AMERICA’S INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS VERSE ROME’S COMMON GOOD, MENE MENE TEKEL, UPHARSIN
“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The new nation appealed not to tables of dynasty and royal succession to prove her title to life or her right to existence as a sovereign state among peers. Discarding these, her founders bore her into the arena upon certain self-evident truths. Her people assumed their equal and separate station among the powers of the earth by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”
Hitherto the doctrine had prevailed that the Almighty had created one class to govern and another class to be governed. Statesmen had universally held that all men were not created equal, and ecclesiastics had not been slow in seconding their teachings. When from time to time philosophers had arisen inculcating ideas of liberty and equality, they had been branded as anarchists by the state and as atheists by the church. Many a time both the civil and religious powers had buried their own differences of opinion and claims of jurisdiction in order that they might form a union for the sole purpose of more effectively dealing swift and summary punishment to these disturbers of the existing order of things. The rack, the fagot, and all the ingenious and exquisite tortures which the Inquisition could devise had been freely employed to wring from unwilling lips the desired recantation.
“The Declaration acknowledged the rule of right paramount to the power of independent States itself, and virtually disclaimed all power to do wrong. This was a novelty in the moral philosophy of nations, and it is the essential point of difference between the system of government announced in the Declaration of Independence and those systems which had until then prevailed among men…. It was an experiment upon the heart of man. All the legislators of the human race until that day had laid the foundations of all government among men in power; and hence it was that in the maxims of theory, as well as in the practise of nations, sovereignty was held to be unlimited and illimitable. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed another law, … a law of right, binding upon nations as well as individuals, upon sovereigns as well as upon subjects…. In assuming the attributes of sovereign power, the colonists appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions, and neither claimed nor conferred authority to do anything but for right.”
Some years ago James Russell Lowell was asked by Guizot, the great French historian, how long the Republic of the United States might reasonably be expected to endure. “So long,” replied Mr. Lowell, “as the ideas of its founders continue dominant.”
“The words that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed are sacred words, full of life-giving energy. Not simply national independence was here proclaimed, but also the primal rights of all mankind. Then and there appeared the angel of human liberation, speaking and acting at once with heaven-born strength, breaking bolts, unloosing bonds, and opening prison doors; always ranging on its mighty errand, wherever there are any, no matter of what country or race, who struggle for rights denied; now cheering Garibaldi at Naples, as it had cheered Washington in the snows of Valley Forge, and especially visiting all who are downtrodden, whispering that there is none so poor as to be without rights which every man is bound to respect, none so degraded as to be beneath its beneficent reach, none so lofty as to be above its restraining power; while before it despotism and oligarchy fall on their faces, like the image of Dagon, and the people everywhere begin to govern themselves.”
In the Book of books it is written that “the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever;” and in another place that that immortal Word “liveth and abideth forever.” And it is even so with the great principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution of the United States. They are coeval with time, and they will be commensurate with eternity. The government of God in the beautiful world to come will be a government of love, a government founded upon the principles of the consent of the governed; for every soul in that blest home and kingdom, and in all the infinite universe, will desire naught else but that God and Jesus Christ shall rule. This will be the supreme and ever-living desire of every one. Heaven’s government is indeed one deriving its powers, which are only just, from the consent of the governed. Every voice in the righteous nation blends in that glad chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Says John, the revelator: “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”
If we shall ever deny to others the right of government by their own consent, by such a deed we shall ourselves surrender to the Creator the charter of our national life, of our corporate existence.
The perils of The Republic of The United States of America by Percy Magan
Roman Catholic principles will be taken under the care and protection of the state. This national apostasy will speedily be followed by national ruin.—The Review and Herald, June 15, 1897. LDE 134.2
For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.