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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
A BIBLE LEAGUE
A “BIBLE LEAGUE” has been organized in the Methodist Episcopal Church, with the avowed purpose of driving out destructive Higher Criticism. Its president is Bishop Mallalieu, and the promoters hope to establish branches in every Methodist Conference in the country.”—Exchange.
We are glad to see that the situation is being partially realized. It is much more dangerous than many might be willing to believe. No words can more graphically describe the results than the words of Scripture themselves, viz.: “A thousand shall fall at thy side.” (Psa. 91:7.) A thousand to fall to one who will stand means a great “falling away” from faith. Our Master’s question is pertinent here, “When the Son of Man cometh [at his second advent] shall he find faith on the earth?”
The cleavage or separation on this subject can only result favorably so far as the gathering of the Lord’s “jewels” is concerned. Those who will cling to the Bible honestly and intelligently will give it more careful examination than ever. And their longings will not be satisfied by the interpretations and creeds of the dark ages, ruled by superstition and the spirit of persecution. Nothing short of “the faith once delivered to the saints,” which now rejoices our hearts with its lengths and breadths and heights and depths of divine love and provision, will satisfy them. These will be but a “little flock” in all, however. We will be glad to greet Bp. Mallalieu among them, but we do not forget the Apostle’s words, that not many rich or great or noble are being chosen now, but chiefly the poor and ignoble, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom.
That the battle above referred to has commenced is shown by the press dispatch:—”CHICAGO, September 10.
“The Outlook, an official publication of the Methodist denomination, has made a sensational attack upon the Methodist universities. That the doctrines of “Tom” Paine are being taught by Dr. Milton S. Terry, professor of Theology in Garrett Biblical Institute, and by Dr. Hinckley G. Mitchell, of the Boston University School of Theology, is the charge. Methodists are advised not to send their sons and daughters to schools ‘where such teachers are allowed to remain on the faculty.'”
GENERAL UNREST PREVAILS
“Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plow shares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong.”—Joel 3:9-16.
The whole world is growing restless—preparing to fulfil the above prophecy, of which we quote only the introduction. The people of Macedonia and Bulgaria are impatient of the Turkish rule, and fomenting rebellion and bringing upon themselves the brutal vengeance of their rulers—the only kind of reprisal and suppression known to the Ottoman.
France is still in a warfare with the secret orders of the Roman Catholic Church, in an attempt to free the rising generation from the incubus of superstition, which it realizes has for years been opposing the Republic by misrepresentations of the facts of history. In a word, the French Government is seeking to turn the religious schools built by the people into free public schools, similar to those of the United States. They refuse to have these taught by garbed nuns and priests, and the golden hours of childhood given specially to studying the Roman Catholic Catechism. In no sense is it a movement to curb the freedom of the Roman Catholic conscience to believe and teach as it pleases outside the public schools. This warfare is so absorbing to the French that other questions are no more than secondary. The clerical party would even favor war in hope of reviving monarchy.
In England a very similar question is before the public mind. Parliament has recently put the control of public-school education into the hands of the Church (Episcopal), and other denominations are fearful of the results.
In Austro-Hungary partisanism runs high. Both nations desire to exercise controlling influence, yet both realize that division would injure both dreadfully. They maintain a union of hatred and bitterness
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that bodes an open warfare at the opportune moment.
Russia, according to the London Times, is keeping from general publicity her dreadful internal disorders, which may eventually force her into war to offset the restless spirit and give it employment. It says in part:—
“The murderous assault made on Prince Urussoff by the peasants of his estate, in the province of Tchernigoff, has its parallel in the similar crime perpetrated on the person of Prince Gagarin, his wife, and their guest, Prince Sherbatoff, in the province of Riazan, hundreds of miles further north. The governor of the province of Ufa has been murdered under the shadow of the Urals; and the prisons of St. Petersburg are filled with political prisoners, who largely belong to that most dangerous of all classes, the intellectual proletariat. The very forces of the state are not themselves untainted. There were military trials at Moscow not many weeks since for revolutionary agitation in the army, and it is even alleged that several members of the crew of the imperial yacht, including some non-commissioned officers, are at present in detention in the capital for being in possession of forbidden literature on board the Standart, (the Czar’s yacht) herself.
