Founding Fathers: Their Faith And Ours

It was late September, 1777. American revolutionary forces were weak. "Washington's troops were suffering from what one delegate to Congress called 'fatigue occasioned by the bad rainy weather & long night marches.'"[1] The anguish of Valley Forge lay in the future. British forces were wreaking havoc in the present. The Red Coats had just captured Philadelphia, the largest city in America. The mood among Americans was ominous. John Adams wrote, "The prospect is chilling, on every side: Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting."[2]

Twenty members of the Continental Congress gathered for a private meeting in New York. Samuel Adams, a gray-haired, fifty-five year old delegate encouraged the group with these words:

Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, --a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us,--a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock. We have proclaimed to the world our determination "to die freemen, rather than to live slaves." We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God's providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had "our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night." We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection. [3]

On this 4th of July, may we, with Adams, recognize "the manifestations of God's providence in sustaining us," and thank Him for that. And may we take to heart his words and "still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save."

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! Psalm 33:10-12 ESV


The information in this post is drawn heavily from Ira Stoll's book, Samuel Adam's: A Life, which is referenced below: [1] Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life, page 1-2. [2] Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life, page 3. [3] Stoll, Samuel Adams, page 4.