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The Whole Earth Trembled When he Walked

Our title was the conclusion of an individual regarding Brig. General Andrew Lewis upon seeing him.  Fully six feet tall, there was a ruggedness about him that arrested every man’s opinion.  He was just the person needed to settle accounts with those native Americans who were troubling the Scot-Irish settlers in Virginia, and making it hard to not just live in this new land on their farms, but also worship the God of their fathers in colonial America.

Andrew Lewis was born in Ireland in 1720.  When he was eleven years of age, his parents, John and Margaret Lewis, came  first to  Cumberland County in Pennsylvania, and then south into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  They were the first settlers in Augusta County, Virginia, and Presbyterian to the core.  Andrew grew up on the farm and somewhere in the 1740’s married Elizabeth, from which seven children were born over the years.  He was involved in the defense of the homeland in that he was an officer of the Augusta militia.

When the French and Indian war came, he became a captain in Col. George Washington’s regiment.  Wounded at Fort Necessity south of present day Pittsburgh  when it surrendered with Col Washington as commanding officer, he continued on after being exchanged.  Promoted to Major, he oversaw the frontier fortifications along the river of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Against Fort Duquesne, he was captured again, and sent as a prisoner of war to Quebec, where he was not released until 1759, when he went home to Virginia.

The rising threat of war with Great Britain brought him into a position of importance again.  Assigned by the Continental Congress to protect Virginia, he was raised in rank to Brig. General.   These colonial warriors fought on two fronts.  Not only did they fight the British on the coast of Virginia, but they also fought the Indians on the west of Virginia.

In the fall of 1774, General Andrew Lewis raised the largest number of men — over one thousand militia — ever raised up to that time in American history.  Their purpose was to once and forever stop the Indian raids against American settlers during this vital period of history.   It would be no easy task.  Starting on September 11, 1774, this collection of regiments from Virginia began a forced march of over one hundred miles to the Ohio River.  In what has been billed the first battle in the American War for Independence, the great majority of troops under General Lewis were Presbyterians from congregations of the Presbytery of Hanover.  It was like the church militant going out to do battle.

The results of this battle will be told in a future devotional on October 11.  But for now, it is clear that only a fearless leader like Andrew Lewis could lead such a mighty force into the wilderness to give liberty and freedom once and for all time for the Presbyterian pastors and people of Virginia.

Words to live by:  Colonial America was very much of a trowel and sword project.  One the one hand, it was necessary to build up the land.  On the other hand, it became necessary to defend what you had started to build.  Some settlers had found it too difficult to build and fight at the same time, so they were leaving to find fertile ground closer to Philadelphia.  Pastors like Samuel Davies were calling upon them to rise up and fight the good fight of faith.  Sword and trowel; trowel and sword — both were needed in the present battle.  And Andrew Lewis was God’s man for both of these endeavors.  God continues to need leaders who will stand in the gap.  Will you offer yourself as one?

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The First Battle of the American Revolution

There are two phases of the church which are understood in the Biblical record. One of them is the triumphant church, which are God’s people in heaven.  The other is the militant church, which are God’s people in constant combat with the forces of wickedness on this earth. Primarily, that militancy is a spiritual one, but occasionally the militant church has to do battle in the physical realm.  October 10, 1774 was one of those times.

We have already looked at the beginning stage of this great battle between the Virginia militia and the Indians of Point Pleasant. That occurred on September 11, 1774, just about one month prior to this event.  (See entry)  Here today is an account of the conclusion of their forced march through the wilderness.  Remember, most of the eleven hundred Virginia militia, led by General Andrew Lewis, were members of the Presbyterian churches of Hanover Presbytery.

Arriving near present day Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the battle began with an attack by the Shawnee chief Cornstalk, with three  hundred to five hundred and possibly even up to one thousand braves behind him.    In fact, there were a series of skirmishes in the all day battle, some of which were hand to hand in nature. It was one of the most vicious battles which the Virginia backwoodsmen up to that point of their existence had to wage.

About one fifth of General Lewis’s men were killed and wounded, which translated out to 75 soldiers killed and 140 wounded. Judging the Indians injuries is difficult, but estimates range from a handful all the way up to two hundred and thirty casualties. When militia reserves came in around midnight, the Indians fled across the Ohio River.  It was at a later date that the native Americans signed a treaty which opened up present day Kentucky and Tennessee. It also opened up both of those future states to the gospel in general, and in particular to the establishment of Presbyterian churches.

