"The Greatest Lawgiver The World Has Produced"
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com -In 1825, Thomas Jefferson gave tribute to one of America’s Founding Fathers :
“William Penn was the greatest lawgiver the world has produced, being the first, in either ancient or modern times who has laid the foundation of government in the pure and unadulterated principles of peace, reason, and right.” Thomas Jefferson
Penn was born in England, the son of a distinguished Anglican family. At 22, he joined the Society of Friends or Quakers - a decision that changed his heart and mind.
Darrell Fields: William Penn operated out of a lens of pleasing the father.
Darrell Fields, author of “The Seed of a Nation,” said Penn was the first to espouse the idea of a self-governing people, but only through the principles of the Bible. And that idea was the seed that formed a nation.
Darrell Fields: That’s a huge precedent. That’s what I think Jefferson saw and that’s what I think we’re still seeing today.
On March 4th, 1681, King Charles II gave Penn authority over the Pennsylvanian government. The next day, Penn closed a letter to a friend with these words :
“My God that has given it me through many difficulties, will I believe bless and make it the seed of a nation. I shall have a tender care to the government, that it be well laid at first.” William Penn
Penn lived only four years in Pennsylvania, primarily at his country home 20 miles outside Philadelphia.
Doug Miller: It was a symbol of his wealth, his affluence, some could argue his seat of government. So it was big and needed to be such.
Doug Miller is the administrator of Pensbury Manor.
Doug Miller: Penn set up a colony based on religious toleration and he found this marvelous niche market with the religiously disassociated people of many European countries. Penn being an educated man was pamphleting in different countries in different languages. Many of those people wanted a fresh start and Penn offered that here.
In 1701 Penn wrote the colony of Pennsylvania’s first constitution, also called the Charter of Priviledges. This document would later lay the foundation for American’s Bill of Rights.
Darrell Fields: It’s based in freedom, it’s social justice, civil equality, religious freedom, representative government, it had all the things that were not existent in the world at that time.
Doug Miller: By the mid 18th century, Philadelphia is the epicenter of this hemisphere, more commerce is going in and out of Philadelphia than any other point on this side of the Atlantic. It was huge and at least a portion of that we owe to Penn for the structure he put in place.
Fifty years later in Philadelphia, the people of Pennsylvania commissioned the forging of the Liberty Bell, in honor of William Penn.
Darrell Fields: Twenty five years later during the reading of the Declaration of Independence, that bell rings out for the reading of their severance from the mother country.
The bell was inscribed with these words from the book of Leviticus:
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.