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A resolution March 16, 1776 for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by mandym, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. mandym

    mandym New Member

    Feb 3, 2011
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    As recorded in the Journals of the Continental Congress, Founding Father William Livingston presented a resolution on Saturday, March 16, 1776 for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, which included this declaration:

    “In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered… it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity…

    The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and priviledges, and to reduce us by fire and sword… to the most abject and ignominious bondage… Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness…

    [T]hat it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success…

    That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.”

    William Livingston’s resolution passed without dissent and by order of Congress was printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Livingston was a member of Patriot Pastor James Caldwell’s Presbyterian Church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey and eventually became the first Governor of the state and a Signer of the U.S. Constitution. Livingston’s resolution in Congress for a day of fasting and prayer is another lost episode in American history.

    *Source Citation: Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, 34 vols., (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1904-1937), 4:208-09. See also Carl E. Prince, ed., The Papers of William Livingston, 5 vols. (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1979), 1:43-44.