Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Washington's Mother -- A Legacy Reconsidered

Is it true that George Washington did not love his mother? At least one biographer has made this surprising claim. I will admit that nearly every Washington biography I have read hardly mentions her except to provide her name and minor facts. Mrs. Washington is rumored to have been irritating, commanding, and unlovable. A single author ventured to state without hesitation that, “George Washington did not love his mother.”

While reading Daughters of Destiny, compiled and edited by Noelle Wheeler Goforth, I was surprised by her positive approach toward Mary Ball Washington. What good might be written of her?

How delighted I was to find nuggets of Christian faith and character exhibited through the life of Mrs. Washington. Although it is true that she could be a commanding individual, she “…was not given to any display of petulance or rage, but was steady, well balanced, and unvarying in her mood.” Daughters of Destiny brought her wonderful Christian character to light. She was a prayerful woman who read the Bible almost to the exclusion of other books. The entire family and their servants gathered for prayer and Bible reading in the morning and evening.

Widowed early in life, Mary Washington was left to raise her many children and manage the property on her own. She was equal to the task. A capable housewife, teacher, and mother, it is said that she had a commanding personality with “gentle qualities which made obedience to her wishes an easy task.”

Contrary to other sources, Daughters of Destiny informs us that Mrs. Washington was loved by all, including her oldest son George. He wrote her many letters. In time of war General Washington worried for her safety and moved her to a safer location.

George Washington Parke Custis, the President’s adopted son, gave a moving account of Mary Washington’s last meeting with her son.

“Immediately after the organization of the present Government, the Chief Magistrate [Washington] repaired to Fredericksburg to pay his humble duty to his mother, preparatory to his departure for New York. An affecting scene ensued. The son feelingly remarked the ravages which a torturing disease had made upon the aged frame of the mother, and addressed her with these words: 'The people, madam, have been pleased, with the most flattering unanimity,
to elect me to the Chief Magistracy of these United States, but before I can assume the functions of my office I have come to bid you an affectionate farewell. So soon as the weight of public business which must necessarily attend the outset of a new Government can be disposed of, I shall hasten to Virginia, and— Here the matron interrupted with, "And you will see me no
more; my great age, and the disease which is fast approaching my vitals, warn me that I shall not be long in this world; I trust in God that I may be somewhat prepared for a better. But go, George, fulfill the high destinies which Heaven appears to have intended for you; go, my son, and may that Heaven's and a mother's blessing be with you always."

Custis continued his narrative,

“The President was deeply affected. His head rested upon the shoulder of his parent, whose aged arm feebly, yet fondly, encircled his neck. That brow on which fame had wreathed the purest laurel virtue ever gave to created man relaxed from its lofty bearing. That look which could have awed a Roman Senate in its Fabrician day was bent in filial tenderness upon the time-worn features of the aged matron. He wept. A thousand recollections crowded upon his mind, as memory, retracing scenes long passed, carried him back to the maternal mansion and the days of youth, where he beheld that mother, whose care, education and discipline caused him to reach the topmost height of laudable ambition. Yet, how were his glories forgotten while he gazed upon her whom, wasted by time and malady, he should part with to meet no more! Her predictions were but too true. The disease which so long had preyed upon her frame, completed its triumph, and she expired at the age of eighty-five, rejoicing in the consciousness of a life well spent, and confiding in the belief of a blessed immortality.”

“Her children rise up and call her blessed.” Proverbs 31:28

Monday, January 30, 2006

In The Beginning

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) This verse is the foundation of all we believe. It shows us that this universe is an orderly creation, not a chaotic accident, and it gives us our first information about God. He is an intelligent, all powerful God. He is not a mindless unknown power.

Some Christians try to reconcile their belief in Evolution with the Bible. They say that the early chapters of Genesis were not meant to be taken as historical fact. Each section of the Bible, however, confirms that it was indeed meant to be taken literally.

Psalms 33:6 says “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

Isaiah 45:11, 12 “Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: "Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.”

Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him.”

Revelation 4:11 "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

It is inconsistent to believe that the first chapters of Genesis are figurative while accepting other historical portions as literal. Accepting the popular misinterpretation of the creation account may compromise one's entire approach to the Bible. There is much at stake.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Love to Thee, O Christ

I have been reading about Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss over the last few weeks. This is a lovely hymn written by her in 1856.

