VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
THE Evangelical Alliance is prosecuting its scheme for the union of protestants. It is organizing "Local Alliances" in all parts of the United States, having in view the following objects:--
(1) "To bring conscience to bear on the life of the nation."
(2) "To close the chasm between the churches and workingmen."
(3) "To gain the strength which comes from organization."
(4) "To prevent the indefinite multiplication of organizations."
"What is much needed, in the interest both of economy and of effectiveness, is a common center where efforts to improve the community may be coordinated and adjusted to each other in some comprehensive plan--an organization which can survey the whole field and throw united effort into any one of many directions at the opportune moment."
(5) "To prevent competition and waste in locating missions and churches."
(6) "To cultivate Christian fellowship between different churches and different denominations."
(7) "To reach homes with elevating and transforming influences."
"Without some such organization as is proposed the churches cannot accomplish their social redemptive work."
On this latter subject it proposes that--
"Instead of going into politics the Alliance will aim...to separate municipal elections from state and national politics. It will insist on official fitness of candidates, oppose incompetent and corrupt men, and sustain the constituted authorities in a faithful administration of the public service.
"The Alliance will seek to aid labor reforms, to encourage the arbitration of labor difficulties, to establish labor bureaus, form working-girl's clubs, encourage cooperative housekeeping for self-supporting girls, oppose the sweating evil and child labor, and demonstrate to workingmen the desire of the churches to serve them in any legitimate way."
The circulars of the Alliance, setting forth these objects and giving advise relative to local organizations, etc., are being widely circulated. One of these says:--
"The Church of Christ has availed herself of the increased facilities for inter-communication among the peoples of the earth, and of the increase of knowledge; while in the longing for union among believers we cannot but discern a token of the presence of Him who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
"On the other hand, the shadows darken. It cannot be denied that we are in the presence of those signs of the 'perilous times' of which St. Paul speaks to Timothy. Nor can we shut our eyes to the increase of sacramentarianism and infidelity, which, from opposite sides, seek 'to corrupt our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ.' Many tokens seems to herald the approach of the final great struggle between the powers of light and the powers of darkness.
"'Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.' 'Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.'"
The gentlemen connected with this Evangelical Alliance are beginning to fear as they realize that the powers of the heavens (ecclesiastical powers) are being shaken. (Matt. 24:29.) They realize to some extent that the "great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17.) They are attempting to roll together the heavens (ecclesiastical systems) as a scroll; because they believe that in union there is strength.--Isa. 34:4; Rev. 6:14.
Their methods are not only worldly-wise, but in many respects good. But going about to establish their own plans for conquering the world for Christ by denominational [R1947 : page 52] alliance, they have not submitted themselves to the will and Word of God. They see the impending trouble, and remember the Lord's prayer that ultimately his followers all may be one with each other and with him and the Father. They overlook the fact that it is individually, and not as denominations, that the Lord's people are to be united to him and he with them, as branches in the true vine. They overlook the fact that the great union prayed for will be fulfilled only by the process outlined by the great Teacher himself under the parable of the wheat and the tares,--that the "tares" must be gathered and burned in the great time of trouble already impending, while the "wheat" are being gathered into the "barn" preparatory to their shining forth, with Christ the only Head, as the Sun of righteousness to bless and heal the world's woes-- social, financial, political and religious.
That the Alliance will succeed in doing some good we do not question; but that the general results will be pernicious is clearly pointed out in Scripture. Thus it is with [R1948 : page 52] all wrong methods--all methods that are not God-directed --"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is death." The child of God therefore must be careful to examine his course, not only to see if his motives and actions are right, but above all to see that he is working the work of him that sent him. God's work will not fail; but all works in conflict with it will soon or later come to naught and prove injurious to all associated in it.
The Scriptures represent that in the present time there are two great opposing forces in conflict,--Christ and the soldiers of his cross, and Satan and the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12); that all mankind are serving one or the other of these causes (Rom. 6:16), though many, on both sides, serve ignorantly (2 Cor. 4:4; 11:14; Psa. 76:10; Joel 2:11); but it is the privilege of all who are "sons" of God to be so led of the Spirit and Word of the Father as to understand his purposes and be enabled always to be workers together with God. He will show them "things to come;" he will make known to them "the mysteries of his will;" and they shall not be in darkness with the world, because they are "brethren" of Christ and walk in the light.--Matt. 13:11; John 16:13; 1 Thes. 5:4,5.
The Scriptures, in portraying the success of the Evangelical Alliance, show that the results will be a religious oppression and tyranny similar to that of Papacy; and that however harmless it may seem to make an image of the papal beast, the time will come when the image will get life, and with it power, and when its power, like that of Papacy when in power, will be used against the liberties of God's truth and of the people.--See MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. III., Chap. 4; Rev. 13:14-17; Isa. 8:12.
