Choose Leaders Who Hate Covetousness

Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams wrote to Mercy Otis Warren, November 5, 1775:

“A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men?” Scriptures tell us ‘righteousness exalteth a Nation.’

The Law of Moses admonished the children of Israel in Exodus 18:12 to choose leaders:

Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.

Thou Shalt Not Covet

The final commandment of the Decalogue states “thou shalt not covet” as Adam Clarke has stated “he breaks this command, who by any means Endeavors to deprive a man of his house, or Farm, by some underhand and clandestine bargain with the original landlord; what is called in some countries, taking a man’s house and farm over his head. . . .” To defraud your neighbor (Mark10:19) of his property in any clandestine or unjustifiable way is forbidden.

“This is a most excellent moral precept, the observance of which will prevent all public crimes: for he who feels the force of the law which prohibits the inordinate desire of anything that is the property of another, can never make a breach in the peace of society by an act of wrong to any of even its feeblest members.” (Rushdooney, 1973 Institutes of Biblical Law)

 CLANDESTINE, a.  Secret; private; hidden; withdrawn from public view.  It often bears an ill sense, as implying craft or deception, or evil design.

Habakkuk 2:9 “Woe to him who acquires an unjust gain for his house, in order to set his seat on high, to be out of the reach of calamity!”

Proverbs 29:4 KJV — “The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts (takes bribes) overthroweth it.”

Isaiah 1:23 KJV — “Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves (public private partnerships): every one loveth gifts (bribes),  and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.”

“This law (thou shalt not covet) thus forbids the expropriation by fraud or deceit of that which belongs to our neighbor. The tenth commandment therefore does sum up command 6 through 9 and gives them an additional perspective. The other Commandments deal with obviously illegal Acts, i. e. Clear-cut violations of law. The tenth commandment can be broken within these laws. To cite a Biblical example. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, a clearly illegal act. His subsequent Acts were technically within the law: Uriah was put in the Forefront of the battle and orders were so issued as to ensure Uriah’s death in battle. It was not technically murder, but it was clearly a conspiracy to kill, with David and Joab both guilty of murder. 

Thus, a variety of laws in western civilization are based on this principle of the fraudulent use of the law to defraud or to harm. Many of these laws legislate against the conspiracy aspect of fraud. They legislate against the Covetous seizure of our neighbor’s possessions by evil although sometimes legal means. The law against dishonest gain is thus a very important one, and the tenth commandment, instead of being a vague appendage to the law, is basic to it.” (Institutes of Biblical Law p.635)

This law against dishonest gain is directed by God, not merely to the individual, but to the state and all institutions. The state can be and often is as guilty as are any individuals, and the state is often used as the legal means whereby others are defrauded of their possessions. The tenth commandment forbids dishonest use of the law to defraud our neighbor. A society which is established on a dishonest principal, on a lawless, anti-god foundation, will inevitably make civil covetousness a way of life, and its principal of gaining wealth will increasingly become expropriation.” (Institutes of Biblical Law p.639) 

(Almost all special interest environmental groups foster and perpetuate this and are gaining immense wealth) very similar to the actions of Jezebel (special interests) when Naboth (property owner) refused to  sell or exchange(expropriate) his vineyard to king Ahab (government)). (NSD) See 1Kings 21

EXPROPRIA’TION, n.  The act of discarding appropriation, or declining to hold as one’s own; the surrender of a claim to exclusive property.

“If all Desiring and taking by force or by law what is our neighbors is strictly against God’s law, it follows that the organization of such covetousness into a system is the creation of an anti-god Society. A welfare economy, socialism, communism, or any form of social order which takes from one group to give to another is lawlessness organized into a system. In such a society, this Lawless seizure can lay hold of what belongs to our neighbor by asking the state to serve as our instrument of seizure; to covet by law is no less a sin.” (Institutes of Biblical Law p.640)

Plato wrote of this in “The Republic,” 380 B.C., that government would transition from being ruled by lovers of virtue, to lovers of honor, to lovers of money.

