"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is the Discernment 'Gene' Becoming Recessive in the Body of Christ?

~~by James Fire

I engage in many conversations with my fellow Christians about various issues, not the least of which is the current predicament in the church. I'm speaking about the proliferating doctrines, practices and beliefs that are rampant among Christians that follow popular pastors, televangelists, and authors and other leaders that are not biblically sound.

Too often I get a frown of disapproval, especially if I happen to be 'picking on' a favorite teacher of theirs, and invariably I get the somber warning: "Touch not God's anointed"! This begs the question of, Who is God's anointed?

1 CHRON 16:16-22 indicates that God's anointed are connotatively, the collective nation of Israel, and denotatively, the prophets of Israel.

Strictly speaking then, you can't apply that to any New Testament pastor or teacher; this is not to say that such aren't anointed of God, but that particular admonition is allocated to Israel and her prophets, not the church.

On the contrary, we are admonished to receive [any] word (teaching, etc) with a ready mind, and then to search the scriptures to see if these are so (ACTS 17:11).

However it seems that in today's church what matters most is the popularity of the message (and the messenger) rather than the biblical accuracy of the message, or conduct of the messenger as being an "approved workman of the Word".

This makes me wonder, Where is the discernment in the church today? Why aren't Christians perceiving the leaven, that is, false doctrines that are promulgated in the 'cutting edge' (often mega-)churches?

UPDATE: 5-08-12 From The BEREAN CALL, two excellent articles that deal precisely with these issues:
A Generation Adrift - Part One
A Generation Adrift - Part Two
~~ end of UPDATE.

UPDATE: 5-26-29
~~end of UPDATE.

The LORD Jesus rendered a scathing rebuke to the religious leaders (who were asking Him for a sign) of His day in regards to their apparent lack of discernment regarding the signs of the times:

MATT 16:2-3
He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. (2) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

The particular "signs of the times" of that day, were those prophetic scriptures that spoke of the coming of the Messiah, which were being fulfilled directly before their very eyes.

Sadly prophecies regarding the Second Coming of the Messiah are likewise being fulfilled before our eyes, and too many Christians are likewise not discerning the coming of the LORD and His arriving Kingdom; believing rather that its up to us to bring the kingdom of God to Earth by making this planet a paradise for the people of the world!

The Greek word for "discern" is diakrino, and it means, "to separate thoroughly, to withdraw, oppose, to discriminate, judge, be partial."

Interesting that 'to discern' in one aspect, is to judge, while often we are told by others when we attempt to point out doctrinal error, "Judge not, lest ye be judged!"

Yet even in that passage we are told to judge good fruit from bad (MATT 7:1-20).
In the above passage, the LORD rebukes the religious leaders for not judging accurately the signs of their times, namely, being ignorant of the time in which they were to expect the Messiah of Israel.

It states in:

LUKE 12:56
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

Here the word for "discern" is dokimazo in the Greek, and it means: "to approve, to test, examine, to prove" One gets the impression of taking samples into the lab and conducting experiments to elicit data and information to either prove or disprove a working theory. Or in the biblical arena, a working dogma or belief.

This has the same idea to it as the scripture that admonishes us to "try the spirits" in 1 JOHN 4:1. "Try" is likewise dokimazo.

We know that biblical discernment is something far beyond the abilities of the natural man to perform as it states in:

1 COR 2:14:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Such a power 'to discern' is a gift of the Holy Spirit, granted to the church, the body of Christ, believers and followers of Christ who received Him, and thus granted the power (authority) to become the children of God (see 1 COR 12:10 and JOHN 1:12).

This gift of discernment is associated with the Word of God, for it in itself has the ability to discern between "the spirit and soul, the joints and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" as stated in HEB 4:12.
In vs. 13 we see that this WORD is Christ Himself - 
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

This thought is confirmed in the next chapter of HEB: 5:13-14 -
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

So we can conclude that those who are not babes in understanding, but spiritually mature and accustomed to digesting 'strong meat' or the deep, spiritual things of God will be able to discern, their senses being exercised to distinguish between that which is good, and that which is evil.

The entire goal as outlined in the book of Hebrews is obtaining spiritual maturity in the life of the believer, as stated in:

HEB 6:1-2
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

"let us go on unto perfection" refers to becoming "complete" or to "consummate developmentally". It's not a state of sinlessness, but of spiritual maturity which is obtainable by each and every Christian with the empowerment of God's Spirit.
It is the Truth of God's Word, and from the Truth Himself, the LORD Jesus Christ (
JOHN 14:6) that we possess this ability of spiritual discernment.

The word "perceive" in scripture is likewise interesting. We read in:

MATT 16:8 
Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

The word used for "perceived" in this passage is ginosko, which means "to understand, to know, to feel, be aware of, to be sure" This same word is used in
MATT 22:18; MARK 2:8; and LUKE 8:46. In each case it would seem that outward observation would not explicate such knowledge, that the 'knowing' would rather be implicit and apart from knowing by normal, corporeal means. So likewise is this ability to perceive found in:

1 JOHN 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Yet if this is the spiritual birthright of the church, why is it that there is so little discernment? Why is it that so many believers are being swept up into these winds of false doctrines?

EPH 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

In part I believe its because of the anemic, watered down versions, translations and paraphrases that are being foisted on the church, often by ungodly men who don't believe in the scriptures, and don't maintain integrity 'in the faith' as stated in the previous verse in

EPH 4:13
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 

We have already gone over the sources of modern translations as compared to the source for the King James Version in "How Near-Eastern Religion Invaded The West" and these and related articles are provided for the consideration of those who've not yet read them.

There is something else that is derivative of the Truth besides discernment, and that is sanctification. When the LORD Jesus, God the Son was praying to God the Father, He said (regarding his disciples) in

JOHN 17:17

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Thus we are assured that the Word of God has a sanctifying (purifying) effect on us which separates us from the influences of the world, the flesh and Satan and enables God to influence us by His Spirit (for information about sanctification and its doctrinal implications and spiritual uses, please read the articles entitled "The Sanctifier Is The Saint's Fire").

