by James and Barbara Rose, Eagle’s Aerie,
American Christian History Institute,
The Bible informs us that the earth is “round.”  Isaiah 40:22 “It is He that sits upon the circle of the earth.” In a written statement from Columbus’ own hand, he testified that it was from reading the book of Isaiah that he discovered that the world is round.   At a time when some believed that the earth was flat, it was the Scriptures that inspired Christopher Columbus to sail west.   He wrote: “It was the Lord who put it into my mind. I could feel His hand upon me . . . there is no question the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures . . .”   (From his diary, in reference to his discovery of “the New World”). 

Christian educator, Rosalie Slater, observed that “Christopher Columbus’ greatest discovery was not the New World.  As a young boy, Columbus trusted Christ as his Savior and discovered the ways of God.  This little known fact was the reason for his adventurous life. He felt that God wanted him to explore the world and find new land and people so that Christ could be proclaimed. Kings and Queens promised and failed him before he finally got the ships and backing he needed to set sail. He became an excellent sailor and businessman.  He overcame all the problems he faced with God’s help, even mutiny and being bound in chains. Here are his remarks from his writings: ‘At this time I both read and studied all kinds of literature: cosmography, histories chronicles, and philosophy and other art , to which our Lord opened my mind unmistakably to the fact that it was possible to navigate from here to the Indies, and He evoked in me the will for the execution of it; and with this fire I came to Your Highnesses.  All those who heard of my plan disregarded it mockingly and with laughter.  All the sciences of which I spoke were of no profit to me nor the authorities in them; only in Your Highnesses my faith, and my stay.  Who would doubt that this light did not come from the Holy Spirit, anyway as far as I am concerned, which comforted with rays of marvelous clarity and with its Holy and Sacred Scriptures.”   In the publication of Columbus’ Book of Prophesies, “the Bible was the principal source of inspiration for the great Columbian enterprise.” (Christopher Columbus: His Life and Discovery in the Light of His Prophecies by Kay Brigham. Libros CLIE, Spain, 1990 p. 53)

Teaching God’s Providence in the Columbus Story gives us a great opportunity to document, from primary sources, the Hand of God in the history of the Western Hemisphere and the voyage of Columbus.  Christopher Columbus opened up the path to the New World, and those who followed eventually brought with them a people Biblically prepared to plant the Christian idea of God, man and government in America. 

The story of God’s Providence in the life of Columbus is an inspiration for each of us and for our children and grandchildren.  Today, we face challenges like God’s people who have gone before us.  How they overcame them is an example to us and an encouragement. 

     Columbus by Joaquin Miller
BEHIND him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ “
. . . . . . .

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say” —
He said, “Sail on! sail on! and on!”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
“This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck —
A light! a light! at last a light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

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