"OVER sixty churches in New York have already joined a federation which hopes to band together the churches for all sorts of practical ends—charitable, humanitarian, social and reformatory." (The Golden Rule.) Similar federations are in progress in various cities.
"In Mobile, Alabama, a Methodist and a Jewish congregation united in a Thanksgiving-day service in the Jewish synagogue. Both ministers addressed the assemblage, and all united in singing." Of course, Christ was not preached nor his name mentioned in the thanksgiving, for fear of offence to the Jews. Are such thanks acceptable to God who specifies the name of Jesus as the only one by which he can be approached? Could such a service help the Jews to recognize Christ, the crucified? Are unions or federations which ignore the principles and doctrines of God's Word at all desirable? We would rather stand alone with God upon his terms than unite with millions upon any [R1918 : page 15] other. Individual freedom and mutual cooperation upon the lines laid down in the Scriptures is God's way, and hence our way.
Chicago, anxious to please all classes, has arranged to have the Bible read in her public schools, and a committee made up of Protestants, Catholics and Hebrews is appointed whose duty it will be to select "non-sectarian passages" of Scripture for this use. That committee will have a difficult task. It is possible that the framers of that law intended to prove to the people the impossibility of suiting the ideas of all. Hebrews would probably object to the New Testament as a whole, and Catholics, Hebrews and Protestants would dispute about which version or translation of the Old Testament they should use.
Evidently, the religious instruction of children should be in the care of their parents and their chosen religious guides, and not mixed with secular studies which should be compulsory and under the supervision of the state. Attempts to unite the two must prove disadvantageous until God's absolute and infallible Kingdom shall have obtained control.
The Czar of Russia has through the Procurator-General of the Holy Synod brought to an end the persecution of Stundists and others in his Baltic provinces. The procurator excuses the change of his policy, thus: "The Orthodox [Greek] Church is showing gratifying growth in those parts," and "extraordinary measures need no longer be taken by the authorities to help forward the work." Thank God! it will not be long until the power to persecute will be taken from the Mohammedans and Greek Catholics, as it has already in civilized lands been taken from the Church of Rome.
The Emperor of Germany seems bent upon crushing Socialism regardless of consequences. Even moderate objections to his government are prosecuted as treasonable disrespect. In addition, the Chief of Police of Berlin gave notice of the summary closing of eleven Social-Democratic clubs of that city—six Reichstag clubs, the Socialist Press Committee, the Agitation Committee, the Local Socialist Committee, the Club of Party Delegates and the Central Committee of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The effect will be to unify and strengthen the Socialists, who are already a powerful third in the Reichstag.
The Emperor's heart and the hearts of his counsellors are evidently failing, for fear and for looking forward to those things which are coming upon the earth. He is putting the whole weight of the government upon the safety valve, to stop the noise of the people clamoring for liberty. We agree with him that the liberty desired would bring fallen [R1918 : page 16] men to license and anarchy; but we can read, as he probably can not, the sentence of present governments, as recorded in God's Word,—Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,—Babylon, thou art tried in the balances, and found wanting. Thank God! the fall means but a brief though awful chaos, and then the establishment of God's Kingdom in the hands of Christ.
"The tide of Socialism is rising in France. M. Bourgeois has carried his graduation succession duties by a majority of 404 to 125. They are probably the most extreme in the civilized world, and for a precedent you must go to Oriental countries. There the ruler takes what he likes, or what he can get. In France the new ruler begins by exempting all estates under two thousand dollars—a premium on poverty to start with, and a bid for the votes of the peasantry and the workingmen. From exemption he passes by easy stages to confiscation, ending by taking one-fifth of the entire property devised to strangers."—N.Y. Herald.
This seems to us a more equitable and a wiser taxation than the Income Tax. Society has a claim upon a share of the money accumulated under its protection, when the accumulator is done with it. This method would induce some of the wealthy to dispense their means more liberally while alive, to see to its use. Apparently few of the saints are wealthy; but such as have wealth should regard this as a part of their stewardship, one of their talents, for which they will be required to give an account. "Ye are not your own," applies to all that we have, money, influence, time, all. If the measure of our self-denial in the interest of the Lord and the truth is the measure of our love, we can neither afford to neglect the cultivation of this love nor to neglect opportunities for manifesting it to the Lord and to ourselves, however we may modestly seek to hide it from our fellow men.
We learn that Joseph Rabinowitz, the converted Jew, purposes shortly to remove from Kischenev to Palestine, expecting that the latter will prove to be a better center from which to carry on his missionary work among his kinsmen according to the flesh. This we believe will be a good move. We urged him to make it when we visited him in 1891, and again when he visited us in 1893. Although he will be leaving a city containing nearly as many Jews as are in all Palestine, we believe that those who have returned to the "land of promise" would prove the more receptive—if not now, very shortly, when "the time of Jacob's trouble" shall be upon them there. They need instruction, whether they hear or forbear, to prepare them by and by to acknowledge the earthly phase of the Kingdom when it shall be established among them.
It does not seem to be generally known that Jews (not converts to Christ or Islam) have not been allowed to settle in Palestine since August 1891, and only a few are permitted to enter as visitors with fifteen to thirty day permits. This edict of the Sultan of Turkey went into effect just before we reached there. No Jews have been permitted to settle there since. Items published in newspapers telling about thousands of Jews going to Palestine, etc., are either fabrications or else five-year-old items republished. We expect, however, that by the time European persecutions shall again become hot against the Jews the door to Palestine will somehow be unbarred.
