‘Finger of Providence’ evident in country’s founding days
by Nelson Price
July 13, 2013 11:35 PM | 1093 views | 3 3 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Adams is reputed to have said regarding the Constitution, “It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service (writing of the Constitution) had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven.”

That statement standing alone makes Adams look like a skeptic.

However, he and other founders made contrary statements.

In a letter dated June 20, 1788, George Washington wrote his friend John Trumbull regarding the events leading up to and the emergence of America:

“We may, with a kind of grateful and pious exultation, trace the finger of Providence through those dark and mysterious events ...”

Adams himself seems to have had a change of heart when he wrote Thomas Jefferson that, “The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles on which that beautiful Assembly of Gentlemen could Unite ... And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United.”

Adams, the second president of the United States, further wrote of the “settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scheme and design in Providence ...”

In “The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,” a letter to him from John Adams written June 28, 1813, Adams opined, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Regarding his priorities, Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, on April 15, 1776, “Let them revere nothing but religion, morality, and liberty.”

In writing Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776, John Adams observed, “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue ...”

In a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of Massachusetts, Adams concluded, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religions. ... Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

In “The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States” editor Charles Adams noted John Adams said, “Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.”

Thomas Jefferson, a man who vacillated in his statements regarding faith in his “Notes on the State of Virginia” queried, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. 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. Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

I write such columns as this knowing there are those who are trying to remove from minds the very existence of God.

In his farewell address President Washington spoke of such persons, “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, the firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”

The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Too funny
July 16, 2013
"I write such columns as this knowing there are those who are trying to remove from minds the very existence of God"

At least you're finally conceding what we already know; namely that "god" is an idea which lives in the imagination of individuals.

on balance
July 15, 2013
Dr Price

The post of "Finger of..." is far from popular opinion. If I were suspicious, I would think that bis was one of our regulars here who chose to go undercover for this post.

Dr Price, you have been accused in the past of generalizations. Now you take the time to cite specific statements to support your thesis and the Finger dismisses it. He/she dismisses it simply because it proves your point.

Finger can cavil all he/she will. The words have been written and captured as part of our history.

"The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God..."

"they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

The arguments will go on forever since truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Finger also seems to want to blame God for any bad things that happened. Lastly Finger, I imagine fancying him/herself as a logical being, wants respect for our accomplishments without giving thanks to God.

That is fine with me, but why is Finger compelled to write about is since any proof of that pudding is post mortem.

Thank you, Dr Price.
Finger of.....
July 14, 2013
Yeah yeah we've heard this ridiculous basis for the founding of this nation time and again from you Mr Price -- let's be clear about this though, the historical evidence is pretty clear that the "finger" you speak of is much more likely the fingers of money and human greed, greed that justified both the revolt from our British overlords (yay, we're all for that) but also the criminality of slavery and perpetual indentured servitude (uh oh....did we really do those things?).

My guess is that if we try to attach God's hands to a complete picture of this great country's foundations, those atrocities, which were fundamental to the economic rationale for our early success as a nation, seem a bit divergent from your so-called "foundation of Providence".

Get real...stop fantasizing that there's some sort of magical, lordly endorsement for this nation and simply respect us for what we've accomplished...righting our wrongs and realizing greater prosperity after opening up freedom's gifts to ALL people.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides