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THE YEAR 1910 opens auspiciously upon a world which may be said to be nervous and doubtful, if not fearful. Hope still holds the reins, however. MONEY IS THE KING IN THE PRESENT ORDER OF THINGS, EVERYWHERE! His palace is entrenched, a veritable fortress, practically impregnable. His interest from bonds—National, State, County, Municipal, Railroad—and real estate mortgages represents more each year than all the gold money in the world could pay. Hence the debtors must make good the deficiency with other bonds, etc. Thus Money owns, and, in the last analysis, Rules the World. Moreover, its debts are protected by most stringent laws and regulations, and with armies and navies, militia and police. Money could not be better off than it is to-day.
Indirectly money has noted the fat things of the world and has appropriated them and operates them through gigantic trusts and combines. The smaller business enterprises, Money disdains to touch. It leaves these to the weary and heavy-laden, that they may have some share in the property and be able to pay the interest on the bonds. The smaller manufacturers of the world, between satisfying the demands of trades' unionism and paying the interest on their bonded debts, find it impossible to say that the New Year opens prosperously. Still they hope, and, as they read descriptions of their fellow-manufacturers in other lands, they rejoice that business is no worse than it is, and hope for "better times."
For a long time the wealth of Europe has been largely derived from its trade with foreign countries. King Money in Great Britain has levied tribute on the entire heathen world. To protect this he has the largest navy on earth and watches jealously any neighbor who might be a competitor. King Money in Germany is growing rapidly rich and has great ambition. He can produce more manufactures than he can use and he desires to share the trade of the British King Money. To get this he is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in building battleships. The English King Money fears that his supremacy of the seas would thus be endangered if the German King Money were on an equal sea-footing. His servants, the English Press, of course, are greatly interested and excited. The whole British Nation is aroused to excitement.
A German war scare makes some fearful and some belligerent. The claim is, that a strong German navy would compete with the British, take away her trade and starve her people by blockading her ports. The argument advanced is that war should be declared against Germany speedily, while the British navy is so much the stronger of the two, and that, with her navy destroyed, Germany should never be allowed to rebuild one which would in any degree be a menace to that of Great Britain. Meantime the British and the Germans are impoverishing their treasuries with war preparations, and latterly Austria has become bent on being a sea power, and is also building Dreadnaughts. With the amount of zeal everywhere manifested to serve King Money it would not at all surprise us if there should be a cruel and dreadful war between the two great "Christian" nations, Great Britain and Germany, within two years.
How far-reaching would be the influence of such a war is difficult to guess. India, which has for so long been under British control and yielded rich returns to King Money, is already in a ferment of revolution. Russia at such a time would be glad to free India from the domination of Great Britain and then would seek to grasp India as her own possession.
Meantime China and Japan are making wonderful strides in civilization—especially in war preparations. Soldiers are being drilled; cannon are being manufactured—and in general these great heathen powers which have been dormant for so long are getting awake. Presumably they have their own King Money managing their affairs. In the event of a war between Britain and Germany, if Russia should interfere with India, Japan as a British ally, would attack Russia, with China as her assistant. It would be easy for imagination to picture other nations becoming embroiled in the strife. Thus a great European war may be comparatively near. Many prominent Englishmen have expressed themselves much more positively than this—that war cannot be long averted.
Late advices from China and Japan indicate great business prosperity there. Some who have been examining the fundamental causes for the industrial awakening tell us that the basis of it lies in the fact that although gold is the nominal money standard of those lands, silver is the real standard—the money in which the business is conducted. Doing business with the cheaper money practically gives China and Japan a tariff wall of one hundred per cent. and increasingly closes the ports of those great nations to European and American goods manufactured on the gold basis. The demonetization of silver, which was intended by King Money to bring to him wealth from peoples afar, as well as at home, is gradually closing upon him the doors of heathendom, representing three-fourths of humanity. The Chinese and Japanese hope soon to be able to duplicate at lower prices the wares of Europe and America. And those who ignore the imminence of Messiah's Kingdom might well stand in dread of "a commercial invasion," as well as a political one, from Oriental lands within a quarter of a century.