When they returned to Virginia, they discovered that the two battles of Lexington and Concord had already been fought up in Massachusetts. The American Revolution had started. Yet, because of all the future battles of that War of independence, this battle has been forgotten by historians. Yet this was the leading battle of the American War of Independence, and Presbyterian members had a pivotal part in it.

Words to live by: On occasion, there may be cause to actually take up arms and fight for your lives.  This was one such occasion.  With continual attacks upon settlements and meeting houses, it was either the Presbyterian inhabitants returning back to the sea-coast towns,  where there was more security, or staying put and fighting for their faith, their families, and their churches.   Certainly Samuel Davies, of the Hanover Presbytery, would preach many a war sermon to encourage the defense of both the faith and their lives from marauding Indians.  And Presbyterian settlers took their life in their hands along with their sacred honor, and stood their ground and rallied on this occasion.  Certainly the cultural mandate demands that we take our stand on biblical principles and against those who would seek to destroy that principles.  Are you praying, and working, in at least one area of this cultural mandate?

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

The Whole Earth Trembled When he Walked

Our title was the conclusion of an individual regarding Brig. General Andrew Lewis upon seeing him.  Fully six feet tall, there was a ruggedness about him that arrested every man’s opinion.  He was just the person needed to settle accounts with those native Americans who were troubling the Scot-Irish settlers in Virginia, and making it hard to not just live in this new land on their farms, but also worship the God of their fathers in colonial America.

Andrew Lewis was born in Ireland in 1720.  When he was eleven years of age, his parents, John and Margaret Lewis, came  first to  Cumberland County in Pennsylvania, and then south into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  They were the first settlers in Augusta County, Virginia, and Presbyterian to the core.  Andrew grew up on the farm and somewhere in the 1740’s married Elizabeth, from which seven children were born over the years.  He was involved in the defense of the homeland in that he was an officer of the Augusta militia.

When the French and Indian war came, he became a captain in Col. George Washington’s regiment.  Wounded at Fort Necessity south of present day Pittsburgh  when it surrendered with Col Washington as commanding officer, he continued on after being exchanged.  Promoted to Major, he oversaw the frontier fortifications along the river of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Against Fort Duquesne, he was captured again, and sent as a prisoner of war to Quebec, where he was not released until 1759, when he went home to Virginia.

The rising threat of war with Great Britain brought him into a position of importance again.  Assigned by the Continental Congress to protect Virginia, he was raised in rank to Brig. General.   These colonial warriors fought on two fronts.  Not only did they fight the British on the coast of Virginia, but they also fought the Indians on the west of Virginia.

In the fall of 1774, General Andrew Lewis raised the largest number of men — over one thousand militia — ever raised up to that time in American history.  Their purpose was to once and forever stop the Indian raids against American settlers during this vital period of history.   It would be no easy task.  Starting on September 11, 1774, this collection of regiments from Virginia began a forced march of over one hundred miles to the Ohio River.  In what has been billed the first battle in the American War for Independence, the great majority of troops under General Lewis were Presbyterians from congregations of the Presbytery of Hanover.  It was like the church militant going out to do battle.

The results of this battle will be told in a future devotional on October 11.  But for now, it is clear that only a fearless leader like Andrew Lewis could lead such a mighty force into the wilderness to give liberty and freedom once and for all time for the Presbyterian pastors and people of Virginia.

Words to live by:  Colonial America was very much of a trowel and sword project.  One the one hand, it was necessary to build up the land.  On the other hand, it became necessary to defend what you had started to build.  Some settlers had found it too difficult to build and fight at the same time, so they were leaving to find fertile ground closer to Philadelphia.  Pastors like Samuel Davies were calling upon them to rise up and fight the good fight of faith.  Sword and trowel; trowel and sword — both were needed in the present battle.  And Andrew Lewis was God’s man for both of these endeavors.  God continues to need leaders who will stand in the gap.  Will you offer yourself as one?

Through the Scriptures:  Ezekiel 1 – 3

Through the Standards:  The second petition of the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Shorter Catechism

WSC 102 — “What do we pray for in the second petition?
A.  In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,) we pray, That Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be  hastened.”

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