The United States in the Light of Prophecy

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CHAPTER 11. THE BEGINNING OF THE END

WE have now found what, according to the prophecy, is to constitute the image which the two-horned beast is to cause to be made, and the mark which it will attempt to enforce. The movement which is to fulfill this portion of the prophecy, is to be looked for in the popular churches of our land. First, a union must be effected between these churches, with some degree of coalition also between these bodies and the beast power, or Roman Catholicism; and, secondly, steps must be taken to bring the law of the land to the support of the Sunday Sabbath. These movements the prophecy calls for. And the line of argument leading to these conclusions is so direct and well-defined that, there is no avoiding them. They are a clear and logical sequence from the premises given us. USLP 133.1

When first the application of Revelation 13:11-17 to the United States was made, over twenty years ago, these positions respecting a union of the churches and a grand Sunday movement were taken. But at that time, no sign appeared above or beneath, at home or abroad, no token was seen, no indication existed, that such an issue would ever be made. But there was the prophecy, and that must stand. The United States government had given abundant evidence, by its location, the time of its rise, the manner of its rise, and its apparent character, that it was the power symbolized by the two-horned beast. There could be no mistake in the conclusion that it was the very nation intended by that symbol. This being so, it must take the course, and perform the acts, foretold. But here were predictions which could be fulfilled by nothing less than the movement above named respecting Church and State, and the enforcement of the papal Sabbath as the mark of the beast. USLP 133.2

To take the position at that time that this government was to pursue such a policy and engage in such a work, without any apparent probability in its favor, was no small act of faith. On the other hand, to deny or ignore it, while admitting the application of the symbol to this government, would be in accordance with neither Scripture nor logic. The only course for the humble, confiding student of prophecy to pursue in such cases, is to take the light as it is given, and believe the prophecy in all its parts. So the stand was boldly taken; and open proclamation has been made from that day to this, that such a work would be seen in these United States. With every review of the argument, new features of strength have been discovered in the application; and amid a storm of scornful incredulity, we have watched the progress of events, and waited the hour of fulfillment. USLP 134.1

Meanwhile, spiritualism has astonished the world with its terrible progress, and shown itself to be the wonder-working element which was to exist in connection with this power. This has mightily strengthened the force of the application. And now, within a few years past, what have we further seen? No less than the commencement of that very movement respecting the formation of the image and the enactment of Sunday laws, which we have so long expected, and which is to complete the prophecy, and close the scene. USLP 135.1

Reference was made in chapter nine to the movement now on foot for a grand union of all the churches; not a union which arises from the putting away of error and uniting upon the harmonious principles of truth, but simply a combination of sects, each retaining its own particular creed, but confederated for the purpose of carrying out more extensively the common points of our faith. This movement finds a strong under-current of favor in all the churches. And men are engaged to carry it through who are not easily turned from their purpose. USLP 135.2

And there has suddenly arisen a class of men whose souls are absorbed with the cognate idea of Sunday reform, and who have dedicated every energy of their being to the carrying forward of this kindred movement. The “New York Sabbath Committee” have labored zealously by means of books, tracts, speeches, and sermons, to create a strong public sentiment in behalf of Sunday. Making slow progress through moral suasion, they seek a shorter path to the accomplishment of their purposes through political power. And why not? Christianity has become popular, and her professed adherents are numerous. Why not avail themselves of the power of the ballot to secure their ends? Rev. J. S. Smart (Methodist), in a published sermon on the “Political Duties of Christian Men and Ministers,” expresses a largely-prevailing sentiment on this question, when he says:- USLP 135.3

“I claim that we have, and ought to have, just as much concern in the government of this country as any other men.... We are the mass of the people. Virtue in this country is not weak; her ranks are strong in numbers, and invincible from the righteousness of her cause - invincible if united. Let not her ranks be broken by party names.” USLP 136.1

A “National Association” has been in existence for a number of years, which has for its object the securing of such amendments to the National Constitution as shall express the religious views of the majority of the people, and make it an instrument under which the keeping of Sunday can be enforced as the Christian Sabbath. This Association already embraces within its organization a long array of eminent and honorable names: Governors of our States, Presidents of our colleges, Bishops, Doctors of Divinity, Doctors of Law, and men who occupy high positions in all the walks of life. USLP 136.2

