The Iron Pen #94
"...graven with an iron pen and lead..." Job
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
God & Country
Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties;
write its precepts on your hearts and practice them in your lives.
To the influence of this Book we are indebted for the progress made,
and to this we must look as our guide in the future. President
Ulysses S. Grant
One of Our Forgotten Founding Fathers
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Can you name five of our nations Founding Fathers? Likely
most of our readers would include in their list George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin,
and James Madison. However, I doubt if any would have
included in their list the name of Fisher Ames. He is one of
the so called, "forgotten founding fathers." Ames was born
in Dedham Massachusetts on April 9th,
1758 and at 50 years of age he died on July 4th 1808. He
graduated from Harvard College in 1774 and taught school for five
years before turning to law, and in 1781 he was admitted to the bar.
Ames was elected president of Harvard in 1804 at age 46, but had to
decline because of declining health.
Historically, Fisher Ames is best known for his opposition to
Jeffersonian democracy. He favored a constitutional republic. Ames
said, "A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials
of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry
desolation in their way. The known propensity of a democracy is to
licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be
liberty." Further, he stated that, "Liberty has never lasted long in
a democracy, nor has it ever ended in anything better than
despotism." In fact he believed that it was "democracy that pollutes
the morals of the people before it swallows up their freedoms." For
a pure democracy, he argued, would lend itself to the new nation's
coming under the influence of the basest of human motivations: greed
and a lack of public virtue. Ames believed that "the United States
must lash itself to a constitution of laws, not the whim of
Why did Ames believe that? He believed that all men were sinners!
He believed that law and morality should not be decided by majority
vote but upon the higher principles of the Bible because as a
dedicated Christian he believed that the Bible was the true source
of wisdom. He believed that our nation would be much more stable if
it were a constitutional republic with a constitution rooted in the
principles of the Bible.
Fisher Ames was an outspoken supporter of the Bible's central
role in all of education. He believed the Bible, being the Word of
God, should be at the very center of school curriculum. As a
first-session congressman he said, "Should not the Bible regain the
place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its
examples are captivating and noble." He went on to say, "The
reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts
long; and, probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm
hold of the mind."
Our founding fathers followed the lead of Fisher Ames and
organized a government based on constitutional republican from of
government and not a pure democracy. In fact, was Fisher Ames who
suggested the wording of the First Amendment, which was adopted by
the House: "Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to
prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of
conscience." In its final form the first amendment to the
United States Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the
press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Spurgeon On The Substitutionary Sacrifice of Christ: If you
put away the doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ,
you have disemboweled the gospel, and torn from it its very heart.
Salvation is the work of God for man; it is not the work of man
for God. Lewis Sperry Chafer