ZWT - 1901 - R2748 thru R2928 / R2866 (273) - September 1, 1901
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VOL. XXII. SEPTEMBER 1, 1901. No. 17.
Views From the Watch Tower........................275
The Breach Widens.............................278
A Modern Reformation..........................279
Respecting Foreign Missions.......................281
Preach the Gospel to Every Creature...........282
The Watered Lilies................................284
Interesting Questions Answered....................286
Public Ministries of the Truth....................288
Items: Preserve Your Towers, etc..................274
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH, 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON E. ENGLAND.
PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE, 5c (2-1/2d.) A COPY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
THE CLEVELAND CONVENTION.
Notice that lower rates have been secured--$1.00 per day. Inquire of your own ticket agent, in good season, respecting "G.A.R. Excursion Tickets." Notify us at once if you desire lodgings secured, as rooms will be scarce.
PRESERVE YOUR TOWERS.
Those who have preserved their WATCH TOWERS for some years back will be glad, especially in view of the new Bible with references to the DAWNS and past six years of TOWERS. Order sample copies for circulation among your friends. We advise friends to get their back TOWERS from 1895 to Aug. 1901 bound. Together they make a splendid volume. Any binder can do it.
WALL CHARTS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES.
We have had some copies of "The Chart of the Ages" painted in German, Swedish and Dano-Norwegian to correspond with the English--5 ft. long. These cost 50c additional, namely, $2.00 each, carriage paid in U.S. Gotten up singly they would cost at least $5.00 each.
THE LEATHER BOUND DAWNS.
We are of the opinion that few have noticed the remarkably low price at which these are supplied. The present lot is very handsome. See next column.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
RIGHT AND WRONG VIEWS OF THE PRESENT SITUATION.
IF WE but remember that nothing in the world's history offers any comparison to present social and financial conditions, we may well regard with a great deal of charity the conflicting views of able and conscientious men respecting the causes, the disadvantages, the proper remedies, and the outcome, of the movements now on foot throughout the civilized world. God's people, justified and sanctified and separate from the world, with new aims and spiritual ambitions before them, and with the instruction and enlightenment of the divine revelation--the Bible-- should be able to take a calmer, a clearer, a more comprehensive, and therefore a more true, view of affairs, past, present and to come, than others; for we are to remember that it is prejudice and self-interest which generally has much to do with the blinding of those who see not from the divine standpoint.
From this standpoint we see that neither the rights nor the wrongs of motive or of action lie all on one side of these questions; and, seeing this, we are better able to take a sympathetic position, and to exercise our influence amongst those with whom we come in contact, in the interests of peace. All of the Lord's people should be peace-makers; none of them should be strife-makers. There are generally a sufficient number of selfish forces at work in and about every individual to stir up his mind, to breed in him discontent, and to arouse the passions of anger and malice and hatred; there are few influences, at work, on behalf of gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. Hence there is the more necessity that the Lord's people continue pouring oil upon the troubled waters--the oil of the holy spirit, with which their cup is to overflow; the oil of joy as opposed to the spirit of heaviness and discontent; the oil of hope, which illumines the future gloriously, and thus offsets and counteracts the darkness of present discouragements.
As an illustration of how good and wise men sometimes fail to get a correct view of matters, take the following extract from a Philadelphia journal:--
A SPECIES OF INSANITY.
"A terrible trouble is disturbing the earth at the present time. It more resembles a species of insanity than anything else. As we know, among members of an undeveloped society the maniacal tendency is not common; that tendency is an accompaniment of civilization. All must have noted the fact that the possession of extraordinary endowments and a facile loss of mental balance, or great wits and madness, as the poet has told us, are somehow near allied. They have a way of going together. Just so here. To-day it is not the dull nations, but the bright ones, the most advanced in refinement and everything of that sort, that seem craziest in the craze at this moment sweeping the world. The dementia is practically an exclusive possession of the Great Powers of Europe, troubling England worst, but reaching out and affecting
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us in this country in some ways, perhaps, worst of all. It seems a madness of the Anglo-Saxon, as he loves to call himself, more than of any other people. And plainly this madness is the result of a disease; it is the outworking of the greed microbe, or it comes from the yeasting in the human blood of the lust for property and dominion. And because of this frenzied, grasping tendency, which, as a sort of demonism, has taken possession of the leading nations of men, and of our own people and the ruling element among them particularly, the whole earth is plunged into a condition of singularly disastrous feud and conflict at the present moment.
Leading nations have simply fallen into a veritable madness in their scramble for trade. That is precisely the way things are. Commercial interests, so called, stand ready and are eager to sacrifice everything --untold treasures of the people at large, along with their highest rights and profoundest welfare--in order to keep or attain supremacy for themselves and
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for the furthering of their ends. Think what, under this influence, not only Great Britain and we in America, but Russia also, and Germany and France and Italy, are ready to spend in this desperate rivalry! Millions on millions of the people's money are these nations hot to lavish in outlay so as to buy or bribe the chief advantage in trade lines, the one against the other. This is at the bottom of our militarism. Here is what our wars mean....War, we may rest assured, is always precisely as General Sherman characterized it. There is no good in it for anybody; only evil--the consummation of evil. A trade war is the same as any other. Greed is behind it; and we have the highest authority for holding that greed is behind all wars. They come of men's lusts. But to-day, greed in the elaborations and marvelous complications of modern life has become an overmastering disease. The whole land is swept by it. Society quivers in its sway; so do our churches and our homes. Commerce is maddened by it. It is a craze in the heart of the nations. It has well nigh come to be a veritable demoniacal possession, driving the whole wide world, and especially the peoples that ought to be conspicuous in light and leading, into a desperate frenzy, making the immediate outlook for highest human welfare very dark and foreboding."
This is all a mistake. The present agitation and grasp for power and trade is not the result of a special disease of greed and selfishness--not a new form of insanity. On the contrary, it is the result of a larger amount of reasoning on the part of humanity in general, and especially on the part of statesmen and financiers, along lines which the writer of the above article, however otherwise intelligent, has not fully appreciated. The fact is that the present movement is the result of conditions, and not the result of theories. Theories, aggressive theories, selfish theories, have prevailed in the world for centuries, and probably prevail no more to-day than in the past. It is not a new microbe of greed that has attacked mankind, but new conditions which appeal strongly to what for a long time has been known as the first law of nature-- self-preservation.
Statesmen and financiers the world over have realized that the new conditions brought into the civilized world during the past fifty years mean a revolution --an irresistible revolution. They mean that machinery and steam and electric power have become the servants of men, and that these servants can be multiplied at a comparatively small cost, and that the necessities of Christendom can now or shortly be supplied by one-third the population; which means that, now or shortly, two-thirds of Christendom's population will be in enforced idleness. Statesmen and financiers seek to ward off such a condition of things, realizing that it would mean calamity, financial, social and political. This is the secret, then, of the effort on the part of the most highly civilized peoples in the world to obtain new markets for their goods and to retain their hold upon the markets already established, at home and abroad.
There are people who tell us that business should revert to old-time methods, moderation, fair prices, limited production, and general contentment; but such people fail to recognize the great change that has come upon the world in respect to conditions. They fail to see that the business pressure which is now exerted is not a voluntary one, but rather an enforced one; for those who would persist in following old-time methods in manufacturing or business would speedily find themselves bankrupt. Consequently all find it necessary to bestir themselves and adopt new methods of business adapted to our day. As they are pushed on by others, so others in turn are pushed on by them. The civilized world is like a great crowd; at the head are the world's notables, backed each of them by the hundreds and thousands and millions of humanity, willingly or unwillingly depending upon them for guidance, for life's comforts, yea, for its necessities. The entire crowd has tasted of the conveniences and blessings of civilization, and the determination of the whole is that they will not go back into barbarism and savagery, but will press on; and a fear of personal or class or national disadvantage is continually goading the great majority of this struggling mass, bidding each look out for himself and his own interests, and let no opportunity escape his grasp.
