Saturday, March 12, 2005

America and the Reformation: The Founder's View

Samuel Adams, "American Independence," 1 August 1776

Occasion: Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia.

American Independence

Countrymen and Brethren: -

I WOULD gladly have declined an honor to which I find myself unequal. I have not the calmness and impartiality which the infinite importance of this occasion demands. I will not deny the charge of my enemies, that resentment for the accumulated injuries of our country, and an ardor for her glory, rising to enthusiasm, may deprive me of that accuracy of judgment and expression which men of cooler passions may possess. Let me beseech you, then, to hear me with caution, to examine your prejudice, and to correct the mistakes into which I may be hurried by my zeal.

Truth loves an appeal to the common sense of mankind. Your unperverted understandings can best determine on subjects of a practical nature. The positions and plans which are said to be above the comprehension of the multitude may be always suspected to be visionary and fruitless. He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all

Our forefathers threw off the yoke of Popery in religion; for you is reserved the honor of leveling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion. Are we sufficient for the comprehension of the sublimest spiritual truths, and unequal to material and temporal ones?

Heaven hath trusted us with the management of things for eternity, and man denies us ability to judge of the present, or to know from our feelings the experience that will make us happy. "You can discern," they say, "objects distant and remote, but cannot perceive those within your grasp.

Let us have the distribution of present goods, and cut out and manage as you please the interests of futurity." This day, I trust, the reign of political protestantism will commence. We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have bowed down to has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which he bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may his kingdom come!

Having been a slave to the influence of opinion early acquired, and distinctions generally received, I am ever inclined not to despise but pity those who are yet in darkness. But to the eye of reason what can be more clear than that all men have an equal right to happiness? Nature made no other distinction than that of higher and lower degrees of power of mind and body. But what mysterious distribution of character has the craft of statesmen, more fatal than priestcraft, introduced?

According to their doctrine, the offspring of perhaps the lewd embraces of a successful invader shall, from generation to generation, arrogate the right of lavishing on their pleasures a proportion of the fruits of the earth, more than sufficient to supply the wants of thousands of their fellow-creatures; claim authority to manage them like beasts of burthen, and, without superior industry, capacity, or virtue, nay, though disgraceful to humanity, by their ignorance, intemperance, and brutality, shall be deemed best calculated to frame laws and to consult for the welfare of society.

Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all?

Away, then, with those absurd systems which to gratify the pride of a few debase the greater part of our species below the order of men. What an affront to the King of the universe, to maintain that the happiness of a monster, sunk in debauchery and spreading desolation and murder among men, of a Caligula, a Nero, or a Charles, is more precious in his sight than that of millions of his suppliant creatures, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God! No, in the judgment of heaven there is no other superiority among men than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity, then, has not given any order or family of men authority over others; and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves. Our forefathers, 'tis said, consented to be subject to the laws of Great Britain. I will not, at present, dispute it, nor mark out the limits and conditions of their submission; but will it be denied that they contracted to pay obedience and to be under the control of Great Britain because it appeared to them most beneficial in their then present circumstances and situations?

We, my countrymen, have the same right to consult and provide for our happiness which they had to promote theirs. If they had a view to posterity in their contracts, it must have been to advance the felicity of their descendants. If they erred in their expectations and prospects, we can never be condemned for a conduct which they would have recommended had they foreseen our present condition.

Ye darkeners of counsel, who would make the property, lives, and religion of millions depend on the evasive interpretations of musty parchments; who would send us to antiquated charters of uncertain and contradictory meaning, prove that the present generation are not bound to be victims to cruel and unforgiving despotism, tell us whether our pious and generous ancestors bequeathed to us the miserable privilege of having the rewards of our honesty, industry, the fruits of those fields which they purchased and bled for, wrested from us at the will of men over whom we have no check. Did they contract for us that, with folded arms, we should expect that justice and mercy from brutal and inflamed invaders which have been denied to our supplications at the foot of the throne? Were we to hear our character as a people ridiculed with indifference? Did they promise for us that our meekness and patience should be insulted; our coasts harassed, our towns demolished and plundered, and our wives and offspring exposed to nakedness, hunger, and death, without our feeling the resentment of men, and exerting those powers of self-preservation which God has given us?

No man had once a greater veneration for Englishmen than I entertained. They were dear to me as branches of the same parental trunk, and partakers of the same religion and laws; I still view with respect the remains of the constitution as I would a lifeless body, which had once been animated by a great and heroic soul. But when I am aroused by the din of arms; when I behold legions of foreign assassins, paid by Englishmen to imbrue their hands in our blood; when I tread over the uncoffined bodies of my countrymen, neighbors, and friends; when I see the locks of a venerable father torn by savage hands, and a feeble mother, clasping her infants to her bosom, and on her knees imploring their lives from her own slaves, whom Englishmen have allured to treachery and murder; when I behold my country, once the seat of industry, peace, and plenty, changed by Englishmen to a theatre of blood and misery, Heaven forgive me, if I cannot root out those passions which it as implanted in my bosom, and detest submission to a people who have either ceased to be human, or have not virtue enough to feel their own wretchedness and servitude!

