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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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What Our Present Congress Could Learn From Davy Crockett

Congressman Davy Crockett

Congressman Davy Crockett

According to historical lore, it was In the early 1800’s that Congress was considering a bill to appropriate tax dollars for the widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in support of this bill. It seemed that everyone in the House favored it. The Speaker of the House was just about to put the question to a vote, when Davy Crockett, famous frontiersman and then Congressman from Tennessee, rose to his feet.

“Mr. Speaker, I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Sir, this is no debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

There was silence on the floor of the House as Crockett took his seat. When the bill was put to a vote, instead of passing unanimously as had been expected, it received only a few votes. The next day a friend approached Crockett and asked why he spoken against a bill for such a worthy cause. In reply, Crockett related the following story:

Just a few years before, he had voted to spend $20,000.00 of public money to help the victims of a terrible fire in Georgetown. When the legislative session was over, Crockett made a trip back home to do some campaigning for his re-election. In his travels he encountered one of his constituents, a man by the name of Horatio Bunce. Mr. Bunce bluntly informed Crockett, “I voted for you the last time. I shall not vote for you again.”

Crockett, feeling he had served his constituents well, was stunned. He inquired as to what he had done to so offend Mr. Bunce. Bunce replied,

“You gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. The Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions.” “I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000.00 to some sufferers by a fire. Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away public money in charity? No Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.

“The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution. You have violated the Constitution in what I consider to be a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it and no security for the People.”

“I could not answer him,” said Crockett. “I was so fully convinced that he was right.” I said to him, “Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. If you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another non constitutional law, I wish I may be shot.”

After finishing the story, Crockett said,

“Now sir, you know why I made that speech yesterday. There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a weeks pay? There are in that House many very wealthy men, men who think nothing of spending a weeks pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of these same men made beautiful speeches upon the debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased, yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

How Serious Is Wickedness?

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV)

We do not speak much about wickedness anymore.  Surprisingly, we do not even talk about it much in church.  We do talk about love and self-esteem a lot, and it is true that the love of Christ is something worth talking about.  I am afraid, however, that the love we are so glibly speaking of denies the genuine necessity of forgiveness and salvation from sin.  We downplay our faults and moral failures as if wickedness is not a serious matter to a holy God.  Perhaps we think that God is just happy to have us.

Roger R. Nicole speaks of Christ’s view of human evil in his lecture titled, “The Doctrines of Grace in Jesus’ Teaching.” This lecture may be read in the book, Our Sovereign God: Addresses Presented to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, James M. Boice, editor.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, with all the concern, compassion and love which he showed to mankind, made some very vivid portrayals of man’s condition.  He did not mince words about the gravity of human sin.  He talked of man as salt that has lost its savor (Matt. 5:13) . . . as a corrupt tree which is bound to produce corrupt fruit (Matt. 7:7) . . . as being evil (Luke 11:13) . . . an “evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39) . . . out of the heart proceed murders, adulteries, evil thoughts and things of that kind (Mark 7:21-23). . . .

He saw in man an unwillingness to respond to grace – “You will not come to God” (John 5:40), “You have not the love of God” (v. 42), “You receive me not” (v. 43), “You believe not” (v. 47) . . . “The world’s works are evil” (John 7:7); “None of you keeps the law” (v. 19).  “You shall die in your sins,” he says (John 8:21).  “You are from beneath” (v. 23); “Your father is the devil, who is a murderer and a liar” (vv. 38, 44); “You are not of God” (v. 47). . . .

The people who were most readily received by the Lord were those who . . . did not come to him with a sense of the sufficiency of their performance.  The people he received were those who came broken-hearted and bruised with the sense of their inadequacy.

We preach and teach the love of Christ through the Word of God which the Holy Spirit uses to save the wicked (us) from their sins.  Without the grace of God, you and I are not OK.  Without grace, we will continue to choose a wicked lifestyle and spend an eternity in hell.  Our need for forgiveness should be admitted with humility and pursued with immediate haste.

Charles Krauthammer: About Nancy Pelosi

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the Outer Continental Shelf. She won’t even allow it to come to a vote. With $4 gas having massively shifted public opinion in favor of domestic production, she wants to protect her Democratic members from having to cast an anti-drilling election-year vote. Moreover, given the public mood, she might even lose. This cannot be permitted. Why? Because as she explained to Politico: ‘I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet.’ A lovely sentiment… There are a dizzying number of economic and national security arguments for drilling at home: a $700 billion oil balance-of-payment deficit, a gas tax (equivalent) levied on the paychecks of American workers and poured into the treasuries of enemy and terror-supporting regimes, growing dependence on unstable states of the Persian Gulf and Caspian basin. Pelosi and the Democrats stand athwart shouting: We don’t care. We come to save the planet! They seem blissfully unaware that the argument for their drill-there-not-here policy collapses on its own environmental terms.”

Read the entire article here. . . .

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