IF WE but remember that nothing in the world's history offers any comparison to present social and financial conditions, we may well regard with a great deal of charity the conflicting views of able and conscientious men respecting the causes, the disadvantages, the proper remedies, and the outcome, of the movements now on foot throughout the civilized world. God's people, justified and sanctified and separate from the world, with new aims and spiritual ambitions before them, and with the instruction and enlightenment of the divine revelationthe Bibleshould be able to take a calmer, a clearer, a more comprehensive, and therefore a more true, view of affairs, past, present and to come, than others; for we are to remember that it is prejudice and self-interest which generally has much to do with the blinding of those who see not from the divine standpoint.
From this standpoint we see that neither the rights nor the wrongs of motive or of action lie all on one side of these questions; and, seeing this, we are better able to take a sympathetic position, and to exercise our influence amongst those with whom we come in contact, in the interests of peace. All of the Lord's people should be peace-makers; none of them should be strife-makers. There are generally a sufficient number of selfish forces at work in and about every individual to stir up his mind, to breed in him discontent, and to arouse the passions of anger and malice and hatred; there are few influences, at work, on behalf of gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. Hence there is the more necessity that the Lord's people continue pouring oil upon the troubled watersthe oil of the holy spirit, with which their cup is to overflow; the oil of joy as opposed to the spirit of heaviness and discontent; the oil of hope, which illumines the future gloriously, and thus offsets and counteracts the darkness of present discouragements.
"A terrible trouble is disturbing the earth at the present time. It more resembles a species of insanity than anything else. As we know, among members of an undeveloped society the maniacal tendency is not common; that tendency is an accompaniment of civilization. All must have noted the fact that the possession of extraordinary endowments and a facile loss of mental balance, or great wits and madness, as the poet has told us, are somehow near allied. They have a way of going together. Just so here. To-day it is not the dull nations, but the bright ones, the most advanced in refinement and everything of that sort, that seem craziest in the craze at this moment sweeping the world. The dementia is practically an exclusive possession of the Great Powers of Europe, troubling England worst, but reaching out and affecting [R2867 : page 275] us in this country in some ways, perhaps, worst of all. It seems a madness of the Anglo-Saxon, as he loves to call himself, more than of any other people. And plainly this madness is the result of a disease; it is the outworking of the greed microbe, or it comes from the yeasting in the human blood of the lust for property and dominion. And because of this frenzied, grasping tendency, which, as a sort of demonism, has taken possession of the leading nations of men, and of our own people and the ruling element among them particularly, the whole earth is plunged into a condition of singularly disastrous feud and conflict at the present moment.
Leading nations have simply fallen into a veritable madness in their scramble for trade. That is precisely the way things are. Commercial interests, so called, stand ready and are eager to sacrifice everythinguntold treasures of the people at large, along with their highest rights and profoundest welfarein order to keep or attain supremacy for themselves and [R2867 : page 276] for the furthering of their ends. Think what, under this influence, not only Great Britain and we in America, but Russia also, and Germany and France and Italy, are ready to spend in this desperate rivalry! Millions on millions of the people's money are these nations hot to lavish in outlay so as to buy or bribe the chief advantage in trade lines, the one against the other. This is at the bottom of our militarism. Here is what our wars mean....War, we may rest assured, is always precisely as General Sherman characterized it. There is no good in it for anybody; only evilthe consummation of evil. A trade war is the same as any other. Greed is behind it; and we have the highest authority for holding that greed is behind all wars. They come of men's lusts. But to-day, greed in the elaborations and marvelous complications of modern life has become an overmastering disease. The whole land is swept by it. Society quivers in its sway; so do our churches and our homes. Commerce is maddened by it. It is a craze in the heart of the nations. It has well nigh come to be a veritable demoniacal possession, driving the whole wide world, and especially the peoples that ought to be conspicuous in light and leading, into a desperate frenzy, making the immediate outlook for highest human welfare very dark and foreboding."
