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    10 INCONSISTENT UTTERANCES

    FROM the facts thus far elicited in this argument, we have seen that the government symbolized by the two-horned beast must be,—MANA 136.1

    1. Some government distinct from the powers of the Old World, whether civil or ecclesiastical;MANA 136.2

    2. That it must arise this side the Atlantic;MANA 136.3

    3. That it must be seen coming into influence and notoriety about the year 1798;MANA 136.4

    4. That it must rise in a peaceful manner;MANA 136.5

    5. That its progress must be so rapid as to strike the beholder with as much wonder as the perceptible growth of an animal before his eyes;MANA 136.6

    6. That it must be a republic;MANA 136.7

    7. That is must exhibit before the world, as an index of its character and of the motives by which it is governed, two great principles, in themselves perfectly just, innocent, and lamb-like; andMANA 136.8

    8. That it must perform its work in the present century.MANA 136.9

    And we have seen that of these eight specifications just two things can be said: First, that they are all perfectly met in the history of the United States thus far; and secondly, that they are not met in the history of any other government on the face of the earth. Behind these eight lines of defense, therefore, the argument lies impregnably intrenched.MANA 136.10

    And the American patriot, the man who loves his country, and takes a just pride in her thus-far glorious record and noble achievements (and who does not?), needs an argument no less ponderous and immovable, and an array of evidence no less clear, to enable him to accept the painful sequel which the remainder of the prophecy also applies to this government, hitherto the best the world has ever seen; for the prophet immediately turns to a part of the picture which is dark with injustice, and marred by oppression, deception, intolerance, and wrong.MANA 136.11

    After describing the lamb-like appearance of this symbol, John immediately adds, “And he spake as a dragon.” The dragon (Pagan Rome), the first link in this chain of prophecy, was a relentless persecutor of the church of God. The leopard beast (the papacy) which follows, was likewise a persecuting power, grinding out for 1260 years the lives of millions of the followers of Christ. The third actor in the scene, the two-horned beast, speaks like the first, and thus shows himself to be a dragon at heart; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and in the heart actions are conceived. This, then, like the others, is a persecuting power; and the reason that any of them are mentioned in prophecy, is simply because they are persecuting powers. God’s care for the church, his little flock, is what has led him to give a revelation of his will, and point out the foes with whom they would have to contend. To his church, all the actions recorded of the dragon and leopard beast relate; and in reference to the church, therefore, we conclude that the dragon voice of this power is uttered.MANA 137.1

    The “speaking” of any government must be the public promulgation of its will on the part of its law-making and executive powers. Is this nation, then, to issue unjust and oppressive enactments against the people of God? Are the fires of persecution, which in other ages have devastated other lands, to be lighted here also? We would fain believe otherwise; but notwithstanding the pure intentions of the noble founders of this government, notwithstanding the worthy motives and objects of thousands of Christian patriots to-day, we can but take the prophecy as it reads, and expect nothing less than what it predicts. John heard this power speak, and the voice, was that of a dragon.MANA 137.2

    Nor is this so improbable an issue as might at first appear. The people of the United States are not all saints. The masses, notwithstanding all our gospel light and gospel privileges, are still in a position for Satan to suddenly fire their hearts with the basest of impulses. This nation as we have seen, is to exist to the coming of Christ; and the Bible very fully sets forth the moral condition of the people in the days that immediately precede that event. Iniquity is to abound, and the love of many to wax cold. Matthew 24:12. Evil men and seducers are to wax worse and worse. 2 Timothy 3:13. Scoffers are to arise, saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. The whole land is to be full of violence, as it was in the days of Noah, and full of licentiousness, as was Sodom in the days of Lot. Luke 17:26-30. And when the Lord appears, faith will scarcely be found upon the earth (Luke 18:8); and those who are ready for his coming will be but a “little flock.” Luke 12:32. Can the people of God think to go through this period, and not suffer persecution? — No; this would be contrary to the lessons taught by all past experience, and just the reverse of what we are warranted by the word of God to expect. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” If ever this was true in the history of the church, we may expect it to be emphatically so when, in the last days, the world is in its aphelion as related to God, and the wicked touch their lowest depths of iniquity and sin.MANA 138.1

    Let, then, such a general spirit of persecution arise as the foregoing scriptures declare will in the last days exist, and what is more probable than that it should assume an organized form? In this country the will of the people is law. And let there be a general desire on the part of the people for certain oppressive enactments against believers in unpopular doctrines, and what would be more easy and natural than that such desire should immediately crystallize into systematic action, and oppressive measures take the form of law? Then we should have just what the prophecy indicates. Then would be heard the voice or the dragon.MANA 139.1