Men who content themselves with the semblance of truth, and a display of words, talk much of our obligations to Great Britain for protection. Had she a single eye to our advantage? A nation of shopkeepers are very seldom so disinterested. Let us not be so amused with words; the extension of her commerce was her object. When she defended our coasts, she fought for her customers, and convoyed our ships loaded with wealth, which we had acquired for her by our industry. She has treated us as beasts of burthen, whom the lordly masters cherish that they may carry a greater load. Let us inquire also against whom she has protected us? Against her own enemies with whom we had no quarrel, or only on her account, and against whom we always readily exerted our wealth and strength when they were required. Were these colonies backward in giving assistance to Great Britain, when they were called upon in 1739 to aid the expedition against Carthagena? They at that time sent three thousand men to join the British army, although the war commenced without their consent. But the last war, 'tis said, was purely American. This is a vulgar error, which, like many others, has gained credit by being confidently repeated. The dispute between the courts of Great Britain and France related to the limits of Canada and Nova Scotia. The controverted territory was not claimed by any in the colonies, but by the crown of Great Britain. It was therefore their own quarrel. The infringement of a right which England had, by the treaty of Utrecht, of trading in the Indian country of Ohio, was another cause of the war. The French seized large quantities of British manufacture and took possession of a fort which a company of British merchants and factors had erected for the security of their commerce. The war was therefore waged in defense of lands claimed by the crown, and for the protection of British property. The French at that time had no quarrel with America, and, as appears by letters sent from their commander-in-chief, to some of the colonies, wished to remain in peace with us. The part, therefore, which we then took, and the miseries to which we exposed ourselves, ought to be charged to our affection to Britain. These colonies granted more than their proportion to the support of the war. They raised, clothed, and maintained nearly twenty-five thousand men, and so sensible were the people of England of our great exertions, that a message was annually sent to the House of Commons purporting, "that his Majesty, being highly satisfied with the zeal and vigor with which his faithful subjects in North America had exerted themselves in defense of his Majesty's just rights and possessions, recommend it to the House to take the same into consideration, and enable him to give them a proper compensation."

But what purpose can arguments of this kind answer? Did the protection we received annul our rights as men, and lay us under an obligation of being miserable? Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in infancy?

'Tis a strange species of generosity which requires a return infinitely more valuable than anything it could have bestowed; that demands as a reward for a defense of our property a surrender of those inestimable privileges, to the arbitrary will of vindictive tyrants, which alone give value to that very property.

Political right and public happiness are different words for the same idea. They who wander into metaphysical labyrinths, or have recourse to original contracts, to determine the rights of men, either impose on themselves or mean to delude others. Public utility is the only certain criterion. It is a test which brings disputes to a speedy decision, and makes its appeal to the feelings of mankind. The force of truth has obliged men to use arguments drawn from this principle who were combating it, in practice and speculation. The advocates for a despotic government and nonresistance to the magistrate employ reasons in favor of their systems drawn from a consideration of their tendency to promote public happiness.

The Author of Nature directs all his operations to the production of the greatest good, and has made human virtue to consist in a disposition and conduct which tends to the common felicity of his creatures. An abridgement of the natural freedom of men, by the institutions of political societies, is vindicable only on this foot. How absurd, then, is it to draw arguments from the nature of civil society for the annihilation of those very ends which society was intended to procure! Men associate for their Mutual advantage. Hence, the good and happiness of the members, that is, the majority of the members, of any State, is the great standard by which everything relating to that State must finally be determined; and though it may be supposed that a body of people may be bound by a voluntary resignation (which they have been so infatuated as to make) of all their interests to a single person, or to a few, it can never be conceived that the resignation is obligatory to their posterity; because it is manifestly contrary to the good of the whole that it should be so.

These are the sentiments of the wisest and most virtuous champions of freedom. Attend to a portion on this subject from a book in our own defense, written, I had almost said, by the pen of inspiration. "I lay no stress," says he, "on charters; they derive their rights from a higher source. It is inconsistent with common sense to imagine that any people would ever think of settling in a distant country on any such condition, or that the people from whom they withdrew should forever be masters of their property, and have power to subject them to any modes of government they pleased. And had there been expressed stipulations to this purpose in all the charters of the colonies, they would, in my opinion, be no more bound by them, than if it had been stipulated with them that they should go naked, or expose themselves to the incursions of wolves and tigers."

Such are the opinions of every virtuous and enlightened patriot in Great Britain. Their petition to heaven is, "That there may be one free country left upon earth, to which they may fly, when venality, luxury, and vice shall have completed the ruin of liberty there."

Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty. Dismissing, therefore, the justice of our cause, as incontestable, the only question is, What is best for us to pursue in our present circumstances?

The doctrine of dependence on Great Britain is, I believe, generally exploded; but as I would attend to the honest weakness of the simplest of men, you will pardon me if I offer a few words on that subject.

We are now on this continent, to the astonishment of the world, three millions of souls united in one cause. We have large armies, well disciplined and appointed, with commanders inferior to none in military skill, and superior in activity and zeal. We are furnished with arsenals and stores beyond our most sanguine expectations, and foreign nations are waiting to crown our success by their alliances. There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor; our success has staggered our enemies, and almost given faith to infidels; so we may truly say it is not our own arm which has saved us.

The hand of heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great Providential dispensation which is completing. We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not look back, lest we perish and become a monument of infamy and derision to the world. For can we ever expect more unanimity and a better preparation for defense; more infatuation of counsel among our enemies, and more valor and zeal among ourselves? The same force and resistance which are sufficient to procure us our liberties will secure us a glorious independence and support us in the dignity of free, imperial States. We cannot suppose that our opposition has made a corrupt and dissipated nation more friendly to America, or created in them a greater respect for the rights of mankind.

