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Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton

 

Lost Episode for July 20

On July 20, 1788, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Jonathan Trumbull, Aide-de-camp to the General during the war and then Speaker of the House in Connecticut, regarding the framing and acceptance of the United States Constitution, which he attributed to the working of God: “[W]e may, with a kind of pious and grateful exultation, trace the Finger of Providence through those dark and mysterious events which first induced the States to appoint a general Convention, and then led them one after another…into an adoption of the system recommended by that general Convention; thereby in all human probability laying a lasting foundation for tranquillity and happiness, when we had but too much reason to fear that confusion and misery were coming rapidly upon us. That the same Good Providence may still continue to protect us, and prevent us from dashing the cup of national felicity, just as it has been lifted to our lips, is the earnest prayer of, my dear sir, your faithful friend, &c.”* While there was honest and sometimes heated disagreement during the Constitution’s framing and ratification process, George Washington saw the finger of God at work and earnestly prayed for His continued involvement, and that is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Luke 11:19-20 and reflect on how Jesus referred to miraculous activity as the “finger of God,” and compare that to what George Washington wrote. Prayer: Sovereign Lord, we praise you for the way you orchestrated people and events in […]

 

Lost Episode for July 19

On July 19, 1775, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, passed a long list of important resolutions in light of the open conflict with Britain. Included among them, as recorded in the Journals of Congress, they resolved: “Agreed, That the Congress meet here to Morrow morning, at half after 9 o’Clock, in order to attend divine service at Mr. Duché’s Church; and that in the afternoon they meet here to go from this place and attend divine service at Doct’r Allison’s church.”* The Continental Congress had declared July 20, 1775 as a day for “public humiliation, fasting, and prayer” for all the American Colonies. Their resolve was proof they intended to lead by example by attending not one, but two different churches. The two ministers of those churches played a significant role in the founding era, serving as Chaplains for Congress. Rev. Mr. Jacob Duché, Rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, served as a Chaplain in the First Continental Congress, when they met in Carpenter’s Hall. On July 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress elected him as its first official Chaplain. Rev. Dr. Patrick Allison, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, later became a Chaplain for the Second Continental Congress. The fact that our Founding Fathers led by example in the call to “humiliation, fasting, and prayer,” even in the midst of all the pressing business in the defense of their liberties, is yet another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 80 and […]

 

Lost Episode for July 18

On July 18, 1755, young George Washington wrote home to let his family know that he was safe. During the French and Indian War, then Colonel George Washington of the Virginia militia received orders to serve alongside British General Edward Braddock. Braddock’s mission was to take Fort Duquesne, a French outpost located at the fork of the Ohio River, which is modern day Pittsburgh. On July 9, 1755, the French surprised the 1,300 British regulars and colonial militia in an ambush attack. A hail of bullets tore into the British ranks, their Red Coats a perfect target for the French and Indians who were hiding in the forest on either side. The British were caught in the crossfire. The result? Over half were killed or wounded, and only 30 men survived out of the Virginia regiment. Nearly one third of the officers were killed, including General Braddock, who died a few days later from wounds received in that battle. It was an absolute massacre, and young George Washington was right in the middle of it. Yet miraculously, while carrying the General’s orders to the commanders in the field on horseback in the heat of that battle, Washington survived. Meanwhile, rumors had reached Mt. Vernon that he had been killed, so from the safety of Fort Cumberland, George wrote John Washington: “Dear Brother, As I have heard, since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, […]

 

Lost Episode for July 17

Isaac Watts was born on July 17, 1674. Brought up in the home of a religious non-conformist, young Isaac attended the Dissenting Academy, and eventually became pastor of a large independent chapel in London. Later his focus turned to education and hymn writing. He composed over 650 hymns, some of which are still sung, like “Joy to the World” at Christmas and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” at Easter. His efforts earned him the title of “Father of English Hymnody.” Watts’ work Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (1707), was widely used in American churches.* Yet it was an unusual use of Watts’ hymnal that is the subject of this lost episode. On June 23, 1780, Pastor James Caldwell, a Chaplain in the New Jersey militia, rode up and down the lines encouraging the men to bravery during the Battle of Springfield, New Jersey. The outnumbered militia, alongside a regiment of Rhode Islanders, was holding their own against an onslaught of battle-hardened British and Hessian troops, when suddenly the calls came up and down the line that they were running out of wadding. The ball and powder in cartridge paper was topped off by “wadding” to make the musket more accurate. Without it, they were in big trouble. Quick-thinking Pastor Caldwell mounted his horse and galloped off to the Springfield Presbyterian Church with an idea. Nearly every Presbyterian Church had stacks of Watts’ hymnbook. Caldwell ran into the church, grabbed as many hymnals as he could carry, thundered back to […]

 

Lost Episode for July 16

On July 16, 1778, Founding Father Samuel Adams published an open letter to British officials under the assumed name of “An American” in the Massachusetts Spy: “I believe that to be bound by laws to which he does not consent by himself, or by his representative, is the direct definition of a slave. I do therefore believe that a dependence on Great Britain… is utterly inconsistent with every idea of liberty, for the defence of which I have solemnly pledged my life and fortune to my countrymen; and this engagement I will sacredly adhere to so long as I shall live. Amen… “You have told Congress, ‘if, after the time that may be necessary to consider this communication and transmit your answer, the horrors and devastations of war should continue, we call God and the world to witness that the evils which must follow are not to be imputed to Great Britain.’… Matters of this kind may appear to you…. as mere ornamental flowers of rhetoric, but they are serious things, registered in the high chancery of Heaven… “There is One above us Who will take exemplary vengeance for every insult upon His majesty [Deut. 32:35]. You know that the cause of America is just. You know that she contends for that freedom to which all men are entitled – that she contends against oppression, rapine, and more than savage barbarity. The blood of the innocent is upon your hands, and all the waters of the ocean will not wash […]

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