Thursday, September 29, 2011

Was Rev. Samuel West Orthodox?

The greatest Patriot Preachers were in this order: Whitefield, Witherspoon, Muhlenberg, and Cooper. All four were staunch Calvinists. While Muhlenberg attained one of the highest ranks in the Army--Major General, Cooper was so effective, the English issued a warrant for his arrest. As to Samuel West, he was an eccentric fellow who had to resign his pastorate due to his mental instability, however, he was influential to Boston Patriots. His Sermon to the Boston House of Representatives is quite famous--but as I found out, secularists may have mis-read his entire sermon. The fact is West elevates right reason in the context of man's relations with man, not with anything supernatural or implying a miracle is not above reason:
Had men persevered in a state of moral rectitude, every one would have been disposed to follow the law of nature..There could be no occasion for the exertion of such a power; for every man, being under the government of right reason, would immediately feel himself constrained to comply with everything that appeared reasonable or fit to be done, or that would any way tend to promote the general good. This would have been the happy state of mankind had they closely adhered to the law of nature, and persevered in their primitive state.

Thus we see that a state of nature, though it be a state of perfect freedom, yet is very far from a state of licentiousness.  The law of nature gives men no right to do anything that is immoral, or contrary to the will of God, and injurious to their fellow-creatures; for a state of nature is properly a state of law and government, even a government founded upon the unchangeable nature of the Deity, and a law resulting from the eternal fitness of things.  Sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, and the whole frame of nature be dissolved, than any part, even the smallest iota, of this law shall ever be abrogated; it is unchangeable as the Deity himself, being a transcript of his moral perfections.  A revelation, pretending to be from God, that contradicts any part of natural law, ought immediately to be rejected as an imposture; for the Deity cannot make a law contrary to the law of nature without acting contrary to himself,--a thing in the strictest sense impossible, for that which implies contradiction is not an object of the divine power.  Had this subject been properly attended to and understood, the world had remained free from a multitude of absurd and pernicious principles, which have been industriously propagated by artful and designing men, both in politics and divinity.  The doctrine of non-resistance and unlimited passive obedience to the worst of tyrants would never have found credit among mankind had the voice of reason been hearkened to for a guide, because such a doctrine would immediately have been discerned to be contrary to natural law..These are some of the laws of nature which every man in the world is bound to observe, and which whoever violates exposes himself to the resentment of mankind, the lashes of his own conscience, and the judgment of Heaven.  This plainly shows that the highest state of liberty subjects us to the law of nature and the government of God.  The most perfect freedom consists in obeying the dictates of right reason, and submitting to natural law.  When a man goes beyond or contrary to the law of nature and reason, he becomes the slave of base passions and vile lusts; he introduces confusion and disorder into society, and brings misery and destruction upon himself.  This, therefore, cannot be called a state of freedom, but a state of the vilest slavery and the most dreadful bondage.  The servants of sin and corruption are subjected to the worst kind of tyranny in the universe.  Hence we conclude that where licentiousness begins, liberty ends.
 
The law of nature is a perfect standard and measure of action for beings that persevere in a state of moral rectitude; but the case is far different with us, who are in a fallen and degenerate estate..Now, whatever right reason requires as necessary to be done is as much the will and law of God as though it were enjoined us by an immediate revelation from heaven, or commanded in the sacred Scriptures. [bold face mine]
As anyone can plainly read, his sermon has absolutely nothing to do with man's flawed reason superior to the Bible. Was Samuel West Orthodox? He believed in Total Depravity. That West was a universalist is refuted as West quoted Rev. 14:9-10.
Hence that terrible denunciation of divine wrath against the worshippers of the beast and his image: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and who receive the mark of his name." We have here set forth in the clearest manner, by the inspired apostle, God's abhorrence of tyranny and tyrants, together with the idolatrous reverence that their wretched subjects are wont to pay them, and the awful denunciation of divine wrath against those who are guilty of this undue obedience to tyrants.[bold face mine]
At this point, I will not proclaim West was an Orthodox Christian, but I ask anyone to furnish any of his writings that specifically reject Christian Orthodoxy. More or less, West used Trinitarian verbage because he knew his audience.

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