“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.”
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:—
“Italy had fallen to them by natural and wholesome expansion; but from being sovereigns of Italy, they became a race of imperial conquerors. Suddenly and in comparatively a few years after the one power was gone which could resist them, they became the actual or virtual rulers of the entire circuit of the Mediterranean. The southeast of Spain, the coast of France from the Pyrenees to Nice, the north of Italy, Illyria and Greece, Sardinia, Sicily, and the Greek islands, the southern and western shores of Asia Minor, were Roman provinces, governed directly by Roman magistrates. On the African side, Mauritania (Morocco) was still free. Numidia (the modern Algeria) retained its native dynasty, but was a Roman dependency. The Carthaginian dominions, Tunis and Tripoli, had been annexed to the empire. The interior of Asia Minor up to the Euphrates, with Syria and Egypt, were under sovereigns, called allies, but like the native princes in India, subject to a Roman protectorate. Over this enormous territory, rich with the accumulated treasures of centuries, and inhabited by thriving, industrious races, the energetic Roman men of business had spread and settled themselves, gathering into their hands the trade, the financial administration, the entire commercial control of the Mediterranean basin. They had been trained in thrift and economy, in abhorrence of debt, in strictest habits of close and careful management. Their frugal education, their early lessons in the value of money, good and excellent as these lessons were, led them, as a matter of course, to turn to account their extraordinary opportunities. Governors with their staffs, permanent officials, contractors for the revenue, negotiators, bill-brokers, bankers, merchants, were scattered everywhere in thousands. Money poured in upon them in rolling streams of gold. The largest share of the spoils fell to the Senate and the senatorial families. The Senate was the permanent council of state, and was the real administrator of the empire. The Senate had the control of the treasury, conducted the public policy, appointed from its own ranks the governors of the provinces. It was patrician in sentiment, but not necessarily patrician in composition. The members of it had virtually been elected for life by the people, and were almost entirely those who had been quæstors, ædiles, prætors, or consuls; and these offices had been long open to the plebeians. It was an aristocracy, in theory a real one, but tending to become, as civilization went forward, an aristocracy of the rich. How the senatorial privileges affected the management of the provinces will be seen more and more particularly as we go on. It is enough at present to say that the nobles and great commoners of Rome rapidly found themselves in possession of revenues which their fathers could not have imagined in their dreams; and money, in the stage of progress at which Rome had arrived, was convertible into power.”
This is a good description of the territory of Rome’s expansion, and what she did with it, when once it fell into her possession. The next question that calls for solution is, How did Rome get started in her “expansion policy”? The answer is short, simple, and, with the sound of recently uttered phrases still ringing in our ears, perhaps familiar: the expansion of Rome, which also means the imperialism of Rome, began in a “war for humanity, in the cause of humanity, solely for humanity.” This is the story.
When the second Punic war came to an end, with such a disastrous issue for the Carthaginians, and such a favorable outcome for the Romans, the latter determined immediately to crush the power of Philip, king of Macedon. True, peace had been concluded with him two or three years before, “yet the grounds of a new quarrel were soon discovered.” He was accused of having attacked the Athenians and some of the other friends of Rome. At this time the southern part of Greece was divided into a number of small republics, all of which paid more or less tribute to Philip of Macedon. Rome was a republic, a great and a strong republic, and she considered it her duty to assist these poor, little, weak, struggling republics against the tyranny of the king of Macedonia. “The war was undertaken by the Romans chiefly, as was pretended, on their [the small republics of Greece] account.” It was “under pretext of an invitation from the Athenians to protect them from the king of Macedon that the ambitious republic secured a foothold in Greece.” To all appearances this was a piece of disinterestedness not common among nations; but it was only “to all appearances.” “The barbarous tribes on the north and west of Macedonia were also led, by the temptation of plunder, to join the confederacy; and their irruptions served to distract the councils and the forces of Philip.”
