USA, Rome violated a natural law of her being, … In the Declaration of Independence this nation declared that she “assumed among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitled her.” The very foundation stones of this nation then are laid in natural law.

Among the great nations of ancient times the republic of Rome is at once the most gigantic and striking figure. In the history of mankind only two republics have ever risen to a pitch of grandeur and prominence sufficient to entitle them to a rank in the galaxy of “great world-powers.” Of these the republic of the Romans is one, and that of the United States of America is the other. PRUS 137.1

Among the great nations of ancient times the republic of Rome is at once the most gigantic and striking figure. In the history of mankind only two republics have ever risen to a pitch of grandeur and prominence sufficient to entitle them to a rank in the galaxy of “great world-powers.” Of these the republic of the Romans is one, and that of the United States of America is the other. The First Beast and The Second Beast Respectfully. PRUS 137.1

Among the great nations of ancient times the republic of Rome is at once the most gigantic and striking figure. In the history of mankind only two republics have ever risen to a pitch of grandeur and prominence sufficient to entitle them to a rank in the galaxy of “great world-powers.” Of these the republic of the Romans is one, and that of the United States of America is the other. The First Beast and The Second Beast Respectfully. PRUS 137.1


The Peril of the Republic of the United States of America

CHAPTER IX. IN THE TRAIL OF ROME

Aside from the Anglo-Saxon race, no people have ever possessed the faculty of self-government to such an extent as the Roman nation. Theirs was a commonwealth, which, as Cicero, one of their own greatest orators, said, ought to be immortal, and forever renew its youth. His words contain a truth, but sad to state, a truth unrealized beneath the sun. Republican forms of government have proved even less enduring than the other systems which have been devised for the ruling of mankind. This constitutes no criticism of the principle on which republics are based. Popular government is an experiment upon the heart of man; a higher, that is, a more self-sacrificing, grade of citizenship is required from the individual in order that the higher form of national life may survive and prosper.

It is possible for a monarchy to continue to exist, even although great crimes are committed in the name of the state; even though justice and the rights of men and peoples are mired beneath the mailed heel of arbitrary authority. In the doing of these things a monarchy violates no natural law of its being or its life. It is not so with a republic. This is founded upon right, not power; this is laid in righteousness, not iniquity. When once power is substituted for right, and iniquity for righteousness, the republic, in the nature of things, is transformed by these very acts into a despotic grade of government. It may continue to wear the insignia and badge of freedom, but the life, the sacred fire, has flickered and gone out in darkness. The image may remain, but ‘t is only a death mask; the vital breath has fled. If republics endure, their citizens must not only know the right, but they must do the right. This the people of the Roman republic, in early days, knew and appreciated. Hence, they worshiped the virtues. They built temples, and offered sacrifices “to the highest human excellences,’ to ‘Valor,’ to ‘Truth’ to ‘Good Faith,’ to ‘Modesty,’ to ‘Charity’ to ‘Concord.’” Hence it was that they said to every man: “You do not live for yourself. If you live for yourself, you shall come to nothing. Be brave, be just, be pure, be true in word and deed; care not for your enjoyment, care not for your life; care only for what is right. So, and not otherwise, it shall be well with you. So the Maker of you has ordered, whom you will disobey at your peril.” 1 These words give at least a strong intimation of how even the people of that “elder day” regarded popular government as being an experiment on the heart. When once the heart is unchained and personal or national ambition is allowed to have full sway, then freedom’s rule is at an end. “Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” 2 PRUS 137.2

From being a republic, Rome was converted into a military empire. The cause of this conversion is of remarkable interest to the people of the United States. This cause is well understood by all students of history, and has been stated in a few masterly sentences by James Anthony Froude:— PRUS 138.1

“In virtue of their temporal freedom the Romans became the most powerful nation in the known world; and their liberties perished only when Rome became the mistress of conquered races, to whom she was unable or unwilling to extend her privileges…. If there is one lesson which history clearly teaches, it is this, that free nations can not govern subject provinces. If they are unable or unwilling to admit their dependencies to share their own constitution, the constitution itself will fall in pieces from mere incompetence for its duties.” PRUS 138.2

Rome became imperial because she was unable or unwilling to extend the privileges of her constitution to the nations which she conquered. This was the cause of her imperialism. The result to the Roman people themselves was that “their own liberties perished.” In refusing the privileges of her constitution to the peoples whom she had conquered, Rome denied a fundamental law of her own governmental being, and nothing else could logically follow but ruin of her government, of her constitution; that is, the ruin of the republic of Rome. PRUS 138.3

