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The Signs of the Times, vol. 13

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    January 27, 1887

    “Who Has Declared Independence?” The Signs of the Times 13, 4, p. 55.

    IN 1698 Ireland was subject to England. Although she had her own Parliament, yet she, Parliament and all, was governed by the mother country, and by the Parliament of the mother country. And in this, England was distinctly the mother country; because the governing class in Ireland was composed of colonists from England; and it was only by the power of England that these were enabled to govern either Ireland or themselves. So entirely was this true, that if the protecting power of England had been withdrawn, any and all government in Ireland, in which the English colonists could have had any part at all would have ceased to exist. Therefore, it was literally true that the very existence of the then Government of Ireland depended wholly upon the mother country. Yet for all this, the Irish Parliament took a step which, if allowed to stand, would have not only severed its connection with the home Government, but with that would have cost it its own existence. We will give this in the words of the historian himself. He says:—SITI January 27, 1887, page 55.1

    “The Irish Lords and Commons had presumed, not only to re-enact an English Act passed expressly for the purpose of binding them, but to re-enact it with alterations. The alterations were indeed small; but the alteration even of a letter was tantamount to a declaration of independence.”—Macauley’s England, chap. 23, p. 63. [The italics are mine.]SITI January 27, 1887, page 55.2

    Now, according to this true principle of government, those people who claim that Christ re-enacted the ten commandments, and that, too with alterations, virtually assert that Christ declared independence of the Supreme Government. But against all such claims, we have the words of Christ, in strictest accordance with this true principle, which declare: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,” knowing full well that to alter a “jot or tittle,” or, in the words of Macaulay, “even a letter,” would be equal to a “declaration of independence.” Therefore among the very first words that be uttered as a public teacher, “as one having authority,” he lays down the fundamental principle of true allegiance. And every other word, and every other act of his life, is strictly consistent with it. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30. “I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 6:38. “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” John 4:34. Was the work of God not done until by the ministration of Christ he had “re-enacted with alterations” “his own law, and had thus declared himself independent of himself? That would finish his work indeed, and with a vengeance. But God forbid, “He cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13. On the contrary, his work can be, and will be, and was intended to be finished in righteousness (Romans 9:28), and “in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. This “will” and this “work” Christ came to do, and in justice and in righteousness he pledges himself and all his followers to the firmest allegiance to the government of the Most High. Matthew 7:21; 10:17; Revelation 22:14; 14:12.SITI January 27, 1887, page 55.3

    On the other hand, how aptly this exploit of the Irish Lords and Commons with the English Government illustrates the arrogance of the Papacy with the God of Heaven! There was the Irish Parliament ruling Ireland, yet itself dependent on the English Parliament and power for its very existence. Here was the Papacy ruling the world in things temporal, and in things spiritual, yet itself dependent upon the mercy, the forbearance, and the long-suffering and power of the Most High. There the supreme power had passed an act for the express purpose of binding them. Here the Power Supreme above all had passed acts for the express purpose of binding, not only the Papacy, but all upon the earth. There, they presumed to re-enact, with slight alterations, the act which bound them. Here, he has presumed to re-enact, with the most material alterations, those acts which God had passed to bind the human race. That, the historian says, was “tantamount to a declaration of independence.” This was nothing less than an out and out declaration of independence. He has assumed all the titles of the King of kings and Lord of lords. But it is not enough that he should make himself equal to God, but he must exalt “himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” And in the matter of subordinate Government acting with Supreme Government, and subordinate with Supreme Ruler, I cannot conceive of a more decided and effectual means that could be employed for asserting independence than just the very means which he has employed, and which is so perfectly illustrated in the historical point under notice; that is, “to re-enact with alterations” the law of God, the ten commandments.SITI January 27, 1887, page 55.4