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Showing posts from February, 2023

Examining the Religious Habits of the Washington Family

 What were the religious practices of George and Martha Washington, you might ask? Let's take a look and see if their Christian faith played an important part of their lives. Sampler made by Martha Parke Custis (Martha Washington’s second granddaughter) in 1784 at age seven. Her rendering of the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments can be seen as lessons in sewing, reading, writing, and also as instruction in the Christian faith.  Image Source:  George Washington's Mount Vernon The website  George Washington's Mount Vernon   reports   that  " Martha Washington was a devout Christian, her granddaughter Eleanor 'Nelly' Parke Custis Lewis noted that she 'never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties…'" and goes on to say "Mrs. Washington regularly retired to her room between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning 'for an hour of meditation reading & prayer and that hour no one was ever allowed to interfere with.' She and Ne

Samuel Adams: 'the last of the Puritans'

 Samuel Adams was a complex man - he's been called a revolutionary, a publican, a politician, a patriot, a Calvinist, a Psalm-singer and the last of the Puritans.  As a Christian, I believe God uses events in a person's life to equip them for service. Let's take a quick look at the formative years of Mr. Adams life and how the Christian faith influenced his character and activism. The Samuel Adams Heritage Society writes that Samuel's father was "a deacon of the Congregational Church, a businessman and a politician. Sam was born in a prominent and wealthy family that had high expectations of him. Both parents were strict puritans; his mother was a very religious woman who supported the narrow Calvinist faith movement. As a result his family’s religious beliefs played an important role in their son’s education. "His parents wanted him to become a minister of the church but he was not very interested in pursuing that path, he was interested in politics which be

General Henry Knox - 'a supporter of Christian institutions' and the propogation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

While learning about the patriotic lady Lucy Knox, I was prompted to look into the character and religious beliefs of her husband, General Henry Knox. I found an excellent resource at Massachusetts Genealogy Trails . They have an excerpt of General Knox's biography from the book "Military Journal of the American Revolution": By James Thacher; M. D., Surgeon in the American Revolutionary Army; Publ. 1862; Pgs. 477-486 (Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack) posted online. Let's examine the facts from this credible source and decide for ourselves if he had a Christian worldview...(Emphases in bold are mine.) SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF GENERAL KNOX. Among those of our countrymen, who most zealously engaged in the cause of liberty, few sustained a rank more deservedly conspicuous than General Knox. He was one of those heroes, of whom it may be truly said, that he lived for his country. The ardor of his youth and the vigor of his manhood were devoted to acquiring its liberty and e

Choosing Love and Liberty: Lucy Knox

Lucy Flucker Knox (August 2, 1756 – June 20, 1824)  "Lucy hailed from the Flucker family, a wealthy Massachusetts family with deep loyalty to King George III . The family patriarch was Thomas Flucker, Secretary of Massachusetts, and Lucy’s mother was Hannah Waldo, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. The land her family owned and held trading rights to eventually became Maine. Lucy grew up in New England wealth and extravagance with her younger sister, Hannah, and her older brother, Thomas (both named after their parents). "However, Lucy’s unique story begins the moment she met her future husband. While out-and-about in Boston, Lucy noticed a uniformed man mounted on horseback riding around Boston Common. She was immediately enchanted by him and soon learned his name: Henry Knox. Lucy discovered Henry ran a small bookshop across from Williams Court in Cornhill, a popular location for British officers. An avid reader herself, Lucy frequented the bookshop. Henry also became quit

John Adams shares thoughts about his cousin Samuel...

 “Mr. Adams was born and tempered a wedge of steel, to split the knot of lignum vitæ which tied North America to Great Britain. Blunderheaded as were the British ministry, they had sagacity enough to discriminate from all others, for inexorable vengeance, the two men the most to be dreaded by them, Samuel Adams and John Hancock; and had not James Otis been then dead, or worse than dead, his name would have been at the head of The Triumvirate. “James Otis, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, were the three most essential characters; and Great Britain knew it, though America does not. Great and important and excellent characters, aroused and excited by these, arose in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, and in all the other States; but these three were the first movers, the most constant, steady, persevering springs, agents, and most disinterested sufferers and firmest pillars of the whole Revolution. “I shall not attempt even to draw the outlines of the biography of Mr. Samuel

George Washington - 1st President of the United States (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)

  George Washington - The White House Was Christianity an influence in the life of our first president? Please examine the facts and decide for yourself.  "There was a long tradition of service to the church in the Washington family. George Washington’s great-great-grandfather, Lawrence Washington, was an Anglican minister in England, while his great-grandfather, John Washington, and his father, Augustine Washington, were vestrymen for their parishes in Virginia. Both John Washington and his son, Lawrence Washington (who was George Washington’s grandfather) left statements of their belief in the basic tenets of the Christian faith in their wills. "In addition, within their home, George Washington’s parents had both a Bible and several theological books, which are believed to have been used in educating their children. His mother, Mary Ball Washington , was remembered by her grandchildren as a devout woman, who liked to visit a quiet spot outside, where she instructed the yo

Mercy Otis Warren: 'published poet, political playwright and satirist during the age of the American Revolution'

