fasting, humiliation, & Prayer
By Continental Congress President John Hanson
March 19, 1782 Philadelphia
THE Goodness of the Supreme Being to all his rational Creatures, demands their acknowledgments of Gratitude and Love; his absolute Government of this World dictates that it is the Interest of every Nation and People ardently to supplicate his Favor and implore his Protection.
When the Lust of Dominion or lawless Ambition excites arbitrary Power to invade Rights, or endeavor to wrest from a People their sacred and inalienable Privileges, and compels them, in Defence of the same, to encounter all the Horrors and Calamities of a bloody and vindictive War, then is that People loudly called upon to fly unto that God for Protection who hears the Cries of the distressed, and will not turn a deaf Ear to the Supplications of the oppressed.
Great Britain, hitherto left to infatuated Councils, and to pursue Measures repugnant to her own Interest and distressing to this Country, still persists in the Design of subjugating these United States; which will compel us into another active and perhaps bloody Campaign.
The United States in Congress assembled, therefore, taking into Consideration our present Situation, our multiplied Transgressions of the holy Laws of our God, and his past Acts of Kindness and Goodness towards us, which we ought to record with the liveliest Gratitude, think it their indispensable Duty to call upon the several States, to set apart the last Thursday in April next, as a day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer; that our joint supplications may then ascend to the Throne of the Ruler of the Universe, beseeching him to diffuse a Spirit of universal Reformation among all Ranks and Degrees of our Citizens, and make us a holy, that so we be an happy, People; that it would please him to impart Wisdom, Integrity, and Unanimity to our Counsellors; to bless and prosper the Reign of our illustrious Ally, and give Success to his Arms employed in the Defence of the Rights of human Nature; that he would smile upon our military Arrangements by Land and Sea, administer Comfort and Consolation to our Prisoners in a cruel Captivity, protect the Health and Life of our Commander-in-Chief; grant us Victory over our Enemies, establish Peace in all our Borders, and give Happiness to all our Inhabitants; that he would prosper the Labor of the Husbandman, making the Earth yield its increase in Abundance, and give a proper Season for the ingathering of the Fruits thereof; that he would grant Success to all engaged in lawful Trade and Commerce, and take under his Guardianship all Schools and Seminaries of Learning, and make them Nurseries of Virtue and Piety; that he would incline the Hearts of all Men to Peace, and fill them with universal Charity and Benevolence, and that the Religion of our Divine Redeemer, with all its benign Influences, may cover the Earth as the Waters cover the Seas.
DONE by the United States Congress assembled, this nineteenth Day of March, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand seven Hundred and eighty two, and in the sixth Year of our Independence.
JOHN HANSON, President.