VOL. XXV. SEPTEMBER 1, 1904. No. 17.
Views from the Watch Tower........................259
Bishop Potter and the Saloon..................259
Danger from Higher Criticism..................260
Leaguing Against Higher Critics...............260
Politics in Religion..........................261
"Oppositions of Science Falsely
A Doctor's Examination of Christian
"Seek the Lord and Ye Shall Live".................267
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
BISHOP POTTER AND THE SALOON.
BISHOP POTTER, of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, has created quite a commotion in all circles by giving his sanction to a newly-opened "tavern" in New York City. The saloon and cafe are described as having fine appointments: in one end is a soda fountain at which beer is sold for the accommodation especially of ladies, who are not admitted to the saloon proper, at the bar of which liquors of all kinds are dispensed with free lunch at noon. Of the enterprise, the New York Sun, after recounting Bishop Potter's address and his leading in the singing of the doxology to the tune of "Old Hundred," says: "The idea of the tavern originated in the mind of Joseph Johnson, Jr., the Great Oak of the Order of Acorns. Mr. Johnson has always believed that rum is a curse, but he holds that the evils of intemperance must be combated by practical men and not theorists. If there must be saloons he wants them to be as ethical as possible. So he organized the Subway Tavern Company with a capital of $10,000-- subscribed by prominent men whose names are given. The managers of the company have decided that not more than five per cent. shall be paid as dividends on the stock, whatever the profits may be; the surplus is to be used in starting other similar taverns."
We have no doubt that the gentlemen connected with this innovation have benevolent intentions: Their thought evidently is to fight fire with fire; to fight the doggerel saloon with a better one, to furnish purer liquors and better surroundings. We believe that they are making a great mistake. Nevertheless, the affair shows the extremity to which well-intentioned people are driven by present conditions, that the Apostle calls "the present distress." How evident to the instructed Christian that the one thing needful is the establishment of the Kingdom of God, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Nothing short of this heavenly power can cope with the present downward tendencies that afflict the whole human family, the "groaning creation."
These gentlemen in New York City are copying a plan adopted a few years ago in Great Britain by some of the Episcopal clergy there. These established taverns where liquors of all kinds were obtainable, as well as "soft drinks," the latter being given the preference in that the bartender is paid a commission on the soft drinks, making nothing on the intoxicating liquors. The effect has been good in Great Britain, it is claimed. Nevertheless we have no such expectations in respect to the introduction of this system into this country. Conditions here are totally different. Here the majority are opposed to liquor drinking, and the business and all things associated with it are more or less tabooed, and thus many are protected from the degrading influences. We fear that the tendency will be to break down this barrier and to make drinking more general and more fashionable, and thus to increase the evil effects of this most terribly degrading practice.
Bishop Potter's course has brought upon him very severe criticism from many quarters: yet it will make him popular with a certain very respectable class. The chief difficulty seems to lie in the fact that the true Church is not understood and its rules do not fit when applied to the world and its wisdom. Recognizing the Church as the "little flock" of "saints" fully consecrated to the Lord, we do not suppose for one moment that Bishop Potter would claim to be a member of it nor to be bound by its precepts and ideals. But many others, who take the same unsanctified stand, and who patronize saloons of the
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worst class, are chiding the Bishop, rebuking him, because they think of him as one of the "saints," and perceive that his course is not up to the ideals of the New Testament for such.
The sooner the world realizes the truth on this subject the better it will be for all concerned: that fully ninety-nine per cent. of the nominal Church (preachers included) are merely well-intentioned worldlings, who have never consecrated their wills, never been begotten of the Spirit and have not, therefore, "the mind [Spirit] of Christ."
DANGER FROM "HIGHER CRITICISM."
Dr. David J. Burrell, pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church, Fifth avenue, New York, says:--
"It is indeed true that there is sore danger from this critical movement, but it is not the Bible that stands so much in danger--it can take care of itself-- as it is the dictionary that is assailed.
"Words that have a specific and clear meaning to us, used by the exponents of the critical propaganda, have a different meaning entirely. It is one of the calamitous consequences of this criticism. It means a complete overturning of definitions as we understand them. And to coin a spurious word is worse than to issue a spurious coin.
"Men preach from the pulpit and talk with you and me about the inspiration. Their terms to them have not the dictionary definition which they know you put on them. I won't mince words, for I know friends of mine who do this. It's not honest. We are fighting for Webster's and Worcester's dictionaries, just as we are fighting for God Almighty in this contest.
"There are men preaching the gospel of Christ who do not know what the little word "is" means, using it instead in the most outre and outlandish way. I know a man who will say 'The Bible is the Word of God,' yet he doesn't mean what people think him to mean. 'Is' to him means 'is not.'
"In days of old, when the gods of the Pantheon had lost their powers, the priests laughed to themselves before the altar as they went through the ceremonies. That is an effect, too, on the Christian ministry of the higher criticism.
"I make no charge against any man, and I say it with a deal of charity and lamentation, but some men in some pulpits are smiling at the words they have to preach.
"I walked with a man from a church one day-- he being a friend of mine, though he is one of the critical ones--at the close of a sermon he had preached on the incarnation. He had hardly gone a hundred steps from his pulpit when he turned to me and said
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with a smile: "It isn't of any great difference to me whether Christ was the son of Joseph or was conceived by the holy Spirit.' The fine edge of honesty was worn off there, as it is elsewhere. But the mass of people in the pews, notwithstanding the teachings they hear, are honest to the Word of God.
"People won't go to church to hear hypotheses. There is more good in a Sunday newspaper than there is in a man who preaches the vagaries of the 'higher criticism from the pulpit.'"
* * *
True, but not strongly enough stated. The harm done by the "higher critics" exceeds all other sources of harm, including infidel publications and dime novels, because it breaks down all true faith and confidence toward God and sets at nought "the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved." It makes the "blood of the covenant a common thing."--`Heb. 10:29.`
LEAGUING AGAINST "HIGHER CRITICISM."
"The American Bible League" held its first convention lately in New York City. It has our best wishes, but we fear it will find far less sympathy and support amongst ministers and laymen than it should naturally expect. The fact is that the entire body of Christendom has been thoroughly inoculated with this poisonous infidelity of the refined Sadduceeic sort. For years the colleges have been turning the stream at its head waters. Today the studies and school-literature of the public high schools are completely under this same influence. We have no thought, therefore, that the American Bible League will meet with any degree of success. We do, however, hope that its course may have the effect of arousing some true believers and separating them from nominalism and thus preparing them to search for and to find "the old paths"--the old theology--"the faith once delivered to the saints."
Unless we greatly err the "League" will find even among its own members some who are half poisoned on this subject by evolutionary ideas. We quote extracts from several of the speakers and from commentaries on the first session. Mr. William Phillips Hall, the president of the "League," said:--
"That the Bible is now being subjected to a scholastic assault of unparalleled danger; that the practical consequences of this assault are in evidence in the demoralization of conduct and education, and in evil influences on the ministry and missions; that the assault is based upon groundless claims of a false scholarship, and that the methods proposed by the league will fully meet the imperative needs of the situation and lead to a recovery of faith in the Bible as the Word of God and to the enthronement of our Lord Jesus Christ in the hearts of men.
