“I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream,” declared Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the massive crowd gathered below. In spite of being maligned, attacked and jailed, King knew there was something good and noble about the dream of those early pilgrims and Founders who came to these shores seeking individual freedom and religious liberty. 

Bernie Sanders, by way of contrast, has trashed America as being "racist from top to bottom," even though he has never personally experienced racism. Unlike Dr. King, Sanders seems to find little good in America, but much to praise in communist regimes such as Cuba, Nicauragua and the Old Soviet Union.  The difference in Dr. King and Sanders probably speaks of personal character as much as their differing worldviews. 
Dr. King Wanted to Recapture the Original American Dream
In his, “I Have a Dream” speech, King made it clear that he had come to Washington D.C. that day, not to trash and condemn America, but to challenge her to live up to that original dream of individual freedom and justice for all. He challenged America that day, not to dispense with her founding documents, but to live up to them. He said,
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Then quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed,
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 121-22).
Showing that he understood these freedoms to have roots in the country’s Christian origins, Dr. King, who was a devout Christian, went on to say that he had a dream that one day all Americans—whether white or black—would be able to sing together the words of that Christian, patriotic hymn,
My country 'tis of Thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of Thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!
Dr. King’s Dream Would Not Fit a Socialist Agenda
Dr. King obviously rcognzied that there was an original American dream, not yet realized by everyone, but noble and worth fighting for. How unlike so many today on the Left who insist that America is evil and racist at its core and in need of fundamental change. As mentioned above, Bernie Sanders has condemned America and expressed admiration for Marxist regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and the old Soviet Union. He would like to implement many of their socialist policies in the U.S. if he is elected president.
Dr. King would vehemently disagree. He understood that the Soviet Union, based on Marxist ideology, was oppressive and anti-Christian at its very core. In a speech, just before his assassination, he spoke of how he could understand the denial of rights if he were in China or Russia or some other totalitarian regime. But this was America! He then quoted from the Bill of Rights and said, "All we say to America is 'be true to what you have put on paper.'" 
Dr. King must have understood at least some of the facts that are documented in my latest book, 1726In this book, I document how that original American dream, to which Dr. King was committed, came forth. I show the impact of the Great Awakening on Colonial America and document how it  had a direct bearing on the founding of this nation. I also show how this Awakening produced an anti-slavery movement and had a direct bearing on the abolition of slavery on this continent.
Dr. King must have known this. This is why he quotes extensively from America’s founding documents; documents that do not mention slavery and contain no classifications based on race or skin color.
Keeping race out of the Constitution was purposeful, for as James Madison explained, “The Convention thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 123).
America’s Founders Turn Against Slavery
Indeed, so powerful was the Great Awakening and the abolition movement that it produced, that by the time of America’s founding virtually every Founder had turned against slavery, admitting that it was sinful and wrong. The brilliant black scholar, Dr. Thomas Sowell, has written in this regard,
Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 90).
One of America’s founders, Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, called slavery a “hydra sin” and helped found the nation’s first abolition society in that city. He also called on the preachers of America to attack slavery in their preaching. 

As a result of the Great Awakening, virtually every Founder came to agree with John Adams, the nation’s second president, who wrote,
Every measure of prudence . . . ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. I have throughout my whole life held the practice of slavery in abhorrence (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 101).
As a result of the Awakening and being confronted with the inconsistency of slavery with Christian faith, George Washington freed his slaves. In a conversation with John Bernard concerning emancipation, Washington declared,
Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, I clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 103).
Even those Founders who did not free their slaves publicly admitted that slavery was sinful and would bring God’s judgement on the nation. It was in the context of slavery being allowed to continue in the South that Thomas Jefferson warned,
God who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 125).
Bernie Sanders Does Not Share Dr. King’s Dream
Yes, America had experienced spiritual awakening at the time of her founding, and a great abolition movement was underway. Although it would take a Second Great Awakening, a Great Prayer Awakening and a Civil War, America finally rid herself of slavery.
