Hamilton’s Spiritual Writings

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Alexander Hamilton wrote prolifically.  Whether it was war time letters while on George Washington’s staff, government and financial papers while serving as America’s first Secretary of Treasury, or love letters to his wife Eliza, Hamilton’s life is marked by an almost unimaginable amount of writing. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Hamilton, captures this truth in the song, “Non-Stop.”  “Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?” sings the chorus.  

Two important spiritual writings reveal Hamilton’s deep and authentic spiritual life.  “The Soul Ascending Into Bliss” was a poem written by Hamilton during his teen years:

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AH! whither, whither, am I flown,
A wandering guest in worlds unknown?
What is that I see and hear?
What heav’nly music fills mine ear?
Etherial glories shine around;
More than Arabias sweets abound.
Hark! hark! a voice from yonder sky,
Methinks I hear my Saviour cry,
Come gentle spirit come away,
Come to thy Lord without delay;
For thee the gates of bliss unbar’d
Thy constant virtue to reward.
I come oh Lord! I mount, I fly,
On rapid wings I cleave the sky;
Stretch out thine arm and aid my flight;
For oh! I long to gain that height,
Where all celestial beings sing
Eternal praises to their King.
O Lamb of God! thrice gracious Lord
Now, now I feel how true thy word;
Translated to this happy place,
This blessed vision of thy face;
My soul shall all thy steps attend
In songs of triumph without end.

The second writing was a letter Hamilton wrote to his Father after a hurricane ravaged the Caribbean Island he grew up on.  Hamilton interprets the natural disaster through a spiritual lens, and calls people to “adore [and trust] thy God:

Where now, oh! vile worm, is all thy boasted fortitude and resolution? What is become of thine arrogance and self-sufficiency? Why dost thou tremble and stand aghast? How humble, how helpless, how contemptible you now appear. And for why? The jarring of elements—the discord of clouds? Oh! impotent presumptuous fool! how durst thou offend that Omnipotence, whose nod alone were sufficient to quell the destruction that hovers over thee, or crush thee into atoms? See thy wretched helpless state, and learn to know thyself. Learn to know thy best support. Despise thyself, and adore thy God. How sweet, how unutterably sweet were now, the voice of an approving conscience; Then couldst thou say, hence ye idle alarms, why do I shrink? What have I to fear? A pleasing calm suspense! A short repose from calamity to end in eternal bliss? Let the Earth rend. Let the planets forsake their course. Let the Sun be extinguished and the Heavens burst asunder. Yet what have I to dread? My staff can never be broken—in Omnip[o]tence I trusted.