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The Struggles of Human Nature

The Battle of Yorktown, ending on October 19, 1781, was the decisive victory by American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington over a British army commanded by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. It effectively brought an end to the fighting in the Revolution. The colonies had won the right to exist independent of Britain. Yet the issue was far from settled.

Now the colonies had to establish a government that would be accepted by the newly freed people and that could stand. It was not until June 21, 1788 that the Constitution became law, when it was ratified by two-thirds of the states.

There were seven years of much conflict between the end of fighting until the establishment of a government. Many spoke and wrote during those years but one little known preacher, Samuel Wales, prescribed the remedy for the struggles. He identified both the disease and its cure before the Connecticut Assembly in 1785, a year before the Philadelphia Convention convened.

“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. He hath given us a very extensive country abounding with the richest gifts of nature. A proper view of all our various blessings will lead us to conclude that we are indeed the most highly favored people under heaven. God hath not dealt so with any other nation.” Wales reminded his listeners that prosperity was not a replacement for the security of faith, something he feared his fellow Americans were quickly forgetting. “But security in happiness is not the lot of humanity,” he declared.

Wales boldly declared, “When we are favored with a profusion of earthly good, we are exceedingly prone to set our hearts upon it with an immoderate affection, neglecting our bountiful Creator from whom alone all good is derived. We bath and bury ourselves in the streams, forgetting the fountain whence they flow. This is indeed a very disingenuous behaviour towards the Father of mercies.”

Wales knew, however, that it was only human nature to take blessings for granted. “When our wants are very pressing, we are willing, or pretend to be willing to apply to God for relief. But no sooner is the relief given than we set our hearts upon the gift, and neglect the giver; or rather make use of his own bounty in order to fight against him. The reason is, because we are more inclined to love the creature than the Creator, to be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” Wales continued.

Though times and circumstances have changed in the last 250 years, human nature remains the same. We are as inclined today to love the creator and neglect the Creator as were our forefathers. It is a battle we must fight continually. Stand firm and be courageous.

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