Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton
On November 22, 1800, President John Adams gave his Fourth Annual Address to Congress, which began the first session in the new Capitol building in Washington, D.C. President Adams declared: “I congratulate the People of the United States on the assembling of Congress at the permanent seat of their Government… “It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and imploring His blessing. “May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever!”* President John Adams’ blessing over the Capitol building and the Capital city that bears the name of George Washington, the Father of our Country, is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read 1 Kings 8:1-24 and reflect on the dedication of the Temple and compare that with this dedication of the United States Capitol by President Adams. Prayer: Father, we praise you for this Founding Father and our forbearers who thought it proper to pray a prayer of dedication over our Capitol. *Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature 1907-1910), 1:250.
On November 21, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln sent a letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby of Boston, who had reportedly lost five sons in the Civil War: “Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”* Abraham Lincoln’s heartfelt letter and eloquent prayer for this mother who lost her sons in battle is yet another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read John 15:13 and reflect on Jesus’ words about sacrifice and compare that with the sacrifice made by Mrs. Bixby. Prayer: Father, during this season of thanksgiving, we are so grateful for the sacrifices made by the members of our military as well as those made by their families. We ask your richest blessings on them, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: Roy P. Basler, […]
On November 20, 1798, in his Last Will and Testament, Patrick Henry wrote: “In the name of God, Amen, I, Patrick Henry of Charlotte County at my leisure and in health do make this my last Will and Testament in manner following and do write it throughout with my own hand… “This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed.”* Near his will, Henry left a sealed envelop containing a copy of his resolutions against the Stamp Act, on which he had written on the reverse: ‘The within resolutions passed the house of burgesses in May, 1765. They formed the first opposition to the stamp act, and the scheme of taxing America by the British parliament… This brought on the war, which finally separated the two countries, and gave independence to ours. Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable.—Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. [Prov. 13:34] “Reader! whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere, practise virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.—P. Henry.” Patrick Henry’s concluding desire that his family receive Christ as their greatest inheritance and his hope that our country would follow Proverbs 13:34 is another […]
On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address as a part of the ceremony dedicating the Soldier’s National Cemetery. The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest of the war, resulting in over 50,000 combined casualties. Engraved in stone in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Lincoln’s 267 word speech is perhaps the greatest by an American president and one of the greatest in American history: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. “We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. “But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. “The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far […]
On November 18, 1786, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to fellow Founder James Madison: “It gives me the most sensible pleasure to hear that the acts of the present session are marked with wisdom, justice and liberality. They are the palladium of good policy and the only paths that lead to national happiness. Would to God every State would let these be the leading features of their constituent characters. Those threatening clouds which seem ready to burst on the confederacy would soon be dispelled.”* With the government under the Articles of Confederation deteriorating, George Washington was still hopeful that the young nation could endure and was encouraged by James Madison’s report. The three Biblical virtues of wisdom, justice, and liberality (or equity) flow one to the other downstream. Wisdom helps us to judge rightly and justly, and thus to treat people with equity. Washington’s prayer that these virtues would prevail in government and lead to national happiness is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Proverbs 1:3 and reflect on the virtues mentioned and compare them with the ones Washington mentions to Madison. Prayer: Father, we pray that our own legislature would have sessions marked by wisdom, justice and liberality, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington; being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, 12 vols. (New York: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), 9:211-12.