St. Paul does not speak of the political power of the Lawless One," but in The Revelation (xiii, 7) the Beast from the sea is spoken of as one to whom "authority is given over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." That the Beast and the Lawless One are the same person, we have already seen. We have, therefore, here only to enquire how far the political and social tendencies and movements of the time are preparing the way for this universal kingdom. Of these may be mentioned, Democracy, Socialism, Anarchy, and the Unity or Solidarity of nations.
Democracy. No one is ignorant of the rapid progress of democratic principles in all parts of Christendom during the present century, and especially during the last half of it. It may be said in. general of the Christian States, that the popular will ia supreme in them all, even in those where universal suffrage does not exist. More and more all sovereigns and rulers are eager to learn what the wishes of their people are, and careful not to set themselves in direct opposition to them. Whether in the existing monarchies hereditary succession will give place to popular election, is not certain, though it seems probable; but all rulers, hereditary or elected, are made more and more to feel themselves the servants of the people.
This growth of Democracy serves to prepare the way of the Antichrist by making the popular will supreme, both as to the choice of the rulers and the nature and extent of their rule; and by giving legal expression to that will. When a people elects its legislators, the legislation will be what the majority of the voters demand. In the past, among all Christian nations, such legislation has, in great part, been based upon Christian principles, and involved the recognition of God's authority. So long as this authority, as declared in the Scriptures or by the Church, is recognized, the popular will is not supreme; but according as it is denied, this supremacy is more and more enlarged. If, then, the belief become general, either that there is no God, the Lawgiver, or no expression of His will which is authoritative, what principle shall determine the character and limitations of legislation? The only principle is that of the public good; whatever this demands, is right. If, for example, the law of marriage given in the Bible is set aside as without authority, what shall determine what the new law shall be? It must be what the welfare of society demands, and this is a matter of popular judgment. The same principle governs all legislation. Thus, according to the measure in which Divine authority and laws are repudiated, and governments make the popular will the supreme rule of their action, do they enter into that sphere of lawlessness which forms the fitting preparation and environment for the Antichrist.
If the authority of God over the State be rejected, it needs not to be said that the authority of Christ as His Ruler is rejected also; although His teachings as ethical may still be powerful in moulding legislation. They are, however, powerful only from their intrinsic value, not as coming from one who has a right to command. We have reason to believe that, although the practical rejection of all now recognized Divine law may be gradual, the popular supremacy, based upon the public good, will at last be affirmed as absolute in all matters pertaining to man's welfare.
As Democracy makes the popular will supreme, so it provides in general suffrage the legal means of its expression. It is possible that, as regards rulers, this may find its last and highest illustration in the choice between Christ and the Antichrist. As at the end of the Lord's earthly life the Jews were called upon, in a way which we must regard as providential (Matt. xxvii, 15), to choose between Him and Barabbas ; so again will He be presented before the covenant peoples — the Christian nations — not indeed as personally present, that they may choose between Him and the Lawless One. The choice of the Antichrist is not to be the choice of the rulers only, or of the popular leaders, the multitude being unwilling, and silent, and passive; it is the act of the peoples, the direct or indirect expression of the popular will. It is the voluntary declaration of Christendom: "We will not have this man to rule over us." "Not this man, but Barabbas."
We may here note that a Democracy, looking upon its leader as its representative, willingly gives him a power even greater than the largest measure of his political prerogatives. The sovereign multitude, which sees in him not so much the ruler who commands them, as one who is the exponent and executor of their will, yields to him such a full and unreserved obedience as no mere despot can obtain. No Alaric or Tamerlane, at the head of his hordes, is so truly master as the recognized head of a Democracy, which sees its favourite beliefs embodied in his person; and to the power of modern discipline in its armies under his control, adds the zeal of a passionate, personal devotion. Democracy, headed up in one who can sway its forces, has such elements of aggression and strength as no form of government hitherto existing has had.*
Socialism. Of Socialism in general we have already spoken. It is rapidly becoming a powerful factor in political affairs; and we must enquire how it stands related to Democracy? Does it follow it as a legitimate development? This may be affirmed. Democracy gives political equality, and the preservation of this demands social equality. But how can this social equality be effected? Socialism answers, by limiting the individual ownership of capital, and enlarging the ownership of the State; and to this end it demands the enlargement of governmental powers. But in this it goes directly counter to the democratic spirit, which seeks rather to curtail the sphere of legislation, and to give to individuals the largest liberty of action. It has been almost a democratic axiom that the best government is that which governs least. But experience has shown that, when full play is given to individualism, the natural inequalities of physical, mental, and moral endowments soon bring in corresponding social inequalities.
