Isaac faces the same circumstances his daddy faced; Isaac makes the truth his own; Isaac overcomes evil with good; Isaac looks for a city whose builder and maker is God; Isaac’s peace treaty.
The following words were written by Adam Clarke, commenting on Genesis 26. They are solemn reflections for Christians who wish to engage in honest undertakings in a world run by covetousness. “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished” (Proverbs 13).
From many examples we find that the wealth of the primitive inhabitants of the world did not consist in gold, silver, or precious stones, but principally in flocks of useful cattle, and the produce of the field. With precious metals and precious stones they were not unacquainted, and the former were sometimes used in purchases, as we have already seen in the case of Abraham buying a field from the children of Heth. But the blessings which God promises are such as spring from the soil. Isaac sowed in the land, and had possessions of flocks and herds, and great store of servants, Genesis 26:12-14. Commerce, by which nations and individuals so suddenly rise and as suddenly fall, had not been then invented; every man was obliged to acquire property by honest and persevering labor, or be destitute. Lucky hits, fortunate speculations, and adventurous risks, could then have no place; the field must be tilled, the herds watched and fed, and the proper seasons for ploughing, sowing, reaping, and laying up, be carefully regarded and improved. No man, therefore, could grow rich by accident. Isaac waxed great and went forward, and grew until he became very great, Genesis 26:13. Speculation was of no use, for it could have no object; and consequently many incitements to knavery and to idleness, that bane of the physical and moral health of the body and soul of man, could not show themselves. Happy times! when every man wrought with his hands, and God particularly blessed his honest industry. As he had no luxuries, he had no unnatural and factitious wants, few diseases, and a long life.
O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, Agricolas!
O thrice happy husbandmen! did they but know their own mercies.
But has not what is termed commerce produced the reverse of all this? A few are speculators, and the many are comparatively slaves; and slaves, not to enrich themselves, (this is impossible), but to enrich the speculators and adventurers by whom they are employed. Even the farmers become, at least partially, commercial men; and the soil, the fruitful parent of natural wealth, is comparatively disregarded: the consequence is, that the misery of the many, and the luxury of the few, increase; and from both these spring, on the one hand, pride, insolence, contempt of the poor, contempt of God’s holy word and commandments, with the long catalogue of crimes which proceed from pampered appetites and unsubdued passions: and on the other, murmuring, repining, discontent, and often insubordination and revolt, the most fell and most destructive of all the evils that can degrade and curse civil society. Hence wars, fightings, and revolutions of states, and public calamities of all kinds. Bad as the world and the times are, men have made them much worse by their unnatural methods of providing for the support of life. When shall men learn that even this is but a subordinate pursuit; and that the cultivator. of the soul in the knowledge, love, and obedience of God, is essentially necessary, not only to future glory, but to present happiness?
How the Founders expected “We the People” to discuss the Constitution; Hamilton and Franklin’s Example; What can we learn from their example?
First, the power is only granted to the President to grant pardons and reprieves for Federal crimes.
“The President shall…have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”
A reprieve is granted under particular circumstances. For example, if they discover new evidence or testimony that might have affected the case’s outcome if it had been known during the trial, the President can grant a reprieve to allow the new evidence to be examined.
The pardon, however, is a little different. It doesn’t mean the person is innocent, but that the sentence might have been unjust. The pardoning power has been called “the conscience of the nation.” It’s supposed to be exercised when a true sense of justice calls for intervention. Alexander Hamilton wrote the following about the pardoning powers of the President in Federalist #84.
“He is also to be authorized to grant ‘reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, EXCEPT IN CASES OF IMPEACHMENT.’ Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel…”
James Iredell of North Carolina said,
“Another power that he has is to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment. I believe it is the sense of a great part of America, that this power should be exercised by their governors. It is in several states on the same footing that it is here. It is the genius of a republican government that the laws should be rigidly executed, without the influence of favor or ill-will–that, when a man commits a crime, however powerful he or his friends may be, yet he should be punished for it; and, on the other hand, though he should be universally hated by his country, his real guilt alone, as to the particular charge, is to operate against him. This strict and scrupulous observance of justice is proper in all governments; but it is particularly indispensable in a republican one, because, in such a government, the law is superior to every man, and no man is superior to another. But, though this general principle be unquestionable, surely there is no gentleman in the committee who is not aware that there ought to be exceptions to it; because there may be many instances where, though a man offends against the letter of the law, yet peculiar circumstances in his case may entitle him to mercy…This power, however, only refers to offences against the United States, and not against particular states.”
The key to happiness is finding joy in the mundane. It’s the little things, my friends; it’s the little things. There are no insignificant moments.
“But notwithstanding all, Saint Paul and Dr. Barrow have taught me to rejoice evermore, and be content. This Phrase ‘rejoice evermore’ shall never be out of my heart, memory or mouth again as long as I live, if I can help it. This is my Perfectibility of Man.” John Adams
“Still, still I am not weary of life. Strangely. I have hope. You take away hope and what remains? What pleasures? I have seen a queen of France with 18 million livres of diamonds on her person, but I declare that all the charms of her face and figure added to all the glitter of her jewels did not impress me as much as that little shrub right there. Now your mother always said that I never delighted enough in the mundane, but now I find that if I look at even the smallest thing my imagination begins to roam the milk way. Rejoice evermore. Rejoice evermore. Rejoice evermore! Oh how I wish that had always been in my heart and on my tongue.” — From HBO Miniseries – John Adams
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