Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yale College

Collegiate School at Saybrook, Connecticut was founded on October 16, 1701 by ten Congregational ministers. It was moved from Saybrook to New Haven, Connecticut and renamed after Elihu Yale (1649-1721). Consequently, the ten Congregational ministers who founded Yale had been unhappy with the growing liberalism which had taken root in Harvard. The ten ministers donated forty books for the library of the new school.

The General Court passed an Act which authorized the creation of the new college. The Act declared that the new college be an institution where:

"Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State."

The first classes held in Collegiate School occurred in the residence of Reverend Abraham Pierson who became the school's first rector.

Elihu Yale was and American born English merchant who became governor of the East India Company. He donated his library and goods from his personal fortune which amounted to $2,800. This generous amount of $2,800 was the equivalent to the annual income of about fourteen doctors.

It was in 1745 that the school was moved from Saybrook to New Haven and renamed Yale.

On November 11, 1701, the trustees of the school stated the purpose for which the school was created.

"To plant, and under ye Divine blessing to propagate in this wilderness, the blessed Reformed, Protestant Religion, in ye purity of its Order, and Worship."

Specific rules were enumerated by the founders concerning the students at Yale College.

"Whereunto the Liberal, and Religious Education of Suitable youth is under ye blessing of God, a chief, & most probably expedient...we agree to...these Rules:
1. The said rector shall take Especial Care as of the moral Behavior of the Students at all Times so with industry to Instruct and Ground Them well in Theoretical Devinity...and [not to] allow them to be Instructed and Grounded in any other Systems of Synopses...To recite the Assemblies Catechism in Latin...[with] such Explanations as may be (through the Blessing of God) most Conducive to their Establishment in the Principles of the Christian protestant Religion.
2. That the said Rector shall Cause the Scriptures Daily...morning and evening to be read by the Students at the times of prayer in the School...Expound practical Theology...Repeat Sermons...studiously Indeavor[ing] in the Education of said students to promote the power and Purity of Religion and Best Edification and peace of these New England Churches.

Students who are enrolled at Yale were required to:

"All scholars shall live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret."

Private prayer was required of all students.

The primary goal of the college as outlined by the founders of Yale was clearly set forth:

"Every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life."

The Yale Charter of 1745 clarified the intention and goal of the college.

"Which has received the favorable benefactions of many liberal [generous] and piously disposed persons, and under the blessing of Almighty God has trained up many worthy persons for the service of god in the state as well as in the church."

Around the year 1800, a faculty member Benjamin Silliman wrote:

"It would delight your heart to see how the trophies of the cross are multiplied in this institution. Yale College is a little temple: prayer and praise seem to be the delight of the greater part of the students."
Benjamin Silliman was a well-known science educator and editor. He served on the faculty at Yale during the era of President Timothy Dwight 1795-1817.

Tragically, the original high ideals of the founders of Yale have faded into obscurity.

Cyrus and Nettie McCormick

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
Cyrus Hall McCormick Sr., (February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) was a believer in Christ who made his greatest contribution to society in the workplace. He was born in 1809 on the McCormick farm in Woodridge, Virginia on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. Mary Ann Hall and Robert Hall McCormick had three siblings: Leander J. McCormick, William Sanderson McCormick, and Cyrus.

A speaker in a little church in Virginia proclaimed, “I want everyone who is on Christ's side to stand up.” Cyrus McCormick did not stand as his neighbors and members of the congregation stood to their feet. After the meeting, he went home and went to bed. His father entered his room and spoke these words to Cyrus: “Son, don't you know that by being quiet you are rejecting Christ?” Cyrus hadn't considered that possibility when examining his decision not to stand. He went to the home of his close friend Billy McClung. It was well known throughout the community that Bill was a Christian.

“Billy, how can I know Jesus?” he asked his friend. Billy told him to confess his sins to Christ and ask his forgiveness, right the wrongs which he may have done to other people and make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. On the following Sunday service, Cyrus McCormick stood up in church declaring before the congregation that he had given his life to Jesus.

His father, Robert Hall McCormick valiantly sought to invent a mechanical device through which he could harvest wheat. He worked for sixteen years on a horse-drawn reaper but was unsuccessful. Although his father's attempts to create a reaper failed, his son Cyrus invented a mechanical reaper which succeeded in his endeavor.

"Turn the hogs loose in the grain, Son. Ain't no way we're going to save it now. Might as well at least fatten them on it."
This would be the tragic response of his disheartened father as the grain began to spoil.

Reaping wheat was hard tiresome work and he helped his father during the harvest season. Even though the entire family helped with the harvest; the wheat began to turn and go bad. Young Cyrus new that farmers needed machinery equipment which could reap the wheat quickly before it would turn bad.

Throughout the year he investigated the necessary steps to solve the problems which arose experimented with solutions. Cyrus McCormick was twenty-two when he invented the McCormick Reaper. Cyrus 'carried the torch' of his father's project and developed a mechanical reaper in two months.

He first designed a reaper which horses would pull beside it so as not to trample the grain. The McCormick Reaper had a paddle wheel would press the wheat against a cutting knife. Even though the stalks may have fallen, the wheel would lift them up for cutting. The cutting blade of the reaper had teeth like those of a saw blade that would slide in a side to side motion. The blade of his reaper moved in a set of 'fingers' that held the stalks in place as they were cut. He constructed a platform for the cut stalks so that the heads of grain would align in the same direction. The platform would keep its relative position by swinging even in a bumpy wheat field. Field hands would walk beside the reaper to rake off the stalks in order to tie them in bundles. The stalks that were being cut were separated by a flat board from the grain which was left standing. A heavy wheel carried the machine and powered all the movable parts at a constant speed. A smaller wheel supported the cutting knife.

It was successfully demonstrated during tests in 1831 and the McCormick Reaper was patented on  June 21, 1834. Although he was issued a patent; it merely give him standing in court. Several people stole his ideas and he fought legal battles concerning his invention throughout his life. He rightly assumed the best course of action was to manufacture a better product at an inexpensive price which was more competitive than other reapers. Cyrus McCormick became an important influential businessman through the development factories and franchises.

