God’s People Want to Know

This 2015 survey by Dr. George Barna asked theologically conservative Christians the areas in which they felt that they needed additional teaching from the pulpit. Here are a just a few highlights:

  • Among the national sample of spiritually active Christian conservatives and moderates, only one in ten people (10%) said their church has been very involved in the election process in the last two voting cycles (2012, 2014). Four out of ten said their church was somewhat involved. The remaining one-half said their church was not involved.
  • Christian conservatives indicated they want their church to get in the game: six out of ten (58%) said they want their church to be more involved in the election process. Among the Christian conservatives, 61% want greater involvement; among the politically moderate Christians only one-quarter (23%) want heightened church engagement.
  • A majority of the survey respondents said it is “extremely important” for their pastor to preach or teach the congregation about the following issues:
      • Abortion 71%
      • Religious persecution 61%
      • Sexual identity 56%
      • Israel 54%
      • Poverty 54%
      • Cultural restoration 53%

See the complete report here.

Sermon – Solar Eclipse – 1806

Joseph Lathrop (1731-1820)

Lathrop was born in Norwich, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale, he took a teaching position at a grammar school in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he also began studying theology. Two years after leaving Yale, he was ordained as the pastor of the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He remained there until his death in 1820, in the 65th year of his ministry. During his career, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity from both Yale and Harvard. He was even offered the Professorship of Divinity at Yale, but he declined the offer. Many of his sermons were published in a seven-volume set over the course of twenty-five years.

In this sermon, Rev. Lathrop uses the occasion of a recent solar eclipse to strengthen the Biblical worldview of his parishioners by providing both a scientific explanation and gleaning spiritual truths from the phenomenon. Lathrop’s sermon is a clear example of how early American pastors used the events of their time to impart truth and develop the Christian worldview of their listeners.


A
SERMON
CONTAINING
REFLECTIONS ON THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
WHICH APPEARED ON JUNE 16, 1806
DELIVERED
ON THE LORD’S DAY FOLLOWING.

By Joseph Lathrop, D. D.
Pastor of the first Church in West-Springfield

AMOS 8:9
It shall come to pass in that day; saith the Lord, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.

Amos was bred an husbandman and a shepherd. From his rural employment he was called to the office of a prophet. He says, “I was not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but I was an herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. And the Lord took me, as I followed the flock, and said unto me, go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”

Many expressions in his book are taken from observations, which a shepherd would naturally make in attending to the business of his calling. In Judea the shepherds watched their flocks, not by day only, but also by night, to guard them against beasts of prey, in which that country abounded. And, in their attendance on their flocks, they would naturally observe the motions of the planets, and the appearances in the heavens, that they might foresee changes of weather and approaching storms. Hence the prophet, calling on the degenerate tribes of Israel
to renounce their false gods, and to worship the great author and governor of nature, uses a language suggested by his former pastoral occupation. “Seek not Bethel, enter not into Gilgal, nor pass to Beersheba,” the idolatrous places, where the sun and moon, and hosts of heaven were worshipped; “but seek him, who maketh the seven stars and Orion; and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night.”

The stated course of nature, the order of the heavenly bodies, the vicissitude of day and night, and the regular succession of seasons, demonstrate the existence and providence, the wisdom, power and goodness of God. “Day unto day uttereth speech; night unto night sheweth forth knowledge.” “God hath not left himself without witness, in that he giveth rain and fruitful seasons, and filleth our hearts with food and gladness.” But common appearances, as they become more familiar, are less impressive. Unusual phenomena, though no less the effects of natural causes, more powerfully arrest the attention, and more deeply affect the mind. The prophet, therefore, predicting some dire calamities on the house of Israel, alludes to an unusual and solemn appearance in the skies, which probably they had lately seen; a total eclipse of the sun in the midst of a clear day. “Thus saith the Lord, I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.” The phenomenon which we beheld, on Monday last, will naturally lead us to understand the words as poetic descriptions of a solar eclipse.

Archbishop Usher, in his annals of the world, says, that in Amos’s time, there were two remarkable eclipses of the sun, which happened at solemn festivals, and struck the people with great consternation. In ancient times, when astronomy was but imperfectly understood, eclipses were by many considered, as preternatural and portentous. The prophet, therefore, foretelling the judgments coming on the land of Israel, might with great propriety figure to them the changes soon to take place in their political hemisphere, by an allusion to the change, which they had seen, with terror and amazement, in the natural hemisphere. “God would cause their sun to go down at noon, darken the earth in the clear day, turn their feasts into mourning, and their songs into lamentation, and bring up sackcloth on all loins.”

The use, which the prophet makes of a solar eclipse will justify us in some moral and religious reflections on the singular scene, which was exhibited in the past week.

1. We have reason to rejoice in the progress, which has been made in the sciences, and particularly in the noble science of astronomy. By this we are freed from many superstitious terrors, which, in the dark ages of the world, tormented mankind.

Eclipses have been observed from the remotest antiquity; and of these which were most remarkable, accounts have been transmitted to us by some of the earliest historians, who have also related the disastrous events which followed, and which the eclipses were supposed to portend.

The cause of eclipses must have been known long before they could be the subjects of mathematical calculation. It was well understood, many ages ago, that an eclipse of the moon was caused by its passing through the shadow of the earth, when the earth was between that and the sun; and that an eclipse of the sun was caused by the moon’s passing between us and the sun, and intercepting its light. This knowledge, however, was not common to the vulgar; nor did the more learned view these causes as operating by regular and stated laws.

There were predictions of some eclipses, which appeared several centuries before the birth of our Savior. But these predictions were probably, like the present predictions of comets, conjectures grounded on a course of observations, and not the result of exact calculations.

The relations, distances and motions of the heavenly bodies are now so well ascertained, that accurate calculations can be made of all the eclipses, which shall be in ages to come, and of those which have been, since our system was framed. These calculations are of great utility to mankind, in husbandry, navigation, geography, chronology and history. The credit of some ancient histories derives confirmation from this source. The historian relates some great events, which he supposes, were portended by a certain eclipse, which he describes. The astronomer finds, that there was in fact, such an eclipse, at such a time, and hence justly gives more full credit to the historian.

These phenomena have also their moral uses. They enlarge our views of the works of God, and of the grandeur and extent of his creation and providence. They display his wisdom, power and goodness, and his continual agency in the government of the world. They teach us his constant care for the creatures, which he has made, and call us to reverence and adore him, who thus manifests himself to us in the works of his hands.

We see innumerable worlds rolling around us at vast but various distances; with different, but inconceivable rapidity. These all perform their motions with regularity, and observe their times with exactness. They obey their destination, they keep their order, they never interfere. Shall we not fear the power, admire the wisdom, adore the goodness of that being, who made and adjusted, who sustains and directs such a stupendous system, and render it subservient to our happiness? These rational sentiments are pleasant and delightful in themselves; and are far more conducive to piety and virtue, than the terrors of that superstitious ignorance, which views every comet flaming in the sky, every obscuration of the sun at noonday, every failure of the full orbed moon at night, every unusual noise bursting from the clouds, every strange appearance in the heavens and in the earth, as awfully portentous of some dire, but unknown calamity.

Superstitious terrors may operate as a temporary restraint from vice. But when the dreaded calamity is delayed, the restraint ceases, and vice regains its dominion. A rational fear of God, arising from a calm contemplation of his agency and government, displayed in his works, and taught in his word, will have a steady and permanent influence. “Fear ye not me, saith the Lord, will ye not tremble at my presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, who give the former and the latter rain, and reserve to you the appointed weeks of harvest?” The more just are our thoughts of God’s government, and the more rational our reverence of his majesty, the more uniform and cheerful will be our obedience to his will.

2. An eclipse of the sun, though it is not an omen of any particular calamity, yet may properly lead us to contemplate the gloomy changes which await us in this guilty and mortal state.

By a total obscuration of his glorious luminary, at noon, in a clear day, a gloom is suddenly spread over the face of nature. Not only the human mind, but the animal and material creation is deeply affected. Night seems to anticipate the time of its return. The stars hand out their lamps; the dews descend on the earth; the grazing beasts forget their hunger; the fowls hasten to their resting places; the bird of night chants his evening ditty; every thing wears a sober and mournful aspect.

Here is an emblem of declining age and approaching death.

The time is coming – to some of us it is near; when the sun and the light will be darkened; the eyes, which look out at the windows, will be bedimmed, surrounding objects will be hidden, and “we shall go to our long home – to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” “While we have the light, let us walk in the light, lest darkness come upon us. Let us give glory to God, before he cause darkness, and before our feet stumble on the dark mountains; lest, while we look for light, it be turned into the shadow of death.” The eyes of our understanding still remain unextinguished, and the sun of righteousness shines upon us with salvation in his beams. Let us attend to the glorious discoveries which are made to us, and apply ourselves to the momentous work before us. Let us work while it is day. The time is short – night is at hand. What we find to do, let us do it with our might. There is no work in the grave.

Some of you are in youth and in full strength. My friends, your morning sun shines bright and pleasant; you think your day will be long. But, oh! flatter not yourselves. Your sun may go down at noon, and your prospect be darkened in a clear day. Employ these morning hours in the work of your salvation. You know not what a day, or an hour may bring forth.

The darkness of an eclipse the prophet improves, though not as an omen, yet as an emblem of national judgments. He warns his people that a metaphorical and political darkness may overspread their country, in the same surprising manner, as literal darkness in a solar eclipse falls on the unsuspecting earth. “Thus saith the Lord unto me, an end is come upon my people; I will not pass by them any more. Hear this, ye that swallow up the needy, and that say, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn, and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat? The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, surely I will not forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? Thus saith the Lord, I will darken the earth in the clear day. I will turn their feasts into mourning, and their songs into lamentation.”

Sudden darkness caused by eclipses, clouds, vapor and storms, is, in the prophetic writings, a common figure for great and unexpected plagues; such as war, discord, pestilence and famine. The prophet Isaiah, describing the calamitous state of the Jews, on the invasion of the Chaldeans, says, “They shall look to the earth, and behold, trouble and darkness, and dimness of anguish; they shall be driven into darkness.” In the same figurative language, Joel describes the devastation and famine caused in the land by clouds of devouring locusts, and by the rage of subsequent fires. “Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh and is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, of clouds and thick darkness. There shall be wonders in the heavens and in the earth; there shall be pillars of smoke, and the sun shall be turned into darkness.”

When we see the sun darkened in the heavens, and the earth covered with a gloom, we are reminded, how easy it is for Him, who in a moment extinguishes the sun, to cast a cloud over our earthly prospects; to turn our joys into anguish, our confidence into terror, and our songs into lamentation – to subvert our national security, to let loose the infernal spirit of discord, to remove restraint from hostile nations, to send a blast on the labors of our hands, and to spread among us pestilence and death.

On God we are dependent not only for the daily visits of the sun, but also for his friendly beams, when he returns. The moon, which chases away the gloom of night, now and then steps in, and intercepts the light of day. If it should
make a stand in that position, our day would become night, and the warmth of summer would be changed into the frost of winter. But the moon obeys the divine command, moves the cheering beams, which it had, for a few moments withholden.

The creatures, which are our ordinary comforts, may by God’s direction or permission, become the occasions of affliction and anguish. The sun, which enlivens the rational, animal and vegetable world, may dart malignant fires and scatter pestilential
diseases. The rains, which refresh and fructify our fields, may “wash away the things which grow out of the earth, and destroy the hope of man.” The friends in whom we confide may become our tormentors, and “a man’s foes may be those of his own household.” Government, which is our defense against injustice, fraud and violence, falling into the hands of cruel and unprincipled men, may be made an instrument of oppression and misery. “They who lead us may cause us to err, and destroy the way of our paths.”

Where then is our security? It is in the protection of Him, who created and upholds the frame of nature, “who made and guides the seven stars and Orion, turns the shadow of death into the mourning, or makes the day dark with night” – “who calleth to the waters and sends them on the earth, and restrains the floods” within the bounds prescribed – “who rules the raging of the sea, and stills the tumults of the people” – ” who turns the hearts of men, as the rivers of water are turned” – “who causes the wrath of men to praise him, and the remainder of that wrath he restrains.” How shall we enjoy his protection ? He has told us, “If ye will walk in my statutes, keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary, then I will give you rain in due season, your fields shall yield their increase; I will give peace in your land, and ye shall lie down and none shall make you afraid.” – “But if ye will walk contrary unto me, I will walk contrary unto you, and make your plagues wonderful.”

Learned astronomers can calculate with exactness the times when, the places where, and the quantities in which the luminaries of heaven will be eclipsed; but they cannot with the same accuracy predict the judgments of God. Nor do we here need their astronomical skill. There are other signs by which we may discern impending judgments. Our Savior. has taught us a kind of moral astronomy to direct our prescience of such events. The prevalence of infidelity, immorality and vice as surely indicates approaching calamities, as clouds indicate a shower, winds forebode a storm, or the conjunction, or opposition of the sun and moon, in certain places in the heaves, presignify an eclipse. He said to the people, “When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straitway, ye say, there cometh a shower; and so it is. When ye perceive the south wind blow, ye say, there will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it, that ye cannot discern this time? Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” The blindness and stupidity of the ancient Jews to the impending judgments of God, the prophet upbraids by referring them to the sagacity and discernment apparent in the fowls of heaven. “The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed time; the turtle, the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people knoweth not the judgments of God.”

