Why should we Give thanks to God? For His Sure Mercies (meaning correction and rebirth).

Why should we Give thanks to God? For His Sure Mercies (meaning correction and rebirth).

The Declaration of Independence, in its first paragraph, says the reason for separation from tyranny, is when “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them.”

This writing from 1776 is probably best understood in other writings before it expressing the common thinking of the day.

The Rights of the Colonists
by Samuel Adams
The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting.
November 20, 1772

I. Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men.

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.

All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.

All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.

To this point, the following, from where comes the above quoted passage, is chapter 4 of a book (The Principles that Created a Nation) I began several years and never finished.

Chapter 4
The Separate Origins of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

In 1717, Reverend John Wise, Pastor of the 2nd Church of Ipswich, a Harvard College Graduate, class of 1673, wrote “Vindication of the Government of New England Churches.” It was written as Wise’s defense of churches in New England and their Independence in governing themselves at the Congregational level. In the Historical Introductory Notes of the 1860 Reprint, By Reverend J. S. Clark D. D., say the book is “remarkable for tough logic,” and “is unquestionable the clearest and most convincing demonstration of the Congregational polity ever put forth.” In the same paragraph Clark writes:

It would have left its mark on any age that could produce it. But in that age, and among a people whose susceptibilities of impression were quickened by late encroachments on popular freedom in the State, and still later, on the liberties of the churches, it was like setting a seal of melted wax. Especially forcible in his argument ‘drawn from the light of nature.’ Digging down to the bottom, and laying bare the foundation-stones, he shows that all human government is, and must be, originally derived from the people.

He goes on:

This argument for the democracy of Congregational churches from the light of nature, which at the time was truly what he calls it, ‘an unbeaten path,’ was quite as available for a democracy in states, – an inference which could not have escaped the thoughtful reader of that age, nor have failed to give the public mind a bias toward the political independence that was achieved in the following age.


Indeed, some of the most glittering sentences in the immortal Declaration of American Independence are almost literal quotations from this essay of John Wise.

Clark’s closing statement, after telling that in 1772, four years prior to the declaration in 1776, a large volume of this book was “published by subscription” and the presumption, this fact alone suggests is that it was used as a political textbook, is confirmed by the list of subscribers at the end of that published version. He says in his closing of these men and the effect of John Wise’s work:

Distinguished laymen in all parts of New England, who were soon to be heralded to the world as the heroes in that struggle, are on that list for six, twelve, twenty-four, and two of them for a hundred copies each! As the state itself, in its first organic life on these shores, was born of the church, so the republican form of government is the product of the Congregational church polity; and of all men whom God has honored with an agency in the production, John Wise ranks among the foremost.

With this as our starting point I endeavor to show the course of reasoning as it leads from this writing to that of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I shall along this way do, As Wise writes (in Demonstration II, From the Light of Nature, chapter II), “disclose several principles of natural knowledge, plainly discovering the law of nature, or true sentiments of natural reason, with respect to man’s being and government.” Wise say that on these subjects he shall “principally take Baron Puffendorff” for his “chief guide and spokesman.”

Wise defines there being two separate states of man, that of his natural state owing only Homage to God and then his civil state of being where many disproportions appear. It is my assertion that these two states are separately dealt with: (1) in the body of the Constitution dealing with the civil and, (2) the Bill of Rights dealing with the Natural state, the two being separate as well as inseparable.

Wise begins his book with an explanation of the Church Dispensation, braking it into three periods: (1) The first few hundred years, beginning at Christ’s rectification of God’s plan for man, (2) The next twelve hundred years or so, beginning at Constantine the Great and the accompanying Centralization that resulted in mass apostasy, (3) The final as from the Reformation to the time of his writing.

A further explanation of each of these will follow and I will end it with the conclusion of the fourth period since and the death of the Church on earth and the ending of that Dispensation and the beginning of the next, (4) The beginning of the God’s government on earth.

From this point I will take the Liberty of including very much of the Scriptures as the basis and context that will parallel and reinforce both my and John Wise’s argument and conclusions.

