Romans 13 in Western Political History

Review the text of Romans 13

1 LET every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 

Eventually, as it becomes too bulky, this page will be broken down into separate files.

The Political Writings of St. Augustine,
Edited with an Introduction, by Henry Paolucci
Including and Interpretative Analysis by Dino Bigongiari
Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washington, D.C.

[p.190] The civil powers defend their conduct in persecuting schismatics by the rule which the apostle laid down:

"Whoso resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."[1]

The whole question therefore is, whether schism be not an evil work, or whether you have not caused schism, so that your resistance of the powers that be is in a good cause [p.191] and not in an evil work, whereby you would bring judgment on yourselves. Wherefore with infinite wisdom the Lord not merely said, "Blessed are they who are persecuted," but added, "for righteousness' sake."[2] I desire therefore to know from you, in the light of what I have said above, whether it be a work of righteousness to originate and perpetuate your state of separation from the Church. I desire also to know whether it be not rather a work of unrighteousness to condemn unheard the whole Christian world, either because it has not heard what you have heard, or because no proof has been furnished to it of charges which were rashly believed, or without sufficient evidence advanced by you, and to propose on this ground to baptize a second time the members of so many churches founded by the preaching and labours either of the Lord Himself while He was on earth, or of His apostles; and all this on the assumption that it is excusable for you either not to know the wickedness of your African colleagues who are living beside you, and are using the same sacraments with you, or even to tolerate their misdeeds when known, lest the party of Donatus should be divided, but that it is inexcusable for them, though they reside in most remote regions, to be ignorant of what you either know, or believe, or have heard, or imagine, concerning men in Africa. How great is the perversity of those who cling to their own unrighteousness, and yet find fault with the severity of the civil powers!

1. Rom. xiii. 24.
2. Matt. v. 10.

You answer, perhaps, that Christians ought not to persecute even the wicked. Be it so; let us admit that they ought not: but is it lawful to lay this objection in the way of the powers which are [p.192] ordained for this very purpose? Shall we erase the apostle's words? Or do your MSS. not contain the words which I mentioned a little while ago? But you will say that we ought not to communicate with such persons. What then? Did you withdraw, some time ago, from communion with the deputy Flavianus, on the ground of his putting to death, in his administration of the laws, those whom he found guilty? Again, you will say that the Roman emperors are incited against you by us. Nay, rather blame yourselves for this, seeing that, as was long ago foretold in the promise concerning Christ, "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him,"[3] they are now members of the Church; and you have dared to wound the Church by schism, and still presume to insist upon rebaptizing her members. Our brethren indeed demand help from the powers which are ordained, not to persecute you, but to protect themselves against the lawless acts of violence perpetrated by individuals of your party, which you yourselves, who refrain from such things, bewail and deplore; just as, before the Roman Empire became Christian, the Apostle Paul took measures to secure that the protection of armed Roman soldiers should be granted him against the Jews who had conspired to kill him. But these emperors, whatever the occasion of their becoming acquainted with the crime of your schism might be, frame against you such decrees as their zeal and their office demand. For they bear not the sword in vain; they are the ministers of God to execute wrath upon those that do evil. Finally, if some of our party transgress the bounds of Christian moderation in this matter, it displeases us; nevertheless, we do [p.193] not on their account forsake the Catholic Church because we are unable to separate the wheat from the chaff before the final winnowing, especially since you yourselves have not forsaken the Donatist party on account of Optatus, when you had not courage to excommunicate him for his crimes.

