George Washington (1732-1799)
Commander-in-Chief in the Revolutionary War, President of the Continental Congress, first President of the United States of America, known as “The Father of His country,” eulogized by Henry Lee as, “First in War, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countryman.”
“No country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings…Much to be regretted indeed would it be, were to neglect the means and depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far…to forsake us in the midst of it…We may now and then, get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path.”
In Washington’s letter to General Benjamin Lincoln, his deputy in the War, who accepted British General Cornwallis’ sword at his surrender.
“It shall still be my endeavor to manifest, by overt acts, the purity of my inclination for promoting the happiness of mankind, as well as the sincerity of my desires to contribute whatever may be in my power towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American people.”
In his letter to the Methodist Episcopal Bishop of New York, 1789
“I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”
In his letter written to John Armstrong, 1792
“While just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.”
In his letter to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Churches in North America
“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
“Purity of morals is the only sure foundation of public happiness in any country.”
The Writings of George Washington, October 21, 1778
“The federal government …can never be in danger of degenerating…so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.”
Writings, February 7, 1778
“Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”
Writings, March 3, 1797
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morals are indispensable supports…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 stature, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
In his Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
“…since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of the union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessings may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.”
In his Inaugural Address before Congress on April 30, 1789
“But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
In letter to his brother after the Battle of the Monongahela of the French and Indian War in 1755, in which Washington was the only one on horseback who did not die in this battle.
“WEDNESDAY MORNING…Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great Creator of heaven and earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from heaven, in pity and compassion upon me Thy servant, who humbly prostrate myself before thee, sensible of Thy mercy and my own misery…Help all in affliction or adversity – give them patience and a sanctified use of their affliction, and in Thy good time, deliverance from them; forgive my enemies, take me unto Thy protection this day, keep me in perfect peace, which I ask in the name and for the sake of Jesus. Amen.”
In his prayer journal in 1752
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise endeavor.”
In a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, June 12, 1779
“Remember that God is our only sure trust. To Him, I commend you…My son neglect not the duty of secret prayer.”
Mrs. Mary Washington, his mother’s parting words as Washington was leaving home to begin his lifelong service to his country.
Aren’t we glad he heeded his mother’s advice!
“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In Washington’s farewell letter at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, sent to the governors of the newly freed thirteen states, June 8, 1783