“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more must be without.”
If we weren’t such busy people I would ask you to take 15 minutes a day for a week and chew on the above and then write a brief essay on the quote from Mr. Burke. It is loaded with truth not only as to how and why we Americans are in a mess, but also how to remedy the malaise of our current culture.
Please do not think that I am positing for stricter laws imposed by local, state and federal government, but something much simpler. I am talking about freedom to choose the right, and this freedom coming from the spirit within, energized by the Holy Spirit of God.
I noticed first off that Mr. Burke did not bestow the gift of liberty to men and women shackled with habits of excess, but rather those who are striving against destructive engagement in any habit that is against commonsense morality. Moral chains upon their own appetites was the way he put it. The said chains would include the commonly noted ones along with the more acceptable ones such as, dare I say it, gluttony. I know the word is shocking, but I write in often boring prose, so I need to re-arrest your attention. Certainly people may be gluttonous in more than eating, some are known to be gluttons for punishment, even others insist on having or engaging in too much of a good thing.
Christians take this a step farther in that we believe the scriptures give us clear guideline on just where to draw the line, lest we find ourselves in a mess of our own choosing.
To those of my dear readers who have what is called “A working knowledge of the Bible,” I challenge to you check out the number of verses in scripture that literally jump into your mind while you think upon the remarks of Burke.
I am not much of a fan of government fiats forced upon society, as the media each day reports of their utter failure. I know we had a war on poverty and for the most part lost it. Also the War on Drugs, we have horrendously lost it also. The war on immorality is largely lost and attempts are now rampant to pronounce that which is clearly wrong to have the appearance of right. Each society throughout history that has made this attempt has failed, as are we.
True religion and true civilization is predicated on a premise of inner power to choose to be righteous from the inside out and not outward chains. True faith in Jesus Christ trusts Him to impart the power of the Word God hidden in our hearts to desire to live His will.
I often hear the lament of professing Saints as they bewail the Storm Trooper aspect of many of the laws now current and other’s pending in our former home of the free and land of the brave. “Our liberties are being infringed upon” is the cry of the hour. Yet those who cry, for the most part, are part of the problem in their refusing to show restraint in various appetites so varied that I dare not attempt to list them.
In The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon bewailed the “bread and circus” political method of rocking the people to sleep, in soul numbing apathy, while the foundations crumbled to dust as they feasted and played. Is the hour in which we live the final act of our culture?
Notice this parting phrase in Edmond Burke’s statement: “Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more must be without.”
It is only when all restraint from within is cast off that restraint from without must invade the human spirit and attempt to bind it from without. History notes that the outward chains often restrain much that is right as it brings the soul of a people into satanic type captivity.
The 3 or so years that Jesus performed what we call His earthly ministry were years in which all the supposed civilized world was under the heel of the most profane empire to ever wield the Scepter. Yet in the midst of this reign of terror by government, Christ assured His disciples that His teaching was superior to the thuggish ideology of the Pagan World in its entirety.
What is the hope of our practical salvation, as well as eternal? Many truths, but I choose only one for today. Jesus said in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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