The Signs of the Times, vol. 29
March 9, 1904
“History of Government. Departure from True Principle” The Signs of the Times 30, 10, pp. 4, 5.
DEPARTURE FROM TRUE PRINCIPLE.
WHEN Rome had perished, every form of government had been tried but one—the Papacy; for the Roman Government was diverse from all that were before it. Daniel 7:19, 23. When the middle ages were past, every form, even that one, had been tried; for the papal government was diverse from all. Daniel 7:24. And that one not only failed, as had all before it, but proved itself a greater curse than had all before it. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.1
Except in Britain alone, the new nations that planted themselves upon the ruin of the Roman Empire, being burdened with the incubus of the Papacy, never had fair chance to develop government upon the basis of their own native, free principles; but were borne down, perverted, and corrupted by the influence and power of the Papacy. The feudal system, the worst form of things ever established in civil affairs, was nothing else than the system of the Papal Church, adapted and applied apart from the actual machinery of the church. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.2
In Britain every Roman influence was swept away before the Anglo-Saxon, who made Britain England. A hundred and fifty years after the Anglo-Saxons entered Britain, the Catholic Church was also planted there by the invasion of Augustine and his accompanying monks; but the papal system never gained a foothold in England, and was never recognized there except for the little moment when King John surrendered himself and the kingdom to the pope as supreme. And even this act of recognition of the papal system complete in England, only the more swiftly and the more certainly excluded it forever. For that surrender by John of England to the Papacy immediately drew forth Magna Charta and its long train of resultant free institutions, of which the Constitution of the United States was not by any means the least important development. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.3
“A New Order of Things.”
Through all these changes of all of these nations after the fall of Rome, kingdoms were invariably the form of government, and kingdoms expanded into empire, tho every kingdom or empire was in subjection to the Papacy. But when the American nation arose, kings and all principles of kingship were utterly repudiated; the freedom, the right, and the capability of the people to govern themselves was again asserted. And when government of the people was formally established in the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, it was in repudiation not only of kings and all principles of kingship, but also of popes and all principles of Papacy. The State was established as a government of self-government people; a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It was such a government separated and held by the Constitution entirely apart from the church, or from any connection with the church, or any recognition of the church, or even of religion in the abstract. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.4
The churches were left perfectly free to go their own way; to organize and govern themselves, and conduct their own affairs as they might choose. The State held to itself the principle of utter separation from any Church or religion, and upon that principle would conduct all the affairs of the State. These two bodies, the Church and the State, abiding by natural and essential principle in totally distinct realms, occupied each its distinctive realm. And so in this new and final nation, the system of the church was a church without a pope, and the system of State was the State without a king; the Church and the State each absolutely independent of the other, and each entirely separated from the other. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.5
This was indeed “a new order of things,” 1 and it was equally the correct and the divine order of things. And those who established it thus did so entirely out of respect to the divine order of things, as to the government of the church on earth. they did it out of respect entirely to the principles of “the Holy Author of our religion,” and “upon the principles upon which the Gospel was first propagated, and the reformation from popery carried on.” And so they established this new nation upon right principles for the State, that it should be a light and a guide to all the nations in the way of individual liberty and of free and happy government; and also upon the right principles for the Church leaving her free in her own realm to be joined only to her own true Lord, to Him alone as her true head and guide, that she should be indeed the light of the world. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.6
Thus, at last, was attained the form of perfect earthly government. And all that was needed in order that this nation should forever lead the world was that the people composing the nation should hold themselves in practise, in strict allegiance to the principles upon which the nation was founded. And while this was done, this nation was distinctly the leading nation of the world; that is, the nation was truly leading the world toward right principles, away fom the corrupt and the corrupting influence of the Papacy. But in the latest years these principles have not been adhered to either by the Church or by the State in this nation. The churches, combining their strength and influence, have sought to unite themselves to the State; and in direct violation of the fundamental principles of the Reformation and of Christianity, it has sought “by force to enter into the office of another,” to transfer worldly government, and “to prescribe laws to the magistrate touching the form of the State.” SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.7
