IT takes $300,000,000 a year to "keep up the work of Christianizing our own land," says the Central Christian Advocate (Kansas City, Mo.), while "fully 1,000,000" is annually absorbed in the Christianization of the whole world. "The money is almost wholly voluntary." Of the sum required for the United States, the same paper says:—
"The sum of $31,000,000 was laid on the altar by Catholics, $26,000,000 by Methodists, $20,000,000 by Presbyterians, $14,000,000 by Episcopalians, $12,000,000 by Baptists, $75,000 by the Salvation Army. In addition to these expenditures noted above, there were also paid out, under church supervision, funds estimated as follows: For new buildings, $27,000,000; for hospitals $28,000,000; for education, $21,000,000; and for Sunday schools $7,000,000.
"The progress and wealth of church institutions in this country can be impressively illustrated by a single comparison. In 1800 there were 2,340 churches, valued at $1,500,000; to-day there are 178,481, valued at $724,971,372. These figures speak not of selfishness, but of the truest altruism, of philanthropy, and of the willingness to pay the price of enthroning Christ in the world."
Fifty years ago, we read further, the annual outlay for church purposes throughout the entire world was but half as much as it is to-day, or $500,000,000. The $1,000,000,000 of the present year, moreover, will be wholly inadequate in the years that are to follow, because "the resistless advance of Christianity is accompanied with an increasing cost," which can be met only by "the free-will offerings of men, women and children." "This cost is in a sense the measure of the increasing determination of good people that Christ shall be enthroned king."
"The philosophy of the ages is the Christianizing of the world. That is the key to the evolution going on everywhere. Christianity is making its steady and resistless advance, now here, now there, now everywhere, like the rising waters of a universal tide. It explains the past achievements of the best in the race, and inspires our hope for the future of the race. What will be, ultimately, will be well, because it will be Christlike.
A blessing surely comes to everyone who conscientiously sacrifices time or money in the laudable effort to help fellow-creatures. We rejoice to give credit for some measure of unselfishness being represented in these figures, but reflect that some of this money may have been drawn, threatened or coaxed from rather unwilling givers, and that the collectors of some large benevolent societies receive one-half of their collections for their services, which are not perhaps wholly unselfish. However, even if we were uncertain that present compassing of sea and land to make a proselyte were no better in its result than in the olden times missions (Matt. 23:15) we should still agree that the stirring of men's hearts to sympathy and giving does good to the givers: another demonstration that it is "more blessed to give than to receive."
On the other hand we are not so sure either that this money was given to "enthrone Christ in the World." A strong evidence to the contrary is that when our Lord's second coming and kingdom are referred to, even amongst preachers, the subject falls flat, if indeed it does not arouse angry opposition. These things and others lead us to fear that it is self-enthronement in the world that is sought. Sectarian or Churchianity enthronement, we believe, is greatly coveted by Protestants as well as Catholics. They could almost ignore their differences and combine—so anxious are they to conquer the world.
But we are glad that even though the Lord may permit them again to get a measure of control, as Papacy had it during the dark ages, we have the assurance of his Word that it shall not again triumph to the same extent, but be cut short by the great time of trouble which will usher in the real reign of Messiah, which they do not desire.
We are glad, too, to believe that their opposition is largely the result of blindness, and that with the later opening of the eyes of their understanding they will rejoice in the new heaven and new earth conditions (the new social and ecclesiastical conditions) introduced by that long-promised Kingdom of heaven, which will surely prove to be "the desire of all nations."—Isa. 65:17-25; Hag. 2:6,7.
Meantime now, as during the dark ages, God [R3312 : page 36] has "a peculiar people" whom he is calling out and educating for his coming work. These bend their energies, physical and financial, to the work they see directed in the Lord's Word:—the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom and the gathering of those having hearing ears, not to sectarian "bundles," but to the Lord himself. Though insignificant in name and fame amongst the worldly wise and mighty, these are mighty now in the Lord's hands to the pulling down of the strongholds of error. And in the future, glorified as the "Lamb's wife," they shall be joint heirs with their Lord in the glorious Kingdom work of blessing all the families of the earth with the true light and assistance. These can afford to be peculiarly like Christ and the apostles now, that by and by they may be like them in glory.
Our wise men, anxious to disprove the Bible record of the Creation, "prove" much by the stone formations of the earth's crust; and freely talk about millions of years being necessary to produce the stone conditions which are everywhere apparent. Their long arguments and wise conclusions were made to look very silly recently by an accident near East St. Louis. A car of lime and a car of potatoes were partly submerged together in the river. The slacking lime fired the car and the astonishing result was that every potato was turned to flinty stone in less than twenty-four hours. The Lord's people have no need to feel ashamed of the old Book.