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The people of Germany are awaking to the fact that their theological schools and colleges are turning out Infidels with ministerial titles, Doctors of Divinity, etc. True, the German people are religiously quite formalistic and drowsy, but they are not quite prepared to admit the claims of the "higher critics" of Germany and America, that the Bible is a mass of rubbish, uninspired.
The Lutheran Kirchenzeitung (Leipsic) recently published an article warning young men against this kind of instruction, from which we take the following paragraph:--
"Our congregations are not so ignorant. They meet the young candidate with some questions and problems. That which is taught in the theological lecture-rooms is no longer a secret among our congregations. Even the congregations in the backwoods have heard of these things. The more a congregation is matured in the knowledge of Christian truth, all the more careful will it be in the acceptance of a candidate as a new pastor. Our people demand a clear and ringing answer to the questions: 'What think you of Christ?' and 'What think you of the Scriptures?' Is the candidate honestly and openly to confess that in his convictions the Fathers of the Church have for centuries been blundering grievously when they accepted the divinity of the Scriptures as the revealed Word of God; that the Scriptures from the mythological account of the Creation to the close of the 'unauthentic' Apocalypse is full of human errors, irregularities, contradictions, fables and legends, from which, with great difficulty, the Word of God is to be hulled out? Is he to tell the people that their faith in the atoning death of Christ, in his resurrection, in the power of the Sacraments, is groundless and to be cast aside?"
But the schools and seminaries of Germany are under government patronage and the professors as well as the ministers and churches are supported by the government, so that protests will be of no avail. The leaven (corruption) is spreading everywhere amongst the "upper classes." By and by it will reach the lower classes, and when they become Infidels, disbelievers in the Word of God, they will doubt everything; and anarchy and riot will speedily follow.
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"Mr. Rabbinowitz says the Jews have kept up great questionings and controversies about the meaning of Zech. 12:10: 'They shall look upon ME whom they have pierced.' They will not admit that it is Jehovah whom they have pierced, hence the dispute as to who is meant. Mr. R. points out that the word used consists of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph Tay, and adds: 'Do you wonder, then, that I was filled with awe and astonishment when I opened to Rev. 1:7,8, and read these words of Zechariah quoted by John, 'Behold, he cometh... and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him,' and then heard the glorified Lord saying,...'I am the Alpha and Omega.' Jesus seemed to say to me, 'Do you doubt who it is you have pierced? I am the Aleph Tay, the Alpha Omega.'"
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Amongst the many evidences of preparation for the "times of restitution" "when the wilderness shall blossom as the rose, and the wilderness shall smile," are advances [R1948 : page 53] and inventions along the line of horticulture, and for the destruction of farm pests. Of the latter a notable one is a weed destroyer which kills weeds, to the very roots, --even the noxious Russian and Canadian thistles. It is the invention of Prof. Woodworth, of Michigan College, and is reported to be both cheap and effective. A wheelbarrow or cart is loaded with storage batteries from which long wires trail along the ground to be cleared, and wherever the wires touch a weed it is killed clear to the roots.
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An article by Rev. Dr. Haweis [Episcopalean] in the Contemporary Review has excited considerable attention. Among other things he says:--
"The man in the pew thinks he has a right to remonstrate with the man in the pulpit who denounces him as an unbeliever. He may fairly say to his clergyman: You complain of me for not believing what you call church doctrines; how much do you believe yourself? Now, you don't actually believe that after this life, without further explanation, the population of the world will be divided into two parts, the converted and the unconverted, and that one half will go straight to heaven and be happy forever, and the other half will be sent straight to hell to be tormented forever. You don't believe that yourself, because you are not such a fool; then why do you expect me to sit in church and listen to you patiently while you preach it?' It has come to this: the laity not only despise the clergy for their affirmations, but still more for their reticences, and yet few (some do) have the heart to condemn them as unscrupulous hypocrites--they are really often such nice fellows in many ways, and moral fellows, too; so people don't like to think they are liars, and cannot quite believe they are idiots."
This gentleman's eyes are opening to the fact that the deceptions so long practiced by his craft upon their flocks are losing their power. Many will be forced to honesty to retain respect and support. It is remarkable that men whose leisure and education should make them teachers of those who confide in them for instruction in Scriptural doctrine should so impose upon their sheep; until forced by the growth of intelligence to admit that they have for years professed and taught what they have not believed. Surely every honest man, worthy of the truth from God or confidence from fellow men, should publicly avow the truth, and disavow the error, as soon as the true light, which harmonizes God's word, reaches him.