POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
March 30, 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
All through his sermon West has made a point of two things that seemed to have been lost to today’s society and that is 1) God has required us to obey those that are in authority and 2) those in authority are mandated by God to rule according to His principles and guidelines. These principles and guidelines will always minister justice to the people. The principles and guidelines are always for the general good of the people as a whole. I’m not talking the philosophy of communism here where the State controls everything for the good of all but where the State guards the civil rights and librties of the people that come from God not government. West confirms this when he states: “Whoever pretends to deny this proposition must give up all pretence of being master of that common sense and reason by which the Deity has distinguished us from the brutal herd.
As our duty of obedience to the magistrate is founded upon our obligation to promote the general good, our readiness to obey lawful authority will always arise in proportion to the love and regard that we have for the welfare of the public; and the same love and regard for the public will inspire us with as strong a zeal to oppose tyranny as we have to obey magistracy. Our obligation to promote the public good extends as much to the opposing every exertion of arbitrary power that is injurious to the state as it does to the submitting to good and wholesome laws. No man, therefore, can be a good member of the community that is not as zealous to oppose tyranny as lie is ready to obey magistracy. A slavish submission to tyranny is a proof of a very sordid and base mind.” (Emphasis mine)
Notice in the last statement that West even considers those that submit to any authority no matter how good or bad it is just to be ‘obedient’ is not an very intelligent person. He goes on to talk about the type of government we have in Washington today. It is solely for the benefit of the government at the cost of freedoms and liberties for the people in general. “Further: if magistrates are no farther ministers of God than they promote the good of the community, then obedience to them neither is nor can be unlimited ; for it would imply a gross absurdity to assert that, when magistrates are ordained by the people solely for the purpose of being beneficial to the state, they must be obeyed when they are seeking to ruin and destroy it. This would imply that men were bound to act against the great law of self-preservation, and to contribute their assistance to their own ruin and destruction, in order that they may please and gratify the greatest monsters in nature, who are violating the laws of God and destroying the rights of mankind.” (Emphasis mine)
West gives an example of what our rulers should be like comparing man’s actions to how God rules. “Unlimited submission and obedience is due to none but God alone. He has an absolute right to command; he alone has an uncontrollable sovereignty over us, because he alone is unchangeably good; he never will nor can require of us, consistent with his nature and attributes, anything that is not fit and reasonable ; his commands are all just and good; and to suppose that he has given to any particular set of men a power to require obedience to that which is unreasonable, cruel, and unjust, is robbing the Deity of his justice and goodness, in which consists the peculiar glory of the divine character, and it is representing him under the horrid character of a tyrant.
If magistrates are ministers of God only because the law of God and reason points out the necessity of such an institution for the good of mankind, it follows, that whenever they pursue measures directly destructive of the public good they cease being God's ministers, they forfeit their right to obedience from the subject, they become the pests of society, and the community is under the strongest obligation of duty, both to God and to its own members, to resist and oppose them, which will be so far from resisting the ordinance of God that it will be strictly obeying his commands.” (Emphasis mine)
Notice in the last of that statement West says that it is the obligation of the people to resist anyone’s attempt to stray from God’s principles. He goes as far as to say that it is our strongest obligation of duty to resist and oppose those who wish to govern for their own benefit or only for the benefit of themselves. He calls them ‘pests’. Today’s government in D..C. falls into that category. Both Parties are at fault of usurping their authority but the Democrats have turned in into an art form. Our Congress is as guilty of complacency as our president because they have done nothing to curb Obama’s tendencies to govern as a dictator. Both Parties have forgotten that we have a representative government. Neither Party seems to represent the people any more. They legislate for their individual Parties and not the people. This is the type of government that Britain had installed in Massachusetts removing the elected officials the people had chosen.
In defending his position that opposition to ungodly authority was an obligation and that all must oppose and that all must be done to remove that government if it would not properly minister justice. He states: “To suppose otherwise wall imply that the Deity requires of us an obedience that is self-contradictory and absurd, and that one part of his law is directly contrary to the other; i.e., while he commands us to pursue virtue and the general good, he does at the same time require us to persecute virtue, and betray the general good, by enjoining us obedience to the wicked commands of tyrannical oppressors. Can anyone not lost to the principles of humanity undertake to defend such absurd sentiments as these?
As the public safety is the first and grand law of society, so no community can have a right to invest the magistrate with any power or authority that will enable him to act against the welfare of the state and the good of the whole. If men have at any time wickedly and foolishly given up their just rights into the hands of the magistrate, such acts are null and void, of course; to suppose otherwise will imply that we have a right to invest the magistrate with a power to act contrary to the law of God, —Which is as much as to say that we are not the subjects of divine law and government.” (Emphasis mine)
West is convincingly setting a foundation for what will soon happen in his day and that is the start of the Revolutionary War. The pastors of his day in America believed in a very limited form of government that protected the unalienable rights that came from God and those that ignored those rights or usurped those rights they believed should be dealt with quickly and swiftly.
Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers
Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 285-285.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 285.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 285-286.
4. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 286
© 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