*It is said by De Tocqueville, that "the notion of a sole and central power which governs the whole community by its direct influence, is natural to a Democracy. ... To governments of this kind the nations of our age are tending. In Europe everything seems to conduce to the indefinite expansion of the prerogatives of government."
Wealth is heaped up in the hands of the few; and society is soon divided into classes, the rich and the poor, employers and employed, the cultured and the noncultured; and with little of fraternal feeling, or of real sympathy between them. The accumulation of property in large masses in the hands of the few, gives them extraordinary power, political and social. As there is no assignable limit to the combinations of capital, and no prevention of it by ordinary legislation, the result is to widen the chasm between the classes, and to consolidate social distinctions; thus producing alienation of feeling, and leading in the end to active hostilities, to strife and bloodshed; and, if not checked, to anarchy.
Thus Democracy, which naturally inclines to individualism, and to limit so far as possible the functions of government, is forced by experience into the opposite extreme. Individualism must be limited; the rulers made more powerful; and the State becomes more and more important as its province is enlarged. As the great end of government is the welfare of society — the common well-being — it must have the power to control in all matters bearing on this wellbeing, however much individual liberty may be restricted.
We may now see the bearing of Socialism in preparing the way of the Antichrist in two particulars: first, in its claims to establish a better social order; 1 secondly, in the proposed enlargement of the powers of the State, as a means to this end.
As regards the first, Socialism affirms that its mission is to put an end to the contest now everywhere in Christendom active between the individual citizen and society, and to establish harmony, which simple Democracy is not able to do. It will, when fully carried out, bring in the Kingdom of God for which the world is waiting. Thus it awakens expectations of an age of prosperity and peace near at hand, and calls upon all to leave the old and go on to the new. It is obvious what a tempting opportunity this presents to a man of commanding ability, to appear as the representative of these hopes and expectations; and to gather around him, not only the discontented and restless, but many earnest and aspiring souls, that look forward to a great development of humanity. The ground is already prepared for him, the seed is sown, he has only to reap.
We thus see how, if socialistic ideas are received to any considerable extent in Christendom, awakening expectations of a new and better order, the Antichrist may find in these expectations the ready means of obtaining power, by presenting himself as the one by whom they can be realized. Weary of present ills, men are ever inclined to try new remedies. It is not necessary that all have a clear idea of the remedy which Socialism proposes, or fully accept its principles. It presents, at least, a flattering picture of the future; and as a swift stream carries with it much drift-wood, so many are swept onward by the prevalent spirit of the times.
Secondly, Socialism presents as the means of establishing a better social order, a great enlargement of the powers of the State. As it is a fundamental principle that government is to take charge of many interests now left wholly to personal control; it is plain that he who is able to put himself at the head of the State, will possess official powers far larger than any mere political ruler has ever possessed. As all interests are to be subordinated to the public good, and an equality of property and condition is to be established and enforced; there is scarcely any act of despotic authority which may not be defended upon the plea of the public well-being.
Anarchy. As Socialism would limit democratic individualism, Anarchy would make it absolute. The Anarchist would overthrow all government. It is said by Kropotkin ("The Nineteenth Century," Aug., 1887), "There may be order without government. . . . Humanity is trying to free itself from the bonds of any government whatsoever. . . . Social life needs no laws for its maintenance." His objection to Socialism is, that it accepts the principle of authority which he utterly repudiates. But it is not always easy to distinguish the most advanced Socialist from the Anarchist. They are agreed as to the overthrow of existing institutions, but not as to what shall follow. Though there may be many Anarchists here and there throughout Christendom, yet it is incredible that they can ever become in any country a political party of importance. The bearing of the anarchistic movement upon the establishment of the kingdom of the Antichrist is through fear. Though the number of avowed Anarchists will probably always be few, there are enough even at the present time to alarm all Christendom; since in their furious hate against existing institutions, and with the powerful means of destruction of both property and life which modern science gives them, they can keep cities in terror and agitate and perplex governments. The result of this must be a demand upon the State for protection, and a ready concession to it of all the powers necessary to repress their murderous attempts. Dreading Anarchy as the worst of all evils, if the existing governments show themselves incompetent, the cry will be for one whose iron hand can tame these wild beasts. And if we may suppose the Anarchists to continue to gain adherents, we may readily understand how welcome at last will be the strong man who can deliver society from its terror, and be its saviour; and what large powers will be willingly given him to this end.
