Sluice Box Adventures
Believing Bible Study in the 21st century
The Foundation Was Established
Psalm 12:6-7 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
It has long been asserted by those in the best position to know, that General Washington insisted on being baptized by Chaplain Gano.
George Washington’s Baptism
Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2011 Richard St.James
God In American History
By L.C. Barnes - Richard St.James, EditorResearch performed by Richard St.James at William Jewell College Library in Liberty, Missouri, March 21, 2008
The following is intended by this editor to be a copy [except for spelling update and/or conversion corrections] of the Bulletin of William Jewell College, Series No. 24, September 15, 1926, No. 1, By L.C. Barnes, "Entered April 2, 1909, at Liberty, Missouri, as second-class Matter under Act of Congress of July 16, 1894."
The John Gano Evidence of George Washington’s ReligionNone of the numerous sesquicentennial events in our land has deeper significance than the dedication of a college chapel in the heart of the country in memory of John Gano, “the fighting chaplain” of the Revolutionary War and a close friend of George Washington. John Gano and his sons stood preeminent in three particulars: patriotism, missions and education. Heroic devotion to the country, heroic devotion to the extension of the sway of Christ and heroic devotion to higher education have seldom been so splendidly combined. Henry Clay said of the ministry of John Gano at Lexington, Kentucky: “He was a remarkably fervent preacher and distinguished for a simple and effective manner. And of all the preachers I ever listened to, he made me feel the most that religion was a divine rea1ity, I never felt so religious under any one’s preaching as under his,” -Sprague’s annals of the American Pulpit. Washington in some rules of life, which he drew up at fourteen years of age, said:
”Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
In his first message to Congress he said, ”It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to the Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the U. S. a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success the function allotted to his charge. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the peop1e of the U. S. Every step, by which we have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
In the multitude of beguiling subjects which the day suggests let this hour be given to the proof which John Gano has given to the world that George Washington was an intense Christian. A brilliant biographer has recently asserted once more that the Father of our Country was far from that. It must be admitted that the intensity - mark my word – the “intensity” of Washington’s personal religion, aside from the evidence which I am about to adduce, is not easy to discover.
That Washington was a formal Christian, a sincere Christian and a noble Christian is beyond question. Whoever reads thru the volumes of his letters, ad-dresses and state papers finds explicitly Christian acknowledgments frequent and the Christian spirit constant.
An instructive book could be written to this effect and without a word of the Weems kind of adulation either. But the question would still remain, was Washington a Christian of the intense type, what might be called the personally evangelical type? Anything which bears on this point is precious and worthy of thorough investigation.
It has long been asserted by those in the best position to know, that General Washington insisted on being baptized by Chaplain Gano. Washington became convinced that he had never personally obeyed one of the explicit teachings of Christ, taught both by word and by example. Having become convinced of his Lord’s command, with soldierly precision he obeyed. Of course, baby George had been “Christened”. But someone else did that, he had no voice in that - unless possibly an instinctive wail, There was far more semblance of free volition in the thousands of medieval Russians whom King Vladimir drove into the River Dnieper to be immersed when he chose so called Christianity for his helpless subjects.
At the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation in Western Europe many great scholars and also strong men of affairs, as well as hundreds of thousands of the common people came to the conclusion that personal religion could be carried out only personally, and not to any degree by proxy. Consequently their infant baptism had no validity and they insisted on being baptized by choice of their own wills. They did this even when they knew that a tradition enslaved world would put them to death for doing it. Hence they were known as Anabaptists, i.e. the Re-baptized.
In the interest of correct historical understanding of such people, it is a misfortune that the prefix, which was the important part of the word, wore off in the course of centuries of hostile use. At the present time most people imagine that the successors of those Reformation heroes are called Baptists because they baptize by immersion. Whereas it is essentially because they re-baptize, i.e. insist that proxy baptism is not a spiritual reality, insist on voluntary instead of compulsory baptism. It is merely incidental that a great majority of those who became convinced that personal choice is indispensable to religious values, also chose to perform the act of obedience in the original apostolic form, immersion. Was Washington one of the long 1ine of illustrious men, including the chief officers of Oliver Cromwell’s army, who have been so intense in their conception of religion as to go on the conviction that no one else can perform for any one a truly religious act? He must do it himself, or it is ever done in reality, so far as he is concerned.
The evidence, such as it is, that George Washington did this, is of two classes, direct and circumstantial. Neither class is a mathematical demonstration. That, how-ever, is true of the argument for the existence of God.
The present study is not even an argument. It is only an examination of evidence. Sectarian pre-judgment against it will be natural on the part of many. Sectarian pre-judgment in favor of it on the part of any would be foolish. Washington never joined the Baptist denomination any more than did McKinley. President William McKinley was bred and died in the Methodist Episcopal church of which he was a noble son. It is recorded that when he chose Christ as his personal savior and Lord he demanded in spite of the persuasions of his mother (to whom he was always fondly devoted) and of his pastor, demanded that, in place of his parents’ choice when he was an unconscious infant, now, by his own choice, he be baptized in the emblematic burial of the selfish life and resurrection to new life with Christ. George Washington was bred and died in the Protestant Episcopal church of which he was a noble son.