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Little Susy's Little Servants

“As Little Susy had a kind mamma to take care of her, you will, perhaps, wonder why God gave her also, a great many servants of her own. He gave her so many, that you might spend your whole life in reading about them. But I shall tell you of only a very few, and then you can ask your mamma to talk to you about the others. For the little servants Susy had, you have, too.”

So is the beginning of Little Susy’s Little Servants by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss. It was first published in 1856, and it was probably intended for toddlers and young readers. I consider my 1883 copy one of my finest treasures. It is not just an old book, but a treasure of truths about God, family, and diligence. The continuing theme is that of giving ourselves to God for His glory. “I am not my own” is the clearly stated message.

The story begins with Susy as a small baby who is given many servants by God. Two of them are bright little things and exactly identical to each other. They amuse her by showing her the things she wishes to see. Another twin set of servants are described as, “not very pretty, but very useful, for without them she never could have heard her mamma sing, or her papa whistle; or the shovel and tongs fall down and make such a charming noise; nor the pussy-cat say ‘mew!’ nor the doggy say ‘bow wow!’” For indeed, her servants are her eyes, ears, hands, feet, and tongue.

As she grows, Susy learns how these servants are to be used. At first she thinks they are for her own amusement, but her parents are very careful to teach her their true use. Mrs. Prentiss writes, “But all this time I have only spoken of Susy’s hands and feet, and ears, and eyes, and tongue, as being useful to herself, and have not said a word about their doing things for other people. Now it is not likely that God meant any little child should live in this world, and where there is so much to do, and do nothing for its papa and mamma, and nothing for Him who has done so much for its happiness and comfort.” Susy is taught to love and obey her parents, care for the sick and handicapped, and respect her elders.

Although Little Susy exhibits good character, she must deal with sin. Little Susy is often found to be naughty. Her hands find many uses, but they are not all helpful. She cuts her hair, knocks over the wash-stand, and slaps her brother and parents. She is not left to form a habit of it without reproach or discipline however. By the time Susy is three it is said that she “had learned what she might do, and what she must not, her momma could leave her all alone in the parlor, with a few toys, and be quite sure that she would touch nothing she had been forbidden to touch, nor climb up into dangerous places, nor take any dangerous thing. The scissors might lie on the table, and the sharp knife open by her side; the good little hands would not touch them. Nor would the obedient little feet now take Susy near the fire where she could so easily have been burned. If Susy promised to do a thing, she always did it, and so her mamma often let her play by herself in the parlor…”

Susy is still not portrayed as a perfect little girl. She is sometimes disobedient, willful, and reluctant to help. Children of the mid 19th century had already learned the famous “In a minute, mamma!” Some things just don’t seem to change. For each offence Susy is deliberately disciplined to know what is right. Repentance and change are called for, and not just to the offended, but to God. She is taught that God sees everything she does. Every good thing that Susy does for anyone is done for Him who gave the feet, hands, and mouth that she uses.

Mrs. Prentiss teaches that mischief and sin are found in idleness. Susy is taught how to read and sew from a very early age, and she is instructed to be helpful to her mother and amuse her baby brother. Another important aspect of her education is the memorization of hymns and Bible verses.

Most important of all the lessons her parents can teach her is this next one: Susy is responsible to God. All her actions and words are to be for His glory. Her mother teaches her to praise God with her whole heart and life. When Susy asks how she is to do this, her mother replies in this way. “Why, by obeying Him and trying to please Him.”

The last chapter is clear and sweet, illustrating childish obedience to Christ. It is posted here for your enjoyment:

