0 / 0
WHEN our friends of various denominations solicit funds for missionary efforts they exhibit a chart showing the heathen world in black and the Christian nations in white and remind us that of the 90,000 human beings dying every twenty-four hours, three-fourths are heathen going down into hopeless despair, eternal torment being understood, though not directly expressed. We concede to them that the heathen are not fit for heaven and that since only the saintly, perfected in intention and character, however imperfect in works, will enter the heavenly state, these heathen certainly will not be received there. But we remind them also that the same is true of the vast majority of people in Christian lands. If readiness for heaven signifies saintliness of character and holiness of will, surely but a fragment of the race, a "little flock," is ready for it. If, as is claimed, eternal torment is the only alternative, then surely the creation of our world, the creation of the human family, was a serious error, for the entering into heaven of only one in 10,000 would be far too expensive a proposition to be approved by either justice or wisdom or love.
When our friends endeavor to stimulate their flagging zeal and to hope for the speedy conversion of the world, they point to the figures 400,000,000 as representing Christians and tell us that they are about to "storm the heathen world for Jesus." We admire their zeal; we appreciate their earnestness. We love them for their love of the Lord and humanity; but we point out to them that while it is true that there are twice as many Christians in heathen lands as there were centuries ago, it is also true that there are twice as many heathen as a century ago. There were 600,000,000 heathen in 1800 A.D. and 120,000,000 in 1900 A.D. We ask them how long it would require at this rate to convert the world to Christianity and point them to the better hope, the Bible hope of the second coming of our Lord and his establishment of the heavenly Kingdom, his binding of Satan and his reign with his Elect Church for a thousand years, for the uplifting of Adam and his race out of mental, moral and physical degradation and death. We point them to the fact that this fall, this degradation, this dying, was the result of Adam's Sin, that our Lord Jesus was made flesh that he, "by the grace of God, should taste death for every man."
We assure them that according to the Scriptures, the redemption of all accomplished by Jesus, who was the ransom price, was paid at Calvary, and that an opportunity for deliverance from the power of sin and death was thus guaranteed. We assure them that it is to this end that God, during this Gospel Age, has been selecting a "little flock," the Church; that as the Body of Christ these might be with him in his Kingdom and share his glorious work of uplifting mankind.
Alas! how few have the ear to hear this message. (Acts 3:19-21.) Instead they seem to be angry with us that we point out to them the futility of their hopes and the more rational, the more Scriptural hope set before us in the Gospel. The reason for this seems to be a reverence for Churchianity and worship of the creeds and hopes which have come down to us from the Dark Ages.
They tell us that the accumulated experiences of the past will now enable them to almost work miracles upon the heathen and that if they can but collect money enough, the thing shall be promptly done. Missionary movements are now going on throughout the United States, Canada and Great Britain amongst the college students, laymen and others. Great things are promised, of money and ambitious hearts.
But again we point out the futility of all this. They can never convert the heathen. We are not opposed to missions. God forbid! We are glad that noble men and women self-sacrificingly take up the work of teaching civilization in [R4323 : page 35] heathen lands. It is well that heathen children should be taught to spell and read and sew; to sit on chairs and to wear clothing more corresponding to the Western styles. It is well that similar lessons, so far as possible, should be taught to the parents of those children also. It is well that they be taught with the Bibles also. Let us not mistake. Civilization is not Christianization, as many are disposed to force themselves to believe. If all of the heathen sat upon chairs, instead of on the ground, and ate with knives and forks, instead of their fingers, they would thereby be in a measure civilized. But this would not Christianize them, even though they were helped to the civilized methods by the most earnest Christians.
We are not disputing, however, that there are probably some genuine conversions amongst the heathen. We are merely controverting the thought of the possibility of Christianizing the world. Sometimes a more nearly correct view of the true situation of affairs finds expression through the lips of prominent clergymen. For instance, the following quoted from the Manchester, England, Dispatch, says:—
According to Canon Alexander, of Gloucester, "the Church of England is still at the beginning of the long task of the conversion of the English people to Christianity. What is the result?" he asks. "If we step out for a moment from the whirl of machinery, and look frankly at what is being done, we cannot but feel the inadequate results. Is the spiritual outlook all we dreamed of, all we hoped for?
