Let's dig a bit deeper. In every society it is necessary to have a consistent and reliable standard of ethics - one that applies to everyone, rulers and citizens alike - or soon the society will crumble. This is especially true in free societies, for ordered liberty is not the natural state of nations. Our Founders understood this.
Benjamin Franklin: In free governments the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors and sovereigns.
Samuel Adams: If every a time should come when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
George Washington: Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens... reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.
George Washington: Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.
John Adams: Statesmen... may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand... the only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be sintered into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.
Patrick Henry: Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of freemen. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
Benjamin Rush: The only foundation for... a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.
James Madison: The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.
Noah Webster: The duties of men are summarily comprised in the Ten Commandments, consisting of two tables; one comprehending the duties which we owe immediately to God - the other, the duties we owe to our fellow men.
John Quincy Adams: We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people... it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
In relation to the direct connections between religious faith, virtue, liberty and freedom, John Witherspoon is also important to remember. In his landmark work, A Christian Manifesto, Christian philosopher, write and speaker Francis Schaefer noted,
Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister and president of what is now Princeton University, was the only pastor to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was a very important man during the founding of the country. He linked the Christian thinking represented bay the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) with the work he did both on the Declaration of Independence and on countless very important committees in the founding of the country. This linkage of Christian thinking and the concepts of government were not incidental but fundamental. John Witherspoon knew and stood consciously in the stream of Samuel Rutherford, a Scotsman who lived from 1600-1661 and who wrote Lex Rex in 1644. Lex rex means "law is king" - a phrase that was absolutely earthshaking. Prior to that it had been rex lex, the king is law. In Lex Rex he wrote that the law, and no one else, is king. Therefore, the heads of government are under the law, not a law under themselves.
Without ethics we cannot have justice. Any legal system established without it would be arbitrary. A nation without ethics either is characterized by anarchy or ruled by tyrants. The writer of Judges described this perfectly. He wrote, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6;21:25)
How does one judge what is right without any objective standard? The guidelines will be subjective - a completely individualized set of standards based on the "authority" of his or her own desire and emotion. What kind of authority is that? Multiply this scenario times the number of citizens in the population, and you have a recipe for chaos. Because chaos can't long be tolerated, it will give way to rule by an iron fist.
The problem, however, isn't manifested only when millions of people live according to their own personal ethical systems. It's also manifested when a nation adopts a set of ethics that does not have a solid foundation, when the standards of principles embraced bay the people aren't rooted in the bedrock of reality or reality's God. The Founders used the phrase "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," which we will consider momentarily.
This article is an excerpt from the book 5 Steps to Kill a Nation and how to Stop the Bleeding by Pastor Sam Jones. The foreword was written by Dr Mike Spaulding. To order this book today, click here.
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