WE have already noted the fact that the French government has cancelled its agreement or "Concordat" with the Church of Rome, and that religion in France is now on much the same plane as in these United States—that is, that religion shall no longer be supported by the government. There is this difference—the French have gone a step farther than America, and have decided that the great church edifices, etc., built with the money of the French public, are not the property of the Pope and Roman hierarchy, but to be supervised by the French government, which, being a Republic, is the people's government.
French laws on the subject are even-handed toward all religions—Catholic, Protestant, Hebrew, et al. They will not recognize the power of the Pope and others in Italy to close the church buildings, nor to otherwise control them; but insists that the Catholic people of the diocese shall have the control. To understand this we must remember, as pointed out in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., that the Roman Catholic Church is not composed of the Roman Catholics of the congregation, but is a hierarchy composed of the Pope and higher clergy. The Catholic congregations are merely "the children of the Church, who call the Church" (the hierarchy) their fathers. This is the Episcopal idea even amongst Protestants: but the majority of Protestants recognize, in theory at least, that "All ye are brethren." However, even amongst these the division into "clergy" and "laity" is a too common fact—descended from "the dark ages" and fostered by Roman and Episcopal usages.
The Pope (Pius X.) has issued (Aug 14) an Encyclical letter to the Roman Catholic Bishops of France in which he denounced the French government's action, and while apparently forbidding compliance with it, really instructs them how best to comply with it;—by organizing Societies amongst the laity who can and will co-operate with their Ecclesiastics. Note the point: Rome will not concede that her "children" are in or of the Church, but she will outwardly comply with French law to hold possession and control of Church property. The poor French "children" may never know that they have the control of the situation. Similar regulations in Great Britain and in these United States might be favorable to the greater liberty of the people of all denominations. For instance, then Presbyterians and Methodists and Catholics, et al., would control their own properties as the Disciples and some Baptists now do.
Ever since the Spanish-American war Spain has been awakening to a realization of her bondage to religious superstitions of the "dark ages." The action of France has been a lesson to Spain, which she is gradually learning, and it need not surprise us if it lead to separation between the State-and-Church union which has prevailed there for centuries. The entering wedge was the recent decision of the Minister of Justice, that a civil marriage is lawful and binding whether sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church or not. The test case was on the refusal of burial privileges to the corpse of one married without the approval of the Roman clergy. The decision will thus be seen to be a breaking of the power of the Roman clergy over the people.
A dispatch from Madrid states that the Church and State relationship is exciting heated discussions and that public disturbances have occurred. It is said that at the next session of the Spanish Parliament the King's representative will introduce a bill making the "religious orders" amenable to the law controlling industrial corporations, and another bill providing that the members of orders recently expelled from France shall either become naturalized citizens or leave Spain.
We rejoice that "the dark places of the earth, the habitations of cruelty," are getting a glimmer of the light of the Millennial morning. We lift up our heads with rejoicing that the deliverance of the true and only Church ("whose names are written in heaven") is nigh at hand; and that then speedily the great Sun of Righteousness will shine forth to bless all the families of the earth, to give to all the knowledge of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Meantime the Lord has stirred the hearts of some familiar with the Spanish tongue, and they are preparing [R3881 : page 340] a translation of Vol. I., ("The Divine Plan of the Ages,") in that language, which we hope to have ready soon after the beginning of 1907. It will be in demand in Mexico first, but we learn will also be appreciated by considerable numbers in Spain.
A cablegram says:—"Poor Pope Pius X's honeymoon is over, and the simple-minded child-like occupant of the chair of St. Peter is surrounded on all sides by dangers and intrigues. That his good intentions have at least partly failed and that the Augean stable of the Vatican is still waiting for a Hercules to clean it is no secret, and it is also a well-known fact that the Pope has fallen a victim to the forces of the reactionary parties surrounding him, and that this has caused great dissatisfaction amongst the Roman clergy.
