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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
ALTHOUGH this Journal does not pretend to keep track of politics in the ordinary sense of the term, it seems scarcely proper to allow a matter of so world-wide an interest as the election of a President to pass without comment. The leaders of both of the prominent parties are men of such high character and ability that in our judgment the interests of the public would be quite safe in the hands of either.
Now that Mr. Taft has secured the prize of the most honorable station of service in the gift of this nation, he is to be congratulated upon his popularity. Nevertheless he also deserves our sympathy, for however generally popular and successful his execution of the laws may be, faithfulness to his responsibilities will present an arduous task. Besides, if our estimate of the conditions that will prevail during his regime prove correct, he will face grave responsibilities and more trying conditions than the present incumbent of the office—strenuous though those have been. As for Mr. Bryan, perhaps he is worthy of congratulations also, in that he has escaped arduous duties and responsibilities, severe trials and difficulties. If it be true, as we have heard it intimated, that he is a consecrated Christian, he may properly enough apply to himself the Scriptural declaration that “All things are working together for his good.” We can readily surmise that many other positions in life will be more favorable to saintship and growth in grace than is the one which he has just missed.
Recognizing the fact that we are now in the Harvest time of this Age, and that the Great King is taking a hand in all the affairs of the world, we may be sure that the election just closed has brought the results which he prefers. In this connection it may not be amiss for us to suggest what may be the probable influence of the election of Mr. Taft and a Republican Congress by so strong a majority. To us it means a strong sentiment of conservatism on the part of the majority and fear of anything radical in any direction. The large Republican majority in Congress, and particularly the election of Speaker Cannon, will be considered an endorsement of a strongly conservative policy, in harmony with the Republican party and high tariff and trusts, more than an endorsement of President Roosevelt and his more aggressive policy and utterances, of which Mr. Bryan seemed a more thorough exponent than Mr. Taft.
This will probably mean, at least temporarily, a more favorable outlook for business prosperity than if Mr. Bryan had been elected. But even if a measure of prosperity should ensue, we must not forget that, according to the Scriptures, we are to anticipate further financial spasms, “As travail upon a woman with child,” with increasing severity, until the climax shall be reached.
Mr. Taft’s broad-mindedness and worldly wisdom will make him popular with all religious people, Protestants and Catholics, and be very favorable to the expected federation of Protestants and their sympathetic cooperation with Catholicism in a combined effort to bring Church and State into very close relationship, which the Scriptures lead us to expect within the period of Mr. Taft’s administration.
It will be remembered that in this very month there is to meet in Philadelphia a council of various denominations, with a view to deciding on such a federation as we, so far back as 1881, pointed out was coming. The method to be followed, we surmise, will be somewhat after the suggestions of the article following this one. The results will be a seeming strengthening of all the forces of earth, making for law and order and good government, and “Peace, Peace,” will be loudly proclaimed in many quarters. But, according to the Scriptures, the power will lead to very stringent laws and regulations and enforcements, which ultimately will result in a revolutionary upheaval and the predicted “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation”—Anarchy.
CHURCH UNION SKILFULLY ARRANGED
Special interest attaches to the proposed union between the Presbyterian and Anglican churches in Australia, which is described as “the most elaborate program of reconciliation between episcopacy and
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presbytery which has been worked out since the sanguine days of the Savoy Conference in London just after the restoration of Charles II.” Although the compact of union has been drawn up by a joint-committee comprising on the Episcopalian side the Archbishop of Melbourne, three other bishops, six priests, and two laymen, and on the Presbyterian side two ex-moderators of the General Assembly, nine other ministers, and two laymen, the scheme has yet to go before the Presbyterian General Assembly and the Anglican General Synod. According to The Interior, a Presbyterian paper published in Chicago, “it is already plain that the High-church party in the Anglican fellowship throughout the world will move heaven and earth to prevent the ratification of the agreement on the Episcopalian part.” From the same source we learn the following interesting details of how the joint-committee approached a problem so bristling with difficulties:
“They began work by the model of the so-called Lambeth quadrilateral, and speedily agreed on the first three points—that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments should be accepted as an infallible rule of faith and practice; that the standard of doctrine should be the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and that the sacraments observed in the United Church should be the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. On the fourth point, ‘the historic episcopate locally adapted,’ there came a hitch, and it took long and patient negotiation to find a way out satisfactory to both parties.
