Pittsburg has been kept prominently before public attention for some days past by reason of the rioting and bloodshed in the suburb of Homestead. While all lament the sad state of affairs, great diversity of opinion prevails regarding the responsibility, some taking sides with the Carnegie Steel Company, and others with their former employees who have practically taken posession of the works and declare that none others than themselves shall operate them, and they upon their own terms.
At first it might appear that not only the law, but also justice, is upon the side of the Steel Company, since the men admit that the wages proffered them are as good or better than is usually paid for similar service: namely, from $2.14 per day for "sweepers" to $9.45 per day for chief "rollers." But there is another side to the case: although the firm offers no objection to their employees being members of "The Amalgamated Association," it refuses any longer to recognize that union or to be controlled by its rules and regulations. This is the real difficulty. The officers and members of that association, although not claiming that present wages are "starvation wages," do claim that, had it not been for their organization, past and present, wages would be much less than they are. And their fear now is that if the dignity of their association is permitted to go down, in this, the largest works of the country, the result would ultimately be to their disadvantage, which, no doubt, is true.
With this brief summary of the situation it is the less difficult to appreciate the frenzy exhibited in the attack upon the three hundred watchmen sent by the Steel Company to take possession of and guard the works. It is no doubt true that much of the fiendish work was done by common laborers whose wages were not at all affected by the proposed changes, and who are not even admitted to membership in the Amalgamated Association. Being mostly Hungarians, Slavs and Poles, they, of course, [R1423 : page 211] understand the language, laws, etc., of this country but poorly, and know no law but force. These got the impression that non-resistance meant starvation for themselves and families, and so fought like savages to keep possession of what they would not claim to be their property in any sense of the word.
We mention this matter not to take sides in the controversy, not to endorse or to exonerate either party; for usually, in all struggles of which selfishness is the basis, rights and wrongs are to be found on both sides. But we desire to remind our readers that this last development is exactly in line with what we have been pointing out for the past sixteen years as the Scripturally predicted evidences, showing that we are living in the "harvest" or end of the Gospel age, which is to close, and to be merged into the Millennial age, with "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."—Dan. 12:1.
When we reflect that many of these Homestead [R1423 : page 212] workmen are professed Christians—Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, etc.—who not only believe that "no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him," but who also believe that those who were shot down not only departed this life, but went to an eternity of torment, we ask ourselves—If self-interest and excitement lead to such excesses now, what can be expected when superstition gives way and Churchianity shall fully lose its already vanishing influence upon the masses? Then what has just shocked the world will seem tame—the Scriptures intimating that the scenes of the French Revolution were but a prelude to and illustration of the coming universal trouble.
While recognizing in these troubles some of the events marking this Day of the Lord, let us not be premature. Much remains to be done before the great and awful climax of these troubles is reached, when human selfishness will be fully arrayed against human selfishness and equally matched. Then widespread anarchy will demonstrate the necessity for the reign of the Prince of Peace, whose first work will be, in the culmination of this struggle of human selfishness, to dash the nations to pieces as a potter's vessel, and to rule them with a rod of iron—of unbending and just retribution—until their pride and their power are humbled in the dust, and they shall learn in the depths of their humiliation to be still and to recognize God, and Christ who will be exalted in the earth as king over all the earth, to lift up and bless all who love righteousness and peace.—Psa. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; Psa. 46:10.
But first and chiefly the intervening work will be the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads. (Rev. 7:3.) And each should ask himself—What am I doing to assist in sealing others since I received the intellectual sealing of the knowledge of the truth? And each should resolve that whilst others are battling for earthly advantages and willing to lay down their lives for the same, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren"—in carrying the present truth to all who have an ear to hear.
