Constitution Day
Isaiah 33:22

In Philadelphia at what we now call Independence Hall, 55 delegates from 12 states assembled on May 25, 1787 for the purpose of revising the inadequate Articles of Confederation. However, these Delegates ended up scrapping the Articles and framing a whole new governing document: The United States Constitution, which was approved over 230 years ago on September 17, 1787. The result of their work over the hot summer in Philadelphia provided the framework for the longest lasting, most successful constitutional republic in world history.

The Scripture today is Isaiah 33:22 and provides a parallel to the three branches of government found in the U.S. Constitution: “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.”

Again, there were 55 men who were directly involved in framing the Constitution at the Convention. Every single one of them had an orthodox Christian background. [1] Here is a breakdown with the acknowledgment that some founders changed denominations during their lifetime:

Episcopalian/Anglican                31                    56.4%
 Presbyterian                                     16                    29.1%
Congregationalist                             8                    14.5%
Quaker                                                      3                       5.5%
Catholic                                                    2                       3.6%
Methodist                                               2                       3.6%
Lutheran                                                  2                       3.6%
Dutch Reformed                               2                       3.6%

However, by 1787 there were possibly three who were questioning or perhaps had abandoned their orthodox faith and could be considered as Unitarians. Only one was open about it: Ben Franklin (Pa.) wrote to the Rev. Dr. Ezra Stiles of Yale on March 9, 1790:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, is the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England [Unitarians] some doubts as to his divinity…[2]

Yet Ben Franklin attended every kind of Christian worship, contributed to all denom­inations, and had especially loved and donated to the Great Awakening Preacher George Whitefield. He rented pew 70 in Christ Church (Anglican) in Philadelphia and started the fund drive for the new steeple. [3] Some claim that James Wilson (Pa.) possibly had Unitarian views later in life, but he continued to pay for a pew at the First Presbyterian Church until his death even though he attended Christ Church (Anglican) after 1778, and is buried in the same churchyard with Ben Franklin. The other was Hugh Williamson (N.C.), who grew up Presbyterian and went to school to study for ministry, but apparently later questioned Trinitarian doctrine. Yet he was a part of a three-man congressional committee (with Abraham Clarke and James Madison) in 1788 that recommended setting aside land for the Moravian Brethren to do the mission work of “civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.”[4] When he died, Williamson was buried at Trinity Church (Anglican) in New York City. Yet even the Unitarians publicly supported Christianity and all three had Christian funerals and are buried in orthodox Christian churchyards.

At the outset, George Washington was elected as President of the Convention. He had resolved to take no active part in the debate, believing it improper to do so, given that he was President or chairman of the Convention. However, Washington was not quiet about his advocacy for the Christian faith. For example, on May 2, 1778, he had charged his soldiers at Valley Forge: “To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.”[5] On May 12, 1779, he told the Delaware Chiefs who had presented their children for education that “above all” what they needed to learn was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and to learn this would make them “greater and happier people than you are” and that “Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”[6] Upon resigning his commission as Commander-in-Chief in 1783, he wrote a circular letter to all 13 governors of the states, reminding them that “without a humble imitation” of “the Divine Author of our blessed Religion [Heb. 12:2]” we “can never hope to be a happy nation.”[7] Washington’s own adopted daughter Nelly Custis declared of Washington that you might as well question his patriotism as to question his Christianity.[8]

As the Convention got underway, Governor Morris recalled how Washington urged the delegates to lift up and look up: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”[9]  With the nation’s hero at the helm, the outcome of the debates would be taken seriously by the delegates and eventually by the citizens of America. The delegates agreed to keep the proceedings secret so that they would not feel compelled to yield to public pressure. To ensure secrecy, they nailed the windows shut, which made for an uncomfortable environment during the long, hot summer. With the meetings under way, it soon became apparent that instead of revising the Articles of Confederation, the real need was for a new form of government—a Federal Constitution.
Delegate Edmund Jennings Randolph of Virginia kick-started the debate by offering the Virginia Plan, which was largely the work of delegate James Madison and favored the larger states.[10]  Ironically, by the end of the Convention, Randolph chose not to sign the document because he disagreed with the direction it had taken. Meanwhile, delegates from the smaller states favored the rival plan offered by delegate William Patterson of New Jersey.[11]  Patterson’s New Jersey Plan retained the Articles of Confederation which gave each state an equal vote, but added a Supreme Court. Roger Sherman of Connecticut offered a compromise, but it too failed on its first hearing. Even among these professing Christians, common ground was difficult to find when it came to what form our government should take.


