Liberty or Tyranny...?

By on

Below are a few thoughts from my book, Teach us to Pray....  Robert

--------------

Scripture informs us concerning the godly Josiah, a mere 8 years old when he ascended the throne of Israel of the Southern House of Judah: “And he did that which was right in the Sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his [fore] father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (II Kings 22:2).

In the 18th year of his reign, Josiah commanded a renovation of the Temple of the Lord.  During those repairs, a copy of the Law was found hid inside a hollow wall or under a paving stone (it being supposed that Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon had attempted to destroy all the copies of the Law of God).  It was taken and read before the King and Scripture records:

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the Law, that he rent his clothes.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest... saying, Go ye, enquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” (II Kings 22:11,13)

The priest went and consulted a prophetess (which in itself is significant*).

[* This possibly parallels the example of God’s use of Deborah as a judge in Israel (before the days of the kings) as an indicator of how spiritually and morally bankrupt the nation had become, that God used a woman to judge them.  Likewise here, was there no prophet to be found with the spirit of God upon him?  Clearly the priest and the scribe named in the story were of no help; otherwise Josiah would have not sought it elsewhere.  Adam Clarke in his Commentary§ (1810) keenly remarks:

“We find from this, and we have many facts in all ages to corroborate it, that... [the religious leaders of the day] may, in some cases, not possess the true knowledge of God; and that a simple woman, possessing the life of God in her soul, may have more knowledge of the Divine testimonies than many of those whose office it is to explain and enforce them.”   {Brackets mine. R.A.B.} The prophetess Huldah warned that God’s Wrath would come upon His people for their sin; however, for King Josiah she had a special word from the Lord:

    “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.  Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.” (II Kings 22:19,20)

Arthur Wallis, with penetrating insight, eloquently expressed a timeless truth, when he wrote that before true revival comes, in the face of a sinful and wicked generation:

    “There is a thirst too for the truth of God.  Believers begin to crave for a deeper understanding of God’s Word; they search it as for hidden treasure and rejoice in it as one that findeth great spoil.  There is often a healthy unwillingness to accept without question all that is taught and accepted as orthodox.  A spirit of inquiry and discernment necessitates a fresh examination of what Scripture has to say.  There is often a purging of the floor of truth which scatters the chaff of human tradition and interpretation.  James Burns* points out... [the serious flaw in the carnal mind that has] ‘...power to see only that which corresponds to current opinion, and of failing to see, not by conscious rejection, but by a strange incapacity, everything that opposes it.  Every age is imprisoned in its own conceptions, and has to be set free by the master minds which refuse to be enslaved.’ ” (pp.230,231; In The Day Of Thy Power) {Brackets and footnote mine.  —R.A.B.}

     * Revivals: Their Laws and Leaders (1909).]

U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, concerning political revival and renovation expressed:

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.... Experience has shown, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.... History in general, only informs us what bad government is.  Blest is that nation whose silent course of happiness furnishes nothing for history to say.... Resistence to tyrants is obedience to God.... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.... God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such rebellion.”*

[* I should point out that rebellion here is a poor choice of words.  Since our government established our political representatives to be our public servants, there can be no rebellion against renegade servants.  In fact, the public servants are in rebellion (and treason) when they violate the Constitution, their oath of office, and their sacred public trust.  It is not “rebellion” for the people to demand their servants to obey the law of the land—it is reformation...!  Jefferson also said, “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?”  Jefferson clearly referred to “ruler” in in limited and specific context, for he also expressed: “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.”  It is not rebellion to resist tyrants (much less elected officials or those appointed by them all of whom are public servants) who violate the law they swore to uphold and are themselves in rebellion and treason.  “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)  Those who turn a blind eye to evil are themselves culpable as accomplices.  Even in the Old Testament the kings of Israel (and even heathen nations) were crowned by the people under contract with the stipulation that the people would obey the king as long as the king obeyed God (Judges 8:22, Judges 9:6, II Kings 14:21, I Samuel 12:1, II Chronicles 23:3).  Scottish Presbyterian pastor Rev. Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) in his Lex, Rex [“The Law and The King”] (1643) wrote:

