LONDON, January 17.The first almost boundless enthusiasm, with which official Liberalism greeted the results of the elections, is giving place to uneasiness, in which the whole of the middle classes are beginning to share, at the phenomenal and quite unexpected successes of the socialistic labor party. The purely labor members already number thirty, and there will probably be, for the first time in English history, a solid party of sixty labor members, whose admitted demands include the payment of members, abolition of the House of Lords, Irish Home Rule, and nationalization of land, telephones, railways, factories, mines, shipping and all other instruments of production. This is the proclaimed policy of the national administrative council of the Independent Labor Party, whose direct nominees these labor candidates are. In many of these proposals, the labor party has the support of both the Irish Nationalists, numbering eighty, and probably one-fourth of the new Liberal members, many of whom were elected on distinct labor pledges, making altogether a party formidable enough to terrorize the ministry and party which includes railway directors, chairmen of telephone companies, rich manufacturers and other representative capitalists. This is why elections are spoken of as more than a mere party landslide: they mean a revolution in English politics, the end of which no man can see.
The Times, which has been a thorough supporter of Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal policy, says that "while the Unionists and Liberals have been disputing about their own issues, fiscal reform, popularly controlled education, and Chinese labor in South Africa, another vast issue has been shaping itself quietly and silently, without observation. That issue is whether the working classes, who form the bulk of the electorate, are to dictate a policy they desire, or go on contented with choosing between the policies offered by the traditional parties." They decided for the first alternative, they are asserting their power. Hence the Times adds, the city of London, by the emphatic return of Unionists yesterday, shows that financiers and business men realize the greater economic dangers ahead, than any of the Chamberlain proposals could produce at their worst."Montreal Star.
"Public curiosity is naturally excited as to what is the meaning of the return of so many Labor members to the new Parliament. So long as Labor and Socialist agitators had to confine their oratory and efforts to street-corner meetings and market-place demonstrations, the 'respectable' portion of the community looked upon them with contemptuous indifference. But when great industrial constituencies begin to send these agitators to Parliament the matter assumes a serious aspect. What does it all mean? Is it a revolution? Does it portend the overthrow of existing institutions? Is the country threatened with ruin by the coming of this new power into politics?
"I am not concerned now to justify the policy and the object of the Labor Representation movement. We are satisfied of the wisdom of the policy and the justice of the object. I want now only to explain the policy and the object for the information of those who do not understand either. Then they may banish their fears or strengthen their defences, just as their wisdom or self-interest dictates."
One German authority says that the German emperor has been deeply impressed by the fate which has overtaken his royal relative, the czar of Russia. It would have been impossible, it is argued, for the Russia revolutionaries to have made any headway in Russia if it had not been for the unexpected defeat of the Russian armies and navies at the hands of the Japanese. A shock to the German arms, the destruction of German prestige, and the kaiser knows he would be as much at the mercy of the revolutionary forces as is the czar today. More than he fears France, more than he fears England, the kaiser fears the growth of Socialism at [R3722 : page 52] home. His increase in the army and the navy is really for the purpose of putting down rebellion at home. Except in the case of an extremity the kaiser would never appeal to a contest at arms to settle a difficulty with any of the great powers of earth. It is necessary for him to create the impression that the country is on the verge of war with great foreign powers in order to beat the Socialists, but war is the last thing the kaiser wants, and the last thing that he expects.
This same authority says the kaiser has learned other lessons from the Russian trouble which he will not be slow to act upon in the case of necessity. For instance, among the really first-class powers, next to Russia, the German Government has undoubtedly been the most autocratic and despotic. The kaiser has seen the collapse of an autocratic form of government, the complete breakdown of a state managed by the bureaucracy, and he is said to have deliberately told some of the elder statesmen of Germany that the policy of his government in the future must be more and more in the direction of a constitutional government.
Already we read of Austrians and Hungarians insisting upon universal suffrage, and a delegation of no less than 200,000 workingmen filling the Vienna ringstrasse to impress parliament with their earnestness in making the demand.
In Germany, the Socialists, inspired by events in Russia, have begun an agitation for the reform of the election laws which will give them the representation in the Reichstag, possibly a majority of that body, to which they are entitled. On Jan. 14 they will distribute 300,000 copies of a revolutionary manifesto, and on Jan. 31 they plan to hold 250 public demonstrations. The Kaiser's advisers are urging him to employ troops to suppress this menacing agitation.Cleveland (O.) Press.
The daily press of New York has published the essence of an address given by President Faunce before the Baptist ministers of New York city. They say he utterly denied the doctrine of atonement and rejected it from his belief. The Doctor has not denied this version of his address and hence we suppose it is true. Is there any wonder that students go wrong when college presidents lead the way? Is not Dr. Patton right in saying that, with colleges as now constituted, there will be no Christianity left at the close of the twentieth century? But God can raise up his witness outside of the college in the future, just as he has done in the past, and he will witness outside of the college in the future just as he has done in the past.Watchword and Truth.