Other scriptures on sanctification are:

PSALM 119:10-11
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

EPH 5:26
That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the body of Christ, i.e., the church) with the washing of the water by the Word.

2 TIM 2:21
If a man thereore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (see also HEB 10:10)

HEB 13:12
Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.

1 PET 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

On Discernment -

PSALM 19:8
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

PSALM 119:105,130
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

PROV 6:23
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

2 PET 1:19

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Take note that all of the above references concerning discernment have to do with light, or lamps which are vessels of light. Scripture also states:

1 JOHN 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

"Walking" in this, and many other passages has to do with one's day to day living - - living in the light of God's Word, in the light of His Spirit, in the light of God's love . . . we are in the position to readily receive daily the cleansing (that word used here is in the perfect present tense, that is, "cleanses continually") influence of God's blood. In this one passage we have both the discerning qualities of God's Light, and the sanctifying influence of the atonement in daily living.

Both of these things seem absent to a large extent in the body of Christ. Please understand, I don't stand apart and look down on the church in judgment, I stand with the church and recognize in myself ways that are not pleasing to the LORD. I recognize that I too am in need of greater sanctification.

The question I propose is this however: are you as a follower of Jesus Christ endeavoring to walk pleasing to Him, and to be transformed by the renewing of your mind ROM 12:1-2? Are you seeking His avail in ridding yourself of worldliness and tendencies towards sin, and increasing in practical holiness?

Each of us positionally in Christ possess holiness already because of Christ's atonement, so that we won't be judged for our sins when we behold God face to face. However practical holiness, this is something we should be attaining to moment by moment and thus conform to Christ daily. We should become Christ-like bit by bit daily in our character and practical living: all of this out of love and devotion to our precious LORD who loved us enough to die for our sins, and provide us with everlasting life!

As Charles Spurgeon put it so well, "the Christian is daily active in two endeavors: mortification - the putting to death of carnality, and sinful ways in our lives; and vivification - the obtaining of new life by God's Spirit and achieving Christ-likeness."

Let's get a little exposition from a previously mentioned passage:

MATT 16:1-12
vs. 1-The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
vs. 2-He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
vs. 3-And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
vs. 4-A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed.
vs. 5-And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
vs. 6-Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
vs. 7-And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
vs. 8-Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
vs. 9-Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
vs. 10-Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
vs. 11-How is it that ye do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
vs. 12-Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

vs. 1 The Pharisees seek a sign of the miraculous kind from the LORD Jesus, something blatant, something spectacular. Yet we know that the Spirit of the LORD speaks and leads softly, and gently.

vs. 2-3 Jesus states that those in His audience can discern the signs of the skies accurately, for they possess both adequate senses and knowledge for such purposes of weather forecasting.

He also rebukes them for their inability to discern the signs of the times, even though here as well, they possess adequate knowledge (the Holy Scriptures), and could obtain the adequate senses if they yielded, sought after, desired the Truth (via the Holy Spirit).

They should have been attending to all the counsels of God in the scriptures and not just their favorite passages - they were looking for a warrior Messiah who could conquer their oppressive enemies and the Gentile powers that were "treading down" the nation of Israel.

They failed to acknowledge that the Messiah would also be a suffering servant and sacrifice, the Lamb of God. Had they been conversant with these latter passages as they were the former, and had they been watching for the signs indicating His coming, they would have recognized their Messiah, and not had Him crucified!

Today the church is either passively looking for Him (when He comes, He comes . . . they're not interested in prophecy or signs of His coming; their view is just be ready for 'when ever' He arrives) or they're not looking at all! This inevitably leads to spiritual apathy (MATT 24:42-51) and to a soul not prepared to meet the LORD their Savior (MATT 25:24-30) or the LORD their Judge  (1 THESS 5:1-9)!

vs. 4- The only sign given to this "wicked and adulterous generation" is that which had previously been promised to them - the Messiah's resurrection as comparable to Jonah and the whale (see MATT 12:40).

It's interesting to note that when Jonah rose up out of the whale, He came with a message of Judgment; likewise Christ Jesus has risen from the dead, and when He returns from where He ascended into heaven (the Mt. of Olives) He likewise will come with Judgment according to righteousness and holiness.

vs. 5-6- The LORD warns about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees and in
vs. 7-12- He explains further until the disciples realize that He is speaking not of bread but of th false doctrine of these religious leaders.

The root source of Truth, the holy scriptures were so heavy laden with interpretational commentaries (Talmud, or more specifically the Mishnah) which in themselves were heeded more than God's Word itself (!), but also obscured with man-made traditions and customs added to the Truth (and if you add to the Truth, you've just subtracted from it!). The Word in that day was riddled with leaven!

Its the same today- its no wonder that the "leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" has once again infested the Word of God, only today its the leaven of the Gnostics, Modernists, Liberal Theologians and Emergent Church leaders!

Moreover, Christians today are generally speaking, not students of the Word. They let the 'professionals' do all the work. They have their pastors, teachers, CD messages, podcasts and mp3's (and mp4's) who will do all the studying for them, and trust them to deliver God's Word to them.

We need our pastors and teachers, for they are indeed God's gifts for the church according to 1 COR 12:28 and EPH 4:11-13, but we also must always maintain diligence of personal study for our own spiritual benefit and edification, as well as for the means of discerning the good from the bad teachings and messages.
See PSALM 1:1-2; ACTS 17:11; COL 3:16; 1 THESS 5:21; 2 TIM 1:13; 2:15.

