American Theocrats-Past and Present

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Dec 14, 2004, 12:49:51 PM12/14/04

In an article in the Danville Review, entitled the °' Divine Origin
and Supremacy of Civil Government," Dr. Breckinridge writes "We have
imbibed the notion from our statesmen that government is a 'sort of
_compact among men, instead of an eternal principle." This theory of
government he speaks of as "a theory essentially atheistic,

and whose necessary consequence is anarchy, as is every arrangement that
has no God in it." "What has the idea of government being a compact done
for us? It has hatched in our bosom the monstrous prodigy of secession and
He then adds
" It must be a source of shame and wonder that our Constitution,
the embodiment of our system, has no mention of God in it. How in this its
power is weakened ? What bad morals it teaches the young offspring to be
born and raised [sic] nnder its protecting aegis ! And bitterly are we
reaping the effects of its implied atheism, as well as presenting to the
world the astonishing fact of a Constitution ignoring the only source of
its power, without which not a single wheel of its machinery would ever
move upon its pinions."-Danville Review, ,Jan. 1864.

Dr. Pomeroy, Professor of Political Science in the University of
New York, is best known by his works on °° Constitutional Law " and "
Municipal Law." In the latter of these profound treatises, occur the
following testimony on the point in question:
"In the United States we have in theory, at least, banished all
recognition of God. Yet some remains of our long education, lasting through
centuries of our English history, are still preserved to us in the oaths
administered to witnesses, and the forms of writs or judicial orders
acknowledging that we exist as a free and independent people by the grace
of God. I may be permitted here to express a fervent hope that, as a
people, we are certainly Christian, so as a nation we may soon throw off
our character of infidelity."-Municipal Law, p. 194.
"The theory of our National Constitution is that the State, as an
organic body, has nothing whatever to do with religion, except to protect
the individuals in whatever belief or worship they may adopt; that religion
is entirely a matter between each man and his God. . . . This is"not the
place to inquire into the 'correctness of our theory of the relations of
the State to religion. It is not adopted by any other Christian government.
. . . It is proper, however, to remark that there is a growing opinion
among thoughtful men all over the country, that this thing should be
abandoned, and that as 3. State we should acknowledge the claims of God
upon us, and own him to be the Supreme Ruler of nations in their organic
capacity, as well as of the single individuals who make up the
nation."-Municipal Law, pp. 392,393

In a discourse entitled "The State a Christian Brotherhood,"
delivered before the New England Conference at Charlestown, Massachusetts,
on the occasion of the annual State Fast, April 2d, 1863, Bishop Haven
spoke in the following terms. He had referred to the separation of Church
and State in this country as involving the danger of the national disavowal
of Christianity."This," he says, "is new in history; new, in important
respects, to ourselves . . . . .

The colony of Roger Williams was a Baptist colony, with all its toleration
; so was Penn's a Quaker. Both were Christians. The deposition of
Christianity from the supreme seat is an act almost of our day. It is not
yet everywhere formally accomplished, though the force of the current
sweeps us thither. " He then continues:
"The greatest peril of such a disunion is, that the State ceases to
recognize Christ as its Head. We may be so tolerant as to be intolerant of
Christianity. We may allow such liberty as to reject the authority of the
Author of all our liberties. We are attempting to build up and make mighty
in the earth a nation that is Christian in reality, and not in name. How
difficult, if not impossible, such a work is, can only be seen by comparing
it with every other great nation in history. The four kingdoms that Daniel
described to Nebuchadnezzar were pagan powers, crushed by the Stone cut
from the eternal mountain. The governments since the days of Constantine
have been perfect portions of that kingdom that is to fill the whole earth.
This divine kingdom is going on to its completion, and every' power to whom
God giveth prominence must consider itself as one of its component parts.
The successive rise of these Christian empires has been because of
their partial allegiance to Grist-their successive fall, because of their
subsequent revolt from Him.The present hour holds four great powers
influencing the world, England, France, Russia and the United States.
Each of the others is the representative of a grand division of the
Christian Church. We profess not to represent the Christian Church in any
of these great divisions. Further than this, we profess not to represent
Christianity itself. The first position is.right; the second is, wrong. It
is proper for us to say we are not a Papist or Protestant nation. It is
proper to amply protect Jew, Mussulman, Pagan, and Infidel, in his worship
or non-worship ; but it is not proper to refuse to recognize Christ as our
nation's Head. It is not right to carefully abstain,. in.every presidential
message and -proclamation of fasting or thanksgiving, horn mentioning the
name of the Saviour of the world. Such liberality is licentiousness, such
fastidiousness is fatal. We aspire to the leadership of the world. But it
must be only as the lieutenant of Christ. If we hope to thrust ourselves
into the front rank of the race, at this period of the world's history, and
so near the millennial reign, without any especial cognizance of Him by
whom are all things, and for whom are all things, we shall find that we
have made a dreadful mistake. We shall surely and most suddenly be ground
to powder under the steady and rapid advance of that divine Stone. We shall
be as though we had never been. God would make small account- of us, no
matter how large we made of ourselves, did we thus trifle with His decree,
made before the world was, and confirmed often since man began his career:
' Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' Christ has asked,
has earned the gift. It shall be given. Who art thou, Goliath of America,
that darest to, talk about establishing a kingdom with no Christ in it, or
with Christ put on a level with Mahomet or Buddha, Paine or Parker? The
nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish. Yea, those
nations shall be utterly wasted. It is as true now as in the days of pagan
Nero; as, true here as in Mohammedan Turkey. You may say we are Christian.
So we might be if the majority governed

but this is a case where the minority govern ; and no President dares
acknowledge Christianity to be the religion of this nation. It may
offend some unchristian conscience. The call to prayer and fasting that
appears in to-day's papers confirms the statement. There is no Christ in
it. It is contrary to our cardinal principles. If this is to be the
doctrine of America she will never live on'- half her days. The attempt now
being made to introduce into the a Constitution confession of national
faith in God nd Christ ought to be pressed forward. The blessing of God
will attend its success." -National Sermons, &.329, 330.

