Self-Evident

“It happens that we meet together once every year, sometime about the 4th of July. … We run our memory back over the pages of history [to 1776]. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers. They were iron men. They fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understand that by what they then did, it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done, of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it. …

“We have [among us immigrants] who are not descendants at all of these men. … If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none. … But when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ And then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration. And so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” —Abraham Lincoln

Self-Evident

“It happens that we meet together once every year, sometime about the 4th of July. … We run our memory back over the pages of history [to 1776]. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers. They were iron men. They fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understand that by what they then did, it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done, of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it. …

“We have [among us immigrants] who are not descendants at all of these men. … If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none. … But when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ And then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration. And so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” —Abraham Lincoln

15 Quotes On America’s Greatness

(c) craigtowens

(c) craigtowens

A few quotes that capture the essence of America’s greatness.

“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy, a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For, happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” —George Washington, in a letter to a Jewish congregation

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” —John Adams

“We’ve staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government. Far from it. We have staked the future upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” —James Madison

“We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner ‘Freedom Now’—they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.” —George W. Bush

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are extended the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father’s.” —Abraham Lincoln

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ―Harry Truman

“America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out.” —Rick Rescorla, World Trade Center security chief for Morgan Stanley, on September 11, 2001, responding to a colleague who told him he must get out of World Trade Center Tower 2. Rescorla led the evacuation of nearly 2700 Morgan Stanley employees. He died when Tower 2 collapsed. 

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” —John D. Rockefeller Jr.

“We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” —Samuel Adams

“Some things have not changed at all since 1776. For one thing, freedom is still expensive. It still costs money. It still costs blood. It still calls for courage and endurance, not only in soldiers, but in every man and woman who is free and who is determined to remain free.” —Harry Truman, on the 175th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” —George Washington

“The thing they forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them.” —Sergeant Alvin C. York, in reply to those who asked, “What did war get you?”

The Tweetable Billy Graham

BillyGrahamAlthough The Quotable Billy Graham was compiled nearly 50 years ago, all of this godly man’s wisdom still rings true today. Here are some of his quotes that fit nicely into Twitter—15 tweetable quotes from Billy Graham…

“Our faith grows by expression. If we want to keep our faith, we must share it. We must act.”

“The neglect of older people is becoming an increasing sin in America.”

“The ethical and moral concepts of Christianity are found all the way through the Declaration of Independence.”

“Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.”

“The world has never seen such a manifestation of selfless love as was demonstrated upon Calvary.”

“We have not practiced applied Christianity. We have restricted it to a Sunday affair.”

“Many persons today insist on coming into the church head first rather than heart first.”

“Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything.”

“Those who stand by the Cross are those who changed the course of history.”

“Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.”

“The further we get from the fact of the Resurrection, the closer we get to the reality of distraction.”

“It is very strange that the world accepts enthusiasm in every realm but the spiritual.”

“Faith is not anti-intellectual. It is an act of man that reaches beyond the limits of our five senses.”

“Once man denies the existence of God, he can stoop to anything.”

“If you gossip in front of your children, they are going to grow up to be gossipers.”

Previously I shared some of Billy Graham’s quotes on faith and on the church.

If you would like to check out my review of The Quotable Billy Graham, please click here.

11 Quotes From “Abolishing Abortion”

Abolishing AbortionIf you are as concerned about the devastation abortion is causing in our country as I am, you will find Father Frank Pavone’s book, Abolishing Abortion, as helpful as I did. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are the first set of quotes I wanted to share with you from this book. Unless otherwise noted, the quotes are from Father Pavone.

“First among the ‘unalienable rights’ the signers pledged to protect was ‘life.’ Legalized abortion clearly violates the principles they risked all for. It is not simply a ‘bad policy’ or an ‘unjust law,’ but rather, it marks the dissolution of this nation’s most fundamental contract with its citizens.”

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not caused for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.” —William Lloyd Garrison, speaking of slavery

“We do not look for a utopia. We look for Christ to come again. But while looking for Him to come again, we do not wait passively. We wait actively. … As we wait actively, we must also remind ourselves to act judiciously. Passion does not preclude good judgment and a measure of reserve.”

“Democracy cannot be value-neutral. It cannot fail to ascertain that there are certain things that are good, certain things that are right. … A fundamental right is a human right without which we cannot express our humanity. … To deprive a person of life is to deprive that person of liberty. It stands to reason, literally, that the very right to life has to be respected and protected. Life is an even more fundamental right then freedom. The Declaration of Independence confirmed the same—‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ in that order. The state reinforces what the Church teaches. To hold the state accountable for protecting those fundamental rights has nothing to do with imposing religious beliefs and everything to do with reason.”

