Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Known as the man who wrote the final draft of the Constitution, Morris was also the man who spoke the most often during the Convention (173 times).

But what is known of his faith?

Actually we don’t know that much in spite of his much speaking. Nonetheless, we can surmise a few facts.

First of all we know that he was a member of the Episcopal Church. While little is known of his activities within the church it is hard to believe that this gifted man simply faded into the background. It is likely that he served within the church and, since he came from wealth, gave substantially to it. This is speculation, but this author feels it is a logical conclusion.

Second we know he was familiar with the Bible. This is based on his speeches and his writings where he often quoted the Bible. This suggests that he spent a fair amount of time in the reading of the Bible, which would not be the habit of a deist.

Third, he believed in the depravity of man which was more in line with Christianity than the Enlightenment. Deists tend to believe in an absentee God rather than a personal God. They also reject the supernatural as seen in the Bible. Morris, as stated above, was very acquainted with the Bible and was apt to quote it.

Fourth, while some claim he was a deistic realist, the evidence seems to be more correctly that he was influenced by this thinking.

Fifth, he strongly favored freedom of religion.

Sixth, he was against slavery.

The truth is we simply don’t have enough information to say whether Morris was a Christian or not. However, his career reflected not only a highly education mind (attended King’s College, later known as Columbia), but a mind attuned to Christian thought.

So where do we place him?

In my opinion he would be considered within the Christian faith. Probably a weak Christian (theologically speaking) with ties to both Christian and Enlightened thought. He was also a close friend of George Washington whom we will profile next.

A comment on historians who point to Deism as the religion of our founders. First, this time period coincided with the Enlightment, so historians seem to think this impacted everyone. Second, modern day historians may have a bias against Christianity. Yet the founding documents of this nation (Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution) all indicate a Christian belief. I think the burden of proof must lay with those who claim deistic beliefs of our fathers and we should assume Christian beliefs unless proven otherwise.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Profiles in faith James Madison

Profiles in faith James Madison

Many people, including historians, claim that Madison and the other founders as well were deists. But they do so without much evidence. But what do Madison’s own statements reveal?

“…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.” (emphasis added)

Notice the words Annals of Heaven. This is not a deist term, but clearly speaks of heaven, whereas the word ‘annals’ would indicate a book or record. In other words, he is speaking of salvation and having our names written in the Book of Life, which is Christian in doctrine and thought.

“For men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”  (emphasis added)

Here he indicates a desire that men of high position be bold in their faith, even becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ! This is a strong statement and evinces a belief in personal soul winning.

On these two quotes alone we can safely surmise that Madison was a Christian not a Deist. But there is more.

Although initially opposed to amendments, he supported the idea of freedom of religion where the government does not favor one denomination over another. He wasn’t afraid of the church influencing government, but rather government establishing a national religion. Read:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” (emphasis added)

An interesting fact was that he was inclined to have paid chaplains for Congress. As President he signed a bill that economically aided a Bible Society to distribute Bibles. Further, as President he signed proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. These are not the actions of a Deist.

Later in life he seems to have retreated from these positions with his ‘Detached Memorandum.” However, this memorandum does not reflect his public statements and actions, which in my opinion makes one wonder if it was written by him at all. But whether it was or wasn’t the fact remains that both publicly and historically his actions were that of a believer in Christ and not that of a Deist.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Profiles in Faith James Madison

Profiles in Faith James Madison

Many people, including historians, claim that Madison and the other founders as well were deists. But they do so without much evidence. But what do Madison’s own statements reveal?

“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.” (emphasis added)

Notice the words Annals of Heaven. This is not a deist term, but clearly speaks of heaven, whereas the word ‘annals’ would indicate a book or record. In other words, he is speaking of salvation and having our names written in the Book of Life.

“For men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”  (emphasis added)

Here he indicates a desire that men of high position be bold in their faith, even becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ! This is a strong statement and evinces a belief in personal soul winning.

On these two quotes alone we can safely surmise that Madison was a Christian not a Deist. But there is more.

Although initially opposed to amendments to the Constitution, he supported the idea of freedom of religion where the government does not favor one denomination over another. He wasn’t afraid of the church influencing government, but rather government establishing a national religion. Read:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” (emphasis added)

An interesting fact was that he was inclined to have paid chaplains for Congress. As President he signed a bill that economically aided a Bible Society to distribute Bibles. Further, as President he signed proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. These are not the actions of a Deist.

Later in life he seems to have retreated from these positions with his ‘Detached Memorandum.” However, this memorandum does not reflect his public statements nor his actions, which in my opinion makes one wonder if it was written by him at all. But whether it was or wasn’t the fact remains that both publicly and historically his actions were that of a believer in Christ and not that of a Deist.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Profiles in Faith: George Washington

Profiles in Faith: George Washington

We have been taught for years that George Washington was a Deist and not a Christian. And most of us accepted this as fact since we were told so by ‘experts.’ But is it true?

Some time back I got curious and started investigating this question. What follows is the result of that investigation.

I am a Christian and within that I am a Baptist. But I don’t feel it would be fair to check on whether Washington was a Baptist or not (and I don’t believe he was). So in the table below I am comparing his beliefs against commonly held tenets of the Christian faith regardless of the denomination.

QUOTES                                     BELIEF        CHURCH      G.W.
“The propitious smiles          Creator             Yes            Yes
of Heaven can never be
expected on a nation that
disregards the eternal
rules of order and right
which Heaven itself has
ordained”

“O eternal and ever               Eternal God       Yes           Yes
lasting God”

“It is the duty of all                Providence        Yes            Yes
Nations to acknowledge
the providence of Almighty
God, to obey his will, to
be grateful for his benefits,
and humbly to implore his
protection ad favors.”

“What students would          Jesus Christ        Yes            Yes
learn in American schools
above all is the religion
of Jesus Christ.”

“Direct my thoughts, words
and work. Wash away my sins
in the immaculate blood of
the lamb, and purge my
heart by thy Holy Spirit,”

Wrote his own Prayer          Prayer               yes           yes
Journal

This table admittedly only has a few quotes, but if you’re interested there are many more quotes of George Washington regarding his faith. I would also add that history has shown God’s protecting hand upon the General during the Revolutionary War and before. This may not be proof of his being a Christian, but surely it gives us pause to consider.

Ultimately you decide what his faith amounts to, but I would contend that he was a Christian in thought and action. Just the few quotes above show that Washington trusted God’s guidance, and protection. Although he never mentions salvation the weight of all his quotes suggest this was a private man who trusted God for everything, including his salvation.

Not only did he write his own Prayer Journal but there was at least one witness to his prayer life. I expect to meet him in heaven someday!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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