"Look at this city and give your answer. Is it not a terrible phenomenon that confronts us to-day—that of a highly organized Church in the midst of a population which is still largely Pagan, face to face with a growing democracy on which no doubt the Christian spirit has left a very decided mark, but which, nevertheless, still stands for the most part, outside our gates? Is it not a fact that the Church of England is still at the beginning of the long task of the conversion of the English people to Christianity, and for this task is it not power we need?"
But even Canon Alexander has too large a conception of the Church in one sense and too narrow a one in another sense. He thinks of the Episcopal Church and its regular attendants. And to him the pagans of England are those who attend no Church services. We hold, however, that the Scriptural lines are different; that the true Church is composed of those who through faith and consecration [R4323 : page 36] are in hearty loyalty to the Lord and his Word, whether they attend church services or not. Tested by this standard we hold that there are very few in the Church of England who belong to the Lord's Church, which the Apostle designates, "The Church of the First-Borns, whose names are written in heaven." Very few, either inside or outside of the Episcopal Church, will profess to be members of this Church, if the requirements are clearly before their minds, as Jesus and the apostles stated them.
Our Lord said, "He that would be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me;" and Paul said, "Whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution." The Apostle said that the Divine will is accomplished only in "those who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."
"The day will come, and it is not distant, when England will shudder at its toleration of this state of things when it was rolling in wealth. I say again that apart from its humanity and its essential injustice, it is guilty of robbery and confiscation of what is the workman's share of the riches of the land. I have heard some foolish mutterings that much recognition of this fact in legislation may drive capital away. There is nothing capital need fear so much as the despair of the multitude. I should like to know where it will flee, for, judging by the unmistakable symptoms of the times, there will soon be no civilized land in the world where proper provision for the aged, the broken and the unfortunate among those who toil, will not be regarded as the first charge upon the wealthy of the land.
"There is a good deal of nonsense talked about capital. You would imagine that if capital is offended it will immediately shake the dust of this country off its feet and go to other lands where there are no agitators, no radicals, no socialists. The fact of the matter is, the greatest capitalist of this country is nature. England's natural resources have made England rich. You would imagine from the vain and furious talk of peers and their apologists that England's rich natural resources were brought here at the time of the Norman conquest by the ancestors of our great landlords; that they were placed in convenient spots by those dukes and earls and barons after they had stolen the common lands from the people."
Since the foregoing, Lord Asquith, premier, declares that the government was prepared to set aside a fund, $1,500,000, to help the unemployed, and the admiralty has given out orders for the construction of nine torpedo-boat destroyers and five unarmored cruisers, to cost a total of $12,500,000, two months earlier than originally had been intended.
We remind our readers that we have already pointed out that the standing armies of Europe, although very expensive, have constituted a safety-valve by taking large numbers of men out of competition in employment. The British Premier was acting along this line in proposing an increase of British recruits.
"There are thousands whose only thoughts are for sport, thousands whose only thoughts are for pleasure, and thousands who think of nothing but their own salvation, by giving of their superfluity to the poor. What interest do they take in the social crisis? Millions of otherwise good people are not taking the trouble to see the distress. For these some day there may be a rude awakening.
"The present system cannot go on. The poor do not want charity. They want the right to live a full and a free life. To imagine that all is right, and that the present agitation will pass away, is to be absolutely blind to the signs of the times. To see men wasting their time and fighting over trifles is enough to make angels weep. Christians might proclaim a truce for a few years to help put an end to the present distress."
"They saw going on before their eyes a disintegration of godly customs and the admission into the Church of the fatal spirit of the world. They saw gaps and ruinous places in our social and industrial system, just now made mournfully conspicuous by a wide and complicated depression in the world of commerce, and by a civil war of class against class. This was the woeful phenomenon of unemployment."
In conclusion, his Lordship, after pointing out that English towns looked miserable, and that Lancashire must have been a lovely place until man spoiled it, said that, so long as the rich lived in luxury, so long would the poor live in poverty. He hoped the discussions this week would show churchmen the importance and gravity of the situation, and that they would all return and do what they could in their own sphere to help the toiling millions.