"Fascinated by a strange scholarship, multitudes among the leaders in the Christian ministry and educational work have turned aside in large part from the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints, to worship at the shrine of a destructive criticism that destroys individual faith in the divine origin, integrity, inspiration and authority of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and that sooner or later, logically, and inevitably, leads to the denial of
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the incarnation, omniscience, atonement and supreme authority of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Dr. Francis L. Patton, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, said, respecting the views of "higher critics:"--
"To them there was no primeval innocence, no fall, no redemption, no incarnation. They hold these things not to be doctrines, but pretty teachings, making up what is really nothing more than a metaphysic philosophy. Ask them straightforward questions and they begin to dodge the issue. Ask them, 'Did Jesus Christ have a preexistence? Did he rise from the dead? Was he ever really dead? Was he God of very God?' They begin to shift. They begin right away to talk sentimentalism and say, 'We want the moralities.'
"'All right, we'll talk morals;' but they don't. They dodge them, too.
"It all comes around to the question of judgment of fact and value. If you can discard the former and retain the latter, what is the good of Christianity? You can then preach just as good a sermon from Aesop's fables as from Holy Scripture."
Dr. Daniel Gregory, General Secretary of the League, is reported to have said:--
"The league believes this to be one of the most serious crises in the history of Christian faith, and has taken up its task with a twofold object: it takes its stand for the Bible and the old view, and yet with open vision for any new light, and it challenges these claims of radical criticism, the baselessness of which it purposes to show. We have no fault to find with real criticism. We do not challenge the new views because they are scientific, but because they are unscientific.
"The second object of this league is to help the people to see the Bible as it is and to find out what is in it."
The New York Sun editorially notes that the League describes the present as a "crisis" in the history of Christianity. The Sun agrees that the term "crisis" is none too strong and adds:--
"If this subversive and destructive criticism was confined to avowed opponents of religion and the Church, as it was formerly, it might not be an enemy dangerous enough to require the formation of a Christian league against it; but now it has affected profoundly the thought and radically changed the view of a large part of Christendom itself. It has entered into theological seminaries to a very great extent, and is influencing the sentiment and modifying the points of view in many pulpits of even the most nominally orthodox churches."
Most of the prominent journals that comment at all treat the League respectfully, but clearly imply their "higher critic" predilections, and imply that the most the League will do will be to sow discord and rancor and controversy. Thus the "wise" always deprecate any battle with Satan.
POLITICS IN RELIGION.
"People with old-fashioned ideas concerning the relations between the churches and the Deity, whose cause they are presumed to set forth here on earth, are often somewhat dismayed at the very practical way in which the machinery of the churches work. The present quadrennial conference of the Methodist Church at Los Angeles has been styled by some members of the faith the biggest political event of the year of presidential nominations.
"Questions of creed, of the form of Church government and the selection of Church officials are settled in all Church assemblages in a highly practical and thoroughly human manner. Church politics differs from the ordinary kind most in subject matter.
"The methods are the same, very largely because in not a few instances they are employed by the same kind of men, but most of all doubtless because they represent the working out of divine purpose in other fields. In the Presbyterian and Episcopalian and other general religious gatherings, the men whose influence counts for most are not infrequently those who stand high in political and business circles.
"It shocks people who believe that the churches are exclusively divinely guided to see so little difference in ecclesiastical strategy from those which prevail in more worldly gatherings. Yet there should be no dismay or surprise even. For while we all know that the churches are under divine guidance we are wholly wrong in supposing that other of the vast concerns of men are not equally under the same influence and direction.
"Creeds and churches are all man-made out of material furnished him by his Maker, but expressions of man's recognition of his obligations and opportunities lies in the spiritual plane. Though inspired by the Creator since they are not universal, they are all manifestly imperfect, and so doubtless because transmitted through erring man. Creed and Church discipline and law have no more foundation of authority or guarantee of stability than do political platform declarations. They are all always subject to revision as men progress in religious understanding and to meet new contingencies of moral perversion as they arise.--Toledo Sunday Times-Bee.
* * *
This editor sees only a part of what he points out. God has given his Church explicit directions, but the plans, schemes and traditions of men ignore the Word, the counsel of God, and hence the similarity of political manipulations.
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"OPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE FALSELY SO-CALLED."
AND so it seems that even in Paul's day science was a name to conjure with. The aged Apostle had to exhort his "son Timothy" to stand guard over the truth of God that had been committed to him, especially by avoiding "oppositions of science falsely so-called." The danger to faith arose not from real science, but from that baseless and pernicious gnosis, unworthy
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the name of science, that was already on the way to its full fruitage in the Gnosticism of Marcion and Valentinus that at a later day so cursed the early Church.
Nor is this juggling with "science" yet over, as a recent experience convinced the writer. The colloquy was with--or rather the "setting down" came from--a product of the "New Thinking." He had been made at Harvard, and had entered upon the study of divinity there, but finding no definite basis for his "divinity," he had given up the ministry as a bad job. A respectful word about the Bible was what precipitated the explosion: "You don't pretend to say that you believe the Bible to be anything but a mass of Jewish myths and legends? In these days no one but a mossback ever thinks of it as a revelation from God! Why, it has been so completely discredited by science in every form and from every point of view, that no self-respecting man of culture can afford to give it even a moment's attention!"
What could one say when dazed by such an outburst? How could one help feeling that science embodied had finished the business, and that it was useless to gainsay its authority? As for reasoning with such a reckless asserter, that was out of the question. He was beyond the reach of reason. For a moment the poor "mossback" felt as one might imagine the old-fashioned tallow candle of seventy-five years ago felt when the great "extinguisher" was brought down upon it. But recovery came in due time, aided by some knowledge of real science gained at the feet of the masters; and the conclusion ultimately reached shape in Paul's phrase, "oppositions of science falsely so-called." This man was monumentally ignorant of real science. Indeed, he was merely conjuring with a name of the contents of which he knew nothing except at second hand; and even that second-hand knowledge was "science falsely so-called," in other words, pseudo-science.
Has science really discredited the Bible as the Word of God, so that there is nothing left of it on which one can depend? We answer, By no manner of means. The assumption that it has done so is the supreme Satanic lie of this age, originating in the consummate conceit which is the very essence of the zeitgeist, and made use of by the Devil for the overthrow of the religion of Christ. True science has never contradicted the Bible; has never touched it but to confirm. The same God made both the world and the Word, so that there can be no contradiction. It is only false science that has seemed--or been made to appear--in conflict with Christianity.
To make this clear beyond possibility of gainsaying, one needs only to inquire what science is, what constitutes a scientist, what the scientific method is, what the scientific processes are; and then to test by these the claims of the so-called science that has pretentiously arrayed itself against the Bible.
That is the question at bottom, "What is science?" The mischief has come from its having been answered superficially. The jaunty "New Thinking" hesitates to go beneath the surface. That might wear out the soul, if it be only matter in brain form! It will never do to overwork it!
Science has been defined to be "knowledge gained and verified by exact observation and correct thinking, especially such knowledge when methodically formulated and arranged in a rational system,"--systematic construction being thus a principal factor in science in the largest sense.
There are properly two distinct scientific methods, the inductive and the deductive. The former is applicable to matters of fact only; the latter to truths or relations of ideas only. The former proceeds from facts to general principles which embrace and group them; the latter from general truths or principles to particulars embraced under them.