“The government appear to have been attempting to practise a double policy toward the labor movement, which now for the first time is growing conscious of its strength. On the one hand, M. Witte seems to have attempted more than two years ago to solve the problem by discovering the real wants and wishes of the artisans and factory hands. As the result of a conference instituted on his suggestion, the men obtained the right to elect spokesmen who might confer with the manufacturers and government inspectors. But the new scheme has not been fairly applied, while a childish attempt has been made by the reactionaries to convince the workingmen that their best friends are the bureaucrats and their worst enemies the enlightened middle classes. In several cases the men have elected their representatives, only to see them subjected to summary arrest, while any combined action by the men employed in different factories is severely punished. On the other hand the secret police of St. Petersburg have been endeavoring to educate the workmen in loyalty to the existing institutions of the country by telling them that the French Revolution led merely to the triumph of the bourgeois, bought by the blood of the proletariate, and that the Government are eager to meet them half way. Naturally these devices have not produced much effect, but neither, so far, have the repressive measures of M. de Plehve. The problem remains unsolved and perhaps insoluble, and the fact may not
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be without its influence on the foreign policy of the empire, both in the Balkans and elsewhere. In the face of such enigmas foreign adventures have been undertaken before now as a diversion, but history shows that the remedy has often merely aggravated the disorder.”
It is thought by some that the chief danger of war between Russia and Japan lies in the internal unrest of Russia, the supposition being that war might be esteemed an advantage if it would serve to unify the nation or give excuse for radical measures as war necessities, giving malcontents the appearance of open rebels.
Germany is so full of the factional spirit and so verging on to socialism that some are sighing for war to unite and cement them as was the case thirty years ago. The Deutsch Wacht says:
“No inglorious (faul) peace! And inglorious to the core has become that peace which, armored in steel and bristling with weapons, now lies upon our portion of the globe and beneath the weight of which we Germans have had to endure so much. The eternal repetition of peace twaddle has unmanned our ears; love of peace, emphasized on all occasions, has inspired in our enemies an impression that we are weak, and has already robbed some part of our nation of its confidence in our strength. The campaign in China was a flaming forth of the old warlike fire, but the blaze was soon extinguished. When we now make a movement to display our fist in faraway Asia, the feminizing breath of peace is felt with enervating effect in Europe in order to make the sword drop nimbly from the hand.
The peace that we now enjoy has damaged us because we value it above everything else, and have forgotten that readiness for peace brings honor only to those of whom it is known that they can be strongly stern, and are in a position to strike and make the splinters fly.
“The peace of this post-Bismarckian period has made us inglorious at home as well. We Germans can not maintain our sense of strength without the impulse of pressure from above, without a sharp, powerful summons at the moment we are to stand united. Such a summons has been wanting. Under Bismarck we were constantly being roused. We knew that honor might require us any day to grasp the sword again and fight foes outnumbering ourselves. This knowledge united us, or at least suppressed the divisions among the German people. We have no such influence at work now. Ever since the adoption of the policy of obsequiousness, the Philistines have evidently nothing to fear from a foreign foe. We are, in fact, good friends with everybody, as fine speeches and flattering telegrams have testified a hundred times. And the same tone prevails as regards German unity. Mighty has been the upstart growth of Ultramontanism under the protection of inglorious peace. It has already divided Germany into two camps, between which there is such total alienation of sentiment as makes concord impossible. Daily widens the rift made by Social-Democracy between the classes among our population, aided by the circumstances of the inglorious peace. Daily the blind masses are more and more set on by agitation. To our people this peril, which has a foreign intellectual origin, grows more dire, and it could carry out its mission of destruction only beneath a rule of inglorious peace.
