"THE growth of divorces and suicides, the trying controversy with regard to the education question, and many other things, had made many people anxious as to the future of the country, not to speak of the Church."
This pessimistic utterance was made at a conference of clergy and church workers at Blandford by the Bishop of Salisbury, who added that there had been revealed to them the terrible fact that a great many were giving up public worship, and that a large proportion of the people of England paid little attention to religion at all.
The press states that when at the last convention of the "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor" at Baltimore, the reports were read, showing the great growth of the Society in recent years, a delegate caused consternation by inquiring, Why every form of evil seems to be growing proportionately more rapidly. The same question would apply to nearly all the reports of Babylon's expansion and federations.
The trouble seems to be that it is not the right kind of religion that is being promulgated and "compassing sea and land." The fear of a hell of torment has for so long been the basis of all religious effort that now, when sensible people can no longer swallow it, and when it is no longer preached in intelligent communities, there is little left as a basis for Christian life.
The public in general are ignorant of the faith and hopes set forth by the Bible; they are but "babes," and the majority not even regenerated at all. When they discard [R3661 : page 339] hell torments it often means a repudiation of everything taught in the Bible which they have been misled into believing is the authority for hell, purgatory and all such errors.
The thing necessary, and at once, is to show that the eternal-torment theory, as well as purgatory, the Mass, etc., are perversions of the Bible's teachings, invented during the dark ages, by the very people who invented all the atrocious and diabolical tortures and persecutions of that time.
And next the people need to know what is meant by the Kingdom of Heaven everywhere referred to in the Scriptures. They need to know of the present selection of the kings and priests for that Kingdom; and that it is to be set up in power and great glory at Christ's second advent; and that its mission will be the conversion of the world under the guide of its super-human rulers and instructors;—that thus in God's "due time" a knowledge of divine goodness and mercy in Christ may reach "every creature" and be made available to all.
"Over 700 people assembled at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church yesterday morning listening to an interesting sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Ford C. Ottman of Stamford, Conn. He took for his text Matt. 24:14, 'And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.' He spoke in part as follows:
"'It has been 1900 years since Jesus spoke these words still millions of people are living in heathenism and are liable to stay there if the present rate of progress is taken into account. If the gospel now proclaimed by Evangelical preachers is the same as the gospel of the kingdom to which Jesus refers, then it will be impossible to say anything definite about the coming of the end. It can be shown, however, that the text has a precise application that differentiates it altogether from the message committed to the Apostle Paul.
"'Christ is the Messiah, according to the official title. Isaiah said: "Unto us a child is born," and he did not mean any Gentile outside, but he meant a Jew. The [R3661 : page 340] promise given in Isaiah, that Jesus will occupy the throne of David, will never be kept, and the gospel of John the Baptist, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," is out of date. All I can preach to you is the salvation of Christ and not the Old Testament teachings. The gospel of the Kingdom is not the salvation that ought to be taught today.'"
Poor man! He hesitates to rail at the Savior directly, and therefore, after quoting Jesus' words, he denounced them as misleading teachings of John the Baptist, and apparently his 700 auditors assented and considered this an "interesting" gospel sermon. How blind and deaf to the true gospel of the Kingdom!
The speaker evidently saw that the gospel of the Kingdom was what had for centuries been the "hope of Israel." He infers that it failed with fleshly Israel and has since failed with spiritual Israel. He lacks the "key" of the divine plan, viz., that God is now selecting or electing the Kingdom class—the "overcomers" who shall inherit all things and sit in the throne of their Lord. And that as soon as the elect shall be all complete—having made their calling and election sure through obedience in sacrifice—then "changed," glorified with Christ, they with him shall live and reign the thousand years foretold;—binding Satan, subduing all things contrary to God and his law, and blessing and uplifting the willingly obedient of mankind—unto life everlasting as men.
