THE confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel led to the scattering of mankind on the earth—to sectional and racial selfishness, independence, clannishness,—to classes and castes. This in turn has led to selfish animosities, wars, etc. On the other hand, it no doubt worked some advantage by preventing all from falling into the same ruts, vices and superstitions. But lately, especially since the beginning of "the time of the end" (A.D. 1799), the tendency in every direction is for the peoples of the earth to commingle, to obliterate caste and racial prejudices. People of every nation commingle with those of every other nation; not without prejudice, but nevertheless with the effect of gradually breaking down prejudice.
The city officials are compelled to guard the sanitary conditions of the poorer quarters as well as of the wealthier; for disease in the tenements, where clothing or cigars are made, means disease elsewhere,—wherever their wares are used. Quarantines are as needful for paupers as for the wealthy who pay the tax for the expense incurred. In courts of justice crimes against the poor are recognized, as well as against the rich. This is not only just, but necessary for the preservation of respect for justice before the masses. The failure of a crop in one quarter of the globe does not now affect that part alone, but diffuses itself over the whole world by causing a slight general advance in price. So also with diseases. La Grippe spread as a scourge over Europe and America and was traced by science to Russia, and as the result of a famine which prevailed there the year before. The enlightened world has learned that it is not only humane to relieve the famine-stricken, but that it is necessary for the protection of those who have plenty.
Even the lower animals are benefiting; for since it is learned that many contagious fevers are induced by the eating of infected meat and milk, the sanitary conditions of dairies are being guarded by the law; and the kind of cars in which cattle are shipped, and the food and drink supplied to cattle in transit, are being made subjects of careful legislation.
This growing oneness of the interests of the world is well illustrated in Trades-Unionism. It started as local institutions, thinking little of the interests of others; but before long they were extended to all of the same craft in the same section or environed by the same conditions. Next it was found that with new machinery it was not difficult for a man of skill in one craft to turn his skill to another; and federations and amalgamations sprang up on broad bases of fellowship and cooperation. Next international unions were called for, especially in Europe; and it was found expedient also to organize the female laborers, since they with machinery were likely to become competitors to a larger extent yearly. And now, finally, realizing that the millions of Japan, India and China are likely to come into competition with civilized labor, the Socialistic Labor Congress of the world, which met in London in July, proposed to extend its doctrines and organization to the barbaric peoples. The resolution on the subject reads as follows:—
"Considering that the aim of the foreign and colonial policy of the governing classes of all modern states, as the trustees of capitalists' interests, is to gain possession of new worlds to capitalize; considering further, that the aim of Socialists must necessarily be opposed to this absorption of barbaric races and the lands occupied by them into the great system of modern capitalistic [R2018 : page 187] civilization as tending to give to that system a new lease of life, shorter or longer, as the case may be, it is resolved that the policy of the Social Democratic party, irrespective of nationality, should be to support, and, in every feasible way, to make common cause with barbaric peoples in their efforts to maintain their independence against the raids of European civilization, no matter what the power may be, by whom the raid is undertaken, and no matter what may be the specious excuse, humanitarian or patriotic, by which such raids are supported or defended. It is further resolved that a standing international committee be appointed to watch events and to take such action in the above sense as from time to time may seem desirable, thereby inaugurating a new departure in the sense of a foreign policy, at once united and definite, for the Social Democratic party in all countries, irrespective of so-called national interests."
While this proposition is absurd in the extreme, it illustrates the trend of our times; the unifying of the interests of mankind. The lessons of the present time, although taught by selfishness, are preparing mankind the better to appreciate the levelling and unifying which the Kingdom of God will shortly establish on an unselfish basis—on a basis of a sympathetic love which redeemed all and will bring all to a clear knowledge of the truth that they may be saved.
The federative union of Protestants foretold in the Scriptures comes on apace. It has been hindered, however, to some extent by the hopes of some that it might as a federation include Roman Catholicism and Greek Catholicism, and thus be the more "imposing." Much dependence was placed upon the known sympathy of Pope Leo XIII. with the union movement; and it was confidently hoped by many that he would in some manner recognize the Church of England and its clerical orders, as the Greek and other Catholic systems had already been recognized. This matter seems to be positively settled in the negative by the Pope's last Encyclical (as we knew and pointed out from the Scriptures it would be). Now, therefore, all hope of union with Rome being abandoned, it is not unreasonable to expect that greater energy than ever will be directed to effecting the union or federation of Protestants, foretold.
"He of the Vatican has spoken again. Pope Leo XIII. has often spoken, but this time on a new theme. No pope of the last two centuries has surpassed him in keen and quick perception of the rapid changes in popular sentiment, and of the paternal way, from the Vatican point of view, in which to confront and adapt them. Besides, he excels in stately and labored declamations on the main thought of the hour upon ecclesiastical polity and doctrine. His encyclical is well timed, for it recognizes the preeminence of the aspiration for the union of Christendom.
"Gladstone had heard that something of the kind was in due time to come from the Vatican. He therefore wrote his letter to Cardinal Rampolla, the Pope's Secretary of State, pleading for Leo's recognition of the validity of Anglican orders. The encyclical is not an answer to Gladstone, and was probably in type and translated into many languages before the great Englishman had put his plea on paper, and nowhere mentions, even remotely, the validity of the orders of the 35,000 Anglican clergy. But in a sense it is an answer, for it says in substance: All who are out of my fold are schismatics; they belong to no Church; they must accept me as the one Holy Father, and they must adopt every one of the Roman Catholic doctrines. The inspiration of the Apocrypha, the celibacy of the clergy, the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, papal infallibility, and all the rest must be accepted, or the recusant is 'outside the Catholic communion.'