The parallel or analogy between that war “solely for humanity” and the one through which the United States has just passed, is quite complete. The little republics of Southern Greece stood related to Philip of Macedon much the same as Cuba, Porto Rico, and other places stood related to Spain at the time when this nation, “solely in the cause of humanity,” declared war in their behalf. And, moreover, it may not be out of the way to compare “the barbarous tribes on the north and west of Macedonia,” who were led to join the confederacy, and whose irruptions served to distract the councils and forces of Philip,-it may not be out of the way to compare-these to Aguinaldo and his “barbarous” hordes of Negritos, who, by a United States consul and a commodore of the United States navy, were led to “join the confederacy,” and whose “irruptions served to distract the councils and forces of Spain.”
At the battle of Cynocephale, in 197 b. c., Philip was signally defeated, his country was exposed to invasion, “and he was reduced to accept peace on such terms as the Romans thought proper to dictate.”
“These, as usual, tended to cripple the power of the vanquished party, and at the same time to increase the reputation of the Romans, by appearing more favorable to their allies than to themselves.
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“Philip was obliged to give up every Greek city that he possessed beyond the limits of Macedonia, both in Europe and in Asia; a stipulation which deprived him of Thessaly, Achaia, Phthiotis, Perrhæbia, and Magnesia, and particularly of the three important towns of Corinth, Chalcis, and Demetrias, which he used to call the fetters of Greece.” In other words, Philip of Macedon lost all his outlying dependencies; and this is just about what happened to Spain at the treaty of Paris. Both alike were stripped of by far the greater part of their territory outside of the home land.
“All these states were declared free and independent, except that the Romans (pretending that Antiochus, king of Syria, threatened the safety of Greece) retained, for the present, the strong places of Chalcis and Demetrias in their own hands.”
The war had been waged by Rome at an infinite cost of blood and treasure to herself. Freely she had sacrificed the blood of her sons, and caused the tears of her daughters to be shed, in this war, “solely for humanity.” She had marshaled her armies, and mobilized her fleets, put the former in the field, and the latter in the sea, solely and only for the purpose of bringing liberty to these small and distressed dependencies, the little sister republics, who were struggling for their freedom. She asked no money nor land for all this; her cup of joy was full to the overflowing, because she had done such a great act of disinterested kindness “in the cause of humanity.” In a striking proclamation she published to the world the liberty of these people, won by her valor at arms, and freely given to them:—
“The senate and people of Rome, and Titus Quintius the general, having conquered Philip and the Macedonians, do set at liberty from all garrisons, imposts, and taxes, the Corinthians, the Locrians, the Phocians, the Phthiot-Achaians, the Messenians, the Thessalians, and the Perrhebians, declare them free! and ordain that they shall be governed by their respective customs and usages.
“Then followed the memorable scene at the Isthmian games, when it was announced to all the multitude assembled on that occasion, that the Romans bestowed entire freedom upon all those states of Greece which had been subject to the kings of Macedonia. The Greeks, unable to read the future, and having as yet had no experience of the ambition of Rome, received this act with the warmest gratitude; and seemed to acknowledge the Romans in the character they assumed, of protectors and deliverers of Greece.”