This brings us to the year of the formation of the National
Association for the Religious Amendment of the Constitution. The last
quotation we have made refers to the inception of this movement. And thus
our chain of testimony is complete, stretching its strong and closely
connected links from the very year of the grave omission to the vigorous
organized effort for its remedy.
And now in closing, let me simply call attention to a number of
important points concerning this chain of testimony
1. The witnesses are citizens of the highest standing. Learned and
patriotic men, lawyers, judges, divines, legislators, editors, professors
of political science, all unite in harmonious and most explicit testimony
to the religious defect of our Constitution. :This mass of testimony might
be indefinitely augmented by citing less eminent witnesses.
2. The testimony is calm and deliberate. It was not called forth in
defense of any party or sect. There is nothing partisan or sectarian about
it. Men of all shades of political opinion, of the different religious
denominations, some of them not church members at all, so far as is known,
in the South as well as in the North, lift up the same voice and point at
the same lamented defect.
3. In times of national calamity and danger, the testimony be comes
peculiarily emphatic. During the war of 1812, and again during the
rebellion, when we were made to feel our dependence, as a nation, on God,
we confessed our sin with evident sincerity. Voices now silent in the time
of the nation's peace and prosperity, were ten years ago lifted up in
solemn warning. But shall we conduct ourselves toward the God of nations,
as Pagans have dealt with their divinities? Shall we betake ourselves to
Him in the raging of the storm, and when the sun beams forth again, forget
the power that protected us? If God is to be our refuge and our strength
when the land-is rocked to its foundations, let us have self-respect and
dignity of character enough, if nothing more, to acknowledge Him when peace
is extended to us like a river.

And truly this magnificent assemblage gives good ground for hope
that the time when the defect pointed out shall be remedied cannot be very
far distant. One of the steps which Dr. Boardman twelve years ago deemed so
important and imperatively necessary, has al ready been taken. We have
impressed upon our coinage the sentiment to which patriot hearts thrilled
response in our national agony "In God we trust." The other step, the
acknowledgment of God in the Constitution, will consistently, logically,
and next in order, follow.Is not the gathering of these numerous delegates
from so many States here to-day, the lifting of the nation's foot in
readiness to stride onward in that very step which will settle it firm and
fast on the foundation of eternal truth.
If the voices of the witnesses cited have sounded so potently down
through the generations past, what must the effect of the voice of this
Convention be ? Isolated voices, like streams converging from different
declines, now mingle and sweep onward in one vast overwhelming current. The
voice of this gathering is the voice of many waters. And tributaries now
pouring in, and soon to pour in, in more frequent and abundant confluence,
from Atlantic and Pacific slopes, from Rocky mountain heights, from rolling
prairie land and granite hills and southern vales, will swell the volume
and augment the power of these congregated waters until their voice shall
be like the seven thunders round the throne, or the utterance of "ten
thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands " of angels and
living creatures and elders in the ascending ascription ; " Blessing,
and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb, forever and ever"
SOURCE: CHRISTIAN STATESMAN TRACT # 7. [This tract was originally prepared
for the National Convention which met in Pittsburgh, Feb. 4. 1874. A
reference at the close of the paper to the large gathering of friends of
the Religious Amendment will be better understood from the statement of the
fact that 1,065 delegates were in attendance at the Convention. The full
Proceedings. of this Convention,, together with an Account of the Origin
and Progress of the Movement for the Religious Amendment of the
Constitution, may be obtained at. the CHRISTIAN STATESMAN office, too
North 6th St., Philadelphia. ]

Dec 14, 2004, 12:49:29 PM12/14/04

ROBERT BAIRD, D. D., 1856.
In his well-known and widely circulated work on "Religion in
America," first published in 1856, this author, after exculpating the
framers of the Constitution for omitting all formal acknowledgment of
Christianity, nevertheless adds these words:
" Should any one, after all, regret that the Constitution does not
contain something more explicit on the subject, I cannot but say that I
participate in that regret. Sure I am that, had the excellent men who
framed the Constitution foreseen-the inferences, that have been drawn from
the omission, they would have recognized, in a proper formula, the
existence of God, and the truth and the importance of the Christian
religion."-Religion in America, p. 242

PROF. J. H. M'ILVAINE, D.D., 1859.
This writer, Professor of Political Science in the College of New
Jersey, in an article in the "Princeton Review," for October; 1859,
entitled "A Nation's Right to Worship God," testifies as follows:
"The Constitution of the United States has rigorously abstained
from all recognition of or allusion to Christianity, or to the being of a
God. What is called the oath of the President elect is presented in these
words: ' I do solemnly swear or affirm, &c., in which the officer elect is
left free to swear by nothing at all, and thus to leave out not only all
recognition of God, but therein also, the very essence of an oath. The
practical effect, whether or not the original object of all this, is. the
neutrality of the government with respect to all religions, so that no
possible governmental influence can be constitutionally exerted for or
against any form of religious belief. This absolute neutrality in religion
of the Constitution of the United States is admitted and. defended by the
commentators. Says. one, of them:.There are

reasons why the introduction of religion would have been unreasonable if
not improper. The Constitution was intended exclusively for civil purposes.
The purity of religion is best preserved by keeping it separate from
government. For these and other reasons he adds. "It was impossible to
introduce into the Constitution even an expression of gratitude to the
Almighty for the formation of the present government.' Such are the views
of the commentators upon the Constitution of the United States, in which
they manifest a cordial zeal for the purity of religion by keeping it
separate from government; but unfortunately they do not inform us what is
to preserve the purity of government after it has become sequestered from
religion-has thus solemnly excommunicated itself. It were devoutly to be
wished that some eminent statist of that school would speak to this
point."-(Princeton Review, October, Pp. 675-677.)
This brings us up to the period of our great struggle for national
life and human right. And now, as in the [war of 1812, the moral and
religious defect of our Constitution becomes more clearly and widely seen,
and more frankly acknowledged. We notice the following prominent
testimonies during this period of our history:

On January 4, 1861, the day appointed for fasting and prayer by the
President, as the premonitions of the corning political earthquake startled
the nation into some sense of its sins, Dr. Duffield, then of Philadelphia,
preached a discourse, 躬 The God of our Fathers," of far more than ordinary
historic value. The phrase " national sins," in the President's
proclamation, suggested to the preacher the inquiry as to what the sins
were. In answering this he says:
"'Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation,' and as.a nation He
will hold us responsible for this robbery of his service and honor, just as
much as he did Israel and Babylon, and Persia, and Greece and Rome. To deny
that God is ' the Governor of the nations,' (Ps. xxii. 28,) is to deny his
Divine providence, acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, and to
deny the providence of God is to deny his attributes. * * * It is that
old story of Israel and human nature over again: ' Jeshurun waxed fat and
kicked.' Temporal prosperity was too much for him. "Then he forsook the
God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation."'
(Dent. xxxii. 15")
Then, quoting Dr. Mason's testimony, as. we have already given it,
to the omission of God and Christianity from the Constitution, Dr. Duffield
asks: "Was this omission intentional, as in the original draft of the
Declaration of Independence? or was it a moral oversight; even greater than
the tremendous political oversight in the original Articles of
Confederation ?"-The God of our Fathers, pp. 13-15

The disaster at Bull Run, at the close of July, 1861, led our

to try its ways and turn to the Lord. The Sabbath immediately following
that dark day of national humiliation and shame, Dr. Bushnell, of Hartford,
Connecticut, preached one of the most remarkable sermons called out by the
war. This discourse is entitled " Reverses Needed." It is exceedingly
difficult to make selections from the closely-linked discussion. The
following must suffice

