Christianity produces civil or political union differently than does the world: it produces union based on spiritual unity.
When the Boston Port Bill was enforced against Massachusetts (1774) cutting off their foreign and domestic trade (EXTERNAL), the flow of Christian support to beleaguered Boston blossomed (INTERNAL), eventually producing the call for independence. Colonists in port cities such as New York, Baltimore, Norfolk and Charleston could (and did) look at Boston’s plight and say “there but for the grace of God go we. Boston’s problems with Parliament are our problems as well.”
The colonies were not yet a nation, but there was stirring evidence that the Christian Character of these people, their education in Biblical principles, their understanding of Christian constitutional principles, was quickly becoming a force for Christian unity.
Teach the Children
1. The Boston Patriots and their reaction to the Tea Act teaches us several important lessons:
The imposition by Parliament of a tax on tea was a violation of the Colonists’ right of property. Taxing without my consent takes my property, without my consent.
“For what Property have I in that, which another may by right take, when he pleases to himself?” (John Locke, 2nd Treatise on Government)
But my consent is also a matter of conscience, As seen in James Madison’s famous essay: “On Property,” my right of conscience is “the most sacred of all property.”
Finally, consent of the governed is an important principle of Christian self-government.
2. The tax on tea resulted in the famous Boston Tea Party. The dumping of as-yet-unloaded tea in the Boston Harbor (making a LARGE cup of tea!) is often seen as wanton destruction of private property, and perhaps it was, temporarily; what is often ignored in today’s narrative is that the destroyed tea was later paid for by the colonists, to the penny, as Biblically and legally required. As further evidence of their carefulness and restraint, a lock damaged in gaining access to the tea was even replaced. When compared with today’s lawless destruction of property in “mostly peaceful” protests, the Boston Tea Party was a model of civility.