Little Susy’s Little Servants, Second Series, Chapter IX

THE next day was Sunday, and Susy and Robbie went to church and sat in the pew with their papa. Susy observed that a plate was handed to every one, and that when it came to her papa he put in some money. So when they were walking home together, she said:
“Papa! who was that money for that you put into the plate, at church ?”
“It was for God,” said her papa.
“How will they get it up to Him?” asked Robbie in great surprise, and looking up to the sky.
His papa smiled, and even Susy knew better than that.
“When Jesus was here on this earth,” said their papa, “he sent good men, two and two at a time, to go about teaching people about God, and about heaven. And such good men keep going, even to this day. And that money was to help feed and clothe them while they are preaching, and so I said it was money given to God.”
“I wish I had some money to give to God,” said Susy. “But I haven't a bit.”
“God does not expect you to give him what you have not,” said her papa. “But you have other things, besides money.”
“I've got some dolls” said Susy.
"No, I don't mean dolls. When we get home I will read some­thing to you which will make you see plainly what you can give to God."
So after dinner they went to the library and Susy's papa took down a large book and began to turn over the leaves, as if in search of something. Before long he came to the place he was looking for, and he lifted Susy into his lap and showed her where to read.
“Read it aloud,” said he, and Susy read.
“I have this day been before God, and have given myself—all that I am and have—to God; so that I am in no respect my own. I have no right to this body, or any of its members; no right to this tongue, these hands, these feet, these eyes, these ears; I have given myself clean away.”
“These are the words of a great and good man, who is now in heaven. Now you see what you have to give to God, my darling little Susy."
Susy looked at her hands and at her feet, and was silent. At last she said, in a low voice, half to herself:
“I don't believe God wants them.”
Her papa heard her. “He does want them, and He is look­ing at you, now, to see whether you will give them to Him, or keep them for yourself. If you give them to Him you will be careful never to let them do any thing naughty, and will teach them to do every good thing they can. And if you keep them for yourself, they will be likely to do wrong, and to get into mischief.”
“Have you given yours to Him, papa?”
Yes, indeed, long ago.”
“Are you glad?”
“Yes, very glad.”
Susy sat still silent. She did not quite understand what it all meant.
If you give your tongue to God,” said her papa, “you never will let it speak angry, unkind words. Or tell tales. Or speak an untruth.”
“I guess I'll give Him my tongue” said Susy.
“And if you give God your hands, you will watch them and keep them from touching things that do not belong to them. You will not let them be idle, but will keep them busy about something, either work or play—“
“Oh! will God let them play?” cried Susy in a joyful voice. “Well! then I'll give Him my hands.”
“And if you give Him your feet, you never will let them carry you where you ought not to go, but teach them to run quickly when mamma calls; and when you are old enough, they will carry you to visit and comfort poor and sick people.”
“Yes, that will be nice!” said Susy. “God shall have my feet.”
“If you give Him your eyes, you will never, never let them look at any thing you know He would not like to look at if He were here by your side. Not to read a book you would not read if He were looking over the page with you. And to use them wisely and with great care.”
“Could I cry with them?”
“Why, certainly.”
“Mamma says I cry too much.”
“I did not say you might cry too much with them.”
“Well!—I'll give God my eyes some of the time, and some of the time I'll keep them.”
“Oh! no! God will not like that, at all.”
“Well, I might want to—let me see—I might want to look at something—and I couldn't. And I should want to be naughty sometimes."
“A little girl who loves God want to be naughty!”
“I love Him, I do love Him,” said Susy. “And He may have my eyes. I guess I shan't want to look at any thing naughty.”
“I dare say you will, Susy, but if you give your eyes to God, you know He will help them not to do wrong.”
“Then I will give them to Him and welcome” said Susy.
“And as to your ears, after you have given them to God you will not let them listen to a word that you think He would not like them to hear. And you will take care to make them listen to peo­ple who try to teach you. They have behaved very well to-day, and I am sure you will give them to God."
“Yes papa, I will.”
Then they knelt down together and Susy's papa prayed to God to hear all they had been saying and to be so good as to accept all Susy had now promised to give Him, and to keep her from ever forgetting her promise, but to make it her rule in all she said and all she did, all she saw and all she heard, to remember,
"I am not my own.”
And then he taught her the lines you will find at the end of this book. They were written nearly two hundred years ago, but are just as good now as they were then; and may God help every child who reads about little Susy, to live according to this prayer.

"Oh! that mine eyes might closed be
To what concerns me not to see;
That deafness might possess mine ear
To what concerns me not to hear;
That truth my tongue might ever tie
From ever speaking foolishly;
That no vain thought might ever rest,
Or be conceived in my breast;
That by each word, and deed, and thought
Glory may to my God be brought!
But what are wishes! Lord, mine eye
On Thee is fixed, to Thee I cry—
Wash, Lord, and purify my heart
And make it clean in every part;
And when 'tis done, Lord, keep it so,
For that is more than I can do!"