"The language is explicit. Nobody can be admitted into this blessed unity 'who in the least degree deviates from even one point of the doctrine proposed by the authoritative magisterium of the Church.' The primacy of the Pope, the recognition of his authority, and the assent to every doctrine which he represents are the conditions of the only Christian union which Rome can entertain.
"The Pope begins by declaring his desire to bring all peoples into the one Christian fold, and then proceeds to place before them the example of the Church in which all should be united, and to show that the Church is a visible body, and only one body; that it is the guardian of the world's faith; that of necessity there must be a unity of government as well as of faith; and therefore that 'as Christ willed that his kingdom should be visible, he was obliged to designate a vicegerent on earth in the person of St. Peter. He also determined that the authority given to him for the salvation of mankind in perpetuity should be inherited by St. Peter's successors.'
"The conclusion is now natural and easy. The authoritative magisterium being determined—and this is only a beautiful and classical euphemism for the mastery of the Pope above bishops, councils, and all [R2019 : page 188] else—nothing further is wanted than the application, which is substantially this: 'Come into the Church of Rome. Do not hesitate. The ultimate tribunal is vested in one man—namely, his own pontifical self—who, when speaking in his official quality, divides his authority with no man or number of men when he declares on doctrine or morals. He can annul whatever councils determine. He holds St. Peter's keys, and can bind or loose at will. All must obey his orders. How easy, then, is the union of all Christendom!'
"One learns a lesson from this last encyclical from the Vatican—that Rome has lost nothing of its monumental egoism. The invitation of the Thirteenth Lion to all the lambs to come into union with him might easily have been made by Leo X. or Gregory VII. It is musty with the antiquities of the temporal power of four centuries ago. The dust of the centuries flies out of it as one turns over its parchment pages. Rome alone is in the true path.
"Still, there is a difference in the way of putting things nowadays. Even a pope scolds no more. The language of the authoritative magisterium is calm. There is nothing of the elder bluster. The anathemas [R2019 : page 189] against Protestants are forgotten as though veritable antiques. This is a gain for the courtesy of words. Never more will a pope speak as universal master."
Recent accounts of cyclones, hurricanes, "cloudbursts," tidal waves, etc., in various parts of the world are appalling. About six weeks ago 3500 Japanese were drowned by a tidal wave, and now about 4000 Chinese have met a similar fate. The numerous disasters at home are too well known to require mention.
Creation groans (Rom. 8:22) under the curse. Present conditions are only what we might expect as a race of criminals under sentence of death from the Divine Court. True, the ransom price for sin has been paid; but the time is not yet fully come for the lifting of the curse. It must yet rest very heavily upon the culprit race; a dark hour of trouble must precede the glorious sunrise of the new day wherein there "shall be no more curse."
Great physical changes in nature may reasonably be expected as a part of the impending trouble (intermingled with the social, political, financial and religious troubles of this day of the Lord). What the changes will be we know not; but we do know that present conditions of climate, etc., are not such as we should expect or are promised "when the Kingdom is the Lord's and he is the governor among the nations." If, therefore, any of the King's Own shall witness at close quarters any of the fearful signs connected with the grand changes now due, let them remember that the Lord knoweth them that are his and will not permit anything to come upon them that he will not overrule for good.
When pointing out some time ago that the Scriptures indicate that the Jews are to be persecuted in all lands, so as to drive them out, eventually, into their own land, we mentioned the anti-Jewish sentiment in France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Russia; and the probability that intense and general Jewish persecution would break forth ere long; but intimated that the British would probably not share in it. But even in Great Britain an anti-Jewish feeling is taking root. The publication of a letter from Mr. Gladstone in the public press, recently, avowed his opposition to the race,—saying, "I am an Anti-Semitist"—much to the surprise of others as well as ourselves. Jew-hatred—"Judenhetze"—is making progress in England; and is being discussed in the prominent journals. It is really a movement against the Jewish money-lenders, and is of a piece with the Silver Movement in the United States. The following is clipped from the Quarterly Review:—
"The day may dawn, even in France, when a popular Government will be the voice of the people. In countries not so manipulated and hoodwinked—in the German Empire, with its military feudal spirit on one side, its spirit of Socialism on the other; in Austria, where the Hebrew conquest dates from yesterday; in Russia, which M. de Vogue calls 'a mightier Islam,' the reaction may take a swift and sudden turn that would be far more dreadful than any Judenhetze known since the expulsion of the Marranos from the Spanish Peninsula. It is not an appeal to the principles of '89 which would then avail to prevent scenes of horror and confusion. The European Democracy has no mind to be shorn of its golden fleece for the benefit of the Rothschilds and the Oppenheims. Let the situation be clearly understood—and it is growing clearer with each day's news, in Italy, in the Transvaal, at Vienna—who can believe that Christendom will allow itself to be made a farm, a tenement of which but a handful even among the five million Jews are to enjoy the fruits and the revenue? The 'Emancipation of the Jews'—that old Liberal watchword—has already given place to its antithesis 'Emancipation from the Jews,' economic liberty for the Christian working class, defence against usury and speculative finance, and the rest of a sound social programme. Sooner or later, these new ideas will issue in legislative enactments; or, if they do not, a worse thing may happen in countries which have to choose between the rule of productive industry and the despotism of capital wielded by a cosmopolitan and antisocial power."