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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
KNOWLEDGE INCREASED AND ITS RESULTS
—CONTINUED FROM OCTOBER.—
On the other hand, it is well to remember that in our present imperfect condition, all, no matter how honest, or how anxious for the truth, are liable to fall into erroneous views, and to see only one side of a subject. We have been looking at the falsity of that view which would make a few men, and not because of special mental or physical qualification, rulers and masters, landlords and kings over others because of a supposed birthright. Let us now notice the other side of the question, which we will introduce by what to Americans will seem, at first glance, an astonishing statement, viz., that all men are not born free and equal.
No one can dispute that the many more or less bound by ignorance and superstition are far from full freedom. And no man can look about him, thoughtfully, and not admit that the common view, that all men are equal, is a gross error. All men have not an equal amount of physical strength. So far from all being equal, it might be said that no two men are exact equals. Nor can it be said that men are equal in the sense of the qualities of one being an offset or equivalent to the different qualities of another. As a matter of fact, brain and muscle are not separate and independent; some have very little of either power and hence are very far from the equals of those who have considerable of either or of both.
If we could suppose two men, one all physical power and the other all brain power, we could not class them as equals; for the former certainly is far inferior to the latter. The lower animals have muscle; and machinery, steam and electricity, under brain direction, can do much and sometimes more than muscle can do. Hence muscle must and should be servant to brain. It always has been, it always should be, and it always will be inferior and subjected.
How many men have the muscular ability to wheel or cart a piece of iron who have not the additional ability and intelligence necessary to hammer it to shape, and to size and temper it for its work? How many of the latter lack the education and inherited mental talent or ability to plan, design and arrange the sizes, shapes and strength of those irons for bridges, buildings, shippings, etc.? This is a still higher order of intelligence and skill, and requires more educational preparation. Does all this persistent study and natural ability count for naught? Is this successful architect or engineer only the equal of the intelligent iron-worker, and of the non-intelligent laborer? Similar comparisons could be instituted between all brain-workers and all muscle-workers; and while there are drones and slovens in each field of labor, it cannot be disputed that those who have largest mental capacity and who develop it by application—by study and use—are quite the superiors of those who have less of it, even though the latter have superior physical strength.
(On just one subject does this rule fail; that is in religious matters—in an appreciation of the will and plan of God. This is beyond human wisdom,—it is a matter of revelation; and the more humble the man the easier for him to be „taught of God.” Hence, not many great, not many wise, not many learned make greatest progress in the divine knowledge. We do not in this, either, disparage mental ability and culture—on the contrary, these will be very helpful and will increase the ability as servants of the truth, provided they are backed by humility and consecration, which will enable such to be like him who was meek and lowly of heart, and to learn of him. We would merely point out here that mental capacity plays a different part in the religion of Christ from what it does in the worldly affairs of men. God himself has the mental capacity for carrying out his own plans; and to become his children, at present, requires only so much mental capacity as to be able to understand and accept his testimony, and to will to act accordingly. But with such a consecration to God, and with such humility and teachableness of mind, the more brain capacity the better;—the greater the appreciation the greater the service, and the greater the joy—but only in proportion; for the capacity for appreciation, the capacity for service and the capacity for joy are proportionate.)
There are two mental qualities which often fail of popular appreciation, because they are more of natural gifts than the results of education; and because, as result of this, many with very slight education are among the most successful in them. We refer (1) to the mental quality exhibited in planning and invention and construction, which make some men (often without education) inventors and constructors of articles of great advantage to mankind; and (2) to those other, but somewhat similar mental gifts, but with other mental combinations, which constitute business talent, exhibited in men whose genius is seen not in the constructing and organizing of machinery, but in the construction, organization and successful operation of extensive works and commercial enterprises which furnish to hundreds of fellow-men (laborers, tradesmen, architects, engineers, overseers, book and time keepers, etc., etc.) steady and remunerative employment.
