Happy 4th of July from the fireworks of history
As our family prepares for a 4th of July barbecue we are grateful for time off, time together, good friends, good food, and good weather. For us, the fourth is a fun celebration with lots of fireworks capping off the day. We are happy and blessed by these things and I suspect you are too.
The holidays, like other oft repeated things in life, however, are easy to take for granted…such lacadaisical assumptons stand on the opposite end of thanksgiving. A nonchalant outlook eventually leads to a sense of entitlement, which is never good for our souls, so that’s one reason I enjoy learning about history. A backward glance, has a way of correcting short sightedness. It refreshes my sense of gratitude. History reminds all of us about God’s kind faithfulness when people mind their manners –the behavior He prescribes–and these are things I need to know.
With this in mind, I’ve noticed that my older history books frequently comment about men of good manners, right character and honesty. Good character was high on the list for most of our fore fathers. Since Independence Day is around the corner, let me ask if you’ve heard of John Jay?
If not, please allow me to introduce you to him. As one of the United States’ founding fathers, he was instrumental in the formation of the United States government. Those early times were filled with turmoil, struggles, and hardships unlike any we suffer today, but Christian men such as John Jay rose to the occasion.
On September 9, 1777 he defined accomplishments in the war of independence with England and gave a call to Christian duty. He said, among other things, that we must teach our children certain truths:
“The Americans are the first people whom heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing forms of government under which they should live…. Every member of the state ought diligently to read and study the Constitution of his country and teach the rising generation to be free. By knowing their rights, they will better soon perceive when they violated, and be better prepared to assert and defend them”… …”In a word, the Convention, by whom the Constitution was formed, were of the opinion, that the gospel of Christ, like the ark of God would not fall, though unsupported by the arm of flesh, and happy it would be for mankind, if that opinion prevailed more generally.” (Spencer, D.D.J.A. History of the United States, Volume I pgs 482, 482. Publisher: Johnson, Fry, and Co., 1886).
Did you catch the impact of what Mr. Jay is saying….”happy it would be for mankind, if the opinion prevailed to not trust in ourselves (the arm of flesh) but in the gospel of Christ, like the ark (salvation) of God.” Bottom line truth and good news!
You can learn more about this amazing man, who finished college by age fourteen at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jay and at www.johnjay.net/
And, from the same one hundred twenty year old history book here’s more good news:
“Thus was it that our fathers guided by the “God that judgeth in the earth”, and mindful of the sacred trust committed to them to hand down liberty to their children, dared to speak and to act”. John Adams notes that Independence Day should be” commemorated , as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forth forever more. ”
Now, if you think, that these gentlemen mean solemn as dry, boring, dull, and dreary, think again and read the protocol matters link about solempne. Then re-assign solemn to include serious joy and gratitude so you can go forth into this weekend’s celebration with prayers of thanksgiving and a heart full of joy and fun…don’t forget to buy your sparklers and rockets and tell the children in your life why you are doing so. You may want to introduce them to Mr. Jay, who was quite a boy himself. Enjoy the goodness. Happy fourth!