We can therefore expect a restoration and establishment of our privileges, and a compensation for the injuries we have received from their want of power, from their fears, and not from their virtues. The unanimity and valor which will effect an honorable peace can render a future contest for our liberties unnecessary. He who has strength to chain down the wolf is a madman if he let him loose without drawing his teeth and paring his nails.

From the day on which an accommodation takes place between England and America, on any other terms than as independent States, I shall date the ruin of this country. A politic minister will study to lull us into security, by granting us the full extent of our petitions. The warm sunshine of influence would melt down the virtue, which the violence of the storm rendered more firm and unyielding. In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny. Ye abandoned minions of an infatuated ministry, if peradventure any should yet remain among us, remember that a Warren and Montgomery are numbered among the dead. Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, - go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!

To unite the supremacy of Great Britain and the liberty of America is utterly impossible. So vast a continent, and of such a distance from the seat of empire, will every day grow more unmanageable. The motion of so unwieldy a body cannot be directed with any dispatch and uniformity without committing to the Parliament of Great Britain powers inconsistent with our freedom. The authority and force which would be absolutely necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order of this continent would put all our valuable rights within the reach of that nation.

As the administration of government requires firmer and more numerous supports in proportion to its extent, the burdens imposed on us would be excessive, and we should have the melancholy prospect of their increasing on our posterity. The scale of officers, from the rapacious and needy commissioner to the haughty governor, and from the governor, with his hungry train, to perhaps a licentious and prodigal viceroy, must be upheld by you and your children. The fleets and armies which will be employed to silence your murmurs and complaints must be supported by the fruits of your industry.

And yet with all this enlargement of the expense and powers of government, the administration of it at such a distance, and over so extensive a territory, must necessarily fail of putting the laws into vigorous execution, removing private oppressions, and forming plans for the advancement of agriculture and commerce, and preserving the vast empire in any tolerable peace and security. If our posterity retain any spark of patriotism, they can never tamely submit to such burthens. This country will be made the field of bloody contention till it gain that independence for which nature formed it. It is, therefore, injustice and cruelty to our offspring, and would stamp us with the character of baseness and cowardice, to leave the salvation of this country to be worked out by them with accumulated difficulty and danger.

Prejudice, I confess, may warp our judgments. Let us hear the decision of Englishmen on this subject, who cannot be suspected of partiality. "The Americans," they say, "are but little short of half our number. To this number they have grown from a small body of original settlers by a very rapid increase. The probability is that they will go on to increase, and that in fifty or sixty years they will be double our number, and form a mighty empire, consisting of a variety of States, all equal or superior to ourselves in all the arts and accomplishments which give dignity and happiness to human life. In that period will they be still bound to acknowledge that supremacy over them which we now claim? Can there be any person who will assert this, or whose mind does not revolt at the idea of a vast continent holding all that is valuable to it at the discretion of a handful of people on the other side of the Atlantic? But if at that period this would be unreasonable, what makes it otherwise now? Draw the line if you can. But there is still a greater difficulty."

Britain is now, I will suppose, the seat of liberty and virtue, and its legislature consists of a body of able and independent men, who govern with wisdom and justice. The time may come when all will be reversed; when its excellent constitution of government will be subverted; when, pressed by debts and taxes, it will be greedy to draw to itself an increase of revenue from every distant province, in order to ease its own burdens; when the influence of the crown, strengthened by luxury and a universal profligacy of manners, will have tainted every heart, broken down every fence of liberty, and rendered us a nation of tame and contented vassals; when a general election will be nothing but a general auction of boroughs, and when the Parliament, grand council of the nation, and once the faithful guardian State, and a terror to evil ministers, will be degenerated body of sycophants, dependent and venal, always ready to confirm any measures, and little more than a public court for registering royal edicts. Such, it is possible, may, some time or other, be the state of Great Britain. What will, at that period, be the duty of the colonies? Will they be still bound to unconditional submission? Must they always continue an appendage to our government and follow it implicitly through every change that can happen to it? Wretched condition, indeed, of millions of freemen as good as ourselves! Will you say that we now govern equitably, and that there is no danger of such revolution? Would to God that this were true! But you will not always say the same. Who shall judge whether we govern equitably or not? Can you give the colonies any security that such a period will never come? NO. THE PERIOD, COUNTRYMEN, IS ALREADY COME!

The calamities were at our door. The rod of oppression was raised over us. We were roused from our slumbers, and may we never sink into repose until we can convey a clear and undisputed inheritance to our posterity! This day we are called upon to give a glorious example of what the wisest and best of men were rejoiced to view, only in speculation. This day presents the world with the most august spectacle that its annals ever unfolded, - millions of freemen deliberately and voluntarily forming themselves into a society for their common defense and common happiness. Immortal spirits of Hampden, Locke, and Sidney, will it not add to your benevolent joys to behold your posterity rising to the dignity of men, and evincing to the world the reality and expediency of your systems, and in the actual enjoyment of that equal liberty, which you were happy, when on earth, in delineating and recommending to mankind?

