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    October 29, 1885

    “The Empire of Rome. (Continued.)” The Signs of the Times 11, 41, pp. 644, 645.


    “THE Cesar of Western Rome—he only of all earthly potentates, past or to come, could be said to reign as a monarch, that is, as solitary king. He was not the greatest of princes, simply because there was no other but himself. There were doubtless, a few outlying rulers, of unknown names and titles, upon the margins of his empire; there were tributary lieutenants and barbarous reguli, the obscure vassals of his scepter, whose homage was offered on the lowest step of his throne, and scarcely known to him but as objects of disdain. But these feudatorics could no more break the unity of his empire, which embraced the whole civilized world,—the total habitable world as then known to geography or recognized by the muse of history,—than at this day the British Empire on the sea can be brought into question or made conditional, because some chief of Owyhee or Tongatabook should proclaim a momentary independence of the British trident, or should even offer a transient outrage to her sovereign flag.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.1

    “Parthia, it is true, might pretend to the dignity of an empire. But her sovereign, though sitting in the seat of the great king, were no longer the rulers of a vast and polished nation. They were regarded as barbarians, potent only by their standing army, not upon the larger basis of civic strength; and even under this limitation, they were supposed to owe more to the circumstances of their position—their climate, their remoteness, and their inaccessibility except through arid and sultry deserts—than to intrinsic resources, such as could be permanently relied on in a serious trial of strength between the two powers. The kings of Parthia, therefore, were far enough from being regarded in the light of antagonistic forces to the majesty of Rome. And, these withdrawn from the comparison, what else was there—what prince, what king, what potentate of any denomination—to break the universal calm that through centuries continued to lave, as with the quiet undulations of summer lakes, the sacred footsteps of the Cesarian throne.”—DeQuincey’s Essays, The Cesar’s, introduction, par. 3.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.2

    “As respected the hand of man, Rome slept for ages in absolute security.... The Roman power, in its centuries of grandeur, involved every mode of strength, with absolute immunity from all kinds and degrees of weakness. It ought not, therefore, to surprise us that the emperor, as the depositary of this charmed power, should have been looked upon as a sacred person, and the imperial family considered as a ‘divina domus.’ ... Much more may this be supposed of him to whose care was confided the weightier part of the human race; who had it in his power to promote or suspend the progress of human improvement; and of whom, and the motions of whose will, the very prophets of Judea took cognizance.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.3

    “No nation and no king was utterly divorced from the counsels of God. Palestine, as a central chamber of God’s administration, stood in the same relation to all. It has been remarked, as a mysterious and significant fact, that the founders of the great empires all had some connection, more or less, with the temple at Jerusalem.... And we may be sure that, amongst them, the Roman emperor, as the great accountant for the happiness of more men, and men more cultivated, than ever before were intrusted to the motions of a singl will, had a special, singular, and mysterious relation to the secret councils of Heaven.”—Id., par. 9, 10.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.4

    “All the self-governing powers that had previously filled the world are seen to bend one after the other, and finally disappear. How suddenly did the earth become desolated of her free nations! ... However deeply we may sympathize with the fall of so many free States, we cannot fail to perceive that a new life sprang immediately from their ruins. With the overthrow of independence, fell the barriers of the exclusive nationalities; the nations were conquered—they were overwhelmed together; but by that very act were they blended and united; for, as the limits of the empire were held to comprise the whole earth, so did its subjects learn to consider themselves as one people.”—Von Ranke, History of the Popes, Book 1, chap. 1, sec. 1, par. 2, 5.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.5

    “Although it would be difficult to affirm, and still more so to prove, that this people [the Romans under the republic] had, from their first rise, formed a plan in order to conquer and subject all nations, it cannot be denied but that, if we examine their whole conduct attentively, it will appear that they acted as if they had a foreknowledge of this; and that a kind of instinct had determined them to conform to it in all things.... Enemies to the liberty of all nations; having the utmost contempt for kings and monarchy; looking upon the whole universe as their prey, they grasped, with insatiable ambition, the conquest of the whole world; they seized indiscriminately all provinces and kingdoms, and extended their empire over all nations; in a word, they prescribed no other limits to their vast projects than those which deserts and seas made it impossible to pass.”—Rollin’s Ancient History, Sequel to Alexander’s Successors, chap. 1, sec. 7, last two paragraphs.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.6

