Salutations, my long-time compatriot. Your letter arrived today, and in the business of the day, it is a joy to see personal correspondence awaiting my attention, especially yours. As you well know, older gentlemen have lives of increasing simplicity – whether we desire such or not. As much as my family considers it necessary to take care of what they would, with gentle endearment, term a patriarch, I would prefer a little more intricacy and complication and a lot less simplicity. Simplicity or course is desirable in season, but not these. Was not our hearts on fire when we rallied together, our lives pledged to the cause along with our patriot brothers and sisters? Yes, Christian, they were, as you rightly point out. Is not the pursuit of self-rule and self-determination from a tyrant a pursuit filled with complexity? A resolute affirmation – the eternal verities! Are such exuberant experiences limited to the young? I should think not, my dear friend. Regardless of our present limitations, as it is with you or with me, we are to follow the great Apostle Paul and “…press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phi. 3:14 NAS.
Considering the poignant events you described in your last dispatch, are we not to “set your [our] minds on the things above, not the things that are on earth.” Col 3:2. What does setting our minds on “things above” mean, my friend? Especially when we are perplexed all around. Doesn’t this require us to lift our eyes toward heaven, knowing as Elisha’s servant knew when surrounded that heaven’s armies await the command? Yes, Christian, we must be mindful that there is a greater power than temporal earthly powers, there will be a time of judgment, and Truth will prevail.
Therefore, I remind you, good soldier: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way as not without aim; I box in such a way as not beating the air, but I discipline my body and make it my slave so that, after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:24-27 NAS. Be prepared, my dearest friend, regardless of the aches and pains of life and our current predicaments.
Refresh in the hope of liberty, but dear Christian, the greater Hope, eternal life. Did not Christ promise, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jn. 4:14. Drink deeply from His Word of Life, and take heart. Despite the enemy’s scheming who is in this world, we have Hope. Yet, in light of the present reality, we must “…prepare your [our] minds for action; be self-controlled; set your [our] hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 2 Cor. 1:10
Hope, my dearest friend, yes, we have a glorious hope – eternal life and His return. When He returns, righteousness will be revealed, and justice dispensed.
As to the shameful conduct of the administration and those who call themselves leaders, I concur with your assessment and that of great General Washington when he admonished us, “while we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” Should not our conduct as Patriots so conform, even now? Absolutely. Let us, as Patriots and especially as Christians, remember:
“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we early wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state in conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” Phil. 3:20-21.
Please do not allow yourself to be persuaded into any such conduct contrary to your citizenship in heaven, as I know you have and will continue. Be imitators of Him and like-minded.
I agree with your assertion. As you indicate in your letter, I have heard elsewhere of the dangers that General Washington warned:
“It is important…that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres; avoiding the exercise of one department’s powers to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.”
It is, therefore, the duty of all citizens to demand the restoration of the balance outlined in the Constitution and the current encroachment and abdication of responsibility taking us closer to that which we all fought and died to protect – freedom. Freedom from despotism and tyranny and the right to self-determination. It is not too late, but action is required.
As I have said, we have hope! Did not the citizens of this great nation rise in righteous indignation and call upon the Lord? Did we not beseech the Lord for guidance? Does that truth not apply to this day? Then let the shofar sound and awaken the lulled citizens from complacency.
Should we not follow the example of Solomon and pray the Lord will appear? We also hope for Him to say to us:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:12-14.
Is this not the character great General Washington expected of the Patriots? It is also not the character of one who calls himself a Christian – a follower of Christ?
Yes, a resounding yes! As you request, my dearest friends, I will pray to the Lord that our great country will turn from her wicked ways, and He will hear from heaven, and He will heal our land.
In warmest affections,
Adonijah Burton, Esq.