This is all a mistake. The present agitation and grasp for power and trade is not the result of a special disease of greed and selfishnessnot a new form of insanity. On the contrary, it is the result of a larger amount of reasoning on the part of humanity in general, and especially on the part of statesmen and financiers, along lines which the writer of the above article, however otherwise intelligent, has not fully appreciated. The fact is that the present movement is the result of conditions, and not the result of theories. Theories, aggressive theories, selfish theories, have prevailed in the world for centuries, and probably prevail no more to-day than in the past. It is not a new microbe of greed that has attacked mankind, but new conditions which appeal strongly to what for a long time has been known as the first law of natureself-preservation.
Statesmen and financiers the world over have realized that the new conditions brought into the civilized world during the past fifty years mean a revolutionan irresistible revolution. They mean that machinery and steam and electric power have become the servants of men, and that these servants can be multiplied at a comparatively small cost, and that the necessities of Christendom can now or shortly be supplied by one-third the population; which means that, now or shortly, two-thirds of Christendom's population will be in enforced idleness. Statesmen and financiers seek to ward off such a condition of things, realizing that it would mean calamity, financial, social and political. This is the secret, then, of the effort on the part of the most highly civilized peoples in the world to obtain new markets for their goods and to retain their hold upon the markets already established, at home and abroad.
There are people who tell us that business should revert to old-time methods, moderation, fair prices, limited production, and general contentment; but such people fail to recognize the great change that has come upon the world in respect to conditions. They fail to see that the business pressure which is now exerted is not a voluntary one, but rather an enforced one; for those who would persist in following old-time methods in manufacturing or business would speedily find themselves bankrupt. Consequently all find it necessary to bestir themselves and adopt new methods of business adapted to our day. As they are pushed on by others, so others in turn are pushed on by them. The civilized world is like a great crowd; at the head are the world's notables, backed each of them by the hundreds and thousands and millions of humanity, willingly or unwillingly depending upon them for guidance, for life's comforts, yea, for its necessities. The entire crowd has tasted of the conveniences and blessings of civilization, and the determination of the whole is that they will not go back into barbarism and savagery, but will press on; and a fear of personal or class or national disadvantage is continually goading the great majority of this struggling mass, bidding each look out for himself and his own interests, and let no opportunity escape his grasp.
With the majority the impelling fear is an undefined one; and yet, in a general way, all seem to apprehend that some sort of a check to the world's advancement, and to their individual progress, is imminent. Whether they can discern the ramified influences connecting them individually as factors in the problem or not, they can realize that the more lucrative situations in life are few in comparison to the numbers of humanity; and they can see, too that prosperous waves come to the world occasionally, through an increased demand for the products of machinery and the soil. They can see that if the Chinese Empire, for instance, with its hundreds of millions of population, were thrown fully open to the commercial enterprise of Christendom, it would cause the wave of prosperity in Christendom to have that much longer roll, because it would require time for the Chinese to fully adapt themselves to the new conditions introduced by machinery; it would require time for them to learn how to install and to operate the machinery, and thus that the evil day of over-production would be put off the further into the future. Instead of calling these men "insane" shall we not, on the contrary, say that they are wise in their generation;that they are acting out the only part they could be expected to take, as wise men of the world, laboring under the law of personal and national selfishness,the law under which all the world has for centuries been operating? We hold that the energy of these politicians and financiers is an energy begotten of wisdom, and remember the words of Solomon, "The wise man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, while the foolish pass on and suffer for it."Prov. 27:12.
As our Master said at the first advent, so we may now repeat,"The children of this world are wise in their generation"wiser, sometimes, than are the children of light. Therefore the latter need to take the more earnest heed to the divine revelation, which is able to give them the "spirit of a sound mind" beyond all others.
