Category Archives: Religion

Advent – Christmas Eve

th377WQ8QIOn Christmas Eve, the white center candle is traditionally lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Let’s look at our scripture passages for Christmas Eve beginning with the letter to Titus, Titus 2:11-15 (NASB) . . .

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Our Second passage is from the gospel according to Luke . . . Luke 2:1-14(NASB) . . . .

1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Advent+-+First+Sunday-003[1]
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Tonight all candles are lit starting with the “Prophecy Candle” (purple), then the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple), Next is the “Shepherds’ Candle” (rose), then the “Angels’ Candle” (purple) and tonight the “Christ Candle” (white).

Let us pray . . . Father unto You be glory, honor and power, joy, peace, love and purity for only You have given us Christ the Lord Who is King and Shepherd, Savior and Lord. We thank You for Your graciousness and love, for the amazing sacrifice You make, in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIThe fourth and last Sunday of Advent is for the celebration and representation of Peace. Let’s read our scripture passages, the first being from the first letter to the church of Corinth. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (NASB)

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Our second passage of scripture comes from the gospel according to Luke Chapter 3, verses 1-6 (NASB) . . . .

3 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;
4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,Advent week 4 wreath - BVC
Make His paths straight.

5‘Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;

6And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

Today we light four candles, the “Prophecy Candle” (purple), the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple), the “Shepherd’s Candle” (rose) and the fourth and last purple candle, oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace.

Let us pray, Father we thank You for bringing us through this time of preparation to receive Your Son, our Lord and Savior. What a magnificent gift You have given and are giving us when He returns to gather His brothers and sisters, Your children, Home to glory. Keep us ever mindful of the price You paid when He came to earth in human form, totally human, yet totally divine, in His precious name we pray, Amen.

The Third Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIOn the third Sunday of Advent we concentrate on joy. Lets look at our scripture passages. The first one in from the letter to the church at Philippi, Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB) . . .

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Our second scripture passage is from the gospel of John 1:19-28 (NASB)

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.Advent wreath

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy. Today we light three candles, the “Prophecy Candle” (purple); the “Bethlehem Candle” (purple) and todays is the pink or rose candle know as the “Shepherd’s Candle.”

Let us Pray . . . Father thank You for giving us time to prepare for the coming of Your Son.  As we look forward to His birth, we also look forward to His coming again and thank You for our redemption through Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Second Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIOn the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the “Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger. As we begin our Celebration of the Second Sunday of Advent, let’s join together and read from the letter to the Romans, chapter 15, verses 4-13 (NASB) . . .

4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,
9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,

“Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Your name.”

10 Again he says,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him.”

12 Again Isaiah says,

“There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lets now read together from the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 11:2-10 (NASB)

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples
and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:
the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the gospel preached to them.
And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Advent-wreath-wk2-m8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!
But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.
  This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger Who will prepare Your way before You.’

Now let’s light the “Prophecy Candle” from week one and now the “Bethlehem Candle” for this week.Advent-wreath-wk2-m

Let’s pray, Father we thank You for Who You are and for all the ways You show us Your love. Through the Prophets of old You gave us a promise and we see You have fulfilled it. We can therefore learn from this that Your word is tried and true. You will always keep Your promises. Thank You for showing us Your love as we prepare for the birth of our Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The First Sunday of Advent

th377WQ8QIAs we begin our Celebration of Advent, let us begin with a reading from the Epistle (Letter) to the Roman (church) . . . Romans 13:11-14 (NASB)

11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Our second reading is from the book of the gospel of Luke, chapter 21:25-33 (NASB) . . .

25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 Then He told them a parable: Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.Advent - First Sunday

Let us light the first candle of Advent. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah. (Light the first Purple Candle)

Father we thank You that You love us enough to send us Your son for our redemption and new life. Prepare us for the day of Your coming again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Advent – What It Is, When It Is, and How It Is Celebrated

th377WQ8QICelebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. In Western Christianity, the season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. In 2014 it begins on Sunday 30 November and is celebrated each Sunday after that until it climaxes on 24 December.

What is Advent?

Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy.

Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of time.

Definition of Advent

The word “advent” comes from the Latin “adventus” meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly of something having great importance.

The Time of Advent

For denominations that celebrate Advent, it marks the beginning of the church year.

In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last or fourth Sunday of Advent.

For Eastern Orthodox churches which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins earlier, on November 15, and lasts 40 days rather than four weeks. Advent is also known as the Nativity Fast in Orthodox Christianity.

What Denominations Celebrate Advent?

