PATRICK HENRY’S WORLDVIEW
These four quotes of Patrick Henry (Founding Father, orator) provide insight into his Christian worldview – emphasis added.
The blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us…
Whether this [the American War for Independence] will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation [Proverbs 14:34]. Reader! – whoever thou art, remember this! – and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others.”
Handwritten message penned by Patrick Henry on the back of an original copy of the 1765 Stamp Act Resolutions.
Give me liberty or give me death!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Speech to the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775
Irritating the avenging hand of Heaven…
There are certain maxims by which every wise and enlightened people will regulate their conduct. There are certain political maxims, which no free people out ever to abandon. Maxims of which the observance is essential to the security of happiness. It is impiously irritating the avenging hand of Heaven, when a people who are in the full enjoyment of freedom, launch out into the wide ocean of human affairs, and desert those maxims which alone can preserve liberty. Such maxims, humble as they are, are those only which can render a nation safe or formidable… We have one, Sir, That all men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into society, they cannot by an compact deprive or divest their prosperity. We have a set of maxims of the same spirit, which must be beloved by every friend of liberty, to virtue, to mankind. Our Bill of Rights contains those admirable maxims.
Letter to Edmund Randolph, 1788
I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics…
Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.
Letter to his daughter, August 20, 1796