"It is a remarkable, but very serious fact, not sufficiently noted,
as far as my observation extends, that our grand Revolutionary fathers left
us the legacy of this war in the ambiguities of thought and principle which
they suffered in respect to the foundations of government itself. The real
fact is that, without proposing it, or being distinctly conscious of it,
they organized a government, such as we, at least, have understood to be
without moral or religious ideas; in one view a merely man made compact,
which, without something further, which- in fact was omitted or
philosophically excluded, could never have more than a semblance of
authority. More it has actually had, because our nation itself has been
wiser and deeper, and closer to God, than our political doctrines; but we
have been gradually wearing our nature down to the level of our doctrines,
crushing out, so to speak, the sentiments in it that took hold of
authority, till at last, we have brought ourselves down as closely as may
be to the dissolution of all nationality and all ties of order. Proximately
our whole difficulty is an issue forced by slavery; but if we go back to
the deepest root of the trouble, we shall find that it comes of trying to
maintain a government without moral ideas, and concentrate a loyal feeling
around institutions that, as many reason, are only human compacts,
entitled, of course, if that be all, to no feeling of authority, or even of
respect. In all these schemings of theory by which we have been contriving
to generate, 'or have generated, a government without going above humanity,
we leave out al moral ideas, and take away all true forces necessary, to
government. .Our merely terrene, almost subterranean .always, godless
fabric, becomes more and more exactly what we have taken it to be in our
Then, while remarking that the time of our fearful conflict was "no
time to agitate or put on foot political reforms of any kind," the author
also says, in perfect harmony with the sentiment which less than three
years later secured the formation of this Association
"1 It might not be amiss, at some fit time, to insert in the
preamble of our Constitution, a recognition of the fact that the authority
of government, in every form, is derivable only from God; cutting off in
this manner, the false theories under which we have been so fatally
demoralized."-Sermon, Pp. 9, 10, 13, 18. 26.

And now, in this immediate connection, I have to introduce the
testimony of a witness, the very mention of whose name will cause many eyes
to open wide with astonishment.

Dec 14, 2004, 12:49:16 PM12/14/04

This able clergyman, in a sermon preached at East Winsdor,
Connecticut, on the national fast appointed by the President and Congress,
January 12, 1815, gave utterance to what becomes a wide-spread feeling in
every time of national calamity. During the war of 1812, as more recently
during the rebellion, the hearts of our people were turned to God. In this
sermon by Mr. Robbins, published by particular request, the sins of the
nation are confessed:
"In our national capacity we have not acknowledged and served the
God of heaven. The great evil of our country, in my view, has been that we
have attempted to strike a new path to national prosperity regardless of
all the dictates of experience,

and the testimony of the Word of God. We have been not a religious, but a
political people. Our government was formed upon the principle of excluding
all religious principles and character. The country was universally pleased
with this feature of the Constitution, believing that, unlike all other
prosperous nations that have ever existed, we should rise to national
greatness without any national religion. God is not formally recognized,
owned or worshipped. I speak not of individuals, for we doubt not that the
Lord Jesus has his church in our land, which has enjoyed the rich blessings
of His Holy Spirit. But in our collective national capacity we do not
worship the God of heaven, we do not acknowledge his Son, we do not receive
His Holy Word. I do not recommend the [sic] the legal establishment of any
particular , denomination, but lament that our nation has not adopted some
method of professing a humble acknowledgment of the Saviour of men, and of
the religion of the Holy Scriptures."-Sermon, pp. 18, 19.

A very important testimony to the religious defect of our National
Constitution is found in a sermon by Dr. J. B. Romeyn, pastor, in the early
part of this century, of the Cedar street Presbyterian church, New York.
The sermon, entitled "The Duty of Americans in the Present Crisis," was
preached, like that of Mr. Robbins, on the national fast, January 12, 1815.
First among the national sins to which the preacher calls attention, is
"the nature of our political Constitution." He then proceeds
"The particular point to which I refer is its defect in regard to
religion. That I may not be misunderstood, I think it proper to state that
the people of this country are avowedly a Christian people. . . . . As
a Christian people, the inhabitants of the United States have the right to
regulate their own political compact, and no one can consistently object to
such regulation. To no people has God given such an opportunity to govern
themselves as he has to us. All our acts, therefore, must be considered the
acts of our choice. This is peculiarly the case with the Federal
Constitution. The United States adopted it deliberately of their own
accord in time of peace, with no foreign power to compel them. Though it be
thus the choice of a Christian people, in it are not recognized even the
existence and government of God, much less the authority of his revealed
"I dislike and reprobate the modeling of churches by civil power,
and the exclusive establishment of any particular denomination. Such
establishments, I hope, will never take place in this country; for I
consider them a grievous evil. But I do not hesitate to say that propriety,
reason, and the Word of God require from us, as a Christian people, two
things: 1. The recognition of the existence and providence of God. 2. The
acknowledgment of his revealed truth." (Sermons, Edinb. ed. pp. 477,480)

Prominent among these testimonies, in connection with the war of
1812, is that of Dr. Alexander McLeod, pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian
church, New York. In 1815 he published a series of sermons

on " The Character, Causes, and Ends of the Present War "-an admirable
group of patriotic and statesmanlike discussions. In the second sermon of
the series he remarks:
"The public immoralities of the Constitution of our Federal
government may be classed under two heads, viz., disrespect far God, and
violation of human liberty. By the terms of the national compact God is not
at all acknowledged, and holding men in slavery is authorized. Both these
are evils. No association of men for moral purposes can be justified in an
entire neglect of the Sovereign of the world. Statesmen in this country had
undoubtedly in their eye the abuse of religion for mere political purposes,
which in the nations of the Old World had corrupted the sanctuary and laid
the foundation for the persecution of godly men. But no consideration will
justify the framers of the Federal Constitution and the administration of
the government in withholding a recognition of the Lord and his Anointed
from the grand charter of the nation. At our ordinary meals we acknowledge
the Lord of the world. We begin our last testament for disposing of worldly
estates, I In the name of God'; and. shall we be guiltless, with the Bible
in our hands, to disclaim the Christian religion as a body politic?"
(Sermons on the War, PP. .54, 55.)

December 9th, 1819, was appointed. by the Governor of Pennsylvania
as a day of humiliation, thanksgiving, and prayer. Among the sermons
preached on that. day,, was one entitled,. "Judgment and Mercy," in the
Presbyterian church of the borough of Carlisle, by the above named
clergyman. Mentioning the sins of which the nation was guilty, he said:
" There is one strictly national; that commenced in the adoption of
the - Federal'
Constitution, i. e. the want of an acknowledgment in it of a Supreme Being
and of a Divine revelation. Thai all-important engine of our-national
prosperity is, in form at least, entirely atheistical. Undoubtedly it was
a-great sin to have forgotten God in such an important national instrument,
and not to have acknowledged Him in that which forms the very nerves and
sinews of the political body. He had led us through all the perils of the
Revolutionary struggle, and had established us in peaceful and plentiful
security, and then to lave been forgotten in the period of prosperity,
certainly demanded His rebuke. Therefore hath the voice of His Providence
proclaimed and even still it sounds in our ears: ' I did know thee in the
wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so
were they, filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore
have they forgotten me. Therefore will I be unto them as a lion; as a
leopard by the way will I observe them."'

