Thursday, February 21, 2008
George Washington...an example of a perfect man - great in every respect
Two hundred thirty-two years ago, our fathers fought an important war for our American independence. If these patriots had not had the courage and fortitude to stand for what they believed, our history wouldn’t be the same and we would be marching to a different flag and a different drummer. But they had visions of a glorious nation of our own and a land of the free. There was no draft back then; men volunteered out of their hearts for their country. What a heritage we can cherish.
The dictionary says a patriot is one who zealously guards his country. If a patriot were on the arid plains of the desert, or the snowy mountain ridges, or in battling the scalp-tearing Indians, those Revolutionary soldiers might have been compared to veterans of Alexander, Caesar or Napoleon. Our soldiers have been the noblest product of our teeming country.
George Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia. He was a third generation American. He was truly appointed by God, like David in the Bible was. He was the example of the perfect man – great, good in every respect. He was first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen (however, he married a widow.) The widow he married was Martha Custis, who came to the marriage in 1759 with two children and 18,000 acres among other things.
When he was 20, he wanted to join the Navy but his mother and destiny said no. He was so loved by everyone that they wanted to make him king of America. But George wouldn’t let them, as he envisioned America to be a democracy, not a monarchy. Aren’t you glad that he made that decision? It kept us from having a King Dick or King Bill or another King George.
In 1754, George was appointed to lead an expedition to fight the French who were doing a pretty good job of conquering America. The fracas happened right outside Pittsburgh, Pa. Some of the Indians joined Washington and helped him win the French and Indian War. In a short 11 years the Revolutionary War was to begin. (I had an ancestor in this war -- on the Indian side. He was from Pennsylvania.)
People in this new world of the 17th and 18th centuries just accepted the British monarchy until the British got greedy and began taxing us too much, then the people decided it was time to come into our own and make our own country. One such person was on the British side, not the Revolutionaries’. He passed by a woods and saw a horse tethered there and heard a loud voice coming from the woods. The man went into the woods to see where the voice came from, and he discovered it was George Washington praying. He listened a moment then went home and as he got on his horse, he agonizingly said, “It’s no use! It’s no use!” His wife said, “What are you talking about?” The man answered, “It’s no use to fight against such a man as George Washington as I know God is on his side after hearing that prayer. We can’t fight such men as this.”
The famous painting by Emanuel Leutze shows Washington on Christmas Day of 1776 as Washington crossed the Delaware to catch the Hessians at Trenton, or was it the Trentons at Hessian?
This is what Washington wrote in a letter to his mother describing his battle. “The English soldiers were struck with such panic and more cowardice than it is possible to conceive. They broke and ran as sheep pursued by dogs. I escaped without a wound but I had four bullet holes through my coat and two horses shot from under me.”
George Washington faced the tremendous task of launching a new nation which stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Missouri River and from the Great Lakes to Spanish-held Florida, a territory equal to all of western Europe including the British Isles. The population of the United States was four million people which included 700,000 slaves. Ninety percent of the people were farmers.
I have a computer and the first thing I brought up on it was this vision of George Washington. Listen to this: (note, the following was originally published by Wesley Bradshaw in the National Review, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1880).
“The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on July 4, 1859, in Independence Square. He was then 99 years old, and becoming very feeble. But though so old, his dimming eyes rekindled as he gazed upon Independence Hall, which he came to visit once more.
“Let us go into the hall,” he said. “ I want to tell you an incident of Washington’s life - one which no one alive knows of except for myself; and, if you live, you will before long, see it verified.
“From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill; one time victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to spend the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen our dear commander’s care-worn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington’s going to the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.
“One day I remember well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly, he remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon alone. When he came out, I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I mention who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:
“I do not know whether it is owing to anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb, me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments, before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a light raising of her eyes.
“Presently I heard a voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn,” while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange scene. Before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the world — Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. I saw rolling and tossing, between Europe and America, the billows of the Atlantic and between Asia and America lay the Pacific.
“Son of the Republic,” said the same mysterious voice as before, “look and learn.” At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing, or rather floating, in the hollow air, between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand while with his left hand he cast some on Europe. Immediately a cloud raised from these countries and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans of the American people. (This turned out to be the Revolutionary War.)
“A second time the angel dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back to the ocean, in whose heaving billows it sank from view. A third time I heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, was dotted with them. Again I heard the mysterious voice say, “Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn.”
“At this, the dark shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened specter approach our land. It flitted slowly over every town and city of the latter. The inhabitants presently set themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued looking, I saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was traced the word, “Union,” bearing the American flag which he placed between the divided nation, and said, “Remember ye are brethren.” Instantly, the inhabitants casting from them their weapons became friends once more, and united around the National Standard.
“And again I heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” At this, the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts; and taking water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia, and Africa. Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these countries arose thick, black clouds that were soon joined into one. And throughout this mass, there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was enveloped in the volume of cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country, and burn the villages, towns and cities that I beheld springing up.
“As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.” When the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast. (Was this the Civil War?)
“Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud, which enveloped America. At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shone the word “Union,” and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descended from the heavens attended by legions of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who perceived were well-nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage again closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again, amid the fearful noise of the conflict, I heard the mysterious voice saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.”
“As the voice ceased, the shadowy angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious.
“Then once more I beheld the villages, towns and cities, springing up where I had seen them before, while the bright angel, plating the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried with a loud voice: “While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.” And taking from his brow the crown on which was blazoned the word “Union,” he placed it upon the Standard, while the people, kneeling down, said “Amen.”
“The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who in the same voice I had heard before, said, “Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted. Three great perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third.”
“(The comment on his word ‘third’ is: The help against the third peril comes in the shape of Divine assistance; passing which, the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for God, the land and Union.)”
“With these words the vision vanished, and I felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me at birth, progress, and destiny of the United States.
“Such, my friends,” conclude the venerable narrator, “were the words I heard from Washington’s own lips and America will do well to profit by them.”
Make a point to come by and see us at the Square Museum, 111 Van Dorn Ave., or check out our website at www.mchmuseum.org.
At WKRA, 1110 AM on your dial Thursday at 2 o’clock, on Swanee’s Good News Happy Hour will be the president of Rust College, Dr. David Beckley, telling us exciting news of Rust College. Then Mrs. Eddie Lee Smith (Luberta, former first lady of Holly Springs) will have a chat with us about what’s going on in her life today. She will also share with us two of her piano renditions that are on the CDs she has recorded.
They are for sale in the public places. She is a real delight on the piano. For those of you who missed the Thursday program or those of you who just want to listen to it again, you can tune in to WKRA 1110 AM Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for a repeat of the program.
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