POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
October 20, 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.
"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look to his character." --Noah Webster
You will note that there is a common thread in Cooke’s sermon and that is the importance of the person that has been chosen by the people to be in authority over them must have certain qualities and the most important of those qualities is to operate in a godly manner being honest and fully represent the people that elected him. “The chief command in this province is now devolved upon one of distinguished abilities, who knows our state, and naturally must care for ns, — one who, in early life, has received from his country the highest tokens of honor and trust in its power to bestow ; and we have a right to expect that the higher degrees of them conferred by our gracious sovereign will operate through the course of his administration to the welfare of this people. His Honor is not insensible that, as his power is independent of the people, their safety must depend, under Providence, upon his wisdom, justice, and paternal tenderness in the exercise of it. It is our ardent wish and prayer that his administration may procure ease and quietness to himself and the province; and, having served his generation according to the Divine will, he may rise to superior honors in the kingdom of God.” (Emphasis mine)
One thing that Cooke points out that is considered illegal today for a politician to do and that is that one of the elected persons duties is “above all, the advancement of religion, the true fear of God . .” Cooke states: “When the elections of this important day are determined, what further remains to be undertaken for the securing our liberties, promoting peace and good order, and, above all, the advancement of religion, the true fear of God through the land, will demand the highest attention of the General Assembly. We trust the Fountain of light, who giveth wisdom freely, will not scatter darkness in your paths, and that the day is far distant when there shall be cause justly to complain. The foundations are destroyed—what can the righteous do? Our present distresses, civil fathers, loudly call upon us all, and you in special, to stir up ourselves in the fear of God. Arise! —this matter belongeth unto you ; we also will be with you. Be of good courage, and do it.” (Emphasis mine)
When we hear organizations like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion and other of like ignorance say that the government can’t be associated with any religion our history does not agree with that. This is why America became such a great nation in such a short period of time, we were diligent concerning the things of God, operated under godly principles and saw to it that our leaders we godly men. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States stated “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." If this comment was made by the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, then I would have to believe that the ACLU and their kind are wrong concerning religions role in our government. It was taught by most preachers during the Founding Era to always regard the principles of God not just privately but publicly as well.
Cooke state: “But while, in imitation of our pious forefathers, we are aiming at the security of our liberties, we should all be concerned to express by our conduct their piety and virtue, and in a day of darkness and general distress carefully avoid everything offensive to God or injurious to men. It belongs not only to rulers, but subjects also, to set the Lord always before their face, and act in his fear. While under government we claim a right to be treated as men, we must act in character by yielding that subjection which becometh us as men. Let every attempt to secure our liberties be conducted with a manly fortitude, but with that respectful decency which reason approves, and which alone gives weight to the most salutary measures. Let nothing divert us from the paths of truth and peace, which are the ways of God, and then we may be sure that he will be with us, as he was with our fathers, and never leave nor forsake us.” (Emphasis mine)
Cooke’s sermon was intended to instill into the people the need for godly men to be placed in authority over the people of America. He was not wishy-washy but boldly declared how the people should vote. Surprising, this is a message that could be preached from any pulpit today without attracting the wrath of the ACLU and others. But it is a message that far too few preachers will give. Political correctness has taken over the pulpit.
The fear of offending someone today determines what kind of message that will be preached. We are seeing what Paul wrote to Timothy about concerning a people that would not listen to God’s Word. 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
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For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
If we had this of preaching today, it would not take long to get America heading in the right direction. I see a strong revival but only in a few places. Too many of today’s pastors simply don’t have the guts to stand up for the things of God any more. I hope that I am wrong. America certainly deserves better.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 182-183.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 183.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 186-187.
© 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