Here is the Benjamin Franklin quote that was read during the sermon:
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Benjamin Franklin is famous for lightning rods, stoves, spectacles, printing, politics and much, much more. Indeed, the eighty-one year old Franklin was the American patriarch at the time of the Constitutional Convention held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1787. In a most remarkable way, he hallowed the Convention with his eloquent call for prayer. Addressing the Convention presided over by none other than George Washington, he reminded the Convention of God's sovereign providence on America's behalf:
In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection - Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.
To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we image we no longer need His assistance?
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured sir, in the Sacred Writings that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it (Ps. 127:1).’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builder of Babel.
We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.
I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning. . .and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. (Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States, Vol. III, pp. 235-237).