Young George Washington’s Rules of Civility

Our America was blessed to have an extraordinary man, George Washington, to be our first president. Exactly like each one of us, he was indeed a sinner, yet God had a plan for him and preserved and protected him for the founding of our great country.
General Edward Braddock, Washington’s commander during the French and Indian War, wrote the following appraisal to a friend in 1755:

“Is Mr. Washington among your acquaintances? If not, I recommend you to embrace the first opportunity to form his friendship. He is about twenty-three years of age; with a countenance both mild and pleasant, promising of both wit and judgment. He is of comely and dignified demeanor, at the same time displays much self-reliance and decision. He strikes me as being a young man of extraordinary and exalted character, and is destined to make no inconsiderable figure in our country.”(Kinnaird, George Washington, the pictoral biography)

As a young schoolboy in Virginia,   George compiled and copied this list of rules into his school book ….perhaps this would be a worthwhile copywork assignment.

The Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation

1. Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.

2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.

3. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.

Presidential Prayers

George Washington

A Prayer for Guidance

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.

Thomas Jefferson

A Prayer for the Nation

Born Out of Faith

The men who laid the foundations and reared the soaring arches of our great republic had a vigorous, indomitable, and all-encompassing belief in God.  Faith permeated their thoughts, words and deeds.  We see Thomas Jefferson’s hand guiding the quill which wrote, “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”  We see George Washington, when the fires of hope had flickered to embers,  kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge.  And we see wise old Ben Franklin suggesting to a Constitutional Convention, deadlocked time after time, that “we have prayers every morning.”

This nation was born out of faith in God.  It can continue to exist in freedom only as that faith remains forthright and strong.  A statesman of a past age said,  “despotism may govern without faith, but Liberty cannot.

Faith in God remains the solid rock that stands unmoved amid the sliding sands.  The antithesis of cynicism, it is the dynamo which sparks the minds and actions of men who think beyond the pettiness of self.  It is the tie which binds mankind in mystic unity, exalting the human creature until, indeed, he is  “little lower than the angels.”  And it is the balm which salves the sting of time and death.

Faith in God has meant to me the enjoyment of those manifold “blessings of liberty”  which the Founding Fathers sought to secure for all posterity.  It is a fathomless source from which to draw strength in times of adversity.  And it has helped me to catch a glimpse of the wisdom implicit in those immutable laws by which He rules His universe. ~J Hoover