The peoples of Southern Europe are feeling the influences of civilization and education, and are arousing themselves from lethargy and beginning to feel the gnawings of discontent. Socialism is spreading through the armies of Europe, and the various States are instructing their discontented millions in the use of all the implements of warfare and death, even while their national lives are threatened. [R4539 : page 4] It looks as though five years more would see the poorer classes of Europe awake, and, mad with envy and discontent, ready to pull down upon their own heads the social structures of the world in the vain hope that thus they can get more of the coveted gold.
In our own land it is really surprising to see how quickly and how thoroughly the millions of emigrants from Europe are absorbed and Americanized and civilized. Here everything is very quiet socially, but occasionally we have evidences that underneath the surface there is anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife—that the poor world as a whole is not Christianized. It is really only galvanized with a semblance of Christianity in outward conduct, and liable at any moment [R4540 : page 4] to manifest those characteristics which St. Paul describes as sensual and devilish. Certainly comparatively few have the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit—meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love!
At any time in any quarter of the world conditions might suddenly arise which would convulse the financial world, and through it the social world, or vice versa. We cannot say that this might not come soon, although we see no apparent cause of such a convulsion in this year, 1910. The power of the Labor Unions all recognize. The unionists well know that they could paralyze business and bring starvation or surrender within one month.
Strictly speaking, the world is not religious, yet so closely allied are nominal Christianity of all denominations and worldly institutions of every kind that some name is needed to describe the Babylonish mixture.
Thank God, there are still good people, and apparently some of them in every denomination; but most evidently they not only are not in the majority, but are a very small minority—quite unable to control the situation. The outward forms continue in all denominations, but they all seem to be honey-combed with unbelief. Higher Criticism, Evolution, Theosophy, Christian Science, Psychic Research, etc., have practically swallowed them up and there is left only the "form of godliness without its power," except in the small minority of consecrated saints already referred to. And those we are seeking for, and shall seek for by every power at our command, for they are all to be found and enlightened, blessed, ripened, gathered, before the end of the harvest time.
Church Federation on a large scale comes on slowly, but the spirit of it is making great progress in various directions. Church Federation is getting into practical shape in many cities. Undoubtedly it already is a force, but we are still to expect a still more formal organization or Federation, and the vitalizing of the same through affiliation with the Episcopal system. Not until then will the "image of the beast" have power to speak, to command, to enforce its edicts.—Rev. 13:15-17.
In some respects the Truth has never had a brighter or more prosperous outlook than at the present time. It has never wielded as much influence as now for the enlightenment of the people. Never before have so many millions of intelligent, thinking people been brought in contact with a knowledge of the Divine Plan of the Ages and a knowledge of the effectiveness of the Ransom Price laid down on Calvary! Never before has the trumpet given a clearer sound! Never before have the soldiers of the cross had the armor more completely at their command or been better versed in how to use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Never before have those who understand the Truth seemed more awake to the responsibilities of the hour or more zealous to use them to the glory of Immanuel! What may we not expect, accordingly, in the year 1910 in the line of scattering the Volunteer matter and putting the "Bible Keys" into the hands of every Bible student; and THE WATCH TOWER into the hands of every one who manifests interest; and the sermons weekly into the hands of all our neighbors!
Dear Brethren, what solemn resolutions or vows do you intend to make to the Lord respecting your faith and zeal and self-denials in his service during the year beginning? Let us promise nothing rashly; but, after considering well our wonderful privileges and opportunities, let us promise and do with our might, what our hands find to do.
What we have said respecting the glorious opportunities for service and a good outlook for the work should not be understood to signify no attacks from the Adversary. Quite to the contrary indeed. If from time to time in the past our great Enemy has assaulted the Truth and all who would seek to be faithful to it, what reason have we for supposing that he would be less on the alert or less aggressive in the present or succeeding years? On the contrary our expectation is that the battle for right, for Truth, will wax hotter and hotter. Those unwilling to trust the Lord and those who are confident of themselves might about as well surrender now as any other time. Be assured that only the faithful and the courageous overcomers will stand the testing of this evil day. But this will not discourage us, if we will trust in the gracious promises of our Lord that greater is he that is for us than all that are against us.