    And there are elements already in existence which furnish a luxuriant soil for a baleful crop of future evil. Our nation has grown so rapidly in wealth that is stands to-day as the richest nation in the world. Wealth leads to luxury, luxury to corruption, corruption to the breaking down of all moral barriers; and then the way is open for the worst passions to come to the front, and for the worst principles to bear rule. The prevailing condition of things is graphically described by the late distinguished and devoted J.H. Merle D’Aubigne, author of the “History of the Reformation.” Just previous to his death he prepared a paper for the Evangelical Alliance, in which he gave utterance to the following weighty and startling words:—MANA 139.2

    “If the meeting for which you are assembled is an important one, the period at which it is held is equally so, not only on account of the great things which God is accomplishing in the world, but also by reason of the great evils which the spirit of darkness is spreading throughout Christendom. The despotic and arrogant pretensions of Rome have reached in our days their highest pitch, and we are consequently more than ever called upon to contend against that power which dares to usurp the divine attributes. But that is not all. While superstition has increased, unbelief has done so still more. Until now the eighteenth century — the age of Voltaire — was regarded as the epoch of most decided infidelity; but how far does the present time surpass it in this respect! ... But there is a still sadder feature of our times. Unbelief has reached even the ministry of the word.”MANA 140.1

    Political corruption is preparing the way for deeper sin. It pervades all parties. Look at the dishonest means resorted to to obtain office, — the bribery, the deceptions, the ballot-stuffing. Look at the stupendous revelations of municipal corruption lately disclosed in New York City, — millions upon millions stolen directly and barefacedly from the city treasury by it corrupt officials. Look at the civil service of the this government. Speaking on this point, The Nation of Nov. 17, 1870, said:—MANA 140.2

    “The newspapers are generally believed to exaggerate most of the abuses they denounce; but we say deliberately, that no denunciation of the civil service of the United States which has ever appeared in print has come up, as a picture of selfishness, greed, fraud, corruption, falsehood, and cruelty, to the accounts which are given privately by those who have seen the real workings of the machine.”MANA 140.3

    Revelations are continually coming to light, going beyond the worst fears of those who are even the most apprehensive of wrongs committed among all classes of society at the present time. The nation stands aghast to-day at the evidence of corruption in high places which is thrust before its face. Yet a popular ministry, in their softest and most soothing tones, declare that the world is growing better, and sing of a good time coming.MANA 140.4

    The Detroit Evening News of March 4, 1876, referring to Secretary Belknap’s fall, said:—MANA 141.1

    “The revelations of corruption in connection with the administration of the Federal government have gone further than anybody’s worst fears, in the humiliating intelligence of Secretary Belknap’s disgrace. That among the underlings there were to be found rascals, might have been expected in such times as these, but that a minister of the Cabinet should have turned out to be nothing better than a vulgar thief is something which must fill this nation with dismay, and the civilized world with contempt. Where is all this to stop? Are we so utterly rotten as a people that nothing but vileness can come uppermost, — that we cannot preserve even the great offices of the Cabinet from the possession of rascals?”MANA 141.2

    Again the News says:—MANA 141.3

    “Washington seems to be ingulfed in iniquity and steeped in corruption. Disclosures of fraud in high places are pushing one another toward the light. We have Belknap, Delano, Ingalls — and where the black list will stop, Heaven only knows.”MANA 141.4

    Since the foregoing was written, who will say that there has been any real improvement in the tone of public moral? And further enumeration is here unnecessary. Enough crops out in every day’s history to show that moral principle, the only guarantee for justice and honesty in a government like ours, is sadly wanting.MANA 141.5

    And evil is also threatening from another quarter. Creeping up from the darkness of the Dark Ages, a hideous monster is intently watching to seize the throat of liberty in our land. It thrusts itself up into the noonday of the nineteenth century, not that it may be benefited by its light and freedom, but that it may suppress and obscure them. The name of this monster is Popery; and it has fixed its rapacious and blood-thirsty eyes on this land, determined to make it its helpless prey. It already decides the elections in some of our largest cities. It control the revenues of the most populous State in the Union, and appropriates annually hundreds of thousands of dollars raised from the Protestant taxes, to the support of its own ecclesiastical organizations, and to the furtherance of its own religious and political ends. It has attained such a degree of influence that it is only by a mighty effort of Protestant patriotism that any measures against which the Romish element combines its strength can now be carried. And corrupt and unscrupulous politicians stand ready to concede its demands, in order to secure its support for the advancement of their own ambitious aims. Look at the so-called “Freedom of Worship” bill, by which Papists would compel the general public to support in public institutions its own peculiar form of worship and priestly influence, — a bill which has been, and in all probability is destined more fully to be, an occasion of wrangling in the New York Legislature. Rome is in the field, with the basest and most fatal intentions, and with the most watchful and tireless energy. It is destined to play an important part in our future troubles; for it is symbolized by the very beast which the two-horned beast is to cause the earth and them that dwell therein to worship, and before whose eyes it is to perform its wonders. Revelation 13:12, 13.MANA 141.6