"This is plainly shown by the numerous libelous pamphlets which have appeared during the last few months. The latest of these, which has created widespread sensation, is entitled, 'Ildebrand monaco,' criticizes the Pope in a manner which in regard to forceful language surpasses anything ever printed in the Eternal City.
"'It is no longer you, Holy Father, who rule, but reckless and unscrupulous prelates who have taken advantage of your kindness and modesty. A small clique of younger prelates, led by Cardinal Merry del Val, are bringing disgrace upon the Church, and while they are satisfying their every desire, the priests are struggling with poverty, many of them living on a lire and a half (30 cents) a day.
"'We know that you, Holy Father, were inspired with the best intentions when you ascended to the throne of St. Peter, but though you do not realize it, you have become a weak, tyrannous Pope. You desired to reinstate the rule of love and charity, but you have been conquered by Satan, whose servants are surrounding you, disguised as young cardinals.
"'Oh, Holy Father, remember that it is your holy duty to seek truth, and more so as many of us are beginning to doubt its existence. Remember that some day you will be called to account for your stewardship!'"
"It is natural that in the course of this political biography Disraeli, who had witnessed the exclusion of Jews from the House of Commons and who had found and was still finding his own Israelite descent an almost insuperable bar to advancement, should diverge for a moment from the main current of his narration to consider the grounds of the disabilities to which the Hebrew race had been so long subjected in Christian Europe. He begins by reminding us that the Saxon, the Slav and the Celt have adopted most of the laws and many of the customs of the Jews, together with all the latter's literature and all their religion. The former are, therefore, indebted to the Israelites for much that regulates, much that charms and much that solaces existence. The toiling multitude rest every seventh day by virtue of a Jewish law; they are perpetually reading, that they may be taught by example, the records of Jewish history; they are continually singing the odes and elegies of Jewish poets; and they daily acknowledge on their knees with reverent gratitude that the only medium of communication between the Creator and themselves is the Jewish religion. Yet, at the hour when Disraeli wrote, the Saxon, the Slav and the Celt were accustomed to treat that race as the vilest of generations; and, instead of looking upon them logically as the channel of human happiness, they were accustomed to inflict upon them every term of obloquy and every form of persecution. Had it not been for the Jews of Palestine the good tidings of our Lord would have been unknown forever to the northern and western races. The first preachers of the Gospel were Jews, no others; the historians of the Gospel were [R3882 : page 340] Jews, no others. No human being has ever been permitted to write under the inspiration of the holy Spirit except a Jew. 'They nursed the sacred flame of which they were the consecrated and hereditary depositories. When the time was ripe to diffuse the truth among the Gentiles it was not a senator of Rome nor a philosopher of Athens who was personally appointed by our Lord for that office, but a Jew of Tarsus, who founded the seven churches of Asia. That greater Church, great even amid its terrible corruptions, that has avenged the victory of Titus by subjugating the capital of the Caesars and has changed every one of the Olympian temples into altars of the God of Sinai and of Calvary, was founded by another Jew, a Jew of Galilee.' From all which Disraeli concludes that the dispersion of the Jewish race, preceding as it did for ages the advent of our Lord, could not be for conduct which occurred subsequent to his nativity, and that they are also guiltless of that subsequent conduct which has been imputed to them as a crime, since for him and his blessed name they preached and wrote and shed their blood, 'as witnesses.'
"Disraeli says: 'The creative genius of Israel, on the contrary, never shone so bright; and when the Russian, the Frenchman and the Anglo-Saxon, amid applauding theaters or the choral voices of solemn temples, yield themselves to the full spell of a Mozart or a Mendelssohn, it seems difficult to comprehend how these races can reconcile it to their hearts to persecute a Jew.' In the course of the same remarkable chapter Disraeli refers to the futility of persecution in the case of the Jew. 'Egyptian Pharaohs, Assyrian kings, Roman emperors, Scandinavian crusaders, Gothic princes and holy inquisitors have alike devoted their energies to the fulfilment of this common purpose. Expatriation, exile, captivity, confiscation, torture on the most ingenious and massacre on the most extensive scale, and a curious system of degrading customs and debasing laws which would have broken the heart of any other people have been tried, and in vain! The Jews, after all this havoc, are probably more numerous at this date than they were during the reign of Solomon the Wise, are found in all lands, and prospering in most. All which proves that it is in vain for man to attempt to baffle the inexorable law of nature, which has decreed that a superior race shall never be destroyed or absorbed by an inferior.' Disraeli adds that all the tendencies of the Jewish race are conservative. The bias of the Jews is toward religion, property and natural aristocracy. For which reason Disraeli pronounces it for the interest of statesmen that this bias of a great race should be encouraged, and their energies and creative powers enlisted in the cause of the existing social order."—Watchword.