But make no mistake! The moral resolve to sacrifice a million of her citizens and a large portion of her economy to rid herself of that evil, was rooted in that original American dream of which Dr. King spoke and with which he identified. “I still have a dream,” he said, “And it is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
Bernie Sanders obviously does not share this dream. He and others would replace Dr. King’s dream with a utopian socialist vision that has destroyed individual freedom and religious liberty everywhere it has been imposed.
This is why Dr. King would be opposed to Bernie Sanders and his socialist vision for America. 
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt is an author, teacher, revivalist and ordained minister. He has founded the "1726 Project" with the goal of informing America of her roots in spiritual awakening and calling for prayer for another Great Awakening across the land,



A ten-year study to determine where America’s Founders got their ideas for the nation’s founding documents, found that they quoted, not Enlightenment philosophers, but the Bible, far more than any other source. Yes, they quoted Blackstone, Locke, Cicero, Montesquieu and other intellectuals, but as Cleon Skousen stated, “The linchpin that united their thinking on every important principle was the Bible.”
This truth concerning the Bible’s profound influence on America’s founding was acknowledged in a December 1982 article in Newsweek entitled “How the Bible Made America.” It contained this insightful statement:
For centuries [the Bible] has exerted an unrivaled influence on American culture, politics and social life. Now historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model of society, a beacon to the world (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 7).
A Biblical Worldview
America’s founding generation held a Biblical worldview. They viewed the world and interpreted all of life through the prism of Biblical truth.
From the beginning, the Bible had been incorporated into all the learning of the schools in Colonial America. For example, The New England Primer coupled Bible verses and church doctrine with the learning of the ABCs. The letter “A,” for example, was associated with “Adam” and the statement, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” Children in early America learned to read with their primer in one hand and their Bible in the other. 
America's founding generation was, therefore, Biblically literate. This was still the case when the French sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America in 1831. He saw the influence of the Bible everywhere and said, "The religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me.” In describing the pioneers who opened the western frontier, he said that they, “Penetrated the wilds of the New World with the Bible, an axe, and some newspapers.”
America’s founders saw no dichotomy between the Bible and the Enlightenment's emphasis on reason. Because they held a Biblical worldview, they interpreted Enlightenment teachings in the light of Scripture. This is why the well-known Catholic scholar, William Novak, says,
Everywhere that reason led, Americans found the Bible. If they read Francis Bacon, they found the Bible. If they read Isaac Newton or John Milton, they found the Bible. In Shakespeare, they found the Bible. In the world of the founders, the Bible was an unavoidable and useful rod of measurement, a stimulus to intellectual innovation.
The Bible and George Washington
George Washington read his Bible on his knees. This was confirmed by his nephew, Robert Lewis, who served as his secretary and lived with him duing his presidency.

Lewis said that he had accidentally witnessed Washington’s private devotions in his library both morning and evening and that on those occasions he had seen him in a kneeling posture with a Bible open before him. Lewis believed such to have been Washington's daily practice.
Washington insisted on taking the presidential oath of office with his hand on a Bible and, thereby, declared his respect for the Bible as the ultimate guide for his personal life and his administration. By taking the oath of office with his hand on a Bible:
1)      He also declared his belief that the presidential oath of office is a sacred oath. One swears an oath by that which is greater than one’s self, and for Washington, the Bible was the most revered and honored object on which to swear before God to uphold and defend the Constitution.
2)      By linking the oath to uphold and defend the Constitution with the Bible, he declared his conviction that the Bible is the foundation on which the Constitution rests. 
Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), America’s 33rd president, understood this and he warned the nation,
The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state.
The Bible and the Continental Congress
Understanding the prominent role of the Bible in America’s founding generation, it comes as no surprise to learn that the First Continental Congress opened with an extended time of Bible reading and prayer. The delegates, including George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Patrick Henry, invited Rev. Jacob Dusche to lead them in prayer; but before praying, the white-haired Dusche read the entire 35th Psalm.
The Bible reading had a powerful impact on all present. John Adams, who became America’s second president, wrote to his wife, Abigail, back in Boston,
I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seems as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read that day. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave pacific Quakers of Philadelphia. I must beg you to read that Psalm (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 108).