A biographer declared that it was impossible to separate Cyrus McCormick's religious life from his business practice for his Christian principles

His favorite passage found in the Bible was the eighth chapter of Romans which promises that nothing can separate Christians from the love of God. What Cyrus McCormick believed and what he did were related; “He was a man of faith and works” and “felt that he was born into the world with certain things to do.”

The thing which Cyrus McCormick sought to do was to combat hunger. Hutchinson, his biographer declared that McCormick “believed that religion was a remedy for all the ill of life.” Cyrus McCormick 'contributed generously to the Church and was instrumental in increasing its influence and membership.”

Cyrus and Leander moved to Chicago and established a large centralized facility to manufacture agricultural farm implements in 1847. In 1849, the two brothers were joined by their third brother William. Savvy innovative business practices resulted in increased sales and as railroads were developed they experienced a wider distribution of their products to more distant markets.
The brothers trained a network of salesmen who were able to demonstrate proficiently the operation of the Reaper in the field.

William H. Seward spoke of the McCormick reaper owning to it “the line of civilization moves westward thirty miles each year.”

Among the most famous advertisements for the company was an epic painting created by Emanuel Leutze.

The slogan was “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way with the McCormick Reapers in the Van.”

He overcame the misfortune of losing his patent fourteen years after inventing the reaper. The loss of his patent opened up competition. He became the inventor and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company which eventually became International Harvester Company in 1902.

When the “Panic of 1837” occurred, he went bankrupt through the failure of banks. He sought to expand his market in 1851 by selling his machine to farmers in Europe.

He received several honors which compensated for the lack of recognition and praise from fellow Americans. In 1856, his factory produced more than four thousand reapers a year and he became world famous. McCormick was elected a corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences for 'having done more for the cause of agriculture than ay other living man.' McCormick helped to introduce mechanization to the agricultural industry. His invention was responsible for harvesting more food to feed a multitude of people throughout the world. There were thirty-six countries throughout the world which produced wheat by using his Reaper. The McCormick Reaper has been described as "the liberator of the land-serf in twenty countries, and the bread-machine of one half of the human race.”

It freed workers for employment in the fledgling Industrial Revolution in America. Unfortunately, it freed men to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. The invention of the McCormick Reaper made farming much more efficient and resulted in a global shift from farm labor to factory work in the metropolitan areas of the world. The McCormick Reaper won the Grand Medal at the Paris exhibition in 1855.

Nancy Fowler McCormick was nicknamed Nettie. Nettie was born on February 8, 1835 in Brownsville, New York. Her father, a merchant who owned a store in town was killed in an accident seven month's after Nettie was born. He was tragically killed in an accident involving a skittish horse. After his unfortunate death, her mother continued to operate the store until she died in 1842 when Nettie was seven years old. Nettie's grandmother Maria Fowler of Clayton, New York raise the little girl and her brother Eldridge.

Nettie was twenty-one years old when she became acquainted with Cyrus McCormick in 1856 while she was visiting some relatives in Chicago, Illinois. Cyrus realized that Nettie was the woman whom he wanted to marry and cherish her throughout his life. There were twenty-five years difference between Nettie and Cyrus but forty-five year old Cyrus was certain that Nettie was the one special woman in his life.

Cyrus worked hard throughout his life and made his fortune through the invention of his reaper. He was forthright with Nettie and declared to his beloved Nettie:

“I do not think there is a man in the world who would strive more to please you than I should do--no one whose disposition and manner would be more under your control and influence than mine as your husband."

Cyrus McCormick married Nancy Maria Fowler (1846-1912) on January 26, 1858. She was twenty-three years old when she chose to marry Cyrus. She gave Cyrus these children:

Cyrus Hall McCormick II (1859-1932) was born in Morristown, New Jersey.

Cyrus Hall McCormick III (1889-1970) was Nettie's grandson through Cyrus Hall McCormick II and would become Chairman of the company.

Mary Virginia McCormick (1861-1941)

Robert McCormick (1863-1910)

Anita McCormick (1866-1954) who married Emmons Blaine (1857-1892).

Alice McCormick (1870-1945)

Harold Fowler McCormick (1872–1941), married Edith Rockefeller. She was the youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller. Their son, Harold Fowler McCormick, Jr. (1898-1973) was the great uncle of Robert R. McCormick.

Stanley F. McCormick (1874-1947) worked for the company but retired in 1906 at an early age after developing schizophrenia. Katherine, his wife was a suffragette who funded Gregory Pincus's research to develop the first birth control pill.

When her third child Robert died in 1865; Nettie blamed herself and mistakenly felt that God was punishing her for her sin of slothfulness and procrastination. Nettie struggled with feelings that God was dealing harshly with her for she had two more miscarriages and a daughter died in infancy. Two of her remaining five children became afflicted with mental illness.

Nettie earnestly sought to be a good wife and promised that she would “always sympathize with my dear husband. I will support him. I will be his guardian angel. Do as he wishes.”

Nettie was often lonely for Cyrus' business responsibilities took him away from home. She sincerely believed that duty was more honorable than enjoyment and confidentially wrote in her journal “It sounds very easy, but it is not easy to be really good--and always put forth the best effort--to study wise words, to say the right thing in the right place. This is not easy.”

Nettie was a very serious even as a child. She kept a journal of introspection, self examination and soul searching. She wondered if she too would die at a young age having lost both of her parents as a child. She was determined to make her life count for something for life was too short. She was reminded of Jesus Christ's parable of the talents which was a daily reminder to her; “to whom much is given, much will be required.”

As a child, Nettie chose to live her life in the service of God and her the people whom He brought into her life. She didn't believe that the primary goal of her life was pursuing personal happiness.