The Unity or Solidarity of Nationt. Let us now note the tendencies to unity which point to the possibility of a universal kingdom over which Antichrist can rule.
As peoples are brought through increasing knowledge of one another into friendly relations, and as their industrial interests are seen to be one, the feeling of unity strengthens itself. The old lines of division, geographical, racial, political, religious, are now more and more effaced. It is seen that all have, in a sense, a common life, and form an organic whole. But while this tendency to unity is increasingly manifest, there is also seen a development of national feeling which tends to self-assertion, and to isolation. According as this prevails, there will be a strong repulsive force which would make the union of all under one rule difficult, if not impossible. But if all cannot be brought under one government, there may be a federation of States, each retaining in good measure its autonomy, yet having a common centre and acting together in all matters of common interest.
The kingdom best entitled in the past to the name of universal was the Roman; the bond of its unity was law enforced by arms. But this unity was only external, political, and therefore imperfect. It was rather a conglomeration of nations than a homogeneous empire. To effect this there must be other bonds; not only those affecting material interests, but those affecting the religious faith and inner life of the people. If these be wanting, all that is possible is a federation of States; and even such a federation is possible only when there has been developed a strong feeling of universalism. This was made apparent in the days of the first Napoleon, who saw clearly that the interests of the several European States would be best promoted by the establishment of some central authority; yet preserving the individuality, and to a great degree the autonomy, of each. At the head of this union of the nations he would have placed France, and himself at the head of France. But the time was not then ripe for such a federation. The elements of repulsion were too strong, and a unity made by mere physical force was out of the question.
But the matter is assuming in our day a new aspect. A stronger bond of unity has been found in the great development of industrial relations, through the International Labour Associations now overspreading Christendom.*
*Of these a recent writer says: "The International Associations have held congresses for twenty-five years in various capitals. The emancipation of labour is not simply a local or a national problem, but interests the working classes of all so-called civilized countries. . . . The final aim of the party is the complete emancipation of all human beings without distinction of sex, race, or nationality." But late movements of the socialistic party indicate that it does not believe that a great international community can be formed in which the ties of blood and of national feeling shall be swallowed up. Nor can there be a thorough union between artisans and agriculturists in regard to the abolition of private capital. The fusion of different races and classes can be made only by their gathering around some great leader in whom they trust, and who will adapt his policy to the necessities of the case.
•How high are the expectations of some, may be seen by some extracts from a recent popular writer (Atlantic Mag., April, 1896): "There are unmistakable tendencies to international union. . . . Few thinkers will now smile at the prediction that international war will be made impossible, or doubt the coming realization of Victor Hugo's dreams of the United States of Europe. And this would signify nothing less than the final obliteration of national frontiers, the removal of all barriers between European peoples, the ultimate fusion of Western races into one vast social organism." And more than this: "The evolutional trend would seem to be toward universal brotherhood, without distinction of country, creed, or blood."
*Werke, Leipzig, 1868, Vol. VI, p. 408. See E. D. Mead, New England Magazine, June, 1896.
