Sunday, July 3, 2016
"Atmosphere of Life" July 4th 2016
As one might see from the last post, it has been a while since I took the time to post on here. Even longer than that since I have been consistent. There have been a number of reasons for that of which I will not burden you with. But I thought today I would take some time and put down a few thoughts while our minds are to some degree resting upon our nation as we celebrate our Independence, this 4th of July being our 240th anniversary.
I remember many years ago some of my first discoveries of the principles that rest at the heart of who we were as a nation. I understand the complication involved and the various opinions one will wade through trying to put their finger on the reason for a place called America. It is not my purpose to offer you another opinion, though I have one, but simply to encourage us to think about were our roots are planted.
It is hard to know where to begin to dig, the principles that have come to influence all our lives and develop into this experience of freedom we call America began to take root long before they arrived and matured in this land we now call the land of the free and the home of the brave. I will not attempt to promote the idea that this maturity ever was or ever will be perfect. The wonderful men we call our Founding Fathers were men, and being so they as well as us had many imperfections and tendencies to lure them to sin and failure.
What they did have was an atmosphere that had been breathed upon by the Word of God, by that I mean, their thought process was growing in a society where faith and the Christian influence was prevailing. I know this will be troubling for some, but it's just the way it was.
Yes, there were political minds at work, systems being developed, secular documents being drafted, and the minds of men were reasoning with one another. But all these various parts of human reasoning were under the power and influence of a religious atmosphere that had prevailed upon a people. Their understanding of God, his Word, and the redemption provided through His Son Jesus Christ, coupled with how they understood the human condition in relation to Him, affected every reasonable thought that produced fruit in their lives. Thus, though a secular document was deliberated and drawn up, the secular activity prescribed by it would be conducive to those religious understandings.
Thus, as many have pointed out, our governing documents are of a secular nature and not of a religious nature. The point is well taken, yet the secular nature derived it's life and purpose from it's religious nature. It is herein that our problems have developed, our nation, it's people, and it's leaders to a greater extent, no longer feel the influence of this prevailing atmosphere of which those in the formation of this nation lived and breathed.
This change taking place has caused difficulty in our society, and those secular documents are now viewed and reasoned in the minds of men that have an entirely different understanding. Thus, many of our customs and activities that were once understood as relevant to and supported by these documents are now in many cases understood to have no relation to or in any way supportive of these activities, and in some cases even construed to be in opposition to them.
This struggle will continue until we are either drawn back to our previous religious convictions and our society once again breathes the atmosphere of God's Word and life, or we are completely given over to our own understandings. We will either prosper upon the Word of God, or die by our own foolishness.
We find in our own Declaration of Independence, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that we appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions (reasoning's), and that our very lives are pledged to each other, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. If we reject this commitment to God, our pledges to each other, our fortunes, and our honor find no support, no help, no sure footing to take a stand. We are but a straw house in the wind.
David Josiah Brewer (1837-1910) justice of the United States Supreme Court stated in 1892 concerning the general mind of our nation; "There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people." Quoting from Updegraph v. The Commonwealth he continued, "Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law . . . not Christianity with an established church . . . but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men. . . . We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters." Later he would add, "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.
Breathing and living in an atmosphere such as one described above by Justice Brewer, the American way of life has flourished, because the Word of God had free course and the minds of men were exposed to it's wisdom and power to transform lives. This experience has been solely by the Grace of God, it is my desire and prayer to God that He in His wondrous Mercy grant us once again such precious Grace.
May the Grace of God be upon each of you,
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