What Made The Farmers Fight?

Here Once The Embattled Farmers Stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world…

Minute Man Concord MA

April 19, 1775

What made the farmers fight in 1775?

Judge Millen Chamberlain in 1842, when he was twenty-one, interviewed Captain Preston, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Concord fight: “Did you take up arms against intolerable oppression?” he asked.

“Oppression?” replied the old man. “I didn’t feel them.”

“What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”

“I never saw one of those stamps. I certainly never paid a penny for one of them.”

“Well, what then about the tea tax?”

“I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”

“Then I suppose you had been reading Harington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty?”

“Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanac.”

“Well, then, what was the matter? And what did you mean in going to the fight?”

“Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.

Follow the links for the story of the people of that April morning with timelines, commentary, videos, and maps.

April 19th, 1775Patriots’ Day

Hour by HourDetails of the Day

The Old North ChurchOne If By Land, Two If By Sea

Paul Revere’s Ride

Hancock-Clarke HouseBuckman TavernHartwell Tavern

Battle RoadThe King’s Own

Lexington Battle GreenAn Eyewitness Account

Battle at Concord’s North BridgeConcord Battle Road

Meriam’s CornerParker’s RevengeMunroe Tavern

Blogging the RedcoatsBlogging the Revolution

Mapping The RidesMapping The RegionMapping The Revolution

…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…
John Winthrop, 1630

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Check out each word of Paul Revere’s Ride, because each one has a different link!
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn.
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, (Oxford University Press: 1965) 212-213. Emphasis added.

Race of Hope

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together…
John 20:1–4a

Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre
James Gurney posted The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by the Swiss artist Eugène Burnand on his Facebook page two years ago, along with these enlargements of the faces of Peter and John. He pointed out the complexity of emotions that Burnand caught on each man. You can literally see their thoughts chasing across their faces—the anxiety and hope against hope on John’s face, and the hope against hope tempered with sorrow and regret on Peter’s face. In disbelieving shock, they run. Not knowing what they will find, they run. In hope against hope they run. They run.

John's Face

Peter's Face

…and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
John 20:4b–8

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Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection. Click on the painting for an enlarged view.
*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:
“ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.”
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2016 I. N. Carpenter

Dawn of Joy

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3–4

Into the devastation of our world came the God-man Jesus Christ. A man who outrageously declared He was God and performed miracles to authenticate His claims. A man who confronted those who lived in self-righteous piety, and spoke with compassion and forgiveness to those who knew they were dead from the ravages of sin. A man who was nailed to the cross because of the debt of record of our sins that stood against us. A man who took upon Himself our punishment and the just wrath of God we deserved for our rebellion and who died in our place.

Christians know that our belief is in Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly man. He was born into this world, He died, and He rose again. Because of Him we know what it is to be brand-new, forgiven, and clean. Because of Him we know that death will not hold us, for through Him the hold death had on us because of our sin is forever gone.

In the glimmering dawn of the first Easter, the women who came to minister to a dead man found instead an empty tomb.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.”
Matthew 28:5–7a

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55–57
…who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Romans 1:4

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter!

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Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson. Artist perspective at the link.
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2016 I. N. Carpenter

An Unexpected Hiatus

It certainly wasn’t my intention to take a pause from posting just as the March Republican primaries began their rapid-fire succession, but two days after I wrote Ted Cruz: Constitution Man I fell and broke both arms. I’m now recovering from surgery in a nursing/rehab facility.

I’ve been able to follow events, but finishing drafts and starting new posts has been beyond me. I’m writing this one with the aid of the mic on my phone, but as you know a mic’s translation of speech can lead to some hilarious malapropisms that require time-consuming corrections.

This week I’ve been able to do some retweets and to write a few tweets, but I have to hold off on writing anything longer until I regain more use of my hands and arms.

Providentially, my surgeon thinks I will regain full range of motion in both arms, but to say the least, I’m slowed down at the moment! I’ll continue to tweet as I am able, and I will start writing again as soon as that’s possible.

I am very grateful to God for His sustaining help during these last few weeks, and I would appreciate your prayers for my ongoing healing.

Please continue to pray with me in petitioning God for his mercy and grace in this great time of need for our nation.

Thank you!