The expansion fever which laid such firm hold upon the people of the Roman republic has come upon the people of the republic of the United States. In both cases the game of the despoliation of nations and peoples has opened with a war “solely in the cause of humanity.” In the former instance, the Romans did declare the people of the small Greek republics free and independent. The United States has not yet even done this much. The republics of Greece never became free. The “war for humanity” never gave them their liberty. They soon found, and that to their bitter disappointment, that they had only exchanged masters, and that the little finger of Rome was thicker than the loins of Philip of Macedon, and that if the king had chastised them with whips, the republic chastised them with scorpions. They soon found to their intense sorrow that in the “war for humanity” there had been a transfer made, and that they had been the subject of barter. It did not take them long to discover that they had only acquired a slavery more abject and complete than that which they had endured under their previous ruler. It was as much more complete as Rome was more powerful than Macedon. PRUS 155.1
Rome never withdrew her foot from the Greek states, and it is even now doubtful whether the United States will ever withdraw from Cuba. Recent public utterances indicate that a great change of sentiment is sweeping over the country on this point. At the meeting of the members of the Associated Press, held in Chicago, May 18, 1899, in the star speech of the evening, St. Claire McKelway, editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, said:— PRUS 155.2
“There is no newspaper which believes that we are in Porto Rico ever to get out. We are there to stay. There is none which believes that we are in Cuba to get out-soon. I think we will stay there about as long as Great Britain will stay in Egypt, and that Great Britain will stay in Egypt about as long as the Anglo-Saxon race has a habit of staying where it settles down. I am willing to differ from my brethren on this subject, but as my estimate has been only comparative, perhaps there is less room for difference than might superficially appear. The duration of our stay in the Philippines is prodigiously debated. While the debate goes on, we stay. If the debate coincides with our stay, I think it will be a protracted debate.” PRUS 155.3
Indeed, as time goes on, the prospects of this country’s withdrawing from Cuba seem to be more and more remote. A silent revolution has been taking place, a revolution more fatal to the United States than any that ever went on in Cuba could possibly have been to the Spanish throne and power. PRUS 156.1
The things which have come to pass, and which are written out in this book, both those concerning Rome and the United States, have also been written long before in the prophecies of the Book of books, on the sacred leaves of the Holy Scriptures. This is not a chimera, but a fact, a reasonable fact, and one of deepest interest to all the citizens of the United States. It is fashionable nowadays to scoff at the idea that the Bible gives any instructions concerning the affairs of nations; but nevertheless a very large portion of the Word of God is simply a history of the nations, and a record of God’s dealings with them. Nothing can be more true or evident than that God keeps an account, not only with every individual, but also with every family, every city, and every State.
In the case of these cities the limit of God’s forbearance had been reached, the hour of their probation had closed. It was useless to give their inhabitants a further opportunity for salvation; they had sinned away their day of grace, and were given over to wickedness. PRUS 158.1
The same God who watched over the nation of the Amorites, and destroyed them when their cup of iniquity was full; the same God who kept record of the gay pleasures and grievous sins of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and who consumed them in the fearful flames when they had passed the unseen line,-that same One also kept watch over the republic of Rome, and is keeping watch over the republic of the United States. In the wonderful prophecies traced with the pencil of the Holy Ghost, the history of these last two is written, and was written long before either came into existence. It was written “to the intent that the living might know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” PRUS 158.2
There are many who believe that the churches and churchmen should have nothing to do with politics. None hold this view more stanchly than I do. Nevertheless, it is as true to-day as it was in centuries past and gone that prophets and priests are sent by the Lord to warn kings and nations concerning the retribution which will be visited upon them by the King of kings and Lord of lords, if they depart from the path which a divine hand has mapped out for their feet. In this sense, and in this sense only, do I believe that the voice of the ambassadors of Jesus Christ should be heard in the courts and congresses of human powers, of earthly governments. And it is because I firmly believe that if the United States persists in the course she has entered upon, her ruin and the ruin of the world can be the only result, that I have penned these lines. Prophets were sent to heathen kings, as well as to the monarchs who sat on Israel’s throne. They were sent because God loved the people, and did all that infinite love and mercy could do to save them from a general doom. If the nation as a whole heeded not, as was often the case, there were individuals who listened to the voice of the ambassadors of the Lord, and were kept from the dire troubles which God sent upon the rebellious state. My life has been devoted to the affairs of religion and spirituality. I have never been a member in any sense of any political party, and have never in my life cast a vote in city, State, or national elections. In saying this I would in no sense judge my brethren who have considered it their duty to do this; suffice it to say that it has been my conviction that as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, and as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, I would serve humanity the best by holding entirely aloof from the political strifes which divide men into factions and parties, and devoting my strength to the sweetest of all ministries, that of reconciliation between Christ and sinners. It is only in instances like the present, when the things which are done are the things which are warned against in the Word of God, that I feel free to lift my voice and pen, trusting and praying that the spirit in which I write may rest upon and enter into those who read. With me the events which are now transpiring are not the working out of mere political theories, but of great prophetical principles. It is for this reason that I write. It is because I wish my position upon this matter of Christians in politics to be clearly understood that I have taken time and space for this digression. PRUS 158.3