There are now, as there were in former times, many who ask, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” And the watchman’s answer then, is seasonable now, “If ye will inquire, inquire ye” wisely; “return, come,” return to God by repentance; then come and inquire, and you may hope for a favorable answer.

It is common for people to look forward and inquire, what will be our national state in future years – what will be the result of certain public measures – what shall be done to obtain this favorite object, and avert that threatening evil, and to make future times better than these? But they inquire not wisely concerning this matter. Let them inquire what iniquities abound, and what share their own iniquities have in the common guilt? Let each one repent of his own wickedness, and apply himself to his own duty. Let each one use his best influence to correct the errors, and reform the manners of those with whom he is connected. Then things will go well. “Righteousness will exalt a nation. Sin will be a reproach to any people.”

3. The darkening of the earth in a clear day brings to mind the final judgment. The scripture assures us, that “God has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, and render to every man according to his works.” It teaches us, that the judgment will come on a guilty world by surprise – that “when men shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh.” The manner of its coming is compared to the catastrophe of Sodom. “As it was in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they fold, they planted, they builded. But the same day, that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone out of heaven, and destroyed them all. Even so shall it be in that day when the son of man is revealed.” To heighten the solemnity of this scene, the sacred writers tell us, “The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light; the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken – the heaven shall depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall be removed out of their place.” What effect the expectation of such a day should have, St. Peter instructs us. “Seeing all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the day of the Lord. Let us be diligent, that we may be found of the Lord in peace without spot and blameless.”

You think that great day to be remote. Perhaps it is so. But whether it be near or remote, it will come. And when it shall come, it will be as real and important, as if it were now present. “Count the longsuffering of God’s salvation. He is not willing that you should perish, but that you should come to repentance.”

Were you sure, that within ten or twenty years, the frame of nature, as well as the works of man, would dissolved, the heavens with all their splendors would vanish, and the earth with all her furniture and in habitants would pass away, how vain would all your property, all your designs and labors appear? What folly would be stampt on avarice, ambition, worldly grandeur and ostentation, political intrigues, party contests and animosities? But, my fellow mortals, where is the mighty difference to you and me, whether the world is to be dissolved within twenty years, or whether within that time we are to leave the world forever. The latter will certainly be the case with many of us in a shorter, and with all of us in a little longer time than this. Under an impressive sense of this solemn truth, let us banish all worldly passions, and direct our cares to the grand interests of futurity.

4. Total darkness at noonday reminds us of the solemn scene of the Savior’s crucifixion. The evangelists tell us, that when Jesus hung on the cross, “there was darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour;” or, according to our calendar, from midday to the third hour; “and the sun was darkened.” The darkness continued for three hours. This, we know, could be no natural eclipse; for, in the eclipse of the week past, which appeared to be central, the total obscuration continued but about four minutes.

The darkness at the crucifixion was very extensive. It was “over all the land.” Yea, it was beyond the land of Judea; or “over all the earth,” as the words are, in one place, rendered. It was observed in countries distant from Judea; and is related by profane historians, as a phenomenon, for which no natural cause could be assigned. In a natural eclipse, the total darkness cannot be of very great extent. I have had correct information, that within the space of less than two hundred miles, from north to south, a segment of the sun appeared during the whole time of the late eclipse.

Nay, farther, at the time of the crucifixion there could be no natural eclipse, for the sun and moon were then in opposition. Christ was crucified at the time of the Passover. The Passover was to begin on the fourteenth day of the month. The Jewish month began at the first appearance of the new moon. On the fourteenth day, the moon, being full, and in opposition to the sun, could not cause an eclipse. The obscuration therefore must have been preternatural and miraculous.

That there really was such an obscuration is indubitable. It is recorded by three of the evangelists, who published their narrative so soon after the crucifixion, that many spectators of the scene, both friends and enemies to Christ, were still living. They would not have asserted such a strange phenomenon, as being universally known, in that and neighboring countries, and as having happened on a certain day, if it had not been a fact; for every man, woman and youth, living at that time, would have been able to contradict it. Had the evangelists been impostors, they would not have published a falsehood of this kind; for nothing could have been more fatal to their cause. There is no room to question the reality of the fact.

This darkness, the earthquake, and the rending of the veil of the temple, which occurred at the same time, had a great effect on the spectators. The commanding officer, who stood by the cross of Jesus, struck with astonishment, said, “Surely this was the son of God.” “And all the people, who came together to that sight, beholding what was done, smote their breasts, and returned.”

These miraculous appearances in the earth and in the heavens, at the time, when Jesus was suffering on the cross, were such divined attestations in his favor, as reason could not resist; and they were also most awful indications of the wrath of God against the horrid and impious work, which the infidel Jews were then transacting.

But were these the only persons against whom the darkness denounced the anger of heaven? No; it equally manifested, and still it manifests the amazing guilt of all unbelievers under the gospel – of all who are enemies to the blessed Jesus – of all who despise and oppose his religion.

Infidelity and impiety involve in them the same guilt now as in former times. The gospel comes to us with equal evidence and authority, as it came to the Jews. They who reject it, crucify afresh its heavenly author, and are bringing on themselves swift destruction – to such is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. As they walk in the darkness of unbelief and wickedness, they will fall into the darkness of misery and despair. “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, he will come in flaming fire, and will take vengeance on them who know not God, and on them who obey not the gospel.”

5. The temporary darkness of an eclipse is followed with cheerful light, which “shines more and more unto the perfect day.” This is a natural emblem of that moral change, in which a soul is brought out of the darkness of sin and guilt into the marvelous light of purity, pardon and peace.

How sad and gloomy is the condition of a guilty mortal, who convinced of his numerous transgressions, feels himself condemned to eternal death. The divine law, which was delivered. From Sinai, in smoke and darkness, in clouds and tempest, thunders terror and destruction in his ears. But how happily is his state reversed, when light, beaming from mount Zion, in the discoveries and promises of the gospel, breaks in on his soul, exhibits to him a dying Savior, a forgiving God, a sanctifying spirit? What joy springs up, when he finds the power of sin subdued – his enmity to God slain – his opposition to the gospel conquered – and every thought captivated to the obedience of Christ? The light is ceding to previous darkness. So the hopes and comforts of religion in the soul are exalted by their contrast to preceding anxieties and fears.

Ye awakened, desponding souls, look up to the sun of righteousness. He shines from heaven with salvation in his beams. However guilty, unworthy and impotent ye feel, there is grace sufficient for you; there is righteousness to justify you, promises to support you, the spirit to help you. Light arises in darkness. Turn your eyes from the cloud, and direct them to the sun. Christ came a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not walk in darkness. Look to him, and be ye saved.

Finally: the obscuration of the sun in the sky bids us contemplate the uninterrupted brightness of the heavenly state. Could we rise above the moon, the sun which is eclipsed to the inhabitants of the earth, would shine to us in all its splendor. When the Christian has the moon under his feet, he will be clothed with the sun, and crowned with stars.

There is no darkness, no night in heaven: all is light; all is glory there.

In heaven there is the light of purity, and love. The pure in heart shall see God; he is light; in him is no darkness. Nothing enters into his presence that defiles.

There is the light of knowledge – glorious discoveries of God – of the Savior – of the works of providence and grace – of the wonders of creation and redemption. Here we see through a glass darkly; there we shall see face to face. Here we know in part, there we shall know as we are known.

The light of heaven is constant; it is never eclipsed nor clouded. The holy city needs not the sun to shine in it, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and Jesus is the light thereof. The nations of them who are saved shall walk in the light of it, and there shall be no night there.

How different will be the state of good men in heaven from that which they experience on earth? Here they have some light, but it is often interrupted, and always dim. How little do they know of God and his works – how much error is mixed with their faith – how much doubt with their hope – how much fear with their courage; how much carnality with their devotion? In heaven it will be otherwise. Knowledge there will be full without error, certain without perplexity and clear without confusion. Holiness will be perfect without sin, and refined without dross and corruption. And they will serve God continually without reluctance or weariness.

Let us begin the life, and accustom ourselves to the works of heaven, while we dwell on earth, that we may be prepared for admission into heaven, when we depart hence. Here God sheds down some beams of heavenly light to invite our thoughts and affections upward. The light is mingled with shades, and interrupted with clouds, because this is a state of trial, and our faith and patience must be exercised. Here we must walk by faith; we cannot walk by sight. “It is by faith and patience, that we inherit the promises.” “We are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? And if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. And the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us according to the will of God.”

It is but little, that we can at present know of heaven; but “then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” Let our souls follow hard after him; for what is there, which we can desire in comparison with him? “It doth not yet appear what we shall be. But when our Lord shall come, we trust, that we shall be like him and see him as he is. And having this hope, let us purify ourselves as he is pure.”

 

 

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Protecting Private Property Through the Uniform Commercial Code

Questions are now being raised about important laws that have been added to state codes in all 50 states over the past 25 years. These laws were deliberately designed to abrogate private property rights and could in the future be used to harm all Americans who hold investment securities, including those held in IRA and 401(k) accounts. At the state level, the concerning statutes in question are contained within the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), primarily in Article 8, which deals with securities.

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network (PFLN), and other organizations and leaders, urge state legislators to carefully consider this alarming infringement on private property.

This letter explains our concerns, summarizes the legal aspects of UCC Article 8, and outlines near-term options for state policymakers who want to take action to protect their constituents and their states. Read the full letter for additional information.

What can you do to help?

Share this Information: We encourage you to forward this to your friends, family and state legislators to help make them aware of this critical issue in your state’s uniform commercial code.

Stay Apprised of the Issue: If this issue is important to you, sign up for our Concerned Citizens legislative update email and we will keep you apprised of this issue.

Sign the Letter: If you represent an organization, or are an elected official who would like to sign this letter, please email us for consideration.

Contribute: If you would like to support this effort to help us brief more lawmakers across the country on this matter, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to WallBuilders Pro-Family Legislative Network Fund.

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authority for Violating the First Amendment

In December 2023, First Liberty, ACLU, and Steptoe filed a lawsuit on behalf of WallBuilders.

First Liberty Press Release

Lawsuit Challenges D.C. Transit Authorit – First Liberty

First Liberty Article

https://firstliberty.org/news/ads-about-americas-religious-history-not-allowed/ 

WallBuilders Rejected Ads




WallBuilders Article

These ads would have linked to a collection of quotes by numerous Founding Fathers via our article “The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible”: https://wallbuilders.com/resource/the-founding-fathers-on-jesus-christianity-and-the-bible/

Additional Information & Questions

We have asked our attorneys to handle all media inquiries. Please contact Jeremy Dys at 304-881-5196 or [email protected]. Thank you.

David Barton: A Dominionist and Reconstructionist?

Over the past several decades, numbers of my detractors have resorted to making extremist claims about me intended to create distrust or even fear in the minds of those who might hear me. By so doing, they hope potential listeners or readers will reject my message out of hand before even considering the evidence. One common ridiculous claim is that I am a Dominionist (someone who wants to reinstitute Old Testament law and establish a theocracy).

As a result, over the years, I have received questions like this one:

Does David adhere to or teach Dominion Theology or “Kingdom Now” theology? That is in part, that the Church of Jesus Christ will bring in God’s reign of righteousness rather than it happening through the physical return of Jesus Christ?

I disagree with Dominion and Kingdom Now theology and I am not a Dominionist.

Additionally, to establish a theocracy in America would require the abolition of our elective constitutional government. I have worked for decades to educate Americans about the history, excellence, and importance of the US Constitution. I am passionate about knowing and applying it and preserving its principles through the elective voting process. Since having elections precludes the possibility of a theocracy, and since I am such a strong promoter of citizen involvement in the election process, I definitely don’t seek a theocracy.

Furthermore, I am clearly on record about the definite limits of Old Testament law in modern culture. (As an example, see my commentary accompanying Exodus 20 in the very popular Founders’ Bible1.)

The evidence is abundant that their claims are wrong.

The allegations about me and Dominionism originated decades ago, almost exclusively from defamatory articles of atheist and anti-religious writers. Over subsequent years, many individuals doing casual web searches of my name found those earlier articles and innocently accepted their wild claims and then repeated or reposted them without any serious investigation of the truth. As a result, today scores of newer articles brand me as something I am not, and never have been.

Understanding the Original Claims

Examining the writings of those who originally made these errant claims two decades ago, it is clear that the issues the critics considered to be reflective of Dominionism were actually issues that were mainstream across the depth and breadth not only of the Christian community but of much of the nation. Notice the things they pointed to as evidence of Christian support for Dominionism.

According to Eric La Freniere, at the time a columnist for the Daily News Record, one of the most obvious indicators of those who seek a Theocracy is their belief that traditional marriage is to be between one man and one woman (what they often describe as following Old Testament law). He warned that to vote for any state constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage (which was extremely popular in the 2000s and the 2010s, with support up to 70% in some states2) was “to cast a vote for Dominionism….the righteous religious-political movement to reclaim America as a Christian nation.”3 If La Freniere was correct, the tens of millions of voters in the 31 states who passed a state marriage amendment4 (before the US Supreme Court redefined marriage in 20155) were all part of the Christian Dominionist movement.

