It has been a proverb, that “history repeats itself.” And in that lies the truth that history is in itself prophecy which conveys to the careful and wise student instruction and admonitions concerning important movements in his own day and nation.
Of all the nations that have existed, whose history has been completed, Rome was the greatest and had most of the elements of instruction and admonition to future peoples. And of all people, the people of the United States are the ones to whom the history of Rome speaks most personally.
Rome was a republic. The United States has been a republic. These only are the two great republics of history.
The republic of Rome was the professed and acknowledged exemplar of liberty among the ancient nations. The republic of the United States has been the professed and acknowledged exemplar of liberty among the modern nations.
The republic of Rome assumed that it devolved upon her to extend by her power the blessing of liberty to foreign peoples. The republic of the United States has assumed that it devolved upon her to extend by her power the blessing of liberty to foreign peoples.
In order to do this the republic of Rome sent over the seas her fleets and armies, sacrificed treasure and the lives of Roman citizens, fought battles, gained victories, and established peace, for other peoples in order that those other peoples might have the privilege of enjoying assured liberty. For the same purpose the republic of the United States has done the like things precisely.
So far, the course of the modern great republic has been exactly that of the ancient great republic. So much of the history of the ancient great republic, therefore, has been prophetic of that of the modern great republic. The history of the ancient republic did not cease at that point. Did the history of that republic, which up to that point was prophetic of that of this great republic, cease at that point to be prophetic when the history itself did not cease at that point?
When the republic of Rome had by her power secured to foreign peoples freedom from other masters, she asserted over them her own mastery. And whereas formerly for those peoples there had been some hope of freedom, because of the weakness of those kings who designed to rule over them; now that Rome had gained a position to claim and assert mastery over them, their prospect of liberty was rendered absolutely hopeless by reason of the strength of the new master.
In this, open despotism was established and practiced abroad by that ancient great republic. And this practice of despotism abroad soon reacted and brought about the practice of despotism at home. First it was a despotism of the majority, next it was a despotism of a few, then a despotism of three, and at last a despotism of one. And from a republic, a government of the people, and the exemplar of liberty, she was become a minority, a government of one, and the extreme of despotism.
Nor did the history of the ancient great republic stop at that point. After reigning in the extreme of despotism for a season and a time, a union was formed between this monarchy and an apostate church. And the multiplied evils of increased despotism and every and of every other sort speedily brought irretrievable ruin of government and even of society itself.
Such was the course, and such is the history, of that ancient great republic from the point unto which that history is plainly prophetic of the course of this modern great republic. And, viewing conditions and procedure as they actually are to-day, what single indication is there that from this point to the full end, the history of the ancient great republic is anything else than prophetic of the course and destiny of the modern republic?
It may be asked, Where could be found new peoples, whence could they come, to sweep away in ruin the modern great republic at its culmination according to the prophetic course of the ancient great republic?—The answer is, that they cannot be found on the earth. But they are found, and they are appointed unto that very work. And here they are, also whence they come, and the work that is before them:—
“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war;  and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Joel 2:1-11.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-21. 8.
A. T. J.