The wage-workmen of all Europe understand that they have certain common interests, and constitute one industrial community, although territorially and politically separated. And there is more than an economical unity. There are common beliefs respecting the reconstruction of society, and plans for effecting this, common hopes and expectations as to the future of humanity, binding all very closely together. How strong these bonds of unity will prove, how far able to overcome the ties of race, and of inherited prejudices, and of political associations, time must show. But there are signs which indicate that, through the diffusion of socialistic ideas, there is now a basis being laid underneath the present institutions of Christendom, which will be deep and broad enough to serve as a foundation for a federation of States embracing all the civilized peoples. There is the feeling that such a unity of nations is a noble ideal which we may make real, and which appeals to what is best and highest in human nature, and especially to the generous aspirations of youth.*
The belief in the possibility of a great political union embracing all States has been expressed by many writers, but it will be sufficient to refer to the German philosopher Kant, in his essay, 1774, "The National Principle of the Political Order," and his essay, 1795, "Eternal Peace." * He lays down in them certain fundamental propositions; first, " that all the capacities implanted in a creature by nature are destined to unfold completely and conformably to their end in the course of time." We may, therefore, expect to see realized "a political constitution internally and externally perfect, as the only State in which all these capacities can be fully developed, and the destiny of man on the earth be fulfilled." As this cannot be done while States remain in conflict, they must come at last under "a universal cosmo-political constitution." This will be effected by a federation of States. But before this they must become republican,— Kant distinguishes between republicanism and democracy,—and thus there may be established a system of international right founded upon public law, conjoined with powers to which every State must submit. Thus will come " the universal, international State,"—" a great political body such as the world has never yet seen." This will be the perfect order under which all the capacities of the human race will be developed. As individual men live in unity within the State, so all the separate States may live in unity within a great universal State. Then war will cease, and the nations dwell together in "eternal peace ".
This conception of a federative Union, which agrees so closely with that foretold in The Revelation, was not based by Kant upon any belief in a revealed purpose of God, but on the principle that what ought to be will be. Believers in evolution see this Union in the future, as is said by Mr. Mead: "The evolution through which we are passing is an evolution to a great State of nations, a complete federation of the world." All holding this position will be ready to welcome the kingdom of the Antichrist as the culmination of human history.
In speaking of this federation of peoples no mention has been made of the religious bond, which in some sense is the most powerful of all. In virtue of it the Roman Church now rules over multitudes in every part of the world. Will religion become a bond of unity in the kingdom of Antichrist? Is there any form of religion which can take the place of Christianity, and become a world-religion? This question will be considered when we come to speak of the Church of the Antichrist.
But the question will arise, whether it is possible with the present advanced intellectual development of Christendom, and its great number of able statesmen and political philosophers, that any one man can attain to such supremacy of power?
In answer to this question it is to be noted that in the lower stages of civilization, and in the highest, individual men exert the greatest influence over their fellows, and become leaders. In a well-organized society, where all is fitly framed together by joints and bands, every man is kept in his place and limited in his action; and his personality, however marked, is comparatively of little importance. The strong and the ambitious thus restrained can render to the State better service through their greater energy. But in uncivilized communities where no such restraints exist, personal qualities find their full scope, and mark out the chiefs; and if there be one superior to the rest, he becomes the all but absolute leader. The same is true also of the civilized community when it reaches its last stage — the socialdemocratic. When laws and institutions are no longer reverenced as having religious sanction, when through continual changes they have no root in the traditions or love of the people, when rulers by popular election prove themselves incapable, when no surety or stability of legislation exists, and all are uncertain and anxious as to the future,— then there arises a general cry for a man. In the general disintegration it is only about a man that men can rally, not about abstract principles or written constitutions. All cry for one who, with a clear brain, inflexible will, and a strong arm, can serve as a centre of unity, and bring order out of confusion.
It is at the time of the end, when all elements, good and bad, are struggling together to the death, that this cry for the man becomes loudest; for all feel what is expressed by Carlyle, that " there is no other remedy for whatsoever goes wrong. There is but one man fraught with blessings to the world, and fated to diminish and successively abolish the curses of the world. For him make search, him reverence and follow; know that to find or miss him means victory or defeat for you." And as he is to be sought for, so he is, when found, to be obeyed and worshipped. "He is above thee, like a god. ... He is thy born king, thy conqueror, and thy supreme lawgiver." "To the primitive man the noble human soul was Divine, demanding worship." "Human worship everywhere, so far as there lay any worth in it, was of the nature of hero-worship." "Hero-worship, heartfelt, prostrate admiration; submission, burning, boundless, for a noblest godlike form of man; is not this the germ of Christianity itself?" "Hero-worship is the summary ultimate essence and supreme perfection of all matter of worship."
