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"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 19, 2013

THE BLACK ROBED REGIMENT

THE BLACK ROBED REGIMENT

It was not just the politician and soldier that pursued independence from Great Britain. Many of the clergy at the time of the American Revolution spoke out fearlessly from their pulpits about freedom and the need to oppose oppression by the crown. These patriot pastors, referred to as “The Black Robed Regiment” by the British, contributed to the advancement of independence by their calls for fasting, prayers, patriotic sermons, and sometimes by actually serving in the military. These are only a few of the patriotic pastors:

James Caldwell:   “The Fighting Chaplain” 

- pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, was speaking out against the actions of the crown in the early 1770’s. He pleaded to the Virginia Legislature for religious liberty when restrictions were placed on churches. In April, 1775, Caldwell was serving on a committee that formally urged the Presbyterian churches to support the rebellion making him a target for revenge. He was elected chaplain of the Third New Jersey Brigade under Colonel Elias Dayton, a member of his own congregation.

In 1780 British and German forces raided Elizabeth Town, burning the Presbyterian Church and the courthouse. Caldwell wanted to move his wife and children to a safer location; however, Hannah stayed behind with her two youngest children, possibly because she felt safer in their home than traveling. The older children were sent to stay with friends in another town. Several churches and buildings were burned and Hannah Caldwell was killed when she was shot through the chest by a redcoat through a window of their house.

During a battle near Springfield, when Americans were taking many losses, they ran out of the paper critical in rolling the powder for their muskets. Reverend James Caldwell ran into a Presbyterian Church and gathered as many “Watts” hymnals as he could manage and handed them out to the troops, shouting “Give ‘em Watts, boys!” His patriotic and memorable comment did not hold off the siege of Springfield, but it was remembered and retold often.

Phillips Payson

-  was a Congregationalist minister in Massachusetts known for leading a group of irregulars in combat during the Revolution.

David Avery

-   became pastor of the Congregational church at Windsor, Massachusetts in 1773. Also a trained surgeon, Avery furnished his own medicine and instruments to supplement the Army's supplies. He was made chaplain of Col. Patterson's regiment in 1775 and later became chaplain of the fourth Massachusetts Brigade. He served at the battle of Bunker Hill; Noodle's Island, and the siege of New York. His congregation was supportive when he asked to be released from his pastorate in 1777, feeling it was his duty to remain in the army. After the war, he began preaching again and was a missionary to the New York Indians.

Rev. Jonas Clarke

His home was the destination when Paul Revere made his famous ride. As minister, Clarke not only had insight on what was happening in the colonies, but John Hancock and Samuel Adams were at his parsonage on when the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord came under fire. He expressed his views in the pulpit and in prayer — he knew a minister had a powerful platform.
  
Isaac Backus
- a Baptist pastor, Backus and others realized that the search for religious liberty was tied to the search for political liberty. In 1774 Backus, and others approached the First Continental Congress to gain their support to fight for religious liberty. John Adams, Sam Adams and others accused them of using a minor issue to divide the colonies while they were advancing the cause for political liberty. When the revolution began, Baptists joined the patriot cause believing it would also lead to religious liberty. On the Sunday following the Battle of Lexington, Backus preached a sermon encouraging resistance to the crown which resulted in many enlisting in the revolutionary army.

Samuel Cooper 
He served as pastor of the Brattle Street Church, in Boston, Massachusetts 1747-1783. Members of his parish included John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and others.

Ebenezer Baldwin

Pastor of the First Church in Danbury, Connecticut. Mr. Baldwin was noted for his passion to enlighten his parishioners to danger they faced in losing their liberty. In November, 1775, he preached a motivating sermon hoping to wake up the people to the significance of the struggle in which they were engaged.

My question is this: Is there still a Black Robed Regiment in our nation, or has political correctness, and laws which inhibit free speech, silenced individuals called to publicly pronounce the Truth of God’s Word?

Come back to this blog August 25th to learn about the pastor who took his sermon from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, then removed his clerical robe revealing his Colonel’s uniform, and led many of his congregation to enlist in the patriot cause.

11 comments:

  1. Is there a way of getting this info in print?My father is a retired pastor and my sister is also a pastor.

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  2. Hi Bonnie,

    Why not just give them the internet link today http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/. That way they will have it instantly.

    Another option is to copy the text and place it in a Word document, but the background color will show on that

    Thanks for stopping by.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting post, Janet. If Bonnie would mark and copy the text of this post and past it into a Word document, she should search for "Past Special" and click on the list "unformatted text" and it will remove the color background. Hope this helps.

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    2. typos -- I spelled "paste" wrong twice - sorry :-(

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  3. I think our modern "Black Robed Regment" is small. Many fear the power of the government taking away tax-exempt status for any steps outside the "official" tax guidelines. Not all, thank goodness, but money has shackled many a good preacher, IMHO. I'd like to think that an extreme would cause them to cast that fear off...

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  4. I agree, Debbie. I'm hoping there is a "sleeping giant" that will surface if the times call for it. Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. Our Black Robed Regiment needs all the support it can garner from the people in the pews as well. Would that we could dispense with our sectarian differences about jots and tittles and unite as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    We need to regain the freedoms we have lost to indifference and laziness.

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  6. What a great post! Its empowering to learn about these people who were willing to give everything for what they believed in. Today, fighting for freedom and for Christ are SO important. Hopefully we can be as courageous as these men were. Thanks again!

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  7. Perhaps by highlighting these courageous people, we will be inspired to step out of our comfort zones, and to be bold and willing to stand up for what we believe in. Thanks for coming by, Amber.

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