    The Roman conquests were almost entirely accomplished by the arms of the nation as a republic, and when Augustus succeeded in merging into himself all the authority of the empire, then, as shown by the quotations already given, he became the master of the world, and the remote peoples that had not yet felt the terror of the actual presence of the Roman arms, hastened, as in the day of Alexander the Great, to send their ambassadors, with presents, to crave his friendship.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.7

    “The name of Augustus growing famous all over the world, the remotest nations of the North and East, that is, the Scythians, the Samaritans [Sarmatians* 1The text says Samaritans, but it certainly should be Sarmatians, we have therefore inserted Sarmatians. The justice of this will be seen by any one who will consult any map of the period, or read carefully the text itself; for the Samaritans were not remote at all.], the Indians, and the Seres, sent ambassadors, with presents to him, to pray his friendship, the last of which, Florus tells us, were four years on their journey, which is to be supposed coming and going. The seres were the farthest people of the East, the same whom we now call the Chinese. They being anciently famous for the making of silk, and silken manufactures; hence serica became the name of silk, and sericum of a silken garment, both among the Greeks and Latins.”—Prideaux’s Connection, part 2, book 8, last par. But one, An. 25, Herod 13.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.8

    In the year 21 B.C., Augustus started on an official journey into the East. After spending some time in Sicily, he sailed into Greece, and wintered at Samos.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.9

    “While Augustus lay at this place, there came thither to him ambassadors from Candace, queen of Ethiopia, ... who, finding him at Samos, there obtained from him the peace which they desired, and then returned again into Ethiopia.... Early the next spring Augustus passed from Samos into Lesser Asia, and, having settled all matters there, continued his progress through that country into Syria, and came to Antioch.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.10

    “Phraates, king of Parthia, on Augustus’s coming in Syria, sent ambassadors to him to pray his friendship. For being then upon ill terms with his people, whom he had much alienated from him by his tyranny and cruelty, he dreaded a foreign war, and he had reason at that time to fear it from Augustus. For whereas Augustus had three years before released to him one of his sons (whom he had in captivity at Rome), upon promise that he would send back to him all the prisoners and ensigns which the Parthians had taken from the Romans in their wars with the Crassus and Antony, he had not yet discharged himself of that obligation. That, therefore, this might not be a cause of war against him, he now not only sent back all those captives and ensigns, but also yielded to all other terms of peace which were then required of him, and gave four of his sons, with their wives and children, in hostage for the performance of them.”SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.11

    “At the same time that Augustus made peace with Parthia, he settled also the affairs of Armenia.... Augustus, toward the end of summer, returning out of Syria, was attended by Herod to the sea-shore, where he embarked; and from thence sailed back; Samos, and there resided all the ensuing winter in the same manner as he had the former.... While Augustus lay at Samos, there cam thither to him a second embassy, from the king of India, to desire the establishment of a league of friendship with him, to which purpose he wrote to him a letter in the Greek language, telling him therein, that though he reigned over six hundred kings, yet he had such value for the friendship of Augustus, by reason of the great fame which he had heard of him, that he sent this embassy on so long a journey on purpose to desire it of him; to which letter he subscribed by the name of Porus, king of India.... Of the ambassadors that first set out from India on this embassy, three, only, reached the presence of Augustus; the others that were in commission, died on the way.... Among the presents which they brought were several tigers, and these were the first of this sort of wild beasts that had been seen either by Greeks or Romans.”—Id., Book 9, An. 21, Herod 17; An. 19, Herod 19.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.12

    When it is remembered that at this time the Parthian hordes held dominion from the Tigris to the borders of China; that the hordes of the Scythians and the Sarmatians were spread over all the north country above the Sea of Aral, the Caspian, and the Black Sea, and westward to the River Vistula and the Baltic Sea (the Baltic was then called the Sarmatian Ocean); and that from the Vistula, the Upper Danube, and the Rhine, to the German Sea, was covered with the German tribes, as wild and savage as were the American Indians when the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock, and that even these had been chastised by Germanicus; then when it is seen, as above, that the Sarmatians, the Scythians, the Parthians, the Chinese, and the Indians, came to the throne of Augustus, bringing presents, asking his friendship, and praying for promises of peace—bearing all this in mind, it stands as the literal truth that, from the Atlantic to the Pacific; from the Artic regions to the Indian Ocean; and from the German Sea and the Friths of Forth to Ethiopia; there was not a single organized people in the world that did not either feel or fear the power of Rome. See “Labberton’s Historical Altas [sic.],” map 15; “Ginn and Heath’s Classical Altas [sic.],” map 12.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.13