Mrs. Prentiss’s conversion was a moving experience after months of mental torment. She trembled at the knowledge of the great righteousness of God and her own sinfulness. In George Prentiss’s book The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss he tells of the deliverance she found. “It was in this height of despair that thoughts of the infinite grace and love of Christ, which she says she had hitherto repelled, began to irradiate her soul. A sermon on His ability to save "unto the uttermost" deeply affected her.” Mrs. Prentiss wrote the following about her thoughts after her conversion.

"From this time my mind went slowly onward, examining the way step by step, trembling and afraid, yet filled with a calm contentment which made all the dealings of God with me appear just right. I know myself to be perfectly helpless. I cannot promise to do or to be anything; but I do want to put everything else aside, and to devote myself entirely to the service of Christ."

Being both the child and wife of ministers put her at the heart of sharing the gospel. Little Susy’s Little Servants is a charming example of using gifts and talents for God’s glory. There is much that that this little book can teach us, even if we are beyond the intended audience of a beginner reader. Are we actively living for Christ? Can our friends, acquaintances, and most importantly, our family, tell by looking at our lives that we are the Lord’s? I hope the excerpts from Little Susy’s Little Servants and Mrs. Prentiss’s personal testimony are an encouragement to you to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

I have always loved this Psalm. The mental picture of many instruments making a beautiful sound to the Great One of the heavens is a magnificent one. We are all to praise him. No one is exempt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Professor Heer's Quote

The Rebelution posted their first writing contest this week, and the results are in. The following is an excerpt from their blog.

In “Challenge of Youth" (1974), Heer documents and analyzes historically-significant youth movements — from the time of ancient Greece through the hippie era — concluding that:

The Quote:
"[T]he harsh light of historical fact [is] that every significant youth movement is in its own time crushed by the forces in power, and its spirit frequently perverted or bent to other uses[.]” It is also interesting to note that Professor Heer identifies the common characteristic among all youth movements as being "the symbolic rejection of the father (authority), and frequent adoption of a new 'father'..." and references Malachi 4:6 ("...turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers...”) to conclude that "it is the fathers who have the last word.”

The Question: As a presuppositionally-Christian youth movement, how do you think the Rebelution differs (or should differ) from the youth movements Professor Heer described? We'd like to really devote some time to discussing this important issue. Is a widespread Christian youth movement doomed to failure and perversion? We want to hear from you.

The Winner: Brian W. of Zealous Endeavor won the contest with his thought provoking and complete response. Click here to read his answer.

My Answer: The Rebelution is a movement that recognizes and embraces the authority of both our Heavenly Father and earthly fathers. This differs from the movements studied by Professor Heer. Youth movements of the past have lacked wisdom and direction as they sought to break away from the old and forge their way into new ideas and thought processes contrary to those previously held. The Rebelution is not calling for an overthrow of rules or responsibilities as some have, but of low standards and spiritual incompetence.

“Do Hard Things” is a motto more young people should adopt. It is a turning back to a world view previously held by generations of God fearing Christians who understood the role young people can have in His Kingdom. The Rebelution inspires Christian youth to live out their faith in practical ways that proclaim the power and love of Christ our King. This makes it vastly different from the radically self centered youth revolutions of history.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Deleted Blog

I suffered a disaster today! If you look carefully over my blog you will notice that all of the entries appear to have been posted on the same day. It was not originally so. You might find this hard to believe, but I accidentally deleted Study.Quiet this morning. Perhaps I woke up too early! It is an amazing feat to delete a blog when you have no wish to, but I prove that it is possible. All of the posts have been published again in the original order of the first blog. The only lasting loss was a comment left on The World of Narnia. Thank you for your patience!

A Second Look at Oz

The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
A book review by Elizabeth

L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz is a fascinating children’s story. But does the Land of Oz match the truth about reality? How does the Wizard compare to the true God? Upon careful study we find Oz to be much different from our own world.

The Bible tells us many things about God. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 says “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” Deuteronomy 11:2 tells us to “consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm.” Psalms 118:1 glorifies and praises with “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

The Wizard of Oz is portrayed as being powerful for most of the book, but in truth he controls nothing. It is malicious to send Dorothy and her friends to an almost certain death to achieve his selfish goals, but the Wizard is not above it. We discover him to be limited and deceitful.