The Scriptures give the key to the present situation: they show us clearly that the divine law of love has always condemned the law of selfishness, under which fallen humanity has long governed itself. The law of selfishness is no worse a law to-day than it has always been. It has been the cause of wars, injustices, sufferings, slaveries, etc., in all the periods of history. It is neither worse nor better to-day; but new conditions have come upon us: civilization has lifted one-fifth part of the world to a higher plane of thought and sentiment, and upon these, since the beginning of "the day of his preparation," 1799, the Lord has been gradually lifting the veil and granting a discernment of the secrets of nature, which has resulted in great chemical and mechanical discoveries. These, while proving great blessings to mankind, are sure eventually to bring great calamities, by reason of conflict with the law of selfishness now prevailing. All thinking men realize that under the laws of selfishness, competition, etc., it is only a question of time when the vast resources and possibilities of machinery in the hands of the brightest and keenest of the world's population will reach the point of a death-struggle with the masses of Christendom,not even waiting to reach the masses of heathendom. All wish to avoid this crash, for all instinctively realize that it will be terrible when it comes; but many seek to avoid the matter by saying to themselves, It will not come in my day, anyway. And meantime each feels as though he is powerless to stem the current, or to resist the pressure which is behind him.
As an illustration of the forces at work in Christendom, a result of the new conditions introduced to the world during the nineteenth century, note the strife between the United States Steel Corporation and the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Much can be said on each side of the question, but it all resolves itself in harmony with the foregoing. The capitalists, representing the money invested and the machinery, are pressed by competition and seeking to maintain their own standing financially and to make progress. They do not desire the degradation of their workmen in any sense or degree; but [R2868 : page 277] would much prefer that they were all comfortable and provided with steady employment. The more intelligent amongst the workmen realize that captains of industry and accumulations of capital are necessary to progress and prosperity; and while wishing to be comfortable, well-to-do, and to share in the comforts and luxuries of life, the better class of workmen have no special complaint to make that their employers are better housed, surrounded with greater luxuries every way than themselves. They have no desire to bring disaster either upon their employers or the trade in which they are engaged, or the country which is their home. Their interests in large measure lie in the same direction as that of their employersthey desire prosperity, and extension of trade to this end. The majority of them are not so anxious to become wealthy as they are anxious lest they should become poorlest they should lose, in whole or in part, the comforts and advantages which they now enjoy, and which are far beyond those enjoyed by their parents at any time in the past.
Why, then, is there need of a rupture? Why, with admittedly satisfactory wages, and admittedly satisfactory hours of work, should there be a strike and more or less of a paralysis of important business interests? The reason is fear. As the Scriptures declare respecting the present time, "Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (Luke 21:26.) Present conditions are satisfactory enough, all will admitboth employers and employed. The whole question is one pertaining to the futurefear. The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers demands that all the works of the United States Steel Corporation should be "unionized"that the affairs and interests of all the workmen, nearly one hundred thousand in number, should be recognized as under the care and supervision, and subject to the arrangements and contracts, of the officers of the Amalgamated Association. The United States Steel Corporation refuses this demand, and claims that this in effect would mean that they would compel all of their workmen to join the Amalgamated Association; and, this they have insisted, would be an unreasonable thing to do, and one which they could not do.
To the unsophisticated it will seem strange that there need be any serious ruction or quarrel over a matter of this kind; for, on the surface, as stated by both parties, benevolence would seem to be the object of both. The Amalgamated Association benevolently wants to assist the non-union men, and the United States Steel Corporation also benevolently wishes to protect the non-union men in their rights. Where pure love and benevolence of this kind controls on both sides of the question, why need there be any dispute or strike?
Ah! there it is. In this question, as in nearly every other question, selfishness hides itself under a cloak of benevolence, and would fain deceive others, and itself also. Not pure benevolence, but almost pure selfishness, is actuating both parties. The United States Steel Corporation reasons that if all of its mills and employes were under the control of the union, it would be thoroughly at the mercy of the officers of that union, to whose generosity and justice they are unwilling to entrust themselves and their varied interests, valued at a thousand millions of dollars. They say, No! So long as some of the mills are independent and under our control it will not matter so much if others of them are under the control of the union, for then we will not be completely at the union's mercy, and the latter will be obliged to treat us with a measure of consideration and justice. It is, therefore, a very serious question with us, and we prefer to lose millions of dollars now, than to risk, to jeopardize, our interests under the complete control and perhaps tyranny of a labor union.