The entrance of the procession into the Cathedral was an imposing and impressive spectacle. The Lord Mayor and members of the corporation took their places in the Council pews on the left of the main porch, the visiting mayors of the boroughs in the diocese taking those on the opposite side of the aisle.
At the same conference Prof. Burkitt, of Cambridge College, spoke against the infallibility of the Bible along the lines of Evolution and Higher Criticism. Probably none of the learned Lord Bishops, whom as one of the teachers of the clergy he addressed realized that the false doctrine which he enunciated is responsible for the spirit of the world amongst the prosperous members of the Church and for the discontent amongst the poorer. The Word of God cannot be set aside with impunity. The baneful results are being manifested throughout the civilized world. The professor said:—
"Can we accept St. Paul's doctrine of sin and death, a doctrine so closely bound up with a belief in the story of Eden and the forbidden fruit? You know we can do nothing of the kind. St. Paul, relying on the Book of Genesis, assumes that through Adam sin entered into the world, and death through sin.
"We have learned from the open book of nature a very different story. We have learned that countless generations of living creatures had lived and died before man appeared. For us the story of Adam and Eve belongs to Asiatic folklore."
"The period 1877-87 was marked by movements opposed to independence; everywhere there were attempts at fusion with American and English churches....Students felt such confidence in their foreign teachers that they scrupulously observed the restrictions imposed by them as to smoking, sake drinking, amusements, and Sunday observance, to such a degree that they considered the least infraction of these rules as a sin.
"Up to 1887, thanks to the prevailing infatuation for Western things, the evangelists enjoyed unquestioned authority. But at this time the Darwinian doctrines began to spread in Japan, and Christianity began to be denounced as unscientific. It was a period of lectures and ardent discussions between missionaries and students, and, notwithstanding the best efforts, the reading of Darwin, Spencer and Mill shook the old beliefs of many. Other relaxing influences contributed to this result. Unitarian missionaries arrived from America; the new German theology took root in Japan; many young pastors, returning from their studies in Europe and America, spread the disquieting news that the old doctrines were felt to be outworn and that most professing Christians were by no means so strict as to smoking, drinking and Sabbath observance as they were expected to be in Japan. It was generally felt that a revision of doctrine was necessary, in [R4324 : page 37] order to try to settle what and how much it was desirable or possible to believe. At the same time, dissensions among the already numerous Christian sects represented in Japan were on the increase. All these motives worked together to strengthen the desire for independence on the part of the Japanese."
"Before long the foreign missionaries will be obliged to remit all their powers into the hands of the independent Japanese pastors and to retire from the country. There would then remain only a few as professors of theology. As long as the present state of things continues, there are not likely to be great changes in the doctrines, constitutions or ceremonies of the churches. But once the foreign influence is finally eliminated, we may expect a series of profound changes, and an elaboration of doctrines tending to fuse the ideas of the Orient and Occident."
Apparently the spirit of evil is becoming singularly restless in the Latin American republics to the south of us. In Ecuador the Church is again entering upon an hour of persecution; in Argentina the socialists and anarchists are breathing future disaster; in Uruguay, Congress has passed an obnoxious divorce bill and is now attempting to close all the religious schools; in Catholic Chile there is incessant agitation against the alleged "autocracy of the hierarchy," and in Guatemala the Church stands shorn of most of her rights. Now the current Literary Digest thus throws a little additional light upon a matter of which we had heard something before:—
"The Mexican government, apparently inspired by the example of France, has issued a notification to the local authorities throughout the country to make inventories of the property of the Church and report the same to the head of the republic. In addition to this, the Bishops and other clergy of Mexico have been warned 'to see that no property of any description is alienated or disposed of, because the government claims it is the property of the Republic of Mexico and it must be conserved and duly cared for in the name of the republic.' We read further:—
"The peremptory tone assumed by the government has, it is said, caused some perturbation at the Vatican, which, however, during hundreds of years, has become accustomed to such claims, but among the Mexican clergy there is consternation, for, better than the Vatican, do the clergy of Mexico understand the temper of the government. Of course, it is expected that the Church will protest as vigorously as possible, and, viewing the situation in the light of recent experience in France, it is possible that the protests may have some effect, for in France, in spite of the utmost endeavor, the victory over the Church was only partial, and it is claimed that the Gallic Church is stronger today than before its separation from the State.
