As Burning Fire Blog

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is the capital city of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island State House is a beautiful and magnificent structure. However, the significance of the building lies in the words carved into the front of the building:

"To hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with full liberty in religious concernments."

This is an excerpt from the charter given to John Clarke when he approached King Charles II to establish Rhode Island. The letters that John Clarke wrote to the King have been preserved and indicate that the King directly quoted Clarke in the charter and that the famous statement above was originally Clarke's. For more historical details, please visit this article (

Rhode Island was already an existing colony started by Roger Williams and Baptist ministers with the Baptist distinctive of freedom of conscience (soul liberty). However, no guarantee existed that the religious liberty started in that colony would remain. John Clarke therefore spent 12 years laboring in England and the fruit of his labor was the charter for Rhode Island. This charter established the borders of Rhode Island and also insured the preservation of religious liberty. Clarke's "lively experiment" for religious and civil liberty eventually influenced the founding fathers of the United States.

The original charter is still preserved inside the State House. However, since we visited on a Saturday, the building was closed. We had to satisfy ourselves with outdoor pictures.



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