Without taking either side in the selfish struggles which will from time to time come with increasing violence, without assuming that all the right is with one party, and all the wrong with the other, let us have charity for both the parties to these struggles—for the rich in their morbid selfishness which takes pleasure in hoarding millions, while some of their employees (laborers at $1.48 per day) have scarcely enough for the bare necessities of life for themselves and their families;—for the workmen in that while they are lately tasting of the advantages of education and home comforts, and even luxuries, they fear lest they should let slip advantages now possessed. They fear lest labor should become degraded as in by-gone days, or even to the European level of to-day. And who could blame them for having these sentiments, seeing that selfishness is the law of "this present evil world?"
The entire trouble between labor and capital centers in selfishness! The mechanic wants from three dollars to nine dollars a day, and thinks the laborer well paid at one dollar and a half, because of his inferior skill, and yet unreasonably expects his employer to act upon different principles—to risk capital and invest still greater ability on philanthropic principles. Like all the rest of the world, he recognizes the royal law of Love, which Christ taught, and would like to have it in force toward himself, but is not ready to exercise its principles toward others. The great trouble will be gradually precipitated by this very conflict of the principles of Selfishness and Love—the masses longing for the blessings that would flow from the operation of the principle of Love, yet unwilling to submit themselves to the same, because they see no way of enforcing that law upon all. Many, who name the name of Christ only in blasphemy, are selfishly ready to quote to others the words of the great Teacher: "Do unto others as you would that they should do to you" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself" but are wholly unwilling to obey these commands toward others. It will be their attempt to realize for themselves their ideal of true Brotherly Love that they have not yet learned to practice toward others which will, as the Scriptures show, eventuate in anarchy—"a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."
How different is and should be the attitude of those who, realizing that they were bought with a price, have surrendered their own selfish wills and plans and committed their interests, present and future, to Christ. To such the Lord makes known the mystery of his will—that though in the world, they should not be of it; that they should not seek to amass wealth, but rather to spend and be spent in his service; that they should not share the world's fear, but entrust the entire matter to their Lord's overruling providence. To such the Lord now gives, as "meat in due season," the assurance that he is about to set up in the earth the long-prayed-for Kingdom of God, whose will, the law of Love, shall be enforced for the blessing of all the families of the earth, after this trouble is over. Such, while deprecating violence and sympathizing with both sides of the controversy, are to avoid taking any part in the conflict, but rather to counsel peace and a reliance upon the Lord for the ushering in of the Golden Age in his own time and way.
How long the present spasm of trouble may last, and how great the proportions it may yet assume, no man can foretell; but that it is merely a spasm, and not the final catastrophe which will utterly wreck society, we are confident. It will probably result in a general back-set to labor organizations and to greater confidence on the part of the capitalists. But the world is longing for a government based upon Love, and does not realize that such a condition is beyond the grasp of selfish human beings and can come about only through the interposition of Christ's Millennial Kingdom. Ah! little do they realize that their own failures are to be used of the Lord as his instrumentality in setting up his kingdom—that the pent up fires in selfish breasts will eventuate in the destruction of society, and that upon its ashes the Lord from heaven will establish the Kingdom of which the law will be Perfect Love. "Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the misery that shall come upon you....Behold, the hire of your laborers, who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth...into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth."—Jas. 5:1-8. Even though all rich men have not done so, even though some of them in this our day have been no more selfish and grasping than others—perhaps, indeed, much more generous, giving liberally for the endowment of Hospitals, Colleges, Libraries, Homes for the Blind, for the Deaf and Dumb, for Incurables, for Orphans, for the Aged, etc., etc.—yet they will be judged as a class in this day that shall try every man's work—this day of trouble which shall "burn as an oven, in the which all the proud, as well as all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble." The judgment of the masses will be that those who possess great wealth never justly and rightly obtained so much more than their fellows, even though imperfect laws and social customs may endorse as honest the methods used for its accumulation. And upon the wealthy class of this generation shall be visited the penalty due to those thieving Barons of past centuries who kept their dependent neighbors in serfdom and grew rich at the expense of those who reaped their fields—of much of whose proper wages they fraudulently deprived them. This will be on the same principle as that of Luke 11:50,51; Rev. 18:5-7,24. A realization of the wrongs done by the rich toward their poor brethren in past times should, under the light of this day, lead the same class to the greater sympathy for their less fortunate fellows. And if it does not, the relentless argument of the masses soon will be—Your class defrauded our class in the past, and now our class will defraud your class to even up matters.