This sense of the importance of the man, as emphasized by Carlyle, is wholly in accord with his pantheistic philosophy. As humanity is Divine, he in whom is its fullest measure is the Divine man, the guide, leader, and ruler of all. And as there must be somewhere in the world such a man, one above all others, unless we suppose two or more exactly equal, he is to be sought out, and exalted to his true place, and obeyed and worshipped. Before him, when he shall appear, Carlyle, and all Pantheists, must bow down, and yield him "submission, burning, boundless." He will be to them "like a god, a born king, a conqueror, and supreme lawgiver." Who does not see in the Divine man of the Pantheists all the features of the Antichrist?
But the political supremacy of the Antichrist is not to be explained by his extraordinary personality, and the tendencies of the times, alone. There is, also, an invisible Power, of whom we know only through revelation, he whom the Lord called "the prince of this world." It is as invested with his authority, and endowed by him with superhuman powers, that the Antichrist rules. We read in The Revelation (xiii, 2) that " the dragon gave the beast his power, and his throne, and his great authority." And the apostle Paul says that the coming of the Lawless One "is according to the working of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying wonders." It was, as we have seen, in the post-apostolic age, and with the false conception of the kingdom as already set up, that the Church, although she did not deny the existence of Satan, and a measure of activity on his part, yet affirmed that he was so far bound that he could offer no effectual resistance to her work in the conversion and rule of the nations. - It need not be said that, as the prince of this world, and as playing a most important part in human history, Satan lives no longer in the faith of many. How far the belief in his existence continues in Christendom, it is not easy to say; multitudes, doubtless, reject it as an idle superstition; and all the tendencies of modern thought run in this direction.
But if the existence of Satan and his power in the earth are a reality, it is more than folly to ignore them. To those who receive the Scriptures in their obvious meaning, and the teachings of the Church, "a kingdom of darkness," of which he is the head, is a reality. There are invisible powers who set themselves against God in all He would do for men; and who have control over men in proportion as they voluntarily yield themselves to their temptations. Against them mere unbelief is no safeguard; an incredulous and scoffing age is most easily befooled.
The Lord was tempted by the proffer of "all the kingdoms of the world" if He would pay homage to the tempter, and He refused with abhorrence. But Satan finds at last one who will willingly accept what he would give, and to whom he can transfer his throne and great authority. Many of the Christian fathers depicted this man as a monster, repellant in person, and stained with every vice. But we have seen ground to believe that the world will see in him one who represents in fullest measure its conception of human perfectibility; one worthy to be the leader of men, and their ruler.
By what successive steps Antichrist will attain to supreme power, it is not for us to say. But it is obvious that, as the son of his time, he must represent its beliefs, its needs, its aspirations. There must be a community of feeling between him and those who first gather around him. If the antichristian spirit is already widely prevalent, he will at once find many who will be his helpers and instruments in his further plans. Later, he may use force, as did Mohammed, and destroy all who will not submit to him. But it is contrary to the light which Revelation gives us, to suppose that his career is one of uninterrupted success. On the contrary, we seem to be taught that he early receives a check through the testimony of men inspired of God, symbolized by the "Two Witnesses" (xi, 3), who make known to the Church his true character and aims, and thus recall to their Christian faith many who had been deceived by him. At this time he is said in symbolic language to go down into the abyss, his power for a time obscured, and the nations bewildered in dark forebodings. But from this he soon emerges, full of satanic energy; and now crushes all opposition, and puts himself at the head of the nations.
In this rise of the Antichrist into power the world at large will, we may believe, see nothing supernatural, nothing wholly new to human experience. History records many instances of men, who, appearing as the representatives of new beliefs, new principles, new institutions, have overthrown the old, and attained dominion. What is necessary is that the old should have lost its hold upon many minds as outworn, and that the new seems better fitted to their needs. To this must be added the gift of leadership, the faculty of command. We might take from history many illustrations. The diffusion of Christianity through the Roman Empire, and the decadence of Paganism, gave to Constantine the opportunity of appearing as the champion of the new faith, and thus to attain to supreme power. Substantially the same conditions reappear to-day. The old Christian faith is struggling with infidelity in its many forms. Not a few are asking for a new religion. There is everywhere political discontent, social agitation; the peoples are saying: "We are weary of the old, it has disappointed us, it cannot save us, let us try the new." It needs only another Constantine; and a new order, political, social, religious, now rises upon the ruins of the old.
