Ben Franklin said in his autobiography,

"... the inability of the colonists to get

the power to issue their own money

permanently out of the hands of

King George III and the international bankers

was the prime reason for the revolutionary war.”

 

"For the first time in the nation's history, there is no longer an authoritative, public record of who owns land in each county." -- University of Utah law professor Christopher Peterson

There is an unbelievable scandal in the making that threatens to subvert our four-century-old method for guaranteeing a fundamental building block of the American republic—property ownership. The biggest reason why you probably haven’t heard much about it is that it involves one of the most generic and boring company names imaginable: Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., or MERS. It is a story of deception engineered at the highest level of power for short-term gain, and another epic failure of the private sector to uphold the laws and traditions of American society, even something as fundamental as property rights.

Created in 1995 by the country's biggest banks, MERS quietly took control of and privatized mortgage record-keeping across the country and, in the span of a few years, scrambled America's private property ownership records to the point where no one could figure out who owns what. This was no accident, and was done by design: MERS was a tool used by America's top financial institutions to pump up the real estate market. Mortgage-backed securities, robo-signers, lightning quick foreclosures, subprime mortgages and just about everything else that went into feeding the biggest real estate bubble in U.S. history could not function without help from MERS. But unlike many of the Wall Street scandals, this one could blow up in the banks’ faces, with the little guy laughing all the way back to his free McMansion, and local governments seeing their empty coffers fill back up with the billions of dollars in unpaid fees that MERS circumvented.

The story begins in mid-'90s with the founding of MERS, Inc. by the nation's most powerful banks, ostensibly with the aim of streamlining and modernizing the process of registering and tracking mortgages. Traditionally, there has been no centralized registry of real estate ownership information, with counties maintaining their own records for properties within their borders—a system that has remained virtually unchanged since colonial times.

The MERS database went live in the middle of the dot-com bubble, and was supposed take inefficient government bureaucracies kicking and screaming into the future by providing a centralized, national registry of mortgage ownership information. "MERS addresses a problem that was costing the industry a significant amount of money," Rick Amatucci, a Fannie Mae vice president and the agency's liaison with MERS, told Mortgage Banking magazine, just as the new registry went online in 1997. The database would give lenders across the country instant access to real-time mortgage information, diminish potential for fraud, and lower costs for servicers and borrowers, according to Mortgage Banking Association, which was tasked with overseeing the project.

But that kind of talk was just for the press release. The banking industry wasn't concerned with efficiency or transparency or the greater good. It was all about making money, as quickly and cheaply as possible. And that is what MERS was for. It was created to help the industry push its latest money-maker: mortgage-backed securities, a Wall Street financial scam that dressed up the most toxic, guaranteed-to-fail loans as Grade A investment vehicles that could be sold to suckers looking for an easy gain.

But before mortgage-backed securities could be unleashed on the residential housing market on a massive scale, bankers needed to get rid of America's long-standing real estate recording laws, which required lenders to file all mortgage transactions—the origination of a new loan, for instance, or the transfer or sale of a mortgage between banks—with the county in which the property is located. While this recording requirement was not a problem in the sleepy pre-securitization days of the home loan business, when mortgage transactions were kept to a minimum, it was going to be much more difficult—if not impossible—with widespread use of securitization, which jacked up the industry like high-grade meth. Mortgages would be changing hands dozens of times, going from loan originators to banks to Wall Street investment houses, which would collect them by the thousands and package them into complex debt instruments that would be chopped up into shares and sold off to multiple investors all over the world.

Bankers needed a quick, clean way of reassigning mortgages without having to go through the "cumbersome" process of recording them with county courts and recorder offices. But instead of working with municipalities to modernize title registration by a creating a national database that was aboveboard and that everyone could use, the banking industry did what it does best: hid the information with sly accounting tricks.

And it succeeded. In just a few short years, MERS took over the bulk of residential mortgage registration. There are about 80 million residential mortgages in America today, and MERS tracks 60 percent of them.

"[M]ortgage bankers formed a plan to create one shell company that would pretend to own all the mortgages in the country—that way, the mortgage bankers would never have to record assignments since the same company would always 'own' all the mortgages," wrote University of Utah law professor Christopher Peterson, who wrote a key paper on MERS and the mortgage industry.

Here is how the plaintiffs in a class action suit filed in Florida in July 2010 against MERS and a legal firm described the MERS registration system:

The whole purpose of MERS is to allow "servicers" to pretend as if they are someone else: the "owners" of the mortgage, or the real parties in interest. In fact they are not. … With the oversight of Defendant Merscorp and its unknown principals, the MERS artifice and enterprise evolved into an "ultra-fictitious" entity, which can also be understood as a "meta-corporation." To perpetuate the scheme, MERS was and is used in such a way that the average consumer, or even legal professional, can never determine who or what was or is ultimately receiving the benefits of any mortgage payments. The conspirators set about to confuse everyone as to who owned what. They created a truly effective smokescreen which has left the public and most of the judiciary operating "in the dark" through the present time.