With the Convention going badly and some delegates on the verge of leaving in disgust, the elder statesman Ben Franklin rose to address the remaining delegates on June 28th.

A. Rationale: He began by talking about the fact that they had studied ancient history for models of government, and of those Republics that have gone the way of the bone yard of history for various reasons, and finally of the modern governments in Europe, but that nothing was suitable and they couldn’t find any common ground. Then Franklin, who is perhaps best described as a Unitarian in his theological beliefs, made a plea that they petition God for help:

Mr. President: The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ayes, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding ….
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark [Job 12:25] 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 [James 1:17] to illuminate our understanding?
In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & 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 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 [Dan. 4:17; 2 Chron. 20:6]. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice [Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6], is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid [Dan. 2:21]?
We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” [Psalm 127:1a] 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 [Gen. 11:1-9]. We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages [Deut. 28:37; Jer. 24:9].
And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven [Neh. 2:4], and its blessing 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.

Here was probably the least theologically orthodox of the Framers calling for prayer and alluding to Scripture. After Franklin spoke, Roger Sherman of Connecticut seconded his motion for prayer.
B. Response: Many were deeply moved. New Jersey delegate Jonathan Dayton reported:

The Doctor sat down; and never did I behold a countenance at once so dignified and delighted as was that of Washington at the close of the address; nor were the members of the convention generally less affected. The words of the venerable Franklin fell upon our ears with a weight and authority, even greater that we may suppose an oracle to have had in a Roman senate![13]

Yet some delegates opposed the motion to appoint chaplains to begin each day with prayer. Led by Alexander Hamilton of New York, some of the more politically conscious thought they should have done it at the beginning, and doing it now would have a negative reflection on Convention. Franklin countered that “past omission of a duty could not justify a further omission,” and that not doing it now would make the political optics even worse going forward.  Delegate Hugh Williamson from North Carolina was more pragmatic in his opposition: “The Convention had no funds” to pay a chaplain. Delegate Edmund Jennings Randolph of Virginia proposed a compromise measure: “that a sermon be preached at the request of the convention on 4th of July, the anniversary of Independence, & thenceforward prayers be used in ye Convention every morning.”[14]  Ben Franklin himself seconded this substitute motion. However, the Convention voted to adjourn without the motion being acted upon. While Franklin’s initial motion did not pass, ultimately it became a reality. Now Congress begins each day with prayer by a paid chaplain.
What is important to note is that Dr. Franklin’s passionate plea for prayer and a recess for Independence Day seemed to break the impasse. George Washington and a number of delegates followed Randolph’s advice, went to Reformed Calvinist Church in Philadelphia on the Fourth and heard a patriotic speech and a prayer for their deliberations led by Rev. William Rogers.[15] Afterward, there was a change in the atmosphere of the Convention, which led to a breakthrough in the debates. Delegate Dayton of New Jersey reported that: “We assembled again; and ... every unfriendly feeling had been expelled, and a spirit of conciliation had been cultivated.” While some difficulties continued to arise before the conclusion of the Convention’s business in September, the delegates apparently never returned to the fruitless bickering that had existed prior to June 28th.
It is an exaggeration to say that our constitutional government was the result of a prayer meeting in Philadelphia, but Dr. Franklin’s call for prayer did play a critical role in reminding the delegates at a vital point that without God's help, all their efforts would be in vain.
C. Results: Following this plea for prayer and a worship service on Independence Day, Roger Sherman of Connecticut’s compromise was reconsidered. His plan provided for a three-branch government:

1. The Legislative Branch would make laws, treaties, and collect taxes and have the power to override an executive veto with a two-thirds majority and if necessary impeach the executive or the judiciary. It would include a two-chambered legislature, with the House of Representatives having proportional representation based on a state’s population and elected by the people and the Senate containing an equal number of Senators from each state and chosen by the respective state legislature. Thus, the large states would benefit from the House, and the small states from the Senate.

