As a throw-the-bums-out attitude is prevalent in the land during this election season, I am reminded of the zeal of the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1670, which, alarmed at the general lapse in morals, appointed a commission to investigate why God seemed to be judging New England, and to devise remedies. The Commission returned with eight recommendations, the first of which addresses civil leaders of Church and State, enjoining them to set the rest of us a good example. Let Misters McCain and Obama take note.
With your permission, I will also list the other seven recommendations:
2. "Let none be admitted to the Church who has not made a full profession of saving faith."
3. "Let discipline in the Church be enforced."
4. "Let the churches renew their covenants with God."
5. "Let the sins of the times be engaged against." (i.e., no timid, wimpy preaching)
6. "Let the churches promote holiness and a closer walk with God." (In other words, don't just talk a good game.)
7. "Support Harvard College."
8. "Cry mightily unto God that He be pleased to rain down righteousness."
Is it possible that someone was listening and that these measures set the groundwork for the Great Awakening of 1740? Might we consider employing them again?
Well, maybe we can toss out No. 7.