A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION AND THE PEOPLE
Reverend Langdon seems to have realized that he might never have another opportunity to say what God needed to have said to these American leaders. He therefore spoke with both courage and boldness as he opened his heart to give them the advice of a loving and deeply concerned religious leader:
Delivered byReverend Samuel Langdon, 1787
"Preserve your government with the utmost attention and solicitude, for it is the remarkable gift of heaven. From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and all the higher powers of government.
"Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness, and sincerely wish the public welfare.
"Beware of such as are cunning rather than wise; who prefer their own interest to everything; whose judgment is partial or fickle, and whom you would not willingly trust with your own private interests.
"When meetings are called for the choice of your rulers, do not carelessly neglect them or give your votes with indifference... but act with serious deliberation and judgment, as in a most important matter, and let the faithful of the land serve you.
"Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators; for how can you expect good laws to be made by men who have no fear of God... and who boldly trample on the authority of his commands?... If the legislative body is corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations...."
"Therefore be always on your guard against parties and the methods [of] unworthy men, and let distinguished merit always determine your vote. And when all places in government are filled with the best men you can find, behave yourselves as good subjects; obey the laws, [be] cheerfully subject to such taxation as the necessities of the public call for. Give tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, and honor to whom honor [is due] as the gospel commands you.
"Never give countenance to turbulent men, who wish to distinguish themselves and rise to power by forming combinations and exciting insurrections against government. For this can never be the right way to redress real grievances...."
"I call upon you also to support schools in all your towns, that the rising generation may not grow up in ignorance.... It is a debt you owe to your children and that God to whom they belong...."
"I call upon you to preserve the knowledge of God in the land and attend to the revelation written to us from heaven.
"If you neglect or renounce that religion taught and commanded in holy scriptures, think no more of freedom, peace, and happiness...."
"May the general government of these United States, when established appear to be the best which the nations have yet known, and be exalted by uncorrupted religion and morals! And may the everlasting gospel diffuse its Heavenly light and spread Righteousness, Liberty, and Peace through the whole world."