Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Christian character of the Early Colonists

Did you know that religion was the most dominating factor in every civilization and history dictates that the purer the religion, the wiser the civil government?

Did the Early American colonists possess Christian character in the establishment of this nation?

History shows that Christianity was the mightiest political and social influence in the world. When compared to Romanism, for example, the colonists believed that the Protestant faith in which this nation was founded, was the only hope of freedom in the world, rather than the Roman doctrines of the Catholic Church.

Although many will say that the Norsemen discovered this continent in 1000A.D. which is true, they had come and gone and it was forgotten until Columbus had discovered it 400 years later.

Columbus at a young age believed that he was called by God, his name meaning “Christ-bearer” he felt he was to be a messenger of God of “The new heavens and new Earth.”

Contrary to most history books today, Columbus was a man of prayer. Before his first voyage and the discovery of San Salvador, a Holy Communion was celebrated in Palos, Spain. After his discovery a cross was erected as they sung “Gloria in Excelsis”, which means Glory in the highest.

Columbus’ second voyage was accompanied by 12 priests and endorsed with the authority of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to give spiritual attention to the natives. Many voyages occurred and all of them included the papal authority to take these countries in the name of the church.

There were many reasons to discover the new world including wealth, greed and enterprise but studies indicate that the chief ambition was to honor God.

Back in Europe this was a great time of tyranny and oppression and the people were becoming increasingly agitated, in addition to, John Huss and the spread of Wyclifs English Bible that were all noted to be the main attributes of the reformation.

John Huss with his leadership was considered the ‘prophet of the nations” and his presence threatened the crown. He considered the Reformation to be “much more than an emancipation of the mind but a political national and international revolution.”

The divine right of Kings was being replaced by Constitutional government. Reformers proclaimed that “there shall be no distinction between spiritual and secular laws among Christians in that they were not to have two consciences, one for the state and one for the church.

The king of Spain said “the conversion of the Indians is the principle foundation if this conquest.”
With the Spanish in the South and the Pacific, The French along St. Lawrence, Mississippi and in Montreal, it wasn’t until the defeat of Montcalm and the fall of Quebec that opened the door to the American republic where personal and civil liberty and individual freedom began to take root.

The Virginia colony was the first English colony established by Protestants in North America and promoted by religion.

The first charter of the Virginia colony was “to provide that the true word and service of God be preached, planted and used not only for the colony but among the savages.”

“The colony under providence of Almighty God might tend to the glory of his Divine majesty in propagating the Christian religion.’

The first building erected was built for worship and the first law was “to aid the colonists in keeping of good conscience.”

In 1619 the church was established by law, yearly salaries were established for clergy that were paid for by all males 16 years and older. In 1624 every plantation had to provide a house or room for public worship.

Plymouth colony was established 13 years after Jamestown and was created to “practice a positive part of church reformation and propagate the gospel in America.”

The Mayflower reaches and anchors off Cape Cod and the colonists create the Mayflower compact organizing a “civil body politic”

It reads, in summation:

“In the name of God Amen. By the grace of God our countries have undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. To enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”
(Nov. 11,1620)

Massachusetts bay, John Winthorp, governor “I submit and dedicate myself to God’s will and yours.”

Hartford, Connecticut, settled in 1623, according to Dr. Baird “carried the ark of the Lord with them and made religion the basis of their institutions including civil government that all would be ordered by the rules scriptures held forth.”

Maryland, Lord Baltimore, Roman Catholic, “ No persecution within the province professing the belief in Jesus Christ shall be troubled, molested or discounted for their religion or “ free exercise thereof”

Frederick Maurice stated “Colonies are sect commonwealths connected by religious convictions and persecutions; to their religion they owed their best qualities.”

John Milton, teacher and poet “The Bible doth more clearly teach the solid rules of civil government.”

William Penn “God in Christ has placed a principle in every man and infirm him of his duty and enable him to do it”

Religion led them to abandon their country rather than submit to tyranny and coming to this continent they were hoping for two things:
the enlargement of Christ’s’ kingdom by conversion of the heathen tribes and the founding of an empire for their children in which their religion could prevail.”

The continual study of the American commonwealth is a continual affirmation of Gods divine hand in the creation of this continent. These colonists believed that the Bible was everything from religious principles, the basis for law and government and all matters of common life.

This being further proof that we are a nation founded on religious Christian principles, and confirms the Christian character of the early colonists.

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