VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
MIXING WORLDLINESS AND GODLINESS.
THE secular press informs the world that recently The Pastime Club of Knightsville, Ind., was opened by prayer by the pastor of the Methodist Church of that place--as a compromise with the young folks who were members of his church and also of the club. The pastor and older members attended the dance to see that the "fun" did not go too far, and to stop it if it did. "There was no interruption."
Three days later, in the basement of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Toledo, Ohio, a different kind of "fun" was witnessed. The press account says:--
"The participants were Clark Crawford and Edward Gendon, two local boxers of some note, and the affair was given under the direction of the Young Men's Club of the church. William Parker acted as referee and declared the fight a draw at the end of the third round, but it was in fact "a fight to a finish," as neither one of the fighters would have been able to have finished the bout. While the authorities of the church had given their consent to an athletic entertainment, they were surprised this afternoon to learn that the fight had been the fiercest ever held in Toledo. Another six round bout was given, aside from two wrestling matches."
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We mention these matters, not by way of intimating that no godly people remain in these churches, nor in the denominations which they represent, but as illustrations of the misconception of what a church is and what its mission in the world is.
Under the impression that eternal torment is the future portion of all not in some manner connected with "some church," goodness of heart, benevolence, constantly suggests greater and greater compromises to secure the interest and attendance of young men and women. To get the unconverted interested at all requires worldly attractions, and hence every concession is made that conscience will allow, and some that it does not approve but "winks at."
The lack of a knowledge of God's great plan for the world's salvation, and of his separate and distinct plan for the selection and salvation of the "little flock," the Church, first, has warped all judgment, and is rapidly devitalizing all the denominations of Christendom. Should we labor to combat these worldly tendencies? No, it would be useless: it is the logical result of the errors of doctrine. The whole system--"Christendom"--is full of worldlings: many of them very moral and respectable, but thoroughly unregenerate, unconverted,--ignorant of the principles of Christianity and inclined to regard the few "saints" as fanatics.
The divine plan is the one we should follow--the one with which we should cooperate. God declares that "Christendom," "Babylon," is rejected and now calls on all who are Israelites indeed, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues."--Rev. 18:3.
THE VANISHING SENSE OF SIN.
Evolution doctrines and "higher criticism" of the Bible have for years been gradually impressing upon the people that there was no original sin in Eden--no fall from righteousness into the horrible pit and miry clay of sin. Their teaching is that men were at first close akin to monkeys and have been grandly climbing upward. This seed is bringing forth fruitage throughout Christendom, and especially amongst the more intelligent. Let us quote the words of Rev. R. F. Coyle at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, recently held in Buffalo, N.Y. He said:--
"Not only are they largely alienated from the [R3403 : page 228] Church, but from alienation they have passed to animosity. Next to this, one can but note the drift of the people in general away from lofty ideals. It is something that should give us pause when conservative journals and conservative public men are constrained to characterize this as an 'age of graft.' Warnings have recently sounded out from both pulpit and bench against the money madness of our times. The President of the United States, in view of the public land frauds and postal peculations, has been forced to say, '"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people" will perish from the earth if bribery is tolerated.' A distinguished prelate of the Roman Catholic Church declares that of all our sins as a people that of dishonesty is most pronounced.
"Linked to this (the fading out of conviction), its fruitage indeed is the vanishing sense of sin. It is winked at and glossed over and condoned. There are no sinners any longer, and especially in the high places of respectability. If there are any lost people, they are down in the slums."
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Another matter which assists in the causing of a realization of sin to vanish from the public conscience is the fact that the creeds unscripturally uphold the thought that the wages of sin is eternal torment. And since the meanest specimens of humanity are instinctively recognized as too good for such a fate, the only rational course left is to depict as sin only the most brutal conduct.
Thus does error act and react injuriously, lowering the moral standard, universally and increasingly. Only the Truth sanctifies. "Sanctify them through thy Truth," was our Master's prayer.
THE DIFFERENCE AND THE REASON FOR IT.
Four Protestant ministers--D.D.'s--recently participated in the dedication of a Jewish synagogue at Columbus, Ohio. All of them made felicitous remarks. One of them, Dr. Lewis, amongst other things, said: "He believed that all creeds should strive together for the abolition of atheism and idolatry. The combination would be invincible. In the past the Jewish creed was strong for the right; in the future it would be strong for right in union with the religions that were followers of Jesus Christ."
Such utter blindness to the fundamentals of Christianity is truly lamentable. The essence of this statement is that any kind of a religion will do except idolatry.
