God’s Gracious Goodness to this Blessed Country
In 1620, a little more than 100 people, the majority of which were devout Christians boarded the Mayflower, a small boat whose deck was about 90 feet long. This small band of pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England headed to the other side of the Atlantic with the hope of establishing a new church in the New World. The journey was very unpleasant crossing the Atlantic during the storm season. The storms were so rough that one passenger was swept overboard and drowned while many others were so seasick they could barely stand.
After a two month journey the battered boat landed at Plymouth Rock. Before landing, this group made a covenant called the Mayflower Compact to keep law and order in the wilderness where there was no law. The core of the compact was an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and law without a moral base was no law at all. This Compact established the first “civil body politic” in America and rested upon “the consent of the governed” not upon a monarchy. Their first act on shore was to thank God who brought them safely there.
The concept of a system of government based on morality and religious principle was at the heart of our Founding Fathers. They recognized only one rightful sovereign over men and nations, not the state, not the majority. The American experiment of government was radically new. Abraham Lincoln summarized it in his Gettysburg Address, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Benjamin Franklin, was asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin’s response, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Keeping our Republic is no easy task. Our founders understood the nature of man and common depravity. It was universally acknowledged that a corrupt and selfish people could never make the principles of self-government operate successfully. Religion, therefore, was the antidote to corruption by promoting virtue in people.
The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. We are to render to Caesar what in his and to God what is His. We are fortunate to live in a country where we have a say in the government. As Christians, we are to discharge our civic duty responsibly. The freedoms we enjoy are blessings from God.
John Adams wrote concerning adopting of the Declaration of Independence, “[This day] ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.” Churches and preachers, cities and communities from that time forward to today, celebrate God’s gracious goodness to this blessed country.