Author and journalist Chip Berlet agreed, asserting that the “anti-democratic tendencies in the Christian Right6 concerning marriage amendments proved their Dominionist and Theocratic beliefs. By the way, notice his oxymoronic logic: having citizens publicly vote on marriage amendments placed on the public ballot through the elected legislative process was “anti-democratic.”

Chris Hedges in Harper’s Magazine linked such Dominionists to Adolf Hitler and fascism,7 asserting that conservative Christians were so dangerous that it was acceptable to confront and defeat them outside “the old polite rules of democracy8—that is, the normal rules of constitutional republicanism could be set aside in order to defeat Christians. So is it Christians or the Secular Left who is really anti-democratic?

The Southern Poverty Law Center similarly warned that “Dominionist” Christians “seek to impose Old Testament law on the United States,” and that this desire runs “all the way to the [George W.] Bush White House.”9 What indications did they have of this Dominionism? —what role did the George W. Bush White House have in imposing “Old Testament law on the United States”? They, too, pointed to the state marriage amendments, and the further fact that President Bush had openly endorsed a federal Marriage Amendment.10

A Michigan newspaper (Eastern Echo) likewise alerted voters that a candidate running for Governor was part of Dominionism—that he was “seek[ing] to legislate American life under an ultimate authority of a right-wing interpretation of the Bible.”11 What made him a Dominionist? He not only supported traditional marriage but even opposed embryonic stem cell research. Clearly, he was a religious extremist seeking to impose Old Testament law on Michigan.12

Political commentator and writer Kevin Phillips added that “Christian Reconstructionists” also describe the separation of church and state as a “myth.”13 During the time he made these claims, some 1,800 legal incidents related to “separation of church and state” had occurred.14 Christian attorneys argued that the proper application of the historic separation of church and state did not mean people of faith could not express their faith in public, and that they had the same right to express their beliefs that secular folks did. But for secularists, the “separation of church and state” requires full secularization; therefore, those Christians arguing for equal protection were pursuing a “myth” and attempting to establish a Theocracy. (In recent years the US Supreme Court has issued a series of landmark decisions constitutionally repudiating the extremist views of the secularists, and, according to these arguments, they, too, are apparently Dominionists.)

More Claims

Numerous books and other seemingly countless articles used similar extremist rhetoric in attacking the Christian leaders who supported what were typically mainstream public issues.15 National Jewish writer and columnist Stanley Kurtz reviewed many of those writings and sarcastically summarized the ridiculous claims about Christians he found in those attack pieces:

What is the real agenda of the religious far Right? I’ll tell you what it is. These nuts want to take over the federal government and suppress other religions through genocide and mass murder rather than through proselytizing. They want to reestablish slavery. They want to reduce women to near-slavery by making them property, first of their fathers, and then of their husbands. They want to execute anyone found guilty of pre-martial, extramaritial, or homosexual sex. They want to bring back the death penalty for witchcraft. But aren’t extremists like this far from political power? On the contrary, the political and religious movement called “Dominionism” has gained control of the Republican Party, and taken over Congress and the White House as well. Once they take over the judiciary, the conversion of America to a theocracy will be sealed. The Dominionists are very close to achieving their goal. Once they have the courts in their hands, a willing Dominionist Republican-controlled Congress can simply extend the death penalty to witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, and heresy. The courts will uphold all this once conservatives are in control, since [Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia himself appears to be a Dominionist.16

Kurtz then singled out one of the voices making these ridiculous claims, Kathryn Yurica. He noted that she and her extremist accusations were actually mainstream among a considerable number of secularist groups:

Yurica’s article [“The Despoiling of America”] is so wild-eyed and strange that it would barely be worth mentioning were Yurica not a featured speaker at a recent conference called, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right.” That conference . . . was supported by the National Council of Churches, People for the American Way, The Nation, The Village Voice, and United Americans for Separation of Church and State.17

The speakers at that conference identified five congressional policies they believed provided absolute proof that America was being placed under Old Testament law by Christian Dominionists. What were those five theocratic policies?

(1) Enacting tax cuts;
(2) Funding faith-based programs;
(3) Decreasing welfare spending;
(4) Giving the Federal Communication Commission additional tools to crackdown on indecency on television; and
(5) Attempts to end judicial filibusters.18

Horrors! Once Christians begin enacting tax cuts, the next thing they’ll do is stone rebellious children and publicly pillory adulterers! Yet as Kurtz noted, most of what were labeled Dominionist views were rational positions widely embraced by a majority of the population.

Interestingly, a much later 2020 study claimed that more than half of all Americans today are Dominionists who want a Christian Nation.19 Really??? At a time when public polls show church attendance,20 Bible reading,21 and Biblical worldview22 are at record lows, more than half the nation are Christian Dominionists? This claim is just as absurd today as it has been for the past several decades. (A brilliant rebuttal of that study and its ridiculous conclusion was done by Prof. Mark David Hall in his “Tilting at Windmills: The ‘Threat’ of Christian Nationalism.”23)

Perhaps Supreme Court Attorney David French, who has handled countless federal court cases in his career, best summarized the ludicrous nature of the false call of Dominionism:

If originalist legal arguments and a call to return our country to its founding constitutional ideals constitute dominionism, which social conservatives aren’t dominionist? Is free speech a dominionist concept? What about religious liberty? How about protecting life and ensuring that it cannot be taken without due process of law? We’re all dominionists now.24

In summary, holding traditionally conservative and constitutional positions is what it meant to be a Dominionist when the term became popular some 20 years ago and when it was first applied to me. Those who used the term intended that it should scare unknowing citizens away from fearsome “Dominionist” leaders such as Justice Anthony Scalia, President George Bush, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, or me, all of whom publicly supported traditional marriage, opposed abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and thought voluntary prayer was appropriate in schools. This is how I came to be labeled a “Dominionist.”

David Barton


Endnotes

1 The Founders Bible (Newbury Park, CA: Shiloh Road, 2017), Exodus 20.
2 See, for example, ballot measures passed with 70% or greater approval in 2004 for Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma (“Ballot Measures,” 2004, CNN); in 2006 for South Carolina and Tennessee (“Ballot Measures,” 2006, CNN); and numerous other ballot measures throughout the early 2000s for states with a pass rating of over 50% but lower than 70% (“Ballot Measures, 2008, CNN; “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022).
3 Eric La Freniers, “You Can Vote For Dominionism,” Daily News-Record, October 31, 2006.
4 See, for example, constitutional amendments passed in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin: “Approved Amendments,” Wikipedia, accessed on March 14, 2022.
5 Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015).
6 Chip Berlet, “The Christian Right & Theocracy,” Political Research Associates, accessed on March 14, 2022.
7 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
8 Chris Hedges, “Soldiers of Christ,” Harpers Magazine, May 5, 2005; Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
9 Mark Potok, “Democracy vs. Theocracy,” Southern Poverty Law Center, October 19, 2006.
10 George W. Bush, “Remarks on the Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage,” The White House, February 24, 2004.
11 Staff Edit / In Our Opinion, “Governor campaign fails to address issues,” Eastern Echo, October 30, 2006.
12 “Motors and Voters: Michigan’s Gubernatorial Race,” Wall Street Journal, 2006.
13 Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (Viking, 2006), 233.
14 See the publication Undeniable by First Liberty, available at https://firstliberty.org/undeniable/.
15 See, for example, Tony Kiddie, Republican Jesus: How the Right Had Rewritten the Gospels (University of California Press, 2021); James C. Sanford, Blueprint for Theocracy: The Christian Right’s Vision for America (Metacomet Books, 2014); Michael L. Weinstein and Davin Seay, With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013); Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to the Faith of America (Transworld, 2011); Clyde Wilcox, Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics (New York: Routledge, 2011); Michael Lerner, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right (Harper San Francisco, 2006); Damon Linker, The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege (Doubleday, 2009); Robin Rex Meyers, Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006); Phillips, American Theocracy (2006); Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (HarperCollins, 2006); Bill Press, How the Republicans Stole Christmas: the Republican Party’s Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take it Back (Crown Publishing Group, 2005); Clint Willis, Jesus is Not a Republican: the Religious Right’s War on America (De Capo Press, 2005); Philip Gold, Take Back the Right : How the Neocons and the Religious Right have Betrayed the Conservative Movement (Basic Books, 2004); Jan G. Linn, What’s Wrong with the Christian Right (Florida: Brown Walker Press, 2004); Douglas Anthony Long, Fundamentalists and Extremists (2002); Rob Boston, Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (New York: Prometheus Books, 2000); Frederick Clarkson, Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy (University of Michigan, 1997); William Curtis Martin, With God on Our Side: the Rise of the Religious Right in America (Broadway Books, 1996); Bruce Barron, Heaven on Earth? The Social & Political Agendas of Dominion Theology (Zondervan, 1992); Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (New York: Black Rose Books, 1989); and numerous others.
16 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
17 Stanley Kurtz, “Dominionist Domination,” National Review, May 2, 2005.
18 Jon Ward, “Left aims to smite ‘theocracy’ movement,” The Washington Times, May 1, 2005.
19 Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry, Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020), 25.
20 Jeffery M. Jones, “U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Times,” Gallup, March 29, 2021.
21 Alec Gallup & Wendy W. Simmons, “Six in Ten Americans Read Bible at Least Occasionally: Percentage of frequent readers has decreased over last decade,” Gallup, October 20, 2000.
22 George Barna, “Perceptions about Biblical Worldview and Its Application,” Center for Biblical Worldview, May 2021, 6.
23 Mark David Hall, “Tilting at Windmills: The “Threat” of Christian Nationalism,” Standing for Freedom, February 8, 2022.
24 David French, “I’m a Dominionist? I Had No Idea,” National Review, September 1, 2011.

Uniform Commercial Code

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network was recently alerted by legislators in multiple states to a very troubling section introduced into the newly proposed Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) now working its way through 22+ states this legislative session and likely to be introduced in all 50 states.

The UCC (first released in 1952) generally helps standardize existing commercial and business transactions across the nation. It traditionally smooths out what is already in practice, but in the new version of the UCC, the Commission has gone on the offensive in one particular area, introducing new untested practices for where the government apparently intends businesses should go in the future.

The troubling change relates to the definition of money and what constitutes electronic currency. Currently, electronic currency does not exist. The disturbing portion of the new Code anticipates a new digital currency, one can only assume it is referencing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) now under development by the Federal Reserve. The push for a CBDC comes from President Biden’s Executive Order 14067 issued in March of 2022. Members of Congress are concerned over the role and function of a CBDC, for there are far too many unknowns about how electronic money will look and act.

The Uniform Commercial Code has traditionally been viewed by most legislatures as something perfunctory, so it typically receives little scrutiny. As a result, the new version containing the troubling provisions on digital currency has been introduced in two dozen states and has already passed the legislature chamber in states such as North Dakota, Colorado, Hawaii and South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem took bold leadership to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of her state and she vetoed the bill in South Dakota due to many of the reasons outlined in the letter below. You can read her veto here.

We encourage you to contact your state legislators and share this coalition letter with them. (You can also download the PDF version here.) Urge them not to pass your state’s Uniform Commercial Code and your governor not to sign this legislation into law if it makes it to his or her desk.

If you are an organization that would like to be included on this coalition letter, please contact us at the Pro-Family Legislative Network for consideration.




FAQ: Founders & Slavery

The issue of slavery in America’s Founding Era was complex. Initially, many people saw slavery as a normal part of life; this perspective is acknowledged by Chief Justice John Jay, who stated that, before the War for Independence, very few “doubted the propriety and rectitude of it.”1

However, the changing attitude towards slavery was evident even before the War for Independence when several colonies passed anti-slavery laws.2 (Each of these were overturned by King George III.3) Notably, a section of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson criticized the king for maintaining slavery and the slave trade.4

After the Declaration of Independence, states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey abolished slavery.5 Additionally, Virginia, in 1778, outlawed the further importation of slaves.6

Among the Founders themselves, some slave-owners, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, openly spoke against slavery.7 Conversely, others were demonstrably pro-slavery.8 There were also Founders involved in abolition movements. For example, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush helped establish the first abolition society in 1774.9 Furthermore, John Jay served as president of the New York abolition society.10

Again, this was a complicated issue for Americans during the Founding Era, but the actions of many demonstrate that this reprehensible practice had much opposition among the Founders. For more information on this topic, please see these additional resources.


Endnotes

1 John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), 3:342, to the English Anti-Slavery Society, June 1788.

2 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade (Columbus: J. & H. Miller, 1858), 386; George M. Stroud, A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827), 137; Thomas F. Gordon, The History of Pennsylvania from its Discovery by Europeans to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1829), 554-555.

3 Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1839), 8:42, to Dean Woodward on April 10, 1773; Benson J. Lossing, Harpers’ Popular Cyclopaedia of United States History (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1892), 1299.

4 Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert Ellery Bergh (Washington DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), 1:34, from Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence. This section was removed on the objection of two states: Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1829), 1:16, from his Autobiography.