The use of MERS as a generic placeholder for the real owner of a mortgage was a crucial component of the entire securitization machine."[T]he entire scheme was predicated upon the fraudulent designation of MERS as the 'beneficiary' under millions of deeds of trust," according to a class action suit filed in Nevada in 2009 against MERS and all the big, crooked banks we’ve learned to fear and hate. "Before MERS, it would not have been possible for mortgages with no market value . . . to be sold at a profit or collateralized and sold as mortgage-backed securities. Before MERS, it would not have been possible for the Defendant banks and AIG to conceal from government regulators the extent of risk of financial losses those entities faced from the predatory origination of residential loans and the fraudulent re-sale and securitization of those otherwise non-marketable loans."

How efficient was MERS at perpetuating trickery in the real estate market? Well, according to statistics published by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network [3], from 1997—the year MERS went online—to 2005, mortgage fraud reports increased by 1,411 percent.

The MERS hustle had another benefit: it saved the banking industry—and cost municipal governments—tens of billions of dollars by allowing lenders to avoid paying county filing fees, which cost an average of $30 a pop. According to the AP, if every mortgage tracked by MERS had been resold and re-recorded with a county just one time, the system would have saved the banking industry $2.4 billion in filing fees. In reality, most mortgages are sold and resold a dozen times—sometimes more, which means that MERS extracted at minimum around $30 billion from cash-strapped local governments. "Some counties also use recording fees to fund their court systems, legal aid organizations, low-income housing programs, or schools. In this respect, MERS's role in acting as a mortgagee of record in nominee capacity is simply a tax evasion tool," says Professor Peterson.

But there was one major downside to the scam: because MERS departed from established real estate recording requirements, there was no guarantee that its claim to ownership, if challenged, would be honored by the courts.

Transparent real property registration was one of the earliest—and most important—functions of the American government, a practice that has changed amazingly little since the colonial times. According to "Foreclosure, Subprime Mortgage Lending, and the Mortgage Registration System," American colonists began to enact laws requiring land sales, transfers and mortgages to be entered into the public record with a government agency going back almost 400 years. The Massachusetts Plymouth Bay Colony adopted its first such "recording law" in 1636, which stated that "all sales exchanges giftes mortgages leases or other Conveyances of howses and landes the sale to be acknowledged before the Governor or anyone of the Assistants and committed to publick Record."

By the time the Boston Tea Party rolled around, every English colony had passed laws that required lenders and landowners to enter their names and property and mortgage information into the public record. The reasons for the popularity of the laws are simple and utilitarian: transparent public records of property ownership prevented disputes over who owned what and allowed people to use land as collateral on loans. "The necessity and usefulness of these early public title records is attested to by their nearly universal and uninterrupted force in subsequent American law. Indeed, Pennsylvania's first recording act, first adopted in 1717, remains in force to this day," wrote Peterson. Banks that failed to register mortgage transactions risked losing their ability to enforce the contract. And that is exactly what is on the verge of happening with mortgages registered with MERS.

Dozens of lawsuits all across the country have been filed against MERS and its partners to put this very issue to the test. And while most of them are still ongoing, it's clear that MERS is fighting for its life.

The Wall Street Journal:

Now, critics and homeowners facing foreclosure are increasingly challenging, among other things, MERS' role and legal standing in home foreclosures where it acts as legal representative of the mortgage holder. MERS has fought and won legal challenges in the past. But the nationwide epidemic of foreclosures in the wake of the housing collapse will present it with a wave of challenges unlike any it has seen previously.

Trouble for MERS could add risk to banks by slowing down the securitization process, and creating uncertainty during a time when banks are struggling to reassure shareholders and customers. One hedge fund investor said Friday that questions around MERS are adding to his concerns about banks in the mortgage business and are keeping him from investing in the sector.

While MERS officials say they are confident about their business model, it has become clear that their scheme might very well be on the verge of toppling. On November 17, Congress quietly rammed through a sneaky, vaguely worded bill that would have legalized MERS’ dealings retroactively [4]. And while the bill didn't pass [5], we can expect Wall Street's lackeys in Congress to continue their efforts. After all, if courts continue to rule against MERS's business model—and it looks like they will—many homes may become foreclosure proof [6]. As Reuters put it: “If court rulings against MERS' authority to foreclose proliferate, many foreclosure cases may be halted indefinitely, and some homeowners in default may end up with clear title to their homes.” Owners will still owe money to banks, but their homes would no longer be counted as collateral on the loan. In short, banks would not be able to kick people out of their homes. And clearly, that is something that America's plutocracy just cannot abide.

***

So who or what is MERS? How was this little-known corporation able to change nearly 400 years of legal practice in the span of a decade, and do so much damage so quickly? And why did no one blow the whistle?

As a result of the lawsuits being filed against MERS, a lot of previously unknown information about the inner workings of MERS is coming to light.

The people who developed the concept of MERS were connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the most corrupt lending institutions in America. People like Brian Hershkowitz, former director of the Mortgage Bankers Association and founder of the association’s technology committee that oversaw the early development of MERS in the early '90s, according to a homeowner-turned-activist-blogger, who is involved in a class action lawsuit against MERS (In 1993, Mortgage Banking magazine referred to this new mortgage resignation system [7] as “New Age Delivery.”)

