Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Honor of our Nation’s Greatest President, on His 279th Birthday, February 22, 2011…

As a humble Christian, a gracious and decisive leader and a valiant patriot, George Washington stands worthy of our highest regard. There are numerous descriptions of our first president, how in his youth “the law of truth was in his mouth”; he was never known in a single instance to tell a falsehood whatever the consequences to himself would be, and often they were great. His character as a lover of truth was so well known that his comrades were certain of being believed, when they related anything, if they could say, “George Washington says it was so.” Early on he displayed an ability to wisely and satisfactorily settle disputes between his friends.
We know from his manuscript school books he was largely self-taught; his mother was not able to afford an instructor, but by diligence and industry he developed his intellect. By the age of thirteen he had completed the study of arithmetic (through a series of notebooks beginning with geometry), he had taught himself “Forms of Writing” containing a variety of clerk work, and he wrote a list of one hundred and ten “Rules of Behavior in Company and Conversation” which demonstrate his humble view of himself and his devotion to self-improvement for the service of others and the glory of God.

The following are selections from this volume:
• “Strive not with your Superiors in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.”
• “Be not froward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it's a time to Converse.”
• “When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.”
• “In Disputes, be not So Desirous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.”
• “When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honor & obey your natural parents although they be poor.”
• “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
When he was fifteen he applied for a place in the navy but at the anxious request of his mother he gave up his cherished plan and yielded his inclinations to promote her comfort. Had he not completed this act of filial compliance it is not probable that he ever would have deserved or obtained the title of “Father of His Country”.
Four years later he was entrusted, by the governor of Virginia, with a perilous and critical journey through the uncharted, pathless wilderness of the Allegheny Mountains. He showed such courage and discernment throughout his endeavors that none could fail to recognize the blessing of God upon him. And all throughout the War of Independence this same hand of Providence was upon him affording him wisdom and sound judgment on the field of battle and in the camp and mercy for his enemies and betrayers. He continually attributed to God the victory for delivering his people from the hands of their enemies and expressed his “gratitude for the interposition of Providence… for his overruling the wrath of man to His own glory; and causing the rage of war to cease among the nations.”
Washington’s presidency was marked by wisdom and foresight as he channeled the growth of a newborn republic continually reminding his people “of the Divine Author of our blessed religion; without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.” He was deeply concerned for the evangelization of the Indians. In 1779, the Delaware Indians had come seeking to learn the ways of Americans and the Christian religion and he wrote to them as follows, “You do well to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” His service to his country continued through the evening of his life and he died in 1799, his beloved wife kneeling beside his bed with her head resting on the Bible from which she daily read and derived comfort with the assurance of her husband’s transport to a new home in Heaven. At his death (then) President John Adams remarked, “His example is now complete; and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens and men; and not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read.”

For futher research on the subject see:

Life of Washington by Anna C. Reed

George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter A. Lillback

Monday, February 14, 2011