Governor Jonathan Belcher's Proclamation
for Day of Prayer (1731)
[The following Proclamation for a Day of
Prayer, by Governor Jonathan Belcher (dated March 3, 1731), illustrates Governor
Belcher's view of church and state: That government should encourage religion!
It's O.K. for an American government to honor and acknowledge God!]
By His EXCELLENCY
JONATHAN BELCHER, Esq;
Captain General and GOVERNOR in Chief in and over His Majesty's Province
of the Massachusetts Bay
in New England.
A Proclamation for a
UPON due consideration of the
Universal Providence of Almighty GOD, and our absolute dependance thereon for
prosperity and success in all our interests and concerns, and also of our
indispensable duty, devoutly to acknowledge the same by humble and earnest
supplications, and in particular by imploring the Divine blessing on the affairs
and occasions of the year ensuing;
I have thought fit, with the advice of His Majesty's Council, to order and appoint Thursday the Sixth Day of April next, to be observed throughout this province as a day of FASTING and PRAYER, exhorting both ministers and people, in their public assemblies and private devotions, religiously to solemnize the same by a sincere and penitent confession of our manifold and aggravated sins, whereby GOD has been provoked to manifest His holy anger against us....
...and that He would bless and prosper the
kingdoms and dominions under His Majesty's gracious and wise government, and
succeed His Majesty's councils for the preservation of the peace of Europe and
the general prosperity of his people; That He would graciously please to give
direction and success in the administrations of the government of this Province;
That He would grant us a convenient seed time and a plentiful harvest; That He
would smile upon our merchandise, navigation and fishery, and defend the same
from the depredations of pirates; That He would establish our PEACE and continue
our HEALTH, and keep off mortal distempers [small pox, etc.] from us; That He
would please to grant us favor in the eyes of our KING, and prolong our
invaluable privileges, religious and civil; And, above all, that He would pour
out His SPIRIT upon all orders and degrees of persons in this land and excite
them to a general repentance and reformation; And that the kingdom of our Lord
and Savior JESUS CHRIST may come in its great power and glory: And all servile
labor and recreations are prohibited on the said Day.
Given at the Council Chamber
in Boston the Third Day of March 1731. In the Fifth Year of the Reign of Our
Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Second, by the Grace of GOD of Great Britain, France
and Ireland, KING, Defender of the Faith, and etc.
By His Excellency's Command, with
the Advice of the Council,
Josiah Willard, Secr.
GOD save the King.
BOSTON: Printed by B. Green, Printer to His Excellency the GOVERNOR and COUNCIL, 1731.
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