Samuel Adams: A Cloud by Day, A Pillar of Fire by Night



Recently, David Kaspareit and Kathie Davidson mentioned Samuel Adams as one of our founding fathers and the following is an example of his patience and continuance in the face of great adversity, trusting that God would cause them to prevail.

During one of the darkest periods of the American Revolution, Philadelphia had fallen to the enemy at the Battle of Brandywine and the Congress had fled and were meeting at Yorktown. Circumstances had reduced the number of members at the meeting to about twenty but they were a patriotic bunch, clinging to the hope that their cause was just, and God was with them. Though the group was small, Samuel Adams wrote later, "Though the smallest, it was the truest congress we ever had."

A private meeting was held which included certain members to discuss the state of affairs, and everyone had their say, voicing their opinions and concerns and Samuel Adams remained silent until all who desired to speak had finished and then he began:

"Gentlemen," said he, "your spirits appear oppressed with the weight of the public calamities. Your sadness of countenance reveals your disquietude. A patriot may grieve at the distress of his country, but he will never despair of the commonwealth.

"Our affairs, it is said, are desperate! If this be our language, they are indeed. If we wear long faces, long faces will become fashionable. The eyes of the people are upon us. The tone of their feelings is regulated by ours. If we despond, public confidence is destroyed, the people will no longer yield their support to a hopeless contest, and American liberty is no more. But we are not driven to such narrow straits. Though fortune has been unpropitious, our condition is not desperate. Our burdens, though grievous, can be borne. Our losses, though great, can be retrieved. Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects the ark of Safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are its supporters.

"Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, -a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us, -a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock. We have proclaimed to the world our determination ' to die freemen, rather than to live slaves." We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven have we placed our trust. Numerous have been the manifestations of God's providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had ' our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.' We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection."

It was just a few weeks after this meeting that the news of Burgoyne's surrender was announced. On October 31, 1777, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Daniel Roberdeau were appointed to write a proclamation of thanksgiving for the Continental army's success over the enemy and the resolution was adopted by the Congress on November 1, 1777. It is posted in, A Nation Bringing Forth Fruit.

Sources: The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams by William V. Wells (1865)

Contributed by Kathryn Currier

Posted May 4, 2010



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