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SO intertwined are the finances of the world that our recent disturbance from lack of circulating currency is affecting all Europe. Precipitated by a battle between financial giants, which obliterated one party and crippled the other, the panicky sentiment spread to every quarter of this land and its waves are now causing disturbances afar, whilst New York, the original center, has become more calm. That there was not sufficient money for the vast business enterprises of our land was seen by many financiers, and warning signals were given a year in advance. But nobody moved to produce the needed extra currency (which silver would have supplied had it not been demonetized). Unless this new blood (more currency) be supplied speedily no rapid recovery need be expected. This means further depression along some lines, notwithstanding the great prosperity within grasp.
Much is being said in a partizan spirit, charging that the panic was deliberately brought on by the very rich, to show their power and to take a stronger hold. This is surely erroneous, as the very rich have suffered most. The President and Mr. Lawson are also blamed unjustly for precipitating the panic by exposing the disapproved methods of some financiers. Public distrust did extend to railroad bonds and some railroad shares and justly; but this would have produced no panic had there been sufficient currency (money) for the country's needs. Congress and the bankers are responsible, though they do not realize it.
However, from our standpoint we need blame none of them. Rather we may say that in divine providence [R4135 : page 51] their eyes have been holden as respects the real seat of the difficulty—that the panic might come just when it did—at the opening of the last seven years of "Gentile Times." We advise the Lord's people to do nothing to provoke strife, discontent or panic, but that each "set his house in order" in financial matters, and with hearts full of confidence in the Lord give all the more attention to the promulgation of the "harvest" message to all who have the hearing ear. And you will find these ears increasing in numbers and keenness to hear the good tidings which alone can satisfy and give peace in time of storm and stress.
Now is a time for patience and for remembering that Socialism cannot do for the world what it desires and teaches. Now is the time for remembering that God has a plan that is surely working itself out. "In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:19.) "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. Then will I turn to the people a pure message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent."—Zeph. 3:8,9.
New York, Feb. 3.—Staunch Church members of Bayonne awoke this morning after a night of restlessness following a strange sermon by Rev. __________ [we omit the name lest the reverend gentleman should feel hurt by our comments], pastor of the __________ Church, one of the largest in the town. The minister had made the statement that he would ask the authorities of his Church for "permission to preach the truth for two years as an experiment." It apparently followed from his statement that during at least a large part of the twenty years which the doctor had spent in the ministry he had been preaching what he believed was not true—in fact, the preacher himself said as much. He declared that had he known what he was doing when he entered the ministry he would not have gone into it.—Press Dispatch.
We wonder if any other profession contains as many foolish men as does the (nominal) Christian ministry. [R4135 : page 52] Doubtless there are men in all the professions equally dishonest; but they seem to be wiser than to thus parade their dishonesty before the public with the expectation that it will be appreciated and that they will be esteemed ideally honest men—martyrs for the truth's sake! No doubt many doctors are connected with a popular school of medicine which they believe is not the best;—no doubt some let their patients die rather than break with their endorsed system, its honorable reputation and lucrative returns; but they are not so foolish as to tell of their chicanery and expect the people to applaud their "honesty."
But ministers tell us freely that they never did believe the Westminster Confession of Faith which they confessed and promised to teach. And now this reverend gentleman intimates to his congregation that he does not believe the Bible and the messages he has been giving them for the past twenty years: His great, honest soul is tortured until he cries out for liberty to tell the truth.
The Bible assures us that God desires truth in the inward parts—in the heart. In our opinion, if the Lord had some new revelation to send to the world (which we deny) he would not select for his channel the man who confesses himself to have been dishonest for twenty years in his most public utterances.
And, pray, what are the bonds by which this truth-loving soul is held back from preaching what he believes is truth? They evidently are two: (1) Love of money, and (2) Love of the esteem of men. He has so much loved his salary and his title and "authority to preach" that as chains they have held him fast to the preaching of what for twenty years he believed to be a lie. Now these chains have finally worn through a callous surface until they have reached the quick, and he squirms and writhes in pain, crying out, Let me keep my salary and title while I tell the people what a fraud I have been.
London.—Serious statements by Sir Oliver Lodge command respectful attention, even when he abandons science for mysticism. It was therefore with something like amazement rather than skepticism that a meeting of the Psychical Research Society heard the distinguished scientist practically affirm that communications were received from the dead in secret and exhaustive tests recently conducted by certain members of that society through spiritualistic mediums, or automatists, as Sir Oliver called them. Referring to what happened at the seances Sir Oliver said:
"The most important set of phenomena are those of automatic writing and talking, and what do we find? We find the late Edmund Gurney, the late Richard Hodgson and the late F. W. H. Myers, with others less known, constantly purporting to communicate with us, with the express purpose of patiently proving their identity by giving us cross correspondence between different mediums.
