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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
WELL has the Prophet described our times, saying, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice [sound] of the day of the Lord.” (Zeph. 1:14.) He who cannot hear the “voice” to-day is deaf indeed: “He that hath an ear let him hear,” saith the Lord. The “voice” of complaint for some time back has been from the farmers, “the reapers,” who just now are temporarily pacified by large crops and good prices,—brought to them through the adversity of their fellow creatures in famine-stricken India, and a shortage elsewhere—a pacification which will probably not last more than another year or two, except as war or famine or other calamities may be permitted of the Lord to grant temporary respite.
But now the “voice” of woe comes from another quarter: from the miners of bituminous coal, who claim that they cannot possibly endure longer the strain of competition, which, through idleness and in other ways, reduces their wages sometimes as low as $3.00 per week. They have “struck,” demanding reform measures and better pay. To make their “strike” successful, they claim it is necessary to induce all, or nearly all, miners to join them; and to this end they have formed “marching bands” to endeavor peaceably to induce miners still at work to join in the strike.
The coal-mine owners have ordered the marchers off their property, as they of course have a right to do; but in addition, by going before the courts and swearing that they believe these “marching bands” intend injury to their property and to the persons of their miners now employed they have induced the courts to issue Injunctions, commanding the “marching bands” to disperse and not to march on the roads within a certain radius of the mines. The strikers obeyed as respects “bands,” but in groups of two or three and singly they walked along the highways and shouted to the miners at work to come out and join in the strike for living wages. But the law of injunction seems to have deprived the strikers from using even that liberty. It is not to be wondered at, that this feature of Injunction is criticized as contrary to the spirit of liberty and the Constitutional rights of the American people.
Nevertheless the majority of the well-to-do and wealthy seem to view the matter in the same light as do the courts, and to be willing to infringe the Constitutional rights of the laborer for the preservation of peace. But it will be found that such a peace is purchased at too high a cost. That the strikers have just cause for striking is generally admitted and even by some of the operators; and that generally they have conducted themselves with great moderation and patience is also conceded.
The groundwork for this moderation lay in the fact that they hoped to succeed by virtue of the justice of their cause: but now when they find that the Courts of Justice are prejudiced against them so as to deprive them, as criminals, of the liberty of their own highways, in anticipation that they may become criminals, can we wonder that their faith and hope for peaceable methods of redressing their grievances are blighted? No indeed. Do they not claim with justice that they have the right as freemen to assemble unarmed for the discussion of their welfare, as truly as the mine-owners may meet at hotels or other rendezvous for the discussion of their interests and to persuade each other pro or con?
Of course there are occasions when Court injunctions are both proper and necessary, and it may be difficult at times to decide where the line should be drawn; but surely the wealthy and the Courts, if not blind to
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the true situation and deaf to “the voice of the day of the Lord,” would avoid utterly discouraging the lower classes by destroying their confidence in the administration of justice: nothing else so quickly breeds the spirit of anarchy.
Hearken to the “Voice of the Day of the Lord” from St. Louis, sounding into the ears of the civilized world through the daily Press:—
“St. Louis, Aug. 31.—The conference of labor leaders of the country, which has been in session here two days, finished its work this evening. The meeting was productive of several sensational speeches and many resolutions. The platform as presented by the committee reads in part as follows:—
“The fear of the more watchful fathers of the republic has been justified. The judiciary has become supreme. We witness a political phenomenon absolutely new in the history of the world; a republic prostrate at the feet of judges appointed to administer its laws. They acknowledge no superior on earth, and their despotic deeds recall Milton’s warning to his countrymen: ‘Who bids a man rule over him above law, may bid as well a savage beast.’
“Under the cunning form of injunctions, courts have assumed to enact criminal laws, and, after thus drawing to themselves the power of legislation, have repealed the bill of rights, and for violation of those court made laws have denied the accused the right of trial by jury.
“The exercise of the commonest rights of freemen—the right of assembly, the right of free speech, the right of traveling the public highway—have by legislation, under the form of injunctions, been made a crime, and armed forces disperse as mobs people daring in company to exercise these rights.
Having drawn to themselves all the powers of the Federal Government until Congress and Presidents may act only by judicial permission, the Federal Judges have begun the subjugation of sovereign states, so that, unless a check is soon put upon the progress of usurpation, in a short time no government but the absolute despotism of federal judges will exist anywhere over any portion of American soil.