It is thus very possible that Christendom may see in the growing political ascendency of the Antichrist nothing that shows the hand of Ood in judgment, or any power of Satan; only the supremacy of the boldest, and strongest, and wisest. Those alone who believe the revealed word, and seek in the light of the Spirit to discern the signs of the times, will see that he is the predicted one to whom Satan gives his throne, and whom God uses as His rod to punish His disobedient people; others will see in his rule over the nations no more than their voluntary acceptance of him on the ground of his greater ability to further the general well-being. Not till the last stage of his career will his satanic character be fully revealed, and the Christians who have followed him turn back to their true Lord.
The duration of the rule of the Antichrist is brief. If the numbers, "forty and two months," "twelve hundred and sixty days," and "time, times, and half a time," or "three years and a half," are to be taken literally, we may conclude that his ascendency will be for a period of seven years — the first half spent in attaining power, the last in its despotic and bloody exercise. This is the judgment of many commentators, but no undue stress is to be laid upon such chronological conclusions.
As regards the extent of this kingdom, recent events which have brought China and Japan and other countries of the East into close relations with the Christian Powers, may have important bearings. The same may be said of the late division of much of Africa among the same Powers. Should there be a federation of the States of Christendom, its authority would extend over most of Asia and Africa; and through the present means of intercommunication this might be easily exercised and enforced.
Another marked feature of the present time is the revival of the Turkish Empire from its state of weakness and decay; and the growing zeal of Mohammedanism to extend itself among the Oriental peoples and African tribes. What the future relations of Mohammedanism to Christianity may be, it is not for us to foretell, but the present indications are that they will be those of bitter hostility.
Considering the movements and tendencies of the time, democratic, socialistic, anarchistic, cosmopolitical, we find no difficulty in understanding how there may be a federation of States under one head, realizing the prediction in The Revelation of the union of the Ten Kings and the Beast. That these Kings act together in their persecution of the apostate Church, and "give their Kingdom unto the Beast, till the words of God shall be fulfilled," is expressly ascribed to His own action upon them: "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will." (Rev. xvii, 16,17.)
We may see in this union of the rulers of Christendom against Christ, the final fulfilment of the predictions of the second Psalm. "Why do the nations rage (tumultuously assemble), and the peoples imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." R. V.
It is not a rebellion of the kings and rulers only against God and His Anointed King, but of the nations and peoples of Christendom. No longer will they be in subjection to any Divine rule. All laws and ordinances having Christ's name will they cast away. And the ground of this general rebellion is the deep hatred of the doctrine of human sinfulness, of which the cross is the symbol. This hatred becomes more and more intense as humanity seems to be ascending higher and higher in knowledge and power and goodness, and indefinite progress is open before it. The boasting of its great representative meets on all sides a welcome response: "I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. ... I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High." (Isa. xiv, 13, 14.) But " He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision." His King is the lowly One who humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto the death of the cross; and now exalted to the Father's right hand, is the King of kings and Lord of lords; before whom every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Of the political relations of the Antichrist to the Jewish people, little can be definitely said. In considering our Lord's teachings (page 18), we saw that He spoke of one who should come in his own name, whom the Jews would receive. This one is generally understood by commentators to be the Antichrist. But to what extent he will be received and worshipped by the Jews, and whether he will gather them again to their own land, are questions we cannot answer.
Note.— Some very recent remarks of Lord Salisbury (Mansion House Speech, Nov. 9, 1897) shew, in a striking way, how the nations are unconsciously co-operating with God in the fulfilment of His purpose. "The consent of Europe, or, as I prefer to call it, the inchoate federation of Europe, is a body which acts only when it is unanimous. But the difficulty of preserving unanimity is often great. . . . Remember that the federation of Europe is the embryo of the only possible structure of Europe which can save civilization from the desolating effects of a disastrous war. . . . The one hope we have to prevent this competition of the nations from ending in a terrible effort of mutual destruction, which will be fatal to Christian civilization — the one hope we have is, that the Powers may gradually be brought together in a friendly spirit on all questions of difference which may arise, until at last, they may be welded In some international constitution or federation which will give to the world, as a result of their great strength, a long spell of unfettered and prosperous trade and continued peace."