Toward the end of the Declaration of Independence we find a summary sentence which places everything in perspective: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
This is a unique creed. The signers believed something very special was happening and that God would see them through. It was a new and courageous covenant, men mutually pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor! This is breathtaking and inconceivable in the fermentation of today’s world.
Have we forgotten the high price some of our founding fathers paid for their freedom? Have we forgotten that nine signers of the Declaration of Independence did not survive the war? Many lost their homes and their fortunes.
Thomas Nelson of Virginia directed bombardment of his own mansion at Yorktown. It was occupied by Cornwallis. Nelson also undertook to raise $2 million to repay the French fleet for its assistance. The war notes he redeemed cost him his fortune. He died in poverty. This has his sacred honor.
Frances Lewis, a wealth New York trader, lost everything he had. His wife was thrown into prison and died shortly after her release.
Richard Stockton of New Jersey, a Princeton graduate, lost his wealth, property, and magnificent library. He was imprisoned and died following the war.
These illustrations of sacred honor should suffice to remind us of a costly freedom, that documented the rhetoric of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. If we remove these things from our history books, the price that these men and women paid for our freedom will be lost forever. We will, in effect, snub our nose at their sacred honor. This cannot and must not happen!
To forget our past is to lose our national identity!
There is a greater tragedy that we risk as Christians. We, in our day are at risk of losing our spiritual identity. Paul reminded the Corinthians of the price that had been paid to redeem them from the slavery of sin. He was reminding them of who they belonged to and of who they were.
There is a great danger in our day that many adhere to. There is a movement to “throw out the past.” Churches and Christians in our day are guilty of abandoning…of forgetting “the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to His holy people.” (Jude 3)
God’s call and challenge to all generations has been to remember the price that was paid for us. The cross must not be forsaken or forgotten. It is God’s sacred honor…His sacred trust to us. We must yield, embrace, remember and proclaim its message with all the passion and energy we can muster.
The price God paid must be the fiber of our fellowship, the passion of our adventure, the banner of our cause and the hope of our message. We must not forget! It is our life, our fortune, our sacred honor!