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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Samuel Adams: Christian and Political Visionary

Samuel AdamsSamuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams’ parents were both Puritans, but Adams himself became a strict Congregationalist. He was the son of a deacon and married the daughter of a minister.

Samuel Adams believed, when discussing the rights of the colonists, that freedom and liberty cannot be given or taken away by government – it is the gift of God. Adams often used many biblical arguments to justify American independence. He never lost sight of the revolution’s political and religious goals.

His understanding of the Bible and his strong faith in God encouraged Adams to work for three goals: achieving American independence, protecting the constitutional liberties of the American people, and – most importantly – building a society of upright people.

Samuel Adams believed that:

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” (Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren dated February 12, 1779)

Adams envisioned a country where the clergy, philosophers, political leaders, and patriots worked together to impress upon the minds of youth the fear and love of God. He desired that the people would be led “in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” (Samuel Adams October 4, 1790)

Adams wrote:

“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of [exceptional] character. The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., volume III, pp. 236-37, written to James Warren on Nov. 4, 1775)

Concerning his private life, there is no reasonable doubt that Samuel Adams was a Christian. The piety of his personal life confirmed his love for Jesus Christ. He regularly attended church and he led his family in morning and evening devotions. Not long before his death, he wrote a letter to Thomas Paine disapproving Paine’s attempts to discredit Christianity. He died on October 2, 1803 believing in Jesus Christ as his savior.

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A Time to Pray and a Time to Fight

Quoting Peter Muhlenberg (1776):

“There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come.”

Christianity and American Independence

John Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Thoughts On Education

Quoting Benjamin Rush:

I grant this mode of secluding boys from the intercourse of private families has a tendency to make them scholars, but our business is to make them men, citizens, and Christians. The vices of young people are generally learned from each other. The vices of adults seldom infect them. By separating them from each other, therefore, in their hours of relaxation from study, we secure their morals from a principal source of corruption, while we improve their manners by subjecting them to those restraints which the difference of age and sex naturally produce in private families.

John Hancock: Resistance To Tyranny

John Hancock

Quoting John Hancock – 1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” (History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229)

Samuel Adams: “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued!”

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader. (Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779)

Christianity And The American Revolution

From the desk of David B. Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute:

King George III reportedly denounced the American Revolution as “a Presbyterian rebellion.” Horace Walpole, a distinguished man of letters, told his fellow members of Parliament, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin American has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.” Many other British sympathizers in American blamed the Presbyterians for the war.

In 1775, the great statesman Edmund Burke tried to warn the British Parliament that the Americans could not be subjugated: “the people are Protestants, and of that kind which is the most adverse to all implicit submission of mind and opinion”. . . .

Historian John Patrick Diggins writes that American historians have concentrated on political ideas while underplaying “the religious convictions that often undergird them, especially the Calvinist convictions that Locke himself held: resistance to tyranny….”

[I]t was American religion, especially New England religion, which provided Americans with an intellectual frame for understanding their disputes with England. It was religion which told the colonists that the English government was not merely adopting unwise policy; rather, the King and Parliament were trampling the God-given rights of the Americans, and were in effect warring against God. It was religion which convinced the American that they had a sacred duty to start a revolution. The black-robed American clergymen were described as the “black regiment” for their crucial role in building popular support for war against England.

Do you want to learn more about Christianity and the American Revolution? If so, you may find the following book to be of interest:

Samuel Adams On Ignorance

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. (November 4, 1775: Samuel Adams letter to James Warren)

American Independence And Prayer

First Continental Congress In Prayer

Despite what American History revisionists might have you believe, prayer was of singular importance in the American struggle for independence. The First Continental Congress was comprised of delegates from all the colonies except Georgia. They met for the first time in September 1774. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife in which he described the spiritual aspect of this first meeting as the Revolutionary War for Independence lay ahead:

“When the Congress met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina because we were so divided in religious sentiments — some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists — that we could not join in the same act of worship.

“Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same time a friend to his country. He moved that Mr. Duche, an Episcopal clergyman, might read prayers to Congress the next morning. The motion was seconded and passed in the affirmative.

“Accordingly, next morning the Rev. Duche appeared with his Episcopal vestments and read the 85th Psalm. I never saw a greater effect produced upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that psalm to be read on that morning.

George Washington was kneeling there, alongside him Patrick Henry, James Madison, and John Hancock. By their side there stood, bowed in reverence, the Puritan patriots of New England, who at that moment had reason to believe that an armed soldiery was wasting their humble households. They prayed fervently for America, for Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially for the town of Boston [whose port was closed and occupied by British troops].

“And who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine help. It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I saw the tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave, pacifist Quakers of Philadelphia.”