Science, as we have to do with it in connection with Christianity, deals with matters of fact,--God, the soul, sin, redemption, all the great essential things found in the Bible and in our religion, are matters of fact. The science that deals with them, in order to be true science, must, therefore, conform to the principles or processes of the inductive method. As it departs from these, or fails to come up to them, it ceases to be science.
What are these principles or processes? There is, first, exact observation, by which one is to learn what the facts in the case really are. The principle of exact observation is all-important at the foundation. Sir William Hamilton sets forth the three laws that govern it: The law of parcimony requires that no fact be assumed that is not a fact; the law of integrity, that all of the essential facts be embraced in the observation; the law of harmony, that if inferences from fact are admitted they must be legitimate deductions from the facts and used in subordination to them.
So from this point of view the science may be vitiated by ignoring facts, misrepresenting or misinterpreting facts, adding alleged facts to or substituting them for the real facts, using the facts as mere points of departure in wild speculation. Alfred Wallace's recent fascinating book, on the question whether there are other inhabited worlds, is an example in point. The book is a book in which, in consequence of the absence of actual and universal observation, assumptions and speculations are made to take the place of facts. Possibly there is more reason for concluding that there are no other worlds that are possibly habitable, than for concluding that the man in the moon is made of green cheese.
The use of the second principle, that of correct scientific interpretation, must follow the observation, in order that the scientific investigator may know precisely what the observed facts mean. Before they can be wrought into science, the individual facts must be understood, in themselves and in their relations to one another and to their causes. Hence, the three laws that govern the process of interpretation. The first requires that the investigator shall determine the exact content of each of the facts; the second that he shall properly generalize and classify his facts and ascertain the laws governing them; the third that he shall trace back the facts and laws to the appropriate and adequate causes that account for and explain them. Causation is thus the fundamental principle that makes science possible, and to which all true science must conform itself.
So from this point of view science may be wholly vitiated by a superficial knowledge of the facts, by
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false generalizations from them, by irrational and unwarranted explanations of them, or by failure to make proper application of the principle of causation in dealing with them. Of this order are the defects that destroy the scientific quality of the thinking of such men as John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. It is vain to talk to them of facts. They are able to laugh at facts as a ghost would at a musket.
The first two principles of induction lead up to the third, the principle of scientific construction, which must be conducted with a view to the grasping, grouping and presentation of the facts in their entirety, by proper coordination and correlation, and making the thought system match the natural system to which it attempts to give expression. Science in the highest sense is something far beyond incoherent facts or bits and scraps, however accurately observed and interpreted, beyond classes and strings of generalizations, however logical they may be made; it consists of facts and generalizations and causes, and all the rest, wrought into a rational system, and so constituting a connected and constructed thought-system that expresses and matches some region of reality, in the soul, in nature or elsewhere. In order to reach such science, all the great facts, as observed and interpreted, with all the laws and principles, must be taken into the system, none added and none omitted; these must be set forth in their logical relations of succession and interdependence; and the system so constructed must be shown to agree with the natural system which it represents.
So at this point science may become false by the narrowness that fails to take in all the range of facts involved, and thus leaves it incomplete; or by the incoherency that shows itself incapable of grouping facts into unity, and thus results in merely a disjointed mass; or by reason of a weak or lawless imagination that cannot grasp the whole range of facts in rational scientific system, thereby falling below science in its highest and broadest sense.
Such knowledge, resulting from exact observations, correct interpretation and scientific construction, and such alone, is science in any strict and proper sense. It is whole diameters removed from opinion, guesswork, imagination, speculation, assumption, assertion and all the other easy going processes.
The scientist is one who, in his observations, investigations, conclusions and constructions, conforms to these principles of scientific method. He is one who seeks, obtains and verifies knowledge in any department by these processes, which alone are properly called scientific. His special task may, of course, require him to devote himself chiefly to the investigation and verification of facts; or he may give himself to applying the inductive method to facts; or he may be employed chiefly in combining all his established facts and reasoned conclusions in any department of knowledge into a scientific system that shall embody and set forth a whole region of reality in its
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unity and totality. But whatever may be the particular department to which his attention is given, his work therein must be done conformably to the principles of scientific method that have just been outlined.
In the region of physical science, from which the main objections to the veracity of the Bible have been brought, the exact scientist is the man who reduces his scientific conclusions to mathematical formulae, thereby taking them entirely out of the range of the speculation and conjecture to which so much of the popular so-called science is devoted. It is the portion of the field of physical science that has been reduced to this form of mathematical thought that constitutes the settled and permanent science,--the other so-called science of this region being in state of constant flux.
Against all comers the Christian may safely make the claim that no true science, no knowledge that can stand these rational, scientific tests, has ever been shown to be in conflict with the revelations of God's Word. It is only science falsely so-called that has ever been made to appear to discredit the Word of God,--Positivism, Darwinism, Spencerism, et id omne genus.
Modern science, as embodied in August Comte, is said to have blotted a personal God out of existence. There is nothing new in that. "The fool" of the Psalmist did as much long ages ago. It is written in `Psalm 14:1`, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." As one has remarked, it is evident that no one but a fool would have said it; that is, a man afflicted with mental weakness and moral obliquity. Even "the fool" says it to himself, as it were, or in his heart; it is not the conclusion of reason, but an expression of a wish. He is anxious to get rid of God, in order that he may freely exploit his folly.
Modern science, under the lead of Comte, has taken the same method of sweeping God out of existence; only he claims to have done it by the scientific method. But how did he do it? Where is the science of it? It is simply assumption and assertion with which he lays the basis. "There is nothing in the universe of which we can have scientific knowledge except bare, dead facts. There is no spirit, finite or infinite, no cause, no God." Now this so-called science violates every principle of induction, ignoring all the chief facts of the universe, and those that are best known. How do I at all know material things, forces, science, etc.? It is only as I am a mind, acting in thought, that I am able to find and interpret any thought in the material universe. It is only as I am a will, acting with power, that I am able to find and investigate any of the forces of the universe with which science deals. This presentation of the case by Comte, by which such stimulus has been given to modern loose thinking, has not a particle of science in it.
In the name of science, Charles Darwin, under the inspiration of Comte, has swept God and religion out of existence in these later times. How much of science is there in his system, so far as it antagonizes the teachings of the Bible? Take a single passage from one of the earlier editions of his "Descent of Man," a passage that sums up his argument from the beginning of that belauded and epoch-making work:
"The early progenitors of man were, no doubt, covered with hair, both sexes having beards. Their ears were pointed and capable of movement, and their bodies were provided with a tail....The foot...was prehensile
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and our progenitors, no doubt, were arboreal in their habits, frequenting some warm, forest-clad land....At an earlier period the progenitors of man must have been aquatic in their habits."
Although, because of its absurdity having been exposed, this paragraph was dropped or modified in a later edition of the same work, the "scientific" presentation of the book, of which this is an accurate summary, was not changed.
