God is the Source of Freedom; Building a Great Nation-Part 3
God is the Source of Freedom is Part 3 of the series: Building a Great Nation
While the Declaration of Independence was declaring freedom Great Britain, it was also a declaration of dependence upon God for protection and deliverance, as well as an appeal to him to aid them in their righteous justification for seeking freedom:
“appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions,… with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence…”
It was obvious to many of the founders that God had granted the gift of freedom.
In 1774, Thomas Jefferson is quoted to have said, “From the time of the creation of Adam and Eve, God intended for all men to be free. God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”
In Jefferson’s notes on the State of Virginia, 1781, he said,
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God.”
Freedom is a relative concept for most people; free from bondage, tyranny, anarchy, etc. Political freedom is the absence of coercion or force from a government, while freedom of conscience means free to think and act according to one’s beliefs. Financial freedom is freedom from debt.
Freedom in another sense could described as the accumulation of right choices.
Through God’s natural laws, men were meant to be free, but most political systems do not accommodate God’s view on the subject. Under the rule of King George III, the colonists were losing their freedoms under God’s natural laws and were justified to re-establish those freedoms. In declaring independence, the colonists believed their motives were righteous and they could call upon God to help them gain freedom.
The Declaration of Independence…and Dependence
The Declaration of Independence was also a declaration of dependence upon God for protection and deliverance, as well as an appeal to Him to aid them in their righteous quest for freedom:
“We therefore, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, … with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…”
Declaration of Independence
It was clear to most of the founders during the American Revolution War and after they won independence, God had granted them freedom. Many religious leaders left the pulpit to lead their brothers into battle in the fight for freedom. They did so with the belief that freedom was “of God” and was God’s will, and that a “Christian’s responsibility should include securing freedom for America.”
Lutheran minister John Peter Muhlenberg, in 1775, after preaching a message on Ecclesiastes 3:1,
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” closed his message by saying, “In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.”
Muhlenberg was an officer in the Revolutionary Army. The same day he delivered his sermon, he led 300 men to join Gen. George Washington’s troops. H became the colonel of the 8th Virginia Regiment and served until the war’s end and was promoted to major-general.
Personal Beliefs of Our Founders Went With Them, Even in Battle
According to their understanding of the Bible, the founders knew that God could lead them in their battles. God could bless them and protect them if they were righteous, in their lives, in their cause, if they believed they were doing God’s will.
Some of the founders experienced God’s divine providence in controlling the elements in their favor. Just as God had parted the Red Sea for Moses, the winds, fog, waves, or still waters, had on occasions aided in the battles on behalf of American patriots.
“After seven days and nights of fighting, the terrified Cornwallis made a desperate attempt to get his troops across the York River to Gloucester. His plan was to fight his way northward until he could escape along the coast. But it was not to be. Barely were his men loaded on boats to row across the York when a virtual hurricane suddenly arose and blew the boats directly back to the Yorktown River bank. Cornwallis expostulated that it even looked like God was on Washington’s side.”
W. Cleon Skousen The Making of America
Our Founders: Freedom is God-given
The Founders’ steadfast belief that freedom is a God-given right led them through the years preceding and throughout the revolution. Bound by their beliefs, they respected what God had blessed them with and brought those convictions into the building of a great nation.
“The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this (the course of the war) that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations (to God).
Commander-in-Chief George Washington to Brigadier-General Thomas Nelson; 20 August 1778
Sources: William J. Federer, America’s God and County…Wm. J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian 1919…W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America…Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774