Also consider the commendation from the LORD to the church (not only to the pastor, but to the entire body of believers there) at Ephesus (which had other major problems to be sure) for their discernment and intolerance:

REV 2:2
I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou can't bear (tolerate?) them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

That word "bear" in the Greek is bastazo and it means "to lift, to endure, declare, sustain, receive". This is something the Ephesians would NOT do-- they would NOT endure or receive those who were evil and claimed apostleship falsely, finding them liars (how politically incorrect can one GET??).

However today if you speak a word against the likes of Benny Hinn, Earl Paulk, Robert Tilton, Joel Osteen, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller or even Brian McClaren, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, etc. for their unbiblical teachings and statements, you're labeled as "divisive, having no love, full of strife, pride and contention, causing disunity" etc.

On the contrary, we already possess unity in the Spirit, we are only called to keep or maintain that unity- and this is maintained in as much as we adhere to:

EPH 4:4-5
. . . one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism . . .

"The faith" is in reference to the scriptures, the body of doctrines contained within the inspired written scriptures of the Bible (JUDE 1:3). Any who would contradict or deny scripture, THESE ARE THE ONES CREATING DISUNITY by denying the Truth of "the faith"!!


To the law and to the testimony (the Word of God): if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Compare what these pastors and teachers have to say in these youtube links below with the Word of God; don't be offended that I would call such people into question, because that is our biblical mandate: if it can be proven that what these teach are in agreement with scripture, I would willingly concede and repent of such name-calling.

1 THESS 5:21
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

False Prophet Benny Hinn

A Call for Discernment - Justin Peters Pt2

A Call for Discermnet - Justin Peters Pt3

Joel Osteen on the Gospel

Larry King: Hey Joel Just Call It Sin! (Gay Marriage)

Todd Friel Holds Joel Osteen to the Bible (1of2)

Robert Schuller and Billy Graham Speaking Wide Acceptance

Here is a composite of names of false teachers and heretics today-

False Teachers! "Agony of Deceit" [Prosperity G...

When it should be a matter of simply comparing what these say in their teachings with the Word of God and receive that which is good, and reject that which is bad, Christians today are joining in with what's current and popular, and support such so-called ministers because "pastor says its ok" or "everybody's into it" or "its the latest move of the Spirit". If any are challenged with the doctrine of the Word of Truth, they disparage such believers who "hold fast the form of sound words" and get quite emotional and offended.

I recall on old Chinese proverb that holds quite true:
"The undiscerning root of a tree will absorb anything-- even the very poison that would kill the tree."

Since scripture warns profusely that false teachers would proliferate in these last days, and seducing spirits and doctrines of demons would be promoted by a church grown so large that even the fowls of the air (pictures of satanic power) could lodge in its branches, then it stands to reason that biblical discernment is needed now more than ever!

Yet what we see is a deplorable lack thereof as the church sinks deeper and deeper into apostasy.

What can remedy this situation? How can we get this 'recessive gene' to become dominant once again in the body of Christ, and functioning as it should?
As with any recessive gene, the introduction of like genetic material is necessary in order to create a dominance over other genes that would otherwise manifest outwardly.

If any Christian is truly a Christian, they will have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them (ROM 8:9) but if they have led a life of carnality and not been attentive to the Word in study as well as obedience, if they have made a practice of not yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, if their heart therefore has become hardened, they must go before the LORD and ask Him to break up the fallow ground of their heart -

HOSEA 10:12
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 

They must once again seek the LORD in His Word (which is the like 'genetic material' as in LUKE 8:5,11 and 2 COR 9:10), and re-establish a daily feasting of such, enter into prayer and 're-connect' as it were in a relationship with the LORD, walking in the Light, in the Spirit, yielding their members to righteousness and not to sin. In this manner the Spirit of God which indwells them will be able to function in and through such a believer and sanctification and discernment will bloom and flourish, working together as the LORD intended! Glory to God!

For this reason, and this reason alone we saints should be mourning and fasting for the church here in America while maintaining a faithful diligence in studying, applying and loving God's Word and its Author.

I pray that the LORD instills in us a diligence to be transformed in Christ by the renewing of our minds, and not be conformed to this fallen world, in JESUS NAME,
Read more!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Election Day: Words From Our Past

~~ by A.M. Kisly

The Reverend Daniel Foster was born in 1750. He was ordained in 1788 (his father, the Rev. Isaac Foster, preached his ordination), and pastored a church in New Braintree, Massachusetts for many years. Daniel Foster had numerous sermons published, of which copies of five are known to be extant.

In this election sermon, preached before Governor John Hancock, Lieutenant-Governor Samuel Adams, and both houses of the Massachusetts legislature, Rev. Foster provides an exemplary model of a pastor illuminating God's governmental principles for the political leaders of his State. He lists the duties of magistrates as well as the duties of the people in a Christian country, and details God's design for civil government. Reverend Foster ends his sermon by directly addressing on a personal and individual level John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and the legislators. Foster's sermon is loaded with Biblical wisdom; and he is an excellent example of a minister whose "lips keep knowledge [that] the people should seek the law from his mouth" (Malachi 2:7).

Certainly times have changed drastically since this election sermon took place, but how all the more important it is to heed the words that were spoken. As Christians, it is our privilege and duty not only to pray, but to cast our vote by choosing men of good character, as so eloquently spoken by these our former leaders:

James Garfield
"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

[James A. Garfield, The Works of James Abram Garfield, Burke Hinsdale, editor (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883), Vol. II, pp. 486, 489, "A Century of Congress," July, 1877.]

John Adams
We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands: we have a check upon two branches of the legislature, as each branch has upon the other two; the power I mean of electing at stated periods, one branch, which branch has the power of electing another. It becomes necessary to every subject then, to be in some degree a statesman: and to examine and judge for himself of the tendencies of political principles and measures.

[John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. 1, p. 81, from "'U' to the Boston Gazette" written on August 29, 1763.]

Samuel Adams
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]

Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]

Matthias Burnett
Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutly oppose the torrent of iniquity. . . . Watch over your liberties and privileges - civil and religious - with a careful eye.

[Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), pp. 27-28.]

Frederick Douglass
I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, "Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people" [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics - the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.

[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]

Charles Finney
[T]he time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it - and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].

[Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), Lecture XV, pp. 281-282.]

Francis Grimke
If the time ever comes when we shall go to pieces, it will . . . be . . . from inward corruption - from the disregard of right principles . . . from losing sight of the fact that "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but that sin is a reproach to any people" [Proverbs 14:34]. . . .[T]he secession of the Southern States in 1860 was a small matter with the secession of the Union itself from the great principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, in the Golden Rule, in the Ten Commandments, in the Sermon on the Mount. Unless we hold, and hold firmly to these great fundamental principles of righteousness, . . . our Union . . . will be "only a covenant with death and an agreement with hell."

[Rev. Francis J. Grimke, from "Equality of Right for All Citizens, Black and White, Alike," March 7, 1909, published in Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence, Alice Moore Dunbar, editor (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2000), pp. 246-247.]

Alexander Hamilton
A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.

[Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Harold C. Syrett, ed. (New York, Columbia University Press, 1962), Vol III, pp. 544-545.]

John Jay
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

[John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. IV, p. 365.]

The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live.

[John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. I, p. 161.]

Thomas Jefferson
The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated by the wisdom, and resting on the will of the people.

[Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, ed. (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. 10, p. 235.]

[T]he rational and peacable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people.

[Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1905), Vol. 12, p. 136.]

[S]hould things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.

[Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1905), Vol. 10, p. 245.]

William Paterson
When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.

[Supreme Court Justice William Paterson reminding his fellow justices of Proverbs 29:2. United States Oracle (Portsmouth, NH), May 24, 1800.]

William Penn
Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. . . . But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn. . . .[T]hough good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [lack] good men and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer [allow] ill ones.

[William Penn quoted from: Thomas Clarkson, Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn (London: Richard Taylor and Co., 1813) Vol. I, p.303.]

Daniel Webster
Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.

[Daniel Webster, The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840.]

Noah Webster
In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate - look to his character. . . . When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.

[Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education to which is subjoined a Brief History of the United States (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), pp. 18, 19.]

When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.

[Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337.]

John Witherspoon
Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. . . .[And t]he people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.

[John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, pp. 266, 277.]

A Sermon Preached Before His Excellency John Hancock, Esq. Governor; May 26, 1790.
By Daniel Foster, A.M. Pastor of the Church in New Braintree.

Proverbs 8:16: “By Me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”

In compliance with the laudable example of our pious Ancestors, on such joyful anniversary occasions as this day presents us with which we have assembled in the House of God, to offer our devout praises to him for what he has done for them, and for us, their children; to seek his direction and blessing upon our Political Fathers here present, in the discharge of the important trust reposed in them, and his smiles on this confederate rising Republic.

And as it has fallen to one of the least of the Ambassadors of Christ, to perform so essential a part of the exercise of the day, it will not be expected that he turn Statesman in this sacred place, or wander into all the affairs of government: But, in compliance with his character as a Minister, make such observations from the sacred text, as may be profitable for direction and encouragement, that the men of God here present, may be furnished to every good work.

This book was penned by King Solomon, a man famed for wisdom and understanding throughout all the East.

That being who has an easy access to the human mind, appeared to him in Gibeon, in a vision of the night; and God said, ask what I shall give thee? And his request, "give therefore thy servant an understanding heart," was so acceptable, that God gave him wisdom above all that were before him in Jerusalem; for the people soon perceived "that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment."

In these Proverbs of the wise man, we have the comprehensive duties we owe to God, and the world, made plain and easy, and enforced with the most powerful motives. By folly, the Preacher would be understood to mean vice and wickedness and by wisdom, grace and Christ.

In the text, the person speaking is doubtless Jesus Christ, who by the Apostle is called "the wisdom of God, and the power of God." "By me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the earth:" That is, by my Providence and appointment, they are advanced to rule and govern; and their government is merciful and righteous, happy and prosperous, by my council and assistance.

Ever since the apostasy; the blessed God, has pursued a uniform plan of grace, and government with the church, and the world. The merciful design of which, is to reduce to order, peace and happiness, his intelligent offspring. To prosecute this design, he has sent into the world the "PRINCE Of PEACE," and given him a commission for acts of ministry and grace and magistracy and government.

The intervention of the new covenant, and the advent of Jesus its Mediator, gave birth to order and subordination in Heaven, and upon Earth.

In Heaven there are thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, angels and arch-angels; and upon earth, princes, nobles, and judges and Christ is Head over them all.

The text leads us to speak of civil government, as ordained of God, in the hands of the mediator; of civil rulers, as holding their commission and authority under Christ; of their duty and dignity as his Ministers, and of the duty and privilege of the people under their administration.

I. That civil government is ordained of God in the hands of the Mediator, the Absolute necessity of order and government, for the existence and happiness of society, pleads its divine original: For without it, the affairs of mankind would fall into the utmost confusion and disorder.

The nature of man, as a sociable creature, would no doubt, have led him to some sort of government had sin never entered the world. But since sin has debased the noble nature of man, and spread itself through the whole world, both reason and revelation plead for government.

It is not a matter of human prudence only, but of necessity and moral obligation: And being enjoined by him who rules in the kingdoms of mortal men, it is an important mean of delivering us from the evils of the apostasy; and designed to prepare us for the more encouraging restraints the gospel enjoins.

Civil government, then, is a branch of the tree of life, and founded in, and built upon that covenant, sealed in Heaven by the oath of God, and upon earth by the blood of Christ.

He being commissioned by the Father to manage the great affairs of Empire, as well as of Zion.

"Yet have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion." "The government shall be upon his shoulders."

The kingdom of Christ, where he rules by his word and spirit, is his Church, a spiritual kingdom. But his commission extends to the Utmost ends of the earth.