With the majority the impelling fear is an undefined one; and yet, in a general way, all seem to apprehend that some sort of a check to the world's advancement, and to their individual progress, is imminent. Whether they can discern the ramified influences connecting them individually as factors in the problem or not, they can realize that the more lucrative situations in life are few in comparison to the numbers of humanity; and they can see, too that prosperous waves come to the world occasionally, through an increased demand for the products of machinery and the soil. They can see that if the Chinese Empire, for instance, with its hundreds of millions of population, were thrown fully open to the commercial enterprise of Christendom, it would cause the wave of prosperity in Christendom to have that much longer roll, because it would require time for the Chinese to fully adapt themselves to the new conditions introduced by machinery; it would require time for them to learn how to install and to operate the machinery, and thus that the evil day of over-production would be put off the further into the future. Instead of calling these men "insane" shall we not, on the contrary, say that they are wise in their generation;--that they are acting out the only part they could be expected to take, as wise men of the world, laboring under the law of personal and national selfishness,--the law under which all the world has for centuries been operating? We hold that the energy of these politicians and financiers is an energy begotten of wisdom, and remember the words of Solomon, "The wise man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, while the foolish pass on and suffer for it."--`Prov. 27:12`.
As our Master said at the first advent, so we may now repeat,--"The children of this world are wise in their generation"--wiser, sometimes, than are the children of light. Therefore the latter need to take the more earnest heed to the divine revelation, which is able to give them the "spirit of a sound mind" beyond all others.
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The Scriptures give the key to the present situation: they show us clearly that the divine law of love has always condemned the law of selfishness, under which fallen humanity has long governed itself. The law of selfishness is no worse a law to-day than it has always been. It has been the cause of wars, injustices, sufferings, slaveries, etc., in all the periods of history. It is neither worse nor better to-day; but new conditions have come upon us: civilization has lifted one-fifth part of the world to a higher plane of thought and sentiment, and upon these, since the beginning of "the day of his preparation," 1799, the Lord has been gradually lifting the veil and granting a discernment of the secrets of nature, which has resulted in great chemical and mechanical discoveries. These, while proving great blessings to mankind, are sure eventually to bring great calamities, by reason of conflict with the law of selfishness now prevailing. All thinking men realize that under the laws of selfishness, competition, etc., it is only a question of time when the vast resources and possibilities of machinery in the hands of the brightest and keenest of the world's population will reach the point of a death-struggle with the masses of Christendom,--not even waiting to reach the masses of heathendom. All wish to avoid this crash, for all instinctively realize that it will be terrible when it comes; but many seek to avoid the matter by saying to themselves, It will not come in my day, anyway. And meantime each feels as though he is powerless to stem the current, or to resist the pressure which is behind him.
* * *
As an illustration of the forces at work in Christendom, a result of the new conditions introduced to the world during the nineteenth century, note the strife between the United States Steel Corporation and the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Much can be said on each side of the question, but it all resolves itself in harmony with the foregoing. The capitalists, representing the money invested and the machinery, are pressed by competition and seeking to maintain their own standing financially and to make progress. They do not desire the degradation of their workmen in any sense or degree; but
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would much prefer that they were all comfortable and provided with steady employment. The more intelligent amongst the workmen realize that captains of industry and accumulations of capital are necessary to progress and prosperity; and while wishing to be comfortable, well-to-do, and to share in the comforts and luxuries of life, the better class of workmen have no special complaint to make that their employers are better housed, surrounded with greater luxuries every way than themselves. They have no desire to bring disaster either upon their employers or the trade in which they are engaged, or the country which is their home. Their interests in large measure lie in the same direction as that of their employers --they desire prosperity, and extension of trade to this end. The majority of them are not so anxious to become wealthy as they are anxious lest they should become poor--lest they should lose, in whole or in part, the comforts and advantages which they now enjoy, and which are far beyond those enjoyed by their parents at any time in the past.
Why, then, is there need of a rupture? Why, with admittedly satisfactory wages, and admittedly satisfactory hours of work, should there be a strike and more or less of a paralysis of important business interests? The reason is fear. As the Scriptures declare respecting the present time, "Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (`Luke 21:26`.) Present conditions are satisfactory enough, all will admit--both employers and employed. The whole question is one pertaining to the future--fear. The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers demands that all the works of the United States Steel Corporation should be "unionized"--that the affairs and interests of all the workmen, nearly one hundred thousand in number, should be recognized as under the care and supervision, and subject to the arrangements and contracts, of the officers of the Amalgamated Association. The United States Steel Corporation refuses this demand, and claims that this in effect would mean that they would compel all of their workmen to join the Amalgamated Association; and, this they have insisted, would be an unreasonable thing to do, and one which they could not do.
To the unsophisticated it will seem strange that there need be any serious ruction or quarrel over a matter of this kind; for, on the surface, as stated by both parties, benevolence would seem to be the object of both. The Amalgamated Association benevolently wants to assist the non-union men, and the United States Steel Corporation also benevolently wishes to protect the non-union men in their rights. Where pure love and benevolence of this kind controls on both sides of the question, why need there be any dispute or strike?
Ah! there it is. In this question, as in nearly every other question, selfishness hides itself under a cloak of benevolence, and would fain deceive others, and itself also. Not pure benevolence, but almost pure selfishness, is actuating both parties. The United States Steel Corporation reasons that if all of its mills and employes were under the control of the union, it would be thoroughly at the mercy of the officers of that union, to whose generosity and justice they are unwilling to entrust themselves and their varied interests, valued at a thousand millions of dollars. They say, No! So long as some of the mills are independent and under our control it will not matter so much if others of them are under the control of the union, for then we will not be completely at the union's mercy, and the latter will be obliged to treat us with a measure of consideration and justice. It is, therefore, a very serious question with us, and we prefer to lose millions of dollars now, than to risk, to jeopardize, our interests under the complete control and perhaps tyranny of a labor union.
The Amalgamated Association is laboring, also, along lines of selfishness, and not from pure benevolence and good-will toward the non-union men. They say to themselves: It is all right as it is, so long as times are prosperous, as at present; but as there have been hard times before, so we may reasonably expect them to come again, when there will be overproduction, idle mills and idle men. At such a time we may
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be sure that the Steel Corporation, recognizing us as the protectors of skilled labor, and the maintainers of its interests as respects time and pay and conditions, and realizing a future time of still sharper competition and lower prices, would grasp such an opportunity to do all in its power to destroy our union, and thus to have labor unresistant at its command. We feel sure that in a season of dullness the non-union mills would be given the preference as respects steady employment, while the union mills would be at the disadvantage, to the intent that our organization might be disrupted. Now, therefore, is our time, while business is good, while our labor is in demand, while the mills are behind with orders-- now is the time for us to strike, if thereby we can unionize all the mills and place ourselves and all workmen upon a firmer footing for the maintenance of our rights in the future, when the final desperate struggle between capital and labor must come.
We cannot say that either party in the conflict is foolish or insane. We must admit that both are wise as respects their own interests.
If these were all Christian brethren; if the spirit of Christ dwelt in them all richly and abounded; if the spirit of love had wholly or even half supplanted the spirit of selfishness, the matter might very easily be adjusted; for we remember that love is not puffed up, vaunteth not herself, seeketh not her own, but is the very embodiment of generosity and kindness. But, again, it is not a theory we have to deal with, but facts. In theory the civilized world is all Christian, sometimes called, "The Christian World," and "Christendom." But these are misnomers; the fact is the world is not Christian except in name; they are still "kingdoms of this world," still children of this world, and only a remarkably few belong to the Kingdom of the Lord, and either know him or desire to be controlled by his spirit of love.
