Perhaps no principle of early American life was more motivational, more blessed, and more fixed in the minds of the men and women who forged this nation than the doctrine of the providence of God. Pilgrim Pastors, Patriot Preachers, and Founding Fathers alike spoke and wrote regularly and often about the providence of God. They wrote and spoke of the “kind providences of God,” of their firm reliance on “Almighty Providence,” and of the “many merciful providences” with which He has blessed our people.
The providence of which they spoke was not some blind, clock-like mechanism of a distant deity, but the direct interposition of the Triune God by which He sustains, cares for, and governs the world which He has made.
This understanding of “Almighty Providence” was not only true for our puritan preachers, but our most esteemed Founding Fathers. Though they chose not to make sectarian religious tests a prerequisite for holding federal office, our Founding Fathers nonetheless envisioned and established a national government on a distinctively Trinitarian, Christian law order. This is clear from their proclamations and official acts, as well as the supreme law of the land, the Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence, its preamble) signed in the year of our Lord (Jesus Christ), as well as those treaties which were made in pursuance thereof.
For the Founding Fathers, the doctrine of the providence of God was inextricably linked to the idea that Jesus Christ was the Creator who decrees law and sustains life. It was these men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, having acknowledged their “firm reliance on divine Providence.” It was these men who repeatedly passed laws calling for days of national thanksgiving, humiliation, and prayer in response to the work of providence which they specifically defined in their official acts in terms of Jesus Christ and the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was these men who officially recognized the Trinitarian view of providence when they signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783 on behalf of the United States, “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity, It having pleased the divine Providence…”
The providence of God is more than a distant, unattainable doctrine professed by ancient clerics. It is a living, breathing reality which should fire the spiritual passion and calm the soul of every true believer in Jesus Christ. It is motivation for the believer. It is hope. It is life.