“...God has given no absolute and unlimited power to the king above the law.... When the magistrate doth anything by violence, and without law, in so far doing against his office, he is not a magistrate.  Then, say I, that power by which he doth, is not of God.  None doth, then, resist the ordinance of God who resist the king in tyrannous acts.... an unjust king, as unjust, is not that genuine ordinance of God.... if the office of a tyrant... be contrary to a king’s office, it is not from God and so neither is the power from God.... the king is obliged to God for the maintenance of true religion therefore when the king defendeth not true religion [Christianity], but presseth upon the people a false and idolatrous religion [anything other than Christianity]... they are not under the king, but are presumed to have no king... and are presumed to have [retained] the power in themselves, as if they had not appointed any king at all.... if we presume the body had given to the right hand a power to ward off strokes and to defend the body; if the right hand should by a palsy, or some disease, become impotent, and be withered up,* when ill is coming on the body, it is presumed that the power of defense is recurred to the left hand, and to the rest of the body to defend itself in this case as if the body had no right hand, and had never communicated any power to the right hand.... if therefore he [any ruler] defend not religion [Christianity] for the salvation of the souls of all in his public and royal way, it is presumed as undeniable that the people of God, who by the law of nature are to care for their own souls are to defend in their way true religion, which so nearly concerneth them and their eternal happiness.”

* —how much more relevant then, if the right hand, out of malice, mental derangement, or delusion, begins to attack its own body...?  Note mine. R.A.B.

The spirit of Jefferson’s statement should also be applied to the Church.  As the story of Josiah shows us, in time, for whatever reason, the truth, in the hands of sinful men is inevitably perverted, corrupted, supplanted and we stray far from the Standard of God’s Word (and some even attempt to “rewrite” the Standard, for which they shall be judged).  There ought to be perennial periods of refreshing, renewal, renovation, and revival and a call for the return to the true path, based upon the clear words contained in Holy Writ—not based upon modern, liberal notions of those “enlightened” by “political correctness” and humanistic notions of right and wrong (which are almost always the opposite of what God has declared in His Word).  The blood of Christ should be continually applied to cleanse both the individual and the collective body of believers from all corruption that has found its way in, like a cancer, to destroy the true Church from within.  Even as our hearts need to be purged and cleansed on a regular basis, so also needs the Church to cleansed by fire (the Holy Spirit of Truth who guides into all truth those who are willing to follow) and purged of its dross continually.   Christ said:

Stand fast [a military command] in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and become not again entangled with the yoke of bondage.

Occupy [a military command] till I come.

We are not to surrender to evil, nor hold hands with it.]

also:

English Puritan William Law in The Power of the Spirit, offers some very terse, but true words, in regard to the righteousness and obedience of professing believers:

“[The average Christian possesses] ... blind believism which imagines faith to consist of a mere idea rightly affirmed with the lips, but knows nothing of a real faith that possesses within the heart.  So men imagine that to believe in Jesus Christ is something that can be done apart from obeying Him, because they do not know Him as the Lord who reigns and lives within.  As well imagine that a command is only to be believed but not obeyed, or that a tree is not known by its fruit.  ‘I will show you my faith by my works,’ said the apostle; and if this is the only way faith can be shown, then any faith which is not thus one with its works is no faith at all.

    “James said, ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’  Most pointedly this Scripture makes clear that devoutness and piety do not consist in a mere right understanding of these things that a man may profess without the fruits thereof, for works cannot be separated from its faith, or James could show his faith alone without its works.  He only is the devout man who lives no longer to his own will or the way and spirit of the world, but to the will of God alone.  He who considers God in everything, serves God in everything, who makes every moment of his daily life a real part of God’s will on earth by doing everything in the name of Christ; he alone can be called the pious man.  For if a man say he has faith, but does not evidence a life that produces the works of God, James tells us most emphatically that ‘faith alone’ cannot save him.* (pp. 180-181.)

