POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
March 2, 2014
Preached before the Honorable Council, And the honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England. MAY 29th, 1776.
Being the Anniversary for the Election of THE honorable COUNCIL FOR the Colony. By Pastor Samuel West of Dartmouth.
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, Isaiah 4:26:
Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregations shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them : and their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them, Jeremiah 30:20- 21.
As free and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of GOD, 1 Peter 2: 16.
The beast that thou sawest, shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition : and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast. Revelation 17:8.
Pastor West has pointed out that many of the problems between government and the people throughout history had been the demand for unlimited obedience to authority without regard to the laws of nature, again the laws of nature is a reference to the rights and privileges granted mankind by God. It was the conviction of the Founders that any government was obligated to protect those rights and privileges at all costs. The invasion of the British troops and removal of the government set up by the Colonists to do that very thing was considered a threat to their liberties that was not to be tolerated. West describes the proper actions of a society that is to be supported by a proper government: “It is our duty to endeavor always to promote the general good; to do to all as we would be willing to be done by were we in their circumstances ; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. These are some of the laws of nature which every man in the world is bound to observe, and which whoever violates exposes himself to the resentment of mankind, the lashes of his own conscience, and the judgment of Heaven.
This plainly shows that the highest state of liberty subjects us to the law of nature and the government of God. The most perfect freedom consists in obeying the dictates of right reason, and submitting to natural law. When a man goes beyond or contrary to the law of nature and reason, he becomes the slave of base passions and vile lusts; he introduces confusion and disorder into society, and brings misery and destruction upon himself. This, therefore, cannot be called a state of freedom, but a state of the vilest slavery and the most dreadful bondage. The servants of sin and corruption are subjected to the worst kind of tyranny in the universe. Hence we conclude that where licentiousness begins, liberty ends.” (Emphasis mine)
Though this time period, literally months before the final declaration of independence was decreed, was witness to the success of a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The majority of the world if not all the world save America was subject to systems that paid no regard to ‘nature’s law’ and was designed strictly for the benefit of the monarch or dictator that consisted of the government. America was the first to establish a self-rule based on the Word of God government. As West stated in the previous quote, the society that had been established in the Colonies was for the benefit of the people, not the government.
Morality and character were top on their list of people who had been placed in authority and the men that the British Parliament had forced on the citizens of Massachusetts were neither moral nor did they have a character that the Colonists accepted. West continues his description of character and morals required for a competent government/society and the results of not having those morals and high character: “The law of nature is a perfect standard and measure of action for beings that persevere in a state of moral rectitude; but the case is far different with us, who are in a fallen and degenerate estate. We have a law in our members which is continually warring against the law of the mind, by which we often become enslaved to the basest lusts, and are brought into bondage to the vilest passions.
The strong propensities of our animal nature often overcome the sober dictates of reason and conscience, and betray us into actions injurious to the public and destructive of the safety and happiness of society. Men of unbridled lusts, were they not restrained by the power of the civil magistrate, would spread horror and desolation all around them. This makes it absolutely necessary that societies should form themselves into politic bodies, that they may enact laws for the public safety, and appoint particular penalties for the violation of their laws, and invest a suitable number of persons with authority to put in execution and enforce the laws of the state, in order that wicked men may be restrained from doing mischief to their fellow-creatures, that the injured may have their rights restored to them, that the virtuous may be encouraged in doing good, and that every member of society may be protected and secured in the peaceable, quiet possession and enjoyment of all those liberties and privileges which the Deity has bestowed upon him; i. e., that he may safely enjoy and pursue whatever he chooses, that is consistent with the public good. This shows that the end and design of civil government cannot be to deprive men of their liberty or take away their freedom; but, on the contrary, the true design of civil government is to protect men in the enjoyment of liberty.” (Emphasis mine)
The morals of government had been preached from the American pulpit since the early 1600’s. These principles had been the foundation of everything that the Colonies did in reference to their civil government. The Founders believed that man could have no law that would contradict natural law, or God’s law. There are many today that don’t believe that America was founded on Christian principles but all evidence points towards that. In my book, Defining America’s Exceptionalism I explain the values that the Founders stood on. James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a signer of the Constitution and an original Justice on the United States Supreme Court was the first one that came up with the idea of formal legal training in America. Up to this time you simply worked with an attorney as an apprentice and after a few years, you took the bar exam.
Justice Wilson wrote the first legal texts that were used in the first legal schools in America. In his writings he taught that you not only had to understand civil law, you had to understand the basis of civil law. He states that civil law must rest on that law which is divine. Wilson concluded that: “All [laws], however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human. . . But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God. . . Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of the law that which is Divine.”
Our real history is quite different from what some of the so-called historians say it is. They have done all they can to discredit the Founders and make what they did look like it wasn’t all that good. Our nation could not have achieved the level of success it has without having the best foundation to build on, the Word of God. Those principles were taught in the pulpits of America until the early 1900’s when a ‘progressive’ point of view began to be introduced. Today’s society reflects a hundred years of allowing the ‘progressive’ politics and religious teachings to be instilled into society.
The Founders stood their ground when it came to individual liberties because the pastors preached it. Not many pastors today have the guts to preach that message which is why we see America going the way of Europe with multiculturalism and a total disregard for the true things of God.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 275.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 275-276.
3. Roger Anghis, Defining America’s Exceptionalism, (Bloomington: Westbow Press, 2012), p. 10.
© 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