Many of our founding fathers were men of Christian faith. The record of their background, correspondence, and character attests to that fact. Consider:
- Twenty-four of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence attended seminary or Bible school.
- Hundreds of letters of these men speak of God and their faith in Him.
- Honor and integrity were important attributes which characterized their lives. Most of them sacrificed much for the cause of American liberty. “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 declared.
George Washington was no exception. With great integrity, courage, faith, wisdom, and humility, he was instrumental in bringing America through perilous times. We should know his legacy well, and follow his example. Can you imagine an America where men and women would display…
…The Integrity of George Washington
Washington was the only president unanimously chosen by the electoral college, an indication of the trust the American people invested in the general. Frequently throughout his life, he demonstrated strong reliance on God. Remember the portrait of him, kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge? And decades after his death, pastors were still preaching sermons that honored his exemplary life.
…The Courage of George Washington
Washington’s accomplishments can be rivaled by few. At age 23 he was commissioned colonel at the outset of the French and Indian War (1754). His courage was legendary. In one battle he directed the troops while riding up and down the front lines on his horse, seemingly not to care he was an easy target. After that battle (which the British and American forces won), George wrote home that his safety was the result of “the miraculous care of Providence*.”
…The Faith of George Washington
Washington recognized that God had been strongly involved in the colonies’ battle for liberty.
“The hand of Providence* has been so conspicuous in all this that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”
His first act upon being sworn in as President? He prayed, reminding his listeners at the inauguration that it is Almighty God who presides over the universe. Washington also closed his inaugural address with prayer.
As he signed official government documents, he often concluded with the closing, “In the year of our Lord Christ.”
…The Wisdom of George Washington
In an address given in 1796, George wisely stated: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
(Might the economic and political decline now happening in America be the result of those supports–religion and morality–being slowly but surely removed?)
…The Humility of George Washington
In spite of a long list of outstanding accomplishments over a lifetime of sacrificial service to his country, Washington said: “I have only been an instrument in the hands of Providence*.”
What chance did the weak, floundering colonies have to become a strong, prosperous nation? Small, indeed. But God used men of Christian character such as Washington to achieve the impossible.
What chance does our nation have today, to recapture our strength and prosperity? Small, indeed. But, God can use men and women of Christian character, just as he did George Washington–those willing to follow God’s lead and live sacrificially, to achieve the impossible. Because “nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37) .”
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*Providence was a word used frequently in early America, to indicate God’s active care and protection. Noah Webster, in his first dictionary (1828), noted that Divine providence is often understood as God Himself. The word appeared over 100 times in the Geneva Bible, the translation of choice among many early Americans. Now the word is translated with synonyms for care, such as “tender mercies,” “loving kindness,” and “protection.”
Because the word, providence, no longer appears in our Bibles, some have concluded that those forefathers who used the term were Deists who believed in an impersonal God. But many outspoken Christians of the day used the term, including Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon (minister and signer of the Declaration), John Quincy Adams (officer of the American Bible Society, active patriot, and sixth president of the United States), John Jay (president of the American Bible Society and first chief justice of the Supreme Court), and Dr. Benjamin Rush (founder of the Sunday School in America and signer of the Declaration). All of these men and others, whose allegiance to Christ is verifiable in their writings, also included many references to Providence in their works.
(Art Credit: www.en.widipedia.org)