What can we do? Can we hope to convert these millions, to whom the message of the gospel has come with more or less clearness all their lives? We cannot so hope. We must remember, on the contrary, that this is not the divine plan; that in the divine plan part of the important lesson which the world is now learning is the very lesson which it was intended it should learn, viz., that selfishness always brings misery, --directly or indirectly. The world must thus learn the lesson that the only true peace and prosperity is that which God purposes, and will eventually establish through the Kingdom of his dear Son. The world is learning the lessons that wealth does not give complete happiness, but still leaves an aching void; and that all the comforts and conveniences of civilization, coming to the world of mankind, with good food, good clothing, and much advantage every way, do not change the heart nor bring in true happiness. In a word, the world must learn that civilization is not Christianization.
For centuries the Lord's wheatfield, the Church, has been overgrown with tares, who are not the offspring of the Lord's spirit at all--who have never been "begotten again," who are not of the "wheat" class in any degree. These "tares" have been passing under the name of Christian, while really and truly they are worldlings--not bad people, many of them, not all immoral by any means, some of them generous, kind, and, in a worldly sense, good--but not "begotten of the spirit." We are in the harvest-time, "the end of the age," and a complete separation must be made. For not one tare is to be gathered into the kingdom garner. On the contrary, a complete demonstration shall be made, as between the wheat and the tares. There are grains of "wheat," so far as we know, interested on both sides of this question, but the vast majority on both sides are of the "tare" class. The wheat, therefore, are not to expect to be understood, or to have the true position appreciated by the others; but nevertheless are to be content and to rejoice in what the Lord discloses to them through his Word, viz., that this time of trouble that the whole world sees impending, will be the final lesson by which the Lord will demonstrate to the world the difference between the reign of sin and the reign of righteousness--between the reign of selfishness and the reign of love.
In the great time of trouble, when all their various systems, religious, political, social, financial, go down in a maelstrom of anarchy, there will be a great opening of eyes,--a passing of present illusions. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." They will come to see that the Lord's way is the right way,--the only satisfactory way; that the law of love is the only law which can bring everlasting happiness and blessing to any and to all who will obey it. They will come to see, what they do not now realize, that the Lord's true Church in the world was a "little flock," a "peculiar people," guided by the Lord's eye, and by his Word, who, through much tribulation, trials of faith, trials of patience, etc., will become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, in the glorious Kingdom which will be established upon the ruins of present institutions, for the blessing of all the families of the earth, with a righteous government. Let us then continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it
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is done in heaven."
THE BREACH WIDENS.
Not long since it was announced that all "union workmen" would withdraw from the volunteer State and National Guards, lest they should be called upon to protect properties when strikes were on, or to suppress riots in which fellow-workmen might be engaged. Now we have the announcement that the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers will start a military organization of its own. Indeed the movement took definite shape on Saturday, August 3, as announced in the Wheeling, W. Va., Register of August 4, as follows:
"A.A. OF IRON & STEEL WORKERS TO FORM MILITARY
A movement was started in this city yesterday for organizing a strong military branch of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Tin and Steel Workers. The organization is designed to band the members closer together, to promote a better fraternal and social
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feeling, to protect the property of mill owners in cases of strikes, and for self-defense.
The Register has been in possession of information for more than a week, to the effect that the idea has been agitated among Amalgamated men both in Wheeling and elsewhere. Not until yesterday, however, did the matter assume anything like tangible shape. Crescent Lodge, comprising the workmen employed at the Whitaker mill, held a regular meeting in the afternoon, during which the subject was broached.
The matter was generally discussed, and several of the speakers were enthusiastically applauded. The details of the plan had previously been discussed among the men, and they were familiar with the subject when they came to the meeting.
Crescent Lodge heartily approved the idea, and decided to enroll membership in the military branch at the next meeting of the lodge. It is expected that other lodges in this section will take the same course, now that Crescent has taken the initiative, and endorse the military plan.
The discussion at the meeting evolved the following reasons for the organization of a military branch of the Amalgamation:
First--It would band the members into closer union, promote fraternal and social feeling, and familiarize the members with the manual of arms of the United States army. Military organizations are regarded as beneficial to other bodies, and the same degree of benefit could be extracted by the Amalgamation. The opinion was expressed that no difficulty would be experienced in organizing companies of 100 members each, in nearly all the lodges in the order. In a short time a National military branch would be the outcome, and beneficial features might be added.
Second--In cases of strikes and lockouts, the lodges would be in position to tender their services to mill owners for the protection of their property. It has been frequently charged, and it is claimed by Amalgamation men that it has been proven, that the lawless element has been incited to deeds of violence against capital, for the specific purpose of creating a public sentiment antagonistic to unions and strikers. In the discussion in Crescent lodge, it was stated that labor leaders have consistently contended for law and order, and that they have never sanctioned violence.
* * *
It is expressly understood among the members of Crescent lodge that the military body will not be subject to orders from any government authority, except as individuals. Their position is the direct antithesis of that. They will not place themselves in positions to be called upon by State authorities in cases of strikes and labor disturbances, but they take the position that labor troubles may be obviated if mill owners will accept their services in the spirit in which they are offered.
We cannot blame the managers of the trusts if they call in question the benevolence of this movement, and surmise that it means an eventual resort to carnage and anarchy between the two great companies of fellow creatures now being pressed into the vortex of strife for mastery by the inexorable laws of supply and demand and supported by constitutional selfishness, and both parties goaded on by fear.
Temporarily the power is in the hands of wealthy and wise captains of industry; who, at any cost, will strive to hold on to all the advantages they have already attained; for the mills may stand idle for a time with only the loss of dividends, while the mechanic's necessities continue and his credit is necessarily small. Besides, by the laws of nature, his competitors are increasing even in his own family, not to mention the attractions which his employment, and hours and wages present to labor from other fields, which can soon learn to operate machinery successfully.
Unquestionably capital must win in this contest under present conditions; but unquestionably also the ultimate result will be a grinding of the masses, between upper and nether millstones of supply and demand, until the danger point has been reached and the great explosion follows;--anarchy and destruction, born of fear and despair and not of preference or a love of lawlessness. "There shall be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."--`Dan. 12:1`; `Matt. 24:21`.
Our advice to "brethren" in connection with all such troubles is, Yield--bend--submit to the inevitable as quietly and kindly and peaceably as possible. Seeing the outcome be "content" to let the Lord fight your battles. Accept whatever "rights" you can secure by lawful and peaceable means, and wait for the King Immanuel and his Kingdom of equity for the remainder of your "rights." Consider that you already have and enjoy more blessings and rights and privileges than your fathers, and more than as members of the fallen race you could justly demand; and be ye thankful. Additionally you can think generously of those on both sides of this conflict seeing that both are forced to the issue by present-day conditions. And thank the Lord for the light of his Word, which permits you to see matters thus in their true light.
A MODERN REFORMATION.
From the "London Daily Chronicle."
While the attention of the British public has been divided between South Africa and China, events of far-reaching importance have occurred in France, Portugal, and Spain. With little comment from the Press, and scant notice from people not directly affected, laws have been promulgated or revived in France and Portugal that aim a dangerous blow at the priestly brotherhoods whose directors are in the Vatican, and whose ramifications extend all through the Latin countries. Students of Continental life have seen the slow approach of an anti-clerical movement in the countries overrun by the powerful militant associations of the Latin Church, but not a few have thought that the agitation would spend itself in protests.