When men laud this as "advanced science," we have to say that it is simply a double "no doubt" and a "must have been," resting on a hypothesis which is conceivable, but has not a fact to support it. There is no science about it, and, indeed, no basis for science. We protest, in the name of sound thinking, against the almighty must be-ity with which the system is constructed; and we do it for the same reason that we protest against the equally potent must-be-ity and per-se-ity of the speculative philosophers and theologians. This is sham science, not true science. A system built up in that way violates every principle of the inductive scientific method. It is absurd to claim that the teaching of the Bible, that God created man in his own image, is to be set aside for such baseless speculation masquerading in the garb of science. It may be well to remember that even Professor Huxley, who was so much of an agnostic regarding religion that he invented the name agnostic to express his negative creed, always protested against the fundamental principles of Darwinism. It is now being generally admitted, especially in Germany, that Darwinism is dead. Notwithstanding the false science the Bible still lives.
Following up the same trend of thought, the late Herbert Spencer constructed his vast system for the unification of all knowledge, pushing God out of sight. The postulates of Mr. Spencer, in reaching his conclusion that evolution is the universal science, contain all the basal errors of agnosticism, positivism, sensationalism, with Spencerism added. Neither science nor common sense will permit of the acceptance of his conclusions. There is no exact science about it. The men of breadth and depth, who are masters of the scientific process, and who push out their investigations into the regions beyond, are the authorities in science; and almost to a man they have opposed the scientific pretensions of Spencerian evolution. Louis Agassiz, Joseph Henry, Sir John William Dawson and Arnold Guyot, in this country, pronounced the doctrine of evolution unscientific and false. Exact science on the other side of the waters has protested with equal weight of authority against confounding evolution with science. Mivart, the most accomplished naturalist in Great Britain, pronounced it a "puerile hypothesis;" Lionel Beale, the authority in biology, rejects it entirely, declaring that "correlation, its assumed principle, is the 'abracadabra' of mechanical biology."
The late Professor Virchow, "the foremost chemist on the globe," a man, in the phrase of The London Times, "opposed to every species of orthodoxy, and altogether innocent of faith," affirmed that "Since its announcement, all real scientific knowledge has proceeded in the opposite direction;" and styles the circles of materialistic evolutionists, "bubble companies." Prof. Tait declared that evolutionists are "not in the slightest degree entitled to rank as physicists," i.e, they are excluded from the ranks of exact science. Lord Kelvin, by his investigations in mathematical physics, has taken away from the evolutionist the ages upon ages absolutely essential to the maintenance of his hypothesis. These are the characteristic views of the scientific authorities abroad, the men who have a right to say something on this subject.
When we turn from scientific authorities to facts, we find that Mr. Spencer violates all the principles of the inductive method. His scheme has no solid basis of carefully observed facts. It does not correctly interpret the facts it adduces. He constantly applies the a priori or deductive method to such facts as he may select as suited to his purpose. As a so-called scientific system it is not the product of the consistent logical embodiment of the results of observation and rational explanation of facts. In other words, it is not science. The late DuBois Reymond showed that there are at least seven chasms impassable to the evolutionist. Not to enumerate these, it is enough to say that not a fact has ever been observed in all the universe in favor of the essential postulates of evolution--spontaneous generation and transmutation of species.
Why, then, do men accept such things as science? Perhaps it is because they are overwhelmed, as Malcolm Guthrie has suggested, by the immensity of the system, making one feel as if in the presence of omnipotence. Or is it because they are dazed and made incapable of thinking by the dreamy use of grand words, by means of which many of the essential statements are so presented that even ordinarily accurate thinkers are sometimes surprised into the acceptance of what they do not understand? One has characterized Mr. Spencer's definition of the law of evolution as his most pompous and sublime employment of such language:
"Evolution is a change from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity, to a definite, coherent heterogeneity, through continuous differentiations and integrations."
This, as one has translated it into simple English, reads:
"Evolution is a change from a no howish, untalkaboutable all-likeness to a some-howish and in-general-talkaboutable not-all-likeness, by continuous something-elsifications and stick-togetherations."
Now such words as differentiation and integration have in mathematical science distinct and precise meanings, which are impossible in this definition.
To one who knows the origin of the evolutionary scheme, and has tested its scientific pretensions by the principles of induction, it seems incredible that men of sense should feel compelled, for no better reason than that, to give up the plain teaching of the Bible, that it is a revelation from God, and substitute for that the view that it is a natural evolution. It is science falsely so-called, again, that has been made to discredit the Bible.
The same thing might be shown to be true of the claims that the sciences of geology, astronomy, etc., all through the range of physical sciences have discredited the Bible. It is only as the so called scientists
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have contradicted the fundamental principles of inductive science that these sciences have been made even to seem to be in conflict with the Bible.
The writer well recalls the impression made upon him just after he had entered upon the work of the ministry, by the geologist Lyell's book on "The Antiquity of Man," a book which in the name of science was full as possible of violations of scientific principles. Fortunately, he had the privilege of taking it to his old teacher and friend, Arnold Guyot, who let the light shine in upon the dark places, showing how utterly unscientific were the claims based upon the imperfectly observed and investigated facts and causes connected with the delta of the Mississippi and with the recession of Niagara Falls.
One typical case will show the quality of much of the science involved in such matters. About 1854 some excavators brought up some burnt brick and pottery from the depth of sixty and seventy-two feet, in the valley of the Nile. Assuming that they were found where they were made, and that the alluvium had been deposited upon them at the rate at which the Nile now makes its deposit, and that this was the only cause at work, it was calculated mathematically that the relics must be from 12,000 to 60,000 years old. One causal element omitted was the weight of the brickbats, in connection with the fact (also causal) that all the region is a vast quagmire during the inundation which covers it with water for a large part of the year. Sir Robert Stephenson afterwards found in the Delta, near Damietta, at a far greater depth, a brick bearing the stamp of Mohammed Ali (1808). Some one said satirically that the main question in the first case should have been, not "How long will it take for the Nile to deposit sixty or seventy-two feet of alluvium?" but "How long will it take a brick to sink seventy-two feet in a quagmire?" And we are expected to believe that this kind of science has discredited the Bible teaching concerning the comparatively modern date of the creation of man and the origin of the human race! It is science falsely so-called.
One of the latest agents in this work of discrediting the Bible as the Word of God--of which the utmost possible has been made by the secular press, and, we might add, by the religious press, too--is the so-called science of Assyriology. The case of Professor Delitzsch, with his "Babel and Bible," is still fresh in the minds of all. His utterances were put forth in the name of science, and the Professor took himself seriously as a scientist. A week after his utterances, he said to a correspondent of the American press:
"From a scientific point of view, I am glad that my lecture made such an impression. I am glad that the teachings of the Church relating to the Old Testament have been given up; among other questions, the theory that the Covenant on Mount Sinai was a personal revelation of God to Moses."
The correspondent cabled that "The Emperor undoubtedly felt that it would never do for the head of the Prussian Church to endorse a scientist who denies the theory of revelation." And the great secular journals flung out as headlines: "The Bible in the Furnace of Science;" "The Bible Fails to Stand the Test of Science;" and the whole world seemed to be turned upside down over this juggling with the terms "science" and "scientific."
The editor of The Open Court wrote of it: "The dogmas of Christianity are formulations of the truth as interpreted by our forefathers. Let not Athanasius with his limited knowledge bind the conscience of a Delitzsch!"
And so, in the name of science, Professor Delitzsch becomes infallible! Meanwhile, the poor old Bible is demonstrated to be fallible, and, as made up of myths and legends, it goes up in smoke from the "crucible of science"; and lo, Babylon is wheeled into the place of Jerusalem!