The Apostle calls particular attention to "perils amongst false brethren" in our day and he particularly pointed us to the heady and high-minded and told us that "Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." Such things are to be expected in 1910. Let us not be surprised, but on the alert to resist such besetments by increased humility. It surely is a fact that those who once enjoyed the light of present Truth and who have left it seem thereafter more deficient of decency, reasonableness, honesty, manhood and womanhood than do worldly people, or those who have never seen the Truth. One might know how to calculate on what the worldly foe might do or say or insinuate, for they all have limits beyond which they would not think of going; but as for these false brethren, there is no calculating what they may do or say. Expecting such assaults we need not be disconcerted but "trust in the Lord and do good."
Eighteen centuries ago when the Samaritans refused to sell bread for our Lord's company, the Apostle James and John in their loving zeal for the Master, said, "Lord, Wilt thou that we command fire from heaven" to destroy these men and their city? But Jesus rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. The Son of man came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."—Luke 9:54-56.
These words are to be the guide of all the Lord's followers to-day, as well as before. We are not to render evil for evil, nor slander for slander, but, contrariwise, are to speak kindly, lovingly, generously, of those who, as foretold, will say all manner of evil against us falsely for Christ's sake—because we are his servants and representatives. And the more prominent our position, the more virulent will be their attacks. If we can remember that they are deluded and that the attacks are really from the Adversary, it will help us to feel kindly, sympathetically toward them, instead of maliciously and hatefully.
We urge upon the dear readers of this Journal that during the year 1910, more than ever before, they shall seek to walk very close to the Lord—in meekness and humility, in patience and love to the brethren, and in love and zeal for the Lord and for the Truth.
Although somewhat disappointed that we are not even able to report seven thousand names to the Vow—not more than one-third of THE WATCH TOWER list, nevertheless we have many reasons for believing that some of the dear friends who have not taken the Vow formally are striving to live up to its principles, and striving thereby to have a share of the blessings which it seems to be bringing to all who take it in sincerity, and in love of the Truth and the principles of righteousness.
We urge all to beware of making the Vow a test of brotherhood in Christ. Leave every matter of personal liberty with the individual, recognizing all who fully turn from sin to righteousness and avow full faith in the Redeemer as [R4540 : page 5] the Savior and a full consecration to him as "members of his Body." What preference you should give in the election of Elders to one who has taken the Vow or to one who has not taken it is for yourselves to decide, according to your own judgment; just as the matter of the use of tobacco would not bar Christian brotherhood, but might be considered in the choice of an Elder of the Church.
Should any in opposing the Vow show a bitter spirit, a fighting spirit, remember the Apostle's words, "Mark them which cause divisions...and avoid them." (Rom. 16:17.) Nevertheless treat them not as enemies and think not of them as such, and hope for their return to a better spirit. Let us each remember, however, that his own chief ground for scrutiny and criticism is his own heart and his own life. Let us each fight the good fight there and avoid in every possible manner contentions and strife with the brethren, except it should be unavoidable along the lines of some violation of righteousness or the spirit of a good conscience and then let it be with loving and peaceable desires and endeavors.
Many of you have already obtained this year's motto card, the low prices of which are mentioned elsewhere. The texts for the year are most beautiful. The first is the New Commandment of the Master given to those who will be his disciples—those who would consecrate their lives with his, even unto death. "Love one another as I have loved you"—unto self-sacrifice. (John 15:12.) The second text might be termed an apostolic commentary on this New Commandment. St. John wrote to fellow-Christians, "We ought (also) to lay down our lives for the brethren" (I John 3:16)—following the example of our illustrious Redeemer and glorified Head. If you have several of these motto cards, have one in each room so that you will think continually upon brotherly love, assured that it is the final test of character in God's sight. Not only keep the motto card in sight, but keep the [R4541 : page 5] sentiments continually in mind. Thus striving together in the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of peace and seeking to walk closely under the shadow of the Almighty, the year 1910 will assuredly be to us all a happy year. It will be full of happiness, however many trials and difficulties it may contain. The Lord knows how to make all things work together for our good!