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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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“The Father of the American Revolution” – Samuel Adams

“The Father of the American Revolution” – Samuel Adams

samuel adamsAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Crying “No taxation without representation,” he instigated the Stamp Act riots and the Boston Tea Party.

After the “Boston Massacre,” he spread Revolutionary sentiment with his Committees of Correspondence.

Known as “The Father of the American Revolution,” his name was Samuel Adams, born SEPTEMBER 27, 1722.

Samuel Adams called for the first Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence, stating

“We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to, has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone.

We have this day restored the Sovereign, to whom alone all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven…

We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back…

We may, with humility of soul, cry out, ‘Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy Name be the praise’…

Providence is yet gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the captivity of Jacob.”

A cousin of 2nd President John Adams, Samuel Adams wrote in The Rights of Colonists, 1772:

“Among the natural rights of Colonists are: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to defend them…

The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property without his consent.”

In The Rights of the Colonists, section “The Rights of the Colonist as Subjects,” Samuel Adams wrote:

“Government has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people;

nor can mortals assume a prerogative…reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone.”

In The Rights of the Colonists, section “The Rights of the Colonist as Men,” Samuel Adams wrote:

“In regards to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced…

It is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the church.”

In The Rights of the Colonists, section “The Rights of the Colonist as Christians,” Samuel Adams wrote:

“The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, the rights of the Colonists as Christians may best be understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and the Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

When the Continental Congress first met, September 6, 1774, Samuel Adams proposed that it be opened with prayer, even though the delegates belonged to different Christian denominations which did not always get along:

“…Christian men, who had come together for solemn deliberation in the hour of their extremity, to say there was so wide a difference in their religious belief that they could not, as one man, bow the knee in prayer to the Almighty, whose advice and assistance they hoped to obtain.”

John Adams described this to his wife, Abigail:

“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’ (Pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, Philadelphia), 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.”

In 1775, when British General Gage tried to intimidate him, Samuel Adams sent the message back:

“I trust 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.”

On April 30, 1776, Samuel Adams wrote to John Scollay of Boston:

“Revelation assures us that ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’

Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general character…

Public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals.

‘The Roman Empire,’ says the historian, ‘must have sunk, though the Goths had not invaded it. Why? Because the Roman virtue was sunk.’

Could I be assured that America would remain virtuous, I would venture to defy the utmost efforts of enemies to subjugate her.”

Samuel Adams stated:

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”

Samuel Adams was elected as Governor of Massachusetts, and wrote to James Warren, February 12, 1779, warning:

“A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.

While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

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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These patriot-preachers were   staunchly patriotic, seriously independent, and steadfastly courageous. They   were found in almost all of the various Protestant denominations at the time:   Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Anglican, Lutheran, German Reformed,   etc. Their Sunday sermons — more than Patrick Henry’s oratory, Sam Adams’ and   James Warren’s “Committees of Correspondence,” or Thomas Paine’s “Summer   Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots” — inspired, educated, and motivated the   colonists to resist the tyranny of the British Crown, and fight for their   freedom and independence. Without the Black Regiment, there is absolutely no   doubt that we would still be a Crown colony, with no Declaration of   Independence, no U.S. Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and little liberty.
The exploits of the Black Regiment are legendary. When General George   Washington asked Lutheran pastor John Peter Muhlenberg to raise a regiment of   volunteers, Muhlenberg gladly agreed. Before marching off to join   Washington’s army, he delivered a powerful sermon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   that concluded with these words: “The Bible tells us there is a time for all   things and there is a time to preach and a time to pray, but the time for me   to preach has passed away, and there is a time to fight, and that time has   come now. Now is the time to fight! Call for recruits! Sound the drums!”
Then Muhlenberg took off his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a   Virginia colonel. Grabbing his musket from behind the pulpit, he donned his   colonel’s hat and marched off to war. And as he did, more than 300 of his   male congregants followed him.
Muhlenberg’s brother quotes John Peter as saying, “You may say that as a   clergyman nothing can excuse my conduct. I am a clergyman, it is true, but I   am a member of society as well as the poorest layman, and my liberty is as   dear to me as any man. I am called by my country to its defense. The cause is   just and noble. Were I a Bishop … I should obey without hesitation; and as   far am I from thinking that I am wrong, I am convinced it is my duty so to do   — a duty I owe to my God and my Country.”
Remember, too, it was Pastor Jonas Clark and his congregants at the Church of   Lexington who comprised that initial body of brave colonists called   Minutemen. These were the men, you will recall, who withstood British troops   advancing on Concord to confiscate the colonists’ firearms and arrest Sam   Adams and John Hancock, and fired “the shot heard round the world.”
The “Supreme Knight” and great martyr of Presbyterianism was Pastor James   Caldwell of the Presbyterian church of         Elizabethtown   (present-day Elizabeth), New Jersey. He was called the “Rebel High Priest”   and the “Fighting Chaplain.” He is most famous for the story “Give ’em   Watts!” It is said that at the Springfield engagement, when the militia ran   out of wadding for their muskets, Parson Caldwell galloped to the   Presbyterian church and returned with an armload of hymnbooks, threw them to   the ground, and exclaimed, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts! Give ’em Watts!” — a   reference to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts.
Not an easy path: Presbyterian   minister James Caldwell, who gained fame during the battle of Springfield,   New Jersey, when he gathered Watts hymnals from a church for use as rifle   wadding and shouted to the troops as he handed them out, “put Watts into   them,” was killed in the war, as was his wife.
 Then   there was the Baptist, Joab Houghton, of New Jersey. Houghton was in the   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house at worship when he received the first   information of Concord and Lexington, and of the retreat of the British to   Boston with heavy losses. His great-grandson gave the following eloquent   description of the way he treated the tidings:
Stilling   the breathless messenger, he sat quietly through the services, and when they   were ended, he passed out, and mounting the great stone block in front of the   meeting-house, he beckoned to the people to stop. Men and women paused to   hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day   could mean. At the first words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The   Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible   solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by   the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of   Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered   hills of Boston. Then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said   slowly: “Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New   England! Who follows me to Boston?” And every man of that audience stepped   out into line, and answered, “I!” There was not a coward nor a traitor in old   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house that day. [Source: Cathcart, The Baptists and the American   Revolution, 1876]
Consider,   too, Pastor M’Clanahan, of Culpepper County, Virginia, who raised a military   company of Baptists and served in the field, both as a captain and chaplain.   Reverend David Barrow “shouldered his musket and showed how fields were won.”   Another Baptist, General Scriven, when ordered by a British officer to give   up Sunbury, near Savannah, sent back the answer, “Come and get it.” Deacon   Mills, of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, “commanded skillfully”   1,000 riflemen at the Battle of Long Island, and for his valor was made a   brigadier general. Deacon Loxley of the same church commanded the artillery   at the Battle of Germantown with the rank of colonel. (Source: McDaniel, The People Called Baptists,   1925)
A list drawn up by Judge Curwen, an ardent Tory, contained 926 names of   British sympathizers living in America — colonial law had already exiled a   larger number — but there was “not the name of one Baptist on the list.”   Maybe this is why President George Washington, in his letter to the Baptists,   paid the following tribute: “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious   society of which you are members has been, throughout America, uniformly and   almost unanimously, the firm friend to civil liberty, and the persevering   promoters of our glorious Revolution.” Maybe it explains why Thomas Jefferson   could write to a Baptist church, saying, “We have acted together from the   origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.”
(Source:   Ibid.)

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