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American Sentinel, vol. 11

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    April 23, 1896

    “A Pernicious Fallacy” American Sentinel 11, 17.

    E. J. Waggoner

    VOX POPULI, VOX DEI.-“The voice of the people is the voice of God,”-is a very popular saying. This might be expected from the very nature of the case; for anything which tends to give the people a good opinion of themselves is sure to be popular. At the same time, no saying was ever invented that was farther from the truth. It is one of the most dangerous of Satan’s lies. Its effect is to lead people to ignore the plain commandments of God, which are revealed in His Word, and to put themselves in the place of God. It is taken for granted that what “the people” say and do must be right, even though there may be a command of God to the contrary. And thus this mischievous saying leads “the people” to exalt themselves above God, by making them think that by their united action they can change the decrees of God.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.1

    Men ought to be able to learn something from history; if they do not, history is written in vain. The lessons which we learn from the history of the past are equivalent to lessons concerning the future, for, “The thing that hath been,” said Solomon, “it is that which shall be; end that which is done is that which shall be done.” This is true because human nature is the same among all people, and in all ages. Let us recall a few of the things that have been.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.2

    The People Corrupted Their Ways

    Within a thousand years after the creation, God saw that “the people” had corrupted their way on the earth, and so nearly universal was the downward tendency, that only one man was found who followed the expressed commandment of the Lord. Yet, although the people were so nearly unanimous in their choice of evil, it did not cease to be evil, neither did they change the mind of God. Every man who followed the way that was “right in his own eyes” was destroyed by the flood.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.3

    It was “the people” who, shortly after the flood, thought to make a name for themselves by building a city and a tower whose top should reach to heaven; but God frustrated their plan to exalt themselves above Him, and their city was destroyed and they were scattered.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.4

    God Selected a People

    Coming down to later times, we find that when God would have a people for Himself, who should honor Him and keep the knowledge of His will alive in the earth, He found only one man, Abraham, whom He could select as the father of His people. And when that people had become great and were being conducted to the land which God had given to them, they were told, “The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people.” Deuteronomy 7:7. The majority of “the people” ignored God, and did as they pleased. Surely, if it were true that “the voice of the people is the voice of God,” God would not have rejected the bulk of mankind for a comparatively insignificant race.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.5

    Leaving out the great world who had rejected God, and had in consequence been rejected by Him, we find that “the people” whom God chose as His own peculiar people were, as a people, more often in opposition to God than in harmony with Him. It was “the people” who said to Aaron, “Make us gods, which shall go before us;” and when the golden calf was made, “the people” worshiped it. It was “the people” who said, “Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt;” and it was “the people” who time and again murmured against the Lord’s chosen prophet, and were often on the point of stoning him to death.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.6

    The People Cry, “Crucify Him.”

    In the days when Christ was on earth, it was His own people to whom He came, who rejected Him. When He was accused before the Roman governor, it was “the people” of Israel-God’s own chosen people-who cried, “Crucify Him!”AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.7

    Still later, when the disciples of Christ were many thousands in number in Jerusalem, they were still a poor, despised sect, and so few in number in comparison with “the people” who constituted the Church, that they were compelled to flee for their lives. Then Herod the king stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the church. And he killed James with the sword; and when he saw that “the people” were pleased, he proceeded to take Peter also. This same Herod it was who a short time afterwards made an oration to a vast concourse who had assembled to do him honor, “And ‘the people’ gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.” In this case “the voice of the people” was immediately shown to be not the voice of God for God rebuked their impiety, and caused the vile creature, whom they called a god, to die a loathsome death.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.8

    Still later we find that “the people” whom God had taken out from among the Gentiles, became so great that they were deemed worthy of State recognition.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.9

    In the Great Empire of Rome,

    which filled the world, the “Christians” were so numerous that the crafty and worldly-wise Constantine saw that it would be greatly to his advantage to favor them rather than his pagan subjects. So “the church” was “recognized” by the civil power. Thus the sect, which in the days of Paul was “everywhere spoken against,” now sat in the high places of the earth, and all nations were flowing unto it. See Isaiah 2:3, 3. Surely now the voice of the people must have been the voice of God, because Rome, which was then only a synonym for “the world,” was a “Christian nation.” This had not been brought about by a mere legal enactment without the concurrence of “the people,” but Christianity was exalted to the throne of the world because the majority so willed it. Constantine was too wise a ruler to make laws that would not receive the commendation of the majority of his subjects. The voice of the people was to him the voice of God, and when Christianity became the religion of the empire, it was simply the recognition of the prevailing sentiment.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.10

    But was the voice of the people in that case really the voice of God? Far from it. This expression of the will of “the people”-the church-was only the last step but one in that great apostasy of which Paul had written (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8), and which culminated in theAMS April 23, 1896, page 132.11

    Establishment of the Papacy,

    establishment of the Papacy, that “man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sat in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. This was the practical working of the adage, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” The falsity of that claim is shown by the fact that “the people” who have impiously exalted themselves above God by claiming that their voice is His, are to be consumed with the spirit of the Lord’s mouth, and destroyed with the brightness of His coming.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.12

    In the brief description of the rise of the Papacy, the reader cannot fail to recognize the words which the “National Reformers” use to describe their movement. It is a significant fact that the same language which they use to describe what they are working for, most accurately describes the establishment of the Papacy, that professedly Christian power that persecuted Christians to the death. There is not a plea which the National Reformers use in behalf of their proposed Amendment to the Constitution, which will not apply exactly to the setting up of the Papacy. They say, This movement is wholly in the hands of the Christian Church; so was the great apostasy of the first three centuries. National Reformers say, We do not want an Amendment to the Constitution until it will be the natural outgrowth of the sentiment of the Christian people of the country; all Constantine and his successors did was to make laws voicing the sentiments of “the Christian people” of the empire. Say the “Reformers,” “The success of this movement will make the United States a Christian nation; that is what Rome became. Say they, We will never persecute; so said “Christian” Rome under similar circumstances, but time will in this case demonstrate the fact that like causes always produce like effects.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.13

    “Woe unto you, ... because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.” Matthew 23:29-32.AMS April 23, 1896, page 132.14

    And like effects bring like punishments. Let those who are inclined toward so-called “National Reform” take heed and beware.AMS April 23, 1896, page 133.1

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