POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
Pastor Roger Anghis
June 8, 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
West has throughout his sermon to the members of the House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts that it was imperative that they conduct themselves according to the dictates of scripture. As His servants they are to do all things to maintain the liberties that God has ordained that man is to have. We have no rights granted by the government. It is the government's responsibility to ensure that we always live with the liberties granted by God. They were never to usurp those liberties, restrict those liberties or remove those liberties. If at any time anyone who has been put in authority over the people attempts to limit or remove these liberties it is the obligation of the people to oppose that person and remove him. This is one of the reasons why one of the first things the Colonies did was establish and education system that was based on the Bible using the Bible as the main text so that people would be knowledgeable on God's Word and principles.
In my book Defining America's Exceptionalism I discuss the Colonies first laws concerning education: " The first laws providing public education for all children were passed in 1642 in Massachusetts and in 1647 in Connecticut and it was called the “Old Deluder Satan Law”. These colonists believed that the proper protection from civil abuses could only be achieved by eliminating Bible illiteracy. “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of Scriptures, as in former time. . . . It is therefore ordered . . [that] after the Lord hath increased [the settlement] to the number of fifty householders, [they] shall then forthwith appoint one within their town, to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to write and read. . . . And it is further ordered, that where any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school . . . to instruct youths, so far as they may be fitted for the university.” Note that they put a premium on the ability to understand the Word of God. Many American literacy laws were directed at the necessity of understanding the Bible. A Connecticut law in 1690 read:
“This legislature observing that . . . there are many persons unable to read the English tongue and thereby incapable to read the holy Word of God or the good laws of this colony . . . it is ordered that all parents and masters shall cause their respective children and servants, as they are capable, to be taught to read distinctly the English tongue." (Emphasis mine)
West further establishes his point that the people were just as required to obey a 'godly' ruler as they were required to oppose an 'ungodly' or tyrannical rulers: "Thus have I considered the nature of the duty enjoined in the text, and have endeavored to show that the same principles that require obedience to lawful magistrates do also require us to resist tyrants; this I have confirmed from reason and Scripture.
It was with a particular view to the present unhappy controversy that subsists between us and Great Britain that I chose to discourse upon the nature and design of government, and the rights and duties both of governors and governed, that so, justly understanding our rights and privileges, we may stand firm in our opposition to ministerial tyranny, while at the same time we pay all proper obedience and submission to our lawful magistrates; and that, while we are contending for liberty, we may avoid running into licentiousness; and that we may preserve the due medium between submitting to tyranny and running into anarchy. I acknowledge that I have undertaken a difficult task; but, as it appeared to me, the present state of affairs loudly called for such a discourse; and, therefore, I hope the wise, the generous, and the good, will candidly receive my good intentions to serve the public. I shall now apply this discourse to the grand controversy that at this day subsists between Great Britain and the American colonies."
West points out how the teaching that had begun in 1647 in Massachusetts, i.e. the biblical education the young kids began to learn had taken root in the people and as adults raised with the understanding of God's Word and His principles the Colonies stood as one against Great Britain and their tyranny: "And, in the next place, who could have thought that, when our charter was vacated, when we became destitute of any legislative authority, and when our courts of justice in many parts of the country were stopped, so that we could neither make nor execute laws upon offenders, — who, I say, would have thought, that in such a situation the people should behave so peaceably, and maintain such good order and harmony among themselves? This is a plain proof that they, having not the civil law to regulate themselves by, became a law unto themselves ; and by their conduct they have shown that they were regulated by the law of God written in their hearts. This is the Lord's doing, and it ought to be marvellous in our eyes.
From what has been said in this discourse, it will appear that we are in the way of our duty in opposing the tyranny of Great Britain; for, if unlimited submission is not due to any human power, if we have an undoubted right to oppose and resist a set of tyrants that are subverting our just rights and privileges, there cannot remain a doubt in any man, that will calmly attend to reason, whether we have a right to resist and oppose the arbitrary measures of the King and Parliament; for it is plain to demonstration, nay, it is in a manner self-evident, that they have been and are endeavoring to deprive us not only of the privileges of Englishmen, and our charter rights, but they have endeavored to deprive us of what is much more sacred, viz., the privileges of men and Christians; "i. e., they are robbing us of the inalienable rights that the God of nature has given us as men and rational beings, and has confirmed to his in his written word as Christians and disciples of that Jesus who came to redeem us from the bondage of sin and the tyranny of Satan, and to grant us the most perfect freedom, even the glorious liberty of the sons and children of God; that here they have endeavored to deprive us of the sacred charter of the King of Heaven. But we have this for our consolation: the Lord reigneth; he governs the world in righteousness, and will avenge the cause of the oppressed when they cry unto him. We have made our appeal to Heaven, and we cannot doubt but that the Judge of all the earth will do right." (Emphasis mine)
West leaves nothing to doubt as to our rights and duty to oppose tyranny in all forms. It was the right thing to do in his day and it is the right thing to do today with an administration that is forcing Americans to accept and pay for abortions, except homosexuality and the norm yet demands that we keep our religion to ourselves.
There comes a time when we need to simply say to our Governmemnt- No more! That time is here.
Defining America's Exceptionalism, Roger Anghis, (Westbow Press), pp.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 304-305.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 305-306.
� 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