George Washington

President of the United States of America

Our nation and our freedoms face grave threats - a common condition in the annals of history. In Old Testament times of danger, a watchman would blow the trumpet and alert the nation. Today, George Washington’s final message could serve as such a trumpet call for us. In his Farewell Address, our first president shared his “apprehension of danger” and issued a sobering reminder of the many “causes which may disturb our union.”


From his Farewell Address, 1796:

"One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. . . .

"… the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism....

"Let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. . . .

"Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.....

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

"...virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?

"...a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification.

It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others.... And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation....

"In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations.  ....that they may ... warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue....

George Washington,  September 17, 1796

The entire message:

At his First Inauguration, April 30, 1789,

Apparently, George Washington placed his hand on a Bible opened to Deuteronomy 28.  That page held a warning America would  do well to heed today:   

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth....

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face.... The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail.... if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Does that promise remind you of America?

A long list of wonderful blessings follows – the kinds of favors God has showered on this nation. But verse 15 begins a parallel list of consequences for disobedience. May I suggest you read the whole sobering chapter. It ends with,

“But...if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments.... that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.... The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew.... The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust.... The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies....

"A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor... Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land.... The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.... Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart...." Deuteronomy 28:47-48

Please pray with us that this downward slide to poverty, plagues, and servitude will not be the final page in the history of these wonderful United States under God.

  That means taking George Washington's last point to heart:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion."  

By "religion," Washington meant Christianity. He knew God’s Word and counted on His promises. Should we do less?

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Preambles of the States: Americans once agreed to trust God!

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