3. Ps. lxxii. 11.

p.258 There is good, then, in your severity which works to secure our tranquility, and there is good in our intercession which works to restrain your severity. Do not be displeased at being petitioned by the good, because the good are not displeased that you are feared by the wicked. Even the Apostle Paul used fear to check the evil deeds of men, fear not only of the judgment to come but even of your present instruments of torture, asserting that they form part of the plan of divine providence, when he said:

"Let every soul be subject to higher powers, for there is no power but from God; and those that are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation: for princes are not a terror to the good work but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise for the same; for he is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear, for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake. For therefore also you pay tribute, for they are the ministers of God, serving unto this purpose. Render therefore to all men their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything but to love one another."[2]

These words of the Apostle show the usefulness of your severity. Thus, as those who fear are ordered to render love to those who cause [p.259] them fear, so those who cause fear are ordered to render love to those who fear. Let nothing be done through desire of hurting, but all through love of helping, and nothing will be done cruelly, inhumanly. Thus, the sentence of the judge will be feared, but not so as to cause the religious motive of the intercessor to be scorned, because it is only by yielding and pardoning that the good effect of amending a man's life is produced. But, if perversity and impiety are so great that neither punishment nor pardon can avail to correct them, it is still true that, whether severity or leniency is shown, the obligation of charity is fulfilled by the good through their intention and upright conscience which God beholds.

2. Rom. xiii. 18.

Richard Gardiner, in his impressive collection of "Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History, lists many sources which introduce the average Secular Humanist to the now-unknown religious foundations of American Revolution and Government. These sources are found in a yellow box, like this one.

indent.gif (90 bytes)A Short Treatise on Political Power, John Ponet, D.D. (1556) President John Adams credited this Calvinist document as being at the root of the theory of government adopted by the Americans. According to Adams, Ponet's work contained "all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke" including the idea of a three-branched government. (Adams, Works, vol. 6, pg. 4). Published in Strassbourg in 1556, it is one of the first works out of the Reformation to advocate active resistance to tyrannical magistrates, with the exception of the Magdeburg Bekkentis (the Magdeburg Confession).

indent.gif (90 bytes)Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, or, A Vindication Against Tyrants (1579). This Calvinist document is one of the first to set forth the theory of "social contract" upon which the United States was founded. The idea was disseminated through the English Calvinists to the pen of John Locke, and eventually into the Declaration of Independence. John Adams reported the relevance of this document to the American struggle.

indent.gif (90 bytes)Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) Acknowledged by scholars to be a prototype of the U.S. constitution, while not explicitly mentioning Romans 13, contains the same thinking:

For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed as followeth:

indent.gif (90 bytes)Lex Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644). This treatise systematized the Calvinistic political theories which had developed over the previous century. Rutherford was a colleague of John Locke's parents. Most of John Locke's Second Treatise on Government is reflective of Lex Rex. From Rutherford and other Commonwealthmen such as George Lawson, through Locke, these theorists provided the roots of the Declaration of Independence. This page provides the list of questions Lex Rex addresses.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Lex, Rex, Samuel Rutherford (1644). This excerpt shows Rutherford's social contract theory and includes the Puritan theory of resistance to a tyrant.

In 1644, John Winthrop, Then Deputy-Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, wrote Arbitrary Government Described And The Government of the Massachusetts Vindicated From That Aspersion. He spoke of government as ordained by God:

There are some few cases only (beside the capitals) wherein the penalty is prescribed; and the Lord could have done the like in others, if He had so pleased; but having appointed governments upon earth, to be His vicegerents, He hath given them those few as presidents to direct them and to exercise His gifts in them (Deut. xvii; 9, 10, 11).
Harvard Classics (1910), Vol.43, p.96-97

indent.gif (90 bytes)The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) In addition to being the decree of Parliament as the standard for Christian doctrine in the British Kingdom, it was adopted as the official statement of belief for the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Although slightly altered and called by different names, it was the creed of Congregationalist, Baptist, and Presbyterian Churches throughout the English speaking world. Assent to the Westminster Confession was officially required at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Princeton scholar, Benjamin Warfield wrote: "It was impossible for any body of Christians in the [English] Kingdoms to avoid attending to it." [Link goes to chap.23, "On the Civil Magistrate."]
indent.gif (90 bytes)The Westminster Catechism (1646) Second only to the Bible, the "Shorter Catechism" of the Westminster Confession was the most widely published piece of literature in the pre-revolutionary era in America. It is estimated that some five million copies were available in the colonies. With a total population of only four million people in America at the time of the Revolution, the number is staggering. The Westminster Catechism was not only a central part of the colonial educational curriculum, learning it was required by law. Each town employed an officer whose duty was to visit homes to hear the children recite the Catechism. The primary schoolbook for children, the New England Primer, included the Catechism.  Daily recitations of it were required at these schools. Their curriculum included memorization of the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Larger Catechism. There was not a person at Independence Hall in 1776 who had not been exposed to it, and most of them had it spoon fed to them before they could walk. [Link to Q. 127 of Larger Catechism; cf. also Q. 129.]