The Bible and James Madison
James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, had a thorough Christian upbringing and training. At the College of New Jersey, he was mentored by the school’s president, John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian Reformer and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who once declared, "Cursed is all education that is contrary to the cross of Christ." 
After completing his studies, Madison remained at the college where he worked on a project translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English. His estimation of the Bible was demonstrated when as president, in 1812, he signed a federal bill that provided economic aid for a Bible society in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible.
Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe were right when they said, “Madison’s worldview was one shaped by the Bible more than any other source” (Hyatt, 5 Pillars of the American Republic, 14). The same could be said of every Founding Father.
The Bible and Benjamin Franklin
Franklin was reared in a devout Puritan home where he was daily exposed to Bible teachings and prayer. Although he toyed with Deism for a time in life, he eventually returned to an orthodox view of the Scriptures as the ultimate guide for life and faith. This became clear when he defended the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member, who was dismissed in 1735 for allegedly emphasizing good works over Christ’s atonement.
In his defense of the pastor, Samuel Hemphill, Franklin demonstrated an impressive depth of faith, understanding and respect for the Bible. He wrote,
Let us then consider what the Scripture Doctrine of this Affair is, and in a Word it is this: Christ by his Death and Sufferings has purchased for us those easy terms and conditions of our acceptance with God, proposed in the Gospel, to wit, Faith and Repentance: By his Death and Sufferings, he has assured us of God’s being ready and willing to accept of our sincere, though imperfect obedience to his revealed will; By his Death and Sufferings he has atoned for all sins forsaken and amended, but surely not for such as are willfully and obstinately persisted in . . . and that the ultimate End and Design of Christ’s Death, of our Redemption by his Blood, was to lead us to the Practice of all Holiness, Piety and Virtue, and by these Means to deliver us from future Pain and Punishment, and lead us to the Happiness of Heaven, may, (besides what has been already suggested) be proved from innumerable Passages of the holy Scriptures (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 139-40).
Congress Recommends the First English Bible Printed in America
The Founders’ respect for the Bible was highlighted when the first English Bible printed in America in 1782 included a recommendation from Congress. The producer of the Bible, Robert Aitken, had written a letter to Congress in which he asked for that government body’s sanction on his work. In the letter, Aitken called this Bible, “a neat Edition of the Scriptures for the use in schools.”
Congress enthusiastically responded to his request and offered the following recommendation to be included in this first English Bible printed in America.
Resolved: That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of the arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.
Regarding the Bible’s influence on America’s Founders, Andrew Jackson, America’s 7th president, declared, “That book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.” This was echoed by America's 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “No other book of any kind ever written in English has ever so affected the whole life of a people.” America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, declared,
In regards to this great Book, I have but to say that it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.
The Shredding of Our True Founding Document
In recent days, we have heard accusations from both sides of the political aisle about their political opponents “shredding the Constitution.” Perhaps we should be more concerned about the shredding of our true founding document—the Bible!
President Barak Obama once derisively referred to those who “cling” to their guns and their Bibles." Indeed, the Democrat party has made it clear that they do not look to the Bible as their guiding north star for truth and morality. It also appears that the Democrat nominee for president could be a socialist who admires Marx more than Jesus and prefers the Communist Manifesto over the Bible. It is a serious time!
The Church must lead the way in a new Back to the Bible movement. Let us remember the words of Martin Luther who led a Back to the Bible movement in the 16th century and changed world history. He wrote, “Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s word becomes corrupt.”
A “Back to the Bible” Movement
The famous historian, Philip Schaff, declared, “Every true progress in church history is conditioned by a new and deeper study of the Scriptures.” Indeed, virtually all the great revivals of Christian history have begun with a new and in-depth study of God’s word.
The Great Awakening that transformed Colonial America was very much a “Back to the Bible” movement. George Whitefield, who was the firebrand of the Awakening and "America's Spiritual Founding Father," spoke of his preparation, saying,
My mind now being more open and enlarged, I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books and praying over, if possible, every line and word” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 76).
