Congress confesses its sins before God


March 20, 1781: The United States, in Congress assembled, agreed to the following–

At all times it is our duty to acknowledge the overruling providence of the Great Governor of the universe, and devoutly to implore his Divine favor and protection. But in the hour of calamity and impending danger, when, by fire and the sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and by our own domestics, a vindictive enemy pursues a war of rapine and devastation with unrelenting fury, we are peculiarly excited with true penitence of heart to prostrate ourselves before our great Creator, and fervently to supplicate his gracious interposition for our deliverance.

The United States in Congress assembled, therefore, do earnestly recommend that Thursday, the third day of May next, may be observed as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by sincere repentance and amendment of life appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits of our blessed Savior  obtain pardon and forgiveness; that it may please him to inspire our leaders with incorruptible integrity, and to direct and prosper their councils; to inspire all our citizens with a fervent and disinterested love of their country, and to preserve and strengthen their union… and to render the connection formed between these United States and his kingdom a mutual and lasting benefit to both nations…; that it may please him to bless all schools and seminaries of learning, and to grant that truth, justice and benevolence and pure and undefiled religion may universally prevail.


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