In 1651 Thomas Hobbes penned Leviathan, which has a lengthy section describing a Christian Commonwealth (usually omitted in secular school texts). He wrote:

[M]en that are once possessed of an opinion that their obedience to the sovereign power will be more hurtful to them than their disobedience  will disobey the laws, and thereby overthrow the Commonwealth, and introduce confusion and civil war; for the avoiding whereof, all civil government was ordained.
Hobbes, Leviathan, Part III, Chapter XLII

A Healing Question

In 1656, Cromwell issued a proclamation for a general fast to consider the cause of the continued distracted condition of Britain. In response, Sir Henry Vane, previously Governor of Massachusetts, and one of the most high-minded statesmen of the period of the Commonwealth in England, published A Healing Question Propounded And Resolved, Upon Occasion Of The Late Public And Seasonable Call To Humiliation, In Order To Love And Union Among The Honest Party, And With A Desire To Apply Balm To The Wound Before It Become Incurable, expounding the principles of civil and religious liberty, and proposing that method of forming a constitution, through a convention called for the purpose, which was actually followed in America after the Revolution.

The root and bottom upon which it stood was not public interest, but the private lust and will of the conqueror, who by force of arms did at first detain the right and freedom which was and is due to the whole body of the people; for whose safety and good, government itself is ordained by God, not for the particular benefit of the rulers, as a distinct and private interest of their own; which yet, for the most part, is not only preferred before the common good, but upheld in opposition thereunto.
Harvard Classics (1910), Vol.43, "American Historical Documents," p.129-130

By virtue, then, of this supreme law, sealed and confirmed in the blood of Christ unto all men (whose souls he challenges a propriety in, to bring under his inward rule in the service and worship of God), it is that all magistrates are to fear and forbear intermeddling with giving rule or imposing in those matters. They are to content themselves with what is plain in their commission, as ordained of God to be his minister unto men for good, while they approve themselves the doers of that which is good in the sight of men, and whereof earthly and worldly judicatures are capable to make a clear and perfect judgment: in which case the magistrate is to be for praise and protection to them. In like manner, he is to be a minister of terror and revenge to those that do evil in matters of outward practice, converse, and dealings in the things of this life between man and man, for the cause whereof the judicatures of men are appointed and set up. But to exceed these limits, as it is not safe or warrantable for the magistrate (in that he who is higher than the highest, regards, and will show himself displeased at it), so neither is it good for the people, who hereby are nourished up in a biting, devouring, wrathful spirit one against another, and are found transgressors of that royal law [James 2:8] which forbids us to do that unto another which we would not have them do unto us, were we in their condition
Pg.126, 130-131.

The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania, May 5, 1682, contains extended references to Romans 13:

The Preface

When the great and wise God had made tile world, of all his creatures, it pleased him to chuse man his Deputy to rule it: and to fit him for so great a charge and trust, he did not only qualify him with skill and power, but with integrity to use them justly. This native goodness was equally his honour and his happiness, and whilst he stood here, all went well; there was no need of coercive or compulsive means; the precept of divine love and truth, in his bosom, was the guide and keeper of his innocency. But lust prevailing against duty, made a lamentable breach upon it; and the law, that before had no power over him, took place upon him, and his disobedient posterity, that such as would not live comformable to the holy law within, should fall under the reproof and correction of the just law without, in a Judicial administration.