Hershkowitz was an early tech-booster in the banking industry, heralding a new age where efficiency and profitability would reign supreme. In the early 90s he attributed the success of Countrywide Financial to the fact that it embraced emerging computer technology. "They use technology in ways that give them a competitive advantage and set them apart. They were operating with excess capacity, and now they are putting it to use," Hershkowitz, then-associate director of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told the New York Times in 1991. A few years later he went to work for Countrywide as an executive involved in "areas of strategic planning and executive management." From 1982 to 2003, Countrywide performed like a Ponzi scheme, with shareholders gleefully getting a 23,000.0 percent return [8] on their investment, until the bank collapsed under the weight of its own fraud schemes in 2007.

It seems that MERS has operated along similar lines. According to sworn testimony by various MERS executives, the organization has cycled through four different corporate entities in its brief lifespan. MERS also has almost no paid employees and does not seem to keeps any records or minutes of corporate meetings. When pressed to explain the inner workings of the organization, its executives evaded questions, feigned ignorance and generally acted like provincial mafia bosses on trial—exactly the kind of professionalism one would expect for a company responsible for tracking the ownership information of 50 million mortgages. It was just a couple of guys sitting around, chatting, smoking…and making sure not to leave any evidence behind. No wonder county officials who blew the whistle on MERS early on were squashed.

Edward Romaine, a Republican recorder of deeds for New York's Suffolk County, was one of the few officials who tried to refuse to take filings from MERS. "He argued that not only would the county lose out on fees—$1 million in one year alone—but that MERS failed to even maintain a clear chain of title on a property. He got backing from New York's attorney general," reported the Associated Press. MERS sued Suffolk County and took the case all the way up to the state's highest court, where it won on appeal in 2007. The court forced the county to accept MERS filings because the county lacked the statutory authority. Put another way, the court forced a municipal government to do business with a criminal organization, despite objections from county officials.

MERS cost local governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, but there is a chance that the cash-strapped counties will be able to claw some of that money back. Lawsuits have been filed against MERS in California, Nevada, Tennessee and 14 other states that accuse the company of functioning as a tax evasion vehicle designed to help banks circumvent filing fee requirements. “In California, the suit against MERS could cost the company somewhere between $60 to $120 billion in damages and penalties. With so much money extracted from California's municipalities, no wonder the Golden State is facing a $25 billion budget gap,” reported the Association Press.

We're constantly being told that liberalization, deregulation and privatization automatically equal greater freedom and increased efficiency. But MERS provides us with a different narrative, one in which the government works perfectly well, when not corrupted by corporations who want to use it to loot public wealth.

 

Why is it that there is such a problem with “lost Mortgage Notes” as is claimed by numerous lenders that are trying to foreclose today?

 

How could it be that there could be so many “lost” documents all of a sudden? Could it be that the documents weren’t really lost at all, but were actually turned into a source of revenue that was never disclosed as being a part of the transaction?

 

To believe that so many “original” documents could be legitimately “lost” in such a short period of time stretches the credibility of such claims beyond belief. Could this be the reason that MERS (Mortage Electronic Registration Systems) was formed in the 1990’s as a way to supposedly “transfer ownership of a mortgage” without having to have the “original documents” that would be required to be presented to the various county recorders?

 

Could it be they KNEW THEY WOULDN’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FOR RECORDING and had to devise a system to get around that requirement? When the foreclosure action is filed in the court the attorney for the purported “party of interest”, usually the “lender” who is foreclosing, files a “COPY” of the “Deed of Trust” or similar “Investment Security” with the Complaint to begin foreclosure proceedings.

 

Is that “COPY” of the “Security Instrument” within the “regulations” of Federal Law under 18 U.S.C. § 474? Is it usually the same size or very nearly the same size as the original document? Yes it is and without question it is a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY!

 

Who was it that produced that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY? Who was involved in taking that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY to the Court to file the foreclosure action? Who is it that is now legally in possession of that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY? Has everyone from the original “lender” down to the Clerk of the Court where the foreclosure is now being litigated been in possession or is currently in possession of that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY?

 

What about the Trustees who are involved in the process of selling foreclosed properties in nonjudicial states? What about the fact that there is no judicial proceeding in those states where the documentation purported to be legal and proper to bring a foreclosure action can be verified without expensive litigation by the alleged “borrower”? All the trustee has to do is send a letter to the alleged “borrower” stating they are in default and can sell their property at public auction.

 

It is just ASSUMED that they have the “ORIGINAL” documents in their possession as required by law. In reality, in almost every situation, they do NOT!!! They are using a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY as the basis to foreclose on a property that was paid for by the person who signed the “Mortgage Note” at the closing table that was converted to money by the bank.

 

When it is demanded they produce the actual “original signed documents” they almost always refuse to do so and ask the Court to “take their word for it” that they have. They have, instead, submitted a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY to the Court as their “proof of claim” to attempt to unjustly enrich themselves through a blatantly fraudulent foreclosure action.

 

One often cited example of this was the decision handed down by U. S. Federal District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko of Ohio, who on October 31, 2007 dismissed 14 foreclosure actions at one time with scathing footnote comments about the actions of the Plaintiffs and their attorneys.