Advent is primarily observed in Christian churches that follow an ecclesiastical calendar of liturgical seasons to determine feasts, memorials, fasts and holy days:

Catholic
Orthodox
Anglican / Episcopalian
Lutheran
Methodist
Presbyterian

Today, however, more and more Protestant and Evangelical Christians are recognizing the spiritual significance of Advent, and have begun to revive the spirit of the season through serious reflection, joyful expectation, and even through the observance of some of the traditional Advent customs.

Origins of Advent

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Advent began sometime after the 4th century as a time of preparation for Epiphany, and not in anticipation of Christmas. Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ by remembering the visit of the wise men and, in some traditions, the Baptism of Jesus. At this time new Christians were baptized and received into the faith, and so the early church instituted a 40-day period of fasting and repentance.

Later, in the 6th century, St. Gregory the Great was the first to associate this season of Advent with the coming of Christ. Originally it was not the coming of the Christ-child that was anticipated, but rather, the Second Coming of Christ.

By the Middle Ages, the church had extended the celebration of Advent to include the coming of Christ through His birth in Bethlehem, his future coming at the end of time, and his presence among us through the promised Holy Spirit. Modern-day Advent services include symbolic customs related to all three of these “advents” of Christ.

Advent Symbols and Customs

Many different variations and interpretations of Advent customs exist today, depending upon the denomination and the type of service being observed. The following symbols and customs provide a general overview only, and do not represent an exhaustive resource for all Christian traditions.

Some Christians choose to incorporate Advent activities into their family holiday traditions, even when their church does not formally recognize a season of Advent. They do this as a way of keeping Christ at the center of their Christmas celebrations.

What Are the Colors of Advent?

Advent Colors and What They Symbolize

Purple has traditionally been the primary color of Advent, symbolizing repentance and fasting. Purple is also the color of royalty, demonstrating the anticipation and reception of the coming King celebrated during Advent. Today, however, many churches have begun to use blue instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent.

Pink (or rose) is also one of the colors of Advent used during the third Sunday. It represents joy or rejoicing and reveals a shift in the season away from repentance and toward celebration.

White is the color of the center Advent candle, representing purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

What is the Advent Wreath?thF5OUV8GM

Symbols and Customs of the Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services. Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents hope or expectation in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

Each week on Sunday, an additional candle is lit. On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the Bethlehem Candle,” symbolizing Christ’s manger.

On the third Sunday of Advent the pink, or rose-colored candle is lit. This pink candle is customarily called the “Shepherds Candle” and it represents joy.

The fourth and last purple candle, oftentimes called the “Angels Candle,” represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent.

On Christmas Eve, the white center candle is traditionally lit. This candle is called the “Christ Candle” and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity. Christ is the sinless, spotless, pure Savior. Also, those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and made whiter than snow.

Celebrating with an Advent wreath during the weeks prior to Christmas is a great way for Christian families to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, and for parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

Richard Bassett – Signer of the United States Constitution – Delaware

th2C99Y252Richard Bassett was born at Bohemia Ferry in the Province of Maryland’s Cecil County. His mother, Judith Thompson, had married part-time tavern-owner and farmer Michael Bassett who deserted the family during Richard’s childhood. Since Judith Thompson was the great-granddaughter and heiress of Augustine Herrman, the original owner of Cecil County’s massive estate of Bohemia Manor, her family raised young Richard. Eventually this heritage provided him with inherited wealth, including the Bohemia Manor plantation as well as much other property in Delaware’s New Castle County.

Bassett studied law under Judge Robert Goldsborough of Province of Maryland’s Dorchester County and, in 1770, was admitted to the Bar. He moved to Delaware and began a practice in Kent County’s court town of Dover, which, in 1777, became the newly independent state’s capital city. By concentrating on agricultural pursuits as well as religious and charitable concerns, he quickly established himself amongst the local gentry and “developed a reputation for hospitality and philanthropy.” In 1774, at the age of 29, Richard married Ann Ennals and they had three children, Richard Ennals, Ann (known as Nancy) and Mary. After Ann Ennals’ death he married Betsy Garnett in 1796. They were active members of the Methodist Church, and gave the church much of their time and attention.

Bassett was a reluctant revolutionary, more closely in tune with the approach of George Read than with his neighbors from Kent County, Caesar Rodney and John Haslet. Nevertheless, in 1774 he was elected to the local Boston Relief Committee. When the new government of Delaware was organized, Bassett served on the 1776 Delaware Council of Safety, and was a member of the convention responsible for drafting the Delaware Constitution of 1776, which was adopted September 20, 1776. He was then one of the conservatives elected to 1st Delaware General Assembly, and served for four sessions, from 1776-80. Subsequently, he was a member of the House of Assembly for the 1780-82 sessions, and returned to the Legislative Council, for three sessions from 1782-85. He concluded his state legislative career with a final term in the House of Assembly during the 1786-87 session. He thereby represented Kent County in all but one session of the Delaware General Assembly from independence to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution of 1787.