Washington, D.C.,—At the end of the year 1904, the last for which figures have been returned, 199,773 persons were under restraint in the 328 mad-houses of the country. No account was taken of the hopelessly insane people returned to the insane wards of the county poor-houses throughout the country by the hospitals for the insane maintained by the various States.
During the thirteen years' period from 1890 to the end of 1903, the number of hospitals for the insane and the insane confined therein both doubled. In that same period 16,946 persons were confined in forty-two institutions for the feeble minded.
These statistics were completed by the Census Bureau, and made public in a special bulletin to-day. The bureau does not regard them as conclusive answer to the question whether insanity is increasing. They do regard them as persuasive. They regard them as revealing a remarkable increase in the class to which they belong, namely, to the number of insane placed under restrictions.
The number of insane in hospitals for each 100,000 of population increased from 81.6 in 1880 to 118.2 in 1890, and 186.2 in 1903. A remarkable fact is that among native whites there is more insanity among the males, while among foreign-born whites the females are more likely to lose their reason than the males. Although not made a part of the official record of speculations on the subject, there is an impression among those who assisted in the compilation of the figures that American males go insane as the reason of their strenuous efforts to get the money wherewith to support the female members of their families in comparative ease, while among the foreign-born insanity among the females results from the work their lords and masters compel them to perform.—Rochester Democrat.
Science has been boasting of late that the average of human life has been increasing: that the average is now 35 years, whereas only twenty years ago it was as low as 32 years. This raise of the average has been accomplished chiefly through increased skill in dealing with children's ailments. Weakly children are now "pulled through" by the use of incubators, etc., etc. On these achievements of science some were disposed to predicate wonderful things—possibly eventually "eternal life."
But those whose eyes of understanding are opening under the eyesalve of God's Word see matters differently: they see that man's hopes of everlasting life center in Christ and not in medical science. To us there is quite a connection between the above and other reports of the rapid increase of insanity and the preservation of the weaklings of our race. The lesson is that, if science held the race out of the grave a little longer the survival of the weak would mean in a few generations a weaker race and a still more rapid deterioration and shortening of longevity. Even now insanity experts are telling us that at the present rate the whole world would be insane in less than two centuries. Evidently the world as well as the Church has cause to pray earnestly, "Thy Kingdom Come."
Within my hand I gently hold "the Garden's Queen," a rose,—
The softly sighing summer wind about it faintly blows
And wafts its wondrous fragrance out upon the evening air.
And as I gaze upon the rose, so perfect and so fair,
In memory's halls there wakes, the while, a legend, quaint and old,
How once upon a time, one day, a sage picked up, we're told,
A lump of common clay, so redolent with perfume rare,
He marvelled, and the question wondering asked, "Whence dost thou bear
Such fragrance, oh, thou lump of clay?" In tones of deep repose
There came the sweet reply, "I have been dwelling with the rose."
The while the legend stirs my soul, within my hand still lie
The petals of the rose, and from my heart of hearts I cry,
"Thou lovely "Rose of Sharon," may I ever dwell with Thee,
So closely that the fragrance of Thy love shall cling to me!
Oh, fill me with the spirit of Thy sweet humility,
Then all shall see and know, dear Lord, that I have learned of Thee;
And let my earthly pilgrimage, until its blessed close,
Each day and hour bear witness, "I've been dwelling with the Rose."
G. W. S.