They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Pr 28:4
Dear Praying Friends,
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), son of President John and Abigail Adams, was our sixth U.S. President (1825-1829). A distinguished statesman, Adams became the only U.S. President to retire and run for the House of Representatives, where for 17 more years he led the fight to end human slavery. Excerpts from his July 4, 1837 Independence Day Speech to the people of Newburyport, Mass.:
Why is it that [Christians with contradictory doctrinal views] unite with all their brethren… year after year,” in celebrating this, the birthday of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence… laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?
The object of this Declaration was two-fold. First, to proclaim the People of the thirteen United Colonies, one People, and in their name, and by their authority, to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with another… A Nation was born at once! Well, indeed, may such a day be commemorated by such a Nation… But whether as a day of festivity and joy, or of humiliation and mourning… depends [after many years], not so much upon the responsibilities of those who brought the Nation forth, as upon the moral, political and intellectual character of the present generation…
The sovereign authority, conferred by the Declaration upon the people of each of the Colonies, could not extend to the exercise of any power inconsistent with that Declaration itself… [It] was at once a social compact of the whole People of the Union, embracing thirteen distinct communities united in one, and a manifesto proclaiming themselves one Nation, possessed of all the attributes of sovereign power….one People consisting of thirteen free and independent States, was new in the history of the world.
The Declaration implicitly denied the unlimited nature of sovereignty. By the affirmation that the principal of the natural rights of mankind are unalienable, it placed them beyond the reach of organized human power; and by affirming that governments are instituted to secure them, and may and ought to be abolished if they become destructive of those ends, they made all government subordinate to the moral supremacy of the People.
The Declaration itself did not even announce the States as sovereign, but as united, free and independent, and having power to do all acts and things which independent States may of right do. It acknowledged, therefore, a rule of rights paramount to the power of independent States itself, and virtually disclaimed all power to do wrong. This was a novelty in the moral philosophy of nations, and it is the essential point of difference between the system of government announced in the Declaration… and those systems which had until then prevailed among men. A moral Ruler of the universe, the Governor and Controller of all human power, is the only unlimited sovereign acknowledged by the Declaration… and it claims for the United States of America, when assuming their equal station among the nations of the earth, only the power to do all that may be done of right.
All the legislators of the human race, until that day [held] sovereignty to be unlimited and illimitable. The Declaration… proclaimed… a law of resistance against sovereign power, when wielded for oppression. A law ascending to the tribunal of the universal lawgiver and judge. A law of right, binding upon nations as well as individuals, upon sovereigns as well as upon subjects. By that law the colonists resisted their sovereign. By that law… they appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions, and neither claimed nor conferred authority to do anything but of right (Read Complete speech at Library of Congress).
Adams went on to excoriate the sin of the Union’s failure to live up to the Declaration by ending human slavery, warning of civil war and the high cost to future generations, foremost, the failure to fulfill that mission of Jesus Christ. He ended his speech with what was, in essence, an altar call to repentance.