The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion give a picture of Frank Baum’s view of mankind. The creatures of Oz are inherently good, and ultimately they find the answers they need in themselves. At times they act simple and stupid, but they are still portrayed as superior to the Wizard. They were well able to defeat the Witch without the Wizard’s sympathy or support. Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion do not need a Savior. This contradicts the Bible’s view of man. We are under God’s authority and are helpless without Him. Man is sinful to the core and in desperate need of our Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2: 8 and 9 says “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders.” Satan is powerful, but that power is nothing next to God’s might. The Wizard of Oz does not reflect this. In Oz the Evil Witch is the most powerful. The Land of Oz is not based upon Christian truths.

You might say that it doesn’t matter. Oz is a fictional country, and no one worships The Wizard. It is pure fantasy. This is all true, but I believe everyone writes from within a set of beliefs that they hold to be true. However far theology and religion may have been from Baum’s mind when he created his secondary world, it is still colored with ideas that oppose Christian thought. Dorothy and Toto certainly have great reason to wish to be back in Kansas. What do you think?

Best of Friends

The Brothers Grimm: Two Lives, One Legacy
by Donald R. Hettinga

A book review by Elizabeth

Have you enjoyed fables such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Rumpelstiltskin? Would it not be a great loss if these stories and dozens of others were forgotten years before you were born? Donald R. Hettinga brings to life the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in his fascinating look into the German culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Hettinga uses factual events, letters, and personal accounts to weave a realistic and accurate narrative of the brothers who gathered and published the oral tales of their country. The colorful fabric of this history is set during the tumultuous Napoleonic era when the dictator sought to ‘Frenchify’ his new domain.

The family’s Christian values are highlighted when Hettinga includes excerpts of letters to and from the brothers. He also mentions the fact that they began each day by studying the Bible, including the Greek New Testament.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s close relationship is repeatedly emphasized. Their personalities were vastly different, but they were the best of friends. They lived and worked together for most of their lives. The brothers grew closer as a result of each political or personal tragedy. A consistent theme is that of brothers preferring one another over their individual interests.

Although the collected folk tales are the most well known of the Grimm collection, this was not their only accomplishment. They made a study of the German language and published a German grammar and the beginning volume of an extensive dictionary that would require a hundred years after their deaths to complete.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are wonderful examples of brotherly love, hard work, and Christian character. At a time when selfish desires often come first, this biography is recommended for each member of the family.

The World of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia is a 7 book series written by the English author C. S. Lewis. He was a great Christian who created a fictional or secondary world full of symbolism and allusion. In this secondary world, C. S. Lewis used both the world as we know it as well as a world of his own creation and tied them together in such a way as to make it believable.

In Narnia, the character that represents God is the all-powerful Lion Aslan. He is compassionate and just. Aslan cares for his people, talking animals, and other creatures. He loves them so much he was able to die for them. Death was reversed, and Aslan lived because he was innocent, and died willingly for another. Aslan is the creator of Narnia, and is involved in his world.

Narnia is not another planet. You cannot get there by going far enough. It is a world completely separate from our own. Narnia is very similar to our own world. It did not always exist. Aslan created and started Narnia. It was created good with the purpose of serving Aslan and his creatures.

Sin and wickedness were not part of Narnia’s creation. Rebellion entered, not through Aslan’s design, but through the wickedness of man. The evil character of the White Witch Queen Jadis represents the Satan of our world. There is no good in her. She was brought into Narnia by Digory, a young boy. This mirrors Adam’s involvement with sin in our own world.

The history of Narnia is a meaningful sequence of events. Aslan is involved with history and “He seems to be at the back of all the stories” as Cor explains it in The Horse and His Boy.

In writing about a fictional world, C. S. Lewis was able to teach about the realities of this real world. Jesus Christ, Satan, nature, the creation, and the cause of sin all took an important place in the story. The Chronicles of Narnia are enjoyable for all ages.

George Washington: Our First President

George Washington was born to Augustine and Mary Washington on February 22, 1732. He was his father’s fourth child. Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

As a child George moved twice. At the age of 3 to what was later named Mount Vernon. At age 7 they moved to Ferry Farm to be closer to the iron works. At this time Mount Vernon was given to Lawrence, George’s half brother.

