God Governs

The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men." These words were addressed to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on July 2, 1787, by Benjamin Franklin, that seasoned veteran of the fight for freedom and good government. The Convention, which finally framed the Constitution of the United States of America, had reached a complete deadlock over the issue of equal voting power for each state, and there was danger that it would break up without having adopted the necessary constitution to form a union. The alternative to union was disruption and conflict.

Franklin went on to quote from the Psalms (Ps. 127:1), "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." After four or five weeks of heated controversy had afforded what he called "a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding," Franklin moved that henceforth prayers be held every morning in the assembly before proceeding to business. Although never put to a vote, this motion served in some measure to turn the thought of the delegates to God, the source of all true wisdom.

Three days later a proposal was made which furnished a basis for final agreement. The two opposing views were combined to form the present system of representation in the House and the Senate, the former being made up of a proportional representation of the people, the latter of an equal representation of the states. Here it was shown that "God governs in the affairs of men." The breaking of this deadlock enabled the Convention to establish a form of government which has become the pattern for democratic federal unions in many other lands. As soon as the limitations of mere human opinion were humbly acknowledged, and thought was in some degree turned to God for aid, the answer to the human difficulty appeared. What a practical procedure for us to follow in our world conferences today!

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Omnipresent Good
May 11, 1946

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