This the Apostle teaches in divers of his epistles: " The law (says he) was added because of transgression: " In another place, " Knowing that the law was not made for the righteous man; but for the disobedient and ungodly, for sinners, for unholy and prophane, for murderers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, and for man-stealers, for lyers, for perjured persons," &c., but this is not all, he opens and carries the matter of government a little further: " Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God: whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil: wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same." " He is the minister of God to thee for good." " Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake."

This settles the divine right of government beyond exception, and that for two ends: first, to terrify evil doers: secondly, to cherish those that do well; which gives government a life beyond corruption, and makes it as durable in the world, as good men shall be. So that government seems to me a part of religion itself, a filing sacred in its institution and end. For, if it does not directly remove the cause, it crushes the effects of evil, and is as such, (though a lower, yet) an emanation of the same Divine Power, that is both author and object of pure religion; the difference lying here, that the one is more free and mental, the other more corporal and compulsive in its operations: but that is only to evil doers; government itself being otherwise as capable of kindness, goodness and charity, as a more private society. They weakly err, that think there is no other use of government, than correction, which is the coarsest part of it: daily experience tells us, that the care and regulation of many other affairs, more soft, and daily necessary, make up much of the greatest part of government; and which must have followed the peopling of the world, had Adam never fell, and will continue among men, on earth, under the highest attainments they may arrive at, by the coming of the blessed Second Adam, the Lord from heaven. Thus much of government in general, as to its rise and end.

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 Compiled and Edited Under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906 by Francis Newton Thorpe (Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1909.) Also available at the Avalon Project of Yale Law School.

In his Second Treatise on Government, John Locke declared that government was ordained by God (Romans 13), and that this ordination began as long ago as the time of Noah (Genesis 9):

If one can doubt this to be truth, or reason, because it comes from the obscure hand of a subject, I hope the authority of a king will make it pass with him. King James the first, in his speech to the parliament, 1603, tells them thus,

I will ever prefer the weal of the public, and of the whole commonwealth, in making of good laws and constitutions, to any particular and private ends of mine; thinking ever the wealth and weal of the commonwealth to be my greatest weal and worldly felicity; a point wherein a lawful king doth directly differ from a tyrant: for I do acknowledge, that the special and greatest point of difference that is between a rightful king and an usurping tyrant, is this, that whereas the proud and ambitious tyrant doth think his kingdom and people are only ordained for satisfaction of his desires and unreasonable appetites, the righteous and just king doth by the contrary acknowledge himself to be ordained for the procuring of the wealth and property of his people,

And again, in his speech to the parliament, 1609, he hath these words,

The king binds himself by a double oath, to the observation of the fundamental laws of his kingdom; tacitly, as by being a king, and so bound to protect as well the people, as the laws of his kingdom; and expressly, by his oath at his coronation, so as every just king, in a settled kingdom, is bound to observe that paction made to his people, by his laws, in framing his government agreeable thereunto, according to that paction which God made with Noah after the deluge. Hereafter, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease while the earth remaineth. And therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom, leaves to be a king, and degenerates into a tyrant, as soon as he leaves off to rule according to his laws.

And a little after,

Therefore all kings that are not tyrants, or perjured, will be glad to bound themselves within the limits of their laws; and they that persuade them the contrary, are vipers, and pests both against them and the commonwealth. Thus that learned king, who well understood the notion of things, makes the difference betwixt a king and a tyrant to consist only in this, that one makes the laws the bounds of his power, and the good of the public, the end of his government; the other makes all give way to his own will and appetite.

The Second Treatise of Government, Chapter 18: Of Tyranny, Section 200

indent.gif (90 bytes)Discourses Concerning Government, Table of Contents. Algernon Sidney (1698) Built principles of popular government from foundation of natural law and the social contract. This book has been considered by scholars the "textbook of the American Revolution."
indent.gif (90 bytes)Discourses Concerning Government, Algernon Sidney, excerpts.

Russell Kirk, in The Roots of American Order, p.402-3, writes:

The Continental Congress appeals to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God": that is, to natural law. They could have referred to the authority of the judicious Hooker; however, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that phrase, knew his Locke and his Blackstone better than Hooker. Jefferson was influenced, too, by Algernon Sidney's compact-doctrine in Sidney's Discourses Concerning Government, written at the beginning of England's Civil Wars.