In the Address issued by the officers of this Association, they say:- USLP 137.1

“Men of high standing, in every walk of life, of every section of the country, and of every shade of political sentiment and religious belief, have concurred in the measure.” USLP 137.2

In their appeal, they most earnestly request every lover of his country to join in forming auxiliary associations, circulate documents, attend conventions, sign the memorial to Congress, etc., etc. USLP 137.3

In their plea for an amended Constitution, they ask the people to USLP 137.4

“Consider that God is not once named in our National Constitution. There is nothing in it which requires an ‘oath of God,’ as the Bible styles it (which, after all, is the great bond both of loyalty in the citizen and of fidelity in the magistrate); nothing which requires the observance of the day of rest and of worship, or which respects its sanctity. If we do not have the mails carried and the post-offices open on Sunday, it is because we have a Postmaster-General who respects the day. If our Supreme Courts are not held, and if Congress does not sit on that day, it is custom, and not law, that makes it so. Nothing in the Constitution gives Sunday quiet to the custom house, the navy yard, the barracks, or any of the departments of government. USLP 137.5

“Consider that they fairly express the mind of the great body of the American people. This is a Christian people. These amendments agree with the faith, the feelings, and the forms of every Christian church or sect. The Catholic and the Protestant, the Unitarian and the Trinitarian, profess and approve all that is here proposed. Why should their wishes not become law? Why should not the Constitution be made to suit and to represent a constituency so overwhelmingly in the majority? .... USLP 138.1

“This great majority is becoming daily more conscious not only of their rights, but of their power. Their number grows, and their column becomes more solid. They have quietly, steadily opposed infidelity, until it has, at least, become politically unpopular. They have asserted the rights of man and the rights of the government, until the nation’s faith has become measurably fixed and declared on these points. And now that the close of the war gives us occasion to amend our Constitution, that it may clearly and fully represent the mind of the people on these points, they feel that it should also be so amended as to recognize the rights of God in man and in government. Is it anything but due to their long patience that they be at length allowed to speak out the great facts and principles which give to all government its dignity, stability, and beneficence?” USLP 138.2

Thus for several years a movement has been on foot, daily growing in extent, and importance, and power, to fulfill that portion of the prophecy of Revelation 13:11-17, which first calls forth the dissent of the objector, and which appears from every point of view the most improbable of all the specifications; namely, the erection of the image and the enforcing of the mark. Beyond this, nothing remains but the sharp conflict of the people of God with this earthly power, and the eternal triumph of the overcomer. USLP 138.3

An Association, even now national in its character, as already noticed, and endeavoring, as is appropriate for those who have such objects in view, to secure their purposes under the sanction of the highest authority of the land, the National Constitution, already has this matter in hand. In the interest of this Association there is published, in Philadelphia, a semi-monthly paper called the Christian Statesman, in advocacy of this movement. Every issue of that paper goes forth filled with arguments and appeals from some of the ablest pens in our land, in favor of the desired Constitutional amendment. These are the very methods, by which, in a country like ours, great revolutions are brought about; and no movement has ever arisen so suddenly as this to so high a position in public esteem with certain classes, and taken so strong a hold upon their hearts. USLP 139.1

Says Mr. G. A. Townsend (New World and Old, p. 212):- USLP 139.2

“Church and State has several times crept into American politics, as in the contentions over the Bible in the public schools, the Anti-Catholic party of 1844, etc. Our people have been wise enough heretofore to respect the clergy in all religious questions, and to entertain a wholesome jealousy of them in politics. The latest politico-theological movement [italics ours] is to insert the name of the Deity in the Constitution.” USLP 139.3

The present movements of this National Association and the progress it has made may be gathered somewhat from the report of the proceedings of the Convention held in Cincinnati, Jan. 31, 1872. USLP 139.4

