"Just today we chanced to meet,
Down upon the crowded street;
And I wondered whence he came,
Where was once his nation's name?
So I asked him, `Tell me true,
Are you Pole or Russian Jew?
English, Irish, German, Prussian,
French, Italian, Scotch, or Russian?
Belgian, Spanish, French Moravian,
Dutch, Greek, or Scandinavian?'
Then he raised his head on high,
And he gave me his reply:
'What I was is naught to me,
In this land of liberty,
In my heart and man to man,
I am just AMERICAN!"—Selected.
In 1778, at the meeting of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin made the motion to those assembled that the Convention should not proceed without an opening prayer each day. Said he:
"I have lived for a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof
I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. 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 in the Sacred Writings that `Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that built it.' I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall proceed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."
Prayer was the foundation stone in our country's beginning. There should be more national prayer today.—Our Hope.
Loved His country, "His own country" (Matt. 13:54, 57).
Kept its laws, refusing to be made a king, or to start a political revolution (John 6:15; and at the Triumphal Entry, Mark 11:1-11).
Recognized right of taxation (Mark 12:17), and paid taxes (the temple tax, Matt. 17:24-27).
Loyal to national institutions: temple, synagogue, etc.
Recognized first claim of His court. try (Matt. 10:6; Luke 24:47).
Warned it of its perils (Matt. 23. 37-39).
Rebuked its officials (Matt. 23:136).
Wept over its sins and impending doom (Luke 19:41-44).
Jesus Christ was a model citizen.—W. Beatty Jennings, in Earnest Worker.
In his message to the Seventy-sixth Congress, President Roosevelt introduced a passage which has been noted by commentators as a most remarkable element in a presidential address. A similar statement is not recalled for many years. President Roosevelt said: "Storms from abroad directly challenge three institutions indispensable to Americans now as always. The first is religion, and is the source of the other two—democracy and international good faith. Religion, by teaching man his relationship to God. gives the individual a sense of his own dignity and teaches him to respect himself by respecting his neighbors. Where freedom of religion has been attacked, the attack has come from sources opposed to democracy. Where democracy has been overthrown, the spirit of free worship has disappeared, and where religion and democracy have vanished, good faith and reason in international affairs have given way to strident ambition and brute force. Any ordering of society which relegates religion, democracy, and good faith among nations to the background, can find no place within it for the ideals of the Prince of Peace. The United States rejects such an ordering and retains its ancient faith."—Selected.
"What America needs more than railway extension, western irrigation, a low tariff, a bigger cotton crop, and a larger wheat crop is a revival of religion, the kind that our fathers and mothers used to have; a religion that counted it good business to take time for family worship each morning right in the middle of the harvest, a religion that made men quit work a half hour earlier on Wednesday so the whole family could get ready to go to prayer meeting."—Wall Street Journal.
"Our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. It can be saved only by becoming permeated with the spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by the practices which spring out of the spirit. Only thus can discontent be driven out and all the shadows lifted from the road ahead."—President Woodrow Wilson.
The familiar motto, "In God We Trust," which appears on most of our coins, has a somewhat odd and interesting history. Its appearance there is due directly to a Maryland farmer who, in November, 1861, wrote to the then Secretary of the Treasury stating that since we claim to be a God-fearing, Christian people, we might at least make some recognition of the Deity on our coinage.
Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, referred the letter to James Pollock, Director of the Mint, for serious consideration. Pollock enthusiastically endorsed the suggestion and immediately two mottoes, "Our Country, Our God," and "God Our Trust," were proposed.
Chase had the matter presented to the Congress at their next session, which was in 1862, but nothing was done about it. Again the following year it was brought up, but still nothing was done.
Our country, at this time, was being racked by civil war. The national spirit was slowly ebbing, a crisis was nearing. Realizing this, Chase made one last appeal in 1864. The motto, "God Our Trust," he offered as his chief argument. "It is taken from our national hymn, The Star-Spangled Banner," he said, "and is a sentiment familiar to every citizen of our country; it has thrilled millions of American freemen. The time is propitious. Now in this time of national peril, our strength and salvation must be of God."
Secretary Chase won his plea. The Congress authorized the coining of a two-cent piece upon which was to be stamped the motto, "In God We Trust," in place of the old "E Pluribus Unum." The following year, on March 3, 1865, the Director of the Mint was further authorized to place the new motto on all gold and silver coins, thus fulfilling the words of Francis Scott Key in his poem, The Star Spangled Banner:
"Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, 'In God is our trust."—Courtesy Moody Monthly.