"For the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, is to break in pieces all other kingdoms, and fill the earth."

His kingdom will outlive all other kingdoms, and swallow them up; for he must reign till he hath "put down all rule and all authority and power."

This implies that rule and authority among men, or which is the same thing, civil government, is a divine appointment, and that it is put into the hands of the Mediator to rule and govern the world. For when the great and important ends for which he received his mediatorial kingdom, shall be accomplished, he will put down both ministry and magistracy.

II. That civil rulers hold their commission and authority under Christ.

Not that Christ has pointed out the form of government, or the persons to rule and govern; in this sense his "kingdom is not of this world" But Christianity enforces the law of nature; and has confirmed the several constitutions of states and kingdoms, and called our obedience to the higher powers, as the gospel finds them.

The mode of government, and persons to govern, are submitted to the wisdom of men, in pursuance of a divine ordinance that second causes might operate. It being the method of God to carry on the designs of his government in this world, by the instrumentality of subordinate Agents. When therefore, a people unite in a form of government, and choose persons to rule and govern them and pledge their faith to be obedient to, and support the government, "though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereunto."

The Magistrate then, called to office by the voice of the people, and solemnly sworn, becomes an ordinance of God, and receives his authority from him, "by whom Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the earth."

And the apostle, when he enjoins obedience to civil rulers, "because the powers that be, are ordained of God," means to include in his idea, the methods by which they become possessed of their power, and likewise the use and improvement they make of it: If they rule for God, and for good to the people, they are to be subjected to, otherwise, "we ought to obey God, rather than men."

III. We come to speak of the duty and dignity of civil rulers, as the ministers of Christ.

1st. It is their duty to uphold the kingdom of Christ, which consists in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

Religion is, and ever has been, considered the glory of a people; as it insures the favor and protection of Heaven.

Under the former dispensation, the Ark of God, which contained his laws, was a token of his presence and defense. Governor Eli, whose heart trembled for it, sustained the tidings of the of the death of his two Sons with fortitude; but when it was told him that the Ark of God was taken, he fell and died, and his Daughter refused to be comforted, though a Son was born; because the glory was departed from Israel, and the Ark of God was taken.

Under this dispensation, the gospel and its ordinances, are our glory and defense. And as magistrates are honored by Christ, and act under his banner, they should be careful to be his glory, and support his religion in the world.

All men should be possessed of a principle of piety and virtue; but none stand in greater need of it than those who are called to rule and govern.

Religion dignifies and enables the mind, refines and purifies the heart and fits men to act worthily their part on the stage of life, and shines with a peculiar luster in the Christian magistrate. This will procure for them honor in the sight of all men; "for those that honor me, I will honor."

Saul was destitute of this principle; but desirous of its fruits and effects. Therefore he pressed the man of God, and laid hold on the skirt of his mantle, and it rent; saying "honor me now I pray thee, before the Elders of my people."

This is the way to have the presence, and blessing of God with them, and upon their administration.

The seat of the magistrate is called the throne of God; "and he was caught up unto God, and into his throne." As they have the image of God upon them as his Ministers, and act by his authority, it should be their care to have the image of God within them as men.

It is an honorable account we have of Judah, in a time of general revolt, the ten tribes went after Jeroboam; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints."

If religion is not honored and supported by men in places of public trust, the glory of the Lord will soon depart, and the fire of God be scattered over the city.

Rulers are called "the shields of the earth;" they are to protect the people from injuries among men, and likewise from the judgments of God. When God's wrath was kindled against Israel, for their idolatry at the foot of the mount, we find Moses, that pious ruler, pleading the cause of the people, and he sounds his plea upon God's covenant, and reminds him of his oath. And David, that man after God's own heart, when he saw the Angel that smote the people, said, but these sheep, what have they done? "And the Lord said unto the Angel, it is enough, stay now thine hand."

The attention Christian rulers pay to religion in their hearts, and in their government, will be their support when they are called to lay down their commission, and their lives; it will brighten the scene before them, and embalm their memories when they are dead.

2d. It is the duty of Christian rulers, to preserve and secure to the people, their liberties and properties.

The end and design of civil government is to secure the happiness of the whole community. For this, rulers are appointed; "he is the Minister of God to thee for good."

The liberties of mankind have ever been held dear, for they are given are by God and nature. "With a great sum, obtained I this freedom," says the chief Captain to Paul, who relied, "but I was born free."

This has been and still is the voice of Americans; and our attention to the voice, which is from Heaven, has brought us into possession of the liberties and privileges, we this day enjoy.

An infringement on these, has ever awakened the fears, and kindled the resentment of an enlightened people! It has overturned empires and kingdoms and caused the stars to fall from Heaven, and princes to walk, as at this day, like servants on the earth!

In order to secure the liberties and privileges of the people, righteous and equitable laws should be made, and preserved. "That which is altogether just shall ye follow," is an injunction from the First Magistrate in the universe.

We plead for a government of laws, not of men. The law is a rule to try all causes between man and man by; and it is a rule between the magistrate and subject and it teaches the one how to rule, and the other how to obey.

They are the pillars on which the Commonwealth stands; to them we appeal for a redress of grievances, and into their hands we are willing to fall; but not into the hands of men. They are in scripture, called the foundations of the earth; and said to be out of course, when the magistrate is either ignorant of them, or neglects to support his authority in their execution.

3d. The Christian ruler will hear the complaints, and redress the grievances of the people he governs.

He will not with Rehoboam, reject the voice of the old men whose years have taught them wisdom, and apply to young men for counsel; answer the people with grievous words, and cause them to say in the bitterness of their souls, "what portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse." But he will enlighten the ignorant; and those that are out of the way, he will reduce to order and obedience, with the cords of law and love. He will follow the example of him by whom he rules, whose work and glory it is, to make peace and bind up the wounds of the people.

