THE daily press has kept us all informed respecting the turmoils in Russia. What a pity that reasonable concessions could not be secured from the Government without such confusion and bloodshed. To those who view matters from the standpoint of the Bible the cause is plain: selfishness on the part of all concerned.
We do not expect the complete overthrow of the monarchy at present, however, but rather that matters will soon settle down on a higher basis, but still an unsatisfactory one. Indeed the poor world is too selfish to be satisfied with anything reasonable or possible under present conditions. Not until wearied by vain endeavors will men be in a proper condition even for the Millennial Kingdom—which will be an autocracy, and for a time quite unsatisfactory to some—until they learn of the great blessings therefrom because of the perfect rulers and their divine laws, backed by Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power.
Two effects of the Russian agitation may be expected: (1) The igniting of violence elsewhere, as in Austria and Finland. (2) Then a reaction, the subsidence of turmoil in Russia and a temporary opposition to lawlessness everywhere. The educated and comfortably well-to-do will soon realize that anarchy is of doubtful advantage to anybody, and especially to themselves. The weight of their influence, swinging to the side of government and law and order, will secure peace for a time.
Let us remember to expect various outbreaks at intervals, but that the general collapse of all governments in anarchy is not to be expected before the close of 1914 A.D. What has occurred in Russia is but a circumstance compared to what we expect at that time; but it gives us a picture, nevertheless.
"Up to the present time no Christian shops or homes have been touched. The principal hotels are full of the better class of Jews seeking refuge. There was a veritable reign of terror on October 31. After the Emperor's manifesto granting a constitution to Russia had been published the Jews made the Russians furious with rage by making a prominent display of red flags, trampling on a portrait of the Emperor and tearing down the emblem of the crown. Late in the afternoon there was firing in the outskirts of the town and the massacre of Jews commenced and lasted during the night of November 1. All Jews found in the streets were severely beaten and many were killed in their shops, which were ruthlessly pillaged. A leading consul, in an interview, argued that the disturbances were the result of the behavior of the Jews, who shocked Russian patriotism by the manner in which they celebrated on Tuesday the publication of the imperial manifesto. The Liberals contend that the Governor had all the means to stop the outbreak in the first hour, and that his inactivity during the three days of massacre and his protection of the murderous rabble in the guise of patriots prove the real origin of the trouble."
True to the Bible's description the Jews are still a "stiff-necked generation." Bright, persevering, resourceful, economical, money-makers, they prosper where others except Orientals would starve. But this very success excites the envy and hatred of their less frugal neighbors. Keen money-lenders, and not always just, the money-borrowers of Russia would be pleased to see them killed or driven out of the country. Some of them, indiscreet as well as proud, are offensively boastful and arrogant and boisterous. We were witnesses of such things in this very city of Odessa in 1891 and wondered at their unwisdom.
All mankind are fallen, but not all in the same manner or degree. What the whole world needs is the [R3671 : page 356] restitution which God has promised, and the Jews will doubtless progress as well or better than others under the Millennial government and assistance. In the meantime only the spirit of Christ will properly offset the fallen disposition of any of us.
Socialism, the coming power in the world, when it later shall turn to anarchy, will be like dynamite to the whole civilized structure, political, social, financial and religious. Many of its theories are good, but wholly impracticable under present selfish conditions: because organized wealth will permit anarchy rather than allow Socialists to carry out all their schemes.
Meantime many well-meaning and fairly intelligent men are lending their voices and influence to Socialism, not seeing the outcome—not having the light of God's Word on the subject. It is not for us to oppose these, however, for two reasons: (1) We have a more important work—the proclaiming of the good tidings and assisting in the perfecting of the saints. (2) We incline to think that Socialists are "the Lord's great army," though not soldiers of the cross nor followers of the "Captain of our Salvation."
As the Lord has all along permitted the wrath of men and of devils to work out features of his plan, so we believe he will permit men now to delude themselves into the greatest calamity which ever befell humanity: "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." O, how glad we are that God will make man's extremity his opportunity for bringing in the Golden Age—the Kingdom of his dear Son!
America and Great Britain are behind the other civilized nations as respects Socialism, because of more elastic and liberal laws. But discontent and aggressiveness are being cultivated in these lands by the wonderful prosperity which has heaped vast treasures in the hands of a comparatively small number; and by the fear that the end of this way will mean the eventual slavery of the masses to "plutocracy."
