The war, begun in 1898, between the kingdom of Spain and the republic of the United States is now at an end, and the laurels of victory are worn by the armies and the navy of the Western Giant. Few were the battles and brief the campaign which laid the feeble foe prostrate in the dust. Continued violation of natural law had produced internal weakness and disintegration. Spain fell an easy and helpless prey, not simply on account of the superiority of American prowess and gunnery, but because of inherent weakness, produced by her own sin.
It was altogether fitting that the long struggle which the Iberians had carried on against their own colonies for the purpose of enforcing the ideas that all men are not created equal, and that governments do not derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, should be abruptly terminated by that nation which was conceived in principles the exact reverse of these theories.
That Providence willed it so, there can be no doubt. Only the hand that was free from the stain of despotism could be used to inflict punishment upon her whose every garment was spotted with its leprosy. With the surrender of Cuba and Porto Rico, Spain relinquished the last acre of that great landfall which Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought to the united thrones of Aragon and Castile. Spain’s administration of these domains was one long series of national crime. Long ago the King of kings arraigned her at the bar above, and there and then it was justly decreed that the unjust steward should have her stewardship taken away. Instalments of the penalty have fallen due from time to time. Just now we have witnessed the last payment, that of the uttermost farthing. And in the words of Lincoln, “As was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
As the stereopticon pictures dissolve upon the sheet upon which they are thrown, and fade away from view, so in a. d. 360 the empire of the Romans began dissolving upon the great sheet of time and space upon which all nations are cast, until in a. d. 476 the last faint traces and shadowy outlines of her once great power and glory had utterly vanished. But as her fleeting specter disappeared from off the canvas, the Visigoths, in the childlike bloom of semi-barbaric virginity, may be seen in that dim twilight of time stealthily gliding in to occupy the rich peninsula which the fall of Rome had left without a tenant. Weal might have been their day; glorious with white and gold the years of the hoar hair of their national existence, the harvest of their allotted span. By their own choice alone it has brought forth only tears and woe,-first to others, and finally to themselves. They followed in the steps of Rome, they repeated her history, and as far as colonial empire is concerned, they have met her end, while their own dissolution, the last grand tableau in the tragedy, already looms in the offing of time. For as God is no respecter of persons, even so he is no respecter of nations.
Columbus sailed with the intent of finding, not the West, but the East Indies. To the day of his death he never discovered his mistake. It was his intent there to plant the monarchical tyranny of Spain. Four hundred years have passed away since then, and it is passing strange that these United States, after breaking the power of Spain in the West, are even now engaged in fastening upon that land which Columbus sought to reach, those same Spanish principles of power and tyranny which he would fain have taken there.
An Old World power has been driven from Cuba, but an Old World idea has invaded and well-nigh captured the republic of the United States,-the idea that all men are not created equal, and that governments do not derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. There have been times when the ship of state in the United States has been partially diverted from her course, and greed has used her officers for private ends and personal emoluments. But now the very foundation-stones of the fabric governmental are being undermined.
Prior to the year 1898 this government was a republic pure and simple. Its foundations were laid in principle, and not in power. It was not an empire in any sense of the word, for the foundations of an empire are laid in power, and not in principle. It was built upon that everlasting rock that right makes might. Against this the coming of floods and the blowing and beating of winds are alike powerless, for it standeth sure and falleth not forever. But empires, on the other hand, are built upon that sinking sand that might makes right. Against these the floods come, and the winds blow and beat, and they fall, and great is the fall thereof. PRUS 80.4
To-day this nation is in danger of abandoning the rock and settling upon the sand. The love of power, so prone to the human breast, is smothering priceless, eternal principle. From being a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it is being rapidly transformed into a government of some of the people, by a few of the people, for all the people. This is imperialism as opposed to republicanism, and this is national apostasy. PRUS 81.1
Until the summer of 1898 the word “imperialism” was but little heard from the lips of Americans. Now the very atmosphere is fairly drenched with it. A perfect wave of imperialism has swept over the land, and the desire for an Imperial America, or an “Imperial Republic,” as it has been styled, sits supreme upon hundreds of scores of souls. But an imperial republic cannot exist. With equal sense and propriety one might talk about “good badness.”
What means this wild babel of tongues clamoring for subjects over which to exercise sway? What means this strange jargon, formed from an Old World monarchical vocabulary? Are men crazed with the madness sometimes begotten by victory at arms? Are men drunken with the lust of colonial empire? Are men raving in the delirium of that dread fever, earth-hunger, in which all the monarchies of the Old World are writhing? Think they in the hour of triumph over a foe, outclassed at every point, to build a tower of national greatness which will reach to the very heavens, and at the same time to lay its unrighteous foundations on the stricken forms of vassal peoples? The result will surely be as it was before in the case of the builders of Babel, there will be confusion of tongues, and the dissolution of the nation. PRUS 81.3In his day, Abraham Lincoln said that in the days of the Fathers “our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it.” 1
Adapted from The Book, The Perils of The Republic of The United States of America by Percy Magan Tilson,1899
Edward Everett, in an oration on the Pilgrim founders of this nation, said: “Did they look for a retired spot, inoffensive for its obscurity, and safe in its remoteness, where the little church of Leyden might enjoy the freedom of conscience? Behold the mighty regions over which, in peaceful conquest, … they have borne the banners of the cross!”—Speech delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Dec. 22, 1824, page 11.
“And he had two horns like a lamb.” The lamblike horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as “coming up” in 1798.
Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. Their views found place in the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the great truth that “all men are created equal” and endowed with the inalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And the Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, providing that representatives elected by the popular vote shall enact and administer the laws. Freedom of religious faith was also granted, every man being permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and downtrodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope. Millions have sought its shores, and the United States has risen to a place among the most powerful nations of the earth.
But the beast with lamblike horns “spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed; … saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13:11-14.
The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The “speaking” of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak “as a dragon” and exercise “all the power of the first beast” plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns “causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.
Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result—intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority. But the inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamblike horns—in profession pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks as a dragon.
“Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.” Here is clearly presented a form of government in which the legislative power rests with the people, a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy. GC 440.2 – GC 442.3