But what about the science of all this? How do the claims of Professor Delitzsch stand the test of the principles that govern scientific observation, interpretation and construction?
Both of the Professor's lectures are taken up, perhaps necessarily, not with the presentation of established facts, but with the dogmatic assertion of what he regards as scientifically established facts. Blank assertion takes the place of science. Four things doubtless lent abnormal importance to the Professor's pronouncements: the fact that he was confounded with his father, the late Dr. Franz Delitzsch, the great theologian, commentator and Hebraist, a man of quite another order from the son; his connection with the German Emperor; his attractive rhetorical presentation of the commonplaces of Biblical knowledge; and the outrageousness of some of the utterances themselves.
The statement of M. Halevy, the French Orientalist, to whom Assyriologists would probably accord the leading place--the French having unquestionably distanced the Germans in this department, as witness their discovery of the Code of Hammurabi--may be taken as representative. After praising the general character of the lecture, so far as it deals with commonplaces, he is constrained to add:
"Sincerity, nevertheless, compels me to point out certain inapt, inaccurate and redundant statements which disfigure the otherwise beautiful lecture."
And after pointing out some of these things he further remarks:
"The same predisposition to rest content with superficial appearances shows itself in the interpretation which is put upon the figure assumed to represent the chariot of Ezekiel, but it has no points of resemblance with it."
Other archaeological specialists showed the unscientific character of the claim of Delitzsch that the Biblical Sabbath had its origin in Babylon, as also the doctrine that Jehovah is God; these "scientific" conclusions being based upon the merest etymological guess-work.
It is after presenting all this matter, to much of which all the authorities object as baseless or irrelevant, that Professor Delitzsch, speaking from his top-lofty pedestal of science, concludes:
"These are facts which, from the point of view of science, are as immutable as rock, however stubbornly people on both sides of the Atlantic may close their eyes to them."
"Heaven save the science!" one is almost ready to exclaim. Do "facts" and "science" mean anything
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in this age to the average exploiter of the latest speculations? And are we to believe that the sane and exalted statements of the Bible are to give way before such pseudo science?
Manifestly Professor Delitzsch has a very slender conception of what is meant by science--extraordinary as are the claims he makes in its name. The time has not yet come for constructing the department of Assyriology, either in itself or in its relations to the Biblical records, into a consistent scientific system. That will require a grasp of approximately all the established facts, and verified, reasoned conclusions, covering the whole region, when the whole region has been investigated. The establishment of the correct hypothesis of the relation of Babel and the Bible, so that it shall become scientific theory, may be realized in the future; but in the meantime while the critics speculate, let it not be forgotten that, in the court of sound logic and reason, the Bible view of the origin of religion by divine revelation to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and the line of Israel, has the presumption in its favor as against all comers.--The Bible Student.
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A DOCTOR'S EXAMINATION OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.
DR. JOHN W. CHURCHMAN, of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, contributes to The Atlantic Monthly (April) a searching analysis of Christian Science. His article, while in course of preparation, was submitted to the criticism of some of the foremost authorities both in philosophy and medical science that the country contains, and it is regarded by the Boston Transcript as "perhaps the most thorough and reliable examination which has yet been made of the basis of Christian Science."
The fundamental propositions upon which Christian Science may be wrought into a system, and at which any criticism of that system must be directed, are stated, at the outset of the article, in these terms:--
"1. God, the Ego, is All in All, the only Life, Substance and Soul, the only Intelligence of the Universe. He is Mind, and fills all space.
"2. Man is the true image of God; he has no consciousness of material life or death; his material body is a mortal belief; he was, is, and ever shall be perfect.
"3. Knowledge. Knowledge gained from the material senses is a tree whose fruits are sin, sickness and death. The evidence of the senses is not to be accepted in the case of sickness any more than it is in the case of sin. The physical senses are simply beliefs of mortal mind.
"4. Matter cannot be actual. God being all, matter is nothing.
"5. Evil. (a) Sin. Error is unreal. All that God made is good; hence there is no evil. (b) Sickness. Health is not a condition of matter. Human
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mind produces organic disease as certainly as it produces hysteria. (c) Death is an illusion. (d) Cure. The cure for sin, sickness and death--since all are illusions --is the destruction of the illusion.
"Christianity is a demonstration of divine principle casting out error and healing the sick. Soul cannot sin nor being be lost. Scripture must be interpreted spiritually."
Four great highways of evidence, according to Dr. Churchman's view, lead to a demonstration of the "essential unsoundness" of Christian Science. In the first place, he says, it defies the canons of history, when it comes to us claiming a revealed origin. "Men who have read history have learned to suspect such claims. They know that thousands like it have been made before." Moreover:--
"Only in rare instances has any new Truth been brought to light by a flash; the rule that history teaches is--a slow stumbling in the dark until the light is reached. The presumptive evidence, as the great laws of life working themselves out in history have made it of value to us, is against Christian Science. The system fails to align itself with the past. It fails emphatically to exhibit the premonitory symptoms of truth. And, apart from all other considerations, these are strong counts against it."
Dr. Churchman proceeds to a consideration of Christian Science as a system of philosophy:--
"The uncompromising idealism which Mrs. Eddy offers us...poses as an explanation, and is in reality a total evasion. To deny that matter exists, and assert that it is an illusion, is only another way of asserting its existence; you are freed by your suggestion from explaining the fact, but forced by it to explain the illusion...I smell a rose, and that night I dream of what I have done. Both acts, says Mrs. Eddy, are dreams. Then, I answer, how do you account for my recognition of the two activities as different in kind? If all psychic phenomena are dreams, why do I recognize only certain psychic phenomena as dreams? To equate illusion and sensation is to balance inches with pounds; and it explains neither. The great ideal philosophers recognized this inadequacy; though it was Berkeley's weakness that he failed to recognize it clearly. Kant, Leibnitz, Fichte and Hegel were idealists with a qualification; and this qualification was their salvation. But Mrs. Eddy has strengthened her position in no such way. For the testimony of the senses is, to her, absolutely unacceptable: not because it fails to be final, but because it is, essentially false. She quite ignores the fact that while, so long as we have no extrinsic standard, it may be impossible to demonstrate the reliability of the senses' reports, it is equally, and for the same reason, impossible to prove their unreliability."
If Christian Science is unconvincing as philosophy, it is even more so, declares Dr. Churchman, as science. He writes on this point:--
"To deplorable inaccuracy is added a looseness of statement and of argument that is simply laughable.
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'Longevity is increasing,' Mrs. Eddy tells us, 'for the world feels the alternative effect of truth.' Is this guessing or statistics? Does she seriously mean to tell us that since 1865, or thereabouts, the slight hold that Christian Science has had on the world has really lengthened life? Could statistics culled in a period covering only thirty-eight years really prove anything as to longevity and its cause? Has she any scientific understanding of the meaning of statistics and of the tremendous periods they must cover in order to be of any value?...
"Again, notice the absurd explanation of the action of drugs. 'When the sick recover,' we are told, 'by the use of drugs, it is the law of general belief, culminating in individual faith, which heals; even if you take away the individual confidence in a drug ...the chemist...the doctor and the nurse equip the medicine with their faith, and the majority of beliefs rules.' Acetanilid, then, reduces temperature, by action on the heat-coordinating nerve-centre, because the majority of men, or the patient himself, believes this to be the case. Well, the fact is that the majority of men have never heard of acetanilid, or the heat-centre...and that its action, so far from being dependent on the patient's belief, is observed in animals, which may reasonably be assumed to have no belief on the subject whatever!"