I will begin with Hebrews 1 and describe for you that in it is contained much of what I have described in the last few paragraphs. The chapter begins with the Dispensations of time being described as in the past God speaking through the Fathers and Prophets in divers ways. It goes on to say that now in the end of that Dispensation He has begun the next with speaking through His Son, as Christ is described as the Word in John 1, there and elsewhere the Scriptures define the worlds, the Dispensations of time, as being created By Christ, the Word of God as it enters in creating man back on the course of His plan.

If the reader will pardon me I will be more specific.

[In Hebrews 1 below] The Greek word translated as “world” in verse 2 is aion. It is the same word used twice in verse 8 and translated “for ever and ever.” In verse 6 the word translated “world” is oikoumene, and the “earth” in verse 10 is ge.

Greek defintions:
Aion is age, and contextually dispensation.
Oikoumene is inhabited parts of the globe, meant for Rome in the time of this writing, and contextually and literally means to dwell in the house.
Ge is the entire physical planet.

Merriam-Webster defintion:
1 a : a general state or ordering of things; specifically : a system of revealed commands and promises regulating human affairs
b : a particular arrangement or provision especially of providence or nature
2 a : an exemption from a law or from an impediment, vow, or oath
b : a formal authorization
3 a : the act of dispensing
b : something dispensed or distributed

Here is Hebrews 1 with these contextual changes both lined out and written in plane text [lined out portion did not transfer in this posting]:

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds dispensations;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth again in the firstbegotten into the world house to dwell (think – the swept house), he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever from dispensation to dispensation: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth [ge]; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

My parenthetical addition in verse 6 is to bring light to the Lord’s Parable of the Swept House (Matthew 12: 44 and surrounding descriptions) and its pertinence to our topic. Also, verse 6 is quoting (better seen in the Septuagint – the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew text) from Deuteronomy 32: 43 and therefore invoking its meaning for context. These and the following Psalms 37 are describing Dispensational periods.

Deuteronomy 32
1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
19 And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
27 Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this.
28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.
29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
35 To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
36 For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.
45 And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel:
46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
48 And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
51 Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of MeribahKadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.
52 Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

I am saying nothing different than has always been said. The Dispensations of time (the ages) have all gone through this same pattern of rise and fall, and circle of the next begins with the reordering, realigning with God’s plan, and a higher level of civilization of man. That is the eventual civil government aligning with God’s perfect pattern for the same.

Psalms 37
1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

This carries us back to a fuller description of Wise’s three distinct periods:
(1) The first period was that of the original and the pureness and practice seen in it. Wise describes it as a time of “an immense effusion of the Spirit of God upon the world.” It was also a time of great danger to Christians and he that owned Christ, “must bid defiance to the celebrated deities of the Roman Empire; and thereby run counter to the religion of the imperial court.” This was a time where Christ was their self-government and no matter the civil government around them they lived in the perfection of their faith. It was decentralized worship uncontrolled by any and under varying names only defining their location.

(2) The time of the usurpers’ taking control and defining what was acceptable to believe and who would teach it. It was the dark times of the great apostasy. I will say little more here as in this time we live in there would be conclusion drawn and accusations made that are neither my intention nor focus as it wasn’t Wise’s. Wise, as I will, later places the blame for this and the other lapses squarely with the laity, for not opposing this Empire as it did the first. The other point to be taken from this period is the pattern of devolution that occurs as power is moved from the people to those who would rule over them as property and as the self-serving lords over the people.

(3) The Reformation, and the return of speaking truth to Power and in doing returning the power back to the people. But – the decease had already taken hold on the body and the relapse occurred quickly. The new lords where just as where the old lords wanting to over it assert their power. This next to last fall, before the greatest of falls and the death that is our time, was Wise’s object. As He says:

Now to come to what I aim at, these churches in New England, as to their order and discipline, have surpassed all the churches of the reformation. And under the head of discipline, it seem to me that Christ, the captain of salvation, has given out his word to these churches as to his troops coming up in the rear of time; and his word of command is – as you were; make good the old front, or place yourselves in the regimental order which the primitive churches were whilst they marched under my banner, and encountered the devil in their heathen persecutors of the first three hundred years – for that the churches are eminently parallel in their government. Those first ages of the church, it is certain, were many times annoyed with many pestilent and damnable heresies, and many usages in worship, too superstitious, crept in amongst them, yet they continued in the constitution of their church order very uniform and apostolical; and it is very obvious that these churches in the wilderness, in the essentials of government, are very parallel to them.

