OUR Lord declared that his mission, and that of his gospel, was "to preach the gospel to the meek, to bind up the broken hearted." And under his commission the gospel is no longer to be confined to Israel, the natural seed of Abraham, but may now be preached "to every creature," that whosoever "hath an ear to hear" may hear. He clearly announced, however, that only a limited class was intended to be drawn to him, and received by him as disciples in this age, saying:—"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him....Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto [R1941 : page 39] me." "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."—John 6:37,44,45.
If all Christian people understood and remembered these inspired words of their Master, many of their missionary efforts would differ greatly from the present methods. If they understood these Scriptures they would be in better condition to realize that this Gospel age is not the only age of salvation and drawing, but that by and by, in the Millennial age, Christ will draw all men unto himself (John 12:32), after the same manner that the Father now draws a few, "a little flock," of a special class, and presents them to Christ. This would help them over their great delusion that the "undrawn" and "uncalled" (Acts 2:39) of the present time, the vast majority of the human family, are not reprobated to an eternity of torture, but will be given a fair and gracious trial for life in a coming "day of judgment" when the Father-drawn "little flock" shall, with Christ, be their gracious and merciful judges as well as their kings and priests.—1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 1:6.
But not knowing the Scriptures and the plan of God sufficiently, they have a zeal that is not according to knowledge, and are attempting to bring to Christ now those whom the Father has not drawn. Much better would it be that much of the present mission work should wait a few years longer, until the body of Christ, the Church, shall be "lifted up" and associated with the head in the glory and power of the Millennial Kingdom, and then share in the drawing which shall exert an influence for good upon "all men." (But this will not be an irresistible influence, even as the present drawing of the Father is not irresistible.)
A Brother in the truth, residing in Cape Colony, South Africa, sends us a clipping from the Natal Mercury, which tells of a Missionary Meeting held in the Presbyterian church there, at which the following statement was made: "There are still eight hundred and fifty millions of people unevangelized, over two hundred millions being in Africa. The heathen have increased during the last one hundred years over two hundred millions, and the Christians to the extent of three millions. The heathen rate of increase was thus seventy times greater than the Christian. More zeal for foreign missions is now shown than at any past period, but there is need for these increasing a thousand fold."
From early life our sympathies for the heathen and for those who give their lives to serve them have been very strong; and they will always continue so. Yet, even as a child, we wondered why God seemed so indifferent to the welfare of the masses of the human family. Now, thank God, the light of divine truth shining forth shows us that all of the race of Adam were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, and that in God's due time Christ, as the "true Light," shall enlighten every man that has come into the world. (John 1:9.) We see now that God's people have [R1941 : page 40] not studied his Word with sufficient care, and hence the distress and confusion of many zealous souls today as they note the failure of their hopes and efforts. They first overlooked the fact that the Gospel is only "unto as many as the Lord your God shall call;" and that no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him; and that the Father is not drawing all men, but is leaving the vast majority to be drawn similarly, and by other means, by Christ and his Church, in the next age. Thus, by getting false ideas of their own, to the effect that God had commissioned them to do all the drawing and converting in the present age, many are led to doubt and trouble of soul. And finding that they cannot accomplish what they had hoped, some lower their standard of righteousness and acceptableness with God, and conclude that the future companions of the "little flock" in heaven will be millions and billions of the most degraded savages; saved, not by faith, but by their ignorance.
Others charge the failure upon God's plan or upon his Church for not doing the impossible. Note the unscripturalness and unreasonableness of the following verses of a hymn sung at a Missionary Meeting of the Christian Alliance, held a few weeks ago in Montreal, Canada, sent us by a Brother in the truth who was present, but who could not join in the song.
"They're passing, passing fast away,
A hundred thousand souls a day,
In Christless guilt and gloom.
O Church of Christ, what wilt thou say,
When in the awful judgment day
They charge thee with their doom?"
It is blasphemous to charge that God has made the everlasting bliss or pain of billions of his creatures dependent upon impotent fellow creatures. As Peter said to the Jews who crucified Jesus, so we can think of many of those who sang, "I wot that in ignorance ye did it."
We do feel a very warm love for those who are specially spending themselves in any department of the Lord's service, at a cost of discomfort and self-denial whether at home or abroad, as missionaries or colporteurs, or otherwise. If the good accomplished is small so far as the heathen are concerned, it has undoubtedly been large so far as some of the missionaries themselves, and some of those who paid their expenses, are concerned.
Now, however, the Lord points us to the fact that "harvesting" is the special work in order, and we advise all who have the Lord's spirit and his truth to rejoice through their tears over their failure to convert the world, and to look up and see the rainbow which God hath set for us, promising that after the "elect" church has been called, drawn, chastened, taught and polished, she, with her Lord and Redeemer shall be the great light—the Sun of Righteousness which shall "draw," "bless" and "heal" all for whom there could be any hope. If our past efforts did not save the world from eternal torment, let us thank God that there was no such danger as we had apprehended, and let us the more appreciate our Creator and his perfect rule of love and justice. If we did not convert the world, let us thank God that we did "witness," as he declared we should do, and that in so doing we were blest. And let us quickly wipe our tears and rejoice in the present truth; let us enter the harvest work of perfecting holiness in ourselves and others of the saints, and preparing for the marriage of the Lamb.—Rev. 19:7.
