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Prayer Targets J.Q. Adams; DC Oppression; Navy Abuse; RFRA’s; San Antonio; Iran Letter; Marriage

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Pr 28:4

Dear Praying Friends,

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), son of President John and Abigail Adams, was our sixth U.S. President (1825-1829). A distinguished statesman, Adams became the only U.S. President to retire and run for the House of Representatives, where for 17 more years he led the fight to end human slavery. Excerpts from his July 4, 1837 Independence Day Speech to the people of Newburyport, Mass.:

Why is it that [Christians with contradictory doctrinal views] unite with all their brethren… year after year,” in celebrating this, the birthday of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence… laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?

The object of this Declaration was two-fold. First, to proclaim the People of the thirteen United Colonies, one People, and in their name, and by their authority, to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with another… A Nation was born at once! Well, indeed, may such a day be commemorated by such a Nation… But whether as a day of festivity and joy, or of humiliation and mourning… depends [after many years], not so much upon the responsibilities of those who brought the Nation forth, as upon the moral, political and intellectual character of the present generation…

The sovereign authority, conferred by the Declaration upon the people of each of the Colonies, could not extend to the exercise of any power inconsistent with that Declaration itself… [It] was at once a social compact of the whole People of the Union, embracing thirteen distinct communities united in one, and a manifesto proclaiming themselves one Nation, possessed of all the attributes of sovereign power….one People consisting of thirteen free and independent States, was new in the history of the world.

The Declaration implicitly denied the unlimited nature of sovereignty. By the affirmation that the principal of the natural rights of mankind are unalienable, it placed them beyond the reach of organized human power; and by affirming that governments are instituted to secure them, and may and ought to be abolished if they become destructive of those ends, they made all government subordinate to the moral supremacy of the People.

The Declaration itself did not even announce the States as sovereign, but as united, free and independent, and having power to do all acts and things which independent States may of right do. It acknowledged, therefore, a rule of rights paramount to the power of independent States itself, and virtually disclaimed all power to do wrong. This was a novelty in the moral philosophy of nations, and it is the essential point of difference between the system of government announced in the Declaration… and those systems which had until then prevailed among men. A moral Ruler of the universe, the Governor and Controller of all human power, is the only unlimited sovereign acknowledged by the Declaration… and it claims for the United States of America, when assuming their equal station among the nations of the earth, only the power to do all that may be done of right.

All the legislators of the human race, until that day [held] sovereignty to be unlimited and illimitable. The Declaration… proclaimed… a law of resistance against sovereign power, when wielded for oppression. A law ascending to the tribunal of the universal lawgiver and judge. A law of right, binding upon nations as well as individuals, upon sovereigns as well as upon subjects. By that law the colonists resisted their sovereign. By that law… they appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions, and neither claimed nor conferred authority to do anything but of right (Read Complete speech at Library of Congress).

Adams went on to excoriate the sin of the Union’s failure to live up to the Declaration by ending human slavery, warning of civil war and the high cost to future generations, foremost, the failure to fulfill that mission of Jesus Christ. He ended his speech with what was, in essence, an altar call to repentance.

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Lost Episode for March 24

Rufus KingFounding Father Rufus King was born on March 24, 1755. A graduate of Harvard, King became a lawyer, a member of the Continental Congress, and served as an aide to General Sullivan during the Revolutionary War. At 32 years old, King became the youngest signer of the United States Constitution. Later he served as a U.S. Minister (Ambassador) to England and a U.S. Senator from New York. King also helped found a Bible society for Anglicans and was an ardent abolitionist. He wrote to C. Gore on February 17, 1820:

“I referred the decision of the Restriction on Missouri to the broad principles of the law of Nature, a law established by the Creator, which has existed from the beginning, extends over the whole globe is everywhere, and at all times binding upon mankind.”*

The reference he spoke of was to a speech made in the Senate:

“Mr. President I have yet to learn that one man can make a slave of another; if one man cannot do so, no number of individuals can have any better right to do it, and I hold that all laws and compacts imposing any such condition upon any human being are absolutely void, because contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, by which he makes his way known to man, and is paramount to all human control.”*

Founder Rufus King’s belief that God’s law trumps all human laws is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read Rom. 1:18-22 and reflect on the “law of nature” that exists in God’s creation and how that law trumps all human law.