These ideas led to revolution in the church as well as Our Revolution against the third Empire. Our declaration says, just prior to laying out the specific facts to the “candid world”:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.

This “duty” as they saw it came as was well-defined in what Wise had written:

“In general, concerning rebellion against government for particular subjects to break in upon regular communities duly established, is from the premises to violate the law of nature, and a high usurpation upon the first grand immunities of mankind. Such rebels in states, and usurpers in churches affront the world, with presumption that the best of the brotherhood are a company of fools, and that themselves have fairly monopolized all reason of human nature. Yea they take upon themselves the boldness to assume prerogative of trampling under foot the natural original equality and liberty of heir fellows; for to push the proprietors of settlements out of possession of their old, and impose new schemes upon them, is virtually to declare them in a state of vassalage, or that they were born so; and therefore will the usurper be so gracious as to insure them they shall not be sold at the same market. They must esteem it a favor, for by this time all the original prerogatives of man’s nature are intentionally a victim, smoking to satiate the usurpers’ ambition. It is a very tart observation on an English monarch, and where it may by proportion be applied to a subject must needs sink very deep, and serve for evidence under his head. It is a secret of history of K. C. 2, K. J. 2, p. 2, says my author, where a constitution of a nation is, that the laws of the land are the measure both of the sovereign’s commands, and the obedience of the subjects, whereby it is provided; that as the one are not to invade what by concession and stipulation is granted to the ruler, so the other is not to deprive them of their lawful and determined rights and liberties; then the prince who strives to subvert the fundamental laws of society is the traitor and the rebel, and not the people, who endeavor to preserve and defend their own. It is very applicable to particular men in their rebellions or usurpations in church or state.

To understand the origin of the Constitution we must in addition look at its relationship to the Articles of Confederation. Federalist #15 thru # 22 deal with the topic of the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation and How these are remedied or lessened by the proposed Constitution. In Federalist # 15, titled, The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union, Alexander Hamilton writes that the improvement in general is:

“an augmentation of federal authority, without a diminution of State authority; at sovereignty in the Union, and complete independence in the members.”

The deficiencies were many and will have great relevance to our modern dilemmas when seen as imperfections in man’s nature and in power in governments. One of these is that the Confederation had no power to enforce laws and therefore the laws where disregarded, first by some states, and then others as they realized their disadvantaged by their unequal adherence. As Hamilton states it:

“The consequence of this is, that though in theory their resolutions concerning those objects are laws, constitutionally binding on the members of the Union, yet in practice they are mere recommendations which the States observe or disregard at their option.”

In this we see that a higher magistrate was needed “as an augmentation of federal authority.” This augmentation was, according to Article II, section 3, of the Constitution was the President as it states, “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” In Federalist # 68 he is identified as the, “Chief Magistrate of the United States.”

The author also tells of the inherent tendency of the natural man to strive for power and control:

In the nature of sovereign power, an impatience of control, that disposes those who are invested with the exercise of it, to look with an evil eye upon all external attempts to restrain or direct its operations. From this spirit it happens, that in every political association which is formed upon the principle of uniting in a common interest a number of lesser sovereignties, there will be found a kind of eccentric tendency in the subordinate or inferior orbs, by the operation of which there will be a perpetual effort in each to fly off from the common centre. This tendency is not difficult to be accounted for. It has its origin in the love of power. Power controlled or abridged is almost always the rival and enemy of that power by which it is controlled or abridged. This simple proposition will teach us how little reason there is to expect, that the persons intrusted with the administration of the affairs of the particular members of a confederacy will at all times be ready, with perfect good-humor, and an unbiased regard to the public weal, to execute the resolutions or decrees of the general authority. The reverse of this results from the constitution of human nature.

