Home WND There but for the lack of God, goes America

There but for the lack of God, goes America

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The phrase “There but for the grace of God, go I” originated centuries ago in a more pious and devout era. Believed to have first been uttered by English evangelical preacher and martyr John Bradford observing criminals being led to the gallows, his own evangelizing in 1555 led to his death by burning at the stake. However, he remained sanguine both about his fate and his faith, allegedly telling a fellow prisoner facing execution as well, “We shall have many a merry supper with the Lord this night.”

The rarity with which this phrase is heard today, or even recognized for its historic perspective about faith in God, is a subtle indicator that society has moved further away from the desire, or any feeling of need, to seek out God’s grace.

The 18th century English religious writer and philanthropist Hannah Moore wrote about faith, “In agony or danger, no nature is atheist. The mind that knows not what to fly to, flies to God.”

A phrase believed of World War I vintage is, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” For many, there is a need to find ourselves in a situation in which death appears imminent, the ability to control circumstances seems hopeless, and one “knows not what to fly to” before faith finally kicks in.

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