Recognizing The Authority Of The Lord Jesus Christ and His Law Word

James Renwick Willson (1780-1853)

“It is the duty of believers who would be faithful in their allegiance to the “one like unto the son of man”—to Messiah the prince of the kings of the earth, to dissent from all those institutions of civil government, which in christian nations do not recognize the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor profess to be governed in their constitutions and laws by the word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Ex. 23:22. “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Eph. 5:7. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4. Were any land, filled with Bibles, thousands of christian ministers, and hundreds of thousands of professors of the christian religion, to frame constitutions of civil government, without naming the Lord Jesus Christ, or his Bible, or his Church; without any recognition of his authority, without any notice of God, as their supreme Lord, without even alluding to the claims of his law; were they to proceed on the principle that the ultimate source of all civil authority, is the will of the majority of the people; were they to open the doors of office, to all the enemies of God, and constitutionally forbid the exclusion of these wicked men from office; and were they to make provision by their constitution for the enslaving and holding in perpetual bondage millions of unoffending men; would not such a nation commit sin in the doing of all this? Could all these transactions be otherwise fairly construed than as acts of rebellion against the Prince of the kings of the earth? Would any christian be free from sin in assenting to these acts of dishonour done to Christ, in making them all his own by an oath of allegiance, and taking an active part in the administration of the laws under such constitutions? If it be possible to offer an indignity to Christ by any national neglect and contempt of his government and law, it would be done by such deeds as these. If any one can commit sin by following a multitude to do evil, would it not be done by such a recognition of such constitutions? Proposed in this abstract form, did no one see its immediate practical bearing, perhaps, there could not be found any believer in the Bible who would not, at once assent to the conclusion that it would be sin. All would probably condemn the nation as guilty of sin, and also all who would incorporate themselves with them in these doings. But popular errors, interest, the fear of man, of reproach, and the pride of life blind the eyes of millions. Such a nation is the United States; a land filled with Bibles, more than ten thousand Protestant ministers, and churches, and many hundreds of thousands of professors baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and claiming to be his disciples. Yet this nation has framed its federal or national constitution on the principles supposed above. Notwithstanding all the disregard manifested for the law of God, the honour conferred on his avowed enemies, and the enslaving of millions of men, under the solemn sanction of constitutional law, the great majority of professing christians assent to all, and are much displeased, when any one calls in question the righteousness of these national deeds. There is no visible body of christians, that have abstained from a participation in these evils, or that bear witness against them, except Reformed Presbyterians.”

The Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions by James Renwick Willson (1780-1853).

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