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Painting of Second Continental Congress preparing the Declaration of IndependenceFaith of Our Fathers 

June 2010 

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

It began one afternoon as our Tivo® captured a Glenn Beck show on "Founding Fathers Fridays." The first show that I saw recounted the contribution of Samuel Adams to our nation's founding. I know the history of our nation is being skewed, and I was happy to see this program attempting to put forth some primary source material to give a more balanced view of those historic times. I read Samuel Adams A Life by Ira Stoll and found it most enlightening. Then I asked our web manager, Kroy Ellis, to begin work on a segment for our web site to be entitled "Faith of Our Fathers." Kroy's extraordinary talents have elicited a very helpful resource to the Christian community on the roots of America and its democracy.

To whet your appetite a bit so that you will take some time to dig deeper into the roots of the American Revolution and the founding of our nation, I want to tell you some about Samuel Adams (not John Adams, his cousin). He lived from September, 1722, to October 2, 1803.
This patriot leader suffered otherwise shattering losses, his first wife and four of their children dying of natural causes before the Revolutionary War began. A close friend was decapitated, his head presented as a trophy to the British commanding general. He spent nearly three years at the Congress in Philadelphia separated from his family. His house was vandalized by British troops. He was targeted by the British crown for his stance for America's independence, and more.

Samuel Adams saw himself as a conserver of the New England Puritan tradition. He was ahead of his time; for example, he declined to accept a slave as a gift, appealed to the American Indians for aid in the Revolution, and extended public education in Massachusetts to girls. He has become a "mostly forgotten" founder, though Thomas Jefferson called him "truly the Man of the Revolution" and many credit him as the Father of America more than George Washington.

"Samuel Adams, at a town meeting in Boston on November 2, 1772, made a motion that "a committee of correspondence" be appointed to draft a statement about the rights that the colonists felt were due them.
Based on the philosophies of John Locke, Adams and others believed natural rights were due them, under the protection of the unwritten British Constitution.

Rights of Man Summed up to Three Natural Rights

The town appointed several to this committee, including Samuel Adams, who was the primary author of a declaration of rights. Contemporary accounts said that Adam's declaration "embodied the whole philosophy of human rights, condensed from the doctrines of all times, and applied to the immediate circumstances of America." The declaration had three main parts:

  • Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men
  • Rights of the Colonists as Christians
  • Rights of the Colonists as Subjects [of the British crown]

Adams' declaration opened, "Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; second, to liberty; third, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can." He went on to say that all men had a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they pleased. But, in the event of intolerable oppression, from either civil or religious authorities or a mix of the two, they had the right to leave that society and seek out and join another. Man's voluntary entering into society did not mean giving up any natural rights, except for those specifically agreed to. And all the "civil laws should conform, so far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity." Later, he added, "The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole."

Samuel Adams, who was born and who died in Boston, was a patriot, a newspaperman who recognized the power of the press. He was poor compared to many fellow patriots, zealous for liberty, a staunch defender of property rights, an opponent of certain taxes, critical of the influence of money on politics, skeptical of a powerful federal government, and a man holding a deep conviction of Christianity. For example, he compared the American revolutionaries to the Israelites who left the slavery of Egypt, God guiding them in the wilderness with a "pillar of cloud by day" and a "pillar of fire by night." He addressed delegates in York in September 1777 at a time of desperation and despondency with a plea to awaken and evince a spirit that would inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in the leaders, a spirit that would encourage them to persevere in "this glorious struggle" until their rights and liberties should be established on a rock.

"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." Samuel Adams, 1777 (William V. Wells, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (Boston: Little, Brown, 1866), 2:380).

After a strategic victory at Saratoga, NY, Congress in York adopted a report drafted by Samuel Adams declaring Thursday, December 18, 1777 a "day of thanksgiving" to God. The day would be set aside so that people might express their gratitude 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…"

To understand our fight for independence and the patriots who fought for liberty, we need to see this perspective of the association of liberty with moral rectitude and faith. Samuel Adams walked in the courage of his convictions with an endurance that contributed to the independence of America. He has been described as a man of incorruptible integrity and Republican simplicity of character with an amazing industry, courage, ceaseless vigilance, and wise statesmanship, as one cheerful and demonstrating fortitude amid disasters. (William V. Wells, in his 1866 biography) Biblical references and talk of God permeated Adams' writings as he argued publicly for the cause of liberty. It is said that he conceived the churches, when confined to their original design, to be excellent schools of morality, adapted to promote the future happiness of mankind, and a powerful aid in defending civil as well as religious privileges of America.

Samuel Adams never held national office as did other founding fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. He wasn't an ambassador like Benjamin Franklin. His service was to Massachusetts, and so he served seven years in Congress and as Governor of Massachusetts (1793-1797).

Samuel Adams was known not only for his public life, but also for his daily morning and evening prayers and for his reverence for keeping the Christian Sabbath and "the altar of Jesus Christ." Adams held a confidence that God would protect Americans so long as they were virtuous, just as God had stood by the Israelites in their exodus from slavery. In his Will, Samuel Adams wrote:

"Principally and first of all, I recommend my soul to that Almighty Being
who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying on the merits of
Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins."

I hope this has indeed whetted your appetite to learn more and to be inspired by our founding fathers and their faith. They were born for such a time and made for such a time in which they lived. Find out more by going to "Faith of Our Fathers" on our website. We are a nation drifting from devotion to the one true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent, with some trying to loose our nation from its moorings. Search out the truth. It is said that we are no longer a Christian nation. Is this what we want for the future? What are the merits of Jesus Christ; and what was so known from biblical truth that our founding fathers were willing to forge a new nation because of what they saw as being endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights? Don't form an opinion on hearsay; read the documents for yourself. Surprise!

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Serving the Lord of Glory,

Mary Craig

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Blessed is the nation whose God is the Covenant Lord;
And the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. Psalm 33.12

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