JAMES R. WILSON, D.D., 1820-1840.
. This rarely eloquent divine, at one time Chaplain to the
Legislature of New York, has left a number of sermons, published at
intervals during a period of twenty years or more, in which testimony
similar to that which has already been given is found. His sermon on 11 The

Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah," was published in 1820. In this
he says:
".In the United States the refusal to acknowledge God has probably
been more explicit than it ever was in any other nation. Soon after we had
obtained, through the beneficent providence of God, liberation from the
dominion of a foreign power; soon after the most eminent displays of
Jehovah's goodness to our land, the convention elected to form articles of
fundamental law for the Commonwealth, rejected the government of God, and
with a degree of ingratitude, perhaps without a parallel, formed a
Constitution in which there is not the slightest hint of homage to the God
of Heaven.-(Page 32.)
Another sermon, on " Civil Government and the Sabbath," published
in 1829, in which the report of the United States Senate on the,
transportation of mails on the Lord's day is powerfully handled, contains
important testimony. Contending that legislators,are bound by the law of
the Bible, the writer meets an objection:
" But the people, by their Constitution, they tell us, have
withheld from them the
power of knowing or being governed by the Divine law. This we deny. It is,
indeed, to be greatly deplored, and good men do deeply deplore, that there
is no formal recognition of Him who is Prince of the kings of the earth in
the Federal Constitution; but the Constitution has nowhere said that this
government either shall or may disobey God." (Page 44.)

Similar passages may be found in the sermons entitled, "The Written
Law," and "Prince Messiah."

The report of the Committee of the United States Senate, (1829) in
reference to the transportation of, mails on the Lord's day, and the
consequent increased disregard of that day by the nation, called forth many
able articles on the relation of civil government to the Sabbath.' Among
them is an article in the Princeton Review, in which occurs the following

" It is, probably, the regret of all pious men that the
Constitution of the. United States never recognizes the being or providence
of God. How far He will consider this as impious, who can tell? But surely
it would have been, at least, prudent to make some acknowledgment of our
dependence, and some expression of gratitude for national
favors."-Princeton Review, Oct. 1832, .pp. 519-520

This eminent jurist, in his Commentaries on the Constitution, after
maintaining that it is both reasonable and just for civil government "to
foster and encourage the Christian religion generally, as a matter of sound
policy as well as revealed truth," is constrained to state that the
National Constitution is so destitute of religious character that it

conflicts no more with the belief of the Jew, or even infidel, than with
that of the Christian. Or, in the words of judge Cooley, in his recent
edition of Story's Commentaries: "To meddle at all in matters of religion
is no part of the business of the general government." Such is the
religiously defective character of the Constitution of a great government
which, as a matter of sound policy as well as' revealed truth, should
foster and encourage the Christian religion.No wonder Judge Story further
"It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether
any free government can be permanent where the public worship of God an I
the support of religion constitute no part of the policy or the duty of the
State in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and
chiefly of the American States, must settle this problem, as yet new in the
history of the world, abundant as, it has been in experiments in the theory
of government."-Story's Commentaries, Cooley's edition, Vol. IL, pp; 605,
606, 609.

THE REV. D X. JUNKIN, D.D., 1845.
One of the best discussions of some of the principles that underlie civil
society, is a treatise by Dr. D. X. Junkin, published in 1845. Its title is
" The Oath a Divine Ordinance, and an Element of the Social Constitution."
It is unquestionably the ablest work to be found on the subject. Its
author says:
" The oath of the President of the United States [as embodied in
the Constitution] could as well be taken by a Pagan or a Mohammedan, as by
the Chief Magistrate of a Christian people; it excludes the name of the
Supreme Being. Indeed, it is negatively atheistical, for no God is appealed
to at all: In framing many of our public formularies, greater care seems to
have been taken to adapt them to. the prejudices of the infidel few, than
to the consciences of the Christian millions. In these things the
minority, in our country, has hitherto managed to govern the majority. In
every oath the name of God should, in obedience to the Divine command, be
interposed; and we look upon the designed omission of it as an attempt to
exclude from civil affairs Him who is the ''Governor among the nations."
(Psalm xxii. 28.) pp. 141-142

In the election sermon, preached before the Governor, Lieutenant Governor,
the Honorable Council, and. the Legislature of Massachusetts, Jan. 5, 1848,
Dr. Vinton states that our own nation, like France, has chosen the social
compact theory of Government. Of this theory he thus speaks:
"Forgetting or slighting the distinction between the source of
authority and the power of appointment, the theory of the social compact
seemed to alienate religion, and to stand alone, in perfect human
sufficiency. It was negatively atheistic, and it thus invited the practice
of, atheism.

Now, if there be any such thing as the or relation of a nation to the great
Governor of the world; if., God be, in any . valid and available sense, the
Ruler of nations, this omission to recognize him, or to make much of him,
in the essential theory of government, was a perfect, if not a [sic] a
fatal, oversight." " France," he continues, " adopted the principle to the
extent of its most ruthless radicalism. The issue of the experiment is
sufficiently notorious. Our own nation has made election, likewise, of the
same theory, as the basis of its polity, though with a mitigation of its
ferocity, and with conservative checks. But the great question is, are
these checks sufficient? Is there not the same capacity for mischief in our
modified system, as in its simpler forms? And what shall prevent the
development of its political evil?"-The Religious Theory of Civil
Government, &. 18, 19, 21.