5 A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes and Sons, 1780), 7; An Abridgement of the Laws of Pennsylvania, ed. Collinson Read, (Philadelphia: 1801), 264-266; The Public Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1808), Book I, 623-625; Rhode Island Session Laws (Providence: Wheeler, 1784), 7-8; The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), 50, New Hampshire, 1792; The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming The United States of America, ed. Francis Newton Thorpe (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1909), 6:3762, Vermont, 1793; Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Session, Second Meeting of the Legislature (Albany: Loring Andrew, 1798), 721-723; Laws of the State of New Jersey Compiled and Published Under the Authority of the Legislature, ed. Joseph Bloomfield (Trenton: James J. Wilson, 1811), 103-105.

6 The Statues at Large; Being A Collection of all the Laws of Virginia From the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619, ed. William Waller Henning (Richmond: J & G Cochran, 1821), IX:471-472, “An act for preventing the farther importation of Slaves,” October, 1778.

7 Paul Leland Haworth, George Washington: Farmer (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1915), 192; Mary V. Thompson, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret,” Mount Vernon, 1999; The Works of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul Leicester Ford (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), 11:417, to Edward Coles on August 25, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H.A. Washington (New York: Riker, Thorne, & Co., 1855), 6:378, to Thomas Cooper on September 10, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1794), 236-238, “Query XVIII.”

8 See, for example, Jeffrey Crow, “Liberty to Slaves: The Black Response,” Anchor, accessed August 23, 2023; James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903), 4:267-268, “Journal of the Constitutional Convention,” August 22, 1787; The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, ed. Joseph Gales (Washington DC: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 1:1242-1243, February 12, 1790.

9 Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the 23rd of April, 1787 (Philadelphia: Joseph James, 1787), 8.

10 “Race and Antebellum New York City: The New York Manumission Society,” New York Historical Society, accessed August 23, 2023; The Works of Samuel Hopkins (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1854), 2:548, Advertisement page for “A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans.”

Sermon – Duty of Americans

Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) graduated from Yale in 1769. He was principal of the New Haven grammar school (1769-1771) and a tutor at Yale (1771-1777). A lack of chaplains during the Revolutionary War led him to become a preacher and he served as a chaplain in a Connecticut brigade. Dwight served as preacher in neighboring churches in Northampton, MA (1778-1782) and in Fairfield, CT (1783). He also served as president of Yale College (1795-1817).


THE DUTY OF AMERICANS, AT THE
PRESENT CRISIS,
ILLUSTRATED IN A DISCOURSE,
PREACHED ON THE FOURTH OF JULY,
1798;
BY THE REVEREND
TIMOTHY DWIGHT, D. D.
PRESIDENT OF YALE-COLLEGE;
AT THE REQUEST
OF THE
Citizens of New-Haven.

NEW-HAVEN; PRINTED BY THOMAS AND SAMUEL GREEN, 1798.

REVELATION XVI.XV.

“Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he
that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he
walk naked, and they see his shame.”

THIS passage is inserted as a parenthesis in the account of the sixth vial. To feel its whole force it will be necessary to recur to that account, and to examine it with some attention. It is given in these words.

  1. 12. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the king of the east might be prepared.”
  2. “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
  3. “For they are the spirits of devils (Gr. Demons), working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
  4. “Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
  5. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

TO this account is subjoined that of the seventh vial; at the effusion of which is accomplished a wonderful and most affecting convulsion of this guilty world, and the final ruin of the Antichristian empire. The circumstances of this amazing event are exhibited at large in the remainder of this, and in the three succeeding chapters.

INSTEAD of employing the time, allowed by the present occasion, in stating the several opinions of commentators concerning this remarkable prophecy, opinions which you can examine at your leisure, I shall, as briefly as may be, state to you that, which appears to me to be its true meaning. This is necessary to be done, to prepare you for the use of it, which is now intended to be made.

IN the 12th verse, under a natural allusion to the manner in which the ancient Babylon was destroyed, a description is given us of the measures, used by the Most High to prepare the way for the destruction of the spiritual Babylon. The river Euphrates surrounded the walls, and ran through the middle, of the ancient Babylon, and thus became the means of its wealth, strength and safety. When Cyrus and Cyaxares (The Darius of Daniel), the kings of Persia and Media, or, in the Jewish phraseology, of the east, took this celebrated city, they dried up, or emptied, the waters of the Euphrates, out of its proper channel, by turning them into a lake, or more probably a sunken region of the country, above the city. They then entered by the channel which passed through the city, made themselves masters of it, and overturned the empire. The emptying, or drying up, of the waters of the real Euphrates thus prepared the way of the real kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the real Babylon. The drying up of the waters of the figurative Euphrates in the like manner prepares the way of the figurative kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the figurative Babylon. The terms waters, Euphrates, kings, east, Babylon, are all figurative or symbolical; and are not to be understood as denoting real kings, or a real east, any more than a real Euphrates, or a real Babylon. The whole meaning of the prophet is, I apprehend, that God will, under this vial, so diminish the wealth, strength, and safety, of the spiritual or figurative Babylon, as effectually to prepare the way for its destroyers.

IN the remaining verses an event is predicted, of a totally different kind; which is also to take place in the same period. Three unclean spirits; like frogs, are exhibited as proceeding out of the mouth of the Dragon or Devil, of the Beast or Romish Government, and of the False Prophet, or, as I apprehend, of the regular Clergy of that Hierarchy. These spirits are represented as working miracles, as going forth to the kings, of the whole world, to gather them; and as actually gathering them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, described in the remainder of this chapter, and in the three succeeding ones. Of this vast enterprise the miserable end is strongly marked, in the name of the place, into which they are said to be gathered—Armageddon—the mountain of destruction and mourning.

THE writer of this book will himself explain to us what he intended by the word spirits in this passage. In his 1st Epistle, ch. iv. v. 1. he says,

Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (See also v. 2, 3, 6.)

  1. E. Believe not every teacher, or doctrine, professing to come from God; but examine all carefully, that ye may know whether they come from God, or not; for many false prophets, or teachers passing themselves upon the Church for teachers of truth, but in reality teachers of false doctrines, are gone out into the world.

IN the same sense, if I am not deceived, is the word used in the passage under consideration. One great characteristic and calamity of this period is, therefore, that unclean teachers, or teachers of unclean doctrines, will spread through the world, to unite mankind against God. They are said to be three; i. e. several; a definite number being used here, as in many other passages of this book, for an indefinite one; to come out of the mouths of the three evil agents abovementioned; i. e. to originate in those countries, where they have principally co-operated against the kingdom of God; to be unclean; to resemble frogs; i. e. to be lothesome, clamorous, impudent, and pertinacious; to be the spirits of demons, i. e. to be impious, malicious, proud, deceitful, and cruel; to work miracles, or wonders; and to gather great multitudes of men to battle, i. e. to embark them in an open, professed enterprise, against God Almighty.

HAVING thus summarily explained my views of this prophecy, I shall now for the purpose of presenting it in a more distinct and comprehensive view draw together the several parts of it in a paraphrase.

IN the sixth great division of the period of providence, denoted by the vials filled with divine judgments and emptied on the world, the wealth, strength and safety of the Antichristian empire will be greatly lessened, and thus effectual preparation will be made for its final overthrow.

IN the meantime several teachers of false and immoral doctrines will arise in those countries, where the Powers of the Antichristian empire have especially distinguished themselves, by corrupting the truth, and persecuting the followers, of Christ; the character of which teachers and their doctrines will be impure, lothesome, impudent, pertinacious, proud, deceitful, impious, malicious, and cruel.

THESE teachers will, by their doctrines and labours, openly, professedly, and in an unusual manner, contend against God, and against his kingdom in this world, and will strive to unite mankind in this opposition.

NOR will they fail of astonishing success; for they will actually unite a large part of the human race, particularly in Christendom, in this impious undertaking.

BUT they will only unite them to their destruction; a destruction most awfully accomplished at the effusion of the seventh vial.

FROM this explanation it is manifest, that the prediction consists of two great and distinct parts; the preparation for the overthrow of the Antichristian empire; and the embarkation of men in a professed and unusual opposition to God, and to his kingdom, accomplished by means of false doctrines, and impious teachers.

BY the ablest Commentators the fifth vial is considered as having been poured out at the time of the Reformation. The first is supposed, and with almost absolute certainty, to have begun to operate not long after the year 800. If we calculate from that period to the year 1517, the year in which the Reformation began in Germany, the four first vials will be found to have occupied about four times 180 years. 180 years may therefore be estimated as the greatest, and 170 years as the least duration of a single vial. From the year 1517 to the year 1798 there are 281 years. If the fifth vial be supposed to have continued 180 years, its termination was in the year 1697; if 170, in 1687. Of course the sixth vial may be viewed as having been in operation more than 100 years.

YOU will now naturally ask, What events in the Providence of God, found in this period, verify the prediction?

TO this question I answer, generally, that the whole complexion of things appears to me to have, in a manner surprisingly exact, corresponded with the prediction. The following particulars will evince with what propriety this answer is returned.

WITHIN this period the Jesuits, who constituted the strongest branch, and the most formidable internal support, of the Romish hierarchy, have been suppressed.

WITHIN this period various other orders of the regular Romish Clergy have in some countries been suppressed, and in others greatly reduced. Their permanent possessions have been confiscated, and their wealth and power greatly lessened.

WITHIN this period the Antichristian secular powers have been in most instances exceedingly weakened. Poland as a body politic is nearly annihilated. Austria has deeply suffered. Venice and the popish part of Switzerland as bodies politic have vanished. The Sardinian monarchy is on the eve of dissolution. Spain, Naples, Tuscany, and Genoa, are sorely wounded; and Portugal totters to its fall. By the treaty, now on the tapis in Germany, the Romish Archbishoprics and Bishoprics, in that empire, are proposed to be secularized, and as distinct governments to be destroyed. As the strength of these powers was the foundation, on which the Hierarchy rested; so their destruction, or diminution, is a final preparation for its ruin.

IN France, Belgium, the Italian, and Cis-rhenane republics, a new form of government has been instituted, the effect of which, whether it shall prove permanent, or not, must be greatly and finally to diminish the strength of the Hierarchy.

IN France, and in Belgium, the whole power and influence of the Clergy of all descriptions have, in a sense, been destroyed; and their immense wealth has been diverted into new channels. In France, also, an open, violent, and inveterate war has been made upon the Hierarchy, and carried on with unexampled bitterness and cruelty. (In the mention of all these evils brought on the Romish Hierarchy, I beg he may be remembered that I am far from justifying the iniquitous conduct of their persecutors. I know not that any person holds it, and all other persecution, more in abhorrence. Neither have I a doubt of the integrity and piety of multitudes of the unhappy sufferers. In my view they claim, and I trust will receive, the commiseration, and, as occasion offers, the kind offices of all men possessed even of common humanity.)

WITHIN this period, also, the revenues of the Pope have been greatly curtailed; the territory of Avignon has been taken out of his hands; and his general weight and authority have exceedingly declined.

WITHIN the present year his person has been seized, his secular government overturned, a republic formed out of his dominions, and an apparent and at least temporary end put to his dominion.

TO all these mighty preparations for the ruin of the Antichristian empire may be added, as of the highest efficacy, that great change of character, of views, feelings, and habits, throughout many Antichristian countries, which assures us completely, that its former strength can never return.

THUS has the first part of this remarkable prophecy been accomplished. Not less remarkable has been the fulfilment of the second.

ABOUT the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy, and not less distinguished for his hatred of christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy christianity, and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism. For this purpose he associated with himself Frederic the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D’Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie; all men of talents, atheists, and in the like manner abandoned. The principal parts of this system were, 1st. The compilation of the Encyclopedie (The celebrated French Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, in which articles of Theology were speciously and decently written; but, by references artfully made to other articles, all the truth of the former was entirely and insidiously overthrown to most readers, but the sophistry of the latter.); in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of Natural as well as Christian Theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty. 2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries; a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries. 3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed, as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers. 4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honours of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents. In this way they designed to hold out themselves, and their friends, as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation. (So far was this carried, that a Mr. Beauzet, a layman, but a sincere Christian, who was one of the forty members, once asked D’Alembert how they came to admit him among them? D’Alembert answered, without hesitation, “I am sensible, this must seem astonishing to you; but we wanted a skillful grammarian, and among our party, not one had acquired a reputation in this line. We know that you believe in God, but, being a good sort of man, we cast our eyes upon you, for want of a philosopher to supply your place.” Brit. Crit. Art. Barruel’s Memoirs of the History of Jacobinism. August 1797.) 5. The fabrication of Books of all kinds against christianity, especially such as excite doubt, and generate contempt and derision. Of these they issued, by themselves and their friends, who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed, as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written, as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men. 6. The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as post-humous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names. These were printed and circulated, at the lowest price, through all classes of men, in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.

NOR were the labours of this Academy confined to religion. They attacked also morality and government, unhinged gradually the minds of men, and destroyed their reverence for every thing heretofore esteemed sacred.