At present all is quiet at Homestead, with the Volunteer State Guard in possession. But the socialistic flame is spreading amongst various other labor organizations, in all parts of the land, some of which have passed resolutions of sympathy for the workmen, and some have contributed funds to enable them "to fight capital." (The Amalgamated Association, however, claims to have $250,000 in its treasury.) Some Labor Unions propose that now they must arm themselves, with improved weapons, to defend their rights. Mr. Powderly, president of the Knights of Labor, is quite revolutionary: he is publicly reported to have said:
"This fight is but the rumbling of a coming revolution, that is to say whether Wall Street [the financial centre] shall or shall not control the country. It is the fight of labor; and the labor organizations of the country should stand firmly at the back of these men who are fighting [R1424 : page 214] at Homestead."
So strong and so rapidly growing is the animosity toward millionaires, even though they pay better wages and pay more promptly than others, that they will "weep and howl"—be in misery in this great day of the Lord. But in the outcome—when Anarchy shall have blighted all human hopes and destroyed all human government—the Lord will set up his kingdom under the whole heavens; and, under its beneficent rule, all shall be blessed and brought to a knowledge of good under the law of Love, as they now have a knowledge of evil under the law of Selfishness. Then, at the close of that Millennial Kingdom, will come the final test to all—to manifest whether, with full knowledge of the two laws and their respective workings, they prefer Love or Selfishness. Those who choose Love shall be granted life—everlasting. Those who prefer Selfishness shall be esteemed unworthy of further life and shall die the Second Death.
How wise, and how beneficial in the end to all classes, it might prove for the masses to adopt a different principle of dealing with this question: If they should enact laws providing that whenever any man dies possessed of over one million dollars worth of money and property all the surplus above one million should be divided equally between funds for public secular education, for the improvement of public highways and water-ways and for charitable unsectarian hospitals and homes for unfortunates.
The effect of such a law would be rapidly experienced: wealthy men would at once give away their surplus millions without waiting to have it forfeited at their death. Such a law would scatter capital, and, without destroying the energy of the world's active minds, would turn that activity to good account—for the ambition to make a name and leave enduring monuments in colleges, hospitals and public benefactions would take the place of the ambition to be the richest man.
If necessary the limit could afterward be reduced to half a million dollars (as each member of the family could hold, and transfer at death, an equal sum). And lest some should hold their millions until near death's door, the law could provide that transfers of property by a sick man or woman made within thirty days of death should be invalid and void.
But while some such law would be beneficial, we have no expectation of seeing so simple a method for all adopted. Both sides will evidently fight the matter out to the wrecking of the present social system. Thank God for the higher than human government, long promised and now at hand—even though it come to men through a baptism of bloody trouble—the breaking of present imperfect systems with the "rod of iron."—Rev. 2:26,27.
Good servant, enter in:
Thou hast been faithful found
In righteous stewardship
O'er the entrusted pound.
The honor of my house,
My Kingdom, thou hast sought;
Thy life thou more and more
A sacrifice hast brought.
In nothing hast thou had
Self-interest for thine aim.
Naught seemed too small nor great
To glorify my Name.
My yoke hast easy called,
My burden took on thee,
And every day with joy
Hast borne it after me.
Good servant, enter in,
And faith's reward now share;
With me upon my throne
A crown of life now wear.
For he who, without fear,
In small the great hast traced,
O'er few things faithful here,
O'er many shall be placed.
A thousand years full soon
Thou mayest reign with me;
Thee will I also grace
With priestly dignity,
Till all the tribes of earth
Claim God to be their Lord,
To whom I then return
The Kingdom at his word.—J. KUEHN.