The Amalgamated Association is laboring, also, along lines of selfishness, and not from pure benevolence and good-will toward the non-union men. They say to themselves: It is all right as it is, so long as times are prosperous, as at present; but as there have been hard times before, so we may reasonably expect them to come again, when there will be overproduction, idle mills and idle men. At such a time we may [R2868 : page 278] be sure that the Steel Corporation, recognizing us as the protectors of skilled labor, and the maintainers of its interests as respects time and pay and conditions, and realizing a future time of still sharper competition and lower prices, would grasp such an opportunity to do all in its power to destroy our union, and thus to have labor unresistant at its command. We feel sure that in a season of dullness the non-union mills would be given the preference as respects steady employment, while the union mills would be at the disadvantage, to the intent that our organization might be disrupted. Now, therefore, is our time, while business is good, while our labor is in demand, while the mills are behind with ordersnow is the time for us to strike, if thereby we can unionize all the mills and place ourselves and all workmen upon a firmer footing for the maintenance of our rights in the future, when the final desperate struggle between capital and labor must come.
If these were all Christian brethren; if the spirit of Christ dwelt in them all richly and abounded; if the spirit of love had wholly or even half supplanted the spirit of selfishness, the matter might very easily be adjusted; for we remember that love is not puffed up, vaunteth not herself, seeketh not her own, but is the very embodiment of generosity and kindness. But, again, it is not a theory we have to deal with, but facts. In theory the civilized world is all Christian, sometimes called, "The Christian World," and "Christendom." But these are misnomers; the fact is the world is not Christian except in name; they are still "kingdoms of this world," still children of this world, and only a remarkably few belong to the Kingdom of the Lord, and either know him or desire to be controlled by his spirit of love.
What can we do? Can we hope to convert these millions, to whom the message of the gospel has come with more or less clearness all their lives? We cannot so hope. We must remember, on the contrary, that this is not the divine plan; that in the divine plan part of the important lesson which the world is now learning is the very lesson which it was intended it should learn, viz., that selfishness always brings misery,directly or indirectly. The world must thus learn the lesson that the only true peace and prosperity is that which God purposes, and will eventually establish through the Kingdom of his dear Son. The world is learning the lessons that wealth does not give complete happiness, but still leaves an aching void; and that all the comforts and conveniences of civilization, coming to the world of mankind, with good food, good clothing, and much advantage every way, do not change the heart nor bring in true happiness. In a word, the world must learn that civilization is not Christianization.
For centuries the Lord's wheatfield, the Church, has been overgrown with tares, who are not the offspring of the Lord's spirit at allwho have never been "begotten again," who are not of the "wheat" class in any degree. These "tares" have been passing under the name of Christian, while really and truly they are worldlingsnot bad people, many of them, not all immoral by any means, some of them generous, kind, and, in a worldly sense, goodbut not "begotten of the spirit." We are in the harvest-time, "the end of the age," and a complete separation must be made. For not one tare is to be gathered into the kingdom garner. On the contrary, a complete demonstration shall be made, as between the wheat and the tares. There are grains of "wheat," so far as we know, interested on both sides of this question, but the vast majority on both sides are of the "tare" class. The wheat, therefore, are not to expect to be understood, or to have the true position appreciated by the others; but nevertheless are to be content and to rejoice in what the Lord discloses to them through his Word, viz., that this time of trouble that the whole world sees impending, will be the final lesson by which the Lord will demonstrate to the world the difference between the reign of sin and the reign of righteousnessbetween the reign of selfishness and the reign of love.
