THE term "Infidel" will probably soon die out: it is being replaced rapidly by the terms, "Higher Critic," "Reverend," "Professor," "Doctor of Divinity," etc. The President of Rochester Theological Seminary (Baptist) takes his stand with the Evolutionists and Higher Critics. Some Baptists remonstrate but are powerless. The Trustees, representing the money influence, support the President.
The Northwestern University of Chicago, at its recent commencement exercises, had Dr. Lyman Abbott deliver the principal address, on Evolution, in which he derided the Bible account of Adam's creation, saying, "I would as soon have an ape for an ancestor as a mud man; and that is the choice." He scouted the idea of a fall from purity into sin, denied redemption and declared Evolution to be the real redemption. At a ministers' meeting a few wished to rebuke the president of the University for having the speaker and his subject on such an occasion, but their objections were suppressed by the majority.
The same unbelief or infidelity is spreading in Germany, beginning, as here, with the learned college professors, who, professing to be wise, are becoming foolish and having their foolish hearts darkened. (Rom. 1:21,22.) Recently the Professors of Bonn University addressed an audience of ministers who were at Bonn, on a vacation. They pursued the same methods as our American higher critics, holding up the earlier portions of the Bible as myths and generally discrediting the entire Book, implying a general stupidity on the part of our Lord, the apostles and all who, following their example, accept the Old Testament writings as the Word of God.
While the religious teachers of Christendom are thus blindly leading their flocks away from the Lord, we need not be surprised that, bewildered and without any divine anchorage, many are falling into various pit-falls of error—Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritism, etc., and in substance concluding that God is a principle not a being, a principle of good;—that man is the highest embodiment of this "good" and intelligent principle which pervades all space and all times; hence that man is not only the highest form of animal, but the highest expression of God. Thus, while God is dethroned, man is enthroned, man is his own god. Ah! how Satan must be rejoicing in the success of his latest move. He can afford to do a few cures for Spiritualists, Clairvoyant Mediums, Christian Scientists and Mormons.
The readiness of people to fall into these traps is before the reading public daily. For instance, the Philadelphia Press tells how Rev. J. H. Davis, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Sodus Point, N.Y., recently drove ten miles to consult a mediumistic fortune-teller respecting the whereabouts of his son who mysteriously disappeared recently and was supposed to have been murdered. As people leave God and his Word, they are ready for anything.—See Rom. 1:25,28.
But, however many may be ensnared by Satan, or fall before the pestilence of Infidelity now issuing from the "high places" of learning, we may rest assured that in due time "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isa. 40:5), and that that due time is not far distant; for although there will first be a dark and stormy time, it is nearly due time for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in his beams. And, further, we may rest assured that the Lord knoweth them that are his, not only his in profession, but his in deed and in truth, and that none can pluck them out of the Lord's hand. It will not be possible to deceive "the very elect;" hence those [R1831 : page 152] deceived are not the very elect, whatever may be their station in the future.
While seeing error flourish often in high as well as in low places, we are reminded of the grand truth expressed upon the old seal of the Huguenots. It represented an anvil with broken hammers scattered all around it, and bore this legend:
While the professed advocates of God and his Son and Book are turning traitors and firing their heaviest shot against the Book they enlisted to serve, it is refreshing to find Mr. Charles A. Dana, the editor of one of the leading New York journals, addressing the Wisconsin Editorial Association as follows, respecting the book which has done more for the world than all other books combined, and which has been attacked by professed friends and professed foes as no other book has ever been attacked. Mr. Dana said:—
"What books ought you to read? There are some books that are indispensable—a few books. Almost all books have their use, even the silly ones, and an omnivorous reader, if he reads intelligently, need never feel that his time is wasted even when he bestows it on the flimsiest trash that is printed; but there are some books that are absolutely indispensable to the kind of education that we are contemplating, and to the profession that we are considering; and of all these the most indispensable, the most useful, the one whose knowledge is most effective, is the Bible. There is no book from which more valuable lessons can be learned. I am considering it now, not as a religious book, but as a manual of utility, of professional preparation, and professional use for a journalist. There is perhaps no book whose style is more suggestive and more instructive, from which you learn more directly that sublime simplicity which never exaggerates, which recounts the greatest events with solemnity, of course, but without sentimentality or affectation: none which you open with such confidence and lay down with such reverence. There is no book like the Bible. When you get into a controversy and want exactly the right answer, when you are looking for an expression, what is there that closes a dispute like a verse from the Bible? What is it that sets up the principle for you, which pleads for a policy, for a cause, so much as the right passage of Holy Scripture?"
"Reunion Sunday" is the new title by which we are to recognize Whitsun Day. The Pope has set apart the whole of Whitsuntide for special effort and prayer towards the reunion of Christendom. From Lambeth Palace, also, the desire had been expressed that the prayer for unity in the Accession Service should be recited among the collects of yesterday."
Thus it appears that in Europe, as well as in the United States, the day and the week were devoted to Union. We may look for results within a few years—results favorable to Churchianity, but unfavorable to individual Christian development and liberty. However, by that time the "elect" will probably be nearly all out of Babylon and [R1832 : page 152] waiting for a little further polishing before sharing the great work of blessing the world. See Matt. 13:43; Rom. 8:19; Gal. 3:16,29.
"The Catholic Times, of Philadelphia, which puts whiskey advertisements in the same column with its appeal for St. Joseph's House for Homeless Boys, gives room to the following illuminating paragraph in its Paris letter: "'The first batch of soldiers left Paris this week for Madagascar....The Protestant sects have had their own way there far too long. The time is approaching when our missions will receive a substantial support from that European power which, whatever the faults at home, has never failed to protect Catholic interests abroad. It is the fashion to speak of French policy in Madagascar as a check to England. It is nearer to the truth to regard it as a check given to British Protestantism.'"
"The French invasion of this native African State, already largely Christianized, with a Christian queen and a Christian government, is supported by Catholics, it seems, as a war upon Protestantism. This is a shameful confession. See how these Catholic Christians love the Christians of Madagascar! The gospel was carried by Protestant missionaries to the Malagassy while they were yet savages."
The United Presbyterian commenting on the Pope's latest Encyclical on Christian Union inquires, "Why is it not possible for Evangelical Scholars, representing all denominations, to get together and come to an absolute agreement upon all Christian doctrines?"
It may be that it is not our answer to this question that is desired, but we give it gratis, for all that, and say: It is not possible simply, (1) Because the so-called "scholars" have generally lost faith in the only standard of doctrine that exists, and are "at sea." (2) Because neither they nor the people they would represent are really anxious for the truth. God has provided the truth only for those who hunger and thirst after it; and consequently they alone will be filled with it. (3) Because people reverence the errors upon which their various Denominations are built and are too indifferent and too engrossed with money-getting and pleasure-seeking to dig for the truth "as men search for silver." (Prov. 2:1-15.) (4) They are afraid to investigate what they now hold as faith, lest even it slip away and they find themselves with none.
But the "union" will last only a short time. The great time of trouble will swallow it up, root and branches. And then, when consternation fills the hearts of all the world and the "foolish virgins," they will hear the command, "Be still, and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psa. 46:8-10.) Then tremblingly and in fear the "foolish virgins" with the Jews "shall look upon Him whom they have [R1832 : page 153] pierced," and rejected in rejecting his Word! Then they shall be surprised to hear the Master speak peace to the nations and to them in the terms of his New Covenant sealed with his precious blood.
But the Bride, the "little flock," the "royal priesthood." What of this class? "God shall help her, and that right early" in the morning of that Millennial day.—Psa. 46:5.