“All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and Liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” (Perpetual conservation easements and initiatives violate this principle)

  • Virginia Declaration of rights 1776 [Richard J. Maybury, Whatever Happened to Justice? Bluestocking Press, Placerville, CA 2004.] P.75

Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes of the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for MY COUNTRY when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Secretary of State Daniel Webster stated in 1852:

“Are we of this generation so derelict, have we so little of the blood of our revolutionary fathers coursing through our veins, that we cannot preserve, what they achieved? The world will cry out ‘shame’ upon us, if we show ourselves unworthy, to be the descendants of those great and illustrious … men, who fought for their liberty, and secured it to their posterity, by the Constitution of the United States”

“In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the Grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principle of which, as is before observed, are life, liberty, and property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the Eternal law of reason and The Grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to Freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

  • Verna M. Hall: THE CHRISTIAN HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -Christian Self Government- (The Foundation for American Christian Education) San Francisco California 1966. P.365

In a speech, July 4th, 1851, Daniel Webster expounded:

Let the religious element (genuine Christianity) in man’s nature be neglected, let him be influenced by no higher motives than low self-interest, and subjected to no stronger restraint than the limits of civil Authority, and he becomes the creature of selfish passion or blind fanaticism. On the other hand, the cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness…. inspires respect for Law and Order, and give strength to the whole social fabric, at the same time that it conducts the human soul upward to the Author of its being.”

Yale President Timothy Dwight concluded his remarks, July 4, 1798:

“Where religion prevails, Illumination cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves … To destroy us therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath and seduce us from the house of God … Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England. If our religion (genuine Christianity) were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending.”

Psalm 119:36 KJV — Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Proverbs 28:16 KJV — The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

Jeremiah 6:13 KJV — For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

Proper Function of Law

The law ought to be quite simply organizing justice and as such is limited and thus the state is limited. The state can wield the law as a weapon against injustice and in doing so organize justice but when the state attempts to use the law to organize the individual facets of society from property to labor to marriage to schooling and everything in between it winds up organizing injustice. This is evident because in these processes we see the law being wielded by a particular group or groups to implement their social plans and thus make the conformity of the people compulsory.

But if the law can function in such a way why can I not thus use it to cause these groups to conform to my social plans. You see neither them nor I have the right to use the law in such a way because this is not the proper function of the law. This in fact is the perversion of law where the law is used against its purpose. You see in our unique case this is understood in the declaration of independence where we find these truths to be self-evident, (as Jefferson originally penned it “sacred and undeniable”) that all men are created equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of property and then governments are instituted among men to preserve such rights.

The law exists as an objective base for government to wield in order to protect preserve and perpetuate such rights of a free people who are lawful in their pursuits. But as Jefferson penned “Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”  Because law is good, it alike all good things is often perverted. It is precisely here the “eternal vigilance” as termed necessary to liberty and required of a people is seen as so utterly needful, if indeed man is so prone to plunder one must be ever watchful of that which tends toward plunder not simply in others but in himself.

It is a shame to a people and a government who make plunder less painful than labor. For when it is easier to plunder than it is to work a self-indulgent fleshly people will always choose the former over the latter, and in such a society no man is safe in his property. Because property is the result of ceaseless labor it is always threatened by the covetous man who deems it just to take that which rightfully belongs to you and dispense it for himself or his interest.

You thankfully are protected by your natural right to lawful self-defense and the law stands at your side, but if the covetous man succeeds by lobbying or whatever means in perverting the law to stand with him, all of the sudden you are the bad guy for being so selfish to keep what belongs to you. You see you’re the greedy one for wanting to keep what you’ve earned.

No man is less safe in his property than when the covetousness of man manifests itself in the state, it is precisely at this point that plunder becomes less painful than work, that is, if you work for the state, or meet the terms and conditions of the state, and of course if there is any property there to plunder.

Our founders understood this well. Jefferson warned “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” As Bastiat said “socialists don’t desire to commit illegal plunder, but legal plunder.” You see this is our great danger. We still have a right to lawful self-defense but the institution of government in this case stands against us. If an armed robber stands at my door I being armed am able to overcome him, but the government comes not with a weapon but a certified envelope with a legal plea for compliance to the abstraction of your property or face legal ramifications, or at least the expense of representation in court with the burden of evidence upon your back.

