Want To Know The Hope Of America's Founders?
by KrisAnne Hall, JD
Listening to the news, watching the headlines has become a requirement for my current ministry. But I have come to realize that a daily diet of this is hazardous to my health. This never ending caustic supply of drama and crisis is not healthy for the body or the soul. IT makes me want to cry out, “Peace on Earth? Good will toward men? Where is it!”
There have been many in this battle for Liberty who have succumbed to the overwhelming negativity of the media invented reality, leaving behind the battle to search for the “normal life.” We must guard against this intrusion and obstruction to the defense of Liberty. I am convinced the ever-continuing crisis after crisis is purposed to dishearten the patriot and discourage the fight. So what is the solution? We must learn to find our hope and center ourselves on the true reality, not the one contrived by those receiving their marching orders from Alinsky, Cloward and Piven. We must know that just as we have inherited the Liberty we enjoy, we have also inherited the enemies of Liberty. We must pick up the mantle of those that came before us and learn from their courage and resolve. Will we be sunshine patriots or true victors of Liberty?
Our history is rich with men and women who have surrendered all so that many could have the greatest nation the world has ever known. On December 23, 1776 Thomas Paine penned these words:
“THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
December 25, 1776 George Washington led those who stood by Liberty across the Delaware in a logistically challenging and very dangerous operation that resulted in a victory over the Hessians. It the midst of a battle not only for their lives but for the Liberty of generations to come, those who forged this new Constitutional Republic KNEW there was a cause worth fighting for and worth every sacrifice. What could possible drive a people to stand in the midst of great dangers and admittedly against insurmountable odds? In 1765 John Adams wrote:
“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”
For over 700 years before the Declaration of Independence, men and women were learning the lessons that would be taught to our founders. Lessons that would infuse our founders with a courage and a hope that would build the greatest nation in the world. Patrick Henry said, “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way to judge the future but by the past.” He was letting us know that his knowledge of those last 700 years, were the very reason he knew how this fight would turn out. He knew that every time men and women understood the value of Liberty and pledged all to protect it, they were always victorious. These guarantees of history must have raced through Henry’s head; 1100 Charter of Liberties, Magna Carta, 1628 Petition of Right, 1641 Grand Remonstrance, and his very own Bill of Rights of 1689. These were battles fought in the name of Liberty and he knew that victory was a guarantee. This is our history. This is our guarantee. This is our victory!
Did these brave men and women live without fear? Hardly so! Mercy Otis Warren articulated this dilemma so well.
“I have my fears. Yet, notwithstanding the complicated difficulties that rise before us, there is no receding; May nothing ever check that glorious spirit if freedom which inspires the patriot in the cabinet and the hero in the field, with courage to maintain their righteous cause, and to endeavor to transmit the claim to posterity, even if they must seal the rich conveyance to their children with their own blood.”
They knew that bravery was not the absence of fear, but doing what you must in the face of fear. They knew that the battle for Liberty, as Mercy called it, was a righteous cause. Knowing the source of her courage is the key to understanding her resolve. In a letter to her friend Mrs. Macauley, in 1774, lies the key to the source of her strength. She said they were “ready to sacrifice their devoted lives to preserve inviolate, and to convey to their children the inherent rights of men, conferred on all by the God of nature.”
You see, the battle for Liberty is a battle for the gifts of God. Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that is justice cannot sleep forever.”
For Patrick Henry, courage not only came from knowing the history that “guided his feet” or fighting with the “vigilant, active, and the brave,” but also knowing they served a “just God who presides over the destinies of nations” and when standing for Liberty, a gift from God, they could not fail.
“We are three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.”
The key to victory, the key to the courage that brings victory is not simply fighting the fight, but KNOWING we fight a righteous battle for the One who gave us that Liberty. Our founders were in a position to pledge their lives, the lives of their families, everything that they had because they were firmly rooted in ALL the assurances of Liberty. Our founders knew that Liberty is a gift from God, and those that stand for God’s gifts will be victorious through God’s promises. They firmly believed that living in tyranny was worse than dying for Liberty. They knew that through their faith in Christ, their rewards in standing for God’s gift would be certain, whether on the battle field or in Heaven.
As Thomas Paine so eloquently put it, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls.” But Paine’s full statement gives a richness that is lost with the initial quote alone. Payne gives US a wisdom to tell us who will last in this battle and WHY they will last.
“...yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing (sic) its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
If we wish to have the resolve that Mercy Otis-Warren spoke of, the confidence that Patrick Henry displayed, we must KNOW what Thomas Jefferson knew so we will not become the sunshine patriots Thomas Paine condemns. We must know Liberty is a gift from God, this Gift, although comes at a high price, is worth fighting for because God is with us. If God be with us, who can be against us?
This is not yet the darkest hour experienced by our nation by far. We still live in the greatest nation in the world. A nation built upon the principles of Liberty. The principles that cry all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. A nation where all men have equal opportunity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No other nation can make that claim. No other people have that birth right. But with that gift comes great responsibility to secure that Liberty for generations to come. We cannot lose hope. We cannot let Liberty slip. Because, it is not our hope, it is not our Liberty, it is the hope and Liberty of ages and millions yet unborn. We must reacquaint ourselves with the lamp of experience that gives us the courage to see a guaranteed victory. But we must also reacquaint ourselves with the Giver of that gift of Liberty and the provider of the hope of victory.
In one of the darkest moments of our history, a story is told of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Henry’s wife had been tragically and fatally burned in June of 1861. Henry, himself, was badly burned trying to put out the fire that consumed his beloved wife. He was so consumed by grief over the loss of his wife, at Christmas he wrote in his journal, “How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.” One year later, Henry wrote, “A merry Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” That following year, Henry learns that his oldest son was severely wounded in the Civil War after a bullet passed under his should blades damaging his spine. His journal was blank on Christmas on 1864. However, on Christmas day, 1865, Henry penned the words to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. During one of the darkest times our nation has ever known, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow found his hope;
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Henry awoke from his despair and realized that God is not dead and is still the Giver of peace and hope. He knew that God promises victory to those who trust in Christ and will stand for God’s gifts. He was able to express that hope in the phrase,
“God is not dead; nor does he sleep! The Wrong shall fail; the Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
That same promise belongs to us, the greatest nation this world has ever known. We simply must place our trust in the right place. My hope is not in Congress. My hope is not in any man or his government. In this holy season, let us not forget that through the shed blood of Christ, whether the victory is on the battle field or through the gates of Heaven, we are winners either way.
This is the REAL HOPE; a hope that has changed the world.
MERRY CHRISTMAS from KrisAnneHall.com