“Whereas, appeals to Congress and to the courts for relief are fruitless, since the legislative, as well as the executive and judicial powers are under the control of the capitalistic class, so that it has come to pass in this ‘free country,’ that while cattle and swine have a right to the public highways, Americans, so called freemen, have not.
“Whereas, our capitalistic class, as is again shown in the present strike, is armed, and has not only policemen, marshals, sheriffs and deputies, but also a regular army and militia, in order to enforce government by injunction, suppressing lawful assemblage, free speech and the right to the public highway; while, on the other hand, the laboring men of the country are unarmed and defenceless, contrary to the words and spirit of the Constitution of the United States; therefore, be it
“Resolved, That we hereby set apart Friday, the third day of September, 1897, as a ‘Good Friday’ for the cause of suffering labor in America and contribute the earnings of that day to the support of our struggling brothers, the miners, and appeal to every union man and every friend of labor throughout the country;” etc., etc., etc.
“Mr. Debs was then called for and said:
“I believe the gravity of the industrial situation in this country is well understood. It is quite evident the delegates to this convention are cognizant of the fact that civil liberty is dead in America. I have said and say again,—For the last time, I have appealed to the courts for justice, and shall appeal to them no more. The American Railway Union expended $45,000 to have the question of civil rights tested in the supreme courts of the United States, only to be told that we have no rights that capital is bound to respect. Shall we appeal to the supreme courts again? No. We appeal to this convention and to the country for an uprising of all the common people in every walk of life to beat back the courts and reenthrone the rights of the American people.
“From justice of the peace to justice of the supreme court of the United States, all the judicial powers of the United States are directed against labor. All the organized forces of society are against labor, and if labor expects to emancipate itself, labor itself must do it.
“The time has not quite come to incite the populace,’ said Mr. Debs, shaking his fist vehemently.”
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But will “the voice of the day of the Lord,” as it comes from various quarters and swells into a mighty roar of the sea class (Luke 21:25) be heard, and will it be heeded, and will relief be granted, and will the threatened crash and the wreck of present institutions be avoided? No; God’s Word shows us that it will not be averted;—so strong is the power of selfishness in the world that it blinds those who should see, if only in self-interest. But we leave this subject for
MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. IV.—”THE DAY OF VENGEANCE,”
which we expect to commence mailing Oct. 1, next,—as and for the October and November issues of this journal.
INTERDENOMINATIONALISM VS. UNDENOMINATIONALISM
We have pointed out from time to time that the Christian Endeavor movement is too liberal to be tolerated by sectarians; and that having no common basis of faith, and proposing to ignore doctrines, the Society would be at a loss as to any definite object and be apt to drift into Moralism, Christian-politics, etc. The following quotations show that three Presbyterian journals are waking up to the fact that Christian Endeavorers will soon reach the place where they cannot be
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depended upon as sectarians, whatever they may gain or lose as Christians.
The Editor of the Michigan Presbyterian says:—
“For two weeks we have been hesitating to say just what we felt, because of love for the Christian Endeavor work and for our brethren: but we are ready now to confess what has been for years slowly taking shape in our mind, that we honestly believe that it would have been far better for the Presbyterian Church,
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and especially for our young people, if twelve years ago we had put the same amount of energy into organizing Westminster Leagues as we did into organizing the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. In short, we believe that our Westminster League brethren have been right during all these years of controversy. The reasons for this opinion are so many and so fundamental that it would take half a dozen articles even to state them, and half a dozen more to meet the arguments on the other side, many of them being arguments which we have honestly made ourselves, in synods and presbyteries. Nor is there any practical use in dwelling upon them, for it is now too late to make the radical change that could have been made successfully ten years ago.”
The Editor of The Presbyterian, commenting on the foregoing, adds:—
“But whatever opinion one has upon the points raised, there is a fact brought out by our Michigan contemporary which is worthy of special consideration, and which shows the existence of elements of conflict and disintegration, which will sooner or later assert themselves. Dr. Clark has insisted upon its being interdenominational, and he has done his best to make it so. But look at the facts: What denominations come next in numbers to our own in Christian Endeavor work? The Congregationalist and the Campbellist. Congregationalism is more and more standing for union work, making its plea on that basis, and making its doors wide to all kinds of religious ideas, in a loosely confederated sort of way. Campbellism, through its leading organ, the Christian Standard, declares that as far as that body of believers is concerned, they reject utterly Dr. Clark’s interdenominational ideas, and they are in the Christian Endeavor work to abolish denominationalism altogether. They make no secret of their mission to substitute for interdenominationalism undenominationalism.”