Other nations have received their laws from conquerors; some are indebted for a constitution to the suffering of their ancestors through revolving centuries. The people of this country, alone, have formally and deliberately chosen a government for themselves, and with open and uninfluenced consent bound themselves into a social compact. Here no man proclaims his birth or wealth as a title to honorable distinction, or to sanctify ignorance and vice with the name of hereditary authority. He who has most zeal and ability to promote public felicity, let him be the servant of the public. This is the only line of distinction drawn by nature. Leave the bird of night to the obscurity for which nature intended him, and expect only from the eagle to brush the clouds with his wings and look boldly in the face of the sun.

Some who would persuade us that they have tender feelings for future generations, while they are insensible to the happiness of the present, are perpetually foreboding a train of dissensions under our popular system. Such men's reasoning amounts to this: Give up all that is valuable to Great Britain and then you will have no inducements to quarrel among yourselves; or, suffer yourselves to be chained down by your enemies that you may not be able to fight with your friends.

This is an insult on your virtue as well as your common sense. Your unanimity this day and through the course of the war is a decisive refutation of such invidious predictions. Our enemies have already had evidence that our present constitution contains in it the justice and ardor of freedom and the wisdom and vigor of the most absolute system. When the law is the will of the people, it will be uniform and coherent; but fluctuation, contradiction, and inconsistency of councils must be expected under those governments where every revolution in the ministry of a court produces one in the State - such being the folly and pride of all ministers, that they ever pursue measures directly opposite to those of their predecessors.

We shall neither be exposed to the necessary convulsions of elective monarchies, nor to the want of wisdom, fortitude, and virtue, to which hereditary succession is liable. In your hands it will be to perpetuate a prudent, active, and just legislature, and which will never expire until you yourselves loose the virtues which give it existence.

And, brethren and fellow-countrymen, if it was ever granted to mortals to trace the designs of Providence, and interpret its manifestations in favor of their cause, we may, with humility of soul, cry out, "Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy Name be the praise!" The confusion of the devices among our enemies, and the rage of the elements against them, have done almost as much towards our success as either our councils or our arms.

The time at which this attempt on our liberty was made, when we were ripened into maturity, had acquired a knowledge of war, and were free from the incursions of enemies in this country; the gradual advances of our oppressors enabling us to prepare for our defense; the unusual fertility of our lands and clemency of the seasons; the success which at first attended our feeble arms, producing unanimity among our friends and reducing our internal foes to acquiescence - these are all strong and palpable marks and assurances that Providence is yet gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the captivity of Jacob.

Our glorious reformers when they broke through the fetters of superstition effected more than could be expected from an age so darkened. But they left much to be done by their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some of the branches of Popery, but they left the root and stock when they left us under the domination of human systems and decisions, usurping the infallibility which can be attributed to Revelation alone. They dethroned one usurper only to raise up another; they refused allegiance to the Pope only to place the civil magistrate in the throne of Christ, vested with authority to enact laws and inflict penalties in his kingdom. And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth, we shall find that, instead of possessing the pure religion of the Gospel, they may be divided either into infidels, who deny the truth; or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition; or professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.

The civil magistrate has everywhere contaminated religion by making it an engine of policy; and freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum. Let us cherish the noble guests, and shelter them under the wings of a universal toleration! Be this the seat of unbounded religious freedom. She will bring with her in her train, industry, wisdom, and commerce. She thrives most when left to shoot forth in her natural luxuriance, and asks from human policy only not to be checked in her growth by artificial encouragements.

Thus, by the beneficence of Providence, we shall behold our empire arising, founded on justice and the voluntary consent of the people, and giving full scope to the exercise of those faculties and rights which most ennoble our species. Besides the advantages of liberty and the most equal constitution, Heaven has given us a country with every variety of climate and soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is necessary for the support, comfort, and strength of a nation. Within our own borders we possess all the means of sustenance, defense, and commerce; at the same time, these advantages are so distributed among the different States of this continent, as if nature had in view to proclaim to us: Be united among yourselves and you will want nothing from the rest of the world.

The more northern States most amply supply us with every necessary, and many of the luxuries of life; with iron, timber and masts for ships of commerce or of war; with flax for the manufacture of linen, and seed either for oil or exportation.

So abundant are our harvests, that almost every part raises more than double the quantity of grain requisite for the support of the inhabitants. From Georgia and the Carolinas we have, as well for our own wants as for the purpose of supplying the wants of other powers, indigo, rice, hemp, naval stores, and lumber.

Virginia and Maryland teem with wheat, Indian corn, tobacco. Every nation whose harvest is precarious, or whose lands yield not those commodities which we cultivate, will gladly exchange their superfluities and manufactures for ours.

We have already received many and large cargoes of clothing, military stores, etc., from our commerce with foreign powers, and, in spite of the efforts of the boasted navy of England, we shall continue to profit by this connection.

The want of our naval stores has already increased the price of these articles to a great height, especially in Britain. Without our lumber, it will be impossible for those haughty islanders to convey the products of the West Indies to their own ports; for a while they may with difficulty effect it, but, without our assistance, their resources soon must fail. Indeed, the West India Islands appear as the necessary appendages to this our empire. They must owe their support to it, and ere long, I doubt not, some of them will, from necessity, wish to enjoy the benefit of our protection.

These natural advantages will enable us to remain independent of the world, or make it the interest of European powers to court our alliance, and aid in protecting us against the invasion of others. What argument, therefore, do we want to show the equity of our conduct; or motive of interest to recommend it to our prudence? Nature points out the path, and our enemies have obliged us to pursue it.

If there is any man so base or so weak as to prefer a dependence on Great Britain to the dignity and happiness of living a member of a free and independent nation, let me tell him that necessity now demands what the generous principle of patriotism should have dictated.