"The claim of the Mexican government is, however, more radical than that of France, a rather surprising fact, because a belief prevails that, in Mexico, Church and State were on friendlier relations than in most of the Spanish-American republics."—Syracuse Catholic Sun.
"The conditions among ministers here in Boston are such that something has got to be done. A number of my friends in this city are actually preparing to leave the ministry. They have bought little farms in New England, to which they will retire because they simply cannot live on their salaries. The situation is grave. We are going to form a union along the same practical and closely drawn lines as the great unions of labor. The proposed union would arbitrate not only as to salaries, but a number of other questions would be under its control."
When St. Paul was in similar straits he went to tent-making. Under the Lord's providence that was one of the "all things" that worked for his good. We recommend the proposition to the Boston preachers and others as spiritually wholesome and spiritually beneficial. If each minister supported himself outside his ministerial labors, he would feel perfectly free to tell his congregation the truth, to give them the benefit of his long years of education. Under present conditions not many of them have the courage to do this; or, as many have remarked, "My bread is not buttered on that side;" or, according to the Scriptural presentation, they look "every one to his own quarter," own interest, his own denomination.—Isa. 47:15.
The Catholic fathers of the district of Clarksdale, Miss., are conducting a mission to Catholics and non-Catholics at Tutwiler, Miss. One of the most unique features of the mission, aside from its being the first ever given at that place, is that the sermons are delivered from the Methodist church pulpit.—Exchange.
A gun on a new principle has been invented. Noiseless, it is all the more dangerous. Unlike a gun in shape it will not be easy to detect. Cheap and simple of construction it may prove a terrible weapon for anarchists. The Waterbury American says of it:—
The gun is noiseless, and is fired without powder. And this is not all. Mr. Patten asserts that the gun can discharge bullets faster than they can be loaded into its magazine, and that the loading speed is therefore practically the only limit to the number of shots that can be fired. He maintains that 50,000 shots a minute can be discharged from this new weapon, and adds that he'll demonstrate this when he gets a full-sized one in commission.
The gun is fired by centrifugal force. All there is to it is a big wheel with a crank for revolving it. In the 10-inch model this can be turned by hand. A motor of 50-horse power would be required to turn the six-foot model Mr. Patten hopes to build.
The bullets—not shells such as are used in other guns, but simply balls of lead or steel—are poured into the gun. The operator revolves the wheel, and the bullets begin to pour out in a steady stream. They fly so fast that they have the appearance of one long, leaden ribbon, and if the gun were revolved on its base the stream of lead would sweep around in an arc which would mow down anything in front of it.
A six-foot gun is the largest Mr. Patten hopes to build. It is to cost $800, and will weigh only 500 pounds, according to Mr. Patten, yet it will be able to shoot 50,000 half-inch steel bullets a minute, and kill at 2,000 feet. It is Mr. Patten's idea to mount such a gun on an automobile, the motor of which could be used to operate the gun.
"The new Turkish government is at present engaged in compiling a list of such Jews as would first come under consideration for government service. Since there is need at the present time of a great number of educated and intelligent officials, it is hoped to find among the Jews an array of such judicious and discreet characters as would meet the demands of the new era. Just how attentive the government is to the national and religious interests is shown by the fact that out of deference to the Christian Minister of Cabinet, there is no session either on Friday, which is the Mohammedan holiday, or on Sunday."
The upset in Turkey, with the resulting prospect of constitutional government, religious freedom, and equal rights to all races, has opened a new prospect to Zionism. Heretofore purchase and ownership of land in the Turkish empire has been denied Jews, but now, according to a London dispatch in the New York Sun, secret land purchases made by Jews in Palestine, notwithstanding the prohibition, are being declared, and a Jewish syndicate is said to be negotiating for a large part of the Sultan's private domain, now in the market, and comprising the whole length of the Jordan valley from Tiberias to the Dead Sea. Given a free hand in Palestine, to buy and possess what is purchasable, and to live and work under fair laws, Jewish capital and energy may accomplish very interesting things.—Exchange.