THE EVIDENCES looking toward a federation of the various Christian sects are multiplying;city federations, county federations, and state federations are announced from time to time in the daily press, and thus the way is being prepared, the idea is being hatched. In England the movement seems fully as far advanced as here; there the Church of England is the preponderating power, and, as the Scriptures indicate, will have much to do with effecting the union whenever it comes.
The Protestant Episcopal Church has always held aloof from other Protestant bodies; claiming (as do the Catholics) that there can be no true and authorized ministers competent and authorized to preach the Gospel without Episcopal ordination;that all others are fraudulent pretenders. They are willing to fellowship as "clergymen" any Protestant ministers of good character who will submit to re-ordination at the hands of an Episcopal bishop, but no others.
"London, August 29.Will the Archbishop of Canterbury, officially or otherwise, send a representative to the Ecumenical Methodist conference which opens Wednesday? This question, according to Bishop J. W. Hartzell, is attracting the attention of [R2882 : page 307] many of the delegates who are in London to attend this most important church meeting.
"The question is important," said the bishop, "because of the meaning which the outside world will place on the archbishop of Canterbury's action. Invitations were extended to all the churches to attend. Acceptances have been received from the Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians and the Salvation Army. The primate of all England, alone, has not been heard from. We anticipate that the conference will have an important bearing upon the future growth of the church. It ought to tend to increase fraternity, dissipate the remnants of antagonism and organize into unions the smaller bodies of the different continents. The aggressive propagation of Methodism will be carefully considered by the gathering."
The conference will sit for 12 days, and Bishop C. M. Galloway will preach the opening sermon. The American and Canadian delegates, who are here to attend the conference, number 300, while the English delegates number 200. Chile, Brazil and Mexico are represented in the conference for the first time.
On September 5th, the Archbishop of Canterbury replied to the invitation to the effect that he hoped soon to see all Methodists united to the Episcopal Church. The Conference refused to take any notice of the reply, or even to permit it to be read in conference; the reason assigned being that the Archbishop had ignored the Council in toto, in that he addressed his reply not to it, but to a newspaper editor. No doubt this was intentionalthe Archbishop's position is such that to address the Council would be to recognize Methodism as "branch" of the Church of Christ, a thing which Episcopalianism has never yet done officially. However, this may raise a point to notice the settlement of which will solve the federation problem.
Los Angeles, Cal., Aug. 1.The Rev. W. H. Dyer, an Episcopal clergyman of this city has confessed that the celebrated mystery of the human skull found in a gold mine in Calaveras County, Cal., in 1866, about which antiquarians have wrangled for 35 years and which inspired Bret Harte's poem, "To [R2882 : page 308] the Pliocene Skull," was buried as a joke to puzzle the men of science. Dyer says he was one of a coterie of jokers who knew of the scheme and who were greatly astonished at the noise it made in the scientific world. According to the story, R. C. Scribner, who kept a store in the camp, now Los Angeles, got an old Indian skull, went to the bottom of the shaft while the miners were away and buried the skull deep in the auriferous gravel. It was soon found and he assisted in having it sent on East to be submitted to geologists and authorities on the birth of the human species.
The result of the examination of the skull at Harvard University caused a great stir in the scientific world. The problem it presented was taken up by the Government, through the geological survey, and all the scientific publications gave columns of space to the speculations of the scholars.
Scientists deserve our pity if not our sympathy. They have established scores of theories relative to the formation of the earth and of man upon it; and of course reject totally the Bible account of the creation of Adam in God's image six thousand years ago. They are on another track; they will read only the rocks, etc., and from them will get the truth. And they will accept as truth only such things as agree with their preconceived opinion, viz., that God did not create man in his own imagethat he was evolved from a monkey by a "law of nature" which operates whether there is a Creator or overseer or not; and they greatly doubt if there is a personal God, and of course there could not be an impersonal one.