"The dominion of the Shah is about the last in the world, now that Russia is abandoning autocracy and China is considering domestic reforms, where a demand for constitutional government would be expected, or, if made, would be granted. Persia is an absolute monarchy of the Oriental type, resting solely upon force, and the slightest whim of the ruler has been considered law. Yet the St. Petersburg dispatch, based upon reports by caravan, declare that a thousand merchants and mullahs, or priests, becoming dissatisfied with the Shah's rule, left the capital as a protest and were afterward reconciled by Muzafer ed Din's consent to the election of a representative body chosen by the merchants, priests and landowners to constitute a House of Justice, whose [R3723 : page 52] duties will be administrative and legislative."
For religious interest in 1906 a close second to the evangelistic campaigns is the federation idea. Presbyterian North and Cumberland Presbyterians have just agreed in committee to unite, and no doubt is felt that their respective general assemblies, meeting in May next, will approve the action of these committees. There is a stubborn Cumberland minority, made up for the most part of the conservatives, with some of the vested or salaried interests, but nobody professes to fear any such outcome as that of the Wee Frees in Scotland. The union of these two bodies will make a denomination of nearly 1,500,000 members. Presbyterians South show little inclination to come into the union, but there is a chance that some of the smaller Presbyterian bodies may give up autonomy and join the others.
The first meeting of the national council of the Combined Congregational, Methodist Protestant and United Brethren churches is to take place at Dayton, Ohio, on February 7. This union differs little from the more inclusive plan, as yet called federation, proposed by the thirty bodies which met in conference in November, and proposed the formation of a federal council similar to, but larger than, the council about to meet in Dayton. If the Dayton council works out harmoniously the plans to come before it, there will be presented the first concrete example of a union of divided Protestantism.
Baptists have come together in a general convention, and their federation includes the Baptists of Canada. Big plans are in hand for the initial meeting of this convention in May, looking to still closer union and to aggressive and common work, especially missionary in the West. Baptists are reaching out towards the Free Baptists and the Disciples of Christ. They have changed their point of view markedly during the past ten years, particularly the views that relate to "close communion." With this change there seems, so Baptist leaders say, to be no good reason why immersionists should longer be separated. During the year now opening there will be further examinations of the doctrinal differences of Disciples and Baptists, looking to closer relations, and with the possible outcome of actual union in course of time.Globe Democrat.
Toronto.The central committee composed of representatives from the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches throughout Canada have agreed upon a code of doctrines that will unify the three denominations into one great church which shall be known as the "United Church of Canada." In arriving [R3723 : page 53] at the terms of doctrine, the revised confession of faith of the Presbyterian church was used in conjunction with the plan proposed by the Montreal committee and these have been so revised and amended as to contain all the great essential truths of the creeds of the three churches and the joint body have agreed that the Westminster confession of faith shall be practically a dead letter in Canada. The doctrine of election was the point about which the Presbyterian end of the committee were most concerned, while the predestination theory was another. So far as the Methodist church was concerned, the question of entire sanctification was the stickling point. These differences were so moulded that all objection by the members of the committee was removed. The doctrine on Arminianism, which is that a man is not predestined to perdition, but makes his own destiny and reward, has been adopted in the new church creed. The new church is to be acknowledged as "One Holy Catholic" as well as of the innumerable company of saints of all ages and nations. Every church throughout the world professing obedience to Christ is recognized and the Lord's supper and baptism are acknowledged to be personal obligations as signs and seals of covenant. The proper subjects for baptism are declared to be "believers and infants."
These matters will be submitted to the several denominations throughout the Dominion and the action of these bodies through the courts of the churches will reach the central executive next year. The new church is to be governed by a supreme body to be known as "The General Conference," after the Methodist form. The belief is that this is to be a Council after the Congregational idea with a chairman. The next body nearer the people is to be "The Presbytery."
Pointing to our day the Master declared, there is nothing hid that shall not be revealed. The fulfilment of this is attested on every hand: in the insurance scandals of our land; in the Belgian cruelties in Africathe maiming and killing of the natives to increase the wealth of the rubber monopoly and others, in the practical slavery of the diamond-mine laborers of Rhodesia, etc. Now we have a horrible report of the doings of the "religious" "orthodox," "benevolent" Dutch Government in its colony in India.
Van Deventer, the new Liberal deputy, continues his disclosures of Dutch atrocities in Dutch India. He says the queen authorized the formation of a special corps of uniformed murderers, known as the "Marechausee" regiment, whose motto is: "No pardon for the natives, and no prisoners." This regiment is commanded by European officers and consists of the most murderous blacks "in her majesty's colonies."
