Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"All civilized societies would be divided into different sects, factions...the disciples of this religious sect or that religious sect. In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger. What motives are to restrain them? A prudent regard to the maxim, that honesty is the best policy, is found by experience to be as little regarded by bodies of men as by individuals. Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided. Conscience, the only remaining tie, is known to be inadequate in individuals; in large numbers, little is to be expected from it. Besides, religion itself, may become a motive to persecution and oppression." James Madison, June 6, 1787. Journal of the Federal Convention by Madison.
Madison is saying reason is insufficient as the primary revelation of truth, thus eliminating the rationalist label put upon him. To Madison, man's reason was insufficient to be ultimate truth, yet alone, to base religion or morality upon. Madison defers to religion because the correct religion is obviously superior to reason; a substitute for the conscience, and this religion is the "light of revelation" he speaks about in his Memorial. He then, claims even religion, can be perverted, as its past abuses show. Madison then claims his belief of the remedy is Republicanism by God's Law:
"The only remedy is, to enlarge the sphere, and thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests and parties, that, in the first place, a majority will not be likely, at the same moment, to have a common interest separate from that of the whole, or of the minority; and in the second place, that in case they should have such an interest, they may not be so apt to unite in the pursuit of it. It was incumbent on us, then, to try this remedy, and, with that view, to frame a republican system on such a scale, and in such a form, as will control all the evils which have been experienced." Madison, June 6, 1788. Elliot's Debates In the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution(Virginia).
Not only was Madison orthodox in his beliefs in Christianity, included in that orthodoxy he believed in was original sin, evidenced by all his references about the evil of man, and Republicanism as a partial remedy. There is no partial depravity in man, man is a sinner or he isn't. Of course man can be good, but this is common sense. Madison again on the depravity of man, which he believed in from his childhood to the orthodox teaching he received at Princeton:
"If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself." Federalist #51.
The internal control over man he speaks of is to halt the depravity of man, which he believed in. Only until he became a polytheist did he become a clear arminian.
From these statements, we know Madison believed Republicanism was designed to limit sin, as much as possible, which Madison believed was the reason for a separation of powers in a Republican Government. As you can see, while Madison helped form the nation, he concurred with Montesquieu, that the separation of powers doctrine is a part of the only true religion, Christianity, and Jeremiah 17:9 is inherent in it, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
The sum of this matter, which has been speculated on for years, is, unless new insights into Madison's words are revealed, that James Madison was an orthodox Christian; his notes referring to "what is christianity" by itself, does not support him being heterodox, but only that he thought those sects were Christian. It seems at this point in his life, he held the same views as fellow framer, Benjamin Rush, which were orthodox views on the essentials of Christianity.
Madison's departure from these essentials happened after he helped form the nation, as I earlier noted. What is clear, so far, is James Madison was no rationalist, or theistic rationalist. He believed man's reason was insufficient for determining truth, because man's reason is flawed and can never be trusted to be superior to God's word, which is direct, rather than unreliable like our conscience. To believe man's flawed reason is superior to a direct revelation from God, is the height of foolishness. Even in large numbers, Madison believed man's reason was flawed, because a written law is not employed. Only Republicanism, of God's Law is sufficient.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The Memorial is filled with declarations for the truth of Christianity, that is, the orthodox beliefs held by the majority of Christians for hundreds of years.
"Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us." James Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance, [ca. 20 June 1785] http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/jm4/writings/memor.htm
Madison is here, including himself with orthodox Christians, not infidel whigs, or anyone else. He is saying I am one of you. A key point to understand is the audience the seminary student is addressing; most, if not all those Virginians were orthodox Christians, as historian James Hutson notes, this document was “written to appeal to evangelical forces during a petition campaign in 1785.″ These evangelical forces were orthodox, the secret "infidel" whigs were not a threat. http://positiveliberty.com/2007/09/bishop-meade-on-james-madisons-creed.html
Another point to reflect on is Bishop Meade's comments on Madison's words for Christianity. When Meade writes,
"It is drawn up on the supposition of the truth of Christianity. It must indeed have done this in order to be acceptable to those by whom it was solicited." http://books.google.com/books?id=M0oOAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA305&dq=bishop+meade,+old+churches+volume+II+papers#PPA1,M1
Does Meade understand this comment as an attack against Madison not being truthful, or an obvious statement? I believe it's the latter; accusing Madison of being disengenious, lying to his family, and the people of Virginia just to defeat an assessment bill doesn't seem right to me. Even if Bishop Meade does believe Madison is lying to garner votes, does that seem to be Madison's character? The words Madison uses in the Memorial seem to be authentic, with a great deal of time and thought put into it:
"Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy... The second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation."
Madison is saying Christianity is the only truth, and Jesus is the only means of salvation. Earlier, he explained Christianity is true, and everything else false; again, do not be deceived about the Christianity Madison is talking about. He is referring to orthodoxy, not heterodoxy. Madison was no universalist at this time, and from the orthodox audience he's addressing, labeling him anything else is unreasonable as well. Here Madison wishes everyone would be a Christian:"Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it(Christianity) may be imparted to the whole race of mankind."
If another religion was adequate for salvation, Madison would never have said this. Again, Madison exalts Christianity over the other false religions; quite different from his "best and purest religion" comment in 1833. Madison again:
"Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of Levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of Truth"
As to the faith of James Madison after forming the nation, I see it as irrelevant; although, I firmly believe he abandoned Jesus Christ, and became a polytheist, as is current President, George Bush.
Monday, November 5, 2007
"The Congress...desirous...to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty devoutly to rely.... on His aid and direction... do earnestly recommend...a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may with united hearts confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life,...and through the Merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain His pardon and forgiveness."
Journals of Congress (1905), Vol. IV, pp. 208-209, May 17, 1776.
The acting President of the Colonies was John Hancock, who was the only signer of the Declaration on July 2. To say that Hancock, and Congress would sign a Declaration affirming a deist, undefined god, when they declared a month and a half earlier their God was Jesus Christ, is deceit!(emphasis added)
To ascribe unalienable rights from an undefined Creator is illogical, and an embarrassment to Jesus Christ, who was given the homage for His merciful Blessings upon the colonies. Because of God's Providence in the American victories at Bennington, Stillwater, Saratoga, and others, Congress drafted and approved a proclamation for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving; this proclamation was approved on November 1, 1777:
"Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received...[to offer] humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot [our sins] out of remembrance...and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Journals of...Congress (1907), Vol. IX, 1777, pp 854-855, November 1, 1777.
As you can see, this proclamation drafted by the same men who signed the Declaration, prayed to Jesus Christ, not to an undefined creator. Did the Founding Fathers apply laws and morality from an undefined creator? Of course not. They knew who their God was, and they studied His Word their entire lives in the schools; the Law of Nature in the Declaration of Independence is Jesus Christ, who is the express image, or exact representation of the God of Israel. That the Christian philosophers from Thomas Aquinas to John Locke agreed, is indisputable. The Christian State Constitutions were drafted by mostly the same men who drafted the Declaration, it is unreasonable to say they would have forgot who their God was. That a few Founding Fathers: Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Allen, were in error believing in a universalist god is their problem; ultimately, is irrelevant to the God, religion, law, and morality of the United States, which is based on the Bible.