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Affluent Christian Investor | December 10, 2023

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The Law of the Land: God’s Law

Holy Bible

The clergy of Colonial New England poured from the pulpit their view of polity directly from Scripture. “The Old Testament furnished many illustrations of covenant relations, of the limitations placed upon rulers and people, of natural rights, of the divine constitution, etc. The New Testament gave authority for the liberties of Christians, for the relations of Christians to those in authority over them, and for the right of resistance. Indeed, there was never a principle derived from the more secular reading that was not strengthened and sanctified by the Scriptures.[1] In fact, Pastor Nathaniel Appleton in his 1742 Election Sermon recommended the Bible as the primary source of law. Throughout his sermon he continually refers to prominence of Divine Law. “I have only one law book to recommend to your careful perusal,” declares Appleton to the judiciary of the colony of Massachusetts, “and that is the Holy Bible. It contains the laws, statutes, and judgements, the reports and records of the Kingdom of Heaven…For this law book teaches you that God, from whom you must take your measure, does not pervert judgement, neither doth the almighty pervert justice.”[2] Appleton was referencing Scripture from Job 8:3 and 34:12.

Rational thinking, reason, and Natural Law are all aspects of Eternal Law, or God’s Law. Therefore, the law of America, the Shining City Upon the Hill, rests on this; it rest on the Light, or the Truth. It is absolute. As Reverend Samuel Langdon authoritatively wrote in 1788, during the ratification of the Constitution, “the judicial laws were founded on the plain immutable principles of reason, justice, and social virtue, such as are always necessary for civil society. Life and property were well guarded.”[3]

The American Union has a definitive hierarchy of sovereignty. The federal government is a creature of the States. The States are a creature of the People. The People are creatures of God. This makes God all sovereign over all things – He is King. Each of these sovereigns are sovereign over the previous. States sovereign over the Federal government (accept that which is specifically enumerated). The People are sovereign over the States. God is sovereign over the People. The hierarchy is recognized in our Social Compact; the Declaration of Independence (moral compact) and Constitution (structural compact). Therefore, God is Law; the lawgiver and the final arbiter of the law. God is sovereign over all; per our Social Compact. This defines the law of the land, not the Constitution in-and-of itself. As the prolific Pastor James Dana would preach in 1779:

[T]he governing providence of God is presupposed. It is a doctrine clear from the necessary dependence of creatures, the uniform course of nature, and from special interpositions implied in the supposition of a revelation. God’s government is manifest in both the natural and moral world…dominion of the Sovereign of the universe be considered as guided by unerring wisdom and immutable holiness and goodness…This doctrine, which is the foundation of natural religion, is illustrated in revealed religion.[4]

Dana’s inference is of God’s dominion; that is God is King. His presupposition, in reference to the American Revolution and its manifestation in compact form of the Declaration of Independence, puts God squarely sovereign over all. America’s first President, Elias Boudinot, under the Congress of the Confederation, declared the goodness and justness of God’s “Divine Providence,” which Americans should hold “fear [obey] and reverence of his sacred majesty.”[5]



[1] Alice M. Baldwin (Joel McDermon, ed.), 2014 (originally published in 1928), The New England Pulpit and the American Revolution (originally titled, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution), (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press), p. 10.

[2] Nathaniel Appleton, 1742, “The Great Blessing of Good Rulers Depends upon God’s Giving His Judgement and His Righteousness to Them,” taken from Joel McDurmon, 2015, God’s Law and Government in America, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc.), pp. 88-89.

[3] Samuel Langdon, 1788, “The Republic of the Israelites and Example to the American States,” taken from Joel McDurmon, 2015, God’s Law and Government in America, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc.), p. 127.

[4] James Dana, 1779, “On the Providence of God in the Rise and Fall of Empires,” taken from Joel McDurmon, 2015, God’s Law and Government in America, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc.), p. 96.

[5] Elias Boudinot, 2009 (originally published in 1801), The Age of Revelation: The Age of Reason Shewen to be an Age of Infidelity, (Power Springs, GA: American Vision Press), p. 69.


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