We have no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. The legions of our enemies and death mark their bloody career; whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven: -

"Will you permit our posterity to groan under the galling chains of our murderers? Has our blood been expended in vain? Is the only benefit which our constancy till death has obtained for our country, that it should be sunk into a deeper and more ignominious vassalage? Recollect who are the men that demand your submission, to whose decrees you are invited to pay obedience. Men who, unmindful of their relation to you as brethren; of your long implicit submission to their laws; of the sacrifice which you and your forefathers made of your natural advantages for commerce to their avarice; formed a deliberate plan to wrest from you the small pittance of property which they had permitted you to acquire.”

Remember that the men who wish to rule over you are they who, in pursuit of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred contracts which they had made with your ancestors; conveyed into your cities a mercenary soldiery to compel you to submission by insult and murder; who called your patience cowardice, your piety hypocrisy."

Countrymen, the men who now invite you to surrender your rights into their hands are the men who have let loose the merciless savages to riot in the blood of their brethren; who have dared to establish Popery triumphant in our land; who have taught treachery to your slaves, and courted them to assassinate your wives and children.

These are the men to whom we are exhorted to sacrifice the blessings which Providence holds out to us; the happiness, the dignity, of uncontrolled freedom and independence.

Let not your generous indignation be directed against any among us who may advise so absurd and maddening a measure. Their number is but few, and daily decreases; and the spirit which can render them patient of slavery will render them contemptible enemies.

Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the decemviri did the Romans, and say, "Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends."

You have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force ofyour enemies and their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom; they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords can look up to Heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would, for higher wages, direct their swords against their leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your generous enterprise with gratitude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the future. For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than to share with you the common danger and common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my soul than that my ashes may be mingled with those of a Warren and Montgomery, it is that these American States may never cease to be free and independent.

Where the text can be found: David J. Brewer's The World's Best Orations (St. Louis: Ferd. P. Kaiser, 1899,) pp. 93-109. William J. Bryan's The World's Famous Orations (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1906), vol. 8, 110-122

Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism are Dead!

The Call for Restoration: A Return to Historic, Biblical Christian Creed, Faith and Practice

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Proverbs 22: 28

“The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Isaiah 42: 21-23

“…proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…”

Leviticus 25:10


On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Church door at Wittenberg Castle. This act is looked back upon as the official beginning of the Reformation.

In his 95 Theses, Luther simply asserted that all doctrine and practice (in particular purgatory and indulgences) which is in conflict with the Scriptures is error and a departure from the historical, biblical Christian creed, faith and practice preserved and handed down by the true church of God in ages past.

Today, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for His sake, we desire to post our own list of theses, the first of which is the issuance of the obituary of modern evangelicalism and purported fundamentalism:

Evangelicalism and fundamentalism is a corpse-----gutted, stuffed and well preserved----but dead nonetheless. Perfumed, painted and put on display, but dead. It has officially succumbed to the results of the its choices for historical disjunction and autonomy; the disaster of which Francis Schaeffer warned:

“…Here is the great evangelical disaster----the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth.” (The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 37)

Devoid of historical context, and feeling fully capable of redefining Christ as more of a “seeker friendly” type of god…..(contrary to the Christ of ages past and contrary to the view of Christ by the church of ages past, and/or a god whose words are really not ascertainable or preserved for us), evangelicalism and fundamentalism divorced itself from its Living Head.

The self- decapitation of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism resulted in immediate death, however, its followers for some years now have refused to believe that living without a Head is a sure sign of the cessation of life. They have sought and found another Head, attached it precariously to the Body, put this lifeless, powerless corpse on display and called it The Church. All the while attempting to disguise, (and that not too well), the familiar and pungent odor of a rotted corpse.

We, therefore, in the interest of truth, and as believers in and partakers of a living and resurrected Christ who is revealed to us in the scriptures, officially declare that evangelicalism is dead; Christ is Eternal! The King Lives forever!

Self-decapitation, the forsaking of historical, biblical Christian creed, faith and practice, (and therefore the forsaking of God Himself), was the cause of death. The body will continue to be shown in state until it is mercifully buried.

The results of this self-decapitation are many:

In our seminaries: men are now taught, and in turn teach, that the Bible is insufficient for the entirety of life and higher criticism of the text is rampant.

In our churches: the authority and sufficiency of Christ in the totality of life is compromised and people no longer attend the church meeting to be trained and hear a message from God Himself, but the new agenda is to simply feel good as a result of the experience, retreat from the world of human existence and Biblical duty and hope for the immediate release of all responsibility by the Second Coming of Christ.

In our lives: autonomy and self-deception are the rule and not the exception. Feelings and emotions determine our every day lives and pursuits instead of truth.

This scenario is not new. Many have faced very similar situations:

There is an answer to this disaster, and many lives and the existence of our country are in the balance. A restoration of historical biblical Christian creed, faith and practice is the only answer and a return to a Living God as known in the scriptures.

I have been searching for tools to help bring about this restoration, to train a people that would EFFECT what our fore fathers effected and affect the world in which we live in the same manner as did they. Thank the Lord these tools are now being sought after and being made available again:

Creeds and Confessions

Canons of Dordt

Westminster Confession

London Baptist Confession


Heidelberg Cathechism

Westminster Catechism

Spurgeon’s Catechism

Keach’s Catechism


John Wycliffe

William Tyndale

The Reformers

The Puritans

The training of old started almost categorically with the purpose of man and then directly lead to who God is and how He can be known.

