VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
JEWISH COMMENT ON MR. ZANGWILL'S MISSION.
ISRAEL ZANGWILL, the author and playwright, has come to this country to interest leading Jewish citizens in the establishment of a Zionist colony in British East Africa. The plan he advocates was projected at the last Zionist congress in Basle, and has a practical interest, in view of the British Government's declared willingness to set aside a large tract of land on the Nandi Plateau, Uganda, for purposes of Jewish colonization. As Mr. Zangwill explains (in an interview reported in the New York Times):
"This is not merely a dream in the air. It is an actual offer of the Government, made under the auspices of Joseph Chamberlain.
"The first Jews who went to Palestine did not go there straight. They wandered for forty years in the [R3488 : page 19] wilderness, and the old and feeble dropped away. Those who arrived were the strongest and fittest. The striking thing is that the Jews have not possessed an inch of land for nineteen centuries. This tract on the Plateau of Nandi is the first thing that has ever been offered."...
The Jewish papers in this country do not look at all kindly on Mr. Zangwill's plan. The American Hebrew (New York) says: "We doubt very much whether Zionists will subscribe to Mr. Zangwill's new definition of Zionism. It sounds like Hamlet with Hamlet omitted." To this The American Israelite (Cincinnati) adds:
"Of course he will succeed in getting more or less money; there never was a scheme so wildly foolish that a glib talker could not get some support for it. That this money will be absolutely wasted there can be no question, and if this were all there would be no great harm done."
Jewish Comment (Baltimore) says:
"Our English correspondent thinks that Jewish East Africa would become an ordinary English colony with a Jewish governor, and this seems to be all that is in it at present....It may turn out to be quite as successful an enterprise as the colonies in Argentina (and that is a modest hope), with the great advantage of being under the supervision of the English Government, the colonizing power par excellence. If the whole aim of the Zionists were to get a legally assured home, East Africa offers a prospect of an early realization of their fondest dreams; but if at the same time they hope for reinvigoration, intellectual and moral, through the influence of the spiritual glories and memories of Zion, East Africa will be as impotent as New Jersey or Winnipeg. Badly as the Jews need a place to rest in peace, they need an influence that will make for culture and for the awakening of the instincts that we are so ready to believe lie at the basis of Jewish character."
THE SCOTCH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
The fact has been already referred to that the House of Lords, the court of last resort in Great Britain, decided that the United Free Church did not acquire right in the property of the denomination and gives title to all to what is termed "The 'Wee' Free Church," which still holds fast to the original creed, refusing modification necessary to union with others. The House of Lords as a court decided that the moneys and properties accumulated for centuries for the propagation of a special faith or creed should not be diverted at the wish of any majority, however large. Doubtless this will be a spoke in the wheel of Church Union and turn the attention more to federation as easier, quicker and less hazardous.
How this matter marks the error of all the denominational creed fencings! None of them are of such a size as to permit all true Christians and only such to stand upon them. A writer in the Independent Review truly says: "The pious citizen of Antioch who lent his house for the assembling together of [R3488 : page 20] those first called Christians would be much startled could he see and hear the mass as it is performed today either in St. Peter's, Rome, or St. Paul's, London." The Duke of Argyle remarks that thus the recent decision affects "all British churches that do not by their constitution formally allow their members to 'agree to differ,' a liberty seldom given to churches in words, though nearly always practised in action." A writer in The Contemporary Review sees the error of present creedal methods, but evidently does not see that the Apostolic Church was free and different in these respects. He says:--"The position of all churches which use or acknowledge doctrinal standards or maintain a collective policy is affected by the judgment. They are told, in effect, that the law does not recognize churches where property is concerned, but only beneficiaries under a trust, powerless to alter its terms, incapable of declaring the purposes for which they exist, restrained from taking any step which may even be held by a civil court to involve a change of doctrine. Churches that exist on such terms, bound to the intellectual methods of the past, forbidden under ruinous penalties to think out the issues of Christian faith for themselves, place themselves, surely, in a position of fatal inferiority and disability."
