My brothers, God called you to be free. But do not use your freedom as an excuse to do the things that please your sinful self. Serve each other with love.
America is 242 years old this year and the accomplishments that we can look back on and see God’s hand in are many! But long ago, upon the occasion of America’s 50th year of independence, the mayor of Washington, Roger Chew Weightman, had a grand celebration in the works. He invited the 3 surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Charles Carroll of Maryland. He also invited former presidents James Madison and James Monroe.
Due to their advanced ages, none of the invitees could attend. On June 24, 1826 Jefferson sent his regrets to the mayor in what became his final public letter. Two personal notes were penned a day later. In this last public letter, he defined what Independence Day is all about. Note the punctuation and capitalization. Freedom is biblical and these children of the Great Awakening had a fond and deep understanding of the stark difference between God’s Plan for his people and their current condition. Guided by that Plan, they made the commitment to be led by that teaching and fight for the space and time to begin a better life for generations to come.
We must honor every sacrifice that brought us to where we are today by sharing the knowledge and doing our part to keep this country free, retain liberty here and attain liberty for all so that out of many we can become one. Our founders, imperfect though they be, paved the start. Generations, also flawed, built on that start. We are here for a time such as this…to continue the Plan in the works. People are not perfect but God’s plan is. Amen!
Here, Jefferson defines what independence means to him;
“May [the Declaration] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government.”
Read the letter in its entirety below…
Monticello June 24. 26
The kind invitation I receive from you on the part of the citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration of the 50th. anniversary of American independance; as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. it adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. but acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to controul. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. may it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. that form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. the general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view. the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god. these are grounds of hope for others. for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.
I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have met my ancient neighbors of the City of Washington and of it’s vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten. with my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself, and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.
[Source: Library of Congress; Click to visit]
Other resources you may enjoy:
Read letters penned by Jefferson’s own hand! (The main reason why our generations should be required to learn to read cursive writing is so that they may read, understand and know their country’s history for themselves.)
The Campfire with Kirk Cameron – Kirk is a kindred spirit when it comes to America’s Providential history. His “Why I Care About America’s Founding” is worth signing up for the free 14 day trial.