However, Bassett’s most notable contributions during the American Revolution were his efforts to mobilize the state’s military. Some sources credit him with developing the plans for raising and staffing the 1st Delaware Regiment, with his neighbor, John Haslet at its command. Known as the “Delaware Continentals” or “Delaware Blues”, they were from the smallest state, but at some 800 men, were the largest battalion in the Continental Army. In 1776, historian David McCullough describes them as “turned out in handsome red trimmed blue coats, white waistcoats, buckskin breeches, white woolen stockings, and carrying fine, ‘lately imported’ English muskets”. Raised in early 1776, they went into service in July and August 1776. Bassett also participated in the recruitment of the reserve militia that served in the “Flying Camp” of 1776, and the Dover Light Infantry, led by another neighbor, Thomas Rodney.

When the British Army marched through northern New Castle County, on the way to the Battle of Brandywine and the capture of Philadelphia, Bassett “appears to have joined his friend Rodney in the field as a volunteer”. Once the Delaware militia returned home after the British retired from the area, Bassett continued as a part-time soldier, assuming command of the Dover Light Horse, Kent County’s militia cavalry unit. In 1799 Bassett was elected governor of Delaware and held his position until 1801.

Bassett was one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and, without supplying much input, signed the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Delaware Constitution of 1776 was in need of revision, and Bassett once again joined with another of Delaware’s Founding Fathers, John Dickinson in leading the convention to draft a revision, which became the Delaware Constitution of 1792. Upon his retirement from the United States Senate in 1793, Bassett began a six-year term as the first Chief Justice of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas. At the time it was a court of general civil jurisdiction and the predecessor of the present Delaware Superior Court. By this time Bassett was formally a member of the Federalist Party, and as such was elected Governor of Delaware in 1799. It was during his time in office that Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours first came to Delaware to begin his gunpowder business.

It was also during his term as governor that Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States, causing great concern for the future of the country among the Federalists. The retiring President John Adams, rushed the Judiciary Act of 1801 through the Federalist 6th Congress, creating a number of new judgeships on the United States circuit courts. Being a staunch Federalist and old political ally, Adams, on his last day in office, February 18, 1801, appointed Bassett, as part of the so-called “midnight judge” appointments, to one of the positions, judge of the Third Circuit. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1801, and received his commission the same day. But the legislation was repealed by the new Jeffersonian 7th Congress, and his tenure ended quickly on July 1, 1802. He never again held public office.

In addition to his high-profile in government, Bassett was a devout and energetic convert to Methodism. Having met Francis Asbury in 1778 at the home of their mutual friend, Judge Thomas White, Bassett soon had a conversion experience, and for the remainder of his life devoted much of his attention and wealth to the promotion of Methodism. He and Asbury remained lifelong friends. This association caused him to become linked in many people’s minds to the loyalists, as both White and Asbury were viewed to be opposed to the war. But it also led to a strong abolitionist belief, which led him to free his own slaves and advocate the emancipation of others.

Bassett died at Bohemia Manor and was first buried there. In 1865 his remains were moved to a Bassett and Bayard mausoleum in the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington.

Abraham Baldwin – Signer of the United States Constitution – Georgia

thMGZR0SUEAbraham Baldwin, was born on November 22, 1754, to Lucy Dudley and Michael Baldwin in North Guilford, Connecticut.  He represented Georgia at the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was a fervent missionary of public education. Throughout his career he combined a faith in democratic institutions with a belief that an informed citizenry was essential to the continuing wellbeing of those institutions. The son of an unlettered Connecticut blacksmith, Baldwin through distinguished public service clearly demonstrated how academic achievement could open opportunities in early American society. Educated primarily for a position in the church, he served in the Continental Army during the climactic years of the Revolution. There, close contact with men of widely varying economic and social backgrounds broadened his outlook and experience and convinced him that public leadership in America included a duty to instill in the electorate the tenets of civic responsibility.

Baldwin also displayed a strong sense of nationalism. Experiences during the war as well as his subsequent work in public education convinced him that the future well-being of an older, more prosperous state like Connecticut was closely linked to developments in newer frontier states like Georgia, where political institutions were largely unformed and provisions for education remained primitive. His later political career was animated by the conviction that only a strong central government dedicated to promoting the welfare of the citizens of all the states could guarantee the fulfillment of the ideals and promises of the Revolution.