    The boundaries of the actual conquests of the Roman armies—the limits to which the Roman soldiers actually marched and conquered—were marked by the Tigris, the Danube, the Rhine, the Friths of Forth, the Atlantic Ocean, the Desert of Sahara, the Desert of Arabia, and the Persian Gulf.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.14

    To quote Gibbon’s elegant lines:—SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.15

    “The arms of the Republic, sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war, advanced with rapid steps to the Euphrates, the Danube, the Rhine, and the ocean; and the images of gold, or silver, or brass, that might serve to represent the nations and their kings, were successively broken by the iron monarch of Rome.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 38, par. 43, the first paragraph under “General Observations,” etc., at the close of the chapter.SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.16

    “In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valor. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence; the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved upon the emperors all the executive powers of government....SITI October 29, 1885, page 644.17

    “The principal conquests of the Romans were achieved under the republic; and the emperors, for the most part, were satisfied with preserving those dominions which had been acquired by the policy of the senate, the active emulation of the consuls, and the martial enthusiasm of the people. The seven first centuries were filled with a rapid succession of triumphs; but it was reserved for Augustus to relinquish the ambitious design of subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation into the public councils....SITI October 29, 1885, page 649.1

    “His generals in the early part of his reign attempted the reduction of Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. They marched near a thousand miles to the south of the tropic; but the heat of the climate soon repelled the invaders, and protected the unwarlike natives of those sequestered regions. The northern countries of Europe scarcely deserved the expense and labor of conquest. The forests and morasses of Germany were filled with a hardy race of barbarians, who despised life when it was separated from freedom; and though, on the first attack, they seemed to yield to the weight of the Roman power, they soon, by a signal act of despair, regained their independence, and reminded Augustus of the vicissitude of fortune. On the death of that emperor, his testament was publicly read in the senate. He bequeathed, as a valuable legacy to his successors, the advice of confining the empire within those limits which nature seemed to have placed as its permanent bulwarks and boundaries; on the west the Atlantic Ocean; the Rhine and the Danube on the north; the Euphrates on the east; and, towards the south, the sandy deserts of Arabia and Africa.—Dec. and Fall, chap. 1, par. 1-3. A. T. J.SITI October 29, 1885, page 649.2

    (To be continued.)

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Jonah 1:1-17. The Story of Jonah” The Signs of the Times 11, 41, p. 647.
    NOVEMBER 8. Jonah 1:1-17

    JONAH lived during the reign of Jeroboam II.; for we read in the account of what Jeroboam did that “he restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.” 2 Kings 14:25. As was related in our last lesson, “Hazael, king of Syria, oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz;” and Elisha, just before his death, had prophesied to Joash, Israel’s deliverance from Syria. But as Joash, in obeying the prophet’s word to smite with the arrows upon the ground, had shown his lack of persistence in smiting only three times, whereas he should have smitten till directed to hold, the prophet said to him, “Thou shouldst have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” Accordingly Joash smote Syria three times, and no more; and then it fell to Jeroboam II. to complete the deliverance of Israel from the oppressions of Syria.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.1

    “FOR the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” 2 Kings 14:26, 27. And it was the prophet Jonah that directed, encouraged, and strengthened Jeroboam in his appointed work, because the Lord was gracious to Israel and had compassion on them, “because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Jeroboam, the son of Joash, reigned from B.C. 827 to 786, and it was in the former part of his reign that Jonah prophesied. (1) Because, as we have seen, it was at the word of Jonah that victory was given to Jeroboam, and that Israel recovered his possessions; and (2) Because of these successes Israel became exalted, and then Amos prophesied Israel’s captivity and destruction. And Amos says he prophesied “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” Amos 1:1; 7:7-17. Uzziah began to reign in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam, which would be in the year 800 B.C.; and this would leave only fourteen years of the reign of Jeroboam, so that Amos prophesied between the years 800 and 786 B.C. Therefore Jonah’s prophesying in the early years of Jeroboam’s reign, must have been from B.C. 827 down to about 810 B.C.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.2

