VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SIGNS OF RESTITUTION CONTINUE
THE United States Government is experimenting with a new kind of wheat recently found in Palestine by Dr. Aaronsohn. Experiments are being made in the arid districts of the far West, where ordinary wheat failed for lack of moisture. The claim made for the new wheat is that it is really the very oldest of all the various wheats--the original or wild wheat, the parent from which all other wheats have descended. Lost for a long time, it is now coming to the front again. Dr. Aaronsohn declares his belief that not only wheat, but oats, barley and rye originated in Syria and Palestine. He claims for this parent or wild wheat that it endures the most extreme climatic conditions, enduring more cold and more heat than other varieties, and subsisting with almost no moisture. He claims also that it is not subject to the pest which attacks others. What will our evolutionist friends think of this--that the parent wheat is better than any of its children.
Wheat is the great staple of the world, and, used with milk as a diet, it supplies really everything essential to the maintenance of the human system; hence, as the New Dispensation will be ushered in, the matter of wheat will be an important one. Dr. Aaronsohn says, "It seems to me that we are justified in hoping to produce races of wheat better adapted to the semi-arid regions of Algeria, Tunis, Syria, Egypt and Turkestan, as well as to those of America. If we secure races that will enable us to increase the yield by as much as one bushel per acre on these vast areas, the world's total production of wheat will be materially augmented."
MIRACLE WHEAT AND MIRACLE RYE
Some years ago we made mention of the miracle wheat discovered in Virginia, which originated with the fruitage of one grain found growing by itself. Two grains of this wheat were given to the Editor, who, in turn, handed them to a brother in the Truth, who reported that the two grains produced 1,312, which, planted, produced five pounds--one grain having fifty stools of well-developed stalks or straws. The brother planted the miracle wheat [R4689 : page 307] alongside of some ordinary wheat, and reports that the miracle wheat heads are from three to five inches long and from three to five grains to the mesh, whereas with the common wheat the heads are from two to three inches in length.
Another brother obtained some of the miracle wheat and, out of the first crop, presented the Editor a peck of the same. This was entrusted to another brother, a farmer, who has just handed the Editor $100 proceeds therefrom, with the following report:--
As you remember, I secured also a peck of the miracle wheat from a brother in the Truth as a donation to yourself (because he first heard of the miracle wheat through THE WATCH TOWER). This was sowed on half an acre of run-out land. On the adjoining half-acre was sowed a bushel of common wheat for comparison. The sowing was done in the midst of a seven weeks' drouth. During the late fall and the early spring the miracle wheat looked very thin compared with the common wheat. However, in the month of May both plots appeared to be about the same, except that the miracle wheat laid flatter on the ground. Late in June the miracle wheat was much the heavier, and stood nearly a foot higher than the common wheat, and about a week later in point of ripening. Not having threshed, I cannot at this writing report the respective yield, but am satisfied that the miracle wheat will be more than double that of the common.
The grains are in appearance similar to ordinary red wheat. I can with difficulty distinguish a difference. The color of the miracle wheat is a trifle richer. I will send you a photograph of a dozen heads and the largest stool I can find of both the miracle and the common wheat. Brother Kuesthardt advertised the wheat in his paper, and the money sent you is the result of the sales at $1 per pound.
Your brother in Christ, J. A. BOHNET.
RABBI SALE AN IDEAL CONGREGATIONALIST
The public press reports the following sentiments expressed by a prominent Hebrew Rabbi:--
"Orthodoxy as it is known today, with its doctrines, creeds and dogmas of the Trinity, the communion, of heaven and of hell, has been given a severe jolt by Rabbi Samuel Sale, of the Shaare Emeth Hebrew Congregation, in an address before a body of Christian ministers at the Congregational Ministers' meeting at the First Congregational Church.
"Rabbi Sale's remarks brought a breathless silence among his hearers, and his expressions regarding the "universal religion" created a sensation.
"In the views of Rabbi Sale his Satanic Majesty, starring through the ages as a figure of ignominy and evil, is given a new role, in which he is only a negative force and becomes a servant of God, not a rival, in the activities of men. Heaven is declared to be not a place for future preferment, but a condition to be realized here, now and forever. Hell is abolished, [R4689 : page 308] as being no justifiable disposition for those not qualified for eternal bliss. Adam and Eve are relieved from responsibility in the matter of original sin. The Bible, said to be as great a composite as Homer's Iliad or the Odyssey, is about as fallible as these. It is not a book of plenary inspiration, Doctor Sale asserted, for the only reliable scroll of the Law or the Word of God is the intelligent consciousness of the individual man.
