“Give me liberty, or give me death”

This year, for the Fourth of July,  my family and I hosted a get-together at our house. (You can read the full adventure here!) Part of the entertainment of the night was a recitation of Patrick Henry’s famous speech, which contains the famous line that everybody knows; “give me liberty or give me death!”

As I listened to the speech, I was struck at how many biblical references are in this provoking and patriotic letter.

If you want to read the letter in it’s entirety, you can find it here. I will just be using parts of the speech for this post, so I would encourage you to read the whole thing. It’s definitely worth it, especially if you enjoy historical patriotic writings.

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

If we, as Christians, keep our beliefs a secret or fail to speak our convictions on matters of truth, through fear of giving offense, should consider ourselves as guilty of treason towards our Heavenly country, and of an act of disloyalty toward our Father and the majesty of Heaven, which we should revere above all other opinions and earthly kings. We are to “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

Satan loves to play the part of the siren, blinding us as we close our eyes to the reality of how sin affects us, until he transforms us into creatures like him. Fulfilling our own selfish needs and desires, not caring about what our actions may say to others or how we may be making our fellow Christians stumble.

“What’s wrong with seeing this movie? It only has a couple words in it. You hear that everyday anyway.”

“What’s wrong with wearing this? Everyone else is wearing it, so it’s not like you’re showing anything someone hasn’t seen before.”

“Why not do it now? No one else will know what you are doing.” 

The biggest lie, though? “IT WON’T AFFECT YOU.” Sin ALWAYS affects us.

Are we part of the wise? Do we shut our eyes to the painful reality of how much sin we allow into our lives on a daily basis? Do we shut our eyes at the way this country is becoming more and more godless every year? Do we shut our eyes at the needs of others? Or are we willing to engage in our great and arduous struggle for our spiritual liberty? For our struggle to receive the “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Because this is not something you want to give up on. It is worth more than we can imagine.

We are told to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

At the same time, we are warned that not everyone will follow this command. “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” – Ezekiel 12:2

“The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:“‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”  For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” – Acts 28:25-28

We should be willing to hear the truth and act on it, no matter what anguish of spirit it may cost. No matter what relationships it destroys. No matter what sacrifices we must make.

I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.  

As Christians, we are able to judge our future because of what happened in the past. When Christ took on our sins, our future was placed before us and we were given the choice of whether or not to accept that future. No matter what this life holds, we know our future in Heaven is sure and steadfast if we remain steadfast. We need not worry about our future, because Christ has taken that on in His death on the cross. Anytime we think about what the next years may bring, it should be colored by the past and by the reassurance that we have a rock and an anchor.

Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.  

This of course took me immediately to the betrayal of Judas.

“While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man calledJudas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” – Luke 22:47-48

Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these war-like preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask, gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.

Satan comes at us with full force, battles of temptation designed specifically for each and everyone of us. He sends his army to bind and rivet upon us those chains which Satan has been so long in forging. He wants all of humanity to suffer in his banishment from the presence of God. We must put on God’s armor to withstand the firey darts of the evil one.

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 the next week, or the next year? 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 hath placed in our power.

Satan wants us to think we are weak, unable to say no, unable to stay pure and holy in this wicked world. But when shall we be stronger? The moment of action is always now. Never tomorrow. Shall we wait until Satan has torn our defenses down, day by day, to decide to act? Shall we wait until the day of Judgement to realize that our inaction rendered us so woefully inadequate to face the Creator?

Do we expect to get the strength to fight off the devil advances by merely going to church three times a week? Do we expect to fight a battle, that is so large in proportion that we can’t even comprehend the magnitude of the heavenly forces who are fighting daily, by lying supinely on our backs? We are not weak if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature has placed in our power: our Christian brethren, His Holy Spirit, the avenue of prayer, and the Words of Eternal Life.

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.

The Heavenly Hosts, armed in the cause of the Father, and in such a Heavenly country as that which we are possessors of, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. The battle is already won.

Besides, we don’t fight alone. Our God is Jehovah Nissi. He is our Banner.

“The Lord is near all those who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” – Psalms 145:18

We know that Jesus could have called ten legions of angels (Matthew 26:53) to deliver Him had He only asked. How many more do you think He is willing to send to help out those who He died for?

This battle requires vigilance, bravery, and active momentum.

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but 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?

Jeremiah 6:14 – “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
    when there is no peace.”

Yet another of Satan’s tactics is to numb our senses to the battle that is to be fought every day. He wants us to think that we are okay where we are. Being at peace with our sins is acceptable. But we must remember the brethren who are already in the field. We must remember those who fought the good fight and persevered. Why do we stand here idle?

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Joshua 24:15 – “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

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