Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Highest Glory

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." -- John Quincy Adams

This quote has had wide circulation for decades and can be traced back to an 1860 work by John Wingate Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, which reprinted a number of sermons preached during the Revolution. In the overview of that work, Thornton explained:
The church polity [form of government] of New England begat like principles in the state. The pew and the pulpit had been educated to self-government. They were accustomed “TO CONSIDER.” The highest glory of the American Revolution, said John Quincy Adams, was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

Thornton, an attorney and historian, grew up during the lifetime of John Quincy Adams and held many interests in common with him. His above statement in connection with Adams is Thornton's summation of part of a lengthy speech delivered by John Quincy Adams during an 1837 Fourth of July celebration at Newburyport, Massachusetts (a speech which Thornton may well have heard in person, but which he certainly later read).

In that address, Adams observed that Christmas and the Fourth of July were the two most-celebrated holidays in America, and that both were interrelated.

As Adams began his speech, he queried:

"Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [July 4th]? . . . Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity. . ?"

Hat tip/quoted from to Wallbuilders.


Christina said...

Great post, Beth. I linked to you in my blog because I couldn't put it any better myself!

Happy 4th! Got an plans?

Anonymous said...

I learned some new things from your post. I like that a lot! If you don't mind I would like to share this post on my blog. Thank you also for the kind comment you left over at my blog. You made me smile!

BTW: You've just been tagged. I hope you don't mind. I had to share the love! ((Hugs))

Debbie said...

This was so interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I may copy and paste for future reference as well, as long as you don't mind.....