The Baldwins were numbered among the earliest New England settlers. Arriving in Connecticut in 1639, the family produced succeeding generations of hard-working farmers, small-town tradesmen, and minor government officials. Abraham Baldwin’s father plied his trade in Guilford, Connecticut. Abraham eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant in the local unit of the Connecticut militia. A resourceful man with an overriding faith in the advantages of higher education, he moved his family to New Haven where he borrowed heavily to finance his sons’ attendance at Yale College (now Yale University). Abraham Baldwin never married, but he made a similar sacrifice, for after his father’s death he assumed many family debts and personally financed the education of the family’s next generation.

Baldwin graduated from Yale in 1772, but, intending to become a Congregationalist minister, he remained at the school as a graduate student studying theology. In 1775 he received a license to preach, but he decided to defer full-time clerical duties in order to accept a position as tutor at his alma mater. For the next three years he continued in this dual capacity, becoming increasingly well-known both for his piety and modesty and for his skill as an educator with a special knack for directing and motivating the young men of the college.

Baldwin’s continuing association with Yale College contributed directly to his entry into military service. The college, which had produced a major share of Connecticut’s clergy for nearly a century, now became the major source of chaplains for the states Continental Army contingent. Baldwin apparently served as a chaplain with Connecticut forces on a part-time basis during the early stages of the war, and finally in February 1779 he succeeded the Reverend Timothy Dwight, another Yale tutor, as one of the two brigade chaplains allotted to Connecticut’s forces. He was appointed as chaplain in Brigadier General Samuel H. Parsons’ brigade, remaining with the unit until the general demobilization of the Army that followed the announcement of the preliminary treaty of peace in June 1783.

The duties of a Revolutionary War chaplain were quite extensive, varying considerably from the modern concept of a clergyman’s military role. In addition to caring for the spiritual needs of the 1,500 or so soldiers of differing denominations in the brigade, Baldwin assumed a major responsibility for maintaining the morale of the men and for guarding their physical welfare. He was also assigned certain educational duties, serving as a political adviser to the brigade commander and subordinate regimental commanders. In his sermons and in less formal conversations with the officers and men he was expected to help the soldiers understand the basis for the conflict with the mother country and thereby to heighten their sense of mission and dedication to the Patriot cause.

Although Baldwin’s unit did not participate in combat during the last four years of the war, it still played a major role in Washington’s defensive strategy. The Connecticut brigades were assigned to garrison duty near West Point. There they helped secure vital communications along the Hudson River and guard this critical base area against British invasions. They performed their mission well; the Continental brigades in the Hudson Valley formed the bedrock of Washington’s main army against which no British general was likely to attack. With his center thus secured, Washington was free to launch successful offensive operations against smaller enemy forces in other parts of the country. The soldiers in Baldwin’s brigade eventually trained for an amphibious attack on the British stronghold at New York City late in the war, but the plan was never put into effect.

Baldwin had little to do with these purely military matters, but his service as a chaplain proved vital to the Patriot cause. Along with the rest of the main Continental line units from the New England and middle states, Baldwin’s Connecticut brigade had weathered the darkest days of the war. During 1778 these units had received rigorous training under Washington’s famed Inspector General, Frederick von Steuben, and they had emerged as seasoned professionals, the equal of Britain’s famous Redcoats. Nevertheless, the’ deprivations of such a long war exacted a toll on morale, leading to desertions and occasional mutinies in the 1780s. The Connecticut units, however, remained among the most reliable. Thanks in great part to the success of leaders like Baldwin, the troops had been thoroughly educated as to the nation’s war aims and the need for extended service by the Continental units. As a result, Connecticut stood firm.

Military service in turn had a profound influence on Baldwin’s future. During these years he became friends with many of the Continental Army’s senior officers, including Washington and General Nathanael Greene, who would take command in the south in late 1780. He was also a witness to Major General Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of his country. These associations moved the somewhat cloistered New England teacher and theology student toward a broader political outlook and a strong moral commitment to the emerging nation.

In 1783 Baldwin returned to civilian life and to a change in career. He rejected opportunities to serve as a minister and to assume the prestigious post as Yale’s Professor of Divinity. While still in the Army he had studied law and had been admitted to the Connecticut bar. Now, after settling his family’s affairs, he left New England for the frontier regions of Georgia, where he established a legal practice in Wilkes County near Augusta. Two men probably influenced this decision. Nathanael Greene had announced his intention to move to the state he had so recently freed from British occupation and was encouraging other veterans to join him in settling along the frontier. More importantly, Governor Lyman Hall, himself a Yale graduate, was interested in finding a man of letters to assist in developing a comprehensive educational system for Georgia. He apparently asked Yale’s president, Ezra Stiles, to help him in the search, and Baldwin was persuaded to accept the responsibility.