She wasn't interested in the frivolities of youth and chose to dedicate her life to daily serve her God. Her youth would not be spent not in idleness but in preparing for the business of life. This is an entry in Nettie's diary: "How my bark [boat] hurries down the dark stream of time!"

Nettie enjoyed singing in her church choir and played the melodeon. She became very active in the church thanking God for the opportunity to be in Sunday school which she attended regularly. Nettie felt the suffering which others who were less fortunate than herself experienced. At seventeen years of age, she attended the Troy Female Seminary and wrote to her brother:

"It has been very, very cold here today--Oh my heart bleeds for those who are turned out of house and home this stinging cold night."
Nettie had a deep longing to accomplish something wonderful in the service of humanity and thence scorned the fashionable pleasures enjoyed by other women in society.

"Usefulness is the great thing in life--to do something for others leaves a sweeter odor than a life of pleasure."

Nettie McCormick realized the importance of the roles of parenting in the development of a child's life. Since she had been orphaned at the age of seven; she was keen to realize the importance of these roles. She tried to be a good mother to her children and realized they would watch her learning from her example.

She and Cyrus would need to love the Christian lives for their children to see and emulate. As parents, their words and actions would shape the lives of their children.

"Now the clay is soft and the vessel may be molded for honor or dishonor."

Nettie and Cyrus McCormick required obedience from their children believing that disobedience was a flower of evil seed that lies in fallen human nature.

Cyrus McCormick was a staunch believer in Christ committed to fulfill his Lord's Great Commission. He helped D. L. Moody in 1869 by generously providing $10,000 to assist Moody in creating the Chicago Young Men's Christian Association [YMCA].

Tragically, the Chicago factory burned on October 23,1871 in the Great Fire that swept through Chicago.

It was Nettie who insisted that Cyrus rebuild the factory although he considered retiring. She became the inspiration and power behind the man who encouraged Cyrus to maintain supremacy in the manufacture of Reapers. Nettie selected the necessary building materials, consulting with architects and oversaw the construction of the new manufacturing facility. The new factory opened its doors on February 3, 1873 and as Cyrus' health declined; she assumed control over business affairs and their mutual philanthropic ventures.

McCormick donated $100,000 to finance the transfer Hanover Seminary to Chicago. In Chicago, the seminary was renamed McCormick Theological Seminary. His wife Nettie would fund the construction of buildings, furnishings and maintain the necessary repairs of the seminary as well as provide scholarships. Nettie McCormick felt that investing in young men who would preach the gospel was of utmost importance. Nettie and her sons would establish an endowment in 1905 through which the president of the seminary would receive a salary. The McCormick family generously gave a contribution of more than four million dollars to the seminary. Tusculum College of Tennessee was a southern school in the mountains which Cyrus funded. Nettie developed an interest in which she encouraged the development of curriculum to teach domestic science and manual training in schools throughout the south. Furthermore, she assisted in the establishment of Christian churches as well as Sunday schools in the south. Her desire to assist in the training of young people became the door through which she chose to support the work of John Mott as he traveled throughout the world for the Student Volunteer Movement. It was John Mott who proclaimed that Nettie was 'Christianity in action.'

This generous Christian philanthropist gifted with ability in science and technology to innovate utilized his skill to serve his fellow man. He was guided by his Calvinist faith and possessed the character traits of self-denial, sobriety, thriftiness, efficiency, and morality. His talent for high production while maintaining low consumption of resources created a surplus of wealth which he invested for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. At a very early age in his life Cyrus McCormick held the conviction that fighting hunger was a noble task of a Christian.

Cyrus McCormick owned the Herald and Times newspapers of Chicago, Illinois. He wrote numerous editorials in which he called for the North and South to reconcile with each other. He would attempt to explain the viewpoints of both side fairly and objectively. When the Civil War began he visited both sides seeking to be a peace-maker trying to “bring the severed nation back together.' McCormick proposed a peace-plan in which would be established a Board of Arbitration between the two conflicting regions of the country which would examine the causes of the conflict and identify 'a just basis on which both sides could agree to disband their armies and reestablish peace.”

Casson declared that “He actually believed that he could establish peace.” Furthermore, he was a staunch supporter of Church Unity through which he believed would strengthen those persons who worked toward peace in which he called for “mutual forbearance and the pursuit of those things which tend to peace.”

Cyrus McCormick was a pioneer in the concept of an international means by which the production and distribution of food could be controlled in an orderly manner to benefit the hungry and needy.

Cyrus McCormick sought to pass on his faith in Christ to his son before his death in 1884. His son, Cyrus Jr. became the first chairman of Moody Bible Institute. When he died Nettie realized her large fortune was a trust to be used for the Lord's work.

Nettie McCormick's generous philanthropy reached various project and interests. She financially supported an ailing wife of an Italian immigrant pastor. Furthermore, she provided funds for the dental work of a son of a director of college projects. Money was sent to the director of an orphanage in Tennessee enabling him to 'lay down' his work 'for a while and go away from home.”

Nettie generously gave generous financial gifts to educational institutions such as Moody Bible Institute and Princeton. A gift of $25,000 was given to construct the first building of Alborz College in Teheran, Iran. She send a financial gift for a hospital in Siam and for theological education in Korea. Between 1890 and 1923, Nettie McCormick donated $8 million dollars (over $160 million by today's equivalency) to hospitals, disaster and relief agencies, churches, youth activities and educational institutions. Through her gracious generosity, Nettie became the leading benefactress of the Presbyterian Church in America.

"The Glory of My Master" Nettie declared to a close confidant and friend, "Yes, money is power, as you have said, but I have always tried not to trust in it, but rather use it for the glory of my Master."

Nettie McCormick's simple faith in Jesus Christ was her strength and she became the great woman she aspired to become as a young girl.

"We plan--and God steps in with another plan for us, and He is all wise and the most loving friend we have always helping us."
Cyrus McCormick died in Chicago in 1884. Tragically, he had been an invalid during the remaining three to four months of his life. His grandson, Cyrus Hall McCormick III inherited the mantle of industrial responsibility.