"In Austria, the form taken by social discontent is that of a violent agitation against the Jews. Dr. Lueger's reelection as Mayor of Vienna, with the consequent dissolution of the City Council, led to a debate in the Reichsrath, which was interesting as revealing the savagery with which the Jews are hated in Vienna. One of the speakers was not ashamed to assert that at Jewish festivals the food is sprinkled with a dark dust which is made from Christian blood! There is reason to believe that if the masses had their way in Central Europe, the Jews would lose their eye teeth, if indeed they were permitted to escape with their lives. It really seems as if it will be necessary before long to reconstitute the Kingdom of Jerusalem, if only to give the Jews a center from which diplomatic intervention would be possible on behalf of the scattered and peeled remnant of the children of Israel."
"The Bishop of Jerusalem declares that a great change of front toward Christianity is taking place among Jews all over the world. There is an avowal of disapproval of the crucifixion of Christ; there is admission of his claim to be a Prophet; to be the Messiah, at least of the Gentiles; to be the holiest of the sons of men. The assertion of the Yemenite Jew, 'Our fathers never returned from the captivity until now; we are not chargeable with the black deed of the rulers against Jesus;' is but the expression of a widespread desire to reverse the imprecation of eighteen centuries past; it seems like a prayer, 'May his blood be forgiven to us and to our children!'"
It is reported that a Russian Jew, recently converted to Christ, in a hospital in Smyrna, has begun preaching the newly found Messiah among the Russian Jews there with great success. A Jewish Christian Society has been started, and already is reported to have nearly two hundred adherents, who are being persecuted by kinsmen after the flesh.
Dr. Ahlwardt, the German Jew-hater, who came to this country to arouse hatred toward the Jews—but without success—in answer to the question, By what means do you propose to put an end to Jewish influence in Germany? said,—
"It can be done only by educating the masses, and getting the right sort of representatives into the Reichstag. For one thing, legislation should be enacted against ownership of land by Jews. Forty-seven per cent. of the agricultural land in Germany is owned by Jews, and they hold mortgages upon most of the remainder. Of course, we have not been able yet to pass any of the laws we advocate, as we have only seventeen representatives in the Reichstag. [R1918 : page 17] Anti-Semitism has spread fast recently, and the people are coming to see the corrupting influences of Judaism. Our support comes chiefly from the middle and poorer classes, who have suffered from the greed and unscrupulousness of the Jews. The lower clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, are nearly all with us."
No doubt there is considerable truth in this charge, and, taken together with the fact that Jews seldom so violate the laws as to get into prison, suggests the thought that their experiences under the Law of Moses have not been valueless to them. They are law-abiding so far as the letter of the law is concerned, but use all the ingenuity of their active minds in avoiding and circumventing the spirit of it. Outwardly they are very obedient to the law; but they [R1919 : page 17] do not recognize that love to God and the neighbor is the essence of the Law.
Nevertheless, under the new Millennial laws they will be found amongst the most pliable and consequently will be amongst the first to be blest by the new order of things; and by and by no doubt many of them will learn that the whole Law is comprehended in the one word, Love: and, learning this, many doubtless will obey it from the heart, and become "sheep" of the Millennial fold. (John 10:16.) God foreseeing this made them certain promises which cannot fail (Rom. 11:25-32), and their trouble, now brewing in Germany, will only serve to drive them out and to prepare them for the fulfilment of the divine covenants.
The Turkish question seems to be subsiding. It is settling itself. The German Emperor is averse to meddling with any ruler's control of his own subjects,—evidently fearing that at some time it might be a precedent for interference with his control of the Social-Democrats. Russia believes that she will get cheaper and more satisfactory possession by and by, when some other war is on foot involving other powers, and is not anxious now. France does what Russia does, and England, the only hope of the Armenians, is impelled by caution (in view of Venezuelan and South African difficulties) to let Turkey alone.
The matter is rapidly settling itself by the Armenians becoming Mohammedans, as the only escape from death. Thus quickly can threatening wars be averted, and the winds of strife held back, that the sealing of the servants of God may be first accomplished, as suggested in our last issue.
While the general tendency among prominent Protestants is toward skepticism and open infidelity of the Dr. Briggs type (We do not mean Atheism, the denial of a personal God, for few are so blind and foolish—Psa. 14:1—but Infidelity in the sense of disbelief in the Bible and the record of the fall, redemption and restitution as therein set forth), still there is another movement progressing vigorously—a return to formalism and ceremonialism, as represented in Roman Catholicism. The more ignorant gravitate to the Romanists, and the more cultured and wealthy to the Episcopal church. St. Ignatius Church of New York City is one of the favorites with the latter, and is known as a high-church. Another, recently finished at a cost of half a million dollars, is known as The Church of St. Mary the Virgin. At both of these churches the Romish ceremonials are in vogue, and Masses are celebrated, as by Roman Catholics. (For the significance of the Mass see MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., page 324, and Vol. III., pages 98-104.) The next few years will witness alarming progress in both of these opposite directions, as well as toward mere Moralism. Thousands will thus fall, from the only standing (in Christ) which has divine favor and recognition, on every side of those who abide under the shadow of the Almighty, rooted and grounded in the promises of God's Word and firmly fixed upon the ransom, the rock of salvation.
But, thank God, their fall is not an everlasting fall, but only a part of the present sifting and shaking in which only his "elect," his "saints," shall be able to stand—the falling of the false that the true may be made manifest. (1 Cor. 11:19.) When the Millennial Sun of Righteousness shall have arisen and scattered the mists of error, many now stumbling blindly will, we trust, be recovered. Those, however, who have been granted the light of present truth, and who are cast out as unworthy of it, seem to be in a more serious condition—apparently in danger of the hopeless "second death."