Category Archives: Lost Episodes
“I dare not express to you at 300 hundred miles distance how ardently I long for your return… [A]nd whether the end will be tragical Heaven alone knows. You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive Spectator, but if the Sword be drawn I bid adieu to all domestick felicity, and look forward to that Country [Heb. 11:16] where there is neither wars nor rumors of War [Matt. 24:6] in a firm belief that thro the mercy of its King we shall both rejoice there together…
“Your most affectionate, Abigail Adams”*
The Bible-based faith of Abigail Adams, one that transcends this life, is yet another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Hebrews 11:14-16 and reflect on our status as simply pilgrims looking forward to a Heavenly Country where we will find ultimate peace and rest.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we look forward to that day when our faith becomes sight and we are in your presence. With Abigail Adams, we look forward to that “better country” and we thank you for the promise of it, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Lyman Henry Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Mary-Jo Kline, eds., The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams family, 1762-1784 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975), 79-80.
“Sunday 15th. Mercury 65 at Morn–76 at Noon and 74 at Night. Clear, warm, & pleasant all day.
Accompanied by Majr. Washington his wife, Mr. Lear & the two Childn. Nelly & Washington Custis went to Pohick Church & returned to Dinner. Fell in with on the Road, Colo. Jno. Mercer, his Lady & child coming here and their nurse.”*
Nelly Parke Custis, Washington’s adopted daughter, elaborated on his long-standing participation in the Pohick Church:
“Truro Parish is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother. It was a beautiful church…”*
As a normal and routine part of life, George Washington and his family rode to church on Sundays and he was involved as a founder and leader of that congregation. That is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 84:1-12 and reflect on the Psalmist’s desire to be in God’s house and compare that with the example of George Washington.
Prayer: Father, give us a passion to be in your presence. Teach us that truly one day in your house is better than a thousand elsewhere, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington, 6 vols., (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979), 5:51-52; Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington, 12 vols., (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, Publisher, 1838), 12:399-411. Bracketed items added.
“…I have thought fit, according to the ancient and laudable practice of our renowned ancestors, to appoint a day of public thanksgiving to God, for the great benefits which he has been pleased to bestow upon us, in the year past…calling upon the ministers of the Gospel of all denominations, with their respective congregations to assemble on that day to offer to God, their unfeigned gratitude, for his great goodness to the people of the United States in general, and of this commonwealth in particular…
“And I do recommend that together with our thanksgiving, humble prayer may be offered… That God would be pleased to Guide and Direct the administration of the Federal Government, and those of the several states, in union, so that the whole people may continue to be safe and happy in the constitutional enjoyment of their Rights, Liberties and Privileges, and our governments be greatly respected at Home and Abroad…
“That He would graciously be pleased to put an end to all Tyranny and Usurpation, that the People who are under the Yoke of Oppression, may be made free; and that the Nations who are contending for freedom may still be secured by His Almighty Aid…And Finally, that the Peaceful and Glorious Reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole Family of Mankind…”*
Governor Samuel Adams’ call to set aside a day for “Thanksgiving and Praise” is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 22:27-28 and reflect on Samuel Adam’s prayer for the reign of Christ over all the “Family of Mankind.”
Prayer: Sovereign over the nations, we praise you for this patriot who called the people of his state to pray and thank you for your blessings. Like Samuel Adams, we pray for the rule and reign of our Divine Redeemer to become a reality, in His Name we pray, Amen.
*Source Citation: Harry Alonzo Cushing, The Writings of Samuel Adams, 4 vols., (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), 4:383-86.
An American Colonel during the War for Independence, William Prescott died on October 13, 1795. Prescott was responsible for the construction of the fortifications at Breed’s Hill and bravely and capably commanded the Colonial Militia at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June, 1775. He was also an instrumental part of the battles of Long Island (1776) and Saratoga (1777), which was the first major victory in the War for Independence.
In 1774, when the British blockaded the Boston harbor, William Prescott wrote to the city’s inhabitants:
“Be not dismayed [Joshua 1:9] nor disheartened in this day of great trials. We heartily sympathize with you, and are always ready to do all in our power for your support, comfort, and relief; knowing that Providence has placed you where you must stand the first shock. We consider we are all embarked in one bottom [boat], and must sink or swim together. We think, if we submit to these regulations, all is gone.
“Our forefathers passed the vast Atlantic, spent their blood and treasure that they might enjoy their liberties, both civil and religious, and transmit them to their posterity. Their children have waded through seas of difficulty, to leave us free and happy in the enjoyment of English privileges. Now, if we should give them up, can our children rise up and call us blessed [Prov. 31:28]? Is a glorious death in defence of our liberties better than a short infamous life, and our memories to be had in detestation to the latest posterity?
“Let us all be of one heart [Acts 4:32], and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free [Galatians 5:1]. And may He, of His infinite mercy, grant us deliverance of all our troubles [Psalm 54:7].”*
Col. William Prescott’s biblically-themed word of encouragement to the people of Boston is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Joshua 1:9 and reflect on God’s encouragement not to be dismayed but to take courage and compare that to the word of encouragement given by William Prescott.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for these brave souls who won our liberty by spending their treasure and spilling their blood. May we take courage from their example and from your word, knowing that you are with us wherever we go, we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: George Bancroft, History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent, 10 vols., (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1858), 4:371-72. Bracketed items added.
“Almost all nations have peace or war at the will and pleasure of rulers whom they do not elect, and who are not always wise or virtuous. Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”*
Founder John Jay considered America to be a Christian nation and advised that citizens should select Christians to fill elected offices of leadership. That is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Exodus 18:21 and reflect on the fact that while these words were directed to Moses, the principle is still valid: God’s people should select godly leaders to serve as public officials.
Prayer: Father, we thank you that in America we have the opportunity to select our leaders. Give us wisdom as we cast our ballot, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Henry P. Johnston, ed., The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 4 vols., (New York: G.P Putnam & Sons, 1893) 4:393.