BY WILLIAM WIRT
“There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained; we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir . . . that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty and in such a country as that which we possess are invincible by any force
which our enemy can send against us.
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!!!
It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace; but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
March 23, 1775
Source: William Wirt, The Life and Character of Patrick Henry, pp. 137-
THOUGHTS ON LIBERTY. . .BY ELDER TIM D. CORMIER – EDITOR; BRISTOL, TN
“The best of times, the worst of times….” “Times that try men’s souls.” “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” “We must not flinch.” And, “Why stand we here idle?”
Such are the expressions men have used to describe moments of crisis in the history of mankind’s continued quest for liberty and justice for all. Once again, the current conditions in the world, our nation, our churches and our homes evoke this same chord of response from the hearts of thinking men and women. Must liberty ever perish
through neglect? Must we always be fighting the same battles that our fathers fought, to preserve the precious freedoms they died to purchase?
Some of us hear the bell tolling. It is a clarion call to arms, a mustering of troops to the battlefield. This sacred Gospel was purchased at the price of the precious blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was preached at the cost of the blood of the holy Apostles and martyrs of the early church. There has never been a time when it was not worth fighting for, and dying for, if need be.
What shall we say to these things? If our liberty in Christ is to be preserved, we must be ready, willing and able to fight for it.
What enemies do we face? On the one hand, the pressure to moderate our stance on the essentials of our message–leave off our emphasis of Acts 2:38, if you please; and on the other hand, the tendency to become unsympathetic to the needs of–and thus unable to effectively evangelize–our genera
If the Church is to stand in this hour as the Body of Christ, we must be solidly balanced upon both legs of the Gospel message: we must be thoroughly established in the Apostles’ Doctrine, and we must be zealous in our outreach endeavors, both at home and abroad.
If either of these legs becomes lame, we will certainly fall. If we attempt to stand on only one of these legs, and ignore the other one, we will surely lose our balance, and thus our ability to walk with God. Therefore, any attempt to cut short either of these aspects of our message is a direct threat to our liberty in Christ, and must be met with resolute resistance. To do otherwise admits either of unwarranted ignorance or else unmitigated cowardice.
How can we promise others liberty, if we become the servants of corruption? If our message becomes diluted with philosophy and tainted with heresy, or if our methods become polluted with hypocrisy, then we can no longer be the bastion of truth and the beacon of liberty. Nor must our liberty become a stumbling-block to them that are weak, or
worse–a cloak of maliciousness.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY APOSTOLIC STANDARD, MAY 1998. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.