The Presbyterian Banner prints a comment on the matter, saying:—
“We do not forget that Dr. Clark and Mr. Baer, editors of the Golden Rule, who hold the reins of control [over Christian Endeavorers], have made much show of denominational loyalty on the part of church societies, subordinate, however, to supreme loyalty to the organization. This strategic movement was made by them after charges had been brought, that the whole tendency of Christian Endeavor was in the direction of church union, or more properly, independent churches.”
The Editor of the Banner assents, saying:—
“That there has been a marked change in the views of many ministers and elders and a large number of members of the Presbyterian denomination since the last meeting of the General Assembly at Saratoga cannot be doubted by any one familiar with the trend of opinion in the church. What ought to be done, or what can be done in the circumstances, we do not pretend to know at present. … We agree with the Michigan Presbyterian that ‘there is a great deal that we can do. We can make continually more of our own history, doctrines and plan of work, and continually less of the undenominational character of this work.'”
THE DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS
At the unveiling of the equestrian statue of Emperor William I. at Coblentz, the present Emperor of Germany, in proposing a toast, made the following pointed statement of his conception of his office:—
“My grandfather went forth from Coblentz to mount the throne as the chosen instrument of the Lord, and as such he regarded himself. For all of us, more especially for us princes, he raised the throne once more on high, crowning it with the bright rays of the treasure which may we ever preserve in its sublimity and holiness. I mean the kingdom, by the grace of God, the kingdom with its heavy duties, its never ending, ever enduring toils and labors, with its awful responsibility to the Creator alone, from which no man, no minister, no house of parliament, no people can release the prince. For me it will be a sacred duty, following in the ways which the great ruler has shown us and in solicitude for my country to hold my protecting hand over this splendid jewel.”
It is well that all persons in and out of public office should recognize every influence and opportunity as a stewardship from God; but it is very peculiar that the king of Prussia having acquired imperial authority over the other German states with and by their consent to be so governed, should now recognize his accountability as to the Creator alone. He, like all other men, owes fealty to God in all his acts: but his office came from the people and should be esteemed amenable to the people who gave it. His views are part of the leaven dispensed by Papacy, at the bottom of much of the world’s superstition; which in this particular has done good as well as harm. By and by we shall have the true King and the reign of righteousness, whose only object will not be to fight for the maintenance of a throne,—but to “bless all the families of the earth.”
“ZIONISM” ADVOCATED AND DEFENDED
The Jewish Conference respecting Zionism met at Basel, Switzerland, on August 30th as proposed;—to discuss the feasibility and advisability of Dr. Herzl’s scheme for securing Palestine as a national home for the Jewish race, and assisting the poor and persecuted to return to the land of their fathers and to prosperity. The cable announces merely the fact that the Conference enthusiastically endorsed Dr. Herzl’s suggestions, and sent to the Sultan of Turkey a telegram congratulating him upon the peace and prosperity of their race throughout his dominions. Hebrew was the language of the Convention: a very noteworthy indication.
Thus gradually, but surely, prophecy is fulfilling along this line also; keeping pace exactly with the developments along other lines—civil and religious—all rapidly approaching their foretold climaxes. Praise God!
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Mr. Max Nordau, a Hebrew and a noted writer, expressed himself recently with great freedom in favor of the Zionist program and in opposition to those Jews who are opposing it. He suggests that “rabbis and idiots” who now raise against the movement a “senseless outcry” may some day rejoice at the success of Zionism, because of the refuge it will afford “from the Antisemitic storm gathering over their heads.” (Antisemitism signifies opposition to the descendents of Shem; it includes all the races of Southwestern Asia—Assyrians, Arabs, Abyssinians, Hebrews, etc., but it is here and most frequently used to signify opposition to Hebrews, the Jews.) Proceeding, Dr. Nordau said:—
“Zionism has been called into existence by the steady growth and encroachments of Antisemitism in its various forms—official Antisemitism in Russia, popular Antisemitism in Germany and Austria. Being a German myself I can only speak for my own country. There, I have no hesitation in saying, the Jew is not only not beloved, but he is positively hated and feared; and this aversion extends to all people having the faintest trace of Jewish blood in their veins.
