“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign [the 4th] Thursday … of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—
That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks
–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation
–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable [interventions] of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war
–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed
–for the peaceable and [reasonable] manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately [ratified]
–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;
–and in general for all the great and various favors which he has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions
–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually
–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed
–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord
–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us
–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
President George Washington
So reads the first Thanksgiving Proclamation of our great republic. Reminded that we as a people no longer think this way and have neglected our duty to our Creator and Preserver, let us kneel and confess our sins to Him.
As a people we have fallen far. We have neglected our duty to give you thanks for your many kind providences to us. We have failed to petition you to grant us your forgiveness and your favor. We have imagined that we are the light of the world – but our light has become dim and is near to being put out. Forgive us, our Father; grant us grace to turn from our sinful self-importance, to turn from our pride and indifference to you, to seek your face and render true thanksgiving to your Name. We ask all this in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,