Category Archives: History

The Day Congress Approved Religious Missionaries


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On or around this day in 1778, the Oneida Indians offer assistance to George Washington’s troops, then quartered for the winter at Valley Forge. One Oneida woman, in particular, really went above and beyond the call of duty!

The Oneidas were one of the few tribes to openly declare their support for Americans during the Revolution. The tribe was part of the Six Nations Confederacy. Most of those tribes sided with the British, but the Oneidas sided with the Patriots. In large part, their allegiance can be credited to the work of an American missionary, the Reverend Samuel Kirkland. He was good and kind to them, and they respected him. Kirkland’s efforts were important! Indeed, early in the war, Washington wrote to Congress, soliciting assistance for Kirkland’s missionary and peacekeeping efforts.

“[Reverend Kirkland] can need no particular Recommendation from me,” Washington wrote, “But as he now wishes to have the Affairs of his Mission & publick Employ put upon some suitable Footing, I cannot but intimate my Sense of the Importance of his Station, & the great Advantages which have & may result to the United Colonies from his Situation being made respectable. All Accounts agree that much of the favourable Disposition shewn by the Indians may be ascribed to his Labour & Influence.”

Congress was receptive to the idea and approved funds for Kirkland’s efforts to “promote the happiness of the Indians, and attach them to these colonies.”

The Oneidas were also doubtless influenced by other factors. For instance, an earlier boundary negotiation had not gone well for the Oneidas. Perhaps they were wondering if the British would respect their sovereignty. It’s not like the British had a great track record of respecting the American colonists, either!

The Oneidas heard that Washington’s army was having a tough time at Valley Forge. It was cold! They lacked sufficient clothing and food. Diseases wreaked havoc. Washington wrote of this time: “To see Men without Cloathes to cover their nakedness, without Blankets to lay on, without Shoes, by which their Marches might be traced by the Blood from their feet, and almost as often without Provisions as with; Marching through frost and Snow . . . is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be parallel’d.”

The Oneidas decided to help. A group of tribe members, including a woman named Polly Cooper, set off toward Valley Forge. They brought as many as 600 baskets of corn with them. Once they arrived, Polly showed the Continentals how to cook the corn. The process of cooking white corn, making it edible for human consumption, was pretty different from the yellow corn that Americans normally ate. Polly endured the rest of the winter at Valley Forge with the American army, cooking for them and nursing sick soldiers.

According to oral legend, Polly would not accept payment for her services. However, the soldiers were so grateful that they gave her a black shawl. In some versions of the story, the soldiers themselves bought the shawl. In others, Martha Washington herself gave the shawl to Polly. The Oneidas still keep that shawl as a treasured artifact, to this day.

The Oneidas helped the American effort at other points during the war, too. Naturally, those are stories for another day. wink emoticon

Yes, obviously, the relationship between Americans and Indian tribes has had difficulties. But there were good moments, too. Shouldn’t we remember both the good and the bad, to get a balanced picture of our founding?

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If you enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to “like” and SHARE. Our schools and media don’t always teach our own history! Let’s do it ourselves.

Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2016 by Tara Ross. I appreciate it when you use the Facebook “share” feature instead of cutting/pasting.

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There’s a Divinity that Shapes Our Ends


John Adams: There’s a Divinity that Shapes Our Ends

John Adams 9LIBERTY LETTERS, 1776

Daniel Webster records that in 1776, while some men vacillated as to Independence, John Adams, the “Voice of the Declaration,” arose and stirred the hearts of his countrymen with these immortal words:

Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there’s a Divinity which shapes our ends. . . . Why, then, should we defer the Declaration? . . . You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time when this Declaration shall be made good. We may die; die Colonists, die slaves, die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold.

Be it so. Be it so.

If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready. . . . But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.

But whatever may be our fate, be assured . . . that this Declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand and it will richly compensate for both.

Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude and of joy.

Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment 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 forever.


Source: The Works of Daniel Webster, 4th ed., 1:133–:36 Adams speech was delivered before the Continental Congress.