 

Ted Cruz: Constitution Man

One of my favorite Ronald Reagan stories was the one he told about a boatload of Communist refugees who were taken aboard the carrier Midway. When one of them saw a sailor, he said, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.” That’s amazing, isn’t it? Freedom has been so intertwined with our identity, that that sailor was seen as a freedom man.

Cruz campaignI thought of that story last night when I saw this tweet from Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur at the Cruz Houston rally, “I asked 11 Cruz voters after his Houston rally why they support him; 10 immediately brought up the Constitution. Uncanny.” He later tweeted, “it’s unusual to have that kind of near unanimity in candidate rationale.”

It’s not so unusual—not for those who support Ted Cruz. Those who have listened and read about Cruz know of his depth of knowledge of the Constitution and his ironclad commitment to it.

My husband and I were at that rally, and we spent some time talking with Lloyd Marcus. After we introduced ourselves, he asked us why we were supporting Ted Cruz. My husband said because Cruz will hold to the Constitution. Marcus’ eyes lit up when we said that.

David Dewhurst who was defeated by Ted Cruz in the 2012 U. S. Senate race tweeted:

Last week Jay Nordlinger wrote, “But I know — I know — that Ted Cruz will walk through fire and chew on glass to do what is necessary for the freedom of this country.”

You know what a free people need the most? A Constitution Man as President. We need a President who will walk through fire and chew on glass to faithfully execute his office, and “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

After over seven years of seeing Obama usurp power while Congress goes along for the ride, and the Supreme Court persists in its diktats, we who support Ted Cruz know he’ll give big government the civics lesson it’s needed for a long time.

Today I’m voting for Ted Cruz for President. I hope you will, too, because Freedom Men and Freedom Women need this Constitution Man for President.

Ted Cruz: Constitution Man for President.

Beyond The Pale

This weekend when questioned by Jake Tapper, Donald Trump pretended he didn’t know who David Duke is, didn’t know anything about white supremacists, and refused to disavow, denounce and renounce Duke and the Ku Klux Klan.

Tapper’s interview questions were prompted by Trump’s ongoing sly encouragement of this group. Trump has taken to using twitter to belittle the media, other candidates, and anyone else who’s displeased him recently. He also retweets from his fans and anyone else he perceives as praising him. He’s made a habit of retweeting white supremacists.  If you look at user names or their home page, their racists beliefs are obvious, yet Trump continues to retweet them.

Another part to this backstory is that this past week, David Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard said, “Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage.

In turn on Thursday:

“The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on presidential candidate Donald Trump to distance himself from white nationalist and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, as well as other white supremacists, and publicly condemn their racism.”

So Sunday Tapper asked Trump point-blank, “Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?” Rather than give an emphatic yes, Trump handled this controversy as he has handled so many others by tap-dancing around his answers with hems and haws and claims of ignorance. It was beyond ridiculous to claim he doesn’t know anything about the KKK or who David Duke is. To say he didn’t know what phrase white supremacy meant likewise beggars the imagination.

In fact, when Ted Cruz tweeted, “We should all agree, racism is wrong, KKK is abhorrent,” after the interview, less than half an hour later Trump replied, “As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke- I disavow.” Trump is a liar. He slips in his candid statements, we see his toxic mix of progressive politics and racism, and then he backtracks and denies.

Compare that with President Reagan‘s clear and emphatic statement in 1984 on the KKK:

“President Reagan, saying he had ”no tolerance” for what the Ku Klux Klan represented, today repudiated the group’s endorsement…

”Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse.

“The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.”

There was also more news this weekend on Trump’s adulation of tyrants. He took to twitter.

Although this Italian statement isn’t a Mussolini quote, the fact remains that the original tweet was made by someone who goes by @ilduce2016. Trump either doesn’t care or tacitly approves using Mussolini’s fascist title as identification. Given that Trump was born in 1946, I’m confident that he had enough history to know who Il Duce was.

And one more: Jay Nordlinger wrote a post quoting a 1990 interview of Trump in which he admired the strength of the Chinese government in crushing the dissidents of Tiananmin Square. This is no anomaly, despite the time lapse there is no indication Trump has changed his mind about the use of power, because during this primary season Trump has also spoken approvingly of Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi, and Putin.

