Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.
July 1, 2014
This July 4th, let us contemplate how we become virtuous. Do we achieve it through ourselves, through the wisdom of fellow man, or through the Word? Our nation is blessed and will continue to be blessed only if we rely on God's aid and not "man's wisdom" to guide us. Benjamin Franklin, the author to this title, knew where wisdom truly lies and turned to God during a contentious disagreement which almost derailed our United States government from ever being formed.
Ben Franklin appealed to the delegates of the Constituional Convention of 1787 to pray for guidance and insight. He said,
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convinving of proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this;and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political buildling no beter, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg to leave the move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
Are we as wise as Ben Franklin was? Able to know our own shortcomings and call upon God's aid to guide our nation today? Do we humbly ask for God's aid for our own lives as well?
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Franklin, Benjamin. The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787.)
Madison, James. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787.)