2. The Executive Branch would include a President who would serve as Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, nominate judges, and have the power to veto legislation. The President would be chosen by an electoral college composed of men chosen by the voters of each state. The candidate with the second highest vote total would become Vice-President. If no one received a majority of votes, the House of Representatives would declare the next President.
3. The Judicial Branch would be nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. The Court would have the power to decide whether a law is constitutional. Supreme Court members were appointed for life, but Congress could vote to impeach and remove them. According to Alexander Hamilton, the third branch was intended to be the weakest. In a footnote of Federalist #78, Hamilton contends: “The celebrated Montesquieu, speaking of them [the three branches of government], says: ‘Of the three powers above mentioned, the JUDICIARY is next to nothing.’”[16] The Founder’s never intended for America to be ruled by a Judicial Oligarchy.

This three-branch government with its system of checks and balances promised to avoid the tyrannical type of government the colonies had suffered under the monarchy of King George and his puppets in Parliament. The Articles demanded unanimity, and getting the states to agree on anything was nearly an impossible proposition. However, the Constitution required a two-thirds majority of the states to approve it and also change it.  


On Sept. 8, 1787, the Convention chose a committee of five “to revise the stile of and arrange the articles which had been agreed to by the House.”[17] They were all Anglicans (Episcopalians) by faith background: William Samuel Johnson (Conn.), Rufus King (Mass.), Governor Morris (Pa,), Alexander Hamilton (N.Y.), and James Madison (Va.). Here is a brief accounting of their public faith:
  Chair of the committee was William Samuel Johnson, son of an Anglican minister, and he became president of Columbia (formerly King’s) College. Dr. Johnson made these remarks to the first class graduating after the War for Independence:

You have, by the favor of Providence… received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country... Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and your Judge. Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances. Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter.[18]

Delegate Rufus King of Massachusetts was a graduate of Harvard and one of the youngest delegates. He was a faithful member of and warden for Grace Church, which adjoined his property. When they outgrew their building, King helped design the new facility, helped raise money, and donated his own to the building fund. During debates over a new state constitution in New York in 1821, King argued that Christianity deserved special protection under the law, while still favoring religious toleration of other faiths:

Our laws constantly refer to this revelation and by the oath which they prescribe, we appeal to the Supreme Bring so as to deal with us hereafter as we observe the obligation of our oaths. The Pagan world were, and are, without the mighty influence of this principle, which is proclaimed in the Christian system-their morals were destitute of its powerful sanction, while their oaths neither awakened the hopes nor fears which a belief in Christianity inspires.[19]  

Delegate Governor Morris of Pennsylvania, the penman of the Constitution, once declared:

Divine Providence exalts or depresses states and kingdoms [Dan. 2:21]… Not by a tyrannous and despotic mandate. But in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of His just and holy laws. It is He who commands us that we abstain from wrong. It is He who tells you, “do unto others as ye would that they would do unto you” [Matt. 7:12].[20]
Delegate Alexander Hamilton of New York had a questionable past and a very public moral failure later in his life. Yet, he also had a commitment to Christ. Hamilton wrote to his friend, James Bayard:

Let an association be formed to be denominated ‘The Christian Constitutional Society,’ its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.[21]
Unfortunately, Hamilton was never able to see that vision fulfilled. After being fatally wounded in the duel with Aaron Burr, he asked two ministers to administer communion. The first was Rev. John M. Mason, the Pastor of the Scotch Presbyterian Church near Hamilton’s home. However, Mason refused, citing church protocol of never administering the Lord Supper privately to any person under any circumstances. Hamilton told Mason: “I am a sinner. I look to His mercy.” Mason told how Christ’s blood would wash away his sins, and Hamilton replied fervently: “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The second minister, Bishop Benjamin Moore, Anglican rector of Trinity Church, was called in later and he administered communion to Hamilton before he died.

Finally, there was James Madison, often referred to as the “Father” or the “Architect” of the Federal Constitution. Instead of studying at the Anglican College of William and Mary, Madison instead chose the Presbyterian College of New Jersey (now called Princeton), where he sat under the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, the eminent Presbyterian patriot who was the only ordained full-time minister among the delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence. James Madison wrote to fellow alumnus William Bradford on November 9, 1772:

A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven [Luke 10:20b]…[22]

He wrote Bradford again on September 25, 1773:

I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of Religion or against temporal Enjoyments… than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent Advocates in the cause of Christ, & I wish you may give in your Evidence in this way.[23]

Little wonder that Bishop Meade commented that his opponents thought that “Mr. Madison… was better suited to the pulpit than to the legislative hall.”[24] Young Madison stayed after graduation to be personally tutored by Dr. Witherspoon in Hebrew, Law, and principles of Government in the Old Testament. So Witherspoon molded and shaped James Madison for the critical role he would play in the development of our U.S. Constitution, and the tool he mostly used was the Bible. In fact, Witherspoon educated a number of the Founding Fathers, including nine members of this Constitutional Convention. In many respects, it is the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon who could be titled the “Father of the U.S. Constitution.”