In the Bible, by the pen of the prophet Daniel and of the revelator John, we have in advance of its enactment the history of Rome and the United States, the two great republics of the West. Daniel spake, and said:— PRUS 159.1
“I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it.” 18 PRUS 159.2
Such is a part of the vision. Daniel was grieved and troubled, and he asked one of “them that stood by,” “the truth of all this.” He was told that the great beasts are “four kings which shall arise out of the earth.” Not content with this answer he said: “I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet…. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and tread it down, and brake it in pieces.” 19 PRUS 160.1
Now these four kingdoms are named outright in other places in the Bible. They were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome. Rome was the fourth, and was diverse from all before it, in that it was a republic. Now it was while it was a republic that Rome “devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.” Moreover, in Daniel 8:24, 25 it is written of this same power: “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”
Just what was this crafty, peaceful, destroying policy, and how his power became mighty, but not by his own power, has already been set forth clearly from the history in this chapter. By the history I have shown that Rome, being a republic, a government of the people, made high pretensions to liberty and to the love of liberty, only for the sake of liberty; that for this reason Rome pretended to love and desire liberty for other people; that the little states of Greece were struggling against monarchies, that they might themselves be free and be republics. Solely from love of liberty for the sake only of liberty, and for the sake of humanity, Rome sent her armies and navies across seas to fight the battles, and win the causes of those other peoples, only to set them free from oppressive powers, to enjoy the blessings of liberty of which Rome was the conservator in the world. And then when the battles were fought, the victories won, and the peoples delivered, those peoples were not free. They were more bound, and more hopeless than ever before, because of Rome’s greater power than that of the former oppressors. And to-day no man can intelligently read that history of the republic of Rome before any audience in the United States without that audience seeing the republic of the United States perfectly outlined up to date.
Now a point particularly to be considered is that this history of the republic of Rome was sketched in the book of Daniel three hundred and forty years before it occurred; and then that sketch was closed up and sealed, not for three hundred and forty years, not till 198 b. c. and onward; but for twenty-four hundred years, till “the time of the end.”
Why was that sketch of the Roman republic written, and then closed up and sealed until a time two thousand years after that republic had failed as a republic and become imperial?—It was because at this time, “the time of the end,” there would be another republic that would go over the same course as did that republic,-would apostatize from republicanism into imperialism.
Moreover it was a state composed of this apostasy of a republic into imperialism,-it was such a state with which the apostate church of early days, the man of sin, of the Bible, united, and this union made the papacy, “the first beast” of the Bible, as mentioned in Revelation 13.
In the same thirteenth chapter of Revelation it is written: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Here is depicted the rise of the United States, coming up peacefully out of the earth, instead of forming amidst long years of tumults and fightings, as was the case with all the other powers. It is represented as having two horns like a lamb. A horn in prophecy signifies power, and the two great principles which have given power to the United States and made her what she is to-day are Protestantism and Republicanism. But Protestantism and Republicanism are both in their spirit pacific; that is, they are lamblike, hence the words, “had two horns like a lamb.” It is obvious from this that should these two horns of power be plucked up, as it were, should they be abandoned, and Roman Catholic principles in things religious, and monarchical ideas in things civil, take possession of this government; then, at once, everything that is lenient and lamblike in the government would at that very moment disappear, and nothing but despotism be in their place. In other words, it is the prevalence of these two principles, Protestantism and Republicanism, which alone makes the government lamblike in its nature.
Now the nature of Protestantism is well set forth by D‘Aubigne, the historian of the Reformation. Speaking of the diet of Spires, where the famous Protest of the Princes was drawn up, and from which we get the name of Protestant, and the word Protestantism, he says:—
“The principles contained in this celebrated protest of the 19th of April, 1592, constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this protest opposed two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and the second the arbitrary authority of the church. Instead of these abuses, Protestantism sets the power of conscience above the magistrate, and the authority of the Word of God above the visible church.”
This is the essence of Protestantism in very truth. There may be sects many and varied; but this is the underlying, fundamental, basic principle. True Protestantism opposes the “intrusion of the civil magistrate” in things pertaining to the church.
