THE QUESTION whether a period of hard times is approaching is one upon which the experts are unable to agree. Mr. Jacob H. Schiff has predicted an era of great suffering among the poor. Mr. August Belmont told the assembled capitalists and workmen at Mr. Carnegie's industrial peace conference that we were about to have a halt in industry, which might not be altogether undesirable. Mr. James J. Hill, who has often seemed pessimistic in his views, denies that he has predicted a collapse of industry, but thinks that there will be a not unhealthy slackening. The view that trade has been going ahead too fast, and that it will have to slow down to give capital a chance to catch up, is pretty generally expressed. On the other hand, Chairman Gary, of the United States Steel Corporation, can see nothing but bright skies ahead, and a number of foreign observers take the same view.
Upon the theory of periodical crises it is not yet time for a great industrial depression. We had such disasters beginning in 1819, in 1837, in 1857, in 1873, and in 1893. The normal interval between them is twenty years. The shortest hitherto has been sixteen years, between 1857 and 1873, and the effects of the Civil War furnished ample explanation of the curtailment in that case. According to experience we should not expect another severe crisis until sometime between 1909 and 1913. There has usually been a mild reaction from the prevailing prosperity about half-way between two great panics. We had one in 1884, a little over half-way from 1873 to 1893. The corresponding break in the present period of good times came in 1903, just ten years after the panic of 1893. According to precedent that ought to last us for nine or ten years longer.
In the United States prosperity is largely dependent upon the state of the crops. The Baring panic of 1890 would have brought on our panic of 1893 two years ahead of time if the disaster had not been stayed by the bonanza harvests of 1891. The present crop prospects, therefore, are of vast importance in estimating the prospects for 1907.
If the extraordinary succession of good crops with which this continent has been favored can be continued for another year, there will be a pretty good assurance of another year of prosperity. The next three months will tell most of the story.—Collier's Weekly.
We are glad that the present prosperous times are being made use of by many of the dear Truth friends as a special opportunity for spreading the good tidings of great joy. The "Harvest" work is the most important of all. It is "the King's business"—the Father's business. The numbers entering the Colporteur work lead us to surmise that this year may even exceed last year in its phenomenal output of DAWN-STUDIES.
"I have been twenty-five years in the ministry; and I regret to say it, but it is my honest conviction that there is more real brotherhood in the lodges than you find in the churches, and that there is infinitely more charity, sympathy and kindness in those outside of the Church than you will find in Mr. Lordly and Milady and their coterie who are running the churches as private clubs."
"Rev. Madson C. Peters, pastor of one of the leading Baptist churches of New York City, is reported as saying that, with an investment of $5,000,000, and an expenditure last year of $400,000, the seventy Baptist churches in that city had a net increase during that time of only nine members.
"A timely illustration of the tremendous and effective power which may be wielded by the churches when they unite is afforded by the closing of the gambling [R4016 : page 196] dens at Saratoga, a result brought about by the action of the Church federation of Saratoga county. Thus a condition which has been a notorious scandal and disgrace to the State for years, which has hitherto successfully defied all efforts at reform, and had come to be regarded as practically hopeless, has been effectively remedied by the joint action of the churches. What has been done at Saratoga can be done elsewhere in a similar way. The case is also an example of the practical usefulness of Church federations, local, state and national, and a good reason why the federation movement should receive the cordial support of all good citizens. Many public evils other than gambling come within the scope of Church federation activities, and no organizations existing in the country, of any name or nature, have the equipment, the power, and the special advantages for effective service such as these federations possess. We hope the time is not far distant when the churches throughout the entire country will be brought into the federation movement. A more promising work than this for the good of the world has not appeared among the religious activities of modern times."—Leslie's Weekly.
Sometimes this power may be used for a worthy purpose, in which all could rejoice; but, especially when the still greater power of the general Church Federation comes, there will be naturally a temptation to use it to put down whatever the majority disapproves, however moral or good. This the Scriptures show will be the result: religious persecution.
"God save us from theological definitions! The doctrines of the Methodist Church are the curios of a time that has passed and ought to be put on the shelf. God save us from doctrines and help us into a larger understanding of Christian fellowship."
Poor "Babylon" is catching it on all sides. Bible students object to her creeds because they are not sufficiently loyal to God's Word: because she has incorporated too much of the traditions of men which make void the Word of God. We, however, recognize what these creeds have of divine truth.
On the other hand, the speaker above quoted is angry because, as a Higher Critic and New Theology man, he is not allowed to tear from the Bible the story of the Fall, the Redemption and the coming Restitution.
"In a railway coach recently sat three ministers in conversation—one a German Evangelical, one a Methodist, and the third an American Reformed. In their conversation the M.E. minister stated that among the professors of the Garrett Biblical Institute at Evanston, Illinois, no two of them believed just alike. He was asked if they all believed that Adam was the first man. He answered, 'Not one of them.' Another minister inquired, 'What is their view?' The reply was something about 'Prehistoric ages and periods.'"
The above is an extract from a letter received from a brother in the Truth—his personal experience. It shows what we have heretofore pointed out, that ministers of all denominations are rapidly losing their faith in the Bible, and are becoming instead leaders of the people into infidelity. If they do not believe in Adam as the head of the race, and that by his disobedience condemnation passed upon all (Rom. 5:12), how can they believe, either, in the redemption accomplished by our Lord Jesus once for all for Adam and his posterity? "Alas! when the Son of man cometh shall he find the faith on the earth?" Assuredly, he does not so find it, but increasingly disbelief. Those whose eyes of understanding have been opened to a precious appreciation of the divine plan cannot too highly esteem the favor of God which they enjoy, nor too surely realize that in this way the Lord is keeping them from falling, according to the promise in his Word, "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee."