Tragically the McCormick factories became the site of urban labor strikes which led to the infamous Haymarket Square Riots which occurred in 1886 two years after Cyrus' death. It has been said that the reason for the strike was that the workers were earning only $9 a week.

Eventually, Cyrus McCormick III met J. Pierpoint Morgan and became president of International Harvester Corporation.

The invention of the McCormick reaper had a profound impact upon the world economy. In Cyrus' lifetime, his Reaper was utilized in 36 wheat producing nations with a result of increasing their productivity and in contrast decreasing world hunger. The McCormick Reaper has been described as "the liberator of the land-serf in twenty countries, and the bread machine of one half of the human race.” The positive result of utilizing the McCormick Reaper was a substantial decrease in the cost of bread which enabled more people to purchase basic food stuff.

The introduction of the McCormick Reaper became the introduction of the mechanization of agriculture. He perfected a mechanical farm instrument and established a corporation from the marketing and sale of his machines.

Cyrus McCormick hated hunger and eliminating hunger became his life's work.

 “He picked up the task of feeding the hungry masses – the Christly task that had lain unfulfilled for eighteen centuries, and led the way in organizing it into a system of international reciprocity.”

Cyrus McCormick and Abraham Lincoln were both born in 1809 and on farms in the south. They struggled through the youth in adversity and both came to prominence in Illinois. Both Cyrus McCormick and Abraham Lincoln sought to preserve the Union. It was the McCormick Reaper which enabled Abraham Lincoln to feed his army throughout the Civil War. McCormick and Lincoln were both emancipators: one freed us from famine and hunger while the other freed men from slavery. McCormick and Lincoln are both buried in Illinois. These two men would bear heavy tasked and both worked diligently for the common good of mankind.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cotton Mather's Life of William Bradford

Excerpts from the Magnalia Christi Americana

     …And the Lord accordingly brought them at last safe unto their desired haven: and not long after helped their distressed relations thither after them, where indeed they found upon almost all accounts a new world, but a world in which they found that they must live like strangers and pilgrims. 
     Among those devout people was our William Bradford, who was born Anno Domini 1588(9), in an obscure village called Austerfield, where the people were as un-acquainted with the Bible, as the Jews do seem to have been with part of it in the days of Josiah; a most ignorant and licentious people, and like unto their priest. Here, and in some other places, he had a com-fortable inheritance left him of his honest parents, who died while he was yet a child, and cast him on the education, first of his grand parents, and then of his uncles, who devoted him, like his ancestors, unto the affairs of husbandry. Soon a long sickness kept him, as he would afterwards thankfully say, from the vanities of youth, and made him the fitter for what he was afterwards to undergo. When he was about a dozen years old, the reading of the Scriptures began to cause great impressions upon him; and those impressions were much assisted and improved, when he came to enjoy Mr. Richard Clifton’s illuminating ministry, not far from his abode; he was then also further befriended, by being brought into the company and fellowship of such as were then called professors; though the young man that brought him into it did after become a prophane and wicked apostate. Nor could the wrath of his uncles, nor the scoff of his neigh-bours, now turned upon him, as one of the Puritans, divert him from his pious inclinations. 
     At last, beholding how fearfully the evangelical and apostolical church-form, whereinto the churches of the primitive times were cast by the good spirit of God, had been deformed by the apostacy of the succeeding times; and what little progress the Reformation had yet made in many parts of Christendom towards its recovery, he set himself by reading, by discourse, by prayer, to learn whether it was not his duty to withdraw from the communion of the parish-assemblies, and engage with some Society of the faithful, that should keep close unto the written word of God, as the rule of their worship. And after many distresses of mind concerning it, he took up a very deliberate and understanding resolution, of doing so; which resolution he cheerfully prosecuted, although the provoked rage of his friends tried all the ways imaginable to reclaim him from it, unto all of whom his answer was: 
     “Were I like to endanger my life, or consume my estate by ungodly courses, your counsels to me were very seasonable; but you know that I have been diligent and provident in my calling, and not only desirous to augment what I have, but also to enjoy it in your company; to part from which will be as great a cross as can befall me. Nevertheless, to keep a good conscience, and walk in such a way as God has prescribed in his Word, is a thing which I must prefer before you all, and above life itself. Wherefore, since ’tis for a good cause that I am like to suffer the disasters which you lay before me, you have no cause to be either angry with me, or sorry for me; yea, I am not only willing to part with everything that is dear to me in this world for this cause, but I am also thankful that God has given me an heart to do, and will accept me so to suffer for him. 
     Some lamented him, some derided him, all dissuaded him: nevertheless, the more they did it, the more fixed he was in his purpose to seek the ordinances of the gospel, where they should be dispensed with most of the commanded purity; and the sudden deaths of the chief relations which thus lay at him, quickly after convinced him what a folly it had been to have quitted his profession, in expectation of any satisfaction from them. So to Holland he attempted a removal. 
     Having with a great company of Christians hired a ship to transport them for Holland, the master perfidiously betrayed them into hands of those persecutors, who rifled and ransacked their goods, and clapped their persons into prison at Boston, where they lay for a month together. But Mr. Bradford being a young man of about eighteen, was dismissed sooner than the rest, so that within a while he had opportunity with some others to get over to Zealand, through perils, both by land and sea not inconsiderable; where he was not long ashore ere a viper seized on his hand – that is, an officer – who carried him unto the magistrates, unto whom an envious passenger had accused him as having fled out of England. When the magistrates understood the true cause of his coming thither, they were well satisfied with him; and so he repaired joyfully unto his brethren at Amsterdam, where the difficulties to which he afterwards stooped in learning and serving of a Frenchman at the working of silks, were abundantly compensated by the delight wherewith he sat under the shadow of our Lord, in his purely dispensed ordinances. At the end of two years, he did, being of age to do it, convert his estate in England into money; but setting up for himself, he found some of his designs by the providence of God frowned upon, which he judged a correction bestowed by God upon him for certain decays of internal piety, whereinto he had fallen; the consumption of his estate he thought came to prevent a consumption in his virtue. But after he had resided in Holland about half a score years, he was one of those who bore a part in that hazardous and generous enterprise of removing into New-England, with part of the English church at Leyden, where, at their first landing, his dearest consort accidentally falling overboard, was drowned in the harbour; and the rest of his days were spent in the services, and temptations, of that American wilderness. 
     Here was Mr. Bradford, in the year 1621, unanimously chosen the governour of the plantation: the difficulties whereof were such, that if he had not been a person of more than ordinary piety, wisdom and courage, he must have sunk under them. He had, with a laudable industry, been laying up a treasure of experience, and he had now occasion to use it: indeed, nothing but an experienced man could have been suitable to the necessities of the people The potent nations of the Indians, into whose country they were come, would have cut them off, if the blessing of God upon his conduct had not quelled them; and if his prudence, justice and moderation had not over-ruled them, they had been ruined by their own distempers… 
     For two years together after the beginning of the colony, whereof he was not governour, the poor people had a great experiment of “man’s not living by bread alone;” for when they were left all together without one morsel of bread for many months one after another, still the good providence of God relieved them, and supplied them, and this for the most part out of the sea. In this low condition of affairs, there was no little exercise for the prudence and patience of the governour, who cheerfully bore his part in all: and, that industry might not flag, he quickly set himself to settle propriety among the new-planters, they had sunk under the burden of these difficulties; but our Bradford had a double portion of that spirit… 
     The leader of a people in a wilderness had need to be a Moses; and if a Moses had not led the people of Plymouth Colony, when this worthy person was their governour, the people had never with so much unanimity and importunity still called him to lead them. Among many instances thereof, let this one piece of self-denial be told for a memorial of him, wheresoever this history shall be considered: The Patent of the Colony was taken in his name, running in these terms: “To William Bradford, his heirs, associates and assigns.” But when the number of freemen was much increased, and many new townships erected, the General Court there desired of Mr. Bradford, that he would make a surrender of the same into their hands, which he willingly and presently assented unto, and confirmed it according to their desire by his hand and seal, reserving no more for himself than was his proportion, with others, by agreement. But as he found the providence of Heaven many ways recompensing his many acts of self-denial, so he gave this testimony to the faithfulness of the divine promises: “That he had forsaken friends, houses and lands for the sake of the gospel, and the Lord gave them him again.” Here he prospered in his estate; and besides a worthy son which he had by a former wife, he had also two sons and a daughter by another, whom he married in this land. 
     He was a person for study as well as action; and hence, notwithstanding the difficulties through which he passed in his youth, he attained unto a notable skill in languages: the Dutch tongue was become almost as vernacular to him as the English; the French tongue he could also manage; the Latin and the Greek he had mastered; but the Hebrew he most of all studied, “Because,” he said, “he would see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in their native beauty.” He was also well skilled in History, in Antiquity, and in Philosophy; and for Theology he became so versed in it, that he was an irrefragable disputant against the errors, especially those of Anabaptism, which with trouble he saw rising in his colony; wherefore he wrote some significant things for the confutation of those errors. But the crown of all was his holy, prayerful, watchful, and fruitful walk with God, wherein he was very exemplary. 
     At length he fell into an indisposition of body, which rendered him unhealthy for a whole winter; and as the spring advanced, his health yet more declined; yet he felt himself not what he counted sick, till one day; in the night after which, the God of heaven so filled his mind with ineffable consolations, that he seemed little short of Paul, rapt up unto the unutterable, entertainments of Paradise. The next morning he told his friends, “That the good Spirit of God had given him a pledge of his happiness in another world, and the first-fruits of his eternal glory;” and on the day following he died, May 9, 1657, in the 69th year of his age – lamented by all the colonies of New-England, as a common blessing and father to them all.
Men are but flocks: Bradford beheld their need,
And long did them at once both rule and feed.

