“As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the growing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments [Jer. 17:10] are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities…
“I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer;
That the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private; That they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer [1 Tim. 2:5], for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions…;That He would make us deeply sensible that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people’ [Proverbs 14:34]; That He would turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us;
“That He would bless all magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well [Rom. 13:1-7]; That He would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period…And that He would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.…”*
This proclamation by President Adams, written from a Biblical worldview, is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Jer. 17:5-10 and reflect on the God’s role as the searcher of hearts and righteous judge and compare it to the proclamation of President Adams.
Prayer: Almighty God, we submit to you as the Searcher of hearts and Righteous Judge, who distributes both rewards and punishments. May we as a people devote time to the sacred duties of religion, in private and in public, humbling ourselves in your presence, seeking your face in prayer, and turning from our wicked ways, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897, 11 vols., (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907, 1910), 1:284-286.