When sent on an expedition into the interior, they make it a point to bring back a portion of the body of at least one murdered enemy; some of these troopers own hundreds of such trophies. The troops, consisting of 300 men only, have the following record of murders committed on various expeditions: First expedition, 318 slain "enemies;" second, 612; third, 921; fourth, 1,815; fifth, 2,085; sixth, 2,853; seventh, 4,126.
"They are undertaken to frighten the native chiefs into placing at the rich planters' disposal cheap labor, thousands and again thousands of Malay coolies, that must work for a pittance to swell the coffers of the monopolists and allow the native rulers to wallow in whiskey and white women."Bulletin.
"The love of money is the root of all evil," says the Book. We see it exemplified everywhere. All these revelations are awakening the world to better ideas of Justice. But what about the Church, whose nominal representatives, financial and political princes are thus exposed? It is no worse perhaps, but merely exposed. But there is a true Church of "saints," though only "the Lord knoweth them that are His."
The St. Louis Presbytery answered in the negative an overture from the Milwaukee (Wis.) presbytery suggesting the omission of the words, "be cast into eternal torments," from the creed. The overture stated that the phrase was not Scriptural and urged that the words, "everlasting destruction" were sufficient in the creed.
Evidently the "sweet morsel" of the dark ages is yet too valuable an asset to be discarded. The blasphemy of the divine character and word must continue, because it may be helpful to revivalists in country districts.
The last United States Census shows that the twenty counties comprised in the Presbytery of Eastern Texas have an aggregate area of 17,548 square miles,a territory more than seventeen times as large as Rhode Island, more than eight times as large as Delaware, nearly twice as large as Maryland, more than twice as large as Massachusetts, more than half as large as Maine, half as large as Indiana, nearly half as large as Tennessee, and more than half as large as South Carolina.
The population of these twenty counties in 1900 was 287,631, and is much larger now. The gain in population in these counties during the ten years (from 1890 to 1900) was more than forty per cent.some of the counties doubling their population and some more than doubling. Within the past few years these counties have developed wonderfully in rice farming, in the saw-mill business, in the production of oil, in fruit-raising and truck farming, in the construction of a number of lines of important railroads. The town of Sour Lake, a few years ago, was an insignificant village away from any railroad. Now it has railroad connection, and will perhaps have several railroads soon, and is a city of over three thousand inhabitants. A Presbyterian Church has been organized [R3724 : page 54] there. Batson's Prairie, until recently, was only a country neighborhood, unknown to the world.
Now it is estimated to have a population of about two thousand, and is a great oil producing centre. Saratoga, another oil-producing centre, is not far from Sour Lake and Batson's Prairie. In Houston county where in 1871 I preached in a log school house in the midst of a pine forest, now stands the young city of Kennard and one of the largest saw-mills in the world.
One of the handsomest structures in San Marco, Texas, is a church recently erected. But already its walls are badly seamed and fissured and a collapse seems not remote. The recognized cause of this lies in inadequate foundations. Is not like disaster threatening our Church's work?
The cry for ministers for vacant pulpits comes from all sides. But we fail to find them; that is, enough of them. We cannot find them; no adequate supply exists. If one church obtain it is often but by the robbery, or at least the deprivation, of another.....
The contrast in this matter between conditions some thirty years ago and now, is startling. Take the years 1876 and now nearly 1906. In this thirty years our membership has grown approximately 120 per cent., our churches 72 per cent., our ministers in number only 50 per cent., and candidates and licentiates only 38 per cent. Then we had one minister to every one and four-fifths churches, now we have but one to every 2, even counting as active all aged, sick and infirm. Then we had preparing one candidate or licentiate to every six and four-fifths churches; now we have one only to every eight and one-half churches. The figures tell the tale.....
One of our religious weeklies has recently published a communication from beyond the Sea, entitled "Egyptian Civilization before 4000 years B.C.," on which, with humble confession of my own ignorance of such matters, I beg leave to ask the maturer judgment of the Editors of the Observer, or that of some one of its many well qualified readers. We are used to reading in the secular press statements of the kind there made in reference to the antiquity of the ancient civilization, which violently impugn the truth of Bible History; but when they appear in a religious journal, it seems to me the proper thing to do to challenge them, and ask what truth there really is in them. Like the rest of the School, the writer makes his statements with a degree of confidence which puts to shame the diffidence of many who profess to believe and even to teach the Bible. "There was at least (he says in reference to recent alleged Egyptian discoveries) before the world evidence of the close of the period previously considered prehistoric, showing the development of the arts, writing and civilization of Egypt, and the composition of a race which since has maintained its character during 6000 years. The question was, Where was all this civilization of 5000 years B.C. developed?"
