The Lives of the Signers of the
Declaration of Independence
"The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin"
Many books that are written today, as well as fifty or more years ago, tend to portray our founding fathers as ordinary men who had no desire other than money to free themselves from the tyranny of England. Today, when most Americans are asked about why we separated ourselves from are mother country, we would say it was "Taxation without representation". That was one of twenty-seven grievances and it portrays one of the least reasons for fighting. What was the real reason behind the separation? What were the men like who signed the Declaration of Independence? Today, some have written they were agnostics who wanted to keep religion out of government, but what do their actual writings reveal?
The following is a short biography of some of the fifty-six men whose names appear on the Declaration of Independence.
Born in 1706 in Boston, he was the fifteenth child of 17 children. At age thirteen he was apprenticed to his brother James, who had recently returned from England with a new printing press. Benjamin learned the printing trade, devoting his spare time to the advancement of his education. His reading included Pilgrimís Progress by the British preacher John Bunyan. His accomplishments included:
q First Postmaster General
q Built the first American Library
q Started the fire department
Some felt that he was a total deist, Ben Franklin was not opposed to the Christian religion for he:
q Was good friends with George Whitfield
(Great preacher of the Great Awakening)
q Issues Statewide Prayer Proclamations as Governor of Pennsylvania
q Worked to boost Church attendance
q He made one of the most forceful defenses of Christianity when Thomas Paine, author of The Age of Reason, attacked him.
q He called for the establishment of chaplains and daily prayer at the Constitution Convention
q Died at the age of 84
Born in 1743, he was a philosopher, educator, naturalist, politician, scientist, architect, inventor, pioneer in scientific farming, musician, and writer, as well as the foremost spokesman for the Republic of his day. His titles also include:
q Father of the Declaration of Independence
q Third president of the United States
q Founder of the University of Virginia
His views on Christianity included:
q Recommended that the Great Seal of the U.S. depict a Bible story and that the motto contain the phrase "God" in it.
q Negotiated treaties with the Indians and included federal funding for Christian missionaries to win the Indians to Christ.
q Jefferson would closed presidential documents with the words "in the year of our Lord Christ"
q Jefferson died on the July, 4, 1826 fifty years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Born in 1722 in Scotland, he was a descendant of the great reformer John Knox. He became an ordained minister of the Gospel, are his accomplishments include:
q He published several books on Gospel sermons
q He was involved in two American printings of the Bible
q In regard to his view of salvation he said "I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ for there is no salvation in any other."
Born in 1745 near Philadelphia, he graduated from Princeton at the age of sixteen. He later became one of the greatest doctors in the United States. He also founded the first Bible society in America, and was responsible for the publication of the first mass produced Bible. Rush has been considered one of the greatest founding fathers.
His views on Christianity were: "My only hope of salvation is in the love of God manifested to the world by the death of his Son upon the cross, nothing but his blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus."
Born in 1737 at Philadelphia, he was schooled at home until he entered college there. He became a Church music director and edited the hymnal of 1767. This hymnal set all of the 150 psalms to music.
Born in 1734 in Pennsylvania, he trained to be a lawyer. He later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and later Governor.
As for his Christian views, he demonstrated his faith during a murder trial in which the person tried was condemned to death. Mckean pleaded to the felon to receive Christ so that he could spend eternity in heaven and not hell.
Born in 1722 at Boston, he is known as the "Father of the American Revolution". He, as well as John Hancock, was a leader in the breaking up with England. When General Gage was willing to give pardons to anyone that would swear allegiance to England, these two men were not included. Samuel Adams took up arms because of the religious restrictions that were taking place.
As for his beliefs as a Christian he said, "I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins".
Robert Treat Paine
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1731 and trained as a minister of the Gospel. He later studied law and retired from the bench as a judge.
As a Christian, he stated "I am constrained to express my adoration of Ö the author of my existence in full belief ... his forgiving mercy revealed to the world through Jesus Christ through whom I hope for never ending happiness in a future state".
Born in 1730 and was trained as a lawyer. He was elected as Supreme Court Justice for New Jersey, but declined. During the Revolutionary War, he became a prisoner for some time and on account of his position as one of the signers, he was treated with great severity. The British destroyed his estate and he and his family were reduced to poverty.
As for his Christian beliefs, he said, "I subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion, ... and I exhort that the way of life held in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state".
These men, as well as the other signers, had a deep commitment and respect to the Christian principals of the Bible, which are found in the Declaration, as well as the Constitution. This is why the U.S. Constitution is the longest lasting constitution in the world.
When the Continental Congress met for the first time in 1774, they opened in prayer and scripture reading that lasted for hours. Even the Declaration itself states in places that this is a nation that follows Christian principals. Examples are:
q "The separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them," (This is a term that was in direct reference to the God of the Old and New Testament.)
q "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".
Our founding fathers did establish a Christian nation!