In consequence a socialistic propaganda is making rapid headway—as never before. The elections just held give a suggestion of the rapidity of the growth of Socialism. These voters have no thought of anarchy, but as they become enthused by the Socialist propaganda they will be led step by step to one and another extreme of word and deed to bring it about.
The Lord's people do well to remember that Socialism is not the hope set before us, and that time and thought and effort devoted to it are taken from the higher work given them as ambassadors for God and evangels of the Kingdom of Christ and its reign of righteousness and blessing which shall be unto all people.
Germany, the hotbed of Socialism, is experiencing just now a reaction. A National Alliance against Social Democracy has been started recently and already its effects are manifest. We give a resume of the objects of the Alliance, translated from one of its widely distributed circulars, as follows:—
"On May 9th, 1904, the National Alliance against Social Democracy was instituted in Berlin, having for its aim to unite for the impending struggle against the revolutionary aspirations of Social Democracy all those Germans who are loyal to their emperor and the empire, irrespective of their religious and political views. Although in existence for only a short time, no fewer than 55,000 members have joined the Alliance.
"Objects of the Alliance:—(1) To create compact organizations against Social Democracy at such places suitable for the purpose. (2) To combat by word and pen the activity of Social Democracy directed against the overthrow of the existing State and social order. (3) To bring about united action of all civil parties at elections in such districts as are endangered by Social Democracy. (4) To render all the assistance possible to the workmen and traders oppressed by Socialistic terrorism. (5) To establish a solid connection between all those unions and organizations pursuing like and similar aims."
This movement has put the Socialists on the defensive. Already they have lost heavily in some electoral districts. The effect will be to measurably check the movement for a little while, giving it a chance to grow in other quarters. We have every confidence that the end of the "times of the Gentiles" in Oct., 1914, will find Socialism not only fully developed but changed to Anarchism, as the Word implies.
The Albany Telegram publishes the following extract from the pastoral letter of Cardinal Klatschthaler, Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Austria. It is worthy of publication only as a curiosity and an illustration of how men can be deluded by false doctrines, especially after they have become hoary with age and weighty with many and influential adherents. This man, it will be seen, overestimated the stupidity of his countrymen, even in Catholic Austria. Thanks be unto God that, although priestcraft still flourishes in the Protestant clergy and though it still is often arrogant and self-assuming, yet it is a vast improvement over this example of the domineering arrogance of the "dark ages."
Salzburg, Austria, Sept. 16.—Your correspondent secured a copy of the Lenten pastoral letter by Cardinal Klatschthaler, Prince Archbishop of this diocese, in which his Eminence extols the power of the priest above that of the Son of God and his holy mother. The letter was read from all the pulpits on March 5th last, but was immediately withdrawn, at the instance of Emperor Francis Joseph, it is claimed, who telegraphed his disapproval to Pope Pius. [R3672 : page 357] Your correspondent has made a literal translation of the remarkable document, omitting only the mere formal parts for want of space.
"The Catholic priest is the most venerable dignitary, for his powers are beyond words." He has the power to absolve man of sin. This priestly power to absolve man of sin is greater by far than the power to cure the blind, to give back to their eyes the light of day. It is greater by far than the power to make the lame and halt walk. It is greater than the power to recall the dead from lethargy, from the grave itself.
"The priest's power to absolve man of sin is greater than the fiat that created the world and scattered the darkness. It is greater than the word of command that formed the firmament. It is greater, in short, than the divine Being who created the world out of nothing.
"The priest's power to absolve man of sin is greater than would be the power of creating as many new worlds as there are stars in the heavens. For in this act of God the Catholic priest is a cooperator, nay more than a cooperator. The very word, uttered by the priest's lips: 'I absolve thee of thy sins,' means absolution, means that a lost soul is once more entitled to the heavenly kingdom, for the word is not a mere announcement of God's grace, but in itself means the absolution of sin. As the Holy Council of Trent teaches us, the words quoted make the sinner a new man or woman, rehabilitate him or her in the divine grace.
"At the moment the priest says: 'I absolve thee,' he is imbued with the all-powerfulness of God; and at that moment God allows his representative on earth, the priest, to participate in the divine power.
