Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton
On August 30, 1776, the American cause was hanging by a thread. During the final days of August in 1776, Gen. George Washington and his army had been soundly defeated and found themselves hopelessly surrounded by Gen. William Howe and his superior British forces on Brooklyn Heights in New York. With their backs to the East River and the enemy pressing in, only a miracle could save the American army. When Gen. Howe inexplicably paused in his ground offensive, George Washington conceived of a daring plan of escape for his remaining 8,000 soldiers across the East River. Yet the British were not only in control of the land but also the sea. Gen. Howe’s plan was to send warships up the East River to cut off any possibility of escape, but just when Howe was ready to make his move on August 28, a cold, pelting rain and strong northeast wind made it untenable for the British fleet to sail into position, thus causing a further providential delay. On the evening of August 29, Washington made his move during the inclement weather. He had the army commandeer and board every sailing vessel they could find: fishing boats, row boats, rafts, anything that would float to make the journey from Brooklyn to Manhattan Island. However, two hours into the evacuation the storm subsided, the rain stopped, and moonlight illumined their activities. They were under orders of strict silence and everyone held their collective breaths. During the early hours of August 30, […]
Rev. Charles G. Finney was born on August 29, 1792. As an apprentice to become an attorney, Finney read so many Scriptural references in Blackstone’s Law Commentaries that he bought a Bible, began to study it, and eventually came to faith in Christ. Finney became a prominent leader in the Second Great Awakening, known for his passionate appeals, altar calls and “anxious seat” for impending converts. In addition to his innovations as a revivalist, Charles Finney was also a pioneer in the area of cultural reform. Charles Finney formed the Benevolent Empire, a network of volunteer organizations founded to aid in solving social as well as spiritual problems. Among these were the: American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1810; American Bible Society, 1816; American Sunday School Union, 1817; American Tract Society, 1826; American Home Mission Society, 1826; and American Temperance Society, 1826. The Benevolent Empire’s budget reportedly rivaled that of the Federal Government in 1834. Finney’s Revival Lectures (1835) provided inspiration for George Williams who founded the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1844, and William Booth who founded The Salvation Army in 1865. An ardent abolitionist, Finney frequently denounced slavery from the pulpit. While President of Oberlin College, Finney led the school to become a station on the Underground Railroad to smuggle slaves to freedom and grant the first bachelors degree in America to a black woman, Mary Jane Patterson. In his Revival Lectures, Charles Finney wrote: “The time has come for Christians to vote for honest men, […]
On August 28, 1788, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Benjamin Lincoln, concerned about the peaceful progress of the Constitutional government: “I trust in that Providence, which has saved us in six troubles yea seven [Job 5:19], to rescue us again from any imminent, though unseen, dangers. Nothing, however, on our part ought to be left undone…. “Heaven is my witness, that an inextinguishable desire [for] the felicity of my country may be promoted is my only motive in making these observations.”* George Washington put his trust in God to see them through the establishment of the Constitutional government, and that is another lost episode in American history. Read and reflect: Read Job 5:19-27 and reflect on the many trials that George Washington and the American cause faced during the course of the War for Independence and now they were continuing to struggle for a more workable government. Prayer: Gracious God, you have preserved us through many “dangers, toils, and snares” as a nation and as individuals. Thank you for your kind intervention and loving protection, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: John Clement Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources 1749-1799, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1931-1944), 30:63. Bracketed item added.
Bishop James Madison was born on August 27, 1749 and was a cousin to the U. S. President of the same name. Bishop Madison was President of the College of William and Mary, served as chaplain of the Virginia House of Delegates and organized his students into a militia company over which he served as captain, seeing considerable action during the War for Independence. Bishop Madison and had a number of published sermons. One of those was a message in response to President George Washington’s call for a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, which he delivered on Thursday, February 19, 1795. Madison declared: “Brethren, there are few situations more interesting to the human race than that which the people of America this day presents. The temples of the living God are everywhere, throughout this rising empire, this day, crowded, I trust, with worshipers, whose hearts, impressed with a just and lively sense of the great things, which He hath done for them, pour forth, in unison, the grateful tribute of praise and thanksgiving…for the history of nations doth not exhibit a people who ever had cause to offer up to the Great Author of every good the most fervent expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. “Let, my brethren, the sons of irreligion, wrapped in their dark and gloomy system of fatality, refuse to open their eyes to the great luminous proofs of providential government, which America displays; let them turn from a light, which their weak vision cannot bear; but […]
On August 26, 1783, General George Washington addressed Congress in session at Princeton, New Jersey, graciously accepting their accolades but humbly reminding them that the credit for the victory over Great Britain should go to many others, especially to God: “Notwithstanding Congress seems to estimate the value of my life beyond any services I have been able to render the United States, yet I must be permitted to consider the wisdom and unanimity of our national councils, the firmness of our citizens, and the patience and bravery of our troops, who have produced so happy a termination of the war, as the most conspicuous effect of the Divine interposition, and the surest presage of our future happiness…. “Perhaps, sir, no occasion may offer more suitable than the present to express my humble thanks to God, and my grateful acknowledgements to my country, for the great and uniform support I have received in every vicissitude and fortune, and for the many distinguished honors which Congress has been pleased to confer upon me in the course of the war.”* George Washington’s humility and his acknowledgement of God’s vital role in it America’s victory over the world’s greatest military power is yet another lost episode in American history. Read and reflect: Read Isaiah 12:4-6 and reflect on the call to praise God for his deliverance and compare it with the sentiments expressed by Washington. Prayer: Praise to the Holy One of Israel who has done mighty things in our midst. May we continue […]