Contrast that with Ted Cruz’s successful efforts to have the Senate approve renaming the Washington, D.C. street outside Chinese Embassy “Liu Xiaobo Plaza” after the Chinese dissident who has been imprisoned since 2009.

Trump is simply beyond the pale. He has an open fascination with tyrannical power that is abhorrent. Every indication points to his continuing Obama’s path of a pen and a phone if he ever gets into the White House, and will only betray his oath of office.

“Out of the mouth, the heart speaks.”  If you’re thinking of voting for him, I urge you to step back and look at his words and deeds.  Don’t trust in what he says today, because he will betray you the next day if it benefits him.

I’m voting for Ted Cruz tomorrow on Super Tuesday. I’m convinced that he will truly hold to the Presidential Oath of Office and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He has the backbone to do it.

I ask you to consider and vote for Cruz.

Sen. Ben Sasse on the Constitution and the Presidency

A few weeks ago Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) tweeted some pointed and important questions to Donald Trump on the Constitution, policy, and character. To the best of my knowledge Trump never answered those questions.

Sunday he took to twitter again to make some comments on the Constitution and the Presidency. He’s expanded them into an open letter to Trump supporters on his Facebook page. You don’t have to join Facebook to read it. I highly recommend it. Senator Sasse has some important reminders about who we are as a nation.

Here’s a sample from many of his tweets last night:

 

 

Washington With Some Words On The 2016 Election

We call it his Farewell Address, but in truth it was an open letter from George Washington to Americans for whom he held:

“…a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people…”

Think about that for a minute.  Let Washington’s words sink in. He was well aware of dangers that would come to our Republic, and he left us his analysis and prescription on what was all-important to the permanency of our felicity—our happiness—as a people.

In its introduction to the Farewell Address Heritage Foundation comments:

“…With the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the Farewell Address constitutes the central statement of the American purpose.”

You can read the entire letter at the Heritage link. The quotes I’m pulling from it are Washington’s warnings about those who would destroy our government, and his advice on the mindset and lives of Americans who would preserve it.

Washington reminds us of the basis of our government, the foundational importance of the rule of law, and the subversion of those principles by those who would undermine and destroy the principles of the Constitution.

Consider Washington’s words as part of the “central statement of the American purpose.” Consider them carefully before you vote.

“…The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

Now carefully read the next few paragraphs.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency…”

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

“Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown…”

I see in these above words of Washington not only an indictment of Leftists and progressives such as Obama who have subverted the law for their own ends, but also an indictment of a demagogue such as Trump who “answers popular ends,” feeding emotions as he declares he’ll make America great again, even as he says things that reveal his ignorance of the Constitution and promise a strongman use of power that would destroy our heritage as a free people.

Washington also advised us on the mindset necessary for the preservation of our liberties.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Washington recommends to us the blessing of religion and morality, but here there is also an indictment of self-identified conservatives whose words and lives indicate they flatly disagree with Washington that, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Current events prove Washington was right.

The corruption in the White House, the betrayal by Congress of their constituents, the sensationalism and immorality fostered by the media, and the you-only-live-once mentality of Americans have brought us to the present dilemma.

Hear these poignant words, and take to heart the wisdom this great man left for us.

Washington, George“In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will controul the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated…”Washington, George signature
Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

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Each year on George Washington’s Birthday, the United States Senate reads Washington’s Farewell Address. Would that they would heed his words.

Signature of George Washington, Raeky: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

1776 & Dark Days

Declaration of Independence Title
On Christmas 2009 I was given a copy of Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fisher. For me this account of Washington crossing the Delaware has become a book for the years of Obama’s presidency, for Fisher’s story is a tale of courage and perseverance in the face of disaster.

“To search the writings of the men and women who were there (hundreds of firsthand accounts survive) is to find that they believed the American cause was very near collapse on Christmas night in 1776. In five months of heavy fighting after the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s army had suffered many disastrous defeats and gained no major victories. It had lost 90 percent of its strength. The small remnant who crossed the Delaware River were near the end of their resources, and they believed another defeat could destroy the Cause, as they called it.”1

In the Editor’s Note at the beginning of the book, James McPherson writes:

“No single day in history was more decisive for the creation of the United States than Christmas 1776….Of all the pivotal events in American history, none was more important than what happened on those nine days from December 25, 1776, through January 3, 1777.”2

This providential span of victories stemmed not only from the character and leadership of George Washington, but also “from the acts and choices of ordinary people.” Fisher says for those Americans:

“…Their greatest advantage was the moral strength of a just cause. They were fighting on their own ground, in defense of homes and families, for ideas of liberty and freedom. They had a different test of success. Their opponents had to conquer; the Americans needed only to survive. After the occupation of New Jersey, and British maltreatment of prisoners, Americans became highly motivated by the cruel experience of oppression.