Christian rulers will consider the infancy of the people, and the burdens laid upon them, and be careful lest they over-drive, and so destroy the flock of God.

They will lessen the charges of government, and lighten every burden, as much as is consistent with the honor and well-being of government.

The cause of the widow, the fatherless, the orphan; the soldier, and him that has loaned hi money for the help of government, will come with peculiar grace before Christian rulers; who will hold themselves Heaven's clients to vindicate their righteous claims; and plead their cause.

The credit of the Commonwealth, at home and abroad, is a matter that requires particular attention: In many instances its faith has been pledged. But Christian rulers will remember, that our father Abraham, was not justified by faith only; and add energy to our faith, that we may as a people, be justified in the sight of God, and the world.

4th. We come as proposed, to speak of the duty and privilege of the people under the administration of Christian rulers. And,

1st. It is their duty to pray for them.

Government is an important trust, and though it be limited by righteous and equitable laws; yet such is the condition of human nature in this world, that the greatest and best of men are liable to err, and are insufficient to manage the great affairs of state, without direction and influence from Heaven.

God is the blessed and only potentate, his essential perfections are his blessedness, and enable him to manage an universal Empire! He stands in no need of his creatures' wealth to maintain his crown, their power to effect his designs, or their wisdom to direct his counsels. But it is far otherwise with his vicegerents here on earth; though they are called gods, and clothed with authority from Christ and the people yet they are but men.

'The affairs of government are often intricate and perplexing, and dangers eminent and threatening, so that rulers find occasion to adopt the language of the pious king of Judah, "neither know we what to do."

We are divinely bound to pray "for all in authority," that government might be equal and righteous, and that we might "lead a peaceable and quiet life, in all Godliness and honesty."

It is the blessing of God, that makes government steady and effectual, and gives peace and quietness to the Commonwealth; and God will be sought unto, for such an inestimable blessing.

When we pray for them, we pray for the advancement of peace, and Godliness, this being the end for which government is instituted.

2d. It is the duty of the people, to support their rulers. That authority by which they govern, enjoins obedience from the people to all their righteous laws.

And as they have a painful preeminence above their fellow mortals, and an arduous and important trust committed to them by God, and the people; they should be freed from cares and troubles about the affairs of the world. "For this cause, pay you tribute also; for they are God's Ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." The advantages we enjoy tinder a righteous administration, entitle those who govern to large returns. Our persons and properties are secured, and we set under our own vine and fig-tree; being protected, by a government merciful and righteous.

When taxes are made for the support of government, there is a moral obligation on the people, to discharge them; for government which is an ordinance of God, could not subsist without such support.

Our blessed Lord set us an example worthy of imitation, when he sent Peter to the mouth of the fish, that he might receive money to pay their tribute, “And enjoined upon us to "render to Caesar, the things that be Caesar's." A support, honor, love and obedience, are enjoined through the whole book of God, upon the people, as a just tribute due to those who govern.

It is the privilege of the people granted them by God and nature, to choose their own rulers.

Kingly government was never of divine appointment; but added, as the law was, "by reason of transgression."

The government, early established in the world among the ancient Hebrews, was a free republic like ours, the sovereignty resided in the body of the people.

They were to choose able men; and they were called to give their assent to the laws given from Heaven, before they were put into execution.

When government is thus founded, according to the divine mind, and rulers chosen, they become representatives of the power and majesty of God; and important instruments employed by his providence and grace, in the administration of affairs in this lower world.

They are entrusted with the lives, liberties and properties of the people, For them prayer should be continually made, and to them obedience given, as God's vicegerents, when they rule for him, and for good to the people.

People should be careful of censuring them, and increasing their burden and concern, lest they be reproved by him, who has forbid our "reviling the gods, or speaking evil of the rulers of the people."

But when rulers neglect the great affairs of government, when they break not every yoke, plead not the cause of the injured and innocent, the widow and fatherless, the poor and needy when they do not support religion, liberty, the arts and literature; the pillars of government will fall, and society throw off its pleasing apparel: "The sword shall be upon the arm, and upon the right eye of the magistrate" he shall lose his discernment in public measures, and his authority shall be taken away.

On the other hand when those in authority, move with dignity in their proper sphere, are God's ministers for good; and people are subject for conscience sake, what a pleasing appearance does the Commonwealth put on! Such as once induced the prophet to exclaim "how goodly are thy tents, 0 Jacob, and thy tabernacles 0 Israel!"

From what has been said we may infer.

1st. That God in the scheme of grace by Christ, provided for the happiness of mankind in this world, as well as for their immortality and glory in the next. And foreseeing to what endless confusion and irregularity the world would tumble, without order and subordination: has with one stroke wrote himself, religion and government on the mind of man. And has sent his son from Heaven to explain, and enforce, what, at first, he wrote on the mind of man, and to reign and govern in righteousness.

Civil government is designed to sub-serve the grace of the gospel; and the happiness it defuses through society in this world, should call forth our gratitude and praise to God, its author.

It smoothes the rugged road of life, gives the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of every blessing, and raises in the mind, the most exalted conceptions of that blessed Being, whose benevolent design, is to raise the virtuous among mankind, by small gradations, to happiness and perfection with himself.

Government is a link in the chain of everlasting mercy; and those who are obedient "for the Lord's sake" who has appointed it, may expect that their path will shine more and more unto the perfect day.

2d. We infer. “ That days of greater peace and happiness, then have ever dawned upon the church and world and before us in America this we argue from the ability of Christ's person, the extent of his commission, his going forth of old with our fathers; and the deliverance he hath wrought for this generation.

The kingdom of providence, and the kingdom of grace are his; and he manages the affairs of the one in subserviency to the other.

It has been the method of God from the beginning, to reveal the designs of his grace and mercy to the world by degrees.

He promised one, mighty to save, and able to govern soon after the apostasy in the garden; but four thousand years were numbered, before the desire of all nations came.