“After a year of conferences, the joint-committee announced the adoption of an extended minute agreeing on the following principles and provisions: The United Church shall be an independent church without any connection with the State. It shall recognize that the same succession of ministerial orders was common to all Christians up until the Reformation, and since then the succession has been maintained with equal validity in the Anglican Church through ordination by bishops, and in the Presbyterian Church through presbyteries presided over by moderators. In forming the United Church there shall be held to be no difference whatever in the standing, rights, and privileges of Presbyterian ministers and of Anglican priests. (To this clause, which is the hardest point for High-churchmen to get over, a minority of the Anglican committee would give only a qualified assent.)
“After the two churches are united, all ministers shall be called presbyters. Some form of superintendence will then be necessary, and the church shall therefore have power to elect any presbyter to be a bishop. But the church in its duly constituted legislative body shall have power not only to enact the laws which bishops must obey, but shall also have power to determine their tenure of office in the jurisdiction to which they are elected. Candidates for the ministry shall be first ordained to preach, without right to administer the sacraments, and shall then be called deacons or licentiates. When they are ordained as presbyters with power of administering sacraments, the act shall be performed with the laying on of hands of one bishop and at least three presbyters.
“When a presbyter is consecrated to the bishopric, three bishops and a committee of presbyters appointed for the purpose shall ‘take part’; it is not stated who shall lay on hands. The Book of Common Prayer is to be sanctioned, and additional forms of worship with it; but local congregations, if they prefer, may adhere to non-liturgical services. Church wardens and ruling elders shall be superseded by an order of local lay officials, for whom no name is yet designated, who shall have oversight of the local congregation, but shall not have right to participate in the dispensation of the communion.
“In the actual consummation of the union it is proposed that the primate of the Anglican Church shall take every Presbyterian minister by the hand and confer upon him ‘all the rights, powers, and authorities pertaining to the office of a priest in the church as set forth in the ordinal of the Church of England.’ Then the moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly shall in turn confer by name on every Anglican priest ‘all the rights, powers, and authorities pertaining to the office of a presbyter in the church as set forth in the ordinal of the Presbyterian Church.’ It is understood that before entering the union the Presbyterian Church of Australia will consecrate a few of its own pastors to the bishopric, so that they may be immediately assigned to dioceses along with present Anglican incumbents.”—Literary Digest.
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The combination above suggested impresses us as a most skilful one to accomplish a church union without seemingly wounding the pride of the participants. By the method suggested, the sanction or blessing of the apostolic succession would be imparted to the Presbyterian ministers without any acknowledgment on their part of receiving the boon, because the presiding officer of the Presbyterian body would simulate a similar blessing upon the Episcopal clergy. Nobody would be deceived, yet everybody would affect to be deceived. Apparently, by the assistance of some cunning fox, the way at last has been opened for a reuniting of Protestants of all denominations with the Episcopal system.
This, as our readers generally know, we have been expecting for a long time—since 1880, when first we saw it outlined in the Divine Word as the imparting of “life
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to the image.” (Rev. 13:15.) It will probably require two or three years to effect such a union and another year for it to develop and exercise its power, but this is surely what is coming sooner or later. When first we drew attention to the matter, union and everything akin to it was being opposed, and the claim of the various denominations was that the cause of Christ prospered better by divisions. What a change has come to pass in the intervening twenty-eight years!
WHY A MINISTER QUIT
“Most of the ministers today are out for the money,” said the Rev. Arthur Gee, in an address to his flock of the Arlington Baptist Church. “I am not out for the money, and I’ll quit. There is too much commercialism in the churches. Churchianity is taking the place of Christianity. I won’t accept any creed to bind my faith. I want liberty of speech and freedom to preach. I can’t get these in the churches. That’s why I quit.”
MR. TAFT’S VIEW OF MATTERS
Mr. Taft, in his Kansas City speech, said: “Vigorous action and measures to stamp out the existing abuses and effective reforms are necessary to vindicate society as at present constituted. Otherwise we must yield to those who seek to introduce a new order of things on a socialistic basis. Roosevelt leads his party as Lincoln led his, as McKinley led his, to meet the new issues presented, to arm our present civilization and fit it with a bold front to resist the attacks of Socialism.”
— December 1, 1908 —