Congress Hears America's Call

In 1857 the Congress of the United States celebrated George Washington's birthday by listening to F. E. Pitts. He was a minister from Nashville, Tennessee. His address gave fifteen reasons why America is the nation anciently promised to Israel in the last days. While his speech is too long for a full inclusion here, we present this overview.

Reverend Pitts began, "There are many passages of Scripture winch are universally admitted by the learned and judicious to foretell the rise of a great nationality in the latter times. These predictions cannot, by any reasonable construction, be applied to the rise of such nationality in the land of Judea, but are most wonderfully descriptive of the United States of America, and of no other country under heaven." He went on to list his reasons.

"First, the land of the promised nationality was to be located between two seas the eastern sea and the great western sea." Ezekiel 47:18,20: "From the border unto the east sea. And this is the east side. The west side also shall be the great sea from the border... This is the west side." Because no sea bounds Palestine on the east, He concluded that Ezekiel's description could not describe a nation in Judea. Instead, it perfectly describes the United States.

He continued, "Second, the land is described as being uncultivated and unimproved - a land 'that has always been waste' (Ezek. 38:8). Of course, Palestine cannot be referred to here, for it cannot be said in truth that Judea has always been waste. But our country fully answers the description." This is because he interpreted "waste" to mean uncultivated, "where tillage has never harvested its blessings for man."

For his third reason Reverand Pitts referred again to Ezekiel and said that the prophesied nation was to be inhabited by people gathered out from the nations. "Not of one nation collected together that had been scattered amongst other nations," he said, "but what is obviously the sense of the passage, composed of people of different nations. Did ever such a tide of emigration set into any country since the creation of the world, as continually swarms to our hospitable shores? Indeed, the citizens of these States, or their fathers, have come from almost every country under heaven. But the prophet enters into detail: 'Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughman and your vine-dressers ... And the sons of strangers shall build thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee.' Isa. 61:5, 60:10. Now, the walls of a country's defense are its public improvements; and it is notorious that the sons of strangers build most of our public works."

His fourth reason was that, unlike in ancient Israel, strangers would live in the latter nation. He quoted, "And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you; and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And ... in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord God. Ezek. 47:22,23." He added, "Our land should always be the welcome home of the foreigners; but at the same time, they should remain long enough to appreciate our blessings, learn our laws, and the genius of our wonderful dictate or to govern."

'Fifth," Pitts said, 'the principal of extension, in enlarging the boundaries of their primary possessions should specially characterize the prosperity of the promised nationality." He quoted Isaiah 49:18,20 and commented on the growth of America up to that time.

His sixth reason America is the latter-day nation promised Israel is that it should have peaceful towns without bars and gates. He quoted Ezekiel, which said that they would "dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates" (Ezek.38:11). He added, "Surely, if old Palestine is to be brought back again to her more than ancient splendor, 'unwalled' cities and villages will not be found there. This passage, therefore, can never be applied to Judea; for all her cities were walled, from Jericho to Jerusalem. This remarkable description of the numerous villages and cities, and the possessions, prosperity, and security of the people, is a grand delineation of the United States of America, and of no other country on earth."

His seventh point was that the new nation would receive "the attention of royal patronage" in its infancy. His text was Isaiah 49:23. He went on to show how monarchs had attended America in its beginning.

He next quoted Isaiah 33:21, a text he said all agreed referred to a nation of the last days. It says, "But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby." The rivers described by Isaiah could not be Jordan, bit the Mississippi. No galley with oars went upon it to exact tribute from the inhabitants. He said, "The Hebrew word translated 'galley' literally signifies a government clipper sent out by a superior kingdom to exact port-dues from a dependent people. The loss of the tea-cargo in Boston harbor fully illustrates this subject; while the very genius of our independence in the days of Andrew Jackson was stamped upon a medal, 'Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.'"

For his ninth point, he maintained that the end-time nation would be more highly elevated. He referred to a study of his time: that said America literally fit that description, and added that it was also true figuratively.

His tenth reason was that the prophesied nation would have a common language. Reverand Pitts read, "Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive; of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand" (Is 33:19). He elaborated, "The uniformity and intelligibility of our language is indeed most extraordinary. Although teeming thousands are constantly pouring into our communities from the Germanic States, France, and other countries, our pure vernacular Anglo-Saxon will conduct you safely through any portion of our vast domain."

His eleventh point was "the rapid advancement of intelligence and divine instruction" among its people. America has led the way in discovery and education from its inception.

He continued, "Twelfth, the country inhabited by the people 'gathered out of the nations' should be settled in thirteen distinct states, like as it was with Israel; only' Joseph should have two portions.' 'Ye shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel; Joseph shall have two portions.' Ezek. 47:13. It is a remarkable fact that although the Jews had but twelve tribes, the portion falling to Ephraim and Manasseh, children of Joseph, being divided, made them a confederacy of thirteen states or tribes. It is also as remarkable, that in the beginning we had but twelve States; and William Penn held the charter of Pennsylvania for twenty years before he obtained that of Delaware, and then we had thirteen States also. But the coincidence in the boundaries of the thirteen United States, is still more remarkable. The prophet gives the eastern border of each tribe to be the eastern sea (See Ezekiel 47). Wilson, and perhaps Bancroft, affirm that the original charters of the thirteen United States called for the Atlantic or eastern ocean for their eastern boundary, and the Pacific or the great western ocean for their western boundary, in almost so many words."

His fourteenth reason was that "the promised nationality was to be a republic. "Their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them.' Jer. 30:2 1. The people should be '...gathered together, and appoint unto themselves one head (Hos 1:11). '1 will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning.' Isa. 1:26. He continued, "Observe 'one head - a chief magistrate appointed by the people -governors, judges, and counselors, taken from the masses of the people, are particularly promised, but no king. The political economy of ancient Israel being a theocratic republic, the promise in the passage is that the officers necessary to constitute a republican form of government would be restored."

Pitts began his last point by quoting Isaiah. 'Surely, the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel" (Is 60:9). He, then, pointed out that the ancients used the term "isles" to mean undiscovered lands supposed to exist in the Atlantic Ocean. The word "Tarshish" meant Old Spain. "With this explanation of terms," he continued, "let us read the passage: 'Surely, the undiscovered lands in the western sea shall wait for me, and the ships of Old Spain shall be first to bring my sons from far, their silver and their gold with them.' And were not the ships of Spain first in the discovery and opening up of emigration to the New World? After being repulsed from every court in Europe to which he appealed, was not Columbus sanctioned and sustained by Ferdinand and Isabella in his expedition? 'To bring my sons from far.' Now, remember this passage cannot apply to the spread of the gospel, for the tidings of salvation are sent out to heathen lands; but here the sons of God are represented as being transported from their original homes to a newly discovered country. It cannot refer to Judea, for that was not an undiscovered country, and the ships of Spam never have brought, and never can bring, its first emigration to people it"

He concluded by saying, "But the great motive of their emigration deserves special attention. They were to come for the privilege of worshipping God '...unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel.' Our noble ancestry, driven by the storm of persecution from the Old World, sought a refuge in the New. When the minions of monarchy invaded the Southern hemisphere, it was for the sake of gold. The Portuguese in Brazil, Cortez in Mexico, and Pizarro in Peru, took possession of those countries in the names of the majesties of their respective governments. But when the Huguenots, the Quakers, and the Puritans came to America, they took possession of these lands in the name of Almighty God." Reverand Pitts' address aptly shows that past generations believed and taught that America is the land of refuge for the dispersed of Israel.