“Another strength was their religion. The Americans were a deeply spiritual people, with an abiding faith that sustained them in adversity….

“In the dark days of 1776, Americans reached deep into this reservoir of strength and improvised a new way of managing a war….”3

Words for today, are they not?

After the last few years, and especially after the last couple of weeks these words that open Fisher’s last chapter are pertinent:

“On New Year’s Day in 1777, Robert Morris sent George Washington a letter that rings strangely in a modern ear. “The year 1776 is over,” Morris wrote. “I am heartily glad of it and hope you nor America will ever be plagued with such another.” Washington shared that feeling, which was far from our very own. We celebrate 1776 as the most glorious year in American history. They remembered it as an agony, especially the “dark days” of autumn.”4

As Americans lived through those dark days of 1776, they had no future perspective of their times. Neither do we as we live through these dark days of coercion and usurpation of power. Do we have “the advantage of the moral strength of a just cause”? We do. Should we call on God to give us an abiding faith in Him that will sustain us in adversity? We should. Fisher writes, “This is a story of real choices that living people actually made.”5 We can make those choices.
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1,2,3,4,5David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (Oxford University Press, New York) 5, ix, 368, 363, 364.

The American Crisis

On Christmas Day, George Washington ordered that The American Crisis by Thomas Paine, published as a pamphlet only two days earlier, be read to the troops. I told the story of that momentous Christmas of 1776 in the “…the acts and choices of ordinary people…” and Christmas Day 1776.

Sergeant R. described what happened almost a week later on December 31.

“Three or four days after the victory at Trenton, the American army re-crossed the Delaware into New Jersey. At this time our troops were in a destitute and deplorable condition. The horses attached to our cannon were without shoes, and when passing over the ice they would slide in every direction and could advance only by the assistance of the soldiers. Our men, too, were without shoes or other comfortable clothing; and as traces of our march towards Princeton, the ground was literally marked with the blood of the soldiers’ feet. Though my own feet did not bleed, they were so sore that their condition was little better.

“”While we were at Trenton, on the last of December, 1776, the time for which I and most of my regiment had enlisted expired. At this trying time General Washington, having now but a little handful of men and many of them new recruits in which he could place but little confidence, ordered our regiment to be paraded, and personally addressed us, urging that we should stay a month longer. He alluded to our recent victory at Trenton; told us that our services were greatly needed, and that we could now do more for our country than we ever could at any future period; and in the most affectionate manner entreated us to stay. The drums beat for volunteers, but not a man turned out. The soldiers, worn down with fatigue and privations, had their hearts fixed on home and the comforts of the domestic circle, and it was hard to forego the anticipated pleasures of the society of our dearest friends.

“The General wheeled his horse about, rode in front of the regiment and addressing us again said, “My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay only one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty and to your country which you probably never can do under any other circumstances. The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny.”

“The drums beat the second time. The soldiers felt the force of the appeal. One said to another, “I will remain if you will.”

“Others remarked, “We cannot go home under such circumstances.”

“A few stepped forth, and their example was immediately followed by nearly all who were fit for duty in the regiment, amounting to about two hundred volunteers.

“An officer enquired of the General if these men should be enrolled. He replied: “No! men who will volunteer in such a case as this need no enrollment to keep them to their duty.””1

On January 3, 1777 Washington and his men and the forces of those generals under him captured the British garrison at Princeton.

“At that point, some of Colonel Cadwalader’s troops came up over Orchard Hill, but the more experienced British pushed them back too, leaving bayonet-pierced bodies in their wake. A rout of the Americans seemed to be in the offing, but then their commander suddenly appeared on the scene. While Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene rallied and reorganized his troops, Washington advanced to within 30 yards of the British line. A round was fired, and suddenly the Redcoats loosed a full volley of musket balls. When the smoke cleared, however, still atop his fine horse was the tall, lean figure of General Washington. ‘Charge!’ he ordered, ‘Charge them! Pull up! Pull up!’