 

Not long after that came the dismissal of 26 foreclosure cases in Ohio by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose who referenced the Boyko ruling in his decision. How many other judges have not been so brave as to stand on the principles of law as Judges Boyko and Rose did, but need to start doing so TODAY?

 

BOTH of the original documents which are absolutely required to be in their possession to begin foreclosure actions. Almost every time the people that are being foreclosed on are able to convince the Court (in judicial foreclosures) to demand that those “original documents” be produced in Court by the Plaintiff, the foreclosure action stops and it is obvious why that happens! THEY DON’T HAVE THE “ORIGINAL” DOCUMENTS

 

Has any of this foreclosure activity crossed state lines in communications or other activities? Have there been at least two predicate acts of Fraud by the parties involved? Have the people involved used any type of electronic communication in this Fraud such as telephone, faxing or email? It is obvious that those questions have to be answered with a resounding YES! If that is the case, then the Fraud that has been discussed here falls under the RICO statutes of Federal Law. Didn’t they eventually take down the mob for Racketeering under RICO statutes years ago? Is it time to take down the “NEW MOB” with RICO once again?

How could this kind of situation ever occur in this country? Could it be that this whole entire process could be “studied concealment or misrepresentation” where the parties involved are responsible under the law for their conduct? Could it be that it is no “accident” that so many “wet ink signature” Notes cannot be produced to back up the foreclosure actions that are devastating this country?

 

Could it be that the overwhelming use of COUNTERFEIT SECURITIES, as purported evidence of a debt in foreclosure cases, is BY DESIGN and “studied concealment or misrepresentation” so as to strip the people of this country of their property and assets?

 

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:” Declaration of Independence

 

Could it be that a VERY substantial number of Banks, Mortgage Companies, Law Firms and Attorneys are guilty of outright massive Fraud, not only against the people of this country, but of massive Fraud on the Court as well because of this COUNTERFEITING?

 

How could one possibly come to any other conclusion after learning the facts and understanding the law? How many other people are implicated in this MASSIVE FRAUD such as Trustees and Sheriffs that have sold literally millions of homes after foreclosure proceedings based on these COUNTERFEIT SECURITIES submitted as evidence of a purported obligation?

 

How many judges know about this Fraud happening right in their own courtrooms and never did anything? How many of them have actually been PAID for making judgments on foreclosures? Wouldn’t that be a felony or at the very least, misprision of felony, to know what is going on and not act to stop it or make it known to authorities in a position to investigate and stop it?

 

How is it that so many banks could recover financially, so rapidly, from the financial debacle of 2008-09, with foreclosures still running at record levels, and yet pay back taxpayer money that was showered on them and do it so quickly?

 

Could it be that when they take back a property in foreclosure where they never risked any money and actually were unjustly enriched in the previous transaction, that it is easy to make huge sums by reselling that property and then beginning the whole “Unconscionable” process all over again with a new “borrower”?

 

How is it that just three years ago a loan was available to virtually almost anyone who could “fog a mirror” with no documentation of income or ability to repay a loan? Common sense makes you ask how “lenders” could possibly take those kinds of risks.

 

Could it be that the ability to “repay a loan” was not an issue at all for the lenders because they were going to get their profits immediately and risk absolutely nothing at all? Could it be that, if anything, they stood to make even more money if a person defaulted on the “alleged loan” in a short period of time? They could literally obtain the property for nothing other than some legal fees and court filing costs through foreclosure. They could then resell the property and reap additional unjust profits once again! One does not need to have been a finance major in college to figure out what has been happening once you are enlightened to the FACTS.

 

Why is it that there is such a problem with “lost Mortgage Notes” as is claimed by numerous lenders that are trying to foreclose today?

 

How could it be that there could be so many “lost” documents all of a sudden? Could it be that the documents weren’t really lost at all, but were actually turned into a source of revenue that was never disclosed as being a part of the transaction?

 

To believe that so many “original” documents could be legitimately “lost” in such a short period of time stretches the credibility of such claims beyond belief. Could this be the reason that MERS (Mortage Electronic Registration Systems) was formed in the 1990’s as a way to supposedly “transfer ownership of a mortgage” without having to have the “original documents” that would be required to be presented to the various county recorders?

 

Could it be they KNEW THEY WOULDN’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FOR RECORDING and had to devise a system to get around that requirement? When the foreclosure action is filed in the court the attorney for the purported “party of interest”, usually the “lender” who is foreclosing, files a “COPY” of the “Deed of Trust” or similar “Investment Security” with the Complaint to begin foreclosure proceedings.

 

Is that “COPY” of the “Security Instrument” within the “regulations” of Federal Law under 18 U.S.C. § 474? Is it usually the same size or very nearly the same size as the original document? Yes it is and without question it is a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY!

 

Who was it that produced that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY? Who was involved in taking that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY to the Court to file the foreclosure action? Who is it that is now legally in possession of that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY? Has everyone from the original “lender” down to the Clerk of the Court where the foreclosure is now being litigated been in possession or is currently in possession of that COUNTERFEIT SECURITY?