“The Antisemitic propaganda has turned people mad in Germany and Austria, and there seems to be no prospect of a change for the better. Altho no one can accuse me certainly of being a parasite or a money-grabber—every penny I have earned has been the result of hard and conscientious labor—my mail is often weighed down with insulting anonymous letters from the other side of the Rhine. … Seeing that this anti-Jewish feeling is pretty well universal, or rapidly becoming so, why should the Jew himself, we ask, be satisfied to continue living in a hostile camp? Why should he be reduced to effacing his nationality? …
“The Jew, figuratively speaking, is constantly holding his hand in front of his nose to hide its peculiar aquilinity, which peculiarity, by the way, he shares with the all-conquering Romans of old. Why be ashamed of our natural and, above all, national characteristics? No, let us develop them on the contrary, form them in the right molds. Let us be true to ourselves, to our traditions, to the genius of our race. Then, indeed, will great things come out of this disordered mass. Israel will be herself again. This is the true essence of Zionism! … The gentle rabbis in Germany and the United States who have been pooh-poohing our efforts may not be aware that at this moment hundreds of thousands of their coreligionists are living in the most awful squalor and misery conceivable within the confines of the Jewish pale of Russia or among the wild Kurdish tribes of Asia Minor.”
* * *
Thus, the Jews themselves being the witnesses, God is forcing them back to the Promised Land for which many of them had lost all hope and all love.
Whether Palestine will be opened to the Jew by money, as they now propose, or whether it will be opened by war, we cannot say; but far more than the Zionists hope for will be attained by A.D. 1915. To permit all that God has promised that is due before that time, would demand that they be admitted to Palestine under the domination of some other Power or Powers very shortly.
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Brother Kirkham tells us that when in Europe recently he was brought in contact with certain Jewish bankers to explain some inventions in tile making; and that incidentally he found an opportunity to explain God’s plan of the ages, mentioning also that the due time had come for the restoration of divine favor to Israel. To his surprise his hearers manifested deep interest and said that what he had said was in many respects closely in harmony with their own views. They then voluntarily sent with him an escort and showed him at a private marble yard, kept secret from the general public, columns of very fine marble in preparation, they said, to form parts of a grand temple to be built at Jerusalem. The parts are being gotten ready according to draughted plans, and each stone is lettered and numbered to indicate the place for which it is intended.
THE DIVISION OF TURKEY ARRANGED
It is now pretty generally agreed that Austria and Russia have reached an agreement respecting the division of Turkey when it shall be judged that the opportune moment has arrived. Austria is to have Salonica and all the territory west of it, while Russia is to have Constantinople and a good share of the territory surrounding it and northward. But it is not intended to force a war; merely the arrangement is made so that in the event of another war with Turkey each nation will know the portions to seize. It is said that Germany is very anxious to secure Syria, including Palestine, on the same terms; but that the other Powers would permit this is very doubtful, as they all covet Palestine.
Our chief interest in the Turkish question is the opening of Palestine to the returning Israelites: if it, or even liberty of settlement therein, be conveyed to the Jews for money, we shall feel comparatively little further interest in Turkey.
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE
The third Conference at Lambeth, near to London, has just been held, bishops of the Church of England being present “from divers parts of the earth.” These Conferences have done much to instil and foster the idea of Protestant Federation, and meantime are endeavoring to hold together the Episcopal Church, doctrinally. To this end previous Conferences have advocated the appointment of a Primate, or Head Bishop, still higher than the Archbishop of Canterbury,—practically a pope, without claims for his infallibility.
A large conservative element has thus far hindered this proposal; and the friends of the measure, abandoning hope along that line, have at this Conference secured
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the appointment of a “Central Consultative Committee” to assist and give advice on all theological points in controversy, with a view to holding in some kind of harmony the various branches of the Episcopal Church in various climes, on doctrinal subjects, which the present day awakening of thought makes very difficult.
The Committee was agreed to, and is to be appointed by the chief minister of that church—the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, of whose installation in office we not long since gave an account, pointing out also that he is a Higher Criticism unbeliever and an avowed Evolutionist, which signifies that he denies the ransom, and is not in any sense a real Christian according to the New Testament standard. That he will appoint upon this committee such as are disbelievers in the Scriptures and in the ransom, like himself, goes without saying; and we may accordingly judge of the lines of error along which they will seek to harmonize the theological differences in the Church of England.
— September 15, 1897 —