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Sabbath Rest: Overcoming Evil
Evil overcome by good. The topic appears in movies, books, and real life. This desire for the triumph of good was as real to the patriots as it is today. Henry Cummings ...

Sabbath Rest: Overcoming Evil

Evil overcome by good. The topic appears in movies, books, and real life. This desire for the triumph of good was as real to the patriots as it is today. Henry Cummings, longtime pastor of the First Congregational Parish of Billerica, Massachusetts, preached on the topic during the war. People were hungry to hear that evil would not win in the end.

“I doubt not, my hearers, but you can recollect instances … wherein the lusts of particular persons have been either remarkably restrained, or remarkably over-ruled, as occasions of good, where evil was designed and intended,” Cummings reminded his congregation.

He believed these moments were opportunities to praise God. Whenever good thwarted evil, men and women were to look to God. “Every instance of this kind, that comes within our view, should lead us to admire and adore the wisdom and goodness of God, who disappointeth the evil designs of sinners, and causeth even the operation of their lusts to be productive of events, in favour of those whom they meant to injure,” preached Cummings.

He then gave his audience examples from the Bible to support his call to adoration. “The story of Joseph, in the book of Genesis, affords one instance, to this purpose. Instigated by pride, envy, anger and unreasonable resentment, his brethren sold him into Egypt. They had nothing in view, in this base and unnatural action, but the gratification of their own unruly passions and corrupt lusts; but the wisdom of GOD over-ruled it for good, contrary to their expectation and design,” Cummings reminded his listeners of Joseph’s rise in the Egyptian court, which resulted in saving his family, and ultimately the nation of Israel, from a famine.

“The wrath and madness of Pharaoh, and the cruelties which his haughty and savage temper prompted him to exercise upon the children of Israel, in order to check their growth, and secure them in a state of dependence and base servitude, prepared the way, under the government of Providence, for their remarkable deliverance,” the preacher continued.

Cummings noted that these occasions were “a series of such wonderful displays of the power of GOD, as could not but excite all pious observers, to pay him their devout honors and adorations.”

This pastor, who had served as a delegate to the convention in 1780 that passed the Massachusetts Constitution, fervently believed that God was in control. He was the one who overcame evil, no matter if malice, murder, or treason ruled in men’s hearts. The patriots needed the message Henry Cummings and others preached to make it to the end of the war. Evil had not yet been conquered.


God, may your purpose prevail in my heart today. Overcome any evil there with your goodness and truth.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”

(Romans 12:21).

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