A Treatise on Liberty
By Pastor Butch Paugh
In this brief, to the point and I hope, well written treatise, I sincerely hope and pray that we can reach a multitude of people. Up front I must tell the reader that this is a biblically based and solidly Christian writing. I do not apologize for this. I just feel that it is important to let the reader know in advance and ask that you will take the time to read this article in its entirety. If the reader will do this, I am convinced that it will become evident that the principles and truths brought forth are simply undeniable.
Ever since mankind first united to form a society, whether it be a community, state or nation, there must of necessity be a set of rules (laws) written and established to set the standard and basis by which such a civilization can exist and remain united and civilized. Without a setfoundation of laws by which all in the society are expected to live by, there is no “civil”-ization, only disorder and chaos! Ideally, a society needs only a minimum of laws by which to govern itself because the people are of themselves individually “self”-governed. Laws are not made or needed to control a self governing individual. They are only needed for those who will not control their evil desires and passions. (I Tim. 1:9)
Let’s establish two vitally important points now. First, if mankind is to live and work in conjunction with others, then laws and civil authority to enforce such laws as the community (society) desires needs to exist. Secondly, all law systems are based and founded on a “commonly” held and accepted “belief”, i.e. religious philosophy. The simple fact is, allmankind as an individual or a society are religious. The philosophy by which they guide and govern their lives is religious! All beliefs (philosophies) are influenced by and built on some type of religious experience or teaching. There is no way around this fact! When a person makes the statement that he does not believe in an external, Supreme Being (God), he then becomes his own supreme being or in other words, his own “god”. This is in fact a religion as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court called humanism! All men are by nature a religious creature. (Rom. 1:21-25) Now that these two vital issues are settled, let’s move on.
It would be a safe statement to make, I believe, that most any person or nation of people that would ask, “Do you want to be free? Do you desire liberty?” The answer would be a resounding yes! At least as far as any individual or nation can understand what freedom or liberty is to be. It is a sad fact that the vast majority of people today, including and especially in America, do not know the meaning of freedom and liberty. The true essence of freedom and liberty is simply not understood by the masses of people today. With freedom and liberty comes personal responsibility in all areas of life. Moral, mental and financial! One cannot have true freedom as long as one “depends” on an outside source to supply any of these basic needs. One is only as free as one is dependent from an outside laws and assistance. Yes, it is an inescapable fact that, in order to have an orderly society, laws and governance is a necessity. But people must be constantly and diligently on guard against the inevitable encroachment of civil authority on their liberties and equally diligent not to allow themselves to be enticed into contracts with the established civil power to provide their needs. This “scheme” of greedy men in civil office is the most deceiving of all devices used to enslave a free people.
“Liberty”, definition according to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary is; 1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or the will of mind. The body is at “liberty” when not confined; the will or mind at “liberty” when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys “liberty”, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions. 2. “National liberty”, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is “abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. (A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression.” Civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. “Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty”.
“Freedom”, definition according to the same source. “A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement.
In light of the definitions just quoted it would certainly be safe to say that the type of belief system that forms the laws that govern society is directly linked to the liberty or lack thereof of the society it governs.
Let us refer back to a previous statement made. The laws established by the will of the governed, as is the case for a free people, must be ordained to only govern the wicked! (I Tim. 1:19) Any law that goes beyond that principle will start a tendency toward oppression and tyranny. The obvious outcome then, for a society who uses their freedoms to practice immorality (wickedness) is more oppressive laws and tyranny. Morality and virtue (righteous self-government) is the very foundation of liberty. In direct proportion to the moral deterioration of society is the amount of liberty enjoyed. John Adams said, “Our constitution (law system) was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” When a people cease to be moral, they cease to be free.
Our once great and once free nation was founded on the moral principles written in the Holy Scriptures of the Sovereign Creator of mankind. Despite the current teachings and popular opinions of society in America today this fact is absolutely irrefutable by our founding fathers statements and documents. In the Declaration of Independence it is written, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . ” George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” To make the point even clearer to those who would still like to argue about the truth that this nation was founded on Biblical principles is the statement made by Patrick Henry, “It cannot be emphasized too often or too strongly that this great nation was founded,not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (II Cor. 3:17)
Our society has become morally decadent and ignorant (Hosea 4:6). The curse on an immoral people is insanity and more evil. (Deut. 28:28, Jer. 11:17) As it is written in the history of Israel in the Old Testament so it is today. A righteous God will only be merciful to a stiff-necked, perverted and disobedient people for so long, and then His judgment falls. (Ps. 106:40) He will give them wicked leading (government) to rule over them. (Ps. 106:41) When a society is governed by wicked men even the righteous will suffer. (Is. 59:15) But to obey an unrighteous government is idolatry. (Ex. 20:1-4, Acts 5:29)
The only hope for America, if the people truly want to be blessed with genuine liberty again, is to repent and return to the foundation of truth that made them free! (John 8:32-John 14:6)
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: For this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13)