Baldwin decided that the legislature was the proper place in which to formulate plans for the education of Georgia’s citizens. A year after moving to the state, he won a seat in the lower house, one he would continue to hold until 1789. During his first session in office he drew up a comprehensive plan for secondary and higher education in the state that was gradually implemented over succeeding decades. This plan included setting aside land grants to fund the establishment of Franklin College (today’s University of Georgia), which he patterned after Yale.

Baldwin quickly emerged as one of the leaders in the Georgia legislature. In addition to sponsoring his educational initiatives, he served as the chairman of numerous committees and drafted many of the states first laws. His role reflected not only an exceptional political astuteness, but also an ability to deal with a wide variety of men and situations. As the son of a blacksmith, Baldwin exhibited a natural affinity for the rough men of the Georgia frontier; as the graduate of one of the nation’s finest schools, he also related easily to the wealthy and cultured planters of the coast. This dual facility enabled him to mediate differences that arose among the various social and economic groups coalescing in the new state. As a result, he exercised a leadership role in the legislature by devising compromises necessary for the adoption of essential administrative and legal programs.

Baldwin’s exceptional work in the legislative arena prompted political leaders in his adopted state to assign him even greater responsibilities. In early 1785 Georgia elected him to the Continental Congress, initiating a career in national government that would end only with his death. Although he had moved to Georgia to serve as a “missionary in the cause of education:’ as he put it, he nevertheless willingly assumed the burdens associated with national politics in the cause of effective government. In 1787 Georgia called on Baldwin to serve in the Constitutional Convention where, avoiding the limelight, he earned the respect of his colleagues both for his diligence as a delegate and his effectiveness as a compromiser. Baldwin remained active in politics during his years as president of the University of Georgia. He continued to hold his seat in the Georgia Assembly until 1789, but in 1785, he was also elected to the Confederation congress. Two years later, Baldwin served as one of four Georgia delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787 (the other delegates were William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce. Of the Georgia delegates, only Baldwin and William Few signed the constitution.

Baldwin was an active participant in the deliberations over representation that were at the heart of the constitutional process. He had originally supported the idea of representation in the national legislature based on property qualifications, which he saw as a way to bond together the traditional leadership elements and the new sources of political and economic power. When delegates from his native state convinced him that small states like Connecticut would withdraw from the Convention if the Constitution did not somehow guarantee the equality of state representation, he changed his stand. His action tied the vote on the issue and paved the way for consideration of the question by a committee. Baldwin eventually helped draw up the Great Compromise, whereby a national legislature gave equal voice to all thirteen states in a Senate composed of two representatives from each, but respected the rights of the majority in a House of Representatives based on population. His role in this compromise was widely recognized, and Baldwin himself considered his work in drafting the Constitution as his most important public service.

After the adoption of the Constitution, Baldwin continued to serve in the last days of the old Continental Congress and then went on to serve five terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate, including one session as the President Pro Tem of that body. His political instincts prompted him to support the more limited nationalist policies associated with James Madison, and he was widely recognized as a leader of the moderate wing of the Democratic-Republican party. Throughout his years of congressional service, Baldwin remained an effective molder of legislative opinion, working in committees as well as in informal political circles to develop the laws that fleshed out the skeletal framework provided by the Constitution.

Baldwin’s political philosophy was encapsulated in his often quoted formula for representative governments: “Take care, hold the wagon back; there is more danger of its running too fast than of its going too slow.” A man of principle, who had learned much from his service in the Continental Army, Baldwin demonstrated throughout a lengthy public career the value of accommodation between competing political interests, the critical need of national unity, and the importance of education to a democratic society.

Baldwin is remembered today in Georgia primarily for his statewide educational program that created a state university and provided state funds for that institution. Highlighting his own education principles, Baldwin once stated that Georgia must “place the youth under the forming hand of Society, that by instruction they may be moulded to the love of Virtue and good Order.” He believed that no republic was secure without a well-informed constituency. Baldwin never married. In a curious parallel to a later renowned Georgian, Alexander Stephens, Baldwin assumed custody of six of his younger half-siblings upon his father’s death and reared, housed, and educated them all at his own expense.

On March 4, 1807, at age fifty-three, Baldwin died while serving as a U.S. senator from Georgia. Later that month the Savannah Republican and Savannah Evening Ledger reprinted a eulogy of the great statesman, which had first appeared in a Washington, D.C., newspaper: “He originated the plan of the University of Georgia, drew up the charter, and with infinite labor and patience, in vanquishing all sorts of prejudices and removing every obstruction, he persuaded the assembly to adopt it.” Baldwin is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia and Baldwin County in middle Georgia are named in his honor.

