Wesleyan Lee on Reform
"The gospel is so
that to preach it fully and clearly is to attack
and condemn all wrong, and to assert
and defend all righteousness."
Lee, a founder of the Wesleyan Methodist Church)
"The gospel asserts its
radical reform position, by demanding absolute obedience and
submission. ... a large portion of the evils are connected with
civil government, and the gospel will never remove them, until it is
so preached as to have something to do with politics. ... I never
had any politics which were not a part of my religion, and I urged
men to vote the Liberty ticket as a religious duty. ... I preached a
sermon on the death of Mr. Lovejoy, in which I condemned all mob
violence, vindicated the principles for the utterance of which Mr.
Lovejoy had been killed, and condemned slavery as an unmitigated
(above Luther Lee quotes from Discovering
An Evangelical Heritage by Donald W. Dayton, Harper & Row,
1976, p. 81-2)
"We appear to have fallen upon evil times. Riots and bloodshed
in the streets of our peaceful cities are of recent date, ... and if
they continue to increase as they have done for a few years past,
our nation will soon present but one scene of misrule and anarchy.
... What can be done to save the coutnry from ruin? I answer, let
the little patriotism that remains wake up and rally around the
Constitution and the Laws. Let our magistrates no longer wink at
violations of the law, let them become a terror to evil doers, and,
from the bench of justice, speak in the dee-toned thunders of the
law ..." (1837) Five Sermons and a
Tract, Luther Lee, ed. Donald W. Dayton, Chicago: Holrad House,
1975, p. 38, 42
"All who have ever been worthy
to be called reformers, have in like manner been accused by their
enemies and suspected by their friends. No man can at this day and
in this country, rise up and contend for all that is right in
politics and religion, and carry out by consistent action the
principles for which he contends, without being accused of rashness
by his opposers, and suspected of indiscretion by his pretended
friends. ... The standard of virtue ... which dares to do right!
placing the law of God and the claims of his Maker above all human
law, and the praise or the wrath of man. (p.54)
Abraham deserve to be hung for his daring feat of rescuing Lot from
captivity? Did Deborah and Barak deserve to be hung when they
discomfited Sisera and his host? Did Gideon and his three hundred
men deserve to be hung then he had routed the Midian host? Did David
deserve to be hung when he had smitten the Amalekites and rescued
his wives and the other captives? ... Did the men who dared to fight
the first battle of the Revolution on the blood-stained field of
Lexington, deserve to be hung?
"But it may be said, John Brown took
the sword in violation of the laws of Virginia. This is admitted,
and so do all revolutionists the same. This our fathers did, and had
they failed, their names would have been handed down to posterity as
rebels, and Washington would have been hung as a traitor ...
"John Brown was a hero. Of this, in
its true sense, no one will pretend to doubt. He was a brave man,
ever ready to defend the right, whatever odds might be against him.
... John Brown was a christian. ... n his
prison and in prospect of death, he professed faith in God through
Jesus Christ, and a hope of eternal life. ... John Brown is now a
martyr. ... He is as clearly a martyr to the cause of liberty, as
Stephen was to the cause of Christ. ... He was an honest
man, a hero and a christian, and yet he has been hung for his
efforts in the cause of human liberty.
(Lee at the execution of John Brown,
December 1859, p. 107, 111-12, 115)
was commanded by the highest human authority of the Empire, not to
pray to his God, but still he prayed as usual. Shadrach, Meshach and
Abed-nego, were commanded by the highest civil authority to fall
down and worship the image that had been set up in the plains of
Dura, but they refused. God had said in his law that they should not
bow down to any image, and the civil authority said they should bow
down to this image, and they obeyed God rather than man. (p.