Daily Readings on America, January 6th:
As a young man, Samuel Morse set out to become a famous painter. His ambition was "to rival the genius of a Raphael, a Michelangelo, or a Titian." He studied at the Royal Academy in London and won acclaim by painting portraits of men such as President James Monroe and the Marquis de Lafayette.
In 1832, onboard a ship crossing the ocean, Morse heard another passenger describe how electricity could pass instantly over any length of wire. He began to wonder: Could messages be sent over wires with electricity? He rushed back to his cabin, took out his drawing book, and began to sketch out his idea for a telegraph.
He knew little about electricity, but he learned as he went. He used a homemade battery and parts from an old clock to build his first models. He developed a code of long and short electrical impulses-"dots" and "dashes"-to represent letters. His invention raised the interest of Alfred Vail, a machinist who became his partner.
On January 6, 1838, the inventors were ready to test their device over two miles of wire at the Vail family ironworks in New Jersey. Vail's father scribbled "A patient waiter is no loser" on a piece of paper and handed it to his son. "If you can send this and Mr. Morse can read it at the other end, I shall be convinced," he said. A short time later, his words came out on the receiving end.
On May 24, 1844, an amazed crowd in the Supreme Court chambers in Washington, D.C., watched Samuel Morse demonstrate his telegraph by sending a message over a wire to Baltimore, 35 miles away. In Morse code, he tapped out a quote from the Bible: What hath God wrought!
Soon telegraph lines linked countries and continents, and the world entered the age of modern communication.
The diehard skeptic Mr. Vail, who penned his message saying, "If you can send this and Mr. Morse can read it, I shall be convinced" was indeed convinced. At the time, it was the greatest communication either sent or received.
On Easter morning, an infinitely more powerful message was sent and has since been received by millions upon millions. "He is not here; He is risen!" (Matthew 28:6). "Look what God has wrought!"
Won't you allow yourself to be convinced? Place your faith and trust in God's message of redemption communicated so clearly through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!