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Leland’s 8

John Leland was a Baptist pastor in Massachusetts and Virginia in the 1700’s. He was a personal friend of James Madison and influential in the founders from Virgina, such as Thomas Jefferson. He was an important figure in the struggle for religious liberty in the United States. Leland vigorously fought for individual Soul Liberty, which is the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of one’s conscience. Regarding this topic he said,

“Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.”

Leland’s eight principles of republican government are starting to show up here and there on the web. How great is this?! These principles are very relevant today, and are essential for understanding our form of government:

1. That the law was not made for a righteous man, but for the disobedient.
2. That Righteous men have to part with a little of their liberty and property to preserve the rest.
3. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from the people.
4. That the law should rule over rulers, and not rulers over the law.
5. That government is founded on compact.
6. That every law made by legislators, inconsistent with the compact, modernly called a
constitution, is usurping in the legislators, and not binding on the people.
7. That whenever government is found inadequate to preserve the liberty and property of the people,
they have an indubitable right to alter it so as to answer those purposes.
8. That legislators, in their legislative capacity, cannot alter the constitution, for they are
hired servants of the people to act within the limits of the constitution. –James Beller