The decision is just, as respects the donors of the past, and works hardship only in proportion as unscriptural creedal fences have been erected. The fellowship of the early Church was built doctrinally on faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Redeemer of men, in the justification of true believers who forsake sin to "follow the Lamb," and who through a full consecration of everything are begotten of the holy Spirit. All the Lord's true people could stand on that platform today and to add to or take from it is ungodly and the constant cause of trouble, as it has ever been. The Quarterly Review sums up the loss of "United Free Church" in these words:--
"A large and flourishing church, comprising nearly a quarter of the population of Scotland, with a national influence even greater than her numbers represent, and prosecuting extensive missions in Europe, Asia, and Africa, has been suddenly decreed to have lost her identity, through her union with another church and certain changes in her formulae which this union required; and to have forfeited in consequence all her invested funds and the bulk of her real estate."
THE NEW HELL.
The professor of Christian Theology in Tuft's College (Prof. G. T. Knight) not long since, in The North American Review, said:--
"As for Protestants, there is still to be heard on occasion a thorough-going expression of the old doctrine, but a more common opinion, even among conservatives, is reported in the words attributed to Dr. Patton, of Princeton. He said, according to report, that the number of the finally lost will probably be in about the proportion of those now confined in prison on earth. Dr. Briggs, who is reckoned somewhat less conservative, said that the number would be 'inconsiderable.' And it is by extending 'probation' to the future world, as Luther did, or by some substitute for the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, that provision is made and opportunity is given for doing so much more than the Church on earth can do....
"To the question whether the blessed in heaven will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest ones tortured in hell, Luther answered: 'Not the least in the world." Jonathan Edwards said: 'The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardor of the love and gratitude of the saints in heaven.' Andrew Welwood thought: 'The saints will be overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God.' Samuel Hopkins expressed the opinion that the sight of hell would be 'most entertaining' to all those who love God, and would give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. The great Dr. Bellamy capped the climax by an elaborate calculation, based on science and philosophy, in which he estimated that the happiness of the blessed in heaven would be increased 9,600,000,000 times on account of the misery of the damned."
He notes a great revulsion of sentiment on this subject of late years, and in evidence quotes the expressions of several prominent clergymen as follows: Dr. Farrar said:
"These wanton exercises of the imagination assume the aspect of deadly blasphemy against him whose name is Love....We can scarcely refrain from the question which one has asked: 'What crimes of men can merit the endless tortures here set forth, except the crime of conceiving such tortures, and ascribing the malice of their influence to an all-wise and holy God?'"
Dr. Briggs said: "The preachers preach the damnation of the heathen; and the hearers hear and accept. But they do not believe it in their hearts. If they did, they would be more worthy of damnation than the heathen themselves--unless they should at once give their whole lives and property to the missionary cause."
John Wesley once said: "Calvin's God is my devil." Dr. A. H. Strong said: "Christ always suffers with us. He (who is God) began to suffer when the first sin was committed, and he will always suffer so long as men sin."
* * *
It is profitable for us to note these comments, not
as endorsing any of them but by way of calling attention
again to the fact that the increase of knowledge
and heart enlargement of our day are sure to lead into
error unless the Bible teaching on the subject be
clearly seen. How thankful this makes us for the
light now shining into our hearts and upon our Bibles;
and how earnest it should make us in communicating
this blessing to all who have "an ear to hear."
[R3488 : page 21]
BRITISH WORKMEN CRITICIZED.
Rev. R. J. Campbell of London City Temple, who recently charged that British workmen are "often lazy, unthrifty, improvident, sometimes immoral, foul-mouthed, and untruthful," spending their Sundays in "idle self-indulgence or drunken rowdyism," is being criticized by Labor journals and others--among them ministers. Nevertheless, "faithful are the wounds of a friend." Among other things quite scathing Mr. Campbell said:--
"Two thirds of the national drink bill is incurred by the workingman. His keenest struggles are for shorter hours and better wages, but not that he may employ them for higher ends. He is often lazy, unthrifty, improvident, sometimes immoral, foul-mouthed and untruthful. Unlike the American worker, he has comparatively little aspiration or ambition.
