Category Archives: General
Founding Father James Warren was born on September 28, 1726. A descendant from passengers on the Mayflower, Warren graduated from Harvard in 1745, became a member of the Sons of Liberty, and served as the President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Warren also served as a Major-General in the Provincial Militia and fought in the battle of Bunker Hill. He married Mercy Otis Warren, a remarkable author and playwright, who produced a three-volume work entitled: History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution in 1805.
It was James and Mercy Warren collaborated with Samuel Adams to create the Committees of Correspondence. These committees became the colonial “social networking” hubs of that day, communicating England’s oppression and inspiring the spirit of unity in liberty, primarily among the New England colonies. Near the end of 1773, these committees began to function as a shadow government through which the patriots swapped ideas, synchronized plans, and set in motion their efforts to oppose British tyranny.
One of the mottos of the Committees was reportedly “No King but King Jesus,”* inspired by a movement in Britain more than a century before the Revolution. Indeed, this sentiment is confirmed by a summary of a letter from a colonial (and Crown-appointed) governor that was read in Parliament on April 22, 1774 by Sir Richard Sutton, who stated:
“If you ask an American who is his master, he will tell you he has none, nor any Governor but Jesus Christ.”*
James and Mercy Warren, Samuel Adams, and other patriots inspired the radical notion that Jesus is the only King in America. That is another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read 1 Corinthians 12:3 and reflect on how early Americans swore allegiance to Jesus.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for the courage of James Warren, the Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence to stand up to tyranny. We are grateful for their profession of Jesus Christ, in His Name, Amen.
*Source Citations: See Henry Haggar, No King But Jesus, Or, the Walls of Tyrannie Razed and the Foundations of Unjust Monarchy Discovered to the View of All that Desire to See it Wherein Is Undeniably Proved that No King Is the Lords Anointed But Jesus (London: Giles Calvert, 1652). See also, Clifford K. Shipton, Sibley’s Harvard Graduates (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1965), 8:475-476. See also The History, Debates, and Proceedings of Both Houses of Parliament of Great Britain from the year 1743 to the year 1774, 7 vols., (London: J. Debrett, 1792), 7:228.
Born on September 27, 1722, Samuel Adams, cousin of John Adams, entered Harvard at age 14 to become a Puritan minister but later became a Revolutionary leader. In 1772, Samuel Adams formed the Committees of Correspondence, which became the communications network that connected the colonies. He instigated the Boston Tea Party, called for the first Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, and served as a member of Congress until 1781. He helped in drafting the Massachusetts Constitution and served as the state’s Lieutenant Governor under Governor John Hancock (1789-93) and then as Governor of Massachusetts (1793-97).
In late September 1777, the American cause looked grim. The Continental Army was in retreat, and the enemy was closing in on the capitol city of Philadelphia. The good people of Philadelphia lowered the 2,080 pound Liberty Bell from the spire of Independence Hall and carted it to the basement of the Zion Reformed Church of Allentown. Members of the Continental Congress fled to Lancaster, then westward to York. Only 20 of the 56 original signers remained when Sam Adams rose to address them:
“If we despond, public confidence is destroyed, the people will no longer yield their support to a hopeless contest, and American liberty is no more… Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects the ark of safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are its supporters.
“Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, — a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us, — a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock.
“We have proclaimed to the world our determination ‘to die as freemen, rather than live as slaves.’ We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust.
“Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had ‘our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.’ We have been reduced to distress, but the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection.”*
Samuel Adams speech turned out to be prophetic. On October 17, we won the battle of Saratoga, with General Gates accepting the surrender of 5,800 British troops. It was the turning point in the War for Independence, and defeats began to turn into victories. The prophetic impact of Samuel Adams is a lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read Exodus 13:17-21 and reflect on God’s Providential guidance and interventions on behalf of Israel and compare those with some of the same in America’s history.