This is a sad state of affairs, especially so when we see it so clearly warned of in advance by our forefathers, yet here we are. What are we to do, are we to expect that the expansion of executive power with more laws with more regulation will result in liberty? Do we expect more of the same sickness to be the cure? Has not “the contest, for ages,” as Daniel Webster stated, been the “rescue of liberty from the grasp of executive power?” 

Along with the warnings, our forefathers drafted a constitution which codified the philosophical assertion earlier established in the Declaration of Independence. There, we find God, the Creator, allotting man with certain responsibilities within the institution of government to protect and preserve the rights we find self-evident, or sacred and UNDENIABLE! That is precisely why the constitution and its amendments limit or restrict the power and force of government to function outside of its proper parameters and the protection of the rights of the individual.

The problem today I suppose is the right of the individual is no longer self-evident, there is nothing sacred anymore. Academia in this nation along with virtually every form of media has subjectivized the truth through a revisionist history, and the influence of evolutionary thinking upon law has inverted the role and function of government. When God is rejected, what is left is man, so the objective truths of theism are subverted in favor of the subjective falsehoods of humanism.

Representative systems for an immoral and irreligious people who have succumbed to secular humanism inevitably tend toward anarchy for no consensus of government and law can consist when each person is a law unto himself, as a result government takes on a more authoritarian stance in order to maintain some semblance of order.

This is good and bad. It is good in that government in so doing fulfills its mandate to restrain the chaos of sin in the world. But it may be bad because such a frame of government easily becomes despotic and, rather than restraining evil, it becomes the fountain of evil. This in some sense outlines the delicate position we have been in as a nation. This authoritarian shift does not mean the people have no influence, but with no objective base their influence is against their own interests.

Swiss theologian Phillip Schaff, who died 1893, stated this well:

“Republican institutions in the hands of a virtuous and God-fearing nation are the very best in the world, but in the hands of a corrupt and irreligious people they are the very worst, and the most effective weapons of destruction. An indignant people may rise in rebellion against a cruel tyrant; but who will rise against the tyranny of the people in possession of the ballot-box and the whole machinery of government? Here lies our great danger, and it is increasing every year.”

English philosopher John Stuart Mill, meanwhile, put it this way:

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think.”


There are some sobering realities to ponder as we live in a crooked and perverse generation. May God equip us to stand firm in the freedom with which Christ has made us free.

2 Peter 3:13 KJV — Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

John 16:33 KJV — These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

We can look to the book of Esther (Particularly Ch. 3,4) as an example to not lose our sense of responsibility in the ocean of Gods sovereignty.

It is yet to be known whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”

Proverbs 28:4 KJV — They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

Psalm 9:16, 17 – The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

James Warren, who died NOVEMBER 28, 1808.

“The application … is left for the consideration of every lover of his country. America has fought for her liberties … purchased them by the most costly sacrifices … And shall … her freedom be sported away by the duplicity, and the intrigues of those, who never participated in her sufferings? … mad ambition of a mind ready to sacrifice … humanity for its gratification? FORBID IT HEAVEN!.”

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

DUPLICITY, n. [L., double.]

  • Doubleness of heart or speech; the act or practice of exhibiting a different or contrary conduct, or uttering different or contrary sentiments, at different times, in relation to the same thing; or the act of dissembling ones real opinions for the purpose of concealing them and misleading persons in the conversation and intercourse of life; double-dealing; dissimulation; deceit.”

Similarly, Washington, warned in his Farewell Address, 1796, that politicians may betray their country to foreign nations in order to advance their political careers, while misleading public opinion to attack real patriots: “Passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils … It gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens … facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country … sometimes even with popularity … Such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot …

How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public Councils! …

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealously of a free people to be constantly awake …”

Washington continued:

“Real Patriots, who may resist the intrigues (secret plans) of the favorite (special interests, foreign nations), are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests …”

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