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The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity

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    THE ORIGINAL AND ULTIMATE GOVERNMENT

    Government exists in the very nature of the existence of intelligent creatures. For the very term “creature” implies the Creator; and as certainly as any intelligent creature is, he owes to the Creator all that he is. And, in recognition of this fact, he owes to the Creator honor and devotion supreme. This, in turn, and in the nature of things, implies subjection and obedience on the part of the creature; and is the principle of government.EB viii.1

    Each intelligent creature owes to the Creator all that he is. Accordingly, the first principle of government is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” 10Mark 12:29, 30. This is pronounced by the Lord to be the first of all the commandments. It is not the first of all the commandments because it was the first one that was ever given; but simply because it exists in the very nature and existence of every intelligent creature, and so inheres in the nature of things as soon as a single intelligent creature exists. It is, therefore, the first of all the commandments, simply because it is but the expression of the inherent obligation in the first relationship which can possibly exist between creature and Creator. It is the first in the nature, the circumstances, and the existence of created intelligences. It is the first of all commandments in the supreme and most absolute sense. It inheres in the nature and relationship of the first intelligent creature, and stands as complete in the case of that one alone as though there were millions; and stands as complete in the case of each one in the succession of future millions as in the case of the first intelligent creature, as he stood absolutely alone in the universe. No expansion, no multiplication, of the number of the creatures beyond the original one, can ever in any sense limit the scope or meaning of that first of all commandments. It stands absolutely alone and eternally complete, as the first obligation of every intelligent creature that can ever be. And this eternal truth distinguishes individuality as an eternal principle.EB viii.2

    However, just as soon as a second intelligent creature is given existence, an additional relationship exists. There is now not only the primary and original relationship of each to the Creator, for both owe equally their existence to the Creator, but also an additional and secondary relationship of each to the other. This secondary relationship is one of absolute equality. And in the subjection and devotion of each to the Creator, in the first of all possible relationships, each of these honors the other. Therefore, in the nature of things, in the existence of two intelligent creatures, there inheres the second governmental principle, mutuality of all the subjects as equals.EB ix.1

    And this principle is expressed in the second of all the commandments, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 11Mark 12:31. This is the second of all the commandments, for the like reason that the first is the first of all the commandments: it exists and inheres in the nature of things and of intelligences just as soon as a second intelligent creature exists. And also, like the first, this is complete and absolute the moment that two intelligent creatures exist, and it never can be expanded nor can it be modified by the existence of the universe full of other intelligent creatures.EB ix.2

    Each, himself alone, in his own individuality, is completely subject and devoted first of all to the Creator; because to Him he owes all. And in this subjection and devotion to the Creator first of all, each honors every other intelligent creature as his equal: as equally with himself occupying his place in the design of the Creator, and responsible individually and only to the Creator for the fulfillment of that design. Therefore, out of respect to the Creator, to his neighbor, and to himself, he loves his neighbor as himself. And this second eternal truth, equally with the first distinguishes individuality as an eternal principle.EB ix.3

    This is original government. It is also ultimate government; because these are first principles complete and absolute; and because they eternally inhere in the nature and relationships of intelligent creatures. And this government, which is at once original and ultimate, is simply self-government—self-government in reason and in God. For it is only the plainest, simplest dictate of reason that the intelligent creature should recognize that to the Creator he owes all; and that, therefore, subjection and honor are the reasonable dues from him to the Creator. It is likewise a simple dictate of reason that, since his neighbor equally with himself owes all to the Creator, his neighbor must be respected and honored in all this as he himself would desire to be respected and honored in it.EB x.1

    It is also the simple dictate of reason that, since these have all been created, and in their existence owe all to the Creator, this existence with all its accompaniments in the exercise of abilities and powers should be ever held strictly in accordance with the will and design of the Creator; because it is still further the simple dictate of reason that the Creator could never have designed that the existence, the faculties, or the powers of any creature should be exercised contrary to His will or outside of His design. Therefore it is the simplest, plainest dictate of reason that this original and ultimate government, which is self-government, is self-government under God, with God, and in God. And this is truly the truest self-government.EB x.2

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