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Posted: 7/4/2003 5:06:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/4/2003 5:07:39 AM EDT by ar10er]
Who were these men who signed the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate on July 4 -- men who pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor -- to give us the United States of America? On July 4, 1776, delegates to the Continental Congress voted to accept the declaration of Independence in Philadelphia's Independence Hall. On August 2, fifty-six men signed their names to the historic document, giving birth to a new nation as they declared their independence from Great Britain. Have you ever wondered what happened to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Who were these "super-patriots"? Most were well-educated, prosperous businessmen and professionals. Two dozen were lawyers or judges; nine were farmers or plantation owners; eleven were merchants. Among them were also physicians, politicians, educators, and a minister; several were sons of pastors. Here is the documented fate of that gallant fifty-six. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags. Thomas Nelson, Jr., of Virginia, raised $2 million to supply our French allies by offering his property as collateral. Because he was never reimbursed by the struggling new government, he was unable to repay the note when it came due wiping out his entire estate. In the final battle of Yorktown, Nelson urged George Washington to fire on his home as it was occupied by British General Cornwallis. Nelson's home was destroyed, leaving him bankrupt when he died. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals and enemy soldiers looted the properties of Bartlett, Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Gwinnet, Walton, Heward, Rutledge, and Middleton; the latter four captured and imprisoned. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. After signing the Declaration, Richard Stockton, a State Supreme Court Justice, rushed back to his estate near Princeton in an effort to save his wife and children. Although he and his family found refuge with friends, a Tory betrayed him. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and beaten by British soldiers. Then he was jailed and deliberately starved. After his release, with his home burned and all of his possessions destroyed, he and his family were forced to live on charity. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart Lewis Morris and Philip Livingston suffered fates similar to Hart's. John Hancock, one of the wealthiest men in New England, stood outside Boston one terrible evening of the war and said, "Burn, Boston, though it makes John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it." He lost most of his fortune during the war, having given over $100,000 to the cause of freedom. Caesar Rodney, Delaware statesman, was gravely ill with facial cancer. Unless he returned to England for treatment, his life would end. Yet Rodney sealed his fate by signing the Declaration of Independence. He was one of several who fulfilled their pledge with their lives. In all, five of the fifty-six were captured by the British and tortured. Twelve had their homes ransacked, looted, confiscated by the enemy, or burned to the ground. Seventeen lost their fortunes. Two lost their sons in the army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six lost their lives in the war, from wounds or hardships inflicted by the enemy. It is important to remember that despite the hardships, not a single one of them defected or failed to honor his pledge. They paid their price and freedom was born. Such were the stories and sacrifices typical of those who risked everything to sign the Declaration of Independence. These men were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." How many among us who would do likewise? (For more on American history and the nation's Christian roots, see eight-part series at [url]http://www.choicesforliving.com/spirit/part4/america.htm[/url] )
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 5:09:50 AM EDT
Did God have a special purpose in America, causing this nation to be blessed beyond measure? If God is God and is purposeful and not capricious, as we know from the Scriptures, then He has purposes for nations as well as individuals. To discover this purpose, it would be good to revisit the stated goals of our very first permanent settlements, in Virginia in 1607, and then at Plymouth in 1620. The goals of the Virginia Company, chartered by King James, was stated in "A True and Sincere Declaration of the Purpose and Ends of the Plantation Begun in Virginia." It stated "The principal and main ends… were first to preach and baptize into the Christian religion, and by propagation of the gospel, to recover out of the arms of the devil, a number of poor and miserable souls, wrapped up unto death… and to endeavor the fulfilling, and accomplishment of the number of the elect, which shall be gathered from out of all corners of the earth…" These first permanent settlers in America landed on the coast of Virginia. Their first act was to plant a cross at Cape Henry, at what is now Virginia Beach, and dedicate the new continent to God Almighty. A few years later, in 1620, the settlers at Plymouth made a covenant with God and themselves, then established their new government that acknowledged God's sovereignty and honored Him. Before the Plymouth settlers even came ashore in 1620, they made a covenant with themselves and God called the "Mayflower Compact." It began "In the name of God…Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith… " The pervasive Christian influence of our Founding Fathers and in our Constitution is well-documented. In a speech on July 4, 1837, the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, John Quincy Adams proclaimed "Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth?" Former Librarian of Congress and renowned historian Daniel Boorstin writes that early Americans believed the victories and miraculous growth of our nation were for a greater purpose "From the beginning, Americans had been unwilling to believe that their emigration, their expansion, their diplomacy, and their wars