From the Report of the Executive Committee it appeared that ten thousand copies of the proceedings of the Philadelphia Convention have been gratuitously distributed; that a General Secretary (Rev. D. McAllister) has been appointed, with a salary of $2,500; and that a long and elaborate paper by Prof. Taylor Lewis, of Union College, in advocacy of the ideas and objects of the Association, will soon be published; that the number of the Executive Committee is recommended to be increased to twenty-five, besides including all presidents of auxiliary associations; that $2,177 have been raised the past year by the Association, and that a balance of over $90 remains in the treasury. Nearly $1,800 were raised at this Convention. USLP 140.1

The Business Committee recommended that the delegates to this Convention hold meetings in their respective localities to ratify the resolutions adopted at Cincinnati; that twenty thousand copies of the proceedings of this Convention be published in tract form; and that the friends of the Association be urged to form auxiliary associations. All these recommendations were adopted. USLP 140.2

The resolutions passed were as follows:- USLP 140.3

Resolved, That the State as a power claiming and exercising supreme jurisdiction over millions of human beings, as the solemn arbiter of life and death, and as an educating power, has necessarily a moral character and accountability of its own. USLP 141.1

Resolved, That it is the right and duty of the United States, as a nation settled by Christians, a nation with Christian laws and usages, and with Christianity as its greatest social force, to acknowledge itself in its written Constitution, to be a Christian nation. USLP 141.2

Resolved, That, as the disregard of sound theory always leads to mischievous practical results, so in this case the failure of our nation to acknowledge, in its organic laws, its relation to God and his moral laws, as a Christian nation, has fostered the theory that government has nothing to do with religion but to let it alone, and that consequently State laws in favor of the Sabbath, Christian marriage, and the use of the Bible in schools, are unconstitutional. USLP 141.3

Resolved, That we recognize the necessity of complete harmony between our written constitution and the actual facts of our national life; and we maintain that the true way to effect this undoubted harmony is not to expel the Bible and all idea of God and religion from our schools, abrogate laws enforcing Christian morality, and abolish all devout observances in connection with government, but to insert an explicit acknowledgment of God and the Bible in our fundamental law. USLP 141.4

Resolved, That the proposed religious amendment, so far from tending to a union of Church and State, is directly opposed to such union, inasmuch as it recognizes the nation’s own relations to God, and insists that the nation should acknowledge these relations for itself, and not through the medium of any church establishment.” USLP 141.5

Mr. F. E. Abbott, editor of the Index, Toledo, O., who was present at the foregoing Convention, and presented a protest against its aims and efforts, says of those who stand at the head of the movement:- USLP 141.6

“We found them to be so thoroughly sincere and earnest in their purpose that they did not fear the effect of a decided but temperate protest. This fact speaks volumes in their praise, as men of character and convictions. We saw no indication of the artful management which characterizes most conventions. The leading men - Rev. D. McAllister, Rev. A. M. Milligan, Prof. Sloane, Prof. Stoddard, Prof. Wright, Rev. T. P. Stephenson - impressed us as able, clear-headed, and thoroughly honest men; and we could not but conceive a great respect for their motives and their intentions. It is such qualities as these in the leaders of the movement that give it its most formidable character. They have definite and consistent ideas; they perceive the logical connection of these ideas, and advocate them in a very cogent and powerful manner; and they propose to push them with determination and zeal. Concede their premises, and it is impossible to deny their conclusions; and since these premises are axiomatic truths with the great majority of Protestant Christians, the effect of the vigorous campaign on which they are entering cannot be small or despicable. The very respect with which we were compelled to regard them only increases our sense of the evils which lie germinant in their doctrines; and we came home with the conviction that religious liberty in America must do battle for its very existence hereafter. The movement in which these men are engaged has too many elements of strength to be contemned by any far-seeing liberal. Blindness or sluggishness to-day means slavery to-morrow. Radicalism must pass now from thought to action, or it will deserve the oppression that lies in wait to overwhelm it.” USLP 142.1

