August 20, 2012 · By William J. Federer · 0 Comments
Listen to American Minute
American Minute from William J. Federer
300,000 miles on horseback, from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, for 45 years, he spread the Gospel.
This was Francis Asbury, Methodist Circuit riding preacher who was born AUGUST 20, 1745.
When the Revolution started, he refused to return with other Anglican ministers to England, stating:
“I can by no means agree to leave such a field for gathering souls to Christ as we have in America.”
In 1785, Asbury separated the Methodist movement from the Episcopal Church. This resulted in the Episcopal members of Virginia’s Assembly losing their majority and the next year, the Episcopal Church was disestablished as Virginia’s official State Church.
Francis Asbury befriended Richard Bassett, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, who converted to being a Methodist, freed his slaves, paid them as hired labor and rode joyfully with them to revival meetings.
Methodist Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke met with newly elected President George Washington in New York, delivering the message, May 19, 1789:
“We…express to you…our sincere congratulations, on your appointment to the presidentship of these States.
“We…place as full a confidence in your wisdom and integrity, for the preservation of those civil and religious liberties which have been transmitted to us by the Providence of GOD…
“Dependence on the Great Governor of the Universe which you have repeatedly expressed, acknowledging Him the source of every blessing, and particularly of the most excellent Constitution of these States, which is at present the admiration of the world…
“We enjoy a holy expectation that you will always prove a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion – the grand end of our creation and present probationary existence…
“We promise you our fervent prayers to the Throne of Grace, that GOD Almighty may endue you with all the graces and gifts of his Holy Spirit, that may enable you to fill up your important station to His glory.”
On May 29, 1789, President Washington wrote a reply:
“To the Bishops of the Methodist-Episcopal Church…
“I return to you…my thanks for the demonstrations of affection and the expressions of joy…on my late appointment.
“It shall still be my endeavor…to contribute…towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American people…
“I hope, by the assistance of Divine Providence, not altogether to disappoint the confidence which you have been pleased to repose in me…in acknowledgments of homage to the Great Governor of the Universe…
“I trust the people of every denomination…will have every occasion to be convinced that I shall always strive to prove a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion…
“I take in the kindest part the promise you make of presenting your prayers at the Throne of Grace for me, and that I likewise implore the Divine benediction on yourselves and your religious community.”
In 1799, Francis Asbury ordained the first African-American Methodist minister, Richard Allen, and dedicated the first African Methodist Episcopal Church.
By the time he died, the Methodist Church in America had grown from 300 members to over 200,000.
Unveiling the Equestrian Statue of Francis Asbury in Washington, D.C., 1924, President Calvin Coolidge stated:
“Francis Asbury, the first American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church…made a tremendous contribution.
“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government.
“There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism. The history of government on this earth has been almost entirely a history of the rule of force held in the hands of a few. Under our Constitution America committed itself to the practical application of the rule of reason, with the power in the hands of the people…By calling the people to righteousness they were a direct preparation for self-government. It was for a continuation of this work that Francis Asbury was raised up.”
“The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man…
“Real reforms which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity-these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of a Divine Grace…
“How many homes he must have hallowed! What a multitude of frontier mothers must have brought their children to him to receive his blessings! It is more than probable that Nancy Hanks, the mother of Lincoln, had heard him in her youth.
“Adams and Jefferson must have known him, and Jackson must have seen in him a flaming spirit as unconquerable as his own. How many temples of worship dot our landscape; how many institutions of learning, some of them rejoicing in the name Wesleyan, all trace the inspiration of their existence to the sacrifice and service of this lone circuit rider. He is entitled to rank as one of the builders of our nation.
“On the foundation of a religious civilization which he sought to build, our country has enjoyed greater blessing of liberty and prosperity than was ever before the lot of man. These cannot continue if we neglect the work which he did.
“We cannot depend on the government to do the work of religion. I do not see how anyone could recount the story of this early Bishop without feeling a renewed faith in our own country.”
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"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all." - Ronald Reagan, Nov. 10, 1964