The last item in the indictment is that Christian Science is "fundamentally unchristian:"--
"Mrs. Eddy's philosophy is more blasphemous than her exegetical mutilation. The Bible has little or nothing to say as to the origin of evil; for the account of the fall is, after all, not an explanation, but a description. But it has a great deal to say on man's attitude toward the problem....From Genesis to Revelation the word is, Endure; and Christ himself never attempted to treat as anything less than fact the sorrow of the world, before his share of which even his own bravery almost flinched. There is nowhere the slightest Scriptural warrant for expecting immunity from pain. No rosy picture is anywhere drawn. The only solution of the problem from first to last is the old-fashioned trust of intelligent resignation. But for Christian Science the opposite is the truth. With a flare of bravery that is nothing more than bravado, a foolish claim of certainty is substituted for a majestic and triumphant faith. Suffering is no longer a mystery, and trust is impossible. The grim philosophy of Job, which has seldom failed in history to lead to the sturdy faith that makes men, is swept away at a blow; and in its place we have the effeminate bravery of a vulgar creed of certainty. Essentially it lacks nobility. If it had been regarded as truth from the first, history would have lost its chapter of heroes. It stands condemned by rational philosophy and shamed by Christian faith; and by its fundamental opposition to the Scriptural theory of the solution of the problem of evil, it brands itself as criminally inconsistent. It is nothing less than blasphemy --and blasphemy of the most insidious kind-- to distort the plain philosophy of the Bible, until it offers men the pathetic delusion that they are to escape completely the suffering, without a relatively large share of which no human being has been known to pass his three score and ten. The essential unsoundness of practical Christian Science lies here; that a philosophy is proposed which assumes man made purposely for perfect happiness in this dispensation, --an assumption at once gratuitous if observation base philosophy, and groundless if Holy Writ be the standard."--Literary Digest.
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"SEEK THE LORD AND YE SHALL LIVE."
--`AMOS 5:4-15`.--SEPTEMBER 18.--
OUR lesson has to do with the prophecy of Amos, who is noted as being one of the earliest prophets to write down the message which he delivered. True, Moses was a prophet, and his teachings we have in written form--and David was a prophet, and we have his in the Psalms; but Moses' prophecies were chiefly through the types which, under divine direction, he instituted, and David's prophecies were in poetic form, which were not discerned to be prophecies until our Lord and the apostles so pointed them out. Samuel, the Prophet, seems not to have written any of his inspired messages, neither did Elijah, nor Elisha, nor others of their time. Amos belongs to a period about a century after Elijah and nearly a century before Isaiah, and about two centuries before Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Amos declared himself to have been of humble birth; his parents were not illustrious, neither was he educated amongst the sons of the prophets. Like David he was a sheep tender, a farmer, upon whom the Lord poured his spirit with mighty power, sending him to proclaim the disasters sure to come upon Israel unless a change of course should turn aside the deserved punishment for their iniquities.
The brunt of the Prophet's message fell against the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, but the divine method of presenting the matter is noteworthy. The Prophet's message began with the adjoining nations: (1) Damascus, the capital of Syria on the north, is mentioned as being in line with the divine retributions; (2) the Philistines on the west; (3) the nation of Tyre to the northwest; (4) the Edomites to the south; (5) the Ammonites nearly on the east; (6) the Moabites to the south; (7) Judah to the south; lastly, the center of the Prophet's message, Israel --the ten-tribe Kingdom. We can fancy the attention which would be given to his message by the people of Israel as they would hear fall from his lips words descriptive of the troubles coming upon surrounding nations which were their enemies; but as the circle grew narrower and narrower, and the weight of the Prophet's testimony was found to be specially against themselves, we may be sure that there was intense indignation. If they at first shouted,
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"A true prophet!" they probably subsequently gnashed on him with their teeth. This denunciation of Israel occurs chiefly in `chapters 3-6` and in `chapter 7:9-17`. When the Prophet had gone so far as to tell openly of the fall of the reigning dynasty, Amaziah, the prince of Bethel, interfered, bidding Amos return to his own country. But under the special power of the holy Spirit, using him to deliver a particular message, Amos refused to return home until he had accomplished his errand, and added to the retribution of Israel some prophecies respecting the prince's own household.
CHANGED CONDITIONS--CHANGED METHODS.
In drawing a lesson from these experiences of Amos applicable to ourselves of today, we must remember that the Lord no longer sends his messages after this manner. Conditions have changed, circumstances have changed, and prophecies of the kind inspired by the Lord in early days are no longer his method. Respecting these prophecies, the Apostle Peter tells us, "Prophecy came not in olden times by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Spirit" (`2 Pet. 1:21`), "Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the holy Spirit sent down from heaven."-- `I Pet. 1:12`.
In view of the changed conditions and difference of operation of the divine power, it is for us to preach the Word to whomsoever hath an ear to hear, to call attention to the application of the prophecies and testimonies of ancient times, and thus to make known the divine plan as it becomes due to be understood by those for whom it is intended--the Israelites indeed in whom there is no guile. For any one to undertake at the present time to copy either Elijah or Amos or others of the ancient prophets would indicate a total misapprehension on his part respecting the divine will and message--it might even be surmised to indicate a mental unbalance. As the Apostle declares, we speak the things that we know and testify to the things spoken aforetime for our admonition. There is a good lesson for us, nevertheless, in the method which the Lord guided the Prophet to take in delivering his message.
Our Lord leaves to us of this Gospel dispensation considerable latitude in the choice of means for serving his cause, exhorting us, however, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and promising us rewards in proportion as we exercise such carefulness in his service as he can specially bless and use. Those who use wisely the talents and pounds intrusted to them are to have proportionate rewards when the Kingdom shall be set up. Let us then, in the exercise of our liberty and in accord with the Master's injunction to be wise as serpents, notice how the Prophet's message respecting unpleasant and direful things, all true, began in such a manner as to rivet the attention of his hearers. The Apostle Paul practiced this same wisdom, and mentioned it subsequently to some whom he had brought to a knowledge of the Lord; he said, "Being crafty, I took you by guile"--that is, I presented the matter to you in the form that would be most attractive to your hearts. He presented nothing untrue, however. Truth can be stated in a more or less palatable or unpalatable form.
"NOT ALL THAT SAY LORD, LORD."
Another lesson in connection with Amos' message is that his opponents rose up from amongst those who were professedly religious--the priests; and so it was with our Lord and the apostles. The priests and religious teachers of their day were the chief opponents of the Gospel in its truth and purity, and we must expect the same in our day. The Truth, in proportion as it has been declared in its purity, has always aroused opposition, and has always found its chief opposers amongst those who have a "form of godliness"--but generally amongst those who lack its power.
