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When America’s Founders wrote and approved our Declaration of Independence they understood something most of us were never taught. That is, only a people who walk by internal self-government are qualified to maintain external civil government. Because they had been reared in the Biblical thinking of the Great Awakening, they understood that governing one’s self by the power of the Holy Spirit within was the only foundation of good civil government. A people who are not controlled by their own principles of morality will have to be controlled by a large civil government. And a large civil government means less liberty for the individual, the family, the church, and society as a whole.
“All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint.
“Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”
(Winthrop, Robert Charles. May 28, 1849, in an address, entitled “Either by the Bible or the Bayonet,” at the Annual Meeting of the Mass. Bible Society in Boston. Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1852), p. 172. Marshall Foster and Mary-Elaine Swanson, The American Covenant – The Untold Story (Roseburg, OR: Fd. for Christian Self-Government, 1981; Thousand Oaks, CA: The Mayflower Institute, 1992), p. 7.)
But how are we to develop internal self-government? First we must receive Christ as our Master and Deliverer from the sin which would keep us from being self-governed. Jesus said,
“But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:”
The great Apostle, Paul, wrote about this internal self-government when he stated:
“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…”
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death…That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (emphasis added)
(Romans 8:2 & 4)
Once Jesus lives inside us, the Holy Spirit can release His life through us; and Jesus’ life is a disciplined life, a self-governed life. This is the only way we can be consistently governed from the inside.
And how do we help future generations know this internal self-government? Noah Webster, the Father of America’s original education method, told us. He stated,
“In the family are formed the elements of civil governments; the family discipline is the model of all social order…the respect for the law and the magistrate begins in the respect for parents….
“Families are the nurseries of good [or] bad citizens. The parent who neglects to restrain and govern his child, or who, by his example, corrupts him, is the enemy of the community to which he belongs; the parent who instructs his child in good principles, and subjects him to correct discipline, is the guardian angel of his child, and the best benefactor of society.”
(Webster, Noah. 1839, in A Manual of Useful Studies (New Haven: S. Babcock, 1839), pp. 77-78. Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, “The Providential Perspective” (Charlottesville, VA: The Providence Foundation, P.O. Box 6759, Charlottesville, Va. 22906, January 1994), Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 1.)
William Penn warned us of a society like present-day America: He stated,
“…a loose and depraved people love laws and an administration like themselves.”
(Frame of Gov. W. Penn, quoted in Sources of Our Liberties, R. Perry, ed., N.Y: American Bar Fd., 1952, pp.210-211)
Think About It. Because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—
and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson, this has been Think About It.