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Charles Thomson


1729-1824
August 16th marks the 190th anniversary of the death of Charles Thomson. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress and a strong Christian, was one of only two people who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th (John Hancock was the other; the rest signed weeks later).
Thomson is also responsible for the Great Seal of the United States, which he prepared — and Congress approved — in 1782.

 

Thomson served fifteen years in the Continental Congress, and his political career came to a close when he notified George Washington that he had been unanimously selected the President of the United States.

But Thomson was not only a great patriot and supporter of the American cause, he was also a great supporter of the Word of God. In fact, his name is associated with some of America’s greatest Biblical works.

For example, his name, as Secretary of Congress, is found in the introduction to theAitken Bible, also known as “The Bible of the Revolution,” which was the first Bible printed in English in America. That Bible was printed by Robert Aitken, the official printer of the Continental Congress (Aitken described that Bible as “a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools”), and was reviewed and approved by a committee of the Continental Congress, with an official congressional endorsement published in the front of that Bible. (All of the original books pictured below that are associated with Charles Thomson are from our library at WallBuilders.)

Thomson was also responsible for the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint (the full Greek Bible) into English in 1808 – a task that consumed nearly two decades of his life.  Called Thomson’s Bible, it is a four volume-set that is considered one of the most scholarly of American Bible translations, and that translation is still available today.
Thomson also had an 8 volume set  in which every other page was blank, thus allowing scholars a place to write notes on Scriptures as they studied them.
In 1815, Thomson published his famous Synopsis of the Four Evangelists, in which he took all the passages from the four Gospels and arranged them chronologically, thus producing something like one super long Gospel, with all Jesus’ words and acts arranged sequentially. Today, we call such a work a synoptic Gospel.
                                                            

Sadly today, Charles Thomson has become a forgotten Founding Father, but his contributions, both politically and spiritually, permanently shaped the course of America and blessed American life.

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Declaration of Independence approved July 4, 1776


Declaration-of-Independence

Declaration of Independence

 

American Minute with Bill Federer

 

The Declaration of Independence was approved JULY 4, 1776.

 

It listed abuses of King George III, age 38, such as:

 

“He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone…

 

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

 

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies…

 

To subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution…

 

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us…

 

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

 

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury…

 

For…establishing…an Arbitrary government…

 

For…altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments…

 

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

 

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny…

 

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions…”

 

33-year-old Thomas Jefferson’s original rough draft of the Declaration contained a line condemning slavery:

 

“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself…in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither…

 

suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce determining to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold.”

 

A few delegates objected, and as the Declaration needed to pass unanimously and time was running short with the British invading New York, the line condemning slavery was unfortunately omitted.

 

John Hancock, the 39-year-old President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration first, reportedly saying “the price on my head has just doubled.”

 

Next to sign was Secretary, Charles Thomson, age 47.

 

70-year-old Benjamin Franklin said:

 

“We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately.

 

The Declaration referred to God:

 

“Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…

 

All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…

 

Appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions…”

 

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

 

Many of the 56 signers sacrificed their prosperity for their posterity.

 

Of the Signers:

 

17 served in the military,

11 had their homes destroyed;

5 were hunted and captured; and

9 died during the war.

 

27-year-old George Walton signed, and at the Battle of Savannah was wounded and captured.

 

Signers Edward Rutledge, age 27, Thomas Heyward, Jr., age 30, and Arthur Middleton, age 34, were made prisoners at the Siege of Charleston.

 

38-year-old signer Thomas Nelson had his home used as British headquarters during the siege of Yorktown. Nelson reportedly offered five guineas to the first man to hit his house.

 

Signer Carter Braxton, age 40, lost his fortune during the war.

 

42-year-old signer Thomas McKean wrote that he was “hunted like a fox by the enemy, compelled to remove my family five times in three month.”

 

46-year-old Richard Stockton signed and was dragged from his bed at night and jailed.

 

50-year-old signer Lewis Morris had his home taken and used as a barracks.

 

50-year-old signer Abraham Clark had two sons tortured and imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey.

 

More Americans died on British starving ships than died in battle during the Revolution.

 

53-year-old signer John Witherspoon’s son, James, was killed in the Battle of Germantown.

 

60-year-old signer Philip Livingston lost several properties to British occupation and died before the war ended.

 

63-year-old signer Francis Lewis had his wife imprisoned and treated so harshly, she died shortly after her release.

 

65-year-old signer John Hart had his home looted and had to remain in hiding, dying before the war ended.

 

41-year-old John Adams wrote of the Declaration:

 

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival.

 

It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.

 

It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

 

John Adams continued:

 

“You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not.

 

I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.

 

Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.

 

And that Posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

 

When 54-year-old Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said:

 

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

 

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

 

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