FRANCE AND THE RELIGIOUS ORDERS.
In France the feeling against the religious houses (Jesuits, Assumptionists, Dominicans, Benedictines, Carmelites, and other Orders) has been growing year by year.
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It is unlikely that the full power of the Roman Church in matters beyond its proper jurisdiction was perceived by the men at the head of French affairs before the Dreyfus case, and then the gravity of the situation impressed itself upon the few strong men left on the side of the Republic. That the Church would overthrow the Republic if it could, was apparent to all thinking people, and in the meantime the Vatican's campaign was making the army unmanageable. It must be left to the historian to say what France owes to the Marquis de Gallifet and to M. Waldeck-Rousseau, who tempered courage with prudence at a very critical time, and to estimate the events that would have followed General Roget to the Elysee had he accepted the invitation of the half-mad enthusiast and patriot, Paul Deroulede. While the loudest outcry of the Nationalists has been directed against the Jews, at the instance of the Jesuits, who have never forgiven the Jewish financiers for breaking up the "Union Generale," it has been evident that the Republic is the offender in their eyes, the various groups that make up the National party finding, in hatred of the Republic, their one common sentiment. As the Latin Church has nothing to hope from the Republic, and everything to expect from a Pretender of the type of the Duc d'Orleans, it has befriended the Nationalists, and sought to capture the power in times of crises. And it has very nearly succeeded.
It is reasonable to believe that the new law for the regulation of Associations will be strictly enforced, and, unless the unexpected happens, the brotherhoods of the Latin Church, now working in Paris under orders from Rome, will become illegal communities by the end of the year, liable to suppression. Their members will be liable to fine and imprisonment. If M. Waldeck-Rousseau succeeds in a task that is well nigh completed, the Jesuits will no longer be able to train the young officers of the French Army; they will not be able to exert secret influence over the heads of the army, nor to evade taxes due upon such of their property as is not returned to them; they may even be unable to draw the hard-earned money of the French peasantry, as they and their brethren, the Assumptionist Fathers, have done so successfully in the past. Moreover, the Bill relating
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to Associations enables the Government to break up any union whose objects are deemed by the Cabinet to be inimical to the Republic, and thereby to control movements that, while they appear to be the outcome of the popular will, are in reality promoted or financed by the clerical associations through the medium of men of straw.
THE PARALLEL WITH PORTUGAL.
One of the curious points about the new French Law of Associations is that it is not an original conception, but is founded on the Portuguese law of 1834, which abolished religious congregations in Portugal, confiscated their property, forbade the formation of new congregations, and, out of the profits of confiscation, pensioned the monks and nuns whose property was taken away. Portugal, at the time when the law was enacted, had been passing through a terrible crisis. Queen Maria Gloria, a girl of fifteen, was hardly secure upon the throne; Dom Pedro was dying; Dom Miguel, the Pretender, had been defeated after a sanguinary campaign; the clergy had been active intriguers on his behalf; and the country was in an uproar. The Queen's advisers saw that they must break the clerical power, or be content to suffer rebellion to smoulder in every village, whose ignorance responded to priestly direction. A very curious parallel may be drawn between Portugal in the early thirties and France in the late nineties, the only difference being that the recent civil war in France was waged on paper. The Portuguese law was a success for a few years. Associations of nuns having less than twelve members were dissolved, and members sent to other convents, for the nunneries were not treated as harshly as the monasteries. The nuns were to die out, and in Lisbon to-day is an old lady in her ninety-second year, relic of those troubled times, and the last survivor of the old regime. She saw the uprising, and has lived to see the religious associations creep back to their old places, in spite of the law. Monasteries and nunneries have sprung up again, the power of the Jesuits has waxed strong, and their procedure has become so unbearable that a crisis was reached little more than two months ago. Some Jesuit Fathers, of Oporto, tried to remove a young girl to a convent against the wishes of her parents; the action was made public, and served to fire the smouldering discontent. There were riots and bloodshed on a scale that alarmed the authorities.
The popular feeling was strengthened by the regular clergy, whose antipathy to the foreign brotherhoods is very great. Queen and Cabinet have been on the side of the Jesuits; Dom Carlos, the King, alone is liberal in his views. Popular passion led to an unpleasant incident while the King was driving out in the early part of last month, and on the following day the Law of 1834 was put into force once more, Queen, Cabinet, and Jesuits being unable to stem the current of the King's anger. It was a striking episode in Portugal's latter-day history, more suggestive of the Orient, than the Occident. Several religious houses have been closed in the last few weeks, and the inmates sent away to their own countries. The Jesuits are fighting hard, but not wisely. They issued a proclamation a week or two ago calling upon the people to petition the Throne to restore their privileges. These proclamations have been torn down in several towns; at Setubal riots and bloodshed were the order of the day. In the meantime the King has ignored the tendencies of the Government, and assured a deputation of Liberals that the 1834 Law shall be enforced rigorously. They say in Lisbon that the beginning of the popular revolt may be dated from the exodus of the Assumptionist Fathers from France. Many came to Portugal, where their procedure served to exhaust popular patience. The Conservative and Reactionary Ministry of Portugal is tottering to its fall.
THE JESUITS AND THE CARLISTS.
In Spain the outcry against the clerical brotherhood is very strong. Throughout that unhappy country
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the very lowest orders of clergy seem to find a home. They have a comparative immunity from punishment, and are for the most part men of little or no education. So long as Carlism offered reasonable hopes of success, they encouraged the Carlists, by orders from Rome, for the presence of a Carlist King in Madrid would be meat and drink to the Vatican.
The revolt against the Latin Brotherhoods is a very serious factor in the social and political situation for the time being. It is not unlikely that the Franco-Italian entente will spread the trouble in Italy, and that we shall see the movement working from Paris to Madrid, and from Lisbon to Naples. But while Governments change and Ministers pass away, Rome remains, and it would be unwise to rely upon a permanent change in the relations between Latin Church and Latin countries until the standard of education is far higher than it is to-day. In the temporal service of Rome, Cardinal Rampolla marshalls some of the keenest intellects in Europe. Rome will bend before the storm of popular opinion, and when it passes, renew her stature as of old time. Financial crises are within view in Portugal, Spain and Italy, and the Latin Brotherhoods find plenty of material for denunciation of irreligious Governments when food is at a premium and the maximum of taxation pursues the minimum of wages. Yet in the hands of unscrupulous Governments crises are a two-edged weapon, and many Latin Governments owe the Latin Church little affection.
* * *
The above, taken in connection with the "Los von Rome" (away from Rome) movement, which, as already noted in these columns, is rapidly gaining headway in Austria, shows that the screws of superstition are being gradually loosened,--preparatory to the great, great political, social, financial and religious "earthquake" (`Rev. 16:18`), which is shortly to dismay all except those who have some knowledge of the final outcome of the divine plan of the ages.
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RESPECTING FOREIGN MISSIONS.
WE HAVE heard from three dear sisters in Christ, who have been for a long time deeply interested in foreign missions, to the effect that they were greatly disappointed that in our last issue we quoted certain criticisms of foreign missions. They find no fault with our own utterances in the article; but think the quotations false when they refer to the missionaries as having taken part in the looting of Peking. One of the Sisters says,--"I ask you, in justice to the missionaries, to publish in the Tower the enclosed extract from an article in the May number of the North American Review,--by Rev. Judson Smith, Corresponding Secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions." We give the extract cheerfully, following, and will explain later on.
"THE MISSIONARIES AND THEIR CRITICS."
