What A Nation Does—Adds Up!

I read the following article this evening by R.J. Rushdoony called “The Exaltation of a People” from his second volume of Word In Season.

It seems very remote now, but when the British began their war against the American colonies, they faced a problem. Loose women were too few in America to provide for the troops, so the British War Office contracted to have 3,500 street prostitutes transported to America. The women of England were mostly unwilling to go at any price to a “barbarous” land, so Captain Jackson had to fill his quota with Blacks from the West Indies; these latter women came to be known as “Jackson Whites.”

This and like actions turned many colonists against the mother country. It was noticed that very few Britishers had Bibles, and even fewer used them. To the Americans, all this spelled evil, and the prospect of God’s judgment against the British. Even Jefferson, far from an evangelical in his opinions, believed that the British were sowing a harvest of judgment.

Over and over again, the colonial clergy stressed Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” To them, it was the Word of God, and an article of faith and life. Washington stressed the necessity of seeking God’s favor by faithfulness to Him.

Were they right or wrong? Were they simple-minded for believing that righteousness (or, justice before God) is the most important element in a nation’s strength, or were they wiser than the men of this generation?

If they were right, then we are very much off base. Then, far more serious than any constitutional deviation is our religious and moral waywardness. Righteousness, the proverb tells us, lifts up and makes great a people, whereas sin brings a reproach or shame and disgrace to a nation. Faithfulness and justice before God bring grace, sin disgrace. The exaltation of a people is thus God’s handiwork, and it is dependent upon our faithfulness to Him. The exaltation of nations is thus not political but, in the truest sense possible, religious. What men and nations do adds up finally to grace or disgrace from the hand of God.