Adams' and Jefferson's Reason for Our Blessings
J. Michael Sharman
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No Fourth of July celebration would be worth its weight in sparklers if it did not cause us to seek guidance to our nation's future by looking back to the men, and the God, who established our founding.
John Adams is considered the motivating power behind the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, of course, was its author. We talk about them as though it was their work in drafting that document that protected us and gave us our freedoms. They, however, gave the credit to God.
John Adams served one term as our second President. In his inaugural address he noted that it was "an overruling <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Providence which has so signally protected this country " He ended it by praying: "And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence."
While President, Adams proclaimed a national day of prayer so that "with these acts of humiliation, penitence, and prayer, fervent thanksgiving to the Author of all good [we may] be united for the countless favors which He is still continuing to the people of the United States "
In his Proclamation Adams explained, "no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgement of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities "Thomas Jefferson agreed, and in his first inaugural speech said that our nation was "enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter " He concluded by calling on "that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe [to] lead our councils to what is best..."
After his first year, Jefferson opened his First Annual Message by noting that other nations had been at war, and "Whilst we devoutly return thanks to the beneficent Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and forgiveness, we are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to Him that our own peace has been preserved "
In Thomas Jefferson's Second Annual Message, he said, "[O]ur just attentions are first drawn to those pleasing circumstances which mark the goodness of that Being from whose favor they flow and the large measure of thankfulness we owe for His bounty."
After his re-election, Jefferson closed his second inaugural address by emphatically recognizing that, "I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."
When Mr. Jefferson gave his final and Eighth Annual Message, he closed out his last term in public office by saying, "I see a sure guaranty of the permanence of our Republic; and, retiring from the charge of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a firm persuasion that Heaven has in store for our beloved country long ages to come of prosperity and happiness."
As you spend a few dollars on fireworks this Fourth of July, turn one of the bills over and you will read the reason why Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson were so confident that our nation would be blessed with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On every single piece of our money is printed or stamped our national motto, acknowledging the truth that our nation is blessed because, "In God We Trust."
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