IN the mean time, the Masonic Societies, which had been originally instituted for convivial and friendly purposes only, were, especially in France and Germany, made the professed scenes of debate concerning religion, morality, and government, by these philosophists (The words Philosophism and Philosophists may in our opinion, be happily adopted from this work, to designate the doctrines of the Diestical sect; and thus to rescue, the honourable terms of Philosophy and Philosopher from the abuse, into which they have fallen. Philosphism is a love of Sephisms, and thus completely describes the sect of Voltaire: A Philosphists is a lover of Sophists. Brit. Crit. Ibid.) who had in great numbers become Masons. For such debate the legalized existence of Masonry, its profound secresy, its solemn and mystic rites and symbols, its mutual correspondence, and its extension through most civilized countries, furnished the greatest advantages. All here was free, safe, and calculated to encourage the boldest excursions of restless opinion and impatient ardour, and to make and fix the deepest impressions. Here, and in no other place, under such arbitrary governments, could every innovator in these important subjects utter every sentiment, however daring, and attack every doctrine and institution, however guarded by law or sanctity. In the secure and unrestrained debates of the lodge, every novel, licentious, and alarming opinion was resolutely advanced. Minds, already tinged with philosophism, were here speedily blackened with a deep and deadly die; and those, which came fresh and innocent to the scene of contamination, became early and irremediably corrupted. A stubborn incapacity of conviction, and a flinty insensibility to every moral and natural tie, grew of course out of this combination of causes; and men were surely prepared, before themselves were aware, for every plot and perpetration. In these hot beds were sown the seeds of that astonishing Revolution, and all its dreadful appendages, which now spreads dismay and horror throughout half the globe.

WHILE these measures were advancing the great design with a regular and rapid progress, Doctor Adam Weishaupt, professor of the Canon law in the University of Ingolstadt, a city of Bavaria (in Germany) formed, about the year 1777, the order of Illuminati. This order is professedly a higher order of Masons, originated by himself, and grafted on ancient Masonic Institutions. The secresy, solemnity, mysticism, and correspondence of Masonry, were in this new order preserved and enhanced; while the ardour of innovation, the impatience of civil and moral restraints, and the aims against government, morals, and religion, were elevated, expanded, and rendered more systematical, malignant, and daring.

IN the societies of Illuminati doctrines were taught, which strike at the root of all human happiness and virtue; and every such doctrine was either expressly or implicitly involved in their system.

THE being of God was denied and ridiculed.

GOVERNMENT was asserted to be a curse, and authority a mere usurpation.

CIVIL society was declared to be the only apostasy of man.

THE possession of property was pronounced to be robbery.

CHASTITY and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.

ADULTERY, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful, and even as virtuous actions.

TO crown such a system of falshood and horror all means were declared to be lawful, provided the end was good.

IN this last doctrine men are not only loosed from every bond, and from every duty; but from every inducement to perform any thing which is good, and, abstain from any thing which is evil; and are set upon each other, like a company of hellhounds to worry, rend, and destroy. Of the goodness of the end every man is to judge for himself; and most men, and all men who resemble the Illuminati, will pronounce every end to be good, which will gratify their inclinations. The great and good ends proposed by the Illuminati, as the ultimate objects of their union, are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society civil and domestic. These they pronounce to be so good, that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable, if necessary for these great purposes. With such an example in view, it will be in vain to hunt for ends, which can be evil.

CORRESPONDENT with this summary was the whole system. No villainy, no impiety, no cruelty, can be named, which was not vindicated; and no virtue, which was not covered with contempt.

THE means by which this society was enlarged, and its doctrines spread, were of every promising kind. With unremitted ardour and diligence the members insinuated themselves into every place of power and trust, and into every literary, political and friendly society; engrossed as much as possible the education of youth, especially of distinction; became licensers of the press, and directors of every literary journal; waylaid every foolish prince, every unprincipled civil officer, and every abandoned clergyman; entered boldly into the desk, and with unhallowed hands, and satanic lips, polluted the pages of God; inlisted in their service almost all the booksellers, and of course the printers, of Germany; inundated the country with books, replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity; prohibited the printing, and prevented the sale, of books of the contrary character; decried and ridiculed them when published in spite of their efforts; panegyrized and trumpeted those of themselves and their coadjutors; and in a word made more numerous, more diversified, and more strenuous exertions, than an active imagination would have preconceived.

TO these exertions their success has been proportioned. Multitudes of the Germans, notwithstanding the gravity, steadiness, and sobriety of their national character, have become either partial or entire converts to these wretched doctrines; numerous societies have been established among them; the public faith and morals have been unhinged; and the political and religious affairs of that empire have assumed an aspect, which forebodes its total ruin. In France, also, Illuminatism has been eagerly and extensively adopted; and those men, who have had, successively, the chief direction of the public affairs of that country, have been members of this society. Societies have also been erected in Switzerland and Italy, and have contributed probably to the success of the French, and to the overthrow of religion and government, in those countries. Mentz was delivered up to Custine by the Illuminati; and that General appears to have been guillotined, because he declined to encourage the same treachery with respect to Manheim.

NOR have England and Scotland escaped the contagion. Several societies have been erected in boch of those countries. Nay in the private papers, seized in the custody of the leading members in Germany, several such societies are recorded as having been erected in America, before the year 1786. (See Robinson’s Conspiracy and the Abbe Barruel’s Memoirs of the History of Jacobinism.)

IT is a remarkable fact, that a large proportion of the sentiments, here stated, have been publicly avowed and applauded in the French legislature. The being and providence of God have been repeatedly denied and ridiculed. Christ has been mocked with the grossest insult. Death, by a solemn legislative decree has been declared to be an eternal sleep. Marriage has been degraded to a farce, and the community, by the law of divorce, invited to universal prostitution In the school of public instruction atheism is professedly taught; and at an audience before the legislature, Nov. 30, 1793, the head scholar declared, that he and his schoolfellows detested a God; a declaration received by the members with unbounded applause, and rewarded with the fraternal kiss of the president, and with the honors of the sitting. (See Gifford’s Letter to Erskine.)

I presume I have sufficiently proved the fulfilment of the second part of this remarkable prophesy; and shewn, that doctrines and teachers, answering to the description, have arisen in the very countries specified, and that they are rapidly spreading through the world, to engage mankind in an open and professed war against God. I shall only add, that the titles of these philosophistical books have, in various instances, been too obscene to admit of a translation by a virtuous man, and in a decent state of society. So fully are these teachers entitled to the epithet unclean.

ASSUMING now as just, for the purposes of this discourse, the explanation, which has been given, I shall proceed to consider the import of the Text.

THE Text is an affectionate address of the Redeemer to his children, teaching them that conduct, which he wills them especially to pursue in this alarming season. It is the great practical remark, drawn by infinite Wisdom and Goodness from a most solemn sermon, and cannot fail therefore to merit our highest attention. Had he not, while recounting the extensive and dreadful convulsion, described in the context, made a declaration of this nature, there would have been little room for the exercise of any emotions, beside those of terror and despair. The gloom would have been universal and entire; a blank midnight without a star to cheer the solitary darkness. But here a hope, a promise, is furnished to such as obey the injunction, by which it is followed; a luminary like that, which shone to the wise men of the east, is lighted up to guide our steps to the Author of peace and salvation.

BLESSED, even in this calamitous season, saith the Saviour of men, is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.

SIN is the nakedness and shame of the scriptures, and righteousness the garment which covers it. To watch and keep the garments is, of course, so to observe the heart and the life, so carefully to resist temptation and abstain from sin, and so faithfully to cultivate holiness and perform duty, that the heart and the life shall be adorned with the white robes of evangelical virtue, the unspotted attire of spiritual beauty.

THE cautionary precept given to us by our Lord is, therefore,

THAT WE SHOULD BE EMINENTLY WATCHFUL TO PERFORM OUR DUTY FAITHFULLY, IN THE TRYING PERIOD, IN WHICH OUR LOT IS CAST.

TO those, who obey, a certain blessing is secured by the promise of the Redeemer.

THE great and general object, aimed at by this command, and by every other, is private, personal obedience and reformation of life; personal piety, righteousness, and temperance.

TO every man is by his Creator especially committed the care of himself; of his time, his talents, and his soul. He knows, or may know, better than any other man, his wants, his sins, and his dangers, and of course the means of relief, reformation, and escape. No one, so well as he, can watch the approach of temptation, so feelingly pray for divine assistance, or so profitably resolve on future obedience. In truth no resolutions, no prayers, no watchfulness of others, will profit him at all, unless seconded by his own.

No other person can make any useful impressions on our hearts, or our lives, unless by rousing in us the necessary exertions. All extraneous labours terminate in this single point: it is the end of every doctrine, exhortation, and reproof, of every moral and religious institution.

THE manner, in which such obedience is to be performed, and such reformation accomplished, is described to you weekly in the desk, and daily in the scriptures. A detail of it, therefore, will not be necessary, nor expected, on the present occasion. You already know what is to be done, and the manner in which it is to be done. You need not be told, that you are to use all efforts of your own, and to look humbly and continually to God to render those efforts successful; that you are to resist carefully and faithfully every approaching temptation, and every rising sin; that you are to resolve on newness of life, and to seize every occasion, as it presents itself, to honour God, and to bless your fellow men; that you are strenuously to contend against evil habits, and watchfully to cherish good ones; and that you are constantly to aim at uniformity and eminency in a holy life, and to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

BUT it may be necessary to remind you, that personal obedience and reformation is the foundation, and the sum, of all national worth and prosperity. If each man conducts himself aright, the community cannot be conducted wrong. If the private life be unblamable, the public state must be commendable and happy.

INDIVIDUALS are often apt to consider their own private conduct as of small importance to the public welfare. This opinion is wholly erroneous and highly mischievous. No man can adopt it, who believes, and remembers, the declarations of God. If “one sinner destroyeth much good,” if “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” if ten righteous persons, found in the polluted cities of the vale of Siddim, would have saved them from destruction, the personal conduct of no individual can be insignificant to the safety and happiness of a nation. On the contrary, the advantages to the public of private virtue, faithful prayer and edifying example, cannot be calculated. No one can conjecture how many will be made better, safer, and happier, by the virtue of one.

WHEREVER wealth, politeness, talents, and office, lend their aid to the inherent efficacy of virtue, its influence is proportionally greater. In this case the example is seen by greater numbers, is regarded with more respectful attention, and felt with greater force. The piety of Hezekiah reformed and saved a nation. Men far inferior in station to kings, and possessed of far humbler means of doing good, may still easily circulate through multitudes both virtue and happiness. The beggar on the dunghill may become a public blessing. Every parent, if a faithful one, is a public blessing of course. How delightful a path of patriotism is this?

IT is also to be remembered, that this is the way, in which the chief good, ever placed in the power of most persons, is to be done. If this opportunity of serving God, and befriending mankind, be lost, no other will by the great body of men ever be found. Few persons can be concerned in settling systems of faith, moulding forms of government, regulating nations, or establishing empires. But almost all can train up a family for God, instil piety, justice, kindness and truth, distribute peace and comfort around a neighbourhood, receive the poor and the outcast into their houses, tend the bed of sickness, pour balm into the wounds of pain, and awaken a smile in the aspect of sorrow. In the secret and lowly vale of life, virtue in its most lovely attire delights to dwell. There God, with peculiar complacency, most frequently finds the inestimable ornament of a meek and quiet spirit; and there the morning and the evening incense ascends with peculiar fragrance to heaven. When angels became the visitors, and the guests, of Abraham, he was a simple husbandman.

BESIDES, this is the great mean of personal safety and happiness. No good man was ever forgotten, or neglected, of God. To him duty is always safety. Around the tabernacle of every one, that feareth God, the angel of protection will encamp, and save him from the impending evil.

  1. AMONG the particular duties required by this precept, and at the present time, none holds a higher place than the observation of the Sabbath.

THE Sabbath and its ordinances have ever been the great means of all moral good to mankind. The faithful observation of the sabbath is, therefore, one of the chief duties and interests of men; but the present time furnishes reasons, peculiar, at least in degree, for exemplary regard to this divine institution. The enemies of God have by private argument, ridicule, and influence, and by public decrees, pointed their especial malignity against the Sabbath; and have expected, and not without reason, that, if they could annihilate it, they should overthrow christianity. From them we cannot but learn its importance. Enemies usually discern, with more sagacity, the most promising point of attack, than those who are to be attacked. In this point are they to be peculiarly opposed. Here, peculiarly, are their designs to be baffled. If they fail here, they will finally fail. Christianity cannot fall, but by the neglect of the Sabbath.

I HAVE been credibly informed, that, some years before the Revolution, an eminent philosopher of this country, now deceased, declared to David Hume, that Christianity would be exterminated from the American colonies within a century from that time. The opinion has doubtless been often declared and extensively imbibed; and has probably furnished our enemies their chief hopes of success. Where religion prevails, their system cannot succeed. Where religion prevails, Illuminatism cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts. To destroy us, therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath, and seduce us from the house of God.

RELIGION and Liberty are the two great objects of defensive war. Conjoined, they unite all the feelings, and call forth all the energies, of man. In defense of them, nations contend with the spirit of the Maccabees; “one will chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.” The Dutch, in defense of them, few and feeble as they were in their infancy, assumed a gigantic courage, and grew like the fabled sons of Alous to an instantaneous and gigantic strength, broke the arms of the Spanish empire, swept its fleets from the ocean, pulled down its pride, plundered its treasures, captivated its dependencies, and forced its haughty monarch to a peace on their own terms. Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them, and it languishes, consumes, and dies. If indifference to either at any time becomes the prevailing character of a people, one half of their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased. Here, eminently, they are inseparable. Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves; but not the freedom of New-England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it; and nothing would be left, which would be worth defending. Our children of course, if not ourselves, would be prepared, as the ox for the slaughter, to become the victims of conquest, tyranny, and atheism.

