Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Choice Before Us

In my last post I queried as to what might be the next step that we as Christians should take in regard to the demise of our nation. Two or three things have come to my attention since then and I'd like to begin with this portion of John Winthrop's stirring sermon "A Model of Charity." Winthrop wrote and preached this sermon to his congregation in 1630 as they sailed across the Atlantic from England to the shores of Massachusetts. It's as relevant to us today as it was to those brave souls almost 400 years ago. We would do well to heed the admonition and the warning that Winthrop gives to us in these words:

"The end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord the comfort and increase of the body of Christ whereof we are members that our selves and posterity may be the better preserved from the common corruptions of this evil world to serve the Lord and work out our salvation under the power and purity of His holy ordinances.

Now the only way to accomplish this end and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humble with our God." For this end we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities, we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality, we must delight in each another, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as His own people and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom power goodness and truth than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us - when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when he shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations: The Lord make it like that of New England. For we must consider that we shall be as a "City upon a Hill."

The eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work, we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-work through the world; we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God's sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

"Beloved there is now set before us life, and good, death and evil in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His ordinance, and His laws, and the articles of our covenant with Him that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other gods, our pleasures, and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it."

Therefore let us choose life that we, and our seed may live; by obeying His voice, and cleaving to Him, for He is our life, and our prosperity."

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