God's people need continually to remember the Bible's testimony, that although all the upward tendencies operating in the world to-day are of God and through more or less godly channels, yet "The world by wisdom knows not God." "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass her master's crib,"but the natural man, if a "scientist," seems to know not his Creator. His self-confidence hinders his seeing the truth. Only "the meek will he guide in judgment and teach his way""the wise are taken [entrapped] in their own craftiness"they are too wise to learn, too great to be "taught of God" through his word. Psa. 25:9; 1 Cor. 3:19.
The finding of an old bone some time ago created quite a stir. It was surely a proof of pre-adamite manso gullible do scientists become in their search for the proofs to contradict the Bible. Of course a scientist with keen imagination could allow for certain abrasions and erosions, and could proceed to make an entire anatomy to conjecturally fit with the wonderful bone. The matter was quickly dropped afterward when the explanation came that it was found in a long abandoned wooden sewer leading from a butcher's place, and that it was the bone of an old sheep.
Likewise the finding of the skull above referred to was "wonderful!" Its owner must have lived thousands, if not millions of years before Adam's day; and this skull found embedded in the gravel of the Pliocene division of the Tertiary Period was absolute proof sufficient to tickle scientists. Surely if these great men could and would search as diligently and reason as astutely to uphold and corroborate the Bible's simple statements, they would be taught of God.
But their school will open by and byduring the Millennial reign of Christ and the church, who will be their instructors. Mark the great teacher's words: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." Let us, as the Apostle urges, "humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt us in due time."Luke 10:21; 1 Pet. 5:6.
Mr. Zangwill, a Jewish writer of note, forecasts the future of fleshly Israel in considerable harmony with the prophetic delineation; but he fails utterly to recognize the divine power which, operating in and with Messiah's Kingdom, shall take hold of "Jacob" and lift up that people and use them as beacon-lights for the world. "Thus all Israel shall be delivered [from blindness], as it is written: There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer [the ChristJesus the head and the church his body] and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins....For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."Rom. 11:26-32.
"I am not a prophet with a definite vision of the future of the Jews. No man can forecast the precise directions their activity will take in the twentieth century. I can only point out what the position of the Jews has been for the last nineteen centuries and some powerful forces which have just arisen and which will undoubtedly mold them during the present century.
"One thing seems increasingly probablethat the Jews will return in increasing numbers to Palestine, their old and never-forgotten home. By the year 2000 A.D. I don't see why there shouldn't be 2,000,000 Jews inhabiting the land, transforming it into a garden of beauty and fertility and supplying it with harbors and railways, with a government of their own, which will be the model government of the world. I am firmly convinced that the mission of the Jews is this: To be a people set on a hillZion's Hillwhose social, political, agricultural and religious condition will be the moral beacon light of the world. From the laws of that community other nations will learn to govern wisely. From her social condition other nations will learn the science of sociology. From her spiritual supremacy other nations will learn the real meaning of religion. In short, I believe the hope of humanity lies in the development of the Jewish race after its return to Palestine.
"From the time of Christ until about this generation the outside world knew practically nothing of the life and work of the Jews. For long centuries the Jew was persecuted by Christian and Pagan in every country, and this very fact led to the preservation of [R2883 : page 309] his individuality. Frowned upon everywhere, the Jews grew closer to one another, intermarried among themselves, and had comparatively little intercourse with the outside world. And this was their salvation.
"Recently, however, the absolute freedom granted them in almost all civilized countries has tended to destroy their identity as a race. They are no longer bound to one another by the strongest ties in the worldthose of persecutionbut have mingled with the general community, and the Jew is to-day seeking his own interests, financial or social, largely forgetful of his fellow Jews. The common idea that all Jews work unselfishly for each other is no longer true. They have imbibed the paganism of your so-called Christian nations, and every man is trying to get the better of the other. Five years ago this condition was absolutely alarming. It appeared as though the Jewish race would shortly become merged with other races and disappear altogether, after its wonderful preservation during 3,000 years.
