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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE ERA OF RELIGIOUS TOLERATION
DR. ALEXANDER McKENZIE, pastor of the oldest Trinitarian Congregational Church in Cambridge, and Dr. DeNormandie, pastor of the ancient Unitarian Church of Roxbury, exchanged pulpits recently; and the next Sunday the Rev. Dr. George A. Gordon of the Old South (Third) Church and the Rev. James Eells of the First Church (Unitarian) exchanged pulpits, and, later in the day, Drs. Gordon and Eells officiated together at the communion service in the First Church, to which Dr. Gordon invited his people.
These facts have much significance when locally appraised, but they are only part of a movement by no means sectional or denominational. The pastor and pastor emeritus of the leading Trinitarian Congregational Church in the State of Iowa have just refused, on conscientious grounds, to belong to the Ministerial Association of Des Moines, “so long as fellowship is denied
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to Jews, Catholics and Unitarians,” and this because, “in their opinion, the action of the association in withholding fellowship from the ministers of these churches does not represent the Christian sentiment of the churches; does not measure up to Western standards of hospitality, and finds no justification in the ideals of modern civilization.” Notwithstanding the Rev. B. Fay Mills still affirms that he is a Unitarian in theology, he is being welcomed to the pulpits of more than one Orthodox Congregational Church in Wisconsin, and is being accepted as a teacher of social Christianity. So that this new mood of fellowship between two long-alienated wings of the one denomination is not confined to Massachusetts or to Connecticut—as the recent State conference’s action with respect to the church in Plymouth proved—but has extended to the interior, hitherto deemed unreservedly conservative.”—Boston Transcript.
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PILATE AND HEROD MADE FRIENDS
The very occasion of our Lord’s rejection and crucifixion was the same in which Pilate and Herod were reconciled. Similarly, as the foregoing shows, we have now reached the time when the wide extremes of Trinitarianism and Unitarianism are reconciled; but in this the very moment when both should be harmonized by the Truth, both unite against it. It seems a trifling thing that Unitarians, who utterly repudiate our Lord’s pre-existent state and his leaving the glory of the Father and that he was our Redeemer, should be fellowshipped by those who go to the opposite extreme and claim that Jesus was one in person, in substance, with the Father and his equal in power and glory.
Why, under the circumstances, should the view which harmonized all the Scriptures on the subject—that shows our Lord’s pre-existence next to the Father and above all others, which shows him while on earth to have been “the man Christ Jesus,” “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”; and which Scripturally presents him as now “highly exalted, far above angels, principalities and powers—be opposed in every way imaginable?
The secret reason is that all these ministers have become Higher Critics and Evolutionists;—in plainer terms Agnostics or Infidels. The Trinitarians no longer believe in the trinity and have repudiated the Bible as a divine light. They are fulfilling prophecy, unwittingly, and fancy that they are making a great advance. (Isaiah 29:14). Truly they are ridding themselves of unscriptural traditions received from the dark ages, but at what a cost! They are discarding cardinal truths which their errors obscured and which alone kept them at all in touch with the Lord. We want none of their union in unbelief: but the “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and one God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who is above all.
Now is the time for true soldiers of the cross who have put on the “whole armor of God” to wisely, carefully, loyally help the dear “brethren” who are still loyal to the Lord and confused by present-day developments. Let us not hesitate to “lay down our
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lives for the brethren”—our time, talent, influence—doing all as unto the Lord, the Captain of our salvation.
VIEWS OF A PROMINENT CLEVELAND D.D.
Evidently some ministers realize their true situation. Note the following plain statements, clipped from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“In speaking yesterday of his recent utterances regarding the surprisingly small number of persons who joined Cleveland churches last year, Dr. Wood said:
“‘The arithmetical phase of the church problem today, I believe, can be explained in no other way than by the expression, “Old things have passed away, all things have become new.”
“‘The old systems of thought and expression, and the corresponding action, are working today, and there is abroad in the world a deep-seated conviction that something better is needed—a crying out of the soul for something that the church has not yet been able to supply, but is earnestly reaching after. The apparent decay of, and lack of interest in, the present religious life, instead of being discouraging and disheartening, ought to be considered in the light of truest optimism.
“‘There is a marked transition. Yet I believe that out of all the debris of the present will come a new way of thinking, which will be more in accord with the divine plan for the uplifting of the race.
“‘Preachers today are conscious that the message they bring to the people is not a message which supplies the heart’s demands, and many of us, I believe, would be glad to become prophets of the Higher Truth were it not for the fear of losing our positions as safe leaders among men. But the time is near at hand when, if the voice of the Christian ministry is to be heard, clergymen must take their stand for those things which are true, as against those things which they have been trying to make themselves and the world believe are true.'”
