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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
CORROBORATIONS OF SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY.
GRADUALLY, but surely and relatively swiftly, we see unfolding the various features of the divine plan which the Scriptures have taught us to expect—pointing them out in a general way in advance—namely, preparations for the Millennium of blessing and preparations also for the great time of trouble with which it will be introduced. The testimonies following are all the more forceful because they come from men who, so far as we are aware, have no such expectations as we hold—no such light as we enjoy, relative to the teachings of the Scriptures on these matters.
For instance, many have opposed our presentation of the Bible’s teachings on restitution (Acts 3:19-21), claiming—
(1) That there would not be standing-room for so many as probably have been born, reasonably estimated at about fifty thousand millions. We answered this by a mathematical demonstration that twice this number could find standing room in either Texas or France, and that the whole earth under good climatic conditions will be ample for all. They then objected—
(2) That the earth can scarcely feed its present population, as attested by the famines in India and southern Russia. We replied to this, that God is able to provide for the fulfilment of all his promises; and pointed out the declarations of the holy prophets respecting these “times of restitution,” that then “the earth shall yield her increase” and the “wilderness shall blossom as the rose.”—Isa. 35:1; Psa. 67:9.
Note now how science comes forward to corroborate the Bible’s testimony; and let us remember that now is just the time for these things to begin to appear.
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We quote the following from The Saturday Evening Post:—
“THE CHEMISTRY OF SOIL.”
“Undoubtedly, one of the most wonderful discoveries of modern chemistry has to do with the soil. It has been ascertained that the most barren land can be made rich simply by adding to it certain mineral elements which cost but little. On this basis it is estimated that the United States will be able eventually to maintain 500,000,000 people—more than one-third of the present population of the world. It is merely a question of supplying the requisite quantities of nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potash. The last two are readily obtainable at small expense, whereas the first may be supplied either by furnishing to the soil condensed nitrogen in the shape of slaughter-waste or nitrate of soda, or by planting clover, beans, or peas, which have an affinity for nitrogen and absorb it from the atmosphere.
It is now known that nitrogen is the most important plant food, and inasmuch as this element composes four-fifths of the atmosphere the question is merely to absorb it into the soil. It has also come to be understood that only two per cent. of the material of plants is derived from the soil, the remaining ninety-eight per cent. being drawn from the air and from water. It has been learned that certain species of bacteria absorb nitrogen, and these may be propagated in moist earth, and the earth thus treated sprinkled over the land.”
“IN THE WILDERNESS WATERS SHALL BREAK OUT AND STREAMS IN THE DESERT.”—ISA. 35:6.
This prophecy bids fair to have a literal as well as a spiritual fulfilment. Already the drilling of artesian wells has reclaimed thousands of acres of arid land in the “American Desert” of the West; but the cost was too great when many of the holes were dry. Now, on seemingly reliable authority, relief has come to Texas along that line. A boy of fourteen years is found to possess what is styled “X-ray sight,” so that in the dark he can see beneath the surface of the
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ground; just as the “X-ray” proved to science that certain rays of light can penetrate what we call solid substances; and just as Marconi, in connection with wireless telegraphy, has demonstrated that certain waves of ether pass through solid substances unhindered. This boy can see the subterranean creeks and rivers, and can designate just where the wells should be drilled to get the water so much needed on the surface. Whether this should be considered a lost sense of sight, lost through the fall, and which would return during the “times of restitution,” or a special gift intended to help forward in the restitution, we are not yet prepared to give an opinion.