 

What about the Trustees who are involved in the process of selling foreclosed properties in nonjudicial states? What about the fact that there is no judicial proceeding in those states where the documentation purported to be legal and proper to bring a foreclosure action can be verified without expensive litigation by the alleged “borrower”? All the trustee has to do is send a letter to the alleged “borrower” stating they are in default and can sell their property at public auction.

 

It is just ASSUMED that they have the “ORIGINAL” documents in their possession as required by law. In reality, in almost every situation, they do NOT!!! They are using a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY as the basis to foreclose on a property that was paid for by the person who signed the “Mortgage Note” at the closing table that was converted to money by the bank.

 

When it is demanded they produce the actual “original signed documents” they almost always refuse to do so and ask the Court to “take their word for it” that they have. They have, instead, submitted a COUNTERFEIT SECURITY to the Court as their “proof of claim” to attempt to unjustly enrich themselves through a blatantly fraudulent foreclosure action.

 

One often cited example of this was the decision handed down by U. S. Federal District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko of Ohio, who on October 31, 2007 dismissed 14 foreclosure actions at one time with scathing footnote comments about the actions of the Plaintiffs and their attorneys.

 

Not long after that came the dismissal of 26 foreclosure cases in Ohio by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose who referenced the Boyko ruling in his decision. How many other judges have not been so brave as to stand on the principles of law as Judges Boyko and Rose did, but need to start doing so TODAY?

 

BOTH of the original documents which are absolutely required to be in their possession to begin foreclosure actions. Almost every time the people that are being foreclosed on are able to convince the Court (in judicial foreclosures) to demand that those “original documents” be produced in Court by the Plaintiff, the foreclosure action stops and it is obvious why that happens! THEY DON’T HAVE THE “ORIGINAL” DOCUMENTS

 

Has any of this foreclosure activity crossed state lines in communications or other activities? Have there been at least two predicate acts of Fraud by the parties involved? Have the people involved used any type of electronic communication in this Fraud such as telephone, faxing or email? It is obvious that those questions have to be answered with a resounding YES! If that is the case, then the Fraud that has been discussed here falls under the RICO statutes of Federal Law. Didn’t they eventually take down the mob for Racketeering under RICO statutes years ago? Is it time to take down the “NEW MOB” with RICO once again?

How could this kind of situation ever occur in this country? Could it be that this whole entire process could be “studied concealment or misrepresentation” where the parties involved are responsible under the law for their conduct? Could it be that it is no “accident” that so many “wet ink signature” Notes cannot be produced to back up the foreclosure actions that are devastating this country?

 

Could it be that the overwhelming use of COUNTERFEIT SECURITIES, as purported evidence of a debt in foreclosure cases, is BY DESIGN and “studied concealment or misrepresentation” so as to strip the people of this country of their property and assets?

 

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:” Declaration of Independence

 

Could it be that a VERY substantial number of Banks, Mortgage Companies, Law Firms and Attorneys are guilty of outright massive Fraud, not only against the people of this country, but of massive Fraud on the Court as well because of this COUNTERFEITING?

 

How could one possibly come to any other conclusion after learning the facts and understanding the law? How many other people are implicated in this MASSIVE FRAUD such as Trustees and Sheriffs that have sold literally millions of homes after foreclosure proceedings based on these COUNTERFEIT SECURITIES submitted as evidence of a purported obligation?

 

How many judges know about this Fraud happening right in their own courtrooms and never did anything? How many of them have actually been PAID for making judgments on foreclosures? Wouldn’t that be a felony or at the very least, misprision of felony, to know what is going on and not act to stop it or make it known to authorities in a position to investigate and stop it?

 

How is it that so many banks could recover financially, so rapidly, from the financial debacle of 2008-09, with foreclosures still running at record levels, and yet pay back taxpayer money that was showered on them and do it so quickly?

 

Could it be that when they take back a property in foreclosure where they never risked any money and actually were unjustly enriched in the previous transaction, that it is easy to make huge sums by reselling that property and then beginning the whole “Unconscionable” process all over again with a new “borrower”?

 

How is it that just three years ago a loan was available to virtually almost anyone who could “fog a mirror” with no documentation of income or ability to repay a loan? Common sense makes you ask how “lenders” could possibly take those kinds of risks.

 

Could it be that the ability to “repay a loan” was not an issue at all for the lenders because they were going to get their profits immediately and risk absolutely nothing at all? Could it be that, if anything, they stood to make even more money if a person defaulted on the “alleged loan” in a short period of time? They could literally obtain the property for nothing other than some legal fees and court filing costs through foreclosure. They could then resell the property and reap additional unjust profits once again! One does not need to have been a finance major in college to figure out what has been happening once you are enlightened to the FACTS.