Our lesson is a part of the Prophet's pleading with the Israelites that they return to harmony with God and avert the calamities which must otherwise be expected. The history of the time shows us that it was a very prosperous period, not only for Judah but also for the ten-tribe kingdom. The prosperity was of the earthly kind. Riches were accumulated, but these were in the hands of the rich and the great, and the Prophet proceeds to warn the rich that the poor are being unjustly dealt with, and he intimates that it would be from this source that the trouble would ultimately come--the only terms upon which they could hope to live as a nation would be by seeking the Lord. It would be in vain for them to seek help at Bethel or in Gilgal or in Beersheba, the centers of their religious institutions, which were corrupt. These religious institutions would all go down in the trouble which the Prophet predicted. The Lord himself must be sought with an honest heart else he would cause destruction to break out like a fire to devour the house of Joseph. The ten-tribe kingdom is here called the house of Joseph, because the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were of preponderating influence in the nation, and these two tribes sprung from Joseph; hence the fire breaking out in the house of Joseph meant destruction which would come upon the ten-tribe kingdom unless they repented.
The Prophet proceeds to particularize some of the wrongs on account of which they were in danger: Justice was not rendered in their courts. Instead of the sweets of Justice, those who appealed to their courts, if they were poor, got wormwood--that is, bitterness, disappointment. The Prophet declares that they cast down righteousness to the earth; equity was not a matter of primary consideration; but, as he proceeds to point out, bribery was rife, and wealth and power and influence could accomplish almost anything. There must be a turning from this condition, and relief could only come from turning to the
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Lord. The Prophet refers to divine power in somewhat similar language to that used by `Job (9:9`; `30:31`). Pointing his hearers to the group Pleiades in the constellation Taurus, and to Orion, he would have them see that the one whose assistance they needed was the one who was able to create the earth and the heavens also--the one who was able not only to gather the waters into the seas, but able also to call the waters back from the seas to the clouds, and to pour it down again upon the earth in its seasons. This great God was the one that they needed, and all others assisting them would be powerless against him.
THE LORD CARETH FOR THE POOR AND NEEDY.
In `verse 9` he intimates that God's power would be with the poor and oppressed for their deliverance, and that this would mean destruction against the strong and powerful, those that hate reproof and abhor the upright, that are in opposition to any who reprove unrighteousness.
`Verses 11 and 12` specify and particularize the nature of the injustice practised and which needs to be renounced and discontinued. `Verse 13` implies that there were amongst the Israelites some who did not approve of the general course, but being helpless and in the minority they kept silence from prudential reasons, because the time was an evil one, and to have espoused the cause of the oppressed would have brought them trouble without bringing relief to the oppressed. But Amos was specially commissioned of the Lord to give this very reproof, and hence he must not keep silence because of prudence or for any other consideration, but must speak his message with boldness. Similarly, it is not the duty of every one of the Lord's people today to take the place of Amos and become public reprovers of public officials, etc., even though they may see unrighteousness practised. Prudence, wisdom, is to be used in connection with whatever we do. Our commission today is not that of reproving nations, but that of letting our lights so shine that others may see our good works and glorify the Father which is in heaven. Our Lord declares that he will rebuke the nations, he will humble their pride, he will cast down the mighty from their positions, he will exalt the humble in due time; and to his people he says, "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey."--`Zeph. 3:8`.
The lesson closes with an exhortation from the Prophet that his hearers should make a thorough reformation-- seek good and not evil, love righteousness and hate sin. If they would do these things then indeed they might apply to themselves the promises of God, as they were already disposed to do, claiming that they were his people. Such claims would be appropriate enough if they would conform to the divine requirements, but not otherwise; the Lord would be gracious to them if they would come into line as a people with his regulations and requirements, but otherwise they must expect the chastisements and punishments already foretold.
Remembering that the Israelites were a typical nation, we properly enough scan the text and context to see whether anything connected with Amos' prophecy was of larger application than it appeared to him and the people of his day. We are justified in expecting this from the words of the Apostle Peter already cited, and from other examples in the prophecies. For instance, in David's prophecies how little the utterer of the words, "not a bone of him shall be broken," understood of the real fulfilment of his declaration. Again when he said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption," how little David or the people of Israel understood the import of those words--that David was a prophet, and in this language was unwittingly speaking of Christ and his resurrection from the dead--from sheol. So while realizing the appropriateness of Amos' words to the people to whom they were particularly addressed, we find certain items in connection with this prophecy which imply a still larger fulfilment of his predictions upon nominal Israel in the end of this age.
GIANTS IN THE EARTH FOREBODE EVIL.
It is not for us to claim that today Justice is fallen in the streets and Righteousness cannot enter; it is not for us to claim that the poor are inordinately taxed or crushed
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or robbed. On the contrary, we freely state that there is a great deal of righteousness meted out in the courts of "Christendom." We have sometimes wondered how natural men have ever brought together so many wise, just and reasonable laws and regulations. Nevertheless there is a sense in which injustice, inequity, is now operating, not so much through any individual evil as through the changed conditions under which we are living. The blessings of the new dispensation, coming to us under social conditions which are based upon individual selfishness, are tending to make a few very rich, and before very long we fear will be found to so operate as to make many very poor.
The appropriating of the advantages of our day, while legally done, under laws that at one time were equitable, is bound apparently to work a great hardship--putting the power and financial control of the world in the hands of comparatively a few. True, those few giants are as yet very moderate in their requirements and dealings, some of them even generous; but the Scriptures seem to clearly imply that it will not be very long until their power, willingly or unwillingly, will be so exercised as to bring great distress upon the mass of humanity, grinding them as between two millstones. From this standpoint the Prophet's words might well be appropriated by Christendom; but we may be sure that those in power and position are not disposed to hearken to Amos or to any one else, and hence we must expect what the Scriptures everywhere point out, that the overthrow of Christendom will come suddenly, in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation; and that in this conflict the Lord, who made Pleiades and Orion, will be he that will strengthen
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the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled ones shall rise against the strong ones in anarchy--`Verse 9`.
The close of Amos' prophecy tells of the recovery of Israel and the blessing of the Lord that will be upon all mankind, including the Gentiles, at that time. It is this prophecy that the Apostle James quoted in the Council at Jerusalem, saying, "After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." (`Acts 15:16,17`.) We are living at the time when this prophecy is about to be fulfilled. The recovery of natural Israel is about to take place under the reestablishment of God's Kingdom in the world--the one that was once typically represented in King David, but which is to be actually established in the greater David--the "Beloved One." Under that Kingdom, reestablished under more favorable conditions, a heavenly Kingdom, the residue of men will be given an opportunity to seek the Lord, for the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth.
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Golden Text.--"The Lord is
merciful and gracious."--`Psa. 103:8`.