With equal confidence Prof. Hilprecht is reported to speak of buildings and other remains of the ancient civilization of Assyria and Babylon which go back 6,000 or 7,000, and if my memory does not mislead me, 8,000 years before Christ. Now does even a remote degree of certainty attach to these ancient dates? Another writer placidly assures his readers that modern discoveries in Egypt compel us to recast our chronology in such a way as will locate Abraham "in modern rather than in ancient times;" or words to that effect. Now how much of all this is "gold," and how much is simply "brass?" We live in a day when, for many of the purposes of real or pretended scholarship and science, "brass is more valuable than gold,"as many of our "Higher Critics" have taught us.
On the Cincinnati Southern Railway, the "High Bridge" passes, like a spider's web, over the Kentucky River, at a height of some 250 or 300 feet above the stream, on a single span of perhaps 1,200 feet from bank to bank. At first the trains passed slowly over the yawning abyss; but at the time I was there they told me that after making the terminals perfectly straight, so as to put the trains in exact alignment before they reached the bridge, it was found to be safest to put on all possible steam and go flying over the point of danger at the rate of 40 miles an hour. Now does that illustrate animus and modus operandi of our Higher Critics and their foster brothers, the archeologists of the same School?most bold, where least secure!
The written history of the Bible dates back to the times of Moses; which I am old-fashioned enough still to place at about 1,500 years before Christ; and we have by divine revelation and by the pen of Moses (or of scribes who wrote under his inspection and superintendence), the authentic history of Abraham and Lot, which it will not hurt us still to place at about 1900 B.C. Now then, is it a fact, or is it fiction, that the monuments and written records of Egypt and Babylon, by any fair and reliable interpretation (for so far as I can see the translations vary very widely), carry us back 2000, 3000 or even 4000 years before Abraham was born? Is consecutive written history good for anything? or is it only clay tablets and hyeroglyphics (which our savants have only recently begun to decipher), with paintings and monumental inscriptions (made by unknown hands, and which Prof. A. H. Sayce avers have often been tampered with), and disconnected papyrus rolls, and the like, that are to be relied on?
We lay the written word of God to pledge, with Jesus Christ our Lord as sponsor for the reliability of the record (John 5:45,46), that (all systems of chronology apart) in the days of Abraham and Lot, "that goodly land" which Jehovah gave as an heritage to Abraham "his friend""the glory of all lands," as Ezekiel fondly called it, even in the days of its decadence and his own captivity, was so sparsely peopled that God bade him, with his immense encampment, or encampments, to "walk through the length of it, and the breadth of it," and survey it all, the land which his newly-found God had given to him,as in fact he did with perfect freedom, without incommoding anybody; so sparsely peopled, that when the worldly-minded Lot, whose substance also was so great that their respective encampments could not, or would not, live in peace together (and therefore he preferred the society and fellowship [R3724 : page 55] of debased pagans to the altar of his godly uncle, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed), Abraham could generously bid him to lift up his eyes from the top of the mountain-range back of Bethel and view the whole land, and choose what part he liked best, saying: "If thou will take to the left hand I will take to the right; or if thou take the right hand, I will take the left" (Gen. 13:9); so sparsely peopled, that one hundred years later, Abimelech, king of the war-like Philistines of that day, could with some show of reason, if not of truth, say to Isaac: "Go from us, for thou art much mightier than we!"Gen. 26:16.
Now, this is written history, inspired written history; and is it believable by Christian men, to whom God has given the spirit of "little children," to believe unquestioningly whatever He tells them, that this goodly land, emptied and drowned out by the waters of Noah's flood, "a land flowing with milk and honey," though lying at the very door of Egypt, was still thus empty of inhabitants for a period of 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 years after Egypt had become great in art, letters, riches, civilization, population and power. I freely confess that I am not well posted in the recently discovered and as yet but partially deciphered facts of ancient Egyptian history, and in this regard may be esteemed as far behind the times; and therefore I ask of those who have a better right to know, how much of all these supposed discoveries and these dates are reliable and true?
For my own part, I have more confidence in Moses and the Prophets than in all the monuments of Egypt, read and unread. It is easier for me to believe that these men are mistaken, that "much learning has made them mad," turned their heads, or that prejudice against inspired Scripture has warped their judgment, than to believe that the Bible record is untrue. I have far more confidence in the facts of Scripture history than in all the supposed "findings" of infidel or skeptical Egyptologists. I believe the Bible as it reads, and had rather pass for a fool all my days and be accounted wise in the day of judgment, than be accounted the wisest man in or out of Germany now and pass for a fool then!