I thought we should recap this one…….Amen
I thought we should recap this one…….Amen
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
These words were spoken recently out of context in a speech reported by FNC Fox News Channel………let us clarify them today
But the one who does not know (the wisdom of God through the Holy Spirit) and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much (responsibility), much will be demanded(wisdom and Knowledge for Guidance in true faith); and from the one who has been entrusted with much(the Public “Congregation’s” trust), much more will be asked(the Ox must tread out the grain to provide spiritual wisdom to achieve peace on earth).
Prov 3:19-20 By wisdom (Spirit-the Holy spirit of God hovered over the void and created all things made- Genesis chapter 1) Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place( by love care and protection he put the firmament around the world his vineyard- Genesis chapter 1); by his knowledge the deeps (spirits born and unborn)were divided.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”
between the spirits as the holy spirit breathed the water(Spirit) of life into us in the beginning to separate us from him until we have learned to conduct ourselves in spiritual ways
1 Cor 13:8-12
For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are “tongues” (different languages twisted into self righteous opinions and Agendas) the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge (worldly thoughts and opinions) it will be swallowed up in truth(the Holy Spirit). For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete (Holy Spirit) comes, that is the end of the incomplete(worldly wickedness of the flesh). When I was a little child(born into flesh) I talked and felt like a little child(in fleshly ways). Now that I am a man (as God created man both male and female by spirit in the beginning and through the covenant I have achieved his grace) I am finished with childish things(wickedness and fleshly ways). At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror(trying to find ourselves a way back to the revelation of his spirits image by our acts not just our lips and observances). The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face(as we again become one with the spirit on the day of at-one-ment)! At present all I know is a small fraction of the truth(spirit that is but crumbs to follow back into the Lord’s way), but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God has known me(for when I accept his promise and honor the covenant I shall be in his Holy Communion)!
Prov 24:3-4 By wisdom (spirit) a house (host) is built (filled), and through understanding(wisdom and love) it is established(made to be sustained); through knowledge(enlightenment) its rooms (descendants) are filled (saved) with rare and beautiful treasures (the rewards of God).
Prov 19:2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge(the Holy Spirit of God), nor to be hasty (self Righteous) and miss the way(examples given through the signs and seasons including the lessons of flesh).
Hos 4:6 My (God’s) people are destroyed from lack of knowledge(Spirit).
Eph 5:17 Therefore, do not be foolish(stricken by temptations of the flesh “world”), but understand what the Lord’s will is(Spirit of God’s purpose is).
Prov 23:23 Buy(The cost is honoring the covenant) the truth (Spirit)and do not sell it(and hold fast to your promise in return lest you be cast off for being defiled in his house); get wisdom(Spirit), discipline(Fast when dealing with trials and tribulations for we are each equally suffered unto the Lord), and understanding(unconditional love for God).
Prov 9:6 Leave your simple ways (worldly ways) and you will live(be redeemed); walk in the way of understanding(the Holy Spirit of God).
Jam 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom(the Holy Spirit of God), he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault(by honoring the covenant set down before thee), and it will be given to him(by and through repentance of our sins and divorcing the wife “flesh” of our youth).
Prov 8:11 For wisdom(Holy Spirit of God) is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her (the wife of your rebirth in spirit).
Prov 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.
Prov 13:20 He who walks with the wise (spirit) grows wise (spirit), but a companion of fools (wickedness of flesh)suffers harm.
Prov 24:5-6 A wise (spiritual) man has great power (for thine is the Kingdom the power and the Glory forever Amen), and a man of knowledge (God) increases strength. For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers( a body of spirit with spiritual men in a congregation).
Gen 2:17 But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (eat of the tree of spirit and not of flesh), for when you eat of it you will surely die (because you must choose their is no partiality to being in the spirit of God eating of the tree of flesh only leads to temptation as it was in the Garden of Eden in the beginning).
1 Cor 14:20 Brothers, stop thinking like children(disobedient children outside of the covenant). In regard to evil be infants(to be wise as serpents but innocent as doves “doves-long since a symbol of love), but in your thinking be like adults(spiritual beings full of truth and light in the Holy Spirit).
Rom 16:19b But I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
Rom 16:19b I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners at evil.
