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Freedom Was Born
I am currently reading a book entitled "100 Bible Verses that Made America" by Robert J. Morgan. It reads well as a daily devotional. Today's reading was about John Eliot and his amazing life as a Christian pastor in Roxbury, MA. Mr. Eliot took it upon himself to witness to the nearby Native Americans and he began to study one of the Algonquin languages (Wôpanâak). He taught himself enough of this language that along with an interpreter, he was able to spread the good news of the gospel. To give some indication of the challenge that this was, the phrase 'our lusts' was expressed: Nummatchekodtantamoonganunnonash.
He traveled up and down the east coast sharing the gospel with the Native Americans, all the while maintaining his leadership position at his home church. He was able to achieve 14 praying Native American villages, each with between 2500-4000 villagers. And he helped plant 24 Native American preachers in these villages. In a letter dated December 29, 1649, he wrote:
I was not dry night nor day from the third day of the week unto the sixth, but so travelled, and at night pull off my boots, wring my stockings, and on with them again and so continued....yet God stept in and helped: I considered....2 Timothy 2:3, "Endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ."
Eliot’s most memorable feat was the production of the first Bible published in America. It was also the first Bible translation in the Native American language. The New Testament came out in 1661 and the Old Testament came out three years later. It is said about Eliot’s accomplishment:
“…a work which excited the wonder and admiration of both hemispheres, and has rendered his name ever memorable in the annals of literature and piety.”
It was the reading of this passage, 2 Timothy 2:3, that prompted me to share this Paul Harvey video as a reminder of what our Founding Fathers sacrificed so that we can live in this amazing country founded on Judeo-Christian values and with the freedom to worship and read our Bibles. Yes, we have many problems, corruption abounds (the title of my next Substack) but we are here because of their sacrifice of both comfort and fortune. Let us remember what was done for us and draw upon the strength Christ offers to understand that the sacrifices for liberty were paid so that we may enjoy this weekend celebrating with family and friends.
The following are some highlights from Paul Harvey of the sacrifices made by the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence:
1. Carter Lynch--he lost his home and died in rags to pay his debts.
2. Thomas Lynch Jr.--third generation rice grower. After he signed he died at sea.
3. Thomas McKean--so harassed by the enemy that he had to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay. His family in poverty and in hiding.
4. Thomas Nelson Jr.--raised two million dollars on his own signature to provision our allies, the French Fleet. After the war he paid back the loans, wiped out his entire state and was never reimbursed by his government.
5. Francis Hopkins--had his home seized
6. Francis Lewis--had his home destroyed and his wife imprisoned
7. Richard Stockton--captured, mistreated, his health broken and died at age 51. His estate pillaged.
8. Thomas Haywood Jr.--captured when Charleston fell.
9. John Hart--was driven from his wife's bedside while she was dying. His thirteen children fled in all directions. He returned home after the war to find his wife dead, children gone and his property gone.
10. John Hancock--one of the wealthiest men in New England said one night of the war:
"Burn Boston, though it makes John Hancock a beggar if the public good requires it."
Harvey goes on to say:
These were not poor men, they were not wild-eyed pirates. These were men of means. They were rich men, most of them enjoyed much ease and luxury in their personal living. Not hungry men, not terrorists....
These men were prosperous men, wealthy landowners. They were substantially secure in their prosperity. They had everything to lose. But they considered liberty....liberty is so much more important than security. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor and the fulfilled their pledge, they paid the price and FREEDOM WAS BORN!
I hope that you will share this friends and family as a reminder of the why we are gathering and celebrating. Why there are fireworks and picnics. Why we can attend church on Sunday and read our Bibles daily. Why we need to sacrifice our comforts so that our children and grandchildren will enjoy these same freedoms as they grow older.
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