Increase Mather, Charles II, and God’s deliverance

I am reading The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall – a long overdue read for a Christian U.S. History teacher.  I have been blown away by many eye-opening anecdotes.  This one is not necessarily more amazing than some of the others, but something struck me to share it here:

Nearly a century before the Revolution, Charles II’s advisors warned him that “the ministers [of Massachusetts] were preaching freedom,” and urged him to either regulate them or to replace them with Episcopal priests.  The matter came to a head in 1682:  Charles II demanded that Massachusetts either swear allegiance to the Crown, administer justice in the King’s name, repeal their restrictions on suffrage (only church members could vote), and allow Episcopal clergy to form churches—or relinquish its charter…

At this crucial time, the leadership of Puritan New England gravitated, as it had eight years before during the Indian uprising, to one man: Increase Mather.  And as he had previously, he turned directly to heaven for his guidance…

[At an emergency meeting convened to consider Boston’s response, Mather] outlined the Scriptural references supporting resistance, recalling the story of Jephthah and Naboth, who refused to give away the inheritance of their fathers, and of David, who wisely chose to fall “into the hand of God, rather than into the hand of men.”  If we refuse to submit, argued Mather, we keep ourselves in God’s hands, and who knows what He may do for us?…

The entire assembly was in tears.  The vote not to submit was unanimous, and that unequivocal stand strongly influenced the other towns in the colony to do likewise.

When word reached Charles II, he was in a rage.  He determined to send Colonel Percy Kirk and five thousand troops to bring Massachusetts to heel once and for all…

Increase Mather reports that when the news reached him in February of 1865, he shut himself in his study, and spent the day on his knees, in fasting and prayer about the colony’s burdens.  At length, the heaviness that he had felt in his heart left him, and was replaced by joy.  Without any proof, except the inner conviction of his spirit, he knew that God was assuring him of Massachusetts’ deliverance.  Two months later, word arrived that Charles II had died of apoplexy.  His brother James II had succeeded him, and Kirk would not be coming after all!  The joyous news spread throughout the Colonies.  As Mather worked back the date of Charles’ death, and found it to be the very day that he had spent in prayer and fasting, his jubilant attitude changed to awe. (p. 258-59)

God is good, and his love endures forever!  This reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6: to not lean on my own understanding, trying to figure out what the best thing to do is, but rather to trust in the Lord with all my heart, knowing that His plan is better and that he is faithful to carry it out.

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Message from Sunday!

Here is the audio from my sermon at Shepherd of the Valley on Sunday.  You have to turn the volume up.  Blessings!

Schmus sotv 7-18-10.mp3

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