(The epitaph of Governour William Bradford)

“Let the Right Hand of the Lord Awake!”

National Thanksgiving Proclamation - 1795

President George Washington issued the National Thanksgiving Proclamation on January 1, 1795.

“It is an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced. 
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, 
and on that day to meet together and render sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation; 
particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and, by their union. Establish liberty with order; for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic; for the reasonable control which has been given to a spirit of disorder in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally for the prosperous condition of our affairs, public and private, 
and at the same time humbly and fervently beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; 
to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits, 
to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them, by our gratitude for them, and by a corresponding conduct as citizens and as men to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among us true and useful knowledge. 
To diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, and morality and piety, and finally to impart all the blessings we possess or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind. 
In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Philadelphia the first day of January 1795.” 
George Washington

Zorach v. Clauson – United States Supreme Court

In 1952, Justice William O Douglas delivered the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Zorach v. Clauson, 343 US 306 307 313. 

“The First Amendment, however does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of Church and State. Rather, it studiously defines the manner, the specific ways, in which there shall be no concert or union or dependency one on the other. 
That is the common sense of the matter. Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other – hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly.... 
Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamation making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; 'so help me God' in our courtroom oaths – these and all other references to the Almighty that run through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies, would be flouting the First Amendment. A fastidious atheist or agnostic could even object to the supplication with which the Court opens each session: God save the United States and this Honorable Court.'” 
We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being...When the state encourages religious instruction or cooperates with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follows the best of our traditions. 
For it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe... 
We find no constitutional requirement makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against the efforts to widen the scope of religious influence. The government must remain neutral when it comes to competition between sects... 
We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility to religion.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Second Annual National Day of Thanksgiving - 1864

President Abraham Lincoln, on October 21, 1864, issued the second annual Day of National Thanksgiving which was observed on the last Thursday of November.

“As I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

First Annual National Day of Thanksgiving - 1863

A formal proclamation of the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving passed by an Act of Congress was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863.

“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy... 
I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens...[It is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord...It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.” 
Abraham Lincoln

National Fast Day – March 30, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued an historic Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day on March 30, 1863.