Daniel Carroll – Signer of the United States Constitution – Maryland

Daniel_carrollDaniel Carroll was born on 22 July 1730 in Upper Marlboro, Prince Georges County, Maryland, the oldest son of Daniel Carroll, a native of Ireland, and Eleanor Darnall Carroll, of English descent. He spent his early years at his family’s home, a large estate of thousands of acres which his mother had inherited. (Several acres are now associated with the house museum known as Darnall’s Chance, listed on the National Register of Historic Places).

Daniel was sent abroad for his education. Between 1742 and 1748 he studied under the Jesuits at the College of St. Omer in Flanders, established for the education of English Catholics after the Protestant Reformation. Then, after a tour of Europe, he sailed home and soon married Eleanor Carroll, a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

Carroll gradually joined the Patriot cause. A planter, slaveholder and large landholder, he was concerned lest the Revolution fail economically and bring about not only his family’s financial ruin, but mob rule as well.

Carroll, supported the cause of American independence, risking his social and economic position for the Patriot cause. As a friend and staunch ally of George Washington, he worked for a strong central government that could secure the achievements and fulfill the hopes of the Revolution. Carroll fought in the Convention for a government responsible directly to the people of the country.

At the time, colonial laws excluded Catholics from holding public office. Once these laws were nullified by the Maryland constitution of 1776, Carroll was elected to the Senate of the Maryland legislature (1777-81). At the end of his term, Carroll was elected to the Continental Congress (1781-84). In 1781, he signed the Articles of Confederation. His involvement in the Revolution, like that of other Patriots in his extended family, was inspired by the family’s motto: “Strong in Faith and War”.

Carroll was an active member of the Constitutional Convention. Like his good friend James Madison, Carroll was convinced that a strong central government was needed to regulate commerce among the states and with other nations. He also spoke out repeatedly in opposition to the payment of members of the United States Congress by the states, reasoning that such compensation would sabotage the strength of the new government because “…the dependence of both Houses on the state Legislatures would be complete…. The new government in this form is nothing more than a second edition of [the Continental] Congress in two volumes, instead of one, and perhaps with very few amendments.”

At the Constitutional Convention, Daniel Carroll played an essential role in formulating the limitation of the powers of the federal government. He was the author of the presumption – enshrined in the Constitution – that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government were reserved to the states or to the people. Carroll spoke about 20 times during the debates at the Constitutional Convention and served on the Committee on Postponed Matters. Returning to Maryland after the convention, he campaigned for ratification of the Constitution, but was not a delegate to the state convention.

When it was suggested that the President should be elected by the Congress, Carroll, seconded by Wilson, moved that the words “by the legislature” be replaced with “by the people”. He and Thomas Fitzsimons were the only Roman Catholics to sign the Constitution, a symbol of the advance of religious freedom in America during the Revolutionary period.

Following the Convention, Carroll continued to be involved in state and national affairs. He was a key participant in the Maryland ratification struggle. He defended the Constitution in the pages of the Maryland Journal, most notably in his response to the arguments advanced by the well-known Anti-federalist Samuel Chase. After ratification was achieved in Maryland, Carroll was elected as a representative from the sixth district of Maryland to the First Congress. Given his concern for economic and fiscal stability, he voted for the assumption of state debts by the federal government.

One of three commissioners appointed to survey the District of Columbia, Carroll owned one of the four farms taken for it; Notley Young, David Burns, and Samuel Davidson were the other landowners. The capitol was built on the land which Carroll transferred to the government. On 15 April 1791, Carroll and David Stuart, as the official commissioners of Congress, laid the cornerstone of the District of Columbia at Jones Point near Alexandria, Virginia.

He later was elected to the Maryland Senate. He was appointed a commissioner (co-mayor) of the new capital city, but advanced age and failing health forced him to retire in 1795. Interest in his region kept him active. He became one of George Washington’s partners in the Patowmack Company, a business enterprise intended to link the East with the expanding West by means of a Potomac River canal.

Carroll was one of only five men to sign both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States.

Daniel Carroll died on 5 July 1796, at the age of 65 at his home near Rock Creek in the present village of Forest Glen, Md. He was buried there in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney – Signer of the Constitution – South Carolina