Since he appeared on the theater of life, the church and world have pressed on for ages, through, the fire of perfection: Deluges of blood, oppression and slaughter, but little benefited, to appearance, by his coming and death.

Till the Angel of the Lord pointed our forefathers to this Western World; a land where he determined to unfold the plan of redemption and government, here they found a safe retreat from persecution and cruelty. Savage beasts and men vanished before them, like the dew before the rising sun.

Here the church was founded upon the doctrines of Christ, and the Apostles which put forth her branches like the palm-tree, and bid fair to eclipse the glory of the world.

This awakened the fears of the country from whence they came, who were grieved at our greatness and envious at our rising glory, and attempted to take from us, our liberty, and this land God gave to our fathers; prepared chains to bind us to passive obedience, and drag us to perdition. The great charter was violated, and the laws that were to protect this infant world, infringed upon. "The foundations were all destroyed, and what could the righteous do?"

In that day of our distress, we appealed to the strength of Jehovah, and the justice of our cause: And God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran, and he stood and measured the earth, and drove asunder the nations, and confirmed us in the possession of this goodly land.

Under the direction, and by the assistance of Him, who administers on Heaven's eternal plan, we are delivered from the horrors of war, and enjoy both civil and religious liberty!

We have been led to frame and adopt a constitution of government that is the wonder of the world; resembling that which God of old, gave the Israelites, the seed of Abraham his friend.

We shouted with heartfelt joy, when the political ark was brought to its place. Sing O Heavens for the Lord hath redeemed New England, and glorified himself in America!

When we look over these great events, we are constrained to cry out with the Patriarch, "surely the Lord is in this place, and we know it not."

We are respected abroad among the nations of the earth, and united at home. God has put this honor upon us, and spoke peace to our borders.

The system of national government we have settled, we hope, will secure to us, and hand down to the generations to come, the liberties and privileges we have procured by our toil, treasures, and the blood of many of our virtuous sons.

The choicest blessings, religion, liberty and peace, were reserved in the counsels of God, for thee, O America!

And what God has done for our fathers, and for us of this generation, are but intimations of our future happiness and glory; that he will have a light before him in this Jerusalem, 'till the second coming of Him, who is the "light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel." Here the empire of Jesus is founded, and these are the halcyon days disclosed to the pious Prophet, in a vision of the night.

"And behold! one like the Son of Man came to the ancient of days, and there was given him dominion, glory and a kingdom; and his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and his kingdom, that, which shall not be destroyed."

From the rise and present exaltation of America, we conclude she is to be the theater, where the latter day glory shall be displayed; and the medium through which religion, liberty and learning, shall be handed round creation.

3d. We infer: That Christ will vindicate the sacred rights of his government, in the utter destruction of all that oppose his reign.

It becomes rulers, ministers and people, to be willing subjects of this kingdom, that they may be the glory of Christ its King.

The impious and ungodly will be ensnared in their own plots and devises; and the Heavens will reveal their iniquity one day. "Kiss the Son, less he be angry, and ye perish from the way."

True it is, God has done great things for us; he has delivered us from war, and invited us by the dawn of peace, to lay aside the dread artillery of death; he has given us a land that flows with milk and honey, and settled both church and state in peace.

But what is this to the sinners of my people, who live in intemperance, debauchery, pride and luxury, fraud and deceit; who violate God's holy laws, neglect the duties of the gospel covenant, cast off fear, and restrain prayer before God.

Jesus, who is exalted at the head of the universal polity of Angels and men, when his wrath is kindled but a little, will dash such characters to pieces like a potter's earthen vessel.

From the evil returns we have made to Heaven for past mercies, we have reason to fear the divine rebukes: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for your iniquities.

God brought his people of old to the borders of the promised land; but they murmured against Moses and Aaron, and were for making a Captain and returning into Egypt. This provoked Him who had done great things for them, to say "your carcasses shall fall in the wilderness, and ye shall know my breach of promise: But your little ones, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised." “So it will be with the wicked of this generation; with Balaam we behold the glory of America, but not nigh; we shall meet the grave, and the horrors of eternity; and our "sons will come to honor, and we know it not."

We have solemn tidings this day from the mount of God: “ The children of New England have forsaken my covenant: Do ye thus requite the Lord? O foolish people and unwise!”

Hear with what irresistible eloquence the prophet Isaiah pleads against the impenitent of this age and country; "Hear O Heavens, and give ear O Earth, for I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."

O that we may as a people, know in this our day, the things of our peace, repent, and do our first works; that God may heal us, and bestow those blessings, he has encouraged us to hope for, from past mercies. Then shall we find the grave in peace, and leave this inheritance to our children's children; who will read the history of our day, with amazement and veneration, and call us blessed, when we are sleeping in the dust!

But it is time that I close the subject with particular attention to the important political characters that compose so great a part of this respectable assembly.

And His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief of this Commonwealth, claims our first attention.


We rejoice to find, venerable sir, that you are again, by the suffrages of a free and independent State, called to fill the first seat of government. You are the man on whom the eyes of this Israel are set, that you should rule over us.

Your former services for these States, in the day of small things, and your administration government in this Commonwealth, are engraven on our hearts, as with the point of a diamond.

It was under your presidency and direction, that an ancient prophesy was literally accomplished, "a nation born in a day." America declared free, sovereign and independent!

Your ardent love to your country, your indefatigable labor on her behalf, and your alms which have been distributed to the poor and needy, render you dear to this, and will, to the generations to come.

Time shall stop her course, and expire in eternity, before you will be forgotten. While religion, liberty, justice and benevolence, are counted valuable upon earth, your Excellency will have a name and praise in it.

An holy God has deprived you, of a promising son to bear up your name, when you become weak like other men, and are called to sleep with your fathers, and by him, who for so many years, was your worthy and pious contemporary in office: But he has left you a name better than that of many sons; one that will live in the breasts of virtuous Republicans, 'till our father Adam shall salute the arrival of his youngest son to the abodes of bliss.