In the great time of trouble, when all their various systems, religious, political, social, financial, go down in a maelstrom of anarchy, there will be a great opening of eyes,a passing of present illusions. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." They will come to see that the Lord's way is the right way,the only satisfactory way; that the law of love is the only law which can bring everlasting happiness and blessing to any and to all who will obey it. They will come to see, what they do not now realize, that the Lord's true Church in the world was a "little flock," a "peculiar people," guided by the Lord's eye, and by his Word, who, through much tribulation, trials of faith, trials of patience, etc., will become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, in the glorious Kingdom which will be established upon the ruins of present institutions, for the blessing of all the families of the earth, with a righteous government. Let us then continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it [R2869 : page 278] is done in heaven."
Not long since it was announced that all "union workmen" would withdraw from the volunteer State and National Guards, lest they should be called upon to protect properties when strikes were on, or to suppress riots in which fellow-workmen might be engaged. Now we have the announcement that the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers will start a military organization of its own. Indeed the movement took definite shape on Saturday, August 3, as announced in the Wheeling, W. Va., Register of August 4, as follows:
A movement was started in this city yesterday for organizing a strong military branch of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Tin and Steel Workers. The organization is designed to band the members closer together, to promote a better fraternal and social [R2869 : page 279] feeling, to protect the property of mill owners in cases of strikes, and for self-defense.
The Register has been in possession of information for more than a week, to the effect that the idea has been agitated among Amalgamated men both in Wheeling and elsewhere. Not until yesterday, however, did the matter assume anything like tangible shape. Crescent Lodge, comprising the workmen employed at the Whitaker mill, held a regular meeting in the afternoon, during which the subject was broached.
The matter was generally discussed, and several of the speakers were enthusiastically applauded. The details of the plan had previously been discussed among the men, and they were familiar with the subject when they came to the meeting.
Crescent Lodge heartily approved the idea, and decided to enroll membership in the military branch at the next meeting of the lodge. It is expected that other lodges in this section will take the same course, now that Crescent has taken the initiative, and endorse the military plan.
FirstIt would band the members into closer union, promote fraternal and social feeling, and familiarize the members with the manual of arms of the United States army. Military organizations are regarded as beneficial to other bodies, and the same degree of benefit could be extracted by the Amalgamation. The opinion was expressed that no difficulty would be experienced in organizing companies of 100 members each, in nearly all the lodges in the order. In a short time a National military branch would be the outcome, and beneficial features might be added.
SecondIn cases of strikes and lockouts, the lodges would be in position to tender their services to mill owners for the protection of their property. It has been frequently charged, and it is claimed by Amalgamation men that it has been proven, that the lawless element has been incited to deeds of violence against capital, for the specific purpose of creating a public sentiment antagonistic to unions and strikers. In the discussion in Crescent lodge, it was stated that labor leaders have consistently contended for law and order, and that they have never sanctioned violence.
It is expressly understood among the members of Crescent lodge that the military body will not be subject to orders from any government authority, except as individuals. Their position is the direct antithesis of that. They will not place themselves in positions to be called upon by State authorities in cases of strikes and labor disturbances, but they take the position that labor troubles may be obviated if mill owners will accept their services in the spirit in which they are offered.
We cannot blame the managers of the trusts if they call in question the benevolence of this movement, and surmise that it means an eventual resort to carnage and anarchy between the two great companies of fellow creatures now being pressed into the vortex of strife for mastery by the inexorable laws of supply and demand and supported by constitutional selfishness, and both parties goaded on by fear.
Temporarily the power is in the hands of wealthy and wise captains of industry; who, at any cost, will strive to hold on to all the advantages they have already attained; for the mills may stand idle for a time with only the loss of dividends, while the mechanic's necessities continue and his credit is necessarily small. Besides, by the laws of nature, his competitors are increasing even in his own family, not to mention the attractions which his employment, and hours and wages present to labor from other fields, which can soon learn to operate machinery successfully.
Unquestionably capital must win in this contest under present conditions; but unquestionably also the ultimate result will be a grinding of the masses, between upper and nether millstones of supply and demand, until the danger point has been reached and the great explosion follows;anarchy and destruction, born of fear and despair and not of preference or a love of lawlessness. "There shall be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation."Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21.