"Rabbi Sale denies the Jews the privilege of being the chosen people, except in their own estimation. Christianity, as it is known today, with its foundation doctrines of the Trinity, communion and metaphysical difficulties, Doctor Sale classified as an aftergrowth, and entirely foreign to the exalted simplicity of the lowly Nazarene.
CREEDS BLAMED AS BARRIERS
"The jealous assumptions of creeds and dogmas, with their insistence on incidentals, conventions and artificialities, are blamed by Dr. Sale as the barriers which prevent the realization of the ideal religion--that preached of in the prophetic writings--the worship of God in the service of man.
"In serious mien, Doctor Sale smiled solemnly at the traditional idea that God revealed his laws in the beginning exclusively to the Jew. It was a very natural idea for the Jew to entertain, he thought. Choosing his words slowly and reflectively, he said: 'Not to Israel, not to man of any creed, sect or nationality, but to man, has God revealed himself. Not in the scroll, not in the Bible, is his infallible Word, but in the intelligent consciousness of every individual.'
"When he had concluded, there was a moment of thoughtful silence on the part of the audience, when Doctor Albert H. Jordan arose and said:--
"'That was great.'
"'We'd like to make you a Congregationalist, Doctor Sale,' a minister observed."
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"The intelligent consciousness of the individual" was indeed God's original writing of his Law--in the first perfect man, created in his Maker's likeness. But the Bible tells truly that all of Adam's children are blemished by sin, and by its death penalty. What about people who have only unintelligent consciousness! And what about the thousands of gradations of unintelligent consciousness --all men! God gave a revealed religion for these in the Bible! Only those intelligently unconscious of their ignorance disdain it!
CHURCH FEDERATION AT THE DOOR
While the religious world has been waiting for the slow processes of denominational action to bring about Church Federation in a couple of years or more, some active ministers in various parts are hastening the matter by methods of their own. The latest of these movements, as well as the one nearest home, is described in The New York World as follows:--
"Protestant ministers in New York have taken a step that may lead, so they hope, to a united Protestantism in New York and eventually in all America. The meeting was held upon invitation of the Federation of Churches, and one hundred ministers present were made up of Baptists, Congregationalists, Disciples, Seventh Day Adventists, Episcopalians, Quakers, Lutherans, Methodists, Moravians, Presbyterians, Pentecostal Nazarines, Reformed Swedenborgians, Unitarians, Universalists and three ministers who said they did not belong to any of these.
"This, the most remarkable religious gathering ever held in New York City, was called a clerical conference. The Bronx and Brooklyn were represented as well as Manhattan. It was the first gathering, but it was announced that it is to be continued with regular monthly meetings, save during the summer.
"Among the ministers present were the foremost leaders in all the bodies named. All of the eight speakers asserted that hereafter Protestants are going to show a united front. Bishop Greer of the Episcopal Church presided.
BISHOP GREER OPTIMISTIC
"'We hear at times,' he said, 'that the churches are failing. It is not true. The churches are well filled, some of them crowded, and the proportion of men attending them is greater than ever. We are all well aware of the sin prevalent in our midst. But it has always been prevalent. The gain is that the churches now know it exists, and are doing something to stamp it out.'
"Speaking for Presbyterians, the Rev. Dr. George Alexander, moderator of the New York Presbytery, declared they stand ready to meet Episcopalians half way. Bishop Greer had mentioned the moderator by name, saying he wished he might have the privilege of laying on of hands upon such a leader as he. Replying, the veteran Presbyterian leader said he would not seriously object. It surely would not hurt him, and it might do good. He allowed there are some Presbyterians in New York who stand on what they are pleased to call their principles, but he added that some who have few principles manufacture them out of their prejudices.
"The Rev. Nehemiah Boynton of Brooklyn, speaking for Congregationalists, enumerated the political, social, amusement, Sabbath rest, labor and other questions on which, he said, Protestants might unite.
A STRONG LIST OF SPEAKERS
"Other speakers included the Rev. Dr. J. B. Remensnyder, who spoke for Lutherans; the Rev. Dr. F. Mason North, who believed the Methodists would join heartily; the Rev. Dr. Swift of the American Tract Society, who wondered how many religious bodies are 'willing to sacrifice their names in order that the cause of Christ may be advanced.'