thCharles Cotesworth Pinckney (C.C.), born 25 February 1746, at Charleston, South Carolina, was the son of Charles and Eliza Lucas Pinckney. His cousin, Charles, also a signer of the Constitution, from Charleston, South Carolina, was also from colony of South Carolina. C.C.’s mother Eliza Lucas held a special position as an agriculturist, while his elder brother Thomas Pinckney became the Governor of South Carolina in addition to holding a position in George Washington’s regime as an administration diplomat. C.C. followed in his brother’s footsteps when he later served as an administration diplomat in Thomas Jefferson’s White House and as South Carolina’s Governor.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, was one of the representatives from South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention, an American aristocrat. Like other first families of South Carolina, whose wealth and social prominence could be traced to the seventeenth century, the Pinckneys maintained close ties with the mother country and actively participated in the Royal colonial government. Nevertheless, when armed conflict threatened, he rejected Loyalist appeals and embraced the Patriot cause. Pragmatically, his decision represented an act of allegiance to the mercantile-planter class of South Carolina’s seaboard, which deeply resented Parliament’s attempt to institute political and economic control over the colonies. Yet Pinckney’s choice also had a philosophical dimension. It placed him among a small group of wealthy and powerful southerners whose profound sense of public duty obliged them to risk everything in defense of their state and the rights of its citizens. In Pinckney’s case this sense of public responsibility was intensified by his determination to assume the mantle of political and military leadership traditionally worn by members of his family.

Balancing this allegiance to his native state, Pinckney also became a forceful exponent of nationalism during the Revolutionary War. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who generously responded only when their own states were in danger, Pinckney quickly came to grasp the necessity for military cooperation on a national scale. No state was truly safe, he reasoned, unless all the states were made safe. This belief, the product of his service in the Continental Army, easily translated into a spirited defense of strong national government after the war.

As a boy, Pinckney witnessed firsthand the close relationship between the colonial elite and the British. His father was the colony’s chief justice and also served as a member of its Royal Council; his mother was famous in her own right for introducing the cultivation of indigo, which rapidly became a major cash crop in South Carolina. In 1753 the family moved to London where the elder Pinckney served as the colony’s agent, in effect, as a lobbyist protecting colonial interests in political and commercial matters. C.C. Pinckney enrolled in the famous Westminster preparatory school, and he with his brother Thomas remained in England to complete his education when the family returned to America in 1758. After graduating from Christ Church College at Oxford, he studied law at London’s famous Middle Temple. He was admitted to the English bar in 1769, but he continued his education for another year, studying botany and chemistry in France and briefly attending the famous French military academy at Caen.

Returning to South Carolina after an absence of sixteen years, C.C. quickly threw himself into the commercial and political life of the colony. To supplement an income derived from plantations, he launched a successful career as a lawyer. He became a vestryman and warden in the Episcopal Church and joined the socially elite 1st Regiment of South Carolina militia, which promptly elected him as lieutenant. In 1770 he won a seat for the first time in the state legislature, and in 1773 he served briefly as a regional attorney general. During this period he married Sarah Middleton, the daughter of Henry Middleton. Sarah passed away in 1784 and C.C. remarried Mary Stead two years later.

When war between the colonies and the mother country finally erupted in 1775, C.C. cast aside his close ties with England and South Carolina’s Royal colonial government to stand with the Patriots. He served in the Provincial Congresses that transformed South Carolina from Royal colony to independent state and in the Council of Safety that supervised affairs when the legislature was not in session. During this period C.C. played an especially important role in those legislative committees that organized the state’s military defenses.

Directing the organization of military units from the relative safety of the state legislature did not satisfy C.C.’s sense of public obligation. Going beyond his previous militia service, he now volunteered as a full-time regular officer in the first Continental Army unit organized in South Carolina. As a senior company commander, he raised and led the elite Grenadiers of the 1st South Carolina Regiment. He participated in the successful defense of Charleston in June 1776, when British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton staged an amphibious attack on the state capital. Later in 1776 he took command of the regiment, with the rank of full colonel, a position he retained to the end of the war. A strong disciplinarian, he also understood the importance of troop motivation, especially when his men were forced to serve for long periods under dangerous and stressful conditions.

Following the successful repulse of General Clinton’s forces in 1776, the southern states enjoyed a hiatus in the fighting while the British Army concentrated on operations in the northern and middle states. Dissatisfied with remaining in what had become a backwater of the war, C.C. set out to join Washington near Philadelphia. He arrived in 1777, just in time to participate in the important military operations centering around Brandywine and Germantown. His sojourn on Washington’s staff was especially significant to his development as a national leader after the war. It allowed him to associate with key officers of the Continental Army, men like Alexander Hamilton and James McHenry, who, beginning as military comrades, would become important political allies in the later fight for a strong national government. The opportunity to form such far-reaching political alliances seldom occurred for other Continental officers from the deep south.

In 1778 C.C. returned to South Carolina to resume command of his own regiment just as the state experienced a new threat from the British. His 1st South Carolina joined with other Continental and militia units from several states in a successful repulse of an invasion by a force of Loyalist militia and British regulars based in Florida. But disaster ensued when a counterattack bogged down before the Patriots could reach St. Augustine. The American Army suffered severe logistical problems and then a disintegration of the force itself, as senior officers bickered among themselves while disease decimated the units. Only half of the American soldiers survived to return home.