Rev. Witherspoon’s strong theology of the depravity and sinfulness of mankind greatly influenced Madison’s philosophy of government. Madison wrote in Federalist #101, “It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”  Then, in Federalist #47, Madison explained why governmental power had to be divided between competing forces: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self‑appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Having so recently escaped from one tyrant in England, the drafters of the Constitution were careful not to merely replace him with another. John Eidsmoe concludes: “One thing is certain: the Christian religion…which emphasized the fallen nature of man, influenced Madison’s view of law and government.”[25]

Many critics of Christianity’s influence in the birth and development of America like to point out the fact that the Constitution does not mention the words “God” or the “Bible.” In fact, one recent work is actually titled: The Godless Constitution.[26] While this work is fatally flawed by its biased approach and failure to provide footnotes to substantiate its claims, it still begs the question: Why does the Constitution not mention God prominently as in the Declaration of Independence? Well, it was not necessary to mention “God” numerous times in the Constitution because the Declaration of Independence, with its multiple references to God, had already laid the foundation. In fact, the Constitution is dated in relation to the Declaration, demonstrating its place as the founding document of America. So, the Constitution adds to that founding document the rules by which the new nation would be governed. It could be said that the Declaration of Independence is the “why” of American government, while the Constitution is the “how.”
To explain the relationship between the two documents, Abraham Lincoln used Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in frames of silver.” Lincoln argues that the Declaration expresses:

the principle of ‘Liberty to all’ —the principle that clears the path for all—gives hope to all—and, by consequence, enterprize, and industry to all” is a word ‘fitly spoken’ which has proved an ``apple of gold'' to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple—not the apple for the picture. So let us act, that neither picture, [n]or apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.[27]

The Declaration lays the foundation for the Constitution, and the liberties set forth in that Declaration flow from belief in and dependence upon the Creator God described in the Bible, who operates the universe according to law, grants the inherent and self-evident rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, functions as the Supreme Judge of the World, and who rules over His creation and creatures with a benevolent Providence. Every Framer of the Constitution would agree to at least that much, as they all had a Christian background, displayed varying evidence of a biblical worldview, and most expressed their faith publicly.[28]


Not surprisingly, several provisions in the Constitution have parallels in biblical principle, even though chapters and verses are not cited. For example, compare the following:

  •    Art. I, II, III (3 Branches of Government) with Isaiah 33:22: “For the LORD is our judge (Judicial - Art. III), the LORD is our lawgiver (Legislative - Art. I), the LORD is our king (Executive -Art. II); it is he who will save us.”
 •    Art. I, Sec. 7, par. 2 (No Business on Sunday) with Exod. 20:8.
 •    Art. I, Sec. 8, par. 4 (Uniform Immigration Law) with Lev. 19:34.
 •    Art. I, Sec 8, par. 8 (Tribunals, i.e., Courts under the Supreme Court) with Deut. 16:18-20; 17:8-10.
 •    Art. II, Sec. 1, par. 4 (President must be a Natural Born Citizen) with Deut. 17:15.
 •    Art. III, Sec. 1, par. 1 (Courts) with Deut. 16:18-20; 17:8-10.
 •    Art. III, Sec. 3, par. 1-2, (Witnesses and Capital Punishment) with Deut. 17:6.
 •    Art. III, Sec. 3, par. 1 (Provision against Attainder, i.e., punishing a group without due process) with Ezek. 18:20.
 •    Art. IV, Sec. 4, par. 1 (Representative Government) with Exod. 18:21.
Perhaps the overriding biblical principle that seems to permeate the Constitution is the sinfulness of humankind: “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).” Thus, the need for checks and balances among the three branches of government.
Finally, the document is signed “…in the year of our Lord,” an overt reference to Jesus Christ. So much for a “godless” Constitution! The framers of the Constitution created a document that at the very least has several provisions that have parallels with biblical principles and those who signed it acknowledged Jesus Christ as “our Lord.”