"My hopes for the race lie largely in the Zionist movement, whether in its direct or indirect effects. Under the enthusiastic guidance of Dr. Herzl, it is making steady progress. Its first object is to raise sufficient money to obtain the Land of Palestine from the Sultan, under whose suzerainty the movement would be carried out. Already about a million dollars has been contributed to this fund, and every city and almost every village in the world has its band of enthusiastic Zionists.
"This money has not been contributed by the rich Jews generally, but by the poorer classes of Jews. The rich take little interest in the scheme. They are often men who have the bent for mere money-making and have largely lost their patriotism. They stand at the top of the social ladder in the world's chief centers of activity; their position is secure; they have nothing to gain by reclaiming Palestine, and seem to care little for the plan. This, however, does not in the least dampen the enthusiasm of the ardent Zionists. Money is fast coming in from every quarter of the globe, and it is believed that in a few years there will be a sufficient sum to accomplish our desires. Then, having gained possession of the land, we should not be so foolish as to rush great numbers of uneducated, unskilled Jews into the country, but would use Jewish shrewdness in sending skilled agriculturists, carpenters, merchants and men and women generally who, under the guidance of practical idealists, would form a sound basis of the model community that is to be.
"Finally, I think the world is daily coming round to the Jewish conception of life. Christianity has proved a failure. Look at the Christian nations to-day warring against one another like savages. What a spectacle is presented by the allied armies in China! The battle of the future is between the old Judaism and the new paganism. A sense of justice is what the world needs to-daysuch justice as was preached and foretold by the great Jewish prophets; and I believe it will be left to the Jewish racewhether as a model community in Palestine or as a spiritual army scattered over the worldto supply this need and to make justice supreme in the hearts of men."
In every nation of Europe except Great Britain the Jews have suffered persecution, and labor under more or less restriction of privileges. As we have already pointed out from the Scriptures, fleshly Israel is to suffer yet more"the time of Jacob's trouble" is to last up to the very close of the "day of vengeance" when they shall be delivered by the setting up of the Kingdom. This persecution, we believe, will extend to all nationsour own includedand will tend to still further cause the Jews to long for the Land of Promise and the good things foretold for them under Messiah's Kingdom. We quote a cablegram as follows:
"London.Anti-semitism is on the verge of open and widespread outbreak in England, according to Isaac Suwalsky, editor of 'The Jew,' an influential East End Yiddish newspaper. He asserts that daily attacks are made on poor Jews in the streets of the Whitechapel district, and that symptoms of hatred toward the Jews exist even among the highest political and social classes in the kingdom.
"The symptoms to which the editor refers have become alarmingly common in the London Ghetto. During the last three months the Whitechapel police courts have been regularly called upon to punish persons for assaults on Jewish peddlers and householders. Several 'Jew hunts' have lately occurred on the highways in this district. Testimony in most of the cases proved that racial prejudice was the sole cause of attack, the victims being industrious, law-abiding residents, frequently inoffensive youths.
"When the outbreaks fail to take the form of injury or robbery the persecution assumes a terrorizing character. The policemen who guard the crossings are kept busy rebuking truck drivers and 'busmen guilty of hounding Jews with brutal taunts and of making deliberate attempts to run them down.
"'Anti-semitism is aggressively intrenched in the United Kingdom. It reaches from the slums to the Whitechapel office of the prime minister. Both political parties are deliberately pledged to it. The conservatives espouse it under the guise of immigration reform. The liberals employ it when they persistently and venomously charge that the Boer war is being waged at the behest of Hebrew capitalists. Jewish candidates belonging to both political parties in all parts of London were fought throughout the late general election by means of placards petitioning the people, 'Don't elect a Jew.'
"'When anti-semitism gains full momentum in England there will be sad hours for the Jews in this country, where liberty of action and speech are so pronounced that the passions of the populace can only be controlled with difficulty.
"'There is at present more hatred of Jews in the West End of London than in the East End. The roughs of Whitechapel are Jew baiters for amusement. The cultured people of Downing street and Park Lane are anti-semites by conviction.