On this point George Bancroft, the great historian of the United States Constitution, has also said of the new nation:— PRUS 162.4
“Vindicating the right of individuality in religion, and in religion above all, the new nation dared to set the example of accepting in its relation to God the principle first divinely ordained of God in Judea. It left the management of temporal things to the temporal power; but the American Constitution, in harmony with the people of the several States, withheld from the federal government the power to invade the home of reason, the citadel of conscience, the sanctuary of the soul; and not from indifference, but that the infinite Spirit of eternal truth might move in its freedom and purity and power.” PRUS 163.1
And the very first amendment to the national Constitution reads:— PRUS 163.2
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” PRUS 163.3
Thus was the horn of power, the principle of Protestantism, established as a fundamental doctrine of the United States. PRUS 163.4
With equal truth it may be said that the “essence” of republicanism is, that “all men are created equal,” and that “governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” PRUS 163.5
The principles of Protestantism are the true principles of Christianity,-the Christianity of the Bible. The principles of Republicanism are also the principles of God and the Bible in things civil.
But it is said concerning the beast which symbolizes the United States in the Bible that “he had two horns like a lamb, and spake as a dragon.” Here are two things happening together, at the same time, and totally incompatible with one another,-that which is lamblike speaking as a dragon. Now a thing that is lamblike can not possibly speak as a dragon, and still retain its lamblike disposition. It therefore follows that the Scriptures have portrayed that the United States will in name retain its lamblike principles of Protestantism and Republicanism, but in nature and in practise it will deny them. This is national hypocrisy; yea, it is national apostasy. There may never in these United States exist, openly, avowedly, and in name, a union of church and state, which constitutes in itself the abandonment of Protestantism; but the thing itself will be, and even now is, here. We may never have an emperor with a crown upon his brow; but Rome was imperial, and an empire for long years, while still retaining the image and name of a republic.
Now the “first beast” was Rome, once a republic, but apostatized into an imperial monarchy, degenerated into a military despotism; united with a church once Protestant in principle, but apostatized into the papacy. The union of these two was, I say, the “first beast.”
Now when in the prophecy the image of the beast is to be made, it is said “to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.” This shows that it is a government of the people where the image is made. And it is said to them that they shall make a union of church and state. This shows that this is all done in a place where there is no union of church and state. That is true of the United States at its formation, and it is not true of any other nation that was ever on earth.
These things show that the nation is first a republic, and that this nation is the one where these things are at last done. But these things can not be done in a true republic, for they are positively antagonistic to it in principle. For these things to be done in a country professing to be a republic, there must be an apostasy from the principles of a true republic. PRUS 164.3
Already there has been an apostasy from the principles of Protestantism, from the principle of a separation of church and state. The Congress of the United States, the executive, and the judiciary of the United States are already committed to the papal principles as opposed to Protestantism. This has already been done, by congressional legislation, executive action, and judicial decision. All three arms of the federal government have already interfered in behalf of a religious institution,-in behalf of Sunday and Sunday laws. Already here in the home of freedom men have been arrested and thrown into prison, and even committed to the chain-gang, in company with loathsome criminals, simply because they could not conscientiously observe the first day of the week. Into the history of this apostasy from Protestant principle I can not go. It is fully written out in other works. 22 PRUS 164.4
A true republic can never unite with papal principles; but now the Republic is apostatizing from republicanism and uniting with apostate Protestant principles, and this is in itself an “image to the beast.”
Already this nation has commenced to war against men who plead for republican principles in their island home; and according to the prophecy it is yet to go the furthest step in this awful path, and kill men for desiring Protestant principles in these United States. For it is written of the United States:—
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
The union of church and state in Rome hastened and actually wrought the ruin of that apostate republic. So even now will this union hasten and cause the ruin of this so far apostate republic. And the sketch of the history of the former was written in the book of the prophet Daniel then, and closed up and sealed until now, so that they that be wise may understand what to do to escape the evil and the ruin that will come, and even now hastens,-a ruin that will come to this modern great Republic as surely as came the ruin of that ancient great Republic.
This national apostasy is proceeding daily before the eyes of all the people; and as national apostasy progresses, national ruin hastens. And with this national ruin comes the ruin of the world, and of every nation in the world.