And yet every one of these gentlemen would oppose the real gospel message of the Bible, whose foundation is the "ransom for all" and an opportunity for every child of Adam to learn of the only name given under heaven and among men whereby we must be saved. Every one of them would denounce MILLENNIAL DAWN. Why? Because they are blinded by error; because "the darkness hateth the light."
A CHINESE VIEW OF CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION.
"A remarkably keen and trenchantly written characterization of Western civilization from an Oriental point of view has been published in a little book entitled, 'Letters from a Chinese Official' (McClure, Phillips). While originally written for an English hearing, the significance of these letters (the anonymous author believes) 'should appeal with a peculiar force to Americans.' Their interest, he says, and justly, depends, 'not upon topical allusions, but upon the whole contrast suggested between Eastern and Western ideals. And America, in a preeminent degree, is representative of the West....What is at stake in the development of the American republic is nothing less than the success or failure of Western civilization.'
"It is not flattering to Occidentals, the comparison drawn between the two civilizations by this Chinaman, who contends that Eastern 'profound mistrust and dislike' of Western ideals are based upon reason. The antiquity of Asiatic civilization, he says, has given a stability to its institutions not found in the West,--it 'embodies a moral order, while in yours we detect only an economic chaos.' 'You profess Christianity, but your civilization has never been Christian; whereas ours is Confucian through and through....Among you, no one is contented, no one has leisure to live, so intent are all on increasing the means of living....We of the East measure the degree of civilization, not by accumulation of the means of living, but by the character and value of the life lived....And we would not if we could rival you in your wealth, your sciences and your arts if we must do so at the cost of imitating your institutions. [R3404 : page 228] ...While we recognize the greatness of your practical and scientific achievements, yet we find it impossible unreservedly to admire a civilization which has produced manners so coarse, morals so low and an appearance so unlovely as those with which we are constantly confronted in your great cities.'
"Irony of ironies--it is the nations of Christendom that have come to teach us by fire and sword that Right in this world is powerless unless it be supported by Might! Oh, do not doubt that we shall learn the lesson! And woe to Europe when we have acquired it! You are arming a nation of four hundred millions! --a nation which, until you came, had no better wish than to live at peace with themselves and all the world. In the name of Christ, you have sounded the call to arms! In the name of Confucius, we respond!" --Review of Reviews.
AN UNFORTUNATE GERMAN.
We clip the following from the daily press:--
"A sharp watch over the tongue is necessary in Germany nowadays, where a careless remark easily brings the speaker under the heavy hand of the law. A workman attending his father's funeral not long ago was overcome with grief as he turned away from the grave and sobbed out: 'Farewell! We shall never meet again!' His words were reported to a magistrate, who summoned the workman for an outrage against public morals by denying the immortality of [R3404 : page 229] the soul and sentenced him to fifteen days' imprisonment."
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The above does not surprise us. Indeed it would not surprise us if similar conditions should yet prevail in these United States. The trend is in that direction, and once the federation of churches is more positively effected, much more arbitrary proceedings may be looked for.
RUSSIAN PEOPLES IN A FERMENT.
News of internal conditions in Russia are difficult to obtain because of the rigid censorship by the Government. Some things leak out, however, which indicate that the great empire composed of various peoples, all more or less oppressed and maltreated, are greatly disaffected and hoping that Russian reverses in the far East may somehow result in their greater liberty--either through a general insurrection or through compelling a more liberal government. The London Standard says:--
"There is a general similarity in the intelligence from all parts concerning the exceptional activity of the secret police, and the frequent disappearances of persons presumably suspected of implication in political plots. In Kronstadt, where an attempt is reported to have been made to injure the forts, there have also been executions under military law. In Moscow recently an eye witness reports that eighty coffins, under military escort, were taken out of the town at dead of night by an unfrequented road which was picketed with soldiers, and buried, presumably in the woods, where soldiers had previously been observed maintaining an inviolable cordon. There is a nervous feeling in the very air, and even the most sober-minded are drawing ominous conclusions from the significant fact that the regiments stationed in European Russia are being retained in their places, and only the reservists called up under the mobilization orders are being forwarded to the front."
A SOCIALIST BISHOP.
Addressing a big congregation of men at Blackburn yesterday on social delusions, Bishop Thornton, vicar of Blackburn, and formerly Bishop of Ballarat, referring to the submerged masses said it was inconceivable that God sent men into the world to exist under such conditions.
A great shaking of the social system was impending, but no remedy would last which divorced sacred from secular things. No wise man could possibly help being both a socialist and a Christian.
He wanted the possession of land and money treated as a trust, the gradual taxation of wealth for the common good, and municipal life slowly and wisely extended, particularly in regard to intemperance and the housing of the people.--Daily Express, London.