had no high purpose, and they commonly defined that purpose as a ‘mission.’" Even Herman Melville, the American novelist who was no great friend of Christians, compared the American experience with that of the Israelites in Scripture. In 1850, Melville wrote "We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people -- the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world." This is our high purpose -- to bring liberty, hope, and renewal to those lost in sin. In her infancy, America entered into a covenant with God to extend the light of Christ’s love to the world, to become, as John Winthrop said, "a shining city on a hill." As the New England Confederation proclaimed in 1643 "We all came to these parts of America with the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ." Having experienced God’s guidance and protection, our forefathers were entrusted with the responsibility to tell what God had done and share His great blessings with others. When we consider the nation we have become over the last 500 years, the plan and purpose of God for America becomes apparent. Nineteenth-century historian Charles Bancroft recognized that America was destined to exert great influence "America, then, will colonize ideas extensively when her institutions are thoroughly matured. The process indeed commenced with her birth, and her spirit sails with her ships in every sea and visits all lands." Bancroft was not saying that America would one day hold colonies as Britain did, but that our ideas would be carried by our people to every nation on earth. Political leaders in America may desire to influence other nations to change from dictatorial to democratic forms of government. While this is a worthy goal, it is not our main objective. Our most important influence has been in exporting, not just material wealth and political wisdom, but the gospel of Jesus Christ. The United States of America has been the greatest missionary sending nation in history. It has been estimated that today that the U.S. supplies 85 percent of all resources spent in the world on evangelistic missions. Of all the good we have done, this is the greatest. In this way, our blessings do not just benefit us, but also those who receive the gospel message. Also, wherever in the world this gospel has been taken, the missionaries and indigenous Christian workers have brought hospitals, schools and orphanages which would have never otherwise existed. A goal of world evangelization, however, does not mean that we attempt to force our beliefs on others through colonization or empire building. Instead, out of deep gratitude to God, we share His love and compassion, which helped us build our own country. Every culture and people group in the world is valuable, and our responsibility is to share God’s Word with them and encourage them to serve God according to the guidelines of His holy Word -- within their own culture. Of course, not every American shares that vision, and not every American is a Bible-believing Christian. But with America, God created a framework with resources and liberty within which His people can work to help fulfill the Great Commission in the world. Because of the love for Christ and concern for others, American Christians share the message of God’s free gift of salvation with all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. That has been God’s purpose for America. In spite of the great, co-existing evil in the nation, that purpose will continue until God decides the time is up and the anointing and calling have expired, and not before then. According to the many signs, that time may be near. But at this writing, thousands of churches, hundreds of missions agencies, and hundreds of thousands of committed men and women, who are sold out to Christ and who have laid their lives on the line, are on the mission field helping to fulfill the Great Commission, as the founders foresaw almost 400 years ago.
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 5:18:30 AM EDT
Are we seeing the decline of our great nation, the United States of America? Outwardly, we are prosperous and powerful. But like a muscular athlete with a terminal cancer, a disease is eating away at us from the inside. Historian Will Durant once said that a great civilization cannot be destroyed from the outside until it falls first from the inside. No matter how well we might arm ourselves against enemies outside our borders, the greatest enemies are those who place destructive devices inside our strategic institutions, causing us to morally implode, like an imploding building. The late, brilliant British broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge observed, "Since the beginning of the Second World War, Western Society has experienced a complete abandonment of its sense of good and evil. The true crisis of our time has nothing to do with monetary troubles, unemployment, or nuclear weapons. The true crisis has to do with the fact that Western man has lost his way." Muggeridge described the danger of subtle changes to culture in his famous "pot of frogs" illustration. If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, the frog will immediately jump out. But if you place the frog in a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, the relaxed frog will just swim around, growing accustomed to the increasing warmth until it eventually boils to death. This is what happens with cultural decay. It is a gradual process that slowly dulls our senses until what was once seen as unacceptable somehow becomes acceptable. Since the 1940s, America has allowed sin to creep into our nation as never before. (That ancient word "sin" is not used much today but it is still a good and descriptive word. It means missing God’s mark, and encompasses all that is not godly.) As a result, we have become desensitized to sin and our moral judgment is impaired. Even worse, at each step along the way, we eliminated Jesus Christ from our lives and culture. Like the word "sin," over time, the gospel has become no longer politically correct, and many Americans are without a spiritual foundation. Dr. Charles Malik, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, addressed this crisis of faith: "I really do not know