POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
November 10, 2013
December 15, 1774
By William Gordon
Pastor of the Third Church in Roxbury
This sermon was given at an event called the Boston Thursday Lecture. This event was founded by Reverend John Cotton in 1633. Even though its main purpose was a ministerial gathering the event was often used to discuss political and social issues. According to the Daily Free Press of the Boston University Faneuil Hall is still used today for discussions of social issues 380 years after its founding.
Reverend Gordon states that the main purpose of a pastors sermon is to give direction to the lost, but there are times when it becomes necessary to address the politics of the day: “The pulpit is devoted, in general, to more important purposes than the fate of kingdoms, or the civil rights of human nature, being intended to recover men from the slavery of sin and Satan, to point out their escape from future misery through faith in a crucified Jesus, and to assist them in their preparations for an eternal blessedness. But still there are special times and seasons when it may treat of politics.” (Emphasis mine)
What was happening in that day was Boston was under a British military injunction for opposing what they considered unconstitutional mandates from Parliament. Their elected officials had been removed and replaced with men appointed by the king. The local government had been dissolved. Trade to the city of Boston via the seas was diverted to Salem which Salem rejected because they believed that Boston had the right to govern herself without the interference from England. Consequently food and supplies were not getting to Boston. Surrounding towns and villages were gathering what they could to take to Boston at the same time refusing to allow the British troops to be resupplied. “The capital of the colony is barbarously treated, pretendedly for a crime, but actually for the noble stand she has made in favor of liberty against the partisans of slavery. She has distinguished herself by her animated opposition to arbitrary and unconstitutional proceedings, and therefore has been marked out, by ministerial vengeance, to be made an example of, whereby to terrify other American cities into a tame submission. She is an example, and, thanks to Heaven ! an example of patience and fortitude, to the no small mortification of her enemies, whose own base feelings led them to imagine that she would immediately become an abject supplicant for royal favor, though at the expense of natural and chartered rights. May some future historian, the friend of mankind and citizen of the world, have to record in his faithful and ever-living page that she never truckled, though British sailors and soldiers, contrary to their natural affection for the cause of liberty, were basely employed to intimidate her, but perseveringly held out through the fiery trial till a revolution of men and measures brought on her deliverance!” (Emphasis mine)
As it can be seen Reverend Gordon is addressing the political actions of the British government that he believed was a violation of the God given rights of the citizens of Boston. The British had made null and void the government which the people had established and had set up a government that was only beneficial to the crown ignoring the God-given rights of the people. He went on to say: “Upon the principles which the British Legislature have adopted, in their late extraordinary proceedings, I see not how we can be certain of any one privilege, nor what hinders our being really in a state of slavery to an aggregate of masters, whose tyranny may be worse than that of a single despot ; nor that a man can with propriety say his soul is his own, and not the spring to move his bodily machine in the performance of whatever drudgery his lords may appoint; nor that the public have a permanent and valuable constitution. If the British Legislature is the constitution, or superior to the constitution. Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, and the Protestant Succession, these boasts of Britons are toys to please the vulgar, and not solid securities.
The operation of the late unconstitutional acts of the British Parliament would not only deprive the colony of invaluable privileges, but introduce a train of evils little expected by the generality, and give the British ministry such an ascendency in all public afilxirs as would be to the last dangerous.” (Emphasis mine)
This belief that the rights of the individuals were at risk of being brought almost to the point of slavery is verified in letters to the British Parliament from the leaders of the community concerning the removal of the God-given rights the people had enjoyed but was now, because of the establishing of the British Parliamentary rule, set aside and ignored. Here are some of the protests filed to Parliament: "The new constitution of judicature provided by this bill is improper and incongruous with the plan of the administration of justice in Great Britain.
"The Governor and Council, thus instituted with powers with which the British constitution has not trusted his Majesty and his privy-council, have the means of returning such a jury in each particular cause as may best suit wath the gratification of their passions and interests. The lives, liberties, and properties of the subject are put into their hands without control, and the invaluable right of trial by jury is turned into a snare for the people, who have hitherto looked upon it as their main security against the licentiousness of power.
"We see in this bill the same scheme of strengthening the authority of the officers and ministers of state, at the expense of the rights and liberties of the subject, which was indicated by the inauspicious act for shutting up the harbor of Boston.
"By that act, which is immediately connected with this bill, the example was set of a large, important city (containing vast multitudes of people, many of whom must be innocent, and all of whom are unheard), by an arbitrary sentence, deprived of the advantage of that port upon which all their means of livelihood did immediately depend.
"This proscription is not made determinable on the payment of a fine for an offence, or a compensation for an injury, but is to continue until the ministers of the crown shall think fit to advise the king in council to revoke it.
"The legal condition of the subject (standing unattainted by conviction for treason or felony) ought never to depend upon the arbitrary will of any person whatsoever." (Emphasis mine)
The Founders were adamant about the God-given rights that the Colonists had become accustomed to living by. It was not being taken lightly that the British government was attempting to take all their rights away and requiring the citizens of the Colonies to live almost to the point of being a slave.
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Today we have a federal government that wants to tell us what type of car we need to drive, the communities that we should live in, they are telling us that we have to have a specific type of insurance program where the government decides what, if any, treatment we will receive. The DOJ has placed the people that believe that the government needs to operate according to the boundaries set forth in the Constitution and that we the people have the right to expect the rights set forth in the Bill of Rights, those that are pro-life and pro-Second Amendment are not in the top five of what is considered a terrorist threat to America! Where is the church in all of this? For the most part they have been silent. The majority of the pastors of today are no comparison to the pastors of the Founding Era. They are week and cowardly and bend to and fro with the whims of society when they should be setting the standard for societies actions.
I believe that the fate of America is in the hands of the pastors and if they don’t take the mindset of what their true responsibility is our road will be rough.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 199.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 201-202.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 203.
4. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 201-202.
© 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