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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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  • Recommended Reading

The Secret of My Success

Quoting George Washington Carver:

‘The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible’, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”

No Man can afford to be Ignorant of the Bible

From the pen of Theodore Roosevelt:

“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.”

The Greatest Miracle

Quoting President Ronald Reagan:

“I still can’t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where … is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time — possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father’s shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father’s shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing — the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived — all of them put together. How do we explain that — unless He really was what He said He was?”

Belief In God Is Essential To Moral Order

From the words of James Madison In A letter to Frederick Beasley:

The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it. (November 20, 1825)

Patriotism

Quoting George Washington’s Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness—these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. (October 19, 1796)

George Washington Speaks To A Hebrew Congregation

Quoting George Washington:

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. (George Washington Address to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode, Island – August 17, 1790)

George Washington On The Eternal Rules Of Order

Quoting George Washington:

There exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. (First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789)

A Letter From John Adams To Abigail Adams

Quoting John Adams:

When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer…Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from a gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend to his country. He..had heard that Mr. Duche…deserved that character and therefore he moved that Mr. Duche…might be desired to read prayers to the Congress…After (he read several prayers), Mr. Duche, unexpected to everybody, struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. (Letter to Abigail Adams, October 16, 1774)

The Spirit Of Religion And Freedom

From the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville:

The character of Anglo-American civilization…is the product…of two perfectly distinct elements that elsewhere have often made war with each other, but which, in America, they have succeeded in incorporating somehow into one another and combining marvelously. I mean to speak of the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom. (Democracy in America)

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

At the age sixteen, George Washington wrote out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility. These are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The rules have one major interest in common; a focus on other people rather than on our own self-interests which is so prevalent today. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

81 Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private.

82 Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.

83 When you deliver a matter do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.

84 When your superiors talk to anybody neither speak nor laugh.

85 In company of those of higher quality than yourself, speak not ’til you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.

86 In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part, specially if they are judges of the dispute.

87 [damaged manuscript] as becomes a man grave, settled, and attentive [damaged manuscript] [predict not at every turn what others say.

88 Be not diverse in discourse; make not many digressions; nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.

89 Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.

90 Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough, or blow your nose except there’s a necessity for it.

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

At the age sixteen, George Washington wrote out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility. These are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The rules have one major interest in common; a focus on other people rather than on our own self-interests which is so prevalent today. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

71 Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.

72 Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously-

73 Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.

74 When another speaks, be attentive yourself; and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech has ended.

75 In the midst of discourse [damaged manuscript] but if you perceive any stop because of [damaged manuscript]; to proceed: If a person of quality comes in while you’re conversing, it’s handsome to repeat what was said before.

76 While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.

77 Treat with men at fit times about business and whisper not in the company of others.

78 Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.

79 Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author always; a secret discover not.

80 Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.

National Happiness Can Only Be Found In Religion

Benjamin Rush

From the letters of Benjamin Rush:

In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful “whether morals can exist without it,” but by asserting that without religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons. (Benjamin Rush letter to John Adams – August 20, 1811)

If You Exclude Religious Principle, Morality Will Fail!

In the words of George Washington:

Of all the dispositions and habits which least to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the opposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. (George Washington Farewell Address, September 19, 1796)

John Adams: Virtue Is The Foundation Of A Free Constitution

John Adams

John Adams

From the desk of John Adams:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. … The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People. … [T]hey may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. … A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

John Adams On The Principles Of Liberty

 

John-Adams-1780

John Adams wrote the following letter to Zabdiel Adams on June 1, 1776:

Statesmen by dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

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