Liberty Letters is a project of The Moral Liberal’s, Editor in Chief, Steve Farrell.

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87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

Posted: 27 Mar 2015 04:42 PM PDT

Trail of Blood

He bore the Saviors Marks in his body

Wouters van Kuijck was finally burned at the stake on this day in 1572 after he was tortured and scourged in the prison at Dordrecht, Holland.  He had been moving his family from place to place in his effort to avoid arrest, for he was considered a heretic by the State Church for his belief that salvation was a personal matter of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.  The bailiff learned where Jan was residing and he and his men came to arrest him.  Knowing that his arrest would end in the capture of his entire family, Jan said in a booming voice, “it is I” when the bailiff knocked and asked, “Does Jan van Kuijck live here?”  Of course it was designed to allow his family to escape, which they did.  During his imprisonment he wrote a dozen letters that have been preserved, eleven to family including his daughter and one to his captors presenting clearly his faith and a warning to them of judgment.  He concluded that letter with these words, “I confess one Lord, one faith, one God, one Father of all, who is above all, and in all believers.  I believe only what the Holy Scriptures say, and not what men say.”  Fearing his testimony Jan’s mouth was gagged before he was taken to the place of execution.  Somehow he managed to relieve himself of the gag.  A fellow believer was able to draw close to him and he opened his shirt and showed him his bloody body from the scourgings, and said, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  As the fire was kindled he looked over those assembled and cried, “…farewell my dear brethren and sisters, I herewith commend you to the Lord, to the Lord Who shed his blood for us.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon condensed from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp.180-181.

The post 87 – March 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST appeared first on The Trumpet Online.

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Cicero: One Law for All


Cicero: One Law for All

DAILY DABBLE IN THE CLASSICS, CICERO

Cicero (106-43 BC)

In the last years of the Roman Republic, Marcus Tullius Cicero, penned his dialogue De Legibus (On the Laws). Regarding the Nature of Man, of Justice, of Right, of True Law and of the Framer and Proposer of this Law, Cicero testified:

Of all these things respecting which learned men dispute there is none more important than clearly to understand that we are born for justice, and that right is founded not in opinion but in nature. There is indeed a true law (lex), right reason, agreeing with nature and diffused among all, unchanging, everlasting, which calls to duty by commanding, deters from wrong by forbidding… It is not allowable to alter this law nor to deviate from it. Nor can it be abrogated. Nor can we be released from this law either by the senate or by the people. Nor is any person required to explain or interpret it. Nor is it one law at Rome and another at Athens, one law today and another thereafter; but the same law, everlasting and unchangeable, will bind all nations and all times; and there will be one common Lord and Ruler of all, even God, the framer and proposer of this law.


Source: Cicero. De Legibus (On the Laws) 11, 4, 10.

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Cornwallis surrendered October 19, 1781


Cornwallis surrendered October 19, 1781

Battle of Cowpens paintingAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

British Colonel Tarleton was known as ‘the bloody butcher’ for letting his dragoons bayonet and hack hundreds of surrendering American soldiers at Buford’s Massacre, May 29, 1780.

In January of 1781, Colonel Tarleton with 1,200 dragoons were pursuing American troops, but General Daniel Morgan led them into a trap at the Battle of Cowpens, killing 100 British and capturing 800.

When British General Cornwallis heard the news, he was leaning on his sword, and leaned so forcibly that it snapped in two.

Cornwallis gave chase, even abandoning his slow supply wagons along the way, but was unable to catch the Americans, now led by General Nathaniel Greene.

Providential flash floods and rising rivers allowed the Americans to escape.

Without supplies, Cornwallis was ordered to move his 8,000 troops to a defensive position where the York River entered Chesapeake Bay.

By this time, Ben Franklin and Marquis de Lafayette had succeeded in their efforts to persuade French King Louis XVI to send ships and troops the help the Americans.

French Admiral de Grasse left off fighting the British in the West Indies and sailed 24 ships to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, where, in the Battle of the Capes, he drove off 19 British ships which were sent to evacuate Cornwallis’ men.