THE Sabbath, with its ordinances, constitutes the bond of union to christians; the badge by which they know each other; their rallying point; the standard of their host. Beside public worship they have no means of effectual descrimination. To preserve this is to us a prime interest and duty. In no way can we so preserve, or so announce to others, our character as christians; or so effectually prevent our nakedness and shame from being seen by our enemies. Now, more than ever, we are “not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Now, more than ever, are we to stand forth to the eye of our enemies, and of the world, as open, determined christians; as the followers of Christ; as the friends of God. Every man, therefore, who loves his country, or his religion, ought to feel, that he serves, or injures, both, as he celebrates, or neglects, the Sabbath. By the devout observation of this holy day he will reform himself, increase his piety, heighten his love to his country, and confirm his determination to defend all that merits his regard. He will become a better man, and a better citizen.

THE house of God is also the house of social prayer. Here nations meet with God to ask, and to receive, national blessings. On the Sabbath, and in the sanctuary, the children of the Redeemer will, to the end of the world, assemble for this glorious end. Here he is ever present to give more than they can ask. If we faithfully unite, here, in seeking his protection, “no weapon formed against us will prosper.”

  1. ANOTHER duty, to which we are also eminently called, is an entire separation from our enemies. Among the moral duties of man none hold a higher rank than political ones, and among our own political duties none is more plain, or more absolute, than that which I have now mentioned.

IN the eighteenth chapter of this prophecy, in which the dreadful effects of the seventh vial are particularly described, this duty is expressly enjoined on christians by a voice from Heaven. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Under the evils and dangers of the sixth vial, the command in the Text was given; under those of the seventh, the command which we are now considering. The world is already far advanced in the period of the sixth. In the Text we are informed, that the Redeemer will hasten the progress of his vengeance on the enemies of his church, during the effusion of the two last vials. If, therefore, the judgments of the seventh are not already begun, a fact of which I am doubtful, they certainly cannot be distant. The present time is, of course, the very period for which this command was given.

THE two great reasons for the command are subjoined to it by the Saviour—”that ye be not partakers of her sins; and that ye receive not of her plagues;” and each is a reason of incomprehensible magnitude.

THE sins of these enemies of Christ, and Christians, are of numbers and degrees, which mock account and description. All that the malice and atheism of the Dragon, the cruelty and rapacity of the Beast, and the fraud and deceit of the false Prophet, can generate, or accomplish, swell the list. No personal, or national interest of man has been uninvaded; no impious sentiment, or action, against God has been spared; no malignant hostility against Christ, and his religion, has been unattempted. Justice, truth, kindness, piety, and moral obligation universally, have been, not merely trodden under foot; this might have resulted from vehemence and passion; but ridiculed, spurned, and insulted, as the childish bugbears of driveling idiocy. Chastity and decency have been alike turned out of doors; and shame and pollution called out of their dens to the hall of distinction, and the chair of state. Nor has any art, violence, or means, been unemployed to accomplish these evils.

FOR what end shall we be connected with men, of whom this is the character and conduct? Is it that we may assume the same character, and pursue the same conduct? Is it, that our churches may become temples of reason, our Sabbath a decade, and our psalms of praise Marseillois hymns? Is it, that we may change our holy worship into a dance of Jacobin phrenzy, and that we may behold a strumpet personating a Goddess on the altars of JEHOVAH? Is it that we may see the Bible cast into a bonfire, the vessels of the sacramental supper borne by an ass in public procession, and our children, either wheedled or terrified, uniting in the mob, chanting mockeries against God, and hailing in the sounds of Caira the ruin of their religion, and the loss of their souls? Is it, that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution; soberly dishonoured; speciously polluted; the outcasts of delicacy and virtue, and the lothing of God and man? Is it, that we may see, in our public papers, a solemn comparison drawn by an American Mother club between the Lord Jesus Christ and a new Marat; and the fiend of malice and fraud exalted above the glorious Redeemer?

SHALL we, my brethren, become partakers of these sins? Shall we introduce them into our government, our schools, our families? Shall our sons become the disciples of Voltaire, and the dragoons of Marat (See a four years Residence in France, lately published by Mr. Cornelius Davis of New York. This is a most valuable and interesting work, and exhibits the French Revolution in a far more perfect light than any book I have seen. It ought to be read by every American.); or our daughters the concubines of the Illuminati?

SOME of my audience may perhaps say, “We do not believe such crimes to have existed.” The people of Jerusalem did not believe, that they were in danger, until the Chaldeans surrounded their walls. The people of Laish were secure, when the children of Dan lay in ambush around their city. There are in every place, and in every age, persons “who are settled upon their lees,” who take pride in disbelief, and “who say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” Some persons disbelieve through ignorance; some choose not to be informed; and some determine not to be convinced. The two last classes cannot be persuaded. The first may, perhaps, be at least alarmed, when they are told, that the evidence of all this, and much more, is complete, that it has been produced to the public, and may with a little pains-taking be known by themselves.

THERE are others, who, admitting the fact, deny the danger. “If others,” say they, “are ever so abandoned, we need not adopt either their principles, or their practices.” Common sense has however declared, two thousand years ago, and God has sanctioned the declaration, that “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Of this truth all human experience is one continued and melancholy proof. I need only add, that these persons are prepared to become the first victims of the corruption by this very selfconfidence and security.

SHOULD we, however, in a forbidden connection with these enemies of God, escape, against all hope, from moral ruin, we shall still receive our share of their plagues. This is the certain dictate of the prophetical injunction; and our own experience, and that of nations more intimately connected with them, has already proved its truth.

LOOK for conviction to Belgium; sunk into the dust of insignificance and meanness, plundered, insulted, forgotten, never to rise more. See Batavia wallowing in the same dust; the butt of fraud, rapacity, and derision, struggling in the last stages of life, and searching anxiously to find a quiet grave. See Venice sold in the shambles, and made the small change of a political bargain. Turn your eyes to Switzerland, and behold its happiness, and its hopes, cut off at a single stroke: happiness, erected with the labour and the wisdom of three centuries; hopes, that not long since hailed the blessings of centuries yet to come. What have they spread, but crimes and miseries; Where have they trodden, but to waste, to pollute, and to destroy?

ALL connection with them has been pestilential. Among ourselves it has generated nothing but infidelity, irreligion, faction, rebellion, the ruin of peace, and the loss of property. In Spain, in the Sardinian monarchy, in Genoa, it has sunk the national character, blasted national independence, rooted out confidence, and forerun destruction.

BUT France itself has been the chief seat of the evils, wrought by these men. The unhappy and ever to be pitied inhabitants of that country, a great part of whom are doubtless of a character similar to that of the peaceable citizens of other countries, and have probably no voluntary concern in accomplishing these evils, have themselves suffered far more from the hands of philosophists, and their followers, than the inhabitants of any other country. General Danican, a French officer, asserts in his memoirs, lately published, that three millions of Frenchmen have perished in the Revolution. Of this amazing destruction the causes by which it was produced, the principles on which it was founded, and the modes in which it was conducted, are an aggravation, that admits no bound. The butchery of the stall, and the slaughter of the stye, are scenes of deeper remorse, and softened with more sensibility. The siege of Lyons, and the judicial massacres at Nantes, stand, since the crucifixion, alone in the volume of human crimes. The misery of man never before reached the extreme of agony, nor the infamy of man its consummation. Collot D. Herbois and his satellites, Carrier and his associates, would claim eminence in a world of fiends, and will be marked with distinction in the future hissings of the universe. No guilt so deeply died in blood, since the phrenzied malice of Calvary, will probably so amaze the assembly of the final day; and Nantes and Lyons may, without a hyperbole, obtain a literal immortality in a remembrance revived beyond the grave.

IN which of these plagues, my brethren, are you willing to share? Which of them will you transmit as a legacy to your children?

WOULD you escape, you must separate yourselves. Would you wholly escape, you must be wholly separated. I do not intend, that you must not buy and sell, or exhibit the common offices of justice and good will; but you are bound by the voice of reason, of duty, of safety, and of God, to shun all such connection with them, as will interweave your sentiments or your friendship, your religion or your policy, with theirs. You cannot otherwise fail of partaking in their guilt, and receiving of their plagues.

4thly. ANOTHER duty, to which we are no less forcibly called, is union among ourselves.

THE same divine Person, who spoke in the Text, hath also said, “A house, a kingdom, divided against itself cannot stand.” A divided family will destroy itself. A divided nation will anticipate ruin, prepared by its enemies. Switzerland, Geneva, Genoa, Venice, the Sardinian territories, Belgium, and Batavia, are melancholy examples of the truth of this declaration of our Saviour; beacons, which warn, with a gloomy and dreadful light, the nations who survive their ruin.

THE great bond of union to every people is its government. This destroyed, or distrusted, there is no center left of intelligence, counsel, or action; no system of purposes, or measures; no point of rallying, or confidence. When a nation is ready to say, “What part have we in David, or what inheritance in the son of Jesse?” it will naturally subjoin, “Every man to his tent, O Israel!”

THE candour and uprightness, with which our own government has acted in the progress of the present controversy, have forced encomiums even from its most bitter opposers, and excited the warmest approbation and applause of all its friends. Few objects could be more important, auspicious, or gratifying to christians, than to see the conduct of their rulers such, as they can, with boldness of access, bring before their God, and fearlessly commend to his favour and protection.

IN men, possessed of similar candour, adherence to our government, in the present crisis, may be regarded as a thing of course. They need not be informed, that the existing rulers must be the directors of our public affairs, and the only directors; that their views and measures will not and cannot always accord with the judgment of individuals, as the opinions of individuals accord no better with each other; that the officers of government are possessed of better information than private persons can be; that, if they had the same information, they would probably coincide with the opinions of their rulers; that confidence must be placed in men, imperfect as they are, in all human affairs, or no important business can be done; and that men of known and tried probity are fully deserving of that confidence.

AT the present time this adherence ought to be unequivocally manifested. In a land of universal suffrage, where every individual is possessed of much personal consequence as in ours, the government ought, especially in great measures, to be as secure, as may be, of the harmonious and cheerful co-operation of the citizens. All success, here, depends on the hearty concurrence of the community; and no occasion ever called for it more.

BUT there are, even in this State, persons, who are opposed to the government. To them I observe, That the government of France has destroyed the independence of every nation, which has confided in it.

THAT every such nation has been ruined by its internal divisions, especially by the separation of the people from their government.

THAT they have attempted to accomplish our ruin by the same means, and will certainly accomplish it, if they can;

THAT the miseries suffered by the subjugated nations have been numberless and extreme, involving the loss of national honour, the immense plunder of public and private property, the conflagration of churches and dwellings, the total ruin of families, the butchery of great multitudes of fathers and sons, and the most deplorable dishonour of wives and daughters;

THAT the same miseries will be repeated here, if in their power.

THAT there is, under God, no mean of escaping this ruin, but union among ourselves, and unshaken adherence to the existing government;

THAT themselves have an infinitely higher interest in preserving the independence of their country, than in any thing, which can exist, should it be conquered;

THAT they must stand, or fall, with their country; since the French, like all other conquerors, though they may for a little time regard them, as aids and friends, with a seeming partiality, will soon lose that partiality in a general contempt and hatred for them, as Americans. That should they, contrary to all experience, escape these evils, their children will suffer them as extensively as those of their neighbours; and

THAT to oppose, or neglect, the defence of their country, is to stab the breast, from which they have drawn their life.

I KNOW not that even these considerations will prevail: if they do not, nothing can be suggested by me, which will have efficacy. I must leave them, therefore, to their consciences, and their God.

IN the mean time, since the great facts, of which this controversy has consisted, have not, during the preceding periods, been thoroughly known, or believed, by all; and since all questions of expediency will be viewed differently by different eyes; I cannot but urge a general spirit of conciliation. To men labouring under mere mistakes, and prejudices void of malignity, hard names are in most cases unhappily applied, and unkindness is unwisely exhibited. Multitudes, heretofore attached to France with great ardour, have, from full conviction of the necessity of changing their sentiments and their conduct, come forth in the most decisive language, and determined conduct, of defenders of their country. More are daily exhibiting the same spirit and measures. Almost all native Americans will, I doubt not, speedily appear in the same ranks; and none should, in my opinion, be discouraged by useless obloquy.

