Proverb 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Once again we are celebrating our nations Declaration of Independence tomorrow the Fourth of July. The day after Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, in one of the letters John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail said, “This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” He also said, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
“We hold these truths’ to be self evident. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ….” The Bible is the greatest Book ever written through men by the inspiration of God. When it comes to documents written by men in the history of nations and governments I believe the greatest document is the Declaration of Independence, and the outgrowth of it, the U.S. Constitution with its Bill of Rights.
I believe Abraham Lincoln had it right who viewed the Declaration as a moral guide to interpreting the Constitution and that you cannot interpret the Constitution apart from the Declaration. Others have called it the conscience of the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln also on one occasion used the metaphor of the Scripture in Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” as the proper metaphor to viewing the Declaration and the Constitution together. The apples of gold being the centerpiece, the focal point, and more valuable part (gold vs. silver) and the picture frame being the Constitution (and the Union of the States), the silver, holding the centerpiece together or giving outward structure to it. The picture was not made to conceal or destroy the apple but to adorn and preserve it. The picture (Constitution and Union of States) was made for the apple (Declaration) not the apple for the picture. So when decisions need made, actions are required, laws written or ruled upon, let us keep both in view. Essentially, he was making the argument of natural law and inalienable natural rights are granted by God, Who was referred to four times in the Declaration of Independence as “Nature’s God,” the “Creator,” “the Supreme Judge of the World,” and “Divine Providence.” He argued that we cannot consider the Constitution independently of the purpose which it was designed to serve.
The Constitution serves to guard the core principles of the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution takes its moral life from the principles of liberty and equality, and was created to serve those principles, and not a document to be redefined to meet the needs of the time. We are divided as a nation today, because we have broken the connection between these two documents. The Declaration of Independence’s core moral principle of all men being created equal, with certain inalienable rights, and with liberty for all has influenced the greatest freedoms and quality of life any nation on Earth has ever known.