As to the probability of the success of this movement, there is at present some difference of opinion. While a very few pass it by with a slur as a mere temporary sensation of little or no consequence, it is generally regarded as a work of growing strength and importance, both by its advocates and opposers. Petitions and remonstrances are both being circulated with activity, and shrewd observers, who have watched the movement with a jealous eye, and heretofore hoped it would amount to nothing, now confess that it “means business.” No movement of equal magnitude of purpose has ever sprung up and become strong, and secured favor so rapidly as this. Indeed, none of equal magnitude has ever been sprung upon the American mind, as this aims to remodel the whole framework of our government, and give to it a strong religious cast - a thing which the framers of our Constitution were careful to exclude from it. They not only ask that the Bible, and God, and Christ, shall be recognized in the Constitution, but that it shall indicate this as “a Christian nation, and place all Christian laws, institutions, and usages, in our government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the nation.” USLP 143.1

Of course, appropriate legislation will be required to carry such amendments into effect, and somebody will have to decide what are “Christian laws and institutions.” From what we know of such movements in the past in other countries, and of the temper of the churches of this, and of human nature when it has power suddenly conferred upon it, we look for no good from this movement. From a lengthy article in the Lansing State Republican in reference to the Cincinnati Convention, we take the following extract:- USLP 143.2

“Now there are hundreds and thousands of moral and professedly Christian people in this nation to-day who do not recognize the doctrine of the Trinity, do not recognize Jesus Christ the same as God. And there are hundreds and thousands of men and women who do not recognize the Bible as the revelation of God. The attempt to make any such amendment to the Constitution would be regarded by a large minority, perhaps a majority, of our nation as a palpable violation of liberty of conscience. Thousands of men, if called upon to vote for such an amendment, would hesitate to vote against God, although they may not believe that the amendment was necessary or that it is right; and such men would either vote affirmatively or not at all. In every case, such an amendment would be likely to receive an affirmative vote, which would by no means indicate the true sentiment of the people. And the same rule would hold good in relation to the adoption of such an amendment by Congress or by the Legislatures of three-quarters of the States. Men who make politics a trade would hesitate to record their names against the proposed Constitutional Amendment, advocated by the leaders of the great religious denominations of the land, and indorsed by such men as Bishop Simpson, Bishop McIlvaine, Bishop Eastburn, President Finney, Prof. Lewis, Prof. Seelye, Bishop Huntington, Bishop Kerfoot, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Cuyler, and many other divines who are the representative men of their respective denominations.” USLP 144.1

Not only the representative men of the churches are pledged to this movement, but governors, judges, and many of the most eminent men of the land are working for it. Who doubts the power of the “representative men of the denominations” to rally the strength of their denominations to sustain this work at their call? We utter no prophecy of the future; it is not needed. Events transpire in these days faster than our minds are prepared to grasp them. Let us heed the admonition to “watch!” and, with reliance upon God, prepare for “those things which are coming on the earth.” USLP 145.1

But it may be asked how the Sunday question is to be affected by the proposed Constitutional Amendment. Answer: The object, or, to say the least, one object of this amendment is to put the Sunday institution on a legal basis, and compel its observance by the arm of the law. At the National Convention held in Philadelphia, Jan. 18 and 19, 1871, the following resolution was among the first offered by the Business Committee:- USLP 145.2

Resolved, That, in view of the controlling power of the Constitution in shaping State, as well as national policy, it is of immediate importance to public morals, and to social order, to secure such an amendment as will indicate that this is a Christian nation, and place all Christian laws, institutions, and usages in our government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the nation, specially those which secure a proper oath, and which protect society against blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, and polygamy.” USLP 145.3

By Sabbath-breaking is meant nothing else but Sunday-breaking. In a convention of the friends of Sunday, assembled Nov. 29, 1870, in New Concord, Ohio, the Rev. James White is reported to have said: “The question [of Sunday observance] is closely connected with the National Reform Movement; for until the government comes to know God and honor his law, we need not expect to restrain Sabbath-breaking corporations.” Here again the idea of the legal enforcement of Sunday observance stands uppermost. USLP 146.1

Once more: The Philadelphia Press of Dec. 5, 1870, stated that some Congressmen, including Vice-president Colfax, arrived in Washington by Sunday trains, Dec. 4, on which the Christian Statesman commented as follows (we give italics as we find them):- USLP 146.2

“1. Not one of those men who thus violated the Sabbath is fit to hold any official position in a Christian nation. USLP 146.3

