Were America’s founding fathers influenced by Jesus Christ? Rather than debate the topic, why not just look into their personal journals? What did they say?
Christopher Columbus in his Book of Prophecies:
It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies….
There was no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures … encouraging me continually to press forward, and without ceasing for a moment they now encourage me to make haste.
In a letter written in 1493 to Spain’s General Treasurer Gabriel Sanchez, Columbus wrote:
That which the unaided intellect of man could not compass, the spirit of God has granted to human exertions, for God is wont to hear the prayers of His servants who love His precepts even to the performance of apparent impossibilities. Therefore, let the king and queen, our princes and their most happy kingdoms, and all the other provinces of Christendom, render thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In June of 1630, ten years after the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony, Gov. John Winthrop landed in Massachusetts Bay with 700 people in 11 ships, thus beginning the Great Migration, which lasted 16 years and saw more than 20,000 Puritans embark for New England. In a sermon aboard the ship Arbella before disembarking on the shores of New England, Winthrop said:
We are a Company, professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, and thus we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love….
Thus stands the cause between God and us: we are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a Commission, the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles….
We must hold a familiar commerce together in each other in all meekness, gentleness, patience, and liberality. We must delight in each other, make one another’s condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our Commission and Community in this work, as members of the same body….
We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men of succeeding plantations shall say, “The Lord make it like that of New England.”
For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.
Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac offered his personal version of the Lord’s Prayer:
Heavenly Father, May all revere Thee, And become They dutiful children and faithful subjects. May thy Laws be obeyed on earth as perfectly as they are in Heaven. Provide for us this day as Thou hast hitherto daily done. Forgive us our trespasses, and enable us likewise to forgive those that offended us. Keep us out of temptation and deliver us from Evil.
In a 1787 speech to the Constitutional Convention:
God governs in the affairs of man. And 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 labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.
In comments on the Great Awakening – a religious revival that swept early America, led by Jonathan Edwards:
It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro’ the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.
On matters of education, in 1750 Franklin wrote to Dr. Samuel Johnson, the first president of King’s College (now Columbia University):