Abraham Kuyper, on the idea of civil liberty at the heart of the Dutch republic:
The mission of our republic was to use its armies and fleets and its commercial influence to protect the free course of the gospel throughout Europe and other continents and to safeguard the free course of the gospel at home in accordance with freedom of conscience for everyone.
The inspiring ideal of our nation at that time was civil liberty, not as a goal in itself but as the vehicle and consequence of that much higher liberty that is owed to men’s conscience.
And so people knew what they lived for; they knew the purpose of their existence. They believed, they prayed, they gave thanks. And blessings were plentiful: the country enjoyed prosperity, happiness, and peace.
William of Orange was the spiritual father from whom this type grew and who preserved it from those excesses of the left and of the right that led similar efforts in Westminster and New England to such totally different outcomes…The motto Hac nitimur, hanc tuemur — leaning on the power of God in his holy Word and deeming liberty a priceless good — was a marvelous and meaningful expression. When struck on coins it was a cautionary reminder for a trading nation that this treasure of Orange was to be deemed of greater value than all the spices from the Orient.