4th of July Article

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This year marks
230 years since our Founding Fathers gave us our National Birth Certificate.
We continue to be the longest on-going Constitutional
Republic in the history of the world. Blessings such as these are not by chance
or accidental. They are blessings of God.

On July 2, 1776,
Congress voted to approve a complete separation from Great Britain. Two days
afterwards – July 4th – the early draft of the Declaration
of Independence
was signed,
albeit by only two individuals at that time: John
Hancock
, President of Congress, and Charles Thompson, Secretary of Congress.
Four days later, on July 8, members of Congress took that document and read
it aloud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of
Philadelphia, after which the Liberty Bell was rung. The inscription around
the top of that bell, Leviticus 25:10, was most appropriate for the occasion:
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”

To see the turmoil
in other nations, their struggles and multiple revolutions, and yet to see the
stability and blessings that we have here in America, we may ask how has this
been achieved? What was the basis of American Independence? John
Adams
said “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence
were the general principles of Christianity.” Perhaps the clearest identification
of the spirit of the American
Revolution was given by John Adams in a letter to Abigail the day after
Congress approved the Declaration. He wrote her two letters on that day; the
first was short and concise, jubilant that the Declaration had been approved.
The second was much longer and more pensive, giving serious consideration to
what had been done that day. Adams cautiously noted: “This day will be the most
memorable epic in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be
celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”

It is amazing
that on the very day they approved the Declaration,
Adams was already foreseeing that their actions would be celebrated by future
generations. Adams contemplated whether it would be proper to hold such celebrations,
but then concluded that the day should be commemorated – but in a particular
manner and with a specific spirit. As he told Abigail: “It ought to
be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion
to God Almighty.”

John Adams believed
that the Fourth of July should become a religious holiday – a day when we remembered
God’s hand in deliverance and a day of religious activities when we committed
ourselves to Him in “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Such was the
spirit of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of those who led
it, evidenced even further in the words of John Quincy Adams, one who was deeply
involved in the activities of the Revolution.

In 1837, when
he was 69 years old, he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.
He began that address with a question: “Why is it, friends and fellow citizens,
that you are here assembled? Why is it that entering on the 62nd year of our
national existence you have honored [me] with an invitation to address you.
. . ?”

The answer was
easy: they had asked him to address them because he was old enough to remember
what went on; they wanted an eye-witness to tell them of it! He next asked them:
“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most
joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?”

An interesting
question: why is it that in America the Fourth of July and Christmas were our
two top holidays? Note his answer: “Is it not that, in the chain of human events,
the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?
That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is
it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact
on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone
of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

According to
John Quincy Adams, Christmas and the Fourth of July were intrinsically connected.
On the Fourth of July, the Founders
simply took the precepts of Christ which came into the world through His birth
(Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.

Have you ever
considered what it meant for those 56 men – an eclectic group of ministers,
business men, teachers, university professors, sailors, captains, farmers –
to sign the Declaration of Independence? This was a contract that began with
the reasons for the separation from Great Britain and closed in the final paragraph
stating “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives,
our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Dr. Benjamin
Rush
, the father of American Medicine and a signer, recorded that day in
his diary. In 1781, he wrote to John Adams “Do you recollect the pensive and
awful silence which pervaded the House when we were called up, one after another,
to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe to what was believed
by many at that time to be our death warrants? The silence and gloom of the
morning was interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Colonel Harrison
of Virginia (a big guy) who said to Mr. Gerry (small in stature) at the table:
‘I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for
what we are now doing… From the size and weight of my body I shall die in
a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air
an hour or two before you are dead.’ This speech procured a transient smile,
but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was
conducted.”

These men took
this pledge seriously. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania is an example of the highest
level of integrity. He was chosen as the financier of the American Revolution.
What an honor, except that there was no bank willing to give any loans to help
fund the revolution. It was three years and the Battle of Saratoga before America
got any kind of funding at all. After winning that battle, foreign nations like
France, Holland, and others decided maybe we weren’t such a bad risk and began
loaning us money. So where did we get money for the first three years? Congress,
at that time, could not have obtained a loan of one thousand dollars, yet Robert
Morris effected loans upon his own credit, of tens of thousands. In 1781, George
Washington
conceived the expedition against Cornwallis, at Yorktown. He
asked Judge Peters of Pennsylvania, “What can you do for me?” “With money, everything,
without it, nothing,” he replied, at the same time turning with anxious look
toward Mr. Morris. “Let me know the sum you desire,” said Mr. Morris; and before
noon Washington’s plan and estimates were complete. Robert Morris promised him
the amount, and he raised it upon his own responsibility. It has been justly
remarked, that: “If it were not demonstrable by official records, posterity
would hardly be made to believe that the campaign of 1781, which resulted in
the capture of Cornwallis, and virtually closed the Revolutionary War, was sustained
wholly on the credit of an individual merchant.”
America couldn’t repay him because there was no money and yet Robert
Morris never complained because he had given his word.

