfold by accident or happenstance, they insisted, but by divine design. The settlement of America, timed as it was in the wake of the Reformation, assured its Christian foundations.
Nor could our founding fathers account for the victory over England, against such extreme odds, apart from the seeming intervention of God at key moments in the Revolutionary War. In a major address before the Assembly of Connecticut in 1783, Ezra Stiles, then president of Yale, reviewed these events and suggested why near disasters time and time again suddenly turned to victories:
‘In our lowest and most dangerous state, in 1776 and 1777, we sustained ourselves against the British army of sixty thousands troops, commanded by.....the ablest generals Britain could procure throughout Europe, with a naval force of twenty- two-thousand seaman in above eighty British “Who hut a Washington, inspired by Heaven,” asked Stiles, could have conceived the surprise move upon the enemy at Princeton—that Christmas eve when Washington arid his army crossed the Delaware? “Who hut the Ruler of the winds,” he asked, could have delayed British
reinforcements by three months of contrary ocean winds at a critical point of the war?
Or what hut “a providential miracle,” he insisted, at the last minute detected the treacherous scheme of traitor Benedict Arnold, which would have delivered the American army, including George Washington himself, into the hands of the enemy? On the French role in the Revolution he added, “It is God who so ordered
the balancing interests of nations as to produce an irresistible motive in the European maritime powers to take our part....”
A REMARKABLE VIEW OF
Then the president of Yale seemed to view the future with remarkable clarity, as if looking directly into the Twentieth Century: “We shall have a communication with men-of-war all nations in commerce, manners, and science, beyond anything here-tofore known in the world..
“The English language.....will probably become the vernacular tongue of more numerous millions than ever yet spake one language on earth.” “Navigation will carry the American flag around the globe itself...” From the Scriptures he saw today’s modem high-speed travel between continents and the world’s explosion of
technology. Declared Stiles: “That prophecy of Daniel is now literally fulfilling---- ‘there shall be a universal traveling to and fro, and knowledge shall he increased’ (See Dan. 12:4).
“This knowledge will he brought home and treasured up in America, and being here digested and carried to the highest perfection, may re-blaze back from America to Europe, Asia and Africa, and illumine the world with truth and liberty But even then Stiles warned that the entire American system, good as it was would prosper only as “men, not merely nominal Christians (Christians in name only), make it work.” In view of God’s hand in the long string of events that had produced a new nation, with new freedoms, Stiles concluded, “The United States are under peculiar
obligations to become a holy people unto the Lord our God.”
Major Christian events lie not only behind the founding of America as a nation, but also behind many of its individual states. The charters of all fifty states, carry religious language and acknowledge their foundations in God.
The First Charter of Virginia, providing for the settlement of Jamestown, was written before the Puritan Pilgrims arrived in America. It is here we find America’s beginnings. Dated April 10,1606, the charter reads: “We, greatly commending, and
graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Dark-ness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those Parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government.” When the settlers who founded the James-town colony landed at Cape Henry in April of 1607, they erected a large wooden cross and held a prayer meeting. It was their first act in the new land they had come to settle.
Quaker William Penn was given what is now Pennsylvania in lieu of a monetary inheritance due his father, Admiral William Penn, discoverer of Bermuda. Instead of using the land selfishly, Penn writes: “I do, therefore, desire the lord’s wisdom to guide me, and those that may be concerned with me, that we do the thing that is truly wise and just.”
The King of England gave to Penn what later became one of the largest states in the northeast United States, with the right to govern. A year later, the Duke of York also gave Penn what is now Delaware. Penn clearly saw all of this as a trust from God. “I eyed the lord in obtaining it,” he wrote, ‘and more was I drawn inward to look to Him, and to owe it to His hand arid power than to any other way. I have so obtained it, and desire to keep it that I may not be unworthy of His love.” A man of lesser character might have squandered this huge piece of real estate to the detri-ment of generations to come. But not Penn. He perceived that the God who had “given it to me through many difficulties, will, I believe. bless and make it the seed of a nation.”
As a Quaker who had experienced persecution, he saw the colony as a land of religious freedom. So he wrote advertisements for his colony, printed them in six languages, and sent them to Europe. Into Pennsylvania poured the Dutch, the Swedes, the Welsh, English Quakers, German groups, and, last of all, the Scots- Irish -----all people under religious or economic oppression. Pennsylvania did, in fact, become “the seed of a nation.”
In the Pacific Northwest, the names of missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman stand next to Lewis and Clark. Near Walla Walla in southeast Washington, the Whitman grave-sites and a lonely, reconstructed mission (now a national historic site) vividly help recreate the story. Medical doctor Marcus Whitman, an Easterner, first went west with the American Fur Company in 1835 to scout the territory. Against everyone’s advice, he returned his bride, convinced that “where wagons could go, women could go.” The seven-month journey proved extremely arduous. They had to contend with sick companions, frustrating delays, a slow moving cattle herd, and an un-wieldly wagon. Marcus left his wagon ----reduced to a two wheeled cart ---at Fort Boise before crossing the Blue Mountains, where he could follow only the trails of Indians and trappers.
Through all of this Narcissa maintained a deep and abiding faith in the Lord, revealed years later in a diary she had kept on the trek. Along with another missionary wife, Eliza Spaulding, she became the first white woman to cross the Rockies. The Whitmans arrived safely in 1836 and opened a mission among the
Cayuse at their landmark outpost on the Oregon trail, where they sewed for nine years. On November 29,1847, a hand of Indians attacked the mission and killed
Marcus Whitman, his wife, and nearly a dozen others. A few survivors escaped, and fifty were taken captive. News of the tragedy sped to Congress in Washington, D.C., along with petitions from the settlers that the U.S. promptly establish territorial rule in the tense Northwest wilderness. Congress acted, and the Oregon territory emerged.
The Whitman’s spiritual dedication left an example to the nation, and Narcissa left Americans a volume of richly detailed letters, read by thousands of schoolchildren, that offer an authentic glimpse into pioneer life.
Copyright @ 1986, Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation
Publisher: Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation – Philadelphia
“One Nation under God”, by: Rus Walton
Copyright @ Third Century Publishers , Inc.
Washington, D. C.
Church of the Science of God
La Jolla, California 92038-3131
© Church of the Science of GOD, 1993