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America

Forsaken

By

Prophet T. E. Deckard

 

 

CHAPTER 4

 

Prayer, Fasting, Thanksgiving, and A New Government

 

It is important to look at the historical events that took place during the Revolutionary War. As many men died for what would ultimately become a free land, others were busy making new policies and laws. The centerpiece that fit into all of these laws and policies was God. He and His laws were constantly referred to as a source and guide for the Continental Congress.

Undoubtedly, the Christian lifestyle was the only lifestyle men and women lived during this time period. The simple Christian ideas that formed this lifestyle were the Ten Commandments, always fear God above all others and follow Christ's footsteps. Laws, policy making, and our entire American society were formed around these simple ideas.

To our forefathers, this was an easy way of life. They knew that their only task on earth was to serve God with all that was within them. They knew that part of serving God was pleasing God, and in order to please Him, they had to follow Him. With these things in mind, the framework of our government and laws were formed.

To show the impact of God within their thinking and lives, the Continental Congress appointed a day of fasting and prayer for the colonies:

The Congress.... Desirous... To have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely... On his aid and direction...

Do earnestly recommend Friday, the 17th day of May be observed by the colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease God's righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain this pardon and forgiveness.

After prayer and fasting took place, with all colonies (wholeheartedly) participating, the Continental Congress on July 1, 1776, heard John Adams declare his intentions to the delegates from the Thirteen Colonies:

Before God, I believe the hour has come. My judgement approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment. Independence now, and Independence for ever!

This speech by John Adams, as well as the day of fasting, were all brought about by growing tensions between the British government and the colonies. The colonies and their leaders had many complaints against the British throne, yet they all went unanswered or unserved. Some of their complaints are as follows:

He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and the raising the conditions of new Appropriations of lands.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

All these complaints, in addition to many more, were compiled together and sent to King George. In addition, they wrote:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

After exhausting almost every form of diplomacy and negotiation, Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, approved the wording for the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, delegates of the Continental Congress voted to accept it. On July 8, the Declaration was read publicly for the first time outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, accompanied by the ringing of the Liberty Bell. On July 19, Congress ordered it engrossed in script on parchment and on August 2, 1776, the members of Congress signed the parchment copy:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume the powers of the earth, the seperate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new for their future security.

The signers of the Declaration believed it was obvious that "all men" are created equal, and have rights that cannot be taken away. By "all men," they meant people of every race and every creed. The rights to "Life" included the right to defend oneself against physical attack and unjust government. The right to "Liberty" included the right to criticize the government, to worship freely, and to form a government that protects that liberty. The "pursuit of Happiness" meant the right to own property and to have it safeguarded. It also meant the right to strive for the good of all the people, not just one's own personal happiness.

The Declaration states that governments exist to protect the rights of the people. Governments receive their power to rule only through the agreement of the people.

People may alter their government if it fails in its purpose. Or they may set up a new government. People should not change government for reasons of just wanting change. However, they do have the right to overthrow a government that has committed many abuses and seeks complete control over the people.

The Declaration states that the colonists could no longer endure the abuses of their government and so must change it. It accuses King George III of inflicting the abuses to gain total power over the colonies.

Because all these appeals had failed, the signers of the Declaration, as representatives of the American people, felt only one course of action remained. They thus declared the colonies independent, with all ties to Britain ended.

I wonder if our elected officials of today have ever read and taken to heart what this document really says. If not, perhaps it would be a good idea to make it mandatory for each one of them to take time to refresh their memories. We need to remember what the principals were on which this country was founded. It looks to be that many are no longer acquainted with our founding principals.

After each of the delegates had signed the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams declared:

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.

On July 3, 1776, the day after Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, reflecting on what he shared in Congress and, with prophetic insight, declaring the importance of that day:

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. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

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 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 worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not.

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence paid a tremendous price for our freedom: 5 were arrested by the British as traitors, 12 had their homes looted and burned by the enemy, 17 lost their fortunes, 2 lost sons in the Continental Army and 9 fought and died during the Revolutionary War.

After the Declaration of Independence was read publicly on July 8th, Congress then established a three man committee, consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, for the purpose of designing a great seal for the United States. Remember as discussed before, the great love for the Christian Religion that all these men had.

Benjamin Franklin's suggestions for a seal and motto, characterizing the spirit of this new nation, were: Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the red sea, and pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

Thomas Jefferson had proposed: The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.

Continental Congress on July 9, 1776, the day following the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia and the ringing of the "Liberty Bell," moved to establish prayer as a daily part of this new nation. They knew that this was the most important part of their day.

Resolved, That the Rev. Mr. J. Duche' be appointed chaplain to Congress, and that he be desired to attend every morning at 9 o'clock.

On the same day, they authorized chaplains for the Continental Army and General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, immediately issued the order to appoint chaplains for every regiment. In his first general order to his troops, General George Washington called on:

Every officer and man... To live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.

Continental Congress, on September 11, 1777, approved and recommended to the people that 20,000 copies of The Holy Bible be imported from other sources. This was in response to the shortage of Bibles in America caused by the Revolutionary War interrupting trade with England. The Chaplain of Congress, Patrick Allison, brought the matter to the attention of Congress, who assigned it to a special Congressional Committee, which reported:

The use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great that your committee refers the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the Committee recommends that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different parts of the States of the Union.

Obviously, the importance of this age-old book was known by our forefathers. Even while standing in the presence of ultimate military conflict, they knew that the answers that they were looking for, both as a nation and as individuals, could only be found within the covers of this most Holy information manual.

The Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, proposed and signed the Articles of Confederation, which constituted the government in America prior to the writing of the Constitution. It was finally ratified by the states March 1, 1781:

. . .On the fifteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven.

And whereas it has pleased the Great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the Legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union.

No longer did these men view the King of England as their "Great Governor.Ē Their Great Governor was God. He was whom they knew they were to follow. They, knowing that they had done the correct thing, declared that God had authorized them to fulfill the duties of Congress and to put forth the new laws of a new land.

In this new land that developed practically overnight, there were many occasions for thanksgiving. Our forefathers did not use a day of thanksgiving as an excuse to get together with family members, eat so much that you cannot move and watch sporting events as you drift in and out of sleep. Their definition of thanksgiving was much different. For example, the Continental Congress on November 1, 1777, issued The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving, extending to all colonies, as a result of their victory at Saratoga. It was declared:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received and to implore such further blessing as they stand in need of; and it having pleased Him in His abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of His common Providence... To smile upon us as in the prosecution of a just and necessary war for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties...

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth day of December next, for the solemn thanksgiving and praise:

That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgements and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance;

That it may please Him graciously to afford His blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the Providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace;

That it may please Him, to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people, and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take school and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."

And it is further recommended, that servile labour, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.

After the revealing and subsequent deliverance from Benedict Arnold's plot to betray General George Washington and his troops to the British , the Continental Congress issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer on October 18, 1780:

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, amidst the vicissitudes and calamities of war, to bestow blessings on the people of these states, which call for their devout and thankful acknowledgements, more especially in the late remarkable interposition of his watchful providence, in the rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution....

It is therefore recommended to the several states... A day of public thanksgiving and prayer, that all the people may assemble on that day to celebrate the praises of our Divine Benefactor; to confess our unworthiness of the least of his favours, and to offer our fervent supplications to the God of all grace... To cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.

 

 America Forsaken Chapter 3

 

 America Forsaken Chapter 5

 


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