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation: 
And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize that sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord: 
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in the world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? 
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved there many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. 
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. 
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. 
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. 
I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion. 
All thing being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restorations of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. 
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Richard Henry Lee 1732 – 1794

Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, a delegate to the First Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a United States Senator.

The Journals of Congress record that Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams, and General Daniel Roberdeau recommended a resolution on November 1, 1777. The resolution was to set apart:

“Thursday, the 18th of December next, for 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 acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, 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.”

February 21, 1786 - Thanksgiving Proclamation

On February 21, 1786, President (Governor) John Langdon of New Hampshire issued A Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting and Prayer.

A Proclamation For A Day of Public FASTING and PRAYER Throughout this state [1786] 
Vain is the acknowledgment of a Supreme Ruler of the Universe, unless such acknowledgments influence our practice, and call forth those expressions of homage and adoration that are due to his character and providential government, agreeably to the light of nature, enforced by revelation, and countenanced by the practice of civilized nations, in humble and fervent application to the throne for needed mercies, and gratitude for favours received. 
It having been the laudable practice of this State, at the opening of the Spring, to set apart a day for such denomination, to assemble together on said day, in their respective places of public worship; 
that the citizens of this State may with one heart and voice, penitently confess their manifold sins and transgressions, and fervently implore the divine benediction, that a true spirit of repentance and humiliation may be poured out upon all orders and degrees of men, and a complete and universal reformation take place: 
that he who gave wisdom and fortitude in the scenes of battle, would give prudence and direction to extricate us from succeeding embarrassments, build up support and establish this rising Empire. 
Particularly, that he would be pleased to bless the great Council of the United States of America, and direct their deliberations to the wise and best determinations,succeed our embassies at foreign Courts, bless our Allies and national Benefactors:
that he would always be pleased, to keep this State under his most holy protection; that all in the legislature, executive and judicial departments, may be guided and supported by wisdom, integrity, and firmness, that all the people though this State, and through the land, may be animated by a true estimation of their privileges, and taught to secure, by their patriotism and virtue, what they have acquired by their valour: 
that a spirit of emulation, industry, economy and frugality, may be diffused abroad, and that we may all be disposed to lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty: 
that he would be graciously pleased to bless us in the seasons of the year, and cause the earth to yield her increase, prosper our husbandry, merchandise, navigation and fishery, and all the labour of our hands, and give us to hear the voice of health in our habitations, and enjoy plenty of our borders: 
that unanimity, peace and harmony, may be promoted and continue, and a spirit of universal philanthropy pervade the land that he would be pleased to smile upon the means of education, and bless every institution of useful knowledge; 
and above all, that he would rain down righteousness upon the earth, revive religion, and spread abroad the knowledge of the true GOD, the Savior of man, throughout the world. 
And all servile labour and recreations are forbidden on said day. 
GIVEN at the Council-Chamber in Portsmouth, this twenty-first day of February, in the year of our LORD, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, and in the tenth year of the Sovereignty and Independence of the United States of America.

John Langdon - Thanksgiving Proclamation - 1785

President (Governor) John Langdon issued an official Proclamation for a General Thanksgiving on October 21, 1785, to the State of New Hampshire.

A Proclamation For A General Thanksgiving

THE munificent Father of Mercies, and Sovereign Disposer of Events, having been graciously pleased to relieve the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA from the Calamities of a long and dangerous war through the whole course of which, he continued to smile on the Labours of our Husbandmen, thereby preventing Famine (the almost inseparable Companion of War) from entering our Borders,-eventually restored to us the blessings of Peace, on Terms advantageous and honourable: 
And since the happy Period, when he silenced the Noise of contending Armies, has graciously smiled on the Labours of our Hands, caused the Earth to bring forth her increase in plentiful Harvests, and crowned the present Year with new and additional Marks of his unlimited Goodness: 
It therefore becomes our indispensable Duty, not only to acknowledge, in general with the rest of Mankind, our dependence on the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, but as a People peculiarly favored, to testify our Gratitude to the Author of all our Mercies, in the most solemn and public manner. 
I DO therefore, agreeably to a Vote of the General Court, appointing Thursday the 24th Day of November next, to be observed and kept as a Day of GENERAL THANKSGIVING throughout this State, by and with the Advice of Council, issue this Proclamation, recommending to the religious Societies of ever Denomination, to assemble on that Day, to celebrate the Praises of our divine Benefactor, 
to acknowledge our own Unworthiness, confess our manifold Transgressions, implore his Forgiveness, and intreat the continuous of those Favours which he had been graciously pleased to bestow on us; 
that he would inspire our Rulers with Wisdom, prosper our Trade and Commerce, smile upon our Husbandry, bless our Seminaries of Learning, and spread the Gospel of his Grace over all the Earth. 
And all servile Labour is forbidden on said Day. 
GIVEN at the Council-Chamber in Concord, this Twenty-first Day of October, in the Year of our LORD, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-five, and in the Tenth Year of the Independence of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA

Thanksgiving for Victory of the American Colonies

Governor John Hancock of Boston, Massachusetts issued A Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving on November 8, 1783 to celebrate the victorious conclusion to the American War of Independence.

John Hancock, Esquire
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
A Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving

“Whereas...these United States are not only happily rescued from the Danger and Calamities to which they have been so long exposed, but there Freedom, Sovereignty and Independence acknowledged. 
And whereas...the Interposition of Divine Providence in our Favour hath been most abundantly and most graciously manifested, and the Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and Gratitude to the God of their salvation. 
Impressed therefore with an exhalted Sense of the Blessings by which we are surrounded, and of our entire being Dependence on that Almighty Being from whose Goodness and Bounty they are derived; 
I do by and with the advice of the Council appoint Thursday the Eleventh 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.”

Thanksgiving and Praise - October 3, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln declared a proclamation which the Congress of the United States designated as a National Day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863.