De Grasse’s 3,000 French troops and General Rochambeau’s 6,000 French troops hurriedly joined General Lafayette’s division as they marched to help General Washington trap Cornwallis against the sea.

They joined the troops of Generals Benjamin Lincoln, Baron von Steuben, Modrecai Gist, Henry Knox and John Peter Muhlenberg.

Altogether, 17,000 French and American troops surrounded Cornwallis and, on OCTOBER 19, 1781, he surrendered.

Yale President Ezra Stiles wrote, May 8, 1783:

“Who but God could have ordained the critical arrival of the Gallic (French) fleet, so as to… assist… in the siege… of Yorktown?…

Should we not… ascribe to a Supreme energy… the wise… generalship displayed by General Greene… leaving the… roving Cornwallis to pursue his helter-skelter ill fated march into Virginia…

It is God who had raised up for us a…powerful ally… a chosen army and a naval force: who sent us a Rochambeau… to fight side by side with a Washington… in the… Battle of Yorktown.”

General Washington wrote:

“To diffuse the general Joy through every breast the General orders… Divine Service to be performed tomorrow in the several Brigades…

The Commander-in-Chief earnestly recommends troops not on duty should universally attend with that gratitude of heart which the recognition of such astonishing Interposition of Providence demands.”

The next year, October 11, 1782, the Congress of the Confederation passed:

“It being the indispensable duty of all nations…to offer up their supplications to Almighty God…the United States in Congress assembled…

do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe…the last Thursday, in the 28th day of November next, as a Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies.”

On September 3, 1783, the Revolutionary War officially ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed by Ben Franklin, John Adams, John Jay and David Hartley:

“In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain…and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences…

Done at Paris, this third day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.”

With the war over, Massachusetts Governor John Hancock proclaimed November 8, 1783:

“The Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and Gratitude to the God of their salvation…

I do…appoint…the 11th day of December next (the day recommended by the Congress to all the States) to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer,

That all the people may then assemble to celebrate…that he hath been pleased to continue to us the Light of the Blessed Gospel…

That we also offer up fervent supplications… to cause pure Religion and Virtue to flourish…and to fill the world with his glory.”

Ronald Reagan, in proclaiming a Day of Prayer, stated January 27, 1983:

“In 1775, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Prayer…

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the long, weary Revolutionary War during which a National Day of Prayer had been proclaimed every spring for eight years.”

The Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives recorded that on March 27, 1854, the 33rd Congress voted unanimously to print Rep. James Meacham’s report, which stated:

“Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people…

Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Sam Houston


WallBuilders

Sam Houston

March 2 is the birthday of Sam Houston. Considered a Texas hero, he is also an American hero as well.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Houston was a
U. S. Senator, and the most controversial issue of his day was slavery. In 1854, Congress introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act topermit slavery not only in the Kansas-Nebraska area but also in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota. In response, over 3,000 clergymen from New England (which was over three-fourths of New England’s clergy) submitted a petition to Congress opposing the Act and its extension of slavery. Numerous pro-slavery U. S. Senators denounced the actions of the ministers, including Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois who declared:

It is evident that [the ministers] ought to be rebuked, and required to confine themselves to their vocation. . . It is an  attempt to establish a theocracy – to take charge of our politics and our legislation. It is an attempt to make the legislative power of this country subordinate to the church. It is not only to unite church and state but it is to put the state in subordination to the dictates of the church.

(With this absurd rhetoric, Senator Douglas certainly could easily have worked with modern secularist groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, or the American Humanist Association, for these groups say today what Douglas said decades ago.)