Developing the principles of Civil Government by beginning in Genesis and tracing its growth through the historical chronicle in Scripture was a common pedagogical technique, and was used by Sidney. It demonstrates the widely-held belief that the Bible was a textbook of political science. We employed the same process in our analysis of the rise of the State.

indent.gif (90 bytes)A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers [see "Sermons," below]
indent.gif (90 bytes)Speech on Conciliation with America, Edmund Burke, March 22, 1775; Burke describes the character of the American colonists and links their commitment to liberty to their Protestantism.

Russell Kirk says of Burke's position,

To assure the reign of justice and to protect the just share of each man in the social partnership, government is established. Government is a practical creation, to be administered according to practical considerations; for Burke distinguishes between the "state" or social being, which is ordained of God, and "government," or political administration, which is the product of convention.
The true natural rights of men, then, are equal justice, security of labor and property, the amenities of civilized institutions, and the benefits of orderly society. For these purposes God ordained the state, and history demonstrates that they are the rights desired by the true natural man. These genuine rights, without which government is usurpation, Burke contrasts with the fancied and delusory "rights of men" so lusted after across the Channel.
Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind from Burke to Eliot, p.55-6

Election Day Sermons

Yale Historian Harry Stout has shown the centrality of the sermon in the formation of the American Revolution and Government. The "Election Sermon" was preached at the request of the civil governments before the governor and all houses of the legislature. Hyneman, Lutz, and Sandoz have edited collections of these sermons which are still in print.

Richard Gardiner's invaluable archive of links contains the following:

indent.gif (90 bytes)The Sin and Danger of Self-Love (1621) There were no clergymen among the pilgrims at Plymouth when they first settled. This sermon was written and given by a layman, Robert Cushman, to the Plymouth congregation in December 1621. Robert Cushman was a member of the Pilgrims church in Leyden, Holland, and came on (and returned in) the ship Fortune.
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Model of Christian Charity by John Winthrop (1630). A sermon preached aboard one of the ships carrying the Puritans to New England.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Theopolis Americana ("God's City: America"), Cotton Mather (1709) This excerpt from Mather's sermon shows how Mather, with other Puritans, believed that America was truly the "Promised Land." This thinking led ultimately to the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Vindication of the Government of New England Churches, John Wise (1717) A Puritan political sermon which included most of the principles of government embraced by the founders of the U.S.
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers, Jonathan Mayhew (1750) About this document, John Adams wrote, "It was read by everybody; celebrated by friends, and abused by enemies... It spread an universal alarm against the authority of Parliament. It excited a general and just apprehension, that bishops, and dioceses, and churches, and priests, and tithes, were to be imposed on us by Parliament." This sermon has been called the spark which ignited the American Revolution. This illustrates that the Revolution was not only about stamps and taxes but also about religious liberty. [Anarcho-Calvinist rebuttal]
indent.gif (90 bytes)Religion and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier, Samuel Davies (1755). Davies, a Presbyterian preacher and president of the College at Princeton, here interprets the French and Indian war as a religious war. In this excerpt from a sermon preached in Virginia, Davies rouses the anti-Catholic sentiment of his hearers to rally them to arms against the French in the Ohio country.
indent.gif (90 bytes)An Election Sermon, Daniel Shute; Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts-Bay, 26 May 1768.
indent.gif (90 bytes)An Oration on the Beauties of Liberty, Reverend John Allen (1772)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Oration Delivered at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Second Oration Delivered at Boston, Joseph Warren (1772)
indent.gif (90 bytes)An Election Sermon, Simeon Howard (1773) Demonstrating that an armed war against a tyrant was a Christian's duty.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Early Virginia Religious Petitions (1774-1802)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Boston Massacre Oration, John Hancock (1774)
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Plea Before the Massachusetts Legislature, Isaac Backus (1774)
indent.gif (90 bytes)First Prayer Given in the Continental Congress, Rev. Jacob Duche (1774)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Sermon on Civil Liberty, Nathaniel Niles (1774) An example of how clergymen stoked the revolutionary spirit
indent.gif (90 bytes)Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless, David Jones (1775). Sermon justifying the revolution.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Government Corrupted by Vice, and Recovered by Righteousness, Samuel Langdon, May 31, 1775; This sermon preached a year before Jefferson wrote his declaration, included this phrase: "By the law of nature, any body of people, destitute of order and government, may form themselves into a civil society, according to their best prudence, and so provide for their common safety and advantage."
indent.gif (90 bytes)On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance, Jonathan Boucher (1775)
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Calm Address To Our American Colonies, John Wesley (1775)
indent.gif (90 bytes)The American Vine, Jacob Duche (1775)
indent.gif (90 bytes)The Church's Flight into the Wilderness, Samuel Sherwood, January 17, 1776; A sermon which labels British tyranny Satanic.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, John Witherspoon, May 1776. This sermon was preached by a member of the Second Continental Congress during the period in which the members were deciding upon American Independence.
indent.gif (90 bytes)On the Right to Rebel against Governors, Samuel West (1776)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Divine Judgements Upon Tyrants, Jacob Cushing, April 20, 1778; a sermon on the three year anniversary of the war.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Election Sermon, Phillips Payson (1778)
indent.gif (90 bytes)Defensive Arms Vindicated (1779) A sermon vindicating the activity of General George Washington.
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Sermon on the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution, Samuel Cooper (1780)

