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The Divine Right of the American Government

The Divine Right of the American Government

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Excerpt from The Divine Right of the American Government: A Sermon Delivered in Wharton Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Sabbath, May 11, 1861

Isaiah 1st chap. 2d v. - "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."

The history of the Jewish people, as contained in the Old Testament, furnishes very many and very striking illustrations of the great truth that Divine Providence interferes with the affairs of individuals and nations. Indeed, the historical books of the Old Testament are literally crowded with the facts of Providential oversight and interposition. The chief purpose of God, in his special dealings toward that people, was to make them the Depository of true religion, first, for their own advantage, and ultimately for the enlightenment and salvation of the whole human race. It was in accordance with this purpose, that they received favors innumerable and incomparable, justifying the grateful boast of their royal Bard and Prophet when he exclaimed, "He hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them." In the text, the Prophet appeals to this distinguishing care of the Infinite Providence in his loftiest strain: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." In this sublime appeal, the Prophet intimates what Jesus, long centuries afterwards, expressly declared in these words: "Where much is given, much will also be required."

At present, there are no inspired men to announce the purposes of God, as did the Hebrew Prophets, or to record the facts of His providence, as did the Old Testament historians. But it requires not the eye of immediate inspiration to see and record that the care of Divine Providence, in a marked, pre-eminent degree, has been exercised over this nation, from the birth of its first child, to that of the last of its thirty millions of people.

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