POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
September 22, 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.
Our study of this political sermon, which would be outlawed today, shows how the pastors in the Founding Era were deeply involved in the political arena. The churches of today should be as well and if they didn’t have their 501(c)3’s and were more afraid of God than being politically correct, we would see a rise in the quality of character of the politicians being put into office. In my opinion the Johnson gag order placed on non-profits in 1954 is unconstitutional as it prohibits the free exercise of the Christian faith, which is why the Founders established the 1st Amendment in the first place! The churches in the 50’s didn’t stand their ground and now we are seeing the results of the church refusing to take back what was taken from them.
Cooke continues to extol the benefits of godly men in places of authority stating: “The ruler of the day, as on a throne, shining in his strength, nearly preserves his station, and under the prime Agent directs all their motions, imparting light and heat to his several attendants and the various beings which the Creator has placed upon them. His refulgent rays dispel the gloomy shades, and cause the cheerful light to arise out of thick darkness, and all nature to rejoice. The planets, with their lesser attendants, in conformity to their common head, mutually reflect with feebler beams their borrowed light for the common benefit; and all, in proportion to their distance and gravity, bear their part to support the balance of the grand machine.
By this apposite metaphor the divine Spirit has represented the character and extensive beneficence of the faithful ruler, who, with a godlike ardor, employs his authority and influence to advance the common interest. The righteous Lord, whose countenance beholdeth the upright, will support and succeed rulers of this character, and it is an evidence of his favor to a people when such are appointed to rule over them.” (Emphasis mine)
This is clear evidence that the Founding Era pastors fully believed that it was only godly men that were to be placed in authority. They operated under the firm belief that God required godly men be placed over the people; Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: ;Deuteronomy 1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.; 2 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.
They also had experienced not having godly men in places of authority literally all through the ages; Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Emphasis mine) Cooke confirms this stating: “The natural effect of this is quietness and peace, as showers upon the tender grass, and clear shining after rain. In this case a loyal people must be happy, and fully sensible that they are so, while they find their persons in safety, their liberties preserved, their property defended, and their confidence in their rulers entire. The necessary expenses of the government will be borne by the community with pleasure while justice holds the balance and righteousness flows down their streets.” (Emphasis mine)
Adherence to these principles brought about a reverence for the United States in the early years and even through most of the 20th Century. It wasn’t until we began to set God aside and embrace secular humanism that America lost some of its appeal. We are still the greatest nation in the world but we are fading fast because our rulers and the church no longer follow the outline that was established by the Founders. If we simply began operating in accordance with the Constitution things would improve drastically. We would remove a president who is not eligible to be president and nullify all the laws and appointments that he has signed and made putting America back on the road to prosperity and respect. Many other things would be necessary to complete that turnaround but simply abiding by the Constitution would get us going there. Cooke confirms this when he states: “Such a civil state, according to the natural course of things, must flourish in peace at home, and be respectable abroad; private virtues will be encouraged, and vice driven into darkness ; industry in the most effectual manner promoted, arts and sciences patronized, the true fear of God cultivated, and his worship maintained. This— this is their only invaluable treasure. This is the glory, safety, and best interest of rulers —the sure protection and durable felicity of a people. This, through the Redeemer, renders the Almighty propitious, and nigh unto a people in all they call upon him for.
Happy must the people be that is in such a case; yea, happy is the people whose God is the Lord.” (Emphasis mine) Again we see that Cooke puts a strong emphasis on character, specifically private character. They knew that if there wasn’t good character behind closed doors there wouldn’t be good character in public either. FDR, Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and even some Republicans in recent years have shown no class and no morals in their private or public life. Bobby Kennedy’s philandering was so bad that his wife became so depressed that she committed suicide. These are the characters of people that the preachers in the Founding Era spoke against. Today’s politicians are rife with these kinds of people. Any wonder why laws are passed that are so against God’s Word? Allowing abortion, embracing homosexuality, not allowing military chaplains to pray in Jesus’ Name.
Cooke painstakingly refreshes everyone’s memory of how, when corrupt men are in power, the liberties of man are set on hold. He talks in dept of the English uprising of 1660 and who ended up in power and how they exacted from the Colonies all they could through.
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“But all their humble addresses were to no purpose. As an honorable historian observes : " At this time Great Britain, and Scotland especially, was suffering under a prince inimical (hostil) to civil liberty ; and New England, without a miraculous interposition, must expect to share the same judgments." And, indeed, of this bitter cup, the dregs were reserved for this people, in that and the succeeding happily short but inglorious reign. Our charter was dissolved, and despotic power took place. Sir Edmund Andros, — a name never to be forgotten,—in imitation of his royal master, in wanton triumph trampled upon all our laws and rights; and his government was only tolerable as it was a deliverance from the shocking terrors of the more infamous Kirk. Sir Edmund at first made high professions of regard to the public good. But it has been observed " that Nero concealed his tyrannical disposition more years than Sir Edmund and his creatures did months." (Emphasis mine)
Notice how Cooke emphasized ‘civil liberties’ and that a ‘despotic power’ took over the wills of the people. Again Cooke and most of the other preachers would concentrate on the civil liberties that are afforded man not by government but by God Himself. Government main purpose for being was to insure that those civil liberties were never breach by anyone foreigh or domestic.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p.p. 173-174
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 174
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p.p. 178-179.
© 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