[* ie. such a fruitless man’s faith is dead; not real.  R.A.B.]

    “....So it is that for lack of this basic intention to surrender all to Christ, the church today is an open fraud of mere lip profession to that faith and divine love that once burned as a fire from heaven in those who ‘turned the world upside down.’

    “If you will but stop to ask yourself why your brand of Christianity is hardly recognizable as related to that which primitive Christians knew, your own heart will tell you that it is primarily because you never thoroughly intended to live as they lived and to die as they died.  You sing of your devotion to the same Lord, and profess to believe the same New Testament doctrines as the early disciples.  You have the same promises from the Lord of the fulness of the Spirit, the divine nature, and all that pertains to life and godliness.  You would never hope to get to heaven through a faith any different than theirs, but you have believed Satan’s lie that it is possible to have the same faith as the first Christians without manifesting the same works as they.  And if you are honest you will admit that this lie has been gladly received because you have not really had the heart intention to walk as Jesus walked.*  Did you but have this intention to please God in all your actions, as being the happiest and best choice for life in this world, you would then find yourself as unwilling to deny Christ with your life as you are now unwilling to deny Him with your lips.  And would you but add to this intention a simple faith in the promises of God in Christ, you would find yourself living in the same denial of self and as contrary to the world as fishermen apostles did in their day.” (pp.,182-183.)

[* So many professed believers today are like the rich young ruler who went away sad, not wanting to sacrifice what he deemed more important in life, in order to truly follow Christ.  R.A.B.]

    “....the question is not whether gospel perfection can be fully attained, but whether you come as near it as a sincere intention and careful diligence can carry you through faith in Christ. .... Can you really call yourself a follower of Christ without at least intending to follow Him all the way? .... Can a man who has this saving faith then fail to manifest those works which the Scripture so plainly tells us are the direct consequence of the new creation? .... that man who does not so much as intend to manifest in all his ways these works which God has ordained for him has denied the very faith which he otherwise professes. .... Works without faith is the dead and unacceptable offering of the sinful flesh; and faith without works is a fraud, a false profession of that which is dead because it does not have the life of God in it; and this is proven by the lack of fruit of the Spirit.  God holds out to our faith the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit as our all in all, filling us with the life of Christ, causing us to overflow with rivers of living water.” (pp.186,188,189)

----------------------

Lex Rex (1644), Rutherford, 340p., Hb., (framers of Constitution drew idea “consent of governed” from here; rulers have authority from God, through people, only when rulers obey God), 22.00 + P&H.  In stock and available from me, as are also:

- Aaron’s Rod Blossoming (1646), George Gillespie (minister at Edinburgh) 7.25 x 10.25 276pp., Hb., treatise on the Biblical view of separation of church and state; 20.00 + P&H.

- The Civil Magistrates’ Power (1653 edition, modernly retype-set), Thomas Cobbett (introduction by Pastor John Weaver, who states, “Cobbett deals with the civil magistrate’s power based upon the bounds and grounds of Scripture. He lays down the Scriptural limitation of government and their authority.”); 170pp., Hb., 25.00 + P&H (this & Lex Rex were 2 of main books used by our founding fathers in establishing our nation.)

- Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, a Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants, Or, of the Lawful Power of the Prince Over the People, and of the People Over the Prince (1579 Latin; 1689 English translation; 1924 ed. in modern type-face w/ historical introduction by Harold J. Laski, and Modern Publisher’s 18-page new, illustrated Historical Introduction and Note Concerning the Author of the 1924 Historical Introduction by R.A.B.) “Stephanus Junius Brutus,” pen name for Huguenot Reformer Hubert Languet; 229pp., original + 18pp., new intro., pb., 18.00 + P&H.

- In the Day of Thy Power: The Scriptural Principles of Revival, Arthur Wallis, 297pp., pb., 15.00 + P&H.  This is a book on God moving in His Spirit to bring them to repentance, not a book about “revival meetings.”   An incredible book.

P&H = 10% (4.00 minimum)