  1. ANOTHER duty, injoined in the text, and highly incumbent on us at this time, is unshaken firmness in our opposition.

A STEADY and invincible firmness is the chief instrument of great atchievements. It is the prime mean of great wealth, learning, wisdom, power and virtue; and without it nothing noble or useful is usually accomplished. Without it our separation from our enemies, and our union among ourselves, will avail to no end. The cause is too complex, the object too important, to be determined by a single effort. It is infinitely too important to be given up, let the consequence be what it may. No evils, which can flow from resistance, can be so great as those, which must flow from submission. Great sacrifices of property, of peace, and of life, we may be called to make, but they will fall short of complete ruin. If they should not, it will be more desirable, beyond computation, to fall in the honourable and faithful defence of our families, our country, and our religion, than to survive, the melancholy, debased, and guilty spectators of the ruin of all. We contend for all that is, or ought to be, dear to man. Our cause is eminently that, in which “he who seeketh to save his life shall lose it, and he who loseth it,” in obedience to the command of his Master, “shall find it” beyond the grave. To our enemies we have done no wrong. Unspotted justice looks down on all our public measures with a smile. We fight for that, for which we can pray. We fight for the lives, the honor, the safety, of our wives and children, for the religion of our fathers, and for the liberty, “with which Christ hath made us free.” “We jeopard our lives,” that our children may inherit these glorious blessings, be rescued from the grinding insolence of foreign despotism, and saved from the corruption and perdition of foreign atheism. I am a father. I feel the usual parental tenderness for my children. I have long soothed the approach of declining years with the fond hope of seeing my sons serving God and their generation around me. But from cool conviction I declare in this solemn place, I would far rather follow them one by one to an untimely grave, than to behold them, however prosperous, the victims of philosophism. What could I then believe, but that they were “nigh unto cursing, and that their end was to be burned.”

FROM two sources only are we in danger of irresolution; Avarice, and a reliance on those fair professions, which our enemies have begun to make, and which they will doubtless continue to make, in degrees, and with insidiousness, still greater.

ON the first of these sources I observe, that, if we grudge a part of our property in the defence of our country, we lose the whole; and not only the whole of our property, but all our comforts, and all our hopes. Every enjoyment of life, every solace of sorrow, will be offered up in one vast hecatomb at the shrine of pride, plunder, impurity, and atheism. Those “who fear not God, regard not man.” All interests, beside their own, are in the view of such men the sport of wantonness, of insolence, and of a heart of millstone. They and their engines will soon tell you, if you do not put it out of their power, as one of the same engines told the miserable inhabitants of Neuwied (in Germany) unhappily placing confidence in their professions.

Hear the story, in the words of Professor Robison, “If ever there was a spot upon earth, where men may be happy in a state of cultivated society, it was the little principality of Neuwied. I saw it in 1770. The town was neat, and the palace handsome and in good state. But the country was beyond conception delightful; not a cottage that was out of repair; not a hedge out of order. It had been the hobby of the Prince (pardon me the word) who made it his daily employment to go through his principality, and assist every housholder, of whatever condition, with his advice and with his purse; and when a freeholder could not of himself put things into a thriving condition, the Prince sent his workmen and did it for him. He endowed schools for the common people and two academies for the gentry and the people of business. He gave little portions to the daughters, and prizes to the well-behaving sons of the labouring people. His own houshold was a pattern of elegance and economy; his sons were sent to Paris, to learn elegance, and to England, to learn science and agriculture. In short the whole was like a romance, and was indeed romantic. I heard it spoken of with a smile at the table of the Bishop of Treves, and was induced to see it the next day as a curiosity. Yet even here the fanaticism of Knigge (one of the founders of the Illuminati) would distribute his poison, and tell the blinded people that they were in a state of sin and misery, that their Prince was a despot, and that they would never be happy ’till he was made to fly, and ’till they were made all equal.”

“THEY got their wish. The swarm of French locusts sat down at Neuwied’s beautiful fields, in 1793, and intrenched themselves; and in three months Prince’s and Farmers’ houses, and cottages, and schools, and academies, all vanished. When they complained of their miseries to the French General, René le Grand, he replied, with a contemptuous and cutting laugh, “All is ours. We have left you your eyes to cry.”

WILL you trust such professions? Have not your enemies made them to every country, which they have subjugated? Have they fulfilled them to one? Will they prove more sincere to you? Have they not deceived you in every expectation hitherto? On what grounds can you rely on them hereafter?

WILL you grudge your property for the defence of itself, of your families, of yourselves. Will you preserve it to pay the price of a Dutch loan? to have it put in requisition by the French Directory? to label it on your doors, that they may, without trouble and without a tax bill, send their soldiers and take it for the use of the Republic? Will you keep it to assist them to pay their fleets and armies for subduing you? and to maintain their forts and garrisons for keeping you in subjection? Shall it become the purchase of a French fete, holden to commemorate the massacres of the 10th of August, the butcheries of the 3d of September, or the murder of Louis the 16th, your former benefactor? Shall it furnish the means for Representatives of the people to roll through your streets on the wheels of splendour, to imprison your sons and fathers; to seize on all the comforts, which you have earned with toil, and laid up with care; and to gather your wives, sisters, and daughters, into their brutal seraglios? Shall it become the price of the guillotine, and pay the expense of cleansing your streets from brooks of human blood?

WILL you rely on men whose principles justify falshood, injustice, and cruelty? Will you trust philosophists? men who set truth at nought, who make justice a butt of mockery, who deny the being and providence of God, and laugh at the interests and sufferings of men? Think not that such men can change. They can scarcely be worse. There is not a hope that they will become better.

BUT perhaps you may be alarmed by the power, and the successes, of your enemies. I am warranted to declare, that the ablest judge of this subject in America has said, that, if we are united, firm, and faithful to ourselves, neither France, nor all Europe, can subdue these States. Against other nations they contended with great and decisive advantages. Those nations were near to them, were divided, feeble, corrupted, seduced by philosophists, slaves of despotism, and separated from their government. None of these characters can be applied to us, unless we voluntarily retain those, which depend on ourselves. Three thousand miles of ocean spread between us and our enemies, to enfeeble and disappoint their efforts. They will not here contend with silken Italians, with divided Swissers, nor with self-surrendered Belgians and Batavians. They will find a hardy race of freemen, uncorrupted by luxury, unbroken by despotism; enlightened to understand their privileges, glowing with independence, and determined to be free, or to die: men who love, and who will defend, their familes, their country, and their religion: men fresh from triumph, and strong in a recent and victorious Revolution.

Doubled, since that Revolution began, in their numbers, and quadrupled in their resources and advantages, at home, in a country formed to disappoint invasion, and to prosper defence, under leaders skilled in all the arts and duties of war, and trained in the path of success, they have, if united, firm, and faithful, every thing to hope, and, beside the common evils of war, nothing to fear.

THINK not that I trust in chariots and in horses. My own reliance is, I hope, I ardently hope yours is, also, on the Lord our God. All these are his most merciful blessings, and, as such, most supporting consolations to us. They are the very means, which he has provided for our safety, and our hope. Stupidity, sloth, and ingratitude, can alone be blind to them as tokens for good. We are not, my brethren, to look for miracles, nor to expect God to accomplish them. We are to trust in him for the blessings of a regular and merciful providence. Such a providence is over us for good. I have recited abundant proofs, and could easily recite many more. All these are means, with which we are to plant, and to water, and in answer to our prayers God will certainly give the increase.

BUT I am peculiarly confident in the promised blessing of the Text. Our contention is a plain duty to God. The same glorious Person, who has commanded it, has promised to crown our obedience with his blessing; and has thus illumined this gloomy prediction, and shed the dawn of hope and comfort over this melancholy period.

TO you the promise is eminently supporting. He has won your faith by the great things he has already done for your fathers, and for you. The same Almighty Hand, which destroyed the fleet of Chebucto by the storm, and whelmed it in the deep; which conducted into the arms of Manly, and of Mugford, those means of war, which for the time saved your country; which raised up your Washington to guide your armies and your councils; which united you with your brethren against every expectation and hope; which disappointed the devices of enemies without, and traitors within; which bade the winds and the waves fight for you at Yorktown; which has, in later periods, repeatedly disclosed the machinations of your enemies, and which has now roused a noble spirit of resistance to intrigue and to terror; will accomplish for you a final deliverance from the hand of those, “who seek your hurt.” He has been your fathers’ God, and he will be yours.

LOOK through the history of your country. You will find scarcely less glorious and wonderful proofs of divine protection and deliverance, uniformly administered through every period of our existence as a people, than shone to the people of Israel in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in Canaan. Can it be believed, can it be, that Christianity has been so planted here, the Church of God so established, so happy a Government constituted, and so desirable a state of Society begun, merely to shew them to the world, and then destroy them? No instance can be found in the providence of God, in which a nation so wonderfully established, and preserved, has been overthrown, until it had progressed farther in corruption. We may be cast down; but experience only will prove to me, that we shall be destroyed.

BUT the consideration, which ought of itself to decide your opinions and your conduct, and which adds immense weight to all the others, is that the alternative, as exhibited in the prediction, and in providence, is beyond measure dreadful, and is at hand. “Behold,” saith the Saviour, “I come as a thief”—suddenly, unexpectedly, alarmingly— as that wasting enemy, the burglar, breaks up the house in the hour of darkness, when all the inhabitants are lost in sleep and security. How strongly do the great events of the present day shew this awful advent of the King of Kings to be at the doors?

TURN your eyes, for a moment, to the face of providence, and mark its new and surprising appearance. The Jews, for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian, have, in these States, been admitted to the rights of citizenship; and have since been admitted to the same rights in Prussia. They have also, as we are informed, appointed a solemn delegation to examine the evidences of Christianity. In the Austrian dominions, it is asserted, they have agreed to observe the Christian Sabbath; and in England, have in considerable numbers embraced the Christian religion. New and unprecedented efforts have been made, and are fast increasing, in England, Scotland, Germany, and the United States, for the conversion of the Heathen. Measures have, in Europe, and in America, been adopted, and are still enlarging, for putting an end to the African slavery, which will within a moderate period bring it to an end. Mohammedism is nearly extinct in Persia, one of the chief supports of that imposture. In Turkey, its other great support, the throne totters to its fall. The great Calamities of the present period have fallen, also, almost exclusively upon the Antichristian empire; and almost every part of that empire has drunk deeply of the cup. France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the Sardinian monarchy, the Austrian dominions, Venice, Genoa, popish Switzerland, the Ecclesiastical State, popish Germany, Poland, and the French West-Indies, have all been visited with judgments wonderful and terrible; and in exact accordance with prophecy have furthered their own ruin. The Kings, or states, of this empire are now plainly “hating the whore, eating her flesh, and burning her with fire.” Batavia, Protestant Switzerland, some parts of protestant Germany, and Geneva, have most unwisely, not to say wickedly, refused “to come out” and have therefore “partaken of the sins, and received of the plagues,” of their enemies. To the same unhappy cause our own smartings may all be traced; but blessed be God, there is reason to hope, that “we are escaping from the snare of the fowler.”

SO sudden, so unexpected, so alarming a state of things has not existed since the deluge. Every mouth proclaims, every eye looks its astonishment. Wonders daily succeed wonders, and are beginning to be regarded as the standing course of things. As they are of so many kinds, exist in so many places, and respect so many objects; kinds, places and objects, all marked out in prophecy, exhibited as parts of one closely united system, and to be expected at the present time; they shew that this affecting declaration is even now fulfilling in a surprising manner, and that the advent of Christ is at least at our doors. Think how awful this period is. Think what convulsions, what calamities, are portended by that great Voice out of the temple of Heaven from the Throne.—”It is done!” by the voices and thunderings and lightnings, by the unprecedented shaking of the earth, the unexampled plague of hailstones, the fleeing of the islands, the vanishing of the mountains, the rending asunder of the Antichristian empire, the united ascent of all its sins before God, the falling of the cities of the nations, the general embattling of mankind against their Maker, and their final overthrow, in such immense numbers, that “all the fowls shall be filled with their flesh.”

“GOD is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is burnt at his presence, yea the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?”

IN this amazing conflict, amidst this stupendous and immeasurable ruin, how transporting the thought, that safety and peace may be certainly found. O thou God of our fathers! our own God! and the God of our children! enable us so to watch, and keep our garments, in this solemn day, that our shame appear not, and that both we and our posterity may be entitled to the blessing which thou hast promised. AMEN.

Was the Boston Tea Party a Riot?

Recently America has witnessed a horrific tragedy in the killing of George Floyd by a police officer. To date, the officer has been fired, arrested, and charged with murder. Currently he is awaiting trial, at which point he will be prosecuted in front of a jury of his peers. This is the American judicial system punishing someone who has broken the law and violated the most central of the principles outlined in the Declaration—the right to life.

Peaceful protesters have marched around the country to demand justice. However, in the midst of justified outrage some people have themselves begun committing unjustifiable acts, assaulting and murdering police officers, burning down buildings, mercilessly beating people, and destroying their fellow citizens’ property. Out of town activists and professional agitators have poured into metropolitan centers and led rioters to destroy businesses, housing units, and even churches.

In defense of these heinous acts, some people have begun pointing to the Boston Tea Party as an example of how violent riots are part of American tradition. This historical perspective, however, is only possible if you don’t know the first thing about the Boston Tea Party, who was involved, and why it happened.

As a brief background, the British Parliament had been passing laws taxing American colonists for years without allowing for any recourse through representation in Parliament. (Although the Colonists had elected representatives in local government, they had no elected leaders to represent them in England.) This principle of arbitrary power exerted by the government was clearly illustrated by a tax on imported tea despite colonial resistance.

In 1773, England passed the Tea Act which effectively forced the colonists to import and pay for specifically English tea. One early historian explained that the British Prime Minister declared that, “it was of no use for anyone to offer objections, for the king would have it so.”[1] At major American ports commissioners were appointed to receive and pay for the tea, meaning that even if no individuals directly purchased tea, all the colonists would be taxed for it.

