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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
THE CAUSE IN AFRICA
The following information on Missions is furnished by the Church Missionary Intelligencer:—
„Forty additional missionaries bound for Eastern Equatorial Africa received their final dismissal in the Cathedral of Algiers, Africa. Cardinal Lavigene presided in person, and, after the usual addresses, each missionary knelt down at his Eminence’s feet, and received the kiss of peace and episcopal benediction. After this the missionaries took their position in front of the altar, and stood in a row. The Cardinal, the bishops present, and all the clergy and seminary students then knelt down and humbly kissed the feet of each missionary, in memory of the passage of the Scriptures, ‚How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings.’ [A miserable exegesis.—Editor.]
„Some ardent Protestants may see in all this nothing but opposition to Protestant missions, and a determination ‚to fight a hand-to-hand battle with Protestant missionaries of all denominations.’ But we think there need be no apprehensions of this sort, because even if there were any likelihood of an ecclesiastical fight between these good people, Bishop Taylor, the Methodist, is already on the ground with a large band of missionaries, and expects to establish a line of missions in the opposite direction, from the western to the eastern coast, across the continent.
„Fortunately, as it would appear, there can be no such hand-to-hand battle with any of our Protestant missionaries, for Cardinal Lavigene informed the writer in the Intelligencer, as far back as 1882, that his orders were that no Roman Catholic establishment was to be fixed within sixty kilometers of a Protestant one, and it seems that, up to this moment, this rule is still enforced.”
Thus we see, that Protestants and Roman Catholics are recognizing each other in a practical manner; each thus recognizes the other as a good and proper teacher of religion; and each leaves the other in quiet possession of whatever part of the field it may enter upon first. How evident it is, that Protestants have lost sight of those doctrines, to which the „unchangeable” church was once so opposed, that she anathematized as heretics all such and burned many of them at the stake. She now calls these „separated brethren”—no longer separated much in doctrine, but chiefly now in name and forms. She waits to welcome them back to her communion, well pleased to hear some of their representative ministers declaring, „Every doctrine which we hold dear we received from Rome, our Mother.”
But now note the difference: While all denominations can and do respect each other’s views, what is their attitude toward the free, unsectarian teachings of
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God’s Word as presented in Zion’s Watch Tower publications, without fear or favor except toward God? As the apostle foretold (2 Tim. 4:3), They cannot endure sound doctrine; though they are willing to make any sort of combination and union to oppose the truth. An illustration of this is furnished by recent reports from Liberia, on the West Coast of Africa,—the very land in which Protestants and Catholics, we are told above, so harmoniously co-operate.
It is now about two years since Brother Seaton, under the Lord’s providence, by some means unknown to us, receiving some of the Watch Tower publications, was led out of sectarian darkness into the Bible light. Too noble to attempt to preach covertly the Bible doctrines, while under pay to preach for an „ism,” the doctrines of men, and anxious for the spread of the „good tidings of great joy,” as well as for the great reward in heaven for those who suffer in its service, Bro. Seaton boldly renounced his pulpit, salary, etc., and explaining his reasons to his flock began to teach and preach the Bible only. As a result of his labors quite a number—natives and foreigners—received the truth and are rejoicing in it.
The interest may be judged from the fact that upwards of two hundred copies of DAWN VOL. I. and thousands of copies of the Arp Tract have gone to two of these mission stations, and we now have over fifty regular subscribers to the Watch Tower there.
As might be expected the Episcopal bishop there, Bp. Ferguson, was highly incensed against the Bible teacher and teachings which led men more directly to the fountain of truth—the Bible—and consequently exposed some of the absurdities, pretensions and false doctrines of sectarians. Forthwith the bishop formed a union of all the denominations represented there—Episcopalean, Methodists and Baptists,—to withstand the unsectarian Bible Teachings of Bro. Seaton and the TOWER.
A meeting was held in the Baptist church, in which ministers and officers of five churches (three Episcopalean, one Baptist and one Methodist) were present to the number of forty-four. Here resolutions were passed unanimously, by men who probably had never read Millennial Dawn, denouncing it and the Watch Tower and the Arp Tracts, as the doctrines of Satan; and requesting the prayers of all Christians that the Lord would deliver them from their false teachings. A four paged tract embodying these resolutions and warnings, and bearing the signatures of the aforesaid forty-four ministers and officers was printed and scattered; a copy of which is before us.
Truly, it is wonderful, how Satan does blindfold some of the Lord’s children; for we have no doubt, that some of these are the Lord’s, and that if prejudice could be removed long enough for them to get a glimpse of the questions really involved, some would gladly receive the truth. This union of all the sects against the truth reminds one of the union of the Pharisees, Sadducees, etc., against the truth in the early church. It reminds us too of the prophet’s words, „Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing. The mighty ones of the earth and the rulers set themselves in opposition to the Lord and his anointed.”
Peter said to the Jews, who had crucified the Lord, „I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers;” and our Lord declared of the same, „They know not what they do.” So ignorance, blindness, is still the real cause of most of the opposition to the truth. The time will come when those who now despitefully use and persecute the truth, and its advocates, will be brought to a knowledge of the truth, and be ashamed. Thank God there is forgiveness for such ignorant opposition to his Word. Ere long the mornlight of the grand new day will enable all to discern truth from error. Bro. Seaton’s last letter tells that already prejudice is giving way to some extent. The church there requests your prayers and sympathy.
— January And February, 1889 —