Many other Senators, however, took the opposite — the pro-Constitution –position. In fact, Northern Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was just about to stand and defend the ministers when Southern Senator Sam Houston arose and shouted, “Sumner! Don’t speak! Don’t speak! Leave them to me!” Sumner yielded; Houston took the floor and declared:

…I certainly can see no more impropriety in ministers of the Gospel, in their vocation, memorializing [petitioning] Congress than politicians or other individuals. . . . Because they are ministers of the Gospel, they are not disfranchised of political rights and privileges and . . . they have a right to spread their opinions on the records of the nation. . . . The great Redeemer of the World enjoined duties upon mankind; and there is [also] the moral constitution from which we have derived all the excellent principles of our political Constitution – the great principles upon which our government, morally, socially, and religiously is founded. Then, sir, I do not think there is anything very derogatory to our institutions in the ministers of the Gospel expressing their opinions. They have a right to do it. No man can be a minister without first being a man. He has political rights; he has also the rights of a missionary of the Savior, and he is not disfranchised by his vocation. . . . He has a right to interpose his voice as one of its citizens against the adoption of any measure which he believes will injure the nation. . . . [Ministers] have the right to think it is morally wrong, politically wrong, civilly wrong, and socially wrong. . . . and if they denounce a measure in advance, it is what they have a right to do.

Sam Houston stood boldly in favor of the free-speech rights of ministers to address any issue the government was also addressing. That constitutional right is just as available today as it was a century and a half ago, and ministers, churches, and people of faith should avail themselves of it.

As we remember our historical heroes such as Sam Houston, we wanted to share with you a document found in WallBuilders extensive library directly related to to this incident. It shows several Senators ordering copies of Houston’s compelling speech so that they could distribute it far and wide.

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Some Men are Not for Sale—Samuel Adams


Some Men are Not for Sale—Samuel Adams

Background of the American Revolution

samueladamsSamuel Adams, The Father of the American Revolution and a staunch Puritan until his death, displays, prior to the Revolutionary War, one of the characteristic traits of those Puritans.

It is said that one of the reasons given for calling Samuel Adams “The Last of the Puritans,” was the fact that he, was the last man so far as known, in New England who wore the Continental costume.  —Fallows,Samuel Adams, 1898.

The Last of the Puritans.

samuel adamsGOVERNOR Gage arrived in Boston in May, 1774, and presuming upon the truth of a maxim which originated among British politicians, and is generally believed there, that “every man has his price,” offered a heavy “consideration” through Colonel Fenton, his agent, to Samuel Adams. But those minions of regal power and rotten aristocracy were destined to learn, that there is such a thing as patriotism, which thrones cannot awe nor bribes corrupt. If the sturdy patriot was found to be proof against venality and corruption, then the agent of tyrannical arrogance was directed to threaten him with an arrest for treason. Mr. Adams, glowing with indignation at such attacks upon his honor and patriotism, first demanded of the messenger, Fenton, a solemn pledge that he would return to Gage his reply just as it was given, and then rising in a firm manner, said, “I trust that I have long since made my peace with the King of kings. No personal consideration shall induce me to abandon the righteous cause of my country. Tell Governor Gage, it is the advice of Samuel Adams to him, no longer to insult the feelings of an exasperated people.”

—Magoon, Orators of the American Revolution, 1860.


Courtesy of Democratic Thinker

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Edward Winslow was born October 18, 1595


Edward Winslow was born October 18, 1595

Edward WinslowAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

The only Pilgrim to have his portrait painted, Edward Winslow was born OCTOBER 18, 1595.

He joined the Separatists, a persecuted group of Christian refugees, in Leyden, Holland.

Edward Winslow helped their pastor, William Brewster, print illegal religious pamphlets which were smuggled back into England.

After many hard years, at age 25, Edward Winslow departed with 102 Pilgrims to the New World.

In 1622, Winslow cured Indian chief Massaoit of an illness, resulting in a 50 year peace. If the chief would not have recovered, Winslow would have been killed by the Indians.

Serving three times as the Plymouth Colony’s Governor, Edward Winslow kept the finances and often sailed back to England for business, bringing back the colony’s first cattle.

On one trip to England in 1625, as described by Governor William Bradford in his History of the Plymouth Settlement, Edward Winslow encountered Turkish Muslim Pirates:

“Two fishing ships…ordered to load with corfish…to bring home to England…and besides she had some 800 lbs of beaver, as well as other furs, to a good value from the plantation.