DR. E. D. M' MASTER, 1849, 1856.
The first testimony of this witness, President of Miami University,
Oxford, Ohio, is found in a masterly discourse delivered. on the occasion
of the national fast, August 3d; 1849. The preacher said:
"The men who planted the first colonies in this land and laid the
foundations of these States, were men who feared God, and even in their
political affairs, as in other things, were not ashamed to honor His Son.
In the days, too, of our weakness and fear and perplexity, when struggling
to throw off a foreign dominion, and to gain a place as an independent
nation among the powers of the earth, the fathers . of our country made in
her name, an explicit, formal, and solemn appeal to God in the heavens, as
the righteous judge and Governor of nations, to own the justice of her
cause and vindicate her rights. He heard and answered; gave victory to our
arms, and independence to us as a nation, and peace in. all our borders,
and great prosperity and blessing to us as a people. But oh! how change?,
is all the scene since that! In the Constitution, which is the bond of
union of these States, under which they have grown tip from thirteen to
thirty great commonwealths, spread and spreading over the whole continent;
and the medium through which so manifold benefits have flowed to us a
people, there is not found the name of God, nor any reference, direct or
indirect, express or implied, to His law, His providence, or His being,
unless it be in the ambiguous term " I swear' in the prescribed oath of
office, and the formal designation of the eta of its establishment, as
that of ' our Lord.' '- (Page 23.)
At a later day, (July zd, 1856,) in a memorable address before the
Literary Societies of Miami University, entitled " The True Life of a
Nation," Dr. MacMaster repeated his testimony in these words:
"It is not. true that there is made by our na-.ion the entire
separation of religion, from the State and all political affairs, which is
often alleged. But it is true, and it is a matter of just reproach, .that
in the Constitution of the United States, the organic law of the nation,
there is, in direct and express terms, no recognition of the being, the
providence, or the law of God."-(Page 24.)

Coming on down to the year 1851, we meet with the testimony of the
Mercersburg Review. In the July number for that year, is an

elaborate and exceedingly valuable article,. entitled "Our National
Religion," in which it is maintained that our government has from the first
been in connection with Christianity, notwithstanding the religious defect
of the National Constitution. This defect is referred to in the following
"The position taken in the Constitution of the United States may be
regarded as not simply neutral, but decidedly negative in its character. .
. . . It does appear as though, in over anxiety to forestall any
inclination even to the establishment of a national church, all
recognitions of religion under any form were studiously avoided. This, we
are free to confess, is a remarkable feature in an instrument framed for
the government of such a nation, and at such a time. It would indeed seem
as though the solemn vow, previously made in a season of trouble, had been
wholly forgotten.The contrast, in this respect, between the Declaration of
Independence and this Constitution, is humiliating and painful.The appeal
made to the King of kings in the former, followed by ten thousand fervent
supplications from an afflicted, struggling people, was not unavailing. But
we look in vain, in this great charter, in which that Declaration found its
happy consummation, for a counterpart to that appeal. How shall this
painful incongruity be reconciled!"-(Page 329.)

Dec 14, 2004, 12:49:12 PM12/14/04

This will be a series of articles for our web site


identifying American Theocrats from approx 1776 to the present. It will
consist primarliy of their own comments visa various forms of primary and
secondary source documentations.

The first section which will be posted here is a series comes from one
source: CHRISTIAN STATESMAN TRACT # 7. [This tract was originally prepared
for the National Convention which met in Pittsburgh, Feb. 4. 1874. ]



Christian Statesman Tract --No. 7






[David McAllister (1835-1907) D.D., LL.D., was one of the founding editors
of The Christian Statesman and served at one time as general secretary of
the National Reform Association. He was vice president of Geneva College,
and the pastor of the Pittsburgh Reformed Presbyterian Church. ]

The religious defect of our National Constitution, otherwise so
admirable an instrument, is now arresting general attention. On the one
hand, the enemies of our Christian institutions of government glory in the
fact that the Constitution of the United States contains no acknowledgment
of God or the Christian religion; and, on the other hand, Christian
citizens, however reluctantly, are constrained to admit the fact.
This defect, of late coming so prominently into public view, has
never passed altogether unnoticed. From the formation of the Constitution
until the present organized effort to secure its religious amendment, there
has been an unbroken chain of testimony to its great defect. To many who
have but recently learned with surprise, that our Constitution contains no
acknowledgment of God or Christianity, this mass of testimony from some of
the ablest thinkers and most patriotic citizens of our country, has been
utterly unknown. It may prove interesting and important to gather this
array of testimony, scattered through many documents, some of which are
accessible to but few, into one complete summary, as a part of the
literature of the movement to secure the Religious Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States.
Following chronological order, we first meet with the testimony of

delegate from

Maryland to the convention that, framed the Constitution. In his letter,
dated January 27, 1788, to the Legislature of Maryland, of which State he
was Attorney General for thirty years, he says in regard to the exclusion,
by the convention, of all reference to God or Christianity from the
Constitution: .
"There were some members so unfashionable as to think that a belief
of the existence of a Deity, and of a state of future rewards and
punishments, would be some security for the good conduct of our rulers, and
that, in a Christian country, it would be at least decent to hold out some
distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity
or paganism."-Elliott's Debates, Vol. 385, 986.

The testimony of those members referred to has not been preserved.
There is no record of their objections in the reported proceedings of the

Here again the. records of the conventions of the States, held to
ratify the Constitution, are defective. But enough is found in. the
proceedings of some of them to show how sensible were many of their members
of its religious defect. Mr. Singletary, Gen'l Brooks, and Colonel
Jones in the Massachusetts convention, (Elliott's Debates, Vol. II. pp.
:44-,rig,) and. Messrs. Caldwell, Abbott, and Lancaster, in the North
Carolina convention, (Ibid. Vol. IV. p1. 191, 199, 215,) bear similar
testimony to that of Luther Martin, and in some instances emphatically call
attention to the omission of the name of God from the President's oath.

This eminent chaplain of the Revolution, observing with regret the
omission of all acknowledgment of God from the Constitution, inquired of
Alexander Hamilton, on his return from the convention in New York, how that
body could fail to incorporate in the Constitution a suitable recognition
of the Almighty. The well-known reply was, " Indeed, Doctor, we forgot it.
"- Duffield's " God of our Fathers," p. 15.

This body of patriotic citizens, in Newburyport, October 27, .1789,
sent an address to George Washington, in which allusion is made to
objections that had been urged against the Constitution. It is then added
"Among these we never considered the want of a religious test, that
grand engine of persecution in every tyrant's hand; but we should not have
been alone

in rejoicing to have seen some explicit acknowledgment of the only true God
and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, inserted somewhere in the Magna Charta
of our country."-Morris' Christian Life and Character of the Civil
Institutions of the U. S. p. 443.

