5 sermons to celebrate America's Independence Day

Joseph Lathrop

Joseph Lathrop
Joseph Lathrop (1731-1820), pastor of the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts and former Yale teacher. |

Joseph Lathrop, an ordained preacher who served as pastor for the Congregational Church in West Springfield, Massachusetts, preached a sermon on Independence Day 1794 titled “The Happiness of a Free Government and the Means of Preserving It.”

Preached in honor of the recently acquired independence of the United States, Lathrop argued that a republican form of government is the only one “framed under the immediate direction of heaven.”

“Moses was immediately ordained by God to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, and to communicate to them the divine ordinances and laws. But he claimed no authority to command them until by exhibiting evidence of his divine commission, he had obtained their consent to follow him. Much less did he claim for his family an hereditary jurisdiction over them,” he said.

“When he found the burden of government too heavy, for him to sustain alone, he laid the case before the people. He never presumed, of his own prerogative, to create officers under him; but he proposed to them, that they should choose proper persons to assist him.”

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