My husband Ray and our daughter Bethany share a special interest in the Adams family, an interest that has rubbed off on me. Ray and I were thrilled when we fulfilled the dream of visiting Quincy, Massachusetts, after church Sunday a week ago. We toured the birthplaces of John and John Quincy Adams, the country estate John and Abigail Adams bought several years after they married, and the church building where the family attended.
John Adams, who grew up to become the second President of the United States, was born in this house in 1735, in what was then the city of Braintree. A portion of Braintree became the town of Quincy (pronounced Quin-zee) in 1792. The birthplaces are now in Quincy. John Adams father, whose name was also John Adams, was a deacon in the local Congregational Church. The elder John Adams was called Deacon John.
When the future President was a baby, his parents had him christened by the local Congregational minister whose name was John Hancock. Minister John Hancock also had a son, whom he also christened. The minister named his own son John Hancock.
John Adams’ mother Susanna taught him to read and write as a boy. When he was fifteen years old, Deacon John Adams sent his eldest son John to Harvard. His parents wished for him to become a minister. When John decided to become a lawyer instead, they supported his decision and provided him the best room in their home for his first law office.
Deacon John Adams was a farmer who continued to buy more and more farms. Some of these farms had houses on them. Deacon John gave homes to his children. He gave this one to the future President. Here John Adams lived with his bride Abigail. Their son John Quincy Adams, who would become the sixth President, was born in this house.
When the thirteen colonies became disgruntled with their treatment by Great Britain, the son of the deacon and the son of the minister became leaders and patriots who served the American colonies in many ways. Each of them signed the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock has become famous as the patriot who wrote his signature large enough for the King of England to see it plainly, even though every signer could be convicted of treason for their actions.
When the apostle Paul wrote the letter to the churches of Galatia, he ended the letter with encouragement to do good to all men and especially to fellow believers. Paul had suffered for the cause of freedom, not for political freedom, but for the freedom found in Jesus Christ. In his parting words to them, he said:
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand . . . .
But may it never be that I would boast,
except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world . . . .
From now on let no one cause trouble for me,
for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
Galatians 6:11, 14, 17-18
I pray that you and I and our descendants will also be crucified to the world as we help others find the freedom found in Jesus Christ.