Our advice to "brethren" in connection with all such troubles is, Yieldbendsubmit to the inevitable as quietly and kindly and peaceably as possible. Seeing the outcome be "content" to let the Lord fight your battles. Accept whatever "rights" you can secure by lawful and peaceable means, and wait for the King Immanuel and his Kingdom of equity for the remainder of your "rights." Consider that you already have and enjoy more blessings and rights and privileges than your fathers, and more than as members of the fallen race you could justly demand; and be ye thankful. Additionally you can think generously of those on both sides of this conflict seeing that both are forced to the issue by present-day conditions. And thank the Lord for the light of his Word, which permits you to see matters thus in their true light.
While the attention of the British public has been divided between South Africa and China, events of far-reaching importance have occurred in France, Portugal, and Spain. With little comment from the Press, and scant notice from people not directly affected, laws have been promulgated or revived in France and Portugal that aim a dangerous blow at the priestly brotherhoods whose directors are in the Vatican, and whose ramifications extend all through the Latin countries. Students of Continental life have seen the slow approach of an anti-clerical movement in the countries overrun by the powerful militant associations of the Latin Church, but not a few have thought that the agitation would spend itself in protests.
It is unlikely that the full power of the Roman Church in matters beyond its proper jurisdiction was perceived by the men at the head of French affairs before the Dreyfus case, and then the gravity of the situation impressed itself upon the few strong men left on the side of the Republic. That the Church would overthrow the Republic if it could, was apparent to all thinking people, and in the meantime the Vatican's campaign was making the army unmanageable. It must be left to the historian to say what France owes to the Marquis de Gallifet and to M. Waldeck-Rousseau, who tempered courage with prudence at a very critical time, and to estimate the events that would have followed General Roget to the Elysee had he accepted the invitation of the half-mad enthusiast and patriot, Paul Deroulede. While the loudest outcry of the Nationalists has been directed against the Jews, at the instance of the Jesuits, who have never forgiven the Jewish financiers for breaking up the "Union Generale," it has been evident that the Republic is the offender in their eyes, the various groups that make up the National party finding, in hatred of the Republic, their one common sentiment. As the Latin Church has nothing to hope from the Republic, and everything to expect from a Pretender of the type of the Duc d'Orleans, it has befriended the Nationalists, and sought to capture the power in times of crises. And it has very nearly succeeded.
It is reasonable to believe that the new law for the regulation of Associations will be strictly enforced, and, unless the unexpected happens, the brotherhoods of the Latin Church, now working in Paris under orders from Rome, will become illegal communities by the end of the year, liable to suppression. Their members will be liable to fine and imprisonment. If M. Waldeck-Rousseau succeeds in a task that is well nigh completed, the Jesuits will no longer be able to train the young officers of the French Army; they will not be able to exert secret influence over the heads of the army, nor to evade taxes due upon such of their property as is not returned to them; they may even be unable to draw the hard-earned money of the French peasantry, as they and their brethren, the Assumptionist Fathers, have done so successfully in the past. Moreover, the Bill relating [R2870 : page 280] to Associations enables the Government to break up any union whose objects are deemed by the Cabinet to be inimical to the Republic, and thereby to control movements that, while they appear to be the outcome of the popular will, are in reality promoted or financed by the clerical associations through the medium of men of straw.