    And in our own better Protestant churches there is that which threatens to lead to most serious evils. On this point one of their own popular ministers, who is well qualified to speak, may testify. A sermon by Charles Beecher contains the following statements:—MANA 142.1

    “Our best, most humble, most devoted servants of Christ, are fostering in their midst what will one day, not long hence, show itself to be the spawn of the dragon. They shrink from any rude word against creeds with the same sensitiveness with which those holy fathers would have shrunk from a rude word against the rising veneration of saints and martyrs which they were fostering.... The Protestant evangelical denominations have so tied up one another’s hands, and their own, that, between them all, a man cannot become a preacher at all, anywhere, without accepting some book besides the Bible.... And is not the Protestant Church apostate? Oh! remember, the final form of apostasy shall rise, not by crosses, processions, baubles. We understand all that. Apostasy never comes on the outside. It develops. It is an apostasy that shall spring into life within us, — an apostasy that shall martyr a man who believes his Bible ever so holily; yea, who may even believe what the creed contains, but who may happen to agree with the Westminster Assembly, that, proposed as a test, it is an unwarrantable imposition. That is the apostasy we have to fear, and is it not already formed? ... Will it be said that our fears are imaginary? Imaginary! Did not the Rev. John M. Duncan, in the years 1825-6, or thereabouts, sincerely believe the Bible? Did he not even believe substantially the Confession of Faith? And was he not, for daring to say what the Westminster Assembly said, that to require the reception of that creed as a test of ministerial qualification was an unwarrantable imposition, brought to trial, condemned, excommunicated, and his pulpit declared vacant? There is nothing imaginary in the statement that the creed-power is now beginning to prohibit the Bible as really as Rome did, though in a subtler way.MANA 143.1

    “Oh, woeful day! Oh, unhappy Church of Christ, fast rushing round and round the fatal circle of absorbing ruin! ... Daily does every one see that things are going wrong. With sighs does every true heart confess that rottenness is somewhere, but, ah! it is hopeless of reform. We all pass on, and the tide rolls down to night. The waves of the coming conflict which is to convulse Christendom to her center are beginning to be felt. The deep heavings begin to swell beneath us. ‘All the old signs fail.’ “God answers no more by Urim and Thummim, nor by dream, nor by prophet,’ Men’s hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth. Thunders mutter in the distance. Winds moan across the surging bosom of the deep. All things betide the rising of that fatal storm of divine indignation which shall sweep away the vain refuge of lies.”MANA 143.2

    In addition to this, we have spiritualism, infidelity, socialism, free-love, the trades unions, or labor against capital, and communism, — all assiduously spreading their principles among the masses. These are the very principles that worked among the people, as the exciting cause, just prior to the terrible French Revolution of 1789-1800. Human nature is the same in all ages, and like causes will surely produce like effect. These causes are now all in active operation; and how soon they will culminate in a state of anarchy, and a reign of terror as much more frightful than the French Revolution as they are now more widely extended, no man can say.MANA 144.1

    Such are some of the elements already at work; such is the direction in which events are moving. And how much further is it necessary that they should progress in this manner before an open war-cry from the masses of persecution against those whose simple adherence to the Bible shall put to shame their man-made theology, and whose godly lives shall condemn their wicked practices, would seem in nowise startling or incongruous?MANA 144.2

    But some may say, through an all-absorbing faith in the increasing virtue of the American people, that they do not believe that the United States will ever raise the hand of persecution against any class. Very well. This is not a matter over which we need to indulge in any controversy. No process of reasoning nor any amount of argument can ever show that it will not be so. We think we have shown good ground for strong probabilities that this government may yet commit itself to the work of religious persecution; and we shall present more forcible evidence, and speak of more significant movements hereafter. As we interpret the prophecy, we look upon it as inevitable. But the decision of the question must be left to time; we can neither help nor hinder its work. Time will soon correct all errors, and solve all doubts, on this question.MANA 144.3

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