We reply: According to the divine program the Kingdom was first offered to the natural seed of Abraham, so that had there been enough of that people "Israelites indeed"—enough to have filled the foreordained number—the invitation to joint-heirship would never have come to us Gentiles. Then there would have been no Gospel age—the Millennial Kingdom would have been established directly, as it is about to be established now because the full number of the elect is almost completed.
When Germany granted universal suffrage to her people she sought to safeguard her established laws and usages by granting extra votes to officials, property holders, etc. Yet with all this precaution against Socialism the latter has been steadily growing. The government sees this, and anticipating that at the elections of next year the Socialists may be able to control their Congress, the "Reichstag," proposes some restriction of the present voting privileges of the masses (or their total abolition) to prevent a Socialist control.
The tone of the German Socialists for the past three years has been growing more and more mild as, under the guidance of Herr Bebel and others, they have hoped to gain their ends by peaceable means—through the ballot. Now, however, the bare suggestion of a loss of the ballot power arouses them to anger as they perceive that it would mean the extinguishment of their hopes. They are now planning for a universal strike, to be called in the event of any attempt being made to deprive them of their share in the government. This is the key to the telegram which we reprint below from the columns of the Detroit News.
It is not difficult to see that this means serious trouble. The Emperor and nobility of Germany, imbued from infancy with the thought that they are God's elect favorites, and that even criticism of their doings is rebellion against God, will not turn over Germany to Socialism without a bitter struggle which must in the end spell Anarchy.
This illustrates what we mean when we say that Socialism is impossible in this land. We do not claim that it has no good and just proposals (as well as some bad and unjust ones). What we do emphasize is that Socialists totally delude themselves in thinking that their full program could ever be carried into general effect. They seem to think that the wealthy would permit them to vote Socialism into effect, and that all they need do is to get the public to vote their way and then legislate the rich out of their "vested rights." Not so. Watch Germany, and note that the wealthy and influential would resist to the point of anarchy.
The thought we continually seek to enforce is that the great Millennial Kingdom is nigh, at our door, and that it is the world's only hope; that the Bible points out that the world in its selfishness is about to wreck present institutions in anarchy within the next ten years. And that God's people should hold aloof from both sides of the struggle, and seek peace and righteousness, and love and pursue these while looking with the undimmed eye of faith to the glorious blessings of Christ's Kingdom, which will be established without their swords or guns by our Immanuel.
"JENA, Duchy of Saxe-Weimar.—Herr Bebel, leader of the Socialist party in the reichstag, had one of his great days in the convention of the national social democratic party today, and again showed his mastery over the members of the party. The day was devoted to a hot debate over the lengthy resolutions proposed by Herr Bebel in favor of a general strike of the working classes for political effect under given circumstances.
"Herr Bebel said he saw impending danger in the abolition of universal suffrage in the case of the election of members of the reichstag, and the aim of his resolutions was to meet such a situation with a strike en masse. He spoke during the entire forenoon, beginning at nine o'clock and holding the delegates and a great attendance of spectators spellbound until a recess was taken for lunch, receiving an enthusiastic demonstration at the close of his address. The sentiment in the address that called for the greatest enthusiasm was: 'We would deserve to be devoured of dogs if we were unwilling to endure hunger for several weeks in behalf of human rights.'
"The discussion at the afternoon session brought out sharp opposition to Herr Bebel's resolutions from leaders of the labor unions and from several important socialist members of the reichstag, who regretted what they called 'a relapse into revolutionism,' as it was calculated to strengthen that element in German politics which advocated ruthless methods in dealing with the laboring classes.
"Herr Rosa of Luxemburg, who is famous in the party for his vitriolic eloquence, made the speech of the afternoon. He said it would be a shame if the social democracy should have any anxiety about 'disenthralling the proletarian masses in the glorious year of the Russian revolution.'
"Herr Bebel, in summing up the debate, said he had attended every socialist convention that had been held, but never had he heard such a threatening tone as that used during the present convention. The speeches, he said, were ghastly with talk of blood and revolution.