Without the mechanical inventors and contrivers with their peculiar mental talent, the world would be without its telephones, telegraphs, railroads, steamboats, and ten thousand other conveniences which go to make our day so far superior to the days of water-power and ox-teams. It is, therefore, to the advantage of the whole world that we say to these who have such talent—We will give you a patent right to the product of your genius for a period of years. We will not rob you, but will protect and pay you for the fruit of your genius and of your hours and perhaps years of patient study and labor. This is presumed to be a just compensation, with the understanding that at the expiration of that time the invention or discovery shall belong to the public. Surely this is but a just recognition of the inventor’s rights; and the expedience of thus doing justice has been manifested in the great increase of inventions which it has helped to stimulate.
And mankind is similarly indebted to the constructive, inventive and organizing skill manifested by the manufacturers and financiers of the world. They, too, are inventors and constructors, but in a different line. Instead of thinking out mechanical combinations which will give beneficial results, these have that peculiar and excellent talent of bringing together, combining and co-operating for the general good, machinery and muscle-workers and brain-workers. This talent is really and rightly the master quality among men; because it is the one upon which the amalgamation and co-operation of society depends. It is this quality which in another field constitutes the real statesman.
We do not claim that this ability is always directed in accordance with the golden rule; but neither is that of the artisan and others. Nor do we claim that they organize men, and plan and arrange great enterprises, and invent ways and
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means of accomplishing great results, from the purely benevolent motive of giving steady and profitable employment, and thus many of the comforts of life, to thousands who have not that organizing and executive talent. Nor will any one claim that laborers, artisans, farmers, attorneys and others are laboring daily and hourly
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from purely benevolent motives. We do not question that financial ability is sometimes misused to the public injury, in wrecking corporations financially, for individual gain; but is the same not true in other lines? Do not laborers sometimes use their muscles contrary to the public good? Do not inventors plan contrivances for war, etc., which bring death and sorrow to thousands—consequences a thousand fold more injurious than the financial wrecking of a railroad? And do not mechanical engineers and artisans, clerks and attorneys, help forward the work of constructing the evil, death-dealing machines, etc.? And no one can deny that all do it for the same end—from selfishness, from greed of gain.
It must, however, be conceded that notwithstanding their talent is sometimes misused like those of other men, there is no class more valuable to the world than its merchants and manufacturers. No other talents among men are so essential to financial prosperity as their inventiveness, and organizing ability. Without theirs, all mechanical inventions and discoveries would be mere theories and suppositions, not put into practice: we would have no railroads, no steamships, no telegraphs, no telephones, no sewing machines, no harvesting machines,—no machines of any kind. Hence, without this class the world would have few of the luxuries it now possesses. Nay, more, we hold that, if men possessed of this commonly called „business talent” were all to die to-day, within three years telegraphs, railroads, mills, etc., would be bankrupt and stopped; and while the barns of the West would be overflowing with grain the cities of the East would be starving and idle.
The instructions of the Scriptures, though given to the church, are often applicable to the world in general. For instance, we can apply to the world our Lord’s words to the church—”He who would be greatest among you, let him become servant of all.” As the church is to esteem and honor its members according to their ability and usefulness as servants to the whole body, so with mankind in general: in the world each person should be esteemed and honored in proportion as he has and uses his abilities, and in proportion as these are important and useful to mankind in general. The Apostle Paul expressed the same thought, when he said, Esteem them very highly for their works’ sake (even though there be other qualities or weaknesses which you may neither admire nor endorse); and, „Render, therefore, to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”—Rom. 13:7.
But should not the manufacturer divide up with the skilled laborers, mechanics, etc., each year or each month whatever profits he may realize? We answer, No; no more than the skilled mechanic who gets $5 per day should divide evenly with the day-laborer who receives $1.60, or with the boy who receives $1. To introduce such a policy, now, would be to strangle enterprise and stop the wheels of progress. The laborer would have no ambition to learn a trade or to prepare his children for a higher plane of usefulness in the world. The mechanic would lose ambition for proficiency, and would refuse to tax his energies and strain every resource to become a small manufacturer and by and by a greater one, if he had already a pro rata share of all profits without the care and difficulties, and without any share of losses, fear of panics, etc.
