Lessons from Washington & Franklin

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

July 4 is the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence declaring the 13 American colonies free and independent of Great Britain.

Fifty-six men signed the declaration. Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists and the rest were merchants, farmers and large plantation owners.  They were willing to risk all to establish these United States of America.

They lost everything.  Some were captured, tortured and killed.  Others had to leave homes that were destroyed by the enemy and a few never saw their children again.

In Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation,” he called the men and women who lived during the Second World War the greatest generation of our lifetime, and rightfully so.  Today, if he were to write about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, its title might be “The Most Courageous Band of Brothers in American History.”

Our leaders of today could learn a lesson from God-fearing men of the past, such as George Washington and Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who prayed daily and relied on the Bible for wisdom and direction.

On June 28, 1787, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of complete failure.  For over a month, the delegates wrestled with the issue of representation with no breakthroughs.  Now patience was wearing thin and emotions were on edge.

A somber George Washington, presiding over this assembly, began to despair of seeing success in the Convention.  The oldest delegate in attendance, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, asked for permission to speak.

This was unusual.  The 81-year-old Pennsylvanian, up to this point, wrote his remarks and had someone else read them due to his infirmity.  But this time, he was stirred to rise and address the delegates himself.

“The small progress we have made after four or five weeks…with each other… is a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding…  In this situation of this Assembly, groping as I were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how had it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?”

“Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?”

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man.”

Today, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin would be labeled:  “The Religious Right.”  Maybe “The Religious Right” might be the solution to saving America.


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