Jonathan Edwards, the pastor and theologian of the Awakening, is said to have spent as much as eleven hours a day studying God’s word. He also said that at the height of the revival there was no book so esteemed as the Bible and that he had known of people being overcome in their feelings at the mere sight of a Bible. He considered this renewed love and respect for the Bible as a sign that the Awakening was truly from God.
Perhaps our esteem for the Bible should parallel that of John Wesley who led the great Methodist revival that transformed 18th century England. The revival began with him, his brother Charles, Whitefield and others at Oxford University studying the Greek New Testament each evening from 6–9 p.m. Wesley declared of the Bible,
Oh, give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God. Let me be: “A man of one book.”
It is time to recover and restore America’s true founding document. It was the Bible that made America great in the first place, and only by returning to her guiding principles and values will America ever be truly great again! 

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt is also teaching a free course entitled "Think Biblically" and it is streamed live each Tuesday evening and can be accessed at his website.



In an interview with Dale Gentry on BPN Radio, Dr. Eddie Hyatt expressed his belief that his recently released book, 1726, holds a key for racial reconciliation across America, beginning with the church. Hyatt explained that it has to do with setting the record straight about race and slavery in America’s founding. 
Whereas students in schools and colleges throughout America are taught that America was founded on racism and slavery. Hyatt says there is much more to the story, which modern liberals are leaving out. In his book, he documents the anti-slavery movement that emerged out of the Great Awakening that ebbed and flowed between 1726-70. 
According to Hyatt, this Awakening, and the anti-slavery movement it produced, transformed Colonial America and had a profound impact on America’s founders. In 1726Hyatt shows that virtually every Founder turned against slavery and even those who did not immediately release their slaves, admitted that it was sinful and wrong. Some, such as Benjamin Rush, became passionate abolitionists.
Hyatt says that as a result of the Great Awakening, and the anti-slavery sentiments it produced, George Washington allowed free blacks to serve in the Revolutionary Army. As a result, one out of every eight soldiers was of African descent. Blacks and whites fought together for freedom from Great Britain. Washington later released his own slaves and declared,
I clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 103).
Hyatt says that as a result of the Great Awakening, and the anti-slavery sentiments it produced, America’s founding documents are colorblind. No mention is made of slaves or slavery and there are no classifications based on race or skin color. Hyatt pointed out that this is the reason Dr. King, in his “I Have a Dream” speech, spoke highly of America’s founding documents and said they guarantee freedom and equality for everyone regardless of race or skin color.
Hyatt says that setting the record straight about America’s racial past is important for as George Orwell said, “Whoever controls the past, controls the future.” Hyatt believes that by regaining control of America’s true heritage, not as a nation without an ugly blemish, but as a nation that took radical steps to remove and heal that blemish, a new racial harmony could be in America's future.
Hyatt’s book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.


George Washington was a devout man of prayer and his prayers played a major role in America’s amazing birth. Robert Lewis, Washington’s nephew, lived with him and served as his secretary while Washington was president. Lewis said he accidentally witnessed Washington’s devotions morning and evening and that he was kneeling before an open Bible. Lewis believed that praying with an open Bible in front of him was a daily practice for Washington.
Washington was influenced in this regard by his mother. When he was leaving home as a young soldier, she exhorted him, “Remember that God is our only sure trust.” She also urged him, “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer.”
He would also have been influenced by the Great Awakening for it was at its height when he was a lad. That the Awakening had a peculiar impact on Virginia was confirmed by the Princeton scholar, Charles Hodge, who in 1839 said of the Great Awakening, “In no part of our country was the revival more interesting, and in very few was it so pure as in Virginia” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 131).
Washington’s Prayer Journal
In April of 1891, several of Washington’s descendants, including Lawrence Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Thomas B. Washington, sold a collection of his personal items at auction in Philadelphia. Among the items was a little book filled with daily prayers in Washington’s handwriting when he was in his twenties. Entitled, Daily Sacrifice, these prayers are deeply devotional and evangelical in nature. For example, the first entry reads, in part,
Let my heart, therefore, gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of Thine honor that I may not do my own works, but wait on Thee, and discharge those duties which Thou requirest of me (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 132).