"In closing, Bishop Greer stated that the next matter in hand is to hear from representatives of each body in the conference what are their hindrances to co-operation. The Bishop believed the time in America to be ripe for unity, and declared that the Episcopal Church stands ready to aid.
"The conference membership is to be much enlarged until, if possible, it includes all of the Protestant ministers in the greater city. The Unitarians and Universalists are usually barred in such meetings, but both were present, three men from each."
"THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST"
Here we have exactly what we have been looking and waiting for since 1881, when we announced the Federation of the Protestant Churches to be set forth in the Bible as one of the prominent features of the harvest of this Gospel Age. We then pointed out that the attempt to organize Protestantism, first made in 1846 through the Evangelical Alliance, would reach consummation soon. We pointed to the Scriptures which indicate that this Protestant Federation will so considerably resemble the Roman Catholic Institutions as to properly deserve to be called its "Image," and that the "Image" already existed [R4690 : page 308] in a disorganized condition, as represented in the terms of Protestant orthodoxy and their co-operation with Catholicism. We pointed out that the important matter waited on and necessary to the power and activity of the Protestant "Image" is the "life" which it is to receive from the Protestant Episcopal System.
Up to the present time Protestant denominations have hesitated to pronounce anybody or anything heretical, except as each denomination may have occasionally done this within its own borders. There has been a strong desire to formulate a creed which would have the support of all and permit the denouncing of everything outside of it. But the way to do this was not heretofore clear, because the retort might be, By what authority do you set yourself up as a judge of what is orthodox and what is unorthodox? What have you more than your own opinion of the Bible's teaching? Have you any authority more than others? Produce the authority.
The fear of being thus questioned has exercised a salutary effect heretofore, except with the ignorant. But when the various ministers of other denominations shall have in considerable numbers accepted re-ordination as ministers at the hands of Episcopalian Bishops, matters will be different. Speedily the validity of other ordination will be questioned. The authority of this so-called [R4690 : page 309] "Apostolic Ordination" will give seeming right of authority, dignity and power. After the prominent ministers of various denominations shall have submitted themselves to such re-ordination the "lesser lights" will make a rush for it. The Episcopal Church proffered it on easy terms years ago, and the only objection to its acceptance has been the fact that it implies that Protestant ministers heretofore have been without Divine authority, sanction, power or ordination to preach the Gospel as God's ambassadors.
"THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND"
The situation is becoming strenuous. The great ministers realize that with their own teachings and those of the colleges along the lines of Higher Criticism and Evolution, intelligent Christians are rapidly losing faith in the Bible. These ministers realize that this places Society in a dangerous position--that without faith in some higher authority, civilization would soon drift into anarchy. They feel the need of a substitute for the Bible-- the need of some voice to address the people authoritatively. The desired end, they believe, can be best secured through the Federation of the Churches and the coming of all ministers of the Gospel under the Episcopal ordination. Then, they think, we will present to the world a large system and a bold front and command their attention to the voice of the Church and the Voice of God coming down through the "apostolic succession"-- just as the Catholics do--a mild "Image" of Catholicism, but full of its power and vigor.
The Scriptures show that by the time this Catholic power and vigor and "apostolic-succession" authority are felt by the Federators, a spirit of autocracy and persecution of everything contrary to the Federation and contrary to Catholicism, of which it is to be the "Image," will be dealt with more and more severely, energetically and ruthlessly, as the masses fall in line with the Federative Movement and catch its spirit of bigness, dignity, power, authority--a spirit very different from that inculcated by the Master and the Apostles in meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love.
Far be it from us to suppose that the gentlemen participating in the meeting described foregoing are animated by all the vicious malevolence which the Scriptures indicate will ultimately result. On the contrary, they little realize the end of the road upon which they are entering. It is a case of the blind leading the blind. As the Scriptures indicate, the ditch is before them--the ditch of anarchy, the very thing which they are desirous of averting. To us the Scriptures indicate that the prosperity of the Federated Protestant "Image" will for a little time be so great, so pronounced, and its arrogance become so great that the sympathy of the masses will be entirely alienated and turned into bitterness. Hence the Scriptures show us that the climax will come suddenly, unexpectedly, "In one hour."--Rev. 13:15-17.