“He who violates the Sabbath may not steal because the judgment of society so strongly condemns theft, or because he believes that honesty is the best policy; but tempt him with the prospect of concealment, or the prospect of advantage, and there can be no reason why he who robs God will not rob his neighbor also. For this reason, the Sabbath law lies at the foundation of morality. Its observance is an acknowledgment of the sovereign rights of God over us. USLP 146.4

“2. The sin of these Congressmen is a national sin, because the nation hath not said to them in the Constitution, the supreme rule for our public servants, ‘We charge you to serve us in accordance with the higher law of God.’ These Sabbath-breaking railroads, moreover, are corporations created by the State, and amenable to it. The State is responsible to God for the conduct of these creatures which it calls into being. It is bound, therefore, to restrain them from this as from other crimes, and any violation of the Sabbath, by any corporation, should work immediate forfeiture of its charter. And the Constitution of the United States, with which all State legislation is required to be in harmony, should be of such a character as to prevent any State from tolerating such infractions of fundamental moral law. USLP 146.5

“3. Give us in the National Constitution the simple acknowledgment of the law of God as the supreme law of nations, and all the results indicated in this note will ultimately be secured. Let no one say that the movement does not contemplate sufficiently practical ends.” USLP 147.1

From all this, we see the important place the Sabbath question is to hold in this movement - the important place it even now holds in the minds of those who are urging it forward. Let the amendment called for be granted, “and all the results indicated in this note,” says the writer, “will ultimately be secured;” that is, individuals and corporations will be restrained from violating the Sunday observance. The acknowledgment of God in the Constitution may do very well as a banner under which to sail; but the practical bearing of the movement relates to the compulsory observance of the first day of the week. USLP 147.2

Even now the question is agitated why the Jew should be allowed to follow his business on the first day after having observed the seventh. The same question is equally pertinent to all seventh-day keepers. A writer signing himself “American,” in the Boston Herald of Dec. 14, 1871, said:- USLP 147.3

“The President in his late message in speaking of the Mormon question, says, ‘They shall not be permitted to break the law under the cloak of religion.’ This, undoubtedly, meets the approval of every American citizen, and I wish to cite a parallel case, and ask: Why should the Jews of this country be allowed to keep open their stores on the Sabbath under the cloak of their religion while I, or any other true American, will be arrested and suffer punishment if we do the same thing? If there is a provision made allowing a few to conduct business on the Sabbath, what justice and equality can there be in any such provision, and why should it not be stopped at once?” USLP 148.1

And this question, we apprehend, will be very summarily decided, when once the Constitutional Amendment has been secured. USLP 148.2

At a Ministerial Association of the M. E. church held in Healdsburg, Cal., April 26-28, 1870, Rev. Mr. Trefren, of Napa, speaking of S.D.A. ministers, said, “I predict for them a short race. What we want is law in the matter.” Then, referring to the present movement for a law, he added, “And we will have it, too; and when we get the power into our hands, we will show these men what their end will be.” USLP 148.3

From a work recently published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, entitled “The Sabbath,” by Chas. Elliot, Professor of Biblical Literature and Exegesis in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the North West, Chicago, Ill., we take this paragraph:- USLP 148.4

“But it may be asked, Would not the Jews be denied equality of rights by legislation protecting the Christian Sabbath and ignoring the Jewish? The answer is, We are not Jewish but a Christian nation; therefore, our legislation must be conformed to the institutions and spirit of Christianity. This is absolutely necessary from the nature of the case.” USLP 149.1

There is no mistaking the import of this language: No matter if the Jew does not secure equal rights with others. We are not a Jewish nation, but a Christian; and all must be made to conform to what the majority decide to be Christian institutions. This affects all who observe the seventh day as much as the Jews. And we apprehend it will not be a difficult matter to lead the masses, whose prejudices incline them in this direction, to believe that it is “absolutely necessary” that all legislation must take such a form, and cause them to act accordingly. USLP 149.2

Several years since, Dr. Durbin of the Christian Advocate and Journal, gave his views on this subject as follows:- USLP 149.3