“I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States...to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens...[It is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord...It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”  

Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer

On October 18, 1780, the Continental Congress issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. The proclamation came after Benedict Arnold's plot to betray the Continental Army was discovered and thwarted. The public day of thanksgiving and prayer was in response to the Providential deliverance of General Washington and the Continental Army.

“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 called for their devout and thankful acknowledgments, 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.”

First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving - 1777

As a result of the Victory at the Battle of Saratoga in New York, the Continental Congress issued the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving on November 1, 1777

“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 legislature 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 acknowledgments 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 is 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.”

First Thanksgiving Proclamation - William Bradford

Three years would pass after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World and two years after their first Thanksgiving. Governor Bradford issued the first official proclamation of a day of Thanksgiving on November 29, 1623.

“To all ye Pilgrims: 
In as much as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas,beans, squashes, and garden vegetable, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea wish fish and clams, and inasmuch as he had protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. 
Now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.  
William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye Colony."

Tisquantum - "Squanto"

Captain George Weymouth captured Tisquantum and took him to England in 1605 where he learned to speak English. Tisquantum spend nine years in England before he could return home to his family of Patuxets Indians on Cape Cod. In 1614, he traveled home on Captain John Smith's vessel. 

Captain Thomas Hunt, a member of Smith's expedition, deceptively lured Tisquantum and twenty-six other Indians on to his ship. Hunt chained them in irons after luring the Indians on to his ship by pretending to want to trade with them. Tisquantum and the other Indians were taken to Spain and sold into slavery. Tisquantum was delivered into the company of two friars who introduced the Christian faith to him. Eventually, he made his way to England and boarded Captain Dermer's ship bound for America in 1619. Many of the other Indians which had been enslaved never returned to America. When he arrived in Cape Cod, he learned that every member of his tribe had died due to an epidemic of small pox in 1617.

The Pilgrims reached the shore of Cape Cod in November of 1620. The Pilgrims were members of the Separatist congregation of Scrooby, England. The had fled to Holland to avoid conforming to the demands of the Anglican church in England. While in Holland, they feared their children would lose their English identity so the Pilgrims chose to sail for America to begin a new life. After twelve years in Holland, they set sail for the New World and arrived in a place they would call Plymouth named after the village in England from where they began their voyage.

Upon arriving in Cape Cod, they discovered that the land had been cleared but had not been farmed for several seasons. They experienced a devastating winter season through which several of their members encountered hardship and sickness. On a March day, an English speaking Indian named Samoset entered the Pilgrim village of Plymouth. Samoset had learned to Speak English from fishermen whom he had met along the coast of Maine. The Pilgrims learned from Samoset that they had settled on the homeland of the Patuxet Indians who died four years earlier. They learned that the Patuxet Indians were a large hostile tribe of Indians which viciously murdered white men who encroached upon their lands. The other Indians of the area chose not to settle on the Patuxet lands for fear that a death curse may be upon anyone who might settle on those lands.

Consequently, the Pilgrims landed on the American continent at a place of uninhabited land on the East coast of the continent. Furthermore, the was the same land on which Tisquantum had lived with his family and tribe.

The Pilgrims became acquainted with Tisquantum on March 22, 1621 when he arrived in Plymouth. He brought news that the great chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag and leader of several tribes in the surrounding area would arrive to visit the English settlers on that day. Tisquantum helped the Pilgrims arrange a peace treaty with Massasoit which would last for decades. Nearly half of the Pilgrims died during the devastating winter. Those who survived, lacked the necessary skills to settle the land and endure the hardships which one could experience in the new land. Tisquantum taught the settlers how to fertilize their fields and protect their corn. Tisquantum would teach them how to harvest the food of nature. They learned how to catch fish from the streams that were nearby.

Today we remember Tisquantum by the name Squanto which he received.

On March of 1621, Governor Bradford recorded in his work Of Plymouth Plantation:

“About the 16th of March [1621], a certain Indian came boldly amongst them and spoke to them in broken English...Hie name was Samoset. He told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself... 
[A]bout four or five days after, came...the aforesaid Squanto...[He] continued with them and was their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God for the good beyond their expectation. He showed them how to plant corn, where to take fish and other commodities, and guided them to unknown places, and never left them till he died.
He was a native of these parts, and had been one of the few survivors of the plague hereabouts. He was carried away with others by one Hunt, a captain of a ship, who intended to sell them for slaves in Spain; but he got away for England, and was received by a merchant in Londdon, and employed in Newfoundland and other parts, and lastly brought into these parts by a Captain Dermer.”

George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

 Thanksgiving Proclamation
City of New York, October 3, 1789 

WHEREAS it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."  
NOW THEREFORE I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26TH. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. 
AND ALSO that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.  
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

General Lew Wallace author of Ben-Hur

General Lew Wallace, Indiana's hero is in the National Hall of Fame. Although General Wallace has been forgotten; his magnificent work "Ben-Hur" has been translated into several languages throughout the world. Furthermore, it is a book that has introduced the Messiah Jesus Christ to many people.

W.H. Warner asked General Wallace for the 'diamond sentence' of his infamous book. General Wallace replied:

"Here it is: 'I am the resurrection and the Life.'"

General Lew Wallace wrote the following comments in his autobiography concerning his memorable work "Ben-Hur".