You see the
same thing in the life of John Hart. He was a strong Christian gentleman and
Speaker of the House of Representatives in New Jersey. He promised to help provide
them with guidance and leadership. There were three things that were important
in his life; his Savior, his family and his farm. Because of his signature on
the Declaration, the British were seeking him (and the rest of the signers)
to execute as traitors. John Hart fled
his home after which his farm was ravaged, his timber destroyed, his cattle
and stock butchered for the use of the British army. He did not dare to remain
two nights in the same location. After Washington‘s
success at the battle of Trenton, he finally returned home to find that his
wife had died and his children scattered. He lost almost everything that was
important to him but kept his word.

John
Hancock
, a very wealthy individual lived in a mansion reflecting his princely
fortune – one of the largest in the Province of Massachusetts. During the time
the American army besieged Boston to rid it of the British, the American officers
proposed the entire destruction of the city. “By the execution of such a plan,
the whole fortune of Mr. Hancock would have been sacrificed. Yet he readily
acceded to the measure, declaring his willingness to surrender his all, whenever
the liberties of his country should require it.” A man of his word, he demonstrated
his integrity.

The 16 Congressional
proclamations
for prayer and fasting throughout the Revolution were not bland (i.e., the acknowledgment
of Jesus Christ, the quoting of Romans 14:17, etc.); however, this is not unusual
considering the prominent role that many ministers played in the Revolution.

One such example
is John
Peter Muhlenburg
. In a sermon delivered to his Virginia congregation on
January 21, 1776, he preached verse by verse from Ecclesiastes 3 – the passage
which speaks of a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Arriving
at verse 8, which declares that there is a time of war and a time of peace,
Muhlenburg noted that this surely was not the time of peace; this was the time
of war. Concluding with a prayer, and while standing in full view of the congregation,
he removed his clerical robes to reveal that beneath them he was wearing the
uniform of an officer in the Continental army! He marched to the back of the
church; ordered the drum to beat for recruits and nearly three hundred men joined
him, becoming the Eighth Virginia Brigade. John Peter Muhlenburg finished the
Revolution as a Major-General, having been at Valley Forge and having participated
in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Stonypoint, and Yorktown.

Another minister-leader
in the Revolution was the Reverend James Caldwell. His actions during one battle
inspired a painting showing him standing with a stack of hymn books in his arms
while engaged in the midst of a fierce battle against the British outside a
battered Presbyterian church. During the battle, the Americans had developed
a serious problem: they had run out of wadding for their guns, which was just
as serious as having no ammunition. Reverend Caldwell recognized the perfect
solution; he ran inside the church and returned with a stack of Watts Hymnals
– one of the strongest doctrinal hymnals of the Christian faith (Isaac Watts
authored “O God Our Help In Ages Past,” “Joy to the World,” “Jesus Shall Reign,”
and several other classic hymns). Distributing the Watts Hymnals among the soldiers
served two purposes: first, its pages would provide the needed wadding; second,
the use of the hymnal carried a symbolic message. Reverend Caldwell took that
hymn book – the source of great doctrine and spiritual truth – raised it up
in the air and shouted to the Americans, “Give ’em Watts, boys!”

The spiritual
emphasis manifested so often by the Americans during the Revolution caused one
Crown-appointed British governor to write to Great Britain complaining that:
“If you ask an American who is his master, he’ll tell you he has none. And he
has no governor but Jesus Christ.”

Letters like
this, and sermons like those preached by the Reverend Peter Powers titled “Jesus
Christ the King,” gave rise to a sentiment that has been described as a motto
of the American Revolution. Most Americans are unaware that the Revolution might
have had mottoes, but many wars do (e.g., in the Texas’ war for independence,
it was “Remember the Alamo”; in the Union side in the Civil War, it was “In
God We Trust”; in World War I, it was “Remember the Lusitania”; in World War
II, it was “Remember Pearl Harbor”; etc.). A motto of the American
Revolution directed against the tyrant King George III and the theologically
discredited doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings (which asserted that when
the king spoke, it was the voice of God speaking directly to the people) was
simple and direct: “No King but King Jesus!” Another motto (first suggested
by Benjamin Franklin and often repeated during the Revolution) was similar in
tone: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

Preserving American
liberty depends first upon our understanding the foundations on which this great
country was built and then preserving the principles on which it was founded.
Let’s not let the purpose for which we were established be forgotten. The Founding
Fathers
have passed us a torch; let’s not let it go out.

To learn more
about the quest for our freedom, read WallBuilder resources such as Celebrate
Liberty!
, the Lives
of the Signers
and Wives
of the Signers
reprints, and the booklet, The
Spirit of the American Revolution
; or listen to the stories recounted by
David Barton in America’s
Birthday
. These, and many more, are available from our online
store
. To order or request a FREE catalog, call toll-free 800-873-2845;
or you may write to us at P.O. Box 397, Aledo, TX, 76008.

 


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By | 2017-07-04T15:05:16+00:00 December 31st, 2016|Categories: Issues and Articles|0 Comments