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'Government Corrupted by Vice' - Samuel Langdon, Harvard President
Just three weeks after the Second Continental Congress convened, and six weeks after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Harvard President Samuel Langdon addressed the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, MAY 31, 1775.

Samuel Langdon's address was titled "Government Corrupted By Vice":

"They...attempted, by a sudden march of a body of troops in the night, to seize and destroy one of our magazines, formed by the people merely for their own security...

The fire began first on the side of the king's troops...

But for what? Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men...aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation..."

Samuel Langdon continued:

"We must keep our eyes fixed on the supreme government of the ETERNAL KING, as directing all events, setting up or pulling down the kings of the earth at His pleasure...

That for the sins of a people God may suffer the best government to be corrupted, or entirely dissolved; and that nothing but a general reformation can give ground to hope that the public happiness will be restored..."

Harvard President Langdon spoke further:
"The kingdom of Israel was brought to destruction, because its iniquities were full...because there remained no hope of reformation...

Their government degenerated in proportion as their vices increased, till few faithful men were left in any public offices...

At length, when they were delivered up for seventy years into the hands of the king of Babylon, scarcely any remains of their original excellent civil polity appeared among them..."

Langdon added:
"When a government is in its prime...virtue prevails--every thing is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality...

But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this gradually tends to corrupt the constitution, and in time bring on its dissolution.

This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment of heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessing of religion and liberty, and is guilty of undervaluing them; and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust..."

He went on:

"They were a sinful nation...who had forsaken the Lord; and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger...
Their princes were rebellious against God...seizing the property of the subjects...and robbing the public treasury.

Every one loved gifts...they were influenced in every thing by bribery...they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power...

And God, in righteous judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice to their own destruction, because they had forsaken Him...

The public greatly suffered, and the people groaned, and wished for better rulers and better management.

But in vain they hoped for a change...when the spirit of religion was gone, and the infection of vice was become universal.

The whole body being so corrupted, there could be no rational prospect of any great reformation in the state, but rather of its ruin..."

Rev. Langdon continued his address to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress:

"Yet if a general reformation of religion and morals had taken place, and they had turned to God from all their sins --  

if they had again recovered the true spirit of their religion, God, by the gracious interpositions of His providence, would soon have found out methods to restore the former virtue of the state, and again have given them men of wisdom and integrity...

We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession and form of it. We have neglected...the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy commands and institutions...
Their hearts are far from Him. By many, the Gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism..."

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Rev. Samuel Langdon concluded:

"Let us repent and implore the divine mercy. Let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything that has been provoking the Most High and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of Providence for our deliverance...

May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble...We will rejoice in His salvation, and in the name of our God, we will set up our banners!...

Wherefore is all this evil upon us? Is it not because we have forsaken the Lord? Can we say we are innocent of crimes against God? No, surely it becomes us to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, that He may exalt us in due time...

If God be for us, who can be against us? The enemy has reproached us for calling on His name and professing our trust in Him. They have made a mock of our solemn fasts and every appearance of serious Christianity in the land...

May our land be purged from all its sins! Then the Lord will be our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble, and we will have no reason to be afraid, though thousands of enemies set themselves against us round about."

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