"The efforts of the Boxers were directed especially against the native converts, because of their connections with the foreigners. These converts were crushed by heavy fines, were robbed, were driven from their homes, and, in due time, were slain by hundreds and thousands. When the siege of Peking was raised the missionaries were left with large bodies of native Christians dependent upon them for everything. The missionaries themselves were left without homes, without resources, with these hundreds of homeless, helpless people looking to them for aid. Chaos reigned in Peking and in the country around it. The missionaries of different Boards felt that it would be intolerable for them to suffer these Chinese refugees, who had helped during the siege and had won encomiums for the share they had borne in it, to perish, as they must if something were not done in their behalf. The case was urgent. They were without food and without the means of obtaining it. Food and shelter for the very next day and then for days after that, must be found. Delay meant starvation and death. In the absence of all native authority with the knowledge and approval of Mr. Conger and other Ambassadors, two colonies were established in different parts of Peking, in courts abandoned by their owners, and were supported by the resources found in these courts, just as the Ambassadors and all others in the siege had been kept alive by what they found within their reach from the British Legation. As to the charge of looting by the missionaries, besides their own denials, we have the explicit testimony of one wholly outside their number whose position gave him exceptional facilities for knowing the facts. Mr. R. E. Bredon, Deputy Inspector General for the Imperial Maritime customs of China, who was in Peking throughout the siege and remained there some time afterward, wrote October 3, to the North China Mail, 'I heard in the Legation, before we were enabled to leave it, that missionaries had taken quantities of loot. I took special pains to investigate the truth of the assertion, and found absolutely nothing to confirm it.'"
LET THE TRUTH PREVAIL.
Although we quoted the Literary Digest article as a whole, we had no special desire to refer to the "looting" practiced at Peking. The leading journals have had much to say for and against the conduct of the missionaries in this respect; but for our part we considered that they treated the matter too severely,--seeming to overlook the fact that anarchy prevailed, and that it was not only necessary to take possession of palaces as temporary shelters, but necessary also to procure food for the starving--either by seizing food or by seizing goods which could be turned into money wherewith to buy food.
There is no doubt, however, that missionaries did adopt this plan of confiscating goods, called "looting"; for they have confessed it. The article by Rev.
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Judson Smith was called out as a defense of the course; and on close examination will not be found to be a denial of the facts admitted by missionaries Ament and Tewksbury. For instance Dr. Ament says,--
"In explanation of anything the missionaries may have done in the line of looting, it is only right to say that a famine was predicted for the coming winter, that they had hundreds of people in their charge who were in immediate need of food, clothing, and shelter, and who looked to the missionaries for assistance. It is but justice to them to say that if in the ardor of their desire to provide for their people, they did some things that attracted criticism, they did it with the best of intentions."
The New York Sun of May 4, says:--
"In an interview at Kobe, Dr. Ament, while on his way home to this country in Mr. Conger's company, gave an amazing picture of his experience in 'selling stuff' that did not belong to him. We are now quoting from the Kobe Herald of April 6:
'"The Tungchau mission, through Mr. Tewksbury, were selling things at Prince Yu's residence, and Miss Smith, of the London Mission, was selling off stuff from Boxer premises she had taken for her people. Mine was the last sale of the three. There were no especially valuable things on our premises --the owner was a broken-down Mongol prince; one sable robe, numbers of fox and squirrel-skin garments, and a large number of garments of inferior quality. The sale lasted two weeks."
'"Did you have it at stated times of day, then?"
'"No, at any time when the officers came. I had an experienced Chinaman put a value on the things, and I then charged about one-half or two-thirds of the value they would have brought in ordinary times. The officers were very glad to purchase at those rates."
'"Then there was no regular sale?"
'"No, the things were marked, and the officers would come and go prowling around the rooms, bringing to me what they wanted while I was going on with my work, and this, as I say, went on for about a fortnight. When they saw what things were wanted, some of our Christians borrowed a little money and went on the streets and purchased fur garments from Russians or Sikh soldiers, and brought them in and sold them to the officers at a good profit."'
"Thus was the palace occupied in the absence of its proprietor, by the Rev. Dr. Ament turned into a receptacle and mart for stolen goods; not stolen, he asserts, by the 'Christians' who brought the stuff in, but by them purchased on speculation from the original looters and sold under Dr. Ament's supervision at a good profit....If the Rev. Dr. Judson Smith blinks the word loot, the Rev. Dr. W. S. Ament doesn't. We wonder whether the first-named divine has really read all the evidence afforded by his own chief witness."
* * *
But while we thus give both sides to the looting matter and thus establish the truth of all we published in our last, that shocked some of our readers, nevertheless we have heretofore avoided all reference to the matter, feeling that considerable excuse should be made for departure from Christian and civilized usages, considering that anarchy prevailed and that money from other sources was probably not available. Nevertheless we cannot commend the course. It would have seemed questionable to a "business man" and should not have been even thought of by ministers of the gospel of justice are love. The missionaries evidently were misled by the worldly looting spirit prevailing in that anarchy and did what they would not do again, and would not have done then under less temptation.
NOT MEN BUT FALSE DOCTRINES DO WE ATTACK.
Our article was not intended as an attack upon missionaries, nor yet upon missions; but rather it was an attack upon the false doctrine which has been the mainspring of energy in connection with missionary efforts; viz., that the heathen are going into eternal torment by the hundreds of thousands yearly; --for lack of the knowledge carried to them by the missionaries. If Christian people desire to go to the people of China, Japan, India, Turkey, etc., as doctors, nurses, hospital-attendants, teachers of school-children, general teachers of morality, and illustrators of our Western civilization, well and good. And if incidentally then they get an occasional person or many to accept Jesus as their Redeemer and Lord so much the better. But it is high time that the false pretense, the pride and vanity bubble, of "converting the world" were burst, and that its baneful influence upon Christendom terminated.
The missionaries know full well that it is as reasonable to talk of a trip to the moon as to talk of "capturing the world for Jesus:" neither would be possible without a miracle,--the interposition of super-human power. It is time that Christian people learned that the only hope of the world's conversion --the only hope that the Lord's will shall ever be done on earth as it is done in heaven--lies in the promised second coming of our Lord Jesus, to be earth's King, and to set up the Kingdom of God which we are assured will triumph over Satan and sin and every evil, and scatter blessings to every creature, and make possible to all a full return to divine favor and life-everlasting.
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations."--
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to
every creature."--`Mark 16:15`.*
"The gospel which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven."--
"This gospel of the Kingdom shall be declared in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this age] come."--`Matt. 24:14`.
*This verse is not found in the oldest Greek MSS. They end with verse 8. Thus the basis of the Christian Science, and Christian Alliance, and Mr. Dowie's Christian Catholic systems falls.--See Revised Version, margin.
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If the expectation that the world is to be converted by missionary effort, before the Lord comes a second time, is a mistake, how shall we understand the foregoing Scripture statements?
We reply, that nothing in the above passages of Scripture or any others say one word about the world's conversion as the result of the preaching. On the contrary, the general tenor of Scripture is to the effect that this age will end as did the Jewish age--with a great time of trouble--because of the "tares" out of accord with the Lord and his Kingdom of righteousness.
The Lord's words here are to be viewed in the light of his previous instructions to the same apostles. He had told them to "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not;" explaining that for the time his mission was exclusively to the Jews, "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (`Matt. 10:5,6`; `15:24`). Now he would give them to understand that the Jewish favor was drawing to an end, and that ultimately they would be privileged to tell the good tidings to all that have an ear to hear--to Gentiles, all nations, as well as to Jews.
That this is the correct view of the commission is evident from the third text quoted above. The apostle announces that the time had come when the gospel privileges were open to every creature under heaven who had "ears to hear" and a heart to appreciate it. To interpret his language otherwise would be to charge him with falsehood; for neither then, nor since, has it been a fact that even one in ten of the human creatures under heaven have heard the gospel.