The following Monday morning, his prayer reads,
Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit . . . daily frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.
Also, of note is his prayer:
Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 132).
Commenting on this prayer book, Professor S. F. Upham, of Drew Theological Seminary, wrote,
The “Daily Prayers” of George Washington abound in earnest thought, expressed in simple, beautiful, fervent and evangelical language. They reveal to us the real life of the great patriot and attest his piety. None can read these petitions, which bore his desires to God, and often brought answers of peace, without having a grander conception of Washington’s character. The prayers are characterized by a deep consciousness of sin and by a need for forgiveness, and by a recognition of dependence upon the merits and mercies of our Lord (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 132-33).
Providentially Spared by God
During the time he was keeping this prayer journal, Washington was recruited by the British General Braddock to be a guide for the British in their trek through the wilderness to take Fort Duquesne from the French and Indians. Braddock recruited him because of his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the American Indians.
Washington had acquired this knowledge in his work as a surveyor of wilderness territory. However, he found his advice for traveling through the wilderness and dealing with the Indians ignored by Braddock who considered him a young, upstart colonist.
But when an ambush occurred and Braddock himself was wounded, Washington took charge and organized an orderly retreat while at the same time putting his own life at risk, rescuing the many wounded and placing them in wagons. During this time, two horses were shot out from under him and his clothes were shredded with bullets.
He emerged unscathed and gave glory to God, saying, "I was saved by the miraculous care of Providence that saved me beyond human expectation." From that day, his reputation for bravery and leadership spread among both the English and the Native Americans.
He Forms a Praying Army
On May 10, 1775, the Continental Congress asked Washington to become commander-in-chief of the ragtag Colonial militias and to transform them into an army that could face the mighty British war machine. Washington accepted the call and immediately began to instill in the Colonial troops a sense of the importance of prayer and faith in God
Washington issued an order stating that each day was to begin with prayer led by the officers of each unit. He also ordered that, unless their duties required them to be elsewhere, every soldier was to observe “a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense.” 
He also forbade profanity, swearing, gambling and drunkenness and expressed his desire that, “Every officer and man will endeavor so as to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 114).
At one point, during a particularly difficult part of the war, Washington and his men were quartering at Valley Forge. Rev. Henry Muhlenberg (1711–1787), pastor of a nearby Lutheran Church observed Washington’s activities. He wrote, “Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each one to fear God.” Muhlenberg went on to say,
This gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s word, believes in atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness. It appears that the Lord God has singularly, yea marvelously, preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils . . . and hath hitherto graciously held him in His hand as His chosen vessel (Hyatt, 1726: The Year thatDefined America, 115).
Although it was a grueling seven years of war, numerous answers to prayer occurred protecting Washington and his troops and giving them victory when victory seemed impossible. For example, in the early part of the war, Washington and his 12,000 troops were trapped on Long Island by a British army at least twice that size. With their backs against the East River, it seemed there was no way to escape.
During the night the Americans prayed and scoured the area for boats of any kind that would take them and their armaments across the East River to Manhattan. As dawn approached, it was obvious they had not achieved their goal. However, at that point a heavy fog rolled in and remained until the army and all its cannon had been moved across the river to Manhattan.
As soon as they were safely across the river in Manhattan, the fog lifted. At this point, the British were amazed to see that the colonial army had disappeared, as if into thin air. This was just one of the many “signal interventions” of which Washington and author of Federalist 57 made mention (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 125).
His “Earnest Prayer” for America
That Washington was a devout person or prayer was confirmed by Isaac Potts (1750 – 1803), a Quaker who lived near Valley Forge where the Continental Army, under Washington’s command, was wintering. One day, during this—one of the bleakest periods of the war—Potts was riding through the woods when he came upon Washington during a time of private prayer. For Potts, this was a life-changing experience. As a Quaker, he was a pacifist, but his encounter of Washington in prayer caused him to rethink his view. He said,
I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling and went quietly into the woods and to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, and the cause of the country, of humanity and of the world. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home and told my wife I saw a sight and heard today what I never saw or heard before, and just related to her what I had seen and heard and observed. We never thought a man could be a soldier and a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington (Hyatt, 1726: The Yearthat Defined America, 115-16).
