John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dying on the 4th of July 1826, fifty years to the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is one of the interesting quirks of history.
[Darris McNeely] It’s the 4th of July. In the United States this is a big deal. We celebrate this as our Independence Day on the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed and really the day that the United States began. It’s a remarkable day. Every year we celebrate it in various ways.
One of the things that I always do is I have a reading that I do from a book, a biography of John Adams written by the historian David McCullough. And I always read a portion of this book where he describes the day in 1826, July 4th when two of the primary men involved in crafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the initial draft, and John Adams, who helped to edit what finally was signed. Both men having been presidents of the United States, friends, they both died on the same day July 4th, 1826. Fifty years to the day from the signing of the Declaration.
It’s one of those interesting matters of history, and when you understand the significance even of the United States and its role in the modern world as the inheritor of fabulous wealth based upon the promises that God gave to His servant Abraham. And you look at a situation like this that just kind of is an interesting matter it does cause you to pause and to wonder.
What happened is that both men had rekindled a relationship, and they both were aware of one another. And on that day in 1826, Thomas Jefferson died in his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on the hilltop of Monticello about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. In Quincy, Massachusetts John Adams lay dying on his bed in his home.
As Adams died he said, ‘Thomas Jefferson survives,” not knowing that Thomas Jefferson had already died. In Massachusetts that day as Adams lay dying a rain broke out in the afternoon. And when he died about 6:20 that evening, as historian McCullough writes it, he said,
“Those present would remember ever after that there was a final clap of thunder that shook the house. The rain stopped, and the last sun of the day broke through dark with low hanging clouds. Bursting forth with uncommon splendor at the moment of his exit was the sky beautiful and grand beyond description.”
This is how the scene took place. This is how he writes it. And for those who observed that and wrote about it and talked about it, they looked upon it as a visible and palpable manifestation of Divine favor. John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, wrote later that in his diary, Divine favor. Noah Daniel Webster later said that those two men dying on the nation’s 50th birthdate to the very day was proof from on high that our country and its benefactors are objects of God’s care.
It is something to think about. And so on the 4th of July as we in America think about our country and our blessings and all that has been shared with all in the world, it is something to think about in terms of this little quirk of history that perhaps it is just a little bit of a sign, a nudge from the Creator God that yes, indeed this country, this nation, and this people are special in His sight occupying a very special role at a unique time in history, not because of their righteousness, not because of their might, but because of the Divine favor of the almighty God and the promises that He made many, many years ago to a man of faith named Abraham. And the faithful God has caused those to be fulfilled in our modern time according to His word. It is a very serious matter, and it is a very joyous matter to contemplate and to think about, and this little point of history adds to it.
That’s BT Daily.