Curtis Dahlgren
The "Hand of History" writes its own reply to arrogance
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By Curtis Dahlgren
May 23, 2024

Reprinted from May 21, 2014

"The Christian blood you shed is the seed you sow; it springs from the earth again and fructifies the more." -Tertullian (155-222 AD)

"Coming events cast their shadows before." – Thos. Campbell (1777-1844)

GUESS: The following letter was written by whom?

"An anonymous posting was made accusing a number of people by name. Those who denied that they were Christians and cursed the name of Christ, in deference to you and our god, I freed. However, they also had to affirm that the only crime they committed was to meet on a certain day and sing hymns . . . According to your orders, I had forbidden political associations and found it necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two females called deaconesses.

"The only thing I found was a depraved and excessive superstition, but this contagion is not confined to the cities only, but has spread to the villages and country side, so I think it must be checked and cured while it still can be."

Was that letter written by someone in North Korea, China, or the Middle East? NO – it was written 1,910 years ago by Pliny the Younger at Bithynia to Emperor Trajan at Rome. So, there hasn't been any "evolution" toward justice in thousands of years.

Point is, America was the exception to the rule for a while. This continent was civilized by Bible-believing pioneers who came here for Freedom. This was considered a "new kind of country" by the Founders. They established economic freedom and religious freedom, and one hand washed the other. A quote by Frank Kingdon in "Architects of the Republic" (1947, Alliance Pub.):

"The America of Washington had no historic lines of class. The colonies were administered by governors sent by England, and these were scions of the feudal families, but feudalism itself never took root here. There was no obvious clash of interests between a ruling group and all the rest."

Assimilation by subsequent legal immigrants produced a "melting" that came to called Americanism. Yes there were some divisions, but nothing like the “two Americas” we have today. Back to Rome?

Tertullian wrote his manifesto of reply to the Empire somewhere around 200 AD:

"Crucify, torture, and grind us to powder if you can; your injustice is proof of our innocence. By your condemnation of a Christian woman recently, you confess essentially that your injustice [the quashing of free thought] is worse than the torment itself . . . Rack your inventions for tortures; it's all to no avail! You only attract the attention of the world and make more fall in love with our Faith; the more you mow us down, the quicker we rise."

There ought to be a lesson in there somewhere for latter-day Caesars, Czars, Kaisers, and kidnappers ("first they came for the Nigerian school girls; then they came for the 'fundies' and ‘Christian nationalists’)? The “excessive superstition” survived and the Roman republic was history.

The 21st century elites, like the proverbial impotent rooster, have nothing to crow about. While the East has one way of persecuting Christians, the West has other ways (lawyers and judges)! Woke laws and corporate sympathizers are turning justice on its head.

The point is, we haven't been fully "tested" yet, and as a professor Robert George recently said: "The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over . . . It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian."

"If ye think ye stand, take heed lest ye fall." Charles Darwin's family and friends were professing Christians, but he once wrote, "Disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress." Don’t become weary in well-doing and resisting the worldview of the ruling elites. Evil men “wax worse and worse” but the invisible Hand of History will write its own answer.

CONCLUSION: "No wonder we are unhappy, for it is our sins that made the barbarians strong; as in the days of Hezekiah, so today God is using the fury of the barbarians to execute His anger. Rome's army, once the lord of the world, trembles today at the sight of the foe . . . the wolves of the North have been let loose." – St. Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, 340-420 AD).

P.S. Here's a Memorial weekend meditation by a 19th century Boston pastor named Daniel Poling:

"Father of us all, thank you for life and another day in the present. Nor do we despise the past (into whose work we have entered); its errors warn us, its successes inform us, its sacrifices inspire us, and we are forever indebted to the road-breakers of liberty – to whom the soul of a little child was more precious than the buildings of a city, to whom nothing was greater than Freedom."

PPS: As the Fuller Brush salesman said, "I rest my case."

© Curtis Dahlgren

 

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)

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