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Category Archives: General

 

Lost Episode for August 20

George Washington Head ShotOn August 20, 1778, General George Washington wrote to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson of Virginia from White Plains, New York, reflecting on some recent victories, notably at Saratoga:

“It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful to contemplate, that after two years…undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that perhaps ever attended any one contest since the creation, both armies are brought back to the very point that they set out from and, that which was the offending party in the beginning is now reduced to the use of the spade and pick axe for defense.

The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations; but it will be time enough for me to turn Preacher when my present appointment ceases, and therefore, I shall add no more on the doctrine of providence.”*

George Washington’s recognition of God’s Providential intervention in the war led him to jest about becoming a preacher when his military days were done, and that is another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Psalm 145 and reflect on how one generation proclaims God’s works to another and compare that with Washington’s testimony to God’s Providence.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise you for such a godly leader who clearly recognized your Divine Hand in history and went out of his way to acknowledge it. Give us leaders in our day who are unashamed to do the same, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington; being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, 12 vols., (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837), 6:36.

 

Lost Episode for August 19

GW President closeupIn response to the August 19, 1789 congratulatory letter from the General Convention of Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, President George Washington replied:

“Gentlemen: I sincerely thank you for your affectionate congratulations on my election… On this occasion it would ill become me to conceal the joy I have… to see Christians of different denominations dwell together in more charity, and conduct themselves in respect to each other with a more Christian-like spirit than ever they have done in any former age, or in any other nation.

“I receive with the greater satisfaction your congratulations on the establishment of the new constitution of government, because I believe… the moderation, patriotism, and wisdom of the present federal Legislature seem to promise the restoration of order and our ancient virtues, the extension of genuine religion, and the consequent advancement of our respectability abroad, and of our substantial happiness at home.

“I request, most reverend and respected Gentlemen, that you will accept my cordial thanks for your devout supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe in behalf of me. May you, and the people whom you represent, be the happy subjects of the divine benedictions both here and hereafter.”*

George Washington’s commendation to the ministers for their “Christian-like spirit” of unity and confidence that the establishment of a constitutional government promises a restoration of “ancient virtues” and the promotion of “genuine religion” is indeed another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Psalm 133:1 and reflect on the blessing of Christian churches and individuals treating each other with respect and love.

Prayer: Father thank you for the Scripture-honoring example of the church during the establishment of our Federal Government. May churches today strive to treat each other with genuine respect and even Christian love, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington; being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, 12 vols., (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837), 12:162-163.

 

Lost Episode for August 18

GW President closeupOn August 18, 1790, President George Washington replied to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island:

“The Citizens of the United States of America… All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support….

“May the children of the stock of Abraham [Acts 13:26] who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid [Micah 4:4]. May the Father of all mercies [2 Cor. 1:3] scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”*

George Washington promised that good citizens who practice their faith peacefully will be protected in America and concluded with a blessing that contains several rich biblical references. Washington’s high view of religious liberty and grasp of the Scriptures is another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Micah 4:4, which was one of Washington’s favorite verses of Scripture, and reflect on what he desired for every peace-loving, God-fearing citizen in America.

Prayer: Father, thank you for President Washington, who believed that every citizen had the liberty to practice faith as he or she pleased as long as the practice was peaceful. Thank you for a man who spent so much time in your word that it became a part of his manner of speaking. May we aspire to the same, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citations: W. W. Abbot et al., eds., The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, 16 vols. to date, (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1996). 6:284-86.

 

Lost Episode for August 17

Lincoln1858On August 17, 1858, candidate Abraham Lincoln gave a campaign speech on slavery in Lewiston, Illinois. Lincoln spoke passionately and eloquently about our God-given rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence:

“[T]he Fathers of the Republic…, in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”…

“This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows…They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages….

“[T]hey established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began—so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”*

Though Lincoln eventually lost the Senate race to Steven Douglas, his eloquent defense of the dignity of human life made in the image of God is another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Galatians 3:26 and reflect on how God created all human beings equal and how the ground at the foot of the cross is level ground.

Prayer: Creator God, we praise for creating us all equal in your sight. Like Lincoln, help us to not only see others through your eyes and view our fellow human beings as valuable and as equals, but also to treat them with respect and dignity, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 8 vols., (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press 1953), 2:546-47.

 

Lost Episode for August 16

Charles Cotesworth PinckneyCharles Cotesworth Pinckney was a signer of the United States Constitution. Having studied under the Sir William Blackstone at Oxford, Pinckney became a successful lawyer and helped write the South Carolina Constitution. He also fought in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown under George Washington, was a P.O.W. for two years, and served as a legislator and U.S. Ambassador.

Pinckney was also a devout believer, who “since a child, had learned to love Christ and the Church.”* He helped found the Charleston Bible Society, and as its first president, he distributed Bibles to the slaves, putting aside finances to evangelize them and teach them to read the Holy Scriptures. He also helped found the American Bible Society and served as a vice president. Upon his death on August 16, 1825, the Charleston Bible Society declared:

“That they give devout thanks to Almighty God for the invaluable services which the life, influence and example of their late revered President, have rendered to the cause of religion, virtue and good order, to his country and to mankind…; The last time he met our Society he was so feeble that it was necessary to support him to the chair…He seemed to come among us to show that in his last hours the cause of the Bible was nearest his heart, to give us his blessing and to bid us farewell…”*

Pinckney wrote in his will: “To the eternal, immutable, and only true God be all honor and glory, now and forever, Amen!”*

The faith of this Founding Father is another lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read 1 Tim. 1:17 and reflect on this doxology of praise in comparison with the words of Pinckney’s will.

Prayer: Father we are grateful for this Founder who was unashamed of his faith and who sacrificed much for his country. We pray with him ““To the eternal, immutable, and only true God be all honor and glory, now and forever, Amen!”

*Source Citations: Marvin R. Zahniser, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: Founding Father (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967), 272-274. M.E. Bradford, Religion & The Framers: The Biographical Evidence (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1991), 6. Alex Garden, Eulogy of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Charleston: A.E. Miller, 1825), 42-43.

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