Mat 10:16 I am sending you out as sheep among wolves(you must flock together in unity with a shepherd). Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Phil 4:7 Then, the peace(Spirit) of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding(without it), will keep guard over your hearts and thoughts, in Christ Jesus(the messenger who first received him Jesus becoming the Christ..the Holy Spirit in his flesh).
Job 36:26 How great is God, beyond our understanding!
Prov 3:5,7a Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…. Do not be wise in your own eyes.
Jam 3:13-17 Is there some wise and understanding man among you? Then let his life be a shining example of the humility that is born of true wisdom. But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy and rivalry, then do not boast and do not deny the truth. You may acquire a certain wisdom, but it does not come from above–it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil. For wherever you find jealousy and rivalry you also find disharmony and all other kinds of evil. The wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of merciful thoughts and kindly actions, straightforward, with no hint of hypocrisy.
1 Cor 1:18-31 The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less than the power of God. It is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject.” For consider, what have the philosopher, the writer, and the critic of this world to show for all their wisdom? Has not God made the wisdom of this world look foolish? For it was after the world in its wisdom had failed to know God, that he in his wisdom chose to save all who would believe by the “simple- mindedness” of the gospel message. For the Jews ask for miraculous signs and the Greeks an intellectual panacea, but all we preach is Christ crucified–a stumbling-block to the Jews and sheer nonsense to the gentiles… for God’s “foolishness” is wiser than men…. But God has chose what the world calls foolish to shame the wise… that no man may boast in the presence of God…. And this makes us see the truth of the scripture: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
1 Cor 3:19-21 Let no one be under any illusion over this. If any man among you thinks himself one of the world’s clever ones, let him discard his cleverness that he may learn to be truly wise. For this world’s cleverness is stupidity to God. It is written: “He that taketh the wise in their craftiness”, and again, “The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain.” So let no one boast of men.
Knowledge Without Love?
1 Cor 8:1b-2 It is easy to think that we “know” over problems like this, but we should remember that while this “knowing” may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature. For if a man thinks he “knows” he may still be quite ignorant of what he ought to know.
1 Cor 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing.
The Source Of True Knowledge
Prov 2:6,9-11 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to little children.”
Jam 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
God’s Secret, Revealed By The Spirit
1 Cor 2:6-10 We do, of course, speak wisdom among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, nor by the powers-that-be, who soon will be only the powers that have been. The wisdom we speak of is that mysterious secret wisdom of God, which he planned before the creation for our glory today…. But, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. Thus God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret.
1 Cor 2:10 But God has revealed it [wisdom] to us by his Spirit.
Phil 1:9-10 My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ.(the day you are pure enough to receive the Holy Spirit for it is written the kingdom of heaven is at hand)
Col 1:9,10 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge (holy Spirit) of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
Minister Joseph Preston Kirk
Have you been the giver for so long that you have forgotten how to receive? Allow others to give you some of the love that you give so freely. Seek a balance between your giving and your receiving.
But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us –see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but i want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Here’s the general principle about giving, receiving and proportional return.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ 5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down Quickly, and make it four hundred.’ 7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ 8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 he chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'”
I Corinthians 1:27-31
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages”
I Timothy 5:17-18
I will close with a prayer. Lord, may your love be known who all who hear your voice, who choose to obey you in matters of sacrifice and self discipline. As you are the master to whom we ultimately serve, help us entrust the provisions of our lives into your care. Help us to have courage in the face of apparent lack so that we may not be deceived in our carnal nature. Help us to have humility in the face of apparent plenty so that we may also not be deceived in that same carnal nature. May we, as Paul your servant did, learn to be content in our present conditions, whatever they may be.
That’s not to say it’s an easy purpose, or a convenient one. It might very well seem hard or even impossible, but it only looks that way. The truth is that one day you will look back and see how all the pieces fit together. And how your life has been a complete and utter success.
Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Galatians 6:9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Philippians 1:6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
James 5:11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Revelation 2:2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
C.S. Lewis Quotes About Perseverance
God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” Albert Einstein
“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” Calvin Coolidge
“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” Tom Hopkins
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Marianne Williamson
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak” Thomas Carlyle
“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance” Samuel Johnson
The Educational System Problem
Only a handful of educational theorists hold the view that if only the adult world would get out of the way, children would ripen into fully realized people. Most thinkers, educational practitioners, and parents acknowledge that children are born helpless and need the care and guidance of adults into their teens and often beyond. More specifically, children need to learn how to live harmoniously in society. Historically, the mission of schools has been to develop in the young both the intellectual and the moral virtues. Concern for the moral virtues, such as honesty, responsibility, and respect for others, is the domain of moral education.