"A cable to the New York World of Jan. 26 states that Premier Bourgeois of France has announced the introduction of a bill 'to separate church and state,' and that he will make vigorous war on Roman Catholic monasteries, convents and other religious houses. Money left to members of religious societies by bequest, for the use of such societies, shall be confiscated to the use of the natural heirs. 'It is hoped,' says the premier, 'to cripple the church as a political machine, and render innocuous the Pope's influence in France.' Religious houses holding millions in money will be required to make returns of their wealth to the government, preparatory to the imposition of a tax on such property."
The Roman Catholic clergy have been giving support to representatives of monarchy, and the Pope now claims that this has been in violation of his recommendations. At all events a desperate struggle between the French party in power and the Roman church is begun, and both will use every measure to win. Knowing the resources and intrigues of priestcraft, we fear for the safety of the Republic, unless it modifies its plans. The French are mostly Catholics, and have been used for centuries to having the churches, clergy, etc., supported by government money; and now, under the new laws, if executed, they will be obliged to pay their own priests, or have none; and their superstitions respecting "holy water," "holy candles," "masses," etc., etc., are so deeply grounded that they are still considered necessities to them, which probably will not be relinquished readily,—especially while the priests are among them to threaten them with hell and purgatory.
It is remarkable that while Catholic countries are striving to get rid of Catholic domination, Protestant countries are welcoming the Church of Rome. For instance, Norway, that has been ultra-Protestant, to the degree that fifty years ago Romish Priests could not enter the country under pain of death, is now undergoing a reaction, and recently, in Christiansand, when a large church edifice and [R1941 : page 41] hospital were dedicated, thousands of Protestants, including the officials of the province, were present. The same is true in Scotland. In Glasgow, where a Roman Catholic church edifice was unknown a century ago, there are now about twenty of them.
The fact is that where Papacy predominates and has the control it is terribly corrupt, so as to become a stench even to the worldly masses; but where she is in the minority she is under such crafty management that to the worldly she appears "as good as any," and indeed is preferred [R1942 : page 41] sometimes because of her greater power over her more superstitious votaries.
"With characteristic openness to western ideas, the Japanese received our religion with our civilization. But these sprightly people introduced innovations. They rebelled against our denominationalism. Christian missionaries have had to drop very generally denominational names. Most of the churches call themselves United churches or Associated. They would not even take the name of Congregational churches.
"They also look with little favor upon the abstruse doctrines of systematic theology. They talk of the Christianity of Christ, and of the religion of Jesus, pure and simple, as the faith which they want and which is suited to their nation."
Thos. Edison, the inventor and electrician, of Phonograph and Telephone fame, has been experimenting with the new light "X Rays" and has succeeded in taking a photograph through oak eight inches thick. But, as suggested in our last issue, Theosophists and others are claiming the new discovery as a part of their deception outfit. The Scriptures forewarn us that Satan will bring to bear strong delusions in this our day. Thank God, they shall not deceive "the very elect." Obedience, faithfulness to the end, is the condition upon which we may make our calling and election sure. In other words, if we are faithful to the Word and Spirit of the Lord he will carry us through.
A new lymph treatment for all germ diseases is announced in New York. The antitoxine is of mineral and carbolic acid compound, called Aseptolin. Great things are hoped for it as an arrester of diseases. No doubt recent discoveries are but preparations for the Millennial blessing, so that when, twenty years from now, the times of restitution shall be fully ushered in, and none except wilful sinners will die, it will not appear so strange to mankind, and still leave room for faith respecting the real source of all blessings.
Baron Hirsch, a Jew, four years ago undertook the colonizing of Russian Jews in Argentine Republic, S.A., setting apart ten million dollars for the purpose. A recent official report shows that two million dollars have been spent, and that only twelve hundred and twenty-two families have been located in Argentine; and for the present no new settlers are being forwarded from Russia. On the other hand, without this special aid about thirty thousand Russian Jews came to the United States during last year alone.
In our issue of December, 1891, we gave a copy of a letter which we sent to Baron Hirsch on the subject of Jewish colonization, recommending a plan for the autonomy of Palestine and the turning of immigration thither. Some such plan, we believe, will soon be adopted, and the land of Palestine be thrown open, not merely to Russian Jews, but also to Austrian, Hungarian, German and French Jews; all of whom will surely be persecuted in the near future to dislodge them and cause them to return to Palestine, as foretold in the Scriptures.
At the State Convention of the New Jersey Young Men's Christian Association, in session at Jersey City, Feb. 14, its President, Elijah S. Cowles, suggested the introduction of pool and billiard tables to the Y.M.C.A. attractions for young men. A few members from the southern part of the State protested, and one of them said that he had formerly been a saloon-keeper, and gave it as his opinion that it was useless to hope to lead young men to heavenly things by the aid of the billiard table. To clinch the argument in favor of billiards the South Jersey Delegates were escorted to the People's Palace, an auxiliary to the Tabernacle Church, and there were shown billiard and pool tables, with boys playing about them.
Comment on this is almost unnecessary. "Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God," is written all over this and the various "Church entertainments," minstrels, etc. If the contention were proved true, that men and boys are kept out of saloons by this means, still there is no excuse for associating with these things the name of Christ's Church, nor of calling such things young men's Christian associations and amusements.
Let us ever remember that morality is not synonymous with Christianity. The Christian is one who has passed through the strait gate and into the narrow way of self-denial—one who, having taken up his cross to follow his Lord, has left all for this blessed service. Such have other uses for their consecrated time and talents than killing them in playing even innocent games. As the poet says,
The steward of God's favors who hides his talent in the earth, or in a billiard parlor, or in business, or in pride and show, will be termed a "wicked and slothful servant," and only those who have used, and thus increased their talents, will hear the longed-for words,—"Well done, good, faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord."—Matt. 25:23-30.