But while the general public welfare and prosperity demand that each man shall have freedom to use whatever and all the talents he possesses, it has also the right to demand that those whose greater talents naturally give them greater power, shall deal justly by their fellow-creatures dependent upon them; exacting only reasonable hours of labor, providing reasonably healthful, comfortable and safe places of work, and paying at least living wages—even to the most illiterate and unskilled laborer. The public also has the right to prevent the strangling of healthful competition by the formation of gigantic trusts. And these things are done or are being done gradually but surely in this country; and if they could proceed for the future as in the past, society, under the influence of the increase of knowledge, would soon right and regulate itself. But one thing is lacking; and that one thing will, as the Scriptures show, ere long put an end to progress in the right direction, and instead of peace and safety, of which the world fondly dreams, will bring about the great trouble such as was not since there was a nation. That one thing is selfishness; and it hinders and will hinder both the parties of the coming conflict from recognizing each other’s rights, and from granting freely even those which they do see.
Selfishness includes approbativeness and pride as well as special self-care and disregard of others in other respects. Selfishness is now the ruling principle in the world. It is the opposite of the law of the New Covenant, which is love to God and to our fellow-men. Selfishness will lead and is leading the more able of men to abuse present increased knowledge and advantages by organizing selfish and powerful combinations, trusts, monopolies, etc., which will be grinding and oppressive upon the masses; who, in turn, governed by the same selfishness, under the same increase of knowledge, will seek and are seeking by means of labor organizations, laws, etc., to rule, and to tyrannize, and to dictate to capital and brains; in vanity claiming that they are fully the equals of any in ability, and merely not so favorably circumstanced. Here the struggle will come; and only the results will show clearly to the masses what we have here pointed out of the actual inequalities among men and the necessity on both sides for the mutual recognition of each other’s rights and abilities. By means of this long foretold trouble the Lord will give the world a great and a lasting lesson, which will benefit all, and fit all for the kingdom which he will set up.
The superiority of mind over muscle has long been recognized—and properly. Men have long realized that some of the race have fallen lower than others, and have admitted that those retaining the vigor of mind to the largest degree should be the rulers of the world. They see that it would be to the general interest of all that the ablest and wisest should have control. And taken as a whole (always excepting the Lord’s true church, which the world has never known as such), the world has had its strongest, brightest and ablest men in power. And as a whole the ruling and aristocratic classes of to-day are in education and natural ability, as well as in time and opportunity, far superior to the average of the people for whom they make and execute laws.
Why, then, do we find fault?—Because their wisdom and ability are used so selfishly—for their close family relatives, almost exclusively, and not for mankind in general, as one family. As shown (September and October Views) they have shaped the laws and customs of society for their own perpetuation as a class, and have turned all the streams of wealth and influence toward their own quarter. This condition of things, veiled by ignorance and superstition, was not realized by the masses in the past, nor is it clearly and fully realized yet; but knowledge is increasing, the heat and steam of public sentiment are rising, and something ere long must give way. This great explosion and revolution of society will precipitate the impending trouble, pointed out by the prophet as the great finale of sinful man’s attempt at self-government. But above the ruins of present kingdoms the Kingdom of Christ will rise.
But contrary to the expectations of some, this great government will be, not a republic, not a socialistic arrangement in any sense, but a monarchy. Nay, it will not even be a limited monarchy, but an imperial and autocratic one. Jehovah our God will be the Autocrat and his will shall be enforced in the earth; and all who will not gladly and heartily obey his righteous laws when granted ample knowledge and ability, shall be cut off—shall die the second death, have life forever extinguished. And there will be an aristocratic class then, too; a class whom the great Autocrat will exalt to power and great glory and distinction, and to whom he will commit the ordering of this world’s terribly disordered affairs. This class is the Church of God, of whom Christ Jesus is Lord and Chief. All power will be claimed and exercised (Matt. 28:18; and Rev. 2:26; 11:17,18); and infallible laws will be rigorously enforced. Then every knee must bow and every tongue must confess. That will be the strictest government the world has ever known; absolutely no liberty will be granted to do wrong.
