He was there! He didn’t just read about it or observe it from afar, he was personally an important part of all that happened in Philadelphia in the late 1770s. And on July the 3rd 1776, the day after the Declaration was signed, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail… “But the Day is past.
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty…”
He continues, “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.
Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” Though a few his words are no longer a part of our everyday English I am sure we get the gist of what our former President was saying to her and to us.
This day, Independence Day should be celebrated with all the afore mentioned activities (And we’ve added a few over the years!) But don’t miss the sentence which comes before, “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.” Then the haunting last line… “even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” The word “rue” means, to bitterly regret (something one has done or allowed to happen)
As we again find ourselves preparing to celebrate the birthday of our nation, the United States of America I believe it behooves us and those who follow in our footsteps to be reminded of our great Godly heritage. The influence of the Great Awakening in the early to mid 1700s touched the lives of many of the men who signed their name to the Declaration of Independence.
It’s worth noting that even though Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin (two of the least religious signers) are typically the only signers remembered today, almost half of the signers of the Declaration (24 of 56), held what today would be considered seminary or Bible School degrees. They also were involved for Religious reasons. Americans are taught that “taxation without representation” was the reason that America separated from Great Britain, yet that was only number seventeen out of twenty-seven reasons given in the Declaration of Independence”—it was not even in the top half.
Never mentioned today are the numerous grievances condemning judicial activism-or those addressing moral and religious issues. In 1762, the king vetoed the charter for the first American Missionary society; he also suppressed other religious freedoms and even prevented Americans from printing an English language Bible. Almost unknown today is the fact that Declaration signers such as Samuel Adams and Charles Carroll cited religious freedom as the reason they became involved in the American Revolution.
Once again, back to John Adams original recipe… Celebrate Independence Day with intentionality and with much vigor remembering the God that whose hand was clearly evident throughout our conflict with Great Britain. Celebrate our Independence Day by using this moment each year by passing down the story of Liberty to another generation who truly must hear it!
Allow me to borrow from Mr. Franklin (struggling to draft the Constitution during the Constitutional Convention), who reminded the assembled body—and us, as well—with these words, “How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?
In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. …. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?”
You see we cannot afford to make it optional nor can we afford any longer to embrace the watered-down version of the revolution absent God’s presence and provision. These are the stories of great men of character and resolve whose faith in God so graciously has given to us the freedoms we enjoy today. May we never forget and may we never fail to not only honor them in remembrance but to faithfully carry on the torch of Liberty ourselves. Sounds like a recipe for LIBERTY!
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406