George’s education was not as extensive as he would have liked. He spent about 8 years in school and finished when he was 14 or 15. The plan to go to school in England failed with the shortage of funds following his father’s death. His best subject was arithmetic.

One of Washington’s activities as a child that greatly influenced his life was copying the 110 rules of Civility. Most of them deal with manners and behavior in public. Rule 15 states, “Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.” Rule 4 says, “In the presence of others sing not to yourselves with a humming noise or drum with your fingers or feet.” Rule 38 gives advice with, “In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.” Most of the rules can and should be used today. Washington was always known for his manners.

George admired and adored his half brother Lawrence. Lawrence was 14 years older than George and had fought as a volunteer captain in South America during a brief war between Spain and England. He was also very well educated.

After George went to live with Lawrence and his wife Anne, George entered a new circle in society. Anne’s relatives, the Fairfaxes, were very wealthy and distinguished, living on an elegant plantation near Mount Vernon. It was here that George went fox hunting and met Lord Fairfax, a cousin of Anne’s. Lord Fairfax became good friends with George, and they often went hunting together.

The Colonists at this time were very land hungry. George benefited from this by surveying land for people. On one trip for Lord Fairfax he was gone a month. During this time Washington learned practical wilderness techniques that would be helpful as a General later in his life. With the money he earned he bought land for himself.

When George’s half brother Lawrence was33 he became ill with tuberculosis. This must have been a very difficult time for Washington as he and his brother were very close. The two brothers decided to take a trip to the West Indies. The doctors of the time thought a warm tropical climate would cure those with tuberculosis. While in the West Indies Washington became ill with another disease, smallpox. He survived, however, and George and Lawrence returned home where the latter died in 1752.

Washington leased Mount Vernon from his sister in law until her death 9 years later. Mount Vernon became Washington’s as well as 2,500 acres.

After his brother’s death, Washington campaigned for his post and became a major in the Virginia regiment.

In 1753 Washington volunteered to send a message to the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf, telling him to leave. It was a dangerous trip that lasted a month. The French did not listen, and a year later the French and Indian War began. George Washington was a good soldier but resigned his position after an unfairness regarding his salary. He did not stay out of war long and became a scout six months later. If General Braddock had listened yo Washington’s advice, a huge slaughter of the British could have been prevented.

On January 6, 1759 George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis. She was a rich widow with two small children, four year old Jackie and two year old Patsy. He treated them as his own.
Washington was a good plantation owner. He treated his slaves well and almost considered them part of his family.

After the French and Indian War the Colonists began to feel that they did not need England’s help any longer. Although they were Englishmen, they were not fairly represented in Parliament. New taxes and laws were passed that the American’s had no influence over and could not change.

George Washington and several others thought the best move was to become their own country. After 17 happy years at Mount Vernon, he left to become the Commander in Chief of the entire colonial army. He would be away from his home for 8 ½ years.

The War for American Independence was a hard time for Washington. He had to deal with intense criticism, few supplies, and soldiers who were unreliable. Many battles had to be planned to take place before the enlistments of his men were over and they marched home.

When victory finally came, most people thought Washington would use his influence to become King. George Washington had no such plans. He knew this would be harmful to the new country, and he wanted to go home.

Washington thought his public life was over. He became the squire of Mount Vernon again and enjoyed his country life immensely. He built a greenhouse, planted new gardens, and experimented with different soils and plants. His greatest pleasure was spending time with his wife and step grandchildren Nelly and Little Washington. This pleasant time lasted 4 years.

During these years the United States were struggling to survive. All the States were separate countries and had no way to reach trade agreements or build effective armies.

In May 1787 Washington reluctantly agreed to attend the Constitutional Convention. The leaders of the states discussed the new government and laws for four months. What they designed was unlike anything the world had seen before.

The new government had three branches. The legislative would make the laws, the judicial branch would defend the rights of the people, and the executive branch would house the office of the President and his staff.

George Washington was unanimously elected as President. He said to one friend, “My movements to the chair of Government will be accomplished by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.” On April 30, 1789 Washington took the oath of office.

Washington was doing something no one had ever done, and the world took notice. This could not have been easy. When his first term was up at the end of four years, he wished to retire and go home. He even had his farewell speech written. But his country still needed him, and he decided to remain for one more term. On February 13, 1793 he was reelected.