The captain seeing so much lading wished to put aboard the bigger ship for greater safety, but Mr. Edward Winslow, their agent in the business, was bound in a bond to send it to London in the small ship…

The captain of the big ship…towed the small ship at his stern all the way over. So they went joyfully home together and had such fine weather that he never cast her off till they were well within the England channel, almost in sight of Plymouth.

But even there she was unhapply taken by a Turkish man-of-war and carried off to Saller (Morocco) where the captain and crew were made slaves…

Thus all their hopes were dashed and the joyful news they meant to carry home was turned to heavy tidings…

In the big ship Captain Myles Standish…arrived…in London…The friendly adventurers were so reduced by their losses…and now by the ship taken by the Turks…that all trade was dead.”

Once, while in England, Edward Winslow was thrown in jail by Anglican Bishop William Laud for 17 weeks.

Edward Winslow served in Oliver Cromwell’s army during the English Civil War and sailed with Admiral Sir William Penn, father of Pennsylvania’s founder, in an attempt to capture Hispaniola from Spain.

After defeat at Santo Domingo, Winslow died of a fever on the way to Jamaica, which Admiral Penn captured.

In Young’s Chronicles, Edward Winslow wrote of the Pilgrims:

“Drought and the like…moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estate between God…but also to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492


Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492

Christopher ColumbusAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Columbus was looking for a SEA route to India and China because 40 years earlier Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 cutting off the LAND routes.

A biography of Columbus was written by Washington Irving in 1828, filled imaginative dialogue, such as Europeans arguing that the Earth was flat.

Washington Irving was known for imaginative stories such as “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow,” Dutch tales of visits from St. Nick, and coining New York City’s nickname “Gotham.”

Europeans knew the Earth was round from as far back as Aristotle in the 4th century BC.

In the 3rd century BC, Eratosthenes computed the circumference of the Earth with geometry and measurements of shadows cast by tall objects in Alexandria and Aswan.

In the 1st century BC, Posidonius used stellar observations at Alexandria and Rhodes to confirm Eratosthenese’s measurements.

In the 2nd century AD, astronomer Ptolemy had written a Guide to Geography, in which he described a spherical earth with one ocean connecting Europe and Asia.

St. Isidore of Seville, Spain, wrote in the 7th century that the earth was round.

Around the year 723 AD, Saint Bede the Venerable wrote in his work “Reckoning of Time” that the Earth was spherical.

Columbus knew the Earth was round, but the question was, how far around.

The confusion was over the length of a mile.

Columbus read Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s “Imago Mundi,” which gave Alfraganus’ estimate that a degree of latitude (at the equator) was around 56.7 miles.

What Columbus did not realize was that this was expressed in longer Arabic miles rather than in shorter Roman miles.

Therefore Columbus incorrectly estimated the Earth to be smaller in circumference, about 19,000 miles, rather than the actual nearly 25,000 miles.

Columbus knew there was land to the west, as he had heard stories of Irish monk St. Brendan sailing in 530 AD to “The Land of the Promised Saints which God will give us on the last day.”

He knew of the Christian Viking Leif Erickson’s voyage in the year 1000 to Vinland.

Columbus read of Marco Polo’s travels to China and India in 1271.

He studied Pliny’s “Natural History,” Sir John Mandeville, and Pope Pius II’s “Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum.”

Columbus corresponded with Florentine physician Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, who suggested China was just 5,000 miles west of Portugal.

Columbus may have possibly seen maps, rumored to have been in Portugal’s royal archives, from China’s treasure fleets which were sent out in 1421 by Ming Emperor Zhu Di.

Based on this, Columbus estimated that Japan, or as Marco Polo called it “Cipangu,” was only 3,000 Roman miles west of the Canary Islands, rather than the actual 12,200 miles.

Since no ship at that time could carry enough food and water for such a long voyage, Columbus would have never set sail if he had known the actual distance.

As a young man, Columbus began sailing on a trip to a Genoese colony in the Aegean Sea named Chios.

In 1476, he sailed on an armed convoy from Genoa to northern Europe, docking in Bristol, England, and Galway, Ireland, and even possibly Iceland in 1477.

When Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and hindered land trade routes from Europe to India and China, Portugal, which had been freed from Muslim domination for two centuries, began to search for alternative sea routes.

Portugal, under Prince Henry the Navigator, led the world in the science of navigation and cartography (map-making), and developed a light ship that could travel fast and far, the “caravel.”

During Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery under King John II, Columbus sailed along the west coast of Africa between 1482-1485, reaching the Portuguese trading port of Elmina on the coast of Guinea.

In 1498, Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama did make it around South Africa to India.

But six year before that, in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella finished driving the Muslims out of Spain and wanted to join the quest for a sea trade route to the India.

They backed Columbus’ plan.

Though Columbus was wrong about the miles and degrees of longitude, he did understand trade winds across the Atlantic.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail on the longest voyage to that date out of the sight of land.

Trade winds called “easterlies” pushed Columbus’ ships for five weeks to the Bahamas.

On OCTOBER 12, 1492, Columbus sighted what he thought was India.

He imagined Haiti was Japan and Cuba was the tip of China.

Naming the first island “San Salvador” for the Holy Savior, Columbus wrote of the inhabitants:

“So that they might be well-disposed towards us, for I knew that they were a people to be. ..converted to our Holy Faith rather by love than by force, I gave to some red caps and to others glass beads…

They became so entirely our friends that…I believe that they would easily be made Christians.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Jonathan Edwards, born October 5, 1703


Jonathan Edwards, born October 5, 1703

Jonathan Edwards

American Minute with Bill Federer

He entered Yale College at age 13 and graduated with honors.

He became a pastor, and his sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God,” started The Great Awakening Revival.

His name was Jonathan Edwards, born OCTOBER 5, 1703.

The Great Awakening Revival can be traced back to earlier revivals in Scotland, and to Scottish Rev. William Tennent’s Log College in Pennsylvania.

The fiery Dutch Reformed minister Theodore Frelinghuysen preached divine outpourings of the Holy Spirit and conversion.

The revival spread across America through the preaching of George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennent, Samuel Finley and others, inadvertently uniting the Colonies prior to the Revolutionary War.

Calvinist denominations split between traditionalist “Old Lights” emphasizing ritual, and revivalist “New Lights” emphasizing personal commitment.

The Great Awakening Revival was part of the Pietist movement in Lutheran Churches, it reshaped Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed Churches, and it strengthened evangelical Baptist and Methodist Anglican Churches.

The Revival inspired the founding of universities, such as: Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Rutgers and Columbia.

The Revival brought large numbers of African slaves to Christianity, being led by Presbyterian preacher Samuel Davies, who later became Princeton’s fourth president.

Blacks were welcomed into active roles in white congregations, even as preachers.

The first black Baptist churches were founded in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.

The Great Awakening Revival had a profound effect, as noted by Sarah Pierrepont Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards, who wrote to her brother in New Haven of George Whitefield’s preaching:

“It is wonderful to see what a spell he casts over an audience by proclaiming the simplest truths of the Bible…

Our mechanics shut up their shops, and the day laborers throw down their tools to go and hear him preach, and few return unaffected.”

Ben Franklin wrote of Whitefield:

“Multitudes of all denominations attended his sermons…

It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.

From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro’ the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street.”

In his “Narrative of the Surprizing Word of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls,” Jonathan Edwards wrote:

“And then it was, in the latter part of December, that the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to…work amongst us.

There were, very suddenly, one after another, five or six persons who were, to all appearance, savingly converted, and some of them wrought upon in a very remarkable manner.

Particularly I was surprised with the relation of a young woman, who had been one of the greatest company-keepers in the whole town.

When she came to me, I had never heard that she was become in any ways serious, but by the conversation I had with her, it appeared to me that what she gave an account of was a glorious work of God’s infinite power and sovereign grace, and that God had given her a new heart, truly broken and sanctified….

God made it, I suppose, the greatest occasion of awakening to others, of anything that ever came to pass in the town…”

Jonathan Edwards continued:

“I have had abundant opportunity to know the effect it had, by my private conversation with many.