Later in Federalist # 15 one of the other deficiencies mentioned is the inequality of the tax burden. The natural decline was first for some to be excluded and next all to decline based on the inequality:

The causes which have been specified produced at first only unequal and disproportionate degrees of compliance with the requisitions of the Union. The greater deficiencies of some States furnished the pretext of example and the temptation of interest to the complying, or to the least delinquent States. Why should we do more in proportion than those who are embarked with us in the same political voyage? Why should we consent to bear more than our proper share of the common burden?

The conclusions we can draw are: (1) The Constitution was to, by force of law, remedy the inequalities in the tax system, (2) Introduce a Chief Magistrate who would insure that the law was equally and faithfully enforced, (3) The sovereignty of the union would eliminated the power struggles between the independent states.

The insufficiency of the Constitution as we now see it, as the anti Federalists contemplated as possibility, as the Federalists knowing the experience of history, and human nature, ineffectually prepared for by statute, as we today experience it, the love of power and men seeking it will go thought even the strongest of nets unless there is an additional internal restraint. The Powers conveyed by Constitution are enumerated specifically, as we have previously discussed in part. Still men without morals or virtue will intentional misconstrue their meaning for the purposes of usurping power and control, as is unbridled human nature.

This brings us to consider the Bill of Rights and to start with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Again, if the suffering reader will pardon me I will again at length paste in a large document written by Samuel Adams in 1772. It is an early, and may be the earliest of such documenting the rights which may have led to the later, 1774, “Declaration of Rights” and the “Declaration of Independence” in 1776. The major point here is that many authors of the time based their ideas on what was commonly known and taught. In fact almost every one of the thirteen states’ original constitutions contain very similar Declarations of Rights. This is the foundation of the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, with the main premise being that the power resides with the people; the Rights as declared, and those undeclared but understood by natural law and God’s Law, are the unalienable, and the people are the ultimate sovereign UNDER GOD. The only just governments are those securing these foundational premises. These were the common conclusions of the Founders:

The Rights of the Colonists
by Samuel Adams
The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting.
November 20, 1772

I. Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men.

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.

All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.

All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.

As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.

“Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty,” in matters spiritual and temporal, is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the law of nations and all well-grounded municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former.

In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live. The Roman Catholics or Papists are excluded by reason of such doctrines as these, that princes excommunicated may be deposed, and those that they call heretics may be destroyed without mercy; besides their recognizing the Pope in so absolute a manner, in subversion of government, by introducing, as far as possible into the states under whose protection they enjoy life, liberty, and property, that solecism in politics, imperium in imperio, leading directly to the worst anarchy and confusion, civil discord, war, and bloodshed.

The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole.

In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators.

In the last case, he must pay the referees for time and trouble. He should also be willing to pay his just quota for the support of government, the law, and the constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil, ecclesiastical, marine, or military.

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.

In the state of nature men may, as the patriarchs did, employ hired servants for the defence of their lives, liberties, and property; and they should pay them reasonable wages. Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence, and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.” But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have no right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots, and tyrants. Hence, as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the administration of public affairs. And, in both cases, more are ready to offer their service at the proposed and stipulated price than are able and willing to perform their duty.
In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

II. The Rights of the Colonists as Christians.

These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.

By the act of the British Parliament, commonly called the Toleration Act, every subject in England, except Papists, &c., was restored to, and re-established in, his natural right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. And, by the charter of this Province, it is granted, ordained, and established (that is, declared as an original right) that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists, inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within, such Province or Territory. Magna Charta itself is in substance but a constrained declaration or proclamation and promulgation in the name of the King, Lords, and Commons, of the sense the latter had of their original, inherent, indefeasible natural rights, as also those of free citizens equally perdurable with the other. That great author, that great jurist, and even that court writer, Mr. Justice Blackstone, holds that this recognition was justly obtained of King John, sword in hand. And peradventure it must be one day, sword in hand, again rescued and preserved from total destruction and oblivion.

III. The Rights of the Colonists as Subjects.

A commonwealth or state is a body politic, or civil society of men, united together to promote their mutual safety and prosperity by means of their union.