The key is in the last of these texts. It points out distinctly that the mission of the gospel is not to convert the world, but to "witness" to it. The true converts under this witnessing will be in all but a "little flock"; but to these "elect, according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the spirit and a belief of the truth," God proposes to give a share with Christ in his Kingdom;--his agency for uplifting humanity and blessing all who, after being enlightened, seek a blessing--even unto life everlasting.
Anyway, it is the "Gospel of the Kingdom" that is to be preached in all the world, and not "another gospel"; and we fear that very few of the missionaries know much about the Kingdom gospel. Nevertheless the "gospel of the Kingdom" is clearly set forth in the Scriptures, which are now published in all the languages (not dialects) of earth. Furthermore, the Watch Tower literature is in the hands of all the missionaries in every quarter of the world; and through some of these--we know not--God can and will find the true "wheat" for his "garner."
* * *
One Sister inquires, Should not we carry to the darker parts of the earth our superior ideas respecting health, cleanliness, care of the sick, civilization, etc.?
If by we is meant the Lord's consecrated people, our answer would be, No. God's commission to us through Jesus and the apostles is restricted--"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the meek,"--the teachable. "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear!" We are not to force the gospel of the Kingdom upon any, by sword and gun, or in any other manner. Thus the Apostle Paul witnesseth for Jesus and the resurrection and the Kingdom to come, seeking only so many as the Lord our God had called. He gave special attention to the instruction of these few, to the intent that they might be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light--the Kingdom. He never dreamed of general conversions and taking the world for Christ, knowing that such was not the divine plan,--except through the Kingdom.
As to whether the world (nominal Christendom) is doing well or ill for the heathen, is an open question. The fact that we, born and reared under Western civilization, would be miserable if obliged to live along the lines of Eastern civilization proves little; for so far as we can discern the people of China and India prefer their own methods, customs, etc. A canary bird, reared in captivity, may greatly enjoy its gilt cage with its swing, bath, etc., so as to feel lost indeed if deprived of them; but would the bird reared under other conditions, be happier in such a cage? We know that it would not. And may it not be so with different races of men, accustomed to different ideals and methods? Will the Chinaman be happier in a European cut of coat, shoes, shirt, collar and tie? Are we certain that the Chinawoman will be happier with larger feet, and shoes of our pattern and with corsets and Paris fashioned gowns?
Ah! you say, it is not these alone we would take them. We would supplant their Joss houses with what we term churches; and their weird musical instruments with our organs, and we would give them Jesus instead of Brahm and Buddha.
Even so! are we quite certain that this would increase their happiness? Are there not millions, in Europe and America, who have these very blessings, who are among the most discontented and unhappy people in the world? Are these foreign heathen either better or worse in God's sight than many in so called Christian lands who attend "church" regularly, wear fashionable clothing, etc., of whom the Lord says, "This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men."--`Isa. 29:13`. Let us not forget the Lord's words to some very zealous for mission-work in his day;--"Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him two-fold more the child of Gehenna than yourselves."--`Matt. 23:15`.
"Even as many as the Lord your God shall call," said the apostle; and accordingly God's people, realizing that the chosen will be few, should seek to labor in harmony with the Lord's callings. Eighteen centuries show us that while no nation under heaven is refused or discriminated against, and some out of all have been called, nevertheless God's favors have been chiefly toward the white or Caucasian race. If we have done all we know how to do in this the Lord's special wheat-field, then by all means let us
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go into other fields. But if through the delusions of Satan the "gospel (?) of damnation" has been substituted for the "gospel of the Kingdom," so that the majority of those who profess the name of Christ have no knowledge of this gospel, then, by all means, let us who do know of it, bend all our energies to labor in this field which is "white already to the harvest," and its harvest work rapidly progressing.
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THE WATERED LILIES.
The Master stood in His garden,
Among the lilies fair,
Which his own right hand had planted,
And trained with tend'rest care;
He looked at their snowy blossoms,
And marked with observant eye
That the flowers were sadly drooping,
For their leaves were parched and dry.
But the Master saw, and raised it
From the dust in which it lay,
And smiled, as He gently whispered,
"This shall do My work to-day:
"My lilies need to be watered,"
The Heavenly Master said;
"Wherein shall I draw it for them,
And raise each drooping head!"
Close to His feet on the pathway,
Empty, and frail, and small,
An earthen vessel was lying,
Which seemed no use at all;
"It is but an earthen vessel,
But it lay so close to Me;
It is small, but it is empty,--
That is all it needs to be."
So to the fountain He took it,
And filled it full to the brim;
How glad was the earthen vessel
To be of some use to Him!
He poured forth the living water
Over His lilies fair,
Until the vessel was empty,
And again He filled it there.
He watered the drooping lilies
Until they revived again;
And the Master saw with pleasure
That His labour had not been vain.
His own hand had drawn the water
Which refreshed the thirsty flowers;
But he used the earthen vessel
To convey the living showers.
And to itself it whispered,
As He laid it aside once more,
"Still will I lie in His pathway,
Just where I did before.
"Close would I keep to the Master,
Empty would I remain,
And perhaps some day He may use me
To water His flowers again."
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QUARTERLY REVIEW.--SEPT. 29.
Golden Text:--"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him."--`Psa. 103:17`.
OUR TEXT is a forceful reminder of our studies in the past quarter. It was a lack of reverence for the Lord that permitted mother Eve to be deceived and to become the first transgressor. It was a lack of reverence for the Lord that led our father Adam into disobedience, into practical suicide, because of his love for Eve, and because he had not yet learned the proper reverence for God which would have led him to be obedient and to trust the results of Eve's disobedience to divine wisdom. It was lack of reverence for the Lord which operated in Satan to an evil ambition, and thus to his fall. It was lack of reverence for the Lord and for his rules of government that permitted the angels of the first dispensation to leave their own condition, and thus to get into sin with humanity. It was a lack of reverence for the Lord on the part of the world in general that caused the world to be full of violence and ready for destruction in the flood.
It was a proper reverence for the Lord that controlled Noah and his family, and kept them separate from the evil of their time, and that brought to them ultimately the divine blessing and preservation through the flood. It was a proper reverence for the Lord that enabled Abraham to forsake home and country in response to a divine promise, and that guided him throughout his pilgrimage and kept him separate from the Sodomites and the evil influences of that time. Similarly, on Isaac's part, it was reverence for the Lord which kept him in his father's footsteps; and we have just seen how fully Jacob was imbued with this reverence for divinity, and for all the gracious promises by which the Lord represented himself to him. We have seen the hand of the Lord with all those who had this reverence, and that even though they passed through numerous and severe trials, difficulties, etc., they were not forsaken, but upheld.
On the other hand, we have seen Lot's insufficiency of reverence, which permitted him to associate with evil-doers, and which ultimately brought upon him a share of their trouble. We have seen Ishmael's lack of reverence, and Esau's lack of reverence, and how these though not injured of the Lord, nevertheless missed greater blessing which a different course might have brought to them.
The lesson for us is that which Joshua expressed to Israel later, saying, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." (`Josh. 24:15`.) Let others reverence whom and what they will; we, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, we, who have come to know him through his Word, and through his providences, and through the power of the spirit by which we are begotten again to newness of life--we can do naught else than
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reverence our God; and reverencing him we must trust him implicitly; and trusting him implicitly we will gladly walk in whatever way he may mark out for us; and thus trusting, and thus walking we are content, whatever lot we see, since 'tis his hand that leadeth us. And let us be assured that following the true Shepherd after this manner, we shall ultimately reach the heavenly fold. In these assurances we have joy and peace and blessing of heart, even in the house of our pilgrimage, before we reach the heavenly city.