 

STAND STILL

"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Precious assurance. How eminently calculated to tranquillize the spirit in view of the most appalling difficulties and dangers! The Lord not only places Himself between us and our sins, but also between us and our circumstances. By doing the former, He gives us peace of conscience; by doing the latter, He gives us peace of heart. That the two things are perfectly distinct, every experienced Christian knows. Very many have peace of conscience, who have not Peace of heart. They have, through grace and by faith, found Christ, in the divine efficacy of His blood, between them and all their sins; but they are not able, in the same simple way, to realize Him as standing, in His divine wisdom, love, and power, between them and their circumstances. This makes a material difference in the practical condition of the soul, as well as in the character of one's testimony. Nothing tends more to glorify the name of Jesus than that quiet repose of spirit which results from having Him between us and everything that could be a matter of anxiety to our hearts. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3

But some feel disposed to ask the question, "Are we not to do anything?" This may be answered by asking another, namely, what can we do? All who really know themselves must answer, nothing. If, therefore, we can do nothing, had we not better "stand still" If the Lord is acting for us, had we not better stand back? Shall we run before Him? Shall we busily intrude ourselves upon His sphere of action! Shall we come in His way? There can be no possible use in two acting, when one is so perfectly competent to do all. No one would think of bringing a lighted candle to add brightness to the sun at mid-day: and yet the man who would do so might well be accounted wise, in comparison with him who attempts to assist God by his bustling officiousness.

However, when God, in His great mercy, opens the way, faith can walk therein. It only ceases from man's way in order to walk in God's. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward." It is only when we have learnt to "stand still" that we are able effectually to go forward. To attempt the latter, until we have learnt the former, is sure to issue in the exposure of our folly and weakness. It is, therefore, true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity, to "stand still" — to wait only upon God, and He will, assuredly, open a way for us; and then we can peacefully we happily "go forward." There is no uncertainty when God makes a way for us; but every self-devised path must prove a path of doubt and hesitation. The unregenerate man may move along with great apparent firmness and decision in his own ways; but one of the most distinct elements, in the new creation, is self distrust, and the element which answers thereto is confidence in God. It is when our eyes have seen God's salvation that we can walk therein; but this can never be distinctly seen until we have been brought to the end of our own poor doings.

There is peculiar force and beauty in the expression, "see the salvation of God." The very fact of our being called to "see" God's salvation, proves that the salvation is a complete one. It teaches that salvation is a thing wrought out and revealed by God, to be seen and enjoyed by us. It is not a thing made up partly of God's doing, and partly of man's. Were it so, it could not be called God's salvation. In order to be His, it must be wholly divested of everything pertaining to man. The only possible effect of human efforts is to raise a dust which obscures the view of God's salvation.

"Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward." Moses himself seems to have been brought to a stand, as appears from the Lord's question, "Wherefore criest thou to me?" Moses could tell the people to "stand still and see the salvation of God," while his own spirit was giving forth its exercises in an earnest cry to God. However, there is no use in crying when we ought to be acting; just as there is no use in acting when we ought to be waiting. Yet such is, ever, our way. We attempt to move forward when we ought to stand still, and we stand still when we ought to move forward. In Israel's case, the question might spring up in the heart, "whither are we to go?' To all appearance there is an insurmountable barrier in the way of any movement forward. How were they to go through the sea? This was the point. Nature never could solve this question. But we may rest assured that God never gives a command without, at the same time, communicating the power to obey. The real condition of the heart may be tested by the command; but the soul that is, by grace, disposed to obey, receives power from above to do so. When Christ commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth, the man might naturally have said, "How can I stretch forth an arm which hangs dead by my side?" But he did not raise any question whatever, for with the command, and from the same source, came the power to obey.

 

 

DAILY WALK

The Spirit of God delights to trace the boundaries of the people, and to dwell on the most minute details connected with their history. He takes a lively and loving interest in all that concerns them, their conflicts, their victories, their possessions, all their landmarks, everything about them is dwelt upon with a minuteness which, by its touching grace and condescension, fills the heart with wonder, love and praise. Man, in his contemptible self-importance, thinks it beneath his dignity to enter upon minute details; but our God counts the hairs of our heads; puts our tears into His bottle; takes knowledge of our every care, our every sorrow, our every need. There is nothing too small for His love, as there is nothing too great for His power. He concentrates His loving care upon each one of His people as though He had only that one to attend to; and there is not a single circumstance in our private history, from day to day, however trivial, in which He does not take a loving interest.

Let us ever remember this, for our comfort; and may we learn to trust Him better, and use, with a more artless faith, His fatherly love and care. He tells us to cast all our care upon Him, in the assurance that He careth for us. He would have our hearts as free from care as our conscience is free from guilt. "Be careful for nothing; but, in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4: 6, 7.)

It is to be feared that the great majority of us know but little of the real depth, meaning and power of such words as these. We read them, and hear them; but we do not take them in, and make our own of them. We do not digest them and reduce them to practice. How little do we really enter into the blessed truth that our Father is interested in all our little cares and sorrows; and that we may go to Him with all our little wants and difficulties. We imagine that such things are beneath the notice of the High and Mighty One who inhabiteth eternity, and sitteth upon the circle of the earth. This is a, serious mistake, and one that robs us of incalculable blessing, in our daily history. We should ever remember that there is nothing great or small with our God. All things are alike to Him who sustains the vast universe by the word of His power, and takes notice of a falling sparrow. It is quite as easy to Him to create a world as to provide a breakfast for some poor widow. The greatness of His power, the moral grandeur of His government, and the minuteness of His tender care do, all alike, command the wonder and the worship of our hearts.