DR. JOHN M. MASON, 1793, 1800.
Next in order among those who have borne public testimony against
the religious defect of our National Constitution, is Dr. John M. Mason,
that eminent patriot and prince of pulpit orators. In a sermon entitled
"Divine judgments," preached on September 20, 1793, a day set apart in New
York for public fasting on. account of the yellow fever in Philadelphia,
after enumerating manifold and great mercies conferred by God upon us as a
nation, he asks: °° But where has been our gratitude? What have we rendered
to the Lord for His profusion of benefits?" We ask our readers to weigh
well the solemn words with which the eloquent preacher answers his own

°' Let us appeal to the most interesting, important and solemn
business in which we have been engaged since our national existence. One
would imagine that no occasion of making a pointed and public
acknowledgment of the divine benignity could have presented itself so
obviously as the framing, of an instrument of government, which, in the
nature of things, must be closely allied to our happiness or our ruin, and
yet that very Constitution which the singular goodness of God enabled us to
establish does not so much as recognize His being! Yes, my brethren, it is
a lamentable truth; a truth at the mention of which, shame should crimson
our faces, that, like Jeshurun of old, we have waxed fat and kicked. Of
the Rock that begat us, we have been unmindful; we have forgotten His
works, and the wonders that He hath shown usa "
In a note to this part of the sermon, the writer thus pursues the
same subject:
"1 While many, on various pretenses, have criminated the Federal
Constitution one objection has urged itself forcibly on the pious mind.
That no notice whatever should be taken of that God who planteth a nation
and plucketh it up at His pleasure, is an omission which no pretext
whatever can palliate. Had such a momentous business been transacted by
Mohammedans, they would have begun, ' In the name of God.' Even the savages
whom we despise, setting a better example, would have paid some homage to
the Great Spirit. But from the Constitution of the United States, it is
impossible to ascertain what God we worship, or whether we own a God at
all. It is a very insufficient apology to plead that the devotion which
political institutions offer to the Supreme Being is, in most cases, a
matter of mere form; for the hypocrisy of one man, or set of men, is surely
no excuse for the infidelity of another. Should the citizens of America be
as irreligious as her Constitution, we will have reason to tremble, lest
the Governor of the universe, who will not be treated with indignity by a
people any more than by individuals, overturn from its foundations the
fabric we have been rearing, and crush as to atoms in the wreck."-Works,
Vol. III.pp.52,,53.

The testimony cited from Dr. Mason's writings would be incomplete,
if we failed to quote from his "Voice of Warning." In this stirring
discourse, dated September, 1800, and designed to convince, Christians of
their duty not to vote for irreligious and infidel men for rulers, he
"The Federal Constitution makes no acknowledgment of that God who gave us
our national existence, and saved us from anarchy and internal war.
This neglect has excited in many of its best. friends more alarm than all
other difficulties."
Works, VOI. IV., p. 570

SAMUEL B. WYLIE, D. D., 1803.
This distinguished scholar and divine, widely known from his long
and honorable connection with the University of Pennsylvania, in a
discourse styled "The Two Sons of Oil," gives the following testimony:
"The Federal Constitution, or instrument of national union, does
not even recognize the existence of God, the King of nations. In those
civil deeds, though the immediate end may be the happiness of the
Commonwealth, yet the ultimate end, is well in this as in every other thing
we do, should be the glory of God. Ought not men, in the formation of their
deeds, to consider their responsibility to the moral Governor and their
obligation to acknowledge his authority? (ProV. iii. 5.)" In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." That a national deed,
employed about the fundamental stipulations of magistracy as an ordinance
of God, and the investiture of magistrates as his ministers, should nowhere
recognize the existence of the Governor of the universe, is, to say nothing
worse of it, truly lamentable. May it not be said of this nation as of
Israel, (Hosea viii- 4,) "They have set up kings, but not by me; they have
made princes, and I knew it not "? Did not the framers of this instrument
act not only as if there had been no divine revelation for the supreme
standard of their conduct, but also as if there had been no God? Did they
not in this resemble the fool mentioned in Psalm xiv. 1, 3, who said in
his heart, There is no God "? Every official act of the governor of a
province must have some specific' stamp of his dependence upon the
authority which appointed him,-and shall a nation act as if independent- of
the God of the universe, and expect to be guiltless?" (Pages 34 ,35)

This celebrated New England Congregational Divine, afterwards
President of the University of Vermont, in a sermon to his congregation at
Worcester, Mass., on the occasion of the annual State fast, April II, 1811,
speaks as follows:
" However sagaciously devised and balanced our National
Constitution of government may be, in a mere political view, it has one
capital defect which will issue inevitably in its destruction. It is
entirely disconnected from Christianity.It is not founded on the Christian
religion. Not a single word respecting God or religion is to be found in
the original Constitution, save that an oath or affirmation is required of
officers of government."-Sermon preached at Worcester, #. 23, 32.

This writer, a Presbyterian minister, represented the Hampshire
(Mass.) district for several terms in Congress. In 1812 he was pastor of
the Presbyterian church in Coleraine, where, on the public fast, July 23d,
he preached two sermons entitled " God's Visitation of Sinful
Nations."These sermons were repeated August 29th, in Shelbourne. From the
very full and able discussion found in the first of these sermons, only
brief extracts can be made. The author says:
" I am constrained, somewhat reluctantly, I confess, to notice a
feature in our national government itself, which presents to my view a
national evil of great magnitude.I mean its being entirely destitute of
every appearance of a feature which can be termed religious. Perhaps
there is no one feature in the Constitution of the United States which has
been the subject of more numerous encomiums, or more unqualified praise,
upon both sides of the Atlantic, than this, I that it takes no notice of,
and is not at all connected with religion.' In this instance, the United
States are exhibiting anew and singular spectacle to the world. A
government without a connection with religion of some sort is probably a
novelty, a phenomenon which the world has never witnessed before. It is a
bold experiment, and one which, I fear, can only issue in national apostacy
and national ruin."-Sermons, pp. 22, 23.

The next witness whom we cite is Dr. Dwight, the well-known
President, in former years, of Yale College. On July 23d, 1812, the public
fast-day in Connecticut, in view of the calamities of war, President
Dwight, of Yale College, preached a discourse, in two parts, in the college
chapel, In the second part, among reasons for grave apprehension, is the
"The second of these reasons is, the sinful character of our
nation. Notwithstanding the prevalence of religion which I have described,
the irreligion and the wickedness of our land are such as to furnish a most
painful and melancholy prospect to a serious mind. We formed our
Constitution without any acknowledgment of God, without any recognition of
his mercies to us as a people, of his government, or even of his existence.
The convention by which it was formed, never asked, even once, his
direction or his blessing upon their labors. Thus we commenced our national
existence, under the present system, without God. I wish I could say
that a disposition to render him the reverence due to his great name, and
the, gratitude demanded by his innumerable mercies, had been more public,
visible, uniform, and fervent." (Page 46.)
In a volume entitled, 11 President Dwight's Decisions of Questions
discussed by the Senior Class in Yale College, in 1813 and 1814," are, many
weighty remarks on the question, " Ought religious tests to be required of
civil officers?" This question was discussed December 22d, 1813. The
language of this testimony is as follows:

"It is highly discreditable to us that we do not acknowledge God in
our Constitution. Now, it is remarkable that the grossest nations and
individuals, in their public acts and in their declarations, manifestoes,
proclamations, etc., always recognize the superintendency of a Supreme
Being. Even Napoleon does it. We, however, have neglected to do it. God
says, ' They who despise me shall be lightly esteemed and we have rendered
ourselves liable, as a nation, to his displeasure. The corruption which is
now rapidly extending in this country gives reason for apprehension that we
are soon to suffer the punishment to which we have exposed
ourselves.-Dwight's Decisions, pp. 111, 112.