"We also find them answering specific questions in a manner characteristic of their known personalities and giving evidence of knowledge appropriate to them. Not easily or early do we make this admission. In spite of long conversations with what purports to be the surviving intelligence of these friends and investigators, we were by no means convinced of their identity by more general conversation, even when it was of a friendly and intimate character, such as in ordinary case would have been considered amply sufficient for identification of friends speaking, say, through the telephone or typewriter.
"We required definite and crucial proof, a proof difficult even to imagine as well as difficult to supply. The ostensible communicators realize the need of such proof as fully as we do and have done their best to satisfy the rational demand. Some of us think they succeeded. Others are still doubtful.
"Cross correspondence—that is, the reception of part of a message through one medium and part through another, neither portion separately being understood by either—is good evidence of one intelligence dominating both automatists, and if the message is characteristic of some particular deceased person and is received as such by persons to whom he was not intimately known, then it is fair proof of the intellectual activity of that person.
"If, further, we get from him a piece of literary criticism which is eminently in his vein, which has not occurred to ordinary people, then I say the proof, already striking, is tending to become crucial. These are the kinds of proof which the society has had communicated to it. The phenomenon of automatic writing strikes some of us as if it were in the direct line of evolutional advance. It seems like the beginning of a new human faculty."
Sir Oliver continued impressively: "I am going to assume in fact that our bodies can under certain exceptional circumstances be controlled directly or be temporarily possessed by another or foreign intelligence operating either on the whole or some limited part of it. The question lying behind such an hypothesis, and justifying or negativing it, is the root question of identity, the identity of the control.
"Some control undoubtedly exists, and it is not the normal consciousness of the person owning the body. Every one who knows anything about the matter is quite certain that this question of identity is a fundamental one. The controlling spirit proves its identity mainly by reproducing the speech or writing facts which belong to his memory, not the automatist's memory."
Well do the Scriptures declare of our day and people, "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." (Isa. 29:14.) Here we have a fresh illustration of how the things that are naught may and can and do confound those who are great and learned. "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him." Hence the Christian of low degree, from the standpoint of service, may, through the instructions of the Bible, know clearly things that the famous and learned in other wisdom cannot know. He knows that the dead are actually dead and cannot know or communicate anything until made alive by our Redeemer in the resurrection morning. He knows, too, that the demons, [R4136 : page 53] who personate the dead to deceive, are wholly unreliable, and that anyway the Lord's people are forbidden to have any communication with them under any pretext.
Thus the Lord keeps his own who trust him and follow his instructions. The Scriptures say: "The wise are taken in their own craftiness." And so it will appear ere long to all; that the world's brightest, wisest men in this its wisest epoch will be found to have been foolish, in that they trusted to their own wisdom and neglected God's Word. We caution all of our readers against all occultism—against every revelation and manifestation or reputed special communion with their dead friends, or even with the Lord or his angel. These are fraudulent: attempts to entangle you. Look for guidance to the voice behind—the Lord's messages through the apostles and prophets. (Isa. 30:21.) Expect your guidance as it has been sent all down this Gospel Age by the holy Spirit's supervision and through the members of Christ.—I Cor. 12:11-29.
"The Rev. Dr. Newman Smyth, a member of the Yale Corporation, and for twenty-five years pastor of the Center Church, New Haven's largest and most conservative Congregational Church, electrified his congregation yesterday morning by declaring that the age of Protestantism is past, that it is no longer needed. He said that the churches are all split up and are becoming more so every day. They no longer have power over the people or the state. He said that the time for a new Catholicism is at hand and that the sooner people realize it the better."—Waterbury American.
"At the Second Church yesterday morning the Rev. Dr. Davenport preached a second sermon on Protestantism and Catholicism, answering the question, "Is organized Protestantism to perish?" He took for his text Matt. 16:18, 'And I also say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.'
"After discussing the bearing of this text on the theological controversies of the past, declaring that in the Church thus predicted Protestantism was included no less than Catholicism, and recounting the struggles out of which evolved Protestantism as we know it today, Dr. Davenport reached this conclusion:
"'How is it with the Protestant churches in their relation to the life of today? Do they on the whole seem weak, inefficient, dying? I see nothing of this as I look out upon their hundreds of thousands in all the world; with their hundreds of millions of constituents. They represent in this land and in other lands a vast amount of cultured manhood and womanhood, of wealth, of learning, for they are in closest alliance with the advanced thought of the time, the founders of innumerable colleges and the patrons of great and numerous universities from Cambridge and Oxford to Harvard and Yale.'"—Waterbury American.