"Born on September 14, 1728 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, Warren was the third of thirteen children of James Otis and Mary Allyne Otis. Her exposure to politics began early; her father was an attorney who was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1745. Like most girls at the time, Warren had no formal education; hers came from sitting in on her brother’s lessons, where she took a particular interest in history and politics. She also made extensive use of her uncle’s large book collection to educate herself. "In 1754, she wed the politically active James Warren, a classmate of her brother’s at Harvard, who encouraged her to pursue writing. The couple had five sons. After James Warren’s election to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1766, the Warrens began hosting leading citizens in their Plymouth home, particularly those opposed to British policies. In fact, Warren herself would maintain a lifelong, though at times tumultuous, friendship with John Adams, which included ex

Essential Reading for American Patriots: 'Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers'

  Description:  No book was more accessible or familiar to the American founders than the Bible, and no book was more frequently alluded to or quoted from in the political discourse of the age. How and for what purposes did the founding generation use the Bible? How did the Bible influence their political culture? Shedding new light on some of the most familiar rhetoric of the founding era, Daniel Dreisbach analyzes the founders' diverse use of scripture, ranging from the literary to the theological. He shows that they looked to the Bible for insights on human nature, civic virtue, political authority, and the rights and duties of citizens, as well as for political and legal models to emulate. They quoted scripture to authorize civil resistance, to invoke divine blessings for righteous nations, and to provide the language of liberty that would be appropriated by patriotic Americans. Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers broaches the perennial question of whether the American

'Unlikely Friends: The Remarkable Story of George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin'

At Leben (A Journal of Reformation Life) , Aaron Sharp writes: "At first glance, the friendship that developed between Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield would seem improbable at best and more likely a work of ironic historical fiction. Yet, the bond that developed between two of the eighteenth century’s most colorful figures was one that was genuine, and probably not as conflicted as one might initially assume. "Americans today are very familiar with the image of Franklin and his importance to the founding of the United States. As an author, publisher, thinker, politician, inventor, and statesman, Franklin’s contributions to American life, culture, and thinking are all but impossible to calculate. De-spite the fact that Franklin’s parents had in his words, 'brought me through my childhood piously in the Dissenting way,' he would also recall that, 'I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the differen

Dr. Barry Waugh Reviews 'Benjamin Franklin, Cultural Protestant' by D.G. Hart:

"Biographies of American historical personalities often prove disappointing for Christians anticipating serious consideration of the subject’s theological commitments within the religious environment of the era. For the Founding Fathers this can be particularly frustrating because the eighteenth century was decidedly religious whether Christian based, or a belief system that is a product of Enlightenment rationalism such as deism. The American colonial era extending to the end of the century proved crucial for the continued battle between God’s authoritative revelation of His will in the Bible and autonomous reason developing religious systems from natural revelation. Reason is good and necessary for understanding, but Christians must have reason captive to the Word of God. D. G. Hart shows in Benjamin Franklin, Cultural Protestant, Oxford, 2021, that in Franklin’s case the revelation based Puritan theology of his youth informed his religious commitment to personal and public good

Essential Reading for American Patriots: 'Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730–1805'

  Description:   The early political culture of the American republic was so deeply influenced by the religious consciousness of the New England preachers that it was often through the political sermon that the political rhetoric of the period was formed, refined, and transmitted. Political sermons such as the fifty-five collected in this work are unique to America, in both kind and significance. Political Sermons of the American Founding Era thus fills an important need if the American founding period is to be adequately understood. Ellis Sandoz is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Eric Voegelin Institute at Louisiana State University. You may purchase a copy of the book here:  Political Sermons of the American Founding Era: 1730–1805 - Liberty Fund

Sharing 'Early America’s Political Pulpit' by Glenn A. Moots

"The pulpit is essential for understanding Early America and America’s Founding. Regular church attendance, essentially mandatory in Anglican and Congregational colonies for many years, meant that the clerical voice was heard more often than that of any politician—and was likely more influential. Calvinist New England looked to ministers as prophets and mediators of the covenant with God. Clergy served as both representatives of de facto (or de jure) religious establishments and of dissenters against establishments. Ministers delivered not only spiritual counsel and theological instruction, but also essential interpretation of local and world events using lenses of scripture, classical sources, and contemporary philosophies. "General interest in religion was not confined to Sunday worship or formal membership. Public occasions such as fasts, thanksgivings, martial mustering, and election day gatherings also put ministers before the public. Nor was interest in religion or scri

Kent State, the Summer of 1970 and the Grace of God

  Me in 1975 - Seeking God. Al Baker recently wrote an article on the tragedy of the Kent State demonstrations and the killing of four students in May of 1970:  Four Dead in Ohio ( FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS )  . I remember being 12 years-old at the time this happened and the disagreement between my father (a full-time Air National Guardsman) and myself. I could see that he was pained over the event, but he defended the soldiers who fired on the students and I was shocked at his defense of their actions. I also remember that my friends and I embraced the rebellious culture of the time and soon found ourselves acting like our "heroes;" while we were only in our early teens we became somewhat jaded and mistrusted those in authority. By the time I turned 17 years-old, I began to have a yearning in my heart to become a Christian - I wanted to become a new creation, but I didn't know how. (As a child I remember watching televangelists and reciting the "sinner's praye