A Goodly Heritage
It has been said that the founding of the United States of America was like “the divine imposition of hands.” Citizens of this great Republic can truly say with Israel’s renowned poet-king:
“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” (Psalm 16:6)
We are so accustomed to the bounty and blessings of our land that we do not realize what a glorious heritage we have, and how it stands out in contrast to all other nations. When our servicemen return from the far corners of the earth, they refer to their homecoming as “getting back to God’s country.” And so it is, for our heritage springs directly from the hand of God.
Speaking through Nathan the Prophet, God told David:
“Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more.” (2 Samuel 7:10; 1 Chronicles 17:9)
The Israelites and David were in Palestine when the prophecy was spoken and later were removed from that land; therefore, THIS APPOINTED PLACE WAS TO BE OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF THE HOLY LAND, IN REGIONS THEN UNKNOWN, FROM WHICH THEY WOULD NEVER BE DRIVEN BY THEIR ENEMIES. History and tradition lead us to believe that this planting was made in the Western European countries, Britain and the United States which settled in the “desolate heritages” of the New World.
Some two hundred years before the discovery of America, God was sifting the continent of Europe and selecting the stock with which to found our Republic, a New Order in the west. Concerning this phase of history, the late Dr. James S. McGaw said in one of his lectures:
“Martyr fires lighted the heavens, thousands marched to the dungeon and to death, but at God’s appointed moment Puritan, Huguenot, Hollander, Covenantor and Cavalier stood aboard their ships, God’s ‘REAL’ Chosen People The Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic and kindred people; for the establishment of the great civil ideal. Like ancient Israel, He carried them across the sea, gave them the land and presided over their establishment as a nation.
“It was more than man who inspired the makers of the American Republic to embed in the metal of the great seal of the United States an ensign to the whole world; The New Order Of The Ages. That statement was not placed in that most fundamental document, the Great Seal, merely for the embellishment of a beautiful design; nor as an oratorical flourish, but as the expression of the spirit, the genius and the prophetic destiny of the nation. It is our confident belief that God placed that statement there as the status of the nation, both for the time that then was, and for a time that now is, breaking upon the world.”
Two profound principles guided the founding of our government. The first is written into the Preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Stats of America.”
The second principle is a corollary of the first, namely,
“Government exists by the consent of the governed.”
These two principles embodied in the government of a nation
“turned the tide of human history and lifted up on the earth a beacon light of civil liberty that became the ideal and the hope of all enslaved lands.”
Commenting on the significance of these two basic principles some years ago, before the issues were as clearly drawn as they are today, Dr. McGaw said:
“And, if you will receive it, upon those two statements the tide of world history is now turning. The fact is, they will constitute the main issue is the closing phase of the great war that began in 1914. Perhaps not even the profoundest students of the Israel truth have noted that the real human issue in the coming conflict with Gog, of Ezekiel’s 38th and 39th chapters, will be between two great powers claiming the same ideals of blessing to mankind; the government of the people, established on American soil, and the Satanic counterfeit, established in Russia.”
Ours is a heritage of great material abundance. Continued and full abundance, however, is conditional; it depends upon cooperation with the Divine will. God promises material blessings to His people as a whole so long as they obey His instructions:
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then Is will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.” (Leviticus 26:3-5)
Addressing all Israel, Joshua stated the law of material abundance as follow:
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshuah 1:8)
Prosperity depends also on personal effort and thrift. The wife of a certain Indian chieftain, who had fallen upon idle habits, one day lifted the discover at dinner and revealed a pair of spurs; a sign that he must ride and hunt for his next meal. Instinctively the Indian woman knew that man has no right to eat unless he works. This basic principle is ignored today in the profligate give-away programs of inept government planners. Nevertheless, it is written in the Scriptures:
“the soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat ... Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger ... The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” (Proverbs 13:4; 19:15; 20:4)
The distinguished Franklin put it this way:
“He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honour; but then the trade must be worked at and the calling followed. If we are industrious, we shall never starve, for at the working man’s house hunger looks in but dares not enter. Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for industry pays debts while despair increaseth them.”
It was Thomas Jefferson who said:
“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pratense of caring for them, the people will be happy.”
Little did he think that by 1954 “liberal” politicians posing as Jefferson Democrats, aided by like minded Republicans, would have thrifty American citizens working about three months of each year for the government in order to reward irresponsible at home and abroad for not working.
Spiritual blessings likewise are the fruits of faith in god and obedience to His commands. More than everything else, citizens of this country need to realize the influence of the Christian faith in the development of national character and strength. Truly we have a goodly heritage of spiritual abundance. Nothing exemplifies more effectively the spiritual quality of our nation’s birth than the following prayer uttered by George Washington:
“Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord and confusion, from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be peace and justice at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail. All of which we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Every American worthy of his citizenship ought to make that remarkable prayer his own day after day. It beings with an acknowledgment that our good land is a heritage from the hand of Almighty God; and with a plea that we may prove ourselves worthy of it by joyfully doing His will. The next petition is that our land be blessed “with honorable industry, sound learning and pure manners.”
A volume could be written on America’s present need for these virtues. For to be slack in regard to any one of all of them leads to the evils of the following sentence: “violence, discord, confusion, pride and arrogancy.”
