Modern America presents us with a scene of despotism and debauchery, vice and immorality, pride and hedonism, chaos and confusion. God has been forsaken, traditional religion is spurned, Christians are persecuted, and, per Isaiah’s ancient prophecies, man calls “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Not only is Christianity mocked, but Wicca is now the fastest growing religion in America, with openly Satanist and pagan groups, organizations, and churches similarly flourishing. The constitutional republicanism of our Founding Fathers has been replaced with the communistic tyranny of false prophets. Everywhere one looks, American culture is rotting, unrest is rampant, hatred is bubbling, families are crumbling, churches are apostatizing, ungodliness is applauded, and total societal, economic, and political collapse looms on the horizon. But it was not always so.
There was one a time when our Union was strong, confidant, vibrant, religious, cultured, respectable, peaceful, prosperous, happy, and free. There was a time when the rule of law prevailed over the whims of the mob. There was a day when our civil laws harmonized with God’s laws, and God’s teachings held sway in American hearts. There was a time when Americans valued their Liberty more than they valued their lives. There was an age when Americans cherished and guarded their right of self-rule, and when they deliberately limited the scope and power government by a wise Constitution, and by promoting strong state and local governments. There was a time when Americans were educated, and in which they understood the principles of natural law, free enterprise, self-rule, good government, and understood their rights and responsibilities. Yes, there was a time when American Liberty flourished, and when the United States was the envy and hope of the world.
On July 4, 1776, fifty-six men, each a Christian and a patriot, signed their names to a brief document, and published it to the world as the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration was, in fact, the opening salvo in mankind’s modern struggle against tyranny and oppression. It proclaimed principles and truths that belonged to the world, but which were nowhere to be found except in America. In a word, this band of brothers, these American Founding Fathers, gave voice to Liberty.
These patriots declared the truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They further instructed, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” So firmly did the American Founding Fathers believe in the principles of Liberty, self-determination, limited government, and natural law, that they concluded their Declaration with this stirring promise: “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 sacred honor.”
Perhaps even more rousing still, one year previous, on July 6, 1775, most of these same Founding Fathers, in a document titled the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, stated:
“Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. — We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.”
Indeed, Providence had carefully set the stage for the reemergence of a Liberty long suppressed by the wicked rulers of the earth. America was the land that the Lord prepared for a righteous people, a people filled with a love of God, and a love of Liberty, and the manliness to risk their lives, fortunes, and priceless honor in its defense. It was in America that the light of Liberty was destined to burst forth amidst the dark clouds of threatening despotism. No other nation was so suited as was America in her geography, culture, religion, and general manners and attitude, for a revolution in favor of Freedom.
In his highly influential Common Sense, Thomas Paine penned these immortal words:
“Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”
In another book titled The Rights of Man, Paine wrote this more detailed analysis of America’s unique position in the world:
“The revolution of America presented in politics what was only theory in mechanics. So deeply rooted were all the governments of the old world, and so effectually had the tyranny and the antiquity of habit established itself over the mind, that no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa, or Europe, to reform the political condition of man. Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. . . .
“. . . The independence of America, considered merely as a separation from England, would have been a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments. She made a stand, not for herself only, but for the world, and looked beyond the advantages herself could receive. Even the Hessian, though hired to fight against her, may live to bless his defeat; and England, condemning the viciousness of its government, rejoice in its miscarriage.
“As America was the only spot in the political world where the principle of universal reformation could begin, so also was it the best in the natural world. An assemblage of circumstances conspired, not only to give birth, but to add gigantic maturity to its principles. The scene which that country presents to the eye of a spectator, has something in it which generates and encourages great ideas. Nature appears to him in magnitude. The mighty objects he beholds, act upon his mind by enlarging it, and he partakes of the greatness he contemplates. — Its first settlers were emigrants from different European nations, and of diversified professions of religion, retiring from the governmental persecutions of the old world, and meeting in the new, not as enemies, but as brothers. The wants which necessarily accompany the cultivation of a wilderness produced among them a state of society, which countries long harassed by the quarrels and intrigues of governments, had neglected to cherish. In such a situation man becomes what he ought. He sees his species, not with the inhuman idea of a natural enemy, but as kindred; and the example shows to the artificial world, that man must go back to Nature for information.”
Yes, Providence indeed devoted watchful care to the settlement and establishment of America. So conspicuous was God’s hand in America’s rise, that in his First Inaugural Address, George Washington remarked: “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
Our Father in Heaven did not aid America’s rise for limited purposes. Rather, He intended that all mankind would benefit in numerous ways. One way in which the peoples of the world were to benefit was by having the correct principles of Liberty and good government declared to them in their eternal simplicity. This the Founding Fathers did in the Declaration of Independence, and later in the federal Constitution. To confirm and seal these principles, American blood shed during the War for Independence as a type of sacrifice to cleanse the land, and to break the ice for other nations to likewise attain Freedom.