During his presidency Washington faced many problems. There was the whiskey rebellion, and treaties with other countries to be signed. In Europe the French Revolution was taking place, and many Americans wanted to join the fight. Washington resisted this and was criticized greatly for it. Only later did the others realize that keeping the young United States out of war was a good decision.

When his second term was over, he gladly returned to Mount Vernon. Most people were sad when he left office. He had been a great leader.

At home Washington made several improvements to Mount Vernon. His personal finances worried him. Rather than sell a few slaves and break up their families, he sold some land.

In 1798 He became commander in chief again. The United States was having trouble with the French Government. Fortunately he did not need to go on active duty.

In December 1788 George Washington was riding horseback when it began to hail. A cold rain fell. The next day he had a sore throat. He grew worse, and on December 14th he died.

The entire country grieved its loss, and an official day of mourning was declared by Congress. Everyone loved him. In his will Washington freed all his slaves upon Martha’s death. He was indeed a great man and Christian. Washington was unanimously voted into office several times and was loved by an entire nation. He helped our country by refusing to seize power, and he kept us from war. George Washington is probably the best President the United States has ever known. In the words of Henry Lee, Washington was “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen; he was second to none.”

Selected Bibliography
Osborne, Mary Pope. George Washington: Leader of a New Nation. New York, NY: Penguin Books USA inc, 1991

Brookhiser, Richard. Rules of Civility. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1997
World Book Encyclopedia, 1998 ed. S,v. “Washington, George,” by Philander D. Chase

My Personal World View

In this essay I will describe my world view. It will define my views about life and the Creator of everything.

God is all-powerful (Jer. 32:17). He has always been, and He will never end. He knows everything (Ps. 139:2). God knows the beginning of time as well as the end. Our Lord is a personal God: loving and holy. He is the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost: three in one (Matt. 28: 19). All three persons are equal but have different roles. God is over all (Isa. 57:15). His majesty is shone throughout the universe, which is His creation.

The universe is a large machine, started by God to do His will. It does not think or love. It is programmed, like a computer, to obey God. The universe reflects the orderliness of God. It was given to God's greatest creation, man, to govern and have dominion over (Gen. 1: 28).

Man is neither machine nor animal. We were created in God's likeness, people with personalities (Gen. 1:26-27). God did not make us to love and obey him without thinking. He wanted us to choose to love and obey. Sadly, Adam made the wrong choice. God's image in humanity was marred, and we became sinful. The Lord did not leave us, however, to wander on our own. He gave us a book to show us right from wrong.

The Bible, God's inspired words to us, should be our basis for morality and ethics. It was not just written by sinful man. God spoke through the people He chose to write the Bible, allowing them to use their personalities and writing styles (2Tim. 3:16). God speaks only truth. He is our foundation.

The foundation God laid in the Bible informs all that we do. Our government leaders must be chosen according to their beliefs in God. Law and science should be influenced by the Bible. Literature and the arts (music, painting, architecture, drama, sculpture, and dance etc.) must show God’s infinite plan and majesty. Business or commerce must be conducted with longsuffering and all of the other fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Gal. 5:22-23) The family needs to be governed according to God’s plan and example. Yet, because of our sinfulness, we often struggle to honor God perfectly in these areas.

God did not create sin. He gave us the choice to obey or not obey. Man chose sin. God could destroy all sin in one blow. A punishment is required. But God is not only just: He is merciful. He sent His son, Jesus, to pay the punishment for us. (John 3:16) Someday God will destroy evil forever. We must accept His salvation plan now, for after death we cannot change.

When we die, we are judged by God. (Heb.9:27) He will show us the good and bad that we did while alive. If we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we will go to Heaven to be with Him forever. If not, we will go to the lake of fire in Hell. While unbelievers have nothing to look forward to, Christians have a great hope.

Jesus is coming again. Our hope is in Jesus' return to earth as a Victorious King. He will return the way He left: in the clouds. All the bodies of the dead in Christ will rise, and we will join them in the sky. All will be judged from the Book of Life. It will be the final settling of what was decreed at death.

We are blessed to have a God who is so loving and caring. He gave more than all humanity can offer him in return. We are undeserving of his love and should give everything we are capable of, our love, obedience, and worship.