See that you make your own of all these things. Seek to live nearer to God in your daily walk. Lean more upon Him. Use Him more. Go to Him in all your need, and you will never have to tell your need to a poor fellow mortal. "My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." What a source! "God." What a standard! "His riches in glory." What a channel! "Christ Jesus." It is your sweet privilege to place all your need over against His riches, and lose sight of the former in the presence of the latter. His exhaustless treasury is thrown open to you, in all the love of His heart; go and draw upon it, in the artless simplicity of faith, and you will never have occasion to look to a creature stream, or lean on a creature prop.

 

“WHAT WAIT I FOR?” (Christmas Time)

Psalm 39:6-7 “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.”

This is a searching question for the heart, but it is oftentimes a most necessary one, inasmuch as we may constantly detect ourselves in an attitude of waiting for things which, when they come, prove not to be worth waiting for.

The human heart is very much like the poor lame man at the gate of the temple in Acts 3. He was looking at every passerby “expecting to receive something.” And the heart will ever be looking out for some relief, some comfort or some enjoyment in passing circumstances. It may be found sitting by the side of some creature-stream, vainly expecting some refreshment to flow along its channel.

It is amazing to think of the trifles on which nature will fix its expectant gaze — a change of circumstances, change of scene, a journey, a visit, a letter, a book. Anything is sufficient to raise expectations in a poor heart which is not finding its center, its spring, its all, in Christ.

Hence the practical importance of frequently turning sharp round upon the heart with the question, “What wait I for?” Doubtless, the true answer to this enquiry would at times furnish the most advanced Christian with matter for deep humiliation and self-judgment before the Lord.

In Psalm 39: 6 we have three great types of character as set forth in the “vain show,” “vain disquietude” and “heaping up.” These types may sometimes be found combined, but very often they have a distinct development.

There are many whose whole life is one “vain show,“ whether in their personal character, their commercial position, their political or religious profession. There is nothing solid about them, nothing real, nothing true. The glitter is the most shallow gilding possible. There is nothing deep, nothing intrinsic. All is surface work — all the merest flash and smoke.

Then we find another class whose life is one continued scene of “vain disquietude.” You will never find them at ease — never satisfied, never happy. There is always some terrible thing coming — some catastrophe in the distance, the mere anticipation of which keeps them in a constant fever of anxiety. They are troubled about property, about friends, about trade, about children, about servants. Though placed in circumstances which thousands of their fellow-creatures would deem most enviable, they seem to be in a perpetual fret. They harass themselves in reference to troubles that may never come, difficulties they may never encounter, sorrows they may never live to see. Instead of remembering the blessings of the past and rejoicing in the mercies of the present, they are anticipating the trials and sorrows of the future. In a word, “they are disquieted in vain.”

Finally, you will meet another class, quite different from either of the preceding — keen, shrewd, industrious, money-making people who would live where others would starve. There is not much “vain show” about them. They are too solid, and life is too practical a reality for anything of that sort. Neither can you say there is much disquietude about them. Theirs is an easy-going, quiet, plodding spirit, or an active, enterprising, speculating turn of mind. “They heap up, and know not who shall gather.”

But remember, on all three alike the Spirit has stamped “vanity.” Yes, “all” without any exception, “under the sun,” has been pronounced by one who knew it by experience and wrote it by inspiration, “vanity and vexation of spirit.” Turn where you will “under the sun” and you will not find anything on which the heart can rest. You must rise on the steady and vigorous pinion of faith to regions “above the sun,” to find “a better and an enduring substance.” The One who sits at the right hand of God has said, “I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause them that love Me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures” (Prov. 8: 20-21). None but Jesus can give “substance.” None but He can “fill.” None but He can “satisfy.” There is that in Christ's perfect work which meets the deepest need of conscience. There is that in His glorious Person which can satisfy the most earnest longings of the heart. The one who has found Christ on the cross and Christ on the throne, has found all he can possibly need for time or eternity.

Well might the psalmist, having challenged his heart with the question, “What wait I for?” reply, “My hope is in Thee.” No “vain show,” no “vain disquietude,” no “heaping up” for him. He had found an object in God worth waiting for. Therefore, turning away his eye from all beside, he says, “My hope is in Thee.”

This, my beloved reader, is the only true, peaceful and happy position. The soul that leans on, looks to, and waits for Jesus will never be disappointed. Such an one possesses an exhaustless fund of present enjoyment in fellowship with Christ. At the same time he is cheered by “that blessed hope” that when this present scene, with all its “vain show,” its “vain disquietude” and its vain resources shall have passed away, he shall be with Jesus where He is, to behold His glory, to bask in the light of His countenance and to be conformed to His image forever.

May we, then, be much in the habit of challenging our earth-bound, creatures-seeking hearts with the searching enquiry, “What wait I for?” Am I waiting for some change of circumstances or “for the Son from heaven?” Can I look up to Jesus and with a full and an honest heart, say, “Lord, my hope is in Thee.”

May we be more thoroughly separated from this present evil world and all that pertains thereto, by the power of communion with those things that are unseen and eternal.

“From various cares my heart retires,

Though deep and boundless its desires,

I'm now to please but One;

He before whom the elders bow,

With Him is all my business now,

And with the souls that are His own.