RUSSIA AND THE WAR
Russia in Manchuria is thus described by Senator Beveridge, who has recently visited there:
“Although the Russians are slothful, their course in Manchuria has been wonderfully modern. By the side of every filthy, reeking Chinese town has arisen a clean, orderly Russian town, with wide streets, often paved, handsome residences, public buildings, amusement halls, churches, parks with band-stands, drives—in every respect like the modern small cities of our Middle West. Thus is the Chinese population of Manchuria being taught, not by precept but by example.
“One of the great services Russia has rendered Manchuria and all the countries of the globe which sought to trade with that province was the destruction of the thriving bands of brigands who invested the country, and whose power had so grown that they captured every shipment of goods across the country not previously protected by insurance in an office established by the bandits for that purpose. The Russians, it seems, in a short war on these marauders, slew over two thousand, and hunted the remainder to the far corners of the empire.”
Senator Beveridge finds the Russian to “have more understanding of the Oriental temperament and Oriental conditions than is possessed by any other European people, and scarcely less than the Japanese themselves have. Because of this fact Russia has succeeded so well in eastern Asia. It is feared and hated in war, but liked in peace. The Russian never retreats from ground once occupied, and when he makes war he is terrible. He never parleys. In peace he is quiet, orderly, just. He minds his own business, and is kind, untiringly patient and conciliatory. But when he makes war he makes it so thoroughly that he never needs do the same job over again. This is the keynote, as sounded by Skobeleff, the hero of all Russians: ‘My system is this—to strike hard, and keep on hitting until resistance is completely over; then at once to form ranks, cease slaughter, and be kind and humane to the prostrate enemy.’ …
“Holy Russia looks to the regeneration of the world as one of her great, if, indeed, not her greatest historic mission. Of course, even the most fanatical Russian churchman does not consider this a thing of the present day or the present decade or the present century. Indeed, the centuries, to the thought of the Russian churchman (or, for that matter, the Russian statesman), are small matters. ‘All in God’s own time’ is the motto of the Russian peasant. If ‘the mills of the gods grind slowly’ to us, they do not grind slowly to the Russian. He sees no particular reason for hurry. Let the processes of evil and good work out their distinct results naturally. Let the world’s age-old battle between darkness and light not be waged in the flash of a spark struck from the meeting of swords of single combatants in some portion of the universal field. It is a gigantic struggle, in which the decades are but moments and the centuries but hours. In the end light will conquer darkness, thinks the Russian; and, to his mind, the Christian faith is the all-conquering light and the Greek Orthodox Church the only true bearer of that sacred torch.”
The New York Press contains the following interesting item on the war:
“A United States naval officer of high military reputation gave The Press his opinion at the outbreak of the war that the Russian war-ships, guns and torpedoes would be of no value to the Czar, because his ‘people do not know how to use their tools.’ Since the Russians have so abundantly confirmed his judgment of their navy—blowing up their own ships on their own mines, firing into their own lines and generally doing more harm to themselves than to the enemy—it will be of interest to see if his views are also well founded as to the Russian army. This officer believes that the Russian army will be proved far inferior to its efficiency of thirty years ago, for the reason that the Russian in the ranks is not a thinking man or capable of independent action. In the old manner of fighting in mass one man was as good as another so long as he had a strong stomach for combat, since he could be directed and controlled by the officer standing near him, even flogged (literally with whips) into quick and soldierly action.
“In the fighting line of today, however, the men of the ranks, strung out at great distances, in ‘open formation,’ taking ranges where the enemy cannot even be seen, and in return being fired at by those they cannot see and whose position they cannot locate (thanks
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to smokeless powder) without intelligent deduction, must all be capable of independent action and thoughtful action or they will fail to perform any useful function in a battle. A subaltern cannot be near all his men. He cannot give them commands except for general formation and maneuver unless by signal. If a soldier does not find the right range, there is no one to give it to him, if he is firing to the right when his enemy is to the left of him, no one will discover the fact for him. On the firing line today every man who carries a rifle, to be an efficient soldier, must be capable of self-command, his own sub-lieutenant, lieutenant and captain when necessary. And he must know something of the science of war, of which, the American officer declares, the Russian in the ranks, having an extremely low intelligence and absolutely no education (ninety-six per cent. of the Russians cannot read), is totally and densely ignorant.
“However brave the Russian is, therefore—and the American officer concedes him the greatest amount of sheer animal courage—he is not expected by military men of the modern school of war to make much better use of his fighting tools on land than on sea. If this opinion should prove to be a fact in the land campaign which is now following the brilliant performances of the Japanese afloat, the Czar, with his hope of military ascendancy utterly crushed, will begin to think, no doubt, of educating his millions on millions of subjects who have never been permitted even to see a printed letter; and in such event the Russian war, terrific defeat though it should be, would come to be a blessing to the Russian people gaining this boon, and to the world.”
