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Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton

 

Lost Episode for February 1

Founding Father Samuel Chase the only child born to Reverend Thomas and Matilda Chase on April 17, 1741 in Maryland. He was home-schooled, later studied law in Annapolis, and became an attorney. He served in the Continental Congress from 1774-1778 and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. After the War, Chase became the Chief Justice of the state of Maryland. He was appointed by President George Washington to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court in 1796. Chase became the only Justice to be impeached but later acquitted, and served on the Court until his death on June 19, 1811. On February 1, 1794, Chase signed a certification, declaring: “I Samuel Chase, Chief Judge of the State of Maryland, do hereby certify all whom it may concern, that on the first Day of February in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Four personally appeared before me Banard Lafon and did repeat and subscribe a Declaration of his belief in the Christian Religion, and the Oath required by the Act of Assembly of this State, entitled, ‘An Act for Naturalization.’ In Testimony of the Truth hereof, I the said Samuel Chase, have hereunto put my Hand, at Baltimore Town, in the said State of Maryland, the Day and year above-mentioned.”* Five years after he signed that document, Chase would rule in another case (Runkel v. Winemiller): “Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace […]

 

Lost Episode for January 31

Founding Father Gouverneur Morris was born on January 31, 1752. A graduate of King’s College (later Columbia University), Morris became an attorney, soldier, statesman, and diplomat. He served as a member of the Continental Congress, signed the Articles of Confederation, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from New York. Morris penned the final draft of the United States Constitution, serving as the head of the Committee on Style, and was the originator of the introductory phrase “We the People of the United States” and the concluding line “in the year of our Lord…” He spoke 173 times during the Constitutional debates (more than any other delegate). He later served as the first U.S. Minister to France and as a U.S. Senator. He also helped draft the New York Constitution. In a letter to General Anthony Wayne on May 21, 1778, Morris declared: “Your good morals in the army give me sincere pleasure as it hath long been my fixed opinion that virtue and religion are the great sources of human happiness. More especially is it necessary in your profession firmly to rely upon the God of Battles for His guardianship and protection in the dreadful hour of trial. But of all these things you will and I hope in the merciful Lord.”* Founder Gouverneur Morris’ reliance on the “God of Battles and “hope in the merciful Lord” is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 33:21-22 and reflect on the psalmist’s prayer and compare […]

 

Lost Episode for January 30

On January 30, 1750, Jonathan Mayhew delivered a sermon titled “A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-resistance to the Higher Powers” based on Romans 13:1-7, which was printed, bound, and widely distributed. In this seminal message that caused John Adams to remark that it helped spark the Revolution, Mayhew declared: “It is evident that the affairs of civil government may properly fall under a moral and religious consideration… The apostle enters upon his subject thus: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.’ Here he urges the duty of obedience from this topic of argument that civil rulers as they are supposed to fulfill the pleasure of God are the ordinance of God. But how is this an argument for obedience to such rulers as do not perform the pleasure of God by doing good but the pleasure of the devil by doing evil, and such as are not therefore God’s ministers but the devil’s?… [T]he apostle argues that those who resist a reasonable and just authority, which is agreeable to the will of God, do really resist the will of God himself and will therefore be punished by him. But how does this prove that those who resist a lawless unreasonable power, which is contrary to the will of God, do therein resist the will and ordinance of God? Is resisting those who resist God’s will the same thing with resisting God?… […]

 

Lost Episode for January 29

Founding Father Fisher Ames was a member of the House of Representatives in the First Federal Congress under the new United States Constitution. He is primarily responsible for the wording of the First Amendment statement on Religion in the Bill of Rights. In a January 1801 article on “School Books” published in the New England Palladium, Fisher Ames declared: “It has been the custom, of late years, to put a number of little books into the hands of children containing fables and moral lessons… “Why then, if these books for children must be retained, as they will be, should not the bible regain the place it once held as a school book. Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts long and probably if not impressed in infancy never takes firm hold of the mind. “One consideration more is important. In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant, and by teaching all the same book, they will speak alike and the bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.”* Founder Fisher Ames’ arguments for the Bible in the classroom are another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 119:9-16 and reflect on how the word of God shapes the character of youths and compare that to the argument of this Founding Father. Prayer: With the Psalmist we pray: Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach […]

 

Lost Episode for January 28

Robert Carter Nicholas, was born on January 28, 1715 and served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, representing James City. He also served as a member of the Committees of Correspondence, attended all major conventions, and in 1775, served as President Pro-tem of the Continental Convention. After the Boston Tea Party, the British navy retaliated by blockading the port. Other colonies responded with sympathetic prayer and action. On May 24, 1774, Nicholas, Treasurer of the House of Burgesses in Virginia, was prompted by Thomas Jefferson and others to propose a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer,” that was swiftly approved: “This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights and the evils of civil war; to give us one heart and mind firmly opposed, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights; and that the minds of His Majesty and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation and justice, to remove from […]

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