January 19th, 2018

...So that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel ... I Kings 8:43

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 "The first of our "Little Known Secrets" is found in that great Minister... He taught and wrote publicly and as the Head of the College known more famously as Princeton."
In his youth, James Madison, called "Father of the Constitution" and 4th President of the United States, studied God's Word for application to society and government under Rev. John Witherspoon of Princeton of whom it was said,
"A mechanic taught under this great preacher could stand as a statesmen anywhere else among men".

Horace Walpole, acting Prime Minister of Great Britain, spoke of the impact of the "parson" - the minister John Witherspoon -  upon the leadership and common folk in all the colonies throughout America, when he said in Parliament...
"Sister America has run off with a Presbyterian  parson ."

Witherspoon was a scholar of immense understanding and stature, renowned in both Europe and America.  He was a well established theologian with a profound capacity to apply biblical Truths to just about any issue, often with stunning insights so compelling that aspiring leadership everywhere sought out his counsels. He was a faithful and laborious pastor, an orator of commanding eloquence, a successful teacher, a voluminous and successful author, one of the first skillful economists among European and American thinkers (who warned the Congress about the dangers of Inflation when such dangers were not well understood!) and a great leader among men.
It was those principles upon which he expounded at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in matters of Civil Government.
It is difficult to say in which of these characters he shone to most advantage. By birth and training the adversary of wrong and oppression in any form. His powerful advocacy of American rights speedily elevated him to his proper place by the side of George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and their illustrious compeers.

As a member of the convention that formed the constitution of New Jersey, Dr. Witherspoon astonished and impressed his coadjutors by his knowledge and wisdom as a civilian. It was in fact his oratory that moved the Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence. For six years he was a member of the Continental Congress, serving on 120 committees including the committee that discussed Issues of secrecy concerning the war’s strategies and diplomatic undertakings. In 1779 he greatly distinguished himself as a member of the committee to secure supplies for the famishing army.

Two weeks before voting for independence in Congress, the Rev. John Witherspoon preached the following:

What was the issue upon which his preaching concerns focused? The answer: The absolute necessity that a determined Christianity would lead an honorable but resolute resistance to the despotic power grab of Britain’s Ministers of state!

His speeches and writings moved soldiers and civilians alike. Witherspoon publicly orated that Britain could be trusted and its perfidies driven from our shores. Imagery and concept alike flowed from his pen to be captured, in whole or in part, by the imagination of the people: In  “A Military Song by the Army: On General Washington’s victorious entry into the town of BOSTON,” the soldiers spoke openly concerning the departing British enemy:

“Like Satan banished from HEAVEN,
Never see, the smiling shore,
From this land so happy, driven,
Never Stain, its bosom more.”

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...During the War of Independence there was a group of heroic men referred to as the "Black Regiment". The very name enraged the British armies. As heroes in the war, their courage and leadership were hailed throughout the colonies from Massachusetts to Georgia. As a "regiment", they never once drilled together, yet the strategic impact of their highly disciplined attacks was overwhelming. As a unit, they never fought together on a particular field of battle, yet without question, their leadership provided the spark which ignited victory after victory.

This "Black Regiment" was responsible for providing the conviction and wisdom necessary for winning a war against the cruelty of an unjust government. What was the "Black Regiment"? Actually, it wasn't a regiment at all. It referred to the American Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Baptist clergy of early Christian America and its churches.

British sympathizers (Loyalists), so named them because of the black robes worn by the ministers when they ascended their pulpits each Lord's Day. The name "stuck". Colonial enemies knew that the seeds of what the British called "sedition'' or "revolution" were being sown in the pulpits of America. Without the outspoken, tenacious and courageous leadership exhibited by the pastors of the "Black Regiment", it is doubtful whether American independence could ever have been achieved in early Christian America.
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In the English Bill of Rights of 1689, Christian Truths made tremendous impact upon the developments of English constitutional laws. This came as a direct result of England's reaction to the tyranny of the Stuart kings. Such truths from Scripture included the threefold "Division of Powers" (Judiciary, Legislature, Executive branches of government):

For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.- Isaiah 33:22

The colonies in America moved rapidly toward the concept of constitutional republics, a representative rule through eldership. They inherited this ideal through the influence of the churches of the era because of the emphasis upon "the rule of eldership" in the churches during the Reformation era in Europe. In England, the idea of "eldership" took on the form of constitutional laws enhancing the authority of Parliament against tyranny: Magna Charta (1215), The Habeous Corpus Act of 1679, The Petition of Rights (1628), Abolition of Star Chamber (1641),

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. - II Samuel 5:3
And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. - Joshua 20:4
The Bible taught all of the Anglo -American heritage to restrain and Constitutionally bind the chief executive (be he king, president, prime minister, governors) who MUST learn and abide by the Laws of the land:

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them... - Deut. 17: 19

Courts of Appeal as a guard for establishing Justice are found in the Word of the Lord

So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, officers over thousands, and officers over hundreds, and officers over fifties, and officers over tens, and officers among your tribes. - Deut. 1: 15

Direct election of officers in government (this passage was used by the Rev. Thomas Hooker in his famous sermon of 1636, which became a basis for the people throughout Connecticut and later all the colonies who followed their lead, for direct election of their civil magistrates:

Take from among yourselves wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. - Deut. 1:13

These are but a few of literally hundreds of precepts and principles drawn up in documents from among the English speaking peoples, over a period of almost a millennium!

Since the days when the great Christian monarch King Alfred the Great embedded biblical principles from Exodus and Deuteronomy into the laws of the English people, the English speaking peoples have developed those principles from Scripture when they faced tyranny, threats to their safety, invasions, difficult constitutional decisions and other trials.

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