To-day the republic of the United States is coursing over the same track to the same goal. But when the tape at the end of the track is reached, the dead line of republican life will have been passed. The nation is riding for a fall just as certainly as did ancient Rome, that other great republic of the West. The one lesson which history teaches, “that free nations can not govern subject provinces,” is now being ignored and scoffed at, as if it were the veriest fairy-tale, totally unworthy of contemplation by reflective and intelligent minds. It is now being seriously urged that this nation is not “unwilling,” but only “unable,” to extend her privileges to the “conquered races.” This inability is said to be caused, not by any inherent weakness or lack upon the part of the conqueror; but because of the conditions and circumstances of the conquered. Precisely the same thing was argued in the Roman times; but such arguments availed nothing to prevent loss of liberty to the people of Rome themselves, and ruin to her constitution. Rome violated a natural law of her being, and all violations of natural law, governmental as well as physical, bring, by nature, punishment upon the transgressor In the Declaration of Independence this nation declared that she “assumed among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitled her.” The very foundation stones of this nation then are laid in natural law. That natural law is “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 United States is now engaged in a war, the avowed purpose of which is to deprive a poor people of “liberty,” their “unalienable right.” But the natural law by means of which this nation came into existence and being declares that “to secure this right,”—liberty,—“governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” But now, the government of the United States is being “instituted among men,”—the Filipinos,—not to “secure” to them, but to “deprive” them of their “rights.” If this is not the violation of a natural law of our own national being, then there never has been such a thing in the history of the world. PRUS 139.1

“Goethe compares life to a game at whist, where the cards are dealt out by destiny, and the rules of the game are fixed; subject to these conditions, the players are left to win or lose, according to their skill or want of skill. The life of a nation, like the life of a man, may be prolonged in honor into the fulness of its time, or it may perish prematurely, for want of guidance, by violence or internal disorders.

And thus the history of national revolutions is to statesmanship what the pathology of disease is to the art of medicine. The physician can not arrest the coming on of age. Where disease has laid bold upon the constitution, he can not expel it; but he may check the progress of the evil if he can recognize the symptoms in time. He can save life at the cost of an unsound limb. He can tell us how to preserve our health when we have it; he can warn us of the conditions under which particular disorders will have us at disadvantage.

And so with nations: amid the endless variety of circumstances there are constant phenomena which give notice of approaching danger; there are courses of action which have uniformly produced the same results; and the wise politicians are those who have learned from experience the real tendencies of things, unmisled by superficial differences, who can shun the rocks where others have been wrecked, or from foresight of what is coming can be cool when the peril is upon them.” 3 PRUS 140.1

In so many ways the times when Rome fell from her lofty estate as a republic and degenerated into a military empire are akin to our own. No historian has discerned this so clearly as Froude, and his delineation of that drama is powerful beyond description. He says:— PRUS 140.2

“With such vividness, with such transparent clearness, the age stands before us of Cato and Pompey, of Cicero and Julius Cæsar; the more distinctly because it was an age in so many ways the counterpart of our own, the blossoming period of the old civilization, when the intellect was trained to the highest point which it could reach; and on the great subjects of human interest, on morals and politics, on poetry and art, even on religion itself, and the speculative problems of life, men thought as we think, doubted where we doubt, argued as we argue, aspired and struggled after the same objects. It was an age of material progress and material civilization; an age of civil liberty and intellectual culture; an age of pamphlets and epigrams, of salons and dinner parties, of senatorial majorities and electoral corruption. The highest offices of state were open in theory to the meanest citizen; they were confined, in fact, to those who had the longest purses, or the most ready use of the tongue on popular platforms. Distinctions of birth had been exchanged for distinctions of wealth. The struggles between plebeians and patricians for equality of privilege were over, and a new division had been formed between the party of property and the party who desired a change in the structure of society. The free cultivators were disappearing from the soil. Italy was being absorbed into vast estates and held by a few favored families, and cultivated by slaves, while the old agricultural population was driven off the land, and was crowded into towns. The rich were extravagant, for life had ceased to have practical interests except for its material pleasures; the occupation of the higher classes was to obtain money without labor, and to spend it in idle enjoyment. Patriotism survived on the lips, but patriotism meant the ascendency of the party which would maintain the existing order of things, or would overthrow for a more equal distribution of the good things which alone were valued. Religion, once the foundation of the laws and rule of personal conduct, had subsided into opinion. The educated, in their hearts, disbelieved it. Temples were still built with increasing splendor; the established forms were scrupulously observed. Public men spoke conventionally of Providence, that they might throw on their opponents the odium of impiety; but of genuine belief that life had any serious meaning, there was none remaining beyond the circle of the silent, patient, ignorant multitude. The whole spiritual atmosphere was saturated with cant-cant moral, cant political, cant religious; an affectation of high principle which had ceased to touch the conduct, and flowed on in an increasing volume of insincere and unreal speech. The truest thinkers were those who, like Lucretius, spoke frankly out their real convictions, declared that Providence was a dream, and that man and the world he lived in were material phenomena generated by natural forces out of cosmic atoms, and into atoms to be again dissolved. PRUS 140.3

“Tendencies now in operation may a few generations hence land modern society in similar conclusions, unless other convictions revive meanwhile and get the mastery over them; of which possibility no more need be said than this, that unless there be such a revival, in some shape or other, the forces, whatever they be, which control the forms in which human things adjust themselves, will make an end again, as they made an end before, of what are called free institutions.

Popular forms of government are possible only when individual men can govern their own lives on moral principles, and when duty is of more importance than pleasure, and justice than material expediency.” 4 PRUS 142.1

Then it was that there came upon the Romans that extraordinary spirit of expansion, which led them to believe that theirs was a manifest destiny to rule the entire world; and in a few short years, from being a snug little country, locked in the arms of twin seas, Rome was transformed into an imperialism, set for the despoliation of every conquerable nation. On this point Froude has said:— 

Author: Adventist Angels Watchman Radio

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