Rev. Simeon Howard (1733-1804) succeeded Jonathan Mayhew as pastor of the Old West Church in Boston. On May 31, 1780, he preached the election sermon to the Massachusetts Governor’s Council and the House of Representatives. It was printed and published at state expense. Howard took Exodus 18:21 as his foundational Scripture. I believe the 2016 election is of such importance that we need to examine the verse, each point at a time: Excerpts from Howard:
They must be able men. God has made a great difference in men in respect of their natural powers both of body and mind: To some he has given more, to others fewer talents… And though there are none but what may be good members of civil society as well as faithful servants of God; yet everyone has not abilities sufficient to make him a good civil ruler. Woe unto thee, O land, when thy king is a child, says Solomon (Ecc 10:16-17); hereby intimating that the happiness of a people depends greatly upon the character of its rulers, and that if they resemble children in weakness, ignorance, credulity, fickleness, etc. the people will of course be very miserable.
By able men may be intended men of good understanding and knowledge; men of clear heads, who have improved their minds by exercise, acquired an habit of reasoning, and furnished themselves with a good degree of knowledge: Men who have a just conception of the nature and end of government in general, of the natural rights of mankind, of the nature and importance of civil and religious liberty; a knowledge of human nature; of the springs of action and the readiest way to engage and influence the heart; an acquaintance with the people to be governed, their genius, their prejudices, their interest with respect to other states, what difficulties they are under, what dangers they are liable to, and what they are able to bear and do. These things are ever to be taken into consideration by legislators, when they make laws for the internal police of a people, and in their transactions with, or respecting other states.
It would be going too far to say, that an honest man cannot be a good ruler, unless he be of the first character for good sense, learning and knowledge; but it will not be denied, that the more he excels in these things, the more likely he will be to rule well: He will be better able to see what measures are suited to the temper and genius of the people, and most conducive to the end of his institution; how to raise necessary supplies for the expenses of government in ways most easy and agreeable to the people; how to extricate them out of difficulties in which they may be involved; how to negotiate with foreign powers, how to prevent or mitigate the calamities of war, by compromising differences or putting the people into a condition to defend themselves and repel injuries: In a word, how to render them happy and respectable in peace, or formidable in war. These things require a very considerable degree of penetration and knowledge…
It is therefore proper that rulers should be men of understanding and learning… Observe, that [mentally or morally] weak and illiterate men at the head of a government, will likely place, in inferior and subordinate offices, men of their own character, merely because they know no better.
BUT by able men, may be intended men of courage, of firmness and resolution of mind … Wise men will not indeed determine rashly, but when the case requires it, they will resolve speedily, and act with vigor and steadiness (Rev. Simeon Howard, Election Sermon, University of Michigan Digital Library, 1780).
In future Targets, we will further examine Rev. Howard’s classic exposition of Exodus 18:21: what it means for a civil servant to 1) be able, 2) fear God, 3) be a man or woman of truth, and 4) hate covetousness. Our nation is in deep trouble. It is time for Bible-believing Christians to obey Him by voting for leaders who meet his requirements. Too many in 2016 are being reckless with their votes!
Supreme Court Blocks Pro-Life Louisiana Law – On Wednesday of last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The case is the challenge to a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same safety requirements all outpatient surgical clinics are required to meet in Texas, and requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The law’s obvious purpose is to preserve the health and safety of women seeking abortion, and thus avoid the deaths and horrors that take place routinely in abortion clinics across America because of the failure of states to regulate abortion clinics.
Court watchers say Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan blasted the Texas Solicitor General suggesting that the intent of the law was to reduce women’s access to abortion. FRC’s Cathy Ruse, who was in the courtroom, said that the weight of discussion did not focus on the health and safety of women, but the closing of abortion clinics and limiting access to abortion. On Friday the high court blocked a two year old Louisiana law from being enforced, which included a comparable element of the Texas law, requiring admitting privileges for abortionists to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Unanswered in court was why the clinic operators were unwilling to invest in their operations to assure the health and safety of their clients. Framing of the Issue; W. Post: LA Law Blocked; Other Side; Washington Watch Radio; Press Conference).
- May a president be elected who will appoint conservative justices who will not hesitate to affirm such common sense laws as these. May the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade ruling be overturned and America’s abortion nightmare come to an end! May God’s people go to the polls and make sure they vote for men and women who have a track record proving that they have the “fear of God.” May we support leaders at all levels of government who value human life! (Gen 4:9-11; Ex 20:13; Dt 30:19; Pr 24:11-12; Jn 10:10-15)
Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida legislatures Pushing for Life – The Virginia Senate passed a law to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood Tuesday, the House having already done so. The bill now goes to liberal Governor Terry McAuliffe who promises to veto it. But Florida, Missouri and South Carolina are all on the verge of ending state Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Pray for the governors of those states to stand for life and against funding for these merchants of death (see Virginia Defunding Bill; Florida Bill back to Governor; Missouri; South Carolina on the Cusp)
- Thank God for the pro-life champions in our state legislatures who will not sit back and allow their citizens to be forced to fund our country’s largest abortion business with a billion dollar budget and half of which comes from taxpayers. Some are also conducting investigations in to the organization’s trafficking in aborted baby parts. May God intervene to enable each of these efforts to prevail. And may such efforts in many more states be initiated. (Lev 20:1-5; 1 Sam 8:6-7; 2 Sam 23:16; 2 Kg 24:4; Jer 34:15; Jn 10:10-15)
Finally, the Obama Justice Department has announced a new Religious Freedom initiative in American public schools to crack down on discrimination and bullying, especially against Muslims (hear Tony Perkins). The Missouri Legislature, overcoming a Democrat filibuster, passed a religious liberty bill that will protect Christians from being forced to participate in same sex marriages. Thanks to all who prayed for the Florida events in which FRC played a major role: the Annual Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, the Pastors Awakening Summit, and the annual Awakening 2016. Each event was greatly blessed and a great blessing to those who attended. Click on to the websites as the Breakfast and the Awakening events were recorded and can be viewed online. Please continue to pray and make plans for the National Day of Prayer, May 5th, UnitedCry DC16, April 9th, and Call2Fall on July 3rd. Pray about sending your pastor to FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing! Thank you for praying!
FRCAction’s Presidential Election Voter’s Guide (501c3 Compliant)