VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
NEW YEAR GREETINGS, 1903.
THANKS BE TO GOD that his grace has preserved us, "kept us from falling," through another year!--that so many of us are still of one heart and of one mind in respect to his Word and its service! Our appreciation must be increased by the remembrance that every testimony of the Word is to the effect that the close of the "harvest" time is to be a time of special testing to all professing to be the Lord's people;--"every man's work shall be tried so as by fire." When we remember that the Adversary is to be permitted to bring "strong delusions" upon the Lord's people for the very purpose of sifting out all not truly his,--that they may believe lies and depart from the truth and be condemned as unworthy;-- because they received not the truth in the love of it" (2 Thess. 2:10-12)--it surely should call forth our thanks to God that the opening of another year finds us still standing fast,--appreciating the truth and in full accord with all the divine appointments by which he has kept us from falling.
The Apostle reminds us that rejoicings do not belong as properly to him that putteth on the armor as to him who, having fought the good fight to the finish, shall lay aside the armor and put on robes of glory in the First Resurrection. (1 Kings 20:11; 2 Tim. 4:7,8.) Consequently we must not stop too long even to rejoice that we are what we are by the grace of God, but must go on! The new year is surely full of blessings for the faithful, according to all the precious promises of our Father's Word. We must grasp these afresh, allowing the Lord's faithfulness of the past to establish our trust the more firmly for the future. Without faith as the trolley to connect us with the current of divine power we will fail to "go on unto perfection."
"Faith can firmly trust Him,--come what may."
Love, too, should be stimulated by a retrospective glance;--discerning the mercies of the Lord toward us should enthuse us with loving zeal for Him and his. "We love him because he first loved us!" We seek to do those things pleasing to our Lord because we love him, and in proportion as we love him we will delight in such obedience and service,--even at the cost of self-sacrifice.
Good resolutions and the reexamination of our ideal and standards of life are appropriate at this season, too. Not that the fully consecrated can add to their consecration--for, if proper, it included our all. Not, either, that we should have an annual round up when we would seek pardon and start out afresh--as typical Israel did each "Day of Atonement" at the beginning of their new year. Spiritual Israelites, rather, are to live a daily, an hourly life of nearness to the High-Priest. The blood of the New Covenant is to be continually invoked for the cleansing of the slightest defilement of conscience, that thus the wedding garment of our Lord's imputed righteousness may not become bedraggled, but that the slightest spot being removed, we may have it "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."
Nevertheless, self-examinations and good resolutions have a value at this season in particular. That reviews of business; taking account of stocks; ascertaining the profits and the losses of the year; etc., are profitable in respect to worldly affairs, all will admit; and the much more important affairs of the soul--the ascertainment of gains and losses as New Creatures and how and when and where these came to us in the constant battle with the world, the flesh and the devil, [R3125 : page 4] will surely profit all who make such reckonings with an eye single to the pleasement of the Lord.
Let us, then, set our spiritual aims, ambitions and endeavors still nearer to the perfect divine standard; remembering the while our Lord's words, "Without me ye can do nothing," let us be strong and courageous in the strength which he supplies and promises to increase as we are able and willing to accept it.
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There is nothing specially new to note,--except that "all things are onward moving," in the direction indicated by the Word. The "churches" are coming more and more to favor the combination and trust principle and desire to apply it;--seemingly only a Morganizer is needed. Then the religious "irregulars" will be shamed and discomfited. Capital and labor are each fortifying--each preparing for the great struggle; yet neither realizes how tremendous the conflict will be--nor the results, as we do in the light of the Word. Financial prosperity holds the winds in "Christendom," though its continuance seems to depend on the expenditure of vast sums in outside wars. The financial conditions are becoming unfavorable in Great Britain, still more so in Germany, and yet more so in Russia.
