The Man Who Inspired The Declaration

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Category - Declaration, The Man Who Inspired The Declaration

The man who inspired the Declaration of Independence

By Kenyn Cureton

Most Americans know that Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, but few know that the foundational concepts of freedom from which Jefferson drew came from the pulpit and pen of a pastor who served decades before the War of Independence: the Rev. John Wise.

Wise (1652-1725) served a Congregational church in Chebacco Parish in the southeastern part of Ipswich, Massachusetts for most of his ministry. He was the first son of an indentured servant to graduate from Harvard, and was an impressive preacher and a forceful writer.

Wise was also tall, muscular and a formidable wrestler. The story is told that later in life he was challenged to a wrestling match by Andover’s champion wrestler, Captain John Chandler. Wise tried to beg off, pleading that he was too old and infirm, but he was finally goaded into it for sport. So in the makeshift ring, Captain Chandler grappled with the elderly Wise. The preacher promptly threw the reigning wrestling champion completely over his front wall. Chandler got up, shook himself off and announced he would be on his way as soon as the preacher threw his horse over after him.

But Wise was even more tough and tenacious as an opponent of governmental overreach. In 1687, he grappled with the royal governor of New England, Sir Edmund Andros, because of a tax Andros had levied at the command of King James II. This tax was levied without the consent of the legislative body. In pulpit and town council, Wise sounded the alarm and blasted this scheme, warning of encroaching British tyranny. Two contemporaries wrote commending his efforts: “All our Watchmen were not asleep, nor the camp of Christ surprised and taken, before they had Warning.”

Read the rest at Family Research Council


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