Delivered by JOHN CHURCHMAN to the Pennsylvania Assembly, ca.1747.
Journal of John Churchman. In: Evans, William & Evans, Charles, eds. Friends' Library, Vol. VI. Philadelphia: Joseph Rakestraw, 1842, page 201.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 2: The 18th Century.
Under an apprehension of the difficulties before you, I feel a strong sympathy with you, and have to remind you of a just and true saying of a great minister of Jesus Christ in his day, "The powers that be, are ordained of God." If men in power and authority, in whatsoever situation, would seek unto God, who will be a spirit of judgment to them that in judgment, for wisdom and counsel to act singly for Him who ordained the power, and permitted them to be stationed therein, that they should be his ministers; they would be a blessing under God to themselves and their country. But if those in authority suffer their own fears and the persuasions of others to prevail with them to neglect such attention, and enact laws for their own protection and defence by carnal weapons and fortifications, according to what is styled human prudence, He who is the great Superintendent, by withdrawing his power, may permit those evils they feared to come suddenly upon them, and that in his heavy displeasure. May it with gratitude be remembered, how remarkably we have been preserved in peace and tranquility for more than fifty years! No invasion by foreign enemies, and the treaties of peace with the natives, wisely begun by our worthy proprietor, William Penn, preserved inviolate to this day.
Though you now represent, and act for a mixed people of various denominations as to religion; yet remember the charter is the same as at first. Beware therefore of acting to oppress tender consciences, for there are many of the inhabitants whom you now represent, who still hold forth the same religious principles with their predecessors, who were some of the first adventurers into this, at that time, wilderness land, who would be greatly grieved to see warlike preparations carried on and encouraged to by their brethren in profession, or others, contrary to the charter,, still conscientiously concluding, that the reverent and true fear of God, with an humble trust in his divine power, would be our greatest defence and safety. They who hold different principles and are settled in this government, can have no just cause of reflection if warlike measures are forborne, because they knew the charter framed, and the peaceable constitution, and have ventured themselves therein.
We may observe by laws enacted in parliament when the reformation was but newly begun in England, our mother country, there seemed to be wisdom from above to influence their minds. May you be rightly directed at this time, many of whom do fully believe in the immediate influence of Christ, the wisdom of God, which is truly profitable to direct. It is not from disrespect to the king or government that I speak after this manner, for I am thankful in heart, that the Lord in mercy hath vouchsafed that the throne of Great Britain should be filled by our present benevolent prince, King George II. May his reign be long and happy.