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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
WE LEARN with regret that our reports of the progress of Socialism at home and abroad have been misunderstood by some to signify expectation that Socialism may be the Lord’s way of bringing in the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. Our position seems difficult for some to understand. We believe that many of the ideals of Socialism are good;—more than this, that many of those ideals will be realized in the Kingdom as they are now realized in heaven. But, we dispute the ability of Socialists to put those ideals into effect and make them continuously operative.
Why so? Because of sin;—because selfishness, the reverse of love, is born with all men;—and because nothing but a thorough conversion (such as few experience) and subsequent instruction in the School of Christ (such as few now enjoy) could possibly so correct the natural heart as to make love—the golden rule—its law.
No doubt many Socialists believe that their desires for Socialism are actuated by love, and not by selfishness; but such should not forget the Scriptural declaration that “the heart is deceitful above all things.” Those clamoring for Socialism are generally such as believe that their temporal interests would be improved, or, at least, not injured, by Socialism. Remarkably few are advocating Socialism or anything else to their own disadvantage. We are not finding fault with this natural condition; only God’s saints love to the extent of self-sacrifice for the good of others. We are merely pointing to this evidence that the advocates of Socialism cannot claim to be actuated by love, but by selfishness;—we are merely proving our position, that even if Socialism were established it could not last, because selfishness would continually prompt each to work either for his own advantage, or else to work as little as possible.
Possibly a very few may be found working for Socialism and against their own interest: it is not for us to decide; but it is possible that ambition or combativeness have as much, or more, to do with their sacrifices than has love of mankind. The point we make is that Socialism is not practicable under selfish conditions; and that the voluntary Socialism which the Lord will introduce will not be attained until the close of the Millennium, when the selfishness of the fallen condition will have given place to perfect love and the full image of God;—all the incorrigibly selfish being destroyed in the Second Death. The Socialism of the Millennium will not be voluntary, but enforced by the rule of the “rod of iron.”—Rev. 2:27.
Our reason for keeping track of the progress of Socialism now is, that we expect that it, or something akin to it, is about to deceive the world into looking for a Millennium of its own, and lead them unconsciously to, and then over the brink into the anarchy and “time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” We cannot wonder that this “will o’ the wisp” should attract and ensnare many of “the groaning creation” who long for better things for themselves and neighbors; and we should and do sympathize with such very keenly; but for any one who has had his eyes opened to the divine plan for the blessing of the world, through Christ and his Church, in the Millennial Kingdom (invisible to the world), to be attracted to Socialism would be a distinct evidence of his going into the “outer darkness” of the world—away from the inner light of divine revelation given to the Church.
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CONDITIONS IN GERMANY
The London Spectator editorially reviews the German situation, and the evidences seen there of a political or a social revolution—all, be it marked, based on selfishness. It says:—
“Professor Mommsen, whose opinion has great weight in Germany, has issued a remarkable manifesto. He says that ‘the overthrow of the Imperial Constitution is rapidly progressing.’ The Reichstag and the Emperor alike are being subjected to the absolutism of an alliance between the Tory landlords and the priests. That is revolution and worse than personal government, because the autocrat would be impartial. All parties, in fact, are becoming revolutionary. The Liberals would like to convert the supreme head of the state into a ‘first official,’ after the English pattern, and ‘that is revolution.’ So is the desire of the Centre to reconvert Germany to Catholicism. So is the desire of the German squirearchy to restore aristocratic rule, and degrade the Emperor to be only first among his peers. And finally, so is the desire of the Social Democrats that every workman, without regard to his work, should receive out of a general pot the same quantity of soup as his neighbors. The only remedy is for Liberals and Social Democrats to unite in resistance; but that requires a modification in the ideas of each, which the Social Democrats in particular, who seem bent on ‘political suicide,’ will be slow to concede. We are not so hopeless as the Professor; but certainly the trend of events in Germany is towards Caesarism in the hands of a Caesar whose considerable powers of mind are rendered partially useless by perpetual hurry.”
ABOUT OUR PROSPERITY
The Pittsburg Gazette editorially says:—
“While the United States is enjoying unexampled prosperity, England is feeling the pinch of hard times. Accounts agree that in the poorer parts of London and in some of the industrial centers in the provinces there is an exceptional amount of distress. It is admitted that the year now closing has been marked by a decline of industrial prosperity and that there is an unusually large per centage of unemployed workmen, for whose relief during the winter special exertions will have to be made. Similar news comes from Russia. Famine prevails in the province of Finland, and in all industrial centers there is great suffering owing to lack of work. It is reported that workmen in important towns are glad to get work for 35 copecks a day, equal to 23 cents. The depression in England is largely a reaction from artificial stimulus of war expenditure, and in Russia it is a recoil from over production and over trading in connection with the rapid expansion of the empire. Germany is beginning to emerge from the depression that overtook her industries some years ago, but the recent tariff legislation hostile to the commercial treaties which stimulated her industrial progress, has clouded the prospect again. The industrial prosperity of the United States is the admiration and envy of the world.”