The same year, May 13th, the Election Sermon, or the sermon at the
annual general election in Connecticut, was preached by the Rev. Chauncey
Lee, of Colebrook, a man of note, as the preachers of these sermons usually
were, and of fine ability. The subject of this discourse is, "The
Government of God, the true Source and Standard of Human Government." The
text chosen was Matt. vi. 13, the conclusion of the Lord's Prayer.
Near the close of the discourse the preacher said:
"Let it then be received as an axiom in politics; let it be
engraven upon our hearts as with the point of a diamond, that religion is
the only sure foundation of a free and happy government.. . . . With this
truth blazing before us, can we pause and reflect for a moment, without the
mingled emotions of wonder and regret, that that public instrument which
guaranties our political rights of freedom and independence-our
Constitution of national government, framed by such an august, learned, and
able body of men; formally adopted by the solemn resolution of each State;
and justly admired and celebrated for its consummate political wisdom, has
not the impress of religion upon it, not the smallest recognition of the
government or the being-of God, or of the dependence and accountability of
man. Be astonished, O earth! Nothing by which a foreigner might with
certainty: decide whether we-believe in the one true God, or in any God;
whether we are a nation of Christians, or but I forbear. The subject is too
delicate to say more, and it is too interesting to have said less. I leave
it with this single reflection, whether, if God be not in the camp, we have
not reason to tremble for the ark?" (Sermon,pp. ¢2, 43.)

Dec 14, 2004, 12:49:35 PM12/14/04

Of all the opponents of the Religious Amendment, not one has, so,
diligently hunted up difficulties and objections, so persistently and

unfairly assailed the movement and its supporters, as the New York
Independent. And yet out of the mouth of this journal itself shall we now
condemn its recent course and justify the men upon whom it would heap
opprobrium. In the time of our national calamity it spoke the very language
which to-day it denounces as unwise and intolerant. In its leading
editorial for September 26, 1861, headed "The Lord's Indictment against the
Nation," called forth by President Lincoln's proclamation for a national
fast, after the Bull Run disaster, it says
"The President calls upon us to-day, in sorrowful remembrance of
our own faults and crimes as a nation, and as individuals, to humble
ourselves before God, and to pray for His mercy. What, then, are the faults
and crimes which stand more immediately connected with our public
calamities-the sins which as a people we are called upon to confess and
forsake ? Some are disposed to dwell almost exclusively upon that
huge organic iniquity which has struck its roots so deeply into our
national history, which spreads over so large a portion of our territory
. . . But the root of our iniquities and calamities lies deeper even
than this; and fruitful in sins and judgments as slavery has been, it is
itself more a product than the cause of our national iniquity. . . .
Jehovah has a broader indictment against us than is represented by this one
count, even with all its frightful specifications. That indictment reads, '
Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers,
children that are corrupters! they have forsaken the Lord, they have
provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.'
To sum up the iniquity of this nation in one comprehensive charge, it is
GODLESSNESS: not atheism in the philosophical sense of denying the
existence of God, but that practical atheism which ignores the law and
authority of God and the requirements of religion in both public and
private affairs: which leaves out of view the law of God as a rule of civil
and social life, and the favor of God as an element of public prosperity.
"The specifications under this indictment are such as the
following: Dr. Bushnell , in his sermon on the Bull Run disaster, has made
prominent the fact that from the beginning we have shown our godlessness as
a nation, by ignoring the name and authority of God in the frame-work of
our political institutions. Neither the name of God, nor any reference to
His law, His government, or His providence, can be found in the
Constitution of the United States. Even the oath of fidelity administered
to the President has no recognition of God or of the sanctions of religion.
The only allusion of a religious kind in the Constitution is in the phrase,
' Sundays excepted,' in the ten days allowed the President for signing a
bill: but this is because by usage in secular business Sunday is a dies
non. The Constitution provides, as it should, against a religious
establishment, religious tests, or any infringement upon the rights of
conscience. But it does not even recognize the fact that it is an ordinance
of God for the well being of society that civil government shall exist; and
that such government should be administered upon the principles of truth,
justice, order and beneficence set forth in the moral government of God. '
We the people' made the Constitution, and ' We the people' have worshipped
it as the mirror of our own wisdom and power. Not Pharaoh boasting: ' My
river is mine own, and I have made it for myself;' not Nebuchadnezzar,
strutting upon his palace wall and saying, ' Is not this great Babylon that
I have built for the house of the

kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?' was
more vain-glorious and atheistic than we have been in boasting of the
mechanism of our, political institutions. We have allowed all men to have
their own religion or no religion, under the Constitution ; but the
Constitution itself has nothing to do with religion except as a barrier
between it and the State! Failing to discriminate between legislating for a
particular creed or form of religion, and recognizing the great foundation
truth of all religion-the just authority of a Holy and Almighty God, we
have set up ourselves, our concrete nationality, 'We, the people,' as the
original source of all authority and power, and have worshipped the work of
our own hands. From this atheistic error in otter prime conceptions of
government has arisen the atheistic habit of separating politics from
religion; the voter must not carry his religious scruples to the political
caucus, nor set them against the party nominations at the polls; the
minister must not bring politics into the pulpit, though the legislature
should license dramsbops and brothels,. though Sodom should be rebuilt by
the Salt Lake of Utah, though man made in the image of God should be sold
like a brute under the eaves of the national capitol. Nay, in the very
Senate chamber, when Senators are warned that a measure is unjust and
against the law of God,.it is sneeringly, scornfully answered, that there
is no law higher than the Constitution. ' We, the people,' made that, and '
We, the people,' can make And unmake laws as we please. This godless habit
of thought and action has taken possession of the public mind in all
political institutions and affairs. But he that sitteth in the heavens is
teaching us that we can hold our Constitution, our Union, our government,
our nationality, only by his pleasure:"-N. Y. Independent, September 26,
Are you wonderingly asking, Is that all extracted from the
"Independent?" Yes, every word of it, and more is found to the same effect,
lard all in the leading editorial. Nor will the convention object to the
length of such art extract. What a grand " Religious Amendment" speech it
is! In those days the Independent was a power in. the land. Men of the
broadest and finest culture, and of purest piety, spoke through its
columns. Bacon, Storrs and Thompson discussed momentous questions on the
principles of a profound political philosophy, and in constant
acknowledgment of the authority of the word of God. And who can tell how
much influence this very editorial of the Independent had in giving birth
to the Religious Amendment movement? But the days of that triumvirate of
scholarship and Christian patriotism and high-cultured ability have
departed. Ichabod is written over the once glorious sheet. Digging through
the rubbish of recent years, we bring to light some of the buried grandeur
of the past. In utterances like this which I have read, when our nation
avows itself a Christian nation and takes Jehovah as its acknowledged Lord,
the memory of 'the Independent will be embalmed to latest generations.*
· The effect upon the Independent of being thus cited as a witness to a
defect in which it h'as recently gloried as a chief excellence of the
Constitution, was very remarkable. In its issue