The absolute rights of Englishmen and all freemen, in or out of civil society, are principally personal security, personal liberty, and private property.

All persons born in the British American Colonies are, by the laws of God and nature and by the common law of England, exclusive of all charters from the Crown, well entitled, and by acts of the British Parliament are declared to be entitled, to all the natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties, and privileges of subjects born in Great Britain or within the realm. Among those rights are the following, which no man, or body of men, consistently with their own rights as men and citizens, or members of society, can for themselves give up or take away from others.

First, “The first fundamental, positive law of all common wealths or states is the establishing the legislative power. As the first fundamental natural law, also, which is to govern even the legislative power itself, is the preservation of the society.”

Secondly, The Legislative has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people; nor can mortals assume a prerogative not only too high for men, but for angels, and therefore reserved for the exercise of the Deity alone.

“The Legislative cannot justly assume to itself a power to rule by extempore arbitrary decrees; but it is bound to see that justice is dispensed, and that the rights of the subjects be decided by promulgated, standing, and known laws, and authorized independent judges”; that is, independent, as far as possible, of Prince and people. “There should be one rule of justice for rich and poor, for the favorite at court, and the countryman at the plough.”

Thirdly, The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property, without his consent in person or by his representative.

These are some of the first principles of natural law and justice, and the great barriers of all free states and of the British Constitution in particular. It is utterly irreconcilable to these principles and to many other fundamental maxims of the common law, common sense, and reason that a British House of Commons should have a right at pleasure to give and grant the property of the Colonists. (That the Colonists are well entitled to all the essential rights, liberties, and privileges of men and freemen born in Britain is manifest not only from the Colony charters in general, but acts of the British Parliament.) The statute of the 13th of Geo. 2, C. 7, naturalizes even foreigners after seven years’ residence. The words of the Massachusetts charter are these: “And further, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby for us, our heirs, and successors, grant, establish, and ordain, that all and every of the subjects of us, our heirs, and successors, which shall go to, and inhabit within our said Province or Territory, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born there or on the seas in going thither or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects within any of the dominions of us, our heirs, and successors, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever as if they and every one of them were born within this our realm of England.”

Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent? Can it be said with any color of truth and justice, that this continent of three thousand miles in length, and of a breadth as yet unexplored, in which, however, it is supposed there are five millions of people, has the least voice, vote, or influence in the British Parliament? Have they all together any more weight or power to return a single member to that House of Commons who have not inadvertently, but deliberately, assumed a power to dispose of their lives, liberties, and properties, than to choose an Emperor of China? Had the Colonists a right to return members to the British Parliament, it would only be hurtful; as, from their local situation and circumstances, it is impossible they should ever be truly and properly represented there. The inhabitants of this country, in all probability, in a few years, will be more numerous than those of Great Britain and Ireland together; yet it is absurdly expected by the promoters of the present measures that these, with their posterity to all generations, should be easy, while their property shall be disposed of by a House of Commons at three thousand miles’ distance from them, and who cannot be supposed to have the least care or concern for their real interest; who have not only no natural care for their interest, but must be in effect bribed against it, as every burden they lay on the Colonists is so much saved or gained to themselves. Hitherto, many of the Colonists have been free from quit rents; but if the breath of a British House of Commons can originate an act for taking away all our money, our lands will go next, or be subject to rack rents from haughty and relentless landlords, who will ride at ease, while we are trodden in the dirt. The Colonists have been branded with the odious names of traitors and rebels only for complaining of their grievances. How long such treatment will or ought to be borne, is submitted.

What we see as a repeating pattern chronicled by these authors and discussed here are that power, even when limited by law, always transfers with much wrestling over time, from its rightful place with the people, toward the tyrants who by many, and often any, means they deem needed to attain their end. These means always include justification of promised equality that is nothing more than a specious mask for the opposite and ending in the greater misery for all but those elevated by the deception.

The additional value to be gleaned is that at no time during these usurpations does any right or power leave its lawful place. It reside in the people, who when acting on these principles and with right reason, under God’s Providence, have the power, right and duty to reclaim what is theirs and theirs alone.