Everyone ought to rejoice at evidence, … however trivial the nature of the evidence in the opinion of some, ... evidence that such men as Washington and McKinley stood the supreme test of Christian religion, personality in place of formality.
With both of them this was regarded not as an ecclesiastical but as a strictly personal matter and of no concern to the public. Hence no record of it is to be expected in published documents.
Washington paid particular attention to the preservation of such papers as he cared to leave for the public. He kept copies of his letters as he wrote them, and during the years in question he thought so much of the matter as to employ three men for two years and a half, in transcribing and arranging his correspondence. “In the form of transcripts the mass pertaining to the Revolution makes forty-four large volumes, in a chronological arrangement, with an index to each.” In all there are now more than 200 bound volumes of Washington manuscript.
Washington was exceedingly careful and politic as to anything which might develop lack of sympathy on the part of any one, on any account, with the American cause as personated in its leader. He was too wise a man to make public in any way a purely private religious matter, which the bulk of Americans, even Christians, would have thought at best a foolish scruple of conscience He was the last to break to the public his personal reserve in such a case. Of the General and President we know much, and so have come to feel that we know all about Washington. But of his interior and private life comparatively little is known. He wrote hundreds of letters to his wife. But two of them are extant.
Five years after the war had closed, in a letter to Noah Webster, Washington himself said: “Notwithstanding most of the papers, which may perhaps be deemed of official, are preserved; yet the knowledge of innumerable things of a more delicate and secret nature is confined to the perishable remembrance of some few of the present generation.”
Since this was true of the affairs of the army and of the nation, to a how much greater extent was it true of events with which the public, as such, had no concern. The probability as to the baptism of Washington, arising from the general knowledge or lack of knowledge concerning it, is precisely indicated by these words from his own pen. It is one of the “innumerable things of a more delicate and secret nature, the knowledge of ‘which’ is confined to the perishable remembrance of some few of the present generation.”
The matter of his baptism belonged to the general public of that time a thousand fold less than the things of which he spoke in those words. It was simply a matter of conscience between a man of conscience and his God. At most only “some few of the (then) present generation” would know it. The surest to know it would be the family of the administrator. The evidence is simply the most natural of evidence, the “remembrance” of the children of John Gano. It was, indeed, “perishable”, and so far as the father was concerned allowed to perish. The personal confidences of Gano and Washington were doubly sealed by their mutual Masonic vows. But Gano’s children could not quite consent to let the remembrance utterly perish. Their children at least must know such a fact as that. From them it has floated into an occasional paragraph in print. A careful examination of this “perishable remembrance” has accomplished three things, It has disclosed it in most certain shape, a whole generation further back than was before made public. It has reduced it to the form of legal evidence. It has brought into formal comparison two and disclosed a third, producing in all, three strictly independent lines of the direct transmission of the “remembrance” from John Gano to us. The testimony is of the same character in this respect, as much of the testimony in the New Testament concerning the life of Christ. It is more direct than some of that. In the present case it is as if we had explicit testimony concerning the Baptism of Jesus given by children of John the Baptist.
Next: The Direct Evidence - The John Gano Evidence of George Washington’s Religion
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Men Never Learn From History!
It is a heart problem!
Men refuse to learn the “lessons” afforded by the light of HISTORY:
the recorded historical events which occurred as fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Now, these are the basic truths with which we all must deal with one way or another!
Two Basic Reasons For Our Failing Our History Lesson!
The Removing Of The Anchoring Landmarks
We have steadily almost imperceptibly at times removed one by one the great principles that were part of the formulation of the United States of America.
We have been busy for generations removing the anchoring landmarks that came as a result of the revivals God blessed this country with in its early years by the preaching of the word of GOD.
We have disobeyed the commandment in Proverbs 22:28- “Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.”The Departure from the BIBLE
What was the catalyst or reason for this downward spiral? Are you ready! The eyes of men everywhere had been clouded over with cataracts because of our apostasy or departure from the BIBLE … God’s word (and more exactly including the multiplicity of translations and corruption's to God's written word).
This apostasy began in America in the BIBLE SCHOOLS early in the last century (1901) when Philip Schaff (with other rank liberals who had rot-gut unbelief in God's word within their hearts) colluded with the English RV committee of 1885 (Westcott and Hort) to produce the American Standard Version (ASV), also known as “the Rock of Bible Honesty” by the scholars, or more accurately, by Bible believers, as a prime example of a new age version of a corrupted bible.
Baptist HeritageIt is to the Baptists ... that we owe primarily ... our religious freedom, and it is Roger Williams [of Rhode Island] in particular, that is the most important contributor of our religious freedom we enjoy in the United States of America.
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Cause of Conscience is the primary document, which provided the underlying principles for religious freedom, which in turn gave rise to the then future documents of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill Of Rights.