John Adams: Hero Of Liberty And Man Of Faith

FLAG OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

John Adams (October 30, 1735-July 4, 1826), was the 2nd President of the United States, 1797-1801, being the first president to live in the White House; established the Library of Congress and the Department of the Navy; Vice-President under George Washington, 1789-97; a member of the First and Second Continental Congress, 1774, 1775; a signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1776; distinguished for having personally urged Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration, as well as for having recommended George Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army; authored the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780; U.S. Minister to France, 1783, having signed the Treaty of

John Adams

Paris, along with John Jay and Benjamin Franklin, which officially ended the Revolutionary War; U.S. Minister to Great Britain, 1784-88, during which time he greatly influenced the American states to ratify the Constitution by writing a three-volume work entitled, A Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the United States.

On February 22, 1756, John Adams made the entry in his diary, his idea of a “Utopian Nation”:

Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God…What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.

On October 11, 1798, President John Adams stated in a letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

On June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams wrote:

The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite….And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.

Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.

You can view the source of this article and read more about the Founding Fathers here. . . .

Patrick Henry On Freedom

Peter F. Rothermel's "Patrick Henry Befor...

Patrick Henry Before the Virginia House of Burgesses

Quoting Patrick Henry:

“If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained – we must fight!”

Patrick Henry: The Voice Of A Patriot!

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

Patrick Henry

March 23, 1775

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free–if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I

Patrick Henry

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 but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, 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, and in such a country as that which we possess, 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. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. 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. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? 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! (Excerpt from original speech)

Samuel Adams On Voting

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4)

The Government George Washington Fought For

We all have heard some of the generally unimportant legends about George Washington. However, the truth about George Washington is even more fantastic than legend. We must ask why oh why can’t our political leaders learn something from the character of our first President. Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. and Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies provides us with more insight into the character of this amazing man:

A soldier by profession and a surveyor by trade, [George] Washington was first and foremost a man of action. He was at every important intersection of the American founding; his decisions and practical wisdom were crucial to the success of the effort at every stage. . . .

From 1775 onward, when the Continental Congress appointed him military commander of continental forces, Washington personified the American Revolution and was the de-facto leader of the colonial struggle. . . .

After the war, Washington was the central hub of correspondence among the most thoughtful men of the day, leading the effort in nation-building. He was instrumental in bringing about the Constitutional Convention, and his widely publicized participation gave the resulting document a credibility and legitimacy it would otherwise have lacked. Having been immediately and unanimously elected president of the convention, he worked actively throughout the proceedings to create the new Constitution. “Be assured,” James Monroe once reminded Thomas Jefferson, “his influence carried this government.”

As our first president, he set the precedents that define what it means to be a constitutional executive: strong and energetic, aware of the limits of authority but guarding the prerogatives of office. The vast powers of the presidency, as one Convention delegate wrote, would not have been made as great “had not many of the members cast their eyes towards General Washington as president; and shaped their ideas of the powers to be given to a president by their opinions of his virtue.”

And the key ingredient in all of these things was moral character, something that Washington took very seriously and which gave to his decision-making a deeply prudential quality and to his authority an unmatched magnanimity. “His integrity was pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision,” Jefferson later observed. “He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.”

It is no coincidence, then, that Washington’s most important legacy comes during moments of temptation, when the lure of power was before him. Twice during the Revolution, in 1776 and again in 1777 when Congress was forced to abandon Philadelphia in the face of advancing British troops, Gen. Washington was granted virtually unlimited powers to maintain the war effort and preserve civil society, powers not unlike those assumed in an earlier era by Roman dictators. He shouldered the responsibility but gave the authority back as soon as possible.

After the war, there were calls for Washington to claim formal political power. Indeed, seven months after the victory at Yorktown, one of his officers suggested what many thought only reasonable in the context of the 18th century: that America should establish a monarchy and that Washington should become king. A shocked Washington immediately rejected the offer out of hand as both inappropriate and dishonorable, and demanded the topic never be raised again. . . .

Washington, victorious in war, proceeded voluntarily to resign his military commission. When he stepped down again, after his second term as president, a dumbfounded King George III proclaimed him “the greatest character of the age.” His peaceful transfer of the presidency to John Adams in 1797 inaugurated one of America’s greatest democratic traditions. . . .

No one did more to put the United States on the path to success than Washington. No one did more to assure a government with sufficient power to function but sufficient limits to allow freedom to flourish. No one walked away from power with more dignity or did more to assure the prosperous society we enjoy today. This is why Washington and Washington alone – not Jefferson, not Madison, not Hamilton – is the father of this country.

Read more here. . . .

The Gadsden Flag Should Be The New Symbol Of US Foreign Policy

The bold letters of the Gadsden Flag have become the slogan of America’s 21st century Tea Party movement and a symbol of the unique American spirit. Most resurgent patriots intuitively grasp the essence of American exceptionalism, but not all understand what it means for U.S. foreign policy.

The distinct yellow flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden who led the Sons of Liberty in South Carolina prior to the American Revolution. . . .

The sentiment of the Gadsden Flag can be traced to the founding of the United States, as can its implications for American statecraft. Among these are a strong military, a foreign policy that is unencumbered by international institutions which undermine its political independence, and a diplomacy that reflects America’s political principles.

Continue reading. . . .

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