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POLITICAL SERMONS FROM PASTORS IN THE FOUNDING ERA
PART 46

 

By Pastor Roger Anghis
July 27, 2014
NewsWithViews.com

A SERMON PREACHED BEFORE THE Honorable COUNCIL, AND THE HONORABLE House of Representatives, OF THE State of Massachusetts-Bay, IN New-England, AT Boston, May 27, 1778.

Being the Anniversary for the Election OF THE honorable COUNCIL. By PHILLIPS PAYSON, A. M. Pastor of a Church in Chelsea.

BUT JERURSALEM, WHICH IS ABOVE, IS FREE, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL. SO THEN, BRETHREN WE ARE NOT CHILDREN OF THE BOND WOMAN, BUT OF THE FREE. — Gal. iv. 26, 31.

Payson elaborates on the necessity of education. He points out that the slavery of people throughout history has been because of ignorance. America had woken up to the fact that God had given man certain rights and privileges that no man had the right to take away and it was that knowledge, specifically the ability to understand the Word of God, that would keep men free. "The slavery of a people is generally founded in ignorance of some kind or another ; and there are not wanting such facts as abundantly prove the human mind may be so sunk and debased, through ignorance and its natural effects, as even to adore its enslaver, and kiss its chains. Hence knowledge and learning may well be considered as most essentially requisite to a free, righteous government. A republican government and science mutually promote and support each other. Great literary acquirements are indeed the lot of but few, because but few in a community have ability and opportunity to pursue the paths of science; but a certain degree of knowledge is absolutely necessary to be diffused through a state for the preservation of its liberties and the quiet of government.

Every kind of useful knowledge will be carefully encouraged and promoted by the rulers of a free state, unless they should happen to be men of ignorance themselves; in which case they and the community will be in danger of sharing the fate of blind guides and their followers. The education of youth, by instructors properly qualified, the establishment of societies for useful arts and sciences, the encouragement of persons of superior abilities, will always command the attention of wise rulers."[1] (Emphasis mine throughout)

Payson explains the importance of a good education in preserving the rights given us by God, what he calls 'natural rights'. It is his belief that it is a proper knowledge of the Word of God and the adherence to it that will maintain the proper government of a free society. This belief was confirmed throughout America's history as she became the most powerful and prosperous nation the world had ever seen. "The late times of our glorious struggle have not indeed been favorable to the cause of education in general, though much useful knowledge of the geography of our country, of the science of arms, of our abilities and strength, and of our natural rights and liberties, has been acquired; great improvements have also been made in several kinds of manufactory. But our security and the public welfare require yet greater exertions to promote education and useful knowledge. Most of the internal difficulties of a state commonly arise from ignorance, that general source of error. The growls of avarice and curses of clowns will generally be heard when the public liberty and safety call for more generous and costly exertions. Indeed, we may never expect to find the marks of public virtue, the efforts of heroism, or any kind of nobleness, in a man who has no idea of nobleness and excellency but what he hoards up in his barn or ties up in his purse.

Nothing within the compass of human ability is of that real weight and importance as the education of youth —the propagation of knowledge. Despotism and tyranny want nothing but wealth and force, but liberty and order are supported by knowledge and virtue."[2]

This belief was carried by virtually all of the Founders and was expressed by John Adams at his inaugural address in 1797: "Patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, the profligacy of corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments."[3] Notice the importance that Adams puts on education specifically religion in maintaining the foundation of our Constitution.

I mentioned in the last issue that there was such an importance put on education, specifically on the need to understand the Word of God that a laws was passed in 1642 in Massachusetts and in 1647 in Connecticut called the Old Deluder Satan Act. In a quote from my book, Defining America's Exceptionalism we see the depth of the Founders beliefs of the importance to understand the Word of God as not just a part of education but as the foundation of education: "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.” Please make note of the reason for education, people were unable to read the Word of God. Even the concerns of the higher education facilities of the day were directed to know Scripture as well as establishing their eternal destination. The 1636 rules for Harvard stated: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies and to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life. (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.”

Harvard was so dedicated to this goal that their two mottos were: “For the Glory of Christ” and “For Christ and the Church.”[4]


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Payson also brings up the importance of the love of country as a foundation to good government. "I shall also mention the love of our country, or public virtue, as another essential support of good government and the public liberties. No model of government whatever can equal the importance of this principle, nor afford proper safety and security without it. Its object being the approbation of conscience, and its motive to exertion being the public welfare, hence it can only dwell in superior minds, elevated above private interest and selfish views. It does that for the public which domestic affection does among real friends; but, like other excellences, is more frequently pretended to than possessed. In the ancient Roman republic it was the life and soul of the state which raised it to all its glory, being always awake to the public defense and good; and in every state it must, under Providence, be the support of government, the guardian of liberty, or no human wisdom or policy can support and preserve them. Civil society cannot be maintained without justice, benevolence, and the social virtues."[5]

All of these things work together in keeping a moral footing for a good government. We see most of this lacking in today's political arena which we are seeing the results in the form of political corruption and a total disregard for the values established by the Founders.

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47,

Footnotes:

1. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 336.
2. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), pp. 337-338.
3. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p. 339.
4. Defining America's Exceptionalism, Roger Anghis, {Westbow Press, 2012), pp. 46-47.
5. Pulpit of the American Revolution, John W. Thorton, The Federalist Papers Project, (Gould and Lincoln, Boston), p

� 2014 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved

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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

E-Mail: [email protected]


 

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Payson elaborates on the necessity of education. He points out that the slavery of people throughout history has been because of ignorance. America had woken up to the fact that God had given man certain rights and privileges that no man had the right to take away and it was that knowledge, specifically the ability to understand the Word of God, that would keep men free.