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About the Book:
Have you ever wondered who fired “the shot heard round the world” that fateful morning of April 19, 1775? Who were those brave men who stood against the best-trained army in the world? This book contains Jonas Clark’s Sermon on the one-year anniversary and his eyewitness narrative of those events. None other but Jonas Clark could give such an accounting, for he was the pastor of those “embattled farmers” who stood their ground. Clark is herein giving an honest and accurate accounting of the Battle of Lexington. He is also giving testimony of the events of April 19 and answers the great question, “Who fired the first shot?”
There was no better-prepared place to inaugurate the first battle of the War for Independence than the little village of Lexington. For pastor Clark “discussed from the pulpit the great questions at issue, and that powerful voice thundered forth the principles of personal, civil, and religious liberty, and the right of resistance, in tones as earnest and effective as it had the doctrines of salvation by the cross.” (J. T. Headley, Heroes of Liberty: Chaplains and Clergy of the American Revolution, 21.) “It was to the congregation, educated by such a man, that Providence allowed to be entrusted the momentous events of April 19, events which were to decide the fate of a continent—that of civil liberty the world over.” (Headley, 23)
Today, the Battle of Lexington is little spoken of, for as a nation we have forgotten our history. We have neglected the heroes of our freedom and liberty. But there was a time when this day was remembered and odes were written to commemorate the occasion. Paul Revere’s Ride and the Concord Hymn are two examples. (See Appendix, pages 75–88.) Our history books no longer tell the true story of Lexington, so we must.
America is perishing for the need of preachers who apply God’s holy Word to every area of life including personal, civil, and religious liberty. The Church needs more pastors like Jonas Clark, a preacher who taught the great doctrines of salvation in Christ alone and the Biblical right to resistance, which gave his congregation courage to stand in the face of great odds. The Battle of Lexington should inspire every man, in all stations of life, to stand and make a difference.
—Rev. Christopher Hoops, Theology Editor for Nordskog Publishing
There are two time periods I really enjoy reading and learning about and one is the American Revolution and the Civil War – given that I’ve had ancestors who have fought in these and other wars learning about them resonates with me. The book is a short 96 pages but it’s not a quick read or one that you read with minimal understanding – in fact I had to put the book aside until I could focus fully on it (an intimidating feat with three children needing me). Once I was able to read it again I was able to fully engross myself, that said the language is original to the time period so know that before you begin and it might be a good read for a middle or high school student but younger ones may have issues with comprehension. The book itself is divided into several ‘sections’ such as:
- Introduction: The Battle of Lexington by Rev. Christopher Hoops
- Publisher’s Selection: Background of Pastor Jonas Clark (VERY fascinating)
- Facsimile: The Original Title Page (the book was originally title The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People)
- Sermon: Preached April 19, 1776
- The Battle of Lexington: An Eyewitness Narrative of that Day
- Appendix which includes: Paul Revere’s Ride by Longfellow, Lexington by Holmes, Lexington by Whittier, and Concord Hymn by Emerson
As I said it was quite a good read – with that said I do struggle between being the “good, patriotic American” who is supposed to support the taking up of arms (I struggle because of the long line of men who have fought in many wars and I myself was in the U.S. Navy) and following the more pacifist view of Jesus in non-resistance. Of course Pastor Jonas Clark uses much Scripture to support taking up of arms and killing those who oppress us like the British did – and as he does I can find Scripture that supports a non-resistant view of being the oppressed. Regardless, of my struggles though (I’m sure my view would be different if I was growing up at that time) I enjoyed reading this book and will be keeping it on the bookshelf for required reading when my children and I come to study the American Revolution in our home school.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws