POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
January 12, 2014
Sermon preached by Samuel Langdon, a Congregational minister and President of Harvard College, to the Massechusetts Congress on the 31st day of May 1775. Because this sermon was given on the anniversary of the election for counselors it is referred to as an ‘election sermon’.
title of the sermon is:
Government Corrupted by Vice and Recovered by Righteousness.
Isaiah 1:26 – And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning; afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.
Pastor Langdon was building his case against the attempt by the crown to enforce its totalitarian rule over the Colonies by completely removing the elected officials chosen by the people of Massachusetts with men that were only concerned about their own personal gain without regard to the cost to the people of Massachusetts and their freedoms. The British had brought in troops that were brutal and barbaric in their character towards the citizens of Massachusetts showing no respect to gender or age in their assault on the people in a form that today we call terrorism. It was rule by force.
Langdon continues to describe the ruthless acts of the British soldiers against the people: “The alarm was sudden, but in a very short time spread far and wide. The nearest neighbors in haste ran together to assist their brethren and save their country. Not more than three or four hundred met in season, and bravely attacked and repulsed the enemies of liberty, who retreated with great precipitation. But, by the help of a strong reinforcement, notwithstanding a close pursuit and continual loss on their side, they acted the part of robbers and savages, by burning, plundering, and damaging almost every house in their way to the utmost of their power, murdering the unarmed and helpless, and not regarding the weaknesses of the tender sex, until they had secured themselves beyond the reach of our terrifying arms.
That ever-memorable day, the nineteenth of April, is the date of an unhappy war openly begun by the ministers of the king of Great Britain against his good subjects in this colony, and implicitly against all the other colonies. But for what? Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men who are betraying their royal master, establishing Popery in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation, that they may enrich themselves and their vile dependents with the public treasures and the spoils of America.” (Emphasis mine)
This was a recollection of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 describing the barbarianism of the British troops, burning homes for no reason, killing two aged, unarmed men in their home and in another case forcing a woman and her child from their home taking refuge in an outhouse as the British troops set fire to her home. Langdon was bringing to their remembrance the brutality of the British troops and stating that these actions, rightfully, needed to be defended at all costs. He reminds the people that there have been many instances where the Colonies have petitioned the crown concerning these matters and have been answered only with the sending of more troops to subdue the Colony.
“We have used our utmost endeavors, by repeated humble petitions and remonstrances, by a series of unanswerable reasonings published from the press, — in which the dispute has been fairly stated, and the justice of our opposition clearly demonstrated, — and by the mediation of some of the noblest and most faithful friends of the British constitution, who have powerfully plead our cause in Parliament, to prevent such measures as may soon reduce the body politic to a miserable, dismembered, dying trunk, though lately the terror of all Europe. But our king, as if impelled by some strange fatality, is resolved to reason with us only by the roar of his cannon and the pointed arguments of muskets and bayonets. Because we refuse submission to the despotic power of a ministerial Parliament, our own sovereign, to whom we have been always ready to swear true allegiance, — whose authority we never meant to cast off, who might have continued happy in the cheerful obedience of as faithful subjects as any in his dominions, — has given us up to the rage of his ministers, to be seized at sea by the rapacious commanders of every little sloop of war and piratical cutter, and to be plundered and massacred by land by mercenary troops, who know no distinction betwixt an enemy and a brother, between right and wrong, but only, like brutal pursuers, to hunt and seize the prey pointed out by their masters.” (Emphasis mine)
As he points out the illegal actions of the crown towards the citizens of the Colonies, he then instructs the people to keep their eyes on Jesus: “We must keep our eyes fixed on the supreme government of the Eternal King, as directing all events, setting up or pulling down the kings of the earth at his pleasure, suffering the best forms of human government to degenerate and go to ruin by corruption, or restoring the decayed constitutions of kingdoms and states by reviving public virtue and religion, and granting the favorable interpositions of his providence. To this our text leads us ; and, though I hope to be excused on this occasion from a formal discourse on the words in a doctrinal way, yet I must not wholly pass over the religious instruction contained in them.” (Emphasis mine)
Langdon goes on to refer to the Nation of Israel and how they had corrupted themselves with bad leaders who ignored the Word of God and cause the Nation to turn its back on God and that action was the downfall of Israel and Judah. His intent is to show the prosperity of a godly government as opposed to a government filled with vice which was exhibited by the ‘occupying’ forces sent from England to control the citizens of Massachusetts: “When a government is in its prime, the public good engages the attention of the whole ; the strictest regard is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the offices of the state ; virtue prevails ; everything is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality ; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire ; and this gradually tends to corrupt the constitution, and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment of Heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of religion and liberty, and is guilty of undervaluing them, and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust.” (Emphasis mine)
We can even see in the final statement in this quote that Langdon is suggesting that what the crown was doing to America was the result of their falling away from the godly foundations they once employed and beginning its downfall just as Israel had done just before their captivity in Babylon. When you look back at history at the time of this message the sun never set on the British Empire but after the Revolutionary War their kingdom began to shrink and its influence began to wane throughout the world.
Langdon goes on to describe the Nation of Israel and I bring it up simply because we are seeing the very same characteristics today in our government. The comparison is almost frightening: “They were " a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that were corrupters, who had forsaken the Lord, and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger." The whole body of the nation, from head to foot, was full of moral and political disorders, without any remaining soundness. Their religion was all mere ceremony and hypocrisy; and even the laws of common justice and humanity were disregarded in their public courts.
They had counsellors and judges, but very different from those at the beginning of the commonwealth. Their princes were rebellious against God and the constitution of their country, and companions of thieves, — giving countenance to every artifice for seizing the property of the subjects into their own hands, and robbing the public treasury. Everyone loved gifts, and followed after rewards; they regarded the perquisites more than the duties of their office; the general aim was at profitable places and pensions; they were influenced in everything by bribery; and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hurried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, so that they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power and increase their wealth. And God, in righteous judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice, to their own destruction, because they had forsaken him, and were guilty of willful inattention to the most essential parts of that religion which had been given them by a well-attested revelation from heaven.” (Emphasis mine)
Today we still have a strong base that has not turned its back on God, but there is a high percentage that has. Churches that marry same-sex couples are churches that are filled with mere ceremony and hypocrisy. Our courts today regularly ignore our Constitutional rights in their decisions. Last week a District Court ruled that the information gathering on ALL Americans via the NSA was constitutional ignoring our 4th Amendment proving that even the laws of common justice and humanity were disregarded in their public courts.
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Our judges who are sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land regularly use foreign law to decide cases violating their oath. Lobbyists continue to ‘buy’ legislation favorable to their industry confirming they were influenced in everything by bribery; and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied. And with courts requiring that same-sex marriage be made legal in some States and the courts upholding abortion upon demand we see another aspect brought to view by Langdon, And God, in righteous judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice, to their own destruction, because they had forsaken him.
We have to realize that we are in the last days and the world will continue to get darker but we also must do what Langdon and all the other pastor did in their day and that is fight the force of evil that was attempting to take their rights away. They were willing to use force to keep the rights and we must be resolved to do the same.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 237-239.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 239-240.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 240
4. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 242.
5. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 243.
© 2014 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