* * *
We receive many queries respecting the probable duration of present prosperity. That question no human being can answer satisfactorily. The world’s wars being over and the great war expenditures stopped, would naturally mean that prosperity has already crested and is on the decline. But who knows what may come of the Venezuelan trouble or similar difficulties with other states, through the new program of the great powers that the claims of private bondholders against the smaller nations may be collected by force? Who knows that this program and the “Monroe Doctrine” may not clash so as to bring about one of the greatest sea wars of modern times? Or something else, of which we as yet have not a surmise, may come forward suddenly to give business a fresh spurt.
So far as the Scriptures guide us, we expect the climax of the great time of anarchous trouble in October, 1914. Our opinion is that so great a trouble would necessarily last in violent form at least three or four years before reaching that climax. Hence, we expect strenuous times by or before October, 1910. And this agrees well with the corresponding and typical trouble with which the Jewish age ended.
Reasoning backward from 1910 A.D. we are bound to assume that the conditions leading up to such violence as we then expect would include great financial depression which probably would last some years before reaching so disheartening a stage. We could not, therefore, expect that depression to begin later than, say, 1908. Our reasoning is that a depression beginning now would culminate too quickly for the dates we consider fixed by Scripture, and that there is not sufficient time for a depression and then another boom and another depression before 1910,—notwithstanding the rapid changes of our day. These reasons incline us to expect a prolongation of present prosperity for a couple of years more. It is because we see no other cause than war likely to sustain present prosperity, that we are on the lookout for one;—and not that we favor or sympathize with wars.
CATHOLICISM IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
Recent reports indicate that the movement among the Filipinos to throw off the yoke of the Roman Catholic Church is progressing rapidly. They have established the “National Filipino Church” modeled after the pattern of the Church of England. They have chosen as its archbishop “Father Aglipay,” an excommunicate Catholic priest, and the movement is taking well with the people who for so many years have been under the oppression of the monks and friars, both socially and financially. The latter have gotten into their control vast estates and many of the most profitable plantations, as well as all the church property, schools, etc., with money wrested from the
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people for performing funeral and wedding and christening services, and for masses and penances, under the pretext of saving them from untellable torture in the future.
The people have seized many of the church buildings, claiming (we think, properly) that they were built with their and their fathers’ money and labor and belong properly to them; and they are holding these by armed force and using them for worship according to their lights. Both parties—the people and the friars—are appealing to the American Governor Taft to decide for them. Neither party seems able to understand how church and state are distinctly separate with us. The Governor advises both parties that he can and will do no deciding of the question—that the courts of justice must settle the dispute. Bloodshed is feared.
DISESTABLISHMENT MOVEMENT IN ENGLAND
The “Society for the Liberation of Religion from State Patronage” is making itself heard. Its Secretary recently said:—
“The education bill and the rapid drift of the Anglican church Romeward are the pivotal points of the campaign. We contend that the bill is the creation of the state-maintained clergy and that it mulcts the people for the benefit of a limited class. We also contend that such an act would be impossible were the religious system independent of the state. The bishop of London’s vehement protest against Romanist ritualism in several Anglican churches comes opportunely to aid our agitation. We hold that such evils are inherent in an official church which relieves the clergy of responsibility to the people and insures them life tenure. Unless guilty of gross breaches of immorality, Anglican ministers can teach anything, from agnosticism to transubstantiation, and remain perfectly secure in their clerical strongholds. The majority of them are deeply Romanists, but the English masses are thoroughly Protestant. When the people and not the state have control of the clergy the Romeward tendency will cease.”
STATESMEN’S VIEWS ON ZIONISM
Lord Salisbury: “Zionism is destined to succeed, in spite of the opposition it encounters. The Jews are capable of establishing a model government at Palestine, and raising the commerce of Asia Minor to an unprecedented height. If but forty per cent. of the Jews were converted to the project, it would become an assured reality. There is no reason why the Sultan should object to the establishment of an autonomous Jewish government within his dominions. There is enough energy and perseverance in the race that has resisted oppression for 2,500 years to accomplish the purposes pursued by Zionism.”
Ex-Premier Bourgeois: “The Jewish nation is too individual, too dissimilar, to other nations, to lose itself in assimilation. Zionism is essentially war upon Antisemitism—a phenomenon even more injurious to the dominant nations than to the Jews themselves, for it has a demoralizing effect, fostering hatred and checking the growth of the liberal spirit. The Jews are now reasserting themselves as a new-born nation and vigorously proclaiming their status as one. We may expect much from them, as they possess much intellectual power. Zionism is to be hailed as the solvent of Antisemitism, which will lose its raison d’etre with the unification and rehabilitation of the scattered and oppressed race.”
— February 1, 1903 —