TRULY, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF WITH MONOTONOUS REGULARITY — for the reason that those who will not learn the lessons of history are condemned to re-live it. There is no evil existing today, no threat of calamity over us today, which is really new: our ancestors faced the same thing, in basic principle, many times. Each time, they proved by agonizing, bloody experience, that there Is only one way to peace, prosperity and liberty; and all other ways lead only to horrible disaster. And each time, the lesson was forgotten with the passing of the generation which had paid the bitter cost, and the drift toward disaster was resumed.
You will find the story in your Bible in the Book of Judges, which records that “the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel, but all that generation were gathered unto their fathers, and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. And the Children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served idols.” Naturally, this brought its inevitable consequences: military defeats, finally conquest and years of servitude under another nation.
In the bitterness of their slavery, they remembered the God they had abandoned, and prayed to Him for deliverance––which He mercifully gave them. But the lesson lasted only 40 years, and again the people were disloyal to their God, again resulting in 18 years of servitude to their enemies before the awful lesson brought them back to their God. And so the process was again repeated, through seven such periods of defeat and servitude; because each time God rescued them, the lesson was not Impressed upon their children, who repeated the old mistakes and paid the old penalty