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Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton

 

Lost Episode for April 22

On April 22, 1864, Congress passed a law adding “In God We Trust” to American coinage. The string of events leading to congressional action was set in motion by appeals from devout individuals during the Civil War to Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter written to Secretary Chase by the Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, dated November 13, 1861: “Dear Sir… One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins. “You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is…inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words PERPETUAL UNION…the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW. “This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters. To you first I address a subject that must [...]

 

Lost Episode for April 21

On April 21, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence, regarding his own personal view of Jesus and His teachings: “In some of the delightful conversations with you…, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you, that one day or other, I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others… “[A] system of morals is presented to us, which, if filled up in the style and spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man. “The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines… “His moral doctrines… were more pure and perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers and greatly more so than those of the Jews and they [...]

 

Lost Episode for April 20

On April 20, 1789, President-Elect George Washington addressed the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and Common Council of the City of Philadelphia: “When I contemplate the interposition of Providence, as it was manifested in guiding us through the Revolution, in preparing us for the reception of a general government, and in conciliating the good will of the people of America towards one another after its adoption, I feel myself oppressed and almost overwhelmed with a sense of the divine munificence. I feel that nothing is due to my personal agency in all these complicated and wonderful events, except what can simply be attributed to the exertions of an honest zeal for the good of my country. “If I have distressing apprehensions, that I shall not be able to justify the too exalted expectations of my countrymen, I am supported under the pressure of such uneasy reflections by a confidence that the most Gracious Being, who has hitherto watched over the interests and averted the perils of the United States, will never suffer so fair an inheritance to become a prey to anarchy, despotism, or any other species of oppression.”* In a speech given a little more than a week before he was inaugurated, President-Elect Washington introduced some of the themes he would use in his inaugural address, which included his acknowledgement of God’s Providential role in helping us win the war and establish our constitutional government. That acknowledgment is a lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read John 3:27-30 and [...]

 

Lost Episode for April 19

On April 19, 1775, the first shots were fired in the War for American Independence in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Battles there and in Concord are the basis for “Patriot Day” in New England. On August 18, British grenadiers and the light army set out from occupied Boston toward Concord “to seize a quantity of military stores, and – the bodies of Mess. Hancock and Adams…” So Founding Fathers John Hancock and Samuel Adams were hiding out at the home of Pastor Jonas Clark when Paul Revere arrived on horseback with his famous warning of the British army’s approach. Historian George Bancroft sets the stage: “At two in the morning, under the watchful eye of the minister, and of Hancock and Adams, Lexington common was alive with the minute-men; and not with them only, but with the old men, who were exempts, except in case of immediate danger to the town. The roll was called, and of militia and alarm men, about one hundred and thirty answered to their names. The captain, John Parker, ordered every one to load with powder and ball, but to take care not to be the first to fire.”* When no troops were sighted, the decision was made to stand down, return to their homes, and wait for the alarm. However, a few short hours later, the sound of the alarm bell rang out again in Lexington, signaling the approach of some 700 British Regulars under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith. As dawn was [...]

 

Lost Episode for April 18

In 1644, Governor William Bradford wrote of the April 18 death of Elder William Brewster, who was one of the leaders of the Separatist movement in England. Brewster had allowed a fledgling church under the leadership of Pastor John Robinson to meet for worship at his home in Scrooby, England. After being imprisoned, he later escaped with them to Holland, where he taught at the University of Leyden, Holland and published religious books which were banned in England. Brewster made the voyage on the Mayflower, signed of the Mayflower Compact, and became the founding minister to the Plymouth Colony. Upon his passing, Bradford wrote: “About the 18th of April died their reverend elder, my dear and loving friend, Mr. William Brewster, a man who had done and suffered much for the Lord Jesus and the gospel’s sake, and had borne his part in weal or woe with this poor persecuted church for over thirty-five years in England, Holland, and this wilderness, and had done the Lord and them faithful service in his calling… “In the end, the tyranny of the bishops against godly preachers and people, in silencing the former and persecuting the latter, caused him and many more to look further into things, and to realize the unlawfulness of their episcopal callings, and to feel the burden of their many antichristian corruptions, which both he and they endeavoured to throw off… “On the Lord’s day they generally met at his house, which was a manor of the bishop’s, and [...]

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