“I infer, therefore, that the civil magistrate may not be called upon to enforce the observance of the Sabbath [Sunday] as required in the spiritual kingdom of Christ; but when Christianity becomes the moral and spiritual life of the State, the State is bound through her magistrates to prevent the open violation of the holy Sabbath, as a measure of self-preservation. She cannot, without injuring her own vitality and incurring the divine displeasure, be recreant to her duty in this matter.” USLP 149.4

At a meeting held at Saratoga Springs, Aug. 12, 1860, ex-president Fillmore said that “while he deemed it needful to legislate cautiously in all matters connected with public morals, and to avoid coercive measures affecting religion, the right of every citizen to a day of rest and worship could not be questioned, and laws securing that right should be enforced.” USLP 150.1

And the Christian Statesman of Dec. 15, 1871, speaking of the general disregard of the Sabbath [Sunday] in the arrangements for welcoming the Grand Duke Alexis, says:- USLP 150.2

“How long will it be before the Christian masses of this country can be roused to enact a law compelling their public servants to respect the Sabbath?” USLP 150.3

A very marked and rapid change is taking place in public opinion relative to the proposed religious amendment of the Constitution. We have learned of instances of men who were at first openly hostile to the movement, now giving their influence for its advancement, and clamoring loudly for a Sunday law. And some who at first regarded it with indifference, are now becoming its warm partisans. As a sample of this change of feeling, the following paragraph from the Christian Press of Jan., 1872, may be presented. The Christian Press is the organ of the Western Book and Tract Society, Cincinnati, Ohio, and its editor, speaking of the National Association above referred to, says:- USLP 150.4

“When this Association was formed, while we were prepared to bid it God speed, we did not then feel that there was any pressing need for the object sought; and as our mission was specially directed to the Christianizing, enlightening and elevating, the masses of the people, we have said little in our columns on the subject, being assured that if the people are right, it is easy to set the government right. The late combined efforts, however, of various classes of our citizens to exclude the Bible from our schools, repeal our Sabbath laws, and divorce our government entirely from religion, and thus make it an atheistic government - for every government must be for God or against him, and must be administered in the interests of religion and good morals, or in the interests of irreligion and immorality - have changed our mind, and we are now prepared to urge the necessity for an explicit acknowledgment in the National Constitution of the authority of God and the supremacy of his law, as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.” USLP 151.1

With the anti-Sunday movements of the present day, considering their associations, and the manner and object in and for which they are carried forward, we have no sympathy. They aim at utter no-Sabbathism, freedom from all moral restraint, and all the evils of unbridled intemperance - ends which we abhor with all the strength of a moral nature quickened by the most intense religious convictions. And while the indignation of the better portion of the community will be aroused at the want of religious principle and the immorality attending the popular anti-Sunday movement, a little lack of discrimination, by no means uncommon, will on account of our opposition to the day, though we oppose it on entirely different ground, easily associate us with the class above-mentioned, and subject us to the same odium. USLP 151.2

Meanwhile, some see the evils involved in this movement, and raise the voice of alarm. The Christian Union, Jan., 1871, said:- USLP 152.1

“The friends of the measure are not likely ever to agree among themselves. The Convention which met in Philadelphia on the 18th inst. to consider this subject, refused to accept a phraseology which simply recognizes the Deity, and insisted upon including in the emendation the name of Jesus Christ as well. A party, in behalf of the Holy Spirit, which is so conspicuously slighted, will be the next in order; and then the way will be open for a proposition to recognize the ‘Vicegerent of Christ on earth,’ as the true source of power among the nations! If the proposed amendment is anything more than a bit of sentimental cant, it is to have a legal effect. It is to alter the status of the non-Christian citizen before the law. It is to affect the legal oaths and instruments, the matrimonial contracts, the sumptuary laws, etc., etc., of the country. This would be an outrage on natural right.” USLP 152.2

The Janesville (Wis.) Gazette, at the close of an article on the proposed amendment, speaks thus of the effect of the movement, should it succeed:- USLP 152.3

“But independent of the question as to what extent we are a Christian nation, it may well be doubted whether, if the gentlemen who are agitating this question should succeed, they would not do society a very great injury. Such measures are but the initiatory steps which ultimately lead to restrictions of religious freedom, and to commit the government to measures which are as foreign to its powers and purposes as would be its action if it should undertake to determine a disputed question of theology.” USLP 153.1