One of the curious points about the new French Law of Associations is that it is not an original conception, but is founded on the Portuguese law of 1834, which abolished religious congregations in Portugal, confiscated their property, forbade the formation of new congregations, and, out of the profits of confiscation, pensioned the monks and nuns whose property was taken away. Portugal, at the time when the law was enacted, had been passing through a terrible crisis. Queen Maria Gloria, a girl of fifteen, was hardly secure upon the throne; Dom Pedro was dying; Dom Miguel, the Pretender, had been defeated after a sanguinary campaign; the clergy had been active intriguers on his behalf; and the country was in an uproar. The Queen's advisers saw that they must break the clerical power, or be content to suffer rebellion to smoulder in every village, whose ignorance responded to priestly direction. A very curious parallel may be drawn between Portugal in the early thirties and France in the late nineties, the only difference being that the recent civil war in France was waged on paper. The Portuguese law was a success for a few years. Associations of nuns having less than twelve members were dissolved, and members sent to other convents, for the nunneries were not treated as harshly as the monasteries. The nuns were to die out, and in Lisbon to-day is an old lady in her ninety-second year, relic of those troubled times, and the last survivor of the old regime. She saw the uprising, and has lived to see the religious associations creep back to their old places, in spite of the law. Monasteries and nunneries have sprung up again, the power of the Jesuits has waxed strong, and their procedure has become so unbearable that a crisis was reached little more than two months ago. Some Jesuit Fathers, of Oporto, tried to remove a young girl to a convent against the wishes of her parents; the action was made public, and served to fire the smouldering discontent. There were riots and bloodshed on a scale that alarmed the authorities.
The popular feeling was strengthened by the regular clergy, whose antipathy to the foreign brotherhoods is very great. Queen and Cabinet have been on the side of the Jesuits; Dom Carlos, the King, alone is liberal in his views. Popular passion led to an unpleasant incident while the King was driving out in the early part of last month, and on the following day the Law of 1834 was put into force once more, Queen, Cabinet, and Jesuits being unable to stem the current of the King's anger. It was a striking episode in Portugal's latter-day history, more suggestive of the Orient, than the Occident. Several religious houses have been closed in the last few weeks, and the inmates sent away to their own countries. The Jesuits are fighting hard, but not wisely. They issued a proclamation a week or two ago calling upon the people to petition the Throne to restore their privileges. These proclamations have been torn down in several towns; at Setubal riots and bloodshed were the order of the day. In the meantime the King has ignored the tendencies of the Government, and assured a deputation of Liberals that the 1834 Law shall be enforced rigorously. They say in Lisbon that the beginning of the popular revolt may be dated from the exodus of the Assumptionist Fathers from France. Many came to Portugal, where their procedure served to exhaust popular patience. The Conservative and Reactionary Ministry of Portugal is tottering to its fall.
In Spain the outcry against the clerical brotherhood is very strong. Throughout that unhappy country [R2870 : page 281] the very lowest orders of clergy seem to find a home. They have a comparative immunity from punishment, and are for the most part men of little or no education. So long as Carlism offered reasonable hopes of success, they encouraged the Carlists, by orders from Rome, for the presence of a Carlist King in Madrid would be meat and drink to the Vatican.
The revolt against the Latin Brotherhoods is a very serious factor in the social and political situation for the time being. It is not unlikely that the Franco-Italian entente will spread the trouble in Italy, and that we shall see the movement working from Paris to Madrid, and from Lisbon to Naples. But while Governments change and Ministers pass away, Rome remains, and it would be unwise to rely upon a permanent change in the relations between Latin Church and Latin countries until the standard of education is far higher than it is to-day. In the temporal service of Rome, Cardinal Rampolla marshalls some of the keenest intellects in Europe. Rome will bend before the storm of popular opinion, and when it passes, renew her stature as of old time. Financial crises are within view in Portugal, Spain and Italy, and the Latin Brotherhoods find plenty of material for denunciation of irreligious Governments when food is at a premium and the maximum of taxation pursues the minimum of wages. Yet in the hands of unscrupulous Governments crises are a two-edged weapon, and many Latin Governments owe the Latin Church little affection.
The above, taken in connection with the "Los von Rome" (away from Rome) movement, which, as already noted in these columns, is rapidly gaining headway in Austria, shows that the screws of superstition are being gradually loosened,preparatory to the great, great political, social, financial and religious "earthquake" (Rev. 16:18), which is shortly to dismay all except those who have some knowledge of the final outcome of the divine plan of the ages.