“He only fashions a sword who has never felt fear. But the German people, God save us, have been made fearful since 1888. Then may Heaven make us see the dread perils which glower down upon us from within and without. Thus may we free ourselves from the enervating, inglorious peace, and once more, in unity and strength, win the proud self-consciousness which inspires our saying ‘Many enemies mean much honor!'”
A PROMINENT MAN’S VIEWS
Hon. Whitelaw Reid, for many years editor of the New York Tribune, speaking to the graduates of Vassar College and their friends, said in part:
Of specific excesses toward which our Democratic institutions seem to be tending, perhaps we do not need now to speak in any great detail. It may be enough to recognize that the American who colonized the Atlantic Coast and the great Middle West, who framed the Constitution, started the Government, developed the country under it, and fought a gigantic civil war to preserve it, is not the American who leads the popular movements of today. The type is changing; the beliefs are changing, and the aims.
He is neither Puritan any longer, nor Cavalier. He may outwardly deny the decay of faith, but he inwardly feels it. Nothing is more noticeable at the great centers of population and of national activity, or in any large section of what calls itself, and is often called, our best society, than this disappearance of the old foundation of character and action; this loss of profound, enduring, restful faith in anything. It is a laissez-aller age; an age of loosening anchors and drifting with the tide; of taking things as they are, with cordial readiness to take them hereafter as they come; of an easy indifference, whose universal attitude toward each startling departure from old standards is “What does it matter, anyway?”—an age, in short, marked by a refined, “up-to-date” adaptation of the old Epicurean idea that there is nothing in this world to do but to eat, drink and make merry, for tomorrow we die.
The loss of faith brings us by this short cut straight to the loss of purpose in life—of any purpose at least beyond purely material ones. To those who need money, the duty of getting it first, and above anything else, becomes the gospel
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of life. To those who feel the need of position, whether in society, business or elsewhere, their gospel drives them to all means within the law to obtain that. To those who have both money and position comes the only remaining purpose in life, that of using them for an existence of amusement and enjoyment. Is it too much to say that never before in our history have such aspirations so completely dominated and limited such large classes?
WHAT MANY FIND LEFT IN LIFE
But this craze for mere amusement and enjoyment, like other perverted appetites, grows by what it feeds on. The amusement soon becomes wearisome, the enjoyment soon palls, unless constantly more and more spectacular and bizarre. Perpetual change and constantly increasing variety of extremes seem to be the ever-rising price of keeping amused. One never is for long where one wants to be, or doing what one desires; there must be incessantly a rushing to and fro, and a change of pursuits, all under the glare of electric lights and the blare of brass bands. If in the country, one must hasten to the city, where something is going on; if in the city, one must fly to the country, where the crowd is not so mixed and where pleasanter house parties can be gathered; if in one’s own land, one longs for the boulevards or the Alps; if abroad, one is eager to try the new steamer back; if at the seashore, one wants suddenly to know what the mountains are like, and can only find amusement in going to see when clothed in leather jackets, protected by masks and goggles, and powdered with dirt, rushing through the dusty air on the highways at forty or fifty miles an hour in a Red Devil, and leaving the luckless rustics in the way to go to a fiend of any color they like.
Even then this vehement vacuity is not amusing unless it is talked about. One must be forever before the footlights and if possible, in the center of the stage. Privacy is deadly dullness. Not to have your name every other day in the newspapers is to be out of the world, to be bored to death. Not to see every intimate fact about yourself or your friends thrust naked and shameless under the public eye is to feel that you are dropping out of the swim.
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The public seems to be slowly awakening to the realization that the far-sighted Jesuits have been working their representatives into the Associated Press, which supplies general news to many newspapers all over the world. The effect seems to be to give prominence and good tone to things Roman Catholic and to suppress as much as would be wise of contrary news. Young Catholics are trained to this service and quietly and unostentatiously pushed into controlling positions—unsuspecting Protestants often unwittingly assisting in the scheme.
— November 1, 1903 —