“With these my happy lot is cast,

Through the world's deserts rude and waste,

Or through its gardens fair;

Whether the storms of trouble sweep,

Or all in dead supineness sleep,

       Still to go on be my whole care.”

 

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THREE PRECIOUS GIFTS

“I give unto My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish” (John 10).

     “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6).

“He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8).

     “Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5: 1).

     “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 6).

“Life” “Light” and “Liberty” — three most precious gifts, gifts in comparison with which all earthly riches, pleasures and distinctions are but as dust.

The dark atmosphere which enwraps Christendom so obscures the light of divine truth that they really do not know where they are or what they have got. In place of life, light and liberty, they are practically in the shadow of death, in darkness and bondage. They are robbed of those three precious gifts which God, in the fullness and riches of His grace, liberally bestows upon all who believe on the name of His only begotten Son.

“I give unto My sheep eternal life.” My soul-crushing difficulty is to know that I am a sheep of Christ. If only I knew that, I should count myself happy indeed.”

Now this is a mistake. It is beginning at the wrong end. It is putting self and its feelings before Christ and His Word. Most surely, as long as one is doing this, he must be in doubt and darkness. It is utterly impossible to be otherwise. If it is something about myself l am called to feel or believe in order to be saved, then I never can have the settled knowledge or assurance of salvation. I must have something entirely outside and independent of myself, something divinely solid, something eternally stable, some settled and absolute truth, something true in itself apart from all my thoughts and feelings respecting it. In short, I must have God's own revelation to rest upon, or I never can know what abiding peace really is. It is the eternal truth of God, and that alone, which forms the real basis of the soul's peace — a basis which not all the powers of earth and hell, men and demons can ever disturb. It is by believing in Christ, and not by feeling or believing something about myself, that I get eternal life. He that believeth on the Son of God has eternal life.

You are called upon to believe not something about yourself, but something about Christ. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6: 47). Do you simply and heartily believe in Jesus? Do you confide in Him? Are you thoroughly satisfied with Him? If so, you have eternal life, and you should from this moment, know it and rejoice in it. Our Lord does not say, “He that feeleth he is one of My sheep shall have eternal life.” Nothing of the kind, nothing like it, nothing approaching to it. “He that believeth on Me.” So also in that well-known passage in John 5. “Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.”

Every true believer in Jesus has eternal life, and everyone who does not have eternal life is an unbeliever. So speaks the Word of the living God.

“God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”

“He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” God would not give us life and leave us in the dark. This would not be like Him. He has given us His Son; and believing in Him, we get life. Then following Him, we get light — the light of life. “The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” And the proper sphere for the life which we now possess is the light in which we are called and privileged to walk.

The darkness is past, the shadows are gone, the clouds are rolled away, the dim twilight has given place to the full light of life streaming down into our souls and upon our path, enabling us to judge ourselves and our surroundings. We now can judge everything according to the true light that now shines within, upon and around us — shines from the Father, shines in the Son, shines in the power of the Holy Spirit, shines on the page of inspiration.

Finally, it follows of blessed necessity that as we get “life” and “light,” so we get “liberty.” It is all in Christ. He quickens, He enlightens, He emancipates, He is our life, our light, our liberty. “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” He would not give us life and leave us in the dark. He would not give us life and leave us in bondage or slavery. No, such is not His way. He sets us divinely and eternally free — free from guilt and condemnation, free from the dread of wrath and judgment to come, free from the fear of death, free from the present power of sin and from its future consequences. Please lay hold of these things in simple childlike faith, and join us in a note of fervent praise to the Giver of these “Three precious gifts.”

 

When the purpose of the heart is true to Christ, true to His name and cause, true to the service of God, the Holy Spirit opens up the precious treasures of divine revelation to the soul, and pours a flood of living light upon the understanding, so that we see the path of service as clear as a sunbeam before us, and we have only got to tread it with a firm step.

 Alice Faye and Ballad

Bragging Rights

 

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution.  That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.

Speech at Kalamazoo. Michigan, August 27,1856, Collected Works 1:391

The Standard the Supreme Court took an oath to honor.

 

SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD

The freedom found in a small town affords one to be dead to the world; not merely to certain gross things in the world, but to the world in all its aspects. What then has a dead man to do with the world's politics? As Christians, we are sent into this world even as Jesus was sent into it. What had He to do with the world's politics? He paid tribute; so should we. He obeyed the powers that be; we should do the same. He suffered under this world's powers, and we may be called to the same. Public servants swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend those rights given by God.  

We are instructed to pray for the powers and we are to do so quite irrespective of the nature or character of the power. In fact, when the apostle penned that principle, the imperial scepter was wielded by one of the worst men who ever lived. The Christian is taught to be subject to the powers that be; he is never taught to wield that power, but the very reverse. “Our citizenship is in heaven.” We are only pilgrims and strangers in the world. The cross of our Lord has broken every link between us and this world. The resurrection has introduced us into a new world altogether. In the death of Christ we cleared the shores of the old world. In His resurrection we have landed on the shores of the new. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Therefore, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3). Oh! to know the formative, sanctifying power of this precious line of truth!

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