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`PROV. 23:29-35`.--SEPT. 22.
Golden Text:--"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."--`Prov. 20:1`.
INTEMPERANCE is one of the most dreadful curses afflicting humanity, and even those who are its slaves will admit the force and truth of our text. It would appear that everyone coming under its baneful influence becomes more or less its slave-- the more so in proportion as he has become weak through the fall, and the six thousand years of increasing loss of physical and mental strength and vigor. Only those who realize that inherited weakness has much to do with drunkenness, can sympathize with a fallen one, or rightly appreciate why intoxicants have so much stronger influence over some than over others. But while pity and sympathy are properly called for, they must be exercised in moderation, if we would benefit the fallen and the weak. None are so weak, so degraded, as to be without some base of character; and our aim should be to strengthen and build up character, and encourage and stimulate resistance to these weaknesses, rather than too freely to condone them.
The weak and degraded should be encouraged to know that they have a will-power which will greatly assist them in the cultivation of character if they will but use it. But they and all should know that the greatest strength and stimulus to character comes from above; and that the weakest as respects depravity of the flesh, may obtain such help of heart and of intellect from the promises, exhortations, admonitions and encouragements of the Lord's Word as will make them strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. We need power and strength of our own wills every day in overcoming the weaknesses of our fallen condition; but we need more than this,--we need "grace to help in every time of need;" and we need to learn whence it is to be obtained, and how to approach the throne of heavenly grace with confidence, so as to obtain the needed blessing.
Here comes in the necessity for an appreciation of the doctrines of Christ--to assure us that our weaknesses are understood and sympathized with by the Lord in every proper sense, and that his provision in Christ is such that he can be just and yet justify believers in Jesus;--that he can be just, and yet forgive us our sins and grant us needed strength and help in overcoming.
To those who have friends or neighbors addicted to intemperance, over whom they desire to exercise a helpful influence, we advise that they appeal to the will, to the self-respect, and to the rewards of temperance and intemperance, viewed from a worldly and social standpoint: but we advise that they go further, and urge that in view of the weakness of their own wills, as manifested by their intemperance, they should recognize that while all men need the Savior, and the help which he alone can give, yet the weaker the will the greater the need. When we are weak in the matter of self-reliance, and are thereby led to make a covenant with the Lord, and to lean upon his strength, then we are strong.--`2 Cor. 12:9,10`.
We will make this lesson a short one, since we have no reason to believe that any particular number of our readers are slaves to intemperance; indeed, we know that whom the Son makes free is free indeed; and we urge upon all that the greater freedom which we receive in Christ, through a clear knowledge of the divine plan, should lead us more diligently to bring every talent and power of mind and of body into full subjection to the divine will, and into the service of the divine plan. And those who are imbued with this thought will surely realize that they have neither mental nor physical powers to dissipate--that they belong to the Lord, and are to glorify him in their bodies and their spirits, which are his (`1 Cor. 6:20`). They will perceive that they are merely stewards, and that any misuse of talents, either through intoxication or otherwise, would be a misuse of their stewardship, and lead surely on to that condition in which the Lord could not say to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
But while disposed to encourage temperance, and to discourage intemperance in respect to intoxicants of every kind, we feel that the special lesson needed by the Lord's consecrated people is in respect to the intoxicating influences of the world, as they come to and affect us as "new creatures." There is an intoxication in wealth, in luxury, in ease, which tends to say to the soul, "Take thine ease; forget they covenant of sacrifice--to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and be dead to the world and its aims with him." There is an intoxication of pleasure, of fashion, of pride and fond desire, which appeals to the "new creature" very strongly, through various avenues of the mortal body, and seeks to intoxicate, to stupify, the new mind, to make us dull of hearing as respects spiritual things, to make us lax as respects our zeal for the Lord, for the truth, and for the brethren; and to make us covet the things that would be approved by the world, and pleasurable to our own flesh, and harmonious to the wishes and exhortations of our friends. To all of these intoxicating allurements the answer must be, No; we have sworn off, we have covenanted our lives that we shall henceforth be dead to earthly interests and alive toward God. Our joys, our pleasures, our intoxications, must be of the spiritual kind. We must become so enthused, enraptured, with the heavenly things, with the joy and
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peace and blessing which accompany the eating and drinking at the Lord's table, and being filled with his spirit, that the intoxications of earthly joys will have less and less attraction for us.--`Eph. 5:18`.
"My soul be on thy guard;
Ten thousand foes arise:
The hosts of sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the prize."
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INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE RANSOM.
Question.--Is an understanding of the philosophy of the ransom essential to justification?
Answer.--Justification is the name for that standing in the sight of God in which He can accept us and deal with us no longer as sinners but as perfect human sons. This relationship or standing has been accounted to the friends of God ever since the day of Abraham, surely, and evidently to some others previously. Neither Abraham nor David nor Samuel nor the prophets understood the philosophy of the ransom. They could not understand it, for it had not yet been revealed in any sense or degree: it had merely been hinted at in types and through indefinite promises.
But they could and did have faith in God, and the Apostle Paul (`Rom. 4`) shows that it was that faith that justified them. They had faith to the full of the revelation of God's will and plan made to them. The extent of the knowledge of God possible to be possessed has increased considerably since Abraham's day. In `Rom. 4:24`, the Apostle makes faith in God the basis of our justification as it was the basis of their acceptance, though now faith in God includes faith in the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer. It was impossible for any to believe on Him of whom they had not heard; but Abraham believed God in His statement that in his seed (afterward shown to be Christ) all the families of the earth should be blest. Abraham's faith was reckoned as justifying him in God's sight. It was
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such an active, obedient faith as would have accepted Christ personally, as it accepted the promises concerning him. In due time his faith shall be perfected --at our Lord's second advent.
Coming down to the first advent of our Lord: His teaching evidently brought a great light to them that had the eyes of their understanding opened, and he declared the ransom. We have no reason to suppose that even those who heard our Lord speak in dark sayings and parables grasped the philosophy of the ransom; and so through the Gospel age to the present time. We must therefore suppose that in God's wisdom it was quite sufficient that his people should believe the fact which his Word does clearly state, that Christ's death paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world somehow or other, not understood.
The ransom was necessary, so far as God was concerned, as the basis of our justification. But so far as we were concerned, the thing necessary was to "believe God" and to accept God's statement, that through the death of Christ the reconciliation for the sins of the whole world was effected, for all who would believe it and act accordingly.
The philosophy of the subject is needful in our day, and is "meat in due season;" now, because we have come down to a time when there is in progress a special sifting and testing in connection with Christ and his sacrifice, and when it is necessary to have the philosophy of the subject in order to be able to appreciate and hold on clearly to the fact that we were redeemed by the precious blood.
It will be noticed that the prophet declares that all the tables of Babylon are full of vomit--rejected things. They had some very good things upon their tables, among others the doctrine of the ransom; but failing to be in the right condition of heart now, the Lord is rejecting Babylon; and those of his people in her are called away from her tables to the meat in due season, while her tables, served by those who are rejected from being the Lord's mouth-pieces ("I will spue thee out of my mouth"), are in the light of the dawning day being despised; and even the good things from the Lord's Word (the ransom, etc.), which once yielded them refreshment, are now defiled in their eyes along with the rejected nonsense of the dark ages.
THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY.
Question.--What did the Lord mean when he said (`John 2:19`), "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up?"
Answer.--A suggestion as to his meaning is found in `verse 21`--"But he spake of the temple of his body" --the Church, he being the head of the Church.