"Conscientiousness is a virtue conspicuous by its rarity. Those who have close dealings with the British workingman know he needs watching, or work will be badly done, and the time employed upon it will be as long as he can get paid for. It is as Ruskin [R3489 : page 21] puts it, that joy in labor has ceased under the sun. The worker does not work for the work's sake, but for the pay's sake, and his principal aim is to work as little as possible and get as much as possible, both in money and leisure. Such a workingman's Sunday, therefore, is exactly what we should expect, a day of idle self indulgence or drunken rowdyism. He does not go to church, and the churches are blamed for it; but his reason for abstention is not because his ethical standard is higher than the churchgoer's--far otherwise. These are facts, the statement of which may be unpopular, but which there is no gainsaying. Let it be understood that as stated here they are not intended to apply to workingmen as a whole, but to large classes among them, which classes it is to be feared, constitute a majority."
The Labor Leader (London) grants that "genuine Christianity" is on the decline, but thinks that ministers and Christians in general are doing little or nothing to "turn the downward rush." It says:--
"Are we to have more ministers standing by the side of oppressed labor, or is our fashionable preacher still to offer us words, words, words, which break no bones, fill no mouths, and end no iniquities? Is the pulpit still to keep its eye upon the rich subscribers in the pews, or is it to see nothing but justice, truth and mercy? The most eloquent and convincing condemnation of drink which we have heard came from a habitual drunkard who was getting intoxicated at the time. Is Mr. Campbell's denunciation of society also to be nothing more than the eloquence of Satan reproving sin?
"Though we feel how unsatisfactory a tu quoque is in such serious matters as this, we think the dishonest plumber and the lazy bricklayer may well turn to the preachers and say: 'Prithee, sirs, do not I do my work as well as you do yours? I look after my master's interests much more loyally than you look after those of your Master: and I assure you if I disregarded the fundamental principles of my craft as much as you disregard yours, my bricks would not stand a gale and my pipes would run nowhere at all.' The preacher who gets such a rebuff, if he be a wise man, will go away sorrowing. He will then pass out of the pharisaical stage of enlightenment."
CHURCH FEDERATION WITHIN TEN YEARS.
Commenting on the recent "National Council of Congregational Churches," the N.Y. Independent says:--
"This note of unity called forth the most remarkable scene in the meeting of the Congregational Council, when the report was adopted with the utmost enthusiasm for steps looking to final complete union with the Methodist Protestant and United Brethren bodies....Already the Methodist Protestants and the Congregationalists have accepted the plan of union, and it remains for it to be accepted by the United Brethren at their general conference next spring. Then the plan will have to be approved by the local conferences of the two before it can begin to be put into operation. It anticipates, for a while, the union of the three bodies in one general council, and the union of their missionary agencies, while plans are being prepared for complete consolidation. These things take time, as there are separate interests to be cared for and protected. We may expect that within the next ten years very much of the scandal of a disunited Protestant Christendom will be removed."
POOR RUSSIA'S PITIABLE PLIGHT.
Russia's disasters in the war with Japan, followed by the insurrection of her chief cities, presents a picture of severe retribution upon a haughty nation. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." The fall of Russia is not yet, and doubtless in the interim the sufferings will be still more intense. The pity is that under present conditions the innocent suffer with the guilty and often more severely. Our special sympathy is for the poorly fed and but partly clad soldiers who are suffering at the front and for their poor families at home, and for the poor creatures whose unwisdom, joined with love of liberty and a desire to better their conditions, has brought them into conflict with the merciless Cossacks of the Czar's army. By and by--ere long now, it will be different. Then he who sins most shall suffer most, and the ignorant seeking the right way shall be guided to it by the great King and his joint-heirs.