    NINEVEH, to which Jonah was commanded to go, was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was situated on the River Tigris, 36° 20 north latitude, 43° 10 east longitude, and was 600 miles from Jonah’s home. Vul-lush III. was king of the city of Nineveh and the empire of Assyria from 810 to 781 B.C., and it is most likely that it was in his reign that Jonah was sent on this mission to Nineveh. It may have been in the reign of Vul-lush’s predecessor, Shamas-Vul, who reigned from 823-810. We cannot tell yet exactly in which it was; but we may be almost certain that it was in the reign of one of these two kings that Jonah was sent to Nineveh. Vul-lush had great success in all his expeditions; he extended his dominions in almost every direction, and it is most likely that the wealth acquired from the tribute of all the nations round about had induced that state of luxury and dissipation which called for destruction unless immediate repentance was shown.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.3

    THEREFORE the Lord said to Jonah, “Arise go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” The Lord has left no nation to itself without full opportunity to know and serve him. Here his prophet is sent to the capital of Assyria, whose empire then ruled from Egypt and the Great Sea to Central Asia, and from the Persian Gulf to the mountains of Armenia. Before this his prophets had spoken directly to, and had even anointed, a king of Syria. Afterward he spoke in a dream, and then by his prophet, to the great Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; and Nebuchadnezzar published a letter to all people, nations, and languages that he “thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward” him. Daniel 4:2. From Jeremiah the Lord sent messages to Edom, and Moab, and Ammon, and Tyre, and Sidon. Jeremiah 27:3-7. He spoke to Cyrus and to Alexander the Great. We repeat, God has left no nation without a knowledge of himself, and no nation has ever been left to itself without warning.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.4

    BUT Jonah was not willing to carry the Lord’s message to this perishing city. “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Nineveh lay about six hundred miles to the east, and Jonah started to go about three thousand miles to the westward; for Tarshish was on the southwest coast of Spain. But Jonah was open-hearted about it; he did not pretend, as many people now do, to be obeying the Lord by going directly opposite to what the Lord told him. He was disobedient, and he intended it to be considered so. But now, thousands of people, in effect, do just as Jonah did, and then try to convince themselves that they are obeying the Lord. The Lord says to all people, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.” Thousands of people will work all day the seventh day, and then do no work on the first day, and pretend that in this they are obeying the commandment of God. But to rest on the first day of the week is no more obedience to the commandment of God to keep the Sabbath than it was obedience for Jonah to go to Tarshish when the Lord told him to go to Nineveh. If you are going to obey the Lord, do it; and if you are determined to disobey, do that; but don’t try to pass off disobedience for obedience, and so deceive yourself. “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” Deuteronomy 6:25.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.5

    JONAH “went to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind.” This was a eurocydon, such as struck the ship on which Paul was being taken a prisoner to Rome. “And there was a mighty tempest in the sea.” “Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to light it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.” Jonah seems to have felt perfectly safe, although he knew he was disobeying God. So do many people. And, as then, innocent persons are thrown into trial and distress because of their careless disobedience.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.6

    “SO the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.” Then they cast lots to find whose was the fault that the storm was upon them, and the lot fell upon Jonah. “Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us. What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of Heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid.” They knew that the God who made the sea and the dry land must be above all gods, and so when they heard of him, they were “exceedingly afraid.”SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.7

    THEN, knowing that Jonah was the cause of all their trouble, “they said unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea grew more and more tempestuous [margin]. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; ... for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not.” Even against the evidence of the lot, and the convincing word of Jonah, the men labored hard to deliver themselves rather than pitch him into the sea; but it was all no use; overboard he had to go. So the men “cried unto the Lord.... Lay not upon us innocent blood.” “So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.” So the Lord turned Jonah’s rebellion into good for those who knew not the Lord, and taught them of himself.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.8

    “NOW the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” This part of the story is just as true as is any other. Jesus makes mention of this very verse of Jonah, in his preaching. And, having the indorsement of Christ, we know that it is as true as any other of his words, and they are all absolutely true; although the translation in the New Testament, which gives the word “whale,” is not justifiable. The original says, The Lord had prepared a great fish. And a great fish was what it was. But because a whale is a great fish, it does not follow at all that this was a whale. There are great fish in the Mediterranean that can swallow not only a man, but a horse or a buffalo. In one such was found the whole body of a man in complete armor. In one was found a whole horse. In one was found the skin of a whole buffalo, which had been thrown overboard from the very ship which caught the fish. See Smith’s Dictionary, Art. Whale. It was nothing strange or wonderful at all that such a great fish should swallow Jonah; and that the Lord should preserve him unhurt, and was no more wonderful than to preserve the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, or Daniel in the den of hungry lions.SITI October 29, 1885, page 647.9

    A. T. J.

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