June 28, 2020
It was a blistering hot day at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, yet the temperature outside was nothing compared to the heated exchanges going on inside. The 55 delegates had convened there on May 25, 1787, to discuss improving the Articles of Confederation but by June 28, the Constitutional Convention was at a standstill. Many were frustrated with several ready to give up, prompting Benjamin Franklin, the oldest delegate of the convention, to make a statement.
Reminding the delegates of their task, he reviewed their initial duty of studying ancient forms of government, concluding none were applicable to the new country. Thus, they were in uncharted territory. In performing their duty, Franklin continued by inquiring why they were attempting such an important and critical task without the guidance of God. Recalling their daily prayers in that very room at the Continental Congress during their fight against the British, he reminded them of the multiple instances of Divine Providence the Patriots witnessed. Commenting that if they ignore God now, their efforts to build a new country will fall to the fate of the Tower of Babel.
To conclude his speech, Franklin presented a humble and thoughtful request:
"I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service."
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