This Day in Presbyterian History:
War Sermons of Samuel Davies
Samuel Davies was known as the apostle to Virginia, so effective was he in being the instrument to call a people out of darkness into light. Beyond the evangelistic emphasis of his ministry there, he also often had to challenge his people to stand up and defend themselves against the Indians of that area. This was especially needful as countless settlers were withdrawing to safer areas of the colonies, thus reducing the number of parishioners of the Presbyterian churches in the area.
On the Sabbath day of July 25, 1755, in his home parish of Hanover, Virginia, the Rev. Samuel Davies spoke on this theme of standing up and fighting for your family, your church, and your country. Listen to his words:
“Let me earnestly recommend to you to furnish yourselves with arms and put yourselves in a position of defense. What is that religion good for that leaves men cowards on the appearance of danger?
“I am particularly solicitous of you that you should act with honor and spirit in this, as it becomes loyal subjects, lovers of your country, and courageous Christians. I am determined to not leave my country while there is any prospect of defending it. Certainly he does not deserve a place in any country who is ready to run from it upon every appearance of danger.
“Let us determine that if the cause should require it, we will courageously leave house and home and take the field.”
A voluntary company of riflemen was immediately formed as a result of this sermon by Samuel Davies. In fact, during the progress of what later on became known as the French and Indian War, the war sermons of Samuel Davies persuaded more men to enter the field of battle as soldiers than any other means used.
Words to Live By: Samuel Davies was resolute about this issue. His point was that the church of the Lord was being devastated by this danger, as more and more colonists returned closer to the safety of larger towns in the east. Stand up and defend your home, your church, and your country, was his watchword. There is a sacred right to defend oneself and the country to which you belong. Let there be careful study that the cause is just, according to the Scripture. Then with that basis, stand strong in the Lord.
Through the Scriptures: Isaiah 55 – 57
Through the Standards: The duties of equals
WLC 131 — “What are the duties of equals?
A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.”