The Weekly Alta Californian of San Francisco, March 12, 1870, said:- USLP 153.2

“The parties who have been recently holding a convention for the somewhat novel purpose of procuring an amendment to the Constitution of the United States recognizing the Deity, do not fairly state the case when they assert that it is the right of a Christian people to govern themselves in a Christian manner. If we are not governing ourselves in a Christian manner, how shall the doings of our government be designated? The fact is, that the movement is one to bring about in this country that union of church and State which all other nations are trying to dissolve.” USLP 153.3

The N. Y. Independent, Feb., 1870, spoke of the movement as having the same chance of success that a union of church and State would have. USLP 153.4

The Champlain Journal, speaking of the incorporating the religious principle into the Constitution, and its effect upon the Jews, said:- USLP 153.5

“However slight, it is the entering wedge between church and State. If we may cut off ever so few persons from the right of citizenship on account of difference of religious belief, then with equal justice and propriety may a majority at any time dictate the adoption of still further articles of belief, until our Constitution is but the text book of a sect beneath whose tyrannical sway all liberty of religious opinion will be crushed.” USLP 153.6

For a union of church and State, strictly so-called, we do not look. In place of this, we apprehend that what is called “the image,” a creation as strange as it is unique, comes in - not a State controlled by the church, and the church in turn supported by the State, but an ecclesiastical establishment empowered to enforce its own decrees by civil penalties; which, in all its practical bearings, amounts to exactly the same thing. The direct aim of the movement is undoubtedly a union of church and State; a result which it will so nearly accomplish as to secure, by way of compromise, the erection of the image. USLP 154.1

Some one may now say, As you expect this movement to carry, you must look for a period of religious persecution in this country; nay, more, you must take the position that all the saints of God are to be put to death; for the image is to cause that all who will not worship it shall be killed. USLP 154.2

There would, perhaps, be some ground for such a conclusion, were we not elsewhere informed that in this dire conflict God does not abandon his people to defeat, but grants them a complete victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name. Revelation 15:2. We further read respecting this earthly power, that he causeth all to receive a mark in their right hand or their foreheads; yet chapter 20:4, speaks of the people of God as those who do not receive the mark or worship the image. If, then, he could “cause” all to receive the mark, and yet all not actually receive it, in like manner his causing all to be put to death who will not worship the image does not necessarily signify that their lives are actually to be taken. USLP 154.3

But how can this be? Answer: It evidently comes under that rule of interpretation in accordance with which verbs of action sometimes signify merely the will and endeavor to do the action in question, and not the actual performance of the thing specified. George Bush, Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in New York City University, makes this matter plain. In his notes on Exodus 7:11, he says:- USLP 155.1

“It is a canon of interpretation of frequent use in the exposition of the sacred writings that verbs of action sometimes signify merely the will and endeavor to do the action in question. Thus in Ezekiel 24:13: ‘I have purified thee, and thou wast not purged;’ i.e., I have endeavored, used means, been at pains, to purify thee. John 5:44: ‘How can ye believe which receive honor one of another;’ i.e., endeavor to receive. Romans 2:4: ‘The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance;’ i.e., endeavors, or tends, to lead thee. Amos 9:3: ‘Though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea;’ i.e., though they aim to be hid. 1 Corinthians 10:33: ‘I please all men;’ i.e., endeavor to please. Galatians 5:4: ‘Whosoever of you are justified by the law;’ i.e., seek and endeavor to be justified. Psalm 69:4: ‘They that destroy me are mighty;’ i.e. that endeavor to destroy me. Eng., ‘That would destroy me.’ Acts 7:26: ‘And set them at one again;’ i.e., wished and endeavored. Eng., ‘Would have set them.’ “ USLP 155.2

