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Part 3 – Wisdom From Our Canadian Forefathers
Did you know that our Canadian forefathers, perhaps unintentionally, left behind clues on how Canada can stay great, can stay glorious and free? If you missed my previous posts, I encourage you to read them first and follow along with these clues next:
3) Let God have dominion.
On the Peace Tower exterior east window, there is this verse: Psalm 72:8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,…One of our Fathers of Confederation, Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, was having his devotions one morning, and this Scripture stood out to him. He was thinking about this, because that day in September of 1864, they would decide what they would call Canada. Whether they were going to call it the United Provinces of Canada, the United States of Canada, or if it was going to be the Confederation. He presented the inspired name “Dominion of Canada” and it was accepted. And so, Psalm 72:8 found its way to be engraved on the Peace Tower of our nation. It is interesting to note that on Sir Tilley’s tombstone is written, “His trust was in Jesus”. Oh, that more leaders would have that on their tombstones!
What were they saying? What was the clue? What’s the key that they left us for this generation? Let God have dominion in the country. Let God be God over our nation. Throughout the years, there have been some amazing people in Canada that have said, “Let God have dominion.”John Cabot arrived in Newfoundland somewhere in the 1400s, and he influenced the motto which appears on Newfoundland’s coat of arms: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”
When Jacques Cartier arrived in Montreal in the 1500s, he knelt and prayed. He was known for sharing his faith in Jesus Christ and would often pray for the sick. You might not find this in your history class at school, but he wrote this. “One would have thought Christ had come to earth to heal them.” He prayed for many people in the name of Jesus.We could talk about the founder of the first hospital in Montreal, Jeanne Mance, who said: “There is nothing in the world I would refuse to do to accomplish the divine and all-loving will of God.”There is David Thompson, the great explorer, who went through all of Canada and created maps that we still use today. He said, “I endured the hardship as an explorer so that these physical impenetrable barriers may be traversed and the Gospel be spread.” Henry Bird Steinhauer, one of the first nation’s Ojibwa preachers, talked about how he translated the Bible for the Cree.
If you have ever gone to Banff and seen Rundle Mountain you may be interested to know what Robert Rundle wrote in his diary. He said, “This morning we discussed the resurrection of Jesus, and this afternoon the nature of salvation.” Many of the great leaders in our nation carried the message “Let God have dominion over our land.”George Brown was the father of Confederation and founder of The Globe and Mail. At his funeral they said of him, “By his pure life and conversation, he commended the religion of Christ. He was sustained by his trust in God and in the blood of the Redeemer.” That sounds like someone who understood God needs to have dominion in a country to make it glorious and free.
In downtown Vancouver, there is the famous Robson Street, named after John Robson. He was a journalist, a reformer, a legislator, a cabinet minister, and the premier of BC in the late 1800s. A biography of Robson says, “He was an advocate for public schools in BC. He believed that the government must be involved in education to make it affordable for all people, and that the Bible should be used in classes, the Lord’s Prayer recited, and moral training be based on Christianity.”
We could mention Ryerson, the founder of Christian education in Ontario. We could talk about great schools—Dalhousie, Queens, McMaster all which were started from Christian roots. We could talk about Louis Riel the founder of Manitoba. In his diary he wrote, “Fasting and prayer are the two keys to success in time in eternity. Nothing can resist fasting when it’s done in humility, sincerity, and devotion. Three or four days of fasting can accomplish more than an army on the field of battle. God has everything in His care. Have confidence in Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I love You. I love everything associated with You.”Robert Stanley Weir, was a judge and the author of our words to O Canada. We don’t sing the final verse of O Canada, but it has some powerful lyrics: “Ruler supreme who hears humble prayer, hold our dominion in Thy loving care. Help us to find O God in Thee, a lasting, rich reward as waiting for a better day, we ever stand on guard, Canada glorious and free, we stand on guard for thee.”
When Prime Minister John Diefenbaker introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights, he said, “It begins with the Parliament of Canada affirming, and it begins with this, that the Canadian nation is founded upon the principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God.” That today is still in your Canadian Bill of Rights.
George Vanier, who is known for the Vanier Cup that university football teams compete for, said, “Let us first seek faith, faith in God above everything, faith in Christ and in His church, and loyalty to our religion’s moral and cultural heritage.”If we would go to the opposition board room, in the Parliament buildings above the board room there is a little arch, and in that arch this verse is written, “Fear God. Honour the king.” The whole verse out of 1 Peter 2:17 is, “Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.”
This leads us to the fourth clue:
4) Show respect to God, the government, and all people.
Isn’t that a great code to live by? Every time the opposition party goes into that room there is a reminder “Fear God. Honour the king.” That’s good to know. If you’ve ever listened to them debate in the Parliament, it may not seem like they have read it, but it is written there for them.If you go to the Peace Tower, to the south window on the outside, you will find another verse. “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.” The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “Give the king knowledge of your way of judging, O God, and the spirit of your righteousness to the king’s son to control all his actions.” This verse is a powerful reminder for our leaders to receive knowledge from God in their judgements.