Proposing July ‘Dependence Day’

Whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of all people, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that only those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

Whereas, we have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

Whereas, it behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Therefore, proposed that the Sunday immediately preceding the national celebration of Independence Day be set apart each year as Dependence Day.

Furthermore, all this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

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While this proclamation seems very relevant to today’s cultural civil war in which the United States seems engaged, it is virtually word for word from the Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day written by Senator James Harlan of Iowa, adopted by the Senate March 3, 1863, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on March 30 and then observed April 30 of that year.

May we acknowledge what our leaders of the past have humbly believed—that we are indeed dependent on God as a nation and as individuals.

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins

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