Prayer: Sovereign God, we are grateful that you are a God of order, righteousness and justice. We thank you that your laws supersede all others and that America, albeit belatedly, decided to correct the great evil of slavery. May we do the same with abortion, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, Comprising His Letters, Private and Official, His Public Documents and His Speeches, 6 vols., (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900), 6:276.

 

Lost Episode for March 23

Patrick Henry CroppedOn March 23, 1775, the Second Virginia Convention had convened at St. John’s Church in Richmond, away from the watchful eye of the Loyalist Governor. They had assembled to consider some weighty matters concerning the British tyranny and oppression of the King of England. A thirty-nine year old delegate from Hanover County named Patrick Henry took a seat in the church. Henry listened as many babbled on and on in favor of continued conciliatory measures and more pleading with Parliament. Finally, the delegate from Hanover rose from his pew to address the wavering assembly of Virginians, and with great passion in his voice, this is some of what he said:

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope… but… let us not deceive ourselves, sir… If we wish to be free… we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction…until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

“Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty… are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us [2 Chron. 32:8]. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone [Eccl. 9:11]; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir…There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace, Peace’– but there is no peace [Jer. 6:14]. The war is actually begun! …. Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle [Matt. 20:6]? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry, who first learned his oratory skills by listening to Presbyterian Pastor Samuel Davies, laced his passionate call to arms with allusions to Scripture and that is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read 2 Chron. 32:1-8 and reflect on the words of Hezekiah to Judah and compare them to Patrick Henry’s speech.

Prayer: God of our forefathers, we praise you for your Providential presence from age to age to defend, protect, and provide help, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: James Webster, 1817), 120-23. Bracketed items added.

 

Lost Episode for March 22

ChancoOn March 22, 1622, a young native and recent convert to Christianity was able to warn the Jamestown colony of an impending Indian attack. Historian Robert Howison records:

“A young Indian convert named Chanco lived with Richard Pace, and was treated by him with all the tenderness of a son. The brother of this native slept with him the night before the massacre and urged him to kill his master, telling him that he intended that fate for his own. But the young Christian recoiled with horror from the proposal and the next day informed Mr. Pace, who instantly despatched an express to Jamestown. Thus the principal settlement was alarmed, guns and swords were made ready and the natives ventured not to make an assault.”*

A marker with the date was placed in Jamestown memorializing Chanco’s heroism, which is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read Ezekiel 33:1-5 and reflect on the role of the “watchman” and compare it to Chanco’s actions on behalf of the Jamestown settlement.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the spiritual watchmen in our lives who have warned us of the designs of the Enemy and the danger to our souls. We pray for our pastors, who function as the “Watchmen on the Walls” of our community. May they faithfully sound the alarm from their pulpits at the threats to faith, family and freedom. Empower us to be watchmen for our family members, neighbors, and colleagues, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Robert R. Howison, ed., A History of Virginia From Its Discovery and Settlement by Europeans to the Present, 2 vols., (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1846), 1:235.

 

Lost Episode for March 21

George Washington's pew St. Paul'sOn Sunday, March 21, 1790, President George Washington welcomed Thomas Jefferson as America’s First Secretary of State. Yet what the history books don’t tell us is that this happened after church on Sunday. Washington recorded in his diary as follows:

“Went to St. Paul’s Chappel in the forenoon – wrote private letters in the afternoon. Received Mr. Jefferson, Minister of State about one o’clock.”*

St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City was the location of the worship service held immediately following the inauguration that was planned by the U.S. Senate, attended by the President and both Houses of Congress, and conducted by the Chaplain of the Senate, Rev. Samuel Provoost.*

Afterward, President Washington attended regularly and even had a designated box seat in the church. President Washington’s habit of not only participating in worship but recording it in his diary is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read Acts 17:1-2 and reflect on Paul’s custom of attending the synagogue on the Sabbath and compare that with Washington’s custom of Sunday church attendance.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the gift of the Day of Worship and Rest. May we be more faithful to honor you on your Day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Benjamin J. Lossing, ed., The Diary of George Washington, From 1789 to 1791, Embracing the Opening of the First Congress and His Tours Through New England, Long Island and The Southern States, Together with His Journal of a Tour to the Ohio in 1753 (New York: Charles B. Richardson & Co., 1860), 109. See also Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, 34 vols., (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1904-1937), 1:25, for April 27, 1789.

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