TRULY the Lord's mercy and grace are in the International Lessons of the quarter which closes with this review. With great patience and long suffering the Lord had mercy upon the typical people, the house of servants, called to constitute and to make types illustrating his gracious purposes for the house of sons which would follow it, and, incidentally, to prepare the "Israelites without guile" for the spiritual blessings to result from their transfer to the "house of sons." And not only preparing this remnant, but also all those who were faithful as members of the "house of servants," attesting their loyalty to the Lord, whose reward is to be the privilege of representing the heavenly Kingdom as its human agents on the earth. But while this is true, how much greater is God's mercy as seen and experienced by us who are of the house of sons, accepted in the Beloved One! How merciful is the Lord toward all those who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of the Captain of their salvation! How bountiful are the provisions made, not only for their ultimate reward, but also for their encouragement during the sojourn toward the heavenly city, with provision also for the passing over, the covering and the ultimate blotting out of their weaknesses by and through him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
Since writing you last I have enjoyed a number of days in happy service of the Truth. An incident somewhat unusual in the general colporteur experience you will perhaps be glad to hear. In soliciting orders for our glad tidings in the town of B__________ some days ago I was addressing a merchant when he turned and said, "Brother L__________, what do you think of this book?" (I have since learned that this Bro. L__________ is one of Southern Arkansas' most prominent Baptist ministers.) In reply he said, "Buy it and read, and if you don't like it I will pay your money back," and before I left he sold several books for me. One of the gentlemen present said, "Stranger, why can't you preach for us here?" I replied I would be pleased to do so, if house and congregation could be had, whereupon this dear old Bro. L__________ proffered me the use of the Baptist Church. Their pulpit was occupied at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., so they gave me 3 p.m. At their 11 o'clock service the minister announced the afternoon service, and his words were about as follows: "The subject this evening will be 'God's plan of saving man.' The man who is to preach is selling one of the most wonderful books of the nineteenth century and if you haven't got one I insist that you do so at once and read it carefully and prayerfully. The book will teach you more in one week than you have known in all your life about the Bible."
The Society had sent this dear Baptist brother a "Plan of the Ages" in TOWER form. Think of what this five cent investment has done in mightily arousing one of God's sleeping ones yet in Babylon; next in selling four or five volumes, which doubtless will spread; next it led to our three o'clock service, which I learned later put two to reading--and so the good work goes on, and, hallelujah! we know it will be completed to the glory of the Father and the good of his creatures.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
E. Z. JOHNSON,--Colporteur.
Enclosed find my report covering some very precious seasons of fellowship and service with friends by the way, and also marking some very bitter antagonism to the Truth. The hardest conditions that I have met since beginning the work I think I found at N__________. The feeling there is quite bitter. We had a very quiet meeting in the hall the first night, but on the second night the Episcopal Church people had a garden party (whatever this means) about a block from our meeting place. That of course brought to the village many from the surrounding country. The spirit of hilarity contingent upon the gathering of a crowd, together with expressions of contempt or disapproval of our faith by those in authority, I presume, led some of the "baser sort" to show by acts bordering on violence the contempt which others were content to express in words. During our service a large stone was hurled into the midst of the hall. Other stones were thrown against the house, showing the animus of the community. We continued the service to the end of the discourse
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and rejoiced that we were counted worthy to suffer such things for the Truth's sake.
With Christian love and greetings to all, I am as ever, Sincerely yours in the faith,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL,--
I have long since felt it my duty to write you and say that I have laid aside the terrors that I have heretofore held in my heart for the MILLENNIAL DAWN literature (for terror it was before I knew it for myself). I only knew that the very best of our Church members were being lured away from the Church by reading your literature. I once bought the first DAWN from a Colporteur without knowing what it was. When it was delivered I said, "I have the money for you, but I want you to understand that I will not read the book; it is different to what I thought it was. I will pay you for it, but the book will go in the stove. I will burn it." How could I read a book the influence of which would lure me from the Church in whose cradle I had been rocked, and in whose cradle I had lulled my children to sleep. Now I have no such dread or fear, but am willing to give up not only my Church but loved ones
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also and flee into the wilderness for the Truth's sake.
I am anxious to withdraw from the Church, and would also like some tracts suitable for Methodist people. Your sister in Christ,
SARAH E. CASE,--Illinois.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I received your last letter and appreciate the kind greetings. My receiving two extra blessings close upon one another prompted me to write these few lines that you may share them with me. Yesterday morning while "delivering," I met a lady to whom I had delivered Vol. I. some weeks ago, in the back of which I had inserted a tract on "What is the Soul?" She told me she had read both, and said she had read quite a good deal of Biblical literature on the soul question, but out of it all, nothing gave her the satisfaction afforded by the tract. She has already loaned the volume to an old gentleman, who also has read it and is much interested. I received orders for Vols. II. and III. from the lady and she desires to get the whole set.
The other case is also that of a lady to whom I had delivered Vol. I. At the time I received her order I noticed that she was more than ordinarily interested in Bible topics; so I put a mark beside her name in my order book, with the purpose of calling some time, which I did. On inquiring how she liked the book she said, "Just grand, and I want the next one! Before you leave call and receive my order for a number of the first volume, to be used as Christmas gifts." She informed me that she had been thinking on the subjects contained in detail in the "Plan of the Ages" for a number of years past, and indeed she seemed happy for having received the book.
I thank God for being permitted to receive such privileges and pray that I may become more and more a faithful "steward." With Christian love, I remain,
Your brother and servant in Christ,
CARL F. HAMMERLE,--Colporteur.
MY DEAR BROTHER, PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I am writing to you to express my deeply-felt gratitude to God and to you his servant, that through reading your books and studying the Word of God in connection with what you have written I have been brought into the clearer sunshine of his blessed revelation, and rejoice to see it from what I firmly believe is God's standpoint. God has indeed been good to me in guiding me into the Present Truth. I was very much prejudiced at first, as I had wrong notions concerning your teaching. The idea of the millennium starting from the year 1874 was a stumbling block to me until it was explained, and I tore up the tracts which had been handed to me and refused to read them. I had never heard of MILLENNIAL DAWN until about nine months ago, when my attention was called to the WATCH TOWER by a dear saint, a patient slowly dying of cancer, and my first idea about it was a glorification of so-called Christendom, because it placed the dawn of the millennium at the present time. Thinking it could easily be refuted by the Word of God, and with a desire to help others to ward off error, I promised to read one of the tracts, "The Hope of Immortality." I was simply amazed with the reasonableness, the wisdom, of it. It never occurred to me before that the all-wise God would certainly not have committed the silly blunder of making man an imperishable being, an "immortal soul," knowing beforehand how he would fall. I read through the tract, praying to God to guard me against being influenced by error. When I finished it I tore off on my bicycle at once to get "The Plan of the Ages" and "What Say the Scriptures About Hell?" I was so impatient that I did not like waiting a moment and eagerly devoured the books when I got them.
I have now read carefully and thoughtfully all the DAWN volumes several times and each time I learn more. Soon after beginning to read them we had a month's mission in Liverpool held by Messrs. Torrey and Alexander. Dr. Torrey was very much opposed to the DAWNS and warned the people against them. He advised the people to "take the tracts; By all means take them, and take them home and burn them." This seemed to me like the R.C. priests who say, "By all means take the Bible given to you and then burn it." His sermon on "Hell" was simply awful for its bitterness and nightmare misery, and he defined eternal punishment as "every second suffering infinite agonies throughout unending billions of years." One poor woman who knew I was reading the DAWNS said to me after one of the meetings, "Oh, Dr. Hughes, do burn those books, do burn those books!" and I was told that I would be done for if I read "those awful books!" So you see that it has been in the teeth of prejudice all along, and if it had not been that God had given me "Truth hunger" I should have neglected this glorious opportunity and lost the great blessing.
At a mission Sunday School in connection with the Presbyterian Church I joined some years ago I have a Bible Class for working men on Sunday afternoon for the last four months. I have been giving them MILLENNIAL DAWN teaching, and one or two of the young men have spoken about bringing the matter of my teaching before the minister. Some of them listen very attentively and seem to be greatly blessed.
Believe me to be, dear brother, yours very lovingly in our glorious and risen Savior,
E. LUCAS HUGHES,--England.