“The Patriots regrouped, and soon it was the Redcoats who fell back. Remembering the enemy bugler’s call on Harlem Heights, Washington pressed forward, crying out, ‘It’s a fine fox hunt, boys!'”2

One of the officers wrote a few days later:

“Our army love their General very much, but they have one thing against him, which is the little care he takes of himself in any action. His personal bravery, and the desire he has of animating his troops by example, make him fearless of danger. This occasions us much uneasiness. But Heaven, which has hitherto been his shield, I hope will still continue to guard so valuable a life.”3

David McCullough wrote:

“Washington wasn’t chosen by his fellow members of the Continental Congress because he was a great military leader. He was chosen because they knew him; they knew the kind of man he was; they knew his character, his integrity. . . .

“Washington was not, as were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Hamilton, a learned man. He was not an intellectual. Nor was he a powerful speaker like his fellow Virginian Patrick Henry. What Washington was, above all, was a leader. He was a man people would follow. And as events would prove, he was a man whom some—a few—would follow through hell.

“Don’t get the idea that all of those who marched off to serve under Washington were heroes. They deserted the army by the hundreds, by the thousands as time went on. When their enlistments came up, they would up and go home just as readily as can be, feeling they had served sufficiently and they needed to be back home to support their families, who in many cases were suffering tremendously for lack of income or even food. But those who stayed with him stayed because they would not abandon this good man, as some of them said.

“What Washington had, it seems to me, is phenomenal courage—physical courage and moral courage. He had high intelligence; if he was not an intellectual or an educated man, he was very intelligent. He was a quick learner—and a quick learner from his mistakes. He made dreadful mistakes, particularly in the year 1776. They were almost inexcusable, inexplicable mistakes, but he always learned from them. And he never forgot what the fight was about—“the glorious cause of America,” as they called it. Washington would not give up; he would not quit.”4

We stand again in an American Crisis. Whatever men may say, at root it is a crisis of character and faith in God. The question to ask ourselves is not whether we have contributed to the ruination of our country’s finances, but whether we have contributed to the ruination of the American soul.

Over the last few years as I have written numerous posts on fortitude and perseverance with the purpose of encouraging others, I noted with irony the wallowing in the luxury of pessimism by some living in circumstances of ease. We all have our moments of discouragement and even despair when we need the help of others, but what is the overall pattern and thrust of your days?  Of your words?  Of your deeds?  The day of small things will lead to the day of larger things, only if we encourage and influence others to act rightly even as we do the same.

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

To stand by our country today means to fall to our knees before Almighty God in humility and repentance, praying mercy not only for ourselves, but for all. It is no coincidence that Mel Bradford found that of the 150 to 200 principal Founders, almost all were “ordinary Christians . . . members in good standing of the various Christian communions found in early America.”5 The key to their perseverance of character was not in their circumstances or background, but in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So I ask you, as we live in these times that try our souls, how does your soul fare? Do you act in righteousness, love kindness and walk humbly with God?

Those men of 1776 did not know the future. Neither do we. Pray God in Him mercy to raise up leaders like Washington. Pray God in His mercy to enable you to honor Him with your words and your deeds whatever the outcome of events.

“…as traces of our march towards Princeton, the ground was literally marked with the blood of the soldiers’ feet.”

Paine wrote of times “in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive.” Summer and sun never try men’s souls—only the cold and dark of December and January nights. Those men marked the snow with the character of their soul. With what are the traces of your life marked?
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General George Washington rallying his troops at the Battle of Princeton, William Ranney: Public Domain.
1Sergeant R——, “Battle of Princeton,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 20 (1896), 515–16. The Sergeant also wrote, “(About half of these volunteers were killed in the battle of Princeton or died of the small pox soon after.)”
Source: Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of ‘Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants (Edison, 2002), 519-20.
2Battle of Princeton, history.net
3The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, The American Revolution, 1776, 1777, January 5, 1777.
44David McCullough, “THE GLORIOUS CAUSE OF AMERICA,” BYU Magazine, Winter 2006.
5M. E. Bradford, “Religion and the Framers: The Biographical Evidence,” Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the United States Constitution.

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