The news of it seemed to be almost like a flash of lighting upon the hearts of young people all over the town, and upon many others….

Presently upon this, a great and earnest concern about the great things of religion and the eternal world became universal in all parts of the town and among persons of all degrees and all ages.

The noise of the dry bones waxed louder and louder….

Those that were wont to be the vainest and loosest, and those that had been the most disposed to think and speak slightly of vital and experimental religion, were not generally subject to great awakenings…”

Jonathan Edwards added:

“And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner and increased more and more; souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ….

This work of God, as it was carried on and the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town, so that in the spring and summer following, Anno 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God.

It never was so full of love, nor so full of joy…there were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house.

It was a time of joy in families on the account of salvation’s being brought unto them, parents rejoicing over their children as new born, and husbands over their wives, and wives over their husbands.

The goings of God were then seen in His sanctuary, God’s day was a delight and His tabernacles were amiable…”

Jonathan Edwards went on:

“Our public assembles were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink the words of the minister as they came from his mouth.

The assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the word was preached, some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for their neighbors.

There were many instances of persons that came from abroad, on visits or on business…that partook of that shower of divine blessing that God rained down here and went home rejoicing.

Till at length the same work began to appear and prevail in several other towns in the country…”

Jonathan Edwards concluded:

“In the month of March, the people of South Hadley began to be seized with a deep concern about the things of religion, which very soon became universal…

About the same time, it began to break forth in the west part of Suffield… and it soon spread into all parts of the town. It next appeared at Sunderland…

About the same time it began to appear in a part of Deerfield… Hatfield… West Springfield… Long Meadow… Endfield… Westfield… Northfield…

In every place, God brought His saving blessings with Him, and His Word, attended with Spirit…returned not void.”

Jonathan Edwards stated:

“There is no leveler like Christianity, but it levels by lifting all who receive it to the lofty table-land of a true character and of undying hope both for this world and the next.”

Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ emphasis on training their children in godly values had a ripple effect. A.E. Winship’s A Study in Education and Heredity (1900) listed among their descendants:

1 U.S. Vice-President,
3 U.S. Senators,
3 governors,
3 mayors,
13 college presidents,
30 judges,
65 professors,
80 public office holders,
100 lawyers and
100 missionaries.

A.E. Winship’s study also examined a family known as “Jukes.”

In 1877, while visiting New York’s prisons, Richard Dugdale found inmates with 42 different last names all descending from one man, called “Max.”

Born around 1720 of Dutch stock, Max was a hard drinker, idle, irreverent and uneducated.

Max’s descendants included:

7 murderers,
60 thieves,
50 women of debauchery,
130 other convicts.
310 paupers, who, combined spent 2,300 years in poorhouses, and
400 physically wrecked by indulgent living.

The “Jukes” descendants cost the state more than $1,250,000.

Jonathan Edwards stated:

“I have reason to hope that my parents’ prayers for me have been, in many things, very powerful and prevalent, that God has…taken me under His care and guidance, provision and direction, in answer to their prayers.”

In A History of the Work of Redemption, 1739, Jonathan Edwards wrote:

“Those mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mohammed…have trampled the world under foot..(and) swallowed up the Ancient Roman Empire…

Satan’s Mohometan kingdom swallowing up the Eastern Empire.”

In his work, The Latter-Day Glory Is Probably to Begin in America, Jonathan Edwards proposed that the since the Old World had hosted Christ’s first coming, the New World would be given the honor of preparing the earth for His second coming.

The thought that the “Sun of Righteousness” traveled from East to West contributed to the concept that America had a “Manifest Destiny”:

“When the time comes of the church’s deliverance from her enemies, so often typified by the Assyrians, the light will rise in the west, till it shines through the world like the sun in its meridian brightness…

And if we may suppose that this glorious work of God shall begin in any part of America, I think, if we consider the circumstances of the settlement of New England, it must needs appear the most likely, of all American colonies, to be the place whence this work shall principally take its rise.”

Jonathan Edwards, who became President of Princeton College, resolved:

“Never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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