We have recently noted the rapid progress of Socialism in Germany; below we quote from the New Orleans Times-Democrat respecting its progress in the United States:--
"What will be remembered as easily the most interesting-- and we had almost said the most alarming --feature in the Convention of the American Federation of Labor of 1902, was revealed when the Convention, by a vote of 4744 to 4344, rejected this resolution:--
"'Resolved, That this twenty-second annual Convention of the American Federation of Labor advise the working people to organize their economic and political power to secure for labor the full equivalent of its toil, and the overthrowal of the wage system and establishing an industrial co-operative democracy.'"
"Although defeated, the resolution is especially significant by reason of the great number of votes recorded in favor of its adoption. Out of a total of 9088, the pro-Socialists lost by the exceedingly slender majority of 400 votes. In other words, the American Federation of Labor, as it is today constituted, is almost evenly divided on the question whether or not Socialism should be indorsed. To be exact 47.68 per cent of the Federation is in favor of, and 52.32 per cent is opposed to, Socialism.
"These statistics are of themselves sufficient to make labor leaders throughout the country pause and [R3126 : page 4] reflect whither they are tending. The speeches made in the Convention were overwhelmingly in favor of indorsing the Socialistic movement. Delegate Barnes compressed into two sentences the creed of the pro-Socialist advocates. 'Let us tell Mr. Morgan,' said he, 'that, to use his own words, there is nothing to arbitrate. We want your (his) mines, and we want your (his) railroads for the people of this country.' Delegate Layton said that 'the time had come when supplication should cease and action should begin.' 'The greatest power of the union, or laboring man,' said he, 'is the ballot. It should be used, and used for the attainment of the workingman's ambition.' The note sounded in these two speeches was echoed in the remarks of other delegates; and but for the vigorous speech made by Mr. Gompers the Federation would unquestionably have thrown the weight of its influence in favor of 'the overthrowing of the wage system and the establishment of an industrial co-operative democracy.'
"In straight-flung words, Mr. Gompers pointed out that Socialism had more than once been opposed to trades unionism; that the socialistic spirit was essentially the spirit of negation, and that the Federation should shun Socialism as it would leprosy. 'Good heavens!' he exclaimed. 'Study Socialism! Why, we have graduated from it long ago.' This was Mr. Gompers' position; and by taking it promptly he stemmed the tide of Socialism that was running high in the convention, and contrived to defeat the resolution. It required no little courage and no little capacity to do what Mr. Gompers did, and his attitude and conduct can hardly be too highly commended. The victory won by him was, however, dearly bought. Above the smoke of the battle, one fact looms large in the public eye, namely; that in a deliberative body of representative American workingmen, 47.68 per cent are in favor of Socialism in the United States."
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Socialism should not be confounded with Communism or Anarchism; nevertheless, we believe it will surely eventuate in anarchy. Capital--private ownership--will not consent to Socialism on a broad basis and the conflict resulting will be what neither party premeditates or desires. There are really very few people sufficiently unbalanced in heart and mind to approve anarchy.
SOCIALIST VOTE OF THE WORLD.
The Appeal gives the following figures as showing the marvelous growth of Socialism all over the world:
United States. Spain.
1890 .......... 13,704 1893 .......... 7,000
1891 .......... 16,552 1895 .......... 14,000
1892 .......... 21,512 1897 .......... 28,000
1893 .......... 25,666 Belgium.
1894 .......... 30,020 1894 .......... 334,500
1895 .......... 34,869 1898 .......... 534,324
1896 .......... 36,275 Denmark.
1897 .......... 55,550 1872 .......... 315
1898 .......... 91,749 1884 .......... 6,805
1900 .......... 135,770 1887 .......... 8,408
1902 Est....... 400,000 1890 .......... 17,232
Italy. 1892 .......... 20,098
1893 .......... 20,000 1895 .......... 25,019
1895 .......... 76,400 1898 .......... 32,000
1897 .......... 134,496 1900 .......... 43,285
1867 .......... 30,000 1895 .......... 90,000
1871 .......... 101,927 1897 .......... 750,000
1874 .......... 351,670 France.
