The Valley, May 2014
Standing Firm The ground is beginning to seriously shake beneath us. This month I’d like us to consider a compilation of quotes as we contemplate our current world situation. From Crimea to the Middle East to Nevada, life looks more interesting than it ever has before. Alexander Tyler, the 18th century historian and jurist wrote: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy
followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” (emphasis added) George Washington in his farewell address stated: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute
of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” Abraham Lincoln said: “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
With regard to standing firm, Paul the Apostle in Ephesians challenges us as follows: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” And from Philippians he goes on to say: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humil-
ity of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Finally, from King Arthur in the movie First Knight: “May God grant us the wisdom to discover right, the will to choose it, and the strength to make it endure.” That also is my prayer for us as people today. C. Mark Ostrowski, MSFS, is the Founder and President of The Stewardship Group in Belleville. His articles ponder various contemporary topics evaluating them from a political, economic and scriptural point of view. a
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