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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
WATCH TOWER VIEWS OF SOCIALISM
SOME of the dear friends have quite mistaken our recent publication of items on the progress of Socialism. In the volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series (especially in VOL. IV) we have endeavored to show that we have great sympathy with every movement designed to benefit mankind—including Socialism—but that from the Bible view-point the hope of the world lies in none of these human devices, but only in the second coming of Christ and in the Kingdom of the heavens then to be established. We do point out, however, that God purposes to allow mankind to try various projects for its own relief, only to learn their futility, and that the end of all these failures will be discouragement and anarchy; but that the Lord’s people, better informed than others through the Scriptures, will not only not be led to discouragement and anarchy, but can by faith rejoice in the troubles, knowing of the glorious outcome of peace and blessing these will usher in—the Millennium.
THE FRENCH DISESTABLISHMENT
The Church and its supreme Pontiff are blamed by Emile Combes, ex-Premier of France, for the disruption of the Concordat. As Mr. Combes was the leading spirit in the severance of this bond between Church and State, his utterance, which appears in the Deutsche Revue (Stuttgart), is probably the most authoritative that has been given out on the Government’s side of the dispute. He says in a recent article:—
“It is time that in France an administrative organization of clergy be suppressed, which transforms the pulpit into a political tribune, where with unrestrained liberty all the political and social reforms, all the measures taken in the interests of liberty and progress are controverted and pointed out to the faithful as so many crimes against religion. Separated from the State the Church can utter what opinions it likes about statesmen and their acts, but this can not be permitted in a Church allied to the State by a treaty which accords to ecclesiastics a legally recognized authority and all the privileges of State functionaries.”
A GREAT CONFERENCE FOR RELIGIOUS CO-OPERATION
The Literary Digest says:—
More than seventeen million church members, belonging to twenty-six different communions, we are told, will be represented at the great gathering in New York city, beginning November 15, to discuss and plan for church federation. Cooperation in service is said to be the goal the conference will have in view, and no organic union of denominations will be attempted. The idea of federation, represented by this conference, believes the Chicago Tribune is practicable “because it makes possible union without fusion” and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle surmises that its resulting organization “may become one of the great moral social and religious factors of the coming age.” The coming conference has been planned and promoted by the National Federation of Churches and Christian Organizations, which came into being in 1900.
Dr. F. M. North, writing of the approaching Inter-church Conference on Federation, says:—
“Should the present promise of its import be realized, there should be an influence in its utterance and its action so powerful as to create a new epoch in the progress of Christ’s Kingdom. … It is, however, in the Evangelical Alliance of the United States of America that the historian will find the organized influence which has most strongly emphasized the principles underlying federation.”—See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. III., chap. 6.
THE POPE ON THE BIBLE
It betokens a marked change in the attitude of the Church of Rome toward the Bible for the laity, when the Pope gives his blessing to an association engaged in sending it forth in the language of the people. The St. Jerome Association is engaged in this for Italy, and when requested to bestow his blessing on the new work and the spread of the Gospel, the Pope answered:—
“Gladly do I give my blessing, and that with both hands and with full heart, for I do not doubt that this
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work will produce the richest fruit and is already blessed by God. The more we read the Gospel the stronger our faith becomes. The Gospels are writings that are valuable for everybody and under all circumstances. I have lived among the common people and know what they want and what pleases them. Tell them the simplest Bible stories and you will have attentive listeners and effect blessed results.
“Your purpose is to spread the Gospels. You are doing a noble work. Some people think that the peasants, with their plain, everyday way of thinking, would not profit by the reading of the Scriptures. This is incorrect. The average peasant is a shrewder thinker than we may suspect, and knows how to draw the correct lessons from the Scriptures, often even better than many of the preachers. But it is not only the common people and the lower classes who will profit by the reading of the Scriptures.
“No matter how many prayer books and books of devotion there may be for the priests, none is better than the Gospels. This is an unsurpassed book of devotion, the true bread of life. I grant an especial apostolic blessing on all those who preach the Gospel, who hear and read it, whether on a Sunday or a week day. I bestow my blessing on all members of the St. Jerome Society and all who cooperate in the sacred work of spreading the Gospel.”—Christian Intelligencer.
HIGH ENGLISH CHURCHMEN FAVOR HIGHER CRITICISM
London.—A committee of 101 clergymen sent out a request some time ago for petitions on the subject of Biblical criticism, or the so-called “higher criticism.” Over 1700 clergymen of the Church of England having signed the declaration, the widespread and far-reaching character of the petition has aroused comment and caused criticism. That 1700 clergymen should have signed a document of that kind is regarded as an amazing thing. The document itself calls attention to the momentous intellectual character of “higher criticism” or Biblical criticism.—Globe-Democrat.
FIFTEEN PER CENT. OF NEBRASKA CHURCHES ARE PASTORLESS
Lincoln, Neb.—Fifteen per cent. of the Protestant churches of Nebraska are without pastors, and it is impossible to secure ministers to fill the vacant pulpits. According to reports received at the headquarters of the Congregational, Methodist and Lutheran churches here scarcely a week passes but some minister breaks away from the calling to engage in another line of work. The prosperity of the farming industry has called away the greater number, but many have also gone into business and other professions.
DISPROOFS OF THE EVOLUTION THEORY
“To the student of architecture it may be surprising to learn that the arch, until recently supposed to have been unknown to the ancients, was frequently employed by the pre-Babylonians. Such an arch, in a poor state of preservation, was, a few years ago, discovered in the lowest stratum, beneath the Babylonian city of Nippur. More recently an arched drain was found beneath the old city of Fara, which the Germans have excavated in Central Babylonia. The city, although one of the earliest known, was built upon an earlier ruin, and provided with an arched drain constructed of small plano-convex bricks. It measures about one meter in height and has an equal width.
“While delving among the ruined cities of the world, we are thus finding that at the time when we supposed that man was primitive and savage, he provided his home and city with ‘improvements’ which we are inclined to call modern, but which we are only reinventing.”—Prof. E. J. Banks.
UNTIL HE COME!
When we celebrate the Lord’s Memorial supper we show forth his death, until he come—until at his coming he changes, glorifies us, setting us up as his Kingdom.—1 Cor. 11:26.
We are using our talents, until he come.—Luke 19:13.
We are fighting the good fight of faith, until he come.—1 Tim. 6:12-14.
We are enduring tribulation, until he come.—2 Thess. 1:7.
We are to be patient until he come.—James 5:8.
We wait for the crown of righteousness, until he come.—2 Tim. 4:8.
We wait for the crown of glory, until he come.—1 Pet. 5:4.
We wait for re-union with departed friends, until he come.—1 Thess. 4:13-18.
We wait for Satan to be bound until he come.—Rev. 20:3.
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Until he come, then, does not point to a special moment, hour or day, but to the period of his presence (parousia), during which his “harvest” work will gather and glorify his saints and establish his promised Kingdom.
— November 1, 1905 —