Though the citizens of the new nation had been victorious over England, they were no match for Satan. The forces of evil seemed to be making a great deal more headway than the church. America was falling away from God, and the church was alarmed.
Ominously, the report of the ministers concluded “that the eternal God has a controversy with this nation.” In those early days of our country, God’s cause triumphed.
By 1838, only 40 years later, America was reconciled to her God. Few public projects were launched except in His name, and few politicians dared risk the denunciation of God’s men, the ministers.
Church membership grew steadily, religious papers were bought and read, and almost every college in the country was operated by ministers and devout laymen. God had given revival to America through the constant work of His men.
Down through the years, God’s grace has shone on America. Though every generation has produced too many wicked men, in contrast there have always been thousands upon thousands of people who have followed God.
Too, God has blessed our nation with great revivalists who, with the help of numerous other evangelists and pastors, have pointed their generation back to God.
Such a person was Charles G. Finney who — from that October evening in 1821 when he met Christ, as he said, “face-to-face” — became a firebrand for God. Possessing a mind disciplined in the profession of law, he forged a popular approach to Christianity which was eventually to become America’s kind of successful evangelism.
He had such an influence on one little town in New York that practically every citizen was moved. For example, the town keeper was converted and then inaugurated nightly prayer meetings in his barroom.
Besides Finney, later in the century, there was D. L. Moody who, with his rebirth of mass evangelism, preached to presidents and Supreme Court justices, as well as to the common man.
Other men came to point America heavenward, including Billy Sunday and Sam Jones. Sunday, in his individualistic manner, was a patriotic preacher.
As the United States was entering World War I, he publicly prayed the following prayer in one of his meetings: “God, strike down in his tracks any man who fails to sign up and any woman who encourages such a failure. We ask this, Lord, because we love our country.”
God used this preacher, with the forward, cutting speech, to turn many Americans to Himself. In the single, final day of his New York campaign, 7,228 people went forward for prayer.
In this day, God has used Billy Graham, among others, to turn men to godliness., Also, thousands of evangelists, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and youth workers are constantly teaching men that the Bible is God’s Word, and that God does oversee the affairs of men who will honor Him.
They constantly teach by precept and example that “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).
May God always be our Lord. Our forefathers would have had it so, for the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other ourselves, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
They meant what they said, including the words about Divine Providence. May our current national leaders turn to God to the same degree as did the founders of our great nation.