Among the most pointed and explicit of all the testimonies here
accumulated, as to the religious defect of our Constitution, is that of Dr.
Boardman, of Philadelphia, in a sermon preached in that city on September
14, 1862, and entitled to The Lord Reigneth." Having referred to the sins
of the nation and their just punishment, he proceeds::
"Our duty is plain. We must search and try our ways, and turn again
to the Lord. The loss of his favor will explain everything that has
happened; . And the grand aim should be to learn how we have lost his
favor, and by what means we can regain it. This is too large a theme to be
discussed within the compass of a few pages. But there is one feature of
our government too closely connected with this question and too conspicuous
to be passed by in silence. I refer, as you will readily
of February 26, it thus delivered itself: " A curious incident of the
Christian Amendment Convention was the reading by its Secretary, the Rev;
D. McAllister, with a very emphatic chuckle, of an editorial from the
Independent of September 26th, 1861, on the occasion of the National Fast
after Bull Run. The Convention enjoyed that editorial extremely, and it was
a very able one. Its most emphatic position was, that `from the beginning
we have shown our godlessness as a nation by ignoring the name and
authority of God in the framework of our political institutions.' .
. . We had warning that this arrow was to be shot at us, stolen from our
own quiver; for we afforded Mr. Mc-Allister our politest assistance in
showing him in our own office the editorial . . . But his stolen arrow,
though not quite true, is not so crooked as Mt. McAllister would pretend.
Even then the Independent would have rejected scornfully the proposition of
these fanatics to engraft the Christian religion into the Constitution. The
utmost the Independent in its youth ever allowed was, that God, whose
existence Jews and Pagans also accept, be recognized as the source of
From the above it is evident that the editor of the Independent
lost his temper. It is difficult to explain the application of the term "
fanatics" to such men as Dr. Tayler Lewis, Prof. J. H. Seelye, Dr. A. A.
Hodge, Mr. Brunot, Judge Strong, and any number of other men of like
character, in any other way. But worse than this; the editor is not
sufficiently careful concerning the truthfulness of his statements. He
gives his readers distinctly to understand that he courteously obowed the
writer the editorial in question, and thus put into his hands a weapon of
which he had no knowledge before.- The extent of showing the editorial was
simply granting the use of the files of the Independent. Thanks were due
for this courtesy. But the editor, manifestly had no knowledge of the
editorial, was both surprised- and mortified when it was pointed out to
him, and only after a careful reading reluctantly admitted that it was the
writer of the editorial, and not Dr. Bushnell, in the: sermon referred to,
who arraigned the Constitution for its " atheistic error."
The same moral obliquity is noticeable in the attempt to deny that
the Independent, even in the, days of indiscreet "youth," favored anything
more than a bare acknowledgment of God, such as any Pagan might accept. The
burden of the indictment is, that " neither the name of God nor any
reference to his law. . . can be found in the Constitution of the
United States." Will the editor inform his readers what "Law" this is? Is
the Word of God utterly ignored as no part of his Law? Again, the
indictment reads, "The Constitution itself has nothing to do with religion
except as a barrier between it and the State!" Will: the editor vouchsafe a
definition of the religion here referred to? Was it anything but
Christianity? The following sentences from the editorial quoted, settle
this point; ."Christianity, fairly applied, produces the purest democracy.
. When its doctrine of the divine origin and redemption of the soul, and
its precept of equal unselfish love prevail in any community, there all
factitious pride and all unrighteous authority melt into the mighty
brotherhood of humanity. The other theory of democracy regards man as by
nature independent of all authority. . . . The high priest of the one
theory is John Robinson kneeling at Leyden to commend the parting pilgrims
in, prayer to God. The high priest of the other is Voltaire at Ferney,
writing down Christ as an impostor and his religion as a weak superstition.
The fruit of the one is the Christian democracy of the Plymouth Colony; of
the other, the atheistic democracy of the first French revolution a
deified Humanity usurping the place of God, and demanding that homage to
its own pride which it refuses to God's authority."
It is to be hoped that the Independent will " wait upon the Lord,
and-renew its youth.",

suppose-for the topic is a familiar one-to the absence of any adequate
of the sovereignty of God, and the religion of which he is the author and
object, in our Constitution, and in the practical administration of our
political system. It may be conceded that the spirit of Christianity is to
a certain extent incorporated into our Constitutions. The legal
recognition of the Sabbath, the oath on the Holy Evangelists, and the
appointment of chaplains, are, so far, an acknowledgment of the Christian
religion. But our national charter pays no homage to the Deity. His name
does not once occur in the Constitution of the United States. And, as if to
confound the charity which would refer this omission to some accidental
agency, the same atheism is repeated and perpetuated in another form no
less excusable. The coinage of the United States is without a God. . . .
Is it too much to hope that this opprobrium may be wiped away? If we have
never been taught the lesson before, we are admonished of it now, that the
° Lord reigneth.' Has not the time come to make our formal national
confession of this fundamental truth-to impress it upon our coinage; to
insert it (peradventure it may not be too late,) as the keystone of our
riven and tottering Constitution? If the country is not ready for these two
simple but significant steps in the direction of Christianity, we have been
chastened to very little purpose."-(Sermon, pages 20-23.)

This witness was long connected with Washington College, Va., and
afterwards with Lafayette College, Pa., where he was Professor of Political
,Science. In his work on " Political Fallacies," speaking of the
Constitution, he says:
"We have never believed it perfect. Doubtless some improvements are
possible;but it makes abundant provision for them, without utter
demolition. The principal defect apparent to our vision meets us at the
vestibule. The portico lacks one gem to perfect its lustre. There is union
and justice, common defence and general welfare, blessing and liberty, but
we cast our eyes about in vain for that which alone can give stability and
beauty to the whole. The Koh-i-noor, whose radiant glories crown the
grandeur of the beautiful temple, the Shekinah, is absent. The grand bond
of our national Union does not distinctly acknowledge the being of a God.
For more than forty years, a Fourth of July has seldom passed, on which I
have not preached and warned my countrymen of this defect, and told them if
it be not supplied, God would pull down their temple and bury a nation in
its ruins. This warning has been sounded forth from thousands of pulpits in
the land, and would have been much more extensively trumpeted but for the
paralyzing influence of the fallacy couched in the demagogue's double
entendre: ` Religion has nothing to do with politics.' "-Political
Fallacies, pp. 305, 306.

Dec 14, 2004, 1:03:04 PM12/14/04






literature of the movement to secure the Religious Amendment to the

Constitution of the United States.

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