Consequently, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution had no intention of establishing an atheistic or secular state. President George Washington later stated to a group of Baptists: “If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.”[29]

Speaking of signers, 39 of the 55 delegates fixed their signatures to the Constitution when it was presented on September 17, 1787. There were some who refused, like George Mason of Virginia who felt that it didn’t go far enough on dealing with slavery and didn’t provide a Bill of Rights. Even some of the hallowed heroes of the revolution such as Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and Richard Henry Lee were among the opponents to the new federal government outlined in the Constitution. Had not America spent precious blood and treasure in the War for Independence to free itself from the evils of a central government? To many, this seemed like a legitimate point. In fact, if an opinion poll had been taken at that time, there is no doubt the country would have been divided. Yet the old lions eventually acquiesced, but not without many concessions and compromises, not the least of which was the promise of a Bill of Rights, enumerating essential freedoms.
Not surprisingly, the most important man at the Constitutional Convention was George Washington. It was Washington’s sober presence, his noble demeanor, and the fact that everyone knew that he would certainly be the nation’s first President that provided the decisive factors in the Constitution’s passage. A mere nod from the revered Washington in favor of the new government was enough to convince most people. “Be assured,” wrote James Monroe of Virginia in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, still in France, Washington’s “influence carried this government.”


Maryland delegate James McHenry tells of an encounter Ben Franklin had with a Mrs. Powel, a grand lady of Philadelphia, as the Constitutional Convention ended in 1787. “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” she asked the oldest of the Founding Fathers. You can almost see the twinkle in his eye, as he peered over his spectacles and quipped: “A republic, if you can keep it.”[30] Wise old Ben Franklin knew that republics were not easy to keep. We have been through bloody battles to keep it, even a devastating Civil War, where brother fought against brother, to keep it. Now we are as deeply divided as ever in my lifetime, so how can we keep it? How can we keep this Constitutional Republic handed to use by the Founding Fathers and preserved for us by brave souls who have given their very lives? Four suggestions:
1. Keep it by Praying for it. Dr. Franklin knew the importance of prayer, declaring to the Convention: “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain… we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered… I … move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business...” If they needed prayer then, we need to pray for our nation now (see 1 Tim. 2:1-4). Ask God to keep this republic by praying for it.
2. Keep it by Preparing to Defend it: The only way to do that is to know it and understand it. Rick Green and David Barton created a video-driven study called “Constitution Alive,” filmed in Independence Hall and at Barton’s extensive library of original sources of the Founding Fathers. Visit and consider becoming a Constitution Coach. Keep this republic by preparing to defend it.
3. Keep it by Participating in the Political Process: Start by registering to vote, voting your values, and voicing your constitutional convictions to elected officials. Visit, sign up, and get started. Some might want to run for public office. We need some Josephs and Deborahs, some Daniels and some Esthers in places of public influence. Keep this republic by participating in the political process.
4. Keep it by Passing it on to the Next Generation: We have an obligation to teach our children and their children, handing our heritage down to them without loss (Ps. 78:3-4). We must pass on our spiritual and civil liberties to the next generation of patriots. They too need to learn about our constitutional freedoms. In his History of the United States, Noah Webster wrote:

The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican [representative government] principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.[31]

Check out Generation Joshua, Patriot Academy, and Teen Pact, who all provide excellent student training from a Christian worldview that respects the Founders’ philosophy of constitutional government. Look them up, compare them, and consider sending your kids for training.
The Founders gave us a republic if we can keep it. So pray for it, prepare to defend it, participate in the political process, and pass it on to the next generation so that they will take up the torch of freedom into the future.