Along with Washington’s prayers, the Continental Congress issued no less than fifteen calls for days of prayer, fasting, and repentance during the war. Their prayers were answered and on October 19, 1781 General Cornwallis surrendered his entire British force to Washington.
With the war now over, Washington issued a letter of resignation as Commander-In-Chief to the Continental Congress. He then wrote what could be described as a pastoral letter, dated June 14, 1783, to the governors of the various states. The letter included his “earnest prayer” for the governors and their people. It also includes his desire that all Americans would follow the example of Jesus Christ and says it is the only hope of America being a “happy nation. He wrote,
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 120).
He Deals with Slavery
Washington was born into a world where slavery was the norm and he inherited a large plantation with numerous slaves. However, as I have shown in my book, 1726, the Great Awakening unleashed a powerful anti-slavery movement throughout Colonial America and it obviously had an impact on Washington. The black scholar, Dr. Thomas Sowell, has said,
Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century–and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there (Hyatt, 1726: The Yearthat Defined America, 90).
Confronted by the inconsistency of Christian faith with slavery, Washington set up a compassionate program to completely disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery. Those slaves who wanted to leave were free to do so. Those who chose to remain were paid wages, and he began a program to educate and prepare the children of slaves for freedom. He declared,
I clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 103).
His Prayer Life as President
Washington delivered his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789. It was filled with references to God and the Bible. At the close of the ceremony in New York City, he and Congress proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel where they participated in a worship service.
Washington’s desire that America would be a praying nation was obvious in his Proclamation of a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving issued on October 3, 1789, shortly after he became president. After declaring it being the duty of all nations to “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and obey His will,” he gave a reason for this special day, saying,
That we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national sins and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all people, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed.
May We Follow in the Footsteps of Washington
Washington’s sacrificial service, his bravery in battle, and his profound leadership, endeared him to the hearts of America’s founding generation and he was twice elected unanimously to serve as President of the new nation. The founding generation said of him, “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He was also called “the father of his country.”
As we celebrate President’s Day, let us reflect on the key to George Washington’s greatness and pray that God will raise up a generation that will follow in his footsteps.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. He is the founder of the "1726 Project" whose purpose is to reconnect America's severed roots out of the Great Awakening.



She was six years old the first time he saw her, and he was thirteen. She was the daughter of the pastor of the Congregational (Puritan) Church in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a newly enrolled student at Yale College, also located in New Haven, where he had come to prepare himself for God’s service. During his seven years at Yale and attending the Congregational Church in New Haven, he noticed in her a peculiar devotion to God that he found very attractive and similar to his own.
After graduating from Yale at the age of 17 and at the top of his class, he continued his studies for the M.A. and worked as a tutor in the college. During the summer of 1723 he returned to his family home in East Windsor, Connecticut where he intended to study and give thought and prayer to his future.
True Beauty and Real Love
Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) could not, however, get the young woman in New Haven, Sarah Pierpont (1710-58), off his mind. It was not her physical features that captivated and enthralled him; it was the beauty of her character and devotion to God—what King David called the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2).
One day, while trying to study New Testament Greek, his mind kept wandering to thirteen year old Sarah. As he thought on her, Jonathan, who would become the famous theologian and pastor of the Great Awakening, wrote the following in the flyleaf of his Greek grammar.
They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that Almighty Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on Him — that she expects after a while to be received up where He is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that He loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from Him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her actions; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after those seasons in which this great God has manifested Himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, and to wander in the fields and on the mountains, and seems to have someone invisible always conversing with her.
Sarah was from a long line of distinguished Puritan preachers. In fact, her great great grandfather was Thomas Hooker, the well-known Puritan theologian and preacher who founded Connecticut. Another great grandfather had been the first mayor of New York City. Her father, James Pierpont, was the pastor of the Congregational Church in New Haven and the founder of Yale College, now Yale University. From childhood, she was convinced that her life was to be lived for the glory of God.