Speaking of the common people in Europe, Benjamin Franklin wrote the following to Samuel Cooper on May 1, 1777:
“All Europe is on our side of the Question, as far as Applause and good Wishes can carry them. Those who live under arbitrary Power do never the less approve of Liberty, and wish for it. They almost despair of recovering it in Europe; they read the Translations of our separate Colony Constitutions with Rapture, and there are such Numbers every where who talk of Removing to America with their Families and Fortunes as soon as Peace and our Independence shall be established, that tis generally believed we shall have a prodigious Addition of Strength, Wealth and Arts, from the Emigrations of Europe and tis thought that to lessen or prevent such Emigrations, the Tyrannys established there must relax and allow more Liberty to their People. Hence ’Tis a Common Observation here that our Cause is the Cause of all Mankind; and that we are fighting for their Liberty in defending our own. ’Tis a glorious Task assign’d us by Providence; which has I trust given us Spirit and Virtue equal to it, and will at last crown it with Success.”
Truly, the American struggle was, and is, the “cause of all mankind.” For Americans privileged and blessed to be born in this great country, it is a sacred duty to propagate the principles of Liberty and to help make the world free through our good examples. Not through militarism and interventionism, but through our morals and ideals, our education and our charitable helping hand. America was supposed to be more than a nation – she was meant to be an idea. This idea is that man should be free, that law should supersede arbitrary power, that government should serve its people, and that Christ is the true King of nations.
Sadly, the example that recent generations of Americans have set has been anything but hopeful. We have not spread the Gospel of Liberty with the missionary zeal that our forefathers possessed. We have not advocated Christianity, nor moral principles or any sort. Americans have forsaken this holy fight in favor of crass materialism and hedonism. We have lost our own Liberty to such an extent that it is nearly impossible for us to help other nations shake off their shackles. We have squandered our opportunity to be a beacon to the world, a light on a hill. Our light is growing dimmer with each passing year, and most of the world’s people who once trusted America and looked up to her as a savior, now look on in disgust and despair.
Though we have let the light of Liberty nearly die out in these United States, the embers of Freedom can never truly be extinguished. Liberty’s flame burns bright in my heart, and I know millions of other Americans share the same feeling. Yet, our society as a whole does not share our view. They have rebelled against the system our Founding Fathers established, and have rejected the morality and religion our Lord ordained. What is to be done?
Ultimately, the answer to all our problems is simple: repentance. We must repent of our individual and national sins. We must turn back to God. We must revive our national standards of decency and virtue. Understanding this truth, John Adams warned:
“The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies” (John Adams to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776).
John Witherspoon also understood the connection between morality and Liberty. He declared:
“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue. On the other hand, when the manners of a nation are pure, when true religion and internal principles maintain their vigor, the attempts of the most powerful enemies to oppress them are commonly baffled and disappointed” (John Witherspoon, “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Man,” May 17, 1776).
Our wise Constitution has held America together these many years, even long after we should have collapsed from internal rot, however, it is not enough. We must come to Christ and repent in sackcloth and ashes if we are to save our dear country.
Part of repentance is reformation and restitution. We must first reform our personal conduct, then, we must reform our nation’s conduct and culture, and, finally, once we have cleansed the inner vessel, we must endeavor to fulfill our unique American responsibility to take the Gospel of Liberty to all the world. But it all starts with taking that first step, in humility and sincerity of heart, back to our Lord and Redeemer. Once we embrace Christ, and His Gospel which makes us truly free, we will be prepared to be a light to the world.
On Independence Day, 1851, Daniel Webster gave a speech in which he said the following:
“[O]ur inheritance is an inheritance of American liberty. That liberty is characteristic, peculiar, and altogether our own. Nothing like it existed in former times nor was known in the most enlightened states of antiquity; while with us its principles have become interwoven into the minds of individual men, connected with our daily opinions and our daily habits until it is – if I may so say – an element of social as well as of political life. And the consequence is that to whatever nation an American citizen carries himself, he takes with him – fully developed in his own understanding and experience – our American principles and opinions and becomes ready at once, in cooperation with others, to apply them to the formation of new governments” (Daniel Webster, Independence Day Oration, July 4, 1851, Washington, D.C., cited in Celebrate Liberty! Famous Patriotic Speeches and Sermons, compiled by David Barton, 157).
As I read Webster’s words, a profound desire wells up inside me to help revive and resurrect the unique American spirit and attitude that was so common in days past. It is a spirit that, because of both poor choices and deliberate machinations, has been largely suppressed and lies dormant. However, millions of us still carry this spirit with us. Millions of us echo Patrick Henry and say in our hearts, “give me liberty or give me death!”
On this Independence Day, let each of us remember that our inheritance – the inheritance our forefathers sacrificed and died to give us – is “American Liberty.” I emphasize American to underscore our duty as citizens of this chosen land to share our blessings with the less fortunate world. In light of the fact that our own nation is reeling under the burden of oppressive communistic indoctrination, policies, laws, treaties, regulations, and cultural norms, we must redouble our efforts on the home front. We must raise our voices to all who will hear. We must encourage repentance and reformation. We must live exemplary and upright lives. We must educate our countrymen regarding the unsurpassed advantages and achievements of our uniquely American system of government – a system that I testify was established by God through the instrumentality of our noble Founding Fathers.
Our forefathers’ fight is our fight. Their purpose is our purpose. It is indeed the cause of all mankind. We must win this fight for Freedom here on this American battlefield – not in Syria, Iran, or anywhere else. Not only does our own happiness and prosperity and peace depend upon the outcome of this fight, but the peace and security of the world literally depend on it. God bless the faithful American patriots, and God help us restore our American Liberty!
By Zack Strong
July 2, 2017.