On Independence Day, Read the Declaration & Also Reflect on Its Place and Importance in Our System

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. – Proverbs 25:11 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

Abraham Lincoln reflected on our American foundations and beautifully referenced Proverbs 25.11 in his meditation:

[The prosperity of the United States] is not the result of accident. It has a philosophic cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all” — the principle that clears the path for all — gives hope to all — and, by consequence, enterprise and industry to all.

The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government and consequent prosperity. The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word “fitly spoken” which has proven an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple — not the apple for the picture.

So let us act, that neither picture, or apple shall ever be blurred, bruised or broken.

That we may so act, we must study, and understand the points of danger.

Abraham Lincoln
Fragmentary Writing, c. 1858

From Roy P. Blaser, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1953), vol. iv, 168 (italics in original).

Our house is divided now like it was before the Civil War. Now, as in the time of Lincoln, we must remember what is intrinsically valuable; the principles found in the Declaration of Independence (The Apple of Gold).

There will always be those who wish to pervert the Law to achieve their selfish ends and then cite legal authority to do so. But if that which is meant to be an instrument for protection of the “Apple of Gold” becomes a weapon against it, good citizens need to be ready to recognize this danger and make the appropriate moves to protect what is really important.

The distinction between just/necessary law & “law” that destroys our principles is sometimes difficult to ascertain. But when the objectively-derived fundamental rights of the People, be it the few or the many, are disregarded by authorities for the supposed benefit of others, or for someone’s subjective interpretation of “the greater good,” this is an obvious contradiction with the Declaration. Every peaceful and reasonable effort should be made to correct course and re-establish justice so that the frame of silver (The Constitution and the Union) can be preserved as a protector of our cherished principles once more.

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