“We always start with the dignity of the human person, realizing that human rights and dignity don’t come from government and can’t be taken away by government. If elected officials were the ones who decided whether people have their human rights, those wouldn’t be human rights anymore. Human rights belong to humans because they are human, not because Congress decided to grant those rights. Therefore, we can rightly exclude no one from our service, our care, our protection.” 

“When a government says that some people don’t have to be protected, that is the stuff of which genocides are made. So when you hear a citizen or a candidate or a public servant or a congressman or a senator or a president or anybody say, ‘I think Roe was a good idea,’ he is not just telling you what he thinks about a medical procedure. He is telling you what he thinks about the authority of government: what kind of government he believes we have, and what kind of government he believes we ought to have.”

“The root of modern totalitarianism is to be found in the denial of the transcendent dignity of the human person who, as the visible image of the invisible God, is therefore by his very nature the subject of rights which no one may violate—no individual, group, class, nation or State. Not even the majority of a social body may violate these rights, by going against the minority, by isolating, oppressing, or exploiting it, or by attempting to annihilate it.” —Pope John Paul II, The Splendor Of Truth (1993) 

“Human rights are not granted by political systems. They are ‘pre-political.’ They exist before government and, in fact, must be honored, served, and secured by government, not because the leaders of government say so, but because all failure to do so undermines the very purpose of government.”

“Many people are very, very concerned with children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger, and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child—what is left for me to kill you and you kill me—there is nothing between.” —Mother Theresa, in her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of December 11, 1979

“Many friends asked me, ‘What is our first spiritual duty regarding the abortion issue?’ They think I’m going to answer, ‘Prayer.’ But actually, the answer is repentance. The first step in abolishing abortion is to examine our own hearts and to repent of the role we each have played in allowing this holocaust to happen.”

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” —Elie Weisel

More quotes from this outstanding book coming soon….

The Printer And The Preacher (book review)

The Printer And The PreacherRandy Peterson has written an amazing story of the unlikely friendship between two men who loom large in history: Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield. The book is called The Printer And The Preacher: The Surprising Friendship That Invented America.

These men were arguably the first celebrities in the American colonies. They each achieved their level of fame in totally different professions, and yet their paths continue to cross time and time again, until a 30-year-long friendship ensued. Each of them was instrumental in sharpening the other in their craft, promoting their pursuits, and defending each other’s reputations. And perhaps most notably, together they became pivotal in the build-up to America’s independence both politically and religiously.

In concluding this very enjoyable book, Peterson writes—

“Like George [Whitefield], we are, as a nation, very religious. Like Ben [Franklin], we like to make up our own beliefs. About half of Americans call themselves evangelical, children of the Great Awakening. Many even use George’s favorite term: born again. But others do not share this faith. Many, like Ben, are scientific in their outlook. They take an ‘enlightened’ approach to life, focusing on the natural world, not the supernatural.

“We are George and Ben.

“Thanks to Ben and others, we have religious liberty carved into our Constitution. We have freedom to be religious or not to be. We can be Methodists, Calvinist, Catholic, deist, Pietist, or all of the above. No authority can coerce us to believe anything or force us to say we do. Spiritual life is a personal matter, a transaction between us and God. George and Ben both taught us this.

“We are still figuring out how religious freedom works. As a nation, we seem to vacillate between Ben and George, skeptic and zealot, the right to doubt and the right to believe. The question in our deeply divided country is how to preserve the freedom to live without a vibrant Christian faith as well as the freedom to choose something else. The relationship between these two forefathers points to an answer.”

This book will appeal to so many people: history buffs, pastors, scientists, leaders, politicos, and biography readers. I highly recommend it!

I am a Thomas Nelson reviewer.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“When we go through the trial of faith we gain so much wealth in our heavenly banking account, and the more we go through the trial of faith the wealthier we become in the heavenly regions.” —Oswald Chambers

“The promise that frees us from an unforgiving, bitter, vengeful spirit is the promise that God will settle our accounts. He will do it more justly and more thoroughly than we ever could. Therefore we can back off and leave room for God to work.” —John Piper, commenting on Romans 12:19

“‘Revenge is sweet;’ but not to the man who has tasted Christ, for he says, ‘How can I have vengeance upon my fellow, when Christ has put away my sin?’ Now, forgiveness is sweet, and he loathes malice, and turns aside from it as from venom itself.” —Charles Spurgeon

The Isaiah 53:5 Project reblogged one of my all-time favorite blog posts: The Parable Of The Lifeguard. Thanks, James!

Melinda Penner reminds us of the dangers of abusing our freedom. “If there is nothing objective to constrain our freedom, then there’s nothing objective to constrain the government. Our rights become whatever we declare them to be and whatever the government at any time and place declares them to be, changing with the fashions of the day.”

I Missed It

Greg Koukl does a good job explaining how the books of the Bible were compiled in this video.

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