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SATISFIED AND DISSATISFIED
Sunday, January 25, 1885, the Rev. Talmage said in his sermon to his Brooklyn congregation:
“If you want to know how life seems to me now, I answer, It is very bright. I have had dark days, sad days, tumultuous days, but there now is not one cloud on my sky. I would rather be here than anywhere else. My surroundings suit me exactly. Except yours, I have the best family in all the world. My friends are kind and sympathetic; the world to me is a most desirable abode. I have nothing against the weather, for if it be cold, I have fuel and stout apparel; and, if it be hot, I flee to the mountains, and have no indictment to present against anything or anybody.”
On the same page with the above report was the following one of the destitution and dissatisfaction existing in Cincinnati as expressed by a Communistic parade carrying a red and black flag through the principal streets of that city. The report says:
“One who is on the street at night will find an able-bodied man on almost every square, whose plea for a few cents for bed or bread is certainly not always that of the professional beggar. Men steal that they may be sent to the workhouse, and tell of it when arrested with shamefaced exultation. The workhouse is filled to overflowing, and the prisoners have to sleep two in a bed designed for only one. The charities and the charitable are overtaxed. Cases of destitution are brought to light daily till they are monotonous. On Wednesday a Russian Jew tried to let out his life through his wrists, because of his utter despair of longer earning bread for himself and his wife and babies in a strange land.
“This is the condition which one in every ten of the whole population finds confronting him. The transparencies borne last Saturday night said: ‘Work or bread;’ ‘The many fast, the few feast;’ ‘The pensioned idleness or pensioned industry;’ ‘Order and an empty stomach can never be allies;’ ‘No mendicants or millionaires.’ ‘Self-preservation is the first law of nature;’ ‘Revolutions grow with the discontent of the people;’ ‘Revolt was never belied by the tin cup of the soup-house;’ ‘Charity covers sin, labor covers the back;’ ‘Wealth needs charity, we need labor.'”
Truly the distinction between men, both in talents and comforts, occasioned through the Adamic “fall” and hereditary taint, is very great; and to the lower strata of society it becomes more grievous to bear as intelligence increases. How much the world needs the promised kingdom of God! It is “groaning and travailing in pain,” waiting and hoping for a good time to come, though how it will come they cannot clearly see. They vainly hope that love’s righteousness shall become universal, and that the question of service and wages and a more uniform distribution of life’s blessings will result.
Some hope that this grand and desirable result may be attained by the preaching of Christ, and point to the millions of professed Christians; and, in their desire to increase the showing of results even counting those whom they call “anti-Christ” to swell the numbers. But while all should be glad to concede that all of these systems, both Christian and anti-Christian are exhibiting increasing benevolence, yet at the present rate it would be a long time before Love would hold the sway over selfishness. In fact, to-day, the satisfied and dissatisfied, the luxurious and the poverty-pinched are seen side by side in greatest contrast in the greatest city of the world (London) under the government which claims to be the most advanced in Love and Righteousness. The dissatisfied are becoming restless and desire revolution, not realizing that the speedy effects of it would be to make their condition worse, as well as to destroy the peace of the satisfied class.
But not until men have exhausted their efforts to legislate the world into Love, and to revolutionize it into Righteousness; not until it has learned that what is now called Christianizing people is far from the real thing, and that after all its boasted millions of Christians only a comparatively little flock are really such, not until then, we say, when discouraged and sick with its many failures will mankind be prepared to see what God hath wrought.
Then, in despair of establishing a righteous empire whose rule shall be for the blessing of all, it will be prepared to receive the true kingdom of God. It will then realize that the kingdoms of earth the Church-State organizations which they have been taught are God’s kingdoms, were merely Satan’s deceptions to obscure the truth and prevent men from loving or expecting the real kingdom of God promised.
Then it will be realized, that while the so-called church systems were endeavoring to spread their power and dominion over earth, God was selecting from among men a “little flock” to whom it is his “good pleasure to give the kingdom,” even the control of the whole world—to rule it and to bless it with righteous government, and a restitution to original perfection; in which condition when universally attained they shall be able to live in love and peace and righteousness. Each shall then be able to love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself.
It was predestinated that such a “little flock” should be selected and the conditions are named—they must all be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus; now in the spirit of their minds, and shortly glorified with Him and made fully like him, they shall share his power (Rom. 8:17). Then, at the same time that these shall have been selected, the world shall have learned the need of the perfect government which God shall establish through these. It is for this government that the world waits and groans, though as yet it realizes it not; even “the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19.)
And since we know the outcome—the blessings in store for it—we can view with equanimity and calmness the gathering storm sympathizing with the expression of the poet:
“I turn me awe-struck from the sight,
Among the clamoring thousands unite.
I only know that God is right
And that the children of the light
Shall tread the darkness under-foot.
“I know the pent fire heaves its crust,
That sultry skies the bolt will form
To smite them clear; that Nature must
The balance of her powers adjust,
Though with the earthquake and the storm.”
— April, 1885 —