“Russia’s behavior since war with Japan was declared, and especially in the interval since the Port Arthur engagement and the sinking of two Russian warships at Chemulpo, is suggestive of anything but a power flushed with confidence. The studied and insistent appeals to Christendom that are proceeding from St. Petersburg, setting forth the respects in which Japan has violated, or seems to Russia to have violated, the law of nations since the beginning of hostilities may be warranted or not, in the judgment of competent international lawyers. But at any rate it is apparent that Russia has been surprised, and that she is beginning to realize poignantly the difficulties by which she is confronted. Her complaints are a plain confession of physical weakness. It would be no marvel if Russia should succeed, by the diplomacy which has for many decades been her chief reliance, in so enlisting the sympathies of France and Germany as to complicate affairs in the gravest manner.”—Pittsburg Press.
NOAH’S ARK WELL PROPORTIONED
The New York Tribune credits to the Syren and Shipping the following comparison of the ark with modern vessels:
“Within the last ten years the general dimensions of the ark have been closely followed by cargo steamship builders for deep sea and the American Great Lakes service. According to the Bible, the ark was 480 feet long, 80 feet wide and 48 feet deep. Her tonnage was 11,413, and she had plenty of room for pairs of all the distinct species of animals that are classed by Buffon—244—and she could have accommodated a thousand persons, and then have had plenty of room for the storage of supplies. In the seventeenth century Peter Jansen, a Hollander, built a vessel of the exact proportions of the ark, and she was successful, as the records of the time show, in making money for her owners. Noah, ‘the Father of Naval Architecture,’ is held in profound respect by naval architects of today, who know how immeasurably the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans and all other shipbuilders fell short of the excellence of the type of the ark as a commodious, safe and economical vessel.”
MENTAL TOXIN AND ANTI-TOXIN
That thoughts may poison is a well-proven fact. Depressing thoughts interfere with the cerebral circulation, impairing the nutrition of the cells and nerve centers. The result is that the organs and tissues manifest lost or impaired function—loss of general nutrition follows—and a break-down is inevitable. Fear, worry, anger, envy, jealousy, and other negative thoughts, reflect themselves most disastrously in the human system. Fear has paralyzed nerve-centers, and turned hair white over night. A mother’s milk has been poisoned by a fit of anger. Fear and hate—father and son—have produced insanity, idiocy, paralysis, cholerma, jaundice, sudden decay of teeth, fatal anaemia, skin diseases, erysipelas and eczema. Epidemics owe their rapid spread and heavy death rate to fear and ignorance. Epidemics may kill their dozens—fear kills its thousands. All the brood of negative, fearful, selfish, hateful thoughts manifest themselves in physical conditions. Stigmata or marks upon the body, caused by fear or desire, are quite common in the annals of medical science and psychology.
Professor Gates, of the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C., in his investigations of the effect of mental states upon the body, found that irascible, malevolent and depressing emotions generated in the system injurious compounds, some of which were extremely poisonous; he also found that agreeable, happy emotions generated chemical compounds of nutritious value, which stimulated the cells to manufacture energy. He says:
“Bad and unpleasant feelings create harmful chemical products in the body, which are physically injurious. Good, pleasant, benevolent feelings create beneficial chemical products which are physically healthful. These products may be detected by chemical analysis in the perspiration and secretions of the individual. More than forty of the good, and as many of the bad, have been detected. Suppose half a dozen men in a room. One feels depressed, another remorseful, another ill-tempered, another jealous, another cheerful, another benevolent. Samples of their perspiration are placed in the hands of the psycho-physicist. Under his examination they reveal all these emotional conditions distinctly and unmistakably.”
Remember, this is not “the airy fancy of some enthusiastic mental scientist,” but is the testimony of a leading scientific investigator in the laboratories of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the best known scientific institutions of the world. “Chemical analysis,” mind you—not “transcendental imaginings.”
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Now I have said enough about the toxin and a little about the anti-toxin of the mind. I might go on for hours, stating example after example, illustration after illustration; but the tale would be just the same. Now, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to keep on poisoning yourself and those about you with vile, malignant thoughts reeking with the miasmatic effluvia of hate—emitting the noxious exhalation of fear and worry? Or will you cease being a psychic pest-house, and begin to fumigate and disinfect your mind? And after getting rid of all the microbes of fear and worry and the bacilli of hate, jealousy and envy, open wide the windows of the mind and admit the bright sunshine of love, and the bracing air of confidence and fearlessness.
Come, friends, let us get out of this habit of poisoning the air with fear, worry and hate thought. Let us join the ranks of the Don’t Worry company—the fearless brigade, the invincible, conquering army of Love. Let us be bright, cheerful and happy—the other things are not worth while. Let us be confident, expectant, hopeful and cheerful—these things are winners. Let us be filled with love for all men and God, and we will find that life is one sweet song. Love, faith and fearlessness are the ingredients of life’s great antitoxin. Try it and be blessed.—Selected.
— March 15, 1904 —