Based on the measuring stick of the past, current Christian Creed (of which there is little), Faith and Practice is a direct slander and liable on the Person and Character of God.

In defining the purpose of man all other activity in which man is engaged is brought under the jurisdiction and authority of the Creator----the canon, the measuring stick against which everything is measured and the ultimate point of reference is taken for the totality of life.

Why Catechisms?

Why Creeds?

Why Confessions?

"Reader, remember this: if thy knowledge do not now affect thy heart, it will at last, with a witness, afflict thy heart; if it do not now endear Christ to thee, it will at last provoke Christ the more against thee; if it do not make all the things of Christ to be very precious in thy eyes, it will at last make thee the more vile in Christ's eyes." Thomas Brooks

“No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who doth not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay, persons not disposed hereby unto it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend; they only deceive their own souls in supposing that so they do. Most men will say with confidence, living and dying, that they desire to be with Christ, and to behold his glory; but they can give no reason why they should desire any such thing,-only they think it somewhat that is better than to be in that evil condition which otherwise they must be cast into for ever, when they can be here no more. If a man pretend himself to be enamoured on, or greatly to desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented unto him, he doth but dote on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it by faith whilst they are there in this world are nothing but self-deceiving imaginations.” John Owen, The Glory of Christ

“The great advantage which would arise to Christendom from the existence of something approaching to a general religious uniformity must be apparent to every reflecting mind, both as a general homage to the certainties of revealed truth, and as itself the master element of general harmony anti peace.

But it is contrary alike to the nature of religion and to the constitution of the human mind, to suppose that this desirable object can be obtained by compulsion. Open, candid, brother-like consultation may do much, when Christian men fairly and honestly wish to arrive at as close a degree of uniformity, in doctrine, worship, and government; as can be attained, with due respect to liberty and integrity of conscience. It was for this very purpose that the Westminster Assembly was called, and that Scottish divines were requested to be present at and aid in its deliberations. This was right, and bore fair prospect and promise of good; but mutual jealousies and rivalries arose; men misjudged and misinterpreted each other’s intentions; and the intrigues of mere worldly politicians intermingled with, biased, and baffled far higher and holier objects than those with which such men are usually conversant. Probably the two parties of a religious character (we speak not now of mere Erastians), of whom the Assembly was composed, the Presbyterians and the Independents, were both in error; probably they both entertained narrower conceptions of the nature of religious uniformity, and also of religious toleration and liberty, than the terms, rightly understood, imply. Uniformity is not necessarily absolute identity. Neither of these two parties held that absolute identity was necessary, as appears from their respective writings; but each of them dreaded that nothing less than absolute identity would satisfy the other, and to that neither of them could agree. And this misapprehension was enough, not only to prevent the accomplishment of the purpose for which they met, but even to act as a wedge, rending them daily more widely and hopelessly asunder.”

In Scotland its results were more directly and signally beneficial, being fully accepted by the Church, and ratified by the State. Not even twenty-eight years of ruthless persecution could extinguish the bright light of sacred truth which it had contributed to shed over our own northern hills, or trample out of existence the strong spirit of liberty which it inspired and hallowed. What can ever expel from the mind and heart of a Christian people that single sentence of the Confession of Faith: "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship." The people who can feel and understand that sacred truth can never be enslaved. And although, after the Union, the perfidy of traitorous statesmen introduced the unconstitutional element of patronage into the external arrangements of the Church of Scotland, contrary to the express stipulations of the Act of Security, by which the Scottish nation had so anxiously sought to protect their National Church; yet it required the lapse of generations to produce a race sufficiently degenerated to allow the pernicious element to do its work. Even when a majority of the Scottish ministers had become unfaithful, the Confession of Faith and the Catechism continued to infuse their strong and living principles of Christian truth into the hearts and minds of the people, maintaining a spirit and an energy that nothing could subdue. The effect of this was seen in the Secession; and not less manifestly in the deep and steady devotedness with which the ministrations of evangelical truth were attended in the Established Church itself. A recent and still more signal manifestation of the power of these principles was displayed in the memorable Disruption of 1843, when, in vindication of their truth, and to secure the liberty of maintaining them, four hundred and seventy-four ministers gave up all connection with the State, and all the advantages thence arising, rather than surrender spiritual freedom in obedience to Christ alone. Such was the state of the Churches in both kingdoms throughout the listless length of a dreary century, – the still and heavy torpor of lethargic sluggishness above, the silent but strong current of a deep life-stream beneath.

History of the Westminster Divines, Hetherington, W.M.

Evangelicalism, with its relative lack of creedal formulas and the absence of strong ecclesiastical structures, moreover, has always been susceptible to the cult of personality, a weakness only magnified by television. Evangelicals once harbored a healthy—though, at times, excessive—suspicion of worldliness, but they too have been infected by the culture of celebrity.

Although evangelicals have always been citational in the expression of their beliefs, the fixation on celebrity in the last couple of decades has produced an important shift. Evangelicals once referred directly to the Bible as the basis for their theology, but now, more often than not, the citation has been filtered through the celebrity preacher: "As Dr. Swindoll says…," or "As Dr. Schuller says…," or "Dr. Dobson believes that…."

Are our interests the interests of heaven?