what will remain of civilization and history if the accumulated influence of Jesus Christ, both direct and indirect, is eradicated from literature, art, practical dealings, moral standards, and creativeness in the different activities of mind and spirit...The heart of the whole matter is faith in Jesus Christ." In the years following World War II, General Omar Bradley warned America, "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount...The world has achieved brilliance without conscience." Though we had helped to win a great military and moral victory in Europe, we were becoming a world of "nuclear giants and ethical infants." Success and power blinded most Americans to their need for God. One by one, all across America, the great institutions that had been fountains of righteousness began to fall away from God. Like the frog, we had begun to swim in a pan of lukewarm moral water and never noticed the temperature rising. The result? A flood of immorality, corruption and violence, as we have become a culture of death, from the womb to the streets. Many of our young people have no concept of God, have no knowledge of His revealed Word, and many are tragically dying in this state, without hope, some in drug stupors, some by gunfire. How did this happen? Many speak of the moral degeneration and wring their hands, but few pinpoint the root of the matter. Primarily during the past 40 years, militant anti-God forces have been successful not only in rejecting our nation’s biblical heritage and our traditional values, but in rewriting history and convincing our people, especially students, that we never had this wonderful heritage. Historians believe that the philosophical environment of the French Revolution spawned Karl Marx and his communistic and atheistic ideas. This in turn spawned Lenin and Soviet state atheism and socialism, turning Russia from its 900-year Christian tradition to 73 years of bloody, godless totalitarianism, costing untold human suffering and tens of millions of lives. Marx's and Lenin's ideas spread to America, taking root among some labor leaders, academia and people such as John Dewey and Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Dewey, of course, was the chief influence in modern American education. His anti-God emphasis has resulted in the present decadence and disintegration of our entire educational system. Roger Baldwin wrote: "I am for Socialism . . . I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class . . . Communism is the goal." While communism may or may not still be the ACLU's goal, its history of attacks on religious expression is legendary. The influence of Dewey, Baldwin, their followers and other kindred spirits has changed the character and nature of America. Such influence began to reach the top levels of government in mid-century and finally, in 1962-63, resulted in official national (via the U.S. Supreme Court) decisions rejecting the God of our fathers in the public life and schools of America. In effect, America said, "Stay out, God. You are no longer wanted." Scholars actually trace our current social decline statistically to this very time period! Who would deny a cause-and-effect relationship? America needs a great spiritual awakening, as she experienced in times past. Historically, because of the hardness of men’s hearts, such awakenings usually only come after Divine chastening. Let us hope that such will not be necessary. But whatever it takes. On the other hand, there is evidence that we are we too far along on God’s prophetic time line of history for there to be a turnaround. That may be true nationally, but God always holds out His hand f mercy to those who sincerely turn to Him in repentance and faith. Whichever, let us continue to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the truths of His Word.
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 5:55:54 AM EDT
It is the 4th, is it not?
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 6:07:09 AM EDT
YES IT IS!!! I agree wholeheartedly and thanks for the info. HOW MANY OF US ARE WILLING TO STAND UP LIKE THE LONE MAN AT THE PARADE AND BE COUNTED AS PATRIOTS? NOT AS RABBLE ROUSERS AND FRINGE TROUBLEMAKERS BUT AS CITZENS WHO WANT THEIR COUNTRY PROTECTED, FREEDOMS RESTORED AND WHO DO NOT FEAR ADVERSITY, LOSS, CHALLENGE OR PERIL - ONLY LOSS OF OUR GOD GIVEN RIGHTS AND LIBERTY? by the way, in my book there is a difference bewtween freedom and liberty. liberty is something bought or won with a price. it is something that can be granted or taken away. freedom only occurs in the presence of liberty. dictionaries may say different but thats how i see it.
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 6:16:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/4/2003 6:19:33 AM EDT by drjarhead]
Who were they? Braver men than we. [url]www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=162974[/url]
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 6:23:52 AM EDT
Thank the Lord for brave, courageous men.
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 6:26:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By drjarhead: Who were they? Braver men than we. [url]www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=162974[/url]
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What will you do when they come for your "Assault Weapons" ? Go to War : 16% Shoot the sorry SOB who comes to your door to take them : 8% Bury them and deny you still have them : 72% Surrender them : 4%
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[:(]
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 6:34:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 8:46:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By avengeusa: truly amazing information, and it really is a shame when we see the state of the union now....
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It is.
Link Posted: 7/4/2003 9:09:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/4/2003 9:10:05 AM EDT by Wobblin-Goblin]
You haven't lived until you've been in the company of courageous men, men who you can trust with your life and theirs with you. What a wonderful and rare occurrence it is.
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