The Declaration of Independence ends with these words:
|We, therefore, the
Representatives of the united States of
America, in General Congress, Assembled,
to the Supreme Judge of the world for
the rectitude of our intentions,
do, in the Name, and by Authority of the
good People of these Colonies, solemnly
publish and declare, That these United
Colonies are, and of Right ought to be
Free and Independent States. . . .
And for the support of this Declaration,
a firm reliance on the Protection of
Divine Providence, we mutually
pledge to each other our Lives, our
Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
There is a Law above the law.
There is a Judge that will judge all judges.
This Supreme Judge is the Guarantor of our security. If we are on
the side of Good, those on the side of evil will be judged.
Great Americans have always believed that God is our Judge.
But this cuts two ways. Those who do good can have a firm
reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, but
those who do evil need to fear the Supreme Judge of
- As Jefferson
- I tremble for my country when I
reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep
sends evil against evil-doers. This is profound. The Holiness of
God is fearful.
God acting as a Judge in history.
America was founded on a belief in this God. Not
the god of "deism" (who never acts or intervenes
Bradford wrote about God's "providence" in his "History
of Plimouth Plantation," (1620):
And I may not omit here a special work of God's providence.
There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the sea-men,
of a lusty, able body, which made him the more haughty; he would
always be contemning the poor people in their sickness and cursing
them daily with grievous execrations, and did not let to tell
them, that he hoped to help to cast half of them overboard before
they came to their journey's end, and to make merry with what they
had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and
swear most bitterly. But it pleased God before they came half seas
over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he
died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was
thrown overboard. Thus his curses light on his own head; and it
was an astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be
the just hand of God upon him….
George Washington describes his capture of Boston, 1776:
Upon their discovery of the works next morning, great
preparations were made for attacking them; but not being ready
before afternoon, and the weather getting very tempestuous, much
blood was saved, and a very important blow, to one side or the
other, was prevented. That this most remarkable interposition
of Providence is for some a wise purpose, I have not a doubt.
In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence,
Jefferson had written:
And for the support of this declaration, we mutually pledge to
each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
But the Continental Congress amended
it to read:
And for the support of this declaration, with
a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we
mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our
Samuel Adams, from a speech delivered at the State House in
Philadelphia, "to a very numerous audience," on August 1,
There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing
providence in our favor; our success has staggered our
enemies, and almost given faith to infidels; so we may truly say
it is not our own arm which has saved us. The hand of
Heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble
instruments and means in the great providential
dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the
political Sodom; let us not look back lest we perish and
become a monument of infamy and derision to the world.
Doctor Albigence Waldo was a surgeon from Connecticut, of Puritan
ancestry, who had volunteered his services to General Washington in
the Fall of 1777 and remained throughout that memorable winter with
the army at Valley Forge. This is perhaps the best account of the
heroism displayed in the darkest period of American affairs, before
the French alliance assured money, ships and troops in aid of the
Revolution. It is part of a daily diary kept by Dr. Waldo during his
military service, beginning on December 12, 1777.
Dec. 24th.—Party of the 22d returned. Huts go on slowly—cold
and smoke make us fret. But man kind are always fretting, even if
they have more than their proportion of the blessings of life. We
are never easy—always repining at the Providence of an
All wise and Benevolent Being—blaming our country—or
faulting our friends. But I don't know of anything that vexes a
man's soul more than hot smoke continually blowing into his eyes,
and when he attempts to avoid it, is met by a cold and piercing
On September 23, 1780, Benedict Arnold's treasonous plot was
exposed. He faced the intervention in history by a Supreme Judge of
GENERAL NATHANIEL GREENE'S ADDRESS TO THE
TREASON of the blackest
dye was yesterday discovered.
General Arnold, who commanded at West Point, lost to every sense
of honor, of private and public obligation, was about to deliver
up that important post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event
must have given the American cause a dangerous, if not a fatal
wound; but the treason has been timely discovered, to prevent the
fatal misfortune. The providential train of circumstances
which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the
liberties of America are the object of Divine protection.
At the same time that the treason is to be regretted, the general
cannot help congratulating the army on the happy discovery.
In November, 1783, General Washington bade his army farewell. The
scene which attended Washington's farewell to the rank and file of
his army at Rocky Hill, near Princeton, New Jersey, on Sunday,
November 2, 1783, was only less affecting than his formal
leave-taking with his leading officers at Fraunce's Tavern in New
York a month later when Washington said: "With a heart full of
love and gratitude I must now take my leave of you. I most devoutly
wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your
former ones have been glorious and honorable…. I shall be obliged
to you if each will come and take me by the hand." Many of the
officers, including Washington, wept audibly.
His much more elaborate address at Princeton, written in the
third person, is said to have been prepared by Alexander Hamilton.
In tone it is very similar to Washington's splendid letter of June
8, 1783, to the Governors of the States with regard to the necessity
of establishing a firm and dignified Federal Government. An excerpt:
A contemplation of the complete attainment (at a period earlier
than could have been expected) of the object, for which we
contended against so formidable a power, cannot but inspire us
with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances
on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be
forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence
in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the
attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled
perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost
every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight
long years, was little short of a standing miracle.
The following letter, dated Princeton, New Jersey, July 15, 1783,
was written by Elias Boudinot, the president of the Continental
Congress, to our ministers plenipotentiary, Adams, Franklin and Jay,
who were in Paris negotiating the treaty of peace with Great
Britain, which concluded the Revolutionary War. It was Boudinot who
signed its ratification.
A few days before this letter was written, Congress, being openly
defied and menaced by a considerable number of Pennsylvania
recruits, who objected to being discharged from the army without
pay, had hurriedly adjourned from Philadelphia to Princeton.
The sergeants describe the plan laid by these officers as of
the most irrational and diabolical nature, not only against
Congress and the council, but also against the city and bank. They
were to be joined by straggling parties from different parts of
the country, and after executing their horrid purposes were to
have gone off with their plunder to the East Indies.
However incredible this may appear, the letters from Sullivan to
Colonel Moyland, his commanding officer, from Chester and the
capes, clearly show that it was a deep-laid scheme. It appears
clearly to me that next to the continued care of Divine
Providence, the miscarriage of this plan is owing to the
unexpected meeting of Congress on Saturday, and their decided
conduct in leaving the city until they could support the Federal
government with dignity.
In America, the government does not get to do whatever it wants
to do. It faces judgment from the Supreme Judge. And it faces voters
whose allegiance to God is greater than their allegiance to the
Who is "the Supreme Judge of the
while overwhelmed with other business, Mr.
Jefferson cut from the evangelists such
passages as he believed would best present
the ethical teaching of Jesus, and
arranged them, on the pages of a blank
book, in a certain order of time or
subject. He called it
The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth,
extracted from the account of his life and
doctrines, as given by Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John; being an abridgment of the New
Testament for the use of the Indians,
unembarrassed with matters of fact or
faith beyond the level of their
Let's look at "The
the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
5. And before him shall be gathered all
nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shephered
divideth his sheep from the goats:
14. Then shall he say also unto them on the
left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
16. For I was a stranger, and ye
took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison,
and ye visited me not.
18. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily,
I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of
these, ye did it not to me.
19. And these shall go away into everlasting
punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.