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Trust and Thanksgiving

Posted By Connie Moody, Saturday, November 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012


preached at


DECEMBER 22nd, 1777.

In grateful Memory of the first Landing of

our pious


In that Place, A.D. 1620.

By Samuel West, A.M.

Pastor of the CHURCH in DARTMOUTH.


ISAIAH lxvi 5, 9.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word: your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my names sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified;  but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.  A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies.  Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.  Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such a thing?  Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day, or shall a nation be born at once?  For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children.  Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the LORD; Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? Saith thy God.


s the end of our assembling together at time, is to commemorate the goodness of God towards our forefathers, in conducting them from their native land, into this American wilderness, and providing for them here a safe retreat from the rage and malice of prelatical bigotry;---and he has, by numerous train of surprising events, remarkably shown himself to be our God, as he was the God of our fathers....


"Being then, my hearers, animated with the glorious encouragement and promises set before us, let us with holy confidence look to him who has been both our God and our fathers God, and who will never leave nor forsake his covenant people while they put their trust in him: Our Fathers trusted in him, and were delivered; and will he not deliver us, if we like them firmly rely upon him in the faithful discharge of our duty?  With what chearfulness then may we endure our present calamities, when we have the word of a faithful God; that he will appear to our joy, and that our enemies shall be ashamed; and that he has caused our Zion to bring forth children for her defence, so he will continue to raise up sons for her protection, until her deliverance is compleated.  Let us then be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, let us quit ourselves like men engaged in the most noble and glorious cause; let us behave like the true sons of freedom and the faithful sons of Zion; let us imitate the patience and fortitude of our pious fore-fathers, which they exhibited under all their hardships and terrible sufferings that they endured; and if at any time we feel depressed or discouraged with the prospect before us, let us for a moment consider their situation, and we shall find enough to stop our mouths, if not to make us ashamed;---let us behold them landing in an uncultivated wilderness, inhabited by savages, destitute of many of the comforts and even the necessaries of life, exposed to the inclemencies of the season, on half of them perishing in a few months through the hardships which they endured….A most deplorable situation indeed;---but through their patience and fortitude they were supported under all these sufferings; for they committed their cause to God, and were not forsaken.  Are there any among us that are ready to murmer because they are deprived of a few luxuries, or because they cannot have all the elegancies which they formerly enjoyed?  Let them consider, that when our fathers for want of the conveniences of life were obliged to live upon ground-nuts and shell fish, they did not murmer nor repine at their situation, but gratefully acknowledged the goodness of God towards them:…one of them having dined upon clams, very devoutly gave thanks to God, that he had fed him of the abundance of the seas, and with treasures hid in the sand.  What a truly christian temper, is here discovered?  They had learned the Apostle Paul’s lesson, Whatever state they were in, therewith to be content. And as they were resigned to the Divine Will, so he appeared to their safety and protection, and the heathen were cast our before them.  And as Divine Providence appeared for the protection of our fathers in the first settling of this land, so has he continued to protect both them and us their posterity unto the present day."


Note the date of this sermon, December 22, 1777; the same winter as Valley Forge.  Rev. West was preaching to a congregation embroiled in the travail and calamities of war, yet he was exhorting them to trust and thanksgiving—to lean into their heritage of Christian character from their Pilgrim Fathers.  His message speaks to us today to lean into our heritage of our Pilgrim and Founding Fathers—to be His people of Trust and Thanksgiving. Let us proclaim with William Bradford, Governor and Historian of the Plymouth Colony:

"May not & ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: Our faithers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willderness; but they cried unto ye Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie, &c.  Let them therfore praise ye Lord, because he is good, & his mercies endure for ever.  Yea, let them which have been redeemed of ye Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from ye hand of ye oppressour.  When they wandered in ye deserte willderness out of ye way, and found no citie to dwell in, both hungrie, & thirstie, their sowle was overwhelmed in them.  Let them confess before ye Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderfull works before ye sons of men."

Trust in the Lord and give Him thanks.

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Scholarship & Strength: Preservatives of Independence

Posted By Connie Moody, Monday, July 2, 2012

I thought it would be inspiring to share a voice from our American history first spoken on July 4, 1794.  This comes from a published sermon by Mr. William Emerson, Minister of the First Christian Church in Harvard.  It was customary for ministers to speak to assemblies of soldiers and elected government officials on special days and election days to remind them of the principles that must guide them and the duties that must accompany them.  The custom was coupled with the request for a printing of the message for further study and contemplation.  This excerpt comes from an original copy that is one among many collected and studied by Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater.  It is part of the Hall-Slater Library Collection. 

I had intended to find a short passage to share in celebration of the 236th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, but I was taken with the message in its entirety.  I've noted a portion below and attached a copy of the nearly complete text for your consideration.  I hope you will read it with reason and reflection to mine it for the principles that still apply to us as "the scholars, and the soldiers of Jesus Christ"—as the modern-day stewards of His gift of liberty meant to flourish in the world's first Christian constitutional republic.

I hope you will also make it your annual habit to read the Declaration of Independence to share in its heritage and see to its legacy, that "ye may thus rationally hope, that the raptures of independence, which now thrill your veins, will circulate with the blood of all your descendents."


Christian friends and fellow citizens! It is beautiful to behold the mingled pleasure and devotions, with which ye honor this national festival. Would ye annually bring like offerings to liberty? Cultivate the means, by which she was first won. Unite in cherishing every species of useful and religious knowledge, and to their literary and humane acquirements, let your sons add hardihood and skill in the arts of war. Thus shall ye be properly prepared to defend your valuable soil. Thus shall ye justify your just attachment to the FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, that prodigy of human wisdom, and glory of your land; reward the services of your old and faithful rulers; keep inviolate the rights of conscience, and the voluntary worship of God; and, in fine, ye may thus rationally hope, that the raptures of independence, which now thrill your veins, will circulate with the blood of all your descendents.

In giving these mixed exhortations, let it not be thought, that I deviate from the path of a christian minister. Christianity is a religion full of truth, and full of reason. And the knowledge of truth, and the exercise of reason, as they constitute the greatest individual freedom, so they impel to the devising and recommending of all lawful means for the security of freedom among communities and nations.

Let it, nevertheless, be seriously remembered, that, apart from temporary and political considerations, we are, in a peculiar sense, the scholars, and the soldiers of Jesus Christ. We are taught in his school; we are enlisted under his banner. It is true, none of us has ever been entangled with the yoke of Jewish ordinances, nor been bound to the observance of mosaic rites. But we have all, alas! been too much enslaved by bad passions, too much under the dominion of evil habits. Let us break the yoke of this unnatural and worst kind of bondage from off us, and never again be entangled with it. Through the knowledge of our Lord and his gospel, let us conquer all our vices, and surrender ourselves to the possession of those virtues, which, it is designed, shall give the truest liberty to the human race. For, however numerous the present captives of sin, rejoice in this, ye followers of Jesus, christianity shall yet emancipate the world. It shall do more. It shall enfranchise the prisoners of the tomb. The time shall come, when, loosed from the bands of death and the grave, the disciples of virtue, universally, shall own your Master, as Captain of their redemption, who, putting palms of victory in their hands, and crowns of glory on their heads, shall lead them away into a land of everlasting freedom, and make them kings and priests unto God, even his father, to whom be the glory for every and ever. AMEN.

July 4, 1794

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