Are our pursuits the pursuits of heaven?

Are our lives demonstrations of the presence of the God of Heaven?

Do we love the things that God loves and hate the things that God hates?

The Church lies in ruins; exposed to the world as a harlot and tramp.

The Church is the Pillar and ground of the Truth….without Christ demonstrating and defending and declaring Truth through the Church, the world lies at the mercy of the devil and his deception and lies.

It’s time for a Reformation! Isaiah 58.

Out of the Dark Ages

The following is an excerpt from John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (Foxe's Book of Martyrs) and describes the condition of the Church in his day. Contemporary parallels are evident and Foxe's assessment and description of the Church of his day bears contemplating.

From Acts and Monuments

Volume II Book 5

John Wicliff’s Times: State of The Church

It appeareth by such as have observed the order and course of times, that this Wickliff flourished about A.D. 1371, Edward III. reigning in England; for thus we do find in the Chronicles of Caxton: “In the year of our Lord 1871,” saith he, “Edward III., king of England, in his parliament was against the pope’s clergy: he willingly hearkened and gave ear to the voices and tales of heretics, with certain of his council conceiving and following sinister opinions against the clergy; wherefore, afterwards, he tasted and suffered much adversity and trouble.

And not long after, in the year of our Lord,” saith he, “1872, he wrote unto the bishop of Rome, that he should not by any means intermeddle any more within his kingdom, as touching the reservation or distribution of benefices; and that all such bishops as were under his dominion should enjoy their former and ancient liberty, and be confirmed of their metropolitans, as hath been accustomed in times past,” etc.

Thus much writeth Caxton. But, as touching the just number of the year and time, we will not be very curious or careful about it at present: this is out of all doubt, that at what time all the world was in most desperate and vile estate, and that the lamentable ignorance and darkness of God’s truth had overshadowed the whole earth, this man stepped forth like a valiant champion, unto whom that may justly be applied which is spoken in the book called Ecclesiasticus, of one Simon, the son of Onias: “Even as the morning star being in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon being full; her course, and as the bright beams of the sun; so doth he shine and glister in the temple and church of God.” [chap. 1. 5:6.]

Thus doth Almighty God continually succor and help, when all things are in despair’ being always, according to the prophecy of the Psalm [Psalm 60, 5:9.], “a helper in time of need;” which tiling never more plainly appeared, than in these latter days and extreme age of the church, when the whole state and condition, not 0nly of worldly things, but also of religion, was so depraved and corrupted: that, like the disease named lethargy amongst the physicians, even so the state of religion amongst the divines, was past all man’s help and remedy.

The name only of Christ remained amongst Christians, but his true and lively doctrine was as far unknown to the most part, as his name was common to all men. As touching faith, consolation, the end and use of the law, the office of Christ, our impotency and weakness, the Holy Ghost, the greatness and strength of sin, true works, grace and free justification by faith, the liberty of a Christian man, wherein consisteth and resteth the whole sum and matter of our profession, there was almost no mention, nor any word spoken. Scripture, learning, and divinity, were known but to a few, and that in the schools only; and there also they turned and converted almost all into sophistry. Instead of Peter and Paul, men occupied their time in studying Aquinas and Scotus, and the Master of Sentences. the world, leaving and forsaking the lively power of God’s spiritual word and doctrine, was altogether led and blinded with outward ceremonies and human traditions, wherein the whole scope, in a manner, of all Christian perfection, did consist and depend. In these was all the hope of obtaining salvation fully fixed; hereunto all things were attributed; insomuch that scarcely any other thing was seen in the temples or churches, taught or spoken of in sermons, or finally intended or gone about in their whole life, but only heaping up of certain shadowy ceremonies upon ceremonies; neither was there any end of this their heaping.

The people were taught to worship no other thing but that which they did see; and did see almost nothing which they did not worship.

The church, being degenerated from the true apostolic institution above all measure, reserving only the name of the apostolic church, but far from the truth thereof in very deed, did fall into all kind of extreme tyranny; whereas the poverty and simplicity of Christ was changed into cruelty and abomination of life. Instead of the apostolic gifts and continual labors and travails, slothfulness and ambition was crept in amongst the priests.

Beside all this, there arose and sprang up a thousand sorts and fashions of strange religions; being only the root and well-head of all superstition. How great abuses and depravations were crept into the sacraments, at the time they were compelled to worship similitudes and signs of things for the very things themselves; and to adore such things as were instituted and ordained only for memorials! Finally, what thing was there in the whole state of Christian religion so sincere, so sound, and so pure, which was not defiled and spotted with some kind of superstition? Besides this, with how many bonds and snares of daily new-fangled ceremonies were the silly consciences of men, redeemed by Christ to liberty, ensnared and snarled; insomuch that there could be no great difference perceived between Christianity and Jewishness, save only the name of Christ: so that the state and condition of the Jews might seem somewhat more tolerable than ours! There was nothing sought for out of the true fountains, but out of the dirty puddles of the Philistines; the Christian people were wholly carried away as it were by the nose, with mere decrees and constitutions of men, even whither it pleased the bishops to lead them, and not as Christ’s will did direct them. All the whole world was filled and overwhelmed with error and darkness; and no great marvel: for why? the simple and unlearned people, being far from all knowledge of the holy Scripture, thought it quite enough for them to know only those things which were delivered them by their pastors and shepherds, and they, on the other part, taught in a manner nothing else but such things as came forth of the court of Rome; whereof the most part tended to the profit of their order, more than to the glory of Christ. The Christian faith was esteemed or accounted none other thing then, but that every man should know that Christ once suffered; that is to say, that all men should know and understand that thing which the devils themselves also knew. Hypocrisy was accounted for wonderful holiness.