IS THE WORLD BETTER?
"Commenting on Dr. C. W. Eliot's statement that 'The world has been re-made within fifty years,' Thomas E. Watson, the Southern statesman and publicist, responds with the inquiry, 'Is the newly made world of today a better world than that of fifty years ago?' Mr. Watson, answering his own question, wrote:--
"'It seems to be a fact that a large percentage of the people have departed from the old faith, in the matter of religion. It seems to me that this is indisputably true; but does the man who loses his faith in Christianity become a better man on that account? Is the scoffing son or grandson of the New England Puritan a higher, nobler type than was his pious forefather? Is the preacher's son who is an infidel a more useful citizen than the preacher father?
"'Again, are we an honester, more temperate people than were the Americans of fifty years ago? What is the exact social and moral significance of the fifty or sixty thousand divorces that are being granted by the courts annually? What weight is to be given to the fact that President Roosevelt appointed a commission to investigate existing conditions in the homes of the people of cities, and that this report, officially made after painstaking investigation, revealed such an appalling state of affairs that the government decided it would be advisable to suppress the publication?
"'Again, what is the real meaning of the astounding size of our yearly drink bill? And what is implied by the infinite variety and ingenuity of the devices invented to keep us from stealing? Every time you go into a store you are bound to be reminded of the fact that the proprietor places no confidence in the employee and the employee places none in the proprietor.
"'In the cash drawer, in the system of collecting fares on street cars and railway trains, in the check and counter-check at the hotels, in the elaborate system of the banks, in the expensive safe vaults provided against the burglar, the robber and the sneak thief--in fact, in every direction that our eyes take in the business world, we are bound to see that commerce goes upon the idea that every man will steal if he gets the opportunity, and the whole trend of the ingenious, elaborate, and constantly changing system is to take away the chance to steal. The entire precautional system cries out: 'Every one of us will steal if you don't watch us!' Was it that bad fifty years ago?
"We cannot agree with Mr. Watson, because of what he sees to commend in the past, that the people as a whole are not very much better conditioned than they were half a century ago. The writer here, who has almost reached the three score and ten, has seen great progress in the improvement of human life and living, much more than the most optimistic fancy of his boyhood days could have dared to imagine.
"Mr. Watson, who, by the way, is an ardent Baptist and clings most tenaciously to the 'old faith,' wants to know if the liberal religious teachings of today have made the present day American a more useful citizen than his orthodox father. We think it has. It is within our remembrance when there was constant warfare between the rival sects. The Catholics were denounced by the Protestants and the Protestants were as roundly abused by the Catholics. Liberalism has changed this."--The Sunday Call.
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There are two sides to nearly every question--sometimes three. Two sides of a question are discussed foregoing. The third side, which harmonizes both, and which we believe is the Truth, is this:--
Moral standards of the world in general certainly have improved in many respects. The world as a whole is more intelligent, broader-minded and more benevolent than in the past. It is along religious lines that we seem to see an unfavorable comparison. The light and liberty of our day have overbalanced many of the best minds of the world and led into Higher Criticism, Evolution and various other doctrines contrary to the Scriptures. As a result, Christian faith is weak and sterling Christian character is becoming scarce. Our Lord prayed, "Sanctify them through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth." And we are learning that there can be no sanctification without the Truth. Hence the decline in Christianity, because of the departure from the Divine standard. True, indeed, many of the things believed by our fathers were unscriptural. True, indeed, many of the sentiments of the world today are sounder and clearer and more logical and more God-like.
If our forefathers had presented only errors, the loss of them would have been beneficial, rather than otherwise. However, with the errors, they had truths derived from [R4690 : page 310] the same Word of God and their faith rested upon a sure foundation, even though it was blemished, imperfect. A blemished faith is much better than no faith. And hence, from this standpoint, today is less favorable than fifty years ago. We could not expect Prof. Eliot, nor any other Higher Critic disbeliever in the Bible, to see the matter from our standpoint. Nor shall we try. It is our part to do what we can for the establishment of faith and for the purging of it from all the inconsistencies and errors of the "dark ages"--the restoring of faith to its original simplicity and purity. In so far as we succeed in ourselves or others, we know that the result will bring a blessing and sanctification, under which all the light and blessing of this present time will be helpful in a proper approach toward God and appreciation of his character and Word.