Pride in Action – Articles of Confederation
After drafting and publishing the Declaration of Independence, the members of the Continental Congress set about the task of drafting a framework of government uniting the thirteen original states. The Articles of Confederation established a “firm league of friendship” – each state sovereign and independent one from another. Our leaders’ mistrust of a strong central
government – a federation – elected to establish a confederate form of government to protect the interests of the individual states.
Under the Articles of Confederacy, Congress had no authority to tax, regulate interstate commerce or enforce laws, consistent with the idea of “the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”.
In a libertarian utopia, the states would protect and promote their separate pecuniary interest while standing ready to defend their common moral interests. As you will later hear from Benjamin Franklin, “melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding” disqualifies this libertarian theory.
The tale of the confederacy was a sad one: bankruptcy, extraordinary inflation, foreclosures, debtors’ prison and farmers losing their farms. The Articles of Confederation were a recipe for economic disaster – so much for a “firm league of friendship”. Problems under the confederacy were enormous.
Starting over, delegates from the thirteen states convened a Constitutional Convention from May 14 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia. Initially, the common idea was to “fix” the Articles of Confederation.
Over an unproductive period of several weeks, delegates debated, bickered and discussed back and forth various proposals for a better framework of government. Throughout these several weeks, octogenarian delegate Benjamin Franklin, representing Pennsylvania, spoke little, almost none at all, but he listened and he meditated on the proceedings. Franklin’s health was such that he had to be carried in and out of the hall. Franklin’s contribution to the convention was wisdom. His greatest and most important contribution of wisdom was spiritual.
When he saw the delegates at an impasse, he addressed the delegation thus: [Link to Audio]
The small progress we have made after 4 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 ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark 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 to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the 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 that 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. 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 labour in vain that build it.” 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: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. 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, and its blessings 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.
Repentance and Prayer – The Only Hope for America
But for Divine Guidance and intervention, America is doomed. We don’t like hearing negative things, but only by accepting reality can we survive.
Excessive taxation, rapid-expansion socialism, declining dollar, astronomical debt from which we cannot recover apart from the miraculous intervention of the Creator of the universe, the Living God.
Global famine is reality. Global natural disasters are reality. Wars and rumors of wars are reality. An American society given over to a reprobate mind is a reality. Water will become more precious than either gasoline or gold. Most ominous of all, as we enter the end times, we see no mention of America in the Bible.
Illusion of economic recovery surfaces ever so often, but economic reality is a constant companion.
In the Bible, the book of 2nd Chronicles, chapter 7, verses 13 through 15, God spoke to Solomon a principle that applies to America today.
If I shut up heaven so no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.
Without God’s 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 bye word down to future ages.”