"...The Christian world would not tolerate a novel with Jesus Christ its hero, and I knew it. Nevertheless, writing of Him was imperative, and He must appear, speak, and act. Further, and worse as a tribulation, I was required to keep Him before the reader, the object of superior interest throughout."  
"And there was to be no sermonizing. How could this be done without giving mortal offence? It does not become me to intimate any measure of success in the accomplishment; yet I may be pardoned for an outright confession of the rules I prescribed for my government in the dilemma. First, I determined to withhold the reappearance of the Saviour until the very last hours. Meantime, He should be always coming - to-day I would have Him, as it were just over the hill yonder; tomorrow He will be here, and then - tomorrow. To bring Balthasar up from Egypt, and have him preaching the Spiritual Kingdom, protesting the Master alive because His mission which was founding the kingdom, was as yet unfulfilled and looking for Him tearfully, and with an infinite yearning, might be an effective expedient. Next, He should not be present as an actor in any scene of my creation. The giving a cup of water to Ben-Hur at the well near Nazareth is the only violation of this rule. Finally, when He was come, I would be religiously careful that every word He uttered should be a literal quotation from one of His sainted biographers."  
"Of the more than seven years given the book, the least part was occupied in actual composition. Research and investigation consumed most of the appropriated time. I had to be so painstaking! The subject was the one known thoroughly by more scholars and thinkers than any other in the wide range of literature..." 
"Nor must it be supposed I wrote day after day continuously. I wanted to; but through the whole period I was a bread-winner. Consequently my book-making hours were such as I could snatch from professional employment. Sometimes Ben-Hur or Simonides or Balthasar would call me imperiously; and there being no other means of pacifying them, I would play truant from court and clients. There are numberless paragraphs in the volume recognizable as having been blocked out on the cars 'between cities' or in the waits at lonesome stations..." 
"Of course, most of the writing was done at Crawfordsville, with the night as the favoring time. Of summer days, business permitting, the preferred spot was beneath a beech-tree, one of the many kings of its kind...Its spreading branches droop to the ground, weighed down by their wealth of foliage, and under them I am shut in as by the walls of a towering green tent. How often, while lending me its protection and fragrant coolness, it has been the sole witness of my struggle to whip an obstinate thought into comeliness of expression; and how often, out of respect for me, it has maintained a dignified silence when it might have laughed at my discomfiture. I am under the great gray arms of the same tree at this present writing. The hum of singing things imparts life to the silence; the sunlight freckles the sward, the birds hunt their prey almost to my feet, all as when I wandered with Ben-Hur through the Grove of Daphne." 
"Everybody has heard of the old palace in Sante Fe, New Mexico. A rambling, one-story adobe structure, with walls in places six feet thick...The second floor from the west end plaza front opens into a spacious passage...Back of the executive office is an extensive room provided with a small window and one interior entrance. The walls were grimy, the undressed boards of the floor rested flat upon the ground; the cedar rafters, rain-stained, and overweighed by tons and tons of mud composing the roof, had a threatening downward curvature. Nevertheless, in that cavernous chamber I wrote the eighth and last book of Ben-Hur. My custom when night came was to lock the doors and bolt the windows of the office proper, and with a student's lamp, bury myself in the four soundless walls of the forbidding annex."  
"Once there, at my rough pine table, in the hush of that gloomy harborage, I beheld the Crucifixion, and strove to write what I beheld. The name Ben-Hur was chosen because it is Biblical, and easily spelled, printed and pronounced."  
"As this article is in the nature of confessions, here is one which the reader may excuse, and at the same time accept as a fitting conclusion: Long before I was through with my book, I became a believer in God and Christ..."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Harvard University - 1636

Harvard University was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Year of Our Lord 1636. Reverend John Harvard donated his personal library and a piece of property to create the College at Cambridge which was the schools original name. Harvard was the first college in North America and was established sixteen years after the landing of the Pilgrims. The purpose of the college was clearly defined.

“To train a literate clergy.”

On September 26, 1642, the Rules and Precepts which would be observed at the college were clearly stated:

  • When any Schollar...is able to make [write] and speak true Latine in Verse and Prose...And decline perfectly the paradigims of Nounes and Verbes in the Greek tongue...[he is capable] of admission into the college.  
  • Let ever Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, John 17:3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him Prov. 2,3.  
  • Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoretical observations of Language and Logick, and in practicall and spirituall truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability, seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm, 119:130.  
  • That they eshewing all profanation of God's name, Attributes, Word, Ordinances, and times of Worship, do studie with good conscience carefully to retaine God, and the love of his truth in their mindes, else let them know, that (notwithstanding their Learning) God may give them up to strong delusions, and in the end to a reprobate minde, 2 Thes. 2:11,12. Rom. 1:28.  
  • That they studiously redeeme the time; observe the generall houres...diligently attend the lectures, without any disturbance by word or gesture.  
  • None shall...frequent the company and society of such men as lead an unfit, and dissolute life. Nor shall any without his Tutors leave, or without the call of Parents or Guardians, goe abroad to other Townes.  
  • Every Scholar shall be present in his Tutors chamber at the 7th houre in the morning, immediately after the sound of the Bell, at his opening the Scripture and prayer, so also at the 5th houre at night, and then give account of his owne private reading...But if any...shall absent himself from prayer or Lectures, he shall bee lyable to Admonition, if he offend above once a weeke.  
  • If any Scholar shall be found to transgresse any of the Lawes of God, or the Schoole...he may bee admonished at the publick monethly Act.

Before the American Revolution, ten of the twelve presidents of Harvard were ministers. Over fifty percent of the Harvard graduates of the seventeenth-century became ministers of the Gospel,

Furthermore, the Christian faith was the foundation on which one hundred and six of the first one hundred and eight schools in America were established.

Harvard was founded in “Christi Gloriam” was later was dedicated “Christo et Ecclesiae.”

The original founders of Harvard believed:

“All knowledge without Christ was vain.”

The word “Veritas” which still appears on the Harvard University seal and means 'divine truth.'

The motto of Harvard University was:

“For Christ and the Church.”

At the main entrance of the campus; this inscription is upon the wall near the old iron gate The dedication is also in the catalog of Harvard Divinity School.

“After God carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God's worship and settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers lie in the dust.”

Samuel Langdon, President of Harvard addressed the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in May of 1775:

“We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession and form of it...By many, the Gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism... 
My brethren, let us repent and implore the divine mercy. Let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything that has been provoking the Most High, and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of providence for our deliverance. 
May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble...We will rejoice in His salvation, and in the name of our God, we will set up our banners!”

Abridged from William J. Federer's magnificent work America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations