Provincial Congress of Massachusetts 1774, reorganized the Massachusetts militia, providing that over one-third of all new regiments be made up of “Minutemen.” The minutemen, known as such because they would be ready to fight at a minute’s notice, would drill as citizen soldiers on the parade ground, then go to the church to hear exhortation and prayer. many times the deacon of the church, or even the pastor, would lead the drill. They proclaimed, “Our cause is just” and believed it was their Christian duty to defend it. The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts charged the minutemen:
You… are placed by Providence in the post of honor, because it is the post of danger…. The eyes not only of North America and the whole British Empire, but of all Europe, are upon you. Let us be, therefore, altogether solicitous that no disorderly behavior, nothing unbecoming our characters as Americans, as citizens and Christians, be justly chargeable to us.
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts April 15,1775, just four days before the famous Battle of Lexington, declared a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer, signed by President of the Provincial Congress, John Hancock:
In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements…. All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness – and all created Power Vanity;
It is the Happiness of his Church that, when the Powers of Earth and Hell combine against it… that the Throne of Grace is of the easiest access – and its Appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who assured it, that when his Children ask Bread he will not give them a Stone….
RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer… to confess the sins… to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression… and a blessing on the Husbandry, manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defence of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed…. And that AMERICA may soon be hold a gracious Interposition of Heaven.
By Order of the (Massachusetts) Provincial Congress,
John Hancock, President.