At the end of 1778 the British shifted their attention to the southern theater of operations. Their new strategy called for their regular troops to sweep north, while Loyalist units remained behind to serve as occupying forces. To frustrate this plan, the Continental Congress dispatched Major General Benjamin Lincoln to South Carolina to reorganize the army in the Southern Department. Lincoln placed C.C. in command of one of his Continental brigades. In that capacity Pinckney participated in the unsuccessful assault on Savannah by the Americans and their French allies in October 1779, and then in a gallant but equally unsuccessful defense of Charleston in 1780. The capture of Charleston gave the British their greatest victory, and in May Pinckney, along with the rest of Lincoln’s army, became a prisoner of war.

The victors made a distinction in the treatment of prisoners. They allowed the militiamen to go home on parole while they imprisoned the continentals. C.C. was one of the ranking officers in the prison camp established by Clinton on Haddrell’s Point in Charleston Harbor. There he played a key role in frustrating British efforts to subvert the loyalty of the captured troops, who suffered terribly from disease and privation. When an effort was made to wean C.C. himself from the Patriot cause, he scornfully turned on his captors with words that became widely quoted throughout the country: “If I had a vein that did not beat with the love of my Country, I myself would open it. If I had a drop of blood that could flow dishonourable, I myself would let it out.”

C.C. was finally freed in 1782 under a general exchange of prisoners. By that time the fighting had ended, but he remained on active duty until the southern regiments were disbanded in November 1783, receiving a brevet promotion to brigadier general in recognition of his long and faithful service to the Continental Army.

Pinckney turned his attention to his law practice and plantations at the end of the Revolution, seeking to recover from serious financial losses suffered during his period of active service. He continued to represent the citizens of the Charleston area in the lower house of the legislature, however, a task he willingly carried out until 1790. Once again he became active in the state militia, rising to the rank of major general and commanding one of South Carolina’s two militia divisions. During these years he also endured personal tragedy: his wife died in 1784, and he was wounded the following year in a duel with Daniel Huger, an event that would later lead him to advocate laws against dueling.

C.C. made no secret of his concern over what he saw as a dangerous drift in national affairs. Freed of the threat of British invasion, the states appeared content to pursue their own parochial concerns. Pinckney was one of those leaders of national vision who preached that the promises of the Revolution could never be realized unless the states banded together for their mutual political, economic, and military well-being. In recognition of his forceful leadership, South Carolina chose him to represent the state at the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1787. There he joined Washington and other nationalist leaders whom he had met during the Pennsylvania campaign. Pinckney agreed with them that the nation needed a strong central government, but he also worked for a carefully designed system of checks and balances to protect the citizen from the tyranny so often encountered in Europe. When he returned to Charleston, he worked diligently to secure South Carolina’s ratification of the new instrument of government. In 1790 he then participated in a convention that drafted a new state constitution modeled on the work accomplished in Philadelphia.

Retiring from politics in 1790, C.C. devoted himself to various religious and charitable works, including the establishment of a state university, strengthening of Charleston’s library system, and the promotion of scientific agriculture. He repeatedly declined President Washington’s offer of high political office, but in 1796 he finally agreed to serve as ambassador to France.

C.C.’s appointment signaled the beginning of one of the new nation’s first international crises. The French government rejected his credentials, and then in the so-called XYZ Affair the leaders of the French Revolution demanded a bribe before agreeing to open negotiations about French interference with American shipping. Exploding at this affront to America’s national honor, Pinckney broke off all discussion and returned home, where President John Adams appointed him to one of the highest posts in the new Provisional Army which Congress had voted to raise in response to the diplomatic rupture with France. As a major general, C.C. commanded all forces south of Maryland, but his active military service abruptly ended in the summer of 1800 when a peaceful solution to the “Quasi-War” between France and the United States was successfully negotiated.

Despite his earlier intention to retire, C.C. once again became deeply involved in national and state politics. He ran unsuccessfully for Vice President on the Federalist ticket in 1800 and was later defeated in presidential races won by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He also served for two terms in the South Carolina senate. Until the end Pinckney remained a Federalist of the moderate stamp, seeking to preserve a balance between state and national powers and responsibilities. C.C. died on 16 August 1825, at Charleston, South Carolina and is buried at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina. His tomb bears an inscription that captures the essence of his loyalty to the highest national aspirations and standards of his period: “One of the founders of the American Republic. In war he was a companion in arms and friend of Washington. In peace he enjoyed his unchanging confidence.”