Passage of the U.S. Constitution was a remarkable achievement. George Washington wrote Lafayette on February 7, 1788 from Mount Vernon: “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States... should unite in forming a system of national Government…”[32] Signer of the Declaration Dr. Benjamin Rush went even further, writing to Elias Boudinot on July 9, 1788:
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.[33]

 Looking back now over 230 years, seeing the many ways God has prospered and protected this nation, even with all our flaws, America is still the most prosperous, most compassionate, most free, and the greatest mission sending, Gospel sharing nation on the face of the earth. So under

[2] Jared Sparks, ed., The Works of Benjamin Franklin: Containing Several Political and Historical Tracts Not Included in Any Former Edition and Many Letters Official and Private Not Hitherto Published with Notes and a Life of the Author, 10 vols., (Boston: Tappan, Whittmore and Mason, 1838), 10:423-24.
[3] Ben Franklin and his son William made subscriptions toward the steeple. Construction began in May 1751, but more funds were needed, and two lotteries were held in the winter and spring of 1752–53, Franklin serving as one of the managers of both. The total cost of steeple and bells was £3162 9s. 11d. See Benjamin Dorr, An historical account of Christ Church, Philadelphia, from its foundation, A.D. 1695 to A.D. 1841 (Philadelphia: Burns & Sieg, 1859), 98–108. The “Scheme” of the first Steeple Lottery was printed in Pa. Gaz., Nov. 2, 1752, and weekly for three months thereafter; that of the supplemental lottery first appeared in Pa. Gaz., Feb. 27, 1753. Reference to pew 70 is found at
[4] Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John Clement Fitzpatrick, and Roscoe R. Hill, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, 34 vols., (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904-1937), 34:485 on September 3, 1788.
[5] John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799, 39 vols., (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1931-44), 11:342-43.
[6] Ibid., 15:55.
[7] Ibid., 26:496.
[8] Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington: Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, with a Life of the Author, 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer's Company, 1837), 12:407.
[9] Gouverneur Morris, Oration upon the Death of General Washington, Delivered at the Request of the Corporation of the City of New York On the 31st of December, 1799.
[10] The Virginia Plan advocated the following:
 A two chambered legislature
 An executive elected by the legislature
 A separate judiciary
 Representation would be based on each state’s population
[11] Patterson said this about Government: “Religion and Morality… [are] necessary to good government, good order and good laws.” See Maeva Marcus, ed., The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, 3 vols., (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 3:436.
[12] As recorded on June 28, 1787 by James Madison, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1985), 209-10.
[13] Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, 3 vols., (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1911), 3:471.
[14] Ibid., 1:451.
[15] See James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1998), 50-51. See the hand-written note image at
[16] Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (New York: New American Library, 2003), 464, citing Baron Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws 1:186.
[17] Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention, 2:553.
[18] Eben Edwards Beardsley, ed. Life and Times of William Samuel Johnson, (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1876), 142.
[19] Rufus King on October 30, 1821 as found in Nathaniel H. Carter and William L. Stone, eds., Reports of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1821, Assembled for the Purpose of Amending The Constitution of the State of New York (Albany: E. and E. Hosford, 1821), 575. See also Robert Ernst, Rufus King: Federalist Patriarch (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 381.
[20] Gouverneur Morris, in “An Address on the Bank of North America given in the Pennsylvania State Assembly” in 1785 as recorded in Jared Sparks, ed., The Life of Gouverneur Morris, with Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers, 3 vols. (Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1832), 3:465.
[21] Broadus Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton: The National Adventure 1788-1804 (NY: MacMillan, 1962), 513-514.
[22] Gaillard Hunt, ed., The Writings of James Madison: Comprising His Public Papers and His Private Correspondence Including Numerous Letters and Documents Now for the First Time Printed, 9 vols., (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900), 1:10-11. Bracketed item added.
[23] William T. Hutchinson and William M. Rachal, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 7 vols., (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1912), 1:95-97.
[24] Bishop Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia (1872), quoted in Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution, 96.
[25] Eidsmoe, 101.
[26] Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1997).
[27] Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 4:169.
[28] Again, I offer two books for evidence: M. E. Bradford, A Worthy Company (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), who reviews all 55 framers and Phil Webster, 1787 Faith: The Christian Worldview of the Signers of the Constitution (Xulon Press, 2016), who surveys the 39 signers.
[29] George Washington, on May 10, 1789, in addressing the General Committee of the United Baptist Churches of Virginia. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer's Company, 1837; NY: F. Andrew's, 1834-1847), 12:154.
[30] Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention, 3:85.
[31] Noah Webster, History of the United States, (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck, 1833), Preface, v.
[32] Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention, 3:187.
[33] L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush, 2 vols., (Princeton, New Jersey: American Philosophical Society, 1951), 1:475.