Saturday, July 3, 2010


Samuel Miller (1769–1850) was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in New York City in 1793 and eventually became pastor of the Wall Street congregation that later became the First Presbyterian Church. He preached a sermon, "A Sermon on the Anniversary of the Independence of America," on July 4th, 1793. The text of his sermon was 2 Corinthians 3:17, "And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Here is a link to the sermon:

Here is an excerpt from his sermon. Though spoken some 200 years ago, his thoughts hold special and timely relevance to the day in which we live...

"Let us unite, then, in offering our grateful acknowledgments, to the Sovereign Dispenser of all blessings, that, while many nations are covered with the mantle of darkness and superstition; and in consequence of this, are groaning under the yoke of servitude; the Sun of righteousness hath risen upon us, with healing in his wings; and hath taught us, in a political view, to know, and to maintain our proper character. Let us bless his holy name, that, under the influence of this light, we have been led to assert the dignity of human nature—to throw off the chains of oppression—to think and act for ourselves, and to acknowledge no other king than the King of the universe. Let us bless his name, that, under the guidance of the same light, we have been led to frame a constitution, which recognizes the natural and unalienable rights of men; which renounces all limits to human liberty, but those which necessity and wisdom prescribe; and whose great object is, the general good. O give thanks unto the Lord! for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the oppressor, and delivered from all their destructions. O that men would praise the Lord, for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Again; if it be a solemn truth, that the prevalence of Christianity, has a natural and immediate tendency to promote political freedom, then, those are the truest and the wisest patriots, who study to encrease its influence in society. Hence it becomes every American citizen to consider this as the great palladium of our liberty, demanding our first and highest care.

The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places, yea, we have a goodly heritage. We possess an extensive, noble country. Fertility and beauty vie with each other, in favor of our ease, accommodation, and delight. Every avenue to national importance, and the felicity of individuals, is opened wide. Let it, then, in addition to all these advantages, and to complete its glory, let it be Immanuel’s land. This will refine, and inconceivably appreciate your freedom. This will render you at once the pattern, and the wonder of the world.

To each of you, then, my fellow citizens, on this anniversary of our independence, be the solemn address made! Do you wish to stand fast in that liberty, wherewith the Governor of the universe hath made you free? Do you desire the encreasing prosperity of your country? Do you wish to see the law respected—good order preserved, and universal peace to prevail? Are you convinced, that purity of morals is necessary for these important purposes? Do you believe, that the Christian religion is the firmest basis of morality? Fix its credit, then, by adopting it yourselves, and spread its glory by the lustre of your example! And while you tell to your children, and to your children’s children, the wonderful works of the Lord, and the great deliverance which he hath wrought out for us, teach them to remember the Author of these blesssings, and they will know how to estimate their value. Teach them to acknowledge the God of heaven as their King, and they will despise submission to earthly despots. Teach them to be Christians, and they will ever be free!

And O, thou exalted Source of liberty! not only grant and secure to us political freedom; but may we all, by the effectual working of thy mighty power, and through the mediation of Christ Jesus, be brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; that when this world, and all that is therein, shall be burnt up, we may become citizens of a better country, that is an heavenly."

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