From his Farewell Address,
"One method of assault
may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which
will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what
cannot be directly overthrown. . . .
"… the habits of thinking
in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with
its administration to confine themselves within their respective
constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of
one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment
tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and
thus to create, whatever the form of government, a
"Let there be no change by
usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of
good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
. . .
"Real patriots who may resist
the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious,
while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people
to surrender their interests.....
"Of all the dispositions and
habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality
are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute
of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human
happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The
mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to
cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private
and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security
for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation
desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in
Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition,
that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded
to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure,
reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality
can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
"...virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of
free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with
indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?
"...a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety
of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion
of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest
exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the
former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter,
without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions
to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others.... And it gives
to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves
to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests
of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity;
gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable
deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the
base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation....
"In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate
friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression
I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the
passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has
hitherto marked the destiny of nations. ....that they may
... warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue....
George Washington, September 17, 1796
The entire message:
At his First
Inauguration, April 30, 1789,
Washington placed his hand on a Bible opened to Deuteronomy
28. That page held a warning America would do well to heed
it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord
your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command
you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations
of the earth....
“The Lord will cause
your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face....
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give
the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of
your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail.... if you
heed the commandments of the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Does that promise
remind you of America?
A long list of
wonderful blessings follows – the kinds of favors God has showered
on this nation. But verse 15 begins a parallel list of consequences
for disobedience. May I suggest you read the whole sobering
chapter. It ends with,
“But...if you do not
obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His
commandments.... that all these curses will come upon you and overtake
you.... The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with
inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching,
and with mildew.... The Lord will change the rain of your land to
powder and dust.... The Lord will cause you to be defeated before
"A nation whom you
have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce
of your labor... Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce
of your land.... The alien who is among you shall rise higher and
higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall
lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head,
and you shall be the tail.... Because you did not serve the Lord
your God with joy and gladness of heart...." Deuteronomy 28:47-48
Please pray with us
that this downward slide to poverty, plagues, and servitude will
not be the final page in the history of these wonderful United States
That means taking
George Washington's last point to heart:
"Of all the dispositions and
habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are
indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of
patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human
happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. …
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be
maintained without religion."
Washington meant Christianity. He knew God’s Word and counted on
His promises. Should we do less?