Of this boy’s powers the Chicago Record gives quite a lengthy account, from which we quote the following, accredited to “Judge W. Van Sickle of Alpine, a member of the Texas Legislature:”—
“That Guy Fenley, this 14 year-old boy, is possessed of an ‘X-ray’ sight cannot be questioned. He has demonstrated his ability to see underground streams of water, no matter what their depth may be, on a number of occasions, and the stockmen of west Texas have ample proof of his power in this line. I engaged him to go to Brewster county and locate two wells on the ranch which is owned by D. J. Combs and myself. This ranch is situated in a very dry country, known as the Glass mountains. We had made a vain search for water on this ranch, having sunk a well to a depth of 607 feet at a cost of $1,500 without striking water. This boy has already located two wells on the ranch, one at a depth of 250 feet and the other at a depth of 400 feet, both containing an abundant supply of pure water, and well-drilling outfits are now at work sinking other wells on the ranch with no doubt about securing water.
“There can be no longer any doubt about this boy’s wonderful power of sight, because instances are numerous and notoriously known where his ‘X-ray’ gift, or whatever it may be called, has been proved beyond a doubt. He sees the veins or streams of water under the ground and can tell with absolute certainty the different strata between the surface and the water. He has this ‘X-ray’ sight only at night, and it is much stronger in the dark of the moon. When he exercises this wonderful power for any length of time, he becomes exhausted and falls into a deep sleep, which restores him to his former self.”
THE JEWS CLAIMING CHRIST.
“The oldest and the newest traditions of Israel look with favor upon the man of Galilee, who, as the prophets of old, was willing to give his soul unto death that his ideals might live after him. His noble and exalted aims have not been fulfilled. What ideals ever were? But we who are Jews today certainly have no cause to regret his coming into the world, and have every reason to look forward to the time when the message of this hour will find an echo in the heart and life of mankind. The gospel of Jesus was the glad tidings of Israel’s own universal truth. The teacher of Nazareth was our kith and kin, both in the flesh and in the spirit. We revere his memory, claim him as our own, and gladly accord him that high rank which he deserves as one of the greatest benefactors of the human family.
“How absurd and silly it is to expect us, in this age of enlightenment and growing religious fellowship, to mourn on this day, to shut our eyes to the light like wilful, wanton children, and see only the shadows of our past. If we, who are children of the house to whom the prophets belong, and whose mission it is to proclaim peace to them that are far and near, strew the seed of discord and resentment among our own, wherein are we better than those who persecuted our ancestors for wrongs which they had not committed? Shall we hold him whom the millions of our fellowmen commemorate today, and through whom, according to the unanimous opinion of our best and profoundest scholars in ancient and modern times, Israel’s divine truths were carried out to the nations, shall we hold him responsible for the crimes that were perpetrated in his name? Nay, we do not mourn, but we rejoice that Jesus was born, and through him, despite the shortcomings, despite the manifold prejudices that still darken human hearts, this world at large is infinitely better and brighter than it would have been without him. We would not conjure the dread spectres of the past; we thank God that we live in the present, with its wider liberty, its nobler humanity.”—RABBI SALEE in Jewish Voice.
PRESBYTERIAN CREED REVISION.
The Presbyterian General Assembly committee has agreed upon the following summary of returns made to them by various Presbyteries. They met in Washington City on Feb. 12 to prepare their statement for the next General Assembly in May.
First—The returns plainly indicate that the church desires some changes in its credal statement.
Second—These returns indicate plainly that no change is desired which would in any way impair the integrity of the system of doctrine contained in the Confession of Faith.
Third—These returns also indicate that a large plurality desire that the changes should be made by some new statement of present doctrines.
Fourth—The returns also indicate a desire upon the part of many presbyteries for some revision of the present confession.
Fifth—It was therefore unanimously agreed to recommend to the assembly that some revision or change be made in our confession statements.
This means that the creed is objectionable as it stands, but that it is desired that the changes shall be made in such a manner as to cast no discredit upon it in the eyes of their own people or other Christians. In a word, they want, if possible, to say, The creed is all right, none better, could not be better; but some
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people cannot understand it aright, and for their sakes only it was necessary to alter the language without changing the sense. And no doubt some will succeed in deluding themselves and others—who prefer to be deceived rather than to openly acknowledge the wrong, for fear of denominational injury.
— March 1, 1901 —