A day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The first advent was in the beginning of the fifth day or thousand years (over four thousand years being past, and the fifth thousand begun). During the fifth and sixth days his Church has been selecting, and early in the seventh (the Millennium), the third day, his body, the Church, will be perfected with him--the spiritual temple. He himself was raised from the dead "on the third day," literally, but it was not by his own power--God highly exalted him. The words of the text can not, therefore, refer to our Lord's personal resurrection.
"WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN NOR CAN SEE."
Question.--Do you believe that the restitution class will ever enter heaven, and "see the King in his beauty"?
Answer.--No, we have no reason whatever to expect that any of the restitution class will ever enter heaven, or ever see spiritual beings. It would be entirely contrary to their nature; man is adapted to the earth, as a fish is adapted to the water. If man were taken out of the earth into heaven he would be like the fish out of water--out of his element. Nor is there any suggestion in the Scriptures of any change
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of nature; human nature being perfection on its own plane, so designed by the Creator; and those perfect on the human plane will be just as satisfied with their perfection as will the perfect on the angelic plane, and those on other planes of being. They will see the King in his beauty in the same sense that we now see the Lord when we are "looking unto Jesus." More than this, when mankind is perfect they will see in each other the very image of God; and all through the Millennial Age they will see in the princes who will be in charge of their government, the likeness of God, for these princes or ancient worthies will be perfect human beings.
THE CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE.
Question.--How far are the Christian Alliance views correct?
Answer.--In our opinion not very far. They look for the second coming of the Lord, but mistakenly, as do many friends in the various denominations. They hold nearly all the false doctrines held by nearly all denominations. In our understanding many of the Christian Alliance people are earnest, and probably as a whole, a more holy people than most of the denominations; but this is about all that we can say for them. We must consider their system as a branch or ward of Babylon, and would warn all to come out of her, that they be not partakers of the woes that are shortly to come upon her, and that they be upon the Lord's side and accounted worthy to see further light of present truth.
Question.--What is your understanding of the call and work of a minister or preacher, as taught in God's Word?
Answer.--(1) That in a general sense all Christians are anointed of the spirit to be preachers, and are such in proportion as they exercise their talents in spreading the truth.
(2) That any Christian (man), having knowledge and ability as a herald, who feels drawn to devote all his time to the spread of the truth, an open door being seen, is justified in changing his field of labor from temporal to spiritual, in part or in whole, giving more and more of his time and energy to his direct vocation of an ambassador for God and less and less to his avocation earthly.
(3) That these heralds shall trust in God to supply their needs; and receiving only free will offerings from the brethren and others should "labor" for the things needful, accepting these conditions of the Lord's providence.
(4) That when one of these finds every door of opportunity closed, he shall accept it as an evidence of work done in that field and should seek to know whether for some reason his service is not acceptable longer or whether the Lord has another field for him, or whether all the work is done. In any case, he should recognize that his vocation is that of an ambassador for the truth, and that earthly affairs are only his avocations, and should seek to prosecute as best he can the ministry of the Word, through evil and good report, through trials and encouragements, through sorrows and joys.
WHAT WAS JEPHTHAH'S VOW?
Question.--What attitude are we to assume toward the account of Jephthah's reckless vow which brought death to his daughter? Is there any redeeming feature in the incident?
Answer.--We are to accept the scriptural statement that Jephthah was amongst the faithful--acceptable to God. As such he must also be acceptable to us. In respect to his offering his daughter in sacrifice our conclusion must be that the divine arrangement then and now differs materially. We may say, however, that as Abraham was about to offer his son Isaac, not willingly, but through obedience to what he understood to be the divine will, so did Jephthah with his daughter; and he was not hindered by an angel from the Lord. I do not know if the lamentation has any significance.
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Answer.--A totally different view of this matter is possible, and we merely suggest it; namely, that the vow was one of full devotion to the Lord--one of chastity and sanctity--seclusion from society, deadness to the world as a priestess. The daughter's request for time for lamentation, and the subsequent annual celebration by the virgins, would agree well with this view. The chief objection to this view is the statement respecting "a burnt offering," and this seems almost insurmountable.
"WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN NOR CAN SEE."
Question.--In what sense can the statement in `Job 19:26` be true, since we understand he will not have power to "see God" as a human being?
Answer.--The passage might be understood in two different ways: (a) As an expression of Job's trust in the Lord that notwithstanding the serious disease with which he was afflicted, and the apparent utter destruction of his skin, by a loathsome disease yet he hoped for recovery and that he should yet praise the Lord in the flesh and in health. Or (b) it may be understood to refer to a future life and Job's confidence that tho his sickness should result in death, complete dissolution, yet it did not mean in him an everlasting extinction. As previously stated, God would call and he would answer in his flesh. His seeing God in the flesh should not be understood as that which is impossible, of which our Lord says, "No man hath seen God at any time," and of which the Apostle says, "Whom no man hath seen nor can see." It should be understood in the way in which it is commonly used today, viz., that God's people see him in his works, as we sometimes say, "I see God's hand in
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this." And again, we are informed that "all flesh shall see the salvation of God." And again, "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."
PUBLIC MINISTRIES OF THE TRUTH
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
THESE SERVICES ARE WITHOUT CHARGE, AND NO COLLECTIONS ARE TAKEN UP. THE FRIENDS AT EACH PLACE GENERALLY PROVIDE THE MEETING PLACES AND ARE PLEASED TO ENTERTAIN THE LORD'S SERVANTS (AND NOTHING UNUSUAL OR ELABORATE IS EXPECTED.)
THE CLEVELAND CONVENTION.
Our general Convention for the year is appointed for Cleveland, Ohio, commencing Thursday, Sept. 12 at 2 P.M., closing Sunday night, Sept. 15.
Special rail-road rates can be obtained;--on western roads as low as 1 cent per mile--account "G.A. R. Encampment"; but those using such tickets must reach Cleveland some time before midnight of Sept. 12.
Special arrangements have been made by the Cleveland friends for our comfortable entertainment at one dollar per day, each, for food and lodging (one-half what we had expected). And further, they kindly offer free entertainment to such as cannot afford this small price. Send us word, at once, if you decide to attend, that arrangements may be made for your party. The city will be crowded and accomodations hard to find at the time. State married couples and whether the others are males or females, for of course separate rooms, etc., could not be had for each at the price.
A VERY INTERESTING PROGRAM IS BEING ARRANGED.
We are looking for a large attendance from all parts of the country and from Canada. However, we are still more anxious for the Lord's spirit to be with us than that the numbers should be large,--tho there is an enthusiasm and inspiration in numbers also.
The general testimony is that each of these yearly conventions out-does all of its predecessors. We hope it may be so this time also. Why should it not be so if, as the Lord's people, we are continually growing in grace and knowledge and love? Come, seeking to bestow as well as to receive a blessing. "He that seeketh findeth." "To him that knocketh it shall be opened." "Your heavenly Father is more willing to give [increasingly] the holy spirit to them that ask [seek] it, than are earthly parents to give good [earthly] gifts unto their children."
FT. WAYNE, IND.--AUG. 25.
Morning session, specially for the interested, will be a Convention Welcome and Rally, at 10:30 a.m. Afternoon session, specially for the public, at 3 p.m. In the evening at 7:30 the discourse will be specially for the household of faith.
All meetings will be held in Knights of Columbus Hall, Lau Block, Cor. Calhoun and Washington Sts.
Friends from near-by places are cordially invited; and all in introducing themselves are requested to mention their home address, that we may the better identify them. Come praying the Lord's blessing-- seeking to receive a blessing, and to be used as a channel of blessing to others.
ROCHESTER, N.Y.--SEPTEMBER 29.
RICHMOND, VA.--OCT. 12, 13.
Particulars in due season.