POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
September 15, 2013
Election sermon given by Pastor Samuel Cooke, A. E., Pastor of the Second Church in Cambridge, MA, May 30, 1770.
This sermon was given shortly after the “Boston Massacre” denouncing the abuse of power exhibited by the British government. This message was so powerful that the Massachusetts House of Representatives ordered the sermon to be printed and distributed.
Samuel 23:3- The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me,
He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
4- And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Last week we began to address the manner in which one chosen to rule was required to act. For the most part we see very little of those characteristics in those in authority today. Our president ignores the confines of the Constitution even stating that it is a document that tells him more of what he can’t do than of what he can do. That, Mr. Obama, was the intent of the document. One Representative from the State of California, Pete Starks, stated that they pay no attention to the Constitution when they write a law. This mentality is rampant throughout Washington, D.C. and it is the fault of the people for allowing it and it is the fault of the church for no longer teaching the principles that the pastors of the Founding Era felt were so important.
The pastors of the Founding Era keyed in on the importance of the need of all rulers to be in line with the principles of God and the teachings in the Word of God. They believed that a respectful fear of God was absolutely necessary when one was placed in authority over men. This is why King George replaces not just those the people choose to be in authority over them but the laws that were enacted by those chosen. Cooke and most others in his day believed that the fear of God was the basis of mans wisdom. They believed the scripture in Proverbs 9:10 that states: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Cooke states in his sermon: “This fear doth not intend simply a dread (to be apprehensive ) of the Almighty as the Supreme Ruler and Judge of men, but especially a filial reverence, founded in esteem and superlative love implanted in the heart. This will naturally produce conformity to God in his moral perfections, an inclination to do his will, and a delight in those acts of beneficence which the Maker of all things displays throughout his extended creation. This fear of God is the beginning and also the perfection of human wisdom ; and, though dominion is not absolutely founded in grace, yet a true principle of religion must be considered as a necessary qualification in a ruler.
The religion of Jesus teacheth the true fear of God, and marvellously discloseth the plan of divine government. In his gospel, as through a glass, we see heaven opened, the mysteries of providence and grace unveiled, Jesus sitting on the right hand of God, to whom all power is committed, and coming to judge the world in righteousness. Here is discovered, to the admiration of angels, the joy of saints, and the terror of the wicked, the government of the man Christ Jesus, founded in justice and mercy, which in his glorious administration meet together in sceptre; he loveth righteousness and hateth wickedness.” (Emphasis mine)
Notice that Cooke teaches that scripture teaches divine law. This is something that today’s politicians ignore for the most part. It is also worth noting that these preachers all understood that the laws of America were based on divine law and only divine law. They taught that all rulers and judges were to operate under the guidance of the scriptures throwing out any law that did not agree with scripture. Cooke states: “The sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre; he loveth righteousness and hateth wickedness.
And though his throne is on high,— prepared in the heavens,—yet he makes known to the sons of men his mighty acts and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. By him kings reign and princes decree justice, even all the nobles and judges of the earth. His eyes are upon the ways of men. His voice, which is full of majesty, to earthly potentates is. Be wise now, O ye kings ; be instructed, ye judges of the earth; serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in your exalted stations with submissive awe; embrace the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.” (Emphasis mine)
One thing the pastors of the Founding Era understood that not many preachers today understand is the results of having a true communion with God and that is how the Holy Spirit will change how you think and act so that you are more guided by the Holy Spirit than by your own fleshly desires. You will lean towards godly principles and beliefs. This is why John Jay stated "In forming and settling my belief relative to the doctrines of Christianity, I adopted no articles from creeds but such only as, on careful examination, I found to be confirmed by the Bible...At a party in Paris, once, the question fell on religious matters. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did." (Emphasis mine)
Cooke confirmed this concept as he stated in this sermon “The Christian temper, wrought in the heart by the divine Spirit, restores the human mind to its primitive rectitude, animates every faculty of the soul, directs every action to its proper end, extends its views beyond the narrow limits of time, and raises its desires to immortal glory. This makes the face of every saint to shine, but renders the ruler, in his elevated station, gloriously resplendent. This commands reverence to his person, attention to his counsels, respect to the laws, and authority to all his directions, and renders an obedient people easy and happy under his rule ;—which leads to the consideration of the last thing suggested in the text, viz.: The glorious effects of a just administration of government.” (Emphasis mine)
For many decades those who were put into places of authority operated in the belief that they must be directed by the Holy Spirit to effectually execute the office they held. If our politicians would do this today our problems would be few and far between. Cooke clearly explains this belief as he clearly explains the proper actions of those placed in authority. “This includes both the distinguishing honor and respect acquired by rulers of this character, and the unspeakable felicity of a people thus favored of the Lord. Justice and judgment are the habitation of the throne of the Most High, and he delighteth to honor those who rule over men in his fear. He has dignified them with a title of divinity, and called them, in a peculiar sense, the children of the Highest. And we are not to wonder that, in the darker ages of the world, from worshipping the host of heaven the ignorant multitude were led to pay divine honors to their beneficent rulers, whom they esteemed as demi-gods.
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The light of divine revelation has dispelled these mists of superstition and impiety, and opened to the pious ruler's view the sure prospect of unfading glory in the life to come; and in the present state he is not without his reward. To find that his conduct meets with public approbation, that he is acceptable to the multitude of his brethren, greatly corroborates his internal evidence of integrity and impartiality, and especially of his ability for public action, and —which is the height of his ambition in this state of probation —enlarges his opportunity of doing good.
This is his support under the weight of government, and fixes his dependence upon the aid of the Almighty, in whose fear he rules. How excellent in the sight of God and man are rulers of this character !” (Emphasis mine)
All through this sermon are the points being made that character, godly character, are the most important attributes of anyone that is placed in a position of authority. America has lost that mindset. And with that loss we have lost a major foundation in what has made America true, great and strong.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 171
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p.p. 171-172
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 172
4. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 172-173
© 2013 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org