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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.

Samuel at Gilgal

We Call God “Father”

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair B. Ferguson:

You cannot open the pages of the New Testament without realizing that one of the things that makes it so ‘new’, in every way, is that here men and women call God ‘Father’. This conviction that we can speak to the Maker of the universe in such intimate terms lies at the heart of the Christian faith. Through Christ, says Paul, we have ‘access to the Father’.

 

 

He Reigns

Quoting Samuel Adams, 1776 (at the signing of the Declaration of Independence):

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

Be Careful of Appearances

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV)

Many of us have the tendency to measure the Christianity of our neighbors by such things as church attendance, participating in Bible classes, or taking part in church activities. If they don’t do these things then we might question the maturity of their Christianity.

Men must lead in prayers, teach classes, serve as deacons, or help take up the offerings and serve as ushers if they wish to be seen as mature Christians. Likewise, women must teach children’s classes or women’s classes. At the very least, they should clean the building.

Too often, we rely on our own favorite measures (such as those above) to judge the appearance of others. People will do a lot of things they say are for Jesus, but inside they are dead spiritually. This type of measurement neglects the many parts of the body of Christ and emphasizes only the external actions of the individual concerning the church.

How then should we measure the maturity of a Christian?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

The qualities above are possessed by the truly spiritual man. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a maturing Christian. Christian maturity begins with the inner man. A man may preach a great sermon, but what about his family life? Does he contend for the faith in the right spirit? Is he quick to anger? Is his conduct becoming?

The kind of measurement for Christian maturity found in the Bible emphasizes the reforming of the inside of a person first and then trusting that the external performance will follow. This is the system God uses and He can see us as we really are. So I would suggest caution before you judge others or compare their Christian maturity to your own.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

Let us remember to measure ourselves and others in the same way the Lord uses. It is also good to remember that the Lord measures by His perfect standard which we cannot apply perfectly.

A Letter From John Adams To Abigail Adams

Quoting John Adams:

When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer…Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from a gentleman of piety and virtue, who was at the same time a friend to his country. He..had heard that Mr. Duche…deserved that character and therefore he moved that Mr. Duche…might be desired to read prayers to the Congress…After (he read several prayers), Mr. Duche, unexpected to everybody, struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. (Letter to Abigail Adams, October 16, 1774)

Samuel Adams On Liberty And Happiness

 

Samuel Adams

 

 

Samuel Adams wrote the following in a letter to John Trumbull on October 16, 1778:

Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.

Samuel Adams: Breaking The Rod Of Tyrants

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams – Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is Prince of Peace.” (As Governor of Massachusetts, Proclamation of a Day of Fast, March 20, 1797)

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)

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.”

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)

Samuel Adams On The Men Needed To Fill The Seats Of Government

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honor of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.”

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 Right To Freedom

Portrait of Samuel Adams, painted by Major Joh...

Samuel Adams

Quoting Samuel Adams:

“The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty… The Rights of the Colonists as Christians… may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver… which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

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