"'Down here the Jews are suffering from the country's excessive patriotism. Because most of us wear beards we are called 'Kruger' by the Hooligans of the neighborhood. I am ashamed to confess that some highly placed personages of our own faith are largely responsible for the coming crusade. They are so wrapped up in the pursuit of titles that they have little time for and less interest in the amelioration of the condition of their pauperized brethren in the East End.
The pastors of the Christian churches of Kansas City, at a meeting recently, adopted a resolution, declaring it to be their sense that the mid-week prayer meeting, as it is conducted in a majority of Protestant churches, has outlived its usefulness, and appointed a committee to prepare and report a program for such meetings which shall be more modern in its character and better calculated to meet the needs of present day church people.
Dr. George H. Combs, pastor of the Prospect Avenue Christian Church, who brought the subject up, and at whose suggestion the committee was appointed, declared that he thought the age had outgrown the old-fashioned prayer meeting. He said: "The prayer meeting was perfectly adapted to the needs of the time which brought it into existence, but that time has long been past. The best men's lives have now become so full of other things that they cannot be induced to come out and spend an evening in prayer."
No minister who took part in the discussion that followed this somewhat advanced statement dissented from any part of it. The remarks of each indicated that he had only been waiting for an opportune moment to so express himself.
The above is a significant sign of the times. The Christian that neglects prayer cannot live the Christian lifecannot "walk as He walked"the narrow way to glory, honor, and immortality. And congregations composed of praying people could neither desire nor afford to abandon prayer meetings, which perhaps more than any other kind of meetings have been blessed of God to the keeping alive of the spiritual few among the cold and dead nominal professors of Babylon for lo these many years.
Yet it is a good movementit will work out blessings for those who really love the Lord; for it will open their eyes to the deadness of Babylon and lead them to give closer ear to the Lord's message, "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues"soon to come in a great time of trouble.Rev. 18:4.
On the contrary we urge that amongst those who read this journal and are interested in the harvest message, prayer and testimony be given an increasingly prominent placesuch as it held in the primitive church. The injunction to watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation, is applicable to each individual Christian, but specially applicable to them as a company, as a church, as we are entering the hour of temptation that shall test all that dwell upon the whole earth.Rev. 3:10.
The Allegheny church has six such meetings every Wednesday evening in the homes of the friends in different parts; and it is specially noticeable that those who love and attend these meetings, while probably no less tempted and tried than others, are much [R2884 : page 310] less likely to fall into the snares of the Adversary than those who neglect them. Usually at least four prayers are offered and most of the time devoted to hearing testimonies respecting the Lord's providences and their experiences during the week (up to date testimonies) especially along the lines of the previous Sunday afternoon's discourse at Bible House chapel. These are so profitable that we wish all might enjoy them. They are open to all, but though none are urged, nearly all take part and thus both give and receive a blessing.
Recently we have adopted the plan of having one meeting each month devoted almost exclusively to prayer and praisevoluntary prayers being called for by the leader, two at a time, until all present have had full opportunity to address the throne of graceinterspersed with praise, and with opportunity for two or three short testimonies in the middle of the meeting. The results are excellent. Whoever addresses the Lord from a sincere heart is sure to have a blessing.
Brethren, let us watch and pray, in the congregations of the saints and in private, more zealously than ever, as we approach the dark hour of earth's great trial. No other ground is safe. This has the Master's approval and example.
The pearl of greatest price I sought.
Alas! I sought, but found it not.
The hours of work and sleep were wasted,
The fruits of pleasure passed untasted,
And still with eager zeal I hasted,
The charms of fortune to entice
With some new gift or sacrifice.
Until, one sad, discouraged day,
A spirit, meek and quiet, lay
Upon my brow a hand restraining,
It smoothed away my lips complaining,
Upon my brow a hand restraining;
And while I joyed in perfect rest,
I held the gem, of all the best.
R. B. Henninges.