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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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A BLESSED NATION

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12 ESV)

George WashingtonThe blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. (George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, Vol. 5, p. 245, July 9, 1776 Order)

While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. (George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, Vol. XI, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 1778)

“It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful, to contemplate, that after two years’ maneuvering and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that ever attended any one contest since the creation, both armies are brought back to the very point they set out from, and that the offending party at the beginning is now reduced to the use of the Holy Bible and American Flagspade and pickaxe for defense. 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. I shall add no more on the doctrine of Providence.” (George Washington, Letter to General Nelson, of Virginia, in August, 1778: The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1863)

 

“Sinned as we have as a nation, yet to our sin we have added pride in our sinning. The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the church has lost her power to weep over it.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

The Duty of all Nations

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”

George Washington on the US and the Bible

George WashingtonPresident George Washington:

“Of the many influences that have shaped the United States into a distinctive nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”

The Bosom of America is Open

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

George Washington on the American Revolution

George Washington

“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.”

We Must Assert Our Rights

George Washington at Valley ForgeGeorge Washington (1774):

“[T]he crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves.”

Thoughts On Education

Quoting Benjamin Rush:

I grant this mode of secluding boys from the intercourse of private families has a tendency to make them scholars, but our business is to make them men, citizens, and Christians. The vices of young people are generally learned from each other. The vices of adults seldom infect them. By separating them from each other, therefore, in their hours of relaxation from study, we secure their morals from a principal source of corruption, while we improve their manners by subjecting them to those restraints which the difference of age and sex naturally produce in private families.

Religious Freedom

Quoting George Washington:

[E]stablish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. For you, doubtless, remember that I have often expressed my sentiment, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience. (“Address to the General Committee, Representing the United Baptist Church in Virginia,” May, 1789)

General Orders, May 2nd, 1778

Quoting George Washington:

“The Commander in Chief directs that divine Service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock in those Brigades to which there are Chaplains; those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that Officers of all Ranks will by their attendance set an Example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian. The signal Instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete Success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude and Piety to the Supreme Author of all Good.” (George Washington, General Orders, May 2nd, 1778)

Teddy Roosevelt On The Bible

Teddy Roosevelt & Family

Quoting Teddy Roosevelt:

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

“It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men’s lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”

Thanksgiving Meditations

Pilgrim Thanksgiving

Below is an excerpt from a sermon preached at the Second Baptist Church of Boston by the Rev. Thomas Baldwin (1753-1825). He preached this Thanksgiving Sermon in accordance with the national Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by President George Washington in 1795:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12 ESV)

In obedience to the call of the President of the United States, we are now, my brethren, assembled in the house of God to offer thanksgiving and prayer to the “great Ruler of nations, for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation” [a direct quote from the 1795 Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by President George Washington]. And as God is this day publicly to be praised in the assemblies of His people, I have thought the [Bible] passage now read might be a suitable foundation of our present meditations.

This beautiful psalm, whoever might be the penman of it, is evidently designed to set forth the power and goodness of God in such an amiable [agreeable] light as to excite our confidence, awaken our gratitude, and warm the devout passions of the soul with sacred joy.

If we contemplate God either in His word or works, we shall find abundant matter for joy and thankfulness: “For the word of the Lord is right, and all His works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment; the earth is full of goodness of the Lord” [Psalm 33:4-5].

From this view of the righteousness, equity, and benevolence of the Divine government, the pious psalmist was led to exclaim, as in the text; “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

Consider the following verses as points of meditation through which the Lord may speak to you today:

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;

to one who orders his way rightly

I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Psalm 107:22

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,

and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Jonah 2:9

But I with the voice of thanksgiving

will sacrifice to you;

what I have vowed I will pay.

Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

Colossians 4:2

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

1 Timothy 4:4

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

1 Chronicles 16:8

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

make known his deeds among the peoples!

1 Chronicles 16:34

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 136:1-3

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

A Thanksgiving Day Proclamation From President George Washington

George Washington

THANKSGIVING DAY 1789

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

GO. WASHINGTON.

Part V: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington

George Washington wrote a set of rules about how a man should behave in public. This is the fifth part of my posting of these rules. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

51 Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.

52 In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.

53 Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, nor in a dancing [damaged manuscript].

54 Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

55 Eat not in the streets, nor in your house, out of season.

56 Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

57 In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.

58 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ’tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.

59 Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules before your inferiors.

60 Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.

The Duty Of Parents

James Wilson

Quoting James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence; he was one of the six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.”

Part 1: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior (1748)

General George Washington

1 Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.

2 When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.

3 Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.

4 In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming voice, or drum with your fingers or feet.

5 If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.

6 Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not on when others stop.

7 Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dressed.

8 At play and attire, it’s good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.

9 Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it; neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.

10 When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even; without putting one on the other or crossing them.

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