Thursday, July 26, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837

From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837 by Peter Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peter Marshall has written three books in this series, "The Light and The Glory: 1492-1793," "From Sea to Shining Sea: 1787-1837," and Sounding Forth The Trumpet: 1837-1860." And three books are a historical view of Scripture from a Biblical perspective. This one deals with America's attitude toward slavery. But, by no means is it only about slavery. Peter Marshall is the son of the Peter Marshall who was the chaplain of the Senate of the U.S. for a number of years. The elder senior has both a book and movie about his life, "A Man Called Peter." I have seen the movie (very powerful) but have not read the book yet.

Here are just a few quotes from this book:

Ben Franklin speaking to our Founding Fathers:

"How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir," he looked at Washington, "were heard, and 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 . . . . And have we now forgotten this 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 man.' And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest. I therefore beg leave to 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."  pp. 18-19

Franklin's motion failed, because someone pointed out that the Convention had no money with which to pay a chaplain. But a substitute motion, that a sermon be preached to the delegates on July 4 at the request of the Convention, went through speedily.  When the anniversary day arrived, many of the delegates, including George Washington, attended a special service at Christ Church. After the oration by a young law student, the Reverend William Rogers, pastor of the church, prayed that God would "be their wisdom and strength [and] enable them to devise such measures as may prove happy instruments in healing all divisions.  p. 20

In 1789, the Continental Congress established chaplains for both the House and the Senate, whose official duties include opening each day's proceedings with prayer. p. 21

Repentance is the missing ingredient in much of modern American Christianity. Yet its pivotal role in national revival is clearly revealed in Holy Scripture in such passages as the much quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Those of us already committed to Christ are being challenged not only to face our personal needs for growth and change and take them to God in prayer, but most important of all, He is calling us to repent of our wicked ways. No matter how much we might prefer to see ourselves as freed from sin, we still have wicked ways. We still often live for our own personal comfort or success, ignoring the needs of the poor or hurting around us. We are still self-righteous, still get jealous or vindictive, still lust after other people's approval.

Repentance involves heartfelt change. And change, the lifelong process of being conformed to the image of God's Son, involves pain. Unlike Dwight or Asbury, JQA, or Jackson, most of us today are unwilling to go through much emotional or spiritual pain. We can wear out our knees praying for revival, but if we are not willing to go through the pain of repentance, the Great Awakening we seek will not come.

But there can be a victorious conclusion. We have forgotten that true repentance is not only tremendously freeing, cleansing, and uplifting, but it brings the blessing of God in its wake! Further, repentance on the part of a few can spread throughout a family, a church, or a whole society. The salt can regain its savor!

Once again, America stands, like a Biblical Nineveh, at the crossroads of mercy and judgment. If we Christians will hear and heed in time, God's plan for America will yet be fulfilled, and He will crown her good with brotherhood - from sea to shining sea!  pp. 432-433

I recommend this book to those who enjoy history and especially if you want to learn more about America's Biblical roots!

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