Sound learning has its origin in the Word of God. Scriptural teachings and faith in Jesus Christ became the cornerstone of our national ideals, laws and institutions.
The Bible was a textbook in early American schools. Its influence was reflected in civil and religious liberty, such as had not been known since the days when Israel lived under the laws of God as administered by Moses and the Judges. The little schools and churches which nestled in scattered villages were mighty factors in molding the manners and morals of the Republic.
We may well heed today a General Order which was issued by General George Washington in New York, July 1776. It reads:
“The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect, that we can have little hope of the blessings of Heaven on our arms, if we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.”
In all humility, the father of our country admitted in his prayer that only the Lord God Himself can “defend our liberties” and give the spirit of wisdom tot hose in authority.
Note that he says, “those to whom ‘in Thy name’ we entrust the authority of government.” What a noble concept of public service as a sacred trust, a responsibility under God! As Washington conceived it, government officials have a twofold obligation:
“That there may be peace and justice at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.”
Here is a recognition of the real function and limitations of federal government. The jurisdiction of government officials ends with securing “peace and justice at home.”
It is their place to see that the business and social relations of the people proceed in an atmosphere of tranquility and justice. They have no right to regulate business and set the standards for society according to their own pattern without regard to the will of the people. An illustration of the absurdities which grow out of bureaucratic orders was highlighted by the Houston Post in September 1953:
“The Gettysburg Address contained 266 words.
“The Ten Commandments contained 297 words.
“The Declaration of Independence contained 300 words.
“An Ops order to Reduce the Price of Cabbage contained 26,911 words.”
Let it be said again that, in the mind of George Washington, the jurisdiction of our government officials ends “at home.”
It is not the prerogative of those vested with authority in the government of the United States to meddle in the affairs of other countries. The first President of this Republic was unalterably opposed to what he called “entangling alliances” with other nations.
It is permissible to give friendly guidance from the home base when requested to do so; but it is intolerable presumption to move in on other nations and take over their internal affairs, as our State Department did in China, (and currently trying to do so to the Iraqi people) when it forced the Nationalist government to surrender to the Communists. Only time can reveal the disaster that is yet to come upon America, and Christian people everywhere, because our great nation is now trapped and involved in dangerous situations all over the world.
Actually Christian nations have one main duty to perform in the service of other countries. Washington saw it clearly when he said in his prayer,
“and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.”
That is scriptural. It has been Israel’s mission from the very beginning. Our part; and it is a responsibility resting upon both Church and State, is to so demonstrate the benefits of government under the Divine Law and Spirit of Christ so that the peoples of other lands, seeing our good works and blessings, will be persuaded to seek the Lord in righteousness and join us in praising His Holy Name:
“For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:11)
“In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail. All of which we ask ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord.’”
Thus the prayer ends in the name of the Lord Jesus. It is an authentic Christian prayer. Since the inauguration of the New Covenant, there has been only one way for a prayer to reach God, and that is through Jesus Christ, the Mediator.
Nevertheless, at the present time, out of deference to unbelievers, and particularly to non-Christians, most prayers spoken on public occasions omit the Name that is above every name. Such prayers are futile words. God is not impressed by petitions that deliberately ignore the blessed Son and Saviour.
In Barnes’ history we find the following statement:
“Who can tell how much of the subsequent brilliant success of the American armies was in answer to prayers of the American General at Valley Forge? To the latest times it will and should be a subject of the deepest interest that the independence of our country was laid, not only in valor and patriotism and wisdom, but in prayer. The example of Washington will rebuke the warrior or the statesman who never supplicates the blessing of God on his country. It will be encouragement from him who prays for its welfare and its deliverance from danger.”
Bishop James E. Freeman said of the fathers who built the Republic:
“They trusted in something more than statesmanship, something more than strength of arms, something more than the genius and cunning of the trader; they believed that only as the nation served with fidelity the God in whom they trusted, and maintained those virtues that guarantee life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, would it continue stable and secure.”
In these days of cynicism, materialism and radicalism, it is considered a mark of distinction to belittle love of God and native land.
“Beware of the man who scoffs at his own country. Beware of the man who jeers at patriotism.”
It was love of God and country that sent Washington forth as a pioneer and patriot. This devotion elevated him to the Presidency and made him
“first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countryman.”
In a sermon preached on the 200th Anniversary of Washington’s birth, Dr. William Carter said:
“His was a national patriotism. Others, today, boast of their Internationalism. They are the kind of Internationalists who seem to think their own country always wrong and other countries always right. He rejoiced in the progress of other nations along righteous lines, knowing that ll such progress led to the success of other nations but, as a patriot should he loved his own country best ... It is such a patriotism as this that needs a new birth today!”
“The LORD loveth the gates of Zion (since the United States is the New Jerusalem and New Zion as mentioned in the scriptures, then God is here talking about it) more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God (The United States). Selah Is will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: BEHOLD Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; THIS MAN WAS BORN THERE. And of Zion it shall be said, THIS and THAT MAN WAS BORN IN HER: and THE HIGHEST HIMSELF SHALL ESTABLISH HER (There can be no doubt that the Lord God Almighty did establish the United States). The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.” (Psalm 87:2-7)
Happy is the man who can say with a thankful heart; I am a citizen of the United States of America; yea, Is have a goodly heritage.