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In 1623 the Pilgrims celebrated a time of Thanksgiving with their Indian friends, Chief Massasoit and his Wampanoag tribe. The Pilgrims were grateful to God for their Indian friends. The peace treaty into which they had entered helped both peoples to go on with their daily lives in an ordered manner. This is, of course, the purpose of civil law; to protect the God-given rights of life, liberty, and property. When this is done, the resulting order allows society’s institutions to function without the interruption of chaos. The Pilgrims’ Pastor, John Robinson, had taught them that this order flowed from Biblically based civil government, and thus, the first thing they did when they arrived was to write the Mayflower Compact; which instituted this type of government. I believe their new civil government was one of the things they were most thankful for on those first Thanksgiving Days.
And the Pilgrims’ new civil government was working. Their original economic system failed because it was based on socialistic principles. The Pilgrims knew it wouldn’t work because it disagreed with Biblical principles of doing business; but the businessmen who financed their trip had insisted they use this system. When, after two-and-a-half years of the system failing, they had to change it, it was the Governor who initiated that change. They had elected this Governor, named William Bradford, and he led in the changing of this economic system. Their new economic system was based on the Biblical principles of private ownership which Jesus taught in the parable of the workers of the vineyard in Matthew 20. Over the next 300 years, this new system of doing business would grow into the greatest economic engine the world had ever seen. Later, when a twelve-week drought came and threatened their very lives, it was Governor Bradford who called for a day of fasting to seek God so as to find out why He had withheld the rain. After a day of fasting and repentance, God sent the rain that very evening. The Pilgrim government was working well.
Their Government was based on the Biblical principles by which God had founded the Jewish nation under Moses, as recorded in Deuteronomy 1. It was working because it was Biblical. God had told His people that if they would establish and work His system of government, their nation would be respected as the best in the world. He stated through Moses,
“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6)
But though God is the Author of civil government, just because you have God’s structure of civil government doesn’t mean it will work right. We must also have God’s spirit for civil government operating within that structure. The Pilgrims’ Pastor, John Robinson, had taught them they must operate their civil government by the spirit of morality, revealed in the Bible. Having the right structure—and the right spirit—made it work.
Should not we give thanks to God for our original, Biblically based civil government and economic system? Shouldn’t we learn and teach those systems again? If we don’t, we won’t long have the liberty to even have a Thanksgiving Day!
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.