On the other hand, the people of the State have not been loyal to the principles of the State in the United States. The fundamental principle of State in this government is government of the people—self-government: the government deriving its just powers form the consent of the governed. The people have not continued to govern themselves; and the government has repudiated government by the consent of the governed, and has espoused government by the consent of “some of the governed,” which, in principle, is merely government of the few, and in logic and in practise, presently, government by one, or a one-man power. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.8
And with fundamental principles and original practise of this nation abandoned on the part of both the Church and the State, it is literally impossible that there can be any other result than that there shall be here repeated the history of that other degenerate government of the people which developed the one-man power in the Roman State; and that other apostate church which developed the one-man power in the church, dominating the world. And to-day this nation has gone so far in this direction, and the inevitable course further is so clearly defined, that all that any one needs to do to understand the subject even in detail, is merely to be acquainted with the history as it actually occurred in that degenerate Roman Government of the people, and of that apostate church, which drew life and supremacy from the destruction and ruin of that degenerate government of the people. SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.9
To-day, in the United States, the people are not a self-governing people. They do not govern themselves either in private or public life. Intemperance, absence of self-government in individual life, possesses and absolutely controls the individual life of the vast majority of the people of the United States, and is constantly increasing at a fearful rate. In the business or commercial life of the people of the United States the people do not govern themselves. They are absolutely governed either by the trusts or by the unions, or by both. In the field of labor and employment, the people of the United States of all people, do not govern themselves. Almost wholly, they are governed as to their employment, their wages, and almost in their very buying and selling, by the trades-union. In political life the people of the United States do not govern themselves, and the government is not of the people. The people are governed by “the party” and “the machine,” and these, in turn, are controlled by the political “bosses.” SITI March 9, 1904, page 4.10
History Repeats Itself.
Here is the same old desperate struggle between capital and labor; here also is the same old longing and grasping for governmental support, which, under whatever pretense it may be urged, is merely socialism. And, indeed, here it is advocated as socialism direct and by name. And just as the advocacy of governmental support means only socialism, so also the advocacy or socialism means only anarchy. In some instances here it is advocated under the would-be-saving title of “Christian socialism.” And in the advocacy of it in all its phases, the words of Christ are readily grasped and enthusiastically rung in as an expression of the principles of socialism. SITI March 9, 1904, page 165.1
There are, however, a number of serious considerations which absolutely preclude this socialism from ever being in any sense Christianity. One is that the words and principles of Christ are absolutely meaningless in the mouths, the plans, or the devices, of those who do not believe at all in Jesus; and even tho there be some believers in Jesus who are mistakenly advocating socialism, yet, the overwhelming mass of those who advocate socialism are those who have no regard for the truth, or the faith, or the principles of Christ. And this fact alone absolutely vitiates all possibility of any virtue ever accruing to socialism from the words or principles of Jesus, tho they be quoted and advocated in every speech and on every page. The defect is not in the words or the principles of Jesus; the defect is in the people who quote these words and principles and urge them for a wrong purpose. SITI March 9, 1904, page 165.2
It is the same old story of Sinai: there God gave His own divine truths in words spoken direct from heaven. The people adopted them and declared that, “All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be obedient.” But the people adopted them in the wrong way, and for wrong purposes: “Wherefore, finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, which My covenant they break.” Hebrews 8:8, 9; Jeremiah 31:31, 32. The fault was not on the part of the Lord, nor was it in the words or the principles announced in the covenant on His part; the fault was in the people. They went about it to do some great thing themselves and make a great change and reform in the world. They failed, as all others must fail, who attempt to use the divine principles without supreme guidance and control of the divine Spirit through the divine and abiding faith of Christ Jesus, the Saviour and Sanctifier of the soul. They failed, as all others must fail, who attempt to use the divine principles for worldly or selfish purposes, for any other than divine purposes, according to the divine will, under the supreme guidance and control of the divine spirit. SITI March 9, 1904, page 165.3
(To be continued.)