So in the passage before us: He causes all to receive a mark, and all who will not worship the image to be killed; that is, he wills, purposes, and endeavors, to do this; he makes such an enactment, passes such a law, but is not able to execute it; for God interposes in behalf of his people; and then those who have kept the word of Christ’s patience are kept from falling in this hour of temptation, according to Revelation 3:10; then those who have made God their refuge are kept from all evil, and no plague comes nigh their dwelling, according to Psalm 91:9, 10; then all who are found written in the book are delivered, according to Daniel 12:1; and, being victors over the beast and his image, they are redeemed from among men, and raise a song of triumph before the throne of God, according to Revelation 14:4; 15:2. USLP 156.1

The objector may further say: You are altogether too credulous in supposing that all the skeptics of our land, the spiritualists, the German infidels, and the irreligious masses generally, can be so far brought to favor the religious observance of Sunday that a general law can be promulgated in its behalf. USLP 156.2

We answer: The prophecy must be fulfilled; and if the prophecy requires such a revolution, it will be accomplished. But we do not know that it is necessary. Permit us to suggest an idea, which, though it is only conjecture, may show how enough can be accomplished to fulfill the prophecy without involving the classes mentioned. This movement, as has been shown, must originate with the churches of our land, and be carried forward by them. They wish to enforce certain practices among all the people; and it would be very natural that, in reference to those points respecting which they wish to influence the outside masses, they should see the necessity of first having absolute conformity among all the evangelical denominations. They could not expect to influence non-religionists to any great degree on questions respecting which they were divided among themselves. So, then, let union be had on those views and practices which the great majority already entertain. To this end coercion may first be attempted. But here are a few who cannot possibly attach to the observance of the first day, which the majority wish to secure, any religious obligation; and would it be anything strange for the sentence to be given, Let these few factionists be made to conform, by persuasion if possible, by force, if necessary. Thus the blow may fall on conscientious commandment-keepers, before the outside masses are involved in the issue at all. And should events take this not improbable turn, it would be sufficient to meet the prophecy, and leave no ground for the objection proposed. USLP 156.3

To receive the mark of the beast in the forehead, is, we understand, to give the assent of the mind and judgment to his authority in the adoption of that institution which constitutes the mark. By parity of reasoning, to receive it in the hand would be to signify allegiance by some outward act. USLP 158.1

The number, over which the saints are also to get the victory, is the number of the papal beast, called also the number of his name, and the number of a man, and said to be six hundred three-score and six. The pope wears upon his pontifical crown in jeweled letters, this title: Vicarius Filii Dei,” “Vicegerent of the Son of God;” the numerical value of which title is just six hundred and sixty-six. The most plausible supposition we have ever seen on this point is that here we find the number in question. It is the number of the beast, the papacy; it is the number of his name; for he adopts it as his distinctive title; it is the number of a man; for he who bears it is the “man of sin.” We get the victory over it by refusing those institutions and practices which he sets forth as evidence of his power to sit supreme in the temple of God, and by adopting which we should acknowledge the validity of his title, by conceding his right to act for the church in behalf of the Son of God. USLP 158.2

And now, reader, we leave with you this subject. We confidently submit the argument as one which is invulnerable in all its points. We ask you to review it carefully. Take in, if thought can comprehend it, the wonderful phenomenon of our own nation. Consider its location, the time of its rise, the manner of its rise, its character, Satan’s masterpiece of lying wonders which he has here sprung upon the world, and the elements which are everywhere working to fulfill in just as accurate a manner every other specification of the prophecy. Can you doubt the application. We know not how. Then the last agents to appear in this world’s history are on the stage of action, the close of this dispensation is at hand, and the Lord cometh speedily to judge the world. Then an issue of appalling magnitude is before us. It is no less than this: To yield to unrighteous human enactments soon to be made, and thus expose ourselves to the unmingled wrath of an insulted Creator, or to remain loyal to our God and brave the utmost wrath of the dragon and his infuriated hosts. USLP 159.1

In reference to this issue, the third angel now utters his solemn and vehement warning. To aid in sounding over the land this timely note of alarm, to impress upon hearts the importance of a right position in the coming issue, and the necessity of pursuing such a course as will secure the favor of God in the season of earth’s direst extremity, and a share at last in his glorious salvation, is the object of this effort. And if with any it shall have this effect, the prayer of the writer will not be utterly unanswered, nor his labor be wholly lost. USLP 159.2