1877 .......... 486,843 1885 .......... 30,000
1878 .......... 437,158 1888 .......... 91,000
1881 .......... 311,961 1893 .......... 590,000
1884 .......... 599,990 1898 .........1,000,000
1887 .......... 763,128 Great Britain.
1890 .........1,427,098 1895 .......... 55,000
1893 .........1,786,738 1902 .......... 350,000
1898 .........2,125,000 Switzerland.
Poll 1903.....3,100,000 1890 .......... 13,500
Servia. 1893 .......... 29,822
1895 .......... 55,000 1896 .......... 36,468
NEW FINANCIAL CONDITIONS.
The London Spectator, one of the ablest journals in the world, remarks:--
"What a wonderful change has passed over our conception of the word 'property.' The writer is old enough to remember when nothing except land and houses was regarded as true property; but now a man may be a millionaire and own nothing that he can see. A few pieces of paper in a box at his banker's, or, better still, an inscription in a book of which he knows nothing, except that it exists, constitute him a man rich beyond the dreams of avarice, and, moreover, a man who has not to guard his property, and who can realize it --which the rich man of old could not do--in half an hour. It is a very curious change, and one the full effects of which we have yet to perceive."
This is in full agreement with what we have already pointed out--that bonds and stocks are being used now as instead of money. This is sure to affect conditions during the time of trouble.
The Secretary of "The American Board of Foreign Missions" reports $18,369,163 annual summary of income for Protestant foreign missions; and additions to church membership in all heathen lands for the year at 160,000;--the number dying during the year is not stated.
Estimating the births among the 1,000,000,000 heathens at only one tenth of one per cent, the population increased 1,000,000. Question: How long would it require to convert heathendom to the present standard of "Christendom"? And then,--How long would it require to convert "Christendom" to the condition mentioned in the Lord's prayer--when God's will shall be done on Earth even as it is done in Heaven?
Thank God for the promised interference in the present order of things by Immanuel and his promised Kingdom of Heaven;--to bind Satan, open the blinded eyes of understanding and heal and bless all the families of the earth--forcefully, but lovingly--ultimately destroying all wilful evil doers!
"Vienna, Nov. 5.--A dispatch from Constantinople confirms the statement that the Sultan is considering the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine, and that the proposition is opposed by the French and Russian legations in the interest of the claims of Catholic and Greek Christians to the holy places. The dispatch states that if these claims could be arranged satisfactorily, the scheme of a Jewish State could probably be carried out. The British embassy at Constantinople is said to look with much favor on the proposition to create a Jewish State in Palestine, and if matters should come to an issue, England would undoubtedly support the Sultan as against Russia and France in giving Palestine to the Jews. A noted diplomat is reported as saying: 'The Sultan of Turkey could take no wiser step for the maintenance of his power and the permanence of his empire than to make Palestine a Jewish State. He would thereby attract to his empire the friendly interest of Jews throughout the world, and the Jewish State would be a bulwark for Turkey against Russian aggression in that direction.'"
"Protestant Christianity is planning to make a demonstration. It is to be an outcome of a convention, just arranged, to be held in February, 1905, and probably in the city of Washington. The national federation of churches, at its meeting this year, created a committee, whose duty it is to secure representatives from all evangelical bodies. This committee has met with hearty response. Religious bodies South as well as North are taking hold of the idea with interest. The highest authorities are naming delegates, and these will meet in the proposed convention representatives from state and local federations. It is purposed by this convention to send forth a joint message signed by the chief pastors and addressed to Protestant Christianity of the United States. The purport of this message will be unity. The plea will be made that Christianity has been weakened by divisions and that the time has arrived for united action. No attempt will be made toward organic unity, but it will be claimed that upon a score of important questions a common ground exists, that overlapping and duplication can be prevented, and that evangelical thought can, if it will, make itself felt as it has not done heretofore." --St. Louis Globe-Democrat.