Naturally, the Americans were indignant and the colonists acted to prevent the tea from being received at the ports. In many cases, the British appointed leaders overseeing the importation stepped down or the tea-laden ships were forced to turn back to England. Benjamin Franklin explained that none of Great Britain’s actions were sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.”[2]

In Boston, however, the Royal Governor, Thomas Hutchinson, forced the ships to stay in the harbor and the commissioners (two of whom were Hutchinson’s sons) refused to step down.[3] When three ships carrying the tea arrived, Abigail Adams explained the tense and dangerous situation that met the patriots:

“The tea (that baneful weed) is arrived. Great, and I hope, effectual opposition has been made to the landing of it.…the proceedings of our Citizens have been united, spirited and firm. The flame is kindled and like lightning it catches from soul to soul. Great will be the devastation if not timely quenched or allayed by some more lenient measures.”[4]

On both sides of the Atlantic all eyes turned to Boston to see what the patriots would do. In Philadelphia, who had been successful in getting their British appointed commissioners to resign, it was stated, “all that we fear is that you will shrink at Boston. May God give you virtue enough to save the liberties of your country!”[5]

With time running out and all other options exhausted, nearly 7,000 Bostonians gathered at the Old South Meeting House and learned from ship’s owner, Joseph Rotch, that his request to sail back to England had been rejected and that if the tea was not unloaded that night it was subject to confiscation by the English navy (who undoubtedly would land the tea and tax the colonists).[6]

The colonists acknowledged that Rotch “was a good man who had done all in his power to gratify the people; and changed them [the people] to do no hurt to his person or his property.”[7] The patriots had formulated a plan to disguise themselves, board the ships and dump the tea in the harbor. At this point Samuel Adams called forth the men, wearing native American dress, and they proceeded to the ships and dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.

Upon hearing the news of the “Tea Party”, John Adams exclaimed:

“This is the most magnificent movement of all. There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots, that I greatly admire.”[8]

However, with this background in mind, the Boston Tea Party was not a riot by any stretch of the imagination for two important reasons.

First, it was 100% peaceful with no looting, rioting, injury, or destruction of person or private property.

It is no historical accident that it was called a party and not a riot. Throughout all of the actions taken by the patriots during that night, no personal property was destroyed. The tea itself, which was owned by the government-run East India Company and being forced upon the colonists by government edict, was the only item targeted.

In a letter written to Benjamin Franklin immediately after the Tea Party, it was explained that the Sons of Liberty arrived and demanded:

“the Tea, which was given up to them without the least resistance, they soon emptied all the chests into the harbor, to the amount of about three hundred and forty. This was done without injury to any other property, or to any man’s person…When they had done their business, they silently departed, and the town has been remarkably quiet ever since.”[9]

In fact, when it was discovered that one opportunist had filled his pocket with some tea, he “was stripped of his booty and his clothes together, and sent home naked,” with the writer sarcastically noting that it was “a remarkable instance of order and justice, among savages.”[10]

The morning after the Tea Party, John Adams reported that:

“The town of Boston, was never more still and calm of a Saturday night than it was last night. All things were conducted with great order, decency, and perfect submission to government” (emphasis in original).[11]

The early historian Richard Frothingham documents that:

“Notwithstanding the whoop, mentioned to have been given when the party went on board, they proved themselves quiet, orderly, and systematic workers; the parties in the ships doing faithfully the part assigned to them. In about three hours, they broke open three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, and cast their contents into the water. There was no interference with them; no person was harmed; no other property was permitted to be injured; and no tea was allowed to be purloined.…The inquirer will seek in vain in this deed for the tiger-like growl of an infuriated mob.”[12]

The ship owner himself, Joseph Rotch, explained to Governor Hutchinson that before the Tea Party the Boston assembly had given him no reason to fear the fury of the mob or the threat of a riot, noting that “his concern was not for his ship, which he did not believe was in danger, but he could not tell what would be the fate of the tea on board.”[13]

Gov. Hutchinson

In fact, everything was so peaceful and orderly that even crown-appointed Governor Hutchinson was forced to confess that, “the whole was done with very little tumult.”[14]

This is not to say that the situation couldn’t have quickly or easily turned violent. John Adams notes that there were bad actors who wished, “that as many dead Carcasses were floating in the Harbor as there are Chests of Tea.”[15] But to do so would have been wrong and injured innocent people like the ship owner Rotch who was just as much a victim of English tyranny as they were. Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, patriot leaders had even stopped mobs from rioting.[16]

Indeed, it was documented that, “neither revenge, nor a spirit of hostility to rights of property or persons, formed a part of the program of the popular [patriot] leaders.”[17] And so stalwart were the patriots in their commitment to peaceful resistance that they “had been as true to the idea of order as they had been faithful to the cause of liberty.”[18]

Secondly, the colonists had only two options remaining them in that situation, pay the unjust tax or throw the tea into the harbor.

The Bostonians, along with all the other American colonists, had no representation in the English Parliament who were passing laws like the 1773 Tea Act. This meant that the colonists had no real legal way to seek the redress of their grievances. Therefore, the famous motto became “no taxation without representation.”

John Adams recognized that the patriots would not have been right if the problem could have been addressed in a different way. The morning after the Boston Tea Party, he wrote in his diary:

“The question is whether the destruction of this tea was necessary? I apprehend it was absolutely and indispensably so. They could not send it back, the Governor, Admiral and Collector and Comptroller would not suffer it. It was in their power [i.e. the Governor’s] to have saved it—but in no other. It [the ship] could not get by the castle, the Men of War [the British warships] &c. Then there was no other alternative but to destroy it or let it be landed. To let it be landed, would be giving up the principle of taxation by Parliamentary authority, against which the Continent have struggled for 10 years, it was losing all our labor for 10 years and subjecting ourselves and our posterity forever to Egyptian taskmasters—to burthens, indignities, to ignominy, reproach and contempt, to desolation and oppression, to poverty and servitude.”[19]

However, even with all of that at stake, the patriot leaders were careful to never let their justified anger lead them to commit unjustified acts of violence against innocent people.

Adams was not alone in his evaluation, and fellow patriot Thomas Cushing explained that the British policy concerning the forced importation of tea was, “the source of their distress, a distress that borders upon despair and they know not where to fly for relief”[20] After months of working to find a different effectual means of resolution the Bostonians had nowhere else to go.

Indeed, one of the Tea Party participants outlined their situation and how the English government had rejected all other methods of handling it:

“The Governor, Collector, and Consignees, most certainly had it in their power to have saved this destruction, and returned it undiminished to the owner, in England, as the people were extremely desirous of this, did everything in their power to accomplish it, and waited so long for this purpose, as to run no small risk of being frustrated in their grand design of preventing it’s being landed.”[21]

It was only, “after it had been observed to them, that, everything else in their power having been done, it now remained to proceed in the only way left,” and the tea was destroyed. [22] But, as mentioned early, the colonists saw that, “the owner of the ship having behaved like a man of honor, no injury ought to be offered to his person or property”[23]

The situation in American today is entirely different. Respect and decency are not being shown to innocent people or business owners. The current riots are like a destructive tornado set on destroying everything in its path.

Peaceful protests are protected by the Bill of Rights, but violent riots which destroy, loot, and victimize are antithetical to the American idea. The comparison of the violent riots to the Boston Tea Party is wildly unfounded and demonstrates that Americans should study their history before they try to weaponize it.


Endnotes

[1] John Fiske, The American Revolution (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919, originally published 1891), 81.

[2] Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia: William Duane, 1809), 6:310, to Thomas Cushing on June 4, 1773, in which Franklin said, “They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.”

[3] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 238, here.

[4] Abigail Adams, “To Mercy Otis Warren, 5 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[5] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 267, here.

[6] See, Richard Frothingham, The Rise of the Republic of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1872), 306-308; Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 275;  and George Bancroft, History of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), 6:482-487.

[7] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 279, here.

[8] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[9] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[10] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[11] John Adams, “To James Warren, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[12] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 281, here.

[13] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 435, here.

[14] Edward Howland, Annals of North America (Hartford: The J.B. Burr Publishing Company, 1877), 298, here.

[15] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[16] See, for example, Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 251, here.

[17] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 258, here.

[18] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 273, here.

[19] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[20] Thomas Cushing, “To Benjamin Franklin, 10 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[21] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[22] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 436, here.

[23] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 436, here.

Did America Create Slavery?

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine announced on the floor of the Senate that:

“The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”1

For even the most basic student of world history such a statement ought to immediately be recognized as incomprehensively ridiculous. Historically, every single people, nation, culture, and race has at various times been both the slave and the master. Indeed, “all have sinned and fallen short” (Romans 3:23). Sen. Kaine, just like the famously inaccurate 1619 Project, must ignore documented history and create his own fantasy world to arrive at such a conclusion.

For example, in ancient Greece—which existed thousands of years before America—nearly 30% of their population were slaves. The Roman Empire reached a staggering 40%.2 In fact, one of the most significant and widely known aspects of the Bible centers around the Israelites being delivered out of slavery in Egypt through the famous Exodus. We could walk through every nation in human history and find a tragic past riddled with slavery.

Arab Slavers

Prior to the creation of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade by the Spanish from Africa to South America in the early 1500s, Africa already participated in a robust trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trade. Black tribes would raid, capture, and enslave other black tribes for profit, selling them across the continent and beyond. Many of these slaves were sold into the Islamic Middle East, and “medieval Arabs came to associate the most degrading forms of labor with black slaves.”3 Most likely it was this racial bias which was translated to the Iberian Peninsula (i.e., Spain and Portugal) when the Muslims conquered parts of that area in the 8th century. When the Spanish became the first European nation to significantly colonize the New World, they seemingly brought this bias with them which was thereby disseminated through the Americas, North, Central, and South. In this sense, America very literally inherited racial slavery—from the Arab Middle East through Spain.

Christian Slaves

What is perhaps even more astounding is that a larger number of white Europeans were captured and sold into African slavery than the number of Africans sold into the land that would become the United States. Just over 300,000 black slaves landed in the North American colonies which became America4 but 1,250,000 white Europeans were captured and shipped to slave markets in Northern Africa.5 This Barbary Coast Trade lasted longer than American slavery and was only stopped through the naval efforts of the British and Americans. Furthermore, it was not until the late 17th century that black slaves in the New World outnumbered white slaves in the Old.6

Additionally, for hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus ever conceived of the idea to sail westward, the Native Americans practiced mass slavery amid other practices including human sacrifice and cannibalism. This pre-Columbian native slave trade was so prolific that “wherever European conquistadors set foot in American tropics, they found evidence of indigenous warfare, war captives, and captive slaves.”7 Indeed, indigenous cultures saw slavery rates so prevalent that up to 20-40% of all Indians were enslaved by other Indians.8

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Even today, nearly 160 years after America became one of the first nations to abolish slavery, there are still 94 nations that do not have laws criminalizing slavery.9 This has led to the enslavement of over 40 million people in the world right now. In a stroke of tragic irony, Africa has the highest rate of slavery today, closely followed by Asia,10 while North America has the lowest.11 Currently, Africa holds some 9,240,000 people in chains and slavery today,12 which is nearly identical to the total number of slaves disembarked in the entire New World (North, Central, and South America) throughout the almost four centuries of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.13

So, clearly Sen. Tim Kaine must either be completely ignorant about the history of slavery or maliciously intentional in his presentation of “facts.” America in no way created slavery—in fact, if we were to say anyone “created” slavery in America we must conclude that the indigenous people did so. By contrast, the United States, despite its well-known shortcomings, ought to receive credit for having done more than nearly any other nation in the history of the world to fight slavery both in the past and today.

(Our book, The American Story: The Beginnings, has extensive information on the history of slavery not only in the United States but also the world.)


Endnotes

1 Tobias Hoonhout, “Dem Sen. Kaine Claims United States ‘Created’ Slavery and ‘Didn’t Inherit Slavery from Anybody,’” National Review, June 16, 2020.
2 Fernando Santos-Granero, Vital Enemies: Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009), 226-227.
3 Philip Morgan, “Origins of American Slavery,” Organization of American History Magazine of History (July 2005), 19:4:53.
4 “Summary Statistics,” Slave Voyages, accessed June 16, 2020. Summary Statistics with the Principle Place of Slave Landing being restricted to Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and “Other North America.”
5 Past & Present (Aug., 2001), No. 172, 118, Robert C. Davis, “Counting European Slaves on the Barbary Coast”; Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004), 23-24.
6 Morgan, “Origins of American Slavery,” American History Magazine (July 2005), 19:4:53.
7 Santos-Granero, Vital Enemiese (2009), 1.
8 Santos-Granero, Vital Enemies (2009), 226-227.
9 Sonia Elks, “Slavery is Not a Crime for Almost Half the Countries in the World,” Reuters (February 12, 2020), accessed June 16, 2020.
10 “Prevalence Across the Regions,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 16, 2020, here.
11 “Regional Highlights: Americas,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 17, 2020, here.
12 “Region Highlights: Africa,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 16, 2020, here.
13 “Summary Statistics,” Slave Voyages, accessed June 16, 2020.