"From Indianapolis, a city of which every American should be proud because of its evident Americanism in the best sense of the term, comes this fine bit, which originated, it is said, with a Hoosier Baptist preacher by the name of Taylor. It's worth cutting out, says the Philadelphia North American:—
"'What America needs more than railway extension, and Western irrigation, and a low tariff, and a bigger wheat crop, and a merchant marine, and a new navy, is a revival of piety, the kind mother and father used to have—piety that counted it good business to stop for daily family prayers before breakfast, right in the middle of harvest; that quit field work a half hour early Thursday night, so as to get the chores done and go to prayer meeting. That's what we need now to clean this country of the filth of graft, and of greed, petty and big; of worship of fine houses and big lands and high office and grand social functions. What is this thing we are worshiping but a vain repetition of what decayed nations fell down and worshiped just before their light went out? Great wealth never made a nation substantial nor honorable. There is nothing on earth that looks good that is so dangerous for a man or a nation to handle as quick, easy, big money. It takes greater and finer heroism to dare to be poor in America than to charge an earthworks in Manchuria.'"
"One hundred delegates, representing Church clubs in almost all of the large Eastern cities, met in Washington last week, and problems of universal interest were discussed by prominent Church men. The speech that probably provoked the most discussion and called forth much comment was made by Bishop Satterlee.
"He began his speech by calling attention to the [R4017 : page 197] fact that, although the country was progressing materially and commercially at a wonderful rate, its moral progress was not so evident. He did not say that there was not a corresponding moral development, but that he was unable to see it in the churches. He thought the influence of the Church was decreasing, but that the influence of Jesus Christ was steadily increasing, due not so much to the churches as to the wholesale publication of the Bible, which was easily put into the hands of the masses."
We would have appreciated the Bishop's sentiment still more had he mentioned that a growingly better understanding of the Bible, both by the clergy and the laity, has to do with the Bible's influence for good; and that this is largely the result of the wide circulation of "Bible Keys"—MILLENNIAL DAWN.
Dr. R. P. Downes preached a sermon at the Wesleyan Church at Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday night which has occasioned much controversy in the town. Taking for his text, "God is Love," the preacher declared his firm belief that human destiny is not fixed at death. He told his congregation that this was a view which for some time he had held secretly, and he knew others similarly situated, but the time had come when men must speak out. The popular doctrine of Christianity at this point was being strongly assailed by the sceptic, who demanded to know whether the God that was preached by the Christian Church, who could damn to eternal perdition the overwhelming majority of the human race, millions of whom had not had sufficient light or probation or privilege on which to base the stupendousness of an eternal destiny, could be the God of Love so often preached. He himself had heard this view expressed by Charles Bradlaugh twenty-five years ago at Rochdale, and such irrefutable logic could not be escaped from.
If (said Dr. Downes) I were to withhold the great revelation which has come to my soul, I should be like the man in the lighthouse who gave to the cottagers round the place the oil which was intended for the mighty lanterns of the sea. God is Love, which means that no man will be damned eternally without a chance, no man will be lost until he has had the revelation of Christ's body and of Christ's atonement....He knew that the general idea had been, and he himself had thought it for many years, that man's destiny was fixed at death, and that if a man died in a slum area, polluted and unworthy, having sinned, he was condemned guilty, damned for ever, and had no chance—his destiny was fixed. It was not true.
In John Wesley's fifty-first sermon there was a passage which read, "Some have imagined that human destiny is fixed at death. There is no passage in the Scriptures that confirms any such thing." Passing from John Wesley to Dr. W. E. Pope, the greatest, he said, of all Methodist theologians and one of the greatest theologians the world had ever known, he found Dr. Pope saying, "The fixed and unalterable state of man is always associated with the day of judgment and its issues, and not with the day of death. We must not antedate these issues or interfere with the full work of probation." "Exactly," said the preacher, "the absoluteness of Christianity, the only way of salvation, demanded that no human being should be adjudged until Christ should be made accessible and brought home to him, whether that took place in this life or the life after death. This is my view, and I mean before I die to drag it before the Methodist Church."—English Journal.
The anti-Jew faction in Russia declares that even with the present restrictions the Jews have managed to acquire a large portion of land, for which the following figures are quoted in the Jewish magazine, the Menorah:
"In European Russia outside the pale Jewish landholding is said to have increased 248 times in forty years in the following proportion: In 1860, 3,000 dessiatins; in 1870, 18,000 dessiatins; in 1880, 96,000 dessiatins; in 1890, 262,000 dessiatins, and in 1900, 745,000 dessiatins."
It is reported on apparently good authority that much of the trouble and bloodshed of the past few months in Russia is engendered by the fact that so many of the landlords are Jews: the poor, who rent their little farms at very high rentals, rarely see their landowners; but knowing them to be Jews they hate and injure the poorer Jews, their neighbors—as representatives of the rich absentees. The love of money is a root of all evil.
Berlin.—Opposition of Kaiser William is expected to cause the abandonment of the proposal to hold an international exposition in Berlin in 1913. Most significant, however, is the reason on which the German war lord bases his objection.
The emperor believes the possibility of Germany being drawn into a European war before the time set for the exposition is too great for the nation to take the risk involved in arranging an international exposition.
The statement that Kaiser Wilhelm opposes the proposed exposition on such grounds has caused a great sensation. It is argued that the government fears that the peace of the world is in constant jeopardy, and great uneasiness has been caused among the people, who feel that they do not know all the complications of the international situation.—Toledo News-Bee.