Many nations originate amid heathenism and are slowly converted to Christ. America is uniquely different. Of all the nations of history, it alone began as a Christian venture and has slowly sunk into heathenism.

It began during the reign of King James. The Puritans weren’t happy with mere political reform in the church in England; they wanted genuine spiritual reform. James rejected their demands (except for approving a new translation of the Bible), and this left the Puritans unsettled. Some, believing the Church of England beyond help, separated from it into independent congregations of their own. These people became known as Separatists, and King James, viewing them as traitors, “harried them out of the land.”

In 1607–1608 two groups fled to Holland. One of them, while studying Scripture, concluded that baptism was a rite for believers only (rather than for infants), and the Baptist movement was born. The other group, led by William Brewster and John Robinson, remained in Holland until July 22, 1620, when with packed bags and children in tow, its members sailed back to England and there boarded the Mayflower for the trip of their lives.

The Pilgrims arrived off the coast of Cape Cod in November of that year and paused long enough to draw up an organizing charter, the Mayflower Compact, the first written agreement for self-government ever put in force in America.

Its words plainly stated the purpose of the first government on American shores: In ye name of God Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith. Haveing undertaken, for ye glories of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & covenant, & combine ourselves togeather into a Civill body politick; for our better ordering, & preservation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid. …

If I promise to make a nation strong, but its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all. So listen to me. (Jeremiah 18:9-11a)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). July 22.

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