Prayer: Father, forgive us for giving into discouragement and depression when we look at our circumstances as a nation. Give us the faith of a Samuel Adams, so that we can rally our fellow believers in these dark days. Help us to see past the gloom and darkness to see the brightness of your glory and place our hope firmly in you to deliver us, we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citations: William V. Wells, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, 4 vols., (Boston: Little and Brown, Co., 1866), 2:491-93. Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life (New York: Free Press, 2008), 3-4.
The treasonous plot of Benedict Arnold, Commander of West Point, to betray the Continental Army into the hands of the British was discovered on Monday, September 25, 1780. In response, General George Washington issued the following circular to his troops from his Headquarters in Orangetown, New York on Tuesday, September 26:
“Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at Westpoint, lost to every sentiment of honor, of public and private obligation, was about to deliver up that important Post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have given the American cause a deadly wound if not fatal stab. Happily the treason had been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the Liberties of America are the object of divine Protection.”*
George Washington was convinced that our liberties were being protected by God’s Providence and that is another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read Matthew 26:14-25 and reflect on the betrayal of Judas Iscariot and compare that with the betrayal of Benedict Arnold.
Prayer: Holy Father, we praise you for your divine protection at various points in our nation’s past. We plead with you that you would continue to shelter us by your hand of Providence, 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), 20:94-95.
Founding Father James Madison is often paired with Thomas Jefferson as an advocate of a radical separation of church and state. Yet after his educational experience at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), Founding Father and future President James Madison wrote to fellow alumnus William Bradford on September 25, 1773 regarding his friend’s potential career path. Bradford had apparently ruled out the ministry. Madison replied:
“I can only condole with the Church on the loss of a fine Genius and persuasive Orator. I cannot however suppress…my advice…that you would always keep the Ministry obliquely in View whatever your profession be. This will lead you to an acquaintance occasionally with the most sublime of Sciences and will qualify you for a change of public character if you should hereafter desire it.”
In other words, the ministry is an honorable profession and would be a great foundation for another career choice later on. Madison continues:
“I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of Religion or against temporal Enjoyments… than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent Advocates in the cause of Christ, & I wish you may give in your Evidence in this way.”*
While his religious views may have changed later in life, young James Madison was known to regularly lead his household in the observance of family worship. As President, he faithfully attended church services in the U.S. Capitol, and remained a life-long defender of religious liberty. Madison’s early views on the value of Christian ministry are another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 and reflect on Paul’s self-description as an ambassador for Christ and compare that with Madison’s statement.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for the one who knew no sin but who became sin for us that we could be reconciled to you. We are honored that you would want us to be your ambassadors with the message of reconciliation. Help us to see with James Madison that we are all ministers regardless of our profession, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: William T. Hutchinson and William M. Rachal, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 7 vols., (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1912), 1:95-97.
A Patriot Pastor and a Chaplain in the Continental Army, the Rev. Samuel West died on September 24, 1807. Rev. West was a graduate of Harvard, a member of the committee to frame the Constitution of Massachusetts, and a member of the ratifying Convention to adopt the U.S. Constitution.
In July of 1776, Samuel West spoke in Boston concerning the War for Independence:
“Our cause is so just and good that nothing can prevent our success but only our sins. Could I see a spirit of repentance and reformation prevail throughout the land, I should not have the least apprehension or fear of being brought under the iron rod combined against us.
“And though I confess that the irreligion and profaneness which are so common among us gives something of a damp to my spirits yet I cannot help hoping and even believing, that Providence has designed this continent for to be the asylum of liberty and true religion.”*
Rev. Samuel West believed that America was destined for greatness provided we deal with our sinfulness. That perspective is another lost episode in American history.
Read and reflect: Read Psalm 78:31-39 and reflect on how Israel put God to the test with their sin, but that by their repentance, God forgave their sin and turned away his anger.
Prayer: Holy Father, we agree with the words of this pastor of old that our sins are the only thing that are holding us back from your blessing. Thank you for remembering that we are only flesh, “a breath that passes away and does not come again.” In your judgment remember mercy, I pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: John Wingate Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution (Boston: D. Lothrop & Co., 1876), 311.