We have not only a grateful remembrance of your past services for America, and this Commonwealth in particular, but we confide in your good disposition, and uncommon abilities, to fill with dignity, the seat of government, where Divine Providence has placed you.

Your Excellency will please to remember, that your authority comes from Christ, though by the mediation of the people; whose religion you will imbibe in your heart, and support in your government, that the people may take knowledge of you, that you have been with Him, by whom you rule.

The ministers of Christ, who are commissioned by the same authority that invests you, will meet your countenance and protection, though they act in another apartment in the house of Christ.

The University, that has given birth to so many important characters, both in church and state, leans forward, as it were, and whispers to you her son, to administer to her necessities.

We wish you the presence and blessing of Heaven, to enable you to act in your whole administration, under the influence of a principle of justice and mercy: This will entitle you to the love and esteem of a people you have made happy. This will yield you calmness of mind, under the bodily infirmities, God is pleased to inflict you with, and the cares and troubles of government and this will brighten the gloom of death, and give you boldness in the day of Christ.

May you long live to serve your God and generation; and when you are called to put off this mortal form, may your soul wing her way to yonder bright and intellectual world; where, from the mouth of your Divine Master, may you hear that blessed euge, "well done good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, claims our next respects, to whom the discourse is now addressed:


It has pleased God to spare your important life, to see the fruit of your labor and anxiety, in years past, and to awaken the attention of the people to call upon you, to exert your talents and abilities for the good of this Commonwealth, At a time when the voice of men, whose years have taught them, is needed.

Your integrity, patriotism and devotedness to the cause of your country, has given you favor, and kindled in the minds of the people esteem and veneration, that time will not obliterate.

The Recording Angle will not silently pass by your labor and attention, when we came over Jordan with our staff.

The laws of justice and gratitude, which are the laws of God, require that we accept it with thankfulness to you; and more especially to that God, who has made you so instrumental in delivering us from tyranny and oppressive power.

We have a recent remembrance of the critical day, when His Excellency and your Honor, were excluded a pardon of God and America, for their insults and cruelty.

You have lived to see your desires accomplished; the Temple of Liberty raised and the glory of America, founded through the world by the trump of Fame! Now your eyes behold this, you are ready to adopt the words of Simeon, when he clasped the infant Savior in his arms, "now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for I have seen thy salvation."

We look to you, honored sir, and expect that you conspire with your best endeavors, to make easy and happy, this great people: And may a grateful people, by their returns of honor and justice, equal your past, and their expectations of your future services.

May God have you in his holy keeping; make the remainder of your days comfortable and happy, and when he shall see fit to discharge you from further services below, may you shine forth with resplendent glory in the kingdom of the Redeemer above.

And may the Honorable Council, so necessary and important a Branch in government, be counseled and directed of God; and in all matters that come before them, act with stability and firmness, being influenced by that wisdom which is from above.

May your piety and virtue, gentlemen, recommend you to the favor and protection of Heaven; and your integrity and uprightness of conduct, render you more and more objects of the love and confidence of your brethren. But if your labor and fidelity, should not meet the approbation of the world, as it is often the case, you will have within you, conscious worth รข€“ before you, an animating prospect of the acceptance of God, and a reward in the world to come.

The Honorable the Senate, and the Honorable the House of Representatives, claim the attention of the Preacher, and to whom he would now turn his discourse.

You are this day, respectable gentleman, constituted the ordinance of God, for good; and, having received authority from Christ, and the people, you have before you a very weighty concern, to promote the best interest of the people, and see that the Commonwealth receive no detriment.

The multitude of your brethren have put confidence in you, and made you the keepers of their vineyard. You will regard, gentlemen, the sacred enclosure of Christ, and be nursing fathers to his church, and people. We look to you for equal and righteous laws, and a pattern of every virtue.

You will remember, that government came into the world, on the same benevolent errand its Divine Author did, not to perplex and destroy men's lives, but to enlighten, reform, and save them: And if there are any laws too sanguine in the case of life and death, you will adopt some other punishment than that of sending souls unprepared, to the tribunal of God.

Be not unmindful, sirs, that the eyes of God are upon you in your public capacity: He observes what attention you pay to the concerns of the public and to the widow and fatherless, the poor and needy, and the cause of virtue and religion. To him you are accountable, and before his awful tribunal you must soon stand, with the meanest of your brethren.

You are called Gods, let your compassion to the poor, resemble that of the Father of Mercies.

Guard against pride, covetousness, and a disposition to bind heavy burdens on the people.

Lay aside party considerations and private designs, and do that which you can answer to God, and the people. Then you will be blessed and the blessings of many, ready to perish, will come upon you. And in the last grand revolution, when all distinctions, but those of a religious nature will be forever done away, you will meet the approbation of HIM, by whom you rule, and your reward will be great. We wish you divine direction, and a blessing, this day, out of the house of God.

Let this great and attentive Assembly, call to mind the duties they owe to God, and the world, and the obligations they are under to the faithful discharge of them.

Of infinite importance is it to us, Christian friend's, that we are possessed of that faith in, and faithfulness to Christ, which the gospel constitution makes necessary, in order for us to obtain eternal life. If we are the subjects of divine grace, and act worthily our part on the stage of life, we may meet adversity with fortitude, and death with comfort, for it will reach us to a world, where God will be the sun, in which he will run through our souls with a torrent of delight. On this pleasing hope and joyful expectation, I will dismiss you, until that day, in which may the Preacher find mercy, and meet you all amongst the redeemed of the LORD and the glory shall be given to HIM, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the LAMB, forever and ever; and let all the people say AMEN!

Election Day is coming for our local government leaders. WE MUST BE STEADFAST IN PRAYER AND GET OUT AND VOTE! IT MATTERS, AND YOUR VOTE COUNTS.
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