A Peaceful Home that Impresses Many
Four years after writing his thoughts of Sarah, Jonathan proposed to her and she accepted. She was seventeen and he was twenty-four. They moved to Northampton, Massachusetts where Jonathan had accepted the pastorate of the Congregational Church. They would live in Northampton for twenty-three years and raise eleven children before moving to Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1750.
Although life was busy raising eight girls and three boys, Sarah maintained her intimate relationship with God. She and Jonathan made time for each other and would often take walks together during which he would share things learned in his studies and she would share out of her heart the things she was learning from God.
Their relationship impressed many of their contemporaries, who often commented on the sense of peace that pervaded the Edwards home. John Walley wrote, “I love Mr. Edwards and his wife, because I see so much of the image of God in them.” Joseph Emerson of Concord described the Edwards as “the most agreeable family I was ever acquainted with. There is much of the Presence of God there.”
They Pray for Revival
Both Sarah and Jonathan were concerned about the spiritual indifference that seemed to pervade their community and all New England. They, therefore, prayed earnestly for what they called a “revival of religion” Their prayers began to be answered in 1739 when an unusual and awesome sense of God’s presence seemed to invade the town of Northampton.
Everywhere, in homes, in places of business, and on the streets, people seemed to be gripped with an awareness of God, of eternity, and of the danger of being outside of Christ. The Spirit of God worked so powerfully that, as Jonathan said, “there was scarcely a single person in the town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 57).
Without any special church growth emphases or human attempts to increase the attendance, the church in Northampton suddenly filled with those seeking salvation and with those experiencing the fruit of already being born again. Jonathan wrote,
Our public assemblies were then beautiful: the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly were in general from time to time in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 57-58).
Sarah Impacted by the Awakening
Sarah was powerfully affected by the awakening. At times she was so overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit that she was unable to stand. At other times she was so conscious of the joyful presence of the Holy Spirit that, “I could scarcely refrain from leaping with transports of joy.”
This sort of dynamic experience of the Spirit’s presence moved her to act outside her traditional roles of wife and mother and exhort others concerning the things of God. She not only discussed Biblical and theological themes with her husband and visiting ministers, but at times exhorted members of the congregation out of the overflow of her own experience. For example, she tells of hearing a visiting minister lament that God’s children should be cold and lifeless in their faith. She said,
I felt such a sense of the deep ingratitude manifested by the children of God, in such coldness and deadness, that my strength was immediately taken away, and I sunk down on the spot. Those who were near raised me, and placed me in a chair; and, from the fullness of my heart, I expressed to them, in a very earnest manner, the deep sense I had of the wonderful grace of Christ towards me, of the assurance I had of his having saved me from hell, of my happiness running parallel with eternity, of the duty of giving up all to God, and of the peace and joy inspired by an entire dependence on his mercy and grace (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 63).
The revival brought extra responsibilities and pressures with many visitors to Northampton and numerous visiting ministers in the Edwards home. During one particular busy season she found it necessary to withdraw into solitude because of the dryness of her soul, and there she experienced God’s presence in a remarkable way and a fresh assurance of His eternal love for her. She wrote,
Melted and overcome by the sweetness of this assurance, I fell into a great flow of tears, and could not forbear weeping aloud. It appeared certain to me that God was my Father, and Christ my Lord and Savior, that he was mine and I his. Under a delightful sense of the immediate presence and love of God, these words seemed to come over and over in my mind, "My God, my all; my God, my all." The presence of God was so near, and so real, that I seemed scarcely conscious of anything else. I seemed to be lifted above earth and hell, out of the reach of everything here below, so that I could look on all the rage and enmity of men or devils, with a kind of holy indifference, and an undisturbed tranquility. At the same time, I felt compassion and love for all mankind, and a deep abasement of soul, under a sense of my own unworthiness. I also felt myself more perfectly weaned from all things here below, than ever before. The whole world, with all its enjoyments, and all its troubles, seemed to be nothing:--My God was my all, my only portion.
