THE REVIEW AND HERALD
” Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth.”
BATTLE CHEEK, MICH., THIRD-DAY, AUGUST 12, 1862,
JAMES WHITE, EDITOR.
FOR the past ten years the Review has taught that the United States of America were a subject of prophecy, and that slavery is pointed out in the prophetic word as the darkest and most damning sin upon this nation. It has taught that Heaven has wrath in store for the nation which it would drink to the very dregs, as due punishment for the sin of slavery. And the anti-slavery teachings of several of our publications based upon certain prophecies have been such that their circulation has been positively forbidden in the slave States. Those of our people who voted at all at the last Presidential election, to a man voted for Abraham Lincoln. We know of not one man among Seventh-day Adventists who has the least sympathy for secession.
But for reasons which we will here state, our people have not taken that part in the present struggle that others have.
1. The hope which stimulates others, that the war will soon terminate with the freedom of the millions of “bond-men and bond-women” of North America, and that a period of peace and millennial glory is to follow, we do not cherish. We think we see, through the prophetic word, the continuation of slavery down to the end of all earthly governments.
One text to the point must suffice. Rev. vi, 12-17. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig- tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, .and every free-man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains ; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb ; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”
Amid the terrors, of the day of God, which closes this mortal state, bond-men as well as free-men, call on rocks and mountains to hide them from the presence of the Lord. The minister who stated that these bond-men were those who were bound in their trespasses and their sins, found difficulty in explaining how free-men, free from trespasses and sins, were in terror calling on rocks and mountains to hide them. These bond-men are evidently slaves. Behind the cloud that now darkens our national horizon we see one still more terrific in the seven last plagues of Rev. xvi, to be poured out upon great Babylon. Her sins reach far up to heaven, and call for vengeance which will be rewarded unto her double for all her sins. Then the merchants of “slaves and souls of men” will mourn and lament be- cause their hellish traffic has come to an end. Rev. xviii.
2. The position which our people have taken relative to the perpetuity and sacredness of the law of God Contained in the ten commandments, is not in harmony with all the requirements of war. The fourth precept of that law says, ” Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy ;” the sixth says, ” Thou shalt not kill.” But in the case of drafting, the government assumes the responsibility of the violation of the law of God, and it would be madness to resist. He who would resist until, in the administration of military law, he was •shot down, goes too far, we think, in taking the responsibility of suicide.
We are at present enjoying the protection of our civil and religious rights, by the best government under heaven. With the exception of those enactments pressed upon it by the slave power, its laws are good. We may call in question the policy of the present administration in keeping the precious blacks, who are worth several hundred dollars each, out of the dangers of war—on whose account the present war is—and sending the valueless white man, not worth a dime in market, to fall in battle by thousands. But whatever we may say of our amiable president, his cabinet, or of military officers, it is Christ-like to honor every good law of our land. Said Jesus, ” Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matt, xxii, 21. Those who despise civil law, should at once pack up and be off for some spot on God’s foot-stool where there is no civil law.
When it shall come to this, that civil enactments shall be passed and enforced to drive us from obedience to the law of God, to join those who are living in rebellion against the government of Heaven, see Rev. xiii, 15-17, then it will be time to stand our chances of martyrdom. But for us to attempt to resist the laws of the best government under heaven, which is now struggling to put down the most hellish rebellion since that of Satan and his angels, we repeat it, would be madness.
Those who are loyal to the government of Heaven, true to the constitution and laws of the Ruler of the universe, are the last men to “sneak” off to Canada, or to Europe, or to stand trembling in their shoes for fear of a military draft. Is God their Father? He is a mighty God. “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance. Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Isa. xl, 15. Is Christ their Saviour and Redeemer? He is a mighty conqueror. He will soon come down the blazing vault of heaven, followed by the armies of heaven, having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev. xix. If the hope of immortality at the soon coming of Jesus Christ, whether living, or sleeping in the dust, will not sustain a man in these perilous times, nothing will. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He has the nation in his hand, and will order events for his glory, and the best good of his loyal people.