Standing Ground (A Variety of Passion)
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One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity.
Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the Union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens? To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced.
Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.
Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty.
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The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.
They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.
One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution , alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable.
Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind.
It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.
But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight , the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration.
It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.
Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another. There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party.
But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it.
A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume. It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.
The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes.
To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Offenses can be forgiven. Dead things can come to life. Wherever you find yourself today, remember this: every stronghold must bow to the authority of Jesus. Today we claim not just any power over our circumstances, but the greatest of them all: resurrection power. We had leaders and teams from over churches who came together for a time of renewal and refocusing our hearts on Jesus.
There were several different states, regions, backgrounds, and denominations represented at LIFT — but when we lift up the name of Jesus, we become one Church. It was truly a beautiful sight and sound to witness. Whether it was a relationship, an achievement, a dream, a failure, or our own plan, our foundation was our own making.
They are cracked. Or completely shattered.
What God wants to build in each of our lives is an eternal, purpose-filled life, a life that we cannot muster or earn or build on our own strength. It takes a strong and sure foundation. When we put our faith in Jesus, we exchanged our faulty, self-made, crumbling foundation, broken by the weight of sin and darkness, for a sure footing on the brand new foundation of God, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. As we surrender daily to Jesus, we begin to see him building what only He can build in us: eyes that see him, hearts filled with the things He loves, and lives which seek to serve those around us.
His is a love which cannot be moved, and in Jesus we are given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Jesus holds it all together and the Holy Spirit fills us with wisdom and revelation, revealing who God is to us. Revelation always moves us to act. If we have truly seen God for who He is, our desires will shift and eventually become His desires. Father, show me who you are today. Then lead me in your love to, in turn, love those around me with the love of Christ. It was so amazing to carry the songs of Passion into so many cities and watch Jesus touch down into the lives of people.
We also got to do it with some of the best artist on the planet. Much love to stevencurtischapman , francescamusic , rendcollective , familyforce5 , jordanfeliz , thederekminor , urbanrescue , loswhit , thattonywolfguy , compassion.
Our stories are the same! God has called us by name, and through Jesus, brought us into his family. He has made the ordinary extraordinary and given us a new heart, a heart freed from captivity to sin and death which can now choose instead to follow Jesus with abandon. Scripture says in 2 Chronicles that the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
The world tells us to abandon our hearts to other things, and our flesh beckons us back to a life of sin. We may have our hands balled up around something which we have not given to God.
It may be something we compartmentalize: God, you can have it all…except this one thing. What is the thing, the relationship, the addiction, the money, the area of life you want control over? Are there any walls in your heart toward God? We lose our false semblance of control, but gain the protection and loving leading of God in our lives and peace that passes understanding. Let it be said of us, the Church, this generation, you and me, that we are a people with hearts abandoned, hearts that are completely His, hearts that are ever after Him alone.
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God, give me a heart abandoned, ever after you alone. All the things of this world pale in comparison to You. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. We all deeply connect with the idea of feeling known, accepted, and ultimately, loved, and are searching for it…maybe in all the wrong places as the old adage says. Only the love of God in Christ Jesus will satisfy continually the innermost depths of our hearts, minds, and souls, to the brim and overflowing both now and forever. Scripture tells us in 1 John How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God, and that is what we are!
Romans 8 says that nothing, not death, life, nor circumstances, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Through the Innocent Perfection who gave his life for us, we have been forever changed by the power of the cross and brought into this great love of God.
Louis, Los Angeles.