VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
AS THE war with Spain progresses, it becomes more and more evident that "The Great Republic" is very thoroughly hated by her sisters in the family of Christian Nations so called. Their hatred and ill-will are scarcely restrained from pronounced utterance by the fact that she is their best customer who for financial reasons must not be too grossly insulted. Great Britain alone manifests sympathy: and even she is frank enough to intimate that her love is selfish, because she fears a European coalition against her and desires a wealthy and influential partner. Even the other republics of the world--France, Mexico and all those of Central and South America are jealous of their big sister.
The appeal to race prejudice and race pride has much to do with this condition of things and is most unwise. But we must remember that "the natural man" moves almost exclusively along grooves of pride and selfishness; he knows nothing of Love as a motive principle. And it is the same on both sides of the question: if one boasts of race superiority and valor, so does the other. And the more these selfish channels of thought are opened, the deeper the hatreds engendered and the more dangerous the possible results.
Another factor never to be overlooked is Romanism. The revenues of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands are estimated at $50,000,000 per annum (silver). It is the real government, the silent but potent partner of the Spanish Governor General and army. Other religious teachings are not tolerated, and the natives so far as possible are kept in ignorance. Altho the Spanish government decreed that the Spanish language should be taught in the Romanist schools supported by government bounty, the order has been generally evaded. Papacy knows well that general intelligence is a foe to its institutions.
Of course, when the time comes for Spain to sue for peace, she will probably be instigated by the pope to relinquish Cuba and close the war on condition that the United States abandon all claim on the Philippines. It is doubtless to threaten a prolongation of the war there, and thus to make the United States the more willing to relinquish the islands, that the Cadiz squadron has sailed eastward. Moreover, it is realized that the soldiers carried by this fleet will be needed to put down the Philippine rebels. The latter are the more intelligent of the natives who are rebelling as much against the tyranny of Romanism as against the oppression and cruelty of Spain. It is our opinion that the Lord wills to break the power of Papacy there, and hence that he will not permit Spanish misrule to be continued.
To what extent the present war may be a waking up of all the world to an era of war which will impoverish all nations, and sicken all their peoples and prepare the way for the universal anarchy with which this age shall end, we know not; but such an outcome will not surprise us. If so, it will seem like the time mentioned in Joel 3:9-14. See the conclusion of the S.S. Lesson on Elijah, page 192.
Of one thing we may be sure: the affairs of this world while nominally left to the "gentiles" until the end of "Gentile Times,"* the end of their lease of power, are nevertheless subject to a divine surveillance, to the intent that naught shall be permitted that our God is not abundantly able to overrule for good. Divine providence has already been manifested on behalf of America and doubtless will continue to supervise [R2327 : page 196] her course. Who that is God-fearing and possessed of a knowledge of history can doubt that this land was kept hidden until due time; that it was purposely made an asylum for liberty-loving people and for the oppressed of all nations? Who can doubt that its unparalleled history thus far has been a lesson to the whole world--"Liberty enlightening the world?" Who can doubt that thus the Almighty has been gradually forcing open the fetters of Church and State, of superstition and ignorance, and emancipating the peoples of Europe?
As the reforms of Europe have been granted inch by inch by its monarchical aristocracy, under the glare of Liberty's torch (America), it is but natural that they very generally feel a hostility; "because the darkness hateth the light," as ever. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking America is loved and appreciated only by the middle classes of Europe, and these chiefly in Protestant countries.
Nor should it surprise us if God has still some further work for America to do in pulling down the strongholds of error and waking up the mighty men and men of war. To some extent the torch of liberty may be a torch of war and destruction. This may sound strange to those who mistakenly have supposed that God is to be credited with all the peace and arbitration movements and Satan to be credited with all the moves toward war and violence.
It is necessary to our appreciation of transpiring events that we remember that God's dealings and commands are individual and not national since he abandoned fleshly Israel and removed the diadem--"until he come whose right it is." Meantime the nations are restrained in peace or let loose to vent their selfish passions in war as best harmonizes with the next step in the divine program. How aptly the poet expressed this, saying--
"See the mystic Weaver sitting
High in heaven--His loom below.
Up and down the treadles go.
Takes, for web, the world's dark ages,
Takes, for woof, the kings and sages.
Takes the nobles and their pages,
Takes all stations and all stages.
Thrones are bobbins in his shuttle.
Armies make them scud and scuttle--
Web into the woof must flow:
Up and down the nations go!
At the Weaver's will they go!
"Calmly see the mystic Weaver
Throw His shuttle to and fro;
'Mid the noise and wild confusion,
Well the Weaver seems to know
What each motion, and commotion,
What each fusion, and confusion,
In the grand result will show!
"Glorious wonder! What a weaving!
To the dull, beyond believing."
The present work is the selection of the Church, the royal priesthood, and incidentally the awakening and disciplining of the nations to prepare them for the Millennial reign of blessing and peace. Let us not forget, however, that God's people are all to be peaceable and to the extent of their opportunities peacemakers.
* * *
A brother has recently called our attention to Isaiah 5:26-30; inquiring whether or not we see anything to indicate that this refers to the United States. After examining the passage it seems to us not a forced or unreasonable application. The prophecy seems to apply to the present time--the end of this age--and its fitness to this nation is worthy of consideration also: it will probably not require long to demonstrate this. The following is a preferred translation.
"And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from afar, and will call for one of them from the end of the earth; and, behold, with speed, swiftly, it cometh.
"There is none weary nor stumbling among its men; it slumbereth not, it sleepeth not; not loosened is the girdle of its loins, not broken is the latchet of its shoes; whose arrows are sharpened, and all whose bows are bent; its horses' hoofs are hard like flint, and its wheels like the whirlwind.
"It hath a roar like the lioness, it roareth like the young lions; yea, it growleth, and layeth hold of the prey, and carrieth it safely off, with none to deliver.
"And it will rage against them on that day like the raging of the sea: and if one look unto the earth, behold there is darkness, oppression, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof."--Compare Leeser's Translation.
When we remember the significance of sea and earth and heavens as symbols, it seems to add force to the above suggestion. The sea in symbol is anarchy: and while the United States is perhaps less anarchic than the old world, yet the freedom possessed here is in the estimation of many of the potentates of Europe "like the raging of the sea [anarchy]." The earth in symbol signifies society, the social structure. And surely, whoever looks at the social condition of Europe [R2327 : page 197] with open eyes sees little but superstition's darkness and oppression. Nor can we see grounds for hope for better conditions under the present order of things. The heavens are the nominal churches or religious powers, and by false teachings surely these have much to do with the trouble present and impending.