Although the second name in the series on Fertilizing America’s Roots, Samuel Rutherford actually holds a premier spot in the influence of the Founders. Either directly, as in Jefferson’s borrowed statement that “All men are created equal,” or indirectly, as in Madison and Jefferson’s significant references to Rutherford himself and to John Locke, who secularized and continued Rutherford’s brilliant understandings, Samuel Rutherford provided the insights into liberty, free will, equality, and the absolute horrors of authoritarian or autocratic rule.
“Among the heaviest judgments is the sword, and among the heaviest of swords is the civil sword, which now threatens devastation.” This was Samuel Rutherford’s introduction to Lex Rex (The Law and the Prince.)
Rutherford’s era was the terrifying transitional period between the dark warlords and ruthless “superpowers,” secular and/or Papal. The times claimed lives and banishment unrivaled until the beginnings of the Bolshevik revolution started the European and Asian consolidations and oppressive Communist and Socialist overthrows of the 20th Century. Rutherford himself was banished from his native Scotland.
We again forget the impact of our Founders’ influences. Rutherford asks a pointed question, and answers it in the affirmative. We should take the most serious warning from this positive statement.
The way our Founders’ approved of Rutherford included two enormous considerations. One, we are all equal! We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights! Secondly, we are all kings because One Great King reigns, and if we abandon our private domains and relinquish all civil authority to a lesser king, it will be the self-imposed “good” will of Satan. You certainly do not need to acknowledge the King of Heaven to understand a virtual Prince of Hell! Our world has met him in every generation.
The end of it all, he says, is to trust in the multitude of the equal men in all society. Collectively, we are the only sure preservative of the rights of man. We, the People, under our own consciences, efforts, and authority, can preserve our rights, and the continuation of these Gifts of God for our children and their children. We are never safe in the hands of any small gods.
Summarizing his entire book, Rutherford concludes that thought for himself, “The multitude cannot dispose of the security, safety, and that which necessarily conduces to the security of the posterity. ‘The Lord build his own Zion, and appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks!’