It was no surprise that a lad christened with the name John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg was brought up close to the church. It was in the 1700’s and Muhlenberg eventually became a minister, pastoring a church in Woodstock, Virginia.
Many colonists like Muhlenberg wanted to become independent from Britain at the time. He detested the British influence on religion “in the new world.” Many of his parishioners openly resisted the influence of the crown and Muhlenberg supported their efforts insisting that the Lord Jesus Christ was their ally.
The preacher was intensely moved when the continental army actively mustered men to fight against and repel the British.
“The Bible tells us there is a time for all things,” Rev. Muhlenberg said as he neared the conclusion of a fiery sermon before a large crowd of area residents. “There is a time to preach and a time to pray. The time for me to preach has passed away.”
Muhlenberg told family members and close friends earlier that he was going to lay down his preaching gown and join the continental army. They didn’t expect what followed during his sermon. His voice raised in intensity and volume as he continued his sermon.
“There is a time to fight,” he followed. “That time has now come for me and for many of you.”
Muhlenberg proceeded to step inside a nearby side room and quickly removed his preacher’s garb and proceeded to don his colonel’s regimental uniform. The change was made quickly and Colonel Peter John Gabriel Muhlenberg emerged dressed as a soldier to the amazement of the large crowd.
“I am a member of the clergy and my heart is fully in my calling,” Muhlenberg continued. “But I am also a member of our society just like the poorest layman. My liberty is as dear to me as it is to any of you.
“Should I sit and enjoy myself at home when the blood of our best men is spilling on the ground? If America should be conquered…if America is lost…do you think that I would be safe? I think not! Far from it!
“I’ll tell each and every one of you that I would much rather fight like a man than die like a dog. And I am choosing to fight!”
Muhlenberg’s sincerity put a charge into those who were present and before nightfall nearly three hundred additional men joined to fight.
In the months ahead they fought admirably at the battle of Charleston and in other battles as their leader exhorted them on. Following successes in a series of battles, Muhlenberg was elevated to the rank of brigadier general and was put in charge of all the Continental troops of Virginia.
He fought at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth and Stony Point. He and his men joined George Washington at Middlebrook, New Jersey, and marched to the encampment at Valley Forge. At the close of the revolution Muhlenberg’s rank had risen to major general.
Rev. Muhlenberg had become General Muhlenberg. Following the war he ran for public office and became a United States Senator.
“There is a time for all things,” he had preached. “There is a time to preach and a time to pray; and the time for me to preach has passed away. There is a time to fight and that time has come.”
And fight this patriot did. Copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson
Editor’s note: Jadon Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at bereaonline.com. Don’t miss a single posting!
A voice for God – a voice for good
My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1962 I worked for a year in Columbia, Missouri, before continuing my work in Rolla at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. Just a few years later the name of the school was changed to the University of Missouri at Rolla and still later to Missouri University of Science and Technology.
My wife and I went back to Wheelwright, Kentucky in 1963 to have a Christmas visit with my folks. I don’t recall anything about our travels back to Kentucky but I recall our return to Missouri.
The weather was bad, blustery and cold when we arrived late at Bluegrass Field in Lexington for our first hop to Louisville.
It seemed doubtful that we would arrive in Louisville in time to catch our flight to St. Louis but the folks in Lexington were able to arrange a commuter flight in a smaller plane. It sure was windy. I recall my hat blowing off as we approached the plane. At that time many men wore hats. A suit and tie were great but still lacking without a hat. Luckily there was a lull in the wind and it didn’t blow far. I was able to retrieve it but we weren’t “out of the woods.” We still had to get to Louisville and our flight on to St. Louis.
The wind absolutely played havoc with the plane on our flight, blowing us to the right, to the left and every which way. I can’t overstate the velocity of the wind and the way it whipped us to and fro. At times we seemed to be flying sideways. In a heavy wind from one side or the other the pilot has to steer into the wind, otherwise we may have ended up in Nashville instead of Louisville.
TWA was notified that we were on our way and hoped to arrive by the departure time. The plane was actually preparing to take off when we landed with our plane taxiing up to it. The plane door opened, bringing the steps down and we clambered aboard. I imagine some of those inside wondered why we deserved such special treatment.
That harrowing flight in the small commuter plane was under extreme stress as it whipped wildly through the blustery wind. I felt like we shouldn’t have gotten aboard and I’m sure the pilot had those same thoughts at times. Superman didn’t keep us safe but a super man did.
My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. That could have been the end for us but God, evidently, had other plans. I hope I’ve lived up to the blessing. Every day I recognize God’s touch in my life. He’ll bless you too if you accept Him in your heart and walk in His path.