“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley;… 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. … 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today” – Deuteronomy 8:7-11 NLT
John Adams began his career as a schoolteacher and attorney. He was made the principal author of the Massachusetts constitution (1780)—the oldest constitution in the world, still in use today. He was one of three assigned the task of writing the Declaration of Independence. After the U.S. Constitution was ratified, he served two terms as vice president under President George Washington and helped frame the Bill of Rights. Following Washington’s retirement, he became the second U.S. president. He died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence July—4, 1826.
By reading a few of his statements about God and his country we get a glimpse into the biblical foundations of America.
His view of the Bible:
“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited…What a Utopia—what a Paradise would this region be!”
His Fear of God:
Benjamin Rush, upon his return from the army to Baltimore in 1777, sat next to John Adams in Congress and upon whispering to him and asking him if he thought we should succeed in our struggle with Great Britain, he answered me ,“Yes—if we fear God and repent of our sins.” He, like other Founders were very aware of passages like: Isaiah 59:2: “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
His Acknowledgment of God:
The psalmist said, “The wicked return to Sheol, even nations who forget God” – Psalm 9:17. Whenever we stop acknowledging Him, whether as an individual or a nation, we then begin to forget Him, and at that point we are in trouble. Understanding this truth John Adams declared:
“The safety and prosperity of Nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the National acknowledgment of this truth is…an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”
His recognition of Biblical Foundations:
John Adams also understood the essential pillars and supports of this great nation. America’s two foundational supports are religion and morality, and if we lose these, the entire nation will be in danger of crumbling and failing. Notice the powerful affirmation from Adams:
“It is religion and morality, alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”
His Desire to Remember God:
After the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence from Great Britain, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail and stated:
“The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, …
“You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we may regret it, which I trust in God we shall not.”
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at times in their lives great friends and admirers of each other. At other times they were bitter enemies. Fortunately when they had both left politics they once again became great friends. They never saw each other the remainder of their lives, but kept a lively regular correspondence of letters that still exist to this day.
July 4th, 1826 marked the 50th anniversary of the great Declaration and the country was eager to celebrate in a fashion similar to how we celebrate today. Adams was 90 years old and Jefferson 83. Both were in declining health and determined to live long enough to see this great country celebrate 50 years and take pride in the role they had played. As the clock struck midnight on the 4th, both men acknowledged to their families that they had lived long enough to see this important day. John Adams died later that day on July 4th and his last words were “Jefferson lives,” Unknown to Adams was the fact that Thomas Jefferson had died a few hours before!
Remembering the “coincidental” deaths of these two great men, President John Quincy Adams declared 30 days of national mourning and said, “… A coincidence of circumstances so wonderful gives confidence to the belief that the patriotic efforts of these illustrious men were Heaven directed, and furnishes a new seal to the hope that the posterity of these states is under the special protection of a kind Providence.”
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Rick Hennessy and Dale Ebel