All men were so addicted unto outward shows, that even they themselves, who professed the most absolute and singular knowledge of the Scriptures, scarcely did understand or know any other thing. And this did evidently appear, not only in the common sort of doctors and teachers, but also in the very heads and captains of the church, whose whole religion and holiness consisted, in a manner, in the observing of days, meats, and garments, and such like rhetorical circumstances, as of place, time, person, etc. Hereof sprang so many sorts and fashions of vestures and garments; so many differences of colors and meats, with so many pilgrimages to several places, as though St. James at Compostell 1352 could do that, which Christ could not do at Canterbury; or else that God were not of like power and strength in every place, or could not be foam but by being sought for by running gadding hither and thither. Thus the holiness of the whole year was transported and put off unto the Lent season. No country or land was counted holy, but only Palestine, where Christ had walked himself with his corporal feet. Such was the blindness of that time, that men did strive and fight for the cross at Jerusalem, as it had been for the chief and only force and strength of our faith. It is a wonder to read the monuments of the former times, to see and understand what great troubles and calamities this cross hath caused almost in every Christian commonwealth; for the Romish champions never ceased, by writing, admonishing, and counseling, yea, and by quarrelling, to move and stir up princes’ minds to war and battle, even as though the faith and belief of the gospel were of small force, or little effect without that wooden cross. This was the cause of the expedition of the most noble prince king Richard unto Jerusalem; who being taken in the same journey, and delivered unto the emperor, could scarcely be ransomed home again for thirty thousand marks. In the same enterprise or journey, Frederic, the emperor of Rome, a man of most excellent virtue, was drowned in a certain river there, A.D. 1190; and also

Philip, the king of France, scarcely returned home again in safety, and not without great losses: so much did they esteem the recovery of the holy city and cross.1353

Upon this alone all men’s eyes, minds, and devotions were so set and bent, as though either there were no other cross but that, or that the cross of Christ were in no other place but only at Jerusalem. Such was the blindness and superstition of those days, which understood or knew nothing but such things as were outwardly seen; whereas the profession of our religion standeth in much other higher matters and greater mysteries.

What was the cause why Urban did so vex and torment himself? Because

Jerusalem with the holy cross was lost out of the hands of the Christians; for so we do find it in the Chronicles, at what time as Jerusalem with king Guido and the cross of our Lord was taken, and under the power of the sultan, Urban took the matter so grievously, that for very sorrow he died. In his place succeeded Albert, who was called Gregory VIII., by whose motion it was decreed by the cardinals, that (setting apart all riches and voluptuousness) “they should preach the cross of Christ, and by their poverty and humility first of all should take the cross upon them, and go before others into the land of Jerusalem.” These are the words of the history;1354 whereby it is evident unto the vigilant reader, unto what grossness the true knowledge of the spiritual doctrine of the gospel was degenerated and grown in those days; how great blindness and darkness were in those days, even in the first primacy and supremacy of the bishop of Rome: as though the outward succession of Peter and the apostles had been of greater force and effect to that matter. What doth it force in what place Peter did rule or not rule? It is much more to be regarded that every man should labor and study with all his endeavor to follow the life and confession of Peter; and that man seemeth unto me to be the true successor of Peter against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail. For if Peter in the Gospel do bear the type and figure of the Christian church (as all men, in a manner, do affirm), what more foolish or vain thing can there be, than through private usurpation, to restrain and to bind that unto one man, which, by the appointment of the Lord, is of itself free and open to so many?

Thus, in these so great and troublous times and horrible darkness of ignorance, what time there seemed in a manner to be no one so little a spark of pure doctrine left or remaining, this aforesaid Wick-lift, by God’s providence, sprang and rose up, through whom the Lord would first waken and raise up again the world, which was overmuch drowned and whelmed in the deep streams of human traditions. Thus you have here the time of Wickliff’s original: *now we will also in few words show somewhat of his troubles and conflicts.*

This Wickliff, after he had now a long time professed divinity in the university of Oxford, and perceiving the true doctrine of Christ’s gospel to be adulterated and defiled with so many filthy inventions of bishops, sects of monks, and dark errors: and that he, after long debating and deliberating with himself (with many secret sighs, and bewailing in his mind the general ignorance of the whole world), could no longer suffer or abide the same, at the last determined with himself to help and to remedy such things as he saw to be wide, and out of the way. But, forsomuch as he saw that this dangerous meddling could not be attempted or stirred without great trouble, neither that these things, which had been so long time with use and custom rooted and grafted in men’s minds, could be suddenly plucked up or taken away, he thought with himself that this matter should be done by little and little, * even as he that plucked out the hairs out of the horse tail, as the proverb saith.* Wherefore he, taking his original at small occasions, thereby opened himself a way or mean to greater matters. And first he assailed his adversaries in logical and metaphysical questions, disputing with them of the first form and fashion of things, of the increase of time, and of the intelligible substance of a creature, with other such like sophisms of no great effect; but yet, notwithstanding, it did not a little help and furnish him, who minded to dispute of greater matters. So in these matters first began Keningham, a Carmelite, to dispute and argue against John Wickliff.