These sermons were often preached in the state capitols before governors and legislators at the request of the governments. These legislators would then carry their obligation to be a "minister of God" into their public office. See an example in the Proclamation of March 6, 1799, by President John Adams.

indent.gif (90 bytes)Common Sense (1776) Thomas Paine agitated for revolution against Britain by appealing to the chronicle of history in Scripture. Paine on 1 Samuel 8. Paine later became a public opponent of Christianity and Scripture, to the great disappointment of men like John Adams and Ben Franklin.

TITLE: Samuel Adams on American Independence
AUTHOR: Samuel Adams
DATE: 1776
SOURCE: The World's Famous Orations, Vol.1 Pg.118

[From a speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia, "to a very numerous audience," on August 1, 1776.]

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, the grand council of the nation, and once the faithful guardian of the State, and a terror to evil ministers, will be degenerated into a body if sycophants, dependent and venal, always ready to confirm any measures, and little more than a public court for registering royal edicts.

Writings of Madison, Volume 1: 1769-1793, p.196
To Thomas Jefferson.
PHILADELPHIA, October 3d, 1785.

The present plan of federal Government reverses the first principle of all Government. It punishes not the evil-doers, but those that do well.

It is important to realize that the concept of government being "ordained by God" pervaded America. There is not the slightest indication in the Constitution or in the ratifying debates that America's Founding Fathers rejected the prevailing interpretation of Romans 13.

In spite of the strong approbation of civil government perceived in Romans 13, it is noteworthy that Romans 13 was also the rallying point of America's armed resistance of the British government. This is discussed here, and provides further confirmation that the modern atheistic concept of "separation of church and state" is a myth.

Vine & Fig Tree's Romans 13 Home Page
The most disastrously misunderstood Biblical text in history!

|| Romans 13 and Parallel Texts || Romans 13 in American History || Romans 13 in Western Political Thought || Romans 13 and the American Revolution || Romans 13 and the "Separation of Church and State" ||

Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal  | |  All Evil is Predestined by God   | |  Pray for a Servant's Understanding  | |  Angels and God's Throne of Government  | |  Stars and Idolatry  | |  Why the State Always Encourages Immorality  | |  Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13  | |   A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13  | |  "Principalities and Powers"  | |  Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms"  | |  Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists  | |  Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State  | |   Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"   | |  Angels and Autarchy  | |  95 Theses Against the State   | |   Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks like after he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.

Christmas Conspiracy


Vine & Fig Tree

Paradigm Shift


End The Wall of Separation
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