Those who have read my book, “God’s Influence in the Making of America,” know that I fully accept the concept that America’s Constitution is a divine Constitution.
But I wasn’t the first to believe America’s Constitution is a divine instrument. The first time I heard this term was in October 1987 as I listened to Ezra Taft Benson (1899 – 1994) give a talk in conference he titled “Our divine Constitution.”
Benson’s words regarding America’s divine Constitution were so powerful that I sent his talk to family and friends urging them to download it to their iPods and then to read and ponder his words.
Benson’s message, given 24 years ago this month, is as pertinent to America’s current crisis, perhaps more so, than it was in America’s crisis in 1987.
Benson opened his remarks with: “… I desire, therefore, to speak to you about our divine Constitution, which the Lord said ‘belongs to all mankind and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles.’ The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for many nations and is the oldest constitution in use today.”
He continued by again quoting the Lord: “I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.”
Benson closed his remarks with equally powerful words, stating: “I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval upon it. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits (founding fathers) to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it. We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, a land which is choice above all other lands. May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots (founders) who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.”
Between opening and closing remarks Benson quoted from both the Declaration of Independence and the founders.
He quoted Thomas Jefferson’s words from the declaration: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
He then reminded us that those who signed the declaration had declared that “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Benson told us that the cost to the signers was indeed great: “Five of the signers were captured as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War; another had two sons captured. Nine died from wounds or from the hardships of the war.”
His quote from James Madison: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution”
From Alexander Hamilton: “For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system, which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interest.”
And from John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other …,”
Benson then suggested four things Americans could do to sustain “Our divine Constitution.”
“First and foremost,” he said, “we must be righteous; second, we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the founding fathers; third, we must become involved in civic affairs to see that we are properly represented; and fourth, we must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, our teachings, and our advice.”
America’s Constitution is indeed divine – vote to preserve it.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricul tural economist in Woodstock.