If this kingdom were of the same character as present governments, operated upon the same selfish principles, it would be all the worse for the increase of power. But it will be based upon other principles. Not injustice and selfishness, but principles of justice and love will be the foundation of that throne. And backed, as it will be, by divine wisdom and power, good results, everlasting blessings, will result to the upright in heart. All its power and all the wisdom of its rulers will be exercised lovingly and justly, for the good of the fallen human family, for the elevation to perfection of all the willingly obedient; to the intent that when this Millennial reign of Christ is finished, all such being perfected may then be given the control of earth as kings or sovereigns in common, subject to God’s general government—as in a limited republic the citizens of the several states arrange their own affairs subject to the laws and regulations of the general government;—while the disobedient, unworthy of life, shall be cut off from life in the second death.
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Thus the original dominion of earth, lost by Adam through sin and redeemed by Christ’s ransom-sacrifice, is to be fully restored to such as shall be found worthy of it by their Redeemer in the close of his Millennial reign—God’s due time.
Only those who see God’s plan of the ages can appreciate the care with which he is now selecting and disciplining every member of that „little flock” for the important positions and work of that kingdom—to be kings and priests unto God and to reign on the earth as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. „A peculiar people” they will indeed be, very different from the haughty, proud, arrogant aristocracy of the present time. None of the proud and haughty (1 Pet. 5:5), and not many rich or great or noble hath God chosen, but the poor of the world, rich in faith and love and humility, to be joint-heirs with Christ in the coming kingdom.
None of the candidates for these coming honors and opportunities of blessing the world need wonder, then, at the course of instruction, discipline and experience to which they are now subjected, as though some strange thing happened unto them. (1 Pet. 4:12.) But let them rejoice that they are counted worthy of the discipline and seek to make their calling and selection sure by permitting the promises and providences of God to work in them to will and to do his good pleasure. Let all such remember that love in them is to take the place of selfishness, otherwise they will be unfit for the coming glory and service. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. And hereby know we that we dwell in God and he in us, because he hath given us of his spirit—love.—1 John 4:7-19.
Verily, too, God is about to show the world the true and beneficial operation of the law of Primogeniture, which they borrowed in part from the typical characters and customs of Old Testament times and misapplied, to the world’s enslavement and class exaltation. The Church of the FIRSTBORN (whose head is Christ Jesus, and whose members are the humble, faithful overcomers of the world and its spirit of selfishness,) is soon to have the entire inheritance, as well the land as the power and dominion, the glory and the honor.—Psa. 2:8; 1 Cor. 3:22,23; Rev. 21:7; Matt. 5:5.
A happy day it will truly be, when God’s little ones, his humble ones, his thoroughly tested ones, perfected in their new bodies like unto their Lord, shall become earth’s aristocracy and rulers.
„O hail, happy day, that ends earth’s tears and sorrows,
That brings her joy without alloy;
O hail, happy day!
There peace shall wave her scepter high,
And love’s fair banner greet the eye,
Proclaiming Victory! O hail, happy day!”
It is for this grand consummative development of God’s plan of the ages that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting [though ignorantly] for the manifestation of the sons of God, in whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed. And even we ourselves also [who hope to be those glorified sons] groan within ourselves, waiting [also, for the same glorious epoch] for the adoption, [or full introduction to the glories and honors of our Father, the King of kings, which according to his plan belong to us, the Bride of Christ, his firstborn, and heir according to his many exceeding great and precious promises], to wit the redemption of our [one] body, the body of Christ.—Compare Rom. 8:17-22,23; Gal. 3:16,29.
Primogeniture, then, as selfishly applied, and adapted by fallen men to selfish ends, serves to enslave and oppress and injure men. But primogeniture, as designed of God, and as he will use it in his great plan, operated upon the great bed-plate of love (the fulness of all law), will work the greatest good for all, and be the power of God and the wisdom of God unto human recovery—unto deliverance from sin and death of all now „His people,” and all who shall become „His people.”
— November, 1889 —