Moral education, then, refers to helping children acquire those virtues or moral habits that will help them individually live good lives and at the same time become productive, contributing members of their communities. In this view, moral education should contribute not only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion of a community. The word moral comes from a Latin root (mos, moris) and means the code or customs of a people, the social glue that defines how individuals should live together.
Every enduring community has a moral code and it is the responsibility and the concern of its adults to instill this code in the hearts and minds of its young. Since the advent of schooling, adults have expected the schools to contribute positively to the moral education of children. When the first common schools were founded in the New World, moral education was the prime concern. New England Puritans believed the moral code resided in the Bible. Therefore, it was imperative that children be taught to read, thus having access to its grounding wisdom. As early as 1642 the colony of Massachusetts passed a law requiring parents to educate their children. In 1647 the famous Old Deluder Satan Act strengthened the law. Without the ability to read the Scriptures, children would be prey to the snares of Satan.
The colonial period. As common school spread throughout the colonies, the moral education of children was taken for granted. Formal education had a distinctly moral and religion emphasis. Harvard College was founded to prepare clergy for their work. Those men who carved out the United States from the British crown risked their fortunes, their families, and their very lives with their seditious rebellion. Most of them were classically educated in philosophy, theology, and political science, so they had learned that history’s great thinkers held democracy in low regard. They knew that democracy contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction and could degenerate into mobocracy with the many preying on the few and with political leaders pandering to the citizenry’s hunger for bread and circuses. The founders’ writings, particularly those of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John and Abigail Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, are filled with admonitions that their new country make education a high priority. While the early leaders saw economic reasons for more and longer schooling, they were convinced that the form of government they were adopting was, at heart, a moral compact among people.
Nineteenth century. As the young republic took shape, schooling was promoted for both secular and moral reasons. In 1832, a time when some of the Founding Fathers were still alive, Abraham Lincoln wrote, in his first political announcement (March 9,1832), “I desire to see a time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present.” Horace Mann, the nineteenth-century champion of the common schools, strongly advocated for moral education. He and his followers were worried by the widespread drunkenness, crime, and poverty during the Jacksonian period in which they lived. Of concern, too, were the waves of immigrants flooding into cities, unprepared for urban life and particularly unprepared to participate in democratic civic life. Mann and his supporters saw free public schools as the ethical leaven of society. In 1849, in his twelfth and final report to the Massachusetts Board of Education, he wrote that if children age four to sixteen could experience “the elevating influences of good schools, the dark host of private vices and public crimes, which now embitter domestic peace and stain the civilization of the age, might, in 99 cases in every 100, be banished from the world”(p. 96).
In the nineteenth century, teachers were hired and trained with the clear expectation that they would advance the moral mission of the school and attend to character formation. Literature, biography, and history were taught with the explicit intention of infusing children with high moral standards and good examples to guide their lives. Students’ copybook headings offered morally uplifting thoughts: “Quarrelsome persons are always dangerous companions” and “Praise follows exertion.” The most successful textbooks during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the famed McGuffey readers, which were filled with moral stories, urgings, and lessons. During this period of our evolution as a nation, moral education was deep in the very fabric of our schools.
There was, however, something else in the fabric of moral education that caused it to become problematic: religion. In the United States, as a group of colonies and later as a new nation, the overwhelming dominant religion was Protestantism. While not as prominent as during the Puritan era, the King James Bible was, nevertheless, a staple of U.S. public schools. The root of the moral code was seen as residing there. However, as waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and Italy came to the country from the mid-nineteenth century forward, the pan-Protestant tone and orthodoxy of the schools came under scrutiny and a reaction set in. Concerned that their children would be weaned from their faith, Catholics developed their own school system. Later in the twentieth century, other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, and even various Protestant denominations, formed their own schools. Each group desired, and continues to desire, that its moral education be rooted in its respective faith or code.