The two gentlemen quoted above seem to be taking opposing views; but in reality they agree. Protestants are becoming individual thinkers, instead of class or sect thinkers. They are dropping all doctrine and merely maintaining "a form of godliness." They maintain the form partly as a "fire insurance" and partly as a protection against anarchy. Doctrinally, therefore, there are fewer and fewer Protestants as the days go by. Few know enough about doctrines to protest against any of the doctrines of the Church of Rome or any other.
Dr. Smyth is right when he insists that all are becoming Catholic—if that word be taken according to its broad meaning, signifying general. The term Christian has become so general as to include all who live in civilized lands and act decently and cooperate with the majority along the lines of moral reform—without opposing or denouncing false theology or anything that is popular. In this sense the Catholic spirit is growing.
The other man is right in claiming that Protestantism is established and prospering; for the Catholic spirit we have just described is a Protestant spirit also in the sense that, doctrines being ignored, the practices of Catholicism today are just such as Protestants specially cried out for four centuries ago. The protest of the past was doctrinal on the part of some, but to the masses it never meant more than liberty of conscience and freedom from persecution. Thus whilst Protestantism has failed doctrinally it has succeeded as respects human liberty.
True, there are many Catholics and Protestants who have the old Catholic spirit—a desire to stifle conscience and to persecute dissenters—but they are in the minority; the civilized world protests against that.
However, according to our understanding of the Bible, it will not be long until the Catholic spirit of coercion and persecution will again dominate Christendom; with the awful result of provoking the anarchy with which this age will close and the new age be introduced.
"In recent newspapers there is a news item, to which considerable display is given, concerning the finding of the fossil tooth of a hippopotamus in Iowa. The item goes on to say that the finding of the tooth, coupled with the former finding of skeletons of elephants in that state, gives the first evidence of the existence of a tropical climate in North America in the period immediately preceding the present geological age of the world.
"Allow me to suggest as modestly as possible that the professors are again, as usual, wrong. The evidence is unvarying that the climate of the earth in the period immediately prior to the present one was universally mild, and that in every zone of latitude there were no frosts, no rainstorms, no winter, and no torridity of heat. At the mouth of the Mackenzie river in Alaska, where now the temperature falls to 109 degrees below zero (F.), there was found the trunk of a cinnamon palm, a tree that can endure no frost. This trunk was rooted in the soil out of which it grew; it was killed by the change of climate which suddenly swept [R4136 : page 54] over the earth in the month of November, about 2548 B.C., when the collapse of the ancient protecting canopy of water surrounding the earth first permitted the cold of space to reach its surface.
"In 1884 Tolle and Bunge examined some animal remains on Liakoff island in the Arctic and there found that the remains of an incredible quantity of so-called tropical animals were heaped together in such a manner as to indicate that this island, equal in area to the state of Illinois, was composed in equal parts of their bones and of the ice and sand in which they were imbedded.
"Beneath the clay, sand and carbonaceous mud, which our geologists take to be drift from the glaciers which never existed except in the imagination, there lies all over the world alike the remains of the lost climate of the golden age, when, in common with other creatures, human beings attained an enormous age. In Louisiana are found in rock-cut caves human skeletons (of the white race) which from the flattening of the tibia and the femora, and from the variation of the grinding surfaces of their teeth, must have attained the age of 1,000 years approximately."—W. V. Cooling in Chicago Inter-Ocean.
The Lutheran Church in Norway finds herself obliged to make front against the influence of "The New Theology." The "Lutheran Kirketid" made known in October of last year an appeal for the founding of a theological Church faculty that would stand fully on the foundation of the Word of God and the Lutheran Confession. By the term Church faculty we are to understand a seminary for ministers. In the appeal, together with other things, is said: "The time is urgent. A new spiritual stream presses with ever-increasing strength and self-consciousness and grasps the foundation truths of Christianity—not alone the Church doctrines, but it also menaces the Christian life at the roots, respecting both present and future. In such times there rests on our churches a peculiar responsibility. Therefore we must most decidedly come to the support of this movement, which seems to us fully justified, and this by money contributions as well as by encouraging the youth to whom the call of service in the Church appeals. To the extent of our ability we must stimulate and support them." The appeal was signed by 276 men, among them sixty-five ministers.
As "news" and to fill space, newspapers are publishing lengthy accounts of "a fragment of a Gospel found in Egypt." It is of no value, being of unknown authorship, and in style quite different from our Lord's authenticated words, and out of harmony with the Truth in general.
The friends who went to Elkhart, Ind., to attend the debates and were disappointed have our sympathy. A week before the date Dr. Dillon wrote that he could not keep his appointment because of a "quarterly meeting" at that time, of which he probably had forgotten when he suggested the date for our acceptance. Or possibly its importance seemed greater later on, as he thought of the questions for debate. We wrote and also telegraphed to him, urging matters, because the announcement had gone forth, but we received no reply.