When the famous Methodist revivalist, George Whitefield, visited Northampton and preached in the church, it was not the revival that captured his attention, but the couple who hosted him. Being single and having entertained thoughts of remaining single all his life, his encounter with the Edwards changed all that and he began to pray that God would give him such a wife. After departing Northampton, he wrote,
A sweeter couple I have not yet seen. She [Sarah] talked feelingly and solidly of the things of God, and seemed to be such a help meet for her husband that she caused me to pray God, that he would be pleased to send me a Daughter of Abraham to be my wife.”
Moved, perhaps in part, by Sarah’s experiences, Jonathan (considered by many to be the greatest theologian/philosopher America has produced) developed views on gender that were obviously ahead of his time. His commentary on Eve being the “the mother of all living” has been construed by some scholars as an indication that he held “proto-feminist” views, and one writer has described him as being “genuinely committed to the promotion of gender equality.” The Edwards apparently reared their eight daughters with a sense of equality for one biographer, in describing the character of their daughter, Esther, said, “She was used to being taken seriously as the spiritual and intellectual equal of men” (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 64).
Tragedy Strikes
Life was not at all easy for Sarah. In 1749 the congregation and community in Northampton turned against them because they would not adhere to the “Half-Way Covenant,” a policy adopted by Puritans in 1662 that offered partial church membership to those who could not testify to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, allowing them to participate in communion and have their children baptized. Harsh words and accusations were raised against them and they were forced to leave Northampton after twenty-three years.
Although obviously hurt by the rejection both remained positive and congenial toward their opponents; and in his farewell sermon Jonathan, after lamenting the broken ties, said,
Nothing remains, but that I bid you all farewell. I desire that I may never forget these people, who have been so long my special charge, and that I may never cease fervently to pray for your prosperity.
They moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts where Jonathan became the pastor of the church in that community and a missionary to the Housatonic Indian tribe.
Jonathan experienced an untimely death in 1758 shortly after accepting an invitation to become president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). He travelled ahead to New Jersey to prepare a home for himself, Sarah, and the six children that were still at home. After arriving at the college, he took a smallpox vaccination in order to encourage others to do the same. Already in poor health, he contracted the disease and died shortly thereafter.
On his deathbed, Sarah was foremost in his thoughts and his final words were,
Give my kindest love to my dear wife and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever.
Back in Massachusetts, Sarah received the news of Jonathan’s death and was devastated, but not in despair, because of her trust in the Lord. She wrote to her daughter Esther,
What shall I say: A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness that we had him so long. But my God lives; and He has my heart. O what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left to us! We are all given to God: and there I am and love to be.
Your ever affectionate mother,
Sarah Edwards
Their Legacy
The legacy of Sarah and her husband is remarkable. One grandson, Aaron Burr, served as the third vice-president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson. Another grandson, Timothy Dwight, became the president of Yale in 1795 and delivered a series of chapel lectures that helped spark the Second Great Awakening, which changed the course of the nation. One biographer noted,
The Edwards family produced scores of clergymen, thirteen presidents of higher learning, sixty-five professors, and many other persons of notable achievements. 
I am reminded of Isaiah 54:13-14, a promise from God to all those who put their trust in Him. And all your children [descendants] shall be taught of the LORD and great shall be the peace of your children [descendants].
Discovering the Beauty of Holiness
We live in a society in which beauty has been defined solely in terms of sexuality and physical features by a Hollywood culture of celebrity and entertainment. This understanding of beauty is out of touch with Scripture, which does not limit beauty to that which is physical, but defines it primarily in terms of character, particularly the character of God as it is revealed and expressed through His people.
This is what David refers to when he speaks of the beauty of the LORD (Psalm 27:4) and exhorts the people to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2). David is enthralled with the excellences and perfection of God’s person and character. As we come to know the LORD in such a way and allow the beauty of His character to be expressed through us, this will be a light piercing the darkness and we too will serve Him and worship Him in the beauty of holiness.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, ordained minister and founder of the "1726 Project" whose purpose is to reconnect America with her severed roots in the Great Awakening that tranformed Colonial America. The above article is derived in part from his books, 1726 and Pilgrims and Patriots.