Twentieth century. During this same late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century period, there was also a growing reaction against organized religion and the belief in a spiritual dimension of human existence. Intellectual leaders and writers were deeply influenced by the ideas of the English naturalist Charles Darwin, the German political philosopher Karl Marx, the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, and the German philosopher and poet Friedrich Nietzsche, and by a growing strict interpretation of the separation of church and state doctrine. This trend increased after World War II and was further intensified by what appeared to be the large cracks in the nation’s moral consensus in the late 1960s. Since for so many Americans the strongest roots of moral truths reside in their religious beliefs, educators and others became wary of using the schools for moral education. More and more this was seen to be the province of the family and the church. Some educators became proponents of “value-free” schooling, ignoring the fact that it is impossible to create a school devoid of ethical issues, lessons, and controversies.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, as many schools attempted to ignore the moral dimension of schooling, three things happened: Achievement scores began to decline, discipline and behavior problems increased, and voices were raised accusing the schools of teaching secular humanism. As the same time, educators were encouraged to address the moral concerns of students using two approaches: values clarification and cognitive developmental moral education.
The first, values clarification, rests on little theory other than the assumption that students need practice choosing among moral alternatives and that teachers should be facilitators of the clarification process rather than indoctrinators of particular moral ideas or value choices. This approach, although widely practiced, came under strong criticism for, among other things, promoting moral relativism among students. While currently few educators confidently advocate values clarification, its residue of teacher neutrality and hesitance to actively address ethical issues and the moral domain persists.
The second approach, cognitive developmental moral education, sprang from the work of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget and was further developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. In contrast to values clarification, cognitive moral development is heavy on theory and light on classroom applications. In its most popular form, Kohlberg posited six sequential stages of moral development, which potentially individuals could achieve. Each stage represents a distinctive way an individual thinks about a moral situation or problem. Teachers are encouraged to engage students from an early age and throughout their schooling in discussion of moral issues and dilemmas. In the later years of his life, Kohlberg was urging educators to transform their schools into “just communities,” environments within which students’ moral stage development would accelerate.
In the early 1980s, amid the widespread concern over students’ poor academic achievements and behavior, educators rediscovered the word character. Moral education had a religious tinge, which made many uneasy. Character with its emphasis on forming good habits and eliminating poor habits struck a popular and traditional chord. The word character has a Greek root, coming from the verb “to engrave.” Thus character speaks to the active process of making marks or signs (i.e., good habits) on one’s person. The early formation of good habits is widely acknowledged to be in the best interests of both the individual and society.
In addition, character formation is recognized as something that parents begin early, but the work is hardly completed when a child goes to school. Implicit in the concept of character is the recognition that adults begin the engraving process of habituation to consideration of others, self-control, and responsibility, then teachers and others contribute to the work, but eventually the young person takes over the engraving or formation of his own character. Clearly, though, with their learning demands and taxing events, children’s school years are a prime opportunity for positive and negative (i.e., virtues and vices) character formation.
The impetus and energy behind the return of character education to American schools did not come from within the educational community. It has been fueled, first, by parental desire for orderly schools where standards of behavior and good habits are stressed, and, second, by state and national politicians who responded to these anxious concerns of parents. During his presidency, William Clinton hosted five conferences on character education. President George W. Bush expanded on the programs of the previous administration and made character education a major focus of his educational reform agenda. One of the politically appealing aspects of character education, as opposed to moral education with its religious overtones, is that character education speaks more to the formation of a good citizen. A widely repeated definition (i.e., character education is helping a child to know the good, to desire the good, and to do the good) straddles this issue. For some people the internal focus of character education comfortably can be both religious and civic and for others the focus can be strictly civic, dealing exclusively on the formation of the good citizen.
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own [NOTE]; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.
I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.
‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware.
As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania; but if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential control.
I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes centred in one, which was, that the country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care.
I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.
But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.
I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, “Well! give me peace in my day.” Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A summer’s experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an attempt on this city [Philadelphia]; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined. If he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the Tories have; he is bringing a war into their country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory may never more be mentioned; but should the Tories give him encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year’s arms may expel them from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years’ war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.
Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.
There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both. Howe’s first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the tories call making their peace, “a peace which passeth all understanding” indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe’s army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.
I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.
Minister Joseph Preston Kirk