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The  Fourt of  Jul
and  the
  Adams  Family

 

 

In Massachusetts, the landing of the Pilgrims conceived the first Covenant establishing civil government on the Bible.  Here, too, was the birthplace of these United States as Massachusetts' sons labored to educate men in those principles which culminated in the freeing of this country from the tyranny of Gr. Britain and the establishment of the Republic of the United States of America.  Three of those who served our country in many capacities were from the Adams family: Mr. Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Father of the American Revolution; President John Adams, his cousin, who also signed the Declaration of Independence; President John Quincy Adams, his son, who occupied many offices in our government, just as his father had, beginning at the age of 14 when he was appointed by Congress to the Court of Catherine the Great in Russia1.

Prelude to the Declaration of Independence

On September 7, 1774, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, describing the effects of the prayer which opened the first session of the Continental Congress: 

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 was a stranger in Philadelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duche' deserved that character and therefore he moved that Mr. Duche', an Episcopal clergyman might be desired to read Prayers to Congress tomorrow morning.  The motion was seconded, and passed in the affirmative.  Mr. Randolph, our president, vailed on Mr. Duche', and received for answer, that if his health would permit, he certainly would.  Accordingly, next morning [Reverend Mr. Duche'] appeared with his clerk and in his pontificals, and read several prayers in the established form, and read the collect for the seventh day of September, which was the thirty-fifth Psalm.  You must remember, this was the next morning after we heard the horrible rumor of the cannonade of Boston.  I never saw a greater effect upon an audience.  It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.   After this, Mr. Duche', unexpectedly to every body, struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present.  I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced.  Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself [Adams' pastor] never prayed with such fervor, such ardor, such earnestness and pathos, and in language so elegant and sublime, for America, for the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the town of Boston.  It has had an excellent effect upon everybody here. I must beg you to read that Psalm.

July 2nd, 1776 

As the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 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 sun, let his kingdom come.

On July 4, 1821

John Quincy Adams declared: 

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this, it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.


Footnotes:

1. All quotations are courtesy: Federer, Wm. J., America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, Fame Publishers, Coppell, Texas, 1994.  (Back to article)


Reviews

Posted 07/03/2006 by Michael Stroud

The first thing I did when I had read this was to go read that Psalm.  I hope you did too.  I read it in King James, so I would know how it sounded to the Congress.

Something we observe in modern Christianity better, is that it matters not what our denomination is, if any message brought to us conforms with the Bible's presentation.  These men soon saw it too, that even with their denominational disparity, they all followed the same God of the Bible.  And they were blest by the words that were from the Father (in the Bible,) and the words to the Father, in prayer, in the same name of the Saviour.

We would do well to remember, though, that it is not only the wonderful presentation of the message, as Mr. Adams wrote, but the wonderful message itself.  Otherwise I find this account inspiring and instructive.

Thank you for this opportunity to learn, and to reply.

Michael


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