"The patriarchs and prophets, the martyrs and sufferers for the faith, the millions of sainted virgins and the angels and archangels, and the thrones and principalities of heaven, the cherubim and seraphim, even Mary, the mother of God, the queen of heaven—none of them are equal in power to the Catholic priest. Mary, the bride of the holy Spirit, mistress of the world, may pray for the forgiveness of our sins, but the priest alone can actually forgive sins. He alone is entitled to say, 'I absolve thee.'
"Where in heaven is there such power as vested in the Catholic priest? With the angels? With the Mother of God? Upon Mary's word, 'The Lord's will be done,' the grand indescribable mysteries of the transformation of the Son of God into man took place. But, beloved Catholics, listen to me if you are able to understand the miraculous, the un-understandable: Mary's word was not the cause of Christ's appearance on earth; it was merely a declaration of her obedience to the divine will. But when the priest says: 'This is my body,' 'this is my blood,' then the all-highest transfiguration actually takes place.
"The priest sacrifices him, the Son of God, who became man; he sacrifices him for the benefit of the living and the dead, an unbloody sacrifice, as it were. And Christ, the only Son of God the Father, the creator of heaven and earth, the divine power upon whose shoulders rests the world, Christ performs the will of the Catholic priest.
"We read with astonishment and admiration in the writings of the holy evangelists that Jesus, our Lord, was obedient to Mary and Joseph, was subject to their orders and criticisms. Hear ye, then, beloved Catholics: I repeat what I intimated in the foregoing. Christ gave the Catholic priest power over himself, his body, his flesh and blood, his divinity, his humanity; yes, and he is obedient to the priest. Oh, beloved Christians, reflect on the power and great dignity vested in the priest. Am I not right when I say that the power of transfiguration, the power to consecrate the holy waters, is even greater than the power to forgive sins, and we know how great that power is? The power to absolve man from sin gave the priest dominion over all human beings, but the power over the body and blood of Christ gives him power over Christ, over Christ's divinity.
"And with St. Dionysius I ask, 'Shall we call him a man who is the select of men, whom God has elevated over all men, namely, the priest? The priest, with whom God has united himself, whom God gave power over his own divinity?'
The entire religious world is agog over the Church Federation gathering, whose sessions are to open on November 15th at Carnegie Hall, New York City. All the large Christian denominations are to participate through their chosen representatives. The object will be to find a basis of cooperation.
Those familiar with our views of the prophetic Word will know that this movement is one we have long expected, which will at some later session "give life to the image of the beast."—See Rev. 13:15; MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. III., chap. 4.
"We believe that the great Christian bodies in our country should stand together and lead in the discussion of, and give impulse to, all great movements that make for righteousness. We believe that questions like that of the saloon, marriage and divorce, Sabbath desecration, the social evil, child labor, relation of labor and capital, the bettering of the conditions of the laboring classes, the moral and religious training of the young, the problem created by foreign immigration and international arbitration—indeed, all great questions in which the voice of the Christian should be heard—concern Christians of every name and demand their united and concerted action if the Church is to lead effectively in the conquest of the world for Christ.
"The churches, representing 18,000,000 people, which have consented to send delegates are eager to see the conference result in some tangible organization or method of cooperation. Every Church with 500,000 [R3672 : page 358] adherents is entitled to fifty delegates; those having 100,000 communicants or more are entitled to ten delegates, while all of less than 100,000 membership will be permitted to seat five delegates."
The prediction that the heavens shall roll together as a scroll in the day of the Lord is fulfilling before our eyes. The daily press keeps us posted on the various steps by which Protestants propose to federate: this is one side of the scroll rolling itself in concentration. The other side of the ecclesiastical scroll is Roman Catholicism, which is also concentrating, or in-rolling. Note the following on the subject:—
"Cincinnati, O.—All the Catholic societies of the United States will be united by a plan being worked out at an important meeting in the Burnett House of the executive committee of the American Federation of Catholic Societies. Bishop McFaul of Trenton, N.J., and Anthony Matre of St. Louis are foremost in the work. There are 15,000,000 Catholics in the United States, all more or less represented in the new movement. The Catholic Women's organizations are also to be affiliated. Beyond this is also a movement to unite the Catholic societies of the world."—Fort Wayne News.
"The advance of Buddhism and the decline of Christianity are engaging the most serious attention in Germany. The Vossische Zeitung sees an important sign of the times in the fact that the Grand Duke of Hesse is erecting a statue of the Buddha in the grounds of his private country residence at Wolfsgarten, in the neighborhood of Darmstadt."—Toronto Globe.