In about a week and a half we’ll celebrate the 243rdanniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America from England. The founding fathers increasingly recognized the providential hand of God in it all.
In his remarks to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 Ben Franklin said